29.12.08

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Its almost time.  In a few short hours the three of us will be on a plane destined for our new life in Hawaii.  *deep breath*  Wow.

This month has been shabby on updates so here are a bunch of pictures to make up for it!

Norio and Charlene - our new little Catholics godparents!  The baptism was fantastic - short yet very informative.  It was precisely the reason we had him baptized at the same church we were married in.  Two words: Father Bob.  Holy Family Church, people.  Its the place to be.

Gentlemens Jack for the men of the house.

Aunty Beth is by far the most fun.  Always good times with the Bethster.

And she buys you ridiculous things like the frog suit.

Hanging out at Gramma Arrayans place.  Mr A looks darker than dark - someone stop that brown man, hes stealing my child!
This is us PRE-Twilight.  Notice how excited we all seem?  Yeah...Mo should have known better.  
God that movie was terrible.

19.12.08

Twilight: the movie that sucks.

In my last post I was trying to be very blase about my feelings regarding Twilight in a desperate attempt to not let on about how totally in love I am with these books and how Ive quite unexpectedly joined forces with legions of preteen Edward Cullen fanatics.  
Well, the Stransky sisters went and saw the movie (with great anticipation) and it sucked.

SUCKS!!!

I really cant say enough about how terrible it was or how truly disappointed I am.  Sad face.
Now all I have to look forward to is reading Breaking Dawn.  I guess sometimes it just pays to be literate and put in the time and effort to get through the book.

15.12.08

Aunty Mo Overcomes Fear of Babies!

Twilight!

I finished the ENTIRE SERIES of teenage smut novels - Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse. Oh man, I have a lot to say about that but I feel like I would have to start a new blog since Im sure they exist (Twilight blogs) and diehards would probably be insulted by this casual reference. I read a trilogy of similar books (Vampire Diaries?) when I was in high school. The one thing I will say here is that these books are neither insightful nor well written (the writing was simple but then she would use pop quiz vocab words like "chagrin" or "insolence" and she would use them over and over again, it was just bizarre) but they are literary crack! I skimmed through the last two but I couldnt put Twilight down. COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!

I do, however, understand why people usually just see the movie. Reading books takes a whole lot longer and Im like "whats gonna happen? whats gonna happen?" and instead of having the answer within the hour and a half - its hours later when I get to page 462! Although my sister insists that the book is way better than the movie (which now I will likely go and see just because Im curious) and thats typically what happens.

Oh thats a good topic for comments - what movies are better than the books they are based on?

Ive discovered the inherent flaw in my moving plan. When we go to Hawaii there will be no grandparents to pass the baby off to! In order for me to read these books my mother spent endless hours playing with Ikaika. A task she was more than willing to take on, but Im no less grateful for. Being here with mom & dad is AWESOME!

11.12.08

Theres No Place Like Home

Ikaika and I have been in Seattle for a week now.

The ride up was an adventure. He slept so much before the ride that somewhere around Centrailia he woke up and wanted to eat...like right now! I had to stop at a Subway and feed him in the parking lot. The car was so packed with stuff that I couldnt have fit a tic-tac in there if I wanted/needed to. There was a little hole in the backseat for Ikaika and a hole in the front seat for me and a couple patches for me to look out the windows. Wild. I still cant believe I fit all that junk in there!

Its great to be up here since my family can help out with the baby. I can take a nap! I can pump some milk and go to a friends house sans infant! I can hand him over to someone else when hes fussy, gassy and inconsolable! Nice!

Mr A has been keeping me updated on his progress in Hawaii. Hes been on several promising job interviews. This week he interviewed and did a presentation for a position as a community health educator...educating the youth of hawaii about SEX! SAFE sex, no less! Harhar. Other than that hes been playing vball, watching our friends son play basketball, and eating gallons of poi. Best of all - its 80 degrees plus every single day. I can not wait to get over there.

The baby has been smiling more and will smile reactively, so thats new. Hes also started babbling/cooing. Didnt know exactly what cooing was until I had a baby. He will sit with Opa (my dad) and "talk". Its cute.

ECing has been challenging here so I had to change not one but TWO kukae diapers today. Yuck.
For his gassiness I had gotten some mylicon drops but found that they didnt do much (in fact, they seemed to only make it worse) and then, on the recommendation of my moms coworker, I got a Dr Browns bottle and that seems to help. Yay! Solution!

28.11.08

Giving Thanks for PDX International!

(publishing this late because blogger isnt letting me upload photos from this computer...very annoying)

Thanksgiving was very fun (for me at least). Went over to brother-in-laws and had a rockin good time with the Arrayan Ohana. Gonna miss the holiday/birthday party get-togethers with those folks. There is always something to laugh about. Luckily, last night it wasnt me.



Uncle Mike said that Ikaika was "a little lovin". A perfect description!



Then this morning Mr A got on a plane for Hawaii. Sigh. I know he didnt want to go by himself and, even though I know I shouldnt since this is the best for everyone, I feel bad. He was really bummed about leaving. We were hanging out in front of security check after a lovely airport family breakfast and he was just holding Ikaika and staring at him and not wanting to give him back. Eventually he did and got on his flight. I just got a call and he has made it to Kona none the worse for wear. This is the beginning of our great adventure!



I like the airport during the holidays. I like airports in general, but during the holidays especially. The lights are hung up - its festive - and there is just a feeling in the air. The feeling of seeing someone special. The feeling of anticipation, excitement, surprise. Mix that in with the sort of delirious coma-like state most travellers are in and its the recipe for a perfect place to experience some really crazy emotions. Thats what I like about airports - all those emotions in such a small place. Peoples feelings are always intensified in an airport. I have a lot of vivid memories from travelling and I always felt very aware of myself when I was either picking someone up or dropping someone off.

All those years of flying on planes and I just realized today that the one airline I always ignored because it was just a bunch of rich people going on vacation (Hawaiian Air) is now our primary airline! And Im neither rich nor on vacation!

27.11.08

Ikaika: The Uncut Version

We have yet to circumcise the baby. Originally, we agreed to leave it for two weeks and make a decision later. Mr A is consistantly vocal about getting it done but thus far hasnt even given the effort of actually calling the pediatrition about it. Im not going to call because I dont necessarily want someone chopping up what God gave him (although I acknowledge that its more of a "guy thing" and untimately the decision will be left up to Mr A). So here we are a month and a half later with foreskin still intact.

Whats your take on cut vs uncut? What would you do?

Just so you know that I know - there is absolutely no medical basis for Ikaika getting a circumcision so I wont accept any advice that includes such dated information. Interestingly enough, the circumcision rate in Oregon is only about 30%, which means we are in the norm over here.

26.11.08

OMG UR my BFF!!! LOL <3

The other night as I was breastfeeding and staying up with Ikaika (hes not fussy or upset, just awake) I watched a marathon of Paris Hilton is My New BFF "on demand". You knew it was just a matter of time. I mean, there is no way I was going to be able to avoid that show. What a bunch of mindless garbage! Much like The Hills marathon around this time of last year* - I was totally entranced.

*Havent watched The Hills since. Much like BFF, I cant handle crap in small doses.

Which leads to my blog topic - HATERS.

