Friday, September 4, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

my growing baby!

Wow, can't believe my baby's already a month old..went by so fast! And he's already grown so much....he baby talks and smiles (on purpose) now, is getting more control of his arms and hands, holds his head more steady, pushes himself up on his legs when leaning on my stuff. He was 3 ounces shy of 14 pounds when the baby nurse came over for his one month visit this week! And just about 2 feet tall. She brought over some clay and we imprinted his foot and hand, so cute.

It's time for us to start breaking out of our comfy nest :( It's getting time for me to start back to work. I've just savored these first 6 weeks getting to know my new little guy, we got to bond a lot. He coos and smiles at me, reaches out to me, grabs at me, stares at me....EJ always says "having another staring contest huh." He loves his baby massages. I love his grunts and growls, his enthusiastic full body stretches and growing repertoire of expressions. His stubby arms barely reach the top of his head, ah and I love his rolly polly legs. Poor my mom made two pairs of slippers for him already that are too small. She finally was able to get a good pattern off his huge foot and calf when we saw her in Ruby and I think is going to make some booties now.

We've only been separated one time so far. A few weeks ago I needed to go to the mall to get some nursing bras and EJ didn't want to come so encouraged me to go by myself to start detaching little by little. Man it was traumatic, baby got hungry and I couldn't get home fast enough..poor baby was all red and sweaty from crying, EJ couldn't console him. I felt so bad. I hadn't started pumping yet. But I got a few bags of breast milk in the freezer now and will start saving up more. We tried the bottle and he took it fine, so I'm not too worried.

Isn't it funny how a mom thinks nobody can love a baby more than she loves hers, and that hers is the most special, but really every mom feels that way. I just melt when he smiles at me. Sometimes it's terrifying because now I can't live without him. Haha I sound like a teenager in love. I guess that's what I am, a mom in the adolescent stage.

From Baby

For's first jeans and skater shirt

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

baby's first trip

We drove to Fairbanks, and then flew out to Ruby. The drive took longer than we expected because he didn't tolerate his carseat for more than an hour or two at a time. He slept through the whole plane ride though..I was worried his ears would hurt. Quick trip, but we had a really nice time in Ruby. He got to get loved up by a bunch of his grandmas, aunties, and cousins, and see the river..the reason he's named Rio.

and some pictures...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

a few pictures

I tell EJ that he can't try to live his dreams vicariously through his son, but it's already starting, uh oh....says he looks like a point guard

my Buddha baby....look at those chubs!

in big boy clothes..already wearing size 3-6 months!

Monday, August 10, 2009

he's already so big....from the last couple days

haha this is what baby looks like satisfied after eating....milk drunk

he likes being on his tummy so he can bob his head stevie wonder

some more video from his first week

a video we sent with my dad to Grandpa George

in his vibrating chair

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

basketball dreams

Dad couldn't resist

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mama's doing well too

EJ has been taking such good care of me-- making sure I eat, drink and sleep good, doesn't like me to try to use too much energy that I don't have. It took me a week to convince him to let us go out on a walk. That was baby's first time in the sling wrap. He looked so comfy. He just slept and purred the whole walk.
The first week was rough. The first 5 days we stayed in bed. It was hard, I kept wanting to get up and do stuff. Chinmayo came for home visits the whole first week and she finally got me to stay put in bed by telling me about a Chinese medicine theory that there are three times in a woman's life that can really make a difference in their health; first menstruation, childbirth, and menopause. If you take really good care of yourself around those times it can impact your health for the rest of your life. I don't want to keep being tired all the time so I tried to rest as much as I could. I had to be waited on hand and foot, had to have help taking a shower and stuff. I got weepy one day, all the hormones and stuff. I was frustrated that I couldn't do stuff normally (like go to the bathroom!), and worried about my tear healing all the way back to normal. I felt broken. Like I said EJ takes great care of me and convinced me that I'm not broken though. We also went to the clinic to get my stiches checked out, and they all told me there that I'm healing well and will heal all the way back to normal. Other people told me about their tears and how they've recovered. So I feel much better about that. All around I'm feeling better. Not really sore, can sit up on my bottom longer, am getting more energy...although I still get tired walking up the stairs and moving around too fast. I'll still be anemic for a while from losing that blood, so I just have to take it slow the next couple months.
But, I couldn't be happier with Laka. He's thriving, a vigorous and robust baby, so I'm happy that he's doing so well. I'm so in love with him. We are so attached. EJ's trying to convince me to start separating myself from him little by little so it's not so hard when I go back to work, but I don't want to!

Friday, July 31, 2009

A little bit about my chunky monkey

Laka's already 10 days old! I'm trying to savor every moment because I know I'll miss him at this age when he's older. Ah, so enamored. We can't get enough of him...most of the day is spent staring at him :)
Here's a few updates:
  • He looooves to eat. He latched on right away and has been a boob man since. It's showing too because by day 5 he was already back up over his birth weight. Yesterday he was 10lbs 12.5oz!
  • He likes to stick one arm straight out like superman. Now we do pounds when he sticks his fist out. He likes his hands- always has to wiggle them out to have near his mouth. He soothes himself with them.
  • His cord fell off and he can take baths with me now. He likes being dunked in the warm water much better than sponge baths.
  • He makes the cutest sounds, coos and purrs, it's irresistible!
  • Poor baby is still getting rid of his jaundice, and pink eye, and now has a little baby acne going on. So much to adjust to- not being attached to me, and to living in the outside world!
  • We're still figuring out how to make the cloth diapers work the best. The fitteds are nice and easy, and we're getting better at keeping the prefolds from leaking all the way through.
  • He's most awake early in the morning and late at night, just like when he was in my tummy.
  • He's been wide-eyed and alert right from the beginning, and also able to hold his head up.
  • He's been smiling in his sleep, and starting to do it now when he's awake too :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Malakas - 2 days old

Daddy was very proud of baby's first real poop...done with that sticky meconium. He was also a little yellow yesterday so we spent the afternoon by the window getting some sun.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

