Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bed-sharing Shame

Very often I hear or read parents saying that they finally broke down after hours of the baby fussing or crying and just let them sleep in bed. "I caved" or "I know I'm a bad mom but I just wanted to snuggle". These phrases frustrate me, make me angry, and break my heart. Moms seem to carry a burden of guilt over sleeping in bed with their babies. What to me, is one of the most rewarding choices and cherished times with my baby, is shameful to many mamas.

I believe that this shame is due to two elements:
1)Ignorance of facts regarding bedsharing
and 2) cultural bias in favor of independent sleep.

We, as a general rule, don't bedshare in America. When I tell people that we have a family bed, they try hard to hide the judgemental look but I see it. I know that most people think our family is weird. But I am convinced of the benefits of bedsharing so I don't really care what they think. I love bed-sharing.

The cultural expectation is that you would place your newborn in a bassinet until they are about 3 months of age and then once they are sleeping through the night, they will be transferred to an infant crib in their own room. While I am glad to have a nursery just for Amelia, and all her junk, she has never slept a night alone.

For us, the biggest benefit is that she sleeps longer, better, and spends less time awake for feedings. We aren't strung out and sleep deprived like people expect of new parents. I get plenty of sleep. This works because we are breastfeeding (also not a strong cultural norm) and so feedings are simplified by being in bed together already. I don't need to get up,prepare a bottle, walk to her room, give the bottle, burp her, rock her back to sleep, then climb into bed an hour or more later. I just roll over and lift my shirt. Easy. I also not concerned about making her sleep through the night since she currently has 2 night feedings and they aren't intrusive or disruptive. I find that I'm less stressed about her sleeping habits than my solo-sleeping counterparts.

To be quite honest, like most of my parenting choices, I stood on the opposite side before I became pregnant. Through research, I've found that the facts supported bedsharing. Unfortunately, the AAP and many government health departments are ignorant of these facts. The official recommendation from the AAP (which good moms take as the gospel truth and equate to parenting law) is to room-share but not bed-share for a full year.
Bedsharing has been under attack by several ads released as a part of Milwaukee's Safe Sleep campaign. The picture to the left is one such ad. Bellies and Babies Blog has a level-headed response to the ludicrous ads distributed by Milwaukee's Dept. of Health. 

The implication is that babies can't be safe in an adult bed. This is untrue. Not only is this ad provocative, it is highly inaccurate. The truth is that unsafe sleep environments can exist in cribs, pack-n-plays, swings, carseats, bassinets, beds, sofas, and just about any other place you put a baby. The important information that should be distributed instead of these images, is how to safely bed-share if that is the sleeping arrangement you choose. Also the benefits of each sleeping environment according to research rather than anecdotal evidence. Saying "I knew a girl who slept in bed with her parents till she was seven" doesn't help anyone make an informed decision on whether it is a good fit for their family. This personal decision should be made with a full understanding of the facts and not just the culturally biased opinion of the public, or in this case, public officials. 

In this news report, mention is made of a similar ad to the ones from the blog above. This (now Emmy winning) reporter does a fine job of fairly representing the facts and I especially appreciate his distinction between SIDS deaths and sleep-environment-related deaths. 

My final point is this:
Parents should make informed choices about their parenting. With a fully educated decision, there is no shame. I stand by the choices I make for our family and don't feel the need to make apologies to anyone for them. I don't feel ashamed that I'm doing what I feel is best in consideration of all expert opinion, relevant details, and current research studies. It is my wish that more parents get the information they need to parent without shame.
That is all.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mama Birth: "They Let Me..."

Mama Birth: "They Let Me...": Let's talk about words. We have talked about the word "deliver" in relation to men delivering babies, and paternalism as it relates to...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Another game of Ketchup

Its been a long time since the last post, but having a baby makes you very, very busy.

As for Amelia, she is busy growing and learning so much. At her recent 2 month wellbaby visit she was 11 lbs 8 oz and 24 inches. She's still 75% for weight and 90% for length. She is tall and always has been. :)
She is smiling now and she grins a lot. We have three giggles on the record so far and are looking forward to more laughter in our lives. Milestones are being reached left and right like "finding" her hands and increases in head control and tracking movement with her eyes.

However, she hasn't rolled over and I have mixed feelings about that. I want her to be smart and advanced BUT I also want her to be stationary as long as possible. Once she gets going and is mobile, I won't be able to get half as much done since my time will be spent chasing her around. So the way I see it, her not rolling is just her being my itty bitty baby a little bit longer.

We finally picked up our order of cloth diapers from Ecological Babies and Amelia has enjoyed one full day in cloth. So far I am really seeing that cloth is not harder than disposables and I hope to save some money on diapers. I'm very excited to be able to eliminate some chemical contact since so much of what we eat and use these days has an overload of chemicals. Plus cloth is just plain cute! I'll have to post pictures of her with a "fluffy butt" sometime soon.

I'm basically back to normal; of course there is still that baby weight but patience with my body is a good thing. In other news, I've been offered a position within my current job that would give me a more flexible schedule but requires two one-week training sessions in Tennessee. The jury is still out on whether or not I'll be taking this opportunity.

I did take full advantage of the opportunity to train with a Melissa of Captial City Doula Services to begin my certification process through DONA International. (The video I posted about pain is by Penny Simkin who is one of the founders of DONA) This is a new venture and thankfully I have the complete support of my husband; without his backing, I would be to afraid to try. My goal is to complete my training within the next year. (Think "graduating class" of 2012 ) There are lots of books to read, papers to write, and births to attend, but I think it is manageable. With my hiatus from Flagler College being so long and my return yet undetermined, this really is the best time in my life to begin a new pursuit of training in this field.

I was going to post videos of all the amazing things Amelia has been doing to show how much she had grown in the last 2 months, but alas, our computer was stolen from our apartment and thus I no longer have those videos to show. So instead I will close this post with a  short video I took during the training workshop of Miss Amelia during tummy time. She's so strong!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Musings of a mother woken in the wee hours...

I wrote this in the days following her first immunizations when she was fussier than normal:

It is times like these that I must remind myself of all the things I love about my dear baby. When she wakes me from my needed night's rest to spit up all over me then nurse for 5 minutes at a time and stay awake for hours when I know she's really just as tired as I am. So she lays swaddled and drowsy and I'm hoping she will nod off again soon. Until then, I must remind myself of all the reasons I'm in love with her. So here goes...

