Friday, June 29, 2007

An Open Letter to the Meter Maid

Dear Meter Maid,

Every Friday I take my son to Kindermusic. Every Friday I park in the same spot downtown and put two quarters in the meter like a good citizen.

Today I forgot. For a minute.

I walked in to the class 20 yards away, took off my shoes, realized I forgot to pay the meter, and ran back outside with my quarters.

And there you were. Giving me a ticket.

Wow, you are fast and efficient. I couldn't have been parked there more than 90 seconds. I was impressed by your meter maidey skills.

Hoping you would have pity on me, I yelled out to you that I had JUST parked there and could I please drop two quarters in the meter.

You refused and continued to write out my ticket.

I guess the sight of an 8-month-pregnant woman run-waddling out to the sidewalk barefoot with a toddler in tow waving 2 quarters in the air and pleading for a break isn't enough for you.

Something tells me that if I had been blind or in a wheelchair you wouldn't have cared either.

Well, I don't care if you are doing your job. I still think you suck.




Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Paris Hilton: Why Do I Care?

Since I am blogging fairly anonymously here, I can confess that I just spent the last hour watching Larry King interview Paris Hilton.

To be completely honest, I even watched some of Anderson Cooper's "expert" panelists analyze the interview.

I am now left with these questions.

1. Is Paris really not the moron that she has portrayed to the media all these years? And given that she has made millions on her bimbo image and that I, on the other hand, am barely scraping by, would this make her (*gasp*) smarter than me? I shudder at the thought.

2. Was jail really that traumatic for Paris? Really? I mean, seriously? Isn't she being just a tad dramatic about the whole thing? Not that she's ever dramatic. I'm just wondering.

3. Will she truly begin spending more time raising money for breast cancer research than she will partying?

4. Why do I care?

5. Is there any way possible to get back the hour of my life that I just wasted watching this interview?

And finally...

6. How many people will unsubscribe from my blog now that they know I not only watched the Paris Hilton interview, but that I also blogged about it? There's really no excuse for this behavior. I know.

I have a new review up at my Mama Likes Blog. Click here to read about the new Febreze Candles. They work!


Monday, June 25, 2007

Orgasms During Childbirth

*edited below*

Yeah, you heard me right. Orgasms during childbirth. As in, some women have them while they are in labor.

When my doula told me this at our first homevisit last week, I was shocked to say the least. And, frankly, a bit incredulous. I mean, I've been through childbirth once and, though there was definitely a lot of crying out on my part, I was certainly not crying out in pleasure.

Yet, apparently, some do. Cry out in pleasure, that is.

Though I didn't know this, women produce sexual hormones in childbirth. And some women can actually experience their contractions as orgasms.

Don't believe me? Read all about it here.

I am now on a personal mission to have an orgasm during labor.

Because, dude, that is so. frigging. cool.

Edited to add: While I agree that there is a certain grossness factor to the idea of orgasms during labor (OK, a very large grossness factor), I am also quite fascinated by the idea that birthing can actually be such an intensely emotional and spiritual experience that a woman would actually feel pleasure while laboring.

For anyone who is currently pregnant or planning on having more children, I highly recommend getting a copy of the video Birth as We Know It. This video has the most inspiring and beautiful images of childbirth that I have ever seen. Unlike the horror of watching cable shows on birthing, which always seem to focus on what goes wrong in childbirth, this video shows women in labor who are having wonderful experiences - including a woman who actually has orgasms during her labor. And yes, they show this on the DVD! Later, she is interviewed about the experience and hearing her describe her labor is simply amazing. I couldn't get through the video without crying. It was just stunning to see someone that in tune with her body and her baby. And while I thought the whole idea was really gross before (and still do to some degree), I actually have a lot of more respect for it now after hearing her interviewed. Because I don't think it's really about trying to have an orgasm during labor (I mean, I can get those any old day!), but rather, it's about harnessing the energy in your body and re-directing it away from pain by focusing on the pure ecstacy and happiness of giving new life to a little being. I think that the orgasm part just sort of happens to occur for some women as a result of this type of "conscious" birthing.

I know it sounds weird, but I guess you just have to watch the video. And believe me, this kind of birthing is no easy feat in my estimation. I have all the respect in the world for women who can birth so peacefully and beautifully. (In contrast to myself, who was screaming for an epi after 10 hours.)

Oh, and I was totally not paid to recommend this DVD. I just really, really think it's a great video.


