August 12, 2009

17 Weeks Later...

Yikes! I know that it's been a ridiculously long time since I last posted -- I wonder if I should just admit defeat and acknowledge that I'm not the blogger I imagine myself to be? Consistent, insightful and witty -- post after post -- week after week...

I also dream of being one of those people that frequently takes (and posts) photos and seems to flawlessly manage her own online social networks/profiles while keeping up with everyone else's ((like Mojan!)

A brief recap of the past 17 weeks...I am now 34 weeks along so I'm into the 6 week countdown (yikes!) I feel the *yikes!* when I realize that I/Kiave will be full-term in 3 weeks. Kiave is incredibly active in utero and I feel him much more distinctly than I remember feeling Kapono (in the womb) -- one of my midwives from the Tucson Birth Center confirmed that most women feel movements/sensations much more distinctly in subsequent pregnancies.

Kapono is still nursing and as far as I know, I am still lactating. I haven't actually seen my milk in weeks, but Kapono assures me that there is still milk and he still swallows while nursing. Generally, each nursing session is fairly uncomfortable b/c I have such heightened breast sensitivity, bordering on pain at times. In addition, I often feel a contraction(s) after 5 mins or so into a nursing session. That's usually around the time I give Kapono the "one more minute" warning. It may be in response to the "life in transition" or the newly placed limitations on the lengths of our nursing sessions, but Kapono now requests to nurse more frequently and for longer periods of time -- the exact opposite of what I'm wanting! He may go a full day and nurse only once or he may nurse up to 4-6 times/day.

I intuitively sense that Kapono may be ready to fully wean although I've made the decision to not force the weaning at this time simply because of the many life changes we've experienced these past 8 weeks -- move from Illinois to Arizona, going back and forth between two homes (Arivaca and Phoenix), potty-training, starting the homebuying/househunting process, and, of course, Kiave's arrival. My main reason for re-starting this blog was to chronicle my adventures in tandem far, no regrets about continuing to nurse during pregnancy despite the challenges, mainly the discomfort while actually nursing. I may be singing a different tune in about 6 weeks -- Kapono and I have talked about how Kiave will nurse with mommy when he arrives and will need to nurse A LOT because he is a baby and babies need to nurse more than big boys. I am very curious to see how the actual tandem nursing promises on when to expect my next post and like I said, I may need to just "throw in the towel" and accept that I am just not a blogger, at least not yet :P

April 8, 2009

17 Weeks & Counting

I did start blogging again to chronicle and share my own "adventures" in tandem nursing so, to be fair, I will share one such adventure from this morning. Well, this morning, for the first time while nursing Kapono, I felt those mild, back-ache type cramps which later into my (first) pregnancy, I learned are actually contractions and I wondered if I was actually having mild, nursing-induced contractions -- and if Kapono's morning nursing session should stop? We did wrap up the nursing, although not immediately, and intuitively, I wasn't worried (I must also embarassingly confess that these physical sensations may simply have been indicative of a bowel movement). Nevertheless, the experience did get me thinking about nursing-induced contractions that I may experience later into my pregnancy when the actual birth will be much more imminent and if I'll feel so not worried then...? :P

The only new nursing challenges that I've faced (so far) as a result of the pregnancy are increased sensitivity when Kapono latches on and then, inevitably, at some point into the nursing session, I will feel FAMISHED -- like, I need to EAT, and I need to EAT A LOT RIGHT NOW. Usually by that point, I also feel like whichever side Kapono has nursed on more is now running on "E". Sometimes I wonder if he's still getting milk when he nurses past that "empty feeling" point, but so far, no complaints :-)

April 3, 2009

Women Giving Birth vs. Doctors Delivering Babies

*THANK YOU* to my cheering squad ;-) for your encouragement and support in my tandem nursing efforts! I read a vignette from a mother in "Adventures in Tandem Nursing" who wrote that she made a point of nursing both her toddler and infant simultaneously in public to make a statement about tandem nursing -- basically, that it is possible! I don't know yet if I'll find myself doing the same thing, but I have found myself making a point of telling people that I am still nursing Kapono as a means of raising awareness about continued breastfeeding during pregnancy. Previously, I frequently censored that piece of information, but lately I've been forcing myself not to edit that part out anymore, so, good for me :-)

I've been reading "Silent Knife", a book about Cesarean prevention and vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC), and the experience of reading this book has really motivated me to have a home birth for our second child. The *only* thing is that we don't know where home will be in late September (around my due date) since we're moving all of our stuff to Arizona at the end of May and then staying in China for the summer. We're planning to return to Arizona in late Aug/early Sep about a month or so before my due date, but we're not sure yet if we'll be in Tucson or Phoenix.

