Book Nook

When Kieran was very little, I was sent one of those book club brochures and looked through the offers.  I first made sure we had some classics that my husband & I wanted, but I also looked at the descriptions for some others.  Seeing as I have always liked dinosaurs, the Harry and the Dinosaurs series by Ian Whybrow and Adrian Reynolds stood out to me, so we got a boxed set.  The series is great fun, and both kids enjoy reading them or just looking through them.  Of course, this also means that some of the books are getting quite tatty and have torn pages, so we’ll have to replace some of them.

Pregnancy: US vs UK

In talking to my friends in the US, I’m always amazed at how differently pregnancy is treated in the US as opposed to in the UK.  This came up most recently when I was in a conversation and insisted that pregnancy is not a medical condition or disease, and another woman countered that if it isn’t, then I should make sure I don’t have the fasting glucose test or see a doctor or take vitamins and remember not to smoke or drink.  I’d like to address some of these things now.

-vitamins
        Good nutrition is not exclusive to pregnancy and isn’t something that should only be followed when pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding.  I don’t think you necessarily need vitamins, provided you’re eating a varied diet and getting plenty of sunshine, but if those things aren’t happening, by all means take some vitamins, pregnant or not.  Good nutrition should be a healthy lifelong habit, and it is much easier to follow good nutrition during pregnancy if it’s already a habit.  This does not make pregnancy a medical condition any more than all of our life is a medical condition.

-Glucose Tolerance Test
        The fasting glucose test, or GTT (glucose tolerance test), seem to be routinely done in the US, despite ACOG mentioning that gestatinal diabetes only occurs in 2-10% of the pregnant population, but are not here (at least not in my city).  Until recently, these tests were only done on those women who are at a higher risk of becoming diabetic, though that may change.  I find it interesting, though, that this site mentions that there aren’t false positives for the oral GTT, unless one already has certain conditions, with pregnancy being one of them.  To me, that sounds like pregnancy can cause false positives on the GTT, though I don’t know how often that would occur.  Though the guidelines on appropriate glucose levels have been updated, so maybe that will help with the false positives.  I’m not saying that gestational diabetes should simply be ignored, but it seems to make more sense to me to screen those women who have one or more risk factors, or who have higher sugar levels show up in their urine samples, instead of testing all pregnant women.  Of course, I’m sure part of my reaction comes from knowing that my blood sugar is generally on the lower end and that I’m fairly evil and feel very ill if I don’t eat, meaning a test like this would be quite an ordeal for me.

-Weight
      This one wasn’t mentioned in the conversation, but my friends in the US seem to get weighed at every antenatal appointment, with their providers remarking over whether their weight gain was at appropriate rates or not.  My mother-in-law mentioned that with one of her pregnancies, she was advised not to gain any more weight during the last couple of months!  I honestly cannot tell you how much weight I gained, because I was only weighed once or twice with both pregnancies: once at the booking in appointment at the hospital, and once at the GP surgery (only with Charlotte – I don’t think they weighed me at that initial appointment with Kieran).  In both cases I was told I might have to see a nutritionist because of a low BMI, but that didn’t end up happening (I’ll spare you my rant on BMI for the moment).

-Cervical checks
       While this wasn’t directly mentioned in the conversation, I wouldn’t be surprised if the other lady had assumed they were included in the monthly antentatal checks.  This may be an incorrect assumption, but it bears mentioning anyway since internal checks are often done in late pregnancy in the US.  As you may have guessed, they are not routinely done here, and so I’ve only had two cervical checks during pregnancy, both when I was in labour with Kieran.  So why aren’t they done during pregnancy here?  Because they can introduce a risk of infection, and because they don’t provide the midwives or OBs with meaninful information.  Yes, they can tell you how dilated you are, whether the cervix is posterior or anterior, or how effaced you are, but none of that information can tell the woman or care provider when she’ll go into labour, or how much longer labour will last.  Some women can be dilated a couple of centimetres for weeks prior to labour, and others don’t dilate at all until transition.  The position of the baby can also be determined without a vaginal exam (and a vaginal exam doens’t guarantee the provider will recognise that the baby is posterior, from personal experience).  A good run-down on these reasons is given here.  Again, I’m not saying that cervical checks don’t have their place, and they can be useful, but I see no reason for them to be done routinely.

-Group B Strep testing
        Again, this wasn’t specifically mentioned, I’m again assuming it was included in the mention of antenatal appointments, since it is routinely done in the US, but not in the UK.  It is interesting to see the different approaches and conclusions with the CDC & ACOG versus RCOG.   GBS infection in the newborn is serious, I agree, but I still am not convinced that the US approach is best.

-Smoking & Drinking
       Smoking is associated with health risks whether one is pregnant or not (though there are some risks of smoking that are specific to pregnancy) and does not make pregnancy a medical condition.  Drinking, on the other hand, isn’t as black and white.  Studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption has health benefits, even in pregnancy.  Drinking too much, however, can have a negative impact on health regardless of being pregnant, and shouldn’t be done at any time.

