We Made it to Week FOUR!

Week 3 (June 3 – June 10)

Esitmated Due Date: February 11th, 2013

Symptoms: Cramps, a very tender upper top half (okay, fine, I’ll say it…breasts), headaches, being super, unbearably hungry (but losing weight, which is nice, I guess), and the moodiness is still here (the hubs is already cowering in fear of preggers Kirsten). It’s very much like what I remember from being pregnant with E., though I think there is more general discomfort this time around. Lots of crampy twinges all over that I don’t seem to remember from before.

Body Changes: About the same as last week, bloaty and booby.

Cravings: My love for salty things continues. I definitely find myself hankering for comfort foods where as the idea of sweets doesn’t do it for me quite as much (though, again, I won’t turn down chocolate…ever).

High Point: Getting to meet with the midwives of in Bridgton. While the hubs and I have pretty much decided it isn’t in the cards for those lovely ladies to deliver baby #2 (darn insurance), they do offer FREE prenatal care and super inexpensive doulas (only $50!!!). We’ll definitely be seeing more of The Birth House for those reasons!

Low Point: This. Still kind of mad about it, too, but I think, assuming I can get into their practice, All About Women in Portland will be a good option for us. They deliver at Mercy Hospital and seem to have a pretty good view on c-sections and VBACs.

Paranoid Moment: Worrying that every little uncomfortable twinge is a sign of something horrible. I had myself convinced for about two days that I must have an ectopic pregnancy, but then I realized two things: one, it would probably be too early to know, and two, I think if I were dealing with an ectopic pregnancy I would know I was dealing with an ectopic pregnancy, not just worry about it.

What I did to prepare this week: I called and made appointments with a couple of places and am still waiting to hear back from another (All About Women). I also had, as I mentioned that appointment at The Birth House. While I’ll probably only keep one or two of the appointments I made (the others sort of seem pointless now that I know people’s policies of VBACs), it was a good experience to get in touch with all the places I did, because I have a better scope on what’s available out there for me in terms of maternity care (and what I need to start fighting for if I ever become some sort of lobbyist for women’s health organizations).

I also bought five books: The Pregnancy Book, by Dr. Sears (I have The Baby Book, which I love, and I wanted an alternative to “What to Expect”, which I hated); Birthing from Within (yep, bought a crunch/granola pregnancy book); The Breastfeeding Book, also by Dr. Sears (I never had a book on this topic when I had E. and I didn’t have as much success breastfeeding as I wanted, so I hope with will help); What’s Inside Mommy’s Tummy (a book for E.; she has lots of questions and I think a good book about what’s happening will be helpful); and A Baby on the Way, another one by Dr. Sears (Are you sensing a pattern yet? And yes, another book for E.)

What’s going on “in there”: Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week explains: “Fetal development is still in the very early stages, but great changes are taking place! The blastocyst is embedded more deeply into the linning of your uterus, and the amniotic sac, which will fill with amniotic fluid, is starting to form.
“The placenta is forming; it plays an important role in the hormone production and transport of oxygen and nutrients. Networks that contain maternal blood are becoming established. Development of the baby’s nervous system (brain and other structures, such as the spinal cord) begins.
“Germ layers are developing. They develop into specialized parts of your baby’s body, such as organs. The three germ layers are the ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm.
“The ectoderm becomes the nervous system (including the brain), the skin and the hair. The endoderm develops into the lining of the intestinal tract, the liver, pancreas and thyroid. The mesoderm becomes the skeleton, connective tissues, blood system, urogenital system and most of the muscles.”

This week Mama Kat asks us to (among other things), “…share one of your more recent reads and tell us what you thought!”

If any of you follows my 2012 Books page you may have noticed I’m on a bit of a roll these days when it comes to how many books I’ve been reading recently (three books in the past two weeks, which is a lot for me!). One of the books I’ve finished most recently is Looking for Alaska by John Green (an author I sang the praises of ), and not unlike the other three novels I’ve read by him, I think this one is amazing.

John Green’s writing primarily appeals to teenagers (and I first read his work for a Young Adult Lit. class in college - best course ever), and when asked what his intended audience was as he wrote the winning novel, Looking for Alaska, he clearly said that he wrote the book with teens in mind. But, as an adult (presumably), do not let this deter you. While the teen years may not be a time in your life that you want to revisit, John Green presents that time in such a way that a new perspective can be taken and you feel like your inner teenager, perhaps a still bit hurt, is finally understood.

Looking for Alaska starts off with high school junior, Miles Halter (who is obsessed with people’s last words), looking to take a journey into “the Great Perhaps” (taken from Fracois Rabelius’ last words) by starting his junior year at a new boarding school in Alabama. There he meets the Colonel, a short yet commanding young man who is also his roommate, Takumi, the token Asian kid who’s not known for his smarts (though he’s certainly got them) but how well he spins a rhyme, Lara, the cute Ukranian girl who’s trying to catch Miles’ eye, and then Alaska, the girl who steals his heart and is, along with the Colonel, one of the ultimate pranksters on campus.

The book moves in two parts, Before and After. In the “Before”, life seems beautiful and complicated, how it can often seem when you’re so young and there is such an incredible life lying before you. Which makes the “After” section of the book hit you like a brick, and the reader is forced to come to terms with the incredible upredictability and unfairness just as much as Miles and his friends do.

The fact that Green can rattle your bones so hard in really not so many pages is jarring and a credit to his writing – it’s never a good sign when a writer can’t make you care, but this is not a problem in Looking for Alaska. Your heart burns with the grief, as as an adult (and even more so as a parent), the pain is that much multiplied, because you are experiencing that tragedy on multiple levels.

