Sunday, July 31, 2011

The First 24

Thursday, July 28, 3:05 p.m.

All clean
ed up.

Skin 2 Skin tim
e with dad.

Nice to meet you, Auntie Collee
n. Thanks for feeding mom and dad.

Then a 5 hour nap.

Good morning. Pleased to meet you, Uncle Paul.

Hello Grandma Katie. T
hanks for the new outfit!

The rest of the day was filled with visitors and check-ups.
Then, we went home. At 4:30 p.m., Friday, July 29.

Phew! Made it through Friday rush hour on 696/96 West. We're home!

G Mom thought I looked pretty good 24 hours after giving birth. I felt pretty good too!

Mandatory outside time with G Mom and Grandpa Bob.

And then, we slept. Well, sort of.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

She's Here!

Meet Mary Elizabeth Spurgeon, or as mom and dad call her, Maisey.

She came into the world 13 days shy of her due date, following in her impatient mama's footsteps. It was an amazing, intense and awe-inspiring labor and delivery for all of us. Fast and fulfilling. But more on that later... (I need to make this quick and get back to what's really important.)

She arrived at 3:05 p.m. on Thursday, July 28, delivered at the Alternative Birth Center at Providence Hospital in Southfield.

She weighed 7 pounds (the computer said 6 lbs, 16 oz. - silly machine) and was 20.5 inches long.

She's perfect and we are so in love.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Homeo help

In my attempt to have a fulfilling, not-excruciating natural birth, and because I am a bit of a sucker when an "expert" gives me advice, whether it's a mechanic about my car or a midwife about labor and delivery, I have dipped my pinkie toe into the world of homeopathy.

A few weeks ago, at a check-up, when midwife Mary learned I was traveling to Ann Arbor for my cloth diaper start-up kit, she enthusiastically encouraged me to visit Indigo Forest and handed me a list of highly recommended homeopathic aides for labor, delivery and recovery. So, shell-shocked from my $400 cloth diaper excursion, off I went to what some might call "hippy land" or in my case, Indigo Forest. I walked out of the shop, located in an industrial park off of Jackson Road, near Zeeb and I-94, on the second floor of a back-building, $55 poorer and armed with a bunch of stuff I didn't know what to do with.

Well, I've since figured it out (sort of) and added to the arsenal, which includes oil of comfrey, raspberry leaf tea, lavender oil, tea tree oil, evening primrose oil, arnica montana, caulophyllum thalictroides and cimicifuga racemosa.

What does this stuff do? Well, here is what I mustered:

Oil of comfrey: A mix of vitamin e oil, avocado oil and comfrey extract, this is to use during birth to help stretch the skin and after birth, in a bath, to help aid in healing.

Raspberry leaf tea: Said to strengthen and tone the muscles of the uterus, helping them to contract more efficiently during labour. Research has found that drinking a strong brew during the weeks prior to delivery helps to shorten the second stage of labour by making contractions more effective. Sipping the tea during and after the birth is supposed to help the uterus contract back down to size, reduce after birth bleeding and help initiate the let down of breastmilk. Supposedly, to get this to work, you need to make it really strong (let it steep at least 4 hours) and drink 2 or more cups a day. I can't handle the former - I brew it at night and strain it in the morning - but the latter is harder than it sounds. That's a lot of tea. Hot or cold.

Lavender and Tea Tree Oil: For aromatherapy use during labor, and for use in healing baths after birth.

Evening primrose oil capsules: Not to be taken before the 37th week of pregnancy, evening primrose oil is supposed to help soften the cervix, "ripening" it to encourage or speed labor. Administered orally or topically.

Arnica montana: Generally recommended to reduce the fatigue, bruising, and trauma of labor; to control bleeding, prevent hemorrhaging, and minimize the strain on soft tissues. After childbirth, it eases afterpains, assists in the contraction of the uterus and relieves retention of urine after long labor.

