Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quick Check-in (34w1d)

Hi, everyone! Another quick check-in between seeing our houseguests (my parents) off this morning and heading out to see DH's parents this weekend.

I am doing really well - still off of Zofran, and on just 1/2 tab of Unisom per day. Nausea is ever-present but is rarely problematic.

I made it through Christmas, hurray! And.... drum roll please.... our tree is down and put away! Any local friends are now faint from shock, as our tree usually stays up till sometime between St. Patrick's Day and April Fool's. But my ruthless decluttering habits have taken over holiday trappings as well as everyday things, and I have been champing at the bit to get decorations put away so that I can move on.

Speaking of decluttering.... wow! I have been impressing even myself! It's really quite laughable. I am pretty much trying to throw out anything that isn't tied down. And frankly, a lot of what is being kept is being kept only because there are various parties to answer to (i.e. the family that gave us the gifts) rather than any real need/want. But I've been doing really well anyhow - biweekly trips to Goodwill and continual give-aways on Freecycle, and I think it's making a bit of difference, though I'd still like to get rid of an easy 50% of the stuff we have left.

Decluttering has always been my instinctual method of stress-relief, and nesting has just thrown it into ultra-high gear, with an added dash of utter ruthlessness. I love it! It's given me the ability to get rid of a bunch of stuff that I've never wanted to keep but have been guilted into. Hopefully this can continue! I am really a minimalist at heart, and having stuff bothers me. My parents are continually urging me to just store stuff in the attic, but they just don't get it - having too much stuff bothers me horribly. I don't feel peaceful until it is gone and OUT of the house for good. My dream is to live in a one-room cabin in the mountain with just the basic necessities (bed, table, chair, etc.).

Have I wandered far enough for you? It's hard to write coherently with Thomas the Tank Engine in the background. In reading back over what I just wrote, I found at least five major spelling errors, so don't expect linguistic perfection today.

But Christmas was nice! We had a fun time, though I did get stressed the last couple of days. I usually am a Christmas minimalist as well, but I think I just left too many things till the last minute. Next year, must do better.

My favorite part of Christmas was having church on Christmas. Our church has church on Sunday Christmases, and I love it! Christmas church is just extra-special. I really wish that our church could do the old-fashioned practice of having church on Christmas regardless of the day it falls!!!

An update on my efforts to NWP (nurse while pregnant!) - We continue to plow ahead, but it is hard going. We are only a hair's breadth away from weaning, though I am fighting valiantly to keep on. Only six more weeks, only six more weeks! I'm hoping I can hang on. If I make it, this will go on my life list of great accomplishments. Why? Because it HURTS. Horribly! Sometimes worse than others - anywhere from "Ouch!!" to "YEOUUCCCHHHH!!!!" In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I actually - no joke! - took a wooden spoon into the bedroom so that I could bite on the handle (a la "Ben Hur") while nursing. (It was better than my fingers.) Conclusion? Wooden spoon handles are way too big - they need to come out with a thinner edition. But it helps. Local friends, you will now know why my wooden spoons are covered in bite marks when you come over and are puzzling over that fact.

For anyone who is clicking "Unsubscribe! Unsubscribe!".... yes, I think I am crazy. This is not an experience I want to repeat.

We have now passed over the 34 week mark - nerve-wracking! Very nerve-wracking. I know most people are anxious for their babies arrive, but I've never been anxious for a pregnancy to end (though I am looking forward to meeting baby). Why? Well, (1) labor hurts, and I'm a wimp, (2) babies are a lot easier to take care of in-utero than in-arms, and (3) having a new baby turns one's life - and sanity along with it - completely upside down for at least six months. Not fun! But it will be fun to meet our newest family member - and to have the nausea leave!!

Having a third baby is going to move me completely out of my comfort zone. As a matter of fact, baby #2 did that, but #3 will do it even more thoroughly. It's not even something in my recent family history! On my side of the family, we have only only-children and two-children families for at least three generations back, and DH himself has only one sister. Both my mother and my MIL had only one pregnancy (one singleton and one twin), so neither of them has dealt with children of different ages, and neither of them has dealt with three children. This is going to be the adventure of a lifetime!

