Thoughts on Pregnancy and Motherhood.

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in EVERYTHING ELSE, Pre-CONCEPTION

This week I was trying to examine why on earth I am having doubts about having kids.
I mean we had already discussed it all and decided that the time is now and that we’re ready emotionally ( while we really weren’t ready before… at all) and that we want kids.

Then why all of a sudden I am having doubts and fears?

Well, fears are understandable…
Unless you turn off your thinking cap, I don’t think anyone who’s never had kids can safely say “Hell yeah it’s gonna be easy and I’m looking forward to it”. That’s not a realistic expectation. And some women find out that the hard way. The most important thing of this whole journey for me has been preparedness: mental, emotional, financial, physical.

If you think about it, those who just decide they want kids, toss birth control and get pregnant are doing it the right way from the stand point of not over thinking it ( though I am sure they could improve from the preparedness stand point). Not too much time to think, analyze, decide if they REALLY want it, or if it’s just a whim and they don’t realize how hard it can be. Because once you’re pregnant, there’s no way back. You love the child growing inside of you more than anything.

So what I’m concerned with are the doubts.
I’ve always been a kid lover, like insane lover. I enjoy being with kids, I prefer a kid’s company to an adult. I’ve always known I will be having kids, but the time had to be right. I never had a NEED to have kids though. Like, you know, where i just HAVE TO have a baby right now. It was more of a logical thing: I want to have children, I want to give them all I have, I want to do attachment parenting, love them to death, teach them all I have to teach. Not having kids was never an option. Everyone knows kid-less couples are miserable. Or are they?

Recently I read an article talking about how it turns out that based on multiple different studies, people without kids are HAPPIER than people with kids. And that parents really have a lot of unhappiness they don’t like display ( for obvious reasons) and that the “reward of parenting” isn’t a reward at all, like most like to believe.

That sort of took me back! I always thought that for my happiness I need to have kids, and now they’re telling me that I will be more miserable when I have them. I mean I love my life, the way it is now, what I do, my hobbies, my family. Why would I want to change that, ruin that?

So all that got mixed in my head into this mush of thoughts and feelings and doubts… and I keep thinking and discussing it with hubby. I am a super analytical person, very logical and straight forward. I am sure that can be seen in my approach to pregnancy and parenthood. If you have read my blog from the beginning, you know the amount of preparation I’ve gone through to make sure everything is as perfect as it can be, before we start TTCing.
So it’s completely normal for me to logically analyze whether life with a baby is better than life without. I have my doubts, concerns and fears, but at the same time I try to keep it in my head that they say that it changes so much when you get pregnant, have a baby. That’s it’s no longer a decision, it just is….

And i think I believe that, because when I think …like really think and imagine having a kid that I love more than anything, and being pregnant, I can see that glimmer of all-consuming love and happiness.

So I guess it’s natural to be a little bit scared. I mean, anyone going into their first pregnancy without any kind of fear is a fool, because they must not realize the importance and grandeur of creating a life. It’s natural to worry about lifestyles changing, never having time, financial matters. I always see mothers with 2-3 kids and they look exhausted, they smile at you and pretend they’re ok, but I see how fed up their are with diapers and bottles and constant 24/7 attention. So I want to be prepared for that, I want to know what I’m signing up for. I want to do this because I’ve debated the positives and negatives and decided that former outweigh the latter. I want to go into this knowing with certainty that I am ready and I will take it whether it’s good or bad. Because if I know now with my logical mind, then when I’m finally pregnant, then there’ll be no doubts whatsoever.

See, what I figured out is that my feelings are being muddied up by the wait. We thought we were going to start TTCing in November, so we started preparing in August, but things took a lot longer than we thought, specifically my maternity coverage and my wisdom teeth, so in November, we counted out three months and were going to start by Feb ( surely the insurance would come through by then). And now, it’s March, finally the insurance is through ( supposedly), and now we have to wait the 30 day waiting period, plus skipping April, puts us at May, which is about 30 days away ( wow, actually sooner than I thought). I have ALL this time to think and to doubt it all… But then I force myself to imagine that the insurance is a go, and we can start trying tomorrow, and I have this awesome excitement inside of me…cautious and scared excitement, but an excitement nevertheless. Like, OMG, we’re really doing it and how cool is it!!!!

So there we have it , friends. It’s the darn wait, since August, that has been freaking me out all along. The wait! Because when you put me right up to it, I am excited!

{oh and also I am reading countless pregnancy books… yes, already, i want to know what to expect and what to prepare for…. and they’re freaking me out with all the complications and such. Just yesterday i finished a chapter on stillbirth. Yikes!}

So now a few days after I’ve written this post, after talking to moms, getting their feedback ( THANK YOU!), i feel more confident about what to expect and that it is truly what I want.
{hubby also helped me out a bit. While he’s not a kid person and doesn’t display crazy excitement like most men don’t, when i was doubting it all, he was there to tell me that it’s what he wants too. Which is always nice}

{the baby in the pictures is my friend’s baby}

Update

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Pre-CONCEPTION

Supposedly it’s going to get fixed.
I’m talking about the health insurance bull.
But I am not holding my breath.
With people like that, you never know …until the fat lady sings…or however it goes.
So about Monday I will be calling into Membership and Billing and verifying that my maternity Benefit is in fact starting March 1st…retroactive…
So there, bitches! (not you..the Blue Cross bitches)

In the meantime I am starting to doubt the whole baby thing again… haha. Has anyone experienced that? Those of you who planned pregnancy extensively ( as in before tossing birth control)? I’m like a yo-yo on the subject. I want a baby to play with but I don’t want the hassle… It’s really getting on my nerves.

And is it smart to just go ahead with it “hoping” that I am full of it? But on the other hand, will I ever WANT WANT a baby, with everything that I love doing and all the hobbies and work? I think maybe by 50 :)

So anyways, if anyone has some insight, it’d be highly appreciated.

This is how I spent my Sunday

And just so that we’re clear, this whole subject of “should I? Shouldn’t I?” or “Do i want? Don’t I?” is going to come up more… I am sure I won’t be done here and will need more of your bloggy moral support.

So consider yourseves warned!

On another note, I just took a few super pretty selfies, with trees and sun and light and flares. Can’t wait to post, but right now I am wasting time on the internet waiting for hubby to get out of the shitter and go work out with me. {heh! My hubby will get a kick out of this last sentence! NOT}

Health Care Ordeal

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Pre-CONCEPTION

You guys will NOT believe this SHIT!

So I am all pumped about my new health insurance policy with maternity option being issued effective March 1st, so that we can start trying in May (03.01 + 30 days before conception= April, which would put me at due date over New Year’s Eve, so May was the plan)….

