Sexy, Savvy, Natural Mama

a blog space for pregnant ladies, new moms, feminists, and interested souls

Mom Savvy is on Babymoon! May 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hokoonchi @ 10:54 pm

For the next week, I’ll be on vacation at the beach! Fabulous, I know. I’m going to be writing some all new posts, but while I’m there I’ll be internet free and concentrating on sleeping in, eating out, and getting some sun.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend! I know I’ll enjoy my week!

 

How Did I Get Myself So … Pregnant? May 28, 2010

Filed under: fertility,pregnancy — hokoonchi @ 1:08 am
Tags: , , ,

I guess we all know by now how the human body works, at least more or less. And I suppose you can guess exactly what I was doing over Christmas break that got me into this situation. I guess it should make sense to me, but I am still baffled that from two people can come three, and that it all worked so quickly and so well. I am flabbergasted at nature, in all of its strange and swelling glory.

Honestly, I had intended to get pregnant around March. That would put me on maternity leave right at my two-year anniversary with my company. This would give me some sweeter maternity leave, but oh well, that didn’t happen. You see, I didn’t think I would get pregnant so quickly. It took my mom five years of trying, and she suffered from miscarriages before anything actually stuck. I had prepared myself so well for failure that I didn’t even believe it when that second line popped up on the pee stick.

I figured I would share some of the things that really helped me get to this delicate state.

Do buy:

The iPeriod app for your iphone. I’m sure there are similar apps for other smart phones, and probably some great tracking devices or calendars that link up with your email or some such. Either way, track your period — and it works best to do it not just on paper but on a tracking device hooked up to the magical calculators on the internet that figure out, month by month, when you are most fertile. iPeriod works by having you enter the beginning and end of your cycle over several months. After several months, it really begins to figure out exactly what times you’ll be fertile. As you may have figured, this is fabulous for those trying to get pregnant, and those who are trying to avoid getting pregnant. When you enter your period start and end date, it calculates your fertile days for the next month. It shows when you are kinda fertile, and most fertile, and not fertile. It looks something like this:

iPeriod Calendar

iPeriod Calendar

It’s pretty awesome. The red dot days are your recorded period days, and the light green days are the days leading up to ovulation (potentially fertile), and the greenest day is your exact day of ovulation.

For those of you familiar with the Fertility Awareness Method, this is a kind of dumbed down version of that. It takes out the temperature tracking and so forth, and figures it out for you. That said, it’s probably not as effective as tracking all of your detailed information and watching your temp on a daily basis. But it’s way less annoying!

It seemed to be pretty accurate for me. My cycle got way irregular when I got off BC, and this, after a couple of months, started to predict my period quite accurately … and thus, my fertile days. I am a fan.

The benefit to having this type of calendar on your phone is that you can fill out your days when you’re standing in line at the grocery store, you can check to remind yourself when you are ovulating, and you can calibrate it against any other tracking devices you might have. This particular app also comes with a discreet icon that doesn’t say PERIOD all over it.

I would recommend it to any lady trying to get pregnant, trying to track her period, or using natural cycle birth control. It’s a good idea all the way around. And you can’t beat the price: 99 cents.

Taking Charge of Your Fertility …

So I mentioned the Fertility Awareness Method. What’s that? Well, some of you may know, but I can say that I didn’t at all before I started trying to get pregnant. As it turns out, no one really educates us ladies on what goes on with our bodies during a cycle, and no one really tells us about HOW the body actually manages to get pregnant and stay that way. So, duh, we all know that a sperm fertilizes an egg. But, as it turns out, this doesn’t happen randomly. And it can’t happen at just any old time of the month. Now that seems so simple to me, but before, it wasn’t something I thought about in great detail.

So, if you are interested in fertility tracking, either to get pregnant or to stay not pregnant, I recommend buying Taking Charge of Your Fertility from Amazon. It shows you how to chart your fertility, talks about body temperature and its correlation, and tells you how the body works to get pregnant. I read it from cover to cover. I never really tracked my fertility like it told me to, but I’m so glad I knew all of the info. It worked so well with my dumbed down iphone app, and I didn’t have to do much thinking about it. I won’t get into the gory details on how to tell when you are fertile, but I’ll just say it’s something they do NOT teach you in health class, and it’s not something your mom is going to sit down and tell you about.

I will say that you have to be comfortable with the ins and outs of your body in order to track your fertility effectively. You just can’t be squeamish, and you have to learn how to read the signs that your body is giving you. There’s a lot of talk about … body stuff … and you gotta roll with it.

That said, the information is indispensable.

