Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Husband's feelings on a homebirth

I've been reading up on this a lot. Not nearly as much as Cait, of course, but still a fair amount. And I've gone from trusting Cait to make the right decision to believing for myself that for a low-risk pregnancy like Cait, a homebirth is a great option, perhaps even a better option, depending on the disposition of the mother. I think for Cait it is perfect. Of course it all comes down to what is best for the mother. There are women out there who need the sterile and controlled environment of the hospital to feel safe and secure. And there are plenty of great OBGYNs out there who will help them to have a great birth. But all things being equal, I would avoid a hospital. The most compelling argument for a home birth is:

There's nothing wrong with a pregnant woman.

Doctors are used to working with people with something wrong with them and for a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Doctors are trained to diagnose illness and disease and get rid of it, neither of which accompany a majority of births. Doctors are there to deal with emergencies or serious problems, for normal births a well-trained midwife is the way to go, in my opinion. No matter how liberal a hospital is, they are going to have guidelines about how long a woman can labor, when to induce and when to go for a c-section. And for a hospital concerned about lawsuits, like every hospital is, those standards are going to be enforced way more strictly than is necessary. There are vested interests in taking the control of the pregnancy away from the woman, where it belongs. A birth should be an empowering, miraculous experience, and hospitals tend to get in the way of that. There are plenty of exceptions of course, but I believe every effort should be made to take the control out of the hands of the doctors and put it in the hands of a woman, with a trusty and experienced midwife at her side.

I won't go on too much longer, because Cait has written plenty about this, but I'm sure one or two people out there are wondering how I feel about things.

Here's a funny video to sum up:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Health care equality and snipers... dun dun dun

I think health care is a human right. I think our system is lousy and unsustainable. Not to mention unfair. So when I got an invitation to attend a rally calling for health care for all, of course we went.

This picture cracks me up. Tim is mocking Edward. Sorry Lee, but that position is awkwardly sexual. Who normally poses like that?

There were some motivational speakers:

Then on the way home, we saw this:

Snipers just chilling on the roof of the White House. They were having an event on the White House lawn. I thought it was pretty cool...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why my family owes Barack Obama

If Barack Obama came to our house, we should probably all give him a hug. First because he's a good guy and second because he's helping my dad stay in work. To explain:

So I've been worried for a while about my dad losing his job for a while. Not for any reason in particular. There were certainly no specific signs to indicate that this would happen apart from the general economic downturn and a vague idea that Browning Arms had slowly been losing work over the past few years, even though I wasn't at all sure of the latter idea. I know that Browning definitely has its niche in the gun market. Especially in Argentina, where all the police officers used (and as far as I know use) Browning pistols. Luckily I have been more than reassured by stories such as this and this. I don't know a whole lot about the stock market, but with my limited knowledge, I could not find any information on Browning Stock. I have a pretty good hunch, however that it is doing well, at least compared to most stocks out there. Arms sales are definitely not recession proof, but they might be recession-during-a-democratic-presidency proof.

So thanks, President Obama, for inspiring fear in the hearts of many gun owners and keeping my dad in a job.

PS I'm sorry if this article hurts anyone if my dad does end up losing his job. Trust me, I'll feel bad. I would knock on wood if I were superstitious. Good thing I'm not.

PSS I am for gun control, generally, but I'm more for having my dad having a job (within reason, of course [if the government started up a policy of selling Browning guns to terrorists in the United States I would favor gun control over my dads job; also I want gun control to be implemented within reason and pragmatically]). Just thought I would clear that up.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's-to-be Day to you.

Dear Tim,

Remember the ultrasound when you found out you were having a son? I was still in shock and you were glowing in pride and joy like I've never seen before. I'm glad we're having a boy, for many reasons, but most of all because you are so excited to have one. It's going to be a fun journey, and I can't wait.

Not to mention you are really great with kids and such already, so I can only imagine what a stellar dad you are going to be. Teaching Primary has been quite an adventure, but the little boys in our class adore you and it's so funny watching you interact with them. I can't wait to watch you hold and talk to our son. I know it'll be my favorite sight in a few months... and I'm really looking forward to waking up next to you and our little baby every morning (and throughout the night as well).

I love that you are already reading up on baby birthing and preparing yourself to be a huge support to me. You are quite an impressive guy! You probably know more about birth now than most women. Which in my opinion, totally rocks. Thanks for always listening to me, and sharing your knowledge of different subjects with me too. I'm really proud of you for involving yourself in this process like you are.

Tim, most of all, I'm lucky to have you in my life and by my side, and look forward to the coming years of parenting and raising a family with you. It's going to be SO COOL.

Love you!!


PS. Hope you enjoyed your present. Due to previous outrage about my mother's day gift, I won't discuss it on the blog :)

Night out on the town

Dear World,

We've had a lot of trouble getting out to see stuff lately, mainly we're just tired, with my work and Cait's internship and pregnancy and us walking around a bunch. But last night we went out to Alexandria to hang out with my sister Devany and her love interest. I wont talk about him on our blog, because she hasn't talked about him on hers and I will permit no spying on our blog for information on others. Anyway, it was a pretty cool part of the area. Look at Caitlin strutting her stuff.

We walked around a bunch, cooled our feet in a pool, and Cait decided to take a stroll there too.

And she also decided to use the fountain as a symbol of her fertility.

We debated on where we would go to eat for a while, but finally decided on a sea food place that had a bit of line out front while all the restaurants around had some empty seats, because it had to be good. Here's me and my sister outside of it.

