A Perfect Day

They say that your priorities change when you have a baby… So did my concept of what constitutes a perfect day!

Last night Elliot slept for only 3 hours at first, but then he slept again for 2 hours and then another 2 hours, which means I slept almost 7 hours – definitely not bad at this point. I woke up before him so I had time to have a shower and prepare breakfast before he asked for his. Then he was in a good mood and we played Shake-A-Toy (he’s not able to grab toys yet, but if you put one in his hand he’ll shake it happily). After that, I gave him a bath and for the very first time, he didn’t cry at all in the bathtub!

I then decided to go do the errands I have been postponing since last week. Elliot fell asleep in the stroller and slept the whole way to the store, woke up there when I stopped rolling, but after a hug he went back in his stroller and right back to sleep. I came home after a one-hour walk exercised and energized, took the dog out for a piddle, took Elliot out of the stroller, put him in his bed, and he kept sleeping, which allowed me to prepare and eat lunch uninterrupted. Actually, he’s still sleeping!

I’m not sure what the afternoon holds for us, but from my morning I can already say that it has been a perfect day. Nothing special – just a happy baby that lets me do some things I want or need to do and sleeps well.

That’s all I’m asking for!

Dream Delivery

When I was pregnant, I found tons of posts online from bloggers who were telling the story of their delivery. Almost all of them were horror stories, which is why I decided I needed to talk about our son’s extremely lucky and easy birth on this blog, even though it’s not quite on topic. So here it goes, and it’s very long-winded, so you are forewarned.

August 6 was a civic holiday here in BC, so Zakary was home. In the morning, we finished setting up the nursery and taking photos of my belly for my far away family. We were 4 days before my due date and figured we had all the time in the world. Then we went to bed for a nap. When I woke up at 11:30 am, I felt my first contraction. I really thought it was just a cramp, as I didn’t feel anything “contract”. But after 2 hours of those “cramps” coming every 3 to 5 minutes, we figured we’d better call the doctor.

My wonderful doctor had been away for 3 weeks. She was back on duty that very morning. Talk about luck! I called her around 1:30 and she figured we should stay home for a while longer, as labor couldn’t possibly have progressed much in 2 hours. She gave us her cell phone number in case we needed to get in touch with her faster, but promised to call back in 1 or 2 hours. She called back at 3:30 and suggested we slowly make our way to the hospital.

The whole time, Zakary was busy finishing to pack our suitcase. At 3:30, he ran into the courtyard of our building, a housing co-operative, and asked the first people he saw if they could take care of our dog while we were away. They were delighted to help. Co-ops rock! Where else would you be able to do that in a city? After giving instructions to the neighbors, we called a taxi and climbed aboard, praying that my waters wouldn’t break in the cab.

We arrived at the hospital just past 4 and by the time a nurse examined me, around 4:30, I was 5 to 6 cm dilated. Pretty good start! I was encouraged, which helped me cope with the pain that was getting worse with each contraction. Whatever you heard, labor hurts even more than that! With every contraction, I would hold on for dear life to Zakary’s shoulder, finally understanding why women get epidural and wondering if I would be able to stick to my plan of having an all natural birth. The doctor came by, announced that she would wait until around 6 before she examined me again, complimented me on how I was coping with the pain (easy to say from the outside), then left to do some paperwork, promising she’d be back soon.

A nurse came by around 5:15 to take us from the assessment area to our room. She announced with a laugh that it was going to be her third delivery of the day, but then confirmed that she was just joking. Her shift was about to finish at 7, so there was no way my baby would be there by then, right? She convinced me to walk instead of using a wheel chair, and I had 2 contractions on the way up, but again I was “managing” just fine, apparently… Once settled in this nice and large room, Zakary started filling up the wonderful bath tub and thought of blowing up our exercise ball. But at 5:45, my waters broke. It was a relief to hear the nurse say “Let me know if you feel like pushing”, because I really felt like pushing at the end of that last contraction, although I just thought it was silly of me to think that so soon. But she figured she would examine me just in case, and lo and behold, I was fully dilated and ready to push! We gave up any thought of using the tub, the ball or anything else, for that matter, and started the real work…

The nurse asked me not to push until she came back and went to call the doctor, but no one at the hospital could find her pager number! Luckily, we still had her cell phone number, so they gave her a call and she showed up almost right away. And that’s when the real pain started. I have heard women say that pushing is a welcome relief after the pain of labor… Not for me! It was the worse part, worse than anything I could imagine. With every contraction, I almost broke Zakary’s fingers by holding on to them so tight. He was holding one of my leg, the nurse, the other one, and the doctor was somewhere in the middle doing something important, I guess, but I cannot tell. At that point I had removed my glasses and collapsed sideways on the bed, and all I could think of was the pain.

