Monday, December 31, 2012

Baby's First iphone

LB has been taking some important calls as of late, using our Christmas card box.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Asked and Answered: Preeclampsia and Preemie Birth While on Magnesium Sulfate (with a little rant about why you shouldn't trust anyone who says that the Brewer's Diet will prevent or cure preeclampsia)!

Most of the search engine searches that bring people to this site are related to preeclampsia and giving birth on magnesium sulfate.  Below are a few of the search terms that have brought people here, and my responses (with the caveat that I have absolutely no medical training, and even if I did I wouldn't be giving people advice over the internets).  One good place to go for information about preeclampsia is the Preeclampsia Foundation site here, where they also have discussion forums where you can post questions.  The Preeclampsia and Related Conditions site here on BabyCenter can be a mixed bag in terms of advice, but it is generally a nice, supportive group of women.

what does magnesium sulfate feel like
I described my personal experience here.  Other women reported varied experiences.  Overall the first half hour tends to be rough, most people feel incredibly hot and incredibly nauseated.  How you feel after that initial dose of mag depends on how your body reacts, and probably whether or not you are receiving pain meds (I was given a lot of morphine, which was heavenly).  Common symptoms women report are muscle weakness, vision problems (because your eye muscles are so weak), balance problems, and mental confusion.  These issues should clear up really quickly once you go off the mag.

do you have to take magnesium for preeclampsia
If you have severe preeclampsia, the answer is probably yes.  If you have mild or borderline preeclampsia maybe not.  If you have concerns about doing a mag delivery, definitely have a serious conversation with your provider and make sure your concerns are heard.  Your medical team should be able to give you a good explanation for why they think mag is necessary.  The reality is that you may not get the delivery you want, but you always have the right to be well informed.

feeling weak after mag sulfate
It is totally normal to feel really weak while on mag sulfate.  Once you are off the mag, the effects should wear off pretty quickly.  If you are still feeling weak after you are no longer on mag it could be due to a number of factors:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hot Cheetos and Takis

...just because the kids need to have their say (with apologies to Michelle Obama).

We are continuing our car free life, but now in a new city.  I've now surveyed the available food options.  Within walking distance we have

1) Small Indian grocery that is very close
      Pros: good food/reasonable prices, feel very safe as pedestrian with baby
     Cons: limited selection

2) Whole Foods about a mile away
      Pros: good quality, sell foods we can't get elsewhere, some good sales
     Cons: higher prices overall, temptation to impulse buy, B says "it sucks and the checkers are unfriendly"

3) Stop and Shop about 1.5 miles
      Pros: lower prices, wide variety of foods
      Cons: pedestrian death trap, cannot take baby if walking

4) A local independent grocery about 2 miles
      Pros: Decent prices, awesome selection
      Cons: distance

5) Farmer's markets, both winter and summer less than a mile away
        Pros: Good fresh food, local growers and purveyors
        Cons: Expensive (and I hate to say it because I know some farmers and I know they aren't getting rich, and temptation to impulse buy

Not too shabby, but as usual there are a few issues.  Distance is the big issue.  A mile really isn't too far, but a mile to get a bunch of bananas seems a little ridiculous.  The Whole Foods is in the same direction as daycare, so I can swing over when I'm headed to get LB, but the walk is along a terrible road of "the greatest hits of American decline," which includes an old-school closed Sears, a closed furniture showroom, some pawn shops, auto supply stores, and some sketchy looking medical office buildings.  There are rarely any pedestrians, and so people drive with no regard for pedestrians.  Even the Whole Foods has no sidewalks leading into the parking lot (fake hippies!).  By the time I get to the store, I'm always in a foul mood.

The other big no-car issue is only being able to buy what you can carry, which limits how much we can stock up when things are on sale.  I'm big on the pantry principle, which I learned from the Christian lady bloggers, but it's hard to buy 6 months of lentils plus weeks worth of fresh food if you need to stuff it all in a backpack.  Fresh food tends to be particularly heavy and bulky.  We can, and do sometimes, get a zipcar, or we could take a cab home, but those costs definitely negate some of the savings of careful shopping.

