Jo's sleeping habits change weekly. Some weeks it seems like she welcomes sleep, and some she wants to stay up late running circles around the living room squealing. Some weeks she clings to her daddy doll and binky and some she wants to be sung to. Some weeks she may even sleep through the night at least once.
Almost every night Jo goes to sleep between 7-8pm. She almost always wakes up at least once before Nick and I go to bed -- one of us will go in and help her get back to sleep. She'll sleep in her room until around 3am and get up again. This is when I bring her into bed with us where she sleeps off and on until around 6am. Nick often asks me if this is normal. I always answer that every baby is different...and then I quietly wonder if this is normal. It's hard to know.
So instead of thinking about "normal" I think about what seems right for us. I do know that Jo needs help getting back to sleep, and I'm ok with that. She rarely sleeps through the night, and I'm ok with that. I'm also really ok with bringing her into our bed. It's easier for us both to fall asleep together. She will eventually want to sleep on her own as well as through the night.
So yeah, this is Jo's normal.
The other night I was rocking her back to sleep in her room wishing I was back in my office working on a project. She was taking up all of my precious evening time. Then I thought to myself, "She's not always going to be this small. She's not always going to want to be rocked to sleep. She's not always going to be comforted in my arms. Just be present." And I sat there with my arms around her and enjoyed it.
We were both just where we needed to be. That's our normal.
Koolabah is a super cool Swedish brand that has fabulous urban unisex clothes for babes. Oh yeah, and it's all organic. Clean lines + Japanese inspiration + neutral color/designs + Nordic sensibility = AWESOMENESS The cool clothes in this post are on the mini social right now. But be sure to check out what else koolabah has on their site.
Yep, it's true. I like to bake. Cook? Not so much. Bake? Yes. I found
this little recipe for whole-wheat apricot muffins for Jo's birthday. I
think I like them much more than she does -- I've made them three times
since her birthday.
You can find the recipe here. I go ahead and double it to make mini muffins for my little babe and big muffins for me.
VÍK PRJÓNSDÓTTIR is a super cool Icelandic company that is inspired by myths and fairy tales (they are big in the Nordic countries). They use Icelandic sheep wool which is a "unique and sustainable source." I just love their product photography. It maintains the mystery and imagination that you also see in their wares.
Jo turned one this past Saturday. In honor of her birthday, I finally finished our birth story. And by "finish" I mean: write the last sentence and proof. I didn't change much from when I wrote most of it right after the birth. After re-reading this and reflecting, I feel very lucky. We got the birth that we wanted. We had an "easy" birth especially compared to most of the mamas I know. I did notice that the sentences in our birth story are short. It feels very factual -- not a lot of fluff. There were gaps in my memory, even then. There are more gaps now. I'm glad I had most of it down. So with that, here you go:
I didn't have any of the "normal" symptoms
announcing that labor was coming: diarrhea, bloody show, and there was no sign
of my mucus plug. So when I started to feel light cramping at 4am on October 6th
I thought I was just constipated. I was up and about until about 6am when I
called our doula, Barb. I would have called her earlier, but I didn't want to bother her so early (even though she said I could). I mentioned that I was feeling constipated and having
cramps and every once in a while I would get a bigger cramp. She said it could
be the beginning of labor so recommended that I take a nap, or a bath, or have
a glass of wine and try to get more sleep. We didn't have wine and I didn't
want to sleep so I hopped in the bath.
Nick came into the bathroom and sat with
me. Almost as soon as I was in the tub the contractions started. We timed them
and around 7am they were 3-4 minutes apart lasting 45-60 seconds. I could still
talk through the contractions when Nick called Barb back to let her know that,
yes, I was in labor. I don't remember when Nick called to have her come over,
but in the meantime I helped Nick make the bed with a plastic sheet, get all
the birth supplies on the dining room table, and set up the birthing tub in the
living room. Every time I had a contraction I had to stop and rock or brace
myself, but I could still talk through them. Nick also made me eggs that I tried to eat.
At some point I got on the birth ball for the contractions.
I was on the ball when Barb got here. She immediately put her hands on my back and
everything felt so much better. Most of the pain was in my back at that
point. My arms were tired from bracing myself on the ball so I moved to the
toilet. I labored there for quite a while. It felt good to cave my chest in and
lean back on the toilet during the contractions. Barb reminded me to not brace
against the pain, but to ride it like a wave and to try to relax my body into
the pain. That's easier to tell someone to do than to actually do. But I did my best.
While I was sitting on the toilet I threw up all the eggs I
had eaten earlier. Barb asked Nick to call Sarah (our midwife) and have her come, and then
Nick started to fill the birth tub. When it was filled the water was so hot
that Nick had to add ice to cool it down. I was having really intense
contractions. Really really intense so I was bent over the side of the tub. It felt good just to hang there. That's when Sarah came.
When I got in the tub the contractions were immediately a
bit easier. During the first contraction in the tub I actually said,
"Wow, this is nice." I had made a labor playlist that was going the
whole time and I remember hearing songs that I didn't like and I said,
"NEXT SONG," or "SKIP." I also remember telling everyone to
shut up because they were talking too loudly during one of my contractions. Sarah
fed me water from a straw or yogurt every once in a while. I think the bendy
straw is the best invention -- I could drink water in any position. Nick also had those endurance goo packs from all of his races. He fed me those too.
During one of my contractions in the tub I felt something
pop and release. I noticed some stuff in the water and asked Barb if I pooped.
She said my water must have broken and the mucus plug came out in the tub.
I started to want to push. Towards the end of my laboring in the tub Sarah told me to rest as much as
possible between the contractions and actually try to relax enough to sleep. There
was no way that I was going to be able to sleep in between contractions, but
floating in the water was close enough. During the contractions she wanted me
to get in the position where the contraction felt the strongest. The water
helped me float and the contractions seemed a little easier, but they were
still so so intense.
When it was time to get out of the tub it just felt right. I
got out and Sarah checked my cervix. I was already at 7 centimeters.She asked me to get back on the toilet and
labor there. I was really feeling like I wanted to push. The contractions
were long and hard. They made by whole body shake. At least it felt like my
body was shaking. Heavy. Deep. It didn't take long to dilate to 10. I was so
ready to push.
I started pushing on my side lying on the futon. I had Barb
on one side of me and Nick was holding my other leg up. Pushing was hard. It
was probably the hardest part for me. I remember hearing during my pregnancy
that many people thought that pushing was the easiest part. NOT FOR ME. The
breaks in between contractions were nice and long and I could rest, but the
pushing was so hard!
We warned our neighbors prior to labor that we were planning
a home birth so not to fret if they heard screaming. I'm pretty sure I went
primal during the pushing. I don't remember a lot except for this: each time I had a good push everyone cheered. My
eyes were closed most of the time, but I knew when I was doing well. Also, when the baby was really close to coming out it
hurt. It hurt a lot. I even said, "I don't want to do this. I want to quit."
That's when Barb said, "Don't be afraid of the pain. The pain is what gets
the baby out."
So I kept pushing. I didn’t really have any other option. And
then Jo’s head came out. And then her whole body came out, and it felt like the absolute
best thing in the world. Nick caught her (and dropped her just a few inches) –
she was super slippery. Then someone said, “Bergen, hold your baby.” And I did.
Johanna was born at home at 11:45am on October 6, 2011.
First off I'll start by saying that there are plenty of reviews about Honest products on the interwebs already. I'm happy to add mine to the mix.
If you don't know, The Honest Co. was started by Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan. Both are parents who wanted to have family-friendly products without all the icky stuff you see in many baby & home products these days. For those of us trying to raise babies in homes with as few chemicals as possible, this is just plain awesome!
We've tried a number of their baby products. Here's what I think so far:
Diapers. We use cloth diapers most of the time unless we're traveling. I bought the Honest diapers for our trips or for when I don't want to do diaper laundry. Most commercial disposable dipes feel gross to me. The Honest dipes don't. They are incredibly absorbent and come in a bunch of designs -- which I love. Here's the thing, though, most of their diaper designs are for girls OR boys. I shy away from the gender-specific patterns in general with all of Jo's clothes/accessories so we went with the skull design (which is actually listed as a boy design on the Honest site). Jo is hard core. I wish they had more unisex designs. They just added five new designs including a super sweet dino design, but everything else is basically "girly" or "boyish." How about more stripes? Geo shapes? Bright colors? Here is Jo rocking out with her skulls.
Wipes. I love the Honest wipes! Seriously. Again, they don't feel gross, like many of the other wipe brands do. If you couldn't tell already, I'm big on how things feel to the touch. They don't smell like perfume and they can be used on baby (or grown-up) from top to bottom. See how I used that pun right there? The only thing that gets a little annoying is sometimes they are hard to get out of the package. Many other wipe brands are folded accordion style so getting a wipe out is easy, especially in the middle of a poop-change. Not a deal-breaker. Just mildly annoying. I'll still keep buying them.
I've also started to use some of the Honest home products.
Laundry detergent. It's great, really. We have sensitive skin in this house and this laundry detergent hasn't irritated anyone.
Dish soap. It smells like grapefruit and not in a cloyingly sweet kind of way. Nick mentioned that it doesn't suds up the way other dish soap does. I told him to get over it. You can also use it to clean basically anything else in your house, which rocks.
Sunscreen. First off, it's affordable compared to many other natural sunscreens that can run in the $30 range. It didn't get greasy even when we were in hot Minnesota-summer weather and it goes on smoothly. It's an spf 20. I wish the spf were higher, especially since we are a very fair family, but 20 is better than, say, 8. We use a lot of sunscreen.
So there you have it. Just my $.02. Speaking of money, the products really compare with other natural or organic baby/home products on the market. You can also "bundle" five items together to save a few bucks. I could list all of the chemicals that aren't added to all the Honest products, but you can find that info on their site. It's pretty cool. They're doing it right with their blog as well.
I have purchased all of my Honest products and was not asked by anyone to write this review.
Sorry for the lack of posting lately. I have all of these great ideas and no time!
I've been testing out my PR skills with Akvavit Theatre's Nordic Spirit Festival coming up this weekend. Yeah. I took a PR class in college. That was over 10 years ago. Between writing and sending press releases, sending out invitations, making friends, locating sponsors, selling program ads, and planning a reception, I'm learning a lot. Whew! You should come to the festival! Yeah, you! At least come to our party on Saturday night.