Wednesday, November 29, 2006

He does have eyes in there! (pics)

Well, the "lil" boy sleeps a lot, but we catch glimpses of his blue-grey eyes every now and then:

Ava makes such a good mommy, nursing her baby with mama's Boppy pillow:

Just the kiddos:

Proud Aunt Carrie:

And one more of the kiddos (Julian was yawning sooo big!). I think this is my favorite so far.:

One of these days I will get out my good camera and take some pics, but for now the point and shoot will have to do.
Oh, and it looks like we'll be meeting up with the professional photographer (the one who was supposed to do our birth photos) early next week for some family and newborn pictures. Yay! :)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Three days old - update (with pics)

Thank you all for the congratulations and heart-felt comments regarding Julian's birth. You are all amazing and sure know how to make a mama feel special. We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives (both "real" and online) that care about us. :)

Julian is three days old today and it already feels like he's been a part of our family forever. :)

My midwife stopped in today for our three-day check-up. Julian's weight was the same today as the day he was born - 9 lbs., 8 oz. (amazing that he hasn't lost any with all the pooping he's been doing - just ask Jody!) and, when remeasured, he came out to 22 inches again. He's just a big, long boy. :) She inked his foot and did a footprint on a pseudo-birth certificate for us that says "I Was Born At Home!" (we'll get the real one from the county), and in his baby book as well. We also elected to have the newborn screening tests done, so she drew blood out of his itty bitty heel for that.

My milk came in this morning and, I must say, it's nice to have cleavage again. ;) hehe. I think the lil guy is enjoying the good stuff too, and has been in a blissful "milk coma" pretty much all day. If he follows in his sister's footsteps, it won't be long before he starts packing on the serious poundage.

Speaking of the big sister, Ava has been amazing us at how well she's doing with this life-changing event. She's slipped into the big sister role with ease, and is so loving to Julian and is great with helping out. My sister has come over the past several days and taken Ava out for a few hours for some special time with Aunt Carrie and I think that's helped her a lot. (Thank you, Carrie!) She's had a few hard moments, but overall, she's doing remarkably well. We couldn't be prouder. :) As far as nursing goes, Ava has asked to nurse a few times over the past few days, but not nearly as often as I thought she might. And, who knows, she may ask to nurse more as we continue in this journey, but, for now, I am sticking with only nursing her before bedtime and then maybe once during the day - depending on if I feel like she really needs the mommy time or not. So far, it is going well which is such a relief! :)

I've been thinking a lot about what a different experience this has been for me - birthing Ava in the hospital and having complications (HELLP syndrome) myself that lead to a 5-day stay vs. birthing Julian at home and not having any complications. I really feel like I missed out on the first few days of Ava's life because I was bed-ridden on magnesium sulfate and so sick. Whereas I've felt comparatively great since Julian's birth and have been able to just enjoy the little guy. (Like noticing that he has a dimple in his right cheek when he does those dreamy lil sleep grins.) It's been like night and day and I'm so thankful that I stayed healthy throughout this pregnancy and birth.

I'll be posting with updates, etc., when I can, but they will definitely not be as frequent as P.J. (pre-Julian). I've got a few other pressing things in my life to attend to. :)

And now for a few pics from the past couple days. Click to enlarge.
He doesn't look so big next to his proud big sister (11/25/06):

She's so loving and sweet with him:

My midwife inking up Julian's foot (11/26/06):

Looks good:

Our beautiful boy:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Julian Emerson is here!

We have sooooo very much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving day, namely the birth of our healthy, beautiful baby boy - Julian Emerson - who was born at 2:14 p.m. at our home, after a very fast and intense labor. (Congrats to Vivacious Vegan for guessing his name correctly!) We were very lucky that our midwife was already here (to draw my blood to make sure I was not showing signs of HELLP syndrome - something we never had time or the need to do - and check in on me). I started having contractions in the middle of the night, but nothing I couldn't breathe through until around 12:30 this afternoon. Then I went from having some really intense contractions (that I had to vocalize through) to having the urge to push to my water breaking all in a matter of minutes. It's amazing how fast it all happened!

Needless to say, because it all progressed so quickly, the professional photographer we hired to document the birth didn't make it. Hell, we didn't even have time to call her until I was already pushing. I think we may have her do some newborn and family pictures in a week or two instead.

