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What Is Happening in There?

April 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

There could be moments during pregnancy when you want some alone time. Not necessarily because you need time to yourself. More like you want time to let your body do its things without others having to witness such awkward moments.

Did you ever get a pain in your chest? Just above your lungs? Part burn, part pressure. Like maybe after eating a double cheeseburger with the works? I can count on that pain after a shot (or two) of Tequila. Or eating while pregnant. Hello, heartburn.

Of course I know that bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits and chili cheese dogs do not appear in any list of top 10 healthy foods. But while I was pregnant, they kicked off episodes of heartburn strong enough to make me believe that my child was setting my insides on fire. I mean, who does that to their mother?

But at some point, that heartburn subsides. But not before disguising itself as gas so bad you’ll put your husband and your dog to shame. The point where you realize you don’t have control over major bodily functions starts there.

And be prepared for the possibility that it all just stops. Bowel movements, that is. Yep. You’re eating for two and pooping for none. And now you have this enormous discomfort in your lower half. Which, of course, is complicated by the fact that you also have a baby constantly perched in the same area, putting more pressure on the area that’s backed up. I hate to pile on, but I wonder if this is a good place to mention that this horrible game of dominos could be further complicated with hemorrhoids?

All that might be a bit more tolerable if sleep were on the horizon. My biggest obstacle with sleeping was me. There was just too much of me. By the seventh month, I couldn’t get comfortable. Many nights were spent flopping from one side to the other. I was grateful not to have a water bed because I was certain the liquid-filled mattress would smack me back in the face. Someone suggested I use a body pillow, one that runs almost the length of your body. Bingo. I would wrap my legs around it, and I was golden. Never mind that it must have looked like my overstretched body was humping five feet of stuffed fabric.

Eh, so what. Walk around rubbing your chest and scratching your bottom. Straddle a pillow. It may guarantee that alone time you wished for.

A Little Slack, Please

March 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Women in China have been so desperate for seats on crowded subways that they have resorted to using fake baby bumps. People probably shouldn’t become pregnant for perks. That’s what credit cards and frequent-flyer memberships are for. But still, if ever there was a time to give someone some slack, pregnancy should be it.

Sadly, mall parking lots are not filled with nice people. Or rather, they’re overshadowed by the not-so-nice people: the ones cutting people off, parking in restricted spots, and yelling obscenities loud enough to alert mall security.

Charles and I were at a shopping mall when I was six months pregnant. We’d circled the lot for 15 minutes trying to find a spot that wasn’t too far away from the entrance. Finally, we found one. And so did someone else. There was a bit of a game of chicken, along with some hand gestures. But we ended up getting the space. But not before the driver of the other car shot some crude words at my husband. It was a true Jerry Springer moment as I kept thinking, This is not happening.

As I moved from behind the car, it was obvious I was upset. And pregnant. At that point, the other driver stepped back and shrugged it all off.

So you’ve heard that memory is an issue during pregnancy. Believe it. And remember how your home alarm system works. One trip of the alarm, and we had a visit from half a dozen firefighters on a shiny fire engine. As they walked up the steps, I was trying to think of something—anything— to say as to why I summoned them. As I met them on the front porch, a wave of smiles moved across their faces as I apologized, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

They had a good chuckle, and one of them explained, “Well, you’re pregnant, and you have enough going on. We understand.” And that was it. No chastising or criticism. Not even a bill!

You might feel strong while you’re pregnant, but why risk it? We were trying to move a couch into a new place and as soon as the neighbors saw that, they practically pushed me out of the way. There’s really never a need to argue with anyone who’s willing to do manual labor for you.

Thank goodness for the kindness of others. From opening doors to going to the head of the line in a public restroom, having a visible baby bump has some benefits. As for using a fake one? After nine months, you’ll have some explaining to do.

Guestlist

March 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Maybe you aren’t a big planner, but somehow, the closer you get to having kids, you start trying to get organized. Or as close to it as you can. You get the house ready. You have your showers. The car seat is finally installed correctly, and your bag is packed.