There was a girl on the show who was trying to justify how an acquaintance had accused her of being an enormously vapid sausage wallet in front of Paris. She proceeds to explain that shes always encountering "haters" and people are always "filling their mouth with my name" ...or something like that. She goes on to shed tears and recall with great pain how she used to come home from school and tell her mom that she doesnt want to be pretty anymore because the other kids dont like her. Maybe the other kids didnt like you because those are the thoughts that come out of your mouth. Just a theory.

As I laid in bed that night, my mind numb and mushy from hours staring at the shiny plastic flock of Hilton, I wondered what makes someone a "hater?" What makes a "hater" different from someone that just hates you?

Take Avril Lavigne (is that how you spell it?). I am a bonefide Avril Lavigne "hater". I hate on Avril Lavigne. I dont hate Avril - I hate on her - and here is the difference. I dont like a single thing about Avril. I dont like her music, her image, her voice, her husband, her hair, makeup, teeth, etc. You name it - I hate it. And yet, for some reason, I am uncontrollably drawn to seeking her out. When her videos come on the tv - I look at them...carefully. When her music plays in the store - I listen...intently. If she is in a magazine - I read it. And so on.
The point is that even though I dont like anything about Avril Lavigne, I go out of my way to expose myself to her because it gives me more information to support my own contempt. I want to know everything about her life so I can scrutinize it and judge it and decide it sucks. This, in fact, makes me a "hater".

Now lets look at someone like, oh say, John Mayher (is that how you spell it?). I read an article in Rolling Stone or some other magazine a long time ago where John Mayher was talking about being fluent enough in Japanese to be able to tell people off/eavesdrop of conversations after taking only high school courses (yeah right!) and fingering his girlfriend on the school bus. Puke. So I dont like John Mayher. If his video is on - I turn it off. If I hear his song - I tune it out. If I see him on a magazine cover - I leave that garbage on the shelf.
The point again is that because I truly hate John Mayher I completely ignore his existence. I dont acknowledge him as far as I can avoid it and only recently have I been able to enjoy the cover of Your Body is a Wonderland that our friends band sings. (Its always bothered me that Kaloku sings John Mayher material - but their voices are well matched and I guess the song is nice if its not sung by JM himself).

When you actually hate/dislike someone or something, you ignore them and couldnt possibly care less about what they think or do because its so darn unimportant and uninteresting. When you are being a "hater" or "hating on" someone or something, you seek out the details in hopes of finding raw material you can use to further your own mission of hating them more.

So when we examine the acrimonious relationships we inevidably have in our lives, are we just "hating" or are we "haters"?

Ill let you gnaw on that for awhile. TTYL.

18.11.08

Aloha Oe!


In case you havent heard the news - we are moving to Hawaii!

And I mean RIGHT NOW.


Yes, its true. After 20+ years, Mr A is finally returning to his island home. Im really excited about it for multiple reasons (I get to put my 30K japanese degree to use afterall!) and the baby doesnt seem to have an opinion one way or the other. Orchestrating a trans-pacific move is quite the endeavor. Its like ripping a band-aid off, you just have to do it and not think about it too much otherwise its totally overwhelming (how many of us have been completely overwhelmed by sticky old bandages?). But at least weve already started boxing and selling, unlike how I normally do it which is to throw everything in a suitcase the night before and trash whatever is left!

We are moving to The Big Island, the one that is actually named Hawaii. For those who have never been there - its a little less white sand beach and a lot more lava field. I dont think theres a building on the island over 3 stories tall. Lots of cattle ranches and nut/coffee farms. Other highlights include the international space observatory (clearest night skies in the world) and Kiluea the active volcano. We are planning on living around Kohala, birthplace of King Kamehameha I. Thats at the northeastern tip of the island.

As for the details: Mr A is going over early so he can take care of job/place to live without the added burden of being transients with baby in tow. Hes flying out the day after Thanksgiving (insistent about spending the holidays with family), which is consequently the day before his birthday. But I dont feel bad because he will probably play sand volleyball all day on his birthday, a much better gift than anything I could dream up for him! Im going to be spending the month of December in Seattle, working odd jobs and finalizing moving details. My family will be doting over Ikaika and most likely ignoring me. Then Mr A is flying back on December 23rd and we will do the Christmas thing - Eve in Seattle, Day in Portland. Ikaika is getting baptized as a Catholic on the 28th and then on the 30th the three of us board a flight to Kona. It will be my first Hawaiian New Years. I hear its going to be both thrilling and blog worthy.


Peace out, Portland! Aloha oe!

16.11.08

RDA of Cute


We went over to friends house last night and stayed up late playing games, singing karaoke, watching UFC, etc. Ikaika held up amazingly well. Slept well, stayed on schedule for the most part. This is what he looks like after a long night of mom & dad partying.
Today I experienced the downside of being a parent. Its one of the nicest days weve had here in Portland recently. Its probably the last nice weekend day before winter rolls around for good. Since we are moving soon to a place where golf is too expensive, Mr A and I wanted to go out and hit the links together one last time. Alas, I couldnt find anyone to babysit! And, unlike friends house party, its impossible to take a baby along on the golf course (although Im looking into some type of cage design that would sit atop that bucket/car seat thing and keep him safe from rouge balls - it will be featured in Sky Mall magazine and I will surely make millions). So here I am writing this blog post instead of teeing off at Glendevere. Waahhhh!
By the way, I put him in a little winter type suit today that says "6M" on the tag...it fit. Hes only 4 weeks. What a monster!

14.11.08


Good Morning Blog Readers!


Im going to start calling this The Poop Baby Blog.

So back to the topic of my sons bowel movements...

I realized last night that I havent changed a really poopful diaper for quite awhile. Thank you EC. But on that same line of thought - Ikaika has developed a little diaper rash thing. Not like full blown toddler diaper rash (those are gnarly) more like just redness and callousness between the cheeks. Problem is that Im not sure where the redness is coming from. Hes not sitting in poo, as I explained earlier. We use cloth during the day but Mr A insists that he will sleep better if hes in 'sposies. So which is causing the sore-butt syndrome?

In regards to treating the symptoms: This morning I sat him in a little tub full of sitz herbs and baking soda. It seemed to help the irritation and he smelled good afterwards. Ive used Balmex and it didnt do much except get all over my hands. Gross. Lano-something was of a nicer consistency and seemed to make his skin soft but I only had a sample packet and its gone now. Mr A has been putting A&D on him (you know those old men and their A&D) even though I keep telling him that stuff has fish oil in it and its going to make the diapers stink. No one listens to me...

Good Lord, Mom, leave me alone!

You cant exactly tell in these pics but hes getting big, as babies do. Our neighbors granddaughter is a little over 3 months and shes still smaller than he is (then again, in this neighborhood, the mothers lifestyle choices may be called into question). I hope he slows down a little or Im going to need a weight belt just to get him in and out of his bassinet! Ohhh my back!

cock-eyed baby love

9.11.08

Gas Powered

Last night was a winner. Not.
I dont know if it was the chicken enchilada casserole or what but last night/this morning was like sobby screaming babyfest. It was so unnerving. He was just inconsolable. I changed his diaper 10 times. I nursed him and he only bit me and pulled my boob off. He wouldnt even go in his sling! I rocked him. I cursed him. I almost cried.
My conclusion is that Ikaika is gassy. I sort of already knew this because 1) his kukae has been bubbly (one of the benefits of EC - I can see these things) and 2) my midwife told me as much. I got some Gripe Water at Target the other day and gave him some last night/this afternoon. It seemed to help somewhat. Its just terrible to listen to him scream and thrash around. Breaks my heart. Gets on my nerves too.
Not to be vulgar but he hasnt had very many big poos here today, maybe 2 in the last 24 hrs. Although the last two times I have offered him the bucket Ive been startled by some pretty earth shattering noises coming from his lower half. His diapers have been poo-free but weve had multiple productive farts. I think its safe to say that "hes got some stuck shit" (quoted husband).
So what do you make of all this? What should I be eating? Is there anything you can do for a gassy baby who has "stuck shit"? Would sucking on a pacifier help? Should he be on his back or his tummy when hes awake? Does it make a difference? Should I nurse him if hes gassy or just wait until he feels better? Is he gassy because Im nursing him too often? If it was something I ate should I pump & dump my milk or just let it be?
Any contributions to solving this problem would be appreciated.