birth story

Lola's holding baby and he's just sleeping so I'm trying to take advantage of this time to get this out real quick. I know I should be sleeping too but I can't right now.
Monday evening Chinmayo came to check on me. She asked me if I was feeling anything different, I said no just the normal Braxton Hicks. My back was a little sore but we had just gotten back from a long walk and it was always like that after being up and around for a while. As soon as she left though around 7pm I realized the practice contractions weren't really going away like they usually did. They were pretty mild but I went to bed (couldn't sleep though) just in case it was the real thing I wanted to try to rest. Oh and Chinmayo had called back not too long later to let us know that one of her other mom's was going in to labor! I didn't mention anything at that point because I wasn't sure. But later that night around 11pm they were pretty regular so I called her message phone (not the emergency cell phone yet) to let her know that it might be happening. I tried to relax in bed some more but around 1am the "waves" (contractions) were stronger and it wasn't comfortable to lie down anymore. We came back downstairs and I found it most comfortable in the rocking chair and on the yoga ball so I'd go back and forth and get up a walk around for a while. EJ started timing the waves and after he established that they were 3-5 min apart and lasting about a minute I told him not to ask me anymore because he was distracting me from my relaxation. I was listening to the hypnobirthing cd's and really was able to get into a pretty relaxed state that made the waves not too unbearably uncomfortable. I tried one more time to lay down on the super comfy couch and sleep. EJ went to sleep but I definitely couldn't. I tried to let him sleep but only about an hour later I woke him up saying that they're getting more intense. Around 5:30am we called Chinmayo on her cell and she was at the other birth! But she sent over her backup midwife, Susie, who got to the house around 6:30. She checked me and I was 8cm dilated! Yay! EJ and Lena started filling up the pool and I continued what I was doing, relaxing in the rocking chair, bouncing on the yoga ball and walking around listening to super chill music or the hypnobirthing cds. We had lavender candles lit and Lena gave me a foot massage. It was like a spa, kind of. When the pool was ready I got in and the warm water really helped me relax even more. When they asked me if anything was changing I couldn't tell if the intensity was any higher because I was more relaxed. I mean I felt them and they for sure weren't pleasant but I felt in control and could handle them.
Chinmayo arrived from the other birth. Poor they were both exhausted too having been up all night attending the other birth. Chinmayo later said she felt like she was walking into a church when she came in because the vibe was so chill. Lena was such a great doula and EJ was the best birth companion I could ask for. They kept making me drink water and Recharge and force snacks throughout the night...watermelon, miso, cheese and apples. Later I started feeling nauseous and didn't want anything except for salmon strips so I munched on that when I first got in the pool. I kept hearing EJ tell them to keep things quiet so that I could get in the zone. I felt random hands massaging my scalp, rubbing my arms, wiping my face, pulling my hair spoiled! They were all so awesome.
Ooh then there was this big hard wave and my water broke and things suddenly got 100x more intense in that second and I wanted nothing but to push that baby out. After that is when things got primal and I heard my normally quiet reserved self yelling and groaning through the waves, I didn't care who heard me, it was all out there. I don't think there was anything that could have prepared me for that part of birthing. Getting that baby down and out was the hardest thing I have ever done. There was a point where I wished I had pain drugs and I was grateful that I was at home so that I could forget about that option and quickly move past that.
I think maybe because I got so exhausted and started wondering how I was going to do it I got super determined and was able to get back in control and quietly focus each wave and breath on moving baby through. He started crowning and everyone got excited, but I'd get so frustrated when his head would slip back in. I just wanted to get him out already! But then I was scared to push too hard because I wanted things down there to stretch out slowly little by little. Yep and then that feeling like I was going to split in half. And I was. I heard the midwives worrying about a huge tear that was forming. But I had to ignore it. I was getting more and more tired so I just had to give it everything I could and push through the burning anyway.
And his head finally popped out! Ahhh it was the best thing ever!! I rubbed his head sooooo happy, and then on the next wave the rest of his body slipped out and I caught him! I pulled him out of the water to my chest. He cried right away to clear out the gunk in his chest. EJ was crying in my neck and I heard Lena crying too. I didn't though. I just couldn't stop looking at him and touching him and kissing him. AFter a while I heard one of the midwives ask the gender so I looked down and lifted his leg to see and yep he's a boy! When I finally got up and out of the tub and they saw him more I heard Chinmayo say "woah look how big his balls are!"
Finally having him in my arms I didn't care about anything else that was going on. The midwives were rushing around worrying about stopping the bleeding because I already lost so much from the tear. They kept giving me drops of homeopathic stuff and a shot of pitocin in each thigh to get the placenta out and stop the bleeding asap. I was just focused on baby and let them do whatever. The placenta came out, which was also huge. They showed me everything and it was all intact and healthy. Then they told me about the tears and said they wanted an OB to stitch me up because it was pretty bad so we should go to the hospital. I said fine whatever, I didn't care about anything else, just mesmerized by my baby.
So after a while laying with baby I let Susie take him to do the newborn exam. Holy smokes 10 pounds 4 ounces, and that was after pooping three times! (so we're guessing if he'd been weighed right away like in the hospital his birth weight would be around 10 1/2) No wonder mama got tore up so good.
Before we left for the hospital I wanted to get up and rinse off in the shower real quick. So EJ and Lena helped me to the bathroom. It felt so weird standing up and my tummy was so empty, like a vacuum. When I stepped in the shower I felt like I was getting sucked out and I had to sit down. Then I was somewhere else I don't know where, dreaming, then I heard all these voices loudly calling my name and I saw three faces looking down on me and I couldn't remember where I was. That was the first time I'd ever fainted. I heard EJ and Lena breathing heavy and talking fast being worried. I really felt fine though and was trying to calm them down. EJ picked me up off the floor and I kept telling him "don't hurt your back." We got back to the couch and when everyone calmed down I said "how come my ankle hurts?" It was swelling and bruising, I rolled it! EJ had me the whole time so caught me and laid me down but somehow it still rolled. So now not only was I weak from blood loss, I couldn't walk. They were too scared to drive me to the hospital by themselves so decided to call the ambulance. All we needed was the gurney. I was fine. Geez, embarrassing, I hope the neighbors didn't see. So that was dramatic.
Anyway, so I got all stitched up at the hospital. I asked the OB how many stitches and he said "I don't know, I can't count that high." I'm guessing at least 50. It took a while.
My dad, TG and the boys came to visit at the hospital a little bit. Then my dad helped EJ and Lena get me and baby home and in bed. They had to carry me upstairs. I was still too faint. All I wanted to do was get into bed and look at my baby.
So that's what I've been doing since. I'm feeling fine, a little sore and still not very much energy, but happier than ever. I love taking care of this little jelly bean. He's more amazing than I ever could have imagined.

my big baby

Supposedly he was a week and a half late right, but he didn't have any signs of being "over due". He was still covered with plenty of vernix - the white waxy stuff that protects their skin in the amniotic fluid. In over due babies the vernix runs out and baby's skin is all wrinkly and peeling. He didn't have any of that. He also still has lanugo - the soft hair on his body that goes away by the time their "due." During the newborn exam the midwife also mentioned some other little markers that put his gestational age at just about 40 weeks. He's just right. Medicine does it's best, but it can't always predict nature.

Here's our baby boy!

Rio Isaac Malakas David
July 21 1:12pm
10.5lbs 22in long 15.25in head

click on any of the pictures to see more in the album

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

nope, nothing yet

I should have known. This baby takes after me more than I thought....wanting to do things differently than the way other people do them. I guess I made too comfortable of a home in there for baby to want to come out yet. After sitting around the house for two days waiting, I started getting kind of blah yesterday when nothing serious was really happening yet. So EJ made me take a shower and got me out of the house for a while to enjoy the sunshine. We went on a long walk on the coastal trail, and everyone we passed, seriously everyone, looked at me and smiled real big. We went and shared an ancho chile brownie at Bear Tooth Grill and everyone in the restaurant was grinning at us too. Yes, I'm big and pregnant and waddling around. I wonder if I did that to other pregnant women I saw around town, thought they were so cute and had to give them a big goofy smile. It's funny.

