Sunday, December 28, 2008

Interesting Article About Midwives

The following was copied from an article in the LA Times on Midwives:

America needs better birth care, and midwives can deliver it.
By Jennifer Block
December 24, 2008
» Discuss Article (23 Comments)

Some healthcare trivia: In the United States, what is the No. 1 reason people are admitted to the hospital? Not diabetes, not heart attack, not stroke. The answer is something that isn't even a disease: childbirth.

Not only is childbirth the most common reason for a hospital stay -- more than 4 million American women give birth each year -- it costs the country far more than any other health condition. Six of the 15 most frequent hospital procedures billed to private insurers and Medicaid are maternity-related. The nation's maternity bill totaled $86 billion in 2006, nearly half of which was picked up by taxpayers.

But cost hasn't translated into quality. We spend more than double per capita on childbirth than other industrialized countries, yet our rates of pre-term birth, newborn death and maternal death rank us dismally in comparison. Last month, the March of Dimes gave the country a "D" on its prematurity report card; California got a "C," but 18 other states and the District of Columbia, where 15.9% of babies are born too early, failed entirely.

The U.S. ranks 41st among industrialized nations in maternal mortality. And there are unconscionable racial disparities: African American mothers are three times more likely to die in childbirth than white mothers.

In short, we are overspending and under-serving women and families. If the United States is serious about health reform, we need to begin, well, at the beginning.

The problem is not access to care; it is the care itself. As a new joint report by the Milbank Memorial Fund, the Reforming States Group and Childbirth Connection makes clear, American maternity wards are not following evidence-based best practices. They are inducing and speeding up far too many labors and reaching too quickly for the scalpel: Nearly one-third of births are now by caesarean section, more than twice what the World Health Organization has documented is a safe rate. In fact, the report found that the most common billable maternity procedures -- continuous electronic fetal monitoring, for instance -- have no clear benefit when used routinely.

The most cost-effective, health-promoting maternity care for normal, healthy women is midwife led and out of hospital. Hospitals charge from $7,000 to $16,000, depending on the type and complexity of the birth. The average birth-center fee is only $1,600 because high-tech medical intervention is rarely applied and stays are shorter. This model of care is not just cheaper; decades of medical research show that it's better. Mother and baby are more likely to have a normal, vaginal birth; less likely to experience trauma, such as a bad vaginal tear or a surgical delivery; and more likely to breast feed. In other words, less is actually more.

The Obama administration could save the country billions by overhauling the American way of birth.

Consider Washington, where a state review of licensed midwives (just 100 in practice) found that they saved the state an estimated $2.7 million over two years. One reason for the savings is that midwives prevent costly caesarean surgeries: 11.9% of midwifery patients in Wash- ington ended up with C-sections, compared with 24% of low-risk women in traditional obstetric care.

Currently, just 1% of women nationwide get midwife-led care outside a hospital setting. Imagine the savings if that number jumped to 10% or even 30%. Imagine if hospitals started promoting best practices: giving women one-on-one, continuous support, promoting movement and water immersion for pain relief, and reducing the use of labor stimulants and labor induction. The C-section rate would plummet, as would related infections, hemorrhages, neonatal intensive care admissions and deaths. And the country could save some serious cash. The joint Milbank report conservatively estimates savings of $2.5 billion a year if the caesarean rate were brought down to 15%.

To be frank, the U.S. maternity care system needs to be turned upside down. Midwives should be caring for the majority of pregnant women, and physicians should continue to handle high-risk cases, complications and emergencies. This is the division of labor, so to speak, that you find in the countries that spend less but get more.

In those countries, a persistent public health concern is a midwife shortage. In the U.S., we don't have similar regard for midwives or their model of care. Hospitals frequently shut down nurse-midwifery practices because they don't bring in enough revenue. And although certified nurse midwives are eligible providers under federal Medicaid law and mandated for reimbursement, certified professional midwives -- who are trained in out-of-hospital birth care -- are not. In several state legislatures, they are fighting simply to be licensed, legal healthcare providers. (Californians are lucky -- certified professional midwives are licensed, and Medi-Cal covers out-of-hospital birth.)

