Mama Duck
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Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Reading material

I returned three pregnancy books this week that I'd earlier thought I absolutely had to have: The Mayo Clinic book on pregnancy and two nutrition books, one by Elizabeth Somer, the other by Martha Shulman. Overall, I've found that I feel like I should be reading, but I'm reading for pleasure instead, since I don't know how much of that I'll be able to do once the baby is here. Or what I read isn't news to me, or makes me worry.

I decided to return the Mayo book because it was almost ten years old. For me, that's too old.

I returned the Somer book because while it had good, comprehensive information, some of it was obvious to me--eat right and exercise--and some of it was intimidating--if you don't get enough of such and such vitamin, your baby will be born a freak. For someone who needs to be walked through what a good diet is, it would be a helpful book. But since I'm already eating a healthy diet and taking a vitamin and exercising, I feel like I've got things pretty well covered.

The Shulman book had much less info on nutrition and was instead a recipe book for dishes that contained good pregnancy foods. I was a bit concerned that tuna was endorsed as a good source of protein with no warnings for its mercury levels. The recipes looked good, but were pretty basic. I cook a lot at home, and found most of the recipes similar to ones I have in other cookbooks. Again, this would be a good book for someone who needs more of the basics of a healthy diet, but for me it was just more of the same.

The books I've enjoyed most so far are Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott and The Kid by Dan Savage. I also enjoy
Jennifer Weiner's weblog. These real-life accounts of pregnancy, adoption and childcare are often funny, sometimes scary, but always ring true. I find I have enjoyed these more, and leave them with the feeling that I need to be flexible going into this parenthood thing since I have no idea what I'm in for. This feels much more useful to me than a recipe for black bean tostadas or how much zinc I should take. I think I just learn better from stories.

posted by Mama Duck7:23 PM


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Tuesday, April 29, 2003


For the past several years, I've seen a certified nurse practitioner/midwife rather than a conventional OB/GYN. She was recommended by a friend, and I liked her a lot. She was knowledgeable, helpful and straightforward. So when I got pregnant, I looked into options but felt like sticking with a midwife, particularly the one I'd been seeing.

There are several midwives in the practice, and I've seen one other and met most of the others. I also like them a lot. They are woman-focused, aware of many alternative sources of information that I haven't heard from my family practitioner, and also aren't averse to using drugs during birth. To me, this seems like the best of all worlds. If at any point in the pregnancy things began to look high-maintenance, then I could always switch to an MD. As with a doctor's practice, whichever midwife is on call when I go into labor will deliver the baby, and there will always be a doctor on call as well at the birthing center where we'll be. Since I'm fortunate enough to be having a healthy pregnancy thus far, I am pretty happy with this decision.

posted by Mama Duck4:54 PM


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Sunday, April 27, 2003

Week 23

Car Trouble

My husband and I own a small, older car. It's a two-door, '90 Toyota Celica with over 100,000 miles, and it's done very well for us. It's in great shape, has needed minimal service over the past several years since we bought it used, and it's paid for.

Then we found out it should have a rather expensive procedure done. Also, faced with summer, the air conditioning needs an overhaul. All of a sudden, it's an expensive car to have. We'd assumed we'd sell it and get a new car with the advent of the duckie, but we thought we had more time.

This weekend, we had the idea to test out whether the Celica really was unable to handle a child, as we'd previously assumed. If it could, then we could put off purchasing a new car for a while and put off having to make a down payment. To test, we purchased a car seat from Target and installed it in the back seat.

Or rather, attempted to install it.

The seatbelts in the Celica don't seem like those required for the seat. Also, the infant seat mostly fits, but only if the passenger seat is moved all the way up. Unlike our apartment, which is small but can safely handle a new infant, the Celica just doesn't feel safe, so I guess we'll be car shopping quite soon.

posted by Mama Duck5:02 PM


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Thursday, April 24, 2003

Naming clarification

or, My readers keep me honest, or better yet, precise

My friend Schmalex called me to task for my comment in the entry on 4/21/03 that the name Buckminster sounded well with my husband's last name. This made it sound like I was automatically assuming that we would give the little duckie his dad's last name. This actually isn't the case.