7.11.08

Elimination Communication aka Bucket Training

Elimination Communication (EC for short) isnt really potty training. Because lets face it, its totally ridiculous to think you could potty train a newborn babe. EC is a way of teaching the baby to be aware of his shishi and doodoo. Because lets face it, its totally ridiculous to spend 2-3 years teaching a kid to crap his pants and then expecting him to do otherwise.

So we have been ECing part time. I havent gotten up the gusto to commit to a full day of no diaper. I think when we live someplace a bit warmer Ill give that a go. For now we offer Ika the opportunity to shishi/doodoo at the most convenient times for us. During a diaper change or right after he wakes up are the best times to catch something.

Heres how it works: we "offer the bucket" by holding him under this thighs in a modified squat and then we cue him by making a "psst" sound. The cue is supposed to help him know its time to relax his bowels or bladder. And we just hold him there over the sink/bucket/toilet and talk to him or cue him until he goes or until we give up.

I would say that 4 out of 5 times we will get something for our efforts. Sometimes we get both #1 and #2, which is rad. Other times I get one or the other and then I put a diaper on him and whichever one I didnt get in the bucket is now in the diaper (so frustrating!). Yet another option is nothing happening, but thats less likely since we only EC at the most opportune times.

If you could only see how excited Mr A gets when we catch something - something BIG - in the sink...you would think we are insane. Tonight we went to a volleyball game at Clackamas CC and I was changing his diaper in the restroom. Well, since it was right there I offered him the potty and he went! In a public bathroom! Its a portable skill! Very exciting stuff.

So why are we doing this? Well, for starters its fun/cool to think that your kid can pee on command (which, by the way, isnt exactly what he is doing - but its fun to think it is).
The main reason I wanted to try the way of the bucket was OF COURSE to save money. Because Im a miser. Im frugal. Im German. If you could figure out how to do this full time imagine what you would save from never using diapers! Unreal. For the time being, Ive been using a system that is like part cloth, part disposable and part bucket. He still soils a ton of diapers but think how many more I would be changing if every shishi I caught in the toilet went into a dipe instead! The proof is in the pudding and weve gone through almost 2 packs of disposable dipes since he was born. Thats about 80 diapers in 3 weeks. I think thats below average.

Oh and by the way... Cloth diapers, in my opinion, are NOT as hard as people want to make them seem. The technology of cloth nowadays means that if I had the money I would be using the tricked out cloth dipes and they would be stupid easy. Ive been using mostly recycled tshirt diapers and regular ole prefolds and I would still consider it to be very easy. And when you use cloth diapers theres no reason to not use cloth wipes, too. Throw it in a bucket and when the bucket gets full throw that in the washer.

Mr A, who did the cloth thing 15+ years ago, is in love with Snappis and commented several times on how great they are. Of course, they only work with prefolds or something of similarly woven fabric (NOT tshirt dipes) but I would recommend Snappis to people who want to do cloth.

4.11.08

Decision '08


snoozing through a defining moment in American history...ahh, innocence

2.11.08

"a rose by any other name would smell as sweet..."

Of all the names in the world, why did we name our child Ikaika?

Mr As dad told him (before he passed away 5 years ago) that if he ever had a son to name him Ikaika. He had told Mr A that he wanted to name Mr A Ikaika (but instead he named Mr A after himself, rendering Mr A his lifelong "junior"). It was his favorite name, it meant a lot to him, and he used to scribble it on everything. He made this walking stick from a piece of drift wood he collected at the beach the last time he was in Oregon. We hung it above the closet in Ikas room.



Ikaika, for those of you who dont know, means "strong" in Hawaiian - or "strength within" depending on who you ask and how poetic you want to be. Although I normally gravitate towards names that are a bit more complex, I have to admit that this name is really special and appropriate for this particular kid.

Considering that this name came directly from Papa As instruction, the fact that Ikaika was born on Papa As birthday makes this name choice exponentially more special.


What the name lacks in complexity it certainly makes up for in difficulty of pronunciation! I think its because I studied Japanese in college, but I dont find reading Hawaiian words to be all that complicated (albeit that the length of a word can sometimes cause trip ups). But English phonetics and the way we pronounce vowels makes Ikaika a really hard name for some to say. The first "I" is the source of most of the confusion. For the record, its pronounced EE-kai-kah.



And no...we will NOT be calling him Ike in this lifetime.

29.10.08

I HEART MY MOM!

She is an inspiration to women everywhere. Mr A asked me the other day what is one thing I like about my mom the most. It was tough to narrow it down but I would say that my mom is a real problem solver. If something comes up she will find suggestions (multiple suggestions) for ways to fix it, solutions, options, etc. I also like her "try anything" attitude. I think that I got my caring, adventurous side from her. So thanks Mom. You are top shelf goods!

Ikaika and I are both sick. Bleh. I feel like such a failure because my child is not even two weeks old and I already got him sick! Last night was brutal. He woke up with makapia (eye boogers) and he was all congested. He didnt eat well so he wouldnt go back to sleep for very long. He spit up/puked all over me and himself. Sigh. Poor little dude.

I think I might have a plugged milk duct or something of that nature because the right side of my boob hurts. I dont think its all that serious because I dont have a fever or anything - but I want to fix it before it gets serious. I had to stop feeding him from one side because I got a crack, so Ive been pumping from that side instead. BFing is such a challenge! Now I understand why people are always asking "hows breastfeeding going?" when they are asking general new baby questions. How/Does it ever get any easier? Why is such a natural process such a giant pain in the okole?! I also have congestion and I didnt sleep hardly at all last night so thats a bummer.


Although I did find out that Conan O'Brian airs again right after Poker After Dark. Bonus.

27.10.08

Big Boy!

Game 5 is on and my soup is ready, so heres some updates that Im not even going to try and make entertaining.

  • This past weekend was the World Series (go go Victorino!) so we packed the family and went up to Granny and Grandpas house in Vancouver where they believe in both cable and HD. The first time we went I packed 2 diapers. TWO diapers. What the hell was I thinking? In my defense, Ive never travelled with a baby before. Mr A, on the other hand, should have known better.
  • Midwife Wendy came over for a check up today. We had to redo the PKU test because the dipshits over at Adventist did it wrong. My uterus is returning to its original state. My babys heart and lungs are healthy despite the fact that hes had a runny nose. And, in bigger news, dude has gained almost an entire pound in the last week! He was 8lbs 13oz today. Super milk machine me!
  • Now the biggest news - today while Wendy and I were cleaning up, Mr A came out in the living room very excited and said that Ikaika had rolled from his stomach to his back. Being that this kid is about 8 days old I was like "yeah right." Mr A had been talking about this roll for awhile and sometimes puts the baby on his side or whatever, so I figured that this was a case of over ambitious fathering. But then I went into the bedroom and sure enough, he did it again! He was on the mattress and my brute of a son rolled himself from his tummy to his back. Mobility! I dont know if Im ready for this so soon! Im not going to be able to leave him unattended! I am, however, going to try and capture this on video so I can post the evidence. Stay tuned...