And here's my lovely wife and I outside of it. Looks like Devany even got the restaurants sign in the picture. I guess it was called the fish market. Nice work Devany.

Looking at the picture now, it wasn't a very flattering one of Cait. At least as unflattering as a picture of such a beautiful woman could be. Sorry Cait. We ate a lot of shrimp and hush puppies. The hush puppies needed honey butter, which they didn't have, but everything else was good.

We stopped and got some taffy, which we've been enjoying. Here's what's left:

And here's a picture of the Masonic Temple we want to visit some day, all artistic like. It was a nice looking building:

A nice train ride home together finished off a very lovely night.


Tim and Cait

Saturday, June 20, 2009

If you're wondering why I post so much....

... it's because I'm working on a computer basically all day, and when I think of things, I can blog about them on the spot. It's easy that way.

First off: I hope Theodore likes Breyer's mint chocolate chip ice cream because that's all I've been eating recently. The heartburn started kicking in a few days ago, and if it continues, I will continue to eat MCC ice cream until it's gone. Maybe I'll actually put a few pounds on this tiny little thing. Even though it's fattening, it's all-natural and DELICIOUS. Oh my, it's delicious. I think I'll have another bowl.

I just found an old to-do list on my iGoogle. Here's how it goes:

1. PL SC 328 homework
2. Return library books
3. Finish coding WomanStats country reports
4. Pregnancy test
5. Aerobics homework

What a strange time in my life that must have been. I hate that I was so busy I needed to put taking a pregnancy test on my to-do list. Like I would forgot or something?

This just happened

A full-out protesting rally march walked down the street in front of my apartment. It was for Iran, protesting the recent elections. There were signs like "A Selection not an Election" and "End the Coup." I wanted to run down and see what it was all about, but I was not dressed and got a pretty good view from the window anyways. I love living on Pennsylvania Avenue. I think I'm going to walk down to the White House to see more. There is something about protests that I just love.

And I had a sweet video to upload, but it's been working for over 30 minutes to no avail... so we'll skip that for now.

Products I can't live without

I deleted my last post because it was kind of mean, and I felt guilty thinking mean things about people that are always nice to me (it was about stupid questions people ask during our briefing sessions, in case you are wondering).

So, now I'm going to blog about nice things.

Kayla blogged a few weeks ago about products she can't live without.

Here's my list of "products I can't live without"

1. Burt's Bees lip balm

This stuff is heaven. I used to be a cherry chapstick addict, but this stuff is yummier and more natural. I can handle the slightly higher price tag because it makes my lips feel all tingly and minty.

I was also very happy to find out recently that Burt's Bees baby wash smells absolutely heavenly. I don't want to use Johnson's because of the chemicals, but I was sad because it smells so much like a baby. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Burt's Bees smelled better, without the parabens.

2. Tom's toothpaste

I'm sure most people can't live without their toothpaste, but I'm especially attached to mine. I switched over sometime last year, and will never go back. The spearmint is my favorite. It's delicious and makes my mouth feel super clean.

3. Nalgene

I'm not sure what constitutes a "product" but I sure do love my Nalgene. I drink A LOT of water. It's all I drink in fact, barring the occasional cup of OJ or Simply Limeade. I just really like water. And it's nice to have a nice container for said water, without buying disposable bottles. This is a cool one with a flip-top that I currently own since I left my pink breast cancer awareness one at Meghan McGrath's Chicago birthday party last semester. The only downside to this Nalgene is the flip-top has a tendency to come unflipped in my giant purse-bag. Resulting in a drenched and subsequently broken cellular device in my case.

3. And I'll have to ditto Kayla on the last item, and since we don't have many male readers (to my knowledge), and I've already blogged about episiotomies and leaking breasts so if they keep returning I'm guessing they are OK reading about feminine-y things, I'm perfectly not embarrassed to put in an image and a review even.

Let me tell you about the Diva Cup: it's remarkably clean, comfortable, convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly. Think of all those thousands of pads and tampons you throw out every month. What a waste! We live in such a disposable world, but there are a few things we all can do to make sure we don't end up in Wall-E's world. And cost-effective too if you get over the initial investment: I paid about $25 for mine, but have not bought other such products in almost three years. When my hippie friend Kinley initially told me about it, I thought it was kind of gross and a little awkward. But now I share the knowledge with everyone, because seriously, it's awesome and so not gross. Your vagina will thank you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Daily Sexism

In our dinner group the other day here at the Barlow Center an educated intern was heard to say, after some disparaging comments from the group (none of them from me, I don't waste my time talking bad about people who've never heard of me) about Bill Clinton, "If I was married to Hillary Clinton, I would turn gay too." An awkward silence ensued and somebody said "That sounds like something Tim would say." I'm not really sure why they thought that, probably because I'm a fan of non sequiturs to make awkward silences, but I try not to malign anyone with them. So, in response, I said, "Actually, I try to stay away from sexism." The guy was a little upset, and said it wasn't sexist, and because I didn't want to cause a scene I ended the conversation there. But I will use our little personal soap box to explain why it was a sexist comment.

What sexism basically comes down to is treating the two sexes differently in ways that have nothing to do with their fundamental differences. Saying that being married to Hillary Clinton would be enough to turn a guy gay is sexist because one'd never say that about a guy. "Barrack Obama is just so intimidating and scary. If I were married to him I would become a lesbian too." Saying that a certain type of woman would turn her husband gay means that only a certain type of women is sexually attractive enough to allow her husband to remain straight. And that's sexism at its core. Thoughts?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Little fetus Theodore

I'm a paranoid pregnant lady. Every little pain or twinge of pressure sends me into a tizzy about pre-term labor. I blame it on my sister's inadequate uterus.