Monday, July 13, 2009

all I want for my birthday

Chinmayo, my midwife, came over for a home visit this morning. She thinks baby will come by tomorrow. That's been my guess too. There's all these coincidences with my mom and birthing:
  • my mom's due date with me was July 10, and I was born on the 14th. That was my due date too, that's why I think my baby will also be born on the 14th
  • her first baby, Sabrina, died of SIDS October 1, 1970 around the 6pm hour, and my sister, TG was born October 1, 1971 also within the 6pm hour
  • my nephew was born on my mom's 50th birthday
Superstitious I know, but maybe the power of suggestion will kick in.
Finally seeing this baby will be the best birthday present!

I liked this quote I heard at the end of the movie "Martian Child" - something about babies coming into the world like aliens "bundles of energy and pure potential"

Friday, July 10, 2009

"Due date"

There we are.
This baby's on Indian, Filipino, Olin, and Margaret time. Shouldn't be surprised that it's not here yet. S/he'll come when s/he's ready. No sense of urgency...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

baby shower

we had a fun party last weekend. thanks guys!

new fishcamp

Bonz and EJ cutting fish for the first time.
Yum, lots of salmon....and lots of work! When I got tired I would just think of one of my AmeriCorps Members telling me about not going to Bethel on her due date because she had too much fish to cut, and try to be as tough

my cousin Violet's wedding in Fairbanks

37 week pregnant bridesmaid

the fam with Sitsoo Lorraine

my grandma Lillian got wheeled over to my grandma Lorraine to visit, the first thing she said to her was "you use a walker?" then they continued conversing in denaakk'e

my handsome nephews

Monday, June 15, 2009

Exciting week!

Yay, everyone's coming home today!
Dewey graduated from Dartmouth yesterday, woohoo congrats baby bro!
And Lena and Torin got engaged! Felicidades baby sis!
My dad is back from Africa. And my mom is coming through again on her way back from Dewey's graduation. I've missed everyone.
We'll all be here for just one full day then take off Wednesday to Fairbanks for my cousin Violet's wedding and Olin family reunion until Saturday, then subsistence fishing in Kasilof until Wednesday. Busy but fun week! Hopefully I can hang!

favorite books

I guess 10:30 to 4:30 is still 6 hours of sleep and should be good...I still wish I could sleep the last 2 hours until my alarm clock goes off though. I used to get by with less than that in college, but I love my sleep a lot more now. I guess my body's getting ready for when baby comes...when I'll be lucky to sleep more than a couple hours straight.
I picked up an Isabel Allende book at Title Wave yesterday. It's fun to read something besides a pregnancy or birth book again. I just finished the last book I borrowed from Chinmayo, "Ina May's (Gaskin) Guide to Childbirth." It was good. A lot of the same points about natural birthing as the other books. What I remember most from her is her 'sphincter law,' that the cervix is a sphincter and just like other sphincters in your body it doesn't want to open up with lots of people around or too much commotion, it works best in a calm private environment like when you're going to the bathroom.
My favorite birth book is "Birthing from Within" by Pamela England. My favorite pregnancy book was "Body, Soul, and Baby" by Tracy Gaudet, and then I read stuff on for what's going on weekly. "Bonding Before Birth" was also a fun little read by Miriam Stoppard.
Big Margaret (my mom's best friend who I'm named after, just called her that when we were little-- I'm way bigger than her now) gave me a pregnancy book that my mom had given her when she was pregnant with her daughter. My mom had written notes in it when she was pregnant with me, and then she wrote notes in it too. It's pretty cool. She also gave me this super old book that was found out at my great aunt and uncles gold mining camp outside of Ruby, a 1940's book on how to take care of your baby. Cool pictures on how to diaper a baby, how to swaddle them, etc.
Did I mention that my "due date" is the same date as my mom's when she was pregnant with me? And then I was born on the 14th. We'll see...

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Advice I've heard from other mama's:
  • trust your instincts
  • trust your kid
  • always burp them no matter what, even when they fall back asleep
  • don't be afraid to ask people to wash their hands before holding your baby, especially kids
  • don't be afraid to ask questions, there are no stupid questions
  • that skin-to-skin contact after baby's born really does make a difference
  • it helps to have something to focus on during contractions
  • walk walk walk
What's something you wish you'd known before having your baby?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

feelin' large

Have you seen Madagascar 2? EJ says "girl, you're huge," so I come back with "I like 'em big, I like 'em chunky" :P

home birth, whaaat?

I guess I had always thought it would be nice to have a homebirth, but didn't think that people still did that, and assumed that there weren't any options for that in Anchorage. Then last year while I was working at ANTHC I attended a lunch time brown bag presentation at the hospital by this women from Holland (now living in California) talking about natural birthing and birth memory-- how the way a person is birthed can affect them the rest of their life, both if it's a peaceful or traumatic birth. She showed videos of babies birthed with pain relieving drugs, how sleepy they were, and of babies birthed without-- bouncing up mom's chest on it's own to latch on...extreme examples, but such a cool video clip! She talked about the casacade of hormones that intricately work with each other to birth the baby, and how medical interventions (induction, epidurals) shuts that natural process off, and can more likely lead to needing to get the baby out via cesarean. It's just so cool how our bodies are perfectly made to make and birth babies. It's more recently, because of the heavy influence of the male dominated industrial medical model, that women have learned to distrust their bodies. I mean thank goodness hospitals, obstetricians, and all that expensive technology are there when we really do need them, I'm grateful for that, but most healthy pregnancies don't need all that. In healthy low-risk pregnancies, not interfering with these natural process can allow birth to be much quicker, easier and less traumatic. Anyway, she was there promoting 3 points to the hospital 1. for baby to immediately go to mom's bare chest after birth, skin to skin contact, 2. not to clamp the cord until is stops pulsating, 3. and I don't really remember the third point but it must have been not to be so eager to doll out pitocin and/or epidurals if not necessary. I already knew I would have natural births like my mama did, but now wanted even more not to have to do it in a hospital. I was so intrigued I attended her evening lecture at UAA also and learned about the whole homebirth midwife community here, and was super excited to know that when it came time I would have that option.
So then the that time came, and we started exploring those options more. We checked out the two birth centers here, which were very nice and comfortable, had big birthing jacuzzis and really nice midwives. But then thinking about it more, not having to go anywhere but stay in my own comfortable home and having the full attention of my midwife the whole time appealed to me the most. I wasn't scared about anything going wrong. I was somehow confident that if I took care of myself throughout the pregnancy to prevent any complications, and if I was blessed with a healthy pregnancy, we'd be fine doing it at home. All midwives carry the same emergency equipment that ambulances do for bleeding mama's or non-responsive babies, etc. and they can usually tell in plenty of time if something is going to go wrong and they need to get to the hospital. Once EJ realized this, he became comfortable with the idea and trusted and supported me, and now after learning so much fully wants the same as I do.
So we starting meeting direct entry midwives for a homebirth, and felt most comfortable with Chinmayo so went with her. At the beginning I was also tandemly seeing a nurse midwife at the Native hospital just to make sure everything was okay, get my labs done there, and so that they'd have records of my pregnancy in case I end up having to go to the hospital. Joan is very supportive of natural birthing and excited about my decision to do it at home.
So our visits with Chinmayo are each an hour long. We go over to her very comfortable apartment and sit at the table with tea and a snack talking for a while first. She's all about educating, making sure I know everything going on and making the most informed decisions I can, which I really like. Then I do my own pee dip and read the strip - hydrated enough, any leukocytes, proteins, glucose, blood, etc. in the pee, and weigh myself. Then we go into the "exam room" where I lay down on the big comfy massage table covered with a soft blanket and lots of pillows for her to measure the fundus, listen to baby, take my blood pressure and all that. She has a big lending library so has given me a bunch of books to read and DVDs to watch. It's really nice. I've always been interested in natural medicine so I've also really enjoyed learning about all these natural remedies and preventative regimens.
I also always thought it'd be nice to have the baby in water, it just seems like a more gradual and less scary transition into the world. A while ago we asked Chinmayo what we needed to get to do this at home, and she said a blow up kiddie pool would do just fine. So I found one at Toys R Us for $12 and that's that, haha so technical huh. We also have a big plasitc sheet for the bed and another for wherever I end up giving birth if it's not in the water...we'll see what my body wants to do.
Like I had mentioned before, she gave us the birth kit box to bring home already with all that stuff. I also have a list of a few things to get, so am gathering those now. Next week she'll do a home visit for our appointment, just to make sure she knows how to get to our house. Exciting, can't wait for the big day!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Athabascan tradition