24.10.08

Ikaikas Birth Story

*Phew!* Push it! Notice midwife chillin' on the couch. Yay Homebirth!



The birth was two very different and quite separate experiences. There was the labor and the delivery. Labor was top-notch and delivery was extraordinarily sucky.

Mr A and I had planned on having a homebirth from the very beginning. The reason I never wrote about it here is because I was protecting my mother from this information since she expressed her concern about my dying in childbirth long before I even conceived. We had midwives, three of which would be at the birth. We had done all our homework and everything was looking good and ready to go.

I went into prelabor on Friday morning. Mr A came home early from work and we set about getting all our stuff ready (tub, herbs, hot packs, Performance, etc.). We ate lunch then played cards outside with our neighbors since it was a nice, sunny Aloha Friday. Around 4 o'clock I started to go into active labor. Deciding that I needed to concentrate, we went inside the house and called Midwife Beth. She came over and I proceeded to labor.

It was great. I lay on the bed for awhile, the three of us took a walk down the block, I took a shower, etc. The contractions were intense, but I felt really capable of relaxing and working with them. Mr A stayed with me the whole time and gave me tons of support. It hurt, but I never felt overwhelmed or like I couldnt do it.

Around 9 o'clock (I dont know the accuracy of a lot of these times since I unplugged the clocks and had no concept of real time anyway) I started feeling "pushy" so MW Beth told me I could get into the tub if I wanted. Gladly. Midwife Alicia came over since it seemed the babys arrival was imminent. Unlike transition, where I was just totally consumed by contractions even when I wasnt having one, pushing was tons of effort during a contraction and then in between we would joke around about something or chat about this & that. I remember saying several times to Mr A as I was leaning limply over the side of the pool, "this is pretty cool, huh?"

After awhile and no baby yet, Beth determined that I had a cervical lip and needed to get out of the tub and stop pushing to give it time to go away. I did, and that sucked (not pushing when you are in the pushing part was labor is shitty times) but the lip went away and I went back into the pool.

Later still, I am pushing and the babys head is visible but just not coming down. They are checking his heart and telling me to change positions. Mr A says he could tell by their faces that something was different. Finally, MW Beth says "the cord is wrapped around the babys neck and when you push his heart rate is dropping. Get out of the tub, put on a robe and shoes we are going to the hospital. No time for anything else, just get on all fours and dont push."

Well, needless to say, that was quite a shocker.

Now, Mr A and I, upon choosing to have a homebirth, had always known and accepted that hospital transfer was a possibility. In fact, thats what the midwives are for - to keep us all safe by making those kinds of decisions. Although, I think we were both stunned that this was happening, considering that both myself and the baby had been so "perfect" and healthy throughout the whole pregnancy.

So, anyhow, we get in the car and head off to Adventist, which is the nearest hospital. When we get there its just chaos. The nurses are, frankly, kind of rude and they are sticking me with IV and blood tests, etc. They strap on the fetal monitor, which from my understanding is the piece of equipment we were seeking by going there. We have to wait for the OB-Gyn.

Its very very difficult to regain my focus. The first push I had on that bed was terrifying. It was so much more painful than in the tub - I thought my body was going to break in half. After that first push I was hysterical and crying and telling Midwife Wendy, "I just cant do it" and "I want to go back home." At some point I suggested they just cut him out of me, but upon more contemplation I realized that a Cesarean is too expensive and changed my mind! Im scared to push because I dont want to hurt the baby and Im scared to push because I dont want to hurt myself! I think I was crying because I came to the realization that I had to push him out whether I wanted to or not.

The doctor was like Panic City and Im not alone in my opinion that the doc and nurses were slightly overreacting to the situation. What a bummer because it just contributed to the continuing chaos. There was a lot of shouting and noise and bright lights and it was just so far from the scene in my living room.

At some point, MW Wendy helped me regain my focus. And in the end, I pushed that baby out on that hospital bed even though I swore that I couldnt/wouldnt do it. And when he was out - it was over and I was just so shocked that I had been able to do it I could hardly believe it was done.

The final report was that the cord was wrapped like one and a half times around his neck and also around his shoulders, turning him into a vaginal yo-yo. The doctor officially said he had shoulder distocia. I think thats BS and Im not alone in that opinion. Like I said, Panic City.

Now, even though your first inclination might be to feel sorry for me in this situation, please refrain. The person who truly needs your sympathies is poor Mr A! I had a job to do. I was hurting, be sure of that, but I was focused on one thing and nothing else. I didnt have a lot of time to process small things that were bothering me. Mr A on the other hand had absolutely nothing to do but stand by and watch everything that was going on. He almost got into it several times with the doctor and nurses over administering interventions. When the baby was coming out he had to look away because he thought the doctor was poking Ikaikas eyes out (she wasnt). He had to just be there the whole time and was quite helpless to the situation. I dont even know if he derived any pleasure from the "dad" things like cord cutting because he was so frazzled. The whole thing was extraordinarily traumatic. He said it was one of the most stressful experiences of his life. Which is too bad because all I remember is how great it was to have him there and that I couldnt have done it without him!

So, what are my thoughts about this birth? Im really glad that I was able to do it. I wanted to have a natural childbirth and I did. I wanted to experience labor and birth and I did that. I wanted to be at my home and I was...for most of the time. The cord thing is something that is totally unpredictable and unpreventable so it was just how things were meant to be. I suppose that if we hadnt had the cord issue then Ickey would have just come flying out of me in that tub. This way, he was born at 1AM on Mr As dads birthday, which is really special for all the Arrayan men. Spirits. Im thankful that our midwives are trustworthy, professional and were capable of making a quick decision in the best interest of both me and our child.

All in all, I would say that it was nothing if not exciting. If you are wondering how I feel about homebirth after an emergency transfer, I can assure you that I would do it again in a heartbeat. Hopefully next time my kid can stay untangled!

23.10.08

Just a Baby? How DARE You!

Whachu talkin' 'bout Willis?

My mom sort of rained on my parade this afternoon when she said that everyone shes shown pictures to (meaning people not directly associated with this family) has said that Ikaika just looks like a baby. Any ole newborn baby.
WHAT?! Have I become one of those people who thinks that my child is so unique?! I feel like all his features are so special! I feel like every picture says something a little different! I feel he has that certain je ne sais quoi and everyone should be able to see it!
For instance, this picture makes him look like he could possibly be my child (as opposed to 100% Mr A DNA)...
This picture is cute because his hands are by his face which is adorable...
I admit that I was a champion of the "all babies look like squashed worms" attitude. But then I gave birth to Ikaika, the most perfect baby to ever exist, and all that went right out the window.

