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Thanks to all the cool crafty things I've seen on Pinterest, I wanted to do something creative for Andrea's teacher gift this year. Here's what I came up with...

I found the jar at Home Goods, and bought an Amazon gift card at CVS. I printed the little note on some red paper and glued it to the front of the gift card package, and cut a white plus sign out of some white sticker paper and stuck it on. Then I put the gift card in the in the jar, and filled the jar with a combination of Hershey's Kisses and peppermint candies.  I think it looks like Santa's belt a little bit, which was totally an accident, but made me really excited when I realized. I'm seriously so proud of myself for doing something creative and fun! This is really unlike me. At least the old, pre-Pinterest me. ;-) 

Disable reposting options in your style

A few people have posted this fix, but I'll repost it here. This isn't fool proof, but if you want your comment page to not have the repost to Facebook/Twitter options, you can make the following changes to hide those checkboxes...

It will only work if your comments page is displaying in your journal's theme, and if the person browsing your page doesn't have their LJ set to view everything in their own theme. According to this FAQ, you can only have your comments page display in your journal's theme if you have a Paid, Permanent, or Plus account. If you have a Basic or Early Adopter account, or if you want your comment page to continue displaying in the LJ default, this change will not work.

Here's what to do:

1. Go to the Custom CSS page here: http://www.livejournal.com/customize/options.bml?group=customcss
2. Go to the "Custom Stylesheet", and put in this line:

.b-repost-item {display:none}

3. That page should look like this: http://pics.livejournal.com/preggo_geek/pic/00093d5g. Save changes.
4. Go to the Display page here: http://www.livejournal.com/customize/options.bml
5. Set "Disable customized comment pages for your journal" to NO.
6. Save changes.

Even if you set this and it seems to work, anyone who used their own theme to view other people's pages and has not made this change will be able to check the boxes to repost to Facebook or Twitter.

ETA: One more caveat - If you use this hack, and if anyone else is stupid enough to select the option to repost ALL of their comments to Facebook or Twitter, the boxes would be checked on your public entries, and they would not be able to see them to uncheck them. However, these boxes are unchecked by default for friends-locked entries, so this is only an issue with public posts.

And I think it goes without saying, but if I find out anyone reposted any comments to my entries to Facebook or Twitter, I will defriend you.


So, I find myself saying the same thing over and over again when I'm replying to things on LJ communities (particularly breastfeeding, but other communities somewhat too). So I had an idea to start a blog with things that frequently come up about breastfeeding, cloth diapering, starting solids, or parenting in general. I've been saving my responses, so that I can craft them into a blog post when I have time. I've also gotten some good questions from friends and my Adopt_a_Mom mentees that I plan to turn into blog posting. My blog is http://threecubed-thoughts.blogspot.com.

I also starting realizing that  I come across a lot of cool links with info that I like to share on these same topics, but wanted to do something better than make a blog post about every link I come across. So I also set up an account with Delicious, where I can bookmark various links, summarize them, and tag them to make them easy to find. There's a shortcut to my Delicious links on my blog, but the direct URL is http://delicious.com/threecubed.

I also link from both places to galleries of cloth diaper and baby-led weaning pictures that I have taken of Andrea and posted online to make these pictures easy to share.

I've had the blog for a while and just never used it much, but recently I've made it a point to post a new entry every day in either LJ, or my blog, or somewhere else, so I have been posting a lot more frequently.

Here are some topics on the list of things to blog about. Let me know if you have anything you'd like to see me write about that I should add to this list, or if there's anything on this list that you'd like to see me discuss next.
  • Favorite stores to buy cloth diapers and other baby items
  • Baby-led weaning (method for introducing solids, not weaning from breastfeeding)
  • Dealing with infant constipation
  • Thyroid issues and breastfeeding
  • Cloth wipes
  • Using probiotics with antibiotics
  • Dealing with yeast diaper rash
  • Finding deals on cloth diapers and accessories
  • The truth about popular sleep "training" methods
  • Favorite pocket diapers
  • Favorite cloth diaper covers
And feel free to follow me or tell others about my sites. I'd love for it to become a useful resource for people.

