Sunday, August 28, 2011


Now that I'm not working, I have projects, as if having a toddler, managing our household, and being pregnant weren't enough.

One project is looking for a new job. I know no one will hire someone who is 18 days away from delivering a baby, but I'm still looking. I have 2 other big projects, both of which involve the boys, as the two of them consume my life these days.

Baby carrier (project accomplished)
We have a Baby Bjorn and a sling from when Nate was a baby.

I liked the Baby Bjorn once Nate was big enough to not need the head support. He didn't like the head support part; he wanted to be able to see around. But once he could ride in it facing forward, he was content in it. I would not have survived our trip to England/Kenya last summer without it! Also, I lost an inch off my waist and hips during that trip, which I attribute to carrying Nate in the Baby Bjorn for all those endless hours in the airports.

The sling is the type that was pulled off the shelves last year because if a baby is cradled in it, they have no head/neck support and can't breathe. Some babies died. When I put Nate in it as the instructions showed, I could tell he was having trouble breathing, so I didn't use it that way. Once he was too big to be comfortable (for me) in the Baby Bjorn, I used the sling as a hip carrier. He loved it like that, even more than the Baby Bjorn. You know how a dog goes crazy if you touch their leash because they think they're going out for a walk? That's how Nate reacted if I went near the sling. So if I didn't put it away as soon as I was done using it, I had to wait until he was not in the room.

All that to say: we don't really have a baby carrier that's good for a newborn. If I go out alone with both of them, I will need Nate in the stroller (he loves to walk but can't be trusted, especially if I have my hands full of BB), and BB would be best in a carrier. We are hoping to get a double stroller, but BB won't be big enough for it for a few months. I decided I wanted a wrap. Then I decided not to pay all that money and to just buy some knit fabric to use as a wrap. Hobby Lobby had some very turquoise jersey with brown polka dots on sale. I got 4 5/8 yards (recommended was 5 yards, but there was a hole in the fabric, so that's the longest piece I could get, unless I would choose plain brown fabric), and cut a 20" strip off the side. I learned the classic front cross carry last night. Even with my big belly, the fabric is long enough to wrap and tie, and I can fit a teddy bear in it.

Diapers (project in research phase)
I actually really like using disposables. However, it makes more sense to use cloth in Kenya. They have disposables you can buy, but we're beginning to think we don't want to create that much trash in Kenya. If you've been to Mombasa, you have seen what becomes of trash there. So I've been reading a lot on the internet, learning all kinds of things about cloth diapers. It was overwhelming at first, but I think I'm sort of catching on. I am enjoying the learning aspect so far.

We will stick with disposables for the immediate future. I'm not prepared to buy a bunch of cloth before BB is born. I think we'll start making the transition for him once he's out of the newborn stage.

Nate has no patience for having diapers put on him anymore. He is demonstrating more and more aspects of potty training readiness, except that he doesn't have regular BMs, he doesn't care if his diaper is wet (if I ask him if he needs a dry diaper and he isn't too busy playing, he will say "n'do" and run to the changing table), and he doesn't have words for anything related to the bathroom, just "die-die" for diaper. He loves sitting on his potty, though, and is amazed by watching himself pee. Anyway, my point is, I don't think we'll buy a full supply of cloth diapers for Nate. He may still need overnights when we get to Kenya, but I expect him to be fully in training pants or undies (a lofty goal) during the day. And since he has more tolerance of standing still for me to pull up his shorts than laying still for me to put a diaper on him, I am definitely ready for him to be in training pants. I don't have much energy for wrestling him these days.

QOTW: If you ever crawl inside an old hollow log and go to sleep, and while you're in there some guys come and seal up both ends and then put it on a truck and take it to another city, boy, I don't know what to tell you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

getting closer!!

Apologies if you receive this in your reader twice. I tried to schedule the post last night so that I could just add my picture and updates today after my Dr appt, but Blogger decided to disregard the date and time I'd chosen for posting and posted it immediately. Ach!