Well, I could meander longer, but I have bored my poor readers long enough! I'll check in after New Year's, when we're back and unpacked. I hope that you all have had a lovely Christmas - enjoy the one remaining holiday this weekend!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Still Alive! (33w1d)

Hi, everyone! Sorry it's been so long! And actually, it might have been even longer, but my family is coming in town today and I'll be MIA for another week, so I thought I would check in.

However, I am ridiculously short on time, so here are just a few quick tidbits of life from the valley of the Sun:

- I have been off of Zofran for about.... three weeks. It feels so nice! I am still taking 1/2 of a Unisom (or 1 Diclectin) per day. I went off of it one day this week, but it didn't last. I'll try again soon! I am feeling fairly well most of the time (except for when I feel rotten). The nausea is always here, but it's not usually too much of a problem. Night before last I actually had to get up in the middle of the night to take some Unisom because the nausea wouldn't let me sleep, but that's unusual.

- Other pregnancy symptoms - breathlessness, exhaustion, muscle fatigue, pelvic pain, difficulty walking, the usual. :)

- I forgot to say that I did my hospital tour a few weeks ago - had a great time! It was so much fun. Hopefully I'll never actually end up there, but it's a nice feeling to know that if we do need to go in, I like the place where we'd be going and feel at least mildly comfortable there. You can read my review of that here.

- Our actual Lepkuchen Day went really well, and we enjoyed it tremendously. Thanks to all who joined us! (And to those who would've but couldn't!) You can read about Lepkuchen Day here. This year our dates were screwy - it's supposed to be the Saturday before Thanksgiving, but our fearless Lepkuchen-Day-founders had to mess with the dates so that they could fly back east for their daughter's new baby (birth story here! as well as more about Lepkuchen Day). 

- Remember the cat that was lost-and-then-found? Well, she got out and was gone for several weeks.... and then we found her again. And then last night, she slipped out again and is currently - again - missing. What a cat. Definitely not one to trust!

- For those of you who are curious about what goes on at a homebirth, and specifically, the supplies used at a homebirth, I wrote up the details in a post on my other blog - enjoy!

- Other pregnancy details: I am currently taking a calcium/magnesium supplement, Floradix (iron), alfalfa tablets (for vitamin K, as we plan to nix the vitamin K shot/drops), and all the usual other stuff (fish oil, multi, zinc, B complex, etc.). As my blood pressure was a wee bit high at our next-to-last visit, I am also working on that (fluids, protein, salt, exercise... and lots and lots of cucumbers!!). Thankfully at our visit last night, my BP was again behaving itself - hurray!

- Childbirth prep - I got out my Hypnobabies CDs!! And listened to a track.... once. Yup, it's bad. Or rather, I'm bad. I simply cannot summon the energy at the end of an exhausting day to stick on half an hour of CD listening. I ought to improve myself, really, but..... sleep calls. Maybe some other year.

- I am really enjoying getting to know our midwife - she is a really neat woman. Last night I had the privilege of chatting with her for an hour (I love midwife visits!!), and thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. I have also been attending her biweekly meetings for pregnant mamas, and those are great as well (and open to the public for anyone who's interested!).

- We are also enjoying the Christmas season! I am a minimalist about Christmas (as in most things), so I don't do half of the things that most people do, but I really prefer it that way and have a great time enjoying this month. We've been going out to look at lights and playing lots of Christmas music, and this week I'm going to do some minor baking (sugar cookies) and wrap a few minor presents - and that'll be about it! We don't exchange presents with half of our family (haven't convinced the other side to hop on that wagon), and we also don't give our own kids presents - sounds Grinchy, but being the only grandchildren on both sides of the family, they are so thoroughly spoiled that we soon found it to be pointless. (In fact, all of my decluttering efforts will probably be eaten up by an influx of Christmas presents....) We'll also attend church on Saturday and Sunday, which will be great - one of my favorite parts of Christmas! I hope that each of you out there is enjoying the holidays and having an enjoyable Christmas week.

