Monday, December 13, 2010

Bad Blogger... Good Mama?

Yes, it's true. I haven't posted for eons.

But I have been living it up with my little pal.
A good excuse, I think.

Ruby's 7 months plus now, and about to celebrate her first Christmas...

So, to everyone -


Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Cloth Diapering Godsend

We made the decision to cloth diaper our daughter about six months or so before she was born... which was the minimum amount of time I needed to research and learn all I could about different kinds of cloth diapers, how they work and how to care for them.

(You can read about some of my cloth diaper findings here and here and here.)

Bio-Soft Liners - Large 7.5 x 12 inchesEarly on in my research, I was fortunate enough to happen upon this post, all about flushable liners like the ones pictured here by Bummis.

I love these liners because they are very soft against Ruby's skin, and they act as a little barrier between her bum and the diaper, so they end up keeping the diaper nearly spotless. My husband and I agree: they rock. They make life easy as pie.

Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, Bummis liners are not available here in the Pioneer Valley (of course).

You can order them online, or look around locally for another brand. A Child's Garden and Cradle both carry liners, I believe, but I would make sure they are soft. (I got some liners a while back at A Child's Garden and I felt that although they were more substantial for holding poo, they felt way too rough!)

In addition to using the glory and wonder that is flushable liners, we also did this hook up of a DIY cloth diaper sprayer to our guest bathroom toilet.

We have used it plenty times, but as our daughter has gotten older (she's nearly 6 months old!) and since she has started solid foods, we have used disposable liners more and more, and the need for the sprayer has become less and less.

In fact, the liners protect the diapers so much that I haven't used the sprayer in at least a month. Amazing!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recent Discoveries: Easthampton & Beyond

Ruby has been more and more active and awake during the day lately, leaving me with fewer free minutes to write. She's sleeping now, so I wanted to take this opportunity to spread the word about a few recent discoveries...

The Easthampton Family Center*  - I finally visited the EFC for a informal, parent-run play group and it was great! Very low key and relaxed.
The space is pretty cool - it's shared with Flywheel so there's a stage on one end, but otherwise it's an open space w/ toys and mats out where kids can play and have fun. Ruby and I hung out with some fellow baby folks on a baby mat, so it's definitely a place for all ages.
*Just a note - the Easthampton Family Center's new location is 43 Main St in the Old Town Hall, Easthampton, MA. Their website lists their old location - ignore that!

Mother Goose (and other activities) at the Lilly Library - This is just super cute. The Mother Goose series on Fridays has stories, movement and songs for young ages. We enjoyed it last Friday and it's made its way onto our regular calendar.

All-4-Kids Children's Consignment Sale - This is something I learned about when we were at the play group at the Easthampton Family Center. Look at that: socializing = sharing information and supporting your community!
Anyway, the sale is this weekend and I'm completely psyched about checking it out. You should, too!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Midwives & Pediatricians in the Pioneer Valley

Today was Ruby's four month appointment. She's fantastic and healthy and was a super duper all star when getting her shots. And once again, I was so pleased with the care of everyone in her pediatrician's office.

Inspired by this, I figured I'd spread the word about the great medical care we've experienced having this baby.

I am, by no means, a baby or doctor expert. But I am a regular, normal person who gave birth to a beautiful girl four months ago at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, MA.

She was delivered by two midwives from Cooley Dickinson Center for Midwifery Care. I love, love, love them, and it was an awesome birth.

We live in Easthampton, and so looked for a pediatrician in Easthampton. Not knowing anyone around here, I went onto the Masslive Parent to Parent Message Boards and asked for a recommendation. Although we liked her at first, that doctor ended up being a huge mistake (and unfortunately, we didn't realize it until after we'd had some very emotionally harrowing first few weeks of her care for our newborn), and so we looked for another pediatrician.

Northampton Pediatrics came highly recommended. But they weren't as close as we wanted.

Then I heard about Hampshire Pediatrics, in Easthampton. We switched to them when Ruby was about three weeks old, and haven't looked back. We see Dr. Jen and have seen Dr. Sue as well, and they are both just wonderful. Very thorough and supportive and low key and normal and great.

I'm sure there are plenty of other wonderful medical professionals in this area, but these are the ones we are very happy to have!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Baby Music Classes in the Pioneer Valley

Whether it's been me singing to her, her father's ipod playing Czech heavy metal (he's from Prague, so that's not as random as it sounds), or the music of her Seahorse, Ruby has always seemed to enjoy music of all kinds.

Because of this, I've had my eye out for baby music classes in Northampton, Easthampton, Amherst or anywhere in the Pioneer Valley.

After a slow summer, I'm suddenly seeing baby music classes everywhere!

The Jones Library in Amherst will offer "Sing with Your Baby" on Tuesdays at 10:30am, beginning September 14 until November 16, 2010.

Although it's not (yet) posted on their site, I *heard* the Lilly Library in Florence also offers a baby music class, also on Tuesdays (at 11am I think), starting up again in September.

Finally, I see on Cradle's calendar that they will have Kindermusik classes on Saturdays, starting September 25th and running for 6 weeks. The classes are broken down by age, and are not free. Check out their site for details.

Ruby and I will definitely be checking these classes out, and I hope you and your little one will too!

