The Name Game

When we were pregnant the first time we debated names. Since we didn’t know what we were having we had to pick 2. The boy name was set in stone as it’s a combination of family names that I’ve wanted for years; I even had to fight my sister for one of the names. I won, the name is mine – she got the hutch from our grandmother’s dining room instead.

For the girl, the middle name was chosen already (it’s a family thing) but first name was up for debate. Sophie was usually at the top of the list, but I can’t remember the others. But neither of us were married to any of them. Towards the end of the pregnancy, Mark brought up the M name and it stuck. When we learned in the delivery room it was a girl, Mark rattled off the chosen name immediately. And now at almost 3 ½ I can’t imagine her as anything else. She is named perfectly.

So here we are, pregnant with a boy and we’ve known from that ultrasound what the name would be. However, the order of the names – which would be the first name and which would be the middle name – was up for debate. The order that I had always had in my head is now troubling me for a few reasons. First of all, the name I fought my sister for, the name I always imagined being the first name is an extremely popular boy name. It has been for years and is likely to be for years to come. Given the commonality of our last name, I fear that using it as the first name will be akin to naming him “John Smith”.

The next concern is that this name also begins with an M and having 2 kids and a husband all with M names makes me cringe. I know plenty of people do this on purpose but I find it silly. But is this enough reason not to use the name? Will I eventually get used to having two M children?

The other name – the one originally slated for the middle name – is much more unique and can be heard as somewhat ethnic. The nickname especially is one you don’t hear too often in our neck of the woods. I like that, but it might drive the kid nuts.

I know we could always go through with the original combination order but call the kid by his middle name. Mark went by his middle name as a child and my brother has gone by his middle name for his entire life. But then why not give the child the name you want as a first name to begin with?

There is one last thought – the initials. Using the M name as a first name would produce the initials MAD which I think is awesome. AMD is not as awesome and also brings to mind the image of some obscure multi-national company.

So help us decide – what would you do? Would you use the M name so 3 out of 4 in the family have M names? Call the kid by his middle name? Or would you reverse the order and have what was always thought as the middle name become the first?

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M’s Birth Story

I swear this isn’t going to be an all-birth/pregnancy-stories-all-the-time blog, but I’ve been revisiting things I wrote in the last weeks of my previous pregnancy and first weeks of being a parent.  It’s what’s on my mind right now, so bare with me as I remember and share some of these stories.

M was due on 9/15.  My midwife, Abby, was a bit concerned about the amount of amniotic fluid (I had too much).  That along with a period of days with no midwife on-call at the hospital and already being dilated several cm prompted me to have my membranes stripped on 9/15 in the hopes of jump starting labor.  We went into the office early on Friday morning for the procedure and came home, hoping to head to the hospital at anytime.  By late afternoon, with not one contraction, we figured it wouldn’t happen.  I returned to work on Monday, trying to work as much as possible in an attempt to extend my maternity leave to the holiday shut down in December.  We returned to the midwife on the afternoon of 9/22 and decided to have my water broken the next day.  An ultrasound said that “Baby D” was just over 8 pounds and the amniotic fluid had reduced to a more normal level.  Abby tried stripping the membranes again, in the hopes of getting things started (it failed, again).

Saturday morning arrived and we went to iHop for a big breakfast.  I was admitted to the hospital very close to our house in Toledo around 8:15 and we were lucky to get the birthing suite with the labor tub as we requested.  We settled in while our nurse, Velma, asked all sorts of questions and took my vitals.  I even requested for the TV to be on so we could watch college football – Michigan vs. Wisconsin (yes, I’m that much of an awesome wife)!

Abby broke my water at 10:15 AM and I was immediately happy this had not happened at home and that I was in a place equipped to deal with the mess.  Mild contractions started within 15 minutes.  I felt better while I was up and about so Mark and I spent a lot of time walking up and down the hallway of the labor and delivery ward, having mild contractions and hoping things would get moving.  Every time I laid back down, contractions stopped.  Around 12:30 I laid down and rolled to my right side and I was struck with severe light headed-ness and nausea.  Mark helped me to the bathroom and I got sick and felt better, but realized I was very hungry.  I had some crackers, jell-o and ginger ale to get my blood sugar back up.  After I was feeling better, Velma filled the tub and I got in.  It was very relaxing and the contractions, which had been getting stronger, felt so much easier but came faster in the warm water.  After about 20 minutes in the warm water, I got the urge to push and things got moving.