My husband and I don't share the same last name. I didn't take his name when we married, and he didn't take mine. While the former is a tradition that works for many people, it doesn't work for me. I'd had my name for three decades and it was mine, dammit. I love my husband and I got up in front of a room of family and friends a few years ago to say so, but taking his name wasn't part of that for me.

The question of what last name the baby would have has been a regular one since I made that decision. I think traditional-minded people wanted me to be continuously aware of how my non-name-changing self was making things difficult for the world. My husband and I discussed it, but never came up with any definitive answer--we weren't sure till last year that we even wanted to be parents, so naming the theoretical duckie seemed at least premature, if not presumptuous. We considered several different options.

Flipping for it: this leaves the choice up to fate but felt a bit too random.

The first gets one of our names, the next gets the other: this is fair, but probably confusing to the kids. It will be confusing enough that mom or dad would have a different name, but a sibling?

Split it along sex lines: give a boy my husband's name, a girl my name. This works well for the first one, as long as we don't spawn a hermaphrodite, but gets tricky if the second one is different (see above.) Throughout discussions, this has always been the favored idea. Or we could be difficult and go the opposite way--if it's a girl, it gets his name, a boy it gets mine. Either way, if we have a second one it would get the same name as the first one.

Family tie: We've considered a few family names, so we'd match the last name with the family name it came from.

Aesthetics: when we finalize the first name that we like, pick the name of the two that sounds best with it. My husband thinks this is too arbitrary, but personally, I prefer arbitrary to patriarchal.

A third name: ransack our family trees for a common name, or one we like, or pick one ourselves. My husband has never liked this option.

Given that the duck is a boy, and that one of the names we're considering is from my husband's family, I think it's most likely it will have his name. But we won't know for sure till we have to confront the birth certificate.

posted by Mama Duck3:23 PM


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Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Sleeping arrangements

As I mentioned a while back, we don't have a lot of room in our one-bedroom apartment for the impending duckie. If it's going to have its own space, it will have to be in our bathroom/closet/laundry room.

Soon after, though, I started reading about the family bed, where the infant sleeps in the bed with the parents. The upside is that this is said to promote bonding and decrease sleeplessness. Since we currently have a king bed, I began to consider this. The thought of not having to come fully awake in order to feed the little duck when it cries was an attractive one.

My husband, however, nixed this idea and I can't say I'm that disappointed. I know of someone who took a nap with her child and woke to find it dead of SIDS. There is also evidence that the occurrence of SIDS increases with the family bed. Additionally, I've read that infants are not that easy to sleep with--they kick and squirm a lot, in addition to crying. So there's no guarantee that having it in the bed would reduce parental sleeplessness.

Instead, what we're considering most strongly is getting a bedside sleeper for the duck. Then it will be close, but not able to get wedged in a corner of the bed, fall off of it, or get rolled over onto by one of us. I think these are only good for about the first three months, but with all the crying, peeing and pooping, I think the first three months are going to seem long enough to justify it.

posted by Mama Duck4:48 PM


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Monday, April 21, 2003

Week 22


I have a fairly common name. Wherever I have gone to school or worked, there have been several others who shared it. Thus, one of my goals when naming our duckie is to give it something that's distinctive without being so whacked that they'll get mocked if female, or beat up on the playground if male.

Most people I know, though, prefer more traditional, i.e. more common, names. Back before we found it it was a boy and were still considering girl names, I liked Beatrice and Theodora. Both of these were nixed by my husband and most people I knew.

For boys, the names I liked were Rufus and Emmett. These also have met with nearly unanimous disapproval. Most recently, I suggested Buckminster. Yes, I know it's odd, but it's the name of a famous scientist, and it shortens nicely to Buck, which I don't mind, and it sounds well with my husband's last name. To say that Buckminster isn't liked is an understatement--hoots of derision have followed me in the wake of its mention. So now we're back to the drawing board, brainstorming on names again and trying hard to pick ones that aren't so common. We've got a few, but this is going to be way harder than I thought it would be.

posted by Mama Duck5:14 PM


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Thursday, April 17, 2003

To cut or not to cut?

Now that it looks like we'll be having a boy, we face the decision of whether to have him circumcised.

Neither of us is Jewish, so that take the question of cultural imperative out of the picture. I was raised a Christian, and apparently our covenant is based on the death of Jesus, not upon cutting off the foreskin.