And please let me know if you find out about any others!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Washing Cloth Diapers

Because my goal here is to simply create one space where you may find all kinds baby and parenting related things in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, I often don't feel the need to write a bunch of wordy wordiness, but instead just direct you to a resource that you might find helpful.

Therefore, I'd like to share the best instructions I've come across for washing Cloth Diapers - on the Nicki's Diapers blog.

I've done A LOT of research on Cloth Diapers, so believe me, I really do feel these are easy to understand and very direct, which is great because washing cloth diapers is what I think scares people away from cloth diapering all together.

I hope this will help anyone who had any doubts or questions about washing cloth diapers!

Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child

A friend told me about the radio show "Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child," on 93.9 The River on Saturday mornings from 8am-10am. I love it! Ruby loves it! They play great music for kids and their adults!

And luckily, they have online audio archives for those of us who aren't up/active from 8-10am, and for those of you who aren't local. 

Listen and enjoy!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga

Back when I was still pregnant, I wrote about prenatal yoga in this area. Since then, I've found several resources for both prenatal AND postnatal yoga here in the Pioneer Valley and wanted to share them.

The prenatal yoga classes I ended up going to were through Cooley Dickinson Hospital (at the Amherst location; there's one in Northampton as well). The classes were led by Arden and were gentle, relaxing and very informative about all things pregnancy and birth related, to boot. It was in one of those classes where I first felt my daughter move!

I feel it is quite difficult to find sufficient info on the internet for Cooley Dickinson classes, so this is kind of a rigmarole, but for Prenatal classes you can click here to view the calendar (then click on Prenatal Yoga - it will give some info & tell you to the number to call for registration).

Now that Ruby's here, I'm looking for us to go to yoga together. We haven't gone yet, but in my looking I've found a few likely candidates:

Yoga Sanctuary in Northampton offers pre and postnatal, baby-friendly classes. I know people who have been very pleased with the prenatal classes here.

Vega Yoga in Holyoke also offers an "Infant-friendly Yoga" class that doesn't seem to involve the baby, but the pre-crawler is welcomed there.

Cooley Dickinson Hospital offers Momma & Baby Yoga on Mondays and Wednesdays (again in Amherst and Northampton). This class is the only option I've found that includes the baby in the description: "Fun and therapeautic movement for baby" so it seems like a great option for us!

I'm sure there's more out there, but these can get you started!


We haven't taken it yet, but when searching for a Mama & Baby Yoga class in the Pioneer Valley, this sounds like a great one! Ruby and I definitely plan to take it soon.

I wanted to share this information, but couldn't find it online, so this is copy & pasted from the email info I get:

On-Going class

Bring your baby! From 6 – 7 weeks old up to experienced crawlers welcome.

Get back in shape, have fun with your baby, and connect with other parents.
•    Center through breathing and awareness
•    Reduce stress
•    Get relief from aches and pains due to nursing and poor posture
•    Recondition abdominals and pelvic floor
•    Recover from rigors of childbirth
•    Fun and therapeutic movement for baby
•    Stay strong and centered through demands of childrearing

You can linger an additional 15 minutes at the end of class. In that time, we are happy to do poses with you that you might have missed because you were busy with your baby.

Om Shanti – Arden and Corinne
When you pre-register, leave your phone number and the dates (one or all) you are planning to attend. We reserve the right to cancel class if there are (4) four or less students pre-registered.

If you can’t make class for an unexpected reason,
please call or email your teacher the day before to let her know

COST: $13 each class OR $44 for four classes. Financial Aid is available.
Bring mat, baby blanket, toys and whatever else you feel is necessary.

Classes are offered every month continuously. The schedule below is a sample of dates.

Mondays in Northampton
at Cooley Dickinson Hospital      

10:15 – 11:30 

AUGUST 9 in Childbirth Conf. Room
AUGUST 2 & 16  in Conf. Room B
No Class Aug 23, 30 & Sept 6

Pre-register CALL or EMAIL: ARDEN

Park at the main entrance and please use free valet.

Classes in Conference Room B        
Take the stork elevator to lowest floor.
Walk straight ahead.
Class in Childbirth Conference Room
Take the stork elevator to the top floor (1)
Directly across from the elevator.

Wednesdays in Amherst
170 University Drive, CDH outpatient building across from CVS and Big Y. 

10:30 – 11:45

AUGUST 4, 11, 18 & 25


Meets in the Community Room
on the top floor.

If using front entrance, walk upstairs.

If using back entrance, take elevator to top floor and go to the opposite end of building
from Hampshire OB/GYN)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Elizabeth Mitchell

Ruby and I are out of town, but in the meantime, here's a great music recommendation! 
A lovely friend gave me this CD of Elizabeth Mitchell's children's music, and I haven't been able to stop listening to it. I seriously love it.

This song, "Little Bird, Little Bird," is so precious. I've even started calling Ruby my "sugar lump"!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

World Breastfeeding Week

Today marks the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week!

You know what I'm doing to celebrate? Weaning my baby. Ha! That's right - I'm sticking it to the (breastfeeding wo)man!

Remember back when I discussed my breastfeeding issues? In a nutshell, my daughter didn't latch on properly to begin with (because of her own in utero, self-soothing, tongue sucking habit) which led to a low supply for me, which never got better, despite all and every attempt. So, from early on we've supplemented with formula (through a bottle) and I knew that one day she'd reject the breast and only want the bottle. I've mentally and emotionally prepared myself for this for a long time, and obviously wanted to prolong the breastfeeding as much as possible.