All this getting ready is the complete opposite of how I felt at the beginning. In Athabascan, it's hutlanee or bad luck to get baby stuff together before the baby comes. We shouldn't make assumptions about the baby before it's born. Then when it's born the community makes sure mama and baby have everything they need. Last month when my grandma was visiting she was telling me this, and I guiltily confessed all the baby stuff I had together already. I had tried to hold out, but then Gaby brought over a crib and stuff and cute baby winter clothes were on sale and it snowballed from there :P She said, "well just leave it there, but don't get it ready yet." Then when my mom passed through a few days ago she was all excited saying she couldn't wait to start making baby stuff. I told her too that I already started and she said the same thing. Oops


I am definitely wide awake so I decided to just go ahead and get up already. I woke up at 4am. It was really hot, and bright daylight is sneaking through the edges of the window shades. It was so hot in Anchorage yesterday, and our room is south facing upstairs so it gets the hottest in the house. Who would have thought that we'd need a fan here. It gets so cold in the winter. I couldn't go back to sleep so I put on my eye mask and one of my hypnobirthing cd's. That usually conks me back out, but it didn't. I actually made it through the whole thing. Still wide awake. And hungry. So I got up and ate a bowl of cereal.
So hypnobirthing is all about relaxing yourself to let your body do it's thing to birth your baby. It's so cool to learn about the natural processes of our body, the cascade of hormones that are perfectly designed for birth. Anyway, it's letting go and trusting that your body and baby innately know exactly what to do. Fear tenses you up, which works against your body, and that is where the pain comes from. So it's also getting rid of that fear. Not to say that birth isn't painful-- but it doesn't have to be like what is portrayed in the media. The hypnobirthing teacher (my CNM I was seeing at the Native hospital at the beginning) gave me the practice CDs a few weeks before class started to start listening to. They walk you through a variety of relaxation exercises, positive birth imagery, and recite positive birth affirmations to prepare the subconscious (ex. "I allow my body to go deep into relaxation and open up quickly" "I welcome each surge and work with it to bring my baby closer to me" "I turn my mind over to my body and my baby as they know exactly what to do" "My body is perfectly made to birth my baby, and my baby is perfectly made for me to birth her"). She also gave me the hypnobirthing book to read that describes all of this. Then we had 3 classes (we missed the 4th because I was out of town last week) where we mostly met other hypnobirthing couples, practiced the techniques, watched videos of hypnobirths, and listened to positive birth experiences. I feel more confident that I can do this without medical intervention.
A fear that has creeped up lately though is that baby will come early, which is the complete opposite of what I've been prepared for. I always thought that first babies are usually late. But everyone I know that I've been pregnant with at the same time had their baby at 37 weeks. I will be in Fairbanks for my cousin Violets wedding and our big Olin family reunion when I am 37 weeks. And EJ can't come with me because he is teaching a 1 credit class that Friday and Saturday, and he's the one that takes care of me-- makes me slow down, otherwise I'll try to keep up with everyone like normal. I've had a couple dreams that baby came already and I wasn't ready. I think maybe that is what has spurred all this energy lately towards getting stuff together. I washed baby clothes and blankets this weekend, and my cloth diapers came in so have been looking around for the right kind of detergent to get those pre-washed and ready to go. But I am trying not to worry, and put all that positive affirmation mumbo jumbo into action..."baby knows the right time to come, I listen to my body and am ready."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Is baby dropping?

The picture on the left is at 33 weeks and the one on the right yesterday (35 weeks). I can't tell, but someone the other day was looking at my tummy and said that baby dropped. My hips started getting sore the last few days, especially yesterday after walking on the trail, the tops of my legs where they connect with my hips were hurting. I guess this last month or so the pelvic ligaments are loosening up to get ready for baby to go through. I'm worried though, does that mean labor will start in the next few weeks? Baby needs to stay in there at least 3, hopefully 4, more weeks. I'm wondering if I pushed it too hard this week. I just got back from an exhausting trip to Kodiak where I was running all over the place, carrying things. I think I've been too proud of how great I've been feeling still being able to do mostly everything normal. Now my body has to tell me, "no mama, you need to slow down." Please stay put until at least the first week of July baby!

Monday, June 1, 2009

8 1/2 months!

My weekly pregnancy email says baby's almost 5 pounds and about 18 inches long. Getting close!

gettin' ready for baby!

I'm so excited, we've gotten a lot of stuff together lately. Babies R Us was having a sale so we went and got a car seat and stroller yesterday. And I just ordered my cloth diapers, yay! Chinmayo, my midwife gave us the birth kit box last week -- stuff we need for my homebirth (plastic sheets, those chuck pad things, peri bottles, sterile gloves, etc. and a cute onsie that says "born with love at home"). We finished the hypnobirthing class with Joan at Southcentral Foundation, and got a cute bib that says "I'm a hypnobirthing baby." Now I just need to get a breast pump and stuff. I'll tell you more about home birthing, my cloth diapers, hypnobirthing and my other favorite birth book (Birthing from Within) later, I'm off to the airport for Kodiak right now...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

go check it out!

