Wednesday, December 30, 2009

28 Weeks and Complete Bed Rest...

dc metro snow storm 09


25 weeks bump (will update soon)



Where to start??? There has been such a long gap in my posting for which I apologize, but I have a feeling that I will be posting a lot more in the future.


I'll start at the present and go from there. I am officially 28 weeks and in my 3rd trimester! YAY! The boys are doing great and just 2 days ago they weighed in at 2 lbs 13 oz and 2 lbs 14 oz. They are measuring over a week ahead! We had our routine 2 week appointment on Monday and were shocked to find out that my cervical length had shortened quite a bit. I was immediately admitted to the hospital for strict bed rest. I had been on modified bed rest at home for just around 1 month, but of course when you're on bed rest at home you sometimes tend to extend yourself beyond the parameters of "bed rest".


Having two babies puts a lot of pressure on my cervix and I am here for the duration of my pregnancy as a precaution. Close monitoring should help prevent preterm labor and keep the babies baking for as long as possible. There is a slight chance that they will let me go home at 34 weeks, but there is no guarantee. Luckily, I am not on any medication, or hooked up to any machines or IV. They check the twins' heart rates 3 times a day and check my vitals 3 times as well. I am only allowed to go to the bathroom and take a 10 minute shower a day. This is nothing like home bed rest, but I know it is for the best.


When I first found out I was being admitted I cried and cried. The first thoughts were not being around Lucas and the pups all the time. The last month on home bed rest was so fulfilling to me and I will cherish the memories forever. I was able to spend so much time with my husband and my pups and I just felt so warm, cozy and happy to be able to relax and enjoy being spoiled for the rest of my pregnancy with my greatest loves by my side. Right now I am in a room with another high risk mother, but I should be getting a private room at any time. Once I have a private room Lucas will be able to spend and the night sometimes AND Star and Sunny will be able to come and visit!!!!!! Hearing that information was the best news and totally perked me up. Just thinking about being away from Star and Sunny for 6 weeks or more was tinkering on total emotional break-down for me.


The hospital does not properly accommodate vegans. They have a vegetarian menu full of cows' secretions and chickens' eggs and of course salad, but not the varied diet that a pregnant vegan should be eating!! Lucas to the rescue!!!!! Thankfully, they have a refrigerator where I am able to store my soy milk and other cold foods safely. I keep a bunch of fruits, bread and other dry foods in my room for snacks, breakfast and lunch, then Lucas brings me a hot dinner. Hopefully one day vegans won't have to over-extend themselves just to get the proper nutrition because they choose not to exploit animals, especially at one of the best hospitals in the nation.


We moved into a larger place just a week before I was admitted. Great timing, huh? We were supposed to move a couple of days before, but there was a huge snow storm where we ended up with over 20 inches of snow. It was such a beautiful disaster. My mother-law was in town visiting us just in time for the storm and was one of the lucky few to only have a couple hours of a delay on her return flight home.


I am so happy we moved before I was hospitalized, though we still aren't fully unpacked. Upon being admitted I was also a little upset because I wouldn't have the opportunity to be there to set up the nursery. Though I have everything picked out for the babies, I won't be there to see it all be put together!!! My parents are coming this weekend to put shelves in the nursery closet and paint the room. I am grateful for all the support!!! I have never felt so helpless before, but I know it is all for the well being of these little boys!!


I am still working from bed! My company continues to be supportive. I think that I'd be bored without having any responsibility during my hospitalization. I can't imagine how it will be over the next few weeks, I can only take it one day at a time. As long as the boys continue to be healthy I am satisfied. Once they are born this period of bed rest will be such a distant memory and for now I need to relax and let nature take its course. I feel completely normal, except I have a heavy belly and that makes it even harder to accept the fact that I'm in the hospital when I'm not even sick or in pain.


The babies move around so much. I first felt them really kicking and moving around 23 weeks and they haven't stopped since. Luke has finally been able to feel and see the movement which is amazing to share. I've gained around 19 lbs so far, it seems to be all in my huge bump!! I'm sure I forgot something I wanted to say, but it seems I have all the time in the world to catch up...





Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Daddy Post - (Mis)Representations of Non Human Animals On Baby Products

What children are taught to believe:




Reality:








Kenya and I have babies on our minds! As parents-to-be we've been recently exploring the vast world of baby merchandise. It came as no surprise to us to see many representations of non human animals (which I will be referring to simply as “animals” for the rest of this entry) displayed on everything from bedding to clothing to wall paper borders to pacifiers to baby dishes and beyond. The vast majority of the representations are of warm and fuzzy, cuddly and cute animals with joyous expressions on their adorable cartoon faces. Cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, fish, frogs, birds, dogs, cats, bees, dolphins, monkeys, giraffes, zebras, lions, and many more animals are often shown in themes of either free settings; an open pasture, the forest, a jungle, or just “the wild” in general – or in captive settings; farms, zoos, circuses, etc (although the cages are rarely included). In either setting these animals are clearly shown as being happy and comfortable, often with big anthropomorphic smiles to prove it.

Now, as vegans, Kenya and I are quite aware of the realities of animal exploitation that are sanitized and misrepresented on baby products. I'd like to briefly go over a few prominent examples.

