Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I did it. I finally got Gareth's Kindergarten admission/registration papers in the mail. Apparently we could have turned those in back in October, which seems a bit ridiculous to me. The deadline for people to apply for a non-attendance area school was in the first week of March. Gareth will be going to our neighborhood school, so that didn't apply to us, but the principal at his school still encouraged getting the papers in earlier rather than later (probably so they could have a good idea how many out of area kids they could accept). So I was feeling rather horrible about not having the papers in. But you have to take or send them in to the central office, which is downtown, rather than just taking them to your area school. To mail them in meant I needed to photocopy his birth certificate and two bills as proof of address and my driver's license and that's what really took me forever. But I finally did it and hopefully I didn't forget anything and will get some confirmation that he's good to go in the next couple of weeks. It feels very strange to realize that the next 18 years of our life we'll be tied to the school calendar and become extremely familiar with the layout and feel of those buildings. 18 years. I think I've gained a better understanding for why parents celebrate their last child finishing elementary and then middle and then high school or any given milestones within those schools. 18 years sounds like forever.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Doula Decision

I first heard of doulas before I was married, if I recall correctly. Some roommates were watching one of those getting ready for baby kind of shows and I caught a few minutes of it and the particular couple they were following had a doula. I didn't think much of it at the time.

Using a doula didn't even cross my mind when I was expecting Gareth. I didn't know anyone else who had used one, still didn't even know what they were, really, and certainly couldn't have afforded one even if I had wanted one. But it was far more on my mind this time around. I knew even before I was pregnant that I would want this labor and delivery to be drastically different from my previous one. And this time I actually knew some people who used doulas and one who is training to be a doula. I'm not much better-read this pregnancy than last time around, but did take the time to read one book (one more than I bothered with last time) that was recommended by a friend. The book is actually for the birth partner or doula, but I found it very informative for myself as well. Ryan is dutifully trying to work his way through the couple of chapters I told him were most important to read. At the beginning of this pregnancy I went so far as to do a quick Google search for Seattle doulas, primarily curious to know how ridiculously expensive they were here. And just about died when I saw some of the charges. Doulas often charge $1000 to attend your birth, some charge well over that (I've been told that some charge as much as $2000), and some a little less ($750 or so). I quickly put any budding idea of using a doula out of my head, seeing as they aren't covered by insurance and are not considered a qualified FSA expense. Besides, Ryan would be there as my support person, so why pay someone to do that job?

As Ryan has been working his way through the book, and as I've been re-reading the same chapters in the book, we both started to realize that this could be rather difficult to do on our own. While I'm not the type of person to feel a failure and hate myself if I end up with an epidural, I'd definitely prefer to forego that option this time around. Sometimes I'm very doubtful I can withstand the pain, but I'm also incredibly stubborn, so it'll basically be a battle between my stubbornness and the pain. Though second births are supposed to be faster, I feel we have nothing to judge by since I was induced last time around. This birth could actually take longer than Gareth's without the pitocin to force things faster. I started to be concerned about Ryan getting tired being the only support person, especially if things take a while. If he's alone then it would be difficult for him to take a break to eat or rest or just emotionally/mentally recharge himself, and then he wouldn't be able to help me as well. Then I was talking with another co-op parent and she told me that they used a doula who wasn't certified yet, but who was working toward certification with DONA. Their doula charged them much less than a certified doula would, and in return they wrote a review for her after the birth. She urged me to consider something similar as they had found having a doula very helpful and sent me contact information for the doula they'd used who might know others working on certification. I still put the idea off for quite a while as I just wasn't sure how necessary a doula would be, plus the idea of paying someone to come support your birth seemed a little strange to me. I wasn't sure I wanted a stranger in my hospital room.

A couple of weeks ago I finally decided that it couldn't hurt to contact the doula my friend had used. May as well see what I could find (if anything at this late time) and talk with some people and then we'd be able to make a more informed decision about the whole thing. Within a week we were meeting with a woman working toward doula certification. Ideally, we would have met with a couple more, but as I'm nearing my due date we really don't have lots of time. The first woman we met with I felt very comfortable with and, while she's only attended four births so far, she seems very knowledgeable and amenable to supporting us in whatever we decide to do - one of the births the woman decided to get an epidural, others they made it without medication, and this doula seemed pleased with both decisions. The other woman who contacted us couldn't meet until this next week and the first woman was meeting with someone else due around the same time as me this past weekend (a doula can't be on-call for two births around the same time, for obvious reasons). If we wanted to use a doula and wanted to use her, we could miss out by waiting to meet with our second contact. So we opted to make the decision whether we'd use her as a doula or not use a doula at all. In the end, I felt more comfortable knowing that we'd have someone there with us to remind us of various labor options rather than having Ryan frantically searching through the book we're reading, trying to remember all the stuff we'd read but forgotten. We looked at our budget and figured out where the money would come from and decided to go ahead with it. I'm rather excited about our decision, partly just to see how we end up feeling about the birth this time around (hopefully better than last time) and how we end up feeling about the whole doula thing afterwards. Without knowing what will happen, I feel it could definitely be worth the cost. 

Monday, March 12, 2012


Gareth is a thumb-sucker. Thankfully, he usually only sucks his thumb at night to get himself to sleep. Though on occasion he will grab his orange blanket during the day and suck his thumb then. I've been telling him for a while now that he will need to stop sucking his thumb at some point. Little procrastinator that he is, he's always replied, "I'll stop sucking my thumb when I'm five" or something else to that effect. The other day I asked him not to suck his thumb at night since he had some cracked skin on his thumb that had been bleeding and I wanted it to actually get better. Now he's changed his response to, "But I like my orange blanket so much!". And I point out that liking his orange blanket does not require him to suck his thumb.

A couple days after asking him not to suck his thumb at night he had his first ever dentist appointment. (He did awesome, by the way. He was very excited to go and opened his mouth wide and was told that he has very clean teeth.) One thing the dentist asked us to work on was to get him to stop sucking his thumb. I told her that he only sucks it at night to get himself to sleep. Unfortunately, everything she said about how to help him stop was really more applicable to daytime thumb-suckers. Peer pressure from fellow Kindergarteners? Yeah, that'd only work if they actually knew he was sucking his thumb, which they won't because he only does it at bedtime. Sticker chart? That means I'd have to know whether he was sucking his thumb or not, which I don't because I don't stay in the room with him while he falls asleep. I'd have to rely completely on him telling me whether or not he did. And there's a chance that he wouldn't know for sure himself if he used it during the middle of the night to fall back asleep or something. About the only helpful advice she had was to just be encouraging. My guess is we'll have to retire the orange blanket to the closet at some point, but I'm definitely going to wait on that until the baby comes and Gareth's had a chance to adjust. The best part of the whole dentist visit was when she asked him if he thought he could stop sucking his thumb. He looked at her and said, "I don't know". At least the kid is honest! If any of you have advice for stopping thumb-sucking that only occurs at night, please do let me know. As I said, I'm not worrying much about it until after the baby comes, but it'd be great to have some ideas lined up!