- Lastly, I would ask for your prayers for a local HG mama here who is beginning her seventh - yes, seventh! - journey into the world of NVP/HG. She was holding her own until this week but is now beginning to experience the HG slide (we all know about that one) so she could really use your prayers.

I will try to check in more often as the last weeks of this pregnancy count down! Love to all! And a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Anatomy of a Homebirth - Breaking It Down

For those of you out there who are new to homebirth, I thought I'd provide a few details so that you can get a basic picture of what a homebirth looks like.

Preparing for a homebirth:

There are several sets of supplies that a homebirth family gathers before the birth, or that are provided.

(1) Supply List - Every midwife has her own individual supply list (there are general similarities) that she requests each family to gather and have ready in a centralized location. Linens should be washed and dried in a hot drier (usually with extra time), then bagged in plastic. Is this necessary? No, not really, but it's just a precaution on the side of safety. Here is my midwife's list:

- Set of extra fitted sheets for the bed - While the mother is in early labor, the bed is made with fresh sheets, then covered in plastic, and a new fitted sheet is put over all of that. Thus, if the bed gets messy during the birth, the top sheet and the plastic can be stripped off afterwards and the mama and baby can be tucked into a clean bed.

- Waterproof bed pad - This can be done with plastic sheeting, plastic shower curtains, or a regular waterproof fitted sheet, for the purpose above.

- 5 clean towels and washcloths, double for a waterbirth - Always needed!

- 5-10 clean receiving blankets for baby, diapers and clothes for baby

- Two medium sized plastic bowls - For the placenta and any other waste.

- Cookie sheet, rimmed - To hold supplies.

- Labor food and drinks for mom and birth team - Food and drink during labor are SO important for the mama! Hospital-birthing mamas, don't forget to pack your own food and drinks to take to the hospital, since many hospitals are still under the (highly mistaken) notion that mothers should be NPO (nothing by mouth) during labor. Good drink choices are juice or Gatorade, good snacks are whatever you like - but stock lots of good stuff, both for you and the team!

- 1 roll paper towels - For general mess clean-up!

- Olive Oil - For perineal massage during pushing (not used for waterbirths).

- 2 empty laundry/garbage baskets - For waste.

- Extra large garbage bags - To fit the wastebaskets.

- Ibuprofen - For after the birth, to help with after-pains and swelling

I am adding things like an afterpains tincture, a heating pad, and a rice sock.

(2) Personal Things - Basically, what would fit into a hospital bag! Things like a music playlist, a birth ball, an inflatable birth tub, chapstick, personal items, etc.

(3) Birth Kit - These are the "pseudo-medical" supplies. Each midwife has a different supply list, and they are ordered by the family from a local supplier, who will usually have a list of midwives' names so that each client can select her midwife's particular kit. Though I don't have one in front of me, a birth kit will include things like:

- Chux pads
- Pads for postpartum bleeding
- Suction bulb
- Plastic cord clamps
- Disposable (keepsake) measuring tape
- Instant ice packs

(4) Midwife's Supplies - Each midwife will bring her own kit of supplies to a birth, the "true medical" supplies. This would include things like:

- Pitocin (for postpartum hemorrhage)
- Syringes
- Suturing materials
- Oxygen tanks
- Neonatal resuscitation equipment
- IV materials (depending on the state)
- Stethoscope, Doppler, and fetoscope

During a homebirth:

When a mother goes into labor, a midwife will keep in touch with her via phone and via in-person check-ins. This will vary based on how quickly a labor is progressing, and on whether the mother is in her first or subsequent labor. With my first birth, I labored for about twelve hours before the midwife came over to stay, while with my second she headed over as soon as we called her (smart woman!).