I love when Amelia...

  1. ...smiles in the morning and reminds me of all the newness and possibilities of a day not yet begun.
  2. ...smiles in her sleep. It makes me wonder what she dreams of and I pray those dreams come true since they make her so happy.
  3. ...smiles while nursing. She is so happy to be full of milk and snuggled close. 
  4. ...smiles anytime. I basically live for that gummy grin.
  5. ...looks up at me with this coy/shy smirk. I predict this will one day be the look I get when she's begging to stay out past curfew. 
  6. ...pouts. I know I should be sad when she is sad but who can help but smile at her adorable pout?!
  7. fussy and nursing is the only thing that soothes her, her eyes roll back and relief washes over her face. 
  8. all tuckered out from a cranky fit  and falls asleep on my chest.
  9. ...squeals with delight. It may get old on a road trip someday.
  10. ...giggles. Its a rare occurance but what a glorious sound to behold!
So in summary I have two words: Worth It. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

When I grow up...

Women like this make me want to be a Doula/BirthInstructor/Midwife when I "grow up".
I want to help women find the strength and courage to birth without fear of suffering. 

I worry that my labor was too "easy" and that I can't relate to women who are struggling in lengthy labors. From first contraction of real labor to delivery was just over 12 hours and many women labor for 3 times as long.  It was a blessing to have had such and easy labor but people roll their eyes when I tell them it wasn't THAT hard. In a way, it undermines my credibility in many peoples' minds. It's true though. 

I can speak in testimony to the truth of her separating pain from suffering. I never suffered in my labor, not even a little. 
I was uncomfortable. 
I felt pressure. Lots of it.
I was stretched to my limits. 
I pushed only to find some relief. 
I wasn't ready for how much I'd need my abs.
I told my husband I just wanted to get her out and sleep.
I tore too-- 2nd degree and I had stiches too. Even that wasn't bad.
I was kicked harder in the ribs than ever before (Amelia wanted help the process)  
I bruised my head from the position I was in with my head by the faucet. NBD.
All of that was worth being able to feel Amelia being born. 
There is nothing like that sensation. It's amazing. Plus, when her head was delivered, she kicked and turned before I delivered her shoulders. That was amazing, I even giggled a bit.  

No part of her journey through the birth canal felt anything like suffering. It was birth and I experienced it without the fear of pain because of women who educated me on what birth can be. I want to be one of those women for someone else. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Get your hankie out...

This is a video my midwife posted and I feel it must be shared.

My husband was such a key part of our daughter's birth that it is hard for me to imagine what it would be like without him.

Ye be warned; you will cry.

My Breastfeeding Journey

Breastfeeding is, in so many ways, a journey. Prior to Amelia's birth, I thought of breastfeeding as a stance. There is so much debate and controversy, I began thinking of it like a plank in my platform of beliefs on birth and parenting. To me, it was a decision you make once and then from then on or you are feeding your precious baby 100% boob juice for 100% kids (please don't sue me, Juicyjuice).

All the research says how beneficial a mother's milk is so in my empirically-wired mind, that is what we should do. Even discussing it with my mother, it was always a rational decision for her. The pros being the convenience of not dealing with bottles and the financial advantage over buying formula. We are both too lazy to bottle feed.

Since the beginning of my journey, I've come to see it all in a new light during the 3+ weeks I've been nursing her.  I have realized that nursing is a choice a mother makes not once, but at every feeding. It is a continual sacrifice of time and energy that a mother makes for her child. At every 3 am feeding, I am faced with the decision. When I'm exhausted and tired of trying to get her to calm down and latch properly, I could mix a bottle and hand her off to Daddy but something deep in me says to continue giving her the breast. Decisions I make every moment, effect her, and effect me in ways that I may not understand for years.

In the beginning (and also during some rough days) I was my wits end with nursing because it is draining to be the only one who can feed a baby. Mostly because babies eat frequently. Don't forget that they aren't very efficient from the start of it, they are just learning how to use that digestive system. I have to remind myself of all the reasons she needs Mama's milk. Slowly it's becoming a joy to feed her but it wasn't always that way.

I hold on to the memories of her smiling after a feeding when she's in a milk buzz. I tuck the image of her waking up in the morning and nuzzling up to me before contently taking the first gulps. These help me get through the rough feedings and the fussy times. I remind myself that someday I will miss this time with her. Someday she will be too big to fit in my lap.

Most of Amelia's life so far as been spent at home, and most of that, in bed with me. In general nursing is simple in that setting.  The choices are more complicated when I decide to go grab coffee and make a run to Wal*Mart.  Nursing while out and about is still less of a hassle than pumping or mixing formula, the way I see it, but it is not without struggles.

The obvious difficulty is how to nurse freely without offending the general population. Unfortunately, the masses find breastfeeding to be inappropriate. While I philosophically and fundamentally believe that nursing is a beautiful and lifegiving activity that no one should be ashamed of, I must be practical.

Breasts are functional and breasts are sexual; the dual nature of them cannot be denied. Breasts attract a man so that we can make babies, then feeds the baby we create. God is very resourceful and intentional in his design of women. I find this to be an empowering thought and I feel even more complete as a woman now, than at any other point in my life.

On one hand, I feel as if I could whip out my boob at any moment that Amelia should need it. This is my duty as her mother; I must give her what she needs, when she needs it. No one should stop me from giving necessary nutrition to my baby just because they are uncomfortable with seeing my body. In that way, I see myself as a "lactivist".

Then on the other hand, I understand that to most people, a breast is a symbol of lust and is not for viewing by strangers. As a generally modest person, I am in support of people who don't want to be bombarded by cleavage on TV ads and magazine covers. People who have known me for several years would accept that as my view and have a hard time imagining me advocating for boobies to be out and about. Being a nursing momma just changes the way I see the world.

