Archive for the ‘ Health and Wellness ’ Category

Tummywatch Tuesday: 29 Weeks

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

I feel like it’s been forever since I posted. Time drags on ever so slowly when you have a sick kid in the house. Remember last Tuesday when I mentioned Roy was sent home from daycare with a fever over 104? It broke that night, so I figured we were in the clear. He developed a slight rash, as he tends to do with fevers, so I gave him some Benadryl, which usually does the trick. This time, it didn’t.

The rash got worse; developed into open sores and feet so tender he couldn’t stand on them. It was a different sort of rash than the one that sent us to the emergency room back in June. Finally, we took him to the doctor. Diagnosis: Scarlet Fever. Did you know people even got Scarlet Fever anymore? I didn’t. But they do. Well, Roy, The Boy Who Gets All Skin-Related Maladies, does.

So it was a rough week comforting and distracting an understandably inconsolable boy; constantly cleaning and dressing his wounds. I wished so badly I could weather all the pain and problems for him. He is finally on the mend. Not 100 percent, but headed in that direction. Next week will be better.

On the very worst night of his sickness, Roy barely slept. Since Clint had to work the following day, I was on duty. I tried everything—sleeping in his room, bringing him in ours, cuddling on the couch, letting him cry, even a Sesame Street special on Netflix. It wasn’t until he was exhausted beyond belief that he finally dozed off for a few hours. It took me even longer because the sleep deprivation and worry combined to get me thinking crazy, that I’d given him too much medicine or overlooked a telling symptom or screwed up in some way. Eventually, I, too gave in to the night’s catnap.

So the next day was even harder, of course. Sleeplessness makes even the tiniest decision seem impossible, the simplest of tasks seem Herculean. It it took me back a year and half to when Roy was a newborn, when I remember thinking How long can this possibly continue? How long can a human being even function without sleep? It also delivered me a few months into the future. It was a taste of what’s to come.

Had Roy had this illness during the height of my morning sickness or when my back was feeling worse, it would’ve broken me. But it didn’t happen then. And I can only hope the universe is as merciful when there are two.

Baby’s butternut squash-sized and in the middle of a growth spurt. The way my big belly makes my scarf jut awkwardly out in front of me in that photo up top cracks me up. I’ll give you a more positive post later this week, OK? After all, Thanksgiving is on its way. We’re hosting 20-some here, and I’m really looking forward it. We have so much to be thankful for.


Butternut squash image credit: Kristada Panichgul

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Tummywatch Tuesday: 27 Weeks

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Why, hello, third trimester. Happy to finally see you. I’ve been anticipating your arrival for quite some time now. Roughly 27 weeks, in fact.

I love the home stretch. So exciting! To think that in a few months we’ll meet the little girl that’s thumping around inside my belly right now. The one who will cuddle with us on the couch, sit with us at the dinner table, ride next to Roy in the back seat of the car. The one who will join our family for the rest of our forever. The one who will complete us. It feels as if we’ve been three for so long now. Soon, we will be four.

Last week, I had my monthly preggo checkup and timed it with Roy’s well-child visit. This is always risky. Will the kid occupy himself as the doctor checks me out? Will he do so in a way that doesn’t involve crying, spilling Cheerios and/or shoving germy doctors’ office toys in his mouth? When he doesn’t, will I be able to talk him down from my reclined position the exam table? If not, will I be clothed enough to intercept him with my dignity in tact?

This visit went fairly well, in large part because after checking my knee reflexes, the doctor let Roy play with his little rubber hammer. Roy loves tools. He has his own toolbox he accesses daily so he can “fix it,” “it” being his toy trucks, or his stroller, or the cabinets Dad is working on. When the doctor handed him that hammer, his eyes met mine and I could almost feel the cogs moving upstairs. A hammer to fix people? Whoa. I made the distinction between regular hammer and Doctor Hammer immediately clear, with heavy emphasis placed on the fact that regular hammers are not for hitting people. He was too busy fixing the exam table to care.

I’m not even going to picture what a doctor’s visit might be like with a toddler and a newborn. I figure worrying won’t make it easier, so I’ll just deal with it when the time comes.

