Wednesday, October 31, 2007

and she knits, too!

One of the main reasons I wanted to start posting to a blog was to connect with all of the wonderful knit-bloggers out there. I've spent years reading other knitting blogs, and for the most part I find the discussion of yarn, patterns, spinning, dying, FOs and tips to be exciting and invaluable. I've learned a ton by reading about the misfortune and mistakes of others, and I have used and adapted many patterns posted to other blogs. I thought it would be fitting to make my first knitting related post about something that I came up with on my own: the biking sock!

What is it? It's sort of an adapted sock with a huge hole in the bottom. Dave requested something like this last year, while he was freezing his toes off during his bike commute. According to some sources, Minnesota has the highest number of bike commuters per capita in the United States. I'm proud to say that my wonderful husband is one of them. He has nice biking shoes that he inherited from a friend years ago. The foot portion is made up mostly of mesh, letting his feet breathe during the hot months. They're not exactly designed for November and December biking in this climate.

However! We came up with a solution. He wanted something like a bootie that just went around his foot, but I went with an all out sock, both because it would take me less time to think about the pattern, and because it would go up high enough to reach the bottom of his long underwear, keeping the icy air out all winter long.

The large hole in the bottom allows him to clip into his pedals without tearing up the sock. I struggled a little with the placing of the opening, and had to spend a few days trying his shoes on with the socks to figure it out. He tried them out this morning and said they worked great.

I used crap-tastic black acrylic yarn that was hidden in my stash. I inherited a ton of acrylic yarn in the past, and I hold onto it for projects like this. The acrylic may not be nice to work with, but it is durable and washable, two things that are important when Dave will regularly be splashing through wintry puddles with his socks on the outside. He wanted the toes to be brightly colored for safety. I chose white, again because it was in my stash, but also because it gave the socks a really silly look. I'm sure the fancy-bike commuters will think he's a little strange, but he'll be laughing all the way to work because he feet will be warm!

One added bonus of the toe design is that if his feet get too hot, he can flip the toes up and cool off without having to stop and take them off. I also added a small slit at the top of the shoe so he can re-tie his shoes without having to
pull them off completely. I'll have to wait to see how they look come spring, but if they hold up nearly as well as his flip top mittens, I think the project was a great success.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

to shower, or not to shower

Dave and I got to have dinner last night with our friends Ben & Emily. It was fun to see them, and even though we saw their little daughter just over a month ago, it seems like so much has changed. She seems to have gone from toddling to running in that span of time, and it's delightful to watch her chasing the cat, then the dog, then the cat, then the dog again. It makes me feel a little sorry for what our pets are going to go through when the kid reaches its first birthday.

These two were kind enough to hand off a bunch of baby stuff to us, and we couldn't be happier. They're planning to move soon, so they were happy to get rid of the infant junk. We came home with a portable swing, a baby bath, a bjorn, and an absolute ton of clothes. They've also promised to pack up their newborn and infant cloth diapers for us, so we've already got a start on that.

We've been debating whether or not to have a shower - my SIL would very much like to throw one for us. The debate is a tough one - we know that people are excited about the baby and want to give us gifts, but having a party just to receive presents just doesn't fit with our morals and lifestyle. On the other hand, if we don't do the registering thing, then people will just shower us with gifts anyway and we won't get to pick out the stuff that we'd like. At this point I'm really leaning toward not having that shower, but that may change. Who knows precisely how we'll feel about it in January and February, and we may be panicked because we just don't have enough onesies.

In the meantime, friends like Ben & Emily are extraordinarily generous, and we're happy to start our baby junk collection. I hope we don't fill up the nursery before we can get some furniture in there!

Monday, October 29, 2007

it just might be

I think maybe, just maybe, I might have felt the first movements this weekend. I was sitting in a rocking chair and reading, and for a second I felt something that was like a soap bubble popping on the inside of my tummy. I couldn't get it to happen again, and it was devastatingly light, but I'm pretty sure that was it.

I feel relief - I finally felt something that I think was it, and now I can rule out everything else. I had been having little twinges in my abdomen that I now think was just muscle pain and ligaments stretching. I'm glad to know the baby is there and reaching out. Since today is the official half way mark, I was beginning to think it would never happen.