Many people suggest to nursing moms that they just cover with a blanket or "hooter hider". I see why this is suggested and how, to someone who isn't part of the breastfeeding relationship, it may seem like a logical answer to my problem of public nudity. However, I make eye contact with my daughter as she feeds and we interact the entire time. Covering her interrupts this exchange.  I am providing not only food, but also love, comfort, and security to her during nursings so taking out the emotional element of our feed, just isn't an option for me. Not to mention that she hates being covered and rips it off leaving me exposed. I found a onesie on that reads "If my breastfeeding bothers you... feel free to put a blanket over your head." Just thought it keenly expressed Amelia's attitude about the topic.

A similar suggestion is to just nurse in the restroom. I am not about to feed my baby where other people are defecating. Sorry, it just ain't gonna go down like that. A recent trip to the local mall landed me in their "Nursing Mother's Room" which was literally a handicapped bathroom with a chair in the corner. I changed her diaper and quickly returned to the food court where she ate her meal with the rest of the people. If you wouldn't take your sandwich in the bathroom with you, please don't suggest I feed her in there.

All this to say that I have successfully feed my baby only breastmilk for her whole life so far but I know it's still a long road ahead. So if you see me out with a baby on my boob, smile and wave, and don't get red in the face, I'm just feeding my precious one. :)

Momma K

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Nursing Mama's Wishlist

I know it isn't anywhere near Christmas but I'm starting my wishlist early this year. I want these nursing necklace. Babygirl is only 3 weeks and her hands are already curious and fidgety. Today she took interest in the inside straps of my nursing bra; had her tiny hand hooked on it the whole time she ate. These necklaces claim many benefits for mama and baby. Plus, they are just so stylish!

Aqua and green makes me feel like a serene and calm mama. I found this one at

These are made by Etno Mama on
She found the organic wood buttons from a local woodworker. My favorite button is the Oak which is the larger square-ish one. In the picture below, it is shown with a red or green bead. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Birth Annoucement

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

I (finally) created my baby announcement and used $20 off from Motherhood Maternity Fashions. Targetbaby provided me $20 off that I'm using toward a photo book. :)  Shutterfly is so user friendly and with great coupons it's even better! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baby K is here!

Amelia "Something" Kimmel was born
Saturday, September 24th, 2011 
at 4:27 pm
All 8lbs6oz of cuteness fits in 21 inches

(If you remember my previous post I was right on the day and very close on the length. I was only off by one lbs and 2 oz so I'd say that's a win.) 
She is looking healthy and got 9 on both APGAR ratings. 

Amelia Kimmel: One Day Old
The labor was roughly 12 hours from the first noticable contactions to her arrival into our arms. 
We are all shocked with how quickly she came. It was a waterbirth at the Birth Cottage (which was such a treat) and so was amazing all around!! 
Many were asked to pray after her birth because I had some very concerning bleeding right afterwards while I am working on a detailed account of the entire birth, many people are in need of an update. To summarize the scary parts, I was given a pitocin injection and methergen tablets to help with restricting the bleeding after a hemorage. I had a dizzy spell in the shower which was later determined was mostly low blood sugar and overheating but did concern the midwives a great deal. I was monitored at the birth cottage for several hours and after further tests looked markedly better, we went home at around 11pm last night. 
I'm now showing signs that the bleeding is all normal and the concerns for potential problems is in the past. I am so grateful for all the prayers sent up to cover us during the time just after her birth. I know that God was listening and He has granted me great health. I am still very tired and prayers for the recovery process are very much welcome. I have gotten many mentions of wanting to bring food so I'm including information on the right side about a website that will help us organize those efforts called 
I know many are curious what her full name will be, and honestly we are too! We are slowly working through the process of naming her and will let you know when we figure it out. :) For now, we are enjoying being a family of 3 and soaking it in as much as we can. Sometimes that means just staring at her for hours. The time seems to pass all too quickly. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dear Over-due Baby,

Dear Over-due Baby,

When we first heard you were coming, a doctor with an expensive degree told us how old you were and gave us a "due date". I think due dates work better for library books and rent checks. I knew that you wouldn't care what day she said, you are a baby and you will come when you are ready.

People like to know when things will happen. Its easier to cope with changes when you can control when they start and stop. I know this doesn't concern you now; we should learn to be more like you. When you get older we will teach you to read a clock and a calendar and tell you how important it is to be punctual. Baby, that is a fancy word that means you show up on time.

But you are a baby, and I don't expect you to be punctual. I expect you to show up in the only way you know how. I know its a long journey you'll be making and you need to be prepared. Take your time.

It's been about 35 weeks since we saw that doctor. You had lot of growing to do back then and everyone was happy to wait while you were growing up inside my belly. Now that you are so big, people think you are done growing. Maybe you are, but maybe you need just a little more time. I want you to be completely and totally ready so don't let people hurry you out.

Baby, I know that I'll tell you to respect your elders and listen to the teacher and obey the rules. But none of us out here know anything about when you should come. Lots of us act like we do. That's just so we can feel better.

We are excited to meet you so it's hard to wait.
But I will wait on you. Take your time.

Just come on home when you can, precious child.
We love you and we're ready to be your parents.

            Love, Your really big-bellied Mommy, and super-excited Daddy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mother's Instinct

I just have a feeling that Amelia Something Kimmel, will arrive on September 24th at 7lbs 3.5 oz  I and 21.5 inches long. I base none of this on science or any real measuring. I just like the 24th since it is very convenient and also stylishly late as the child of a Vinson-Kimmel should be. I fancy her weight to be 7lbs 3.5oz since was 7lbs 4oz and James was 7lbs 3oz. As for the length, I think she will be long and thin since my belly is big and my ribs are sore. :P
All that to say, I don't know a thing.
Only time will reveal if I am right.
So now we wait....

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Trusting Birth and Trusting Ourselves as Birthing Women

Trusting Birth and Trusting Ourselves as Birthing Women


Before becoming pregnant, I thought bellycasts were a silly idea and only good for hippy-dippy mommas who want to 'celebrate the female form'. There were painted bellies on all the walls in the Birth Cottage so I thought about it in my initial visits. I quickly decided it wasn't for me. That was so not my style.

Now that I'm here, I understand the desire to preserve a part of your journey into motherhood. I want to mark the growth of my child and the path she is taking into our lives. The one thing that encapsulates that entire thought is a bellycast.

So I'm searching for the perfect way to decorate our belly cast.

