Monday, January 9, 2012

The 4th Trimester is over!!!

Life after the birth of my son Jose Julian Ramirez Quinn
Sept 23, 2011

So I have been told that the first 3 months, post delivery, is often referred to as the 4th trimester, as the baby really is still like a fetus and not very well adapted to life out of the womb. My friend Sinead also told me that I should be prepared to be exhausted for the first few months and likened them to a war zone. In my naivety I'd said - ak I'm just going to sleep when the baby sleeps, I'll be fine. I was thinking - how hard can it be - the baby will just sleep, eat and poo. Well a few days in and I understood Sinead all too well!!!
I had a c-section which was OK but for the first two weeks I was pretty incapacitated. Julio had to take me to the bathroom and shower me for this period too - poor guy. I also reacted to the vast quantity of antibiotics they pump into to you here in Mexico and spent the best part of the first month vomiting. 3 hospital stays later, when the right mix of medication was discovered (the same stuff as they give to chemo patients to avoid nausea) I managed to get on top of that. Then the baby started to get really bad colic. He'd scream in pain from around 7pm until 2-4am. Julio and I would drive round the Island in the middle of the night as the sound of the car's engine seemed to pacify him. It was a horrible time, I was physically and emotionally wrung out. Doctors and others pointed to my breast milk as the likely cause of the colic which meant I had to give up all dairy (very hard for a veggie). I came under a lot of pressure to switch to formula, which I resisted. I felt like it was all my fault, I felt like a terrible mother because I couldn't do anything to relieve his pain and I felt like an even worse mother because there was a little part of me just thinking PLEASE stop crying so I can get some sleep!!!

Wow it sounds pretty horrible putting it all down there is print.

Anyway things have changed so dramatically now. He's 3 months and 2 weeks and a changed baby. He still has some remnants of colic and I still have a very restricted diet, but he now cries for 10mins tops. Mammy can make him feel better by rubbing his belly, burping him, feeding him or rocking him to sleep. He smiles, laughs, gives me big soppy kisses on the cheek and makes lots of Agoo - ahoo and other noises. He tends to sleep well most nights and gets in a good 2-3 hours sleep most days, with other short snoozes. I'm really falling in love with his little spirit. Looking into his eyes you can see a kind and gentle little boy who wants to learn all he can and please mam and dad.

Julio and I have finally moved into the new house. Just the first floor, but it is slowly coming together and we really hope to get the whole thing finished this year. Julio and his brother are in the final stages of making a crib for the baby.

During the pregnancy I put on a wopping 50lbs in weight. One welcome effect of the nausea and vomiting was a rapid loss of this weight. I'd had to fight the urge to become depressed about my weight during the pregnancy and had prayed hard to god to help me get my body back into shape quickly after the birth. Well he answered my prayer, so next time I need to remember to ask him to help me loose weight in a sensible time frame without the nausea and vomiting!!!

I'm still 10lbs over my ideal weight, but probably about the same weight as I was just before getting pregnant. I've been out running twice and want to continue this 2-3 times a week and also go to a yoga class once or twice a week.

I also managed to do a shore dive on New Years Day while Julio looked after the baby. It felt really amazing. I saw an eagle ray and lots of my old friends from Villa Blanca Reef (squid, shrimp, arrow crabs, puffers to name but a few). Most of all I just felt the most overwhelming feeling of peace - it had been a while since I'd felt that way! I've toyed with the idea of doing some scuba work, but I'm not sure I want to leave my little boy alone just yet. I want him to feel safe and secure with mammy at all times. Lets see how things progress on that front. I also think diving is pretty tiring physically and might be very difficult on top of breast feeding and being a mammy.

Well I tried several times to upload a recent photo of Julian and my computer just doesn't want to do it. Lots will follow, as well as happier tales of motherhood!!!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Only a little over 7 weeks to go!

This Thursday will mark this little guy's 33rd week. In 4 more weeks he will be officially full term and there will be only 7 weeks left until his due date.