About a week ago she started refusing the breast during the day. I tried, but there was crying, screaming, general freaking out. This has continued for a week, and now she only nurses at night, and those feedings are getting shorter and shorter. I don't know if she's getting impatient or I'm just not producing as much (likely) or fast enough for her, or what... but our nursing days are clearly about to end.

But you know what? Today she turned 3 months. That was a goal I wanted to reach in our breastfeeding relationship, and we did it. And I'm so, so thankful.

And even though everyone knows, or thinks, breastfeeding is best, I have been so humbled by this experience. I know that it doesn't always work out, and there's nothing wrong with bottle and formula feeding.

There is so much pressure (especially in this area) to breastfeed, that I feel there's no room for anyone else. One socializing option Ruby and I had was to go to breastfeeding clinics and groups around here, and I decided not to, because I feel like people might judge me. I hope I'm wrong, and I considered going, but right when I did is when Ruby started to prefer the bottle (I don't know if I'd consider this weaning, or baby-led weaning or what?). So I've gone to other groups instead.

Anyway, whether you breastfeed or formula feed, good for you for giving your baby whatever nourishment that baby needs - that's all the matters!

The Baby Community in the Pioneer Valley

I finally got my act together last week and got the hell out of the house in Easthampton, and out into the baby community of the Pioneer Valley!

We ventured into neighboring Northampton and Hadley for our baby events last week.  Now, I had originally considered baby-oriented happenings on here a couple weeks ago and then procrastinated and kept to myself. But no longer!

First, I went on to (what would we do without the internet??) and looked up baby and parent groups in the area. I found three and requested to join all of them. I heard back from two (both seem to be more "official" mommy and me groups) that I had to attend one meetup before I'd be allowed access to the page and events.

So, last Saturday Ruby and I headed out and to Barnes and Noble in Hadley, for story time. Although this event is open to the public, the Amherst Parents Group folks were getting together there as well. We met some very nice parents and kids, ranging from 6 months (Ruby was the youngest) to about 4 years old. It was great, and I am excited to go to another meetup with this group (there seems to be a get together nearly every day!)!

The next day I consulted my Macaroni Kid email and saw that on Monday mornings there's "Tummy Time" at the Forbes Library in Northampton. We knew that the Easthampton Family Center also had an informal summer play group at Nonotuck Park on Monday mornings, but because the Tummy Time at Forbes was aimed specifically at non-crawlers/walkers, I figured we'd meet babies more in Ruby's age group, as opposed to toddlers. And we did! Another successful outing!

This week Ruby and I are going out of town on Thursday (to NYC so Ruby can get in touch with her roots for the first time!) but we plan to definitely go to Tummy Time again tomorrow, and on Tuesday we will either go to Lilly Library in Florence for morning storytime (I looked at their website and couldn't find the details, but if I hear more through word of mouth I'll post it here) or to the "New Mom's Circle" at Cradle at 1pm.

It's just so nice that now that we are out and about, we have lots of great options. I love this area!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Macaroni Kid Rocks!

Do you know about Macaroni Kid?

This is a site that lists all kinds of upcoming events and info relating to kids & parents in Amherst, Northampton and the entire Pioneer Valley. It's great!

My favorite part is that you can sign up to get weekly emails of all upcoming events. I'm all about weekly emails. Those rock my world.

When I first started looking at the events I thought they were all geared toward kids that were a little older than Ruby, at least a couple years old. But upon closer inspection of this week's events, I found a listing for Tummy Time at Forbes Library in Northampton on Monday mornings from 11:00-12:30. Because it was for all non-crawling/walking babies, we gave it a try (more on this coming soon...) and we met other parents of babies, made connections and had a great time! So it seems Macaroni Kid has something for everyone in the child/parent world.

I hope you find something fun to explore soon!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Breastfeeding Issues in the Pioneer Valley

When I was pregnant, I had every intention to breastfeed. And, when Ruby was born I did breastfeed. And I still do. BUT...

In between Ruby's birth and today, there's been a lot of drama surrounding all that breastfeeding.
Hysteria is the only word that truly reflects what my husband and I went through that first week of Ruby's life. The baby was losing too much weight and the doctor was freaking us out about it BIG TIME (we've since switched pediatricians). We were new parents who were worried and terrified about our daughter's health.

It was hell.

I wanted my daughter to grow and be healthy, which is why I wanted to breastfeed her! I wanted her to get the benefits of breast milk, I wanted to do whatever I could that was natural for her and me, as well as the bonding... I didn't understand what was going wrong!

Luckily, we were directed to Mary Carey of Pioneer Valley Lactation Consulting. I called her on a Thursday afternoon and she was at our house the next morning.

Mary was SO kind and friendly, and in about a minute of seeing Ruby and talking with us she was able to offer answers and solutions about our issues, which were with latching AND low supply.

Mary's visits (and follow up calls) were so amazing and helpful. I truly believe that, had I not met with her, I would have given up on breastfeeding, which would have absolutely broken my heart. But she gave me such great information and tips, and was just so supportive of everything, including what we eventually found to be the best way to feed Ruby. Her overall approach was also so relaxed and calming, and that made such a difference when we were initially so terrified.
I recommend Pioneer Valley Lactation Consulting to anyone in Western Massachusetts who is looking for breastfeeding education, regardless of whether or not you are having any issues.