Barack Obama could be, among so many other firsts, the first birth-friendly president. How about a Midwife Corps to recruit and train the thousands of new midwives we'll need? How about federal funding to create hundreds of new birth centers? How about an ad campaign to educate women about optimal birth?

America needs better birth care, and midwives can deliver it.

Jennifer Block is the author of "Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Development Updates

It's been a while since I posted any baby development updates, here are a few weeks worth (borrowed from On a personal note, I have now felt Speck respond to loud noises twice (once to my hair dryer and once to a passing firetruck), and his movements are so strong now that I can watch my belly bounce around when he gets going. Only a couple of weeks left until we enter the third trimester!!

WEEK 22 - How your baby's growing:

At 11 inches (the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, your baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment. If you could see inside your womb, you'd be able to spot the fine hair (lanugo) that covers his body and the deep wrinkles on his skin, which he'll sport until he adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside his belly, his pancreas — essential for the production of some important hormones — is developing steadily.

WEEK 23 - How your baby's growing:

Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that she's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see her squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won't faze her when she hears them outside the womb.

WEEK 24 - How your baby's growing:

Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he'll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nursery Decor

I think that for most people, one of the most exciting parts of finding out the babies gender is knowing how to decorate the nursery. While I do admit that there are more gender specific theme based nursery sets, I really wanted to avoid "assigning a gender role". Plus, assuming we have more than one baby, I wanted to be able to reuse everything I buy. So we're going with monkeys. Who doesn't love monkeys?

I registered for a bunch of items to go with the theme, some of which are at Target and others are at Babies-R-Us. I haven't decided yet what color I want to paint the walls, but I ordered the window valances from the bedding set to that I can take them to the hardware store and match them to paint swatches.

Last weekend we found a great deal on a crib and dresser on Craigslist. I love the crib because it is "convertable". I just switch out a rail and it turns into a toddler bed. Buy a new frame and it can be a full size bed. I'm all about not having to buy things more than once! We did lose a couple of these little screw thingies in transit...does anyone know what this piece is called and where I can find more of them?

Erik keeps pointing out that we could have waited to buy the crib, because for the first few months the baby will probably sleep in our room in the play yard / bassinet. But I feel so happy having some furniture! I guess I'm truly nesting now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Week 23 - Speck's Birth Team

After 6 doula interviews, 3 OB's, and one trip to the birth center, we now officially can announce Speck's "Birth Team".

Team Captain: Mom - my job is to carry Speck around for 9 months, meet his feeding demands, take good care of my body and manage all of the other parts of the team. And lets not forget about labor & delivery!

Coach: Dad - Erik's job is to keep Mom happy and well supported. Dad helps Mom with important decisions, information gathering, resource management, and moral support.

Doula: Miranda Cacek - Miranda is our #1 resource for information. We're very happy to be adding her to our team and think she is well qualified to assist Mom & Dad leading up to and at the birth. Miranda has attended over 50 births as a Doula, has three children of her own, and is also a prenatal massage specialist. As our Doula, Miranda will help us to create a birth plan, be prepared in the event that we aren't able to stick with the plan, and will support us in sticking to the plan and making educated decisions when things get hot & heavy. She has been a wealth of knowledge and information, providing me with a great reading list, resources for diaper info, yoga classes, childbirth education, etc. I'm very happy that we will be having someone there who understands the physiological, emotional, and spiritual elements of birth. I am confident that her knowledge and support will increase our odds of giving birth the way my body is made to. And yes, that last name is Czech.