WALKING Since I got back to Mexico I've been walking in the gym for 45 mins almost every morning. Its been a combination of brisk walking on the flat, with usually around 15 mins walking up hill. This has had a tremendous effect on my circulation: swollen feet, ankles and hands. It has also really helped to keep my digestive system in good working order (keeping constipation at bay!). I am hoping that walking will also help when it comes to my body's ability to push this little guy out. My mam said having my brother was just like having a big poo - so lets see!
YOGA I'm also keeping up with the yoga - two classes a week as well as 20-30 mins on my own in the gym on the days that I do not have class.
SWIMMING Because of the walking and the yoga, swimming has become more of a fun activity than real exercise. I enjoy snorkeling because my body is weightless and my whole system gets treated to a nice cooling down. It is my most peaceful time of the day.
I cannot stress the value of exercise enough though. It has really made a huge impact on how well I feel physically.

Since I got back to Mexico I have had a fair amount of follow up work from my trip. I have written first drafts of two reports and am 1/2 way through my final overview report. Having this work stresses me a little and I will be pleased when it is all behind me. Another problem with working is that I have to sit at my desk for long periods of time. I sit on a wooden kitchen chair, which is not ideal. The whole process makes my tailbone ache, ankles and hands swell and lower back very sore!!! I am pretty proud of myself for managing to keep work going through my pregnancy though.

Well the new house is still coming along. More slowly than we'd hoped, despite my poor husband putting in several hours a night to get doors, windows and plumbing finished. I am focusing on being thankful to have a house, that is paid for in full, almost completed. Hopefully the builder will be gone and we will have moved in to at least 3 rooms in the downstairs of the house before the baby is born. My husband will take 4 weeks off work for the new baby and as well as spending time with us, he'll be able to work more on the house.

Generally I have been feeling good. The one thing that I really struggle with is the weight that I have gained during this pregnancy. I was very overweight for a good portion of my 20's this was all tied up with depression and lack of self worth. Putting on those lbs again is bringing all sorts of old emotional baggage back to the surface. If I mention the way I feel to people they just laugh and say 'you're not fat you're pregnant!'. But really that does not help me. I just have to try and avoid the negative thoughts I'm having. Looking at the ultrasound pictures of my little boy, feeling him kicking inside me and having such a loving husband all help, but there are down times. I am excited because this weekend there is a Buddhist monk coming to the Island to talk about dealing with negative emotions. I am working really hard to finish my reports before then so that I can use the three day seminar as a starting point to a positive last month of my pregnancy.

On the whole I am excited, while trying to stay patient. I thank god every day for my blessings. I have a wonderful peaceful life, an amazing caring husband who I love more than anything else in the world, a baby on the way, most of the time I don't need to work, I have wonderful family and friends and a house almost completed. Life is good:)

Even though I try to be happy in the 'now' I can't help having turned my attentions to getting back into shape after the birth. It helps me to picture dropping all of this weight, and getting fit and strong again. I also must admit to looking forward to being able to sleep on my back and stomach!

Most of all I am looking forward to seeing my little baby boy and seeing his dad hold him for the first time.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sweat and Sore Noses


I would like to share some thoughts I have on sweat. As a starting point I’d like to admit to being a profuse sweater in my time. Not only did I sweat a lot, but if I did not wear anti-perspirant/deodorant my sweat would smell. Indeed when I worked in New York, anytime I forgot to apply deodorant in the morning I would have to run out to get some by about 10am to keep things under control.

Shortly after I moved to Cozumel a work friend, Fernando, and I got talking about sweat. I told Fernando that I had to bring Michem Deodorant in bulk from the States every time I would travel there, because it was the only thing that would keep my sweat under control. He said I should stop using it and see what happened and that I would be surprised at what a difference healthy living and a stress free environment would have had on me. Yeah - right I thought – crazy man. Of course I never tried a day without my trusty Michem. Life went on.

The one night early on in my pregnancy I had a really vivid dream that toxins from my deodorant were going to have a really bad effect on my baby. OK, I thought, lets give this a go. To my amazement a day went by with no deodorant and I hardly sweated at all. What little dampness there was, was completely odor free. Maybe just a first day thing right? Michem boasts in their advertizing that their product “works so well you can even skip a day”. So another day, then another, then a week and now I have been deodorant free for months. No smell. Well I say no smell, but there is an exception to that rule. If I eat something bad – like something really sugary or with lots of chemicals, my sweat smells terribly for a couple of hours – like my body is expelling all of the toxins, then its back to normal. This has happened less than ten times in 4-5 months.

