Category Archives: Baby

Illness and the benefits of Mama’s milk

Catherine, Esme and I have been sick for various lengths of time over the past week. Catherine and I got sick on the day before Thanksgiving. The two of us shared a feverish bed at the Lowes’ house in Townsend that Wednesday night, while Mama slept with Esme on an air mattress. We were both up and down with various fever and cold symptoms for the remainder of the Thanksgiving weekend. Catherine started to get on the mend by Monday morning, and as of tonight is pretty much back to normal. Esme got sick on Sunday night and is back to normal tonight. I’m still fighting a cough, sore throat, congestion, AND I have an ear infection!! And Rebecca? Well, she hasn’t been sick at all, despite spending the past week in close contact with all of us. What gives?

Well, here’s my theory. Mama’s milk. Esme gets it all the time. Catherine gets it occasionally, but particularly if she’s not feeling well. And, though we are a *very* close family, I don’t drink breastmilk at all. And Mama? Well, she *makes* the milk, so I guess that must do something for her. That, and her superior immune system and excellent personal hygeine.

Meanwhile, I’m stuck doing what I can, like taking antibiotics for the ear infection, drinking water, chamomile tea, and even trying spicy tomato tea to try and kill this bug.

I’m sure there are other, more scientific explanations for it, but I like my explanation.

The Second Time Around

The past two weeks have gone by so quickly, yet the days have gone by slowly. These first fourteen days with Esme have been so different from Catherine’s first two weeks (click Here for those of you just tuning in). Here’s a little rundown of life with Esme.

Esme’s birth went about as smoothly as I could have hoped for. I know birth details aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I won’t go into specifics- but feel free to ask me if you’re interested. I’ll be open and honest! Suffice it to say we had a completely unmedicated birth assisted by a nurse and a Certified Nurse Midwife. Everything went pretty quickly. We checked into the hospital around 10pm and were settled into our post partum room and napping by 4am.

With the benefit of experience (and lack of breathing apparatus) Esme and I had an easy start to breastfeeding. She latched on perfectly on her first try and has continued to go strong ever since.

We’ve been enjoying having Peter home from work and have been taking advantage of his vacation by ‘lying-in’. Esme and I have been getting to know each other well, mostly while hanging out in bed. We’ve been reentering the world at our own pace and I think it has really helped our bonding and our ‘after birth’ recovery. It has been a relaxing Babymoon!

Catherine has taken to the role of big sister like a fish to water. It must be a hard transition to make, but she seems to be coping very well. It is impossible to capture her cute tone of voice here, but you can imagine how cute it is when she says things like, “Baby Esme, you crying? You need your Mama’s milks!” or “Hey Esme, you want a carrot?” And, out of desperation to get a cuddle with Mama, “Papa, YOU want to hold Esme?”

Big sister is already teaching Esme things. While I was nursing the other day I said to Esme, “Oh Esme. That is a bad latch!” Catherine quickly came over and instructed her little sister, “You need a big latch, Esme, like this…” and she gave a shining example of a big mouthed latch. Ahh, my little lactation consultant!

It has been nice to have a teeny babe at home; hearing her little sounds and counting her little toes. I’m pretty sure it will only get better from here on out!

The Wood Family is Proud to Present…

Esme Caroline

Born Thursday, March 5 at 2:12am. She weighed 8lbs 2oz and was 20.25 inches long.

Labor and delivery went blessedly smoothly. Esme latched on right away and is a nursing champ. Catherine is a proud and loving new big sister.

We couldn’t be happier! More details to follow, I’m sure, and lots of pictures can be found right here!


Here we are at the end of day 40+3. I’m still pregnant, but not as pregnant as I’ve ever been; Catherine came at 40+5. Baby seems pretty comfortable for the time being.

Life continues on. I’ve continued to add and cross things off of my master “before the baby” list. Most of these things are little housey projects like “fix the doorbell” (which turned into “replace the doorbell”) and “clean the oven”. But there are also baby related items as well- “pack for hospital” (partially finished) and “convert top of bureau and top drawer into changing table and baby drawer” (done!)

