for a handmade Mei Tai! I hope I win because they look awesome! The Mei Tai is custom made by Ella Belly and you can enter the giveaway here: http://www.newlywednewlybred.com/2010/05/ella-belly-mei-tai-review-and-giveaway.html
Seriously!? I just wrote and then deleted a bunch of text =( And NOW it chooses to save a draft? Anyway I think this blog is turning into free ad space for various diaper and/or baby carrier websites! I am entering yet another giveaway today sponsored by www.nickisdiapers.com for a Bumkins all in one diaper! I got a swim diaper from them and they also carry the Planet Wise wet bags and pail liners we use! Here is their button:
I was surprised by how much coverage Michael Jackson’s death got in the mainstream media. One day on CCN.com I noticed that 7 out of 10 links on the main page under Latest News were related to Michael Jackson. About a month after his death I counted at least 10 magazines with his face on the cover at the checkout of the grocery store. And now, almost two months after his death, they announce he will be buried on August 29th, what would have been his 51st birthday. Is that ridiculous to anyone but me? He died June 25th and they aren’t burying him until August 29th?! That’s crazy! Have we ever kept a dead guy out of the ground for so long intentionally?
I’m writing this post in the hopes that some other woman will find herself in the same position I was (wishing someone had written about it) and will find my experience helpful.
We got married in October and had planned on going to Peru to hike to Machu Picchu, but we couldn’t afford the trip or the vacation time immediately after the wedding, so we planned our Honeymoon for the future. We decided on June, because by then we could have enough money together and we’d be able to see the festivities related to the Winter Solstice. We talked about doing the 4-day hike with camping, but Mark thought we should do the 1-day hike since it would be our honeymoon. He figured we should take it easy and stay in hotels and relax.
It’s a good thing he convinced me because come January we got pregnant! One of my biggest stressors initially was whether we were going to have to cancel our trip or not. I began searching the internet for “travel while pregnant,” ”high altitude pregnancy” and wasn’t greatly encouraged by my findings. Basically according to Doctors on the internet pregnant women should not go to high altitudes because they are at increased risk of preterm labor. Someone in Denver said lots of travelling women end up having their babies there.
Well, I don’t live at sea level, so maybe I’ll be okay? I thought surely someone has done this before and I searched “hike Inca Trail pregnant” and basically found nothing. One woman was going to do it, got pregnant and cancelled. The tour company arranging our guide for the hike said I shouldn’t do it because it would be too strenuous. All signs point to no.
I was very upset because I didn’t want anything to get in the way of our trip. Isn’t that what everyone expects: you have a baby and it ruins your life? You have to cancel all your fun and you will never travel anymore. But does this have to start at the moment of conception?
In my first visit with my midwife I asked her about whether I could go and she pretty much said yes. She was not worried about the altitude and said I can do the hike if I feel like it. A weight was lifted off of my shoulders. At the very worst, I could still go to Peru and opt out of the hike, but I would make it my goal to do the hike.
My plan was to do some similar hikes in Big Bend, like to Emory Peak, as practice. That is roughly the same elevation as parts I would be hiking in Peru and also 7 miles, like the Inca Trail from km 104. I did go hiking once in Big Bend, but only a short hike to Cattail Falls. It turns out I was too lazy to make a point to practice hike for this trip.
When we arrived in Peru various people around us were having troubles with the altitude: headaches, dizziness, stomach trouble, balance problems, low blood pressure, brain farts and trouble forming sentences. Many also were complaining of shortness of breath after very short walks or climbs. I, however, felt completely normal and fine. I don’t know if it’s the extra blood volume associated with pregnancy or if my body just rocks, but the altitude seemed to have no affect on me. So I was all ready for my hike.
