Thursday, November 24, 2011


Its that time of year where the whole country pauses to "give thanks". Being thankful, or giving thanks, is all about recognizing and appreciating the good things in our lives. We spend so much energy on a normal day thinking about what we do not have - time, money, health, sleep. It is good to take a day to think about what we do have. Thankfulness is inherently a positive emotion, it is essentially taking the time to focus on the positive things rather than any negative things, and really we all would be a little happier and healthier if we made a daily effort to remember what makes life good.

So, what am I thankful for? What makes my life good? There are so many things. I am very fortunate. I have a loving and entertaining family, great in-laws, a wonderful husband. We all employed and healthy. DH and I have our own house and space, and things to fill it with that keep us safe, well fed, and entertained. Of course this year, the big thing is that I am so happy to be pregnant and be waiting on this child to make its appearance (in due time!). These are all pretty stereotypical. But the general theme here is - there is almost nothing in my life that is bad. Of course there are some minor things we would like to change, but ultimately they are minor things, ultimately I am probably one of the luckiest people on earth, and it could change any time, but for now, I am thankful for it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I

As you all know, I am a Twi-nerd... a twilight fan, soon to be a Twi-mom. Today is the opening day of the fourth Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part I. As it opened today, the midnight opening was at 12:01am this morning (last night).

I love midnight openings. There is something in the air! The excitement, the joint purpose, the celebration. Its a crowd experience unlike any other. I have been told that I should take advantage of midnight openings while I can, as when the baby arrives they will become an impossibility. I am not sure if this is entirely true, but they certainly are much easier now then they will be in a month or two. So, I took yesterday and today off work and indulged my addiction. Why two days off? Because when I went to the HP8 midnight showing in July at 16th it took my ALL weekend to recover afterwards and I thought a little preparation would shorten the recovery. So, yesterday I spend the day relaxing, napping, laying down, I went swimming, walked the dogs with DH, basically trying to be as relaxed, comfortable, and well rested as possible. Then, at 8:30pm I headed over to the theater and met up with my aunt and cousin. We had tickets for "The Twilight Experience", a special double feature where they showed the third Twilight movie, Eclipse, at 9:30pm before the midnight release. It was a ton of fun! It was good seeing Eclipse on the big screen again and having all the crowd reactions, oohs, ahhs, and applause. The midnight came, and the real excitement!!


In short, I loved the movie!! I recognize a million flaws in it, a million things that people who see and think "wow, is that cheesy" or "what?!?", and I still love it. I recognize some significant and substantive changes from the book, and I still love it. Where to even begin? The movie starts out with the wedding (or pre-wedding events) of Bella and Edward. The screenplay filled this with good laughs and sentimentality, punctuated by some serious moments that indulge us with some of Edward's history and Bella's subconscious fears about the upcoming events. Everything is very well done visually. In the actual wedding/reception, they add a lot of little tidbits that were not in the book, but they all are fitting. The most important scene from the book, Jacob's visit, is very well done. I feel like in general, Taylor Lautner's acting was much improved in this compared to the previous three movies. The wedding scene between Jacob and Bella is awkward even in the book (WHY oh WHY is she talking to him about her sex life with his rival??), but the movie makes it work somewhat naturally. Wedding accomplished, we are off to the honeymoon, where Kristen Stewart and the directors do an excellent job conveying the wedding night jitters and Bella's "morning after" fantasies, which are perfectly interrupted by Edwards sullen self-deprication. There are some CGI issues with some of the water scenes, both the wedding night in the ocean, and later a waterfall scene. While they cut some to get to the pregnancy reveal, the reveal itself is spot on, with Edward freezing up, and the realization of both the positive and negatives of the situation.
The transition to Jacob's perspective is somewhat rocky, but I am not sure what they could do better. You can't exactly have a section break in the movie. Everything surrounding the pregnancy and Bella's declining health was masterful. Another moment of CGI awkwardness came w/the wolves. Here though I am not really sure what they could have done better. How do you make giant telepathic wolves communicating and fighting with each other not see cheesy? LOL. Because it was consistent with the movie, I loved it despite the difficult execution.
Here really is the major plot change. In the book, the main source of conflict through this section is (1) suspense about Bella's fate, and (2) Jacob's internal struggle about what to do - his torment over losing Bella but inability to let her die. Neither of these is sufficient to drive a movie plot as they are both extremely low key/internal, so the screenplay adds a level of drama by having the conflict between the two wolf packs drag out extensively and even come to physical blows at the birth of Renesme. I am not a huge fan of this but I understand entirely why they did it and think that they managed to pull it off decently.
Ok, think that is enough review. They are releasing Breaking Dawn Part II in November 2012. Don't know why they are waiting that long, but they say they are. We will see whether I get to go to this "last" midnight release, as I am uncertain what movie will warrant it for me once Twilight is over.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