Kapua U'i


Kapua came over on Tuesday and spent some QT with her new little bro. Considering shes only a small tot herself, she was amazingly gentle and really excited to sing to him and help with a bottle, etc. Although she was somewhat apprehensive about actually holding him (this is the only moment it occured). It seems shes going to be an amazing Tita! I hope she teaches him how to be as fearless as she is!

Then Ikaika went down for a nap and Mr A was pleasantly surprised to discover that he and Kapua could still play Kung-Fu Fighting and Ultimate Tackle Football in the living room without disturbing the baby in the nursery! Hopefully he continues to be heavy sleeper as he gets older. Just like his mother.

21.10.08

Getting N*Sync

When I read The Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford it all seemed so simple. Get the baby on a routine of being awake during the day and asleep at night by structuring their feeds and sleeps. Easy peasy right?
WRONG!
What I did not anticipate was that keeping a baby awake is near impossible when said kid wants to sleep. Mr A and I even resorted to torturing our precious baby with an ice pack this afternoon! All to no avail, as these words are being written Ikaika and his father are taking a nap together. Sigh...there goes my schedule.
Him being asleep during the day is only one half of the issue though. The other part is feeding. If he cant stay awake and alert with ice down the back of his shirt you can only imagine how difficult it is to keep him awake during breastfeeding. Come 2 o'clock when I want him 20 min on the left and 10 on the right, he just nuzzles right up there and takes a snooze! So cute, yet so frustrating!
Maybe Im just crabby today because I was up last night with a screaming, fussy baby. I am sorry to report that I have learned the hard way - chocolate, red wine, and breastmilk dont mix. My baby had a sore stomach last night and I felt really guilty! But who could blame me? He was supposed to be asleep for 3 hours while I watched Dancing With The Stars and spent quality celebration time with Mr A!

This schedule stuff seemed a whole lot easier in the book...

20.10.08

Third Days a Charm


Today we had a check up. Ikaika is now 7lbs and 15oz - the smallest he will get in this lifetime. Its all uphill from here since the milk came in this morning. Everything else is healthy as well; heart, lungs, etc.

I got a picture with his eyes open DURING THE DAY! No more vampire baby!

Me - the Aftermath


We didnt have any cameras at the hospital but heres a picture that includes me from Saturday night. Ill try to get a more comprehensive "body shot" later. Youre welcome Ruth.

19.10.08

A Few More Pictures of Nothing in Particular

I thought we could use some more pictures on this weblog.

We didnt let the hospital staff touch him any more than absolutely necessary, including bathing him, so when we got home Saturday afternoon he was still kind of a birthy mess. Here it is folks, the very first bath!



Its funny because he doesnt really do anything but I love taking pictures of him! I need to get a good shot with his eyes open, which apparently will have to be taken after midnight :(



Weve had a few visitors so far this weekend (including but not limited to my parents: Oma Jill pictured here) and we really appreciate all the love & support from everyone! Mahalos!

18.10.08

Happy Birthday to You!

IKAIKA TIMOTHY ARRAYAN
8lbs 6oz
22inches
Born at 1:00am
October 18, 2008

Birth story to come later when I have gotten sleep and can sit without wincing!

16.10.08

Waiting to Expel

What do people like myself do when we are sitting around waiting to expel a child from our body?


Here is a whimsical burp cloth I made out of an old sheet from my mom (the rest of the sheet was made into flat fold diapers) and some fabric I had lying around. Mr A thinks its too colorful. I would agree, but I meant for it to be that colorful. I meant for it to be too colorful. Really, the white diaper thing is such a snore.

Just FYI - I consider it a burp cloth rather than a diaper because its only 2x4 whereas I typically make diapers 4x8.


This is the pride and joy of my evening. Hand-me-down onesie + fabric paint = baby tattoo! And how cute is this? That petroglyph is exactly the same as the one on daddys arm! How sweet!


Heres a nursing pillow cover that I made awhile ago but dont think I ever got around to posting. I got a pillow form from the craft store (with a coupon, no less) and whipped up a cover to go with it! Its got football helmets - youre welcome husband - and is an extraordinarily soft flannel. Another great feature is that the cover is made with a zipper so it can be removed/washed.

15.10.08

Action in the Birth Canal Tonight

This afternoon I went into the midwives office and MW Alicia "stripped the membranes". For those who are unfamiliar with the lingo - stripping the membranes is when they reach up inside the cervix and run their finger between the cervix and the bag of waters (amniotic sac). I guess its supposed to shake things up and get things going. And if it doesnt, it cant hurt. She mentioned that there would be some bloody show (I know, this is getting grosser by the second) and there is. So thats exciting! Something different and new!

Alicia also commented while she was up there that I was about 2-3cm dilated and 75% effaced. Its progress!

AND, as if that wasnt enough to leave you waiting with baited breath, she said that my bag of waters was "bulging"! Cool! Its like a giant water balloon thats on the verge of bursting(probably because my super strong contracting uterus wont give it a moments rest...). We might be having a messy day at the gym tomorrow!

Then I went to acupuncture and turned that TENS machine up as high as it would go.

If nothing else, there has been noted progress today so I feel much better, thank you. Hopefully we will be having a birthday party in the near future. You are all invited.

Bellies Galore!

The belly shot seems to be a standard for pregnancy documentation.
Cant quite figure out this camera-in-a-mirror business. Isnt it tragic to know that I am formally trained in photography?!
Heres the best I could do. What a belly it is indeed!
We are at 40W + 1 here
The hilarious part is that my boobs look flatter than a pancake and yet, in reality, when you remove the belly factor, they are massive.

This picture isnt even really that great of a shot of the baby but I think the colors are interesting and if I could just figure out how to use the picture editing software on this computer and crop that hand out of the shot - I would like it simply because of the aesthetics. For now, you just need to either use your imagination or cover the hand with your finger.

14.10.08

Working Class Acupuncture

As promised I will write about my acupuncture experience.

Midwife Beth suggested that I try some acupuncture to help encourage the cervical ripening. Mr A and I didnt even attend a single childbirth class because we cant afford it so the thought of something as extravagant as Chinese medicine seemed laughable. Beth directed me to Working Class Acupuncture in NE PDX, which provides acupuncture in a communal setting and on a sliding scale. Right on.

I think things like acupuncture or any kind of eastern/alternative medicine has taken on an air of pretension in our society. Its almost elitist. Even though these treatments can be extremely helpful, if not MORE helpful than what you would find in a hospital, the mentality now is almost like getting a massage or reiki or whatever for an ailment is an extravagance that should compliment western medical treatment, rather than replace it. Which is funny because these treatments come from humble, communal roots. I suppose the only reason they are seem as a medical delicacy is because they are "exotic" rather than "common/normal". One would think that a prescription medication is exotic because so much complexity goes into making it, whereas with an herb all you have to do is grow the darn thing! Alas, no.

Anyhow, I really dig the idea of Chinese medicine being affordable since its unlikely that it will EVER be covered by my insurance. I wish I could find some chiropractic network that uses a similar business model.



On Monday evening, Mr A and I go down to the place and Im filling out some paperwork and Mr A is totally into it - so much so that he wants some acupuncture himself. Hes been struggling with his knees lately (I suspect he will have to get them scoped if and when he ever gets some insurance). He had gotten acupuncture for his wrist in the past and loved it, but he fell victim to the age old conundrum of alternative medicine - you need to do it quite a bit before you see results but who the hell can afford to go that often?! This presents us both with an interesting opportunity and needless to say, I was very thankful to be doing it together so I wouldnt be nervous (Im an acupuncture newbie).