Ultimately, nothing we tried - not power pumping, prescription drugs, oatmeal, fenugreek or More Milk Plus - could get me to make enough milk for my baby. They all helped up my supply a bit, but never to the point where I didn't have to supplement with formula. Now I breastfeed and supplement with Earth's Best formula.

I know now that not every woman can breastfeed, no matter how badly they want to or try. I also think that time hooked to a pump can be more detrimental to bonding with your baby than giving them a bottle of formula. I think the day I returned the rented pump to the hospital was the day I started building a relaxed and wonderful relationship with my daughter.

Finding a Community, Revisited

I'm totally lame! I didn't do any baby-related things last week. Will try again this week!
See the original post to know what I'm talking about here, to know what the heck I'm talking about. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Green Garlic??

Speaking of CSA's (see previous post)...
today I got some "Green Garlic" from Mountain View Farm.

Not knowing much about this stuff, I referred to my Mountain View Farm newsletter. Here's what it said:  
"Also known as fresh garlic, this seasonal treat is only available for a few weeks. Before you can store garlic, it must be cured, or dried. We do this by hanging it in a barn or a greenhouse where it can have the proper temperature and ventilation. Garlic that hasn't been cured is known as green garlic. Green garlic must be refrigerated until used. It has a much milder flavor than storage garlic. You can use your green garlic the same way you would use garlic that has been dried. Check out the recipe below or epicurious for more ideas."

Epicurious is fine, but I wanted real experience. So I went onto a EFF (Eco-Friendly Family) message board, asking if anyone had any experience with this.

No one knew what I was talking about!

People kept thinking I was talking about garlic scapes (my new love of the season! Here's an education AND the awesome garlic scape pesto recipe I've made a zillion batches of and froze!), but it's not the same thing.

Here's garlic scapes:
and here's green garlic (or "fresh garlic"):
So, what about you? Do you have any experience with "green" or "fresh" garlic? What the heck do you do with this?

Mountain View Farm

We became members of a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) this year! Mountain View Farm is here in Easthampton, MA, and so far it's going great.

We had never done the farm share thing before, especially coming from NYC, although apparently they are available there, too - we have friends in Astoria who just started theirs as well.

We weren't sure we wanted to spend the money (that fear of spending a good amount of money up front is terrifying!), but we decided to go for it one day a few months ago. We were in the mood for grilled vegetables, so we stopped at our local Big Y (in Southampton, it's the closest store to us) to pick up some squash and other veggies. That one trip to the grocery store cost nearly $50! That's when we decided we'd rather spend our money to get locally grown produce straight from the farm (and, ultimately, we're saving a ton of money!).

Since we started getting our shares, we've been so pleased. It's been a great opportunity to a) eat more healthfully since we're BOTH trying to get back to our pre-pregnancy weight, b) feel like part of a community and c) experiment with things I might never have heard of or gotten otherwise, like garlic scapes, turnips and green garlic!

Also, there are always parents with kids there, picking flowers and learning new things. I can't wait until Ruby is old enough to enjoy it.

All this, and the farm is in a gorgeous setting and it always feels calm and relaxed there - it's like therapy!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Finding a Community

Now that Ruby and I are finding our groove, I'm interested in branching out.

I have yet to explore the opportunities in the area for a new mother and baby. This is going to change now. My goal this week is to go to just one parent-oriented "thing" - whether it's a class, group, get together - whatever

So I started my research with Cradle, a pretty cool store/space in Northampton where they hold different classes and events. Judging by the calendar, the event that sounds like a good possibility for me this week is "Mom's Cafe: Open Play." The description is: Need a place to just hang out with baby, relax, socialize and meet other parents? This is an open studio time for moms or dads to come into the studio and enjoy our space and toys and hopefully make some new friends. This time is not facilitated but a Cradle staff member is always available to assist you.
Hm. This might be the one. And it's free! That's always good!

Next I looked at A Child's Garden, a neat children's store I've written about before (mainly because they sell cloth diapers, and this is where I got my awesome babywearing tutorial). But, alas, they have no events other than the babywearing clinic. Their site says they are starting a Cloth Diaper group, but there's no meeting time or anything. I'll have to look into that later.

Cooley Dickinson Hospital has a Beyond Birth class ("A Gathering of New Parents with Their Babies"), as well as Momma and Baby Yoga. I've heard good things about Beyond Birth, and I'd have to pay for the yoga, so I think BB is a likelier choice for me.    

Finally, I know that on Tuesday mornings there is a group of stroller people that meet at Mt Tom to walk around the pond there. I'll have to find a recent issue of The Summit to find the details, but that's a good possibility too (why not enjoy the glorious outdoors this summer?!).

So - which community event will I go to? Decisions, decisions.

I'll report back at the end of the week. If you are in the area and know of any ones I'm not aware of, please share!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Huggies vs Pampers

In case you haven't heard, Huggies has jeans diapers now, and apparently Pampers are coming out with diapers designed by fashion designer Cynthia Rowley.

You know what's cuter?

How about polka dots?

Ice cream?