All Positive

A couple of my coworkers were talking about pregnancy and two of them said they hated being pregnant. I chimed in and said that I loved being pregnant, which seemed to catch them off guard. I can't imagine hating it. One coworker responded with "well, if you have an easy pregnancy..." And while I certainly have not had a hard pregnancy by any means, I wouldn't say its been easier than average either, with the extended nausea well into the second trimester, the hospitalization, sciatica, swelling, etc. I have spent much of the pregnancy physically unwell or uncomfortable, which I think is pretty normal. But I still love it.It is a brief 40 weeks that I have no idea if I will ever get to experience again, a time when  the external world smiles upon me and wishes me the best of luck, when everyday is full of anticipation and preparation for a coming joy. I don't have to worry about whether I look chubby, I have an excuse for everything - acting stupid, being overly emotional, making mistakes. It is 40 weeks of precious memories - feeling babies movement, the look on Dh's face when he feels the baby move, laughing at myself for crying over ridiculous things, being able to snack and eat without feeling guilty, outgrowing my clothes, outgrowing my maternity clothes. I get to buy tons of stuff w/out feeling guilty. Its a pretty awesome time.

From a deeper, less materialistic perspective, while pregnancy is physically difficult, it is psychologically awesome. There is always something good in your life. If your work is frustrating, your house dirty, if you are tired, or throwing up, or the weather is not what you want, you still have that buzz, that knowledge, the idea in the back of your head that there is a little future child in their growing, and as the pregnancy moves on, the baby is moving and kicking and reminding you of its presence. What is not to love? How could I not be happy? How could anyone who wants to be a mother not be in love with this time?

Sometimes I wonder how much the difficulty I had getting pregnant contributes to this optimism and, well, basic underlying joy. If I had gotten pregnant easily, had multiple successful pregnancies, would this just be "another pregnancy" where I had to put up with morning sickness? Would I focus on the loss of brain cells and the physical discomfort rather than the amazing thought of a coming child and the scientific wonder of the baby's development? If I did not have the contrast of the dark months (lets be honest, dark years) of waiting in uncertainty and hopelessness, would I appreciate the pure hope and anticipation that pregnancy is?

I don't know. I like to think I would have loved being pregnant no matter what, but I also recognize that my perspective might be a little different than some. Imagine spending years trying to get something, trying to find something that you hoped would be the best part of your life, something you seem to have no control over, never knowing during those years if it was even possible. And then it happens. It comes with some negatives, some pain, some crying spells on the kitchen floor over ridiculous things, with new anxieties and stresses, but it comes with the knowledge that what you thought might never be, will be.

That is why I love pregnancy.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Childbirth Class

If you are sick of me only blogging about pregnancy, then you probably should not bother reading this post. I can't help it, it of course dominates my life. I feel like I am a very boring person right now as most of my energy and thoughts are pregnancy related, whether it be what I need to eat, how tired I am, or something I need to ask at my next appointment. Despite my efforts not to always be talking pregnancy, it comes up more than I intend, sometimes simply because I feel like I have absolutely nothing going on. This does not bother me too much for the most part because I am happy to be pregnant, but it occasionally worries me that other people are annoyed. Oh well!