Again, lying down on my back felt uncomfortable and stopped the contractions, so Mark helped support me as I semi-squatted and pushed while standing.  Abby suggested that I labor on my knees and adjusted the bed so I could kneel on the end and support my upper body on the top of the bed.  I was an odd position, but it worked very well for me.  Contractions started coming faster and the pushing, while it hurt, was not nearly as bad as I expected.  Mark was great, getting me water when I needed it, keeping a cold washcloth on my neck and encouraging me to keep going.  Abby was great, explaining to me what was happening and what I needed to do.  After about 30 minutes, Baby D started to crown and I lost my will to go drug-free, saying “I can’t do this” and  “This needs to be over”.  The pain was intense, but between contractions was all calm.  Abby, Velma & Mark were all very positive and encouraging as I proceeded.  Abby worked me through the crowing and I felt the head come out.  Two pushes later and I heard Mark say “it’s a girl!”.  It was 3:03 PM.  I was shaking and disoriented as they placed M on the bed between my arms.  I was scared to hold her as my hands were shaking and my arms were half-asleep from leaning on them.  Mark helped wipe her down and he cut the cord.  Velma and Mark took her to the warming table while Abby helped my turn over and lie down.  I started shaking again and Velma brought me M.  I was overwhelmed – tired and excited all at once.  I couldn’t believe I had just birthed this little baby, all without any drugs and it happened so fast.  It all seemed a blur.

All of a sudden I felt the need to push again and out came the placenta.  Velma and Mark took M to weigh her while Abby gave me three stitches. They brought me M and I tried nursing but she wouldn’t latch on.  She finally did but only stayed on for a short time.   Mark, M and I hung out for awhile while we continued to try to nurse.  Mark made phone calls to family and friends announcing the news and we just kept staring at this tiny baby, who weighed in at 7 lbs 1 oz.

About an hour and a half after the birth M and I were wheeled down to the postpartum rooms.  M went to the nursery with Mark for her first bath and I went to the room.  I settled into the room, took a shower and tuned into the OSU game while the nurse brought me dinner.  Mark came back and M followed about 30 minutes later, after being under the warmer post-bath.

My parents, who were at a BGSU football game, came to meet their granddaughter and stayed for a short time.  That night, Mark stayed at the hospital with me after running home to let Mac out.  Although I had been adamant pre-birth that M stay in my room all night, I finally did have a nurse take her down to the nursery since every tiny move and noise she made kept me awake.  Other then being a little tired I was fine – no pain or anything and M became a champion nurser in no time.  My sister and brother visited the next day and we all just sat around the small hospital room chatting and staring at M.  I insisted Mark go home that night so he would get one last night of good sleep while I again sent M to the nursery and a nurse brought her to me for feedings.

The next morning, exactly 48 hours after my water was broken we arrived home as a family of 3.

Labor Rant

With my due date 10 weeks away, I’ve obviously been thinking a bit about labor and delivery.  Of all the things that can go wrong, the scary stuff, my hopes and our fears.  But I’m healthy, the baby is healthy, I’m having a good pregnancy and there is no reason to plan for any medical interventions.  They are there if necessary, but given my history with M there is little reason to believe I will need them.

So, yesterday I got a bit riled up when not one but 2 birth-related things surfaced on my interwebs.  The first was a link to this People Magazine article about Gisele Bundchen’s birth experience and the reaction was to lash out at her for being awful. I’m the first to admit it’s totally over the top to believe that she felt no pain.  But to assume she’s a liar-McLiarface because she had a low pain and easy birth experience? I just don’t understand.  I did much of my labor in the water with M and, as Mark can attest, while in the tub my pain level went way down.  It’s not much of a jump for me to see how a water birth would have been pretty low pain for Gisele. (Okay, okay I will call her a Liarface on her quote that says she does her own dishes – riiiight).

Then later in the day an old high school friend posed on Facebook asking other mothers about birthing classes. Within just a manner of minutes, there were a dozen comments all basically chanting “Forget the classes, get the epidural! Get it before your water breaks! All you need to know is E-P-I-D-U-R-A-L!”  So I posted the following:
“…And you don’t need an epidural, I opted to try without one (always having the option to get one if I wanted) and found I didn’t need/want it. Everyone’s different and you never know what you can handle until you’re there.”
And of course that was followed by a chorus of “you must be superwoman!” and “you’re a superstar for trying” and the like. Those comments, while said with good intentions drive me nuts because I just know that while they are saying it they are thinking “what a crunchy-granola-eating-hemp-wearing hippie freak”. I’m not a superwoman or a hippie – I’m just a woman who trusted the medical staff with whom I had worked with for 7 months and my own body to do what needed to be done and react to things as they happened, not before they happened.

Was my labor with M any less truthful or real or gritty because I was able to do it without any medication? Is it less meaningful because I didn’t have any intervention or last minute scares that I could share with everyone in the months after her birth? Why should I feel like I have to whisper that I enjoyed her birth and it really didn’t hurt all that much?