We've got our second ultrasound scheduled for this Friday, and I'm very excited. Though Dave and I agree that we don't want to know the sex of the baby in advance, I'm tempted to try to look and figure it out. I want it to be a surprise, but a tiny part of me also wants to know that little secret. Even though I've been pregnant for 20 weeks, I feel like the baby doesn't really have any individuality yet - and knowing the sex might help me characterize it in my mind, allow for that individual personality. Then the logical/liberal takes over to remind me that our culture over sexualizes and gender stereotypes children enough, we could do without it in-utero.

If I knew though, I wouldn't tell everyone. I wouldn't splash pink or blue everywhere, I would just hold onto it, know it, get used to it. Try out names and see what fits, start using "he" or "she" in my mind. I've been dreaming and having strong feelings that it's a boy, but Dave mentioned me to yesterday that he has similarly strong feelings that it's a girl. The temptation to know is there, but I think on Friday we'll make our wishes known to the ultrasound tech and continue in our ignorance. Coloring things in green, brown, grey, yellow (which are better than pink and blue anyway).

Friday, October 26, 2007


At the recommendation of Gail and Clare, my two favorite midwives, I have begun to drink red raspberry leaf tea every day. At first, I was skeptical, having never been much of a tea drinker. I always thought those who drank tea every day were people who had an inner calm and meditated regularly. I can't quite fit those things in, but I have found the tea to be a wonderful addition to my daily routine. A cursory google search turned up many articles touting the benefits for pregnant women. It's a traditional herb used to tone the uterus with calcium and magnesium, and some say ease and shorten labor.

Gail told me at our first meeting that even if I didn't like it at first, to keep trying and eventually I would come to crave it. Perhaps it was just the power of suggestion, but she has been correct so far. We buy loose tea from the co-op for the evenings and weekends, and I keep tea bags at work. The loose tea is more flavorful, perhaps because I'm brewing it stronger. I add lemon balm to it and find it absolutely delicious. The tea bags are convenient and usually contain nettle, another herb which is said to be beneficial for pregnancy. It may even help to prevent UTI's, something that have always been a problem and a pain in my past.

Pregnancy has been so different from what I expected. I vowed to do things naturally, not to freak out about every little thing, and remain true to who I was before I got pregnant. When I look at my routine today compared with a year ago, many things are different:
I take folic acid and fish oil daily
I add metamucil and sometimes protein powder to my banana/raspberry shakes
I have completely cut out caffeine and I drink tea with a vengeance
I have traded my desk chair for a ball at work
I swim laps 3 times a week

All of these things are good, healthy habits, but sometimes I feel surprised that I'm so dedicated. I tried to be a healthy person before, but it's a lot easier to practice beneficial habits when it's not just about me. Even though I still haven't felt a sure-fire kick in my abdomen, I'm pretty sure there's a baby down there somewhere. That makes these changes all the easier - it's hard to be selfish and skip my trip to the gym or the extra protein in my diet when I know that it will make a difference to the baby.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

pupper of the week

Irene looks so classy, she could be someone else's dog.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

back to back

Sleeping has become difficult. I'm tired.

I can't get comfortable on my side, and I'm paranoid about accidentally falling asleep on my back. It takes me almost an hour to get to sleep at night, and I wake up every 2 to 3 hours, either because I have to pee or because I'm uncomfortable. I flip from side to side, obsessing about resting for a few seconds on my back. I've read all of the literature, and I know there are things that I can do to make this easier.

Therefore, I resolve to
1. Eat dinner by 7:00 every night
2. Stop drinking water and tea within 2 hours of going to bed
3. Go to bed at a reasonable hour, and at the same time every night
4. Exercise in the evening. That should make me more tired
5. Don't obsess about how much sleep I'm not getting

One really annoying thing that almost every book and article takes the time to mention is that once you have the baby, you don't get to sleep through the night anyway, so you may as well get used to it. I find this statement particularly smug, and super annoying. Kind of like, "ha ha sucker! you suck! no sleep for you! you're going to have a baby!" Maybe it's just me and my pre-baby ignorance, but I think the boot camp of sleeping when baby sleeps is a unique time, and while it's hard, the reward is that you get to have the baby when you're awake and you don't have to go to work for awhile. I still have to go to work every day, so sleeping more than 3 hours at a time is high on my priority list. Maybe the snoogle deluxe will make it all better. Just because of the name.

