Sunday, March 29, 2009

Buyer's Remorse

The day that I took my first and thus far, only trip to a bricks and mortar maternity shop, I spent way too much money. I bought some bras that ride up, apparently wanting to support my chin. I bought some tops that I totally love. And I bought several of these wildly expensive skincare products.

I'm a sucker for skincare products, always have been, I hope always won't be, since they're mostly snake oil in pretty packages...

Well, amongst the skincare products I bought is the one pictured at left (photo credit: Basq NYC). It's called belly oil. It smells fabulous. It's supposed to relieve itchyness and prevent/heal stretch marks. It's $38 dollars for 125 mL, which is rather remarkable. It comes in a lovely smoked glass bottle. Glass! That's gotta be good, high end stuff.

In the product promises, it says that it's fast absorbing. I'm not sure how fast to them is fast, but this is my experience. I put the oil on, and then wash my face, brush my teeth and then put moisturizer on my face. I put my sleeping clothes on, or not, as the case may be, and go to bed. This should be enough time (10 - 15 minutes) for fast absorbing oil to be absorbed. You'd think.

I noticed within a week or two of using the oil most nights, that my sleeping clothes and sheets are smelling of rancid oil. Even after washing. Now I normally wash my clothes in cold water, so I tried a few loads with warm and hot water and a bit more detergent than normal to remove the smell. No such luck.

If this was just some inexpensive gunk I'd picked up at CVS, I'd dismiss it, throw it out and be done with it. However, at this price, I need help. So I sent this email to the customer service email address on their website:

Hi there,

I've been using the Resilient Body Oil for awhile and it is a lovely product. However, using a normal washing machine, hot water and laundry detergent, I am unable to remove the smell of rancid oil from my clothes and bed sheets. What do you recommend? I've never had a moisturizer oil, cream or butter leave such a strong, unpleasant odor!

Thank you,
I got a prompt response from Kelli:

Hi BB. We are glad to hear you find the oil lovely and appreciate your business.

We have never heard this issue before in our customer testing and ongoing customer feedback. We care about your product experience and wish we could offer guidance, but have never encountered this issue before.


Kelli Kenny

Wow, never heard of it before. No apology that my bed now smells like an unclean kitchen. No promise to look into it further. No offer of refund on the product. That's satisfying, just a huh, never heard of it.

Doing tech support over the phone, sometimes the first thing that escapes my mouth when a customer describes their problem is "that's weird". But it's never the last: I always follow on to work on fixing the problem. That's my job. I guess Kelli doesn't feel the same way.

What pregnancy and baby products do you love? Have you wished you'd never heard of?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I do love the great state of Texas - my folks are from there, it made for a great Michener novel. When I took DH there for the first time recently, he liked it so much that he asked why we don't live there. I think it was the bbq'd ribs and Shiner Bock speaking, but he liked it immediately.

My explanation was something like remember George Bush? He's from here, and they (well a lot of them) still like him here. But a few other things could have been mentioned as well:

  • Sex education is so badly done in Texas that it would be funny if it wasn't also so bloody tragic.
  • To add insult to injury, the Texas Board of Education is considering challenging evolution in the science curriculum. It's called science people. You have a whole separate class for religion.
Crikey. Nice place. Not sure what they're on about though.

Isn't that special?

So I was sitting around today at lunch, minding my own business, when I ran across a link to this Andrew Goldman article on home birth and midwifery in the New York Magazine. It's titled Extreme Birth, and essentially covers how one New York City midwife, Cara Muhlhahn, has differing views from many midwives and obstetricians of what is safe and what is risky when giving birth.

The article introduces the BOBB movie and how this particular midwife is well recognized as a result of appearing in the movie. Goldman does state that Muhlhahn's views are not typical of midwives, but doesn't work too hard at it - no other typical practices are outlined. Neither does he outline a part of the movie where Muhlhahn refers a patient to hospital with good reason, and without making her labor at home forever - it was clear in the movie that a quick diagnosis of something bad was made, and that she recognized she could not care for this woman at home. Why mention that when you're trying to make a point?

The finale of the article is the possibly life saving c-section his wife had to deliver their child.