A midwife will arrive to stay whenever the mother feels a need to have her, usually sometime during active labor. She will stay through the birth and usually two or more hours after the birth, until both the baby and mother are fully stabilized and comfortable. During the labor, birth and postpartum, she is constantly on the alert, checking on the health of both mother and baby (fetal heart tones, maternal blood pressure/temperature/pulse) and making sure that everything stays within normal parameters for safety. If, at any time, she feels that any variable has progressed outside of her practice protocols, she will recommend a transport to the hospital and will accompany the family there.

After the birth, the midwife will make several home visits to the family, usually on days 1 and 3 post-birth, followed by several more in-office postpartum visits (usually at weeks 1, 3, and 6 postpartum).

I have had wonderful experiences with my midwives and my births at home. Though childbirth was easily the most physically challenging thing that I have ever done, it has also been the most fulfilling, transformative, and life-changing as well. I have always felt 100% safe and well-cared for, as well as respected and supported. I will never voluntarily choose to birth any other way - once a woman has had a good homebirth with an excellent midwife, there is no going back.

I would love to answer any other questions concerning homebirth - if you have any, please leave a comment!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Loud Mothers of the World, United!

A few days ago, someone posted the following on the Facebook page for Bring Birth Home:

"I see so many beautiful pictures of women so calmly birthing their babies... it almost makes me feel like a failure in my two home births because I can't seem to master the chill out and breathe and quit fighting the pain. Instead I end up screaming and 'bucking up' against the contractions. (In my defense, both of my children were posterior.) So this is a shout out to the other screamers out there... tell me I'm not alone!" (emphasis mine)

At last count, there were over one hundred responses to this post, all saying "Yes! Me too!"

I was so relieved to see this!

So much of the time, I really feel like a birth failure. Really. That's how I describe myself and how I think of myself. I have never been able to relax through a single contraction. I have never been able to keep quiet through a contraction. I have never been able to mimic the birthing goddesses whose videos we pass around the internet. Instead, I go more for the sweaty, red-faced, yowling, out-of-control style that doesn't really get talked about much in birthing classes - and you'll for sure never see my birth videos being screened in mass quantities in local Bradley classes.

It's so nice to know that I'm not alone.

Which begs the question, of course - are we really doing women a favor when we only share the photogenic-type birth videos? What about when reality hits, and a first-time mom in labor realizes "Oh my gosh, these contractions hurt and I can't maintain that perfect-birth-video airbrushed look and pretend this is painless?" In some ways, that's what happened to me in my first birth. The childbirth classes we had taken focused on painless birth (which my midwife says she has seen once in her entire career), and so the reality of labor made me rather panicky. I would much rather be prepared for the truth than to be focused on the rare event of painless birth.

Enough meandering for the day!! Thoughts, anyone?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Vitamin K and the Newborn - Another Perspective

Like most mothers who are into natural birth, I have always avoided the newborn vitamin K shot - and still plan to do so with this coming birth. To me, it makes sense that if all infants are born with lowered vitamin K levels, then they are meant to do so for a good reason. It's kind of like cord clamping - if mammals were meant to have immediate cord clamping, then their cords would clamp immediately on their own. Physiology doesn't need improvement. In other words, the normal, functioning, healthy body does not need routine artificial intervention. (We would use the vitamin K shot in case of a physically traumatic birth.)

This past summer, though, I met a lovely local midwife who has a slightly different take on vitamin K shots. She told me that while she, too, used to avoid them, she now recommends routine vitamin K administration in her practice.

The reason?

Simply the fact that - based on a study that she reviewed - American diets are abysmally low in vitamin K (which is found primarily in dark, leafy greens - definitely one of many weaknesses in the typical American diet), and thus our newborns have lower vitamin K levels at birth than even normal newborns are supposed to have - putting them at risk.

The midwife told me that while she now recommends the shot, she still much prefers that mothers just improve their diets to include more natural sources of vitamin K, and therefore be able to provide their infants with the nutrient naturally rather than artificially.

Interesting stuff!

We're still not planning on giving the vitamin K shot, but I am doing my best to increase my vitamin K intake. Since I'm still nauseated and green smoothies are not exactly appealing right now, I have just started supplementing with alfalfa tablets, which are supposedly a great source of vitamin K. In fact, I need to go take some right now!