The past week or so I've also been paranoid about lack of fetal movement. He moved so much in the past few months, and then for a few days he was pretty still. It probably was just returning to work and being busy and not paying attention but it freaked me out. After a few cold glasses of ice water I felt some movement, so I'm sure little Theodore is doing just great in there. It also sucks that I don't really have a midwife/doctor who knows me to call when something's weird because we're kind of in limbo due to the whole moving across the country for three months in the middle of pregnancy thing. Which may or may not have been incredibly stupid.

I love being in DC though, and this is the last opportunity we would have to live in the Barlow Center and be Washington Seminar interns sans children. Even though my internship is a tad on the intellectually unstimulating side on a daily basis, I do have the opportunity to meet a lot of powerful, incredible women. Thus far, Melanne Verveer, Swanee Hunt, and Carolina Barco have been the highlights. If you don't know who those women are, they are all three incredibly powerful, intelligent, and doing amazing things in the world. You should learn more.

If not for the mutant bacteria, do it for the dolphins

Read a great reason to drop the triclosans here.

Two things about the article make it less impressive than we would like: (1) To hurt the dolphins, you have to be on the coast (2) No one is sure if Triclosan actually harms dolphins and doesn't just keep their insides bacteria free (come to think of it, that would probably harm them quite a bit, if their stomachs are anything like humans'). But, come on, they're dolphins! Do you really want to kill the dolphins just to save some time washing your hands? We don't.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another one of my fears realized

I have a few irrational fears. Grates for example. Stepping on cracks. Another: elevators. Nearly every time I step onto an elevator my palms get a little sweaty, and if it's a long elevator ride, my heart starts to thump. I don't know what it is about elevators, but something about being suspended by a cable utterly freaks me out.

So, tonight, my fear became a reality for me. I was riding the elevator up to the 4th floor where I live. Jolly old good time, I was exhausted, I'd been working all day, and it was close to 9 pm. All of a sudden, it lurches to a stop shy of the floor I'm going to. Cue panic. I start hyperventilating, just waiting to crash to my doom. I get my wits about me and sound the alarm and call the people. The stupid intercom wasn't working properly so I couldn't really hear the nice elevator lady's instructions. I start crying and hyperventilating a little more, then I start shedding my clothes because I realize I'm having a panic attack and being hot and in constricting clothes makes it worse. I call Tim, and a crowd gathers outside. I can hear voices calling to me and yell back that I'm fine, no worries, just a little stuck. I talk to the nice lady some more and follow her instructions. Miraculously, what feels like an eternity later, the elevator begins to move again and takes me down to the floor I started on. When I tell her it's moving again and the door is opening, she tells me to get out, quick! Since some of my clothes and my bags and other random assortments of things I was carrying are on the floor now, I scramble to pick them all up and practically fall out of the elevator. I'm sure I was quite the sight, being all hysterical and disheveled.

From now on, I'm taking the stairs. I hope stairs don't = pre-term labor.

Some life stories

I went to the National Gallery of Art. I went by myself because Cait was at work, and, after her cold, she is still not up for activities. It wasn't really a family activity so I wont go on too much about it, but it was pretty cool. They have a lot more impressive art than I thought they would, and I missed some of the most impressive exhibits apparently.

I liked this sequence of paintings showing the stages of life by Thomas Cole:

Here's proof I was there:

Here's the best sculpture from the sculpture garden outside:

The house is actually indented away from the viewer, not poking out like it would seem from perception. It makes mine brain hurt.

Books I've read:

I can see why it's a classic and it was easy to read, but looking back on it now, I didn't like it much. The basic moral of the story is: everybody is a jerk, except for kids and exiles from society. The only adult that seems like a good guy ends up having a weird hair petting fetish. It's well written, but not uplifting at all. I know it's trite, but I want to be inspired, not depressed.

Good because he understands our main problem: Americans are technology hungry and depend and expect way too much from our health care system. We need a fundamental change in the way we think, but barring that, the government should do what it can to bring down costs. His idea for a national board for healthcare, based on the Federal Reserve is a good idea, but lacks teeth.

This book is best for being a collection of cool research studies. There are some cool experiments talked about in the book. Some of his ideas are good and common sense. I especially like how he talked about how some people playing certain roles within a society are necessary for pandemics to start. But he seems to be obsessed with context. The nature of nothing matters, only the context in which it is found. Unfortunately this argument breaks down, because a lot of the research done to prove that context is important is done in a laboratory, where the context is all wrong. On an even bigger level, he fails to explain how context comes to be. There are obviously some things in this world powerful enough to set the context, but he does not explain what those items are. Still, it was entertaining and easy to read.

My next post will be about security systems salesmen, so prepare your opinions.

Continue rant

Shay made a point in my comments about maternal mortality decreasing by leaps and bounds in the past 100 years. This is very true, as the number has decreased from 7.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1915 to about 7.7 per 100,000 today. Some of that has come from medical interventions being able to save mothers who are high-risk, however, the majority of deaths that are averted today are from basic knowledge of germs. A good portion of women dying 100 years ago were dying from puerpural fever, often in hospitals, from doctors not washing their hands between patients, or when going from patient to cadaver to patient (or as the CDC notes below, from unnecessary intervention).