We go into the treatment room and its dim and warm. There is soft music playing and beautiful panels of fabric draped across the ceiling (I think the fabric was from IKEA actually - although it wasnt too busy). There are these big comfy recliners set up in groups of 4-5. Mr A and I sit next to each other and the acupuncturist comes over and gets to work on my honeyboy. When shes done with him, she covers him with a blanket and comes over to me. She asks me some questions about my pregnancy, although I wrote down most of my information in my chart already, and proceeds to puncture me. I got needles on the top of my head and in my third eye, on my hands, in my calves and feet, and in my shoulders. Its amazing that this tiny little hair thin needle, that doesnt even go into your skin very far, sends such a sensation throughout your whole body! It was such a crazy feeling.

We kicked back, closed our eyes and relaxed. We both fell asleep for maybe an hour to and hour and a half. I woke up and was just wide awake. Not groggy or anything. Just totally awake. It was refreshing. Wonderful. I was so energized. But, sadly, I did not go into labor last night.

Today I went back. They say for labor induction you should go three times in a row and then take a rest. So today was round 2. I went in the morning because Tuesday is my afternoon at the gym, walking and such. I was all excited to relax and take a little nap. I just bounced into that treatment room and made a beeline for my comfy chair. Then the dude comes up to me and says "oh no, I want you on a table. Follow me!" WHAT? No nap?! No chair?! What is this?!

I get escorted to a table in a room that is well-lit (albeit with natural sunlight, but still...) and no music playing. He tells me to lay on my side and arrange pillows however I find to be most comfortable. He proceeds to stick about a dozen needles all in my butt cleavage and lower back. He put two needles on either side of my lumbar region and I was feeling those, let me tell you! Yikes. He put a couple in my hand and one in my pinkie toe, top of the head and the third eye.
Im laying there on my side and he says to me "now Im going to hook you up to an electrode" and Im just laughing at this point because I feel like hes trying to jump start my uterus (which probably isnt too far from the truth). That electrode was no joke. My palms were sweating profusely. But it was fairly relaxing, I started to knock out for a spell.

Eventually he came back (30-40 minutes later) and I was done. When he was taking out the needles I got quite a shock from the ones near my spine. He commented that perhaps thats where the hold up is. Like, thats where the blockage for labor might be hiding. Its an encouraging thought!

Then I went to the gym and during a phone conversation with my mom she informed me that all the ladies down at Horizon House (old folks home where mom works) say that stair climbing is better for labor induction than treadmill walking. Who am I to argue with tried and true methods? So I got my ass on the stairmaster.

All the way home in the car Im like contracting and getting pains in my "da kine" (as my husband would say) and Im thinking "oh boy! this is it!". I get home and...NOTHING! Not a damn thing. Just sat there all night and watched The Biggest Loser and felt absolutely nothing else. Arrg. Its like my body is doing everything- EVERYTHING! - everything short of actually going into labor! Its so frustrating that its almost funny!

12.10.08

Come in Johnny...

Sunday afternoon and here we are - still no baby and really not seeming like its much closer than it was a week ago. I swear I have been in prelabor for like 2-3 weeks now! I have strong contractions (that arent exactly regular), crampy sensations, sharp pains on & off, and other feelings of impending baby-birthness, but no actual labor as of yet. I am planning to get some acupuncture in an attempt to encourage this process along. More on that experience tomorrow.

Otherwise, today we went to church and then headed to Sah-hah-lee golf course. Mr A golfed 9 holes with 3 guys from the Salvation Army and I walked along with them (again, trying to cajole baby out of the womb). Now we just finished watching the Seahawks v. Packers game. *whimper*

The other day we rented The Chinese Connection and Rambo: First Blood. I saw the latest Rambo movie (whats it called again? Rambo IV: Bloodfest in Asia?) but I had never seen the original. I was so shocked about Rambo that I had to call my dad half way through the movie just to make sure that I wasnt imagining the substance of the plot. I really liked it! Sylvester Stallone was not only intelligible, his big breakdown speech at the end was actually quite touching! How is it possible that this thoughtful and socially conscientious movie about the plight of returning Vietnam veterans precedes the senseless dribble that is the newest Rambo?!
I was sort of imagining something along the lines of Predator or the new Rambo - a movie that is guns and blood and is entertaining only to the extent that you force yourself not to think too much. One of those movies that is built loosely around a plot that might vaguely connect somehow to a general theme of our world today (genocide in SE Asia) but the plot doesnt come off as well researched or even plausible for the most part.
Oh no, First Blood is an entertaining movie that is worth every second I have spent analyzing it. John Rambo is a model of self-restraint, quiet anguish and ingenuity. I cant believe Ive never seen this movie!
I implore you, my dear friends and family, dont be fooled by the Rambo jokes! Dont be dismissive of Rambo just because hes been parodied on SNL more times than G.W.! Give Johnny Rambo a chance - hes a small yet important piece of American history, an iconic figure of our past, and a good way to kill an hour and a half on a weekend!

10.10.08

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEFFERY!


Keonis 32nd b-day was on Wednesday. We went to Green Papaya downtown (12th & Morrison) to celebrate at their "Island Night". Funny how "Island Night" meant some fruity drinks on the specials list and about 20 minutes of Island music - then it was just another club until 2am. Also disappointing was the lack of desserts at this Thai/Vietnamese eatery. Lychee with chocolate?! What the f**k? Sigh. I guess you cant have it all.

8.10.08

Pediatrician!

How did we go about choosing a pediatrician? Its such an important decision because if you and the doc arent on the same page - what a nightmare! Mr A and I are both sort of skeptical when it comes to modern medicine and doctors in general, so finding a doctor that would be sensitive to that while still being able to take care of our child (following OUR guidelines) seems difficult enough.

When I went to my insurance and printed out a list of the pediatricians in my area that were in-network (obviously thats going to be the biggest deciding factor), it was so frustrating! "Where do I even start?" How can you possibly know based on a long list of names who is going to be even sort of compatible with you and your kid? I looked at some of their profiles on websites and such, but most pediatricians make the same bland observations about their philosophy of childcare.

I wish that insurance companies provided a search engine that was more like Eharmony or some other comparable online dating service! Cant I just narrow it down like:

"Married organic couple seeks open minded doctor to care for newborn son. Preventative approaches and naturopathic remedies required. Must be open to possibilities regarding circumcision and vaccination schedules. Condescending attitudes need not reply!"

So the next best thing to shooting fish in a bucket is asking people we know who have the same general medical values we do. And thats just what I did. How crazy that they all pointed us to the exact same clinic! When I called the clinic last week they said that they werent accepting any new patients. TRAGIC! But, since they came so highly recommended by so many different people (and I didnt want to spend the next three weeks having the baby while simultaneously continuing this never-ending search for an acceptable care provider), I was really persistent and eventually I got a call back today that they would be willing to take us on!

I am pleased to introduce you to Ikas new doctor, Lucy Douglass, MD!

7.10.08

STILL NO BABY!

I know that in these long last days (weeks), skipping even a few days of posting will lead some to believe we have had the baby already. NOT SO!