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Vacation in Flagstaff

Reposted from my personal blog!

And so, our vacation to Flagstaff! Here it is, in all its glory.

This is truly the vacation that almost didn't happen. Originally it was supposed to be in July, which was when I was good and sick, and it was rescheduled for September (still too sick).... then October (I got sick again, this time with a cold) and finally November. This truly was an event that required some muscle to have happen.

Despite living in the valley for over eight years, I have never been to Flagstaff (heresy!). So it was fun finally to see the town that everyone around here uses as a vacation spot, and in which half of our church's kids attend college.

This was a very short vacation, based on (1) cost, (2) time, and (3), the fact that we were using half of the time not for vacation, but for a trip back to Sedona for Thanksgiving with family. So our vacation was just three days - most of which was spent either holing up in our hotel room watching the food channel, because it was so cold, or trying to get kids ready to go out. Moms of many, you amaze me! Some days we weren't even leaving our room till 11 a.m., after dealing with all the getting up routines. Those of you who are up and out the door by seven really astound me.

Here are some of the things we did!

Snow and visiting the lumberjack at NAU:



Driving by a beautiful Catholic church in downtown Flagstaff. The monument outside (see below) reads, "Joseph's Carpenter Shop: In Memory to All Children Who Have Died Unborn, Known Only to God." How precious! I'm not sure if that is referring to all miscarriages and abortions, or to early miscarriages only, but it was still wonderful. I loved it.




Our hotel room:



Driving out of town to see Lake Mary. Never found Lake Mary (the GPS led us to some obscure ranger station that had nothing to do with a lake), but found the next best thing - more snow! DS played while the Chublet spent time being cute:




Our traditional trip stop at Dairy Queen, where DS talked non-stop to the girls at the front counter (mostly telling them about the Apollo 11 launch) and DH and I enjoyed pumpkin pie blizzards (they seriously need to up the pumpkin and spices in their recipe):



Inventing new uses for hotel ironing boards - improvisatory bed rails!


A quick stop at the Flagstaff mall:



We also stopped at the Little America hotel - it has lots of childhood memories for DH, and it's also where our church held its women's retreat a few weeks ago. I didn't make it to the retreat, but at least I drove by the hotel where it was held! That's got to count for something, right???

Then, in Sedona.....

Fun at our favorite place, Tlaquepaque:






At the labyrinth, which DS chose to do by running madly up and down the path:

(Note: On this trip, I had only two things to wear that were warm enough - a pair of maternity jeans which were, alas, too big - and thus were determined to obey the call of gravity rather than my attempts to make them obey societal rules of modesty, and a pair of overalls which I have dubbed the ugliest maternity pants in the universe. Below you will see the second of those modeled, as I work on my beached whale impression (these are so going to Goodwill!):


By Oak Creek:


Feeding the ducks at our favorite resort:




Other things we did:

- The Lowell Observatory  - big hit, too bad we got there when it was closing - next time!

- Babies to Kids toy store - big hit!

- Local park to play

- Beaver Street Brewery for lunch - delicious gluten-free pizza!!

- Downtown Flagstaff

For Thanksgiving with the family, I tried my hand at a few gluten-free items - pumpkin pie (big success!), sweet potato casserole (also a success), and stuffing (err.... ask me next year after I've had a chance to try again).

So, all in all, a good trip. Not as fun as last year, and it didn't help that I was feeling tired, nauseated, out of sorts, and battling an overwhelming desire to go home and scrub the baseboards with bleach (nesting urge continues unabated). But we got through it and had fun. Hopefully next year's trip will be a little less hectic!

This morning blog post was brought to you courtesy of a small boy - who shall remain unnamed - who slept in until ten o'clock. By which means I know that we have serious work to do on our bedtimes around here!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Prenatal Nutrition & Infant Predisposition for Obesity

This past month, I read an absolutely fascinating book - "Why We Get Fat (And What to Do About It)" by Gary Taubes. May I say that I highly recommend this book? It is an amazing book, and it completely turned my notion of nutritional cuase-and-effect on its head. Easy to read, great information - check it out!! (And this is not just for people trying to lose weight - it's a great read for any and all.)