These are just a few super cute cloth diapers we've gotten so far...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cloth Diapers

Besides our sweet baby girl (7 weeks old now!), all I seem to sleep, eat and dream is Cloth Diapers.
I've mentioned in the past that we planned on cloth diapering this baby. After doing a ton of research online - more specifically on the Eco-Friendly Family message board of my favorite site, - I decided to go with a cloth diapering trial through Jillian's Drawers. This trial included a variety of cloth diapering options, from prefolds to All In Ones. Most peoples' advice was to try this trial and see what works for my little one, since all babies are different.

Well, we've just finished the trial and it was so informative! The diapers I thought I'd end up loving and buying large amounts of are not, in fact, the diapers I'm in the process of buying for my permanent stash. And finally purchasing diapers... well, it's such an involved process, finding the best deals and best diapers for my girl... what to commit to since it's really an investment, one that we hope will live on for the next one or two babies as well!

Personally, I thought prefolds were a pain in the ass. I thought I'd love them. I wanted to love them. But I apparently have an inability to properly handle the snappi and I just didn't love them.

Now that I am building my permanent cloth diaper stash I find I'm going for fitted diapers with covers and pocket diapers, and a couple BumGenius AIO (all in one) Organics, because AIOs are so easy and these came highly recommended by many Bumpers.

Another thing we've decided on is that all the diapers we're buying are One Size (OS), so they all "grow" with the baby (click here to see an example of a diaper that "grows" using snaps). I like this idea of using a diaper for (practically) her whole cloth diapering career, than having to switch to different sizes. I don't mind the bulkiness that this causes, and more importantly, Ruby doesn't seem to mind, either. 

I was also in the process of buying some BumGenius 3.0 pocket diapers, taking advantage of their awesome buy 5 get 1 free coupon, when they just announced the 3.0s will be discontinued and replaced with a new product, to be announced next week. I decided to still buy the 5 (and get 1 free) in case the new product isn't up my alley. Can't wait to find out what it is!

Now that I'm truly building my cloth diaper stash, I'm starting to use them more and more. During the trial I would go back and forth between the CDs (cloth diapers) and the disposables, because of having to do laundry, and fearing nighttime leaks.

But soon I'll be CDing 24/7, and will report back on how it's going!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Birth Story

WARNING: This is very detailed and gory. For all my family & friends who have no intentions of knowing the ins and outs of my bodily functions...I'd suggest you skip this one. Really. 

This is also long. But, when I was pregnant and my due date was approaching, I really enjoyed reading detailed birth stories, especially of natural births, which mine was. So, if just one pregnant woman reads this and finds it helpful, then great! 

Just to sum this up: although a bit gross and painful, I had an awesome labor and birth. My body pretty much decided to skip early labor, so it all hit hard and fast and lasted eight hours from first contraction to baby, the day before my due date. And so, here's Ruby's birth story...

My beautiful little girl, Ruby Florene, was born May 1st, 2010 at 7:54am. She weighed 8lbs 11.2oz and was 19 1/2” long.

Earlier in the day on April 30th I had some back pains, and was constantly looking for signs of impending labor. My biggest concern was that my water would break but I wouldn’t realize it (I’d heard it could be a gush, as it was when my mother went into labor with me, OR it could be a trickle… or it wouldn’t break at all!).

I stay up late, so I was still up in the night (around 2am), on the computer and watching TV. I went to the bathroom and suddenly felt bowel pressure. Nothing happened, but I had sudden cramps, and then peed, got up and then felt like I was peeing again. I remember wondering if that was my water breaking, and looking back, I guess it was!

I went back to my chair, got on the computer again and then had what I thought was a contraction. It was painful, but I think I thought I was overreacting or overanalyzing, and it was probably just gas or a cramp of some kind. I continued hanging out, waiting to see what would happen. I attempted to time the contractions, but couldn’t tell what was discomfort and what was a contraction until I had a second one – which was clearly a contraction, at about 2:35am.

I called my husband, Andy, at work. At this point I was sitting on the toilet, since that’s what a friend had told me was most comfortable for her when she was in labor, and when he got on I told him I wasn’t sure but I thought I was having contractions. But couldn’t tell how far apart they were or anything concrete. Of course, I didn’t want him to leave work unless it was for real… but who knew!? So, Andy said let’s see how I feel and call back in 20 minutes. That would make the time 3:10am. I agreed and hung up.

I was on the computer again when I was about due to call Andy at 3:10. At that moment I had a very intense, very clear contraction. I was in the middle of it right when Andy called me (since I hadn’t called him). I answered the phone huffing and puffing, saying I was having a contraction. He waited on the phone till it was over (I couldn’t talk) and we agreed he should come home.

I walked around and when I had a contraction (I was too antsy and in pain and a little out of my mind to be able to measure them on the computer, or on the stop watch on my cell phone) I’d double over and get on the toilet to relieve the pain. I tried to lie on the couch – I’d heard women say that when (early) labor started the best thing to do was lay down and get some rest. I couldn’t. I was in too much pain, pretty consistently (but not as bad as when the contractions hit).

I went upstairs to try to lay in bed till Andy got home. Nope! Still too painful! I went to our master bathroom and felt really nauseous. I ended up on my knees, heaving and vomiting into the toilet. Every time I heaved I peed on myself and the rug a little. Not a proud moment for me! I also noticed as I wiped myself with toilet paper that I was bleeding… what I assumed was the “bloody show”! Finally! A real sign of labor that you read about! (Um, aside from the very real contractions I was experiencing!!