According to the CDC: "Inappropriate and excessive surgical and obstetric interventions (e.g., induction of labor, use of forceps, episiotomy, and cesarean deliveries) were common and increased during the 1920s. Deliveries, including some surgical interventions, were performed without following the principles of asepsis. As a result, 40% of maternal deaths were caused by sepsis (half following delivery and half associated with illegally induced abortion) with the remaining deaths primarily attributed to hemorrhage and toxemia." And there was also a decrease in the mid-century due to the legalization of abortion (CDC: "The legalization of induced abortion beginning in the 1960s contributed to an 89% decline in deaths from septic illegal abortions during 1950-1973")

Furthermore, even with the drastic increase in c-sections, inductions, and epidurals, our maternal mortality rates have not decreased since 1982. And based on some research I've read, maternal mortality is underreported because there is not a consistent criteria across states that defines when pregnancy/childbirth should be listed as the cause of death.

Yes, we've come a long way in preventing maternal deaths. Managing pre-eclampsia, detecting fetal abnormalities, inducing labor or performing relatively safer cesareans when absolutely necessary... but we still have women needlessly dying or suffering complications from interventions.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Childbirth rant

The other day, one of the other interns asked me if I was planning on being induced. Like it was a conscious decision I will make early in pregnancy. Last year in my family ward, I was sitting in Relief Society when several pregnant women and a few with new babies were talking induction as well-- the new moms were raving about their inductions and asking the pregnant women if they planned on it. I know most of my friends didn't choose their induction dates (I imagine most of these women were birthing at Utah Valley), but it's actually becoming the norm. That is very scary to me. For multiple reason... one, being that induction isn't without risks and isn't something that should be done just for the sake of it. Pitocin is a serious drug; it makes your contractions harder and longer with very little space between them. Because there are no breaks like in normal labor, the baby does not have time to recover in between, leading to a drop in heart rate and fetal distress. Not to mention, the pain of induced contractions is way more intense, and dedicated women that are trying for a medication-free delivery often can't handle the more intense pain.

I know there are cases when inductions are necessary: when you are two weeks or more past your due date for example or there are complications like pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes. But inductions for the sake of inductions... and the increasingly common use of pitocin... that is scary stuff.

And while we're on a childbirth rant: epidurals. The more I've been reading about them, the more I don't want one! I think it's weird how people are telling me how brave I am to do it natural, how they could never do it, and so on, but I think you are brave for letting a needle/catheter get that close to your spinal cord without freaking out! A spinal cord is a delicate thing. I like my body functioning just the way it is functioning. Epidurals are not without risks either, but I think they have become so commonplace nowadays that women don't realize the risks. Not only do they have medical risks, they also interfere with your body's normal birthing hormones. The pain of childbirth works with your brain to release a series of hormones that facilitate labor and delivery of a baby. When it's functioning properly, the pain send messages to the brain to release endorphins, a natural pain-killer. Epidurals inhibit the release of these endorphins, yummy feel-good pain-killing hormones, as well as oxytocin, the uterus contractor and love hormone. Epidurals administered early in labor will slow it down or stall it completely because it messes with oxytocin, in which case, then a woman will be given artificial oxytocin (pitocin) to speed it back up. Vicious cycle. Unmedicated birthing women also get a surge of hormones right at the actual moment of birth of their baby, which results in an ecstatic moment that is unmatched by any other moment in the woman's life. Her hormones are higher at that moment and the hour after birth than at any other time in her life. I want that delicious, ecstatic experience! But so many women don't know these things, or don't want to feel the pain, or just listen to their doctors recommendations and aren't empowered to give birth the way Heavenly Father designed our bodies to do it!

For example, my sister just said she figured of course she would get one with her first baby. Her labor was short, her baby was tiny, I have complete faith that she could have prepped herself a little and done it natural, but it was never even a question in her mind that she would have an epidural because everyone was having them. As a result, she couldn't push effectively and had an episiotomy for a 4 lb some oz baby. Oh goodness. Let's not get started on episiotomies (for those who don't know--that's basically when the caregiver cuts from the vagina to the rectum to increase the amount of room for the baby to get out). If for some reason I end up in a hospital during my birth (oh, we think we're doing it at home now, another blogpost for another time), if any doctor gets anywhere close to my vagina with scissors, my husband has been given strict instructions to push him/her away. The WHO has come out with evidence that episiotomies are far more hurtful than they are helpful, and most OB/GYNs will not even routinely cut them anymore due to current recommendations. However, there are some practioners that have 90%-100% episiotomy rates still! How a person can ignore the evidence so blatantly I will not understand.

Which now brings me to VBACs: a few decades ago, VBACs were the norm. Then, in 1995 I believe, the ACOG came out with a statement recommending repeat cesareans and also requiring readied surgical teams in every hospital that allows VBACz. This means that any woman who wants one in a smaller, community hospital will not be able to get one because rarely do these hospitals have the capabilities to have a surgical team ready at all times. This subject can kind of be a touchy one as well: there are risks associated with VBAC and they sound really gruesome. Again with the evidence, but it shows that the risks associated with repeat cesareans are higher than those associated with VBACs because the risk of uterine rupture is incredibly tiny, and the risk that the uterine rupture will harm your baby is even smaller. If the woman has a double-stitched, low-transverse uterine incision for her cesarean, the risk of rupture is even smaller. Some doctors are doing single-stitching now though because it takes less time and uses less material-- if you're having a c-section because of a complication, make sure you demand double-stitching! The risk of uterine rupture also SIGNIFICANTLY increases when the woman is administered pitocin or other labor-stimulating drugs. Since pitocin makes contractions stronger, it puts more pressure on the uterine scar. Oh, and a note about the 1995 decision reversal on VBAC by the ACOG: there were a series of uterine ruptures in like Massachusetts and litigation and ruined doctors... but then they realized that almost every single one had been administered Cytotec, which has been proven to result in rupture. Even with this knowledge, the ACOG stuck with their decision.

