Jan 5, 2021

Things I thought Were Labor That Weren't

I'm now just two days shy of my due date and I've been eagerly reading signs of labor into every little thing since before Christmas. 

39 weeks pregnant baby bump

The holiday season came. The holiday season went. Our baby remains snug as a bug in a rug in my tum.

What's a first time mom-to-be to do once she's full term and still nothing is happening down there? 

Be grateful for the increasing distance from holiday spread? We had over 6,000 new cases of the covid-19 in NYC on January 2 alone. 

Enjoy these last days of twosomeness with her husband?

Find ways to be productive that future her will appreciate? They say you can never prepare too many freezer meals when you have a newborn on the way.

But of course not. Instead, I did/am doing what any impatient woman would: looking for signs that aren't there. 

Dec 21, 2020

Lately: The Final Days of Pregnancy

I passed 37 weeks last week, so I'm now officially full term and our little one could come at any moment! Or not for another several weeks.

That's absolutely bizarre, isn't it? 

There's no other time in life when you're told, "hey, sometime in the next minute to four weeks you'll run a marathon, undergo perhaps the most significant medical event of your life, start a new job, and get a high-needs roommate whom you'll be solely responsible for keeping alive." 

The very idea is ridiculous. But in pregnancy it's totally normal!

As I try not to go mad with the uncertainty of it all, here are some things that I've been occupying my time with lately.

Bouncing on a birthing ball

Bouncing on a birthing ball

Bouncing on a yoga/birthing ball is said to help the baby drop into position for labor. I'm pretty sure our little girl is still relatively high, because I still feel her tiny feet way up there in my bump sometimes and I also haven't visibly seen any changes in the position of my bump. 

Who knows if it'll work, but it's worth a try! I'm also trying out a few other ways to naturally encourage labor, because both my husband and I were quite late, as were our siblings, and I'm hoping not to still be pregnant in mid-January!

Finding go-to recipes

Baked tofu with coconut kale

When I was younger my mom said that the hardest part of cooking for a family was deciding what to cook, day after day. At the time that didn't really make sense to me, but now it does! 

Especially in those first days/weeks after we've brought our little girl home from the hospital, I imagine the mental bandwidth to come up with creative, healthy, and delicious meals just won't be there. 

Identifying go-to recipes now could come in handy! Pictured above is Food52's baked tofu with coconut kale. It's a tasty vegan dinner that even my carnivore husband (neither of us is vegan, but I'm pescatarian) loves!

Dec 11, 2020

How to Introduce Your Newborn to Friends and Family During a Pandemic

 A pandemic pregnancy has some unique challenges, as moms due in 2020 and 2021 realized soon after getting that first Big Fat Positive. And they definitely don't stop when the pregnancy is over.

Babies are special. A baby's birth is often an occasion that brings family and friends together, both to celebrate the baby and to support the new parents through the challenging fourth trimester.

After a year that was full of hardships for many, people are looking for something positive to focus on more than ever. A new baby's birth can be just that!


There's always a but, isn't there?

But a newborn baby has a very weak immune system and is incredibly vulnerable. 

pandemic pregnancy

Even in normal times, those who are around the baby should have up-to-date flu and TDAP (tetanus, diptheria, and pertussis) vaccines, because a newborn is too young to get those vaccines him-/herself and catching the flu or the whooping cough can be life-threatening for an infant.

This year and into at least early 2021 new parents must insist on those precautions against the usual threats to newborns in addition to protecting our babies from a new threat, covid-19. 

In the United States we're now up to over 3,000 deaths a day on some days and in New York City alone we've had days with over 4,000 new infections - in just one day. Irrespective of a new parent's political bent, this is undeniably serious.

So how do we do it? How do we balance our needs to protect our babies with the expectations of our loved ones? 

New grandparents, especially first time grandparents, aren't always thrilled to hear that they'll have to wait months or longer to meet their grandchildren for the first time. In (virtual) mother's group, the most common concern that comes up is how to keep the little ones safe without disappointing friends and family.

This may not be a popular opinion, but I stand by it: our duty is to our babies first and foremost. They're too little to protect themselves, so they're depending on us to protect them. 

Does disappointing friends and family suck? Of course. We'd love to have our babies meet our social circles soon, too! We'd love to have support getting through those trying newborn days, too! 

But our babies' health and wellbeing comes first. If loved ones don't understand why they have to wait for in-person baby viewings, frame it in terms of baby's safety. They'll come around eventually (even if it takes a while).

In the interim, there are ways to introduce your newborn to friends and family without putting the baby at risk. 

Video Calls

Introducing newborn to family

Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts - whatever your platform of choice, we've all become experts at video calls over the past year. 

Video calls are a great way to safely introduce a new baby to friends and family! No one can touch the baby and no one is breathing on the baby, so it's perfectly safe. 

At the same time, it's a lot more personal and interactive an introduction than simply sending a birth announcement with a photo of the newborn.

Grandparents can talk to the baby and s/he can learn their voices, friends can make faces at the baby, and everyone can delight in hearing the baby's first coos.

Video calls are also super convenient for new parents (as long as there's some scheduling flexibility). 

You don't have to go anywhere and you don't have to host. There's no need to worry about tidying up for guests or making sure the diaper bag is packed. And when the baby gest fussy, you can just sign off until next time!

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