On the one hand, it's the medical and societal norm here in America. There's evidence that it contributes to cleanliness, and that the lack may contribute to cervical cancer in future sexual partners. As Dan Savage notes in his book The Kid, there's also the fact that most men and women who give blow jobs prefer a circumcised unit in their mouths.

On the other hand, the evidence for benefit of circumcision is pretty shaky. The American Academy of Pediatrics has taken a neutral position on the issue. It's surgery, there are possibilities of complications, even (though rarely) death. Also, obviously, it would be painful to the little guy. Opponents to the surgery argue that it results in decreased sensitivity.

A lawyer in Minnesota has recently taken on
this issue. He argues that if circumcising females is considered cruel and unusual, then why isn't circumcising males? Also, he argues that it's to the hospital's benefit to encourage circumcision. It is surgery and they do make money off it.

No decision yet, and no decision pending. But it is yet another thing to add to the long list of stuff to ponder.

posted by Mama Duck6:39 PM


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Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Decisions, decisions

One of the many decisions we'll make when the baby is born is whether or not to vaccinate the little duckie.

In general, I'm all for vaccinations--protecting the herd and all. But in recent years, the connection between childhood vaccines and the rise in autism has caught my attention. While there are groups on both sides claiming evidence, I am suspicious of the evidence against, as it's most often been brought (or bought?) by the pharmaceutical companies who have the most at stake.
A recent article at the Minneapolis City Pages discussed some of the shady details.

While I'd still like to find out more, I will certainly be wary of any vaccines containing thimerosol, and explore other options.

posted by Mama Duck7:24 PM


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Tuesday, April 15, 2003


I don't want to say definitely how things will be after the duckie is born. I've known women who swore they were going back to work who became stay at home mommies, and I've known others who wanted to stay home but didn't, for career, spouse, or financial reasons. I won't know for sure how I'll feel till I get there. Perhaps I won't be able to tear myself away, perhaps I'll be running far and fast to get back to adult company and brain stimulation after the maternity leave nursing-and-poop fest. My guesstimate, though, is that I'll return to work on a reduced work week--4 days a week. My company offers this option, which is good, but I would be required to do my entire job in four days, as well as take a 20% paycut. So there are drawbacks to the payoff of having more time at home.

We began to visit daycare centers a few weeks ago, to explore our possibilities. First, we visited the one that was so perfect in theory that we knew not to get too excited about it. It's across the street from where we live, it has flexible pay schedules, so you only pay for the days the kid is there (most others have a set monthly fee, and charge you for full time even if you do less), it had availability, it gives a discount to people from my company, and did I mention it's across the street? We were greeted by two women who looked to be in their early twenties. They were the directors. We were introduced to the infant caregivers, none of whom had been there more than two years. The average was about one. "I have a childhood education degree, though" added one with a tattoo on her neck, with her own infant slung over her shoulder. The space and the environment were basic, a little smelly, but the kids seemed happy.

Next was a place that was close to where I work. It had a much nicer space, but again, there was a high staff turnover, though again the kids seemed happy there. They only do the full-time tuition, though, and are more expensive than the close place.

Third was the YWCA. While they had a longer-lived staff, there were a lot of crying kids while we were there. It also was kind of smelly and a little shabby, plus I saw one woman leave a child door open accidentally when she went across the room. Not very comforting.

Finally, we visited the place that is across the street from my work. Again, we were greeted by a barely out of adolescence woman, but she did have a good professional manner. The facility was not only clean but nice with good space and toys, and all the children seemed happy. Their staff turnover rate was quite low. The drawbacks? Two: they have no availability for at least a year, and they're about a third again as expensive as the other places we saw.

We had only brief visits at each of these. I'd like another visit at least to get a better impression. But after looking at the first one, and the Y, my instincts were screaming that I'd be better off taking care of the duckie myself. Then again, if we went with the nice, expensive one, it would be a tradeoff since much of the money I'd be making by going back to work would be going to daycare.

I'm thankful I don't need to make the decision today, and I just hope things become clearer as time goes on.

posted by Mama Duck5:26 PM


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Monday, April 14, 2003

Mood swings

I was prone to mood swings before I got pregnant. I'm not sure if it makes my current ones less surprising, or if they'd be insane in any case.