What is the explanation for this wondrous turn of events? Well I have a few theories:

1. Fernando was right and when you take stress out of life then your body manages its sweat more effectively.

2. It is a pregnancy related phenomenon – I will report back on this when I see what happens after I give birth

3. It is all about the toxins your body consumes – food, air etc. This would gel with my experiences following eating chemically food or drinks. My diet has been fairly free of toxins since I got pregnant.

4. I read recently on line that salt water was a natural anti-perspirant. Well I am in the ocean almost every day as I swim to keep fit since I’ve been pregnant and before that was diving for work almost every day.

An interesting turn of events was that following 3 weeks of working for my old company, auditing in a stressful office environment, my sweat began to smell again (note that this 3 week period also had me out of the ocean). Not as bad as before, but on the 2 last days of my trip I was forced to break out the emergency sachets of deodorant that I always carry in my purse.

I will report back as my research continues. I dearly hope that after pregnancy I continue to smell so sweet. I do not like putting so many chemicals on my skin and I’m sure I read somewhere that application of deodorant has been linked to cancer.

Sore noses

So Mexico is vey humid. There are good and bad things about this. We’re in a constant battle with mold, the weather feels 10 degrees warmer than it is, and making your hair look nice is almost impossible, on the negative. On the positive, my normally dry skin is naturally soft and I never need to moisturize.

Another negative is that my nose has become accustomed to this gentle environment. When I leave Mexico my nose is assaulted first by the painfully dry air on the flight and then the assault generally continues with A/C or dry heating in hotels, apartments and offices in NY and London. I invariably spend entire trips with a sore and often bleeding nose. This is another condition that is no doubt exacerbated by pregnancy.

Although this situation drives me to distraction, I’m really writing about it to share some solutions with others of you who might suffer moving from humid to dry environments.

During a particularly harshly air-conditioned flight to New York I asked a flight attendant if she had any recommendations to combat the dehydration, which invariable results from flying. She had a great one. Take a damp washcloth and place it over your nose during the flight. This may look silly, but happily looking silly has never bothered me. The cloth provides a barrier to the harsh air coming out of the a/c system and also actually hydrates the air you are breathing. When I employ this system during a flight I feel great at the other end. I’m often lucky enough to get to fly business - where they provide you with a washcloth (due to my brother’s working for BA) you might have to bring something from home.

During my last trip I was having real problems with the A/C in the hotel. Greece was hot as hell but the A/c was VERY dry and my nose was in terrible pain during the night if the A/C was on; I would sweat my ass off if the A/C was turned off. I tried putting a wet towel over my face but it kept smothering me and/ or falling off. Then I had an epiphany. My luxury eye-mask has a little roll over the nose to act as a double barrier against incoming light. I was able to soak this in water and roll it over my nose. Problem solved. I can now sleep like an angel in the most horrible of dry environments. Throw on a pair of earplugs and I’m totally environmentally sealed! It is true that I look very sexy when traveling.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

31 weeks down - 9 to go!!

Love this latest little ultrasound pic. He's fattening up nicely! And look at that little nose - just like mine:) The doctor has said that he's just the right size for his age - He weights about 3lbs and is already in the heads down position - ready for his big arrival. She's all on board on trying for a natural, drug free birth and says I seem healthy enough, so lets see what happens. I need to sign up for birthing classes. Must get Julio to call and find out what time they are. Also starting to read my hypnobirthing book and listen to the CD.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