On “farms”, for instance, animals are forcefully impregnated and bred in order to be confined and exploited for unnecessary human desires and they are all eventually killed. To not kill them, from a business standpoint, would not be economical, regardless of the size of the operation, from small scale to factory farm. They are all exploited and used in ways that would be considered torture if humans were in their place. Rape (forced impregnation), torture (mutilation, intense confinement, rough handling, etc.), and murder are standard business practices. The animals are all the property under the law (same as a couch or an Ipod – only animals have
interests) and, of course, they are treated accordingly. When they no longer serve a purpose to the “producer”, they become a hindrance to making profits and are ultimately killed at a very early age. Not exactly what was depicted on the burp cloths and in the wooden toy sets that we've seen.


Dairy cow's, for example have to give birth constantly in order to produce milk. Forced impregnation is necessary to the operation and, in many instances, this occurs while the cow is restrained in a contraption referred to as the “rape rack” (this goes for female pigs --sows-- as well). They, as all other mammals, certainly do not produce milk just so humans can steal and consume it. They produce milk, which is “designed” by nature, for their own babies, to feed their calves. When they give birth to a male, he would cost too much money to raise in order to run an efficient operation (too much input, not enough output). So what is done with them? They are torn from the mothers and turned into something economical: veal, the flesh of calves. When dairy cows are “spent”, meaning no longer productive, they are killed just like the male “beef” cows, often ending up in hamburgers.

Egg laying hens are certainly not any better off. Whether the operation is “free range” or “cage free” or your average factory farm setting, the hens' beaks, a very sensitive part of their bodies, are often cut about half way off with a hot blade so that they do not naturally establish a pecking order, peck and/or cannibalize other hens also within close confinement. Egg laying hens are starved and their reproductive cycles are manipulated into laying more eggs, simultaneously with other hens, so that they are productive and efficient so as to compete on the market. Male chicks are an unwanted byproduct of the egg industry. Once hatched, they are simply killed - gassed, suffocated, crushed, electrocuted or ground up alive in large numbers. That way a “producer” can eliminate what would otherwise be uneconomical: the life of male chicks. This reality is much different from the idyllic scenes on the blankets, clothes, and bibs.

As vegans, Kenya and I are also aware that many free or “wild” animals, many represented on baby items, are killed in order to protect ranchers and their “livestock”. The USDA's Wildlife “Services” program kills hundreds of thousands of “wild” animals, using tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, every single year. In 2004, for example, Wildlife “Services” killed 2.7 million “wild” animals such as coyotes, beavers, raccoons, feral pigs, snakes, skunks, squirrels, foxes, deer, prairie dogs, and rats. These animals are shot, poisoned, gassed, snared, and caught in leg hold traps. In addition, millions of birds are killed in order to protect crops, many crops which are primarily used to feed “livestock”. Starlings, pigeons, crows, ravens, sparrows, geese, swans, vultures, and many many more are killed in the thousands and millions annually.

Other “wild” animals that are depicted on baby items are, in reality, shot and killed, or sometimes left injured, just for “sport” and/or tradition.

Zoos and Circuses are also prominent themes appearing on baby items. In pretty much all the zoo themes, the animals are depicted without having any barriers around them, or as if they were in their natural environments. This is very much in contrast to the actual reality of zoos, on and behind the scenes. In reality animals in zoos are often prevented from doing many of the things that are natural and important to them like running, roaming, flying, climbing, foraging, choosing a mate, and being with others of their own kind. This causes them great stress, which is blatantly apparent if one knows what signs to look for. Furthermore, many animals in zoos live only a fraction as long as they would in their natural environments.

Circus scenes on baby items are often the most exciting. Anthropomorphic animals can be seen smiling as they perform various acts, seemingly having the best time of their lives. In reality, animals do not naturally perform “tricks” as they do in circuses. In order to force the animals to perform tricks trainers use whips, tight collars, electric prods, bull hooks, and other painful tools. The scenes behind the scenes at circuses are not so much exciting and fun as they are horrifying.

Knowing these realities behind what is often represented on children's merchandise as “happy”, “playful”, “natural” forms of animal exploitation, I think at least two questions need to be raised:

1) Why do we want our kids to love the animals that we routinely exploit, and brutally harm for no other reason than for our personal pleasure?

And...

2) Why do we lie to our own animal loving children about, and make them unwittingly complicit in the injustices that occur to their beloved friends and companions, the animals?

Having once been an unapologetic omnivore and then a confused vegetarian in denial about the unnecessary harm I was causing for most of my life, I am in a position to expertly answer these questions. We can't be honest with our children about the ways animals are exploited because we ourselves are uncomfortable with it on some level and know our children would not be comfortable with it either. Most of us are aware that other animals, including the ones we regularly exploit are intelligent, sensate individuals with interests in living and continuing their lives free of exploitation.

Many of us are now aware that we don't need to consume animals or their bodily secretions to survive and live healthfully. Therefore, we want or
need to believe in this fantasy that animals bred and raised or captured for unnecessary human purposes live happy, full lives and are treated with love and respect by their exploiters. Otherwise, we would come face to face with the reality that for no justifiable reason we are directly responsible for the many pitiful lives and cruel, brutal deaths of animals that are every bit as alive, conscious, and sentient as we are - that we are the oppressors of our children's lifelong friends. This is why we need to show “happy” representations of animals to our children when those animals are in reality very far from being happy as they are exploited and killed.