He is just not coming out. There is absolutely nothing else I can do to hasten the process. Im walking miles, drinking gallons of my tea & tincture, eating junk, sleeping recklessly, etc. He will come when he is good and ready.

I hope its soon. Like so many other women I have fallen prey to the last minute stretch marks. My mom and Granny both didnt get stretch marks but they both had their kids earlier than this. If I had given birth a week or so ago I could have avoided the same fate. There is really no way of telling how bad/noticeable they will be post-baby, but the mere fact that they exist is frustrating nonetheless. I have been trying to coat my torso daily with aloe vera juice. I heard somewhere that this can help with cell turnover. Only time will tell.

Mr A took my body composition today at the gym. The good news is that Im still clocking in under 160, which was my modified weight goal (and thats after my super indulgent weekend of pumpkin blizzard/ice cream rampage). The bad news is that Im at 32% body fat. At four months preggo I was 22%. Talk about a steep slide! Although Im not that upset about it for two reasons. One: women need higher body fat in order to breast feed. So this just means I will be making more of that spectacular milk for my sweet baby boy. Two: even with the higher body fat percentage I still registered with a body age that is 2 years younger than my chronological age. Of course, as I have said many times before, none of this really matters. The real test is what happens after he is born and Im back to being a normal human being rather than a baby receptacle.

Haha - why am I even writing all of this?! Its so trivial. I should be thinking of something a little more insightful to write about...

Did I mention that I successfully made and froze some meals? I made about 5 meatloaves, a teri-chicken dinner, a lasagna (SO big, too big for 2 people, I should have cut it into smaller pieces before I froze it), chicken taco soup and some marinara sauce. I definitely think that freezing smaller servings (like I froze the sauce into several butter containers instead of one big Tupperware) is the way to go. The hard part is not eating all of it before the actual baby gets here!

Sadly, that wasnt any more insightful.

3.10.08

Something Different!


Alright everyone. Take a deep breath. Calm down. We have found pumpkin in Portland.
This blizzard is awesome. A-W-E-S-O-M-E! It inspired awe from deep within the core of my very being. It was like a pumpkin ice cream milkshake sort of taste with the pie spice. But as an added textural bonus there were chunks of crust mixed throughout. Spectacular!
I guess Mr A picked up on the "desperate for pumpkin" vibe that I was sending out yesterday because he surprised me with one of these babies after work today. Have I mentioned how much I love my husband? What a guy!
I dont know if I can completely let go of my predilection for Burgerville pumpkin smoothies because, lets face it, a fro-yo smoothie is marginally healthier for you and I like to cut corners where I can. I also am making a pumpkin bread but at the time of this posting the loaf has yet to finish in the oven, so I cant comment on its deliciousness.
Went to the midwife today and she said everything is trucking along just fine. Hes lower now than he was last week. Good heartbeat (still 120ish), measured at 40 which I thought was surprising but she didnt seem to think it was that big of a deal. I suggested that maybe she was measuring the pumpkin pie blizzard I consumed shortly before arriving there!
I also would like to point out that I agree with Stephanies comments on my last post. I dont think this kid is going to take these latest indulgences with him on his way out. Which means I should be careful because I might end up being pregnant for another month and then Ika will be a diabetic Oompa-Loompa.
***I will NOT, however, apologize for any judgement I passed about eating fast food. Im not condoning it just because Im doing it right now! Do as I say, not as I do, woman!

2.10.08

WHERES THE G*DAMN PUMPKINS AT?!

Its October. October. The month of the pumpkin.

I have been waiting patiently for Burgerville to figure this out and start offering some g'damn pumpkin fare. When its autumn, I want pumpkin everything. I want my bread, pancakes, milkshakes, soups, EVERYTHING to be pumpkin flavored. Its been autumn for almost two weeks now! Sure, I could just buy a stupid pumpkin and make it myself. But the bliss of being so pregnant in October was supposed to be the convenience of finding the delicious pumpkin flavor everywhere I turned!

If I dont get a pumpkin milkshake by the end of next week...something bad, people. Something really bad.

Halang!

Talked to midwife Beth yesterday and she suggested that spicy food has been reported to send some people over the edge into laborland. So Mr A and I went out and got some (oh my god Im embarassed even typing this) Kung Pao and Orange Chicken dinner at THE MALL and then we caught a movie and ate some real ice cream (Im unwilling to totally give up on the junk food theory since Im so fond of that idea...)
As of right now the boy is still on the inside, thus disproves that. Anyone else got suggestions?

1.10.08

Labor Union

We made it! Now we are having an October baby for sure. Right on!

Yesterday at the gym I was going on about how it would be cool to go into labor last night and deliver the baby shortly after midnight, that way I get my October baby without having to be pregnant for one second longer than necessary.
Valerie, Mr As client at the gym, said that her mother-in-law took her out for all kinds of junk food, burgers, pie, etc. and she went into labor shortly afterwards. Hey Valerie, I like your thinking!
So on the way home Mr A and I stopped by Burgerville and I got a smoothie and then we went to Papa Murphys and got the thin crust Herb Chicken pizza and I had a Hawaiian Host Caramac for dessert - YUMMY!
I dont know if it was the fact that I got the best of the worst (I mean, I could have gone full force and just gotten a milkshake at BV and a 5 meat stuffed pizza, effectively making my meal a saturated fat bomb) but I did NOT go into labor. Im starting to think that Valerie was just being a saboteur.

29.9.08

The Home Stretch

that title seems a bit more provocative than I originally intended...

We had an appointment with midwife Beth on Friday. I wanted her to check on the progress of this baby since my mom and Granny have been demanding cold, hard facts over ambiguous statements such as "everything is going well".

Heres the news, dear loved ones:

I am (or I was as of Friday) dilated 2cm and about 50% effaced. Dont know what that means? Thats because it doesnt mean anything! Really, she could have told me that I was 8cm dilated and that still wouldnt be any indication of how much longer we have until he shows up. She also estimated that the baby is about 7.5lbs.
SEVEN AND A HALF POUNDS?! ALREADY?! Good lord, get this kid out of me!

The other thing Beth told me is that she would like me to be "a little softer" before labor starts.

I was devastated! Ive been totally blessed to have this great pregnancy so far with zero complications and everything; blood pressure, heart rate, glucose, measurement, weight gain, etc. has been right on track - "perfect" even. So dont I feel like the big whiner when she gives me one ounce of criticism and I feel crushed!

Its almost the same feeling as when I was in fifth grade taking these standardized tests and Im scoring in the 99 percentile of every category and then I get like an 87% in mathematical comprehension. Being as good or better than 87% of your peers is nothing to blow your nose at, but when you are expecting to excel in the 99% range, its so disappointing!

I was so sad to have fallen short in the cervical softening category! I was expecting her to tell me that I was ahead of schedule, that the baby would just fall out of me when I stood up, that I would have this perfect delivery because I was testing into the 99 percentile for my age group!

In reality (a place I frequent), its no big deal, I should just walk around more and do some other things I wont go into detail about here. In fact, I could probably have the baby just fine the way things are right now. But I want to have a perfectly soft cervix to go along with my perfectly measuring uterus and my perfect blood pressure!

Sadly, babies and baby making isnt like a standardized test. There is no standard. People just have babies and they have them in their own way. In the end, just getting the baby out should be accomplishment enough without the pressure of competition.

And all this esoteric mind jarble just because mom and Granny had to have that stupid measurement that doesnt mean anything!