Monday, October 22, 2007

baby = food

At the beginning of each week, I read's summary of this week in pregnancy. I realize that some of it is silly, and it may be inaccurate, but it's fun to read on a weekly basis.

The only real problem I have with it is that each week it gives me how long the baby is in inches, and then they equate that length to a vegetable. This week, the baby is as long as a small zucchini. Last week, it was sweet potato, and the week before - a large onion. Week 16 was funny - an avocado. I haven't looked forward to see how long this continues, but my hunch is that it will go on until every vegetable is used up. I can only imagine which week the baby will be the length of a butternut squash, or a cantaloupe. I guess the thing that is funny about it is none of these vegetables are shaped particularly like an unborn child, and for the most part they vary widely in size. I've seen zucchinis that were nearly 2 feet long, and I've seen some that were just over 6 inches. The premise is silly, and though I do anticipate which vegetable will be next, I find the whole thing sort of unsavory.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

weekend update

I spent the weekend fishing with my nephew.

Which reminds me - we need a new camera. This one is hard to use, the screen is broken, people always think I'm taking a video, the photos are grainy, and I'm tired of dealing with it. Must buy new camera.

I took a quick trip to Fargo to see my family. My sister and her husband have a 2 year old son, and he is super fantastic. I brought him a magnetic fishing pole for his birthday, made in the USA and purchased at peapods. He seemed to really enjoy it, and I thought it was a fun gift.

This kid is amazing. It's hard when I only see him once every few months, because each time I see him so much has changed. He knows many words and is
so energetic and amazing, it's a lot of fun to hang out with him.

Tomorrow I'm crossing into my 19th week, which could technically be considered half way, since a full term pregnancy is 36 weeks. I'm still waiting until the 20th week to officially celebrate the 50% mark, since I don't expect the kid to come early. It is way,way too early to know when the baby will come, but history shows that first babies are usually born in the 41st week. I've decided that I like March 25th, and I'm shooting for that. It's a Tuesday.

We're going to do our second ultrasound next week. We're excited about it, and though it's not necessary to do it we think we want to. It's part of this balance between the natural, home birth experience, and the clinical setting. This next appointment will give us a chance to discuss our birth plan with the clinic midwife, and we're hoping that she'll be supportive. We won't find out the sex during the ultrasound, and we're choosing not to do any genetic prescreening, so really it's just be sure the baby is still there and developing at a normal pace. Seeing the baby move around on the first ultrasound at 8 weeks, was amazing and trippy, so I know this one will be just as exciting. We should be able to see a lot more of the baby's features, and know the size and the heart rate. I don't think there will be any surprises.

It was a fun weekend, and now I'm spending a lazy Sunday morning doing nothing much. I've got another pie in the oven, and we're going to pick out some glasses for Dave in a little while. I honestly wish it was snowing outside, just to have an excuse to stay in my pajamas and relax on the couch. The snow will be here soon enough, and I'll be cursing it come February.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

pupper of the week

Back by popular demand - the pupper of the week!

I know this is an old photo because
1. There is no rain garden to the left of the fire box
2. The patio is made of green and yellow bricks
3. The tree behind the laundry is gone now

Despite evidence to the contrary, I think Irene is a very cute dog. I will try to post a photo of her each week. Because, hey - why not?

the more you know

We're planning a home birth. And I'm really, really excited.

I know that we were leaning this direction, but meeting our new home birth midwives, Gail and Clare, really tipped the scales. We met with them a week ago, and they were just lovely. They spent an hour and a half with us, just talking about who we are, how we feel about birth, and what our goals are. The explained their work and their training, and we felt extremely comfortable with them.

That was the easy part. Now comes the more difficult stuff - telling family. Here's how I plan to phrase it:

We're planning a home birth! We are working with two certified midwives (one a certified nurse who has years of hospital birth experience, and one a traditional midwife who has been doing home births for almost 25 years). We have our back-up plan in place, and in case of any difficulty or changes, we will transport to Abbott Northwestern, an 5-10 minute drive from our house. There are many reasons that a woman will transport during labor, the most common being exhaustion and dehydration. We're planning to avoid these two things, but we know that we might end up in the hospital either way. If we do go, the midwives come with us. We also know that if the baby's vital signs or my vital signs look at all like they are in trouble, we will go to the hospital. We're not stupid, and we're not willing to put my life or the baby's life in danger.