End rant. And just a disclaimer before the attacks begin... I recognize that childbirth can be just as health-hazardous as ecstatic and beautiful. There is a lot that can go wrong in pregnancy and childbirth. There is low fluid or fetal growth restriction or huge babies or labor that lasts for days and doesn't progress. I'm not saying that modern medicine is not wonderful in preventing maternal mortality. OB/GYNs are awesome. But they are surgeons. They are trained to find complications and treat them. And 90% of pregnancies and births are uncomplicated. Yet these women are still being treated by the surgeons trained to find something wrong so they can fix it. I would love to see more support for midwives and more faith in their care in our country. Because in addition to the toll our system is taking on women's bodies as well as women's experiences with how they feel about their bodies, it's also taking a huge toll on our healthcare system. I believe that birth is the highest grossing medical procedure in our system... it makes the most money for hospitals. There are SO many vested interests at play here, be it the for-profit businesses of doctors and hospitals or the insurance companies. If more midwives were attending normal, healthy pregnancies and births and less unnecessary interventions were being used, millions if not billions of dollars would be saved by individuals as well as by the government from programs like Medicaid. And I'm not saying we should skimp to save money on such an important thing as maternal health. What I am saying, is we could saving money and improving outcomes. The WHO recommends an optimal c-section rate of 10-15%. Ours is upwards of 30%. It's ironic that a majority of c-sections are "emergencies" but take place right before dinnertime. But doctors are people too... and the idea of 15-minute surgery and being home for dinner with your family (as well as the decreased chance of being sued for malpractice) is appealing I'm sure. We put so much faith and trust in doctors that we rarely question them. Heck, I let a stupid resident in the ER give me a completely unnecessary x-ray a few weeks ago because I was too stupid to actually speak up because I just wanted them to fix me. I think it's time though, that women reclaim birth from doctors. We need to trust our bodies! Do a little research, read a few books, look at the evidence and research especially. You'd be really surprised at what you find.

And if you support the idea that women should be able to choose where they birth (be it hospital or birthing center or home) and their caregiver, join the campaign! This is specifically for government-funded programs, allowing women on Medicaid to be able to choose out-of-hospital births. With the healthcare reform on the horizon (God help us), we want Medicaid to provide reimbursement for CPMs as well as CNMs and MDs. Right now, Medicaid will not pay for most birth centers or home births... but if they did, and women chose them, it would save lots and lots of money as I mentioned earlier.

28 weeks

...and counting

Monday, June 15, 2009

Iran's Elections

I wont bore anyone with my opinions or a long explanation of why this matters, but I'll just say that usually I'm interested in the Middle East for the sake of learning about the Middle East. However, this time I'm interested for the sake of America. Whatever your political opinions, what's going on in Iran is HUGE DEAL. Do our country a favor and be informed. This is the most important thing that has happened this year, at least on a foreign policy front.

PS I'm following the going ons here because he's on top of things, but I give no gaurentee of lack of bias. Drudge is also a fine place to look.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Drinking Breast Milk: Good or Gross?

I was reading up on some breast milk recipes a few weeks ago. I've assumed for a while we would drink whatever excess breast milk I had, because, come on, it's free! And not drink it like straight up but add it to smoothies, bake with it, etc. It seems very eco-friendly with no transportation or packaging, etc. I never really thought twice about it, until I was with my sister Lauren a few weekends ago and she is physically ill at the idea of drinking her own breast milk (there are some women I will never understand who are physically ill at the idea of breastfeeding their babies... but I've thought breastfeeding was like, the coolest thing ever, since I was about 10, so ya know). I don't think it's gross! I think drinking the mammary secretions from the swollen udders of an antibiotic filled bovine is way, way more gross than drinking my own. Well, honestly, I'm convinced humans don't really need milk anyways because it's for BABY mammals and not adults, but the incredibly savvy dairy lobbyists have convinced us otherwise. Anyways... thoughts on this?

And I leave you with these (from here):

Perfect for a summer's day?


2 cups breastmilk
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut extract
2 tablespoons sugar
Ice cubes
Mint sprigs (optional)

Directions: In a blender container, combine all ingredients except ice cubes and
mint and blend on high speed until frothy. Pour into four tall glasses filled with ice cubes. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

Variation: For a thicker drink, freeze pineapple juice in an ice cube tray. Blend these pineapple cubes with all other ingredients except mint. Omit regular ice cubes. Serve in a chilled glass.

Makes 4 servings.

Or what about a main course meal?


1/2 cup uncooked macaroni
1 cup water
1/4 - 1/3 cup peeled and cut up eggplant (zucchini may be substituted)
1/2 medium skinned and cut up fresh tomato
1/3 cup milk breastmilk
1 tablespoon grated cheese
Dash of dried parsley
Dash of oregano (optional)
Dash of salt

Cook macaroni, tomato, eggplant (or zucchini), and seasonings in water for 12 – 15 minutes. Add breastmilk and grated cheese. Stir well until cheese is melted.

