Sew Merry

I hate Christmas.

There now you know.

Bah. Humbug.

Every year I tell myself I’m going to start early, start getting presents early, like really early, like May and then you can parcel out the money you are spending over the better part of a year instead of ending up, 2 weeks before Christmas realizing that a) you actually don’t have the money this month (again), b) you don’t have a clue what people would really value even if you could buy it for them and c) it’s going to be “homemade and handmade” yet again.

Then you work yourself into a fevered frenzy the last week trying to make and bake something because even though you’ve told everyone you won’t be doing gifts this year, the fact remains that you feel like an awful  heel if you didn’t have at least SOMETHING to wrap and give.

Even if that something is COMPLETELY LAME and everyone will be like “uh, thaaaanksss”, yet another home/handmade craptastic gift from  Michele, who excels at craptastic, far-from-perfect and still essentially useless gift-making.

And everybody feels like Ralphy from The Christmas Story

(http://hookedonhouses.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/bunny-suit.jpg)

Well, at least I don’t make them WEAR anything I make.

And so in the back of your head are all the upcoming things that you will be paying for in the next two months (car seat, midwife, doulas, birth pool, diapers, WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE???) and you are sewing LAME GIFTS like mad when what you really want to be sewing are diapers because EIGHT WEEKS is not that long (and still you have to re-configure Miles’ room to accomodate #2 as well) and you have all of ONE extra dish made and frozen so far when your list has about 8 more things that need to be made (oh, and how to fit THOSE into the grocery budget) and then you still have to go to the grocery store with your $25 for this week and suddenly your pre-schooler took out the humidifier filter when you were filling that and you realize you need a new filter and so that means a stop at Target and then said pre-schooler wants another Blue’s Clues dvd (and you  realize that YET AGAIN you’ve forgetten to get the other dvds back in time, which means MORE fines) so a stop at the library will need to happen.

And also, how in the world have you managed to get not one but two medical appointments scheduled THE WEEK OF CHRISTMAS HELLO WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?, therefore cutting into yet more time.

And you melt down at the thought of all the running around you have to do and say you hate Christmas and then your preschooler gets really upset and then you decide that you need to relax a minute so let’s read a book and on the way to the bedroom to get a book, your preschooler trips over all the toys lying on the floor and so then you snap and YELL AT HIM for no other reason than his toys are on the floor because you are AN EVIL MOM and then you feel horrible and tell your preschooler you have a headache and need to go to the bathroom for awhile and while he “picks up” his toys (aka, plays with), you go sob in the bathroom over the counter, dripping snot and mucus everywhere and SWEARING that NEXT YEAR you are cancelling Christmas FOR REAL (except for your preschooler’s gifts) so that you won’t find yourself in the same condition NEXT year, which you won’t because by then you’ll have forgotten all the misery.

At least the Christmas cards got out on time.

Merry Christmas.

(bah)

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Cheap and Wholesome Eats: Crockpot Carrot Soup

I got this recipe off Allrecipes.com at some point and not only is it tasty, it is absolutely doable in the crockpot.

Stuff

1 C. chopped onion
1/4 c. butter, cubed
4 1/2 C. sliced carrots (fyi, with largish carrots, each carrot equals about a cup when chopped so I just throw in about 5 carrots when I crock it)
1 lg potato, chopped (or quartered if crocking)
2 cans chicken broth or equivalent homemade
1 tsp ground ginger or tbsp fresh
2 c. heavy cream, coconut milk or a blend
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper, and nutmeg

how to

1. Saute onion in butter till tender. Add carrots, potatoes, broth and ginger. Cook till soft and allow to cool for about 15 mins. 

1a. ALTERNATELY, put your carrots, potato, broth and ginger into the crockpot and let it do its thing.  You don’t even have to chop the veggies this way. Bonus.

2. Blend in small batches till smooth, return to saucepan, stir in cream and seasonings and re-warm but don’t let boil.

2a. OR, chop and saute carrots as in 1 above, add to carrot mixture in crockpot and then follow Step 2.

Serve with whole grain bread or toast. Perfect for winter!

Open Letter to the Idiot Who Almost Made Mrs Fussy Crankypants Smash Into Him Because He Doesn’t Know How To Drive in the Snow

Dear Idiot:

It came rapidly to Mrs Fussy Crankypants’ (aka, Grumpy Pregnant Woman) attention that you do not know how to drive in the snow.

Let’s have a little basic science lesson to ameliorate this situation, shall we?

“Snow” (that white stuff that falls from the sky; look around you, there’s a bit right now on the ground) is a kind of frozen water that falls onto the ground when it is very cold during the winter. This “snow” has a detrimental (“detrimental” means “bad”) effect on driving because it “interferes” (“interferes” means “messes with”) with “friction”.

“Friction” is a natural force that helps your car start, continue and stop.  So if “snow” “interferes” with “friction”, THAT means you can’t start, continue or stop as quickly (“quickly” means “fast”) as when it is not “snowy”.