Caulophyllum thalictroides: Used to strengthen the uterus so that it can effectively produce proper contractions in labor. They can be continually used during labor or to start it up again if it should stop.

Cimicifuga racemosa: For use with the former. Supposedly excellent as a liniment for back labor, it is also used to relieve pain and cramping in the womb. Relieves muscle pain, which is one reason it works so well with the former, a uterine stimulant.

Will any of this work? Help? I don't know, but I'm willing to try. Some would say my use of these, coupled with my chiropractic visits, doula-hiring and midwife, makes me a hippy. But I say keep the patchouli - I am simply trying to ease my baby into this world. And anything that might help that happen is worth a shot.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

FMLA Collard Dogs-Style

Collard Dogs is officially, temporarily, closed for business. After spending 3 hours last weekend fulfilling orders, instead of fluffing in the baby's room, tending my veggie garden, preparing freezer meals, golfing or blogging, I decided to take an early maternity leave.

That said, Collard Green Dogs is still taking orders, since all of those smashing fashions and accessories are ready-to-wear. And shipping is the easy part!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cloth diaper starter kit

World, meet the Spurgeon Cloth Diaper Starter Kit, care of our AmEx and The Little Seedling...

Because Will and I are brand-spanking new to this rode
o, we opted to test out a few different cloth diaper "systems" to see what works best for our family. Making the short-list? Pre-folds, all-in-ones and fitteds. (Not making the list, but very popular? Pocket diapers.)

First, pre-folds...

Quantity: 12 diapers, 3 snappis
Diaper cost: $2.33

Snappi cos
t (for three): $7.75

These are the traditional, old-fash
ioned, cheap cloth diapers. Now, I admit I was wholly confused with the term "prefold." If I have to fold them to fit the baby, why are they called "prefold"? Wellllllll - back in the day, these puppies were ginormous and you had to fold them mucho times before you could even fold them onto the baby. Somebody got smart and now they are "prefolded" and sewn, eliminating user "prefolding."

Also an improvement from the old days? No pi
ns. Modern moms use this handy-dandy little T-strap clasp thing called a Snappi. The arms have ace-bandage-like claws, and the "t" is a stretchy, rubber band material, so you just pull and clasp.

I wanted to test prefolds because they are the old-standby and also, very cheap. If I hate them
, I can always use the diapers as rags.

An additional piece to the pre-fold puzzle? Co
vers. More on that in a jiffy.

Second, the fitteds...

Quantity: 6 diapers, two types

Diaper cost - Kissaluvs: $13.95

Diaper cost - Bummis Bamboozle: $19.95

Fitteds are the next step up in the evolution o
f the cloth diaper, after prefolds. Fitted diapers are exactly what they sound like. Instead of the flat piece of cloth, fitted diapers are sewn to look like disposable diapers. They are fitted and snug, usually with elastic gatherings in the legs and waist, and have snap or velcro closures. They typically some in two sizes - x-small/small and one-size-fits-all. We got two different brands, both sized for newborns (x-small/small). Though the one-size-fits-all would last forever, they are just HUGE for newborns. Meaning, if we like this type of diaper, we'll have to buy more a couple months after she arrives. As for the different brands, they are different fabrics, so we can test absorbancy (cotton vs. bamboo) and the Bummis are slightly larger so should last longer. Again, these require a cover.

To accompany the prefolds and fitteds, we had
to buy covers...

Quantity: 6
Cover cost: $12.95

Okay - so these are
much cuter than the old rubber pants babies used to don, but function in the same way. They slip over the prefolds or fitteds and go in the laundry same as the diapers. There are a multitude of prints and brands, and they close using either snaps or velcro. Though I am attracted more to snaps (velcro can wear out), velcro would be easier. We got some of each.

And lastly, Will's ideal cloth diaper, the all-in-ones...