And we got pregnant two months after we started trying.

For those women who find it more difficult to get pregnant, the FAM method will help you figure out what’s going on. There are several chapters on how to figure that stuff out, and how to proceed. As I said, the information is indispensable.

So, that’s how I got myself into this situation, and I’m glad I educated myself beforehand. Good luck!

 

Anxiety: 23(ish) Weeks May 26, 2010

Filed under: motherhood,pregnancy — hokoonchi @ 2:19 am
Tags: , , ,

I haven’t written a post about my emotions in a little while. It’s probably because I have so many. My iphone app tells me this is normal, so I am reassured. Apparently, pregnancy causes mood swings (total shocker), and my partner needs to be supportive. I told my partner this information from the iPregnancy app, and he was unsure of how to support my mood swings. I told him I was unsure as well. They don’t give you information on that part. You have to make it up as you go along.

I think this is something pregnant ladies don’t talk about that much. I think there’s a lot of shame surrounding the inevitable anxiety that comes with creating a human life, and as such there’s not a community of support when you’re feeling down. It’s a very lonely thing, sometimes, being pregnant. There aren’t always a lot of other pregnant ladies to commune with. When you find a community of ladies with bellies, in your prenatal yoga or Bradley Method class, they may not know you all that well, and they’re not going to say, “Hey, I’ve been feeling down, how about you?” It’s just not something you bring up in polite company.

All that you hear about pregnancy is that it’s this totally miraculous time, and you only see women being happy about it. All of my friends who have experienced it have seemed overwhelmed with joy, eager to meet their babies and transition into a peaceful motherhood. It seems abnormal when people don’t act this way, and such women are automatically stigmatized.

I myself had been expecting stable happiness, particularly after the nausea and fatigue of my first trimester. This is what the books and the websites tell you to expect. Happiness, peace, calmness, less pain and fatigue, breasts not as sore, glowing skin and lustrous hair. So they say of the second trimester.

In my experience, I’ve had a somewhat different second trimester. In the scheme of things, I know my pregnancy has been low-risk and uncomplicated, but seriously, I’ve still got some crazy shit going on. I don’t glow. If I glow, it’s because of the copious amounts of oil I’m producing. If I glow, it’s because I’m sweating. If I glow, it’s because of the pain of my flat feet mushing down into my shoes. I also have back pain, heart burn, leg cramps … and my brain doesn’t wake up until about 11AM. This crap is normal, to be expected. It isn’t what you hear about in the common folklore, but upon digging in the books, you find that it can happen, and it does. And it doesn’t help with the emotional side of things …

To top off these physical changes, I am stressed. I am joyous, certainly, and I love to feel my baby move and contemplate his arrival. But I am stressed. I am tired. Most of the time, I walk about in a state of thinly veiled anxiety that can transition into tearful states. I get worried about finances, about if I’ll be a good mom, about if I’ll be able to care for my baby in the ways he needs, and about whether he’ll love me. I’ve even gone off about whether he’ll call me when he’s in college (I didn’t start calling my mom regularly until after I graduated. Whoops.). Recently, I can’t seem to calm down. It’s gotten hard for me to sleep during the week — when you combine the stress of teaching with the stress of growing a human, it gets hard to have calming, restful sleep. It’s hard for me to focus. It’s hard for me to sometimes complete a sentence. Sometimes, I am plagued by the strange sensation that I want something desperately, but have no clue what it is. It’s a feeling akin to thirst, but it’s an emotional thirst that I can’t readily identify. This feeling? They don’t tell you about that.

How does one cope? How do I cope when I fear so badly that this may transition into postpartum depression? How do I cope when I know I’ve struggled with depression for ten years, and dammit, I don’t want to go to that place during this amazing time.

I have to say, my writing helps me. It unwinds me. It centers me, and it makes me feel whole. I’m also blessed to have a kind and hilarious husband who knows me and guides me, friends who listen to me vent, and coworkers who are my second family. It helps me to stay organized, do my research and make decisions. It helps me to talk to my mother who said, “Oh Cami, I felt all of the same ways, and you’re the best thing that I ever did. Once you got here, all of those feelings went away.” Practically, yoga helps. (My teacher is way awesome.) And prenatal massage doesn’t hurt either. (Get one.)

In writing about this worry and anxiety, and I’m giving it a name. I’m facing it head on, educating myself, and allowing myself to feel all of the things I need to feel. I’m owning up to it, and I’m admitting that I’m not going to be perfect. I’m preparing myself for motherhood in the best ways that I know how, and on the days when I feel like I’ll never be able to do it, I try to take a deep breath and tell myself that I’m not alone. I have great resources of strength upon which to draw, and great love to give and receive. I might never get rid of the anxiety and strange feelings, but I can vow to not let them control me, even on the worst of days.