Makes 2 – 3 servings.

Come on, you can even make soap with it! How cool is that?

* 2 cups vegetable oil (such as olive, coco, canola, cocoa butter, etc.)
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/4 cup lye (solid NaOH)
* 1 cup breastmilk

Heat oil to 115°F. In a glass measuring cup, add lye to water. (Not water to lye). When the solution reaches 115°F, add to oil. Stir until the mix is silky; then add milk. Color will change; it is normal. Stir until you get instant pudding consistency (this is what we call "trace"), approximately 60 to 45 minutes. Pour in moulds. You can use almost anything, like muffin tin or cookies tray. Take care to not use metallic material. Let sit 2 or 3 days, until you can unmould soaps easily. You have to let your soap "cure" 4 to 5 weeks, until it becomes neutral. You'll get approximately 12 2-oz soaps.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Eco Trip

Today, I watched three episodes of Eco Trip, a new series on the Sundance Channel. Things I've learned:

1. Cotton=evil. Not actually, but it uses tons of pesticides which end up in groundwater and make people sick that live near the fields. Most cotton products also have a huge environmental impact because the cotton is usually shipped overseas for processing and then shipped back to the US for selling. Solution for myself: suck up the price and buy organic cotton; better yet, buy used (which is easier for me to do because it's cheaper...) Try alternative fabrics like bamboo and hemp. I love bamboo sheets. Mmmm.

2. Chocolate also uses tons of pesticides for the cocoa beans. Cocoa beans should be grown in moist climates like the Dominican Republic, but instead it's grown in West Africa, and for some reason I can't figure out they need tons of pesticides to grow (as well as tons of water since cocoa bean trees need lots of moisture). Dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa has lots of antioxidants, so eat that for health. Solution for myself: Eat organic, fair-trade dark chocolate (which I actually love anyways, and the price usually isn't too bad because you don't eat as much in one sitting).

3. 90% of salmon in our market is farmed. Farmed salmon has more PCPs and is even fed certain things to make it pinker. The salmon farms are ruining the natural habitat of clams in certain areas of British Colombia. They are also diseasing the wild salmon with lice and killing them off. Ten years ago, people only ate salmon if they lived on the coast and only when it was in season. With the rise of information about omega-3s and other good things about salmon (information supplied by the farmed salmon industry), 52 million Americans now eat salmon. I love salmon. Solution for myself: I can't afford ocean caught salmon, so I guess that means I get my omegas from something else... flaxseed?

I also just made this for lunch because I was hungry and sick of soup. And it was delicious!

Bed rest

I would be horrible on bed rest. I'm supposed to be resting this week per instructions from my supervisor at my internship and the nice senior missionary couple that are in charge of me while I live here. But I am so freakin' bored. I don't know how my sister did it for ten weeks.

Because you can only watch so many episodes of Law and Order: SVU, read so many mommy blogs, check your facebook so many times a day, and flip through so many library books on natural birth. I have, however, gotten a head start on my papers for the rest of the semester, and I'm even working from home on some research for my office. So, there are things to do... I suppose. Like WomanStats. I could be productive if I put my mind to it. But most of the time I just lay here thinking about how the sunshine outside looks oh so appetizing. I think I'll walk to the library today. I need to pick up my next childbirth book anyways.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pregnancy (thusfar)

I wanted to post a little about my pregnancy thusfar, mostly so I can remember it and keep things in mind when I'm weighing the pros and cons of having another. And since my second trimester is quickly coming to an end, it'll be nice to look back with fondness on these days. Right?

1st Trimester:

* We found out we were pregnant the second week of winter semester. I kind of knew I was before the test was positive. Even though we had a negative test earlier that week and I was having what felt like pre-menstrual cramps, I just knew something was different. Lo and behold... baby.

* The first person we told was my sister Lauren. We called her as soon as we found out. I'm not the kind of person to wait and share good news. Even though I was barely into things, we told most people right away (within that week at least). I know some people don't like to share the news for fear of miscarriage, but I figured if that happened, we'd just update everyone. I wasn't too worried about it though-- I'm go with the flow on most things and figure there is a plan for us all.

* I thought pregnancy was awesome-- for about a week. I felt great, I went running, I rededicated myself to veganism. And then I started puking. I'm not exactly sure what day or week it hit me but UGH. I was so. sick. It was miserable. I threw up a good six times a day or so for at least a month. I tried everything: I started natural with ginger and teas; moved to Saltines; Vitamin B6 and Unisom; Phenergan; then finally to Zofran. Nothing helped. I think the Zofran might have a little bit, but I think by the time I had it I was past the worst of my nausea. I would get really sick whenever we came home at night. The bus ride was always the worst, and then walking past all the fast food restaurants on State St. got me everytime. Sorry about the puke on the side of the road during January-March. That was me.

2nd trimester:

* I pee constantly. That's the most annoying thing about being pregnant at this stage for me (which I am SO, SO grateful for!! I read all this about heartburn, constipation, pre-eclampsia, swelling, aching, etc. but I have luckily not suffered any of these... knock on wood). I wake up every two hours without fail, and I go about every hour at work. When I first moved to this office I was scared the people at the front desk would think I had a bladder issue or explosive diarrhea or something. Then, luckily, I started showing and they figured out I was pregnant. I pee everywhere too, it's been interesting when real restrooms are not available. I relieved myself behind some trees in the middle of Philadelphia because we were with a group and I didn't want everyone to have to walk and find a ladies room for me. Tim just stood watch (oh, and took a picture because he thought it was funny). Fortunately, I had some crazy days as a teenager at random drinking parties in the woods where I learned how to pop a squat.