How Far Along 35 weeks 6 days
How Big is Baby He could be 6 lbs and 18-20 in long. He should be pretty close to his birth length/height now, but will be packing on some baby fat in the coming weeks. This is why I feel like his legs are too long to possibly grow anymore.
Total Weight Gain 27 lbs
Sleep For the past few weeks, I feel like I'm carrying BB lower. The implication of that is twofold: I have an easier time breathing than I did with Nate because he's not under my ribs so much, and my bladder is more squished. I've been getting up two times a night to pee more and more often. Usually I fall asleep again fairly quickly, since I drug myself up with Benadryl at bedtime.
Best Moment this Week Nate and I sorted through BB's clothes (again), adding some new ones and making sure the NBs were separated from the 0-3s. I need him to start wearing these clothes. Once some are dirty, we have room for all of them. Nate "helped."
Movement He's a mover, but more laid back than Nate was. He does move often, and he is strong. People can see him moving through my clothes, from across the room, so that's kind of fun. He has been a frequent hiccupper, which indicates practice breathing, but last night I was able to feel a rhythmic rise and fall of practice breaths, with my hand resting on his little booty.
Belly Button Pretty much an outtie, and it has migrated to the underside of my belly. I have to crane my neck or look in the mirror to see it.
What I Miss Has it ever been springtime? It's been swelteringly hot for as long as I can remember. I think there was such a thing as cooler weather, and if that is true, that's what I miss. :P
Weekly Wisdom Letting your mom come stay with you to take care of your toddler and clean your house is a good idea!
Milestones The c-section is on the calendar: Sept 15. I will be 39 weeks 1 day. This is exactly 2 weeks earlier than Nate was born (41 weeks 1 day), and it's his 20 month birthday. Both my boys will have birthdays on the 15th of the month.

Having the c-section scheduled has a lot of people asking if Nate was born by c-section. With certain people I just say, "No, but it would have been better for us if he had been." I go more into details for other people. It brings a lot of pity that I had such a hard recovery after his delivery. It was miserably painful and would have been nice if I didn't have to experience that, but I know that the damage done to my body was a direct result of saving Nate's life. What happened was entirely unpredictable, as everything related to birth is. No one could have known that Nate would have so much trouble with my labor or that he would be strangled by the umbilical cord. Even if we had known what the fast delivery would do to me, we had to assume that an emergency c-section would take longer, putting Nate more at risk for brain damage and death from not getting enough oxygen. We still would have made the decision to pull him out with forceps in a hurry in order to save him.

That said, we're planning a c-section this time to prevent any additional damage to my pelvic floor. Knowing that anything's possible in giving birth to a child, that our bodies and our babies don't always follow our plans, we recognize that I could go into labor before the c-section. If I am progressed too far by the time we get to the hospital, we may not have time for a c-section. It's not ideal, but it could happen. Scheduling it 6 days before my due date gives him enough time to fully develop while also being early enough that I'm less likely to go into labor beforehand.

Monday, August 22, 2011

he knows

I think all kids reach a point where they categorize people based on certain features. I am told that I ran up to a red-haired man in my grandparents' church when my dad (a redhead) wasn't there. Nate has been calling all black men "Baba" (what he calls Rodgers) for several weeks, especially if they have shaved heads, but he's not really that picky. He also will point to pictures of our friends and call the women Mama and the men Baba.

[from Amazon]
One of Nate's favorite bedtime books is Baby's Goodnight Blessings. It's one of our favorites, too, because it's a good bedtime prayer. The baby thanks God for Mama, Daddy, brother, sister, grandparents, dog, toys, trees, and more. On the Mama and Daddy page, the dad has red hair. Nate called him Gaga (what he calls his grandparents) at first, but after I told him that he was the baby's daddy, Nate now calls him Baba. He now calls the people on the grandparents page Gaga, even though they look nothing like his grandparents (they both have white hair). So I thought that we're making progress that he can understand some gagas don't have red hair and some babas do.