The morning of the hike we took the train to km 106- there had been an avalanche (rock slide?) a few years before and fire a week or two before at km 104 preventing us from starting there. So we began the hike a little further into in, but I don’t know how much we missed out on. According to the guide, those first two kilometers are rough, so maybe it’s a good thing I skipped them. We crossed a footbridge to the checkpoint and started climbing. The guide said the first two hours would be uphill and difficult. Then we would reach a dining and rest area, along with an archaeological site, after which the hike would be much easier. I noticed pretty immediately that I was overdressed. In Cusco the mornings had been quite chilly, and the days comfortable when the sun was out, but a jacket was needed in the shade or under cloud coverage. In Machu Picchu, however, it was much warmer and more humid. I began the hike at 8:30am sporting a long sleeved shirt and a fleece. The fleece came right off and I promptly started sweating through my long sleeved shirt. I was running out of breath quickly and had to stop to catch my breath. It seemed that the more we climbed the more frequently I had to catch my breath. I didn’t watch the clock or count steps, but sometimes it seemed that I could only go 2 minutes before needing a break. I felt completely fine otherwise- no headache or dizziness. In the past I have gotten headaches easily from overexertion, so I was happily surprised not to get one on the hike. I had brought with me a Camelbak with 3-L capacity so I was drinking water frequently. To my amazement, I made it to the restaurant area in about 2 hours and 15 minutes. That made me feel much better about all the breaks I had taken, to only be 15 minutes behind.
We rested for about 10 minutes, then walked over to the archaeological site, then back to eat lunch. I bought a T-shirt (not to commemorate the hike, but to have something cooler to wear) and we continued on. The rest of the hike I don’t think I needed a single break. We did stop a few times to take pictures or just enjoy the view, but it was very doable from that point on. My thighs felt sore during the first part of the hike, but they made it through the whole thing.
We got to the Sun Gate and meandered down to a nice shady spot for an after-lunch snack and break. We continued on down to the Guard House, and on to the bottom of the trail. We did not tour around Machu Picchu today, as we would return refreshed the next day to check it out, but we did hang out at the restaurant near the bus stop for some celebratory beers, or ice cream in my case.
Some disclaimers: I am of average height and weight, and my pregnancy is considered low risk. I also purchased travel insurance in case of any emergencies. At no time did I feel I was putting myself or my baby at risk, and I think the water, food and breaks I took along the way were very important to my success.
Pictures to come!
I was a happy customer of XM radio for nearly 5 years. At first I listened only to music stations, which sometimes changed and went away, but it didn’t upset me too much (except when Fungus changed into AC/DC Radio!). My husband liked Comedy, and I began listening to NPR more and music less. The only thing they did wrong was take 4 years of renewal communications to finally update my name and address correctly, and stop harassing my ex-boyfriend for payment.
Well when the merge between XM and Sirius Satellite radio went into effect things went downhill. First I noticed my radio would no longer load the station I had it tuned to when I would start my car. It would take up to a minute to acquire a signal, then change to Channel 1. This was a minor inconvenience. Then they changed the programming on the only channel I listen to these days, XMPR. No longer would I get a full hour of the Bob Edwards show on my way to work each day, but only a half-hour. I was unhappy about that, but wasn’t going to cancel.
Around renewal time I got a message that XM Radio online would no longer be free, but if I renewed before such-and-such date I could keep it free with my renewal. I thought this was lame, but decided to renew anyway, as I do enjoy listening online over the weekends. I signed up for a user name and password to access my account (although I already had a user name and password for XM online, it was a separate entity). When I logged in for the first time it said my account was currently undergoing maintenance and would be unavailable for the next 10 minutes. I assumed this was normal for new set-ups, and tried back later. Still unavailable. I tried the next day, still unavailable. And days later, still unavailable.
I attempted to call the 800 number so I wouldn’t miss my window for free XM online service, but when asked for the telephone number associated with my account, it did not recognize mine. I pressed “0″ for an agent and was placed on hold. The hold message said “We apologize for the delay. We are experiencing high call volume in response to our Best of Sirius Package.” Bullshit! You’re experiencing high call volume because people are unhappy! Anyways, I waited on hold for 30 minutes before hanging up. I sent an email to customer service saying I could not renew online because of the error and that nobody answered when I called after 30 minutes but that I want to renew and get the free XM online.
I received a response days later, after the deadline for renewing and receiving XM radio online for free, which stated I had missed the opportunity to get XM radio online for free, and to call the 800 number at any time. They did not acknowledge that my online account access was blocked, or that I deserved free XM online because I made numerous attempts to act before the deadline, or that nobody answered when I did call the 800 number!