Congratulations Mr Goldman on taking the classic attack of picking the out there wingnut to represent and diminish the whole group. I'm not sure Muhlhahn is a wingnut, but you represented her as such, and home birth advocates as having a lot in common with her. Way to demonize the practitioners who are helping the low risk women have a safer, more empowering experience.

And yes, I figure home birth is safer for most of us - out of the reach of the impatient, drug pushing obstretician urging c-sections.

I think Western medicine can be great. Last week, when I was checking myself into the ER, I thought this could be it - something could be arising that makes me no longer a good candidate to have the baby in the birthing center. I'm going to have the baby in a hospital, totally out of my control. I sort of got to a point where I accepted it, grudgingly.

When that resident essentially told me to suck it up, I'll be fine, I was initially offended, as I felt like she was saying that my pain wasn't real or valid. But in retrospect, I'm glad. She could have looked harder for some pathology, and she might have found it.

If I do wind up having to have a c-section or being taken to hospital for some complication, I'll be glad to have the Western medical system as backup. But until there is a pathology - a problem, a complication - giving birth doesn't seem like something that needs to involve an IV and sterile environment. If it did, how the heck did we all get here before hospitals were invented?

Monday, March 23, 2009

down for a few days; possibly TMI for the faint of heart

So I was laid up with an unexpected issue last week...

Everyone says that some constipation is normal during pregnancy, and I've been doing what I can to manage it. But something happened last week - or rather, things stopped happening... Tuesday I was uncomfortable. Tuesday night I couldn't sleep more than an hour or two at a time, for the pains in my abodomen. Wednesday, I called my midwife and she suggested another remedy in addition to what I was already taking. She also agreed with my step-mom that cheese and bananas are to be eliminated. Sigh. Done.

Thursday, I wasn't progressing and sometimes literally doubled over in pain. My midwife had me call the GI specialist I had seen last year to see if I could get in to see her for a consult. The GI didn't want to see me - when she heard my situation, pregnant, no bowel movement, she sent me off to the ER.

At the ER, I got sent to Obstetrics, where for a few hours, DH and I waited around, drank ice water, and answered the same questions over and over. Nothing since Monday. Pain, intermittent, sharp, here and here. Baby's fine, 22 weeks. Sure, let's listen to her heart just to be sure. First baby. The tenth or so person to see us essentially said you're pregnant and no spring chicken, take another remedy, you're going to be fine.

That wasn't what I wanted to hear, but she was right. At least in as far as the final remedy pushed things through, and when I saw my midwife on Saturday, she agreed that I might just be in for a somewhat uncomfortable (that is, painful) pregnancy. Things seem to be back to pregnancy-normal with regard to my digestive system now, and I'm still in some pain. We figured that there are a couple other causes for that pain: round ligament pain and fibroids. (My ultrasounds have shown that I have a couple of fibroids, and I think everyone with a uterus is supposed to have round ligaments.)

So there we go - I'm fine and looking sparkly again (said one of my staff, thank you!) and I'm working on redefining what feeling good means...

new belly photo

Well 22 weeks almost slipped by without a photo. I think this photo looks a lot like the 18 week photo, but I know the belly is bigger. I think in the 18 week photo, I was putting my hands on my hips and throwing my elbows back, thus pushing my belly out more... whereas these photos, I'm in a more neutral position.

I'm wearing maternity clothes pretty much full time, and that's good and comfy for sure. And our little futbolista is kicking like she's going for the prenatal world cup!

No one else (except my chiropractor who was just in the right place at the right time!) has felt her kicking yet, but I think that's just because I've got this *ahem* extra layer of padding that maybe not all the other pregnant ladies have...

I've rejoined freecycle and found a babycycle for this area too - fingers crossed for some kind of decent rocking/glider chair. I can't find one online that I like at all, for any price!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lemonade Award

I've been nominated for a Lemonade Award - aww, thank you Mel!

Unlike dear Mel, I've actually been having a great week. I am feeling good. Er, that is, most of me. I'm trying to just ignore my digestive system as it clearly isn't on board with the whole second trimester is wonderful thing concept. Maybe it misplaced the memo? But no matter, my energy level is generally pretty good, and the baby is moving around a lot - I've been joking about her being a little futbolista with DH (that'd be a soccer player to y'all).

I had lunch yesterday with a newly met colleague who is pregnant with twins due a couple weeks after my due date. We had a great time talking about our pregnancies and comparing the side effects and whatnot.