Friday, June 22, 2007

I've Got Nothing Against the Virgin Mary:
Just Don't Put Her on a Hat

Now, I am not one to begrudge anyone for having a picture of the Virgin Mary in their home. I come from a Catholic family. Growing up, my relatives had pictures of Jesus all over their house. My grandmother kept holy water in little plastic Virgin Mary bottles in her dresser drawer. I'm used to seeing this stuff. And it's all good with me.


it's on tacky clothing or a tattoo. That's where I draw the line.

I just don't think that's cool. I don't want to see Jesus's mother on the forearm of some dude scanning my groceries at the market, you know? Nor do I want to see it on a t-shirt. I don't know why, but I just find it tasteless.

And yet, for some reason Husband (who normally has a conservative sense of style, shops at Nordstrom, and owns more shoes than I do) happens to think that clothing and accessories with the Virgin Mary on them are "cool".

Lest you think I jest, let me show you what he brought home last night from the local Stop and Rob.

After showing it to me, he put it on, and sliding his fingers over the brim, actually said: "Now this is style. I'm gonna pop it out by wearing it with a pink shirt."

And he was not joking.

Lord, help me.

I've got a new post up at Mama Likes. Click here to read my review of the Rolling Stones Biggest Bang DVD Set.

Random Question: Is anyone having trouble loading my blog by any chance? Janet e-mailed me to say she was having difficulty. She's on Firefox. Just wondering if others are having issues with their browsers. And on that note, does it take forever for my blog to load for you? I'm wondering if my page is too graphic heavy.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Elmo May Very Well Ruin My Marriage

Earlier this morning as we are getting ready for work.

Husband (singing): La la, la la, la la la la Elmo’s World! La la, la la, la la la la Elmo’s World!

Me: Can you please stop singing that? It’s really annoying.

Husband: Elmo loves his goldfish, his crayons too! That’s Elmo’s…

Me: I said STOP!

Husband: …..that’s Elmo’s WOOORRLLD!

Me: Do you WANT me to kill you? STOP!

Husband (humming Elmo’s World Theme Song): nu-nu-nunu, nu-nu-nunu nuh nuh nuh

Me: I don’t want you to HUM it either! I’m serious!!!

Husband: What? I’m just singing. Gosh.


Husband: Elmo loves his goldfish….



*more silence*

Husband (whistling Elmo’s World Theme Song): fee fee fe fee, fee fee fe fee, fee fee fee! fee fee fe fee, fee fee fe fee, fee fee fee!

I swear this man lives to torture me. Who amongst you would blame me for killing him? Seriously.

THANK YOU, thank you, thank you to everyone who voted for me yesterday. Because of you, I’m actually in the running for this! If you haven’t voted yet and have a few secs to spare, please go here and click on the "love it" button! (See, I'm not above begging when it comes to winning a bunch of free stuff. Pathetic, eh?) If you have no idea what the heck I'm talking about, refer to my previous post...but beware of the cankles.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

God's Mean, Practical Joke On Women Who Don't Tan

Spider veins. It's just not fair.

(What? You can't see the spider veins? Yeah, I had a hard time photographing them. Turns out that REALLY white skin doesn't photograph too clearly. But believe me, they're there and they're (gasp) spreading, and they're making it really challenging to wear skirts these days.)

*****Now, considering I just did the most humiliating thing EVER and posted a picture of my butt white leg and cankles on the Internet, could I ask a wee little favor of you? Could you go to HERE and vote for me? I could win some cool stuff.

Also, I apologize in advance to anyone I may have blinded with this photo.

p.s. when did I get old enough to have spider veins? *sigh*

This post was written as an entry to the Parent Bloggers Network blog blast contest, "What Are You Hiding Under Your Sk*rt?" in support of the fabulous new website, Sk*rt, which is already one of my favorite sites.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Hypnobirthing Offers Pain-Free Labor? Sign Me up!

In the comments of this post, Kyla made the following excellent point: “women have to do their own research to get the birth they desire, whether that means changing to a birthing center, transferring hospitals or OBs, or whatever. There need to be accessible options so we can experience a birth that makes us comfortable, whatever that may be.”

Yes, yes, yes!

I totally agree with the idea that women have to take control of their own pregnancies and childbirth experiences. But I have come to this realization slowly. During my first pregnancy, I was quite ignorant and just let things happen to me. I have written before of how scared and helpless I felt during my first labor. I knew that I didn’t want to go through that again and so I started to read and educate myself about childbirth. Instead of just taking the advice of my doctors and nurses without question, I brought questions to them. I started learning more about doulas and alternative childbirth methods and birthing plans and really taking the stuff seriously.