During my first year away from home, I lived a short walk from the Boston Food Coop, which had the perfect mix of walkability, high quality natural food, and low prices.  That was over twenty years ago and I'm still spoiled.  Once I've finished all this Christmas candy, I'm going to drown my sorrows in some red hots.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Post-Sandy Hook Letter to My Congressmen


Dear Congressman [name],

In response to the recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, I am writing to ask you to support increased restrictions on gun ownership—particularly high capacity weapons and ammunition, and increased federal funding to support public health efforts to reduce gun violence.

I am ashamed that it has taken me so long to write this letter.  In the aftermath of Sandy Hook, I have tried to reconstruct a list of people I know who have been killed or injured by guns.  This is a partial list: a young woman shot by her former boyfriend on Commonwealth Ave. in Boston in 1990, a friend who survived a violent crime perpetrated by a 15-year-old gunman, a death by suicide at the University where I was a student, a seemingly random shooting of a graduate student at that same University, a co-worker who was murdered in Baltimore in 2011.  As someone who has lived in Chicago and Baltimore and worked with children, I know many children who have lost a relative or friend to gun violence.  Twenty-four Chicago Public School students were murdered with guns during the last school year.  319 were shot and injured.  Those children bear more than their share of suffering, often without the comfort of grief counseling.

As the mother of a young child, my beloved [LB], I am horrified by the loss of life at Sandy Hook, by the deaths of children in a place that should be safe and nurturing.  I also realize that many more children die, many more people die, by guns wielded by their own family members, or by guns that are a byproduct of narco-trafficking in the United States.  I realize that I have become numb to this violence.  I have accepted life in a violent society, rather than fighting against it.  I should have sent this letter years ago, because I know the sorrow that gun violence causes for children, for parents, for people.

Galen Gibson, who was killed in the school shooting at Simon’s Rock in 1992, was the friend of a friend although we never met.  An editorial written by Galen’s father, Gregory, appeared in the New York Times on December 14.  Mr. Gibson came to the devastating conclusion, after years of public advocacy on issues of gun violence, that we, as Americans, lack the will to change our gun culture and its deadly consequences.

I hope that we will be able to prove Mr. Gibson wrong.  I hope that the Sandy Hook murders can become our Dunblane, our Port Arthur, leading to significant changes in our gun laws.  As we move forward, we will need to address significant constitutional issues.  I personally believe that the founders intended for the American citizenry to have access to firearms to provide a check on illegitimate use of government power, and restricting this right is not something I take lightly. However, none of the gun deaths or injuries that have touched my life were perpetrated for a reasoned political cause.  While the founders saw armed resistance as the final fall back for an oppressed people, they sought first to promote the peace among us, to create a nation that valued toleration.  The Declaration of Independence calls for a government designed to “effect their safety and happiness.”  Today, we have neither. 

As you seek legislative solutions to the problem of gun violence, please tell me how I can be of assistance.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Early Christmas

Over the past month, LB has fallen in love with Elmo, learned to dunk, and met a beaver (stuffed).  The Elmo love is a mixed blessing.  Finally, we can use the advice everyone has given us about playing videos during nebulizer treatments.  Downside: that means 30 minutes broken into 2 minute increments of Feist singing "1, 2, 3, 4," Katy Perry singing "Hot and Cold," and India Arie singing "The Alphabet Song."  We've also had quite a bit of whining for Elmo, although that actually seems to have decreased now that she has her new stuffed Elmo-and a basketball hoop.  She was initially put off by the texture of Elmo and the Beaver.  We've noticed that LB hates soft, silky textures.  As desperately as she wanted Elmo it took her a few minutes to get over her dislike of his texture.  She also wasn't too sure about the beaver.  Initially she called the beaver "kitty cat,"and now even though she knows the word beaver, she likes to tease us by calling it a kitty cat.  Funny girl.