Perhaps this is my body and brain’s own way of preparing me for the anxieties of motherhood. If I learn how to master it now, nip it in its ugly bud, then I may be able to better manage a screaming child and a dinner that never gets made. I may be able to handle an unexpected illness, or a sudden dip in financial resources, or a son who refuses to eat his vegetables. Maybe my anxiety now is a key to my calmness later. Or simply — what if I choose to view it this way? Could I then turn my mastery of it into a tool in my arsenal of motherhood?

I choose this path. I will overcome my worries and my physical pains. I am a strong, beautiful woman. I will own this and integrate this, and conquer it. This is my San Culpa: I can do anything. I will not be defeated.

 

Ebay is Your Friend May 23, 2010

Filed under: motherhood,pregnancy,Products — hokoonchi @ 3:03 pm

Well, I just purchased something else off of Ebay. I started using Ebay back in 2007 when I discovered that you could try on a pair of 90 dollar Merrells in the store and buy them on Ebay for 40 bucks. A lot of my shoes have come from the land of Ebay. My favorite shoe purchase? A pair of $130 Corso Como wedges for $50. I’ve also found that you can get a lot of rare and out-of-stock items on Ebay. That’s where I’ve purchased a lot of my Amy Butler fabrics. They just don’t sell those at Jo Ann Fabric. But on Ebay? You bet.

As you might have expected, I’ve been perusing Ebay since I got into this delicate situation. I haven’t bought but two items: one a couple of weeks ago, and one today. I’ll have to say I’m MOST excited about the previous purchase: a pair of Joe’s Jeans maternity jeans that cost $220 at A Pea in the Pod for $70 (pictures to follow soon). They were even professionally hemmed for a lady just my height! (Tip: Try on expensive items like these in the store to make sure of fit, write down the size and cut, and search for them on Ebay. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and sometimes you will not. Never hurts to look.) Now I look all fly and sexy and EXPENSIVE when I walk down the street showing off my lovely baby bump. Hellz yeah.

Anyway, what did I buy today? I bought a fabulous …

Arm's Reach Mini Co-Sleeper

Arm's Reach Mini Co-Sleeper

Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper! I had decided a long time ago that I don’t want to put Sam directly into his nursery when I get home from the hospital. I really want to have him in the room with me for a few months so that I can nurse him from the bed when we wake up in the middle of the night. I had considered co-sleeping devices that have him IN the bed, but I know myself, and I know that I would never sleep thinking that I would roll over on him. This seems like a decent answer.
As with ANYTHING I buy on Ebay, I have done extensive research on this item. I visited it in the store, I read the chapter on co-sleepers in Baby Bargains, and I’ve read all the sixty million reviews of it on Amazon. I decided to buy a mini (as opposed to the original, which is twice as big but converts to a play yard), because our bedroom is way small. I then faithfully compared prices between Amazon and Ebay, and finally found a Buy it Now option with a strong return policy, and I took the plunge.
I know the pros, and I know the cons. This thing isn’t made of sustainable hardwood, nor does it look terribly sturdy. However, it’s the only real, consistently reliable, freestanding co-sleeper on the market. This baffles me. I mean, I guess a lot of people use cradles or pack ‘n plays for this purpose, but those products don’t allow for your baby to be right next to you, and they don’t really promote in-bed nursing. With the co-sleeper, you don’t have to get up (which fits my lazy, bed-loving personality). With cradles or bassinets, you gotta haul your sleep-deprived, healing ass out of bed and get the baby, and then go sit down somewhere. Lame. So, even though, as Eric said, “it looks like you could build that thing out of PVC,” this seems to be the best option, and it gets consistently high ratings in terms of safety and effectiveness.
But, hell to the naw, I wasn’t going to buy this thing new for $140 or $150. So I got it on Ebay for $90, and $10 shipping, with two sets of co-sleeper sheets included. Not that much difference, but forty dollars will get me something else I need for my baby. Right? Right. And on babiesrus.com, it doesn’t come with sheets. So there. Fabulous.
And I bet I can resell it on Craigslist.
So, ladies and gents, tip of the day: shop smart. Do your research before buying anything on Ebay, check out all the reviews you can read, decide what you really want to do, and make sure the seller is highly rated and has a return policy. This is how you can buy some stuff for your baby without paying full price. And that’s how I like to roll.
 

New Rug Idea May 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hokoonchi @ 11:52 pm

What do you think? I’m really thinking it’s super cute … even though it’s not round like I thought I wanted. It’s by ABC rugs … love the design.

Lil Mo Whimsy Rug

Lil Mo Whimsy Rug

 

Upon the Arduous Task of Selecting an Appropriate Maternity Swimsuit May 19, 2010

Filed under: pregnancy,Products — hokoonchi @ 11:58 pm

In about ten days, I’m going on my “baby-moon” … Eric and I are going to my aunt’s beach house in Manteo, NC. I love that house. I love the Outer Banks. I love waking up and looking out at the sound, driving over to the beach and walking along through the sand for hours, eating at my favorite seafood restaurant there, going to see an out of date movie at the quaint, local theater. A problem: my swimsuit, purchased for our honeymoon, no longer fits. And don’t even mention my old bikinis from H&M. I put them away at eight weeks.

I spent most of April concerning myself with where to find a swimsuit. Let me first say, before diving into my complaints about the selection of maternity suits, that I have always hated tankinis, which seem to be the only thing available for pregnant ladies. Or most of what’s available. I don’t like tankinis because they look weird on me. I like a properly designed bikini with a halter top, or a retro one-piece. That’s what I’ve had til now. These things don’t really exist in maternity swimwear.

What does exist? This:

Maternal America Bikini

Maternal America Bikini

Um, what? I really have no words for this swimsuit. I came across it in my search because I have loved my Maternal America jeans, and I know the brand to be high quality. But, you guys, seriously? I’ve met maybe one or two pregnant ladies ever who could pull off this look. And let’s just talk about … stretch marks. Mine are faded thanks to my constant attention, but there they are. Lookin all stretchy. Let’s talk about how I kind of always feel like my pants are falling off nowadays, and how that would most certainly extend to those itsy bitsy bikini bottoms. I can’t tell you how … inappropriate … I would look in this. Oh my heavens. Well, this woman clearly looks pretty hot, but I’m not sure hot is what I’m going for in pregnancy. I’m going for … comfortable. And mostly appropriate looking. That’s the best I can pull off right now, and I think that’s how a lot of women feel.

Needless to say, I haven’t tried on a whole bunch of bikinis. I did try on a bunch of other stuff, and looked at a lot more of it on Amazon.

I tried on Target swimsuits — the basic black, Liz Lange stuff. I didn’t like the material … cheapy and clingy and bunched up in the wrong places. Did I mention how I look weird in tankinis? Well, yeah. I still do, even with a pregnant belly. How surprising. The huge benefit to the Target suits are that they are cheap. Very alluring. However, I don’t imagine them holding up that well for the lady who is pregnant all summer and who loves traipsing about in the sound and the surf.

Having experienced the ill fitting-ness of Target, and their itty bitty bottoms (a trend in maternity swimwear), I ordered a suit for large busted ladies in size XL. Here it is:

Pea in the Pod Tankini

Pea in the Pod Tankini

This looks really cute online, but don’t let the cute print fool you. Even though it’s an expensive, nice tankini from Pea in the Pod, the material feels cheap and the print is ugly in person. Even though my size is ostensibly XL from the chart online, the suit sagged everywhere and looked like a potato sack. It was not flattering in the least. I thought from the pictures online that it looked like a one piece, which appealed to me. Not on my person. It looked horrible. Good thing Pea in the Pod accepts returns from online.

So I made my journey to Pentagon City, suit in hand. I must have tried on every swimsuit they had. Though they are a lovely store with lots of great stuff, they lack a tremendous selection, and most of their stock are tankinis. Correction: most of their stock are tankinis with itty bitty bottoms that felt as if they were falling off of my butt. Not cool. Real pregnant ladies don’t need “large” bottoms that are really small, nor do they need stringy little tops that don’t support their expanding, sore bosoms. Call me crazy, but that’s how I feel.

After trying on about fifteen suits, I finally found one that I really like. And wow, I like it. It has roomy bottoms, the size is true (large fits, top and bottom, who woulda thought), and the top is a lovely retro style halter. I also find the color flattering, the material thick and soft, and the fit more than satisfactory. If I were a true journalist, I would snap a photo of myself in it, to report on its loveliness, but for one, I’m lazy, and for two, I’m self conscious. Just trust me. It looks pretty flippin sweet. Yep, it was a small fortune, but I am so totally loving it, and I’m going to get as much wear as possible out of it. I have already discovered that it feels fabulous to be floaty in the water while in my delicate state, so I’m going to seek out a pool as often as possible.