Now, with only 10 weeks left until my due date, I am actually looking forward to this birth. I just drafted my birthing preferences (birth plan) and have hired a doula. Our first appointment is tomorrow night.

But what I am really excited to write about is this - I have been studying hypnobirthing for the last two months. And I love it! I didn't have enough money to take a course in person so I chose to purchase a home study course called Hypnobabies, which was recommended by my doula.

Basically, the course helps you "re-program" your thinking about birth by listening to a sequence of CDs. The CDs help train your mind to think positively about your pregnancy and impending birth. Every message that you hear on the recordings is a positive and loving message about your pregnancy, your baby, and your upcoming birthing. The CDs and manual also teach you how to hypnotize yourself so that during labor you will be able to theoretically eliminate, or significantly decrease, your discomfort.

Basically, self-hypnosis is really just very deep relaxation. The theory is that the more you relax your body during labor, the faster and easier your labor will be. According to the program, you could actually have a pain-free birth. And who wouldn't want a pain-free birth??

So, is this too good to be true? Am I a sucker for paying $140 for the course? I truly don't think so. I already see it working in that I am much more at peace and much less fearful about this birth than I think I would be otherwise. I really feel that I will be "in control" of my experience in a way that I was not the first time around.

But I am still very curious as to whether I will really feel my pressure waves (contractions) as pressure or whether I will feel pain. I can't imagine that I will feel NO pain (as some women do) but I am hoping that my discomfort will be lessened to the degree that I will not need to ask for pain medication.

I have already spoken by e-mail with a couple of bloggers who recently used self-hypnosis in childbirth. I would love to hear from others who have tried it.

And if you are interested in seeing this in action, check out this link to a Dateline video showing two women who used self-hypnosis in childbirth. Call me a kook, but I think it's amazing! (The Dateline video is the fourth video in the list on this web page.)

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Friday, June 15, 2007

I Will Surely Go to Hell for Writing This

Original post removed to protect the innocent.

Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting on the original version of this post from last Wednesday. It is clear that I am not the only one struggling with these type of family situations and that, amazingly, there are actually worse stories out there than mine. I appreciated reading about each of your stories - not that I'm happy that so many of you have to put up with similar stuff - but it does help to know that there are wonderful, loving, caring people out there (YOU!) who still manage to deal with the bullsh*t. Makes me feel more confident that I can do it too.

Again, thanks for your support. I am so happy to share this little corner of the blogosphere with you.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hospital Births: Are We Set Up for Problems?

A Recent Conversation with My Midwife

Midwife: So, before we finish the appointment, do you have any questions for me? She's always very willing to spend time answering my questions, which I love.

Me: Actually, I was wondering if Kaiser has a list of doulas that it recommends?

Midwife (looking startled): Uh, no. Kaiser doesn't do that.

Me (confused): Kaiser doesn't do doulas?

Midwife: Well, we don't refer patients to them. We can't. It's against our policy.

Me: Oh, okay. (WTF?) Well, no problem. I can just look online I guess.

Midwife (almost apologetically): But I think it's great that you want to get a doula. What made you decide to look into getting one?

Me (opting for the short answer): Well, I am anticipating a natural childbirth and I feel I will need the extra support.

Midwife (skeptically): You want a natural birth?

Me: Uh, yeah. Well, I mean, I think I may end up with one regardless because my epi didn't work during my first birth. I can't assume it will work this time.

Midwife: Well, it's just that most women don't go natural here. Didn't they try upping the medication when the epidural stopped working?

Me: They said it wasn't possible.

Midwife: Did they try re-inserting the epi?

Me (getting frustrated): No, they never tried that.

Midwife: Oh, that's so strange. Usually, they'll try that...

Me: Well, anyway, I just don't want to bother with trying an epidural again. I have no idea if it's going to work so I can't depend on it.

Midwife (leaning closer as if to whisper): OK, well, if you're really intent on trying for a natural childbirth, then I have something for you. I have it locked away in my office. I'll be right back.

Two minutes pass and she returns.

Midwife (handing me a small one-sided flyer): here is the name of a doula that I have heard is good. She also does a class on natural birthing - the Bradley Method. You can contact her. But please don't mention to anyone that I gave this to you. It's like contraband around here.

I took the scrap of paper, feeling like I was doing a deal with the mafia.

Me: Great. Thanks.

Midwife: Oh, and if you plan to go natural, you have to understand something. When you get to the hospital, you are going to be pressured by the nurses to take medications. You have to be ready for that because when you are feeling labor pain, it will be really hard to say "no" when meds are offered.