This is early indoctrination into a speciesist world, to erroneously teach our children that animals are merely things that are meant to be, and even happy to be, used by us. Never mind that animals have their own lives and their own interests. That would ruin the fantasy... not to mention dinner.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Big 20 Weeks Anatomy Scan...




baby B's profile (so hard to get him to stay still) with baby A's random body parts in the mix


baby A's thinking pose


baby A's profile


star wanted in on the baby bump photo action this week


20 weeks twin bump


our 20 weeks pregnancy evolution

We are now in week 21 and everything is still going great!!! We had our 20 week anatomy scan last week and the babies are doing so well. They are measuring ahead of schedule and they're growing at a pretty even rate in relation to one another. We were able to see every little part of their bodies, from their brains, to each little finger and toe. We loved seeing the 4 chambers of their hearts pumping away and their cute little profiles. They are already looking like their papa!
During the scan baby B wasn't being very cooperative so I was told to drink some cold water and move from side to side to get him to change positions, which he finally did and the tech was able to get all the shots they needed to diagnose our healthy little identical twins. He was such a little rascal and honestly it has been a pattern at all of our recent appointments. Baby A always seems willing to pose for us and baby B just does his own thing. I love it! I can't wait to see how their personalities are when they're born.
The actual scan took almost 2 hours, I started feeling sick after laying on my back for a while so I had to change positions quite a bit during. The pressure made me feel light-headed, but thankfully changing positions and cold water helped a lot. This had to be my favorite appointment out of all of them so far, besides when we found out they were twins and then when we found out they were boys.
Our perinatologist did inform us that even though everything is stellar with the babies and my cervix, I will be on bed rest at 24 weeks (3 weeks away). I am so lucky to be able to work from home from Nov 30th until the babies are born. Then I will be on maternity leave for 12 weeks. I can't imagine being away from my office for 5 plus months, but I will do anything to ensure the best for our little sweeties. I am super in love with my career, but I am more in love with my boys!!! At least I will have some work to keep me busy while on bed rest for 12 to 13 weeks! Can you imagine???
Honestly, I don't think I could have handled going in to the office after the next couple of weeks. Though I'm feeling so much better than in the first trimester I am starting to feel drained, sleep has become a more uncomfortable task as the days pass. My belly is growing so fast, I am feeling the babies' movements more and more, but still not feeling distinctive kicks or punches. I pee like 5 times during the night and toss and turn from side to side. I know this is just the beginning of sleep deprivation and at least I'm still getting a decent amount of shut-eye for now.
My appetite is growing, some days I can't eat enough and some days it is completely normal. Last night I was hungry again like less than 2 hours after eating a wholesome dinner (brown rice and delicious pinto and kidney beans with two different kinds of kale) and I even went back for seconds. When I was weighed at the anatomy scan last week I had gained 8lbs total for the pregnancy and an average of a pound a week since the last appointment. I imagine that will be the steady pace for the future. We are going to appointments every two weeks now so Monday (we will be in our 22nd week) is the next one.
I am extra happy to announce that my best friend is pregnant too. We are only 8 weeks apart and she has just spilled the beans to everyone so now I am finally free to discuss. She even has the same OB I had before transferring to my perinatologist. We have been friends since our freshman year of college and while almost polar opposites in most aspects of philosophy and lifestyle we totally connect. There is nothing better than having someone to share the first-hand experience of something so life altering and enlightening (though I can't stand that she hasn't puked one time her entire pregnancy). I am so excited for future play dates and mommy talk!



Monday, October 26, 2009

A quick 19 weeks update...

18 week baby bump

16 week baby bump


So everything is progressing smoothly with our (identical twin) vegan pregnancy. We are now in week 19 and the twins are growing rapidly and are super active. We saw them on Friday and they continue to amaze and excite us!


We are going to a new practice and have a new Perinatologist that will do all of our prenatal care from now on and will also deliver our little bundles. They specialize in multiples and all other high risk pregnancies. The whole practice is great and a major bonus is that they have the most high-tech and state of the art equipment. We view our sonograms on these huge flat panel screens, bringing the babies in high-def as if they were right in the room with us. It is insanely cool!


On Friday we had our second visit with the new doctor. He said everything was a perfect as possible and that we don't need to come but every 2 weeks. We had been going every week, alternating between our old OB and Fetal Medicine Specialist. He really comforted us with his positive outlook on the pregnancy and the progress of the babies. However, he said that he wanted me on bed rest way sooner than I expected. We will see what happens. The thought of bed rest for such a long period of time is excruciating, but in the end I will do whatever keeps these little buns in the oven the longest!


My appetite is very normal, I am not hungry every second like I expected carrying twins. I have gained around 6 lbs total this pregnancy and thankfully it is all in my baby bump so far! I have been hungrier at night than during the day.


My skin still isn't doing as well as I would like, but oh well I guess I should be thankful for the 30 years of good skin I've had. I'm just happy not to have morning sickness anymore and have my energy back! As far as sleep goes, I'm still going back and forth at night on my sides which is totally annoying as well. For some reason I sleep better during the day (if I take a nap) than at night.


Our big anatomical scan is now on Nov 2nd (we'll be 20 whole weeks)! Time is flying by!


Oh yeah and everyone is always asking me if I have any "weird cravings" or if I am craving animals or their by-products. The answer for all of the above is NO! To me animals aren't food, so they aren't even in my spectrum of choices to be desired. There are so many amazingly delicious and nutritious plant-based foods that far exceed the number of animal based products out there, I NEVER consider anything else. Being vegan isn't just a diet, it is an integral part of my entire existence and belief structure that is at the forefront of every move I make. I will always be vegan no matter what the circumstance, there is no compromise EVER.

Monday, September 28, 2009

we're having identical twin boys...

