Monthly Archives: January 2008

Do you need a birth plan?

My husband I had decided to take the Lamaze childbirth prep classes at our hospital. In all honesty, we mostly signed up for the experience of it – you know, bringing us together and sharing in all “baby related” experiences. At 33 weeks, we were in the second class of a two part series.

Here’s my confession – we really didn’t take the class very seriously. We laughed and joked with each other most of the time and yes, we were the couple that spent the rest of the afternoon comparing ourselves with the other couples. We took the class as a “fun” experience so note taking and homework really didn’t compute for us. Needless to say, when we arrived for our last class, we were the only couple that didn’t bring a prepared “birthing plan” (which was our homework assignment).

We spent the class listening to other couples’ concerns and questions and practicing our “relaxation exercises”. It’s not that we didn’t care about the class – we just approached it a little differently than most. As the class was coming to a close we only had to pick up our completion certificate and take our hospital tour. I vividly remember my husband picking up our certificate and joking that we’re officially ready for our baby.

That’s when it happened.

My water broke!  Hard to believe that our son chose that moment to begin his grand entrance (7 weeks early).  Needless to say, it took a second for my husband to believe that I wasn’t joking and that we indeed were in labor.  The class instructor thankfully kept her cool and informed us that we would be walking right past the maternity ward on our hospital tour and they (the entire class) could drop us off there.

So yes – I literally walked with my entire Lamaze class over to the maternity ward – trying to hide my panic and the fact that my water had broke (you can use your imagination here).

Once we arrived at Labor and Delivery, medical professionals moved fast.  I vividly remember my Lamaze class walking by on their “tour” as I am being told that my baby is coming 7 weeks early and my pregnancy is essentially over.  What???  Needless to say I effectively freaked out all my former classmates.  And I’ll always wonder if our instructor was really dying to say, “See…… you should have done your homework!!”

To make a very long story short – or at least shorter – after two days of labor, I had an emergency C-section.  The umbilical cord was wrapped around my son’s neck and along with a placental abruption, the atmosphere was obviously serious.  We weren’t making anymore jokes at this point.

I am happy to say that I gave birth to a beautiful and very healthy premature boy who was 4 lbs 10 ounces and full of life.  He ended up staying in the NICU for only 7 days and was ready to come home and face the world.  He’s quite a trooper.  Yesterday was his original due date and he’s now close to 8 lbs and healthy as a horse (or a very small pony at least).

Within this story are several other stories but my message here is that we can plan out our baby’s birth and come up with documentation proving that we thought of every detail down to the type of music you would like playing in the delivery room.  But I would guess more times than not – your baby already has their own birth plan and you are just along for the ride.  I know if I had actually done my homework for that class, my birth plan would not have included an emergency C- section 7 weeks early.  But that was my birthing experience.

And it taught me that no matter if it’s a vaginal birth or C-section, early or late, in the middle of Lamaze class or on the subway, each birth story is unique and special.  And in my opinion, as long as your baby is healthy, there are no disappointing births.

So my humble advice is – plan all you want and when your baby makes his grand entrance, embrace his “birth plan” because it’s your first lesson as a mommy – HE’S THE BOSS!




Filed under Preparing for Birth

Expanding Baby, Toddler and Beyond

I am proud to announce that Baby, Toddler and Beyond will now include posts from Jen, our newest contributor. She will be sharing her experiences as a new mom and add another perspective to this site.

This means that this site is getting a little closer to my goal of Real Parents sharing Real Experiences, Right Now and that I have begun to fulfill one of my goals for the New Year.

I really enjoyed Jen’s post and think you will too!

Mary Kate

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Filed under Welcome and Housekeeping

Asthma Linked to Antibiotic Use?!?!

In Parenting Magazine (November, 2007) there was a short blurb on antibiotic use which stated, “Babies who take more than four course of [antibiotics] during their first year are one and a half times more likely to develop asthma by age 7, according to a new study.” (p. 45)

My first reaction was, “Oh No!!! Becca has had exactly four courses of antibiotics!” and I began to panic that Becca was now destined to be asthmatic. I then reread the blurb and thought, “What study? Who did this? Who’s to say that the reason the children have asthma is because they tended to be sick more than other children? So maybe the antibiotics weren’t really the cause of the asthma.”

At Becca’s next pediatrician’s visit, I asked my doctor for his reaction to the study. His response was that he was less concerned about her antibiotic use then the reason she needed the antibiotics (strep throat, urinary tract infection and ear infection). He felt that these were ‘normal’ childhood illnesses and weren’t anything to be worried about. In general, Becca was a fairly healthy child.

I left feeling reassured and even a little smug. I thought that the Parenting Magazine blurb was another example of how easy it can be to place an unrelated meaning to statistics. Before I posted my smug reaction on this blog, I thought I might research this study a little further.

When I located the original study, “Increased Risk of Childhood Asthma From Antibiotic Use in Early Life”, I began to feel a little unnerved again. It was published in the June, 2007 issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) and included 13,116 children. Uh-Oh, it was feeling a little harder to dismiss. I had never heard of CHEST but it sounded impressive and 13,000 children was a pretty significant study.

I then read a few articles explaining the study, (New York Times Article: Antibiotic Use in First Year May Increase Asthma Risk” and

“those who lived with no dog in the house had twice the risk of asthma compared with those who lived with one.”

We have two cats. Does that count?

Now that Becca has taken 5 doses of antibiotics (double ear infection over Christmas), I continue to be worried that this has increased her risk for asthma. I also find that I question my pediatrician about my options instead of just blindly accepting the prescription. On the other hand, I feel that she needed the antibiotics and am not sure what other options I had.