Quantity: 6
Diaper c
ost - Blueberry: $16.95
Diaper cost - bumGenius: $12.95

An AIO, or All-In-One, is exactly what it sounds lik
e. What you get is what you need. It is a type of diaper that functions completely on its own without the need for extra accessories. It does not require a cover to contain leaks. All of the features are neatly packaged into one diaper. The downside is that they're not always as absorbent and can take longer to launder and dry. (Which is why I also got some of the fitteds.) Like the fitteds, they typically some in two sizes - x-small/small and one-size-fits-all. And again, we got two different brands, Blueberry and bumGenius, both sized for newborns (x-small/small), but again, Blueberry should supposedly last longer (they're slightly larger).

Along with the diapers, we picked up some cloth
diaper system accessories...

Including a wet bag, to put dirty diapers in when we're not home, cotton wipes, instead of disposable, two diaper pail liners and a diaper pail (not shown).

And special detergent for washing diapers...

Cheap, right? Well, apparently this will last a year if I only use it for diapers. You can't use regular detergent because the "whiteners and brighteners" compromise absorbancy. To whiten and brighten, most cloth diaper places recommend the sun.

So, that's the long and the short of our cloth diaper starter kit. I'll be sure to update you on the laundering process, and what "type" comes out on top.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Follows 36, Precedes 38

37 weeks, 5 days and holding at 44". Feeling very enlarged these days. The pool has replaced the elliptical (which replaced the treadmill) - but no breaststroke kicks for me. Flutter only. And lots of inside time with my ice cream.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Family tree or baby bbq?

On July 9, Grandma Betty and Grandpa Bob hosted a "Family Tree" baby shower at 1129.

As an aside, I prefer to call it "The Baby Barbeque," since my dad spent 3 days making pulled pork and chicken for the affair, but Betty thinks that sounds cannibalistic, so for her, we'll stick with the family tree theme.

Despite some spitting rain, it was a fabulous, Heminger-orchestrated get-together (i.e. a noticeable absence of BBQ paper and plastic... replaced by linen
napkins (with Will's "fancy fold" and table cloths). The Heminger-ness was helped along by dear Aunt Barbara, who drove 7 hours to join the fun. Nicki, Sandy and Eric provided flowers and food. Uncle Pete hauled gear. Carol and Marlene donated tables and Dr. Jeanise made a surprise appearance. And the cradle held gifts.

Including a theme-appropriate book from Aunt Barba
ra, because "Every baby must learn about evolution."

Burp cloths from Carol, Jamie and Marlene - which Will demo-ed for everybody. And, an amazing Baby Spurgeon Adirondack chair, hand-crafted by
Uncle Ozzy (who couldn't be there).

And Owen took up his usual backyard, bark-prevention, crate position.

I was so happy to be able to share the day with high scho
ol bestie Nicki.

Like all of my showers, people were very generous and Will and I found ourselves laden with baby gear.

The one grey spot? Larry, Owen's new favorite person, didn't agree to an open adoption. Maybe next time...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Turn, turn, turn

On Friday, Baby Spurgeon got a new theme song, lovingly crooned by Will.

During our now weekly visit to the midwife we learned that our little darling, though head-down, is in a somewhat posterior position. What does that mean? She's facing out. Now I believe it's just because she likes the feel of the sun on her face, and when it comes time to meet her family, she'll be a good girl and turn, turn, turn.

Why does it matter, you ask? Well, my midwife explained mothers whose babies are face-up tend to push longer, and have a higher risk of tearing, or of needing an assisted delivery or a c-section. But, my midwife and doula both said that babies turn all the time and I shouldn't be at all worried. Yet. But just in case, Will is gonna keep on croonin'.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fage confirms it

Karyn's funky organic milk aside, I haven't encountered any expiration date/due date coincidences... until today, that is.

There it is, stamped out on my breakfast of champions.

Holy wow - we're having a baby. Soon. At least I can find solace in knowing this yogurt will NEVER make it to our due date.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Babies and NPR Blogs

This spring, NPR posted a call for pregnant women who were due in July to participate in “The Baby Project,” a special series documenting their last month of pregnancy. Though I'm not due until August, I still applied. Sadly, like our bid to be contestants on The Amazing Race, I was rejected.