Check it out:

The Winning Tankini

The Winning Tankini

So cute. Might even have me sold on tankinis. The bottoms are full coverage, even if you can’t see them here! Oh heavenly.

What have I learned from this experience?

1. Try suits on in person, and don’t order something online, even if it looks super cute.

2. Check out a couple of different stores, one cheapy and one more expensive. Compare quality and styles.

3. Stay open to tankinis … that’s all that there is. And the one pieces look really crappy on.

4. Be persistent! You’ll find something.

… And that’s all for now!

 

My Dream Nursery May 18, 2010

Filed under: motherhood,Products,projects — hokoonchi @ 9:08 pm

Now that I’ve finished painting, I’m all about the decorating. You’ve already seen the swanky crib we got, but what about the other stuff? I’m amassing a list of all the things I would love to have … and you know, I’ll work on being flexible. But we all have our ideals, don’t we?

Crib Bedding

Crib Bedding from Rocky Top Designs

Let’s start with crib bedding. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m not a big fan of the pre-packaged stuff from Pottery Barn or Babies R Us. I got the idea from Offbeat Mama to look on Etsy. There are a ton of people out there with better sewing skills than I, and those folk sew up some awesome bedding. I may try my hand at it (I have the pattern in my Little Stitches for Little Ones book). But let’s be honest … that might not happen in three months. That crap looks complicated.

I found this gorgeous set on Etsy. It’s from Rocky Top Designs, and it is pretty awesome. I love the cute little guitars, and that design pairs well with the yellow polka dots. Matches my color scheme, and in the picture it’s even paired with a green-painted wall! Yes, it’s expensive compared to the pre-packaged stuff. But, it might be a must have …

Adorable Owl Mobile

Adorable Owl Mobile

This is definitely a pretty adorable owl mobile. It’s handmade from Pink Perch’s Etsy shop. I might have an affinity for Etsy. Yes, I just might. So it’s super cute, goes great with my planned nature theme (I guess the guitars don’t, but there’s a lot of other fabrics to choose from), and it’s handmade and eco-friendly. The bummer, again, is the price. At $88, it’s a little steep. Is it worth it? I know I’m going to have to make some decisions here … but check out those cute little faces! And it goes great with an item I just purchased¬† …

Tree Decal

Tree Decal

This tree decal is again, from Etsy.¬† It’s from Decor Designs and you can get it in whatever color you like! I got mine in brown (as it is in the picture) with dark green leaves. Should look beautiful!

Like any woman of a certain age (any age?), I want a few things from Anthropologie. Yes, I know. I’m racking up the expensive price tag already. But how amazing is this rug?

Dream Menagerie Rug

Dream Menagerie Rug

I already know I’m probably going to have to settle for something else. This bad boy would set me back $300, which is the upper price limit for a nursery rug that will get spit up and paw prints all over it. I am in love with it though. Look at all the little animals! I would love to have this for Sam, and for me … It’s so dreamy, so pretty, and would work for years to come. Unfortch, it’s not available for purchase in the 5-foot round version until August. And geez, I’d really like to have everything squared away before then. If you see anything that is equivalent, please let me know! I’m looking for something equally lovely and bright, preferably with an animal motif. I also like the roundness of it. Seems to me like it would look very nice in the middle of a square room. Something round … to bring it all together. Sigh.

And of course, I found curtains on Anthro that would complement it perfectly, or at least I think so … in my limited design experience. Check it out:

Lilting Leaves Curtains

Liliting Leaves Curtains

There’s something so whimsical about a lot of Anthropologie’s home decor items, making them perfect for a child’s room. Now, I’m like, REALLY not going to spend $268 a panel on these, but I might try to find a similar fabric and make them myself. After all, a curtain is just a rod pocket and a hem right? Maybe? Huh? I know my curtains won’t look as good as these guys do, but they might be fairly nice. And I know they’ll be a little less expensive. I bet there’s even free curtain patterns online …

Anyway, these are the Lilting Leaves Curtains if you are interested. Love them. Too expensive! But it’s my dream, so maybe if I win the lottery …

But, Camilla, what about furniture? Don’t you need a dresser or something?

I guess. But I’d rather have curtains!

I’m actually not too big on the dresser thing … I saw them at Buy Buy Baby, and they look like … dressers. Just any old dresser. So, I figure I’ll get a way cheaper one somewhere else – used or on Amazon or Overstock, and I’ll turn that into a changing table and dresser for the little one. He won’t even know it’s there! He’ll be too busy looking at the mobile!

I did pick these guys out for furniture …

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