My dad started a blog for his projects and trip to Africa. He's there right now. Just finished up in Kenya and now on to Liberia.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

a good laugh

I woke up the other morning with EJ's arm over my side and he was scratching my belly, but not just scratching, it looked like his fingers were working on something. He was still sleeping but I asked him what he was doing. He said he was dreaming, so I asked about what. He said that he was wrestling and that, "I'm a transformer." Later that day he told me more about his dream. He said that he was a tostone transformer. Tostones are sliced green plantains smashed and fried, a Latin American appetizer.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Toksook site visit

I like traveling by myself sometimes. I get to meet more people from wherever I’m visiting. And I like observing people sometimes too. The anthropologist in me coming out I guess.

I stayed at the school in Toksook. The cook there is maybe a 30something old Yupik guy, and he introduced himself to me as “Sammy,” but then whispered that his real name is Simon. His mannerisms are very effeminate, and he seems to really enjoy taking care of people. He was there until 10 last night preparing the food for tonight’s prom, then had a bunch of nieces and nephews to take care of when he got home he said. I usually bring my food with me when I travel to the village because I never know what’s going to be available wherever I’m staying. I’d come down to the kitchen to make my sandwich or heat up whatever instant soup I brought, and eat in there. Sammy would come keep my company while I ate, and kept offering me more of whatever he could from the kitchen. This morning I was eating my oatmeal with him and he went and scrounged me up a half bruised half brown (probably had been frozen at some point in its journey from South America to Alaska’s subarctic coast) banana. He set it by me and said “here, more nutrients for your baby.” It wasn’t the most appealing banana but I know how precious fresh produce is out there and he was very happy to give it to me. So I cut it up and put it in my oatmeal. “There isn’t your oatmeal so much better with that?” I had to agree.

The kids love my big belly. As soon as I walk in the school I’m surrounded by a bunch of girls rubbing my tummy asking me “you got baby?” I was talking to one group of girls for a while and one of them started pointing out to me their boyfriends, so we talked about their boyfriends for a little bit, what they like to do – hunting, playing computer games, basketball, etc. I asked her how old she was and she said she was 13 and her boyfriend is 14. They looked so young! I’m old man. I told her that my husband and I first met when I was 13 and he was 14. Her face broke out in an even bigger smile “reeaaalllly?” and they all giggled.

Now I’m sitting in this restaurant above the airport in Bethel. A group of army guys came in dressed in their fatigues. The two sitting at the end of the table towards me seem so different from each other. One is a big white guy who must have ordered the all you can eat pizza and pop deal because he first sat down with 4 pieces of pizza piled on his plate and went back for more at least twice, and gulped down two Mug roots beers. I’m not criticizing, I’m sure he gets lots of exercise. He’s not fat. I just heard a polite southern accent. The other one is a smaller black guy, who sat down with a Vitamin Water. His order came out and it was a big salad. Before he ate he bowed his head in the midst of all the lunch hour commotion and took his time to pray. He then proceeded to eat slowly, carefully chewing each bite. I didn’t really see any of them talk to each other. They seem comfortable in their silence with each other. Quiet companionship. I wonder where they are from. All thrown together in Bethel, Alaska.

Anyway, good site visit. My AmeriCorps Member there is doing a great job. It’s so beautiful and sunny out there now. It’s spring time in the delta (Yukon-Kuskokwim). 17 hours of sunlight now 6am to 11pm. I was waaay over dressed. Just two weeks ago I was out this way, and when I passed through Bethel it was still full of snow, windy and cold. I wore my snow pants, big boots with wool socks, hat, scarf, etc. on the plane out to Chevak where it was even colder. Now all the snow is melted in Bethel. And Toksook Bay, which is on the coast, is pretty warm now too. Everyone’s busy with seal hunting and duck hunting. Anna’s mom gave me a goose to bring home. I tried helping pluck a chicken one time in Nicaragua for sopa de gallina. I really sucked at it. Maybe EJ’s mom can help me. It wasn’t too muddy yet but it was a little hard sloshing through the soft snow, I kept sinking. My feet were too hot in my boots, and my jacket was too warm—good thing because it barely still zips over my belly. I’m walking around just in my sweatshirt. When I was walking around yesterday there was a little boy playing outside his house wearing just his t-shirt, a diaper and his mom’s big boots. I tried asking him if he was cold but he and the other boy talked to me in Yupik.

The Alaska Airlines flight just got in and the airport is full of Mt. Edgecumbe students on their way home.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pregnancy Indulgences

Ooooh, another discovery since I've been pregnant is the chiropractor! A couple months ago I had mentioned to my midwife these constant headaches I'd been living with since forever, that they were starting to bother me and interfere with my sleep. She referred me to a chiropractor. My first visit, the chiropractor had a skeleton spine as a prop and explained to me the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy. Then she assessed my spine and told me all the areas it wasn't lined up just right, and "adjusted" me. Lots of cracks. I was scared when she did my neck but just did my best to relax. She told me how one of the cranial nerves was compressed by the top vertebrae and adjusted that. The result was immediate. My daily head aches went away! It was so cool the obvious cause and effect. I wish medicine was like that for everything for everyone. So since then I've been going every other week or so (they recommended every week, but I haven't been able to because of my travel schedule lately). Another area that was hurting was my lower right back, so she's been adjusting that area too. It wasn't immediate relief like the headaches, but now after a handful of visits it is feeling a lot better and I didn't have any complaints last time. Everything was pretty good, nothing too off, she only adjusted my neck. She also works on the pelvis area along with the spine to make sure that the baby has the best space available and that the uterus is supported and positioned as best as possible. She makes sure everything is lined up properly to allow the biggest space available through the pelvis to help birth go quicker and easier. She can turn a breech around too if needed, isn't that cool?! She'll come visit me after baby's born to adjust the baby too....veeerrrrryy gently, she said she only uses the pressure equal to the weight of a nickle. But the baby gets all squished, pulled and stretched coming out, as you can imagine, so she helps the skull and spine recover from that.
Ahhh, and she suggested massage too. I had my first one there, and it was the best massage I've ever had. She did everything just right perfect for what I needed. And I got to lay on my tummy! She had this big cushion thing with space for my belly that she put on top of the table. Heavenly. Thank you Premera Blue Cross!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

look at that belly!