I can paint it to show her name and measurements, time of birth, and all those little details.
I can even include her tiny prints from newborn hands and feet.
I could paint with flowers or swirls
Some even tie in the nusery theme.
What one momma did with her belly casts with pictures of her babies in them!

My favorite idea so far, the one that makes me cry, it to have family and friends write blessings and hopes and prayers for this child all over it.
I want her to be able to read  and discover that so many people loved her even before she was seen by any of us.
I want her to feel the support that she has, and will always have from her blood family, and her spiritual family.  Support that began when all we knew was her heartbeat.
It makes me so appreciative to know that she will always have the guidance and love of so many people. She is loved and it makes me see how much love is in the world.
Love from the saints and love from God.

I'm not sure what the final project will look like, but I do know that I will love it. I love the belly and I love her. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Keeping a sense of humor about medical treatment of birth

This is a scene from Monty Python's "Meaning of Life" and gives a lighthearted look at the ridiculousness of technology overuse in the process of birth.  I hope you enjoy as much as I do. Laugh a little.  :)

In search of a pediatrician... (LONG)

I am trying to secure a pediatrician for the well-infant care of my daughter who is due in less than a month. I loved my own pediatrician, who I will not name for the time being. I wanted to use the same practice but have been told by the office staff that they do now take babies from the Birth Cottage because it is "risky".

The woman I spoke to this morning told me that they have had issues with babies in the past who had something wrong that should have been detected at the time of birth but went without treatment because they were born at the birth center rather than a hospital. I don't see how the location of birth has anything to do with potential of an undetected illness or problem. I attend a medical facility that provides me with licensed professional care and have a low-risk pregnancy. All my tests have come back healthy and normal. I have no reason to believe that my child will be ill in any way. She told me it was a "one in a million chance and they don't want that one."

My baby is being judged for the location of her birth rather than her actual medical history. She is healthy. She is normal. If something arises, THAT is what the doctor is for. I'm at a loss for why the pediatricians are singling out these babies who may have had something wrong as if they wouldn't have happened if born in a hospital.

My child is at a lower risk of birth defect and delayed effects that are caused by excessive fetal monitoring, anesthesia, and other interventions that I will be avoiding. I'm prepared to birth a healthy baby but they assume she will be unfit just because her arrival will be aided by midwife?!

What if a patient planning on giving birth at TMH, gives birth in her car and only her husband attends? Would they turn her down? Simply because this is my choice does it effect the policy. The real issue seems to be that they don't want crunchy granola moms who think for themselves in the practice. That seems to be a bad maneuver since more and more moms are learning to take charge of their medical decisions. That is the way it should be.

I'm awaiting a call to see if the doctor I saw as a child is willing to accept my child as a patient but at this point I'm not sure what is best for her.

Anyway, this article caught my eye and seems to be what the woman is basing her view of midwifery on...

Do Natural Birth Centers put Mothers at Risk?
Posted by Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

"In the health section of yesterday there was an article called Natural birth units 'putting mothers at risk'. The article says:"Up to a third of expectant mothers are rushed at the last minute to doctor-led labour suites because midwife-run wards cannot deal with medical complications or provide sufficient pain relief." Now, this article is based on research in Scotland and says that a lot of the problems are with first time mothers.

Obviously, this is causing a huge controversy where doctors and midwives are on opposite sides.

I have several friends that have recently given birth in birthing centers instead of hospitals. I know a lot of people who have done home births. I understand that women have been having babies for millions (or however old man is) of years without anesthesia and I know that it can be better for the baby.

I also know this: when my children were born I needed a blood transfusion. I had an emergency caesarian. I also had a very complicated pregnancy and odds are that the only reason my children both lived is because through modern medicine the doctors were able to delay childbirth for six weeks. I went into labor when I was 28 weeks pregnant. (Think of it as seven months.) Naomi Wolf is probably going to hate me for saying this but I thank my doctors and medical staff for saving my life and the lives of my twins.

That being said, even if I had gone into labor on my due date I still would have wanted an epidural and medical staff nearby. For me it just isn't worth the risk. I feel fortunate to live in a time where we have all of these wonderful medical tools (including painkillers) available to us.

I don't mean to slam midwives, I'm sure they are wonderful people. I am sure that a home birth without complications is a beautiful thing. I just like to hedge my bets, especially when it comes to my kids."


My reaction to this is that the author is not a good candidate for midwife care but uses that as a justification that it isn't a safe birthing process. Rather she would not be safe in that situation but it remains a safe option for other women. Women like me. She needs a doctor because she has the presence of abnormalities (multiples, preterm, history of excessive blood). I am absent of any known complications and that is why I can safely see a midwife for my prenatal care, labor, and birth.

As a side note, she concludes by saying that she isn't willing to take the risk of midwife care (which she clearly has limited understanding of) and would rather recieve an epidural. It seems that she isn't aware of the effects that could negatively effect her and her baby from this sort of pain management. There are risks there too and she acts as if it is totally safe. It isn't. Its a decision she has to make for herself but it seems from her writing that she is unaware of the full risks and believes herself to be safer than she really is.

Another issue I take with the article is that she sites a review made about transfers and she lumps medically necessary transfers in with mother requested ones. They are not equivalent and they skew any true image of the safety of a midwife attended birth. 

I see this view a lot in my conversations with other pregnant (or recently pregnant)women they are in deep waters and they are holding on to a raft but are totally unaware of the shark encircling them. They hold on to the fact that they have all the medically trained staff and new technology but aren't really seeing the whole picture because there are dangers in that environment too.


Every pregnant woman will tell you that there are many special things about your time carrying a child.  I hope that most of my post focus on that rather than the inconveniences of being pregnant.
This post, however, it will be about one thing.


Specifically weird things they say to you by the mere fact that you are pregnant.
I'd like to make a few distinctions since there are many reaction types.