Midwife: Nichol Chesser - The Center for Midwifery at the University of Colorado Hospital has four midwives who handle clinic appointments, on call, and labor & delivery. Nichol will be our primary provider but depending on when Speck decides it is time to enter the world, one of her colleagues may be the lucky woman to actually catch our little boy. All of the midwives at the center are Certified Nurse Midwives, which in Colorado means that they are (1) a RN, (2) hold a Masters degree or higher, and (3) have experience with labor and delivery. The Midwife can do everything but cut--to me this is ideal. Obstetricians have been trained first as surgeons and as such, their first inclinations tend to be control through surgery and medical interventions. I think that by having the person calling all the shots be someone who can do anything BUT cut, we are more likely to see Speck be given every chance possible for a natural birth.

Playing Field: The Birth Center at University of Colorado Hospital’s Anschutz Inpatient Pavilion -The birth center is part of a mega medical complex located about 30 minutes from our house. The Birth Center itself is a little bit unique in that it is actually located INSIDE the hospital, which means that should something come up where an OB is required, we're already there (no stressful relocating). And being a University hospital, the technology there is cutting edge if we need it. The labor and delivery rooms are designed to be comforting and soothing, and even have hot tubs to help relax and soothe labor pains. And the feature that makes me laugh, they have dial up internet!

Other Medical Professionals - As I said above, being as the Center is actually located inside of a hospital, all of the amenities and resources that we might need are on hand.

We get the impression that some of our family might still be feeling a little unsure of our decisions to use a midwife & doula rather than a more "conventional" OB. I hope that anyone who reads this will take the time to look at the links and information I've provided. We've put a lot of time and energy into these choices and I feel we're on the path to creating a birth that is right for my body and our baby.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

23 Weeks (almost) - Job Changes

It has been a couple of weeks since my last post and I have all kinds of thoughts I could write about, but there has been one major change that has me in a bit of a panic. This week, Erik decided to return to Dalbey, the job where he was working at this time last year.

I've been feeling really guilty the last few months about my role in Erik's decision to leave Dalbey in the first place. The money there was really good, but I hated the hours and didn't see how we would raise a family that way. This was months before I decided to throw away my birth control pills.

For several years, Erik's work hours were long and he often didn't get home till 9:00 or later at night. I got lonely and it was hard to motivate myself to eat right when I was cooking for one. Of course, I found ways to fill the time -- book club, yoga, pottery lessons, spanish, etc. And in all honestly I've missed the "me" time a bit.

So now he's going back to a position where the hours are 10:00 am - 9:00 pm. And if history is any indicator, I can also expect that he will work till 9:30 on a regular basis and some weekends as well. I fully support this decision and hope that he will be happy there and make good money.

So why is this going in the baby blog? Because I'm kind of freaking out about it. I've spent the last couple of months living with the expectation that Erik would have flexible hours and the option to work from home. I thought we would find some part time help around the house, I'd rearrange my hours at work a little, and everything would work just great.

Now I'm picturing a world where I work 8-4 or something like that, then I swing by the daycare where the baby spent the day, then I come home and figure out how to change out of my work clothes and cook dinner for myself with a baby in tow, then bath feed and entertain the baby, then go to bed...all before Erik is even home from work. Then ideally Erik would have baby morning shift while I get ready to go to work and do it all again.

I am having a really hard time with the day care idea for a 7 week old baby. First of all, it looks like an expense of about $1200 a month. Second, I'm concerned about having to work around daycare hours, diaper rules, feeding schedules, and the extra chore of drop off and pick up. Third, I hate the idea of sending my little baby off to a playpen for the day, when he's so little he should be getting cuddles and love all day. I really wanted to keep the baby at home for the first year or so, until he is old enough to actually PLAY and interact at day care.

I've been looking into home care options. Nanny's are expensive -- I've read to expect $2,000-$3,000 per month, plus having to pay taxes for their social security and medicare. This week I also looked into AuPaire programs. These seem like a good option--you pay an annual program fee of about $8,000 and a $200 per week "stipend" for a live in. The aupair attends the local community college and is here as part of a cultural exchange program. The idea of having a young foreign student live with us for the first year of baby's life seems a little scary too--and I've read that the total cost for this program tends to average $25,000 for a year after you factor in the extra cost of food, helping the student get to school, etc.