(slideshow on right) Gettin' big. My tummy's more itchy reminds me to rub cocoa butter on. And it seems a little pinkish. My belly button looks funny, it's almost flat...looks like a fake tummy.
But baby's grown so much, it's exciting! He's somewhere around 2 1/2-3lbs and over 15inches long (~butternut squash size), and starting to fill in that skin. All the little details have been forming, eye lashes, eye brows, etc. Can open his eyes and respond to light. Still practicing swallowing and getting hiccups now.
I've gotten leg cramps a few times while I'm sleeping, but they go away quickly when I stretch it. Eww I had the creepiest dream when I was in Marshall a couple weeks ago. I dreamt that these big bubbles like blisters were popping up on my upper legs then moving down towards my feet, and when they'd get towards the bottom a black spiky worm thing would also pop up inside the bubble, slithering around in there. In my dream I was freaking out and trying to scream, then it went away. I ran to whoever I was with and tried to tell them what had just happened and they didn't believe me. I think I must have rolled on my back and my legs fell asleep, and the dream was the tingly feeling of the blood rushing back down there after I rolled to my side again. At home I sleep with all these pillows now. My cousin Ben told me that I had to get a "Snoogle," this long curved body's awesome, makes only being able to sleep on my sides more comfy...and keeps me from rolling on my back. Another pregnancy gadget that Ginger recommended and I enjoyed was the Bella Band. I could wear my regular jeans unbuttoned at the top and held up with the Bella Band. I was wearing my same jeans up till a few weeks ago! Now I have enough maternity pants though to last me this last little bit (thanks Ginger!).

ranodom cravings and nutrition rant

Ahhhh, just went crazy on rosemary bread and herb brie. I love it when I can satisfy a craving. That was exactly what I wanted. Yum. EJ doesn't get me sometimes when I know I want something specific but can't quite identify it...then when I can, sometimes it's something weird and random. There was a week when I wanted runts so bad, and we couldn't find them anywhere in town. Like a month later at Blockbuster we saw them in the candy aisle, but by then the craving had passed. I've had such a sweet tooth lately! We've gone to Cold Stone more times these last two months than we have in the two years since we moved home (which is still only like 4 times). Good thing is my blood sugar control is fine. My blood glucose test result at 28 weeks was great. And my iron's still good too. Really making sure I stay good and hydrated to accommodate all the new blood we're making. I'm still focusing on making sure I get enough calcium these last few months because that's when most of the baby's calcium is absorbed in the milk, calcium fortified orange juice (loving OJ a lot more than normal too!), jarred salmon, yogurt, cottage cheese, and a bunch of other cheeses, I love cheese! And omega-3 fatty acids because the brain is growing so rapidly right now...salmon, walnuts, flax seeds. Ugh, I'm even taking cod liver oil to supplement...see how much I love you baby! Don't ask my why I didn't get it in capsule form. Tastes like I burp fish bones afterwards. Still not doing so great on the exercise though. My mom and aunties told me that walking regularly will make labor quicker and easier. Maybe now that it's warmer and the slush is mostly more excuses.

Happy Spring!

It's so nice out's good to feel the sun again! I love it! It should be reaching 60 by this weekend..yay, it's Spring! Just wanted to share some love. It's been a while since I've posted anything. I have a bunch to catch up on, and some new belly pics.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

daddy EJ

Can I just take a second to get a little cheesey...
I'm really excited to be a mama, but I'm super excited to see EJ as a dad too. He's already such a good daddy. He's already bonded so strongly, always talking and singing to baby, kissing my belly, and making sure to take good care of me. And baby responds to him now. When he talks to her and when he puts his hands or ear on my tummy baby starts kicking away. It's fun. I'm glad that he gets to feel her too now. It makes him really happy...big goofy smiles and laughs. I'm so proud of him, how much he's learned already. He's right there along with me with all the prenatal stuff, learning about pregnancy and into it...more than I thought he'd be. I have complete trust and confidence in him, that together we'll be able to do this....have the natural home birth that we're planning, raise this lil' munchkin. I know he'll be there for everything and learn as much as he can about baby and kid stuff too. I love my baby daddy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

crazy Alaska weather

snow then slush then snow then slush, volcano eruptions, ash and earthquakes oh my!
My last 2 site visits were already canceled because of weather. I hope my flights make it out these next few trips!

boy dreams

I had another dream last night that I had a boy. I remember that I was in labor and my midwife said the baby was coming, but I couldn't feel anything. Then next thing I remember EJ was cuddling this little baby. It was this brown chubby cheeked big eyed baby boy with straight black hair sticking up. I was looking to see who he looked like, but couldn't tell. That was the 4th dream I've had that it was a boy.......

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring Break

Woah, has a whole month passed already! Where did March go? Well the best part of it went to our little vacation....Nicaragua! We also stopped in Portland/Salem for a few days on the way down. Auntie Lena got to feel baby's kicks. Haha, we'd be sitting in our meeting (Willamette Native American Advisory Council) with her hand on my tummy waiting. "Awww, so cute" And baby got to listen and dance to powwow music...I love that drumming and singing, I always feel it way down in my core. Francesca and Brook bought baby some hand knitted finger puppets from one of the vendors, a rooster and a cockroach...haha. We'll have fun singing with those. I didn't get any pictures there, but here are the Nica pics.
Ahhh my lovely Nicaragua. I'm so happy that this visit got to work out. I can't believe we went all the way down there for only a week! But I think that's all my prego body can handle right now anyway. Getting back I realized that I should probably start acting pregnant. I feel like I can still do everything like normal, but I'm starting to get cues from my body to sloooow down. But, it was such a nice visit. As soon as we got in we drove straight up to Esteli (the main town up north that was my hub and connection to the rest of the world from where I lived in remote San Lucas), enjoyed our favorite Esteli spots and rested since we had flown all night. It was nice to be greeted so warmly and remembered. The guy at the hotel El Meson still gave me the Peace Corps discount :P The next morning it was out to San Lucas. Maaan, that road is HORRIBLE! bumpy, dusty, narrow, twisty, up and down through the mountains.....we weren't even on a chicken bus, but in our own cush air conditioned little funny looking SUV, and I was still bracing myselft the whole time....I was being paranoid about baby getting bumped around...I shouldn't have been, s/he's a tough baby. Anyway, we made it to San Lucas, and it was just like coming home again. We were all super excited to see each other, then it was just like normal, like I had never left. We stayed with Sandra's family, across the road from her at Marta and Juans because they had a bed that we could use. We sat and caught up for a while over some delish home grown home made coffee (my first time drinking coffee since being pregnant!) then went up and did a quick round of visits up the hill by where I used to live. I didn't really tell anyone that I was coming, except for Sandra last minute...and she told a few people, but not when. So it was fun to see peoples surprise, and then more surprise when they saw my belly. Baby got lots of Nica love. Everyone there says it's a boy. I'm not sure if they were just saying that because they think it's a compliment...that having a boy is better. They would look at EJ like it was a compliment to him. He'd say that it doesn't matter though, a boy or girl, no preference at all, just that we want a healthy baby. The next day was our only full day there so we tried to make the most of it. Went walking around visiting in the morning, went to San Juan real quick to do a few errands and get some groceries to make pizza, then got back home and started dying easter eggs with the kids and making pizza for dinner. I grabbed one of those $1 boxes of egg dying stuff on the way to the airport in Portland, and it was the best $1 spent. Those kids had so much fun, we all did, the whole neighborhood. We did the egg hunt over and over again until those poor boiled eggs couldn't take it anymore, we had to stop them before they crumbled to pieces. And I'm glad they got some good protein that day too. Elgin ate all 4 of his eggs at once! That boy loves eating. The rest of them ate one then brought home the rest to share with their family. Then we made Sandra's favorite, pizza, for dinner. And it was dark already so we just hung out until going to bed. The next morning we took off. It was quick, I wish we had more time there...but seriously I don't think I could have taken another night. Niether of us could sleep neither night. My hip bones hurt so much from having to lie on my side on that plank bed..can't lay on my back or stomach, which can handle the hard bed. I'm not as tough as Nica mama's. So we mostly laid there listening to the roosters crowing, cicadas chirping, and the pig snorting around outside until we heard someone finally get up at 5am and get some coffee going. So we stopped back through Esteli and got massages at the natural medicine center, then continued on to Managua to return the car and catch a flight to Corn Island. The next few days were spent chillin' on the beach. I can't believe we were just in the Caribbean. It was lovely. We'd eat, read, nap, float in the ocean, walk around, talk to baby, hang out teasing each other as was perfect. We almost got motivated to actually do something like go snorkeling, but, nah, took a nap instead. It was a much needed rest. The only little thing that wasn't cool was that the tops of my feet got so sunburnt! I was so good at making sure I didn't get sunburnt since this Alaskan is so pale now, except the tops of my feet excaped me..haha. I was fine walking around the island barefoot, but it kind of hurt having to wear my flip flops again on the way home. They were even a little swollen, then of course got more swollen on plane. They're fine now, just crispy brown getting ready to peel..ewwww, sorry. Our boat ride from Little Corn back to Big Corn Island (where the flights land) was quite an adventure too.....over-crowded, open skiff, motor dying in the open ocean, huge waves tipping us sideways....but we finally ended up put-putting our way across and it was all fine. A trip to Nicaragua isn't complete without a little something crazy happening though.
The trip home was a bit of a long haul. Starting with the boat ride, a little plane ride back from the island, then 12 hours of flying on a jet to get back home..not including our 8 hour layover (!) in Houston. And of course we got home in the middle of the night and went to work the next morning. Luckily we made it in right before they closed the airport and started canceling flights because of volcano ash from Mt. Redoubts eruptions. Then that first day back we had planned to take my nephews to a show downtown so we were rushing around after work getting coordinated and picking them up. I ended spotting a little bit that day...first time that happened. It was scary. I called the clinic but they were all closed and the receptionist just told me to go to the ER. My homebirth midwife was out of town so I called her back up midwife and talked it through with her. Since I still felt baby moving around we decided I would just try to relax and make sure to get good and rehydrated. It didn't continue, and I still kept feeling baby so felt like I was okay. That sure was humbling though, to realize that I can't just keep doing everything the same. Baby had to tell me "slow down mama." I have to act like I'm pregnant now....
And of course I have 3 site visits planned for work this next month.....but those are short trips...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Prego Moh