My PPD Story

I've never been very open about my struggles with Postpartum Depression, but I realized my story may help someone, so I decided to write out what I have dealt with since my daughter was born. I wasn't diagnosed for a long time, although I think deep down I knew I was suffering with PPD from the beginning. I tried to get help, and I feel like everyone I saw failed me terribly.

Cut, because this got really longCollapse )

I don't know why I resisted a PPD diagnosis for so long. Part of me really wanted my issues to be something other than PPD. I wanted to blame my thyroid or the lack of sleep or something, rather than admit I really had PPD. The images I had of depression were of people curled up on the couch crying all the time, like on the commercials for anti-depressants. Sure, I cried, but more often I screamed and yelled and and slammed doors. I broke hangers, a toy, a plate... But when I wasn't angry, I was basically happy and everything was fine. It was nothing like what I thought depression was supposed to be. Yet I had a nagging feeling it might be PPD, so I kept researching it and taking screening tests. The screenings never said I had PPD, but I think that may just be the way in which I interpreted the questions, and also the fact that anger was my overriding issue. I also felt guilty about having to take thyroid medicine and was nervous about taking yet another medicine while breastfeeding. Plus, I felt like I didn't need something all the time - just when I could tell I was angry. But I had no idea if a medicine like that even existed, or what it would be. But finally starting on the Zoloft was the best thing I've done for myself in a long time. It made a world of difference. I sometimes still have bad days, or freak out about something when I feel like I should have been able to keep my composure, but it's sooooo much better than it was before. I've now been on Zoloft for 6 months, and have considered weaning from it, but I don't think I'm really ready yet. In fact, on particularly trying days (hello, 1 year molars!) I feel like maybe I need to see about a higher dosage. But for the most part, I feel like a whole new woman since finally recognizing I had a problem and getting proper help.

* If you read this whole story, it will sound like I am very against the mental health profession, but I'm not. I think I just had a string of bad luck with finding the right doctor. But I included those details, because I think it's important to know that just because a professional says you DON'T have PPD, doesn't mean you don't still have a real problem that needs to be addressed. I kept telling myself, "If I had PPD, one of the therapists I've seen would have noticed by now." But now I think that they all missed it, since maybe my PPD wasn't the typical variety.

My Breastfeeding Story

My baby turned one this week, so I figured it was time to write up the story of our first year of breastfeeding...

My Breastfeeding StoryCollapse )

Birth Story

If you didn't read my pregnancy story, here's a recap of how it ended... I had an intervention-happy doctor pushing an immediate induction on Friday, April 11th, and when I refused she made me schedule an appointment on Monday, April 14th. I did NOT want to see her again, so I desperately wanted to have my baby before my Monday appointment.

Saturday we walked the mall trying to speed things up, and then Saturday night I started having timeable pre-labor contractions - every 10 minutes for at least two hours. I was watching a movie with a friend and was sort of amused that I was hopefully making some progress. Later that night, the contractions stopped and I wanted to encourage things along, so shortly after midnight I worked up the courage to take a shot of castor oil. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I just washed it down with some water and a few crackers. I was really hoping it would work because I couldn't stand the thought of going back to that doctor. (I know a lot of people are against castor oil, but my mom did it when she was pregnant with my brother and it worked with no issues, so I wanted to try it.)

Well, I woke up Sunday morning about 4:30 with significant enough contractions that I couldn't get comfortable laying down in bed. So I got up and walked around our house. By 7:30am, I decided I should time the contractions. They were 3 minutes apart and about 1 minute long, but weren't bothering me as long as I was walking or sitting on my birth ball. During the contractions, I did my slow breathing and hypnobirthing visualizations. In between contractions, I was talking to family and friends who were at the house, but still wasn't sure if it was real labor.