I went into having M with my eyes wide open and I know I was lucky in that it went so well.  I knew the risks and possibilities involved, but I also knew that it was an experience I had never had before so there was no medical reason for me to take measures to prevent something that we weren’t sure would even happen (i.e. intolerable pain). I don’t get up every morning and take a Tylenol “just in case” I get a headache later, why would I take medication in at the start of labor before I knew how bad the pain was?

Look, I totally understand that everyone has their own tolerance for pain and has their own medical history and assorted fears/issues they bring with them to a labor ward.  But I really and truly don’t understand the condescending backlash and accusations of being a liar against woman who admit that 1) labor wasn’t all that hard/painful for them or 2) was actually kind of wonderful and not at all as scary and harsh as they had anticipated? And yes, asserting that someone is a “superwoman” or saying “I could never do that” is condescending to all involved.  How do you know you could never do it until you tried?

Just so we are all clear I am far from an earth-mama hippie. Yes, I had a medication-free birth with M by choice/luck/effort/education and hope to do the same again.  I also have eaten sushi, soft cheese and had an occasional glass of wine while prego and sometimes let the TV babysit the girl.  Yes, we use cloth diapers, breastfeed, use non-toxic cleaning products and recycle.  But I will also drive to the grocery store 3 blocks away instead of walk if it’s cold or I’m tired. I also use probably highly toxic extra-strength deodorant, not a rock, and hate the smell of patchouli.

Things I’m Digging Right Now

Gah – It’s been over a week since my last post…what can I say other then I’m a bad blogger.  I seem to only have the patience for 140 characters right now so follow me over on Twitter if you really feel the need to know what I’m thinking right now.

That said, there are some things rattling around in my head lately, mostly little things in life that make me smile.  Not the biggies like my husband or the hysterical kid M is turning into.  Little things, product things that I have recently discovered.  These might be old-news to some but here are some items I’m loving right now:

Charlie’s Soap. I cloth diapered M and plan to do the same with the little man baking in my belly. [Yes, I plan to cloth diaper the baby which I know makes me a dirty liberal hippy. I don’t care; its way, way cheaper then disposables and we’ll end up using a mix of the two like we did for M. Plus cloths are cute and don’t have Elmo all over them.] However, you have to be choosy when picking detergents for cloths because so many leave a residue and then the diapers leak. I liked the brand we used for M but didn’t like that I can’t find it locally and shipping costs are killer.

Enter Charlie’s Soap… I’m in love with this stuff. We’ve only used a couple of weeks and of course no dirty diapers yet but I think I’m a convert. You use only a tablespoon for an entire load, it rinses totally out of clothes and it just smells clean – no fragrance or perfumes. I’ve also noticed that some of our older tshirts that were kinda stinky under the arms now have no stink after a couple of washes. No enzymes or brighteners which can bother sensitive skin and cause diaper rash in cloth babies, either.

I ordered directly from the company in North Carolina – everything is made in the US and they have other non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products, too. I got a kit that also had the all-purpose cleaner which I’m also digging. I usually just use vinegar and water, but this is doing awesome on grease in the kitchen.  So far I highly recommend it!

Eucerin Calming Body Wash Daily Shower Oil.  Winter is always hard on my skin.  We live in an old house with radiators so humidity in the air is nonexistent.  Plus, I’m starting to get the tight, itchy pregnancy belly with is annoying.  I picked this stuff up at Target on a whim and I love it!  I thought it might be too oily but it’s perfect.  It’s not overly scented and my skin feels so much better since I started using it.

Chia Seeds (salba).  I mentioned these when I talked about my new morning smoothie ritual but now that I’ve been using them for a few weeks I want to gush about them a little.  They have 6 times more calcium than whole milk, 3 times more iron than spinach, the potassium content of 1.5 large bananas, 15 times more magnesium than broccoli, as much vitamin C as 7 oranges, and 3 times the antioxidant capacity of blueberries. On top of that, salba contains natural folate, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, and vitamin A and has more protein than soy.  Here’s the bonus – since they absorb so much liquid, when in the stomach they slow down digestion which stabilizes blood sugar and makes you feel full longer.  I’ve found that on “smoothie mornings” I am not hungry for a solid 5-6 hours after breakfast.  And since ounce for ounce they have the highest dietary fiber content of any plant food they do help with some other pregnancy-related symptoms. (Ahem)

Jon Stewart.  We DVR the Daily Show since it’s on so late and usually watch several episodes at once. Every time we do I find myself not only laughing but shouting “thank you!” at the TV. I don’t care which side of the aisle you are on; Jon Stewart is as funny as he is right.  He calls BS where he sees it in the political world (which is just about everywhere right now) and isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions and challenge his political guests.  He’s the closest thing we have to “fair and balanced” news on TV – which is kind of sad, considering he’s considered a comedian. If you can watch a show without laughing and agreeing with him on at least one topic, I don’t think I want to know you.

How about you? As we head into the deep freeze, gray month known as February what is making you smile?