First, there is genuine interest and excitement that just comes out wrong.
That would be like the woman who was standing in my line waiting to be cashed out at the Barrel.
The podium that houses our computer screen hides my body to a degree and from her vantage point she could see from about my shoulders up. As I finished the transaction I stepped forward to hand her a reciept. This new positioning allowed my body to be seen in its fullness. (and I mean FULLness)

She said "Woah! How long do you HAVE?" Her eyes were wide in disbelief that she had missed my pregnant body for the whole of our transaction.
I laughed as I realized that I had caught her so completely off gaurd and truly startled her with my belly. I answered "I have a little over 3 weeks till my due date."
"No kidding," she replied then with panic on her face she corrected herself, "Not that you look...I mean... Its just..."

She couldn't figure out how to unreact. It was funny but I felt bad that she was agonizing over it so I told her about how everyone at work thinks if I lean over to rest on the counter, I'm going into labor. Or how when I bend down to stretch or reach something from a bottom shelf, they worry that I'm on the ground because my water broke. She seemed relieved that I wasn't offended and we laughed together about how  people are so  worried when a woman is as pregnant as me.

Now another type of reaction is misplaced interest, obivous ignorance, and intrusive touching.
I've heard about this and never experienced it...
Until last night.

James and I decided to use some (very valuable) coupons to the local Waffle House.
Looking foward to my hashbrowns, (double order of extra crispy scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, capped, and diced. YUM.) I sat with my husband as we continued a rather deep conversation we had begun in the car.

Interupting our conversation, a new waitress arrives at the table and hands me my husbands' bacon cheeseburger saying, "aww you gonna feed the baby a wittle burwger?!" (I'm trying hard to type this the way it was said. It's proving to be difficult.) As she sets down the food at the wrong places, I'm trying to move the plates to their correct home.  Meanwhile, she puts her hand on my belly and I try hard to ignore her hoping that she will get the message that she isn't welcome to touch me.

I am looking over the order to realize that my eggs are undercooked, my hashbrowns are missing topping and aren't even crisp in the slightest.
(Note: I've never sent my food back at this Waffle House, they are usually so great. )
Still thinking about my belly rather than my food, she says, "Oh you don't like that do you??"
Her hand is still on my belly.
I point out a particularly lethargic fly sitting on the table right next to my food and she doesn't seem alarmed by it or worried that it may have been in our food. She instead asks "Oh, is it just sitting there?"
'Yeah, it isn't moving much. But how is that relavant?'- I'm thinking.

She moves on and says "I really love pregnant people..."(she has soooo overstayed her welcome at our table by this point) "...well, not their attitudes but more of their bodies. You know?"
Now I have to break it to her that my food isn't correct to the order and of course she sees it all as if I'm being cranky and demanding because I'm pregnant.
She even said "Oh I understand, you want your food, you're pregnant, I'll get it for you."

When she delievered her second attempt at my order, she asked James "That yo baby?" My verbal filter was really struggling to continue working at this point so I said something like "Of course he is, who else would I be out with?" I was so uncomfortable and could no longer enjoy the meal I was so looking forward to. The comments she made made me so frustrated that even though I never got my order completely corrected, I just shoveled my food in and gave my husband the bill and coupons and headed for the car where I couldn't say anything rude to her.

As I'm bolting for the door she looks up from a table shes cleaning across the room and asks "how were those hashbrowns for you, preggers?" Really? REALLY?!

I get mad just thinking about the way she talked to us but I just couldn't think of a way to handle it without getting unnecessarily rude back with her so I left without ever addressing the problem with her.
She was so far out of line to speak to me that way, ask about my personal business, and touch my body. I can't believe that people aren't raised better than that but not everyone had my momma. :)
I am just glad she is a stranger.
I will hopefully not encounter her again.
But in case I do, I'm enrolling in Ju Jitsu. ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Entering my window"

As I type, I am 36 weeks 4 days pregnant. If Amelia were to be born right now she would be considered a preemie. She would likely be just as normal and healthy as if she waited a few more days but I am pleading with her to wait.

Why does it even matter? Because, I am about to "enter my window" of normal and term birth. On Sunday Aug. 28th I will be 37 weeks and considered full term.

Right now she would be "early" and therefore high risk which would send me straight to the hospital. Do not pass GO.
Do not collect $200.

That wouldn't be the end of the world, but it certainly isn't what I've been working towards this whole time. If she goes past 42 weeks I'll be "late" and lose my opportunity for a birth at the Birth Cottage.
Now, truthfully, I would like to be over 40 weeks just to have enough time to mentally prepare a little more, save a little more money, wash a little more clothes, and just get good and ready.
People think I'm nuts when I say I want her to be "late" but the truth is, she will never be late. She will come when she needs to.

All of that is a really boring way to get to my point, which is this.
There is no way for my sweet baby to tell us when she is coming. She can't text me and let me know when she leaves the house. She can't call and say she is on her way or stuck in traffic. I just have to wait.

I have practiced many relaxation techniques for use in labor and one is called a mental vacation. You basically create a mental image of a place you find relaxing and focus on the details of it and the way you feel when you are there. My mental vacation is a coffee shop where I am waiting for her. She is coming and I sit with my drink, looking with anticipation at everyone who walks in.

This little daydream has never felt so real to me as it does in these last weeks. I am waiting for her, everywhere I go. I am looking for any sign that she is coming. I think about every twinge in my back. Was that a "low dull ache" and will it become a contraction? I think about every Braxton Hicks contraction. Did that feel any different than my last contraction and how far apart have they been?

I am just generally anxious.
Not nervous.
Almost anticipatory.
There is not a word that can capture it quite like 'waiting'.
I'm waiting to hold her. I'm waiting to know what she will be like. I'm waiting to nurse her and help her grow. Waiting to see her chubby, pink, face, her nose--my nose, the loving and trusting look in her eyes.

With all I've read and learned and talked about, I'm just feeling so ready to experience it.
I'm finally ready.
Well on Sunday I will be.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Amelia Something Kimmel

Its that time in the pregnancy where everyone wants to know, "what are you naming her?" and thus far everyone has been appeased by my answer of Amelia.... Something.
Name Nerds article on middle names.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hot and bothered.

It is important that I preface this post by saying the my husband is a great support in this pregnancy.
He has truly been there by my side for everything from the very beginning.
He brought me toast in the first months as my morning sickness could be curbed with this small snack at dawn.
Later, he rearranged his schedule so he could be at all my appointments.
He has rubbed my aching feet more times than I can count.
Most importantly, he's been my emotional pillar even when I'm a raving, hormonal loon (and my emotional meltdowns aren't exactly rare).