So, these are the rules for the Lemonade Award - they are for blogs showing great attitude or gratitude...

1) Put the logo on your blog or post.
2) Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude, (i.e. turn lemons into lemonade)
3) Link to your nominees within your post.
4) Let the nominees know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5) Share the love and link to the person from who you received your award.

~~~Here are my nominees for the Lemonade Award, in no particular order~~~

  1. more quality less clutter

  2. Vancouver Ethnic Eats

  3. Brazen Careerist

  4. radiant fracture

  5. La Vida Peruana

  6. FreeRangeKids

  7. Jennifer James

  8. DCUM Weblog

  9. Motherhood Uncensored

  10. The Sampson Family

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Selfish Reasons to Choose Natural Childbirth

I've not started drafting my birth plan yet. I mean, to be honest, it's almost completely written in my head (no drugs, yes tub, no bright lights, yes massage, no episiotomy, etc) but it feels too much like homework, and I'm in school until May. So, I probably won't put pen to paper (or whatever) until sometime after that.

However, it's definitely coming together in my mind. One thing that surprised me when I changed my mind about it was my decision to not take drugs to manage pain. Apparently, it's even more of a surprise to everyone else I talk to, based on the reactions I get.

Don't get me wrong, I like being an outlier sometimes, but I've also grown to feel strongly about this. Childbirth is something that most of us who haven't done it know most about through fictional depictions of it in TV and movies. So we don't have a very balanced view of how we can and do come into the world. Ironically, from the (non-fiction) childbirth movies I've previously mentioned, plus one my doula shared with me, I've decided there is a better way that I want to try. Further reading has confirmed that I think I'm doing the right thing for me. Not for everyone, but definitely for me.

My doula also gave me a copy of this article on The Purpose and Power of Pain in Labour. I've reread it several times and I'm still not very good at summarizing why this makes sense to me. However, it explains it more or less.

Essentially, being in pain during labour cues the mother to prepare to give birth, stimulates hormones needed for birth and a bunch of other good things. If you miss some of the good things, some of the later good things around breastfeeding and bonding might be more difficult or delayed, etc.

So all of this sounds good, bonding, breastfeeding, happy baby, etc. However, the inquisitive reader may ask, may we assume these are the reasons why BB is choosing natural childbirth? Oddly enough, no.

BB is choosing natural childbirth out of - wait for it - selfish reasons. Does that sound ironic? Maybe initially, but then:

  • In natural childbirth, contractions are less painful and less likely to cause a ruptured uterus than contractions in induced labour.
  • Without an epidural, I will feel the contractions more intensely than without, but I will be able to get up and move around (well, without an epidural and without constant fetal monitoring to tie me to a bed) and that moving around can help me manage the pain.
  • Epidural = paralysed from the waist down. Not good.
  • With an epidural, labour can slow down to a speed unacceptable to an obstetrician, often leading them to push for chemically inducing faster contractions or a c-section.
  • C-sections are major abdominal surgery. There's a reason why I'll get 8 weeks paid leave after a c-section instead of 6 weeks after vaginal birth - I really won't be able to get up and move around for ages. Not to mention scaring, potential infection, etc.
  • I feel that in a birth attended to by midwives and doulas, my desires are more likely respected, and medical interventions only initiated for true emergencies rather than convenience.
  • I've mentioned this before, but I just don't like painkillers. Oddly, I keep a lot around the house, but I almost never take them. When at the dentist, if they need to drill my teeth and expect not to have to go too deep, I'll usually ask them to start without numbing/freezing my mouth. I guess I can handle some pain.
I can't think of any of my other "selfish" reasons to chose natural childbirth, but please feel free to share yours below!

Also, I have great friends who have adopted a baby born by c-section and the baby is happy and healthy and bonded like glue, so all that good baby stuff - I think the way the baby is delivered can be impactful but overall, it's a whole parenting picture thing for me.

Finally, yes, I am thinking (and reading and listening to podcasts) a lot about parenting and what we'll be doing when little kickypants is out. But I'll leave that (terrifying) topic to another post and thank the good folks at The Parents Journal for their foresight in putting their program on iTunes.

Neti Pots

Thank you for your thoughts on cleaning out the sinuses - definitely a good thing (tm).

I ended up buying one of the *ahem* new neti pots on amazon and took delivery of it just before a long weekend trip to visit my grandmother.

DH and I got home last night with time to unpack, get dinner, move the car to a place we won't be ticketed... and try out the neti pot. It's grand.

And as (I believe) Faye had mentioned, it has a rather impressive diameter on the spout. I tried it out on my schnoz, and it was perfect - a little weird at first, there was a sensation of water in my nose that causes panic at the pool, but once I told me brain "hey brain, you're breathing through the mouth, it's all fine", my brain said oh, ok and calmed down. Oh yeah, I have huge nostrils apparently.

I washed it thoroughly and then called DH into the loo for him to try. His response was something along the lines of "do you think I've never used one of these before?" as I'm explaining the historical significance and traditional uses, etc, and he gave his sinuses a good cleaning out too.

I think he snored less last night. Not sure, but I think so... I sure feel like I had to blow my nose less today.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Crazy things you see online

One of the fun side effects of pregnancy which I have been blessed with is sinus congestion. All the time. Or rather, since inauguration (January 20th for the non-American audience).

The only decongestant that I'm allowed to take while pregnant is Sinutab, which the pharmacist looked at me sternly after I told him that and said are you very sure? I doublechecked and both the handouts from my OBGYN and midwife gave the big OK to Sinutab. But he seemed perplexed, and went to his documentation and found that Sinutab is a class C drug during pregnancy. I think class C means probably OK. Whereas Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a class A drug - totally OK. I think the letter scale goes to G or something, where a class G drug essentially shouldn't ever been taken while pregnant, or perhaps only to save the mother's life... So class C isn't so bad but probably not great.

At any rate, I tried Sudafed when I was actually sick and not just congested, and it made me really dopey, and it didn't seem to affect my congestion. So I've been thinking about what else I can do to reduce my congestion. And I thought now is the time I should try using a neti pot. I've thought it sounded like a good idea for a long time, but needed the little kick in the pants to go try it. I also still have some credit left over from gift certificates sent at Christmas, so I thought I'd go a searching for a neti pot on Amazon. Well, the search returned a bunch of promising results... what skeeved me right out though was that almost every single model presented had an option to buy used.

Would you buy a used neti pot from a stranger? I wouldn't. Maybe I should, in the interest of being a conservationist or something. But I think I won't be going that far.

I haven't bought one yet. I just remembered I'm supposed to be shopping for jeans for DH as well. Jeans and a neti pot. What doesn't Amazon sell?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sonograms the second ... and news..

So I went for the second sonogram on Friday and it was great. It actually wasn't as neat as the first one - it seemed like the technician couldn't get a low enough resolution to see the whole baby at the same time... she kept saying oh look here's the left ventrical of the heart, and here's the bladder.

From Sonograms

Click through to see this and a bunch of others, including some cute feet shots.

Apparently my daughter (yes we think it's a girl, or at least the tech and the doctor do) has a bladder and left ventrical within the normal parameters for a babe her age.

But between not being able to see the whole baby bouncing around doing her kickypants thing, and then she just looks kinda funny, it wasn't as amazing for some reason, as the first one was. The technician also did some other kind of scan which I've not posted which I guess the point of which was to show us what her face looks like. But apparently she's upside down and the placenta is right in front of her face. So the placenta in this particular colour scan makes her face look weirdly bumpy, and it's just a weird looking image anyway. I didn't immediately love the image, and kind of forgot about it. I took it home and showed it to DH, who was slightly horrified and asked if I was growing some kind of alien in there or something.

I realize I sound like one of those spoiled modern people whining about the miracle of air travel and mobile phones that was some late night talk show clipped to youtube and IM'd to me the other day. Unfortunately, I just watched the video without bookmarking it. The guy clearly didn't understand how mobile phones work (apparently he thinks your regular average mobile phone involves satellites or something else in space, but whatever). The sonogram technology is amazing and wonderful. I guess I was hoping for a look at the whole baby, but she's maybe too big now to get a good gander at all at once.

The baby kicking feels like a second heartbeat, like I've just done a quick sprint or run up a few flights of stairs. But my alien heart in my abdomen. She's wonderful.

UPDATE: the whining about the miracle of air travel is this video: Everything's amazing, nobody's happy.