And after the baby arrives, so do the guests. I used to think it would be best to just have it be my husband and me at the hospital, but then I realized that people really want to share in your joy and excitement. And as I found out, they bring gifts! But who and when do you call or Facebook? You don’t want to forget anyone, but you also don’t want to assume that everyone will want to be there. As it turns out, word spreads like wildfire. You tell one person, and they’ll tell 50!

Our first son was born via C-section. So we had a little over an hour to get the word out. By the time I dressed for surgery, three friends were already at the hospital. My very own pregnancy posse, ready to cheer me on. And I was grateful because it kept my mind off the fact that my life, my sanity, and my abdomen were about to change forever.

After the surgery, guests drifted into the recovery room. And I drifted into a haze of confusion. They were so cheerful, while foggy best describes my mental state. Plus, I was numb from the anesthesia. Foggy and numb. It was like the morning after a bachelorette party. So not the way I wanted to start my new role as a mom. I kept obsessing about two things: why I couldn’t feel my legs and where my baby was. Meanwhile, our visitors were gushing about how beautiful the baby was. At one point, a nurse told me my brother got to hold the baby. I was confused. I hadn’t seen my brother or the baby, but they had already met!

During my stay at the hospital, guests continued to stop by. It was nice to have support. But I was exhausted, trying to heal from surgery and battling how to get the baby to nurse. Nothing breaks up a good gathering like showing off your bloody dressing or whipping out your boob and trying not to cry as your newborn latches on tighter than a suction cup.

You love your friends. But they get that you may need a little space. As you tactfully usher them to the hallway, make sure to invite them to your house. You’ll need some company after you finally find your legs, some of your sanity, and that kid you apparently had.

He Likes Me. He Likes Me Not.

February 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Birth, marriage, divorce, death. These are life’s events that we can’t truly and completely prepare for. That would be too convenient. So instead, we obsess about them beforehand, and wing it when they finally arrive. And so it is with motherhood.

From the moment you find out you’re pregnant, your mind is filled with “how’s.” Things like how to change a diaper, how to find an in-home sitter, and how to change those darn bags in the Diaper Genie. That’s why we have instruction manuals and wise friends. But then in come the “What if’s?” These are a bit trickier because they let your mind wander. Far from reality. Like when you were planning your wedding, and after you’d spent countless hours agonizing over every little detail on the invitations, centerpieces, and the program, you gasped at the thought that it was possible that the last stall in the ladies’ room would run out of toilet paper. Yeah, what if that happened?

So there you are with a bun in the oven and have carefully covered your long list of how’s. You figured out how you were going to make more space in your already seemingly small home. And how you were going to cover daycare. And how you would pump milk at work. Ah, time to sit back and relax, right? Just coast until it was delivery day. As if.

Between your hormones, that nesting thing, and you just being an over-prepared gal, you now get to wrestle with the “What if’s?” Time to conjure up more scenarios. Not just normal things like what if your husband isn’t around when your water breaks or what if you lose your job. Uh uh. Big, silly, ridiculous stuff that takes up more time and energy than it has any right to. Things like, What if the sonogram was messed up, and I have quadruplets? Or, What if there’s a really bad storm, and I can’t get to the hospital and have to deliver those quadruplets at home?

I couldn’t stop wondering, What if the baby doesn’t like me? Yep. I let my mind go there. Despite the fact that I was 100 percent present during this little being’s creation, I doubted he would like me. Who cares that I carried him for nine months. What if after he came out, he’d spend the next 18 years trying to get away? Just because I was his mom, didn’t mean he’d give two hoots about me.

Second guessing and lack of confidence is an unfortunate and constant part of life. We could do it full-time forever. Honestly, I’m not sure my son has ever said he likes me. But I get a lot of “I love you’s.” Hmm, what if Oprah was his mom? Would he like her? See what I mean?

Now Arriving

February 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Do you remember watching shows about life way back when? I’m talking way back. It astonished me that people had these amazing, full lives without the conveniences we have today. You know, like cars, lights, air conditioning—OBs. And you’d be glued to your seat when a woman went into labor. No phone, no doctor, and no drugs. That alone should have been enough birth control for some of us to never have sex, let alone want to go through childbirth.

But miraculously, there was always some older, wiser woman in the house. Or down the lane. Or across the field. She was the go-to person for big, scary stuff. Like chasing bears off, saving someone from the well, and birthing babies.

I’m pretty sure these days the closest thing to that miracle woman is a midwife. Sort of like a pregnancy pal. She provides advice and guides a woman from pregnancy through birth. Talk about a bond. My thought was that if I had a midwife, I wasn’t letting her go after a nine-month relationship. She’d have to come home and live with us. Forever! Sadly, I found no widwives in our area who were willing to do that.

And what’s more relaxing than a warm bath? So maybe a water birth is more your style. There’s research on both sides, for and against. But taking a bath is like a Calgon moment for me. I just couldn’t get past the idea that soaking in a bath would always lead to a birth. Never mind all that stuff they taught us in health class about what had to happen nine months before that.

Some very brave moms may choose to give birth at home. And we now return to Little House on the Prairie. On one hand, it makes so much sense. It’s your home. The very place you will be raising your child. But on the other hand, there’s something to be said for all the stuff hospitals have that your house doesn’t—like ’round-the-clock trained staff, beds that adjust with the touch of a button, and food delivered to your room. Then again, I was the mom who also thought a plunger would have been handy during delivery.

It’s probably best to consider all your options. Just be prepared that as things evolve, you may need to change it up with a tub of water, your queen-size bed, or that lady who scares the bears away. And keep an eye out for the plunger.

Say Cheese

January 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Demi Moore, Cindy Crawford, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilara. Celebrities are just like us, right? Okay, they’re all women. And they’ve all had babies. And they all posed nude while pregnant. So much for the list of similarities.

No one asked me to pose nude when I was pregnant. I’m not pregnant now, but sadly, I have a belly. So where’s the sexy? Who took the sexy? Now take a look at a semi-naked pregnant woman. I mean if the occasion presents itself. There’s something striking and sexy about it. Okay, maybe it’s just the fact that she isn’t wearing any clothes. Or maybe it’s because it’s not the kind of naked like on a naughty website kind of naked.

It could be the attitude that makes it easier to be photographed without clothes on. I don’t know where it comes from, but it seems like you have a boost in confidence when you get pregnant. It starts out like Ahhh yes, I’m going to be somebody’s mom. By the eighth month, it feels a bit more like, Yeah, I’m gonna be a mom, and you’re not the boss of me!

Of course it’s entirely possible that women bare their bods when they’re expecting because it’s virtually the only time you can get away with it. It’s no big secret that pregnant women get a pass on things. From opening doors to giving up good seats, people tend to dote on women who are obviously pregnant. So perhaps the thinking is She’s carrying a baby—give her what she wants.

There’s also the possibility that hormones make you do it. Oh please, we blame everything from PMS to poor diet to menopause on them, so why not bare belly shots too? It would be totally acceptable to credit your hormones for keeping you in a perpetual state of euphoria. Those little buggers might very well be in there telling you that you can and should do anything.

I bet if you ask anyone who’s had kids if they struck a nudie preggers pose in front of their mirror fresh after a shower, they’d say yes. We’re women. We turn our feet almost full circle in the mirror when we try on shoes! It’s part of our routine to look at our boobs, butts, and bellies. Being pregnant gives us that much more of them to look at.

And really, no worries if People magazine doesn’t ask you to pose for them. There’re lots of people who’ll see you naked during delivery.

And Today’s Feature Will Be

January 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Baby showers are the first party for mom and baby. And not bad for a guest of honor that hasn’t arrived.

But if traditional baby showers aren’t exciting enough, brace yourself for the latest trend—ultrasound parties. In the comfort of your own home. It used to be come on by and gather around the big-screen TV. Now? Gather around the big-bellied mama.

Did you ever have the window or carpet guy stop in to demo his company’s demo kit? Well, these parties involve someone stopping by—a traveling ultrasound tech. And their demo kit is complete with a mobile ultrasound machine.

Yes, that’s right. You will find out the gender of your child at the same time as a room full of people. Maybe not the best choice for someone who cherishes privacy. They’ll be staring at your belly and studying your reaction. Keep in mind-everyone’s cell phone has a camera on it.

Mind you, it’ll be your friends at this unique gathering. But think about how out of hand that could get. Between the chips and dip, your girlfriends are placing bets on whether it’s a girl or boy. They’ll be clamoring around that ultrasound machine, shouting out wagers. “I put 50 bucks on it that you’re having a girl!” Suddenly your living room resembles the floor or the New York Stock Exchange. But instead of stocks rising, it’s just your blood pressure.

Adding alcohol could make it even more colorful. Their comments could get a bit too honest. “Oh darn! Boys are so much harder in the early years!” “Wow, didn’t you say you wanted a boy?” “Guess I can’t give you any hand-me-downs this time.”

And imagine what happens when you see you’re having twins. Perhaps the utter look of shock on your face will be enough to get people passing a hat around and dropping in cash.

The truth is, life should be a celebration. Starting early isn’t bad, but maybe a few guests wouldn’t mind staying for the after-party, like anytime from birth through the first year. You know, for cleanup duty and stuff.

Mommy MD Guides-Recommended Product Review/Giveaway: Bumkins Prize Pack

December 1, 2012 by  
Filed under J.Bright

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Jennifer Bright Reich

Do you hate to do laundry?

Me too. Nobody can generate loads and loads of laundry like babies and toddlers. Never in my life did I wash so much laundry as when my sons were little. And to make matters worse, few things stain clothes like baby food.

I’m delighted to tell you that there’s a simple solution: Bumkins Bibs. These waterproof bibs resist most stains. They’re machine washable; PVC-, BPA-, phthalates-, and lead-free; comfortable to wear; and made of colorful fabrics and designs.

“My son could be a very messy eater,” says Eva Mayer, MD, a mom of an eight-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son and a pediatrician with St. Luke’s Pediatrics Associates, in Bethlehem, PA.

“I bought a Bumkins Super Bib. The bib had a pocket at the bottom, so any food that missed my son’s mouth fell into the pocket. It was so funny, after my son finished his meal, he’d eat a second meal out of that pocket.”

Another challenge that I had when my sons were babies was keeping them warm when we went on walks. We had a fabulous jogging stroller, and we went for walks almost every night. To keep my sons warm, I’d cover them with a blanket. Just about every night that pesky blanket fell off, and I ran over it with the stroller! Yep, this created even more laundry.

Bumkins has a solution for that too: Bumkins Waterproof Stroller Blanket. This clever blanket attaches easily to the stroller with four Velcro straps, and it stays put. The best part is it has elastic at the bottom, so you can gather it around your baby’s feet. The blanket is generously sized at 30 X 40 inches. The exterior is waterproof (unlike regular blankets!) and the inside is a soft, microplush.  For moms who carry their babies in hands-free carriers, the Stroller Blanket also doubles as a blanket for your carrier, with the Velcro attaching easily to the carriers’ straps

For more information on Bumkins products, visit Bumkins.com. You can buy Bumkins products in stores such as Target and Walmart an at online retailers such as Amazon.com.

Enter here through the end of December for a chance to win a Bumkins Prize Pack filled with a Bumkins Junior Bib, Bumkins Super Bib, Bumkins Sleeved Big, Bumkins Tote Bag, and Bumkins Waterproof Stroller Blanket: That’s a $75 value.

Check our blog page in early January for our next Mommy MD Guides-Recommended (and Kid-Tested) Product review: FeverAll Acetaminophen

Okay, You First

November 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

Thank goodness for trailblazers. They figure out the hard stuff and leave crumbs of information to help the rest of us-the followers. Like pioneer women. No electricity. No telephones. Covered wagons and lots of kids.