I also keep a day to day list going as well. This is much smaller and has items like “empty dishwasher”, “email so and so” and, if I’m feeling ambitious, “go to library”. I like crossing things off these little lists- it makes me feel accomplished!


We had a lovely snowstorm here last night and today. I’d say we got 10-12 inches of nice white snow. I stayed inside and enjoyed the view while Catherine and Peter went out and shoveled and played. They were awfully cute out there. All the pics from their frolicking are here.

I’ve been surrounded by baby news lately. So many women I know have just had or are expecting little ones! I love hearing their news and sharing stories of our experiences with them. Congratulations to (and I hope I don’t leave anyone out!) Andrea, Shirpa, Heather, Leanne, Deanna, Meaghan, Angelique, Megan, Laurel, Lisa, Marisa, and Trisha!

Now I’m just rambling… what would you all like to talk about?

Baby Names (courtesy of Spam)

Peter and I have been chatting quite a bit about names for the new little one. We’ve come up with a whole list of names we aren’t keen on and a fairly short names that are still in the running. None of them seem perfect to us yet, I think we’ll have to see the little face first before we make a decision.

Having exhausted the baby name books at the library and the scads of name websites I thought I’d look for some new inspiration. Here are the first 20 names I just found in my email’s Spam folder. Add Wood to the end and let me know if you think any are ‘just right’! Enjoy.

Curtis Hart
Dudley Reid
Elma Engle
Virginia Holden
Raymond Knight
Leah McQueen
Darcy Mcghee
Helena Burkett
Harry Golden
Liza Arthur
Avis Pereira
Eldon Mayo
Pamela Bragg
Sharon Carney
Christi Zamora
Doug Cody
Bianca Teague
Darcel Burgos
Irvin Cocoran
Nanette Clement

Thoughts from a soon-to-be Father of Two

Rebecca’s due date is one week away, on February 27. If things go like they did with Catherine (who was born five days after her due date), then this baby would be born on March 4. We cannot, of course, predict these things, so in reality the baby could be born any time within the next two weeks (since the medical folks don’t like to let things go much more than a week past the due date). Here’s a little of what has been on my mind…

Continue reading

One month (or so) left

Our official due date is February 27th. Exactly one month from today! We’re all getting more and more excited to meet this little one as the days go on. My midwife appointments have been every two weeks for a short while now and I suspect we’ll go to weekly very soon. Everything is still looking good- the cyst has been monitored via ultrasound and has not caused any trouble since December. I’ve been feeling about as well as can be expected. I’m pretty tired and sore and it takes me forever to walk anywhere! Luckily, I look very pregnant so I think that saves me from looking totally strange as I waddle through the parking lot at the library.

We’ve been working on a bunch of things as we prepare to be a family of four. Some things are specifically baby related and some are only tangentially related. You can see my ongoing “before the baby” to-do list below. [Catherine has made her own additions]


Specifically baby related activities include (but are not limited to)-
*Childbirth preparation reading– So far I’ve re-read Husband Coached Childbirth and have read for the first time Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Birthing From Within. Peter and I were fairly pleased with the birthing experience that we had with Catherine and are hoping for a similar experience. The books are good as a refresher course and remind me that every birth is different and that it is important to keep an open mind to the possibilities.
*Baby Laundry– I have yet to get from the attic our gender neutral newborn clothes, but those and a ton of newborn cloth diapers will need a good wash before the babe arrives.

*Baby Set-up– Fortunately, babies don’t need a whole lot when they first arrive; milk, clothing, diapers and a cozy place to sleep will do for a while. But we’ve set up the rocker and footstool in our room, made a space for the bassinet next to my side of the bed and are trying to figure the best place to store diapers and clothes
*Crafts!– I’ve been doing a little creating for the little one. A little white, bunny hat is ready and waiting and will hopefully be joined by a little matching knit kimono. I’ve also made a baby wrap (just like a MobyWrap) for Peter and I to carry baby in. I’m so looking forward to a little snuggle!