I spend hours thinking about receiving policy documents in the mail so that I can review all the benefits and marvel at how good it is ( yeah I am weird that way)…

Today, I wake up early to get in some last minutes studying for my exam, drive to the exam site, take 25 minutes out of the allowed 1 hour 30 minutes to pass it, drive home singing The All American Rejects, and check the mail to see the package from Blue Cross and Blue Shield with my new policy documents…

I skip back to the house, tear the envelope open and dig in….

After about 10 minutes of looking through it, I am starting to get worried because I do not see the MATERNITY benefit ANYWHERE on there. I start to panic. I call BCBS membership services, who cheerfully inform me that I am IN FACT CORRECT and there IS NOT a maternity benefit on the policy.

I AM FURIOUS!!!!!! I am so angry the words can’t describe it!

I spent 6(!!!) MONTHS , literally 6 months working on this policy, following up, making corrections, dealing with my somewhat incompetent agent, signing, mailing, faxing, etc.

And now I am informed that it’s not freaking there!

I’ve spent the last 5 hours of what should have been a good day on the phone with BCBS trying to figure this out.
I get different answers from different people within different departments.

I am too tired at this point to be able to recap what I am being told by all these people and I doubt you’d care.

Tomorrow a supervisor is supposed to look into it even further, but for now I am bummed. Majorly Utterly Bummed.

I am tired of pushing this whole baby making business month by month…not because I can’t wait to have babies. To be honest  I just simply want to get it over with. Get pregnant and THEN deal with whether I think babies is a good idea. Because if I am forced to think about it too much longer, I might decide against it :) LOL {ok, for those really dumb ones on thebump.com- THAT WAS SARCASM)

And I simply don’t believe in unplanned pregnancies.  Turning off your brain and logic and just getting pregnant is not my cup of tea. There’s too many things that can be done better if they’re planned properly when it comes to pregnancy and babies. To simply ignore that is silly.

To read more about my extensive preparation for pregnancy, click here

Sadness

Wordish Wednesday

Good News

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Pre-CONCEPTION

Do you guys LOVE getting mail?
Like going to the box and finding something there that is not junk?

Well, today I finally got an official acknowledgement from Blue Cross and Blue Shield that my new health insurance policy ( with maternity option) is going to start on March 1st!

That means that with my wisdom teeth gone and the insurance in force starting March 1, there is nothing holding us back from ditching birth control ( YIKES!) and doin’  THE NASTY!!!!

Well, except the 30 days waiting period before conception after the coverage starts ( but do we have to concentrate on that?). So the actual date WILL be April 1st like originally expected. But now it’s confirmed!

My thoughts on all this:

1. OMG Am I ready? I’m not ready! I don’t think I am ready! Shiiiiiit!!!!!  *breathe…*

2. Am I sure there isn’t something else I haven’t taken care of that I should prior to TTCing? (Vaccines-check! Pre-conception tests, blood work and physical- check! Can his boys swim?-YES! Dental work- check! A year of prenatals- check! Perfect eating habits- Check! Good fitness level- check! Maternity Coverage- (YAY!) MASSIVE CHECK! Ovulation schedule- Check! 3 pre-conception books and 5 pregnancy books read- CHECK! WOW I think I HAVE done it all! You can read about it here)

3.Do i want this? Is it time?  Am I sure? Shiiiiit!!! *breathe….*

4.  If we conceive in April (I know, long shot) according to my ovulation calendar, my due date would be around New Year’s. Not a good thing! Should we postpone it 1 month?

5. Man, we’ll get to have so much sex!!!!! I always want more sex than hubby. But I am not normal. I want to make this thing fun and not stress out about babies since all the planning is done and now it’s all about luck!

6.What am I thinking? I am not even recovered from my teeth surgery. Ay! It hurts…. :(

7.I still can’t believe that all the items on my Pre-conception to do list are done. It took a year of passive planning and 6 months of active planning to get fully ready for this, with the worst things being dental work and switching the health plan to the one with maternity coverage ( did I tell you BCBS health insurance sales people are morons and I had to literally research everything on my own and get answers from managers of managers? It was like pulling teeth)

And maybe soon, closer to the actuall start of TTCing I’ll tell you what we’re going to do to try and maximize our chances of having a girl.

Are you excited for us or what?

{self-portrait}

Widsom Teeth: Done!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Pre-CONCEPTION

So my final step in preparation for pregnancy has been completed.
Or will be when I stop looking like a chipmunk.
I’m still waiting on the maternity coverage to get issued, but it’s supposed to start March 1st as far as I know.

The thing that weighed heavily on me was the whole wisdom teeth ordeal. I knew I had to get them out before pregnancy, since they’re all impacted. The price was an issue. $2800 just to pull 4 of my teeth. Yikes!
I had finally found a dentist that accepts both my dental plans, so my out-of-pocket so far has been $585, which isn’t miserable.
The problem was I really didn’t like him that much. He was weird and treated me like I was ten, asking questions that you’d only ask a little kid to keep him entertained. He had no bedside manner ( is there such a thing as bedside manner when it comes to dentists?) and was just downright strange.
It’s like he didn’t listen to a word I was saying and was moving soooo slow, and  kept repeating:
-“We’ll get to that!” 
– “No! Answer my damn questions!”

So after the first visit I was seriously debating scrapping this whole wisdom tooth idea and if they get infected during pregnancy, then so be it. The alternative was to pay $2800, or to get them  out with this weirdo!
Later as I discussed it with my husband who had been present at the initial appointment, we had come to a conclusion that the doctor HAD to be Asperger’s. He was just not normal in the way he talked, was so focused on this one thing he knew and just didn’t make any sense or listen to us. Now, people with Asperger’s tend to be really good at the one thing that they do, so I figured the fact that he’s a weirdo doesn’t mean he isn’t a good oral surgeon. So after a few hours googling him and talking to his receptionist, I decided that what the hell, the guy had been in business for 21 years, and all he does is pull teeth!
Oh by the way, another thing that irked me about his office is {brace yourself}
THEY DON’T DO EMAIL! or anything digital for that matter!
They still do Xrays in FILM! I volunteered to email them my panoramic X-rays from the previous dentist, so that I wasn’t charged an additional $150. AGAIN!
And I couldn’t because they have no access to email or anywhere they can download it from. He was blown away that i showed him my panoramic Xrays on my iphone and could zoom in :)

That just blows my mind! I love technology and to think that some businesses don’t email…I’m sorry that’s just absurd.

Anyways, I’m getting sidetracked…

I decided that I really needed the damn teeth out, because otherwise I’m sure they’d drive me crazy in the future, especially when pregnant. I sucked it up and went for my scheduled appointment yesterday.