While reading, I found a fascinating passage on maternal prenatal nutrition and the "inheritance" of obesity between generations. Here it is!

"Fat children tend to be born of fat parents..... Children in the womb are supplied with nutrients from the mother (through the placenta and umbilical cord) in proportion to the level of those nutrients in the mother's blood. This means that the higher the level of the mother's blood sugar, the more glucose her child gets in the womb.
 "As the pancreas in that child develops, it apparently responds to this higher dose of glucose by developing more insulin-secreting cells. So, the higher the blood sugar in the pregnant mother, the more insulin-secreting cells her child will develop, and the more insulin the child will secrete as it gets close to birth. The baby will now be born with more fat, and it will have a tendency to oversecrete insulin and become insulin-resistant itself as it gets older. It will be predisposed to get fat as it ages. In animal studies, this predisposition often manifests itself only when the animal reaches its version of middle age. If this observation translates to humnans, then some of us are programmed in the womb to get fat in middle age, even if we show little or no sign of this predisposition when we're young.
 "This is almost assuredly the reason why obese mothers, diabetic mothers, others who gain excessive weight during pregnancy, and mothers who become diabetic in pregnancy... all tend to have larger and fatter babies. These women tend to be insulin-resistant and have higher levels of blood sugar.
 And the conclusion:

"But if fatter mothers have fatter babies, and fatter babies become fatter mothers, where does it stop? This suggests that, as the obesity epidemic took off, and we all began getting fatter, we began to program more and more of our children from the first few months of their existence to get fatter still. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if this particular vicious cycle is one cause of the obesity epidemic. Thus we have more than our own health to consider when we get fat. Our children, too, may pay a price, and their children. And each successive generation may find it that much harder to undo the problem." (pp. 131-132)
 Fascinating stuff! Check out the book!

The Cesarean Assumption, or Awkward Moments With Children

The flock of children next door (ages 4-6) is extremely interested in and excited about our new little baby. Every time they come over, they ask the same questions - When will baby be here? Is it a boy or a girl? They're a lot of fun.

A week or two ago, the little six-year-old girl was talking to me about the baby. After going through the usual set of questions, she used her hand to mimic cutting motions on my tummy - obviously mimicking a cesarean section - and said "They take baby out?"

I said "No, no, they're not going to cut the baby out," and thankfully she was soon afterwards distracted, likely saving me from some very awkward questions.

Seriously, what would one say, if she then said "But how....."? I'm all for age-appropriate knowledge - and our 5yo knows all about how babies are born, having been at his brother's birth - but I also believe that the only people filling children in on knowledge about human reproduction should be parents. Not neighbors, or teachers, or the government - parents. So that would have called for some serious hemming and hawing! Or the ever-popular, "Ask your mommy, hon!"

But it is sad to think that a 6yo thinks that babies are born by being cut out of mommy's tummy. I know that's only her in-family knowledge, but it makes me sad to think that she (and lots of other kids) are growing up with that as their knowledge base.

Kids!! Gotta love 'em.

Getting My Five-Year Pin!

This past Thursday, I finally made it to the five-year mark with nursing - counting both our children, I have now breastfed for a full 60 months (33 months with our eldest, and 27 months - and counting! - with our youngest). Pretty exciting!

We've been through a lot with breastfeeding - blocked ducts, milk blisters, tongue tie, pumping, exclusive bottle feeding while dealing with problems, you name it. Thankfully, we have been surrounded by a very breastfeeding-supportive community (husband, doulas, midwives, lactation consultants, pediatrician, birth community) that has given us the encouragement to work through these problems and continue on.

If there was one thing that I'd say I have learned about breastfeeding, it is that breastfeeding (as a cultural phenomenon) really does take an entire community to support. Sticking a mother out on her own, surrounded by critical or undermining support people (the usual situation for most mothers today), is a sure-fire way to destroy or prevent successful breastfeeding relationships. It's really no wonder that a huge majority of American babies receive formula by six weeks post-birth, because the support just isn't there, though the formula companies are ever-eager to take up that slack.