I’m sure you can guess which approach I prefer, and I stand by my statement that pregnancy is not a medical condition for the majority of women, and therefore shouldn’t be treated as such.  I’m grateful for the medical professionals who are here to treat pregnant women when a concern or condition is present, of course, I simply disagree that all pregnant women should be treated as if they have a medical condition.  Of course, this is just my opinion, and I have no medical training, though I do try to educate myself on these things as much as possible.

Knitting Thursday

First off – I finished my husband’s sweater!  I’d wanted to finish it by Friday, because that was his birthday, but didn’t get the neck finished until Saturday.  That was in part because I did the neck 3 times.  The first time I followed the pattern for the most part, though I’m not sure I picked up as many stitches as the designer indicated.  The ribbed part was fine, but the stockinette part was a bit tight, so I took that out and tried it with larger needles.  Still too tight, so I took it back down to the ribbing and bound off at that point.  I bound off a bit too tight at first, but then found a more elastic bind off and that worked great.  So all the ends are worked in, it fits, and I’m glad it’s finished.

Saturday night I cast on for the Sherwood sweater for Kieran and left it at that.  I’m using some Sirdar Supersoft Aran in marina.  Sunday I picked it up and started on it, but had to take it out after a few rows because, despite checking it a couple of times, I ended up knitting a Möbius strip.  I do like knitting in the round, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten it twisted like that before.  Oh well, no matter.  I’d made another slight mistake anyway, so that’s taken care of now, too.  I’m just a few rounds away from the armholes now, as it’s knitting up quite fast.  There are a couple of mistakes that someone familiar with the pattern might notice, but most people won’t.  I can be a perfectionist, but didn’t feel the need to undo these particular mistakes, since they aren’t huge or anything.  The main one was doing a right cross instead of a left cross on one round.  Speaking of the crosses, I’m actually doing those like true cables, as I actually find that easier and I like it better.

I also am using a trick I learnt from my mother.  While split-ring markers have their purpose, I like to use markers that are just round if I don’t need the split ring part, but I can’t find any of those in John Lewis.  When my parents were here, my mother pointed out that the marker she was using was actually the ring off a bra strap.  Since I happened to have a bra that didn’t fit just lying around, I cut the straps and am using the rings as markers.  Brilliant.

Independence

 No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.

— John Donne

I was thinking recently about a bit of a double standard on independence.  We take it for granted that an adult might want nothing more than to be in close proximity to another, but if a baby or child wants that, they’re clingy and/or manipulative and therefore should be ignored to train them to be independent.  Why are we trying to impose a standard on our children that we ourselves cannot meet and don’t even really expect of adults?

And while adults can understand that another will return (though they might still feel a bit shut out by that person, depending on the circumstances), a baby does not understand that and does not understand the passage of time, so how can they understand that the parent will be back in 5 minutes, or in the morning?  Why do we expect this of the most helpless members of our society?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the temptation to let a child cry-it-out, and the desire for them to actually sleep all night so I can have some time off, but being a mother is a 24/7 job.  Parenting doesn’t stop at night or naps or any other time, no matter how I feel.  I absolutely understand the desire to just be left alone for a little while, but ignoring my child to accomplish this isn’t going to help, and is a disservice to the child, in my opinion.  At those times, I just try to remember that they won’t be so dependent for long, and all too soon they’ll not want or need my help, or won’t want to just cuddle with me.  They’ll never be completely independent, for “no man is an island”, but neither will they always rely on me for everything.  I should cherish these moments, really, because they’ll be gone all too soon.

Book Nook

Another Monday, another book. 🙂  This week it’s Winnie the Pooh.  Now, quite frankly, I despise Winnie the Pooh.  I hate the misspellings, and the fact that Pooh just seems rather dumb to me.  Unfortunately for me, K enjoys reading about him on occasion (thankfully it isn’t all the time).  I do try not to let my prejudices against the book influence the kids, though, so I don’t banish the books from the house.  However, I also don’t stop C from getting that book, in the hopes that it may one day be destroyed.

We don’t have the original stories, just a couple of Disney books (one was a gift and one came in a boxed set with other Disney books, thus why we have them).

Kieran’s Mass Commentary

During Mass today, Kieran seemed to want to give a running commentary of things.  The commentary part started at the end of the bidding prayers, when we’re instructed to pray silently.  Well, he very loudly proclaimed “I pray! I pray!”.

It is at the Consecration and afterwards that he gives the most commentary, though, and today was no exception.  He kept proclaiming about how the Body of Christ was there.  At the ringing of the bells at the Elevation, he exclaimed “Uh oh, it’s Jesus!” while I tried not to laugh.  When an EMHC went to get the ciborium, Kieran was there to let everyone know the EMHC was getting the Body of Christ.  I have to admit that I’m amused by his commentary and proud of him for his faith and knowledge, though maybe I should be better at reminding him to whisper, while letting him know he can still be excited by what’s happening.  And really, we should be excited by the Mass, if we think about what’s happening.  It’s truly amazing to be present with Jesus in that way.