It wasn’t THAT bad. Or I just have sedative induced amnesia. It kind of felt like getting a root canal done or something similar. A few times he had to REALLY pull and that sucked, but I was kind of loopy so it didn’t bother me that much.
The first day the pain was manageable. I took half the Vicodin pill they gave me before bed, since it was starting to really hurt and I woke up towards the morning to go to the bathroom and suddenly felt really nauseous and  collapsed.
I felt like a huge wave of heat hit me and sucked ALL the energy from me and then I had broken in sweat and “fell” on the floor. Hubby was there by then, since he heard me almost throw up ( sorry for the details), and covered me with the blanket as I lay on the floor. I’m telling you I have never felt anything like this in my life. The absolute lack of strength and energy that made it impossible to stand…it was crazy.
Hubby told me that my blood pressure must have suddenly dropped because of the sedative and the Vicodin combined with the fact that I hadn’t eaten or drank a thing since 10 pm the night before my surgery.
That made me want not to take any more Vicodin even more, and I don’t like strong pain killers to begin with.

I’ve been on 800 mg of Ibuprofen every six hours since then and have felt quite a great deal of pain, but honestly I’d rather suffer than take Vicodin again.

So for those, who have not gotten their wisdom teeth out yet, it’s not as scary as it seems. The whole process is pretty painless, it’s the recovery afterwards that can be a bitch, but still manageable.
I had all 4 teeth out at the same time, so all four surfaces of my mouth hurt. I am running a low grade fever and look like a total chipmunk, but my doctor said it’s completely normal.
I have no numbness or any other complications that we are always warned about.

All things considered I am happy I got it done and the dentist turned out to be pretty good and responsive despite his lack of social skills.

Picture below: me looking like a chipmunk {photoshopped, but that’s pretty much what I look like right now}

Baby Making update- Health Insurance & Health Care Reform

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Pre-CONCEPTION

Baby Making Update or lack thereof.

We haven’t even started. The maternity insurance was supposed to come any day now and then we have 30 days of a waiting period before we can even start trying. So for now, it’s all about practice if you know what I mean.

I am still trying to figure out the whole wisdom teeth business. I want to remove them prior to getting pregnant, so that I didn’t have to deal with any infections of anything, since they’re partially impacted. However, the bill for that is $2700 ( Yikes!). That’s a freaking baby’s room full of expensive furniture and toys. You know it amazes me that they want THAT much to take something out of me. It’s my freaking teeth, just pull them! Well, put to me to sleep first and then pull them.

Anyone ever had their wisdom teeth out? Share!

So for that purpose alone, I got a supplemental dental policy with a limit of $1000. So now I have two policies with a combined limit of $1750. That’s leaves me with $1000 out of pocket which is doable.
Except for when I went to schedule my surgery, my dentist told me that they no longer accept BCBS! Oops!
Back to square one of finding an oral surgeon. I call about three or four offices off of BCBS website and I get snooty receptionists with their annoying bitchy nasal voices telling me that they only accept this type of insurance, or they can only use 1 insurance policy, which sounds like bull to me. What does it matter to them? If both insurance policies coordinate benefits, why do they care?

Finally, I get a really nice receptionist named Evelyn, willing to help me out. She volunteered to call BCBS claims department and get whatever info she can regarding how this is going to work. Eventually I get a call back informing me that one policy is considering them out of network and will only pay like 400 bucks out of $1000. Not going to work. Nope.
So I go back to BCBS website and specify the particular type of a plan I have in hopes of finding a dentist who’s in network. Nada! Not a single oral surgeon is IN Network! That’s bull! What’s the point of the policy then?

I call my agent and tell him that he sold me a policy without participating dentists :) and that I need to switch to the Plus plan. Well the truth is there are plenty of dentists, just not oral surgeons on this plan. He informs me that it’s a one form change! I jump from joy! End credits.

So it looks like when I switch to the Plus plan I can go with the surgeon at that nice girl Evelyn’s office and get most of my wisdom teeth charges covered. YAY to that!

Also the agent informed me that our new health insurance policy that we’re switching to has been underwritten and they’re including an pre-existing condition exclusion writer. Say whaaaah? Those money grubbing sons of a female dog wanted to exclude this one condition on my hubby’s part that is comparable to excluding a fucking cold!
“Oops, sorry, you got a flu this year! We’ll be issuing a policy with an exclusion writer for a flu because it’s a pre-existing condition”.
I, of course, immediately went to my trusty Internets to find some kind of law ( because there’s GOTTA BE ONE AGAINST THAT) that says they can’t do that! There IS a HIPAA law that says that if you haven’t had a lapse in coverage  and are switching to a new one, they can’t exclude pre-existing conditions. Well, it turns out it only applies to group plans ( plans through your employer), not individual plans, which again seems ridiculous to me. The new Obama Health Care reform has done many good things ( including better maternity coverage) and one of the most anticipated changes for many people will go into effect in 2014, which is no exclusions or denial of coverage allowed due to pre-existing conditions. I gotta tell you, that Obama Health Care reform has done MANY great things. I cannot believe that there are people out there who want to repeal it. Our American health care is one of the worst health care systems EVER. I lived in Russia, and I can say the health care system there sucks ass, but it’s way better than in US. If you’d like to read about the GREAT changes that the Affordable Care Act  has brought and will continue bringing, as long as republicans don’t get their way, click here.
I never thought it was an issue for us, cuz we’re really healthy and young, but I also didn’t expect them to be so petty with it came to issues like that. I mean if my husband had a mole cut out out of preventative reasons, does it mean you should now exclude anything related to skin cancer ( that’s not the issue, I’m just giving an example)? I truly think that people ( not politicians) that want the Health Care Reform repealed are either VERY selfish or simply don’t understand the reform and have never dealt with insurance companies the way self-employed people (us) or people with conditions have to deal.

So we’ve decided that we don’t want to deal with exclusions and that hubby will stay on our old policy and I will get a new one, since the only reason we’re switching is to add a better maternity benefit.
So if everything gets switched over properly and on time, the new policy will go in effect March 1st, which means we can only start trying for a baby effective April 1st. 
Things keep getting postponed, which sucks. But it’s better to have everything in place and insured than to mindlessly get knocked up and then deal with the consequences.

That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

How meat is silently killing you!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, EVERYTHING ELSE, HEALTH, Pre-CONCEPTION

ecuador 553-2

Before you make assumptions about what this post is regarding, let me tell you  this:
It is not about animal cruelty ( which is bad, but I prefer not to think about it as much as I can, because it upsets me).
Neither it is about me being vegetarian and trying to convert all you “sinners” to follow my way.
It also has nothing to do with religion, or politics.
All I want to talk about today is health. And weight loss. No, wait, weight loss deserves its own topic, but I’m sure I’ll be referring back to this post for why you should stop eating meat, besides the obvious- calories :) 
Meat is Murder, not because we have to hunt animals for food, but it is murder, because of how it Kills us!