There are a number of reasons that we're choosing this path, but they're personal and I don't want to go into them. If you have serious concerns about my safety or the baby's safety, please come with me to one of our prenatal appointments, meet the midwives, and talk to them yourself. We've done our research, we've talked to references, and we are excited and committed to this plan.

So there. I'm not sure how that will go. I had planned to lie to family, telling them that I'm going to deliver in the hospital. But you know what? I'm going to have to start putting my foot down. It's about time. And it seems good to start doing that now, before the baby is involved - because I think there will be a lot of things that I'm going to want to put my foot down about once the kid is actually here.

So I've got to find a way to tell them, and find a way to have them be okay with it. Dave and I had a long talk last night, and he kept repeating that I'm not in charge of how anyone else feels, I'm only in charge of how I feel. It's hard, and scary to think that my family might resent me, or disapprove, but this just feels like the right path. I've said before that I feel like my family disapproves of me in general, they think I'm just a little too far out of the mainstream. Even though I don't believe that I am - not watching television and eating organic, locally grown food does not make you a crazy person. This, however, is stepping way out of the mainstream, and I understand that.

I truly believe that one of the reasons that the United States has seen an increase in maternal mortality and a fairly high infant mortality rate at birth has more to do with the intervention of medical science than it does the lack of it. Bringing birth into the hospitals, increasing rates of induction, Cesarean, and medical intervention have all been contributing factors. I want to be part of that small group who fights back by taking the birth of my child into my own hands, and trusting that two experienced women can get us through without those interventions. Reading articles like this one and this one prove to me that it is the right thing for me to do. Learning about the hormones that are released during birth and knowing all of the ways that hospitals go about stopping that natural process, I want to try to do it this way.

Last night, Dave and I attended a meeting of the Minnesota childbirth collective. They do a series of parent topic nights, and it was neat to connect with other parents and a bunch of doulas. The topic for last night was preparing your mind and body for birth. There were a couple snippets of information that we gleaned that I found particularly helpful. The doula Karen covered a number of exercises that can be done in advance to prepare and tone the muscles groups needed during birth. Most important to me was squatting. While it's well known by many that women in other cultures squat during birth, I never considered the reasons why. To name a few, squatting shortens the birth canal, uses gravity to get the baby out, and opens the pelvis as wide as it will go. It makes sense to practice this ahead of time, especially as the weight of the baby in your belly makes balance a little more difficult.

Karen also gave a long talk about food and food choices, something that Dave and I have learned a lot about and spent a lot of time discussing. The thing that hit home, though, is hearing again how high the protein needs are for a pregnant woman. They talked about the Brewer Diet and the research Dr. Tom Brewer did during his lifetime. Sufficient levels of protein can prevent pre-eclampsia, a scary and often dangerous condition. Being a vegetarian, we've been worried that I wasn't getting enough protein, even though my blood levels were fine at 8 weeks (the last time we had lab work done). After meeting with the home birth midwives, I began to add hemp protein powder to my fruit shakes every day. But now, after looking through the Brewer diet, I'm going to try to do more. I plan to eat nuts every day, either peanuts or almonds. Peanut butter at breakfast, and a hard boiled egg. We will keep adding beans into means wherever we can, but I will try to snack on things like black bean and fava bean salads. I think these small changes will make a world of differences.

The last part of the evening that was sort of skipped over because of time, was practicing relaxation techniques with your birth partner. It makes sense that one would want to practice these things ahead of time, learning how to read each other's cues and be comfortable saying what is working and what isn't. Dave and I didn't get a chance to talk about this at all last night, but I'm hoping we will soon. Karen urged us to consider how to deal with a woman in labor who doesn't want to be touched or spoken to. What are you left with? Eye contact, music, scents, sounds - there are a ton of ways to continue to be helpful and supportive, even if that doesn't involve talking and touching. One of the most insightful things they said is that when you invite someone to your birth, you want to be sure you talk to them in advance about the possibility that you may want them to leave. Let them know that they shouldn't be offended, it's not personal, it's just the way that you feel right now, and feelings are all over the place during birth.