Baby B @ 14 Weeks

Baby A @ 14 Weeks (sucking his finger)


my pregnancy evolution
15 Weeks Pregnant


12 Weeks Pregnant


6 Weeks Pregnant


Yummy...
Vegan Cake



We found out last week at our fetal medicine specialist appointment that our twins are BOYS! We are absolutely thrilled. We didn't have our hearts set on a specific gender throughout the pregnancy, but during the last two weeks I began to think we were having girls. Boy, was I wrong. We saw two little penises or turtles as the tech called them. It was undeniable that they were boys. Most of our family members and friends had predicted boys!!!


At the check-up I had my cervix measured and it was a normal length. Both babies are doing great and measure a week ahead of schedule each. The fetal medicine doctor said everything was perfect so far! What a relief!!! We go back to our regular OB this Friday and then we see the fetal medicine specialist again on the 14th for an anatomical scan. They check out all the body parts, etc in detail. We actually got to see quite a bit of their bodies this time as well. We saw their hearts, kidneys, spines, fingers, toes, brains, legs and their cute little butts! Baby A was sucking his thumb!! SOOO CUTE. They were both super active too and BABY B seemed to be waving at us!


I have been feeling what I think is movement, but I can't really tell for sure at this point because I've never been pregnant and don't know exactly what it feels like yet. I sometimes think I feel flutters or quickening and then it turns out to be gas. HA! The specialist said that I should surely be feeling their movement in the upcoming weeks and that I will know for sure, especially since they are so active each time we go in.


WOW! Two little boys, Luke's smile was large enough to light the night's sky when we got the news. We can't believe that in a short while we will have two sons!!! Everything seems even more real now that we know the gender and can apply the names we've been thinking of when discussing them. Everyone says boys are easier than girls though a little more rowdy, but I know that every child is different and no matter how rowdy these little rascals are we will love them to pieces.


Oh and since I am now officially in my second trimester you'll be glad to know that I am not having morning sickness anymore (knock on wood). Right at the 13 week mark I started to get better, my appetite was back, my energy was improved. I was better just in time for our trip to Illinois for a wedding that Lucas was a groomsman in. It was a wonderful trip and great opportunity to spend time with Lucas' family and friends. It is hard living so far away from people we love so much, especially in such a precious and momentous time in our lives.


I couldn't handle a layover so we had a straight flight into St. Louis where my mother-in-law picked us up and drove us the hour and a half (or so) trip down to Southern IL (where they live). We decided to grab lunch in the city and used happycow.net to help us locate a place to eat appropriate for vegans! We decided on Shangri-La a cute little diner style joint with great decor, music and food. The food was so awesome and super filling and the desert was stellar too. Unfortunately, it isn't 100 percent vegan, but almost everything on the menu was vegan or could be made vegan. The owner was vegan and would much prefer not to have any animal products at all on the menu. So annoying, but a great place! www.theshangriladiner.com.


Also while in IL I ate my first salad in almost 2 months and it was delicious. I can't imagine what was going on in my body that made me have an aversion to one of my favorite things to eat EVER, but such is pregnancy! I've been devouring them ever since!


The wedding that Lucas was in was for one of his oldest and best friends. They are so awesome that they had this vegetarian place (The Longbranch Coffee House) make us our own special vegan heart-shaped cake to eat at the wedding. DELICIOUS and most of all thoughtful.

http://www.shawneenet.net/menus/longbranch/menu.html


The flight back into DC was horrid for me, though the flight to St. Louis was totally smooth. For some reason I felt hot, sweaty and nauseous the entire hour and a half flight. Luckily I didn't vomit on the plane, but once we landed I had to rush to the bathroom twice for major vomiting. That was the last time I've puked and I had been really good before that for a while. Now its been a full week since my last upheaval and I hope it remains this way. I'm still tired, but not nearly as much as the first trimester.


Another new symptom is that I've broken out a little on my face. I have never had acne or problem skin. I'm hoping it doesn't get any worse than it is now, though I surely can handle a few pimples for the next few months...


The biggest change my body has made is my baby bump! All of a sudden it popped out at week 13. Now at week 15 I look fully pregnant! I love it and can't wait for it to get even bigger as our little bean-sprouts grow and grow!! I am so proud to be carrying these babies and I feel so proud as I watch my body evolve.




Monday, September 7, 2009

the most amazing news ever...

Our Vegan Babies @ 11 Weeks 5 Days Old

Our Vegan Baby A @ 11 Weeks 5 Days Old

Our Vegan Baby B @ 11 Weeks 5 Days Old





A lot has happened since our last post. Our lives have been changed forever, in the most ultimate and best way possible. At our third ultrasound/OB appointment on Monday 8/31 we received the shocking news that we are expecting twins!!! Not only are they twins, but they are identical twins!!!

The OB was performing a vaginal ultrasound while we watched the screen intently, then all of a sudden I noticed a round looking mass on the screen in addition to our baby. I asked the OB what the splotch was and if it was a cyst, he laughed and said it was another baby. The most indescribable feeling washed over me, I felt as if I were going to faint. Lucas' face looked completely dumfounded as we locked eyes. I asked the doctor if he was sure and he said to hold on and to not pass out while he did an abdominal ultrasound. As he glided the wand around my belly we immediately saw two babies floating around and two blinking heartbeats! Unbelievable! We were super surprised, yet immediately felt lucky to have such an amazing gift of two babies!

The doctor was in shock too and we discussed how the vaginal ultrasound doesn't always get a full view and that the second baby was hiding! We discussed how identical twins are complete anomalies and have nothing to do with heredity. We've learned so much in the past week about identical twins. The doctor gave us a referral to a fetal medicine doctor for a level 2 ultrasound so we could determine if the babies have a separating membrane in their sac and if they share a placenta.