By 10:30 I decided I could use some peace and quiet to help relax, so I went upstairs and got in a warm bath. I was really cold so my husband turned on the space heater to try and warm the room up (although he said it was actually already quite warm). The bath felt really good, but I could tell the contractions were strengthening. After about an hour, I decided I was done in the bath, so I got out, put on a robe and laid down in bed with my hypnobirthing CD. But almost immediately I had to get my husband to help me get up and head to the bathroom. I sat down on the toilet, asked for a trash can, and then immediately threw up.

I had been on the phone with my doula on and off throughout the morning about how things were progressing. She suggested that I take a brisk walk with my husband after the bath. Instead, I was slowly shuffling in a circle in our room and stopping very frequently for contractions. At this point, my husband called the doula, updated her on my progress, and we agreed it was probably time for her to come to the house. I continued walking for a while, puked again, went to the bathroom and noticed some bloody show, and then I took a shower to wash my hair and such so that I'd be ready to go to the hospital later.

My doula arrived about 12:30 and almost immediately started giving counter-pressure on my sacrum during contractions. At this point I was sitting on my birth ball with my head leaning on the bed. After a little while, I asked the doula if it was normal that I felt like I had to go to the bathroom with every contraction. She said that was normal, but then asked how long I'd been feeling that way. When I told her "about an hour" she said I should start thinking about going to the hospital soon. I agreed and we made the short drive to our hospital down the street. I was so worried that they were going to tell me I was only like 4cm and then send me home.

We got to the hospital about 1:30. Even though I pre-registered, we had to sit down and answer a bunch of quesitons (many of which were on the pre-registration form) and sign a stack of papers. I was NOT amused. Then we walked over to the triage area. They offered a wheel chair, but I didn't feel like I needed one. In triage, they laid me down on a bed and hooked me up to the monitors and proceeded to ask a bunch more questions, plus some of the same ones I'd already answered. And in fact, there were two nurses asking many of the same questions - some to me and some to my husband, then I had to sign a bunch more papers. I was REALLY not amused about this process. Finally, the midwife came in to check me and her exact words were "Girl, you're 8-9 centimeters! I can't break your waters or you'll have your baby here in triage!" Then she asked if I had a birth plan, which my husband gave her, then she ran out and ordered a delivery room be setup ASAP. I looked at my husband and said, "We did good, baby!" -- I knew that if I got to the hospital that far along, everything else would fall into place. All the nurses were saying things like "You're supposed to tell us when you're this far along!" and "How are you still talking and smiling?" They said in the hypnobirthing class that people wouldn't believe you were so far along, and it was pretty cool that it had actually worked that way. Before I left the triage room, they gave me a heplock, which is something I agreed to so that it would be there if needed for an emergency situation, since I have bad veins.

Around 2:30, they moved us to the delivery room. I sat on the edge of the bed and they asked me if I felt like pushing. I honestly didn't know what I was supposed to be doing at that point though. The midwife suggested that she break my waters, because she didn't think they'd break on their own if they lasted this long already. So she had the nurses prep for that, and then - POP! - my waters broke on their own and shot across the room. It was quite funny to everyone except my husband, who was really glad he was standing behind me and looking elsewhere at the time. Ha, ha. The midwife checked me again and said that I was nearly 10cm with just a little reduceable lip, so she wanted me to try to start pushing. She and the nurse also inspected the amniotic fluid with a flashlight, because she thought it looked clear, but then saw a tiny speck that made her think there might be a bit of meconium. So they had a respiratory therapist in the room during delivery, just in case. I pushed for about 30 minutes, with the second half of that spent mostly yelling in my husband's face. Not *at* my husband, just really close to his face. He said his hearing finally started to come back after a couple of weeks. LOL She started at 0 station, but the midwife said she moved down quickly with each contraction. Toward the end is when I really started feeling like I couldn't do it. The midwife suggested a local anesthetic to help me make it over the hump so I would keep pushing. They suggested I feel her head, and I initially said no, but then I thought it might give me just the motivation to keep going. I think it helped, because she was born shortly after. After her head came out, they told me to stop pushing, so they could suction her and everything, but there was no stopping her - she came right out all at once pretty much. Because of the meconium possibility, they put her on my chest for a minute, then had to take her away to check her out. They eventually decided there was no meconium, but didn't want to take any chances.