Perhaps things aren't so bad. I have yet to burst into tears at work, in spite of having been given ample reason to, lately. The mood swings usually veer between being happy and excited the baby is coming, and feeling despair that we'll ever be ready for it, we'll ever have enough room for it, and that I'll ever have enough time to do all the things I feel I need to.

Luckily my husband is around to make fun of me when I go all deer-in-the-headlights. It doesn't necessarily restore perspective, but at least two of us aren't on the down side of a mood swing. That would be intolerable.

posted by Mama Duck5:04 PM


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Sunday, April 13, 2003

Week 21


Each spring I succumb to the same urge that many others do, to clean house. This year, though, that urge has been magnified. Exponentially.

A few weeks ago, I actually felt despair over the amount of crap that we had in our smallish place, and how on earth we were going to fit a small child and its accoutrements into our already crammed-to-the-gills domicile. Since then, each weekend my husband and I have slowly made progress: cleaning, sorting, organizing, storing and getting rid of stuff. Things are much improved, but we've still got a ways to go.

I'm told that this organizational urge is called nesting, and that it's at least natural, if not normal. I've gotten a little perspective on it, and realized that we won't be able to whip the place into shape in one weekend, much less one month. But we do have about four months left till our duckie is due to arrive, so if we continue at this pace, then at least the most important things will be done, like replacing the blinds that flake paint any time we raise, lower or breathe in their general direction. I noticed recently that the grout in our shower is looking pretty bad, too, and could stand to be replaced. My husband doesn't seem to share my concern about this. I guess the nesting is just another hormonal thing, and not something shared by both parents. Either that, or he just doesn't care about grout.

posted by Mama Duck10:50 AM


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Thursday, April 10, 2003

No doubt about it, there's something in there

When I had a checkup at sixteen weeks, I mentioned that I was feeling little pinchy sensations that I thought might be the baby. The midwife pooh-poohed this, saying that most women didn't report movement till about twenty weeks, sometimes more if it was their first pregnancy so whatever I was feeling was not likely the duckie.

Over the next few weeks I continued to feel little twinges, and yeah, perhaps they could have been gas, but I didn't think so.

Then last week, the day before week 20, I finished yoga class and was resting in corpse pose, when I felt the little duckie decidedly NOT resting. Jump, move, wiggle. There was no doubt. THAT was movement.

I don't know if what I was feeling before were its movements before it got big enough to be so noticeable, or if I was just imagining it. But there's no imagining now; this little guy is definitely moving.

When we went for the ultrasound, the tech commented on how active he was, and what a show off he was being. Then when I had my checkup yesterday, the midwife had a hard time getting a count for the pulse, because once she'd get the sound, he'd move. Zip, zip, zoom, all around my uterus.

Up till last week, I felt strange because the major sensations had been first-trimester nausea and my slowly growing belly--I had no sense of the growing little duckie inside. Now, though, I may need to remind him, Hey kid, it's not a playground in there.

posted by Mama Duck6:57 PM


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Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Welcome to reflux!

Last week I got some news at work that upset me. I fumed and vented and stewed about it to my husband and to a friend. And then I started to feel really bad.

The meal I ate did not seem to be going down my esophagus, just sitting about halfway, threatening to make a come back. This feeling, which I think is reflux, is a new one to me. It went on for several hours, and was only helped by ginger tea before bed, and by eating mostly fruits and vegetables only the next day.

It hadn't happened before, and it hasn't happened since, so I have to assume that it was a reaction to the emotional stress I was feeling. I know I felt physically terrible and I can't imagine the little duckie enjoyed it much either. It was a sobering episode, reminding me that I just can't take these outside things too seriously, or too personally. They're just not worth it, and I have the growing tummy and little duckie movements to remind me of that.

posted by Mama Duck4:04 PM


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Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Tummy touching

People have begun to touch my tummy. So far, I don't mind at all.

First, it's a big improvement over all those people who say, "You don't even look pregnant!" They may mean it as a compliment, but since I'm no longer fitting into my old pants and belts, I'm not sure they're reliable narrators.

Second, the couple times it's happened it's been with people I know who are so excited that I'm showing that they reach out, touch my tummy, and only belatedly ask, "Oh, I'm sorry, is that OK?"