We went in for the level 2 ultrasound on 9/2 and found out that our twins are indeed monozygotic sharing a placenta. Thankfully, they do have a separating membrane within their sac so that their umbilical cords can't get tangled. The ultrasound was amazing, we got to hear both heartbeats for the first time. I have never been so emotional in my life, to hear our children's heartbeats was the most beautiful thing.

A lot has changed since last Monday, we are now considered a high risk pregnancy because we are carrying twins. The doctor also informed us that there is a high chance that I will have to have a cesarean section. UGH! I wanted a natural delivery with no drugs! We don't take pharmaceuticals and I had no intention of starting, but if it is the only way the babies can be born healthy then that is what we will have to do. The doctor also said that we might deliver in February instead of March at 36 weeks instead of 40. Only time will truly tell...

We were only expecting one baby, but having two will be so perfect. As vegans our babies will never feel alone because they always have one another. A built in best friend and life long playmate. I now know why I've been so sick and so fatigued, I've been building two babies for 3 months! We are at 12 weeks as of this past Friday and I'm way better than before, but still sick here and there. I've been having a little bit of restless sleep at night for the past week or so, I can't seem to get comfortable and all I can think about is my two little bean sprouts growing inside of me. Often we look at one another and giggle and say, "WE ARE HAVING TWO BABIES"! Insanity...

Our families are so excited as are our friends. Twins bring out such joy and intrigue. It seems people are even more stoked than we announced our pregnancy. It is so hard to believe we conceived on our first try and conceived identical twins at that!!!

When we first found out we were pregnant I wished for twins, but I never thought it would happen. I kept saying that I wished I was pregnant with twins because I didn't know if I could handle doing it again. My wish came true after thinking for 3 months that I was carrying one baby and after seeing one baby twice before on the ultrasound. A TRUE MIRACLE...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

right around the corner...

Our Vegan Baby @ 6 Weeks 1 Day Old


Our Vegan Baby @ 9 Weeks 3 Days Old


So our second trimester is right around the corner! We are in week 10! On Friday we will be in week 11, only 3 more days. Our due date is now around March 19th 2010. We had our second ultrasound last week at 9 weeks and 3 days. We saw the baby moving his/her arms around, dancing around just for mommy and daddy! It totally melted our hearts. I was so relieved everything was going well with the baby and pregnancy. Reading all the mommy boards can stir up a lot of anxiety, getting to see the baby and heartbeat always offers inner peace. Our next appointment is on the 31st and I can not wait. I'm hoping that in the second trimester I get my energy back and I can be somewhat normal again!!!


I'm still having morning sickness aka all day sickness, Lucas bought me those seasickness bands and they work (sometime). I've still been sleeping in almost all of my spare time. I have a better appetite, but still have to force myself to eat at times. I had to cancel my 5 day beach-trip with friends this week. I just couldn't imagine being away from Lucas for that long, he is my saving grace!!!


I've been way too tired to post recently, so I just wanted to write a quickie to let everyone know we are doing well! As always happy, healthy and vegan...


This is what our baby looked like at week 8!
This is what our baby looked like at week 9!
This is what our baby looks like right about now!




Sunday, August 9, 2009

a daddy post...



So I'm going to be a father! A vegan father at that! I have thought about the idea for some time but wasn't sure if I was ready to become a parent. Kenya, on the other hand, has been ready for some time but agreed that we'd wait until the time was right to try.

Before trying to conceive I started thinking about the state of the world today. I don't want our child to believe in fairy tales. I don't want our child to be brought up on lies that soften her or his critical thinking skills. I don't want our child to be ridiculed for being “different”. I don't want our child to ridicule others for being “different”. I don't want our child to be brainwashed by the mainstream media. I don't want our child to be targeted by very intelligent psychologists working for corporations that simply want her or him to mindlessly consume, consume, consume. I don't want our child to face resource shortages, or toxic pollution, or the effects of environmental degradation, each of which are a result of mindless consumption practices and, even more so, the predatory nature of capitalism.

I currently live in a world in which compassion and respect for others beings is stunted from an early age and the exploitation of humans, other animals, and the Earth is condoned and encouraged if one can derive mere pleasure and perceived benefit from it. I live in a world in which wars are accepted as a natural way to peace. I live in a world in which violence is considered to be an acceptable problem-solving tactic. I live in a world where people don't think about the consequences of their actions. I live in a world where people will do just about anything to “belong” and uphold the status quo. I live in a world in which racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ableism, and speciesism run rampant. I live in a world in which the majority of people do not have the basic necessities to survive while only a small minority live comfortably as a result of the labor of those who are struggling. I live in a world where all this is seen as “normal” and/or “natural”.

I don't want our child to be taught (or brainwashed), as I was, to believe that some people just aren't as good, or efficient, or capable, or smart, or worthy, etc. as we in the West are and therefore are doomed to live in the horrendous conditions that they live in. I don't want our child to ever deem anyone inferior to her or him, human or nonhuman. Yet, I live in a world in which humans create hierarchies of who is most deserving of our consideration and who is least deserving of our consideration. Every other being on this planet is susceptible to being dominated by us humans, including other humans, simply because we feel “we can” dominate them. In the U.S. Some 12 BILLION land animals (not including aquatic animals) are killed just so that humans can eat them. Around 50 BILLION is the worldwide estimate. Our best justification for this is that we like the taste. We proudly display our domination over other animals in the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the products we apply to our bodies. Their lives aren't even worth our consideration because they have been deemed so inferior to us simply because they are “not like us”.

I don't want our child to be brought up in THIS kind of world where this mentality is the norm!