I find it funny how when you tell people you’re vegetarian, the eyes start rolling. Like “OMG, one of those”. Actually, I think the same thing happens when people hear that you don’t drink coffee, or don’t consume alcohol. Instantly, it’s “Oh come on, live a little!”. When what you’re actually doing IS trying to make sure you live a LOT. Since when our healthy choices are laughed at and ridiculed.  How come when you say , “Oh no, I don’t smoke!”, no one goes “Weako!” or “Oh stop being so extreme!” Is it because it’s a widespread knowledge that smoking KILLS. But do you think that 50 years ago when the information was starting to come out that smoking is bad for you, when everyone and their mother puffed, people still accepted other people’s healthy choices ? I don’t think so. I think it’s human nature to disregard things until they’re up in their face and printed on the packaging “Smoking KILLS”. So until then, we, people who are CURRENTLY making healthy choices, are going to be given the stink eye and weird looks.
Now I am really not judging anyone. To be fairly honest, I DID THE EXACT SAME THING. A few years ago, whenever my husband and I would hear someone is vegetarian, we’d instantly roll our eyes and think “Weirdo! Now we have to modify what we make at home, while they’re visiting”. Yeah, I was there with you, meat eaters! Being annoyed at other people’s choices to be healthier. Now to be fair, I’m pretty sure some of those people’s choices were for religious reasons or “meat is murder” reason ( which is still annoying… hahaha… just kidding), but regardless of that, it was their choice and who were we to judge it. One thing I have to tell you is this: people who are vegetarians for the “right” reasons, will never make it inconvenient  for you. You don’t have to accommodate us. We will pick and choose what we eat and won’t make a big deal out of it. 

So before you decide to stop reading right there and go back to your meatloaf, do yourself a favor and hold your decision making until you actually know ALL the facts. One cannot say “I will never stop eating meat” unless they’re truly educated about what meat does to them. I did a lot of research on it and have felt all the positive effects of giving up meat products, such as clearer mind, weight loss, healthier body, better eating habits.

So if you don’t really eat meat, read up- you’ll be happy that you don’t and this will motivate you to continue being healthy.
If you do eat meat occasionally, but want a reason to make yourself stop, because you secretly know that it’s not good,  read up. It’ll convince you your feelings are right and give you an extra push to skip on that huge steak you just ordered.
Even if you’re a meat lover and don’t see any reasons whatsoever that you would willingly give up something as delicious as meat, read up anyways.   It never hurts to be educated about things you’re eating, even if you end up deciding to be ignorant about it ( in the nicest way possible). 

But until you have all your facts, you cannot make the right decision for you and your body. And that decision will be yours and will be respected. At least by me. 

So first,  I’d like to start with my own “meat” story to establish a baseline here. 


I was never CRAZY about meat. And when I say crazy, I mean I enjoyed meat (never steaks), I loved meat products: pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham, chicken- you name it. I remember going a whole year eating nothing but Meat Lover’s Pizza Hut pizzas and banana splits ( thank you my skinny genes { as opposed to skinny jeans} and my 18 year old metabolism for letting me live that one down). Yeah, I wasn’t always a perfect healthy  food angel {Read: FREAK}
If it didn’t have meat I didn’t feel like I was getting food, substance. It was like trying to satisfy a primal hunger with a piece of hard candy.
Time went by and I was bombarded by article upon article about how bad meat was  for you because of the cholesterol. In my perfectionist mind, I wanted to live forever, therefore I needed to ease up on meat. I don’t think it was a conscious decision though. I was still eating like shit, still loving pepperoni ( switched to Super Supreme pizza though), buying microwavable dinners full of breaded chicken and pasta, and sausage. But at least now I knew that for my husband eating that chunk of rare steak is bad bad bad. Eventually meat left our dinner plates for diet reasons, when I needed to go from size 2 to size 0 for modeling, since it has the most calories.
But it wasn’t until I started getting ready to get pregnant did I truly understand how evil meat can be. Having done  lots of research and read a lot of books on pregnancy nutrition and the harm that eating animal products can do to a little fetus, made me even a stronger believer in being a vegetarian ( or, better yet, vegan if you can possibly handle that). And I am here to share my knowledge with you, so that even if you continue eating meat, you will at least do so, fully armed with facts  and not out of ignorance. 

One more thing I’d like to mention: before you go on declaring something like:” I’d never be able to give up meat/cheese/milk/whatever! I love it too much”, give it a try. If the facts I present are compelling enough, don’t disregard them simply out of “weak will” expectations, but “attempt” to do something about it, even if you expect yourself to fail. 

Again, I am not here to convince anyone, but give fact and information, to share my journey and experience, along with medical studies and research that has been done. 

So here we go: 

WHY IS MEAT MURDER?

Let’s start with the minor stuff. 

1. Saturated and Trans Fats

{ “I don’t want any vegetables, thank you. I paid for the cow to eat them for me” Doug Coupland  }

You’ve all heard it. Saturated fat is bad for you.  Everyone is well aware that saturated fat is bad for our cardiovascular system as well as our diet. Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood.  High levels of blood cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.  In addition to that, many foods high in saturated fats are also high in cholesterol – which raises your blood cholesterol even higher.  The majority come mainly from animal sources, including meat and dairy products.  Examples are fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, beef fat (tallow), lard and cream, butter, cheese and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk.  These foods also contain dietary cholesterol.
Add to that the fact that most processed foods and baked goods are full of saturated fat due to current manufacturing processes and we have a nation that is inundatedwith saturated fat in their diets. We get up to 3 times more saturated fat that we should. All by itself in reasonable quantities saturated fat isn’t that bad. However, if you review your daily food intake, you will surely find more than the allowable 16 grams of saturated fat. 

Now, trans fat is even more dangerous than saturated fats, and it also occurs naturally in animal products as well as processed foods, with the majority of them found in commercial baked goods (pastries, biscuits, muffins, cakes, pie crusts, doughnuts and cookies) and fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, breaded chicken nuggets and breaded fish), snack foods (popcorn, crackers), and other foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, traditional vegetable shortening or stick margarine. 

There have been numerous studies linking these type of fats to heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol level. A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine looked at the diet of more than 500,000 Americans over a span of 10 years. It found that (other things being equal), men and women who consumed the most red and processed meat were likely to die sooner, especially from heart disease and cancer, than those who consumed much less. The increased mortality risk from consuming higher levels of red meat ranged from 20 to 40 percent. Another one that followed more than 72,000 women for 18 years found that those who ate a Western-style diet high in red and processed meats, desserts, refined grains, and French fries had an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and death from other causes. 

Researchers suggest limiting hamburgers to once or twice a week, a small steak to every other day, and a hot dog to every 6 weeks. 

In the study, those participants who consumed larger amounts of fish and white-meat poultry, and those who consumed larger amounts of fruits and vegetables tended to live longer than those who did not. Poultry and fish contain lower amounts of saturated fat than red meat, and fish also contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. 

To reduce the “bad” fat intake, try eating less animal products, swap them for fat free diary and Omega 3 rich fish, more vegetables, beans and legumes and stay away from commercially processed foods. The best way to ensure this is to cook at home and eat as many fresh foods and possible. 

I know you’ll say “Hey, that means I can still eat meat as long as I limit it?”
Well, yes and no. There’s a lot more wrong with meat than just some saturated and trans fats. So read up. 