Now that I had vomited and peed all over myself, I decided to take a shower. Everyone talks about how water is great and relieves the pain so much.

I got into the shower and it felt good. It helped, a lot. I got myself into a mental state, saying things like “the water is washing away the pain” and things like that. For a while I’ve been reading about the mind-body connection, and one reason I’d wanted to have a natural birth was to see how I could hold up to the challenge of the pain, as well as control the pain with my mind, and control my body. I’d read in Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth such ideas as using a mantra similar to “open up wide so this baby can come out” could truly dictate how your body would react during labor… so I was intrigued, and wanted to try all that out. Whether my mind’s control worked or not, the water made the labor feel much better.

I was having an intense contraction in the shower when Andy got home and walked in. I turned the shower off and made him look in the toilet at the blood and even what might have been the mucous plug (lovely!).

I got out of the shower and, while not doubled over in pain with contractions, I found something comfortable and okay to bleed on to wear to the hospital.

As Andy helped me down the stairs I had another contraction on the landing between the first and second floors, so I lay down on the landing and held on to a spindle on the railing, and decided to lay there for a few minutes. Andy brought me a pillow, and then that’s when the vomiting started up again. Andy brought me a bag and I threw up a couple times, then decided to go to the bathroom again. I know at some point I kneeled in front of the couch and put my head in my arms on the cushion, and our puppy jumped up (she clearly knew something crazy was going on!) and lay down next to my head. Sweet puppy.

I ended up in the bathroom again, this time with Andy there, who had been trying to time my contractions through all this, and had not found any rhyme nor reason to them - about every 1-5 minutes, lasting 30 seconds or so… usually they say don’t call unless you have contractions last 1 minute long, 4 minutes apart for an hour. I told him it didn’t matter, he should call the midwives to let them know. When the midwife called back, he told her what was going on and she said it sounded like we had a while to go, but did I want to go to the hospital now? I said yes, tell her yes!, because I couldn’t get comfortable at home. Maybe I could at the hospital.

He got off the phone, I had another contraction. We started to get ready to leave. I threw up a few more times, he put our bags into the car.

Then he put a towel on my seat and we finally were able to go! I was still out of my mind, with pain and just almost in a dreamstate. It wasn’t unpleasant, and it was kind of like being on drugs or something. It was surreal!

The roads were bumpy and looking back it doesn’t seem like the pain was as bad as it was in the house (though Andy says it seemed like it was, so I trust him more than my own memory!). As soon as we got about 5 minutes from the hospital, I started saying I felt like I wanted to push. The urge was really overwhelming, and looking at it now, I think I was pushing a bit. Thank goodness I didn’t push more!

We got to the hospital. We got up to the birthing center and the nurse took us to our room. I explained the only comfortable place for me during a contraction (and otherwise, it seemed) was the toilet. She said, okay, and let me get on the one in the room. I had a contraction and then moved to the bed. I got into the gown, got in bed and waited for the midwife to come check me out.

As soon as she checked my cervix her jaw just about dropped and she said, “ Okay, well, you’re there! This baby’s coming!” And I said, “Wait, the baby’s coming? So I can start pushing?” and she said, “You’re fully dilated and can start pushing anytime now! Wow! You must have had a dozen kids in another life to be ready so fast!”

And so I started pushing. This was at about 6:30 or 6:45am.

Now. I always thought I’d want to move around a lot and get in a bath during labor… I figured the most comfortable way I’d find to give birth would be on all fours…nope! I couldn’t imagine NOT just being on my back!

At first I was just flat on my back, with a nurse on one side, Andy on the other, and one leg in a stirrup while Andy held my other leg up, bent, which I was also holding onto when I had a contraction and was pushing. But then our midwife brought this bar over and attached it to the bed, and tied a sheet onto it in the middle, so that every time I needed to push I kind of “climbed” the sheet like a rope, bearing down. Both my feet were on either side of the bar.

It was awesome.

Also awesome was a big mirror that they brought over and placed next to my midwife, so that I could see everything happening, including the baby’s head starting to peek out! When her head peeked out the midwife said she had a lot of hair, and urged Andy and I to reach down and touch her head. We did – and it was amazing. Her head was so soft! I focused on that head, pushing through with every push, with every contraction… watching the mirror, watching my baby come into the world, I was completely fixed on that and just pushed and pushed and did what I was told, and really felt so very little pain, just some burning, but was so excited to push that baby out! Finally our midwife said, okay, this is the last push, both of you reach down and help bring this baby out! And we did! We reached down, and I pushed, and I watched that baby come right out of me! And it was amazing! My sweet Ruby was born then, at 7:54am on Saturday May 1st.

Ruby was placed on my chest right as she came out. I just held her – that’s all I remember. 

I had a second degree tear that got stitched up at this point, but I barely noticed anything, just the baby. We were skin to skin and I held that beautiful new little baby and although it’s all a blur, I’ll remember that amazing morning and that amazing baby, every minute of it, so clearly, forever.

The New Normal

Ruby is one month old today!

We are starting to get back to what I consider a "new normal"... it kind of looks like our old life, but, you know, it's different. There's a lot less sleep involved, and more planning around a baby's eating schedule.

Also, we get way more excited about poo than we ever did before.

We've been venturing out and running lots of errands and doing some shopping here and there in the area.