So DH and I spent all day on Saturday at a Child Birth class at the hospital where we plan to deliver. It just happens to be the same hospital where the popular Lifetime series, One Born Every Minute, is filmed. Anyways, it was 9am-5pm, plus a hospital tour. Unsurprisingly, it was a bit overwhelming. The morning was spent discussing the anatomy/physiology of childbirth, how baby's position affects it, how mothers positions before and during labor effect it, positions to use during labor, and relaxation techniques for labor. In the afternoon we looked at medical procedures and options that might come into play - both what possibilities were and when they might be used. We also talked about post-postpartum recovery and the hospital experience. I liked the class because it seemed to start out with the assumption you would not be having pain medication.

I am not really one of those people who is afraid of labor or childbirth. I guess I fall in the "woman have been doing it for a million years" camp. In fact, most of my fears are more related to the people and society surrounding me than to the process of childbirth itself. I am not afraid of labor pain, I am afraid of doctors and nurses "forcing" medical procedures on me I don't agree with.(I know they can't literally force me). This ranges from trying to get me to induce when I don't want to, to trying to get me to use pain meds I don't want, to moving to a C-Section before it is actually medical necessary, either because they are being over cautious or because it is convenient for them. Riverside is a great hospital. We chose it because it is level 3 both for adult and neonatal care. That means that if something goes wrong, if either I or the baby need surgery, emergency treatment, etc etc, we will be right there able to get it and not have to deal with being transferred anywhere else. However, it is also a hospital where 85-90% of mothers get epidurals. When I told one of my friends I was delivering at the hospital where One Born Every Minute is filmed she was horrified. She tried to play it down, but it was pretty clear her opinion on the matter. She related to me an episode where a mother wants to have a natural birth and the nurses are making fun of her in the nursing lounge. It does not exactly inspire confidence.

Perhaps you are reading in between the lines here and thinking or asking "is she saying she wants to go for a natural birth?". I guess the answer is yes. The more I learn about picotin, epidurals, and other interventions, the less I want them. But I am not some crazy hippie "natural is best" chick. I don't want a water birth, the idea of home birth terrifies me, and I don't have an elaborate birth plan with meditation and breathing routines planned to make it some "holistic emotional experience".  Its more like I land on the option of going "natural" when I consider all of the evidence. I guess it is also a continuation of the "woman have been doing this for millions of years" theory as well. Really I guess it started with my general dislike of the entire concept of an epidural. I am by no means criticizing woman who want one - as with all medical procedures, its a cost benefit analysis and for me the costs out weigh the benefits. They are sticking a needle into your spine and numbing nerves that give you motor control in your legs. That sounds like a procedure I will avoid if at all possible. It probably helps make the decision easier considering I have read the medical records of 1 or 2 women who have had long term effects of epidural. I just don't want to mess with my neurological system if I can at all help it. The statistics about slower labor and increased c-section rates, plus unknown ultimate impact on the newborn are just icing on that cake. So once I decide no epidural, it does not take much to conclude that most interventions are bad for me. For example, Picotin, the drug most commonly used to induce labor or to speed slow labor, causes contractions to be much stronger than natural and thereby increases the need/desire for epidurals. I guess when I look at everything combined it is not any one intervention that bothers me, its the fact that once you start with one you get wrapped up in these cycles of possibly needing so many others, and ultimately significantly increase your risk of requiring major surgery (caesarean). I don't want any of it, its not for me. In an ideal world, I would be able to deliver in a hospital, but not even have an IV. I know this is not an ideal world though (as evidenced by my desire to be in a hospital!). I know that a lot of times you end up with little choice. Your baby is breech, or in distress, or your labor just stalls out, etc etc etc. But I will do what I can on my end to make this happen "the old fashioned way". I just really hope that I only end up fighting mother nature and my own weaknesses on this and not my doctors and nurses as well.