Not so Baby Specific activities-
*General House Organization– We’ve been working room by room around the house cleaning up, paring down and organizing our possessions. It seems that every time we go through our things (clothes, toys, whatever) we are willing to part with more and more. It creates cleaner and clearer spaces in our home and allows us to free our minds to focus on other, more important things.
*Feeding the Freezer– I’m trying to double at least one recipe a week so that I can freeze the extra for use later. Soon I’ll be wishing we had a larger freezer, but I know the meals will come in handy when I’m really not feeling like cooking. It will help keep our budget in check as well since we won’t be as tempted to eat/order out.
*Resting– For a while Catherine had given up her one daily nap. I was okay with that because she would go to bed at night easier (and at a manageable hour). But I started noticing that she really did need a nap during the day- and so did I. So now we both try to take a short nap before lunch and we’re both feeling better in the afternoon.

Peter has been very busy at work, but is looking forward to a two week paternity leave in the near future. Catherine, baby and I are looking forward to having him home as well.

I’m sure there’s more to say. Feel free to send any questions my way or just leave a comment to say hi!

Our Weekend Getaway

On Saturday, we dropped Catherine off with her Nonni and Grandpa, and headed down to Boston for a weekend excursion! 🙂 We drove in and parked at the Boston Common parking garage ($22 for the weekend, not bad) and walked in the chilly weather down to our hotel.

Our hotel room
We stayed in the Marriott at Copley Place, thanks to a gift card we got from Ken and Dianne last Christmas.
Our hotel room
From our room on the 21st floor, we had a terrific view of the southwest part of the city, including the South End
A good portion of our time was spent lounging in the hotel room, vegging out, watching TV, and relaxing.
b. good
We had lunch at b. good, a favorite stop of ours.
We had a *very* nice dinner at Stephanie’s, courtesy of a gift card I won at work last year. We brought our desserts back to the room and watched Wall-E on pay-per-view on the room’s huge TV.
Nighttime View
We also enjoyed the nighttime views from our hotel room.
More views
Did I mention the views from our hotel room?

Overall it was a very enjoyable weekend. Our main goal was just to veg out and enjoy good food, quiet rest, pleasant company, and comfortable accommodations. We were pretty pleased with the view from our hotel room, if you couldn’t tell. 🙂 If we stretched, we could see the Charles River on the far right of our window, and the Southeast Expressway on the far right. This will probably be the last chance we have to take a weekend away with just the two of us for quite some time, what with baby #2 due to arrive in eight weeks or so. It was definitely worth it.

You can see all of the photos from our Boston Weekend.

It sounds like Catherine had a good time while we were away, too, thanks to Nonni and Grandpa!

Dry Run

I realize that I have been particularly quiet regarding this second pregnancy. Honestly, I’ve been fairly reclusive both in real life and online since the summer. Part of it has been that Catherine keeps me very busy and part of it has been that this pregnancy has me very, very tired. I am only recently starting to feel like my old self, and am very thankful for it!

But those things aside the pregnancy has been going very well. Our babe is growing and developing right on schedule and I haven’t had any major complications. Catherine has been mildly interested in this mythical “baby” but I’m not sure she truly understands what’s happening. She will occasionally tickle the baby or say hello, and she has liked seeing the little one on ultrasound. It is pretty cute.

We’ve chosen to see a midwife this time around. She is part of the OB practice I went to with Catherine and her patients birth at the same hospital, but her style of care during prenatal visits is much more in tune with my own preferences. I’ve been happy with the change.

When I was pregnant with Catherine, the ultrasound showed that I had a cyst on my right ovary. It never caused me any trouble, but continued growing after her birth. At four months post partum I had a quick surgery from my Surgeon’s Advisor to have it removed. A similar (but larger) cyst was discovered at our first ultrasound scan this time around (at 20weeks). We’ve been monitoring its size via ultrasound for the past couple months adn it has been behaving. Until this weekend.

Sunday night I was awake all night with considerable pain. At 4am on Monday I woke Peter up and called the midwife and decided to head to Labor and Delivery and get checked out. Throughout Monday morning I had a series of tests and ultrasound scans run. They all came back with normal results (phew!) and I actually started feeling a bit better. Even so, it was decided that I should stay overnight for observation, just in case. The general consensus is that the cyst torsed (twisted) and that is was was causing the pain. Most likely it untwisted itself and the pain subsided. But we’re still not exactly sure.