Thankfully, I have not had the challenge of dealing with hostile family members, as many unfortunately do. My mom has been (mostly) fine with our decision to nurse long-term, and my mother-in-law, though doubtless horrified by our hippie-ness (her babies were all formula-raised), is so sweet that she has never said a word. Have I mentioned how blessed I am to have such a wonderful mother-in-law? She's been great.

Our current breastfeeding challenge is trying to nurse through a pregnancy. It is not easy, my friends! Nursing has gone - throughout the course of the pregnancy - from "mildly uncomfortable" to "moderately uncomfortable" to "ouch-ouch-ouch-ouch! uncomfortable" to "YEEEEEEOOOOUUUUCCCHHHH!!!" uncomfortable over the past few weeks. Yikes!

If I was not quite sure that our little one wasn't ready to stop, I would definitely wean - which is what happened during our last pregnancy. Our eldest was ready, I was ready, and nursing hurt, so we stopped. If I hadn't been pregnant, we could easily have continued for another six to twelve months, but as it is, it was a painless process. With our current little guy, I am determined to do the best I can to continue on so that I can tandem nurse after this new babe arrives. Whether or not I'll be successful is anyone's guess! Though I can always reintroduce if I don't make it the last few weeks - I'd like to get him to at least age three or four before stopping. With his developmental delays, weaning right now would be like weaning a six-month-old - not good.

But anyway, five years is something to celebrate! Here's to breastfeeding!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Laborious Thoughts, or What Have I Gotten Myself Into Now?

Reposting from my personal blog!

The clock is ticking! The countdown is on.... we are roughly two months out from baby's arrival, give or take a few weeks. And as that unknown date approaches, I find myself - once again! - intimidated by the thought of going through childbirth again.

Really, I thought I'd gotten past all of that. After all, I've had two unmedicated homebirths. While they were tough and extremely challenging, they were also empowering, transformational, and life-changing. I'm very happy with them.

But.... they were also hard. And the thought of doing it again is quite intimidating.

Of course, it doesn't help that - aside from the usual Bradley exercises - I haven't really done any preparation for this birth. We briefly considered taking childbirth classes, but the astronomical cost (class + babysitting = big bucks) was a bit off-putting. And my free time seems to have dwindled to near-zero, so the thought of listening to a 30-40 minute Hypnobirthing or Hypnobabies tape every night - when I am dead tired and just wanting SLEEP - is less than motivating.

So there it is! I find myself fearing this upcoming birth. Which I shouldn't, of course. My body was made to do this, I can trust God to get me through it, and I have an amazing birth team to support me - DH, one of our doulas from last time, and a great valley midwife.

And I know I'll get through it. It's just the challenge of doing so!

One thing that I know will help is the fact that we have a great doula. The difference between my first and second births, doula-wise, was amazing. With our first birth, we had a lovely woman as doula, but she was just too hands-off for what I needed. I'm the wimpy kind who needs coaching and hand-holding through each and every contraction (though I didn't know that at the time). With my second birth, my two doulas were absolutely awesome (they're the hand-holding type!), and it was so much better. I had no idea what a difference a doula could make!! Absolutely phenomenal.

And of course, it always helps to have done it before. At least there's no fear of the unknown.

So... Does anyone out there have any suggestions for labor prep? Advice, suggestions, stern lectures, etc.? If so, bring it on!

In the meantime, I'll just get back to my chanting - "I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!" (Or maybe not, since I can't stand that children's book. Must find new mantra.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Quick Update (28w4d)

Hello, everyone! Goodness, it's been a long time - an entire month! My apologies!! And, having been so long, it's doubtless that I shall forget most things of import. But an update nevertheless.

NVP-wise, doing okay. Some days are better than others, but I'm mostly off of Zofran. For the most part, except for particularly bad days, I just feel mildly nauseated about half the time. Not too bad.