This is when I decided not to renew. I had received a letter from XM stating that the credit card number they had on file for me was expired, and that I should update it if I’d like to renew. So I thought it would be safe to not update it. I assumed if they had no method of payment they would have no choice but to cut me off, which is what I wanted. My radio quit working a few days after my plan expiration date, so I unplugged it and proceeded with Podcats of the Bob Edwards show instead.
But I had made a poor assumption.
When I got my credit card statement a week or two later, there was a charge from XM radio on there. First I called XM. I waited on hold for 15 minutes, then hung up and called my credit card issuer to dispute the charge. It turns out that credit card companies will allow a company who you have done business with in the past make charges to your account using an expired credit card number. Hm. I explained that the charge was unauthorized and how I had tried to contact XM many times. They said that first I would need to obtain a cancellation number from XM and ask them to refund the charges, and then they would help me out. They patched me through to XM radio which took at least 15 minutes for someone to answer.
I spoke with a few people at XM before being transferred to Joann, who agreed to help and was courteous. She gave me a cancellation number and said I could expect the refund to show up in 3-4 business days. It’s now been 3 and a half weeks.
I have called XM many times and have been told either that the refund has been completed or that it’s pending, depending on who I speak with. One woman even tried to tell me the refund would not show up if I had closed my credit card account, implying I was the dumbass here and that the refund was complete. I questioned her questioning me, upon which she placed me on hold, figured out the charge was not refunded and apologized. Each agent I speak with cannot tell me why the refund hasn’t shown up yet because they do not know. I ask for someone who does know, and they can’t transfer me to anyone who knows more than them because there is nobody there that fits that description.
I now have to wait one more week before my credit card company sees it as unresolved and handles it for me. I asked not to be charged finance charges on the unauthorized charge, which they waived for the first month, but afterwards I will be responsible for.
Ugg. This has been terrible. XM radio has terrible customer service and I would not recommend doing business with them
I don’t know if I’m necessarily going to turn this into a pregnancy blog, but I do feel compelled to blog at least a bit about my pregnancy and some of my choices. Many people are questioning me and I wish to answer them all here and explain myself, even though none of them are likely to read this.
I have decided to have a home birth. That means I will not go to the hospital unless childbirth becomes an actual medical emergency. I am not receiving prenatal care from an OB/GYN, but instead from a midwife. My appointments are every two weeks, and they last about an hour. We talk, she assigns me books or videos as learning tools, we talk about diet and anything else either of us can think of.
I have not had an ultrasound and I do not plan to have one. The books and internet sites I have read have quotes from doctors saying something to the effect of “Although we have no reason to believe ultrasounds can harm the baby, it’s probably a good idea not to have one unless your doctor recommends it.” The way I see it, women had babies successfully for thousands of years without getting a sneak peek, I bet we can still do it.
The more I read or hear about other women’s birth experiences the more I feel comfortable that the choices I have made are the right ones. Although friends of mine tell me I will want the drugs and I am a fool not to take them, I do not plan to have an epidural or Pitocin, for that matter. Women say how painful their birth was (when they were forced to lay on their backs). Women say how long they had to push (while they were pushing against gravity and in a position that narrows, instead of widens, the birth canal). I hear of how episiotomies had to be cut (because Pitocin had been administered, speeding up the birth and not giving the body time to stretch out naturally). And many women had to have a cesarean because the baby was breech (although capable midwives know that a baby is in breech well beforehand and know how to deal with it).
Today I read the experience of a woman who was in labor for quite a while. When she felt the urge to push her Dr. told her that the baby had not come down yet and that she could not push until the baby came down. She had to lie on her back and wait hours more until this happened. It is my understanding that that is not the proper way to handle things! All the videos I have watched and my midwife agree that movement is very important during labor. Your baby will need you to move around and change positions in order for him or her to successfully move through the birth canal. Lying there on your back completely still will not help. It’s no wonder doctors get impatient and try to push Pitocin on everyone to speed things up: they’re giving advice (or orders, even) to laboring mothers that is counter-intuitive and counter-productive to the birth process.