So, when there is “snow” on the street, and you are trying to gun it across five lanes of traffic because you don’t want to wait and sit there spinning  your wheels in the “snow” while Mrs Fussy Crankypants (aka, Grumpy Pregnant Woman) heads straight toward and has to hit the brakes, that could cause an accident.

And, Mr. Idiot, Mrs Fussy Crankypants (aka, Grumpy Pregnant Woman) PROMISES that you do not want to make her hit you. You would EXTREMELY regret it. Mrs Fussy Crankypants has a whole TANKFUL of pent-up hormones that she does not get to vent nearly as often as she would like to via vast, long and inventive strings of invectives (that means, “bad words”) that she saves for emergency situations.

So, Mr. Idiot Who Doesn’t Know How To Drive in the Snow, the next time you are tempted to cut across five lanes of traffic because you are an idiot when it is snowy, please recall this little science lesson and be advised that you would do well to avoid at ALL COSTS forcing Grumpy Pregnant Women to broadside you.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Fussy Crankypants
aka, Grumpy Pregnant Woman

The Great Debate: Some Thoughts, A Prodigious Post

T and I are now considering homebirth as an option for this labor.  I have always been a strong believer in the natural ability of a woman’s body to give birth.  After all, from a genetic perspective, it’s what we are created to do. And even though the task or gift of doing a great deal of work to pass on genes has been used by The Other Half as a means of repression and subjugation throughout history, it remains that we are well-suited to usher in new life.

However. Little did I know, when I decided to look into this option for myself, that I was launching myself into a raging debate concerning perceptions of newborn safety, what exactly constitutes both risk and emergencies, women’s rights and, maybe even above all else, the medical industry’s firm belief that the hospital is the best place for delivery.

After all, you NEVER KNOW when something will happen and even a seemingly-healthy pregnancy can have drastic outcomes. Why take any risk at all?  Especially of a precious newborn life!

And yet women have been birthing successfully without medical experts for all of human history, as witnessed by the vast overtaking of homo sapien sapien of every other living species and the subjugation of most of the usable surfaces of Earth and its resouces. Yes, lives have been lost, it’s true and this is where the fear comes in. WHAT IF?  But modern medicine now provides top-quality maternity care throughout much of the industrialized world as well as top quality neonate care, if needed.  Couple that with increased sanitation, disease treatment and prevention, and increased nutrition and  you see much greater survival levels.

How can it be possible that every single woman has as great a risk of birth issues?  To read some information, a young, middle-class suburban housewife with no health issues is at equally great and grave risk of birth complications as a poor, crack-addicted woman with no access to pre-natal care.  Can that possibly be the case?  What are the rates of true emergency birth sitations in the U.S.?  It’s impossible to know. What constitues an emergency in a hospital bed (failure to progess <i.e., doc thinks things are moving along quickly enough for him to get home to dinner with his family…excuse my cynicism>? mom’s skyrocketing blood pressure? shoulder dystocia?)?  How often are interventions like “emergency” c-sections truly necessary?  OBs would certainly not admit that there were any unnecessary ones at all, it seems.  How can 30% of births actually need that kind of major intervention?  Would the human population have done as well for itself if 30% of babies had died in the chidbirth process throughout history? Is there really a statistic like that?

In trying to get a clear picture of what constitutes safety or risk in homebirth, the Internet is certainly not a friend.  For every study that shows homebirth as a safe option for low-risk mothers with professional midwifery care, you will find another study that claims the opposite is true. I have seen report results showing outcomes equally safe if not safer than hospital births and I have seen research results claiming a neonate mortality rate that is THREE TIMES that of a hospital birth.

Clearly, there are supporters and detractors. Both sides accuse the other of bias, of skewing results, of manipulation and of fear-mongering.

Which side stands to gain what?

Homebirth and other midwives support home birth as a valid option (as do some OBs and doctors as do some entire medical systems of other countries). Why?  What are their motivations?  Income? Women’s right to choose?  A desire for babies or mothers to die? Ego?  Putting “natural” before any other consideration?  Less drain on the health care system?  Personal experience of many cases of successful, normal, uncomplicated (or complications that can be dealt with through adequate midwifery training) births?  (Have they just “gotten lucky” in that case?)

The medical industry (in the US) is strongly and vitriolically oppsed to homebirth. Why?  What are their motivations?  Extensive years of training? Extensive years of training in all the potential risks of birth?  Lack of experience of uncomplicated births?  Too much experience of negative outcomes? Income?  (C-sections are expensive and highly-billable) Ego?   

There’s no way to get a straight answer.

Turn to myself then. What possible motivations do I have in considering homebirth as an option?