[from Amazon]
Nate always gets a new book at his checkups. One such book is Joshua's Night Whispers. Joshua is black, and his Daddy (the only other character in the book) is lighter, but maybe not white. He's more like Nate's skin color. To me, the text in this book is odd, but Nate loves it, so we read it 4 or 5 times before bed. Joshua gets scared at night, so he goes to get in bed with his daddy. No matter how many times I tell Nate, "This is Joshua, and this is Joshua's baba," he always points to Joshua and says, "Baba," then points to the dad and says, "Mama."

Nate knows that his dad has dark skin and his mom has light skin. He knows that his grandpa has red hair. He also knows that some dads can have red hair and not all grandpas do. He can tell the difference between a man and a woman. But, if a dark skinned and light skinned person are together, he still thinks the dark one is the dad and the light one is the mom, even if none of them are women and one of them is a child.

And people think that not talking to kids about race will keep them from making generalizations...
An interesting paper on this subject (this is a pdf): Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

cross cultural marriage: naming babies

I haven't done a culture post in a long, long time. I've been busy being Mom, I suppose. Rodgers and I had this discussion again recently, so here it is for your enlightenment.

Naming conventions in Rodgers' tribe are extremely complex. Our generation has started to simplify things a bit, but still tradition is hard for me to grasp. He has explained their baby name system to me a gazillion times, and each time, I retain a tiny bit more. This is what I've got so far:
  1. Everyone has a given name.
  2. They do not have surnames as we do. 
  3. If someone's given name is a Gyriama or Swahili name, they may take an "English" name if they convert to Christianity. At that point, they may go by their English name followed by their given name, such as Rachel Furaha. Or they may go by their English name followed by their clan name (see #4); I haven't learned which is common.
  4. Everyone is given a clan name, which is passed down from 2 generations ago and based on birth order. For example, Rodgers and his brothers are named for their father's paternal uncles (and father). Vita was the second born boy in that family, so all of the second born boys in Rodgers' generation have Vita as their clan name. Wishing to distinguish himself from his cousins, Rodgers spells his Vitah. Most people will use their clan name as their second name, since they do not use a surname. Girls would get their clan names from their father's maternal aunts (and mother), in birth order. 
  5. Our generation doesn't always follow the birth order in giving their children clan names. Also, they take the liberty of naming their children for the mother's side of the family if they choose. Progressive!
  6. My father-in-law liked English names and many of his children (Rodgers included) have English names for given names. For a long time, I thought Vitah was Rodgers' given name, and he took the name Rodgers when he converted to Christianity. Not so. He never chose an English name because he already had one. My father-in-law had only a Gyriama name and never took an English name. He loved the name Joseph, though, and we suspect that if he had taken an English name, that would have been it. This is why Nate's middle name is Joseph.
  7. By tradition, Nate's clan name should be the name of my father-in-law's oldest brother, and Baby Brother should be named for the second born. If Baby Brother were a girl, her clan name should be my mother-in-law's oldest sister. However, we aren't following tradition (see #5).
  8. When Rodgers had his birth certificate and passport made, he used his father's given name as his surname, listing his clan name as his middle name. This is why Nate and I do not use the name Vitah. We use my father-in-law's given name as our surname. None of my brothers- or sisters-in-law do. By Kenyan tradition, it doesn't make sense for us to go by his name. The kids should go by Rodgers. I wouldn't legally change my name if I were Kenyan. I would be known as Rachel Rodgers or Mama Rodgers until our first child was born, at which point I'd become Mama Nathanael. But, Rodgers and I came to the conclusion that we should all have the same legal surname, just to simplify life. However, Kenyans don't know Rodgers by that name. He is still Rodgers Vitah to them.

Monday, August 15, 2011

more comparisons

Being pregnant twice so close together makes it easy to compare things. It's all still fairly fresh in my mind. Plus, if I don't remember something, I can go back and look at my past blogs because I posted a lot about pregnant stuff last time, too. What's most noticeable is that, in general, I feel so much better this time around than with Nate. So I was perusing my past posts for more detailed comparison and found the symptoms list I'd posted last time with my comments...