They hooked up an IV of pitocin after she was born, which I questioned when I noticed it, but didn't feel like arguing at that point. My baby was here and everything went how I wanted, so I figured it wasn't worth making a big deal over. I delivered the placenta and they said it looked healthy. (That was satisfying since everyone at my doctor's office had been giving me such a hard time about being post dates.) Then they started stiching me up. This was excrutiating. I asked if the local was supposed to still be working and she said not really. The midwife said she couldn't really do anything for the pain other than narcotics which would just make me tired, because a local wouldn't work with all the bleeding. I didn't understand this but didn't know what else to say. So I had a bunch of stiches for 2nd degree tears with NO pain meds. This was WAY worse than the labor itself, especially because I had to stay perfectly still. I think I just about crushed my doula's hand I was squeezing it so hard. Eventually, they finished that torture and gave me my baby back. The midwife and nurses had been saying since the moment she was born how "huge" she was, so I was really amused when they finally weighed her and said she was 8 pounds 11 ounces. That's when I told them I was 10 pounds 6 ounces at birth, and I thought 8 pounds sounded just perfect. The midwife said she was glad I didn't tell her that before, or she would have been really scared. (Other midwives in the practice had been estimating I'd have a 9-10 pound baby for several weeks.)

Overall, the whole experience was pretty amazing. I had an easy pregnancy, other than the doctors being concerned about my "huge" baby the whole time. And everyone other than my mom and husband thought I was NUTS for wanting to have a natural childbirth. So I kept saying I would consider everything a success if I managed to have a normal sized baby and no pain medicine, proving everyone wrong. After all was said and done, I feel like we accomplished both of those things, which was a great sense of satisfaction. My husband says I'm pretty "smug" and I'm okay with that. It was definitely amazing, and I was so glad we pulled it off. 

Andrea Paige ____
Born Sunday, April 13th at 3:43pm
8 lbs. 11 oz.
20 1/4 in. long

Also, I wasn't sure whether or not to include this, but it was a big part of the day so I thought I should. Sometime before 7am while I was pacing around in labor, we found out that my little sister had been killed by a hit-and-run driver when she was crossing the street overnight. So we had my brother and some friends at the house that otherwise wouldn't have been there during my labor. I had to put that out of my mind somewhat so that I could focus on my labor, but it of course affected us all. I wish she would have been able to meet her niece. She had been so excited about becoming an aunt.

My Pregnancy Story

Lots of people write birth stories, but I also wanted to write a recap of my pregnancy, both for posterity, and to share how I dealt with all the crap I got from my doctors/midwives. (I went to a group practice where I saw different CNM's or OB's every week.) Everything went great for the first several months - good heartbeat, good anatomy scan, good GD test results, etc. and I had no morning sickness. My only issues were INSANE fatigue during my first trimester, where I had to nap almost every day. And around 11 weeks, I got a horrible case of stomach flu and had to be hospitalized for dehydration.

At my 30 week appointment, the midwife said I was measuring a week ahead, and when I mentioned I wasn't worried because I was a big baby and my mom had me just fine, she immediately says "Well, we won't let you go more than a few days overdue. And depending on the results of an ultrasound and NST, we may talk about the risks of a vaginal delivery versus a C-section." I was stunned! GRRR. (I was 10 lbs. 6 oz. and sunny-side up, and my mom delivered me flat on her back with no childbirth classes or drugs, so I've never been worried about having a big baby.) Fortunately, at my 32 week appointment, the doctor I saw said I was measuring right on track and was surprisingly supportive when I told him I wanted a natural childbirth.