One visit we made was to A Child's Garden in Northampton for the babywearing drop-in hours (Wednesdays 4-6pm), to learn how to properly use our Moby wrap.

It was great! Meg Eisenhauer Barry, the Babywearing Educator, explained everything and showed us how to use our wrap, and we are completely set. And in love with it! What a great service this store offers.

We have so many other stops to make... I've got my eye on multiple groups at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, like Beyond Birth and their weekly Breastfeeding Clinic, as well as various baby and Mama (and Papa!) classes and meetup groups in the area.

Aside from baby stuff, we also have to get started on gardening... we are desperate to plant our own vegetable garden, so we need to research and start that ASAP. In the meantime, we begin our weekly pickups at Mountain View Farm CSA tomorrow, so that's a new and exciting experience for us, too!

Finally, we are looking forward to my in-laws, Ruby's grandparents, coming from the Czech Republic next week... they are staying with us for 3 months! Wow! We're very excited, as we get along splendidly, and I'm sure it will be a blast since I'll have help, and they'll spend the time with their first grandchild.

Off to run more errands now...

Monday, May 10, 2010


Ruby Florene, born May 1, 2010, 7:54am. 8lbs 11.2oz 19 1/2".
Completely au naturale!

Birth story and details to follow...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Time Has Come! - GO!

Being 8 days from my due date, and feeling that I'll go into labor earlier (with everyone I know telling me so, too!) I've found myself envisioning how it will all go down.

Pretty much like this, I think: click here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nursery Paint Colors

I'm so sorry!

It came to my attention that I neglected to mention the paint colors used in our nursery. They are both Behr (available at Home Depot). The green is "Grass Cloth" and the blue is "Clear Water."

Hope that helps anyone who is wondering!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Nursery Sites That Inspire

Ooh, exciting! - there are now a couple pictures of our girl's nursery on the Baby Room Bio site, in the "Girl Rooms / Not so pink" category. Check it out!

When we first found out we were expecting a baby we immediately started speculating how we would decorate the nursery.

We knew what room it would be (the smallest of our three bedrooms), but we also knew that if we have another baby in the next couple years (we hope to), we'd like to move the "children's" room to our larger, current official guest room. The two kids would then share that room and the small - er, intimate - room would become our guest room.

So, although we wanted to decorate the nursery in some great and creative way, we also appreciated the idea that we'd eventually be able to move the nursery aspect to another room. Therefore we opted not to do any fancy or baby-oriented wall painting or semi-permanent decorations.

While searching for inspiration for all aspects of the nursery, I discovered the Baby Room Bio site, which features all kinds of nursery pictures with great ideas. I also love how there are specific categories like "Closets," "Vintage," "Glam Girl" and so many more. It was an amazingly helpful site!

Some other great sites for nursery inspiration are:
Spearmint Baby
Project Nursery

Have fun getting inspired or just being impressed by all the great ideas!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Finished Nursery!!

Our nursery is done (for the most part)!
And only 28 days till D-day. (B-day?)

We started the nursery when we didn't know if we were having a girl or boy (it's a girl if you're just tuning in).

Our goal was to have a nursery that was colorful and a great place for a child's imagination to grow. That's it, and I think we did a pretty good job!

The two things we still need are some kind of letters or sign that says our baby's name, which will go over her crib (on the blue wall), and the mobile that we are planning on getting (one of those "stim mobiles" like the one seen here).

These two pictures are of many. To see all the detailed pictures, complete with descriptions, click here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Childbirth Classes

A while back we signed up for our Childbirth classes at Cooley Dickinson hospital.

We decided to go for Childbirth 101, Breastfeeding Basics, Understanding Newborn Behavior, and Nuts and Bolts of Babies. Because of scheduling conflicts we signed up to take the Childbirth 101 class over the course of 4 weeks (as opposed to the one time, all day Saturday class), and the rest of the classes will take place all on one Saturday (next Saturday, in fact!).

The Childbirth 101 class was set to begin March 7th but the week before it began we got a call that it was canceled! Due to not enough people signing up! Yuck!

So we switched to the April class instead. Which is lovely. Except it's all a month later than we'd planned, and goes right up to my due date. I'm hoping we'll still get all we need from the class (as in, I won't deliver 3 weeks before my due date!). Of course, I've heard that sometimes these classes aren't really necessary if you've done enough reading, which God knows, I have.

Now we wait, as time passes by. And it's moving quickly - tomorrow is 34 weeks for me! 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

32 Weeks, Baby Showers & Partner Massage

Yay for being 32 weeks and 5 days pregnant!

Thoughts for this week:
- Holy Cow are we getting close!

- My shower is in two days. I'll see great old friends (some of whom I haven't seen in nine years or more, since before my wedding!) who are all fabulous women with whom I can't wait to share my ginormous belly.

- I've got a new bottle of Purex Free & Clear just waiting for me to start my many, many loads of laundry once we return home from the shower. This detergent is supposed to be great for baby clothes, cloth diapers AND our adult clothes. (And it's affordable!) This also makes me happy that we're not falling for any ad campaigns that only one detergent can be used for baby stuff (you know which one I'm talking about!).

- After hearing raves from several other couples about a Partner Massage class for labor (not sure of the official name of this class) at Cradle in Northampton, AND after Andy saying he'd actually be interested in taking this class, I am desperately looking to find the next one scheduled. I don't see any on the calendar, so I'll stop by and ask. There must be one before May 2nd (my due date!)!