Of course when you’re young, it seems like you can’t wait to do all the stuff the older kids do. As the youngest of six children, I was itching to do stuff. Riding a bike might have been the first thing. While I was on a trike, limited to 100 feet to the left of my house, and 100 feet to the right, my siblings and half the neighborhood were stylin’ on their ten speeds. The opportunity to go around the block on your own and see your ’hood from a whole different perspective was thrilling. My brothers were studying Algebra and I was skipping to the first grade, which was perhaps the only time the idea of getting homework and eating cafeteria food was appealing.

Some families have rites of passage. In mine, at age 11 you got a Swiss Army knife.  I skipped that one and asked for pierced ears instead. That didn’t happen until I was 15. Perfect, because every girl’s gotta have some bling on her ears when she gets her license at 16. So while my dad was losing patience teaching me to parallel park, my siblings were well into their child bearing years.

Not only was I the youngest in my family, but I was younger than most of my friends. Naturally, many of them had kids before me. I could hardly get a date with a guy who had a job and wasn’t still living in his parent’s basement, and they had a couple of kids already.

I would see people with babies, and I knew that I wanted them too. I had been following in their footsteps so far, so why not keep going? The grass is always greener. I saw my family and friends having children and I kept thinking it looked fun. When I was with other peoples’ kids, I felt like a rock star. They were eager to play with me, laughed at my jokes, and followed me around. It was way better than a ten speed, a Swiss Army knife, and pierced ears—combined! Having kid didn’t seem that hard. Isn’t it funny how effortless it seems when you don’t have to do nighttime feedings, diaper changes, and carry an energetic toddler around half the day?

I’m not sure we can have a full appreciation or understanding for having and raising kids until it’s our turn. But if other people do it first, we have the benefit of their wisdom. Now, if we would just listen. Because I’m pretty sure the pioneer women would tell us that a minivan and indoor plumbing are must-haves.

Renovating—with a Baby

November 13, 2012 by  
Filed under J.Bright

by Mommy MD Guides cofounder Jennifer Bright Reich

Before I had kids, I didn’t give a whole lot of thought to what types of paints, window coverings, and flooring we had in our home. If they matched, I was happy.

But when I was pregnant with my first son, I really started to think more about what was on our walls, covering our windows, and protecting our floors.

If you have the time—and budget—to replace these items, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Walls: Choose paint with care. Washable is a great choice for family areas, and non-toxic, environmentally safe paint is a must throughout the house.

When choosing a color, consider that darker colors will make a room look smaller, while lighter tones will make it appear more spacious. I painted all of the rooms in my home either a coffee color or off-white, and all of the trim and doors in the house is the same white color. This helps to make my home feel unified and peaceful. It also makes it easier to move furniture and decorations from one room to another because everything pretty much matches everything else.

Floors: If you have the opportunity to redo your carpet or floors, consider washable surfaces, such as laminate flooring, linoleum, tiles, and wood.  At first, you might think about a slip-resistant surface, but check what chemicals the manufacturers use to provide a robust finish and avoid any additives that might be hazardous.

A local expert might be able to give advice about surfaces, including stain-protective finishes for carpeting, which can help when deciding whether wall-to-wall carpeting is better in a living room or den than a hearth rug, for example.  Medium to dark tones will be easier to maintain than very light wooden flooring or pale carpets. Believe me, I’m rethinking my decision to buy light beige wall-to-wall carpeting!

Windows: Window coverings can be dangerous for babies and small children. Be sure to keep all furniture far from windows and window coverings. Keep all strings and cords far out of your baby or child’s reach.

If your budget permits,  companies make “child-friendly blinds,” which include cordless blinds, shutters, vertical blinds or motorized blinds, or those that have a single wand operator. Our windows have “regular” mini-blinds, and so I loop the cords out of my child’s reach over a hook I fastened to the inside of the window trim.

With these tips, your home can be beautiful and babyproofed—in one!

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The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.