_x_ moodiness I have more trouble being patient with Nate and Rodgers, and today I cried for most of an hour just because I was mildly upset, and then couldn't stop crying.
_x_ swollen feet/cankles I've been instructed to not tell people my feet/ankles are swollen. I typically have extremely bony feet and ankles, but right now they are more normal looking. Quite swollen for me.
_x_ outgrowing wedding rings Much earlier this time than last time, but when I increased my water intake, my finger swelling went down a lot. I still can't wear my wedding rings on my ring finger, though.
_x_ outgrowing maternity clothes I've only outgrown a few, not as drastic as last time, but I never even fit into my early maternity clothes from last time this time.
_x_ crazy weight gain I've gained way less than last time (so much less that I weigh less this week than the first time I was 34 weeks pregnant), but I'm still above average on the weight gain curve. I'm an overachiever, what can I say?
_x_ morning sickness It lasted until the day Nate was born last time, but only through 24 weeks of pregnancy this time. Wahoo!!
___ melasma
___ acne My complexion is awesome this time, not so much with Nate.
_x_ heartburn/indigestion/acid reflux More and more
_x_ Hemmorhoids Did not have them until after delivery with Nate, but I didn't luck out this time.
_x_ gas that could clear a room
_x_ going to the bathroom every 10 minutes I think I pee more often this pregnancy, but I'm also carrying this baby lower than Nate. 
_x_ peeing yourself So much more than last time.
_x_ fatigue
_x_ insomnia Not as drastic as last time. I am still sleeping pretty well just taking 1 Benadryl at bedtime.
_x_ shortness of breath
_x_ general aches and pains (ribs, back, etc)
_x_ waddling I'm more of a waddler this time, but I attribute that to carrying lower.
_x_ restless leg syndrome
_x_ sciatica I did not experience this last time.
_x_ Braxton Hicks This started much earlier. I had my first timeable contractions at 38 weeks with Nate, 34 weeks with Baby Brother. 
_x_ itchy skin
_x_ stretch marks I think they're the same ones Nate gave me, though.
___ varicose veins
___ gestational diabetes
___ high blood pressure
___ Preeclampsia
___ PUPP Thankfully I haven't had any of these last few issues with either pregnancy!

left: 34 weeks with Nate (this was from our official maternity photo shoot which we used on our Christmas card)
right: 34 weeks with BB (I love how the doorknob lines up with my belly button so that it looks like I have an extreme outtie.) And my hair is darker now, except for the hairs that have turned gray.

QOTW: Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

the neverending story

alternate title: teething again.

I've suspected Nate of working on his 2 year molars for over a month now. He gets fussy, he gnaws on things, he hits himself in the head and says "Ow" (pedi said it was a classic sign of teething at this age).

This week has been especially bad. Thankfully, Gigi (that's my mom) was here to help this week. We don't have a guest room, so she bunked with Nate and got to do all the nighttime soothing when he woke up with his teeth hurting. We finally got Nate to let us check his mouth yesterday, and confirmed that the bottom molars have cut through! We're just waiting on the top ones now.

This morning, Nate was getting restless. He is almost out of diapers, so we loaded up and went to Target. When we got home, I fixed Nate his lunch - rice and beans. He ate a few bites, then started crying. This has happened during several mealtimes lately. I think he's hungry but his teeth are hurting so he doesn't want to eat. Usually the best solution is milk in a cup with a soft spout. He takes a few sips, then chews on the top, and repeat. It's soothing and fills his tummy.

So I filled his favorite soft spout cup with milk. His gallon of milk should have lasted a few more days, but he's been drinking more this week, and that was the last of his milk. I had a couple of Combo Loco online coupons for HEB that I'd forgotten to take with me grocery shopping this week, so I ran out to get milk and use my coupons. I came home to this:

He took some ibuprofen, finished his milk, and passed out. Poor sweet kid. The good news is that we've gotten him through 18 teeth of teething and have only 2 to go!