This book is not a difficult read, in terms of writing style or comprehension. As I mentioned before, it was written with teens in mind, so the problem you encounter isn’t understanding what is going on, but coming to terms with what has happened. It will make you think, remember, and look at your children in a new light, even if they haven’t hit that precarious age of sixteen (or there abouts). Also, on a somewhat practical level, if you work with or have teens in your life, this might be an awesome book to suggest as a read or do as a whole class novel. Just don’t get all preachy, it would defeat the purpose.

As a last word, I suggest that if you’re not an adult who typically indulges in young adult literature, you might want to rethink it. Even if it’s not this book, but something like The Hunger Games (also amazing, but for completely different reasons) or the Harry Potter series or even Twilight (*shudder*), it helps to read something that distances us from the sometimes unnecessarily complicated adult world and brings us closer to our passions, our emotions, and what helped build the core that helps us stand tall now.

Happy reading!!

It was my birthday on Monday (woohoo, twenty-four!) and with my birthday comes the annual awesomeness of the Amazon gift certificate from my aunt.

Usually, the gift certificate is divided between a couple of books, maybe a CD, and then some other miscellaneous items or things for E. But this year I had a huge backlog of books I wanted to buy and finally made good on it.

So, here’s what I got:

1.) The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family by Daniel J. Siegel
I don’t really own any parenting books, and while I’m slowly starting to form my own philosophy regarding what kind of parent I want to be, I’m of the school that there are always resources out there that can further inform your outlook on life. Whether it’s personal experience, family and friends, discussion boards online, or a solid book. I also enjoy books that give you a set number and kind of strategy to use. I’m a bit formulaic, and while I understand no idea is one size fits all, it’s nice to have something to start with.

2.) The Successful Child by William Sears
I heavily consulted The Baby Book by Dr. Sears when E. was little and really agreed with what he had to say. I’ve been meaning to pick this book up for some time, but never seemed to have the extra cash. It’s been sitting on my Amazon wish list for a while! I’m curious to see if he sets it up similarly to The Baby Book and how he sees the continuation of attachment parenting with older children.

3.) Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters by Joann Deak
I read this quite some time ago, having borrowed it from the local library. I got either right before or right after E. was born and remember thinking, “Jeez, I’ve got to get this book and hang on to it!” It provides wonderful insight on how to ensure your daughter embraces herself and role in society.

4.) Death Comes to Pemberly by P. D. James
A purely for fun book. (And you saw the other books I’ve got on here, I deserve one!) It takes place at the Pemberly of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, where they are living as a married couple and find that someone has been murdered in their home! *Gasp!* The horror!! I’m so excited to read it!

5.) Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson
First of all, if you’re not familiar with Neil deGrasse Tyson, the world’s dreamiest astrophysicist, go google him or something, or check out his podcasts, or look at old NOVA episodes on PBS’s website or Netflix, or even Monday night’s episode of the Daily Show where he was interviewed, because he is so cool and makes space even MORE awesome (as if that’s possible). As a kid I went through a stint from about 5th to 8th grade where I really, really wanted to be an astronaut and then a physicist…and then I found out you would need to be able to do math – and I hate math – so I decided reading about it could be just as effective. Neil (we’re on a first name basis here), makes space just that more interesting and awesome.

6.) Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health by Toni Weschler
Supposedly this is a bit of a Bible for anyone who is looking to try natural birth control or is looking to get pregnant. While neither one of those are on my plate at this moment, I’ve found that the more in tune I am with what’s going on with my body, the better I feel and the more easily I can manage lady…stuff. I’m looking forward to digging into this!

7.) Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel
I think it goes without saying that I went a little nuts with the parenting books, but…you can never be too prepared, right? This book is by the same author as The Whole Brain Child but the focus is more parents rather than children. I think it’s good to look it how you’re raising your children from multiple perspectives and obviously the perspective of the parent him or her self is pretty important.

8.) Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis
I started reading this over the summer, but the book had a tragic accident and I couldn’t continue. If you have any love for the muppets, Jim Henson, or Sesame Street, chances are you’ll find this book pretty intriguing. I love having loads of useless historical knowledge about things I enjoy (like Sesame Street), so this book is right up my alley.

9.) How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson
Oh, Nigella. How much do I love this woman? She is as beautiful as she is talented (which is very) and I love, love, love her cookbooks and the food that comes from them. I’ve read (like, from cover to cover read) two of her cookbooks and have been itching to get my hands on this one to add to my collection since it was mentioned by a professor during one my classes a couple of years ago. Reading one of Nigella’s cookbooks is more than checking out hundreds of recipes. It’s reading someone’s philosophy on food, taking a peak into her life and culture, and giving you a chance to think about how you view cooking and food. For some, I know, this would be a total bore, but for those of us who would love to be foodies and decent home cooks, it’s immensely interesting and even important.

I’m getting really excited about these books (writing about them hasn’t really helped) and have been checking Amazon and my e-mail obsessively to see if they’ve shipped yet. They’re not due to arrive at my doorstep until March 6th at the earliest, so it’s going to be a bit of a wait, but hopefully worth it. I do plan to review at least a couple of the parenting books and Nigella’s cookbook (though I can kind of already tell that it’s going to be awesome), since those directly correlate to a lot of what I write about here. I’m hoping I’ll feel as though they’re all good buys by the time I’m done reading!!

What was your most recent (or exciting) book purchase?