And it's REALLY important that you pay to take a childbirth preparation class outside of Kaiser. Kaiser's class won't cut it if you want to avoid meds.


OK, so I left this appointment feeling really pissed. Not so much pissed at the midwife, but pissed at Kasier. Pissed at a hospital system that won't allow its midwifes to even hand out a list of friggin local doulas to its patients. At the very least, they could have a one-pager with the name of the certifying organization for doulas so that patients can search on their own.

When I was pregnant with my first son, I didn't even know what a doula was. That certainly wasn't part of the Kaiser childbirth preparation class. They were too busy passing around forceps and a vaccuum so we could see how our kids would probably be extracted from our bodies.

In any case, our conversation brought to light a larger question for me -

Do hospitals get in the way by complicating labor? Does the medical system (for all its good intentions) inadvertently hinder birthing mothers by intervening when it's really medically unneccesary? And at what cost?

**And here I think it's important to note that I think that hospital staff are wonderful, dedicated people who save lives. In an emergency, they would be the ones to provide the needed interventions to save my life and my baby's life. I recognize that and am very thankful for it.

But. I'm guessing that the majority of birthing women are not high-risk, nor do they ever become high risk during the course of their labor. And yet, we are treated as "patients", strapped down to our beds with IVs, offered medications at every turn. And maybe we WANT to take medications and that is our choice (hell, I was shouting for the epidural at the first opportunity!). But on the other hand, are we conditioned to think that we NEED these interventions? And, again, at what cost?

In recent months, I have read that epidurals are associated with stalled labor, increased risk of needing Pitocin, and c-sections for failure to progress. I haven't read all the research on this, but in my personal experience, I saw it (almost) happen to me. Though I didn't end up with a c-section, I was very close to it. And I know that the c-section rate in this country is astronomical. Why?

And I'm also wondering: given the potential risks and disadvantages of epidurals, why don't hospitals more routinely offer pain-relief altneratives and natural coping mechanisms? Like, how about a shower in every room? Or, better yet, a soaking tub for a water birth? How about doulas provided for free, paid by your insurance? How about midwives on staff who can actually BE midwifes and help women prepare for a natural birth? How about a labor room that is bigger than my cubicle? How about birthing balls lent out to all women at their first prenatal visit? I know there are some hospitals that offer some of these, but guess how much of this Kaiser offers? Zero, zilch, nada.

That said, I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with seeking pain relief in labor. At all! I WISH we could have pain-free labors, and heck, I may even ask for the epidural again, but I hope I won't have to. Having experienced Pitocin without an epidural, I'm actually more afraid of getting an epidural now (and having it fail) than I am of trying to do it naturally.

But I'm curious: what are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think that hospitals get in the way of the natural birthing process? And if so, do you think the birthing mother pays a price? Or am I just smoking crack?


Thursday, June 07, 2007

What Not to Say to Your Pregnant Daughter if You Expect to Get a Father's Day Present

Were you this large when you were pregnant last time?


On another note, I am happy to announce the winner of the LTDChix give-away - Anne Nahm! Go read her hilarious "frazzled mom" entry here. It is a must-read for anyone who owns a diaper genie. Congratulations, Anne!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Menstrual Cup: What Will They Think of Next?

Just when I think that I am pretty well "in the know" about all things related to caring for my feminine needs, I come across something that blows me away.

I had always thought that tampons and pads were the two ways to take care of things during that time of month, but apparently there is an alternative - and an environmentally-friendly alternative at that.

It's called the DivaCup™.

From the website: "The DivaCup™ is a dependable, internal vaginal alternative to pads and tampons. It is perfect for an active lifestyle. Feel free to travel, swim, camp, as you would any other day of the month!"

Basically, you stick this thing up there, it catches the flow, you take it out when it's full to dispose of the liquid, and then you wash it out and reinsert. Easy, eh?

The way I see it, the DivaCup has a few advantages. First off, it holds one full ounce of liquid, which means you'd only need to empty your cup a couple times a day. Not bad. Secondly, it's washable and reusable so it's environmentally friendly. No tampons in the landfills. And finally, it comes with a "discreet drawstring carry bag" AND an exclusive Diva pin with silver accents (to wear proudly in support of this amazing product). Yep, pretty good deal for $32.50.

But before I buy one, I guess I have a few questions for DivaCup - and please, if anyone has used one, let me know if you have the answers to these questions:

1. The website says that the money-back guarantee does not cover "damage caused by accidents." Hmmmm. So what kind of "accidents" are we talking about here? This gets me a bit nervous.