I'm still getting used to my prego body. I get surprised sometimes seeing myself in the mirror...I really have a pregnant belly now, it's obvious. Last week I was at 9 pounds for weight gained, which is just right. Now it's probably 10, and should be about 1 pound a week now....hopefully I'll stay pretty close to that. Bear with me all the belly pics, I'm still fascinated with being pregnant :)
What's new this has eyelids and eyebrows now.
I had a dream that the ultrasound tech and another doctor at an appointment accidentally told us that we're having a boy. I was mad that they had spilled the beans. We still feel like it's a girl.....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Half way there!

Look how big I am, and only at 5 months! I'm going to get huge I know it. These last couple of days I think I actually felt my tummy that possible? It would feel really tight and uncomfortable, like a balloon was being blown up inside me. This baby's going to be at least 8 pounds, probably almost 9 like I was. And she's not even a pound yet! The average baby at this point is about 10 inches long and still a few ounces shy of a pound. Hair is sprouting on her head. Her skin is covered with vernix now so that she doesn't turn into a raisin in the amniotic fluid. Still practicing swallowing...hopefully developing a preference for healthy foods. Yay, can't wait for these other 20 weeks to go by so that we can finally meet this little jellybean!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

digital story

made this at a training this was fun

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

our baby's first pictures!

There's our baby! She kept ducking her head way down into my pelvis where the ultrasound tech couldn't get a good picture. I think she was trying to get away from the high intensity sound waves...I'm sorry baby! But she did finally end up letting us get a good profile picture.
Already has islander legs. Doesn't look like one of my skinny legs :P

It was fun seeing baby today. We saw her moving all around in there. So active! Everything looks great. We saw the details of the heart and a bunch of the other organs, they are perfect. Good job baby! I was kind of resisting tests and ultrasounds if it wasn't absolutely necessary, but it is reassuring. I feel more confident in my body and in this baby, that we are strong and healthy.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mutts are the best

There's our Kiska girl. The best dog ever. My mom brought her to us from Ruby 12 years ago. True village dog. On our walk today.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"woah, who's fundus is this long?"

Haha EJ was so funny today at our prenatal appointment. When the medical assistant was taking my vitals and all that he found a measuring tape and asked (more talking out loud to himself), "what's this, to measure the fundus?" Then he unfolded it and said, "woah, who's fundus is this long?" The MA, was like, "uh, I don't know, maybe somebody carrying multiples, uhh....ummm....?" I wonder how many other guys have been in there talking about fundus's (fundi?)
The fundus is the top of the uterus.'s not over yet....later when I got up on the table for Joan, the midwife, to measure how big my uterus is, he said (again mostly talking to himself), "alright time to measure the fundus." The midwife just busted out laughing and had to stop what she was doing for a second. I love my silly husband.

I think everyone in the room was having a little too much fun to get business done. When Joan put the doppler on my tummy to listen to the heartbeat baby was moving around so much we had to wait a little bit for him to settle down so that she could get the heart rate. It sounded like a record scratching back and forth...we have a little DJ in there. It was cool.

By the way my fundus has already passed my belly button, which usually doesn't happen until after 20 weeks.....just as a general marker. And last time Joan said I measured like somebody at 17 weeks not 14. And I started feeling definite kicking at 16 early! Hmmmm......

Friday, February 6, 2009

18 week Lovely Lady Lumps

I'm getting more used to my new lovely lady lumps now. I'm not supposed to lay flat on my back anymore because baby will press down on the big vein bringing blood back up to my heart. I usually sleep on my side anyway so that's fine. This bump is getting big enough that I can't bend and fold up as easily as I've always been able to...that's taking some adjusting to, I'm usually so flexible. Feelin' a little strain on my lower back already! I need to do some yoga and get my back strong before I really have a big load to carry around!

So, they say baby's about 5 1/2 inches long and weights about 7 ounces now..about the size of a big bell pepper. His skeleton is calcifying more and more, arms and legs getting stronger and stronger. I feel him every day stretching and bouncing around in there....I LOVE IT. This growth spurt is making me pretty hungry-- seems like I have to eat every couple of hours. Half my bag is food when I leave for work in the morning. Anyway, baby and mama are doing good!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

how do I break this pattern?