Of course, one of us could always quit our jobs and we could be a single income household with a stay at home parent. But we both like our jobs, and we like to have the money.

Reading back through this, it doesn't look too bad, just expensive. If Erik can make the kind of money he made the last three years at Dalbey, I guess the cost would be manageable. But being as I am considering these costs from where I stand right now (where I haven't even had the cash to buy a single baby item), it seems totally undoable.

I'll write more later about the other baby news: ultrasound, midwife, belly touches, weight gain, etc...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Speck On The Way

Erik wrote a song for speck:

Speck on the way

A D E A (verse)

When first I heard about you

I felt my belly drop

Believable incomprehension

The pressure pushed the top

less than a murmur

you rocked in black and white

motivated escalated

better start doing right

bm C#m D E (chorus)

Speck on the Way

Speck on the way

gonna start doin,

all the things

bm C# D E A

Speck on the Way

Speck on the Way

gonnas start doin

all the things I should

But first to Guadalajara

We promised mom a trip

The doctor said that

you'd be made of salsa cricket chips

Para tres semanas

No Dormi bien

wake up in a sweat

wondering what was I thinking


G D F C A (bridge)

Sometimes must we take up step

even though we might not know the way

We hope that that choice will not lead

our dreams too far astray

Later when night has come

and we relfect upon our day

We find out that we are fine and that we are doin okay. Okay.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Week 20 - Doctor Update & Other Stuff

I've added a new feature to the blog site with a link to the preggo book I am currently reading. I figure I can keep it updated as I start on new books, and that way anyone interested in reading with me can join in.

This week I started reading "The Birth Book" by William Sears. It was recommended by almost all of the doulas that I met with last week and has been pretty informative. I was surprised that I was able to plow through half of it just this morning. The more I learn, the more I find myself leaning toward natural birth. I always had this notion about birth, that avoiding drugs and wanting to go natural was some sort of woo-woo, earthy hippy thing or something. But from what I'm learning, I think it's better for mother and baby to have babies the way that your body is made to have babies. Of course I understand that sometimes medical intervention is needed, but I'm starting to see that too often medicine is used for convenience and that it actually can cause complications.

On that note, I did see a new doctor this week (because doctor #2 was just too hard to get an appointment with). But I've decided that since I'm already in flux with my care and not really bonded with any one care giver, I should do some research and shop around. I've got an interview with a midwife center this week that I'm pretty excited about. They do deliveries at a birthing center, but it is very close to the University Hospital which I find reassuring. I might also decide to meet with one other midwifery, just for comparison.

I am scheduled for my ultrasound (through doctor #3) on December 8th. I'm really looking forward to another glimpse at Speck and will only cancel the ultrasound if some other care giver can get me in sooner!

Another exciting advancement this week is that Speck's movements are getting stronger. Erik can now feel many of the kicks (if he can make himself sit still long enough to wait for them to happen), and I can even see the skin on my stomach bouncing around with the baby.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Speck Week 20 - Doctors, Doula's & Registries

The excitement of posting the weekly baby development update has passed, as the baby pretty much looks like a baby now. Whereas I used to be concerned with my body and what was changing, more and more now I find myself focused on getting ready for the future instead.

I've now interviewed with 6 Doulas. It has been an interesting process and I've learned something with each conversation. It's given me some clarity about what I expect from birth, and I've now got a huge reading list (I need to hurry up and finish the Twilight series before the baby books start to arrive from Amazon!). Once I make my decision official I'll post a link to the newest member of our birth team's web site on the blog here.

I've also made the decision to yet again switch doctors. The doctor I "met" with a couple of weeks ago didn't seem very available. I meet with yet another doctor this week, and after some conversations with doulas I've decided to also explore midwives as an option. It's been pointed out that OB's are very surgically minded, and are quick to jump to surgery so that they can (1) maintain control of the situation and (2) do everything possible to avoid malpractice law suits. At this point, I don't know that I would go so far as to say that I want an all natural birth, but I do know I want as smooth of a recovery as possible and I don't want to just jump into a C-Section if it can be avoided.

Another accomplishment this weekend is the baby registry. My friend (and baby mentor) Dana and I went to Babies-R-Us today and she gave me advice on what I do and do not need, and I registered for all kinds of goodies. My hope is that by using a registry to buy baby things, we can have a central shopping list for any friends and family who want to help. This way everyone knows what we need and what has already been purchased. I do plan to look for some items outside of Babies-R-Us, and if/when we purchase things not from the store I will update the registry to show that we no longer need them.

I haven't registered for nursery decor, stroller, or car seats yet--I think these items require a little more research so they will be added later. In the mean time, here is how to get to the registry:

Option 1: In Person Shopping
1. Find your local Babies-R-Us Store (click here)
2. Ask the sales associate to print you a copy of the list
3. Follow directions given to you at the store

Option 2: Shop Online
1. Visit Babies-R-Us website
2. Go to the registry page (or just click here)
3. Search for our list using my name or by our number, 75279995

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What is a Doula

Thank you Kristin, for pointing this out to me. This morning on Today they did a segment on Doulas. Since my last post on hiring a Doula seemed to raise some questions, I thought I'd use this post to share some additional information.

What is a DOULA?

(from the DONA Website)

The word, "doula," comes from the Greek word for the most important female slave or servant in an ancient Greek household, the woman who probably helped the lady of the house through her childbearing. The word has come to refer to "a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth." (Klaus, Kennell and Klaus, Mothering the Mother)

A doula...

Recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life...

Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor...

Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth...

Stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor...

Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions...

Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and clinical careproviders...

Perceives her role as one who nutures and protects the woman's memory of her birth experience.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Getting Ready for Speck - Expenses

Well, we are almost at week 18 and most of the last two weeks have been consumed by two things: work and the election. And while this is not a forum for politics, I must say that I am jubilant about the fact that my child will be born in the first 100 days of our Nation's first African-American President. I have no doubt that Speck will grow up to know an America that is forever changed from the one that Erik and I grew up in.

With the comfort of knowing that income is once again on the way, I've been freed up to think about the expenses of maternity. I need to figure these things out so that I can appropriately plan my medical flex spending account (might as well take as many of those pre-tax benefits as possible!!). Hopefully I will be able to sit down with someone at the doctor's office next week and estimate out all of the various insurance costs on the near horizon.

There are two very important services I have been researching (pre-birth and post-birth): Doulas and Nannys.

A Doula is a woman who specializes in childbirth. She attends delivery, is there the entire time, and provides support in any form needed. This includes everything from fetching snacks to pre-natal massage. I've decided that I don't want to put the pressure on Erik to be my sole support system during delivery. Right now I'm lining up interviews and hope to have a Doula selected by month end (so that I can include her costs in my flex account).

I'm also hoping to find a Nanny to help with child care until the baby is old enough to get a benefit out of attending daycare. Ideally, I'd like to find a native Spanish speaker who will also help with cooking and cleaning. I've talked to friends and know that not only do such things exist, but that children who grow up around a Nanny speaking another language are likely to pick up on the second language. It would be great if we could give Speck a head start on his/her bilingual skills. Unfortunately, I don't think you find a Spanish only Nanny on Craigslist or -- so I'm putting my need out there in the world and hoping someone with a lead or two comes across this blog!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

16 Weeks - First Flutters

Yesterday I started my new job. The question of whether or not I am showing was resolved, when all 3 of my office mates told me they had figured out on their own that I'm pregnant. I was worried they would think I'm fat!