2. Digestion

{“Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion”  Jean-Jacques Rousseau}  

I hear you saying “Ah! Who cares about digestion?”
YOU should! 

Your large intestine (colon) is the most important under-repped organ in your body. It is the first organ to be developed in the fetus. Because without a proper waste elimination system, we will be literally poisoned. If you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and rarely any animal fat, your bowel movement should be perfect: fast easy and daily or more than once a day. For most people, however, who follow the standard American diet, the colon is the most toxic place in the body. 

Red meats on average take from 1 to 3 days to be completely digested and eliminated from the body. They take much longer to digest than other foods because of their high protein and fat content. When meat has been processed or ingested with other incompatible types of foods ( carbohydrates to be exact, which exactly what your average American eats: meat and potatoes), it takes up to 5 times longer to digest, because different types of foods require different digestive juices, which disrupts our whole digestive process, thus making it even longer. As a result, the partially digested meat start to petrify (spoil) right there inside of your body, going through the colon and releasing all the toxicity it holds. After years and years of eating this way, it starts to get very tough on our colon, thus giving us digestive problems in the older age. 

Wouldn’t you think that we are supposed to feel fresh and energized every time we have a meal, since food is a source of energy? You would think so. However, most people experience stomach pains, heartburn, gas, constipation, and extreme fatigue immediately after a large meal ( Thanksgiving anyone?). That occurs because digestions also happens to be the most energy sucking activity our body can do. It takes more energy to digest a meal than to run a marathon. And when we’ve treated our mouth like a garbage disposal putting into it anything that looks, smells or tastes good without any regard to its content, no wonder that we are ALWAYS exhausted after a big meal. Our body is struggling to digest all the fat and a mess of protein and carbs. The more we throw in there, the longer it takes to digest, the more it starts to spoil before we are able to eliminate it.
All this stress on our large intestines is bound to affect us somehow. Which brings me to: 

3. Colon Cancer

{You are full of shit!} 

Colon (large intestine) cancer  is the fourth most common form of cancer in the United States and the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western world. What? You didn’t think that all that disregard for our digestion and nutrition would  get us anywhere? I realize many of you have never heard of this type of cancer, or never knew anyone with it, but do you really think anyone would willingly admit they have COLON cancer? Come on! It’s much more prevalent than it seems. it’s one of those things that you don’t know about it until it hits you ( or your family).
many studies have been done that linked dietary and lifestyle habit, specifically red meat consumption, to developing colorectal cancer. 

In a study involved more than 140,000 men and women that was led by the American Cancer Society, researchers collected information about the participants’ eating habits over a ten-year period. When the study was over, the average age of participants was 63. In comparing red meat consumption to colorectal cancer incidence, researchers found that people who ate a lot of red meat were 30-40% more likely to develop cancer of the lower colon and rectum than people who didn’t eat much red meat.  However , lifestyle changes ( such as exercising, healthy diet)  could decrease the risk of colorectal cancer as much as 60-80%. 

4. Cancer ( in general)

{“The more you cook, the worse you look. The more you fry, the faster you’ll die”} 

Aside from a very high risk of colon cancer, according to the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research “red or processed meats are convincing or probable sources of some cancers.” Their report says evidence is convincing for a link between red meat, processed meat, and colorectal cancer, lung, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, and endometrial cancers. 

National Cancer Institute also points to a large number of studies that link red meat consumption with chronic diseases. 

The question is why? Why does red meat cause cancer? There’re several reasons, besides the ones I already mentioned above in the Colon Cancer and Digestion section. 

When meat is cooked or grilled, carcinogens can form on the surface. They’re called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). And processed meats like sausage or pepperoni usually contain nitrosamines, another known carcinogen.  Saturated fat has been linked to cancers of the colon and breast. Heme iron, the type of iron found in meat, may produce compounds that  can damage cells, leading to cancer. And the most importantly, in my opinion, high levels of dioxins ( read below). 

The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends that we limit cooked meat in our diets, while completely avoiding  any processed meat products, such as sausage, deli meats, ham, bacon, hot dogs, and sausages. If you do choose to eat meat, make sure not to overcook it and trim all the fat before cooking. Keep in mind that most frozen meat products, such a burger patties,  contain as much as 50% fat ( the guideline for lean meat is at most 5% fat)

It’s like they say “The more you cook, the worse you look. The more you fry, the faster you’ll die” 

5. Agricultural standards

(” You are what you eat and you are what what your food eats” )

Agriculture is a business like any other. Which means it operates based on a business motto:”Faster, Cheaper, Easier”. Cows are shot up with growth hormones (steroids) to make them grow faster and stronger. They are administered numerous antibiotics to keep them disease free  and living longer. As result, we have beef full of steroids and antibiotic resistant bacteria.
To add insult to an injury,  they’re being fed the most horrible disgusting stuff you could ever imagine: chopped up animal carcasses. Long gone are the days of cows serenely mooing at the pasture. These cows are stuck in modified cages and fed animal by-products ( meat, rather than grass) that their stomachs are not designed to digest. Cows are herbivores by nature, they’re made to eat grass. So when fed animal fat, they retain all the toxins, poison and diseases present in all their feed. And with  humans being at the top of the food chain, those toxic elements eventually end up in our body ( read above about colon cancer and digestion). And this is the kind of meat that ends up being sold in our grocery stores.

“What about grass fed cows, organic meat?” you might ask. So fine, take out the last paragraph about agricultural standards, however everything else still applies and it’s still pretty darn bad. Dioxins ( read below) are present in “organic” cows and do quite a lot of damage.

 6. Dioxins ( my favorite and most recent topic of research)

{If you’re a woman of childbearing age, this is of UTMOST importance to you}

Most people have heard about pesticides and other carcinogens, but very few people know what dioxins are, which is very strange, considering the omnipresence of these highly toxic substances.

Dioxins are considered to be some of the most toxic chemicals known to science and describe a group of elements that are a by-product of many manufacturing processes involving chlorine. In simple words, these are very dangerous carcinogens that are present in our environment and our bodies without the general public really knowing much about them.

Since dioxins are stored in fat of humans and animals and last virtually an eternity, they are everywhere: in our bodies, in animal products such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, in the oceans, on our grass and produce, in our bloodstream.
Our major sources of dioxin are in our diet. Since dioxin is fat-soluble, it bioaccumulates, climbing up the food chain. A North American eating a typical North American diet will receive 93% of their dioxin exposure from meat and dairy products (23% is from milk and dairy alone; the other large sources of exposure are beef, fish, pork, poultry and eggs). In simple words, it’s like this: dioxins “settle” on grass that is then fed to the cows, they accumulate in cows, that are then fed to humans, so we end up being the end carriers of all of the dioxins of the world. A worse scenario: cows being fed with animal by-products that are already full of dioxins-> we get triple  the dose of dioxins, which then stay with us for 7-10 years. The fattier the animal product, the more dioxins  it has. Even cows and animals who are WILD and GRASS FED have high levels of dioxins due to their exposure, especially in the Midland of America.