But that hasn't stopped me from enjoying the daily posts. Ultimately, the blog follows 9 women, and as different as their stories and backgrounds are — geographically, economically, ethnically and otherwise — their hopes and fears are fundamentally the same.

A few favorites include an overview of a doula's role in birth and expectant mom Lateefah Torrence's musings about a busy mind and labor fears - after reading the latter, I felt like calling her up and inviting her to drink raspberry tea. (Why raspberry tea, you ask? While that's a topic for another day...)

So if you are stuck at work and need a break, or just want to feel the warm fuzzies, check it out.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I haven't indulged in my gummy craving as of late, so to celebrate my 37th week, I decided to live a little via squishy little shark confections. Honestly, it was probably more of a "I am missing lunch to shop at Home Goods" impulse buy, but anyhow, I learned an important lesson...

Not sure if the mess above is edible - we'll see how desperate I am for gummies tomorrow.

Welcome Willa June

A million (belated) congratulations to our friends Andy and Linda, who welcomed Willa June on July 1. The little darling was 7 lbs 14 oz. and 20 inches long. And, she made quite the entrance! Linda woke at 1:45 a.m., they left the house at 2:45 a.m., were stuck behind a train en route at 2:59 a.m. and after arriving at the hospital and 1.5 pushes later, Willa met the world at 3:17 a.m. Whoa!

She joins big brother Everett at home in Lansing.

We visited Linda and Andy back in March to talk birth plans, doulas and cloth diapers. And Linda, two weeks shy of her due date, was a real trooper at our couples shower. I'm thrilled to know that Baby Spurgeon will have a pal when we drag her to the annual MSU Grove Street tailgate reunion, hopefully starting this October!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

19 Meets 36

Taken at 36 weeks, 6 days and 44", on a day that reached 98 degrees. Next time I need to plan this a little better. April baby, anyone?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Strawberries for Sal

Really, it is Blueberries for Sal. And strawberries for Maggie and Will. But seriously, a few days ago I enjoyed my last piece of the sweet, sweet strawberry pie made from berries picked by Will, my mom and me during our time in Escanaba.

Now strawberry picking isn't hard, but at 8.75 months pregnant, was a tad awkward - all that scooting along in the dirt and trying not to squish the not-yet-ripe berries. Not to m
ention resisting the temptation to eat every single one.

Good thing I had Grandma Betty and Will with me to pick the berries

And Will to carry the booty.

We cleaned three flats of berries, made and took back to Milfor
d 6 pints of jam, and enjoyed some serious pies at the Escanaba shower.

I only wish strawberry season lasted all summer. (It would help my enlargement.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Links at 36

Last weekend, Will and I hit up Edgewood for a round. Sadly, I could only make it 9 holes, and even that was a struggle. I am truly in the home (belly) stretch!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cradling Bob

Back in 1978, a young couple prepared for their first child. The proud father-to-be, wanting to make something for their baby, decided to build a cradle. The baby was me. The proud father to-be was the current grandfather-to-be, Bob. That was 32 years ago, so in this shot, my dad was the same age I am now. It's hard for me to believe he was ever that young. And even harder to believe that some day, my daughter will think the same thing about Will and me.

Since then, 23 other babies have slumbered sweet dreams my cradle. Appropriately, Little Miss S will be baby 25. Baby Walter was ousted two weeks ago, so this anxious mama could get her ducks in a row. And on Thursday, Grandpa Bob drove 7 hours to deliver the cradle to Milford. (He arrived at 6pm and was gone by 7am the next day - crazy man!)

It fits in our room wonderfully, though Owen has mixed thoughts about the new piece of furniture.
Just wait until he meets his new baby sister! Oh my...

I feel so fortunate to have such loving parents, and a dad that would hand build me a cradle and deliver it to my home 32 years later, for my baby. Thanks, Dad! You're going to be an awesome Grandpa.