I caved last week and bought some maternity clothes. Their great. The pants feel like PJ pants! I'm up to 120 pounds...the most I have ever weighed for a total of 5 pounds of baby gain. I already am starting to feel so big, I can't imagine what life will be like in another month or two!

And this week's most exciting news is that this morning I'm pretty sure I felt the baby! I've read a lot of descriptions of how the moment would feel, but I think my friend Niki described it best--like little ball bearings. At fist I thought it was just a grumbly tummy, but when I placed my hand on my tummy and focused on the flutters, they bounced around in one area--just like the little ultra sound dance.
Here is this week's Speck Development Update (courtesey of

Get ready for a growth spurt. In the next few weeks, your baby will double his weight and add inches to his length. Right now, he's about the size of an avocado: 4 1/2 inches long (head to rump) and 3 1/2 ounces. His legs are much more developed, his head is more erect than it has been, and his eyes have moved closer to the front of his head. His ears are close to their final position, too. The patterning of his scalp has begun, though his locks aren't recognizable yet. He's even started growing toenails. And there's a lot happening inside as well. For example, his heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day, and this amount will continue to increase as your baby continues to develop.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Speck - Week 15...Shopping!!

15 Weeks Pregnant
15 Weeks Pregnant

Well, little speck isn't so little anymore and we might need to find a new nickname! The link above comes from 3DPregnancy, which has a ton of interesting information as well as some very cool 3D rotatable images of the baby's development week by week.

My weekly self weigh in and measurement is a Monday night ritual, and I'm writing this on Monday morning, so I don't have an update...but I've definitely popped this week. As Jami said, anyone who knows me knows that I've never had a gut and that I'm preggo...but to any outsider I still think I look more chubby than pregnant. Yesterday I had to resort to the rubber band on my pants trick because buttoning them was just too much work, and I've ordered a Bella Band to help get a couple more weeks out of my jeans.

Sometime this week I'm headed off for a shopping spree for new work clothes. The new job is biz casual, whereas the last job was either suits or street clothes, so I really don't have anything that fits the new dress code anyway. I think I'm going to stick with non maternity clothes for now, and buy a couple sizes larger than my normal 2/4, and ideally these new clothes will work for a while after the baby comes as well.

A little hint to the grandma's-to-be: my favorite store, Anne Taylor Loft, does not carry their maternity line in Colorado--but they do at the Columbia Mall and Santana Row...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Job Update...

Just thought I'd let you all know that I got a job!!

After having 3 meetings with the soon to be new boss, I decided that the best thing to do was tell him the truth (after I had the offer letter in hand). I had a lot of concerns about how he would respond, but everything worked out and I can safely say he is still glad he hired me.

I start work on the 27th of this month (the same day Erik starts his new job). The position requires minimal travel, the office is nice and close to home, the benefits are great, and the salary is higher than I was earning before. I'd say that overall, this is a better job than the one I left 10 weeks ago.

So now I can relax, know I will be insured, and just let Speckers grow!

Monday, October 13, 2008

14 Weeks - Pregnant, who?

I skipped week 13 out of superstition and general uneventfulness, so here we are at week 14...OFFICIALLY in the 2nd Trimester now by all counting methods.

I'm pretty much feeling not at all pregnant right now. My skin is back to it's normal, smooth, zit free complexion. The gas and bloating of the last 3 weeks has returned to a normal, pre-preggo level. I've only gained 1 pound since August 11th. My waistline hasn't gotten any rounder (though it did measure one inch longer today). No mood swings, no crazy behavior, nada.

I have this fear that I will go in for my next ultrasound (on the 22nd) and they are going to say "we're sorry Mrs. Kubec, you were never really pregnant!". If I hadn't seen speck swimming around with my own eyes I'd think I was making the whole thing up.