I actually can’t believe how non-nonchalant that sounds. I used to be an expert worrier, the kind who figured that the more I worried, the more prepared I was for the inevitable. I worried so much that naturally, I worried having a kid would send me off into a paralyzing spiral of worry. Or, the other word for my obsessive worry: Anxiety.

The opposite happened. I’ve let go of an amazing amount of anxiety since having Roy. For me, it came down to two chief rationales. 1) I don’t want to raise my kids in a worry-filled environment. I know from experience that this isn’t fun. 2) Kids equal tons of potential worry. Realizing that, I decided to reserve my worry for the things that really “deserve” it. (I’m not perfect. Though I know worry doesn’t solve anything, that doesn’t mean I can cut it from my life completely. Or can I? It’s a worthy goal, isn’t it?)

That’s my philosophy in a nutshell, anyway. Child-free Berit probably wouldn’t buy any of it.’s week-by-week babytracker tells me the little girl is cauliflower-sized about now. We’re eating a lot of well roasted cauliflower around here lately, so I’m often holding one of these heads, and I have to say, that seems pretty big. But we are in the final trimester, where big is good. Perfect. Correct. Just three more months of growing to do.

And then we’ll be four.


Cauliflower photo credit: iStockphoto

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Tummywatch Tuesday: 26 Weeks

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Moving right along to 26 weeks. On the precipice of trimester 3. The final stretch. Wow.

I can’t believe that this is when the real growth starts. None of this laughable, half-assed growth that merely hinders my ability to put on shoes and pick things up off the floor. Now we’re headed for serious growth. Planetary growth. Lap-shrinking, seam-testing, waddle-inducing growth. Woo. Hoo.

Despite three chiropractor appointments, my rib and lower back pains aren’t going away. And due to my tense dura and whatnot (highly technical translation from spine doctor language), my chiropractor thinks it best that I see a massage therapist a couple of times to loosen things up, so my body’s more receptive to her adjustments. On the one hand: Dangit, body! Relax. Loosen up, already. Be helped. On the other hand: Yay, massages! Plural! If I must. Hopefully this combo will do the trick and I’ll be relaxed and open and receptive from head to toe, inside and out. That would feel really, really nice.

According to’s week-by-week babytracker, our little girl is now the approximate size of a zucchini. Last week, I made offhand mention of all the baby clothes littering the living room. What I neglected to relate was: The clothes, people! My god, the clothes! I had an inkling of the power baby girl clothes back when I was on a mission to find a sweet Easter outfit for Roy. Every store I went to, it was the same story: A never-ending wonderland of adorable girly thingamajigs in the cutest patterns and latest styles. Then, in a slim plot of floor next to that, a rack or two of pleated tan slacks and lame cable-knit sweater vests for boys.

These stores aren’t stupid. They’re out to make a buck. They know what I only recently discovered: Normally sane people are helpless in the face of cute girl clothes. They regress into a puddle of oohs and ahhs and, consequently, whip out the credit card. It’s nuts. I truly thought I was immune. I’m not very girlie, not a shopper and not all that sentimental, either, so I’m safe, right? Wrong. Their magic works on even thrifty, tomboyish, level-headed me.

I’ve held it together pretty well so far, resisting the splurges; limiting my indulgences to maniacally fawning over the crazy adorable hand-me-downs and other gifts we’ve received. Little girl will be able to spit up and blowout as much as her heart desires. There will always be an even cuter outfit waiting. One more trimester to go before the real ooh-fest begins.


Zucchini photo credit: Kristada Panichgul

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Tummywatch Tuesday: 23 Weeks

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Check it out: 23 weeks! Apparently this is the point in my pregnancy where I begin discovering random stains and globs of food on my stomach. I’m not sure whether it’s because that stomach now sticks out far enough to collect stray material or because normally, my stains are lying flat against by body, where I notice them less. Regardless, it makes me want to wear lipstick. Because who notices an Africa-shaped salad dressing stain on a woman’s giant belly when her mouth is done up in a perky shade of red? Everyone, probably. But I am not above trying my hand at distraction tactics.