England - baby update

Today marks the beginning of my third trimester. This is a picture of me with one of my best friends from childhood Claire. Miraculously we both became pregnant with our first children within days of each other (Claire's estimated due date is 4 days after mine). Claire lives in Madrid and we were able to coincide our trips to the UK which was nice.
As to the pregnancy itself. I'm feeling pretty healthy - the swollen ankles which plagued me in Mexico seem to be a thing of the past (although I feel fat!). The cool air works well with pregnancy. I have done two nice walks with my parents, which I wish I could do in Mexico. The weather is so hot in Cozumel for walking and it is hard to wear sneakers and proper shorts. I'm going to give it another go when I get back, or join a gym, because walking is supposed to help a lot with your body's ability to perform in during labor. I've also done some light yoga which helps tremendously with back pain. I will need to keep this up during the working part of my trip, and add more strength work.
My parents have both been able to feel the little kicks of their first grandchild and I have been able to buy some nice bedding and a few more items of clothing for the little guy. I have been able to stock up on homeopathic remedies for the birth and vitamins as well as some herbal teas and essential oils - all claiming to ease/ speed up labor in some way or another. I've also received some nice presents. This little baby is going to have a LOT of clothes!!!!
Starting a weeks work in London tomorrow. The working part of my trip is likely to fly over - time tends to speed up when you are working in a busy office environment I find. One week in London and then two in Greece. I'm spending some time in London with friends which will be nice, but in Greece, other than a weekend with Cat, it will be all working and sleeping. Last year the Greek section of the trip went faster because there were no friends to see and I felt more rested.
Julio has also been busy working on our house. He and his brother have made a beautiful job of the windows in the kitchen. This one still needs to be stained and properly hung, but I'm very happy about the way it looks. I married well!!!
OK off to shower and finish packing for London.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

26 weeks down - 14 to go

We just had a doctors visit and my little man is growing like crazy! In these pictures he has his hands behind his neck. It's funny, because that is exactly the position that I was lying in so that I could support my neck to see the monitor when the doctor gave me the ultrasound. I noticed with this ultrasound that you can see his little bones much more clearly. The doctor has said that everything is healthy. He has a good strong heart beat - we could see all 4 little chambers beating away, and he is the right size for his age. My blood work and blood pressure were great. Looking like I have a small bladder infection and am taking a short course of antibiotics to sort it out, but other than that everything is A OK and I have been given the all clear for flying.

Of course it is very difficult to tell what the baby is going to look like from these pictures but it does look like he may have inherited his Mam's nose:) His kicking is getting stronger and stronger and he now seems to interact more with what is going on on the outside. If I wear a tight waistband he kicks against it, or if Julio presses his ear to my belly he sometimes gets a little jab! He also seems to get more active if he hears music, or if the sun shines onto my belly.
I'm leaving on Thursday to spend a week with my parents and then 3 weeks working for my old company: one in London and 2 in Greece. It will be a long trip and I will REALLY miss my husband, but I am trying to look at the positives. One big plus is that I will get to see family and friends and another is that the weather in England will be nice and cool. I will also be able to buy some nice bedding for my little guy and maybe some curtains (or material for curtains) for his bedroom. The work itself is pretty interesting and I like the people in both offices. When I get back to the Island I will have only 10 weeks to go to the D Day. So far this pregnancy seems to have gone quite smoothly. I'm going to continue to look after myself and hope all goes as well for the birth.
Oh yes and you know I am never one to pass up a compliment? Well the doctor said that the skin on my belly looks really nice - did I moisturize? Hey lady moisturize is my middle name and I've been slapping oil on to prevent stretch marks every time I take a shower - sometimes even more often. So far it seems to be working. If I can get over the stretch mark hurdle all I have to do is kick my butt into a good exercise regime ASAP and I'll be back to normal before you know it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rainy Day

So at last we got some relief from the HOT weather we've been having recently. There is a big low pressure system to the South of the Island and it has rained all day. This morning I went to the supermarket early and when I got in my car to leave the battery was completely dead. A friend came and jump started the car, but it died again when I got it back to the house (yes I'd driven it around a bit to charge it up). So I think the battery is just dead. It's probably as old as the car - almost 6 years - so its had a good life. Tomorrow we're going to go and get a new battery and oil change etc...
Anyway the upshot of all of this is that I've been stuck in the apartment all day. So I decided to break out my paints and start on that self portrait I've been planning for a while:
I like right side of my face (stage right), but the other eye went wrong and my nose went a little wonky. My lips are too small, but I kind of like the shaping on the face and color. Next I'm going to do my interpretation of my Green Man bust, or maybe another Buddha face.
The cool weather that came with the rain has allowed me to get into the kitchen and do some cooking. Julio is going to come home tonight, rather than work on the house - so looking forward to a nice dinner with my husband.