This month has been incredibly busy, but for the life of me I can't remember what on earth we have been doing. Let's see if I can pull out a few snippets:

- We went on our first field trip with our homeschooling support group, to Schnepf Farms. Despite having heard about this place for years, this was our first time out there. DS's favorite part? The playground, of course. Forget the animals, vegetables, etc. - let's go for the swing set! And then, of course, after spending the entire morning saying "When can we leave?", our actual departure was met with "But I don't waannnnaaaa go!!!" What else?

- Our little Chublet is doing amazingly well! We have not picked up with a new Physical Therapist after our last one left her post, but he is still moving slowly ahead meeting milestones - confirming my thoughts that PT wasn't really doing him much good. And life is much nicer with fewer therapists! So we're just sticking with our other two therapists and throwing PT to the wind for a while.

The Chublet has progressed into his first-ever solid foods - he is now eating small slices of ripe banana, cooked sweet potato, and macaroni - hurray!

In physical milestones, he is doing a lot of knees/elbows (new!), bouncing in his door bouncer (also new!), swinging in the baby swing at the playground (also new, his new favorite activity), and lots of other stuff. His main loves still include mealtime (he can out-eat any of us), bath time, and sitting on my lap while I play the piano. If one walks by the piano while holding him and pauses for just a moment, he will have a tantrum while being taken away, because he zeroes in on that piano like a laser beam - it's hilarious.

- In homeschooling, we have just completed our seventh week of curriculum. Hurray! It has definitely been filled with challenges, and I know that I am going to face major hurdles with our son when I actually add in hard-core academics (math, handwriting, etc.) because he does not have one academic bone in his body. Natural curiosity, ingenuity, and mechanical brilliance - yes. Academics - not a bit. Oh well, that challenge is for next year!

- Our visits with our midwife continue to go well. She is a ton of fun, and I love talking with her. She has an absolutely brilliant mind, and probably one of the best minds for facts/figures-retention that I've ever met. If you ever want some birth stats reeled off to you (say, the cesarean rates by state for the past twenty years), just ask and she'll tell you! She's amazing. Baby is continuing to do well, and we're continuing to plan for a guess-arrival-date of early February.

Though it's getting a little late to be thinking about this, I've been thinking lately that I really do need to do some sort of childbirth prep. Lately I've had some good and painful Braxton-Hicks contractions, the kind that approach easy first-stage labor (no, I'm not going into preterm; this happens every time), and I get panicky with them - "No, I can't do this! Must have pain meds!" Apparently I haven't learned much from my first labors. Suggestions, anyone? 

In my personal life, I can tell that I am stressed the fact that I am constantly prowling the house looking for things to scrub or throw out. That seems to be my chosen method of stress-relief! (I talked to a girl last week who said that when she gets stressed, she finds herself hoarding things - I am glad I got the opposite tendency!) Decluttering the house is going well, and I'm slowly moving through my before-baby list of things to do.

If we can all avoid getting sick in the next 24 hours, we will be leaving to go on vacation - hurray! It'll be super-short (less than 3 days), but at least it's finally happening after the hundred-and-one delays. I'll post pics when we get back!

I know I've forgotten a lot, but that's all for now!

Local Article - Placenta Medicine Awesomeness!!

Check out this article, featuring several of our local Arizona birth professionals on the subject of placenta medicine!

Placenta pills treat baby blues, says local birthing community

I am really excited about this article, mainly because it is a major news outlet choosing to give a reasonable piece on placenta medicine, rather than the usual "Weird Hippie Mothers Practice Gross and Disgusting Tribal Cannibalism!" etc. etc. ad nauseum. This is a great change from the usual nonsense/tripe that is published on the subject.

Mamas of the world.... if you haven't checked out placenta medicine, please do! There is so much good to be said about it - the benefits are endless. So thankful that a few mamas might hear about this in the news!

Rights for Homebirth Rally

Attention, all Arizonans!!

This coming Wednesday, November 23rd, will be a super-important event - a march and rally to support birth choices, followed by a meeting (by four selected delegates) with the Director of Health to discuss changes