On the other hand, not looking or feeling preggo is a good thing for the job search. I've pretty much made up my mind that I am not going to tell my future employer about my "condition" prior to a job offer, and even after that I think I will wait until I'm settled in. In fact, I am still toying with the idea of pretending it is new news when I am ready to break it. The travel and the stress of unemployment were causing my cycle to be irregular (Mr. Boss), and now I finally understand why the food in Mexico was so gross!!

One sign though that I am in deed pregnant--today I had a craving for a tuna sandwich (speaking of food). I have NEVER had a desire to eat a tuna sandwich...I didn't even know how to make one!

And here you have it, your Speck Progress Report for week 14, provided courtesey of

At about 3.5 inches long, their little body and limber limbs are coordinated enough for loads of complicated motions. In fact, their whole body is moving right now! You're not feeling it because their current size is still a bit too small to make an impact you'd recognize. Still, their movements are recognizable on an ultrasound...Your baby is also starting to develop the ability to move their eyes this week, although the eyelids still remain fused shut. What's more, they can make all sorts of fun facial expressions as they practice squinting, frowning, and grimacing. Cute development of the week: their little hands can grasp at things and they may already be sucking their thumb!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

12 Weeks - Some Numbers

Still feeling pretty good at 12 weeks, and we're almost done with the first Trimester. I took my first set of measurements yesterday, which should be fun to track over the next few months.

Weight: 115
Belly (Around): 35"
Belly (Top to Bottom): 13"
Clothes: All of my size 2 and 4 suits still fit!

I personally do not think I am showing, the bulge around my belly is pretty much the same size as it was on a bloated day pre-preggo. In fact, I actually have lost 2 pounds since learning that the baby was on the way (the NP says that I probably just burned off some fat). However, longtime friends all swear they can see a bump, and I had my first request to touch my belly this weekend.

Here's an update on how Speck is growing, according to

How your baby's growing

The most dramatic development this week: reflexes. Your baby's fingers will soon begin to open and close, his toes will curl, his eye muscles will clench, and his mouth will make sucking movements. In fact, if you prod your abdomen, your baby will squirm in response, although you won't be able to feel it. His intestines, which have grown so fast that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into his abdominal cavity about now, and his kidneys will begin excreting urine into his bladder. Meanwhile, nerve cells are multiplying rapidly, and in your baby's brain, synapses are forming furiously. His face looks unquestionably human: His eyes have moved from the sides to the front of his head, and his ears are right where they should be. From crown to rump, your baby-to-be is just over 2 inches long (about the size of a lime) and weighs half an ounce.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

11 Weeks - Little Swimmer

Today I had my second ultrasound! My frustrations over the $250 appointment cost and the hour delay (after they told me to be early) quickly evaporated when they turned on the ultrasound machine and I was able to see Speck.

I got pictures, of course, but since we don't have a scanner I am posting pictures of some other baby's ultrasound that I found on a Google Image search (repeat: this is not our Speck).

Exciting growth & development achievements for this week according to my wealth of web research include: ability to swallow and pee, ability to touch and taste, flexible arms, fingernails and toenails.

We witnessed baby acrobatics during the ultrasound, as Speck bounced around quite a bit and even waved his/her arms at us. The NP was able to get a measure of the head and thinks she might have been off by a week on the original due date, but they won't be able to confirm until the "big" ultrasound in 2 months. Either way, looks like Speck is coming in early April...another Kubec April birthday.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Home from Mexico

Erik and I finally returned from Mexico today. We headed straight for the store and stocked up on all the foods we've been missing...bratwurst, chips & salsa, cokes, cheddar cheese, you name it. We had a yummy dinner of fresh tomatoes, brats, and garlic bread. And then I puked it all up.

Why did my first pregnancy puke have to be a meal I've been dying to eat for weeks? How unfair! Maybe my mind has been effective at keeping my cookies while we were in Mexico, because I didn't want to put my head in Olivia's toilette (it was always full of blue toilette cleaning stuff). Or maybe my stomach just needs some time to adjust to food that actually tastes good.