That's all on this pregnancy front, for now. Here's looking forward to 33 weeks!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Living Simply

Because I'm an internet junkie, my Google Reader is filled with subscriptions to all kinds of blogs and websites about cooking, parenting, cloth diapering, decorating...and of course the necessities like Look at this F*cking Hipster and Awkward Family Photos.

One of my more recent discoveries is a site called Simple Mom. I've only just started reading through it, but I wanted to share today's post about raising a child to live simply.

If you are like me, you want to raise a child who is grateful and kind. You might also live in a house that's not huge, so the possibility of the baby/toddler/child acquiring so much stuff is daunting.

This post is full of some lovely ideas that seem, well, simple, to incorporate into my habits while raising our child(ren). I hope you find it helpful, too!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Displaying the Name

My days are now occupied with just about three things: work, researching and registering, and enjoying the kicks and movement of a very active baby.

As I go through these days I'm both physically and mentally acquiring ideas and decorations for the nursery. One that is on my mind quite a bit is how to display our daughter's name.

The obvious choice is to hang those wooden letters on the wall, each probably hanging by a nice ribbon tied in a bow on top. But I just feel like that's done so often... I'd love to do something else.

Perhaps I should paint her name on a sign to hang... But I wonder if it would look a little too messy/homemade. Hmm.

I'm curious what other people have done. Anything a little unique, or different in some way? Please share!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cloth Diapering - Part II

After looking around at some cloth diapering resources here in Western Massachusetts - specifically in the Pioneer Valley - I found A Child's Garden in Northampton.

I haven't been there yet, but my understanding of A Child's Garden is that it is a toy store as well as a wonderful resource for parents in the area, as they offer workshops on a variety of parenting topics such as Breastfeeding, Babywearing and - yep, you guessed it! - Cloth Diapering!

They are also one of the few retailers in this area of bumGenius diapers and products, a company of which I am just hearing more and more wonderful things as I continue to research this whole thing.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cloth Diapering

I find myself on the message boards of probably WAY more often than I should be, reading other people's concerns, questions and practices that I may not know much about, being the preparing-to-be-a-first-time-mom that I am.

Doing this often leads to hours of my looking up random topics, reading about them, learning more about them, which inevitably leads to learning about a related topic, and so I branch out my research further. . . and so on and so forth. For hours.

You get the picture. You know what I mean. You do it, too, right?

Anyway, in doing this I've developed a new obsession - or, um, baby-related matter - to focus on this week, to learn about. . . learning as much as I can now so I'm prepared when this whole thing baby thing becomes a reality.

New obsession: Cloth Diapering. (You couldn't tell from the title of this post, right?)

I've thought fleetingly about Cloth Diapering ("CD" from this point on) here and there since considering getting pregnant long ago. And figured I'd probably go the disposable route, because it's considered easier.

But now that it's all becoming real, I found myself really wanting to consider cloth diapers as an option, especially since they've come a long way in recent years, and I am trying to really limit our wastefulness in general. And saving money sounds good, which can definitely be done if using CD the right way.

I'm getting ahead of myself. I don't really know what I'm talking about. Yet.
But I've got big plans to do lots of research to find out what's out there, what the costs are, who to use, etc.

What I will do now, though, is share some links to some sites that offer what looks to be amazing and thorough information about CD, that some wonderful women on the bump have shared with me.

Perhaps you're in the same boat - wondering if you should consider CD, or already decided but would like some resources. Whatever your reason - here they are!

Cloth Diapering Blog
The Eco Friendly Family
Pinstripes and Polkadots
Jillian's Drawers
Green Mountain Diapers
Bum Genius (this brand seems to have a good following on thebump)
And something I'm VERY excited about: a $10 trial on Newborn Cloth Diaper items.

If you know something about Cloth Diapers, know a good site or tip, or just want to say hello, please leave a comment!

2010 Already?

I can't believe that it's already three days into the New Year. Amazing.

Got a feeling 2010 is gonna be a good year.
(Bonus points if you catch my reference here!)

I have been feeling our little one more and more - the swirling and twirling is getting much stronger now.

On New Year's Eve I had an ultrasound to finish up some measurements that weren't caught last time due to the baby's position, and we got to see our little girl yawn (twice!), suck her thumb, curl into a ball AND kick me - which I felt! That was the first time I'd felt her kick and it was very exciting. Since then I've not felt her "officially" kick, but instead have felt a hybrid twirl/kick, so I know we're getting there.

In the last days of 2009 we managed to get ourselves over to Ikea and pick up our Hemnes dresser which will double as a changing table in the nursery. We also got a couple fun accessories for the room, like a rug, some baskets and and more. We also did some painting, and put the crib together. I'll post pictures once the nursery is done, which won't be for quite a while since we're not rushing anything right now.

Now that we're getting well and good into 2010, I am just now finding myself considering the coming year, and have begun developing a List of Goals for this year. Not resolutions, but a To Do list, really, for the year. Random things I want to make sure happen.

For example, I want to make sure we make Sun Tea.

I'm considering breaking the list down by season. We'll see.

What are your goals/resolutions/challenges for the year? Is the first to become a follower of this blog? It's easy, do it now and feel accomplished for the day!

Happy New Year!