Because this is a place designated to relating how my pregnancy feels, at the risk of sounding like a big ol’ complainer I will tell you it feels painful. In my ribs and my lower back specifically. Which, honestly, kind of pisses me off, as it seems way too early in my pregnancy to start feeling this way. Especially since I just recently got over morning all day sickness. My attempts at pain relief so far include walking, yoga and miscellaneous stretching, icing and sleeping with a pillow between my legs. If nothing changes, soon I will move on to massage and possibly a chiropractor specializing in the Webster Technique. Suggestions welcome.

Little Girl is now the size of an eggplant, according to’s week-by-week babytracker. Grow, girlie, grow! Her brother-to-be has been an absolute joy lately, which sometimes makes me wonder if I’m insane. What to do when your toddler finally naps reliably, sleeps through the night, manages stairs on his own, uses the word “please” to communicate his wants and plays on his own for long stretches of time? Start over from square one with another kid, of course! Big. Fat. Sigh.

But these same things also make me think that the timing is perfect. Roy’s growing independence frees my time enough to pay attention to another and my hands enough to hold another. Plus, he’ll be a fabulous helper. The boy just loves to help. To “help,” too, but the need to use quote marks fades each day.

Regardless of how I feel, mentally or physically, she’s another week closer to being here. So I’m all about savoring my time with my little toddler, while he’s still my only one. What a bonus that he’s in the midst of a dreamboat phase. He’s so sweet at the moment, there are times when I can actually relax off the parent bit—the redirecting and preparing and monitoring—and just hang out and enjoy his company. Yep, the pain is definitely worth it.

Eggplant image credit: Mike Dieter


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Placenta Pills: Might Presentation Change Your Mind?

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Last week, my awesome doula, Dawn, posted this on Facebook:

“Yes, I turn placentas into capsules for new moms. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, moms feel sooo much better! They have less fatigue, postpartum depression, increased milk supply and many more wonderful results.”


When that spate of placenta-eating stories hit a few weeks back, I admit: I couldn’t get past the pictures. I didn’t care what the touted “benefits” were, no way was I even considering eating anything that looked like that. I didn’t read one word.

Then Dawn, whom I trust completely, brings up the subject. And look at that photo. Nice, neat little pills! Surrounded by pink flowers! Oh so pleasantly palatable. OK, I thought. Let’s talk.

I opened my mind and dug into the topic a bit. My main questions:

1) Seriously. Why?

Answer: Apparently one of the main benefit claims is that it helps cure postpartum depression connected to a drop in hormone levels. (When the placenta is inside you, it supplies you with those hormones, like Oxytocin, which disappear abruptly when it does.) Other purported benefits include more energy and increased milk supply, as Dawn outlined above, and decreased postpartum hemorrhaging and pain.

2) Have people been doing this for centuries? Meaning, is it one of those “natural” things that industrialized society hastily dropped?

Answer: No. Other cultures do revere it, though. After all, your body produced the placenta, its very own temporary organ, solely to nourish your developing child. It’s often given a ceremony and proper burial. Most other land mammals, however, do practice placentophagy, as it’s called, possibly to evade predators by destroying this evidence of birth. To paraphrase KJ Antonia at, most other mammals also eat their own poo. Folks don’t seem too eager to jump on that bandwagon.

3) How does one turn a placenta into pills?

Answer: Well, Dawn rinses, steams, dehydrates then grinds the placenta, in your home or hers. She then puts the powder into those neat little capsules, then puts the capsules into a tidy bottle, labeled with instructions. Her charge: A very reasonable, in my book, $125 (Gerbera daisies not included).

4) C’mon. Does it really work?

Answer: There doesn’t seem to be any medical proof that it does. On the other hand, plenty of mamas who’ve done it and doulas like Dawn swear by its benefits.

My conclusion? If I were at risk for postpartum depression, I would do it in a heartbeat. No doubt. And I do see why others who are not at risk might as well. To each her own. But as it stands, at this very moment, I think I’ll skip the placentophagy, even in pill form. Maybe I’ll bury it instead? Or not. I’m giving birth in the dead of winter, and I’m not sure how respectful it’d be to wedge a life-sustaining organ between the Tombstones and frozen peas for a few months.


Image courtesy

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