* It took a while to feel the baby move and I kept convincing myself that our baby didn't have any limbs (what combination of medicines mimics thalidomide...?) In fact, we were sitting in our apartment in Washington, so it was well into my second trimester. I think it was probably around 23 or 24 weeks. I love feeling him move. I think it's really cool.

* I had my first "stranger touching my belly without asking" experience last week. And I liked it! Maybe it'll get old, but I think it's so cool that my cashier at Trader Joe's reached out and touched the little guy. I felt awesome and connected and part of this greater community of mothers than I could comprehend. I hope more women continue to do it. Thanks, Betty. That made my day.

* My breasts are leaking. I only figured this out because I was watching a video on how to self-express and thought I would practice. Then stuff came out. Oops. Tim thinks it's really funny and tries to squeeze them all the time. Apparently if you leak it means you'll be a stellar breastfeeder though, so I have no complaints with this one :)

* I've learned that I'm kind of a fatalist. Every little Braxton-Hicks contraction (which I have frequently) makes me think I'm in pre-term labor. I'm not paranoid, I just think I read too much about complications and so I'm convinced that I will have them. That, and before I was pregnant, I was so confident about my ability to be pregnant that I'm sure Heavenly Father wants to humble me somehow. I'm just waiting for it to happen...

* I've started to love pregnancy again. I've been walking 3 miles a day, eating better, and really enjoying this stage of my life. Even though work is sometimes hard on my body and my mind, I'm trying to keep things in perspective. Sometimes I think it was the stupidest idea ever to up and leave in the middle of pregnancy and move across the country temporarily, but I think we'll look back and realize it's worth it. We've had quite the battle with insurance and finding prenatal care, but in the end, we're having an awesome time in the nation's capitol. There is so much to do and see, and we will never live in a better location in DC ever again for this cheap.

3rd trimester: Bring it on.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Memorizing the apostles

Someone told me once, or I read once, that the best way to memorize who the Twelve Apostles of our church are is to break them up into groups of threes and find some way to remember each group. When the apostles were the same for somewhere around 7 years under President Hinckley, I had them down: Packer parries Nelson; Old Band Wagon; SHH; and Ever Under Battle. But now I'm trying to solidify the new ones. Packer Perries Nelson is the same. I just imagine Elder Packer and Elder Nelson in a sword fight and Packer parries Nelson. That would be something worth seeing. Old Band Wagon (Oaks Ballard Wirthlin) is now OBS (Oaks Ballard Scott), like short for obstetrician, I guess I've been thinking about birth a lot. SHH (Scott Hales Holland) as in be quiet is now Holy Holy Bednar (Hales Holland Bednar), because he seems so holy. And Ever Under Battle (Eyring Uchtdorf Bednar) is now the Cooking Chefs Association (Cook Christofferson Anderson) which is funny because it borders on redundant

I am, however, open to suggestions. I am a little afraid that Holy Holy Bednar sounds a little irreverent, even though its not, because I'm sure he is a very holy person. Any ideas?

And I secretly hope that the color of the ties in this photo shows political party leanings, but I doubt it. Elder Packer would be part of the black tie party. I don't know what that would mean.


I haven't posted in a while, so I thought I would. Here's just random thoughts of mine from the past while. 

We went to Philadelphia a while back. The historical sites were pretty cool, but the actual city of Brotherly Love was a little run down and depressing. It was fun riding a huge tour bus through the ghetto parts of town with everyone staring at it. The best part of the trip was watching National Treasure on the way back.

We've also recently been to the Postal Museum and had an inside tour of the Pentagon thanks to our fellow intern Tiffany who works there. Both were pretty cool. But if you ever go to the Postal Museum don't get sucked into the direct mailing exhibit. It's funded by a direct mailing printer company and is one big propaganda trip, not a museum exhibit. Stick to the real mail.

Baby stuff has stupid names. A quick scan of e-bay products for baby stuff gives results back like "Galloping Fun Jumperoo," "Bouncing Tigger Jolly Jumper" and "SweetDollBaby" cloth diapers. Who are they marketing to, the babies? Seems like people start re-living their childhood through their baby early these days. It's obviously not a big deal, of course. If the product is good, what do I care.

On a similar note, shout out to Cait for being super ready for the baby. Our insurance situation is a little tenuous right now, admittedly. But besides that, thanks to Cait, I feel like we are as prepared as we can be. I should probably be reading up on being a dad a little more, too.

On another related note, Cait just said "Babies are so ugly. They look like aliens."

We had a good time hanging out with Cait's family this weekend, but we forgot the camera, so I'll steal this photo from Lauren.

And yes, that is a pretty nice beard if I do say so myself.

Target is a pretty fun place to work. I do have to be up at 4:30 to be there by 6 when I start working. But I also get home early, so that's nice.

That's it. If anyone knows where to get good souvenirs from France or Alabama here in DC, let me know.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

ER Visit

Don't freak out. I'm not in pre-term labor or anything.

Last night, I got this NASTY cough and throat thing that kept me up all night, hacking and wheezing. I didn't really have anything to take (though honey is honestly what kept me alive, mixed in hot water), and when I laid down I could barely breathe. I hate going to the doctor for things that I'm usually pretty sure they can't do anything about, but I succumbed to the urge to find comfort in the ER where they could hopefully give me some kind of breathing treatment or cough syrup and make sure that my throat didn't close and I didn't die (because it was touch and go for a while there... I thought at least).