This was really our first forage into birthing classes, and while it was not the traditional hospital Lamaze class, I found it very valuable. I think I'll go back to the parent topic nights, to get to know people better and to connect with other pregnant couples. It was neat to go around the room and hear how and where other people planned to deliver (or had delivered) their babies. It's cool to be able to tell a room full of people that you're planning a home birth, and feel supported and proud of your decision.

Monday, October 15, 2007

things I know

1. There is no logical reason to be freaked out that I haven't felt the baby move yet. It definitely does not indicate that the baby is dead. If that were the case, my body would have found a way to tell me by now. The baby is there, and moving, and I just can't feel it because I'm an insensitive mother.
2. Sleeping at night is only going to get harder, and I should toughen up now while I have the time.
3. Baggy clothes may be extraordinarily comfortable, but they're about as flattering now as they were when I was 15. If I want to look cute, I have to wear something that hugs my body more, even if that means my tummy. No. I don't look fat.
4. If I forget to bring tea with me to work, I can't get mad when I want tea. It is no one's fault but my own.
5. Doing what the midwives say is very smart. The round ligament pain I had been feeling daily has all but gone away. Those ladies are smart.
6. I must try to swim more often. Especially on the weekends.
7. The 18th week is going to be a good week. It's all about attitude.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


You can't really beat that for a job well done on Saturday morning.

I've been avoiding baking a pie for 2 weeks, since Dave brought home a huge bag of home grown apples from a coworker. My excuses? I'm pregnant. I'm tired. I'm sick. It's Tuesday. Pretty much anything I could think of. I just didn't really feel like baking.

Until today. And I must say, I think I did a pretty spectacular job.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

because I have to

I feel like I'm obligated to begin posting photos of myself. As my belly grows, I think this will be more fun. For now, I just think of how strange I look. Not pregnant, just a little chubby. Here it is anyway - 17.5 weeks. Woo hoo!

a modified state

Last night was wonderful. At our school board meeting, I was able to tell many of our volunteers that I'm expecting. One of my favorite volunteers took me aside on the way out of the meeting, and told me that he thought that was just lovely. Telling older folks that you're expecting a baby is one of the greatest joys so far of pregnancy. He described to me how his oldest daughter is now pregnant with his first grandbaby, and how his other daughter is studying to be a doula. Then he reminisced about when his wife first got pregnant, and they were living in Italy at the time. He said that the doctor told her something that he has never forgotten - Pregnancy is a modified state of well-being. A simple statement, yes, but he was struck by it and it has stuck with him nearly 30 years later.

Driving home after the meeting, and then later in bed, I realized that I'm having a great time. Yes, I was tossing and turning because I couldn't sleep. And yes, pregnancy certainly has caused me some discomfort. But for the most part, being pregnant has been a completely magical experience. I don't meant that to sound childish or silly, as use of the word magical often does - but it really has been shocking and amazing. Learning about the science of pregnancy, the changes that all of your body systems go through, has been so profound. And to feel like my body is doing something that it was designed to do, to feel connected to all women through time who have ever carried a child, it is soul-shaking, knock-you-backward kind of stuff.

I thought that I would be overly sensitive during pregnancy, not wanting to talk about it, not wanting people to touch me, wishing everyone would just treat me like I'm a normal non-pregnant person. I've found myself doing the opposite, absolutely gushing about pregnancy and birth and all the amazing physiological stuff that's happening. Now that people have begun to notice the little bump under my belt, it feels like people open doors and give up chairs more often than they did, and my guess is that it will only increase as time marches on. I never expected to be so damn sentimental, and to feel this peace and connection with something greater than me. So, while I will most certainly complain endlessly about the aches and pains and discomforts that this modified state of well-being has brought me, I think I can safely say that it is one of the coolest things I can or ever will do.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hey you

You make me short of breath.
You make my tummy gurgle.
You make me burp a lot.
You make my nose run.
You make my nose stuffed up.
You give me nosebleeds.
You make me have to pee. Constantly.
You make me want to eat Doritos for the first time in a decade.
And Fritos.
You make my clothes tight.
You make pajamas and sweat pants the only thing I want to wear.
You make biking to the gym a chore.
You make napping even better than it already was.
You make standing up for over an hour very difficult.
You make it hard to sleep.

With all these things that you're doing to me, don't you want to give me just a little kick? Just a tiny one? Come on, you've been around for 17.6 weeks, you've got to want to kick me at this point. ... ... No? Please? Anyone there?