2. You say that it is "highly unlikely" that the DivaCup could get stuck in there. Can you give me a percentage likelihood? I just want to be really clear.

3. Let's talk spillage. Convince me that I don't have to worry about this.

4. Since there's no string involved, I'm just a bit concerned about the retrieval process. Thoughts?

5. Are you really serious about the pin? Really?

So, I'm a little torn on this one. I like to be environmentally conscious, but I'm worried about the whole concept of catching my menstrual flow in a cup. Maybe I'm just being silly. Would YOU try this? Anyone out there a DivaCup fan? Let me know! Yay or nay???

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Monday, June 04, 2007

We're Having a....!

When you were pregnant, did people often ask you what you hoped to have - a boy or a girl? It seems like I got asked that question all the time early in this pregnancy. Those who knew that I already have a son, usually assumed I was hoping for a girl.

When asked, I typically delivered the following politically-correct response: "Well, as long as the baby is healthy, that's all that really matters."

I've heard many pregnant moms say the same thing. It's kind of like a non-answer really. Something you say so you don't really have to answer the question.

But how important is having a girl or a boy to us really? I think the answer totally depends on the person. Some people probably really don't care either way. But I would guess that the majority of people really do hope for one or the other gender.

Prior to finding out the gender of this baby two months ago, I told myself that if it turned out to be a boy that would be OK with me. I tried not to think about it too much, but as the date for the ultrasound got closer, I began to get nervous. I had been sick with morning sickness since my 5th week of pregnancy and I knew that I didn't want to go through another pregnancy. But if I were having another boy, could I stop having children, never having had a daughter? I have two brothers, but no sisters and no close female cousins. Having a daughter is something I have always wanted.

On the date of the ultrasound, Husband and I were happy to find out that the baby looked healthy. We breathed a sigh of relief, as this truly is the most important issue to us. Obviously.

Then, the tech asked us if we wanted to know the baby's sex.

"Yes, we would." I said.

I expected it to take a while for her to find the right angle to expose the goods, but she panned to it right away.

"What does that look like to you," she asked, pointing at the screen.

"A penis?" I said.

"Yep, that's a penis alright. You're having a boy!"

I have to tell you that my reaction to this news shocked even myself. I had to fight back tears. I hadn't realized until that moment how much I really wanted a girl. It was a purely a selfish feeling, but you can't really tell your feelings what to feel, can you? And I was feeling really disappointed.

The sensible side of me knows that I could get reamed for even writing this post. There are women who struggle to have children, for example, who would likely be inflamed by reading this. And honestly, I think I'm pretty shitty for feeling this way too. I should be happy that I'm having a healthy baby and just shut my trap.

However, since this is Mommy off the Record, I'm not going to lie. I felt like crap upon hearing this news. And the feeling didn't leave me for a little while. It was almost like I was mourning the daughter that I had hoped for deep down.

Now, having had a couple months for this to sink in, I realize that having another boy will be special in many ways that having a girl wouldn't. In particular, I am happy that Little Guy will have a partner in crime - for life - who will be close to him in age, who can share the sandbox as a toddler, share his secrets as a grade-schooler, and hopefully have a close relationship as an adult. I look forward to helping them foster this friendship. Since I never had a sister, I always thought that having a sibiling of the same sex would have been wonderful.

So I am happy that I'm having a boy. I really am. I can't wait to see how these two little boys play and grow together.

But I still do want to have a daughter someday. I might even have to try one more time to see what happens. And if it's a boy again, I'll probably fight back tears again and then realize again that I'm a lucky lady to have all these wonderful men in my life. And I'll move on. And hell, maybe I'll even start a baseball team.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Blogging at its Funniest

If you are in need of a good laugh today, then I insist that you read the following post written by Mama Tulip.

Why We Won't Be Getting a Dog Anytime Soon

I don't want to spoil it for you, but suffice it to say I think she should get the motherhood medal of honor for having had to inspect a dog's butt.

That may sound gross, but you just must read the post. She has a way with storytelling, and I guarantee your sides will be hurting by the time you finish reading her post.

So, Mama Tulip, for your bravery in the face of, uh, doggie anal juices, and for the hilarious way in which you recounted the story, I hereby award you with a May ROFL Award!

May you always remember that fine day when you see this button :)


For a list of all the awardees, go visit Chicky Chicky Baby or Metro Mama.

Reminder: the deadline for entering the LTDchix contest is this Tuesday. Two gift certificates are up for grabs. More details here...


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