What about vegetable produce and grains? Didn’t you say dioxin “accumulates” there too? Yes and no! It can only be stored in FAT, so vegetables, fruits and grains don’t “store” it, they simply have it on the surface. Wash the produce well and you’re good to go. In EPA’s dioxin report, they refer to dioxin as hydrophobic (water-fearing) and lipophilic (fat-loving). So in the end dioxins will always end up on ( or more like, IN) top of the food chain, i.e. humans.

But that’s not the scariest thing!  Besides there not being a “safe” level of exposure to dioxins, their “half-life” is about 7 to 10 years, depending on the individual age and  levels of dioxins. That means once in our bodies, it takes about 7 years to get rid of them. What’s even scarier is that general US population already has them at or neat the level with adverse health effects. We all have it, and we all continually ingest it day after day. 

In addition to cancer, exposure to dioxin can also cause severe reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system and interfere with hormonal systems. Dioxin exposure has been linked to birth defects, inability to maintain pregnancy, decreased fertility, reduced sperm counts, endometriosis, diabetes, learning disabilities, immune system suppression, lung problems, skin disorders, lowered testosterone levels and much more. 

These effects are often hardly noticed and are attributed to other conditions and genetic problems. There’s no way to find out where weak immune systems, genetic abnormalities, cancers, learning disorders come from. And it’s even harder to pinpoint them to dioxin exposure, because it works under the radar.

However, developing fetuses and infants are most at risk from these effects.  This is because these chemicals “mimic” or “block” estrogen and progesterone, natural hormones which instruct the body on how it should develop. Hormones regulate how an unborn baby develops. If they’re disrupted, horrible things can happen. While our bodies might be big enough and strong enough to not see much damage from the level of dioxins in our systems, a little pea sized embryo will have it at a toxic level causing developmental disorders, genetic abnormalities( and thus miscarriages), diabetes at birth, hormonal disorders that lead to obesity and worse.  All humans get a first dose of their dioxins through the mother’s placenta, and then through breast milk if breastfed, making breast-feeding for non-vegan/vegetarian mothers quite hazardous. So if you’re a non-vegan female who is planning on having a kid in the next 7 years, you can be sure that baby will get a nice dose of dioxins through the placenta and then through the milk before it can even do its own damage by eating meat later in life. In just six months of breast feeding, a baby in the United States will, on average, consume the EPA’s maximum lifetime dose of dioxin. Breast milk contains high levels of fat. This means that dioxin levels in the bodies of newborn babies are already at levels that put them at risk of serious illness. “The amount of chemicals required to disrupt normal development could be as low as one part in a trillion, the equivalent of a single drop of liquid placed in the center car of a 10-kilometer long cargo train. Dioxins are also highly persistent in the environment and extremely resistant to chemical or physical breakdown.”

This was probably the biggest argument that made me reinforce my desire to not eat meat and had me stop eating most cheese and dairy products ( I still drink yogurt and kefir due to its positive effects on bacterial balance and digestion, and I eat certain types of fish that are low in mercury and dioxins, like sardines).

I have to say that  eating fatty fish is very beneficial to our health, benefits that are hard to achieve in a pill form. If you decide to eat fish for health benefits, just keep in mind that ocean fish has significantly lower levels of dioxins  than freshwater fish. So seeing as I am preparing for a pregnancy, I have allowed myself sardines for two reasons: Sardines do not eat other fish, but plankton, and they reside in the oceans, therefore their dioxin levels, as well as mercury levels are negligible compared to the healthy omega 3 fatty acids that they are full of.

If you’re eating the typical North American diet, this is where you are getting your dioxin from:

Dioxin Exposure Chart
Chart from EPA Dioxin Reassessment Summary 4/94 – Vol. 1, p. 37Now, I do know that our government is making”some” efforts to reduce the amount of dioxins in our country, it is obviously not enough. I think the most important thing is public awareness. If you want to eat meat so bad that you’re willing to risk years of your life and your baby’s health, at least it’s your decision. But people CAN NOT make those decisions without having all the facts and being educated on the matter. And articles titled “meat is bad because it raises your blood cholesterol level” obviously aren’t doing enough to make people want to stop eating animal products. Michael Jacobson, executive Director of Center for Science in the Public Interest, suggested that  food labels could include dioxin levels. That way maybe consumers would begin to eat less greasy fatty food if they were told how much dioxin was in each serving.

A final note on the dioxin topic: There’s no way to get rid of dioxins for men. They have to wait until dioxins break down in 7-10 years. Women have two ways to expel dioxins out of their systems: through the placenta and through breast milk, neither one is viable for obvious reasons. I would also imagine that you can somehow get rid of dioxins in your system through weight loss since they’re stored in fat, however the danger of that I’d imagine is the increased amount of dioxins in bloodstream that needs to be cleared out by your liver and kidneys. So if you’re losing weight and were a big meat eater, make sure you do everything to properly support your liver and kidney functions.

So with all that being said ( and I hope I haven’t lose you yet),

 is there ANYTHING GOOD about meat?

Well, red meat is high in iron, something many teenage girls and women in their childbearing years are lacking. The heme iron in red meat is easily absorbed by the body. Red meat also supplies vitamin B12, which helps make DNA and keeps nerve and red blood cells healthy, and zinc, which keeps the immune system working properly.Red meat provides protein, which helps build bones and muscles. 

“Calorie for calorie, beef is one of the most nutrient-rich foods,” says Shalene McNeil, PhD, executive director of nutrition research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “One 3-ounce serving of lean beef contributes only 180 calories, but you get 10 essential nutrients.” 

However, I think all that can be found in other varied foods, as well as supplemented, to be sure.

How come our predecessors lived just fine eating meat? The first questions is DID they? Back then the average median age was 40 years old. Now, I wouldn’t link it to meat consumption, however  you cannot compare what our predecessors did or did not do due to completely different circumstances and environment we live in. First of all, our planet wasn’t as polluted as it is now, with dioxins poisoning us. Secondly, our predecessors had  much healthier lifestyles and diets, working in the field all day, and not sitting at the computer. They also didn’t have all the processed foods we’re having now, even if you think you eat relatively healthy. They didn’t have restaurants stuff their food with MSG and fats for better taste and present them with portions 3 to 4 times larger than an average serving. They had healthy trim lean cows that ate clean grass rather than animal by products, chickens that ran around all day, rather than be locked in cages and pumped with hormones and antibiotics, wild fish that was caught in the clean unpolluted waters, unless nowadays when farmed salmon while being a healthy fish in the wild, is so fat, it’s no longer worth eating it for the sake of its barely existent omega 3s. Our predecessors didn’t smoke, didn’t abuse alcohol, didn’t breathe the polluted air we breath.