Am I a thrill-seeker, as the medical industry accuses moms who homebirth of being?  Certainly I am not a risk taker by any stretch of the imagination. At the slightest hint of things going south, I would prefer to go to hospital than “wait and see”.  And yet, I have lived in a foreign country for over three years, a country in which I could not initially speak the language nor could I even read the alphabet.  AND one of the things I loved best and hated most was the fact that you never, ever knew what was going to happen next; life was continally and slightly off-balance, even if some days you didn’t stumble. It was always a puzzle to figure out every day. So.

But, how can a homebirth, which typically is less quick to offer intervention, where you stay in the comfort of your own home, surrounded not by bright lights and strange people giving you orders, but by only those you know and are comfortable with and trust, immersed in a pool of warm bathwater if you so desire, how can that possible be more of a “thrill” than a rapid ride to a hospital in the middle of hard labor, not being even able to walk a step once you get there, being told to strip oncee you get there, assured that you’d soon be drugged up, told that you couldn’t possibly be ready to push because you “weren’t dilated enough” when actually the resident made a measurement mistake (how could I possibly make up the fact that I actually NEED to push, buddy?), baby taken from you because possibly his heart rate had dropped though they weren’t sure if they were hearing YOUR heart beat or his, and spending 5 days in the NICU watching your brand-new little one crying from cold and not being allowed to hold him on the off-chance that he might have birth-induced brain damage?  Now, THAT, my friends, that is High Drama! That is Thrilling!  That is the stuff from which episodes for hospital shows are created.

Am I putting my own desires for peaceful birth event above that of the safety of my unborn child? AM IA BAD MOM FOR EVEN CONSIDERING THIS?  Shouldn’t I scrap both homebirth AND birth center and just rush straight to the emergency room when I go into labor?  Isn’t that the wise thing to do?  Certainly, my bitter experience with Miles has an influence in my decision.  But I certainly don’t want to just go it alone, without resources or help, either.  If the (well-experienced) midwife says, ‘we need to go to the hospital” I’ll be the first one in the car.  But.  Will we get there in time?  Does my longing for peace, comfort and a warm bath trump my desire for a healthy and whole baby?  This one is a little murkier for me.  I would never place my own desire for the way I want birth to go over the health, safety or life of my little one.  But, am I?

Here is another question:  My first birth was 16 hours (more on that later), Miles’ birth was FOUR. What’s next with number three?  From all the women I’ve talked to with experience in this, Number Three is a wildcard. Could be longer, could be shorter. Shorter?  What, three hours? Two? An hour and a half?  What if I go into labor during the day and T has to drive 40 minutes home and then we drive 20 -25 minutes to the birth center (it would still be roughly 20 minutes to get to the closest hospital, which, by the way, has a very high c-section rate and zero tolerance for women who want to birth naturally)? What if, in the middle of February, it is snowy? Or icy? What if I feel the urge to push?  I WILL NOT have a baby in a car.  That seems even riskier that staying home to me.  Call an ambulance?  If it’s bad weather, they won’t be able to drive any faster. I WILL NOT have a baby in an abulance.  Isn’t it a much more logical option to stay home and have the midwife make the 20 minute trip to ME instead of waiting for someone to come get me and then going to the place where I can birth?  I never expected Miles’ labor to be as rapid as it was. I don’t want to get caught this time.

The homebirth midwife I am considering is extremely qualified, practical, organized and a planner (this was a big one for T^^).  She has years of experience in the facilities-setting, including several years attending births at the local charity hospital, where she saw truly at-risk women:  drug addicted moms, pre-teen moms, moms over 60 years (can you imagine??? groan). She has attended over 700 births since 2004 through her own practice.  She brings with her all types of paraphernalia including three stages of drug treatment for hemorrage, oxygen for both mom and baby, suturing and the accompanying numbing agents. She has delivered breech babies. She has resuscitated infants and is trained and certified to do so. She has experienced transfers to the hospital that is close to us (which also has an in-house NICU) and has at least a working relationship with the staff of the maternity ward. She has said that while this hospital is not natural-birth friendly, they are at least not hostile to women who have tried to homebirth and have needed to transfer.  She calls ahead to alert the staff of the situation and give them the history of the birth so far and stays with you during delivery.

(Really, isn’t that almost the best way to do it?  Try at home and then if you need true extensive, emergency medical attention, go to those who provide it?  Because the chances are, you won’t need it.)

So.  There you have it. All my thoughts so far in a not-so nutshell.  Everyone knows someone who has birthed successfully at home. Everyone knows someone (or knows someone who knows someone) who had a true emergency that required immediate attention, when even a 20 minute delay would be fatal.  Sadly, the latter instances make for much better Internet fodder than the former.

I’ll continue asking questions and thinking.  This is not a decision to take lightly and any decision, once made, can be changed if necessary.

This is not the end of the story but the beginning of a process. With time constraints!

10 more weeks and we’ll hold this precious new little one! 

Now, THAT is something to anticipate.

Little White Lies

Why, no, honey, I have no IDEA how those stickers that don’t stick anymore that you don’t play with got into the trash can!

Would you like to play with them now?