Saturday, August 28, 2010

Doula, or no Doula?

Ever since starting our Bradley Method childbirth classes, one question Alex and I have gone back and forth on was weather or not to hire a doula to be with us through the birth process.

A doula is a woman experienced in childbirth who provides emotional and physical support to the laboring woman and her partner. Preferably, a doula has gone through a certification program, though this is not required as doulas are not regulated in the United States. As opposed to a midwife, doulas do not have any medical training and, thus, do not preform any exams, give second opinions or make decisions for their clients. Their role is simply to support the couple and help them have the birth experience they hope for.

At first, hiring a doula seemed a completely unnecessary expense. After all, we were taking the Bradley method classes (the Cadillac of natural childbirth education). Also, we'll be giving birth in a hospital (no home birth for us, unlike some of our classmates) and have a comfortable relationship with my OB/GYN.

We started reconsidering, however, when couples who had recently delivered told us how valuable their doula had been to their birth experience. The husbands, especially, seemed glad to have had someone else there who could reassure them what was normal, what was actually cause for concern, and to offer suggestions on how they could better assist their partner (through specific massage, positioning, etc.). The final push toward to doula decision for us came when my OB/GYN casually mentioned on Wednesday, "Oh, by the way, I'll be out of town for the 10 days leading up to your due date. You may have one of my back-up Dr.s instead". Uh, thanks for the warning. By getting a doula, we are now ensuring not only additional support and advice, but a familiar face while we labor at home and in the delivery room.

Each doula we interviewed is certified through Doulas of North America (DONA). Individual services (additional home visits or not), experience and prices, however, ranged widely between them. We ended up deciding on a doula who offers two prenatal and two postpartum visits, in addition to being with us through labor and the 1st hour after delivery. With someone to help us determine if labor is progressing normally, when to go to the hospital, and establish breastfeeding after birth, hopefully this will be a less stressful and more memorable/enjoyable experience for us.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Baby Shower

Krista, Lorraine & Me

This past Saturday, my friends Krista and Lorraine hosted a lovely baby shower for little girl Hayes (Krista would want me to distinguish that Lorraine did most of the hosting). From the personalized banner shown above to the requisite jello-shots (it wouldn't be a party at Lorraine's without them!) It was a wonderful afternoon.

Many self-sacrificing Boeing ladies who have to see me every day at work kindly donated their Saturday afternoon as well to help us celebrate. My sister supplied beautiful Sprinkles cupcakes (below), My mom graciously made the trip all the way from WI to attend and my friend Shantini, from TX, was also visiting. Baby Hayes is very lucky to have so many supportive "aunties" (and grandma!).

Sprinkles Cupcakes, yum!

Lorraine did an exceptional job choosing fun, non-gag reflex inducing shower games... two of which included trying to guess the baby's name =) (Alexis was the most popular suggestion and, no, that's not her name). Little miss Ziggy's true identity will be revealed shortly enough (I hope!). One thing is for certain, though. She will be the best dressed, best-equipped baby in Pasadena. With all the generous gifts we've received from people, I don't think there's a single thing we have to go buy except more diapers =)

Me & Shantini

Me, Mom & Stacy

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Titan in the Press

Titan's Ontario Lacus

Last week, the New York Times ran an article on Alex's Titan research: link.

For those uninitiated into all things planetary science, as I was not long ago, Titan is one of Saturn's moons. Not to be outdone by our own moon, Titan has the unique distinction of being the only other body, besides Earth, in our solar system with an active hydrologic cycle. In other words, it has lakes, evaporation, rain, the works. Only, you won't be swimming in these lakes anytime soon... they're liquid methane.

What Alex's recent research focused on is seasonal changes in Titan's lakes, specifically in Ontario Lacus (pictured above). Ontario Lacus is the largest lake in Titan's southern hemisphere and repeat observations by the Cassini radar over the last few years have shown that the levels of liquid in this lake are dropping over time... confirming a seasonal effect on Titan's hydrologic cycle. Check out the link above for the full article.