In fact, my sister barely got here before he was born!

As for the "lil" (ha!) guy's birth stats, he weighed in at a hefty 9 lbs., 8 oz., was 22 inches long (though they will remeasure tomorrow because that seems awfully long), and had a 15 cm head! Big boy.

Julian is doing great and is nursing well. I am feeling pretty good myself and had only minor tearing (requiring 4 stitches).

It is certainly a Thanksgiving Day we will never forget and we will always be thankful for the little boy we received today. Jody, Ava and I are all in love with him. :) There were some unexpected bumps and turns along the way (thank God for my awesome midwife and her partner), but it all worked out perfectly in the end. What an amazing ride this has been. :)

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the new member of our family:

Daddy and Ava cutting the cord:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Scorpio vs. Sagittarius and Thanksgiving plans

Apparently my little guy is holding out because he doesn't want to be a Scorpio. Today, according to some astrological charts I've seen, is the last day in the Scorpio Zodiac sign and tomorrow (11/23) starts Sagittarius. I guess I'm cool with that (what choice do I have, right??) because from what I've heard about Scorpios and some of the ones I've known (I dated a Scorpio) are such strong personalities. (Nothing personal against any Scorpios out there.)

It's kind of funny because Ava was born on the cusp too (that is, if baby boy follows suite and isn't born within the next 13 hours). Her birthday is June 22, which is the start of Cancer sign. My kids are just stubborn like their bull-headed (Taurus) mom. That shouldn't surprise me one bit.

So in this extra time baby boy has given us, we've decided to change the middle name we had picked out for him (not the first name though - that one is staying). Neither Jody nor I were really in love with the name we originally chosen so we started poking around the Internet (with my sister's very eager help), looking for something that appealed to us more. We found something that we are happy with now, and unless he decides to stay in another week, we will probably stick with it. ;) Then again, if he decides to stay in another week, we might just skip the whole "J.E." initials thing and just call him "Stubborn." :oP


Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I honestly thought I would have a baby in my arms by now. In fact, I was so convinced that I wouldn't be able to prepare a nice Thanksgiving meal (because I'd be in bed or on the couch with my wee one) that we decided to treat ourselves to a nearly full meal courtesy of Whole Foods. I did make a pumpkin pie last week (which I need to pull out of the freezer to thaw) and I bought a couple turkey breasts, but we ordered all of our side dishes from WF - Creamy Mashed Potatoes • Orange Mashed Yams • Green Beans Amandine • Traditional Herb Stuffing • Fresh Cranberry Sauce with Orange • Turkey Gravy. Jody is picking them up after work today and all we'll need to do tomorrow is reheat everything. It will be a nice treat for all of us, regardless of if the baby is here or not. And it will leave more time for us to just hang out and be together as a family (me, Jody, Ava and my sister) and, of course, obsess over when baby boy is going to be born.


Jody said the hot topic in his office today is when will our baby get here. It seems that two women we know who were due in December have already had their babies. Gah. Anyway, I told Jody to start taking bets and agree to split the pool with the winner 50/50. Might as well make some money while we wait. LOL - j/k ;oP

Seriously though, Jody, Ava and I each had a little pep talk with the baby last night and told him how excited we are to meet him and he can come out whenever he's ready, so we've done our part. ;) It's all up to him now.

:) Happy Thanksgiving to you all. :)
And happy birthday to my Dad today!

P.S. My cold is mostly better and I got a really good night's sleep last night. That was lovely. :) My big complaint, aside from wanting to meet my son and having to wait, is that I'm seriously running out of maternity clothes that fit at this point! I have one pair of yoga pants that I practically live in and a few shirts, but I need to have this baby just so I can have some clothes to wear again. ;)

P.P.S. I was able to get a last-minute appointment in the acupuncture clinic tonight. Maybe that will get the ball rolling! **crossing fingers**

Monday, November 20, 2006

No real news to speak of

Thank you for all the well wishes in my post below about being sick. I am doing a lot better. My energy level is still down and I'm dealing with phlegm and stuff, but my condition has greatly improved over what it was on Saturday. Such a relief!