26.9.08

Reflections on being German

Yesterday I watched Die Trapp Familie in Amerika with Granny and her German friend Marianne. The movie (although completely in German and lacking subtitles) was lovely, however, the real treat was the discourse that followed the show.

We got to talking about heimat, a word that both Granny and Marianne quickly pointed out had no direct English translation but could be described as "the home of your heart".

...Now, which direction do I want to take this article? Should this be an article discussing the intrinsic beauty and elusive character of foreign language? Or should I go on to talk about how heimat relates to my life, especially my life on the brink?

Lets start with the family since this is, after all, the baby blog.

Granny told us yesterday about how her grandfather used to talk about Germany. She said that when he spoke of Germany it was "as if Germany were the most beautiful place on earth. That there was nowhere else in the world like it and there never would be." I felt proud hearing that. It feels good to know that I come from somewhere.

Instantly, I was struck by how similar that sounds to Mr A describing Hawaii. When Mr A tells me that Hawaii is his home, he is telling me that Hawaii is his heimat. I think my husband feels displaced. He knows that his body and his family belong there, he wants to live and die there. His very sense of self is connected to that land. I imagine its miserable being away from the home of your heart. I dont think I ever fully understood what he was saying about Hawaii until I heard Granny yesterday talking about my great-great grandfather and his rueful passion for Germany.


And on to a more theoretical discussion of language...

Granny and I both believe that this is the best part of foreign language, the poetic beauty of words that never quite translate. Because a language is a package. It comes with the history and the culture of the people who speak it. Its specifically adapted to their lives, their needs.

Granny posed the questions today "how could you encompass everything that heimat means?" You can describe it, but you can not possibly give a full explanation of that word, its concept, the feelings associated with it, all in one English word.

There are lots of words like that. Just take the word for foreigner and say it in Thai (faraang), Japanese (gaijin) and Hawaiian (haole). Unique concepts, associated with totally different feelings, but for some reason they are all technically translated back to the rather benign English word "foreigner". The point is, if we never study the language, if we never speak with people who speak the language and we just tog through an English-Whatever Dictionary, we lose so much of what these words really mean to the people who use them.

I truly cant even imagine what is printed next to heimat in the English-German Dictionary. But I know what it means to me, in my lexicon and in my life. I guess in that sense, if we can get to the heart of these words, if we can hold onto these concepts rather than worry about English equivalents, then we are not only learning how to describe things as someone else would, we are expanding our own understanding of our language, our culture, and our selves.

24.9.08

Full Term Baby

Its official. We have made it to 37 weeks and will now be having a full term baby no matter what. Yay!

Mr A took me out to celebrate last night, since yesterday was the actual day of full termness. We ate shabu-shabu (my to-die-for favorite that I have eaten only one other time since returning from Japan) and then got ice cream (coconut mango rice ice cream- HELLO DELICIOUS!). Im still full. Being the superstar husband that he is, Mr A showered me with compliments all night long about how great Ive done with this pregnancy and how awesome this whole experience has been, etc. Fantastic!



Speaking of Japan, we played hime-sama with Ava yesterday and I just wanted you to appreciate what a terrible job I did tying this obi! Could we call this the hanabi knot since it looks like it just exploded all over this poor child? Truly being Mr As daughter, we got her in the kimono, she pranced around and took a couple pics, then picked up the escrima stick, looked her dad straight in the eye, and said in a low challenging voice "common, lets fight!" It was Mortal Combat right there in my living room!


On the physical front, I walked on the treadmill yesterday for about an hour and a half, although I dont think I walked quite 2 miles - I was going really slowly. The strange part was that afterwards and for the rest of the night I felt as if I had been horseback riding for 6 hours straight! It wasnt exactly a "I pulled my groin muscle" feeling, but more like riding horse or bicycle when you arent used to it type feeling. I dont know what "lightening" or "dropping" is supposed to feel like but Im going to assume that is it.

22.9.08

Pregorexia

I have been meaning to blog about this for awhile. I was so angry, pissed off about it like three months ago and I never got around to writing anything down. So now here we are a few months later and I almost dont care anymore. But for the sake of being provocative I will try to muster up some of those long lost feelings...

I was reading People magazine (the journal of modern American consumerism) and I came across this blurb about Tori Spelling being pregnant with her second kid complete with pictures of her lounging poolside in a bikini, ethereally holding her belly and gazing into space like she was hopped up on morphine. In this article she talks about how wonderful being pregnant is (and I agree with that so no hard feelings there) but then she goes off about how with her first kid she gained *gasp* 30ish pounds but now this time she got her shit together, shes only gained 25 lbs and it all went to her "big beautiful belly" (or something equally asinine).

God I could have just screamed! Im not stupid enough to buy into the things they are selling me in People - but some women are. I am the peoples pregnancy champion! I should fight for those who dont yet understand that they should fight for themselves. GAINING ALL YOUR PREGNANCY WEIGHT IN YOUR BELLY IS BIOLOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE! Tori Spelling, whether she meant to be or not, is a damned liar! We all saw the pictures of her first pregnancy! Weve seen the ones from this one! She gained weight from her eyeballs to her ankles!

And, frankly, theres nothing wrong with that, if thats how her body is going to do it. I guess thats why the article got me so steamed. We have pregnant women running around now who are scared of "doing it wrong" because Tori Spelling, who has the luxury of being able to have any questionable evidence airbrushed, is telling us that the impossible is, in fact, possible.

When did we as a culture become so fascinated with negotiating other peoples method of bearing children? Its not even the pregnancy or the reverence for life or the empowerment of birth that we are so desperate to consume. If those were the issues at stake here I would be excited to be writing this. We as a culture are fascinated with picking women apart. judging their choices, counting down their days to weight loss and approving (begrudgingly) of only the most outlandishly perfect deliveries.

So now that its vogue to hold "the media" responsible for all of our societal problems - where does that leave a woman who just wants to have a "normal" pregnancy? Does she do what feels right for her? Does she carefully calculate her every move, trying to gain those 25 lbs in her belly and anything that strays to her upper arms must be chalked up to her own pathetic lack of self control? Should she go the other way, tossing her hands in the air saying "fuck it" and just do whatever her heart desires?

I pitch my tent in Camp Everything In Moderation.

Subsequently, I park my RV in Camp Eff You Tori Spelling.

21.9.08

Diaper Wipe Recipe

I mixed it all up and put it in a spray bottle. I also hear that you can just soak a roll of paper towels in this solution - put Im wary of doing that before the child is actually here (can these "go bad"?)

1C water
1Tbs Shaklee Baby Shampoo
1/2Tbs Sweet Almond Oil
2 drops Tea Tree Oil

Feel the soothing relief!

Bonus:

Heres a muesli recipe that I mixed up today. This is amazingly filling for a early morning breakfast. Its from a raw cookbook but I like it best because its faster than cooking oatmeal.

4C rolled oats
1C raisins
1/2C chopped nuts (I used almonds and walnuts)
1/4C sunflower seeds
1/4C raw cane sugar

Put it all together in a can or whatever and MIX! I like it with frozen blueberries and milk but its equally good with just milk. I would recommend letting it sit on the table while you shower or something just to soften the oats up a little bit.

I also finally, after a week of being put on the to-do list, finished the crib bumper! Picture coming soon!