All that being said, he will never understand what it is like to be pregnant.
Now, I'm not picking on him. No man ever can. And that's not sexist, it is just science.
Lucky for them, we talk enough about it that they can live it vicariously.
I think he has the rougher deal though to be completely truthful. I'd rather be pregnant than have to deal with a pregnant wife.
He's a saint.

So here is why this is on my mind,
I woke up this morning sweating like a hog. I pushed the covers away and flopped around in the sea of pillows I need to get any amount of decent sleep. I heaved myself into a sitting position and slowly stood up--what a major process to just get out of bed.
Like any pregnant woman would do, I headed straight for the bathroom since my bladder is now only allowed about a thimble-sized space--Amelia is a bit greedy with the space but we still love her. ;)
Still feeling rather hot, I look at the thermostat to find that my dear husband has turned it off.
It may not matter to any normal person, but this is a cardinal sin against a woman who is great with child.
(Let me remind you of the opening of this post-- He's a dear.)
This is just one of the many things he's unaware of and doesn't consider since he is not, nor ever will be, pregnant.

My favorite example was when we had finished a long shopping trip to the ever-lovely Target and I was tired --I had been on my feet all day at work. The overwhelming heat of the parking lot hit me as soon as the automatic doors opened. I spotted the car and mentioned that he could go get the car and pick me up at the entrance. Thinking of my health, I'm sure, he replies, "The walking is good for you." I could have slugged him right there in front of God and everybody.

I should really be grateful, I guess, for the way in which he looks out for my best interest rather than my comfort but, its just funny how he can't really understand how everything hurts in a new way.
I'm not just tired at the end of my workday.
I'm dead tired.
I never understood that phrase in it's truest meaning until this juncture in my life.
Now if only I could get him to understand it.
I'll just put him on the midnight shift once Amelia arrives. ;)

Friday, July 29, 2011


I keep trying to wrap my mind around the impending event. Motherhood.

Somehow, labor isn't intimidating. Not by comparison.

I have my Bradley Method instructor on stand by any time I have a question about labor.
I've got books and books about managing labor.
I've also got the best CNMs on the planet to assist me during my labor.
Of course my husband who will be coaching me through it all.
And ultimately I know that labor will go how it goes and it won't really matter because the end result will be meeting my baby girl.

My mindset so far has been that pregnancy has an end and that end is labor.
Once labor begins there are measured beginning and ends. Each stages comes and then eventually goes. It is measurable and confined.

The element of this that I can't quite wrap my brain around yet is that motherhood begins and then never ends.  I will always be a mom. More importantly, I will always be HER mom.
The way my silly mind is trying to process it now is a little strange.
I catch myself thinking of Amelia as this houseguest that we are preparing for,
and she just happens to be an infant.
I imagine her arriving with all her tiny luggage and the *stuff* that babies need. (Boy oh boy they need stuff) In my mind's eye I see her getting settled in her room but she's kinda living out of a suitcase and only puts her toiletries in the bathroom while using them, then they go back in the zipper bag she brought them in. She'll probably need to be entertained and so we'll make awkward small talk over tea.  Then, once she's overstayed her welcome, I picture her leaving to go stay with some other nice folks who just finished being pregnant too.

We have hosted many out of town friends in the room which is SLOWLY becoming her nursery. Maybe on some level her being in the guest room has something to do with it. Maybe not.

It just feels like I've been waiting for pregancy to end so that everything will go back to normal. But it won't. I am about to learn what my new normal is.
I will never go back. Moving forward is the only option. Because I will be a mom and that was never my old normal. But it will be for the rest of my days.

Now, don't get my words twisted and think for a second that I'm saying all this to complain about a life sentence as mommy. I'm more excited about it than words can express. Truly, I'm blessed already by this little girl.

I just don't know how to BE a mom.
I know what moms do.
I know what moms say.
What they look like and what they buy
How they wipe your face and suggest a sweater,
How they hug you tight and how they make lunches.

I just don't yet know how motherhood will change me.
Motherhood will be a new facet of my ever-changing identity.
It's all so daunting to be Amelia's mom.
I know it will be great.
I know I will love my little houseguest. For now that's all that matters.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Okay, let's play 'ketchup'!!

I've been really slacking on keeping this thing updated. Here goes...

I'm now 32 weeks pregnant. That means 8 more weeks till the due date. I don't know how many months I am because I'm still so confused on how to count it. When I say 8 weeks people respond "Oh two more months!" but when I say I'm due Sept. 18th I get a reaction more like "A little over a month and a half!"

Either way you count it I've got only a little while longer till I'm face to face with the tiny person I've been carrying all this time.

We've started our Bradley Method Childbirth Classes. Its a 12 week course...the 12th week is 2 days post our due date. Hopefully she takes after me and arrives late. :)

Speaking of the Bradley Method, I love love love our class.  The instructor is so warm and helpful and I truly believe her when she says we can call at any hour and she'll be there for us. Its so nice to be supported in that way.

Okay so lightening round-->
Last appointment stats are as follows:
31 weeks 3 days
Amelia's heartrate: 144 bbm
Amelia's position: head down YAY
Amy's weight gain: 30 lbs. eeek.
Amy's blood pressure: 120/70
Amy's fundal height: 32 cm

My homework from last appointment is:

  • Purchase and pack the back for birth. --I gotta post the list for ya'll. Its way funny.
  • Install the car seat base
  • Contact potential pediatricians and select one
  • Walk more
  • Come back every 2 weeks from now on
Items worth mentioning--
July vacation with my family went very well with very minor swelling on the drive back.  While staying in Balsam, North Carolina; My dad and brother both felt Amelia moving for the first time. Woohoo! I got lots of exercise and amazed myself and everyone else with how much I could really do even while pregnant.  I will post a slide show of pictures from the trip when I have spare time. IF I ever get any. ;)

Also noteworthy is the puchase of a new car. Well, you know, new to us. James sold his Miata to my brother who is loving the sportscar lifestyle. James returned to the used car lot where he had found the Miata and got a steal of a deal on the most perfect 95 Accord with crazy low miles on it (like 46,000) I just can't wait to see a carseat in our Accord. Better yet, I look forward to putting our daughter in that carseat in the back of our Accord!! :) 

At the risk of this post being WAY to long, I'll mention two more things. 