But then I got to thinking. How are things ever going to change for the better if there aren't more children being raised and taught to reject the exploitation and oppression of other beings? For me it's clear that the notion that we can exploit “others” for our own perceived gain is at the root of many problems we face today. Therefore, a rejection of the mentality that we humans can do whatever we like to those who are vulnerable simply for our pleasure or perceived benefit is the solution. Veganism is a rejection of that mentality. Veganism, at it's core, means showing compassion and respect to all, especially to the most vulnerable among us.

I want to live in a peaceful world. I don't want to see any war. I would love to see vital resources freed to benefit those in need. I would love to see more people taking a stand against injustices rather than sitting idly by as many struggle to survive. I would love to see more people waking up to the way we are conditioned to over consume, and to the problems our consumption practices cause. I would love to see more people waking up to the way we are conditioned to treat each other and other beings. I desperately want to see a world where humans recognize that other animals have an interest in their own lives and realize that enslaving, torturing, and murdering them is against our moral principles. Unfortunately, it's highly unlikely that I will ever see this kind of world. But maybe, just maybe, through the right, compassionate education, our vegan child will be able to, at very least, catch a glimpse. Our vegan child will be brought up to challenge to do something considered impossible. Our vegan child will defy standards and reject traditions and societal norms based on exploitation and exclusion. That's the kind of change we wish to see. That's the kind of change we, as a family, will be.





moving right along...

A Cute Informative Pregnancy Book A Friend From CA Sent


My respect for mothers has grown tremendously in my 8 short weeks of pregnancy. The power and determination of women has always amazed me and made me proud to be a woman. I keep imagining the unwavering strength of single pregnant mothers, pregnant mothers with other small children, teen pregnant mothers, mature age pregnant mothers, pregnant mothers of the "global south" and of course all the non-human animal mothers, though the list goes on. I have always viewed myself as a strong woman that could handle anything thrown her way. I've made it through so much and I've accomplished so much, but honestly none of it even compares to what I am doing right now. Growing this baby is the absolute greatest accomplishment of my life and it is also the hardest thing I've ever done.


I am grateful for a healthy pregnancy so far and I am grateful that my symptoms aren't as severe as they could be. Though at times, I feel so outside of myself. It is definitely the most interesting time of my life. I am fully aware of every change my body is making and while I cherish every moment of this monumental time I absolutely can't wait until the second trimester. I find comfort in books, articles, blogs and mommy boards where women express these same feelings. The March 2010 mommy board has made me feel normal instead of weak.


Week 7 was pretty much like the weeks I described before. I didn't gain any new symptoms, though I have been able to eat more, which is great (even though it is still less than normal). We've also added yummy smoothies into the mix in week 7, which helps a lot when I can't eat an actual meal.


I was too exhausted (buzz word of the trimester) to post last week. Hopefully that won't happen again, but realistically it probably will.


I am officially in week 8 now and I'm excited to see what this week brings! Our next appointment with the OB is on the 17th and we can not wait to see how the baby is progressing!



7 WEEKS (AGAIN...)


SYMPTOMS:

nausea/vomiting (i can't even brush my teeth without getting sick)

loss of appetite

heavy food aversions

heightened sense of smell

moody ( a little irrational at times, thankfully luke knows how to diffuse this)

fatigue (frequent naps after work)

extreme happiness (doctor says that i will go up and down due to hormones…but i doubt it)

sore breasts




Thursday, July 30, 2009

we have a new due date...


Our First Vegan Parenting Resources


We've had quite an interesting week. I've been sicker than ever, lots of puke and lots of sleeping. I've completely lost interest in so many foods I formerly loved. I can no longer eat kale, salads, collards, bok choy, mushrooms and many more delicious and nutritious foods I had been devouring just a week or so before. My food aversions have basically left me a fruitarian, I am loving cantaloupes, strawberries, oranges, bananas, cherries, grapes, and plums. I have also been eating a lot of pineapple, but for some reason it makes me sick more often than not. The strange thing is that I still crave it like mad. I've also had a good relationship with baked or mashed potatoes and my favorite water crackers. I have an aversion to raw cashews and walnuts now, but I can stomach pistachios. I could go on forever, but you get the point.


We had our first OB appointment on Monday and he reassured us that all the foods I have been able to stomach are completely sufficient and healthy for growing a baby and that we shouldn't be worried at all. The greatest news about our OB is that he was totally impressed with our vegan diet and actually said it was THE BEST diet for a pregnant woman. He also said that he personally eats meat, but at least he acknowledges the truth! We expressed our joy in the fact that he was supportive and told him we had been worried about him accepting our diet. He said that any doctor who would be against a vegan diet obviously wasn't thinking straight (but in more harsh terms) and that it is just plain fact that the less processed your diet and the more vegetables and fruit you eat the better. WE LOVE HIM ALREADY!


He made me feel completely comfortable for all the invasive procedures I underwent that day. I had to have a vaginal ultra-sound, which I was NOT expecting at all. I have watched so many baby shows, I just imagined him rolling a little wand around my belly. That was so not the case, but I survived. It went well and we were able to see our little lentil's heart beating. Just amazing...life could not have been better than at the moment when he said everything looked great! We spent a long time in his office discussing my prenatal vitamins among many other questions we have as first-timers. He disagreed with my family practice doctor and thinks that I should continue taking DHA and a separate vitamin D supplement of 400 IUs.