Mary Kate

Below are the links I used to find the article: full article
BS cephalosporins

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Filed under Baby, Infant

Airplane Travel Tips (Child on lap)

Below is a list of tips that I have compiled over the past few weeks. A few were suggested to me and I figured out a few on my own.

  • Use a Hot-Sling or simple sling— A few people recommended using a Hot Sling for carrying Becca in the airport because it is less hassle then a stroller. When going through security, children need to be removed from their strollers (as well as all the bags/packages) so you end up carrying them anyway. With a Hot Sling, the child’s shoes need to be removed but otherwise he/she can go through security in the sling without a problem. I wore the Hot Sling under my coat and just removed my coat (and her shoes) when we got to security. With Becca in the Hot Sling, it was one less thing to worry about as Omar and I struggled to put all of our worldly possession into those grey bins. The Hot Sling was a great recommendation (Omar even used it a couple of times).
  • Sit in the Window Seat – Definitely, definitely, definitely reserve the window seat. It provides you with a few extra centimeters of space and an amazing diversion for your child. Becca loved looking out the window and moving the window shade up and down (with my help). I appreciated the extra space and having something to lay my head against. It also provided an extra bit of privacy when breastfeeding.
  • Use the Tray Table – I was surprised at how much we used the tray table and how helpful it was for us.
    • When it came time to eat or drink, we put both of our tables down and Becca would sit on the edge of one of the tables (she loved this!). We were then able to eat without too much trouble.
    • When it came time to change a diaper, we learned that not all airplanes have a changing table in the restroom. So instead we placed a Day & Night Underpadon the tray table and changed Becca right there.
    • When it came time to take a nap, we had the option of laying a blanket on the tray table and laying her down over both tables.
  • Toys Are Optional – It is always helpful to bring some diversions, however, I found that Becca was much more interested in the airplane then with playing with any of her toys. Try not to bring any toys that make a lot of noise especially the kind that repeat the same song or phrase over and over again. I brought a Fishy Fascination Station because I thought it would attach to the tray table (it didn’t– but it stood pretty well anyway). Becca was interested in it but she also enjoyed putting things into the seat pocket in front of us, looking out the window and moving ice from one glass to another.
  • Dealing with Ear Pressure– Before travelling, I had a lot of people warn me that children tend to cry when landing and taking off because of their inability to ‘pop’ their ears. I was encouraged to nurse Becca or provide her with a bottle or sippy cup because this helps to relieve the pressure. One person suggested I even have Becca chew gum (that would have been something to see). My experience was that the change of altitude did not seem to bother Becca too much, however, I did notice another little girl who was crying as the plane was landing. My advice would be to be aware that the altitude change could be uncomfortable and be prepared to offer your child something to eat or drink. This will help him/her to ‘pop’ his/her ears and relieve the pressure.
  • Pack plenty of wipes and antibacterial soap – These are so helpful and come in handy in so many situations.
  • Dress in layers and Pack a change of clothes – Since airplanes can be chilly, I always dressed Becca in layers which helped me to keep her warm and accommodate the change in climate. I also found it helpful to have a change of clothes for Becca and an extra shirt for both Omar and I (just in case). Fortunately, we did not need to use our extra clothes but I have heard a few horror stories of crazy diaper blowouts that require everyone to change.
  • Blanket and Pillow – Either grab the airline blanket and pillow as you walk in or bring one of your own. Like the wipes and antibacterial soap, they really came in handy.

Overall our trips were extremely positive and Becca was a great traveller. All of the flight attendants and passengers were very helpful and seemed to enjoy Becca’s antics.

Happy traveling!

    Mary Kate


    Filed under Baby, Infant, Toddler, Travel

    The Traveling Trio

    Omar, Becca and I have been in travel mode since December 21st.  Since then we have either been preparing for a trip or recovering from a trip (currently we are in recovery mode).  During that time, we celebrated Christmas in Massachusetts with my family (Dec. 21st- Dec. 23rd), we celebrated Christmas and New Year’s Eve with Omar’s family in Mexico (Dec. 24th- Jan 1st) and  we  travelled to San Antonio, Tx for a training for me (Jan. 6th-Jan. 10th).

    During this time, I have learned a lot about travelling with a toddler (in a car, on a plane, in another country and during a business trip) and I will have some posts pertaining to all of this.  I also have had a lot of time to reflect on Becca’s bi-cultural heritage and will have a few posts on this as well.  Most importantly, I am just trying to get back into the swing of everyday life and I want to post regularly on this blog.  My goal for the rest of this month is to post two-three posts a week.  I have a lot of great ideas and just need to get them typed up and posted.

    Mary Kate

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    Filed under Welcome and Housekeeping

    Goals for the New Year

    We just returned from 10 days of family/holiday traveling.  My head is still spinning and we are still adjusting back to real life plus we are all sick!  Becca has pink eye (both eyes), an ear infection (both ears) and a pretty severe cold.  Both Omar and I have pretty major colds as well.  Each of us have visited our doctor this week.

    Despite all of this, I have a lot of plans for this blog and have some really great post ideas.  I will start by sharing my plan for the new year.

    One of my goals for the new year is to add other contributors to this blog. My ultimate plan is for this site to offer different points of view and be more interactive. I have a few potential other bloggers but just need to work out a few kinks before they start posting regularly.

    In the meantime, I will be taking my antibiotics, giving Becca hers, watching Omar take his and getting some new posts written.

    Mary Kate

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    Filed under Uncategorized, Welcome and Housekeeping