This whole sickness experience has made me appreciate even more how amazing our bodies are. My body knew it was too sick to deal with birthing a baby and the lil guy has stayed in without a fuss. :) My midwife said today that she's only known of one ocassion where a mama was really sick and still went into labor, but generally speaking, the body knows how much it can handle and will put off labor until the mama is well enough. :)

So yes, I did see my midwife today and there's really not much to report. I'm still pregnant. ;) She did do an internal exam and there have been some changes to my cervix since my appointment last week, but not much. Basically, my cervix is soft (ripe) and I'm dilated to nearly 1 cm - but that's it. That doesn't mean I won't have the baby tomorrow, it's just where I am today. But all is going well. Other than the cold, I'm still feeling good (full of baby, but good). Everything is checking out just fine with both me and the baby too.

We did talk a bit about our options for the next two weeks (things that could get labor started and natural induction methods). If baby boy isn't born by Friday (11/24), I will see her again and she will sweep my membranes using a castor oil lubricant and I can use a belly balm (containing blue and black cohosh) a few times that evening. If he's not here by Monday (11/27), then we can try other things (castor oil cocktail - *gag*). Then we would move on to a biophysical profile (to check baby and the placenta) by mid-week, etc. But she doesn't think it will come to that and neither do I. I think things are going to start happening some time this week, it's just a question of when. ;)

My dad's birthday is Wednesday (11/22) and while it'd be cool for them to share a birthday, I'd really like the lil guy to have a day of his very own. Then, of course, Thanksgiving is Thursday and I'd hate for the midwives to have to spend the holiday here. And then there's the fact that my sister is really trying to get back to MI this week to spend some time with her boyfriend while she's on fall break from school, but yet patiently awaiting her nephew's birth so that she can help out with Ava while I'm in labor. All of this to say that it will happen when the time is right and it's totally out of our hands.

In the meantime, now that I'm feeling like I'm over the worst of this cold, I will resume activities to help get labor going - i.e. eating spicy foods (Jody bought some "Rooster sauce" tonight to put on our Vietnamese food), walking and (TMI) having sex. Although, I just found this online. Hmmm.

Well, after using the title "No real news to speak of," I sure did manage to type a whole lot. :oP All of it to say, no baby ... yet.

Lastly, for those of you who've been following the recent case of breastfeeding in the news, I thought you may be interested in this...
"Nursing mothers and their supporters will be gathering for a call to action nurse-in on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 10 AM, local time, at Delta airport counters across the country to protest Delta's actions against Emily Gillette and her family and to demand rights for breastfeeding mothers and children."

Read more about nurse-in locations and an exclusive interview with Emily Gillette here.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Healthy thoughts, please?

Here I sit, in front of my computer at 6 a.m. on a Saturday, because I am so congested I can't sleep. Yep, I got Jody and Ava's cold. :(

I'm drinking a virgin hot toddy (honey, lemon and hot water), hoping it will help with my sore throat and let me breathe a little more easily so I can catch some more winks. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I had a feeling I might catch this cold from the rest of the fam', but, for obvious reasons, I was really hoping it would pass me by this one time. So now my desires regarding this birth have shifted. Instead of wanting the lil guy to come out ASAP, I'm hoping he will stay in just until mommy feels a little bit better, rested and healthy enough to have a good labor and birth. I feel confident it will all work out as it should. It's just this in-between sickliness and waiting part that puts a damper on the excitement of what's to come.

In the meantime, I'm getting lots of Vitamin C - eating Clementine oranges (love those tiny, li'l things), drinking Emergen-C, making strawberry/OJ/yogurt smoothies - drinking lots of tea, and trying to stay rested. Other suggestions, as well as healthy thoughts, vibes, prayers welcome. Thanks, all. :) I'm off to try that sleepin' thing again.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Happy Due Date

I just wanted to say:

Happy Due Date to Me.
Happy Due Date to Me.
Happy Due Date to Meeeeeeeeeeee.
Happy Due Date to Me.

"Over the top!" - This pic of my disappearing feet was taken on Nov. 11, at 39 weeks.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Quick post - no baby

I know there are quite a few of you regularly checking in, so this is just a quick post to say no baby. ;)
I did get a lot done today though and am feeling good. Ava and I baked oatmeal/chocolate chip cookies and a pumpkin pie (to freeze) for Thanksgiving. I did some laundry and cleaned a bathroom. And then my sister watched Ava for a bit so I could go get my haircut. :) I hadn't had it cut since July - eep! - and it was definitely in need. It's nothing fancy - a chin-length bob - but it feels good to have it "cleaned up" before baby boy gets here.
Oh, in other news, Ava has a cold now. Not good timing, but what can ya do? Hopefully she'll be well before the boy is born (and I won't catch it!).