The more I reflect on my own birth experience in a hospital and the more I reflect on what I really and truly believe in my heart to be true about childbirth (that it is/should be a SAFE, NON-MEDICAL experience for the vast majority of women and children in the world), the more I want to have a home birth. The most recent section that I read in "Silent Knife" talked about the disempowering process of childbirth in the United States -- how we have adopted and perpetuated this general attitude that doctors deliver babies (vs. women give birth). What a contrast! And so true!!! At my first pre-natal check-up this year, my ob mentioned that he was exhausted from having delivered babies all night and I was thinking,
you just caught those babies, the women delivered them!!! I just got in touch with a free-standing birth clinic in Tucson which I'm hoping might be a good alternative to a home birth experience, but their first email reply to me was very impersonal and I told Emiliano that if I wanted impersonal, I could just go to a hospital again :P

March 30, 2009

Adventures in Tandem Nursing

Well, the HUGE news now is that I'm pregnant -- about 14 weeks along. It's so funny to me how I followed my pregnancy numbers so meticulously with Kapono and now with our second, everything is guess-timated. I'm *about* 14 weeks along, due *around* late September, and the baby is *about* the size of an apple these days (I think -- I knew this stuff down to the centimeter with the K-man!)

Anyway, I decided to start up this blog again because I wanted a venue to share some of my adventures in tandem nursing (breastfeeding during pregnancy). The reason for this is because of the general lack of awareness (and accuracy!) and support from mainstream culture for breastfeeding, let alone encouragement to continue breastfeeding beyond infancy and into subsequent pregnancies. When we found out that we were expecting, I had decided that I would wean Kapono because I kind of felt like that was what I had to do, like that was just what mothers did. I hadn't *planned* to get pregnant while still nursing, but after a little bit of trial and error with the parent-led (vs child-led) weaning, I further investigated tandem nursing and made the much more informed decision to continue nursing during this second pregnancy. Since making that decision, I feel happier and Kapono feels happier which also makes Emiliano (and baby) happier :-)

The American Academy of Pediatrics Breastfeeding Policy recommends "Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child."

The American Academy of Family Physicians has an identical recommendation that "Breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits to both mother and child, and should continue as long as mutually desired."

And the World Health Organization advises "continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond."

Even before getting pregnant with our second, people started to question our decision to continue breastfeeding Kapono, who turned two last month. I really wonder why so many people feel so affronted by continued breastfeeding? That being said, I also need to acknowledge the many people who have supported (and praised) our decision and/or, even if they were unfamiliar with tandem nursing, were very open-minded and, what I most especially appreciate, willing to learn something new.

September 9, 2008


I can't actually post my *HUGE NEWS* (not pregnant) yet because not all parties who should be informed have been informed, but I am joining the Baha'i House of Worship choir -- which isn't on the magnitude of *HUGE*, maybe more along the lines of *BIG*, but it's news, right? Kapono is 19 months-ish, Emiliano is plugging away at work and school (transferred this term to Northeastern Illinois University) and I am plugging away at the whole raising a child thing!

June 15, 2008

What I Learned This Past Year

In reflecting on what I learned this past academic year, I realized that it could be summed up briefly, and yet still accurately, in a few sentences:

1. Chemistry is all about electrons. Period.
2. Physics is about rules -- basically, how anything that exists as matter or energy is governed by rules.

Unless you're traveling at or near the speed of light. Then you need a new set of rules (which we have, thanks to Einstein).

Yep, that really does just about sum it all up.

June 13, 2008

I Did It!

I did it...I survived my first year pre-med. I didn't tell very many people this, if anyone (other than Emiliano and my siblings), but after my first week of chemistry and physics at Northwestern, I actually called the school to get the details on withdrawing from the program. It was just so daunting and intimidating and, well, really, really hard. I sort of breezed through school before (back in the day, right?) but this past year, I found myself really struggling academically and my confidence was shaken. But I did it!

Even though I am totally reconsidering the pre-med track, I am so proud of myself for having accomplished what I did -- succeeding in school as a new mom. I had no idea how challenging it would be and I have a newfound, profound respect for anyone studying and/or pursuing a career in the sciences (especially women and especially moms!) Although at times I felt like collapsing from exhaustion and frustration, I'm excited that I've learned a little bit more about our world and how it all works -- like, quarks and nucleons and why we *know* the universe is expanding and that the sun will eventually burn itself up (in 5 billion years or so).

I told Emiliano that I don't know what to do with myself's still surreal that I don't have gobs of homework to agonize over and massive amounts of information to cram into my brain. I only just finished my last final this evening and it hasn't sunk in that I am a free woman. When I asked my friend, Rachel, what I should do over the summer, she said, "Have fun?" -- so, one of my goals is to take her advice!