Then at my 34 week appointment, the midwife measured me and before saying the number, she said "So, were you a big baby?" and I responded (sheepishly), "uh, yeah?". She wanted to know how big, so I told her 10 pounds (I was 10lbs 6oz, but I was trying to minimize it without totally lying.) She said at my next appointment they'd probably want to do an ultrasound to see how big my baby was and that if it was going to be 10 pounds, they'd want to schedule me for a C-section. I talked to her about how I really wanted to do this naturally and told her how the baby seemed to be in a funny position and maybe that was just throwing off the number today. So she asked about my siblings and all I said was that my sister was 7 pounds. (My brother was over 9lbs, but I didn't mention that.) So she said she could measure again and maybe fudge the number, and the second measurement she said she could call 36cm, which "wasn't as bad". She said she'd leave off any mention of an ultrasound and we'd try to avoid that because the doctors would "freak out" if an ultrasound shows a big baby. Then she just reiterated that I was definitely going to have a big baby - probably a 10 pounder.

The next few appointments, I saw different people and wasn't measuring too big, so nothing much was mentioned about the size of the baby for a while. But at 38 weeks, the midwife said matter of factly that even though I was measuring right on, I was tall and so the baby was already 8 1/2 pounds. He also asked if I had a birth plan and we reviewed it together, and he agreed to all the natural childbirth stuff I had in there, except where I said I did not want anyone to ask about my pain levels - he said the nurses would do that no matter what because it was the "standard of care". He also said it was time to schedule my induction. I told him I wouldn't be doing that unless it was medically necessary, and he said they'd want to get it scheduled at my next appointment for sure because they don't let women go past 40 weeks. I was dumbfounded. He said I could probably schedule it for closer to 41 weeks, but that it would be pushing it. 38 weeks is also when my office starts doing cervical checks, but I declined them.

At 39 weeks, I saw a doctor at the practice. My BP was 140/80 when I came in (it had been really low up to that visit), but after laying down on my left side for a few minutes it was 130/70, so they let me leave without being concerned. But after that I made sure to listen to my Hypnobirthing CD and relax before going in the office. At my 40 week appointment, my BP was fine and I was measuring right on, but the midwife said we "HAD" to schedule my induction to get it on the hospital's schedule (as if they couldn't do an immediate induction if medically needed). I told her she could schedule it for 42 weeks. She said that was too late, and that there were serious concerns my placenta would deteriorate before then. WTF?? We settled on 41w4d, but I was secretly planning to reschedule or not show if I didn't have the baby by then. She also insisted I come back in on Friday (40w5d) for an NST to make sure the baby would be "okay to last the weekend."

So Friday morning, April 11th, I had an appointment with an OB for a regular visit and an NST. She was very intervention happy and was pretty upset that I was past my due date (40w 5d). I brought my husband with me to the appointment and it was AWFUL. My BP was 150/90 (it was 120/78 on Monday), but no other pre-e signs. We also did an NST and even though the baby was moving and my husband I could see her heart rate go up by about 20 bpm for 15-20 seconds a few times, the doctor declared it "non-responsive" and recommended a bio-physical profile (via ultrasound) to make sure the baby was okay and that I still had enough fluid. (Something she said she had wanted to do even before the NST, but I said we'd do the NST first.) I didn't want the ultrasound because I figured then she'd freak about the baby's size, so I declined the ultrasound again. Then she sat us down in her office and told me her recommendation was that I go immediately to the hospital for an induction, because I was past my due date (40w5d), my BP was high, and she "couldn't tell if the baby was okay." I trusted my instincts and knew the baby and I were both fine. We tried to tell her my BP was a fluke from stress/anxiety caused by her crazy nurse and my worries about interventions, but she said stress doesn't affect blood pressure (hello?!?). After a bit of arguing between my husband and her, we went home - no BPP/ultrasound, no induction. I told her I'd go on bed rest and watch my BP, and go to the hospital if it continued to be in the 150's/90's. We bought a blood pressure monitor later in the day and it said my BP was 120/80 (surprise, surprise). She did insist we come back Monday for another NST, and the only available appointments were with her, so I desparately wanted to have my baby over the weekend and avoid another stressful appointment.

Picture from April 6th (40 weeks):

Soo... now for the birth story...