Happy due date to me tomorrow. :-)

Monday, November 13, 2006

While I wait...

Things I've found to do while waiting for baby:

1. Paint my toenails. It had the added bonus of being like a little workout with all of that stretching trying to work around my big belly. ;)

2. Cook, bake and then cook some more. I've never had so many frozen casseroles in my freezer in my life.

3. Clean. I keep wondering how many times I'm going to have to clean the bathrooms, sweep the kitchen and vacuum the livingroom before the birth.

4. Enlist Jody's help in cleaning out the closets. He managed to fill a large garbage bag full of his clothes to donate. Yay! That was long overdue!

5. Read positive, uplifting, amazing birth stories from women on the "Due Date Clubs" on

6. Drive 20 miles to go out for a healthy dinner at Whole Foods. Yes, I know I said I have been doing lots of cooking, but that's all getting frozen and then I don't feel like cooking come dinner time. *shaking head*

7. Spend one-on-one time with my girl.

8. Relish the feelings of having a little one growing and moving inside of me.

9. Retail therapy. Jody got some new jeans (which were desperately needed) and baby boy got a few more "sleep 'n play" outfits.

10. Walk laps at the mall or go for walks.

11. Go to play groups.

12. Examine my belly for new stretchmarks. (Haven't gotten any with this pregnancy - knock wood!)

13. Do laundry.

14. Come up with new things to add to my list. ;)

The crazy thing is that I won't even be 40 weeks until Thursday (11/16) and I'm already antsy about having this baby. It could still be a few more weeks! This pregnancy has flown by until the past few days. Now it seems like each day takes forever! I need to just relax and let it happen when it happens, but it's easier said than done. **deep breaths**

By the way, Ava just said, "I want baby brother to sit in my lap." Apparently someone needs to tell her to have some patience too. ;)

Friday, November 10, 2006

We are getting close!

Every time I head out to the grocery stores (Safeway or Vitamin Cottage) the past few weeks, I wonder if it's going to be my last trip before baby. And because I'm in major nesting mode, I end up stocking up on more and more things each trip. If I end up going to 42 weeks before having this child, our house is going to be seriously bursting with food!

Today I decided to pick up an organic cake and frosting mix (never tried one of those before) to make while I'm in labor so we have a birthday cake for baby boy. Ava immediately told me that she will have a piece of it. ;) I think it will be something fun for us to do together in the early stages of labor and will be a nice way to celebrate the little one's arrival. :) I wanted to get chocolate cake AND chocolate frosting, but settled on a marble cake mix with choco frosting, because I know not everyone (*ahem* - Jody) likes chocolate as much as Ava and me.

I also bought some things for our Thanksgiving dinner today, including stuffing mix, ingredients to make a pumpkin pie, and cool whip. I'm not exactly sure who's going to be making our Thanksgiving dinner because my sister may well be flying back to MI to spend it with her boyfriend (provided that baby boy has made his grand entrance) and my parents will probably not be in town yet - so I'm thinking Jody it is (with me yelling instructions from the bed or couch - hee, hee). I plan on making the pie this weekend and freezing it and may end up making some side dishes that can be frozen if I have time next week.

My estimated due date is Nov. 16 - less than a week away. After today is done, I feel like I am OK to have this baby. The photographer who's coming to photograph the birth had a wedding to shoot today, but after that her calendar can be easily freed up. So I think baby boy and I will have a talk tonight so that he knows that any time he's ready to come now, we are ready to meet him. :)

I went for another acupuncture appointment on Wednesday. All is going well and the supervisor of the clinic I go to was very encouraged by my recent lab results. She mixed up a special blend of Chinese herbs for me (in addition to my usual "pregnancy" herbs) to be cooked up while I'm in labor and drank right after the baby is born to help prevent hemorrhaging (which was an issue with Ava because my platelet levels were so low). She also said to call her if I do have any bleeding and she will come to my house with other herbs that will help my recovery. So nice of her! But anyway, the way everything with this pregnancy has been so different (for the better) from my pregnancy with Ava, I feel like while it's great that we have courses of action for "just in case" scenarios, everything is going to go so well with this birth that we won't need any of it. :)

My midwife STRONGLY recommends that I take it very easy for the first two weeks after the birth, which will help significantly with my recovery. (She suggests this with all of her clients, I'm no exception.) In fact, for the first three days after he's born, she wants me laying in bed with the baby, sleeping as much as possible (even though I may feel great). I have to admit, that part is rather appealing to me. Sure, I know I will have a baby pretty much attached to my breast the whole time, but just chillin' with the little guy will be nice. After day 3, I can venture downstairs, but still need to stay off my feet and am NOT to do any cooking, laundry, picking up toddlers, etc. I think after a week I can start spending a little time on my feet (no more than 10 minutes at a time), but still should not be cooking or doing household chores. (Do you see why I'm not fighting this? *wink, wink*) Although I am sure that I will start getting a little stir crazy and will want to be getting back into the swing of things, which she says is fine by the time I am 2 weeks postpartum. So we'll see how it goes. I think having the house well-stocked with food, organic fruits and veggies delivered to the house each Monday, as well as having our milk delivered, it should help Jody out a lot. Thankfully, he has two weeks paternity time off work to be here with us, and has some additional vacation time he may take later. After he goes back to work, my parents plan on coming from MI to help out with Ava for another week or so. I am sure all of this assistance will be very much welcome as we adjust to our new life.

So now, the waiting game begins. :)

By the way, the picture of the book above, "Welcome With Love," is a wonderful children's book about natural childbirth. In the book, Jack, his family and the midwife await the homebirth of his baby brother. There are beautiful pictures depicting the midwife preparing for the birth, mom in labor, the birth itself, the baby after he is born with the umbilical cord attached, and many lovely images of the family. Ava has greatly enjoyed reading this book in the last few months and I think it well prepares any child for the natural birth of a sibling, whether it be a homebirth or hospital birth.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Last big hurrah; midwife appt.; and my scary "duh" moment


I went out with a bunch of mommy friends tonight for what will probably be my last big hurrah (i.e. night out alone) before baby boy arrives. It wasn't anything fancy - just a get-together at a local pizza place - but it was nice to be out alone, among other women. :)

Three of them brought me frozen meals for our family for after baby comes (yay!!), so I have more to add to my stash now.

I don't think I mentioned it, but we bought a deep freezer a couple weekends ago and I've been slowly filling it up. In fact, just this weekend I made a lasagna and chicken & bean enchiladas to freeze.



I had my almost 39 week midwife appointment today (I'll be 39 wks on 11/9). All continues to go well. She said the baby is measuring right at 39 weeks and feels to be about 7 1/2 lbs at this point. Ava was 8 lbs, 4 oz., so I'm expecting this lil guy to be at least 8 lbs as well. She said his head is down very low, though she can't tell if he's engaged without doing an internal exam. We may do one at my next week appointment if he isn't born before then. Then I can get an idea if I'm dilated at all too. But I don't see a point in finding that out before I'm nearly 40 weeks since I know lots of women go weeks dilated at 2-3 cm (or more) before baby is born. So no need to get my hopes up that this is happening anytime soon.

I haven't had anything happen that makes me think labor is imminent at this point, just lots of toning (Braxton-Hicks) contractions. And I've been feeling a fair amount of pressure in my uterus when baby boy moves, but that's because he's running out of room. I told Jody last night that someone needs to post an eviction notice to him soon. ;) The fact that I can sometimes feel him above/over my ribs is a bit weird. Like how does the uterus go up that high?? My midwife said that by the time a baby is full-term, the uterus has expanded to 40 times it's original size. Amazing.



After my midwife appointment today, Ava and I stopped at Walgreen's to pick up a stethescope for her (Ava). She's been fascinated by listening to baby brother's heartbeat (as well as her own, her baby doll's, and mine) at my midwife appointments for the past several months and I figured it's about time I pay the $10 and get her a real stethescope of her own.

We went out to the car and I put her in her carseat, then opened up the stethescope box to give it to her to play with. Well, the darn thing needed to be assembled, so I told her I'd do it real quick, shut her door and took it into the front seat with me. I put it together and gave it to her and we were on our way to the Post Office, a few miles away.

We were driving down a side street, when I looked in the rearview mirror to see Ava's carseat, but no Ava. Confused by what I was seeing, I turned around to see her trying to reach her baby off the seat and I realized - OH MY GOD, I NEVER BUCKLED HER INTO THE CARSEAT! Good lord. In the excitement of opening up and assembling the stethescope, I put her in her seat, but never fastened her in. GAH!!! I immediately pulled over and buckled her in, thanking my lucky stars that nothing had happened in the 2 miles or so we'd driven since Walgreen's.

That's something I've never done before and I hope I never do again. Scary.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The circumcision post

It's amazing the number of things you never have to consider before becoming a parent - breastfeed or formula feed; cloth diapers or disposables; vaccinations; when to start solids; organic vs. conventional foods; public school, private school or homeschool; and, of course, if you are having a boy - whether or not to circumcise.

I hope to write about my feelings, opinions and choices regarding circumcision and my son, knowing full well that everyone who reads this blog will not agree with me. I think that anyone who has a son will have their list of reasons for why they decided for or against circumcision. I simply wish to share my reasons here (and some of the information I came across along the way) for deciding against it.

I hope that by including some links below to reputable sources, other parents who are trying to decide what is best for their son can make an informed decision - whether it be to circumcise or not.

I am not here to judge and it is my hope that any discussion that happens below in the comments remain civil and respectful, despite how strongly you may feel about this topic. I also ask that any "anonymous" posters please sign their posts with a name. Thank you.


The short and sweet answer as to why Jody and I are not having our son circumcised is that we can't find a single reason to indicate that it is a necessary procedure.

I believe that the body we are born with, in its entirety, is that way for a reason. I think that each different part has a unique purpose for existing. If we didn't need a certain part, I believe that over time we would evolve so that it no longer existed.

In doing my research on circumcision, I came across a lot of interesting information. Some of it has to do with the origins of circumcision in the United States, some about the actual procedure, some about the effects of circumcision and about the current rates of circumcision in the U.S. I read a lot more than I will blog about here, but these are some things I thought were worth mentioning.
"Circumcision started in America during the masturbation hysteria of the Victorian Era, when a few American doctors circumcised boys to punish them for masturbating. Victorian doctors knew very well that circumcision denudes, desensitizes, and disables the penis. Nevertheless, they were soon claiming that circumcision cured epilepsy, convulsions, paralysis, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, eczema, bed-wetting, hip-joint disease, fecal incontinence, rectal prolapse, wet dreams, hernia, headaches, nervousness, hysteria, poor eyesight, idiocy, mental retardation, and insanity.

In fact, no procedure in the history of medicine has been claimed to cure and prevent more diseases than circumcision. As late as the 1970s, leading American medical textbooks still advocated routine circumcision as a way to prevent masturbation." -- Paul M. Fleiss, MD The Case Against Circumcision
Uh, I'm not a guy and no expert, but I am pretty sure that circumcision does NOT prevent masturbation.
"Today the reasons given for circumcision have been updated to play on contemporary fears and anxieties; but one day they, too, will be considered irrational. Now that such current excuses as the claim that this procedure prevents cancer and sexually transmitted diseases have been thoroughly discredited, circumcisers will undoubtedly invent new ones. But if circumcisers were really motivated by purely medical considerations, the procedure would have died out long ago, along with leeching, skull-drilling, and castration. The fact that it has not suggests that the compulsion to circumcise came first, the "reasons," later." -- Fleiss
The fact that new reasons to continue the circumcision practice are being invented is rather disturbing if you ask me.

One website I came across in my research shows step-by-step (graphic) pictures of an actual circumcision of a newborn boy. What Happens During Circumcision There is also a video there, but the pictures alone were more than enough for me. I don't think I could've stomached the video. I had never thought much about the actual procedure itself. I figured that the foreskin was clamped and removed without much effort and the baby was left to heal over the next week or whatever. I didn't think about the baby needing to be restrained, whether or not any type of anesthesia is used, the foreskin needing to be pried apart from the penis, the amount of bleeding involved, the raw exposed penis, etc. Not to mention the child crying in pain. :( It was not easy to look at.

There's a laundry list of "things" that are lost forever when a circumcision takes place. While all of these things in the list are noteworthy, I thought I would mention a few here that stood out to me:
"When a baby boy's natural and intact penis is "circumcised," this is what is lost forever:
** An estimated 240 feet of microscopic nerves, including branches of the dorsal nerve.
** Several feet of blood vessels, including the frenular artery and branches of the dorsal artery. The loss of this dense vascularity interrupts normal blood flow to the shaft and glans of the penis, obviously damaging its natural function and possibly stunting its complete and healthy development.
** The immunological defense system of the soft mucosa, which may produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as lysozyme, also found in mothers milk, and plasma cells, which secrete immunoglobulin antibodies.
** The essential "gliding" mechanism. If unfolded and spread out flat, the average adult foreskin measures about 15 square inches, the size of a postcard. This abundance of specialized, self-lubricating mobile skin gives the natural penis its unique hallmark ability to smoothly "glide" in and out within itself—permitting natural non-abrasive masturbation and intercourse, without drying out the vagina or requiring artificial lubricants." -- Gary L. Harryman - What is Lost to Circumcision
I know some parents may be concerned about whether or not an intact penis requires special care. Personally, having no experience with an uncircumcised penis in the past, I had no idea what the answer was before asking friends of mine who's sons were left intact. FYI:
"The natural penis requires no special care. A child's foreskin, like his eyelids, is self-cleansing. For the same reason it is inadvisable to lift the eyelids and wash the eyeballs, it is inadvisable to retract a child's foreskin and wash the glans. Immersion in plain water during the bath is all that is needed to keep the intact penis clean." -- Fleiss
Also worth noting that the foreskin should never be forced to retract before it is ready.
"As noted, the foreskin and glans develop as one tissue. Separation will evolve over time. It should not be forced. When will separation occur? Each child is different. Separation may occur before birth; this is rare. It may take a few days, weeks, months, or even years. This is normal. Although many foreskins will retract by age 5, there is no need for concern even after a longer period. Some boys do not attain full retractability of the foreskin until adolescence." -- Newborns: Care of the Uncircumcised Penis
Regarding the rate of circumcision in the world and U.S.:
"Circumcision is almost unheard of in Europe, South America, and non-Muslim Asia. In fact, only 10 to 15 percent of men throughout the world are circumcised, the vast majority of whom are Muslim. The neonatal circumcision rate in the western U.S. has now fallen to 34.2 percent." -- Fleiss
"The nationwide circumcision rate had been fluctuating in the low 60 percent range for some years, but a decline in the percentage of boys circumcised started in 2002 and continued into 2003. From 2002 to 2003 declines occured in all four census regions. Non-circumcision has been the norm in the Western Region for more than a decade." -- U.S. Circumcision Incidence
I think it's important to note that the circumcision rate is dropping in the United States because the old parental concern of not wanting a child to be teased because they look differently from the other boys will no longer be an issue if the ratio of circ'd boys to uncirc'd boys is approaching 50-50. I know in my own circle of friends, the ratio of circ'd boys to uncirc'd boys (babies and toddlers I mean) is probably more like 20 (circ'd) to 80 (uncirc'd) or even slightly higher in favor of the uncircumcised boys. Some parents I know (both in "real life" and on message boards) had their first son circumcised before they had done much research on the topic, and then, after learning more about the procedure, chose not to circumcise their second son.

(And now at the risk of sharing TMI...) Having never been with an uncircumcised man (yes, you can infer from that that Jody is circumcised), I was very interested to learn that not only is the pleasure of the male affected by circumcision, but also the pleasure of the female. (I mentioned a bit about this above as well.)
"One of the foreskin's functions is to facilitate smooth, gentle movement between the mucosal surfaces of the two partners during intercourse. The foreskin enables the penis to slip in and out of the vagina nonabrasively inside its own slick sheath of self-lubricating, movable skin. The female is thus stimulated by moving pressure rather than by friction only, as when the male's foreskin is missing." -- Fleiss
Like I said above, I couldn't find a reason to convince me that circumcision is necessary for our son. I don't feel the need to provide a list of all of the reasons against it. They are easy enough to find online. By reading through some of the links I provided below, you can read more information for yourself if you so desire.

I feel it is worth noting that I tried to find some pro-circumcision websites to include in my list (to keep it balanced), but 99% of the information I found "out there" is anti-circumcision. The one site (a members-only list serv "where circumcision is discussed and always supported") I did find turned out to be centered around pornography associated with circumcision so I removed it from my list. The fact that it is a porn site is not apparent from anything posted on the public side of it.

In conclusion, I don't feel that it is my right to make the decision to remove a part of my son's anatomy without his consent. I believe that circumcision is a personal choice - one that should be made by the person who owns the penis. By leaving my son intact, he can always decide when he gets older that he wants to have a circumcision. If I were to circumcise him as a baby, he wouldn't have the option of taking that back. I feel it is his body, his penis, and his choice.


National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers

Circumcision Resource Center

The Case Against Circumcision - an eye-opening, very informative (IMO) article By Paul M. Fleiss, MD, MPH (interesting to note that Fleiss is Jewish)

My Son: The Little Jew with a Foreskin - By Stacey Greenberg

The Case Against Circumcision Discussion Forum on

What Happens During Circumcision? - Graphic photos/video of the circumcision process on a newborn


Protect Your Uncircumcised Son: Expert Medical Advice for Parents

Circumcision Information and Resource Pages

Doctors Opposing Circumcision

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What's in a name?

Some of you may know that the first and middle names we've chosen for baby boy have the initials "J.E."
My husband Jody (Eldon), his dad (Jerry Eldon) and his grandpa (Judd Elwood) all have the same initials as well, though each have different names (i.e. no juniors).

At first we weren't sure if we were going to carry on the tradition because we couldn't find a "J" name that we both really liked. As time went on, however, we found one that we both agree on, and, after we told it to Ava and she started calling the baby by it (though she calls him "baby brother" the majority of the time), it pretty much stuck. :)

Any guesses (both first and middle name)? We told some friends a while back that we were naming him "Jedi" and one of them has been calling him that ever since. ;) Maybe I will have a prize if anyone can successfully guess. :) Though I will not be revealing the name (or winner) until he is born.


Just a heads-up that I will likely be writing about my thoughts/opinions regarding circumcision in the next few days. Since we are having a boy this time around, whether or not to circumcize is something we obviously had to consider (though we both pretty much already knew our son would remain intact). However, I wanted to do some research on it and the things I read and saw only strengthened my decision to leave my son's penis intact. So I'll be sharing some of that in the days ahead.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Too much c-a-n-d-y

Thank God Jody took the majority of Ava's Halloween loot into work today or I swear I would have eaten it all. I had no self-control tonight and ate like 4 of the mini-candy bars we did keep and a little box of Nerds. Ugh. Like I need to be eating that stuff. Baby boy is kicking me for it now. :oP

Anyway, we had a lot of fun trick-or-treating at the Munchkin Masquerade. Ava finally got into the idea of begging for candy at the last three shops we went to and actually took the candy out of the bowls herself. Prior to that, Jody had to take the candy every time. (At least he picked the chocolate though. Ava went for the pink and purple wrappers.) ;) She never did say "trick-or-treat" though.

Ava got several compliments on her rocker costume (though several people thought she was supposed to be one of The Beatles - arg). One teenage girl gushed, "Oh my gosh, that is the cutest thing I've ever seen in my entire life!" And then something about how she loves The Beatles, and told Ava to "rock on." It was pretty cute. :)

A guy at Jody's work threw up the horns and said "Rock 'n roll" to Ava and she did it right back without missing a beat. Yay Ava! LOL

We had very few trick-or-treaters at our house last night, which is why Jody ended up taking so much of Ava's candy into work today. We were just going to recycle it (along with the stuff we bought) to other trick-or-treaters. Why not, eh?

I took some more pics yesterday with my P&S but haven't had a chance to get them off the camera yet. I spent the majority of the day today cleaning the kitchen (i.e. nesting), doing laundry and making muffins with Ava's help (she's such a good muffin maker). Later in the day when I felt the uncontrollable desire to get out of the house, she and I went to the library where she picked up a few "new" books to borrow. We really need to do that more often.

K, that is all. I need sleep. |o)

Edited 11/02/06 to add some pics:
The stoic trick-or-treaters:

Making their way down the strip:

Checking out some candy:

It's getting cold out here! Ready to go back inside:

Trying out a Snickers bar. (Don't let that face fool you - she loves her "chock-lit.":

Final voting on the "National Breastfeeding Symbol"

Well, my friend's husband's logo didn't make it into the final three, but it's now time to vote on a final winner over at
Vote here for your favorite :)