Ok. Here's the first lesson: don't go to a teaching hospital. If it has "university" in the title, find the next closest ER. I didn't even think about it at the time. I just knew it was two blocks away and it was 5 in the morning. I was seen my no less than 8 different doctors, 6 of them being what appeared to be first year residents. Even few minutes a different student doctor would come in to check me out and suggest a treatment. No one really knew what was safe for a pregnant person, and when I told them the cough was giving me painless contractions, I got a blank stare.

Second lesson: don't go to the ER at the change of shift from the night to day. At around 7 am, I was given an Albuterol breathing treatment since my throat was so tight. They gave it to me and left, and I started having the weirdest reaction. My body felt like there were cockroaches inside me trying to get out. I felt like I was hallucinating like that lady on the House episode we watched last week (turns out she had leprosy...) My hands and legs started shaking and my face got really flushed. Tim ran and got a doctor (a different one, go figure) who told me I was having an allergic reaction and would find out if Benadryl was safe for pregnancy. Never saw that doctor again. What seemed like forever later, a new doctor came in and I told him about my reaction (because I still felt so weird) and he said that was a normal reaction and I should be fine. Later, a tech brought me the Benadryl and looked at me like I was crazy when I told her I didn't need it because the other doctor said it was a normal reaction (and I actually called Lauren to verify this, that yes, Albuterol does that to you. I trust her knowledge of asthma medications over the doctor's. Rightly so).

There was a big chest x-ray debate as well. Some doctors wanted it, some didn't, they consulted for hours. Finally, they said no chest x-ray but a throat x-ray so less potential damage to baby. I didn't really want an x-ray at all but after the reaction and a dose of Tylenol with Codeine I couldn't really think to say anything about it. I wouldn't even let the dentist x-ray me a few months ago even though they said it was safe. I was wheeled down to the x-ray room where the tech looked at me and asked if I was pregnant. Um, yeah, check out the belly. That ain't fat. He looked astonished that the ER doctors sent a pregnant woman for x-ray so then he had to call them and verify. Then he tried to do the wrong x-ray (a chest one rather than a throat one). He made me stand up with all this heavy lead stuff around my belly when I felt like I was going to pass out from the reactions I was having and finally it was over.

Third lesson: take your husband with you so he can tell the doctors when it's enough. We got back from an unremarkable x-ray, and then the doctor suggested they stick a camera down my throat to see if it was swollen. I looked at him dubiously "I KNOW IT'S SWOLLEN! I CAN FEEL IT!!" He didn't buy it. Finally Tim was like no, she doesn't need it. I didn't see a doctor again. A tech brought me discharge papers and no one came to wish us well as we trudged out of that horrid place.

There is no way in HELL I am birthing my baby there.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

All I want for my baby shower is a nice little iMac

My mom asked me if I was registering for baby stuff. My mother-in-law wants me to put together a list for the baby shower we're having with Tim's relatives. You know all I really want? This.

If everyone went in on something together, maybe we'd get this. Plus, right now if you order as a college student you get a free iPod touch, something we've also been talking about buying. Reasons this is more needed than receiving blankets and just as applicable to having a child:

1. I need a computer that I can work on so I can stay-at-home (most of the time) with the baby rather than lugging up to campus to work. I have this old laptop, but the g key is missing and the DVD player is shot. Speaking of the DVD player being shot, if we had this computer we wouldn't need our TV back. Tim's parents put it in their room, and we'd be sure glad to let them have it if we got this computer.
2. I want my child to be computer (and Mac) literate. We'd be giving our child a head start on life. Because PCs... honestly... they are so 1990s.
3. I can take lots of cute baby photos and edit them on this computer. Not to mention it has a webcam, so Grammy and Poppy in South Carolina can talk to the baby too.
4. I really can't think of anymore, except that I really, really, really want it. And I usually don't want things. And I'm probably being selfish and I probably won't get it. But it's nice to dream about.

Actually, I'd be happy with a Mac Mini too. But they don't come with the free iPod touch.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lauren's germy little kids passed something to me this weekend. I feel horrible. My throat is on fire and my body is achy and weak. My nose is starting to stuff. I have not been sick like this in a while... and definitely not in the summertime. I blame it on the fact she made me use soap with triclosan and now there is some mutated bacteria eating away at my insides. Luckily I have a great guy that I'm living with that has made me carrot-ginger-mushroom soup and blueberry-orange-strawberry smoothies. It's a temporary fix, but I'm deteriorating quickly. I hate to call in sick to work though, even when I am really sick. I think it's because I feel like I have something to prove as a pregnant college student that I can do just as much as any other college student intern. I probably will try to work a few hours like I did today, but I know I need to take it easy or I'll never get better. Meanwhile, I'll keep chugging down those smoothies and demand more of this soup.

And is triclosan really bad for us? What about alcohol hand sanitizers. I don't know. Lauren seems to think it prevents her kids from getting sick because of its powerful germ-killing agents. They even have it in their toothpaste. She thinks the triclosan-is-bad is a conspiracy by the granoley parents. I don't know either way, there is really not a whole lot of conclusive evidence to prove it's bad, but there probably wasn't a whole lot of conclusive evidence to prove thalidomide bad either at the time. Better safe than sorry I think, or like this article says, better germs than cancer. If triclosan and tap water really do = carcinogen, I'd prefer to avoid it. I'll stick with Tom and Dr. Bronner.