The biggest shocker of the appointment was when he said that the ultra-sound showed that the baby was 6 weeks and 1 day, instead of almost 8 weeks as I had originally been told by my family practice doctor. He explained that because of my 37 day irregular cycle, the dating of the pregnancy can sometimes be off. He gave us a new due date of March 21st. Our original due date was March 10th. We'll see what happens, but I bet the baby comes somewhere in between those two dates. We don't really care as long as he or she is healthy! This Sunday I will be on week 7 according to the OB. So we are moving back a little and I was already counting down the days until the 2nd trimester where supposedly these gnarly symptoms start to die down.


We are going to see my in-laws this weekend, which should be fun. I can imagine myself sleeping and puking the whole time, but I hope for a little break...





6 WEEKS (AGAIN...)


SYMPTOMS:

nausea/vomiting (i can't even brush my teeth without getting sick)

loss of appetite

heavy food aversions

heightened sense of smell

moody ( a little irrational at times, thankfully luke knows how to diffuse this)

fatigue (frequent naps after work)

extreme happiness (doctor says that i will go up and down due to hormones…but i doubt it)



LIFESTYLE CHANGES:

missed 2 days of work

going to bed earlier

sleeping on my sides only (i try to sleep on left, but move around a lot)

this week been way too tired to exercise every day but still fitting it in when i can

eating some form of breakfast every day (even if comes right back up)

even more strict on organic food intake and whole foods (only fruits, minimal vegetables, grains and nuts)


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

she's so exhausted...

Today begins week 7 for us and honestly I am totally EXHAUSTED. I have never slept this much in my life and I LOVE SLEEP. I went to bed at 1030pm last night (which NEVER happens) and slept until after 830am! I woke up to eat some multi-grain toast at 2am and take one of many pee breaks. I was worried the baby was hungry or something during my hibernation. I've been taking naps almost every day after I get home from the office. I also have been going in to the office later this week.

I just told my boss on Monday about being pregnant. Last week we bought What to Expect When You're Expecting and we have been buried in it ever since. It was the first pregnancy book we purchased that wasn't specifically vegan, but at least they have a little vegan info. It is actually a great resource and thankfully as vegans a lot of things that might worry most, don't apply to us. I looked up some information on when to tell your boss that you're expecting and it basically said you don't really have to for a while unless you are sick. Well, I wasn't sick at all when I first read that, but as of the wee hours of Monday morning my stomach has been turning. I was so nauseous on Monday throughout the day I thought I better fill her in. .

Apparently no one in my department has been pregnant on the job in many years. I assured her that I was going to return to work after maternity leave and that my career was still very important to me. Thankfully, with Lucas being self-employed we will be able to have one parent at home caring for the baby at all times without me having to sacrifice all my hard work and dedication to my education and career.

I truly believe I am one of the luckiest women out there when it comes to having a dedicated partner that isn't brainwashed in to believing in misogynistic gender roles. Lucas is 100% involved in this pregnancy. He is right by my side researching and learning everything there is to know about child rearing, nutrition, vaccines...you name it! He makes sure that I don't have to do anything annoying or stressful, including chores and cooking which makes my life way easier! He actually did that kind of stuff before I was pregnant, he is a definite keeper. He is also taking an active role in being my exercise partner. It really doesn't get any better than having your partner with you to keep you motivated throughout all your pregnancy symptoms.

He has been overly worried the past couple of days about me getting enough food since I've lost my appetite a bit. He is always trying to get me to eat more, but honestly this week food hasn't been that appealing. At least the food I eat has been super nutritious. I wish I could go back to the last couple of weeks when I was able to eat more with no problem. I read that the baby is still getting enough nutrients at this point and that there is no need to worry, but I can't wait until this nauseous feeling goes away for good.

Yesterday at work someone was eating chicken and the smell actually made me vomit. Even though I am vegan I never get sick from the smell of cooked flesh. I do not prefer it, but I have never had this reaction before. I have only thrown up 3 times and each time it was barely anything at all. I guess I am lucky that the nausea doesn't usually lead to throwing up. I hate throwing up. I also hate being queasy, but I love being pregnant and I love that in March we will have a precious little baby!

When I can stomach food, I've been loving oranges and grapes. I guess the acidity bothers some, but for me it is a relief. Avocado is definitely another food that I have been enjoying and I know that they are great for the baby too. The only thing I crave is potatoes, though I know the nutritional value isn't that high. Tempeh sandwiches have become one of my best-friends right now. I love to add sautéed onions and mushrooms on top! Hopefully I can eat more today, yesterday was the worst day for eating.

The big first OB appointment is this upcoming Monday! We are so excited for this appointment and the first ultra-sound. We still have so much to do, but taking it one day at a time...



This is what our baby looks like right about now!

7 WEEKS

SYMPTOMS:
nausea (with minimal throwing up)
loss of appetite
gassiness (i'm vegan so always a little gassy, but even more so now)
moody ( a little irrational at times thankfully luke knows how to diffuse this)
fatigue (frequent naps after work)
frequent urination (doctor says normal as uterus expands and touches bladder)
extreme happiness (doctor says that i will go up and down due to hormones…but i doubt it)


LIFESTYLE CHANGES:
going to bed earlier
sleeping on my sides only (i try to sleep on left, but move around a lot)
walking around 2 miles daily
eating breakfast every day
even more strict on organic food intake and whole foods (only fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains)



she's having a baby... (originally posted 7/15/09)


Our 1st BFP!
Our 2nd BFP!!

Our 3rd BFP (from Dr.)!!!



Soooooo WE ARE OFFICIALLY PREGNANT! It is absolutely unbelievable….I can’t stop thinking about our baby growing inside of me for even one second.