Pitocin is sometimes called Oxytocin, although Oxytocin is naturally produced by your body when it needs to be during labor. Pitocin is a synthetic drug used to speed the process of labor. When labor is sped up the body is not ready and does not respond well. There is increased pain, so an epidural is administered. The epidural makes the mother go numb from the waist down. Yes, she does not feel the pain, but she does not feel the baby either. She does not feel the contractions, the urge to push, or even if she is pushing. If she can no longer push then forceps or a vacuum is used to pull the baby out. That’s if the mother was lucky enough to not be forced into a cesarean.
It seems to me that having a baby is a rite of passage. It is a whole-body experience that ends in having a new family member, a new life. Part of the process is the pregnancy, and part of the process is the birth. If you are drugged and cannot feel the birth then aren’t you being cheated? If you are told you need a cesarean to “Save the baby” and it seems like the only choice for you, so you let them cut your baby out, aren’t you being cheated? If having a baby was not meant to include labor and delivery, then why don’t we hire people to have babies for us, so we don’t have to?
I am not out to attack anyone who needed medical interventions to be able to successfully deliver her baby, because there are times when those interventions are needed. But in reality, it’s something like 3% of laboring women who need cesareans, not the 31% who actually receive them.
I have not had a baby yet, so you may say that I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I do feel like I’ve seen and read enough to know that planning a birth at home is safe and I will not be offered any medical intervention unless it is absolutely necessary.
A few weeks ago I heard an interview on NPR with a photographer who compiled a book of photos and interviews with 50 famous chefs. The interviews were about the chef’s “Last Meal”: What would it be, where would it be, who would be there and who would make the food. They were accepting callers to answer the same questions, but I didn’t call because I think it’s rude to call knowing my signal goes in and out (I was driving home from work), so here it is. My last meal:
I would like to eat an appetizer sampler of escargot in garlic butter, calamari with tons of lemon and tzatziki and shrimp cocktail with spicy cocktail sauce. I would like a mixed field greens salad with goat cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, thinly sliced red onions and a tangy raspberry vinaigrette. The main course I would like to consist of a baked salmon filet with lemon-dill-butter sauce, yellow saffron rice, blanched green beans, asparagus and an artichoke. I think I also need a slice of lamb roast studded with garlic cooked in red wine and rosemary. If I have room for desert I would like a slice of cheesecake the way Mark’s mom makes it with lemon and lime zest. I may drink a glass of Pinot Noir with the meal and have a cup of coffee with desert.
Feel free to comment with your last meal request.
I would like to make two statements about Obama on this Day of Obama.
1. Is it just me or has anyone else noticed an increase on the number of grey hairs on his head over the course of this campaign?
2. There are headlines like “Now that Obama has Secured the Presidency Today his Sights are set on Building a Plan” or blah blah blah like he’s planning what to do in office today.
If I were him I would take a nap today!
For four days!
My friends and I are in a debate right now. They think I have the right to vote…
as long as it’s for their candidate.
They think I can’t complain about the outcome of the election unless I agree to a two-party system and follow their rules. They even blame people like me for losing votes that matter.
If you actually think it’s fair to ask me to change my mind to vote for your candidate because it makes logical sense to you then why shouldn’t you change your vote to suit what I want?
Saying that the people who voted for Ralph Nader caused Florida to choose Bush are fucking retarded.
If only all the people who voted for Nader had voted for Kerry we wouldn’t have Bush in office!
WHAT ABOUT IF ALL THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR BUSH VOTED FOR KERRY? Wouldn’t that make more sense?
What about my decision makes you think I would be more likely to change my vote to your candidate than everyone else who is not voting for your candidate? Are people who vote for third party candidates weaker of mind? Are they less commited than those who conform to the Democratic vote or the Republican vote?
Just like vegans and vegetarians I respect your decision to make different choices as long as you respect mine. Granted, you feel it’s your duty to share your views with me (much like Christians’ obligation to spread the faith) but if I already have my mind made up how dare you try to change it, invalidate it, or tell me I’m being stupid.