Today my feet got truly swollen for the first time. After a 5+ hour marathon of "thank you"-note-writing  (...from our wedding. We're backlogged. I'm ashamed) with my mother, I stood up to see sausages at the ends of my feet. I swear, these puppies looked like two catchers mitts. I nearly cried. I've never been so swollen in my life. I'm starting to get over it now, but I'm still not ready to laugh about this one. :/  

I saved this one for the end so that I can leave on a positive note-- My mother found a bassinet in her weekly garagesale venture.  I can sleep a little easier knowing that even if we're totally broke, utterly clueless, and otherwise unprepared by the time Amelia arrives, we will have some place to put her and she will have somewhere to rest her tiny head. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bill Cosby and Lists

This video is
1. hysterically funny.
2. appropriate for my life at the moment

I am trying so hard to prepare for the baby and with every effort I find myself confronted with a truth. The repetetive theme of my thoughts this stage of pregnancy is that I will, sometime soon, run out of ways to prepare. And ultimately, my preparation will not be complete. There is no way to prepare for the unknown and so much of parenthood is just that. Advice and research is great, but it has limits.

Unfortunately for me, I am-by nature-a planner. I like to cross my t's and dot all the i's.

Truthfully, my style is more like; read up on all the ways to go about crossing and dotting and then talk and talk and talk my poor husband's ear off about all the things I read and then after a considerable amount procrastination (out of fear of dotting and crossing imperfectly), I will finally complete the stinking letters.  And at some point in the process a list is usually involved.

I've made many lists in the past 27 weeks.
And in the spirit of listing, I shall list them:

Registry lists.
Daily to-do lists.
Honey-do lists.
Must-clean lists.
Frozen foods to prepare lists.
Things to remember to ask the midwife lists.
Names that aren't stupid and James might actually consider lists.
...among others.

One thing I will be able to cross off my to-do list is "Find and register for Bradley Method Birthing Class"  which begins July 5th at 7pm. I'm pretty stoked. And also terrified. Learning how to birth a baby just makes it all the more real.

This is real.
I will birth a baby.
I will take that baby home.
I will then raise that baby up into a list-making-i-dotting-freak just like me.

The point I'm trying to make amid all the ramblings here is simple: Babies don't fit lists. They can't be prepared for, even by really great planners. But here's to trying.

Momma K

Thursday, June 16, 2011

94 Days to Go!

I just checked my calendar to discover that I'm due in 94 days!!
Big news, people: That's less than 100!
Shock is starting to wear off....

On a related note, I am on the cusp of beginning the third trimester.
Saturday June 18th I'll be 26weeks 6days pregnant and be officially 2/3rds done with pregnancy.
It is sinking in more each day that the end of pregnancy isn't really and end at all.
In many ways, I think of it as an end. 
End to the waiting.
End to wondering what my little baby will be like.
End to my pregnancy symptoms.
End to using the "I'm pregnant" excuse for napping, being cranky, or eating weird stuff.
I am going to go home without a big pregnant belly (Lets be honest, I'll still have a big belly, it just won't be pregnant anymore...)
But it will be the beginning of life with three people in the house.
One of those people will be a tiny human who is completely dependant on me.
It will be the beggining to motherhood.
Begginging to breastfeeding.
Begginging to new symptoms as my body tries to recover.
Begginging to trying to figure out what is best for me and my baby and my family.

But, no pressure, there is 94 days between now and then.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Swallowed a Watermelon...

I run into many many items that I simply MUST have for this baby. This is one thing I just want for ME.  :)

Swallowed a Watermelon... Maternity T-Shirt Yes, actually I DID swallow a watermelon! Uber Goober Designs

MMmm.. The true bliss of summer for a pregnant woman is WATERMELON!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Baby got back!

Lets talk about blunt people.
I recently saw an older woman with whom I work occassionally, Kathy. It was the first time in a long while that we had seen each other. After a few hours of work side by side, another coworker asked me about my pregnancy. It was something generic like "How's the baby? Is she kicking a lot?" or "Is your pregnancy going well? Any morning sickness? "
Then it registered to Kathy what we were talking about and she burst out while I was answering, "I didn't know you were pregnant!
Well what did she think was causing my waddle?
My belly measureing about 23 cm at this point, what did she think that was?
I'm almost 6 months pregnant!
What did she think was going on?

"I thought you were just gaining 'newlywed weight'. I've seen you from behind and though you were just putting it on back there. But now that I really look at your middle I see you really are pregnant."

Gee. Thanks.
I feel SO much better Kathy. 

It is hard to take the comments that certain people make with a positive attitude.
I'm growing a whole person inside my belly so yes, it is expected to get pretty big.
And my strechy maternity pants are comfy but aren't exactly cut to flatter my backside.

All in all I have to remind myself some people lack tact.
Its not me. Its just the way they talk.
They mean to say something nice and it comes out all jumbled and even a little (or in Kathy's case, a LOT) rude sometimes.  So when people say "You're huge now! Look at that belly!"  I try to listen a little harder so I can hear "You're baby is really growing well and it looks like you are both healthy!"

So now I'm listening to my new anthem "Baby Got Back" and enjoying my healthy pregnant body! And some fresh pineapple too. :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Baby Einsteins: Not So Smart After All

This is my PSA about "Get smart quick" schemes.

Nothing good comes of letting your TV teach your child.
Be a parent and interact with your little one.
If you are unavailable, take time to find developmentally appropriate toys to occupy your baby.
This is your job as primary caregiver.
Thank you.
That is all.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Kick Daddy Please! What am I saying?

I started feeling movement around 19 weeks and now I'm obsessed with getting my husband to feel it too. It will be strong enough later that people will not only feel, but also see my little wiggleworm squirming in my belly.  But I don't want to wait for later.
I am an impatient woman.
I'll own that.

I just want him to experience what I do all the time.
And it's not like the kicks aren't hard enough to feel. They certainly are. Just not all the time.
We'll sit for 20 minutes waiting for a kick and then as soon as I give up and roll over, she'll kick so hard! Its like she knows we're waiting for her to move.
Like she's winning at a game of hide-n-seek.
Well "Olly Olly Oxen Free!!"
Please Kick Daddy!