Between contractions, Zakary and the doctor were chatting away like two good friends having tea on a Sunday afternoon. I placed a few words here and there, just to make sure they didn’t forget that I was supposed to be the one getting their attention. With every contraction, the nurse was encouraging me to push longer and stronger, whereas I just wanted the contraction to be over so I could rest for a minute before the pain came back. At some point, I remember her telling me that I needed to keep pushing a bit longer, that the baby was getting tired. I felt pretty selfish back then and I’m not sure she convinced me. But the doctor asked her to go get the vacuum so she could help extract the baby, and I think that enticed me to push more than anything else.

Before the nurse could set up the vacuum, I had another contraction and the baby was born. It was 6:31, 7 hours only after my first contraction. Zakary cut the cord, then Elliot was placed on my chest, still covered in slime and blood. It was over!

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At least that’s what I thought, but I wasn’t quite right. I still had to deliver the placenta, which I was not too happy about because the doctor had to push on my abdomen and the pain came back, especially as it was pulled out of my already bruised and beaten nether regions. But it was pretty short lived, and then I was really done. The nurse apologized for not taking me upstairs in a wheelchair. She had time to clean up before the end of her shift. Now, you’ll say that with all that talk about pain, it doesn’t sound like a dream delivery. Don’t be fooled, though: even the best of them hurt like a bitch. In the end, I didn’t tear and within half an hour I was able to walk to the bathroom.

We had not decided on the baby’s name beforehand, but Zakary knew that Elliot was my first choice, and in the few minutes following the birth, seeing that I had been through a lot of pain without even having time to think about pain relief, he decided to let me have it my way. Hence it officially became Elliot, although everyone kept asking us how we spelled it and we didn’t have a clue.

So that’s how Elliot came into the world. At 3.2 kg (7 pounds) and 52 cm (20,5 inches), he was a lot bigger than expected and everyone wondered how I managed to hide him in my small belly. There is a lot more that could be said about how good of a baby he has been, how easily we were able to establish breast-feeding or how fast I recovered from that all-natural birth, but you may have to come back for those at a later date!

I’m sorry, why is there lead in my dinnerware?

I guess it should have come as no surprise that my dishes have a lead glaze, after all if corporations are willing to sell baby items that contain Bisphenol A (BPA), and kids toys and lunch boxes that contain lead, then they would certainly have no qualms about poisoning me.

Luckily the FDA has our back! The FDA only allows a little bit a lead in dinnerware, after all what could possibly be wrong with small amounts of lead leaching off of a product? Well, what if you used that product every day, several times a day for years? What if that product leached more lead when it came in contact with something acidic or was heated or had something stored in it? What if that product leached lead into things that you and your kids ingested? Would that small amount of lead that the FDA allows still be acceptable to you?

Californians didn’t think so, and so in 1986 California voters approved the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act or Proposition 65 which provided consumers with warning labels on tableware and other products that exceed their new tough toxin standards. Standards that are between 5 and 13 times tougher than the FDA’s standards.

Not only have some manufacturers begun making dishware that meets or exceeds the standards put forth by Proposition 65, but other manufacturers are have gone a step further and completely removed lead from their products. Which begs the question: if some manufacturers can make lead-free products, why can’t they all? I wonder how fast manufacturers would switch to lead-free glazes if consumers started demanding it?

So who are these manufacturers that meet the Proposition 65 standards or produce completely lead-free dinnerware? Well I don’t know yet, for reasons beyond me they they don’t really advertise that they are less-toxic. I have contacted the following manufacturers about whether any of their dinnerware patterns are lead free:

  • Corelle
  • Mikasa
  • Lenox
  • Homer Laughlin China Co.
  • Dansk
  • Dudson
  • Pfaltzgraff

We will see who responds. In the meantime, Environmental Defense provides and a Dish Owner’s Guide for people who are concerned about their existing dinnerware, a Dish Buyer’s Guide for people who are looking to purchase new dinnerware and of course information about the Health Impacts of Lead for people who don’t want to be able to sleep at night.

Update: Find out which manufacturers claim to be lead-free! Checkout the follow up post: There is no more lead in MY dinnerware… I think…