I hope this isn't the start of morning sickness. At almost 11 weeks, I thought I was in the clear. I haven't had any preggo symptoms in over a week. I need to feel not pregnant for a couple more weeks so I can land a job! I've got my eye on one with a really nice base and paid maternity leave...can't be throwing up in interviews!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Speck - Week 10

Speck is now in Week 10. I'm very excited for next week's doctor's appointment, where I think we will be doing another ultrasound and listening for a heartbeat! Click here for more details on how speck is growing.

I'm still feeling relatively symptom free. I did have a couple of "oh I think I'm gonna puke" moments last week (right after I bragged in my last post about not having any morning sickness), but they were brief and uneventful. I was so bloated earlier this weekend that I did get a preview into what I'll look like in a month, but it was good timing because nobody asked me if I wanted any tequilla when we went on the Jose Cuervo tour.

I'm sleeping a ton, and I am really glad that I had these five weeks free of work. Since I'm not ready to make an announcement to an employer, I don't know how I would have suffered through all of the fatigue at work. And from everything I have read, I should be getting some of my energy back during the second trimester---just in time to start a new job!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Speck - Week 9

I've signed up for about 10 different web services that send me weekly updates on how Speck is growing. Apparently, this week he/she graduates from an embryo to a fetus...yeah Speck! Keep up the good work.

The symptom of the week this week is fatigue. I'm glad that I don't have a job at the moment, because I'm not sure how I would be doing right now. According to my weekly updates, the fatigue should fade in a couple more least for a while.

The good news is, still no puking and my oily face has yet to yield a pimple!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pregnancy & Mexican Food

One of the more challenging parts of the last 3 weeks of pregnancy has been life in Mexico. I do like Mexican food. I thought my problems here would be limited to pinto beans and corn tortillas.

What I was not prepared for was the strong reaction that speck & my stomach have had to smells and things that just don't look good. I've always been a picky eater, but now instead of just being grossed out I am finding myself nauseous. I am so tired of onions, chicken with bones, fresh tortillas that smell like dog food, and the other assorted wierd things that they eat here!

In the last week, I've resorted to exaggerating food cravings: Pizza, Mac & Cheese, Cheerio's, etc. I feel bad, because Olivia is trying so hard to make sure I'm eating...but sometimes I can barely enter the kitchen! This weekend Erik & I have the house to ourselves. In a few minutes, we're going to walk to the store and find the ingredients to make REAL spaghetti for dinner. YUM!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Spanish Name Correction

El nombre de Speck en EspaƱol es Pundito, no es Motito.

We tried to explain the nickname Speck to our teacher today and were advised that Pundito is a better word. Apparently Motito has some other connotation (related to marijuana).

Monday, September 1, 2008

7 Weeks & Counting

It has been 3 weeks since I learned that "Speck" is on the way. Somewhere between quiting my job (read: giving up my insurance) and departing for a 4 week trip to Guadalajara, I realized that I'd missed something. After waking up in a panic, taking the HPT, and listening to my best friend tell me that there are no false positive pregnancy tests, I broke the news to Erik.

Surprisingly, all is well. And much to my relief, we still went to Mexico.Week 7 Symptoms: Lets just say, prunes are my new favorite food. And I can smell onions from a mile away. Heavy meals with lots of flavor aren't very appealing. And my bladder is on a once every 2 hour schedule. Perhaps my mood is a little out of whack, but who am I to say?

We've been referring to the baby as "Speck" (or "Motito" in Spanish) because in the very preliminary ultra-sound taken at week 5, he/she/it was about 5mm long.

We've broken the news to our family and everyone is very excited. And we've told everyone we've met in Mexico (I feel like I have to explain why I don't want Cervezas or Tequilla). I'm hoping to get a job before I spill the beans to the world in full, so for now this blog is by invitation only.

I decided to start a blog on the whole process, because I'm pretty much obsessed with it right now anyway and I might as well do something somewhat productive with all of that energy!