Guess I'll have to keep waiting. And I totally thought I'd feel the first movements at the beginning of the 16th week. If this kid makes me wait until 20, I'm going to be mad. I might just have another bag of doritos.

Monday, October 8, 2007

17 weeks

I am quickly approaching the halfway point of this pregnancy, and all in all, things have gone extremely well. These past few weeks have been great, lots of energy, no sickness. The worst side effect has been regular headaches at the end of the day. I've gained only 3 pounds so far, and while I was discouraged at first that I wasn't showing and packing on the pounds, I'm glad now that things are progressing slowly. I know I'll be showing soon, and I guess that it's not far down the road until I won't be able to remember a time before I was pregnant.

There have been a few things weighing heavily on my mind. The one that occupies the most space is where and how we want to deliver this kid. Our options are hospital birth and home birth, and we've done some investigating into both. Hospital birth is the easier of the two roads; my health insurance covers the bulk of it, there are medical means waiting and available in case of any emergency, and there's a variety of providers, in case of some sort of conflict. The cons to hospital birth are not widely agreed upon, but for me, they are many: no guarantee that the midwife who has provided all of my prenatal care will actually be the one at the birth, a changing cavalry of nurses, none of whom stay with you through the entire labor, discomfort of an unfamiliar surrounding, the availability of pain medication, nurses and doctors who impose artificial time limits on labor, hurrying things along via pitocin and possibly Cesarean, restrictions on food in the room, small bed so I can't fall asleep with my husband after the birth, and the list goes on.

Home birth comes with just as many pros and cons, but for me the pros outweigh the cons by far. The pros: comfort in our home, surrounded by people of our choosing and one provider throughout the entire labor, ability to eat, walk, dance, or scream as loud as I want without the risk of disturbing anyone but my neighbors, my own shower and my own bed for afterwards, no limit on how long the labor lasts, or rush to get it started if it stops. For us, there are two drawbacks to home birth: 1. The cost is not covered by my insurance provider, and 2. there are no medical interventions available in case of emergency.

Dave and I are meeting with our first pair of home birth midwives on Thursday, and I think they will put some of these fears to rest. It's possible that insurance will cover a portion of the cost, or it's possible they have a sliding fee scale that we could afford out of pocket. It is likely that they work with a backup physician who they call in times of need. We live within 10 minutes of two major hospitals, so if things do go awry, we could be at an emergency room in virtually no time at all.

The biggest fear is that something will go wrong, and we will always blame ourselves for being at home and not at a hospital. That's a fear that we have to face, and one that most friends are helping to put aside. The strangest thing about this is that the women who I've spoken to who have recently given birth at a hospital tell me that they would love to have been at home, they support that decision, and would likely do it themselves next time. The major dissenters are my never-been-pregnant friends, and my family. I think the major reason my family is unsupportive is fear - they have never heard of or known anyone who delivered a child at home intentionally, and don't see any reason why we wouldn't want to be in a medical environment. After all, birth is a medical procedure, and it is done in hospitals, just like kidney transplants. I don't agree.

My never-been-pregnant friends are also hesitant to support me, and that's been hard. I think if we choose to go the way of the home birth, we won't inform everyone until after it's over. I know that some family members and friends will feel a little betrayed that we kept that information from them, but if I can allay their fears and avoid their naysaying by telling them we're delivering in a hospital, and then spring it on them once the baby has arrived, it would put me at ease. Plus, everyone will be so happy to have a new little nephew/niece/grandbaby, that the way the baby entered the world can be easily overlooked.

We shall see. After we meet Clare and Gail this Thursday, we are also planning a tour of Abbott, the hospital where I would likely deliver. We have to weigh both options, our feelings, and the cost (unfortunately). Even if we have to choose the option we don't like as much, I will try to remember that the birth is just one day in a long journey that has already begun. The way I treat my body during the pregnancy could hold just as much weight as the way the kid-o comes into the world, not to mention the 8 million other things that parents do while raising their kids. We're already off to a fabulous start, with a wanted pregnancy, healthy eating and exercise, and the choice to have one parent home full time until baby is 6 months old. You can't beat that for a good start, so I will try not to let this decision about the birth weigh me down. Lord knows there will be plenty weighing me down in the weeks to come!