We started TTC (trying to conceive)on June 19th. My ovulation period was anywhere between the 22nd and the 27th, according to the 30 plus ovulation calculators I used online. GLORY BE TO NATURE…we got pregnant on our first try! I took the first pregnancy test on Friday, July 3rd, because I just couldn’t wait! I had read somewhere that only 15% of couples get pregnant during their first month. I didn’t think we would ever get pregnant the first try.

Lucas had bought a 3 pack of pregnancy tests during my ovulation period. The test I took on the 3rd was negative, but we decided to play it safe and I didn’t drink with the rest of the crew during the festivities on the 4th of July ( a holiday we don’t recognize, but a great occasion to get together with friends) and hadn’t had anything to drink since the 20th in preparation for conception!

Naturally, I was slightly discouraged with the negative test result, but I knew in my heart that it was probably too soon to be testing. I kept reading that women don’t usually get a positive result until around 10 DPO (days past ovulation). I made myself wait until Friday the 10th of July to take another test. I carefully read the instruction pamphlet and it said for optimal results wait until the first day of your missed period. My period was due on the 10th, though I’ve had irregular periods since I first got my period at 13. I had been taking birth control for years to correct it, but stopped taking birth-control in 2004. I didn’t want to put unnecessary pharmaceuticals in my body anymore. I don’t take any medicine now, not even for my allergies or headaches (which I never get anyway). According to my last couple of periods it seems I was on a 37 day cycle, so I went with that figure for ovulation, etc. I guess I was right!

On Thursday night (7/9) I told Lucas that I wasn’t peeing after 12 am so I would get a good reading. I couldn’t sleep well all night because I kept thinking about the result I wanted to see so badly on that test in the morning.

I woke up around 630 am with my bladder full of urine! I had this feeling!!! Luke, Star and Sunny stayed soundly asleep as I practically floated to the bathroom. I performed the digital test first and within what seemed like seconds the word PREGNANT appeared. I couldn’t believe it, I shrieked instantly and ran to wake up my sleeping husband! He was startled and a little confused at first and then when he realized what I was saying (through my shrieks) he was really stoked too! We talked about everything for a little while and I tried to lay back down to go to sleep after declaring that I wouldn’t totally freak out until I took another test (yeah right).

All of a sudden while talking with Lucas I felt light-headed from the excitement and emotions running through me. Luke grabbed my hands and said that they were clammy and cold, I felt faint and sweaty. A minute later, I was fine! After realizing I was never going back to sleep, I called Aghesha, my oldest sister to share the news of the century. Not only would she normally be the first person I’d tell, she was the only one would be up at 6 in the morning EST (besides my Mom who was vacationing in AZ and CA at the time and obviously we HAVE to tell her in person since she only lives 45 minutes away)!! SCREW SUPERSTITION!!!!! There is no way we could not tell our families! They all share our enthusiasm for this long awaited little Kenya & Lucas baby! Most friends will have to wait a little while though…maybe until 10 weeks or so.

I took another test at 830 am, while getting ready to head to the office and of course it was another BFP (big fat positive). We made our first doctor’s appointment for Monday (7/13). My doctor gave me another urine test and congratulated us!!!!! She looked over the prenatal vitamins that I’ve been taking and my DHA-Omega-3 supplement. She said they were fine, though she did mention I didn’t have to take extra DHA (I plan on asking my OBGYN for her opinion when she does a blood panel). She said it was great that we are vegan and that we eat a whole foods diet! I was so happy that she said that. I had brought in the press release with the ADA’s (American Dietetic Association) position advocating vegan diets through all stages of life; including infancy, childhood, pregnancy and lactation, etc. http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg/ada/hs.xsl/media_22003_ENU_HTML.htm

She said we were lucky we didn’t have to worry about consuming harmful dyes, etc. She knows we eat organic and unprocessed. She also made sure to tell me to try to stay off my cell-phone (or use speaker), to not use microwave or be around microwaves and to not put my laptop on my lap. Thankfully, we NEVER EVER use the microwave for anything. I rarely ever put my laptop on my lap, but now I am very conscious of keeping it away from my body as much as possible. She talked about these new technologies and explained that they weren’t sure how they would affect our children in the future. Better safe than sorry….

I love the fact that at least some doctor’s today are educated on vegan diets and know how great they are for both mommy and baby! I hope my OBGYN is just as educated on the subject. I know many vegans out there aren’t as lucky. Our first OBGYN appointment is on Monday, July 27th. I will be getting a blood panel and our first ultra-sound! How awesome is that? My next step will to be to find a midwife and doula. I plan on having a natural birth, I’d love for it to be a home birth or at a birthing center (instead of a hospital). We would much prefer our baby be born in a more serene and warm environment.

We are still reeling with excitement and the normal amount of anxiety for any first time parents-to-be. So many ideas and lists of things to be done before MARCH 10th (our due date) keep popping into my mind and I am only 6 weeks pregnant! That is just the kind of person I am! I can’t help that I am a total planner, I need everything as perfectly aligned as possible. I know when the baby is here all of that will be thrown out the window….but hey, I can dream!





This is what our baby looks like right about now!

6 WEEKS


SYMPTOMS:

realistically vivid dream since early conception (slowly disappearing)

fatigue (frequent naps after work)

frequent urination (doctor says normal as uterus expands and touches bladder)

extreme happiness (doctor says that i will go up and down due to hormones…but i doubt it)

LIFESTYLE CHANGES:

walking around 2 miles daily

eating breakfast every day

even more strict on organic food intake and whole foods (only fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains)