Pregnancy Update: Week 28

I really feel like I have popped. I know I was already showing but I am really feeling it now with my inability to reach down and grab things. I have to squat now which is fine since I want to keep my leg muscles nice and in shape for birth. I have relinquished my ability to squeeze into tight places (like into a car when there is another one parked right next to it) and passing by people (like my husband in the bathroom. I still underestimate how much room I actually need to get by him in the morning.)

28 weeks edited

Cravings: salads. Crunchy yummy greens.

Sleep: This is getting more difficult and not because I am uncomfortable. For some reason I am waking up even when it isn’t to go to the bathroom. Hmm. This doesn’t bode well for working through until I go into labor.

New Discovery: I found out that maternity leave starts as soon as a woman takes off from work even if the doctor puts her on bed rest. That means that any time I take off from work before the baby is born will be taken away from the 90 days I have after she is born. I don’t want that at all if I can avoid it. I will work through until labor starts. No problem (hopefully). The great thing is that Pakarii is three blocks from work so if I do go into labor at work, I am a hop skip and a jump from the birthing center.

Pre-natal Class: My husband and I started pre-natal classes last week at Pakarii and unfortunately, we weren’t too impressed. It ended up being an hour and a half of people introducing themselves and asking questions that could have been asked in a consultation. I did learn a few things about vaccinations (Tuberculosis vaccinations are given to babies within their first 30 days of life if the parents want it. Given that TB rates are higher here, I think we are going to opt for it even if we aren’t going to be riding in combis during my baby’s first month.) and at the end we had a nice meditation session but overall I didn’t get too much out of the class. Marco was hoping to learn some moves or techniques. The other issue is that some of the couples were on their fifth session and some on their first like us so it was a mixed class. I don’t really get how that works without people just repeating things over and over again. I really hope that this week is better and more structured. We will see!

Nesting: I picked up the pack n play. We have yet to put it together but I think we are going to wait a little while longer since there is no reason to put it up for it to get dusty when we still have a good 80 days to go.

Mental state: Anxious but in a good way. I am at the point of feeling like I have been pregnant a really long time and I still have a way to go but in reality 10-12 weeks is a very short amount of time.

Reading: The Secret of Happy Children by Steve Biddulph. I have actually finished it but I want to write some notes down because it is full of really great tips.

Finally, the baby is the size of an eggplant! Mmm, an eggplant parmesan sounds like a fantastic thing to make tonight. We’ll see if I have the energy.

 

 BabyFruit Ticker

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Book Review: In Mother Words by Susan Byrum Rountree

I always like getting book recommendations and there are plenty of books dealing with raising kids and all that comes along with it. I plan on posting book reviews of books related to raising kids whenever I finish one. I also write reviews of all the books I read at goodreads.com. Feel free to comment and let me know what books you found to be super helpful during pregnancy or while raising your kids.

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This book was a short and sweet compilation of vignettes that Susan Byrum Rountree put together from her years of being a mother. It starts with her journey as she takes her daughter home from the hospital and her mother tells her to give her a bath and finish with her daughter heading off to college. I like how Rountree writes. Her prose is eloquent but not over the top and she gives a real but sentimental take on being a mom.  I think this book might be a good metaphor for how many parents feel after they have gotten through raising kids. It had days of feeling super long but when looking back at it all, everyone always says that their kids grew up so fast. This is also not a parenting advice book. It is just a collection of Rountree’s experiences so there are no how-tos tied in or anything like that.

I enjoyed this book and had it on my bed stand as a nice way to end the night before heading off to bed. It was a light read and easy to read a few stories at a time.

Pregnancy Update: Week 27

I was searching the internet to see what kinds of templates are out there in terms of giving weekly updates. I think they are a fun way to track the progress and I started sending my mom belly pics around week 18. There really wasn’t too much change before that.  I didn’t and don’t want to be that mom-to-be on Facebook posting my belly pic every week since it can get really annoying to others. I personally love seeing my friends’ belly pics but I think I am in the minority since I have an obvious interest in the subject going through it myself.

So here we go! Here is week 27! I think I will try to wear the same shirt every week. It is my only maternity shirt that isn’t a work shirt.

week 27

Cravings: none in particular

Sleep: I have been sleeping through the night without having to get up to go to the bathroom but I know that won’t last too much longer. I am also having intense dreams that are either frustrating or terrifying. I hope those go away soon too.

Nesting: working on a binder to put baby info in for future caretakers and family members. I also bought a Graco Pack n play from a website called Baby Cuy here in Lima. Pack n plays are super expensive here (double what they are in the States!)  I was planning on just sucking it up and buying anyway but then they dropped the price by 400 soles! Sold! Pack n plays are great because they are utilitarian and I am all about very functional things. If it doesn’t have more than one function I will most likely pass. There is this awesome high chair that converts into a table and a chair for a toddler after they get big enough on the same website and even though it is neon green, I am really tempted to get it!

Mental state: Relaxed and excited at the same time.

Currently reading: The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp

Finally, I have to put this ticker in because a few of us were discussing how many websites that do week by week updates for pregnancy compare your baby to a fruit or vegetable. The funny thing is that fruit size in the states is definitely different from here. A papaya can be a good 4 kilos and enormous here but on this ticker I think they consider the baby to be the size of a papaya around week 30 or so. Haha! I sure hope my baby isn’t 4 kilos at 30 weeks.

 BabyFruit Ticker

 

Also, I have no idea what a rutabaga’s size is and this picture does no justice.  I think weight and measurement help me the most. One update I get said to think of my baby as a 2 pound 15 inch gummy bear. Mmm gummy bears.

Expats Giving Birth in Peru

Last night I had the pleasure of going to a meeting of future moms who are going to give birth in Peru and moms who gave birth here. It was coordinated by a wonderful expat group that I am a part of made up of expat moms. I am a part of various expat groups and I am really happy to have been able to join this one. It has already proved itself to be a wonderful network of resources and connection. Not only is it nice to be able to connect with other expat moms, it will be great when my baby is old enough for play dates and has the opportunity to hang out with other English-speaking kids.

Anyway, the chat was held at one future mother’s apartment in San Isidro and in total there were 7 expecting moms and 2 moms who participated. We all shared how far along we were, what clinic we are planning on using, fears and expectations, and general information.

The majority of us are in our second or third trimester with one at 11 weeks and something I keep reminding myself is that every woman’s body is different so 27 weeks for one person may look like 20 on one person and 35 on another. I feel like I look like I am 8 months pregnant some days and other days I feel like I am at 6 but comparing really doesn’t do any good. The most important thing is that the woman feels healthy right?

In terms of clinics it was really interesting hearing where everyone was planning their birth and how their doctors have attended to them so far. The clinics that the women are using are San Felipe, Monte Sur, Americana and Good Hope. I am the only one planning on using Pakarii, or a birthing center that isn’t a clinic. One of the mom’s who gave birth here used Pakarii for her first birth but opted for a c-section the second time around because of complications from the first. Respect.

For some reason I thought that clinics didn’t take the baby away right away after being born but that is standard protocol here. I thought it was more like that in the States but from what the other women said it is not. I was also surprised to hear that episiotomies are pretty routine here as well. (C-sections are also at 80% in clinics here which is insane!) One expecting mom expressed her concern that her doctor would perform one unnecessarily on her against her wishes. I sure hope not. I hope her husband and her doula stand up for her and her wishes. Another woman said she heard that there is hair stylist and nail specialist for the mothers at Clinica Monte Sur. That cracked us up. Of course every woman has got to look fabulous when leaving the clinic with her newborn. 🙂

One of the best things that the moms who gave birth here said was how the husbands or partners should be on the same page as you and that when push comes to shove, stand up for the decisions that the mom made and wants to stick by. Sure, there are always exceptions but in general I totally agree. I think that the more informed the dad or partner is, the better. Who knows what kind of mental state I will be in when things start to hurt a lot. I am comforted by the fact that my husband will be there the entire time ready to do whatever necessary. We have had lots of discussions about possibly scenarios but in the end we have no idea what could possibly or possibly not happen and for that reason we are pretty relaxed. We will worry about things as they come.

Another thing that I didn’t think about was a pediatrician. In the clinics the doctor is only there to help with the birth of the child and then after that a pediatrician takes over and is in charge of the baby after it is born. One of the daughters of a mom was born 6 weeks early so she was taken to the neonatal intensive care at the clinic Monte Sur and she said was very happy with the care that her daughter received. I hope that all goes well and that I am able to give birth naturally and at the birthing center instead of having to deal with neonatal care and clinics but if it comes to it, I know that the EsSalud hospital Rebagliati has excellent services.

I have to admit that I have been pretty relaxed about my pregnancy and I haven’t stressed too much about all the possible problems that could arise. I believe the more one worries and thinks about that kind of stuff, the more one is attracting it. If I stress out about all the things that could go wrong I would definitely cause my body to stress out and that surely isn’t good for my baby. While listening to other’s birth stories or worries I just kept in mind that it is not something that I have to take on as a worry unless I want to and everyone is entitled to have their worries and fears about birth and raising kids. That is completely normal and makes us human. I am super grateful to have found this group of ladies and know that we are all in the same boat. It is so exciting!

Book Fair

book fair books

I went to a book fair yesterday at the Good Shepherd Church on Santa Cruz a few blocks up from Ovalo Guitierez. It was fantastic. I had never seen more books in English in one place here in Peru. They were all on sale 3 for 10 soles. I, of course, went directly to the children’s section first. I am working on building a library for my kids and constantly for myself. I have a library of around 20 books or so for adults and at least 30 to 40 now for the kids’ library.

I found some great kids books including a big thick paged bedtime rhymes book with practically every children’s rhyme I heard as a kid. I also lucked out and found a few Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood DVDs, a Bernstein Bears DVD and a few CDs with Lullaby and Baby Einstein Christmas music.

There are plenty of book exchanges in Lima and the South American Explorers Clubhouse has served very well for adult books but finding children’s books in English is a bit more difficult. I like exchanging books because I often find that most books I won’t ever read again. There are only a few that I have kept because I really like them a lot or they don’t belong to me. I am always super happy to give books away to friends or lend them out to anyone who is looking for something to read. Since there are no public libraries here like there are back in the States I have to make due.

A wonderful thing about living in this day and age of the internet and the kindle is that if there is a book that I am just dying to have, I can always find it on Amazon and download it to my kindle. I am sure I will download some books for my kids eventually as well but physically having a book is so much better for kids when they are learning to read. There is something so awesome about actually holding a book in your hands and turning the pages. I also found a great website where kids and their parents can read books online and for every book read online an actual book is donated to a school where resources are scarce. It is called wegivebooks.org. I have used it a few times to read a book to my students. Access to reading materials is so important to the growth and learning of a child and this website does even more with their mission.

In the meantime I am going to get back to a book I found at the book fair this weekend called “In Mother Words”. I will be sure to give a review of it when I am finished.

Advice from Parents

I have yet to get the onslaught of advice from people about what I should and shouldn’t do when it comes to raising my kids but I am sure it will pick up as soon as my baby actually gets here. People love to give advice no matter what culture they live in but I know for a fact that here in Peru it can be even more overwhelming. I will make sure to tell you all about it when I get some good stories.

I subscribe to a blog called Kids Activities Blog and there was a post today about advice from Facebook followers and I really liked some of them.

Keep a journal/book of notable things your kids do or say – next year they’ll be a year older, have done a years worth of things, and we can only remember so much. -Dan

My mom gave us a journal so we could write anecdotes and things about our baby. I have used it twice to write letters to her. I think I might give it to her along with a baby book when she is older and able to appreciate it.

Read to your kids when you are pregnant and read to them every day for as long as they allow. – Linda

It makes me happy to know that I am not crazy for already reading the children’s books I have found out loud. (I wasn’t actually thinking about if my baby could hear me at the time but now I might do it a bit more.)

Never say “I can’t wait for the next thing!” Enjoy each and every step in their development. Today you have a baby but blink and they are toddlers. – Jennifer

Living in the moment is something I think everyone would like to do as much as possible but I am sure that when you are stressed out and sleep deprived it is really hard not to think about how much you would like your kid to be out of their current stage. We can still strive to follow this advice though right?

To see the full list that was in the original post check out Over 100 Parenting Tips & Advice from Real Parents

Yoga for Children Workshop

As many people know, yoga has a ton of benefits for the mind, body and spirit and this past week I got an email from my principal about a workshop for adults who work with kids and would like to implement some yoga techniques into their teaching repertoire. I jumped right on it and signed up.

The class was led by a yoga instructor named Milagros Anton who specializes in Hatha yoga, prenatal yoga, yoga therapy, yoga for kids, pranayama and meditation and workshops. It was really fun and the main things I got out of the class were how to help kids let out their energy while subtly tying in yoga breathing and positions and concentration. We ran around and learned the different animal poses. We played a concentration game with cones and rings and we did an active meditation that required picking up our feet and putting them down in front of us very slowly in a line.

Stories help the kids and they can get as creative as they want to with animal noises. The instructor can integrate a fable or a story with a moral at the end utilizing animals to which the kids will do different poses. Kids are never adjusted in their animal positions but the instructor can make sure the kids are doing the correct pose for the cat and not a camel pose instead. It is also great to implement stories that might help the kids feel better if they are feeling insecure or scared.

I really liked the implementation of breathing. There is a breath that sounds like a snake, one that sounds like a bear, a lion, and bees. Ujagi (sorry if I spelled that wrong) breathing is the technique of contracting your throat to make noise kind of like a wave. It warms up your breath and helps you concentrate on poses when you are doing your yoga practice. Milagros explained that we should tell the kids that they have to fill up the balloon in their stomachs and then make the sound of it deflating with our mouths closed. I had never heard it explained that way before.

Finally, we learned about mandalas and how they can be used to help kids relax and concentrate. We created our own mandala while Milagros read to us about what the different colors mean. It is interesting how even though we had different sections and could color whatever we wanted, in the end it all coincided and looked very fluid. It had a nature theme to it with different flying animals and bugs. It was super cool and I found myself in a sort of meditative state afterward which is exactly what they are supposed to do. I don’t think I will be implementing this in my job necessarily but it is great to know and I most definitely will have mandalas to print so my own kids will be able to enjoy their benefits.

Mandalas are often uniform but they can also be sectioned off like this.
Mandalas are often uniform but they can also be sectioned off like this.

I remember when I was in middle school and high school I used to draw flowers with four petals and then work my way outward with more petals in between the four. It was a go to doodle of mine and while I didn’t work from the outside in, it definitely was a mandala of sorts.

I am looking forward to sharing some of what I learned with my colleagues at work. I think that using stories and movement as well as breathing could really help the girls a lot. It will give them a space to be creative as well as learn to relax and concentrate a bit. It can be really challenging working with a group of 30 five and six-year-old girls with tons of energy.

I also look forward to utilizing yoga techniques with my own children. There are so many benefits to including it in the lives of young ones. It brings about self-awareness and tranquility in an ever faster paced world. I think everyone could benefit from yoga in some way.

Have you had any experiences with yoga and children? Tell me about it!

Note: Milagros Anton was a fantastic facilitator and I would love to try a regular class of hers sometime. She also does pre-natal yoga. For anyone interested in her services she can be found at maruxantan@gmail.com and her number is 989-062-694.

My adventures in raising kids in Peru