And it absolutely is. These people are so excited for me that they just react. I love that they're so moved that they act first and think later. Because this is exciting, and people are excited. It's fun to experience.

posted by Mama Duck5:02 PM


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Monday, April 07, 2003

Caffeine update

As I mentioned in Week 17, my husband weaned me off caffeine without telling me. I was then faced with a few questions: do I continue to have my daily cappuccino with decaf? Do I go cold turkey all the way? Is there some compromise?

Conveniently, our espresso machine chose to break down right after my husband made his announcement. He wanted to throw it away and buy the more expensive, next model up, but I did some research and found a local place that does repair, so our little espresso workhorse is in the shop.

Decaf every day seems silly to me, plus without our machine it's not a current option. Also, I know that being off caffeine is the best thing for the baby. The compromise I've arrived at is a single full-test latte on the weekend when we go out to breakfast. That way it's just one a week. Additionally, I'm not off caffeine completely so I'm less likely to feel sorry for myself, and less likely to cut loose in a sorry-for-myself binge. Plus I'm not taking in the dodgy chemicals they use in decaffeination.

So far, it seems like the best compromise.

posted by Mama Duck5:22 PM


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Sunday, April 06, 2003

Week 20

It's a geek!

On Friday I had an appointment for genetic counselling and a Level 2 ultrasound. I do not know if the latter is higher-tech equipment than the usual, or just longer and more detailed with a more trained reader, but in any case it's what I "earned" because I am now considered high risk because I recently turned 35.

For the genetic counselling, we met with a quiet, well-spoken woman who outlined all the possible outcomes if our gene pool had gone awry. She covered Down's syndrome, cystic fibrosis, various trisomy patterns and Klinefelter's syndrome. While she did detail the small likelihood of any of these happening, it was depressing and scary as hell, since it was a detailed list of so many of the things that could be wrong. She also let us know that both the tech and the doctor would be checking for various things to rule these out as much as possible, though only an amniocentesis could rule them out entirely.

After this grueling session, we went on to the appointment, where a very nice woman named Amber smeared goo all over my tummy while my husband sat in a chair nearby, then we watched the monitor. Prepared for all sorts of potential problems, it was a pleasant surprise to hear such strange compliments as "What a lovely spine!", "Ooh, a beautiful heart" and my personal favorite, "You've got a great looking cervix. Very firm." Our little duckie was in the mood to show off, because it let the tech look at each little bit. The only time it got coy was when she was trying for the left hand. It kept trying to hide, but when it did finally show, it was doing the Vulcan hand greeting from Star Trek. So there's no doubt now as to its paternity.

Did we find out the sex? That's the question that everyone has been asking me since I have announced I was pregnant. Yes. Only after our appointment, and after we had already told people, did I read advice on line saying to keep it to yourself, both to make it more of a surprise for the world, and because only the amnio would be competely accurate. Both the tech and the doctor were certain though on more than one viewing, even giving us a snapshot of proof. That's right, it looks like it's a little boy. Both my husband and I were surprised. We had both assumed it was a girl. Luckily several of the names we've picked out would work either way, plus we've still got months to go.

The upshot, though, is that the duckie looks healthy and I'm in good shape, so we've decided against the amniocentesis. Yes, the risk of it causing a miscarriage is small, but I've had the ultrasound with a triple-screen blood test, and it all looks good. If something is awry, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

posted by Mama Duck7:46 PM


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Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Week 19, again

Buying bras

As part of my great morphing body, my bras, which used to fit perfectly, are now all too tight. I'd read in a few places that as the pregnancy progressed I'd need to get different bras, and should steer away from underwires. So I did a google search on the phrase "good pregnancy bra" only to come up with almost nothing. I got lots of bra sites, and lots of nursing bras, but no comfy, "I'm expecting but nowhere near nursing yet" bras.

So I ventured to the intimate department of Marshall Field's and did my own research. For lightly endowed chicks like me, I found three good wireless bras:

Olga Secret Shaper #32009
Warner's Friday's Bra in both #2083 and #2809.

I would have bought Warner's #2083 in any case, though, just because I was so amused by the picture on the tag. It has a woman taking notes, looking casually down at her notepad while her open shirt is thrown back to reveal Warner's #2083. It looks like a still from a very silly porn flick.

And to illustrate the injustice I mentioned in Week 18, in which the wrong parts of my body are getting bigger, I've gone up a band size but stayed the same cup size. Grr.

posted by Mama Duck5:13 PM


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