Sleeping pattern I mean....wake up at 3 am, lay there awake until 6ish, just start falling back asleep then my alarm goes off at 6:30, press snooze 18 times, get to work late then stay late...tired aaaaallll day....fall asleep on the couch at 8:30/9 until EJ brings me to bed, repeat cycle.

Family Tree

I woke up again in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep, but before I woke up I was dreaming that I was introducing myself to a new group of people. This made me think about how this baby is going to introduce herself. She's 1/4 Koyukon Athabascan 1/4 White (mostly Swiss) and 1/2 Filipino (Kapampanggan).
Mama's side: Me, I say, "My name is Margaret Olin Hoffman David. My mom is Dee Olin from Ruby and my grandparents are Lorriane (Olin) and the late Johnny Honea from Kokrines and Ruby and Lillian (Pitka) and the late Fred Olin Jr. from Kokrines and Galena. My dad is David Hoffman, who grew up in Flint, Michigan and Spokane, Washington, and my grandparents are the late Helen (Wolf) from Livingston, Montana and George Hoffman from Bozeman, Montana." My mom has 15 brothers and sisters so I have 80+ cousins on that side, and my dad has two sisters and I have 6 cousins on that side (but my grandpa was one of 9 children so I have many extended cousins). I grew up in Ruby, Nome, Barrow, Juneau, Sitka, and Anchorage, but rooted by spending summers at fishcamp, Big Eddy, 23 miles upriver from Ruby on the Yukon River.
Taytay's side: Eric John Ramos David from Las Pinas, Philippines and Alaska. His mom is Leonora "Ning" Ramos from Pasay City, Philippines, and her parents are the late Emilia (Manarang) and the late Lucio Ramos both from Pampanga, Philippines. His dad is Leonoardo "Ronnie" David, and his parents are the late Filipinas (Mercado) and the late Estanislao David, all from Pampanga. EJ has 12 aunties and uncles and many cousins also. He grew up in Pasay City and Las Pinas until he was 14 then moved to Barrow, and then Anchorage.
This baby is so rich in family and history and culture. I'm almost nervous about being able to instill all of this in her the way that it's been instilled in us.........

Saturday, January 31, 2009

4 month tummy

Yep, I finally had to give in to the maternity pants with the cool big elastic band. I couldn't find any jeans that I liked....will have to keep looking.

I can't believe how much my belly has popped out in literally days! For reals, one day my pants fit fine, then the next day they didn't. EJ notices it getting bigger every day too.

Haha, this morning I was jamming out to some reggaeton and baby started kicking away, doing somersaults in there. Either she doesn't like it or she enjoys it as much as her mama does. I think she was having fun dancing around with me though :P

Friday, January 30, 2009

My belly popped this week! Every day I can feel it getting bigger. I'm running out of jeans that still fit!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Just being nosy...

OK, this is EJ writing now. I am just being nosy, and figured that I might as well get into the action with this whole baby blogging thing. Given that I cannot grow a baby inside me and that I am missing out on all of that, I figured I'll try to get involved in ways where I can. Anyway, the baby moved yesterday...lots of times. I was actually driving home from work when it happened. Margarita called my cell phone and told me all about it...I cried a little, just a little. But then afterward I couldn't stop thinking about it, and giggling about it. So I must've looked like a crazy person giggling by myself while stuck in rush hour traffic. Anyway...I'm done.

finger CHOP!

Now I'm sure I felt baby kick. Yesterday I was talking to my belly and I felt several little pokes. It was so cool to finally feel what's been growing in there! Even more than hearing the heartbeat....although that was pretty awesome too. EJ is so proud every time we go to an appointment. Afterward he'll brag to everyone, "my baby's heart beat 156 times a minute." I actually got kind of emotional (i.e. cried) when I felt that little poke and knew for sure that it was baby. It's definitely more real now. EJ was even able to feel him so I know it wasn't just me. Can't smile big enough :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Auntie Freda took this picture at Veta's fundraiser in Fairbanks in November


Oooh, I wanted to mention this concert we went to a few weeks ago. It was the first Free Tibet concert in Alaska on Jan 10. A Tibetan man who grew up in India and Nepal (because his parents fled Chinese rule in Tibet) has been living in Alaska for a while now and organized this event. They brought up a former Tibetan prisoner to talk about her experiences. Her name is Ngawang Sangdrol, and she was first imprisoned when she was 13 because she was part of a peaceful protest. She was there for 13 years in all before the government was pressured to release her and she came to the states.....can you imagine!??! They also brought up I guess one of Tibet's most well known performing artist, Yungchen Lhamo. It was cool. There were also a couple of local indigenous groups that performed. And it was free. Yungchen Lhamo performed last. She has such a soft calm voice and her music is so soothing, like lullaby music (I should get her CD and listen to it when I can't fall asleep!). It was really nice. So I was just sitting back in my chair enjoying the music, let my eyes close and was thinking about baby...and I felt a little bubble down below my belly button. Gas? Has to be, I was only 14 weeks pregnant...but it was in front in the middle....hmmm.....maybe. I think baby liked the music.....


How do I write a frustrated sound.....arrrgh....I can't sleep! Most nights I wake up and cannot fall back asleep, then I am so tired all day long! I have this eye mask and lavender aromatherapy and try all these breathing and relaxation techniques..and nothing. EJ sleeps so easily..I think it makes me more frustrated.
Anyway, I thought I'd write about dreams. I often remember at least bits of my dreams, but lately they have been more vivid and weird. I did have a dream that I gave birth already. I was at a check-up and they told me there that I was in labor and had to start pushing already. I was worried because it was too early and that was not how I wanted to give birth (it was this really sterile room on a hard little exam table). They told me that I had to start pushing so I gave a feeble push because I didn't really believe them that it was time already. (I didn't feel anything so I knew it was a dream.) They got mad at me and told me that I had to try harder, and put my hand down there to feel the head crowning, then all of a sudden the whole baby came out and I caught it. I just laughed because I stil didn't believe it. I looked down and it was this brown baby girl with a head full of thick dark hair. I laughed again and said "this can't be my baby, I was bald my whole first year!"
EJ had a dream that he was pregnant and gave birth...hahaha...he doesn't remember the details though.
After I told my new BIRCH (Building Initiatives in Rural Community Health-- the name of the AmeriCorps program I coordinate) team that I was expecting in July, one of the girls came up to me and told me that before she came to town for orientation and we met in person that she had a dream that I was pregnant.
TG and EJ's mom are sure that I am going to have a girl. Alison says it's a girl. We'll see...........

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby Bump!

I've just been feeling chubby lately, but I think that's finally a real baby bump! 16 weeks. Baby's as big as an avocado. Almost everything is formed, just has to grow grow grow. She* can taste what I eat in the amniotic fluid...even more motivation to eat healthy food so she won't be fussy with it later on! Next week she'll start to be able to hear us :)
*we don't know if "she's" a boy or girl, and won't until her birthday, I'm just going to randomly say he or she instead of "it."