All’s well that ends well, though and by 1pm on Tuesday I was home and feeling much better. A hospital stay is not something I had planned for this week, and certainly not the way I had planned my first night away from Catherine, but there were a few good outcomes. Catherine had a chance to see both the Labor and Delivery floor and the Maternity ward. Theoretically that will help her feel more comfortable there come the baby’s arrival. She also got to spend some quality time with just Papa. And she got lots of positive attention at the hospital- what cute kid in pink footsie pjs wouldn’t?

For me: I got IV hydration which I think I was in need of and a whole night of quiet rest. I was also able to take care of some routine lab work there instead of having to bring Catherine along with me to my lab appointment later in the week. And, frustrating as it was not to have a real ‘diagnosis’, it was comforting to hear that everything is looking good and though I was in pain the baby is doing just fine.

Thank you for all of your warm wishes via phone, email, facebook, twitter, etc. And thank you to Corey and Vicky who stepped up to babysit at the last minute- and early in the morning! And, of course, thank you to Peter and Catherine who stepped up and dealt graciously with an unexpected, non-routine, couple of days!

Motrin in Pain

As some of you may have heard, Motrin recently released an ad campaign (online video and print ads) promoting their pain reliever as a boon for moms who are in pain from wearing their babies. The ad is no longer available, but the text appears here courtesy of a transcription from yours truly:

Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion.
I mean in theory it’s a great idea.
There’s the front keepbabyclose baby carrier, the sling, the schwing, the wrap, the pouch, and who knows what else they’ve come up with?
Wear the baby on … Read Moreyour side, your front, go hands free.
Supposedly it’s a real bonding experience.
They say that babies carried close to the bod tend to cry less than others.
But what about me?
Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don’t?
I sure do.
These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders, did I mention your back?
I mean, I’ll put up with the pain because it’s a good kind of pain. It’s for my kid.
Plus it totally makes me look like an official mom.
And so, if I look tired and crazy, people will understand why.

I welcome people to make their own interpretations of that ad, but to me it reads incredibly smarmy, self-centered, and ignorant. Thankfully, many other moms and dads agreed. When news of the ad campaign hit the internet this past weekend, an ad-hoc “Motrin Moms” group quickly formed and started flooding Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook with their reactions. Motrin has since removed the ad and posted a half-hearted, corporate “apology” letter on their website. I am not linking to it because I don’t want them to get any more press than they’ve already got, but you can feel free to find their website on your own and read the letter, if you desire. Chances are, their target audience probably wasn’t offended by the video, but due to the viral nature of internet video, a few views by the right people spread into a large and vocal campaign.

Rebecca and I support and practice babywearing. Ever since Catherine was born, we’ve carried her in all manner of ways, including a baby backpack, a front carrier, a sling, and the swankiest, a Mei Tai style carrier that Rebecca made by hand. A baby carrier is designed to make it easy for a parent to keep their child close to their body while leaving their hands free for other things like carrying bags, doing some chores, or (and I’ve seen this a few times) holding a drink at a bar. Keeping a child close to your body can help with fussiness, help get them to sleep, and develop a closer sense of security between child and parent.

Now I’m certainly not begrudging people their right to treat their pain with home neck traction devices and all kinds of tools. By all means, if you’re in unbearable pain, take whatever measures you are comfortable with, including natural methods like hot/cold compresses, relaxation, etc, or medication suggested by specialists in sports medicine Pensacola. But please consider the fact that, when a baby carrier is used properly, there should not be any pain. “Used properly” means not used for too long a period of time and properly positioned on the body so as to have the maximum distribution of weight. If you’ve got a single strap digging into your shoulder, or if the carrier is forcing you to strain or hunch over, then of course it’s going to cause pain. But it shouldn’t.

If you’re wearing a baby because it makes you look like an “official mom” (or dad), then it’s probably the wrong thing to do. But if you want to keep your child close to you (as in attachment parenting), it’s definitely the way to go.

If you’re in the North Shore area and have questions about babywearing, feel free to get consulting with a physical therapist!