So we have to deal with the time we live in now. And as far as I am concerned, while there’re certain things I cannot help as much I’d like to, such as what I breathe ( pollution), mercury content in fish, dioxins in animal products, one thing I can control is what I put inside of myself willingly. There’re plenty of reasonable and tasty ways of getting enough protein and B vitamins and iron in my body that I do not need to rely on contaminated products. I chose health, I chose exercise, I chose being educated and knowing my facts and making my own decisions, I choose to be prepared. I choose to  live as long as I can, for my kids and my husband and my parents. It might NOT be your choice, I realize that. Some people choose to be lazy and not exercise regardless of numerous studies showing that how exercise modifies our whole body: keeps us healthy, stress free, disease free, it keeps our brain sharp. ( That’s another post), and it’s their choice. Others choose to eat whatever their heart desires and be obese, regardless of consequences. Those are their choices and they will have to live with them. So this is your choice as well, like any other.
But I choose NOT to ignore my facts and take care of myself.

I really hope that you got something useful out of  MY choices and reasoning behind them. And I hope you will make your own decision to be healthy, even if it’s in you own way.

Some people will say: “So what now I can’t live at all? If we’re worried about everything then it’ll be no fun to live?”

Yes, and it won’t be any fun to die prematurely, will it? Or have a baby with birth defects, or diabetes, or cancer, or asthtma or high blood pressure, caused by your unhealthy lifestyle. One thing I can tell you from my own experience is that you LIKE what you’re USED to. Once you make the choice to change your habits and stick with them, it becomes an easier choice every day. You eat an pear instead of a cookie, you make beans and veggies instead of meatloaf,  you cook a vegetable pizza on a whole wheat bread, instead of ordering Pizza Hut, you drink water instead of Coke, you eat salt water fish instead of steak. It becomes second nature and you enjoy it just as much. You enjoy the clarity of mind that comes with clean eating, the unstoppable energy radiating from you every time you eat, you enjoy your lean body that doesn’t seem to gain any weight regardless of how much you eat, you enjoy your clear skin and most importantly you enjoy passing it down to your children and bringing them up in the same manner, to be healthy and young forever.

I’m not saying meat will do it all. You have to start somewhere, and removing the biggest offender is the first move.
I am a vegetarian and my husband just turned vegan about 4 months ago. He has lost about  30 pounds without cutting calories or dieting by just becoming vegan and has never been clearer minded and more full of energy. I will probably turn vegan as well, once I’m done making babies and breastfeeding, but for now I do allow myself kefir/yogurt and sardines for health benefits.

I’d love to learn about your experience with food and meat and weight loss and health. How do you feel about meat?

{I am currently writing a post about healthy eating and weight loss in general, not centered on meat,
so look forward to many tips on how to make your diet more healthy and clean}

Please feel free to share a link to this post with your friends and family or reblog it on your sites. I think it’s important to spread the information out as much as possible because our government doesn’t seem to think it’s important enough and people tend not to listen.

 

______________________________________________________________________

Please don’t forget to VOTE daily!


_________________________________________________________________________

Linking up with

Life…as I see itPhotobucket

Playing with the cats and pussies.

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, Pre-CONCEPTION

   Photo from weheartit.com

I spent half the day today watching this amazing man Jim live and play in a real lion’s den. This guy, who owns (???) a wildlife refuge and rehabilitates wild animals that were injured or are unwanted, is running out of money and is holding  sort of an unconventional  “fundraiser”. He will spend the whole month of January living, sleeping and playing in a cage with two 250 pound  lions, 1 year old Ed and 2 year old Lea. This man is amazing , because he has such a rapport going with the animals. He plays with them, feeds them, wrestles with them, pats them on the back, kisses them all over their face and mouth. It’s really adorable to watch.  He’s doing a live video stream for the whole month while he’s in the cage for people to watch and hopefully donate money. His teenage daughter Chelsey brings him food and helps around the refuge, feeding other animals. She’s not allowed in the cage with the lions because they’re too big now. But up until recently she was caring for them too. Little Ed is really missing her. So this evening I actually saw him feeding the lions. The cats were roaring and growling waiting for food. It’s such a sight, so humbling! I recommend you go and watch them play  on his website, where you can also donate some money. The lions love him to death and it’s just adorable to see them interact. An article and a TV spot about it here.{this picture is not of the lions mentioned above}

Photo from weheartit.com

Also, we assembled my new drum set and I’ve been killing it playing along to Green Day’s “21 Guns” and Pink’s “Who Knew”, solely because they’re the easiest songs to play to and I semi-knew the beat from my Rock Band drums days. Pretty cool I gotta tell you, pretty cool!

Aside from lion watching and drum playing, I started my new exercise program (in addition to my daily pilates), designed specifically to increase strength and endurance of the muscles necessary for pregnancy, labor and recovery. I did a fitness test to see where my muscles are at and everything was above par ( abs, lower back, upper back, shoulders, legs, thighs, arms), except for ankles (whaaaat?) and PC muscles ( the figure eight that encompasses your urethra,vagina and anus- excuse my bluntness). In order to have strong PC muscles, that would be very beneficial in labor and recovery, you’d have to be able to “hold” it for at least 10 seconds. I’ve never done kegels before and I guess it shows. The good news is that  the muscle is easy to train. So there I go, squeezing my vageygey any chance I get.

Photo from weheartit.com
…….
It was kind of funny, because DH and I were working out and while he was doing some man arm exercises, I stood on my hands and knees and started doing my kegels. After a while, I look at him with a smirk and ask: “Hey, do you know what I am doing?”, cuz really it didn’t look like I was doing anything besides standing on my hands and knees. How would he know that I am working my vagina muscles??? :)
And he goes:” Squeezing IT?”
We both burst out laughing! I guess there will be a lot more grosser things we’ll be going through during pregnancy than my husband “guessing” that I’m working out his favorite part of my body.
…….

Ok, here’s a test for ya’ll fit ladies out there. Apparently I have weak (-er?) ankles, the punishment for which will be me tripping and spraying my ankles when I get as big as a hippopotamus on fast food. I want to know if it’s just my weak spot or if it’s really something most of us seem to  have in an underdeveloped state ( my hubby couldn’t do it either). Would you all please squat for me?  No, I won’t make you squeeze your lady parts. We’re talking about ankles here. Squat if you can and then sit in the squatting position for at least 15 seconds while ( and THIS IS KEY!) making sure that your HEELS are flat on the floor. So, you cannot be on your toes! That doesn’t count. Only flat on your heels for 15 seconds. Can anyone do it? Anyone?

Photo from weheartit.com
If you can, I envy your flexible strong ankles

For those who are interested ( whether you are or are not planning on having a baby in the next year or two), I will attempt to post a scan of the pre-pregnancy strength and flexibility test. I wish I had read this book, like, a year ago, and now I’d be walking around with a strong crotch that could suffocate an elephant and ankles that  allow me to sit in a squatting position for hours….you know…in case I have to take a dump in the middle of the road and I’m experiencing some pregnancy induced “blockage”.