What am I saying? What am I teaching my daughter? I tell her. No I beg her to kick her father now. But in 4 years, when I get a call from the preschool reporting that my daughter has kicked poor little Johnny, I'll deny I ever told her such a thing. You will all know the truth.
I just want him to feel how strong she is.
How powerful she can be.
She's like her mother though,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ultrasounds are ultra awkward

I didn't put much thought into what my ultrasound experience would be like but it sure wasn't what I had imagined. It was amazing to see my little baby on the monitor, that is for sure; but, it was strangely quiet for the whole appointment.

Later I talked with our expecting mommas who say the tech won't talk mostly because they aren't trained to assess to information from the ultrasound.  The doctor did come in and review the findings of the tech.  He confirmed that our baby is measuring right on for our Sept. 18th due date. Then he said "So you've reviewed the gender?"  No. the tech mentioned nothing about it. We started to think they couldn't tell because of the way the baby was positioned.

"Looks like a ....girl." But he kinda said it in a way that seems uncertain or unsure. I immediately rubbed it in James face, like the mature and dignified person that I am.  James face was lit up with total excitement as he stared at the screen soaking up the images of our little girl.

We came not knowing what to expect, worries and anxieties filling our heads, and no idea what color we would see at baby showers.  We left with new understanding of our baby girl, a clean bill of health, and a set of 6 pictures of her tiny little head.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Oh the possibilities...

I'm very much interested in what my baby will be like, as are all expecting parents.  As I wait anxiously for this Wednesday's ultrasound, I wonder about how big my baby is and if our precious one is a boy or girl.  Its got me thinking again about names that I love. In my wondering, I stumbled upon this eye color predictor this morning and I just have to share. You select your eye color and --just as important-- your parents' eye colors. This even prompts you about sibling variations that may effect the possibilities. Needless to say, its really interesting. :) Check it out here Eye Color Predictor.

As for the ultrasound, I'm excited for my friends and family to finally get the answer to the most nagging question on their minds. I created a poll on my Facebook page about the gender and I jokingly added an option for twins. Somehow, twins is beating out girl. Apparently everyone thinks I'm huge. James is a genetically identical twin and has cousins who are fraternal. Any research into the hereditary nature of twinning will show you that I have no predisposition to carrying twins.  That being said, many people are convinced I'm having twins.  At my last visit with my midwife, Alice, I asked her to listen carefully for a third heartbeat (you hear mine and the baby's) and she only heard ONE fetal heartbeat.  This method isn't 100% but it pretty much says, "go ahead and buy the single stroller."  I guess we shall see on Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Babies bring their own bread

A saying I have been told a handful of times is "babies bring their own bread".  I am struggling to see what this really means.  I believe the intent most people have is to calm the nerves of the new or soon-to-be parents who are audience to the adage.

I have come to see that babies are expensive. Seriously costly. Absolutely worth it, I'm sure. But none-the-less, they burn right through any cash you may have.  It is important to say that our Lord provides all the needs of His children so I'm not doubting that we will be cared for.  It is very clear, however, that our discernment and wisdom of how to allocate what money we are given will certainly be tested.

I've been blessed with friends who are donating items to my family like maternity clothes, and breast pumps, and even a crib from my mother in law.  My mother has made it her goal to turn her (almost)weekly yard sale trips into baby item hunts.  For about a year, she and her next door neighbor seek out the best yard sales and get amazing deals.  This is where we acquired the small diaper bag, many onesies, drop-in baby bottles, and folding bouncer, travel highchair, and even a Winnie the Pooh Pack N'play.  God is providing for the gear.

The medical is the most expensive. We will be consulting with our midwife tomorrow about our lab bill but it totals $1817.93  and should normally cost patients without insurance around $300 at the most.  I'm calling on all the prayer warriors to be bringing this need before the Lord for us.  We have no way to pay that on top of our regular doctor's bill so lets pray for a miracle. I just need some dough.

So far we've had no baguettes, rolls, or loaves brought by our baby, I'm still waiting on that one.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You are what you eat...

I've seen a maternity T-shirt for purchase online that reads "Yes, I did indeed swallow a watermelon." 
I want that shirt.

No, I'm not huge like a watermelon... yet. I'm only 18 weeks and I'm just starting to show but I feel like I'm always eating.  I feel as if I could eat an entire watermelon.  The two most common questions I get from friends about my pregnancy is "Are you feeling a lot of morning sickness?" and "Do you get weird cravings?" I'd like to blame Hollywood for the over representation of these symptoms but they are quite common.  I would just like to say, on the record, that I haven't experienced these cliches.  Well, not exactly.

First off, morning sickness is a dumb name.  Yeah, flat out idiotic.  So clearly named by a man.  Instead, I call it pregnancy sickness because you can feel ill any time of day.  Now that we've established that important distinction... I can't classify my first trimester experience (worry you folks missed out on that fun) as completely pregnancy-sickness free.   I did have to eat every 2 or 3 hours to avoid queasiness and getting a late start to the day with a breakfast any later that 8am would mean certain doom for my stomach all day.  But I didn't have the misfortune of nausea that women (notoriously those carrying little girls) can sometimes have.

But no mistake about it, I did get sick.  Toothbrushing. That's what made me lose my lunch in the early stages.  Strangely, babies make your gag reflex really sensitive so my molars didn't see much good hard scrubbing until about week 15.

As for the cravings, I've got to say this is hard to convince people of.  I've had cravings for things I ate as a child like hot dogs, spaghetti O's, sweet gherkin pickles, bubble gum ice cream, and black olives.  These foods seem strange to many people but they are things I loved years ago and the baby growing in me just brought back the desire for those childish foods.

Where I really lose people is when they see me eating maccaroni and cheese with pepperoni. Or cottage cheese mixed with chopped boiled eggs and diced ham.  Many would say that this is a combination only pregnant women would want. But these are honestly the foods I ate before, just now observers want to attribute it to the bun in the oven. I swear on my next serving of fried pickles that I loved these food prepregnancy. I likely always will.

Dang, now I've gotta go find some more pepperoni.
Momma K