Photo from weheartit.com

TAKE THE TEST!

______________________________________________________________________

Please don’t forget to VOTE daily!

What makes you want to have children?

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in PHOTO, Pre-CONCEPTION

I had asked this question on my other blog hosted on a Russian website of my Russian friends and co-bloggers.
And I got really amazing inspirational and insightful answers from both single people and married women with kids, married women without kids, those that decided they didn’t want to have kids and those who don’t want to have kids just yet.
I understood each person’s point. I’ve been there: single not being able to imagine having a kid, where pregnancy would be about one of the worst things that could happen to me. Married but so happy with our married life that I felt absolutely no need to have kids just yet. Also wanting kids but not sure if we should have kids, that we should change our life drastically.

So now I thought I’d ask the same question of my blog readers: moms and future moms alike.
What made you want to have a baby? Was it planned because  the time was right? Was it unplanned and how did it change your life? What would you tell yourself a few years ago when you were childless and having fun now that you know what it’s like to be on both sides?

All answers are welcome, whether you’re overwhelmed with responsibility and not sure if life would have been easier without or if it’s the best thing that could have happened to you!
I’m not looking for religious answers or that children are gifts from God. I want to hear true-life feelings and emotions, rationalizations and doubts.
The Paper MamaShare your stories!

In the meantime I’d like to post these pictures of a beautiful family I know who has their second child a months ago ( both unplanned). These were shot by me behind the scenes  of a photoshoot by my friend Leeka from MM Works. It was freeeeeezing that day on the beach. I felt so bad about little baby Alex who was only a few weeks old. In between the shooting, i’d take him from his mother and hug him tightly to warm me up and he’s fall asleep in my arms each time.

 

______________________________________________________________________

Please don’t forget to VOTE daily!

Preparations IV: OBGYN and Hospital

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Pre-CONCEPTION

IMG_3652-2

Part I– Preparations

Part II– Health Insurance ( maternity coverage)

Part III –  Vaccination and Testing

Up until 2 months ago I still didn’t have my OB situation figured out. I needed to find a really good OB who I would do my pre-conception check up with and go all the way through delivery. I didn’t really like the idea of having to interview different OBGYNs and possibly having to pay for each office visit.

Lucky for me, my friend Anna was getting ready to give birth and she found, what turned out to be, one of the best doctors I could have hoped for, Dr Thompson. Both her and two of her other friends gave birth using Dr Thompson and all three were in “love” with him. Later, my husband was given a OB referral from a client of ours and when he came home to give me his number , it’s turned out to be the same doctor. So at this point I had 4 people telling me he’s awesome. I had to check him out.

The office visit went surprisingly well. He listened a lot, gave good advice, spent a ton of time discussing our needs and wants with us. Looked through my prenatals that i had already been taking, told me my uterus looked fine ( lol) and in general was a really really nice guy.

See, normally I go for younger male OBGYNs.  Male because I feel a lot more comfortable being naked around a man than a woman, and especially when it comes to touching and looking up my hoo-ha. It just seems to me that  it’s more natural. I’d rather a doctor enjoy doing what he’s doing than think it’s gross ( which, as a female,  is what I’d think if i had to look up other girls’ vaginas all day long). And young because I feel young doctors are more updated on cutting edge medicine, statistics and education, which is what I’d like. I’d pick change and progress  over tradition any day.

Dr T. was my first older OBGYN ( in his 50s-60s) and I don’t think I minded it.

I asked him about his C-section stats and how he felt about episiotomies. I also knew a lot from my friends who delivered with him, like the fact that he’d come to deliver your baby even if he’s not on duty which is a HUGE bonus ( my friend went into labor at 3 am and he came to deliver it even though it was not his shift).

Next, I checked out the hospital that’s conveniently located across from his office. The Birth Place seemed really nice with a lot of security, the rooms were big and exactly what you’d expect. I was satisfied.

I also discussed water births with my doctor and he didn’t think it was such a good idea ( even though the hospital offers it), because of the risk of infection ( which i tend to agree). I definitely want to give birth in a hospital. The idea of a midwife freaks me out, because I am very much a scientific person who’s all for advancing our knowledge and procedures. I would not want to do a at-home birth – too much can go wrong. However, I also do not want any unnecessary intervention, like inductions and vacuums and such. No pitocin for me even if I’m past due or progressing slowly ( unless the baby is in real danger). I realize I might think differently once the time comes, but for now those are my decisions. I do want an epidural- I do not see the reason to endure the pain if you don’t have to, considering that the risks are minimal.

So that’s my plan for now. I’m very happy with how and where it’s all going. I’ll continue reading  books and real life experiences on blogs and modifying my ideas and desires accordingly. I also cannot wait to watch the “Business of being born” documentary. I started watching it a few weeks ago, but decided that it would serve me better if i watch it when I am actually pregnant.

At this point, I’m through all of my 5 pre-conception books and have memorized everything that i need to do and stay away from before conception. When our health insurance goes through and we actually start trying I’ll start on my 5-7 pregnancy books ( ok, to be completely honest- i already started on two- i couldn’t hold back :))

Otherwise, things have calmed down for me, especially with the new realization that we’re both perfectly healthy and should be very fertile and that sort of just gave me a really nice peace of mind ( i almost typed “piece of mind” lol).

My Hubby seems to be very excited about a prospect of having a baby soon as well. We spent the  first few hours of our Saturday morning reading the first 20 pages of day by day pregnancy ( 2 weeks before conception + 1 week after), discussing genetics, googling dominant and recessive features ( it seems our baby has a 50/50 of inheriting either his blue eyes or my green eyes).

{ It was fascinating to read about eye genes. Apparently there are 2 genes only: Bey2 (brown/blue) and Gey(green/blue). I knew that blue was recessive and brown -dominant, but I always wondered where green and grey colors stood.  It turns out grey is simply a variation of blue color that is lacking melanin. And green color has it’s own gene that it shares with blue, just like brown shares with a different blue gene. So in Bey2, brown is dominant over blue, in Gey- green is dominant over blue, and Gey green is also dominant over Bey2 blue (did I lose you yet?). So my green eyed self has to have Gey gene ( he-he she says “gey gene”!) and my blue eyed husband has to have  blue/blue gene ( either gey or bey2). So if i pass my green along, it’ll override my Hubby’s blue, thus giving our baby green eyes, however if I do have the blue/green gene ( which I’m pretty sure I do, because my dad is green eyed and my mom is blue eyed), then I might pass my blue part of the gene down and our baby will have blue eyes. Honestly, i don’t care- i think green is exotic and beautiful and blue is traditionally beautiful, so either way it’ll be beautiful! So there! }

Please tell me someone got something useful out of that boring paragraph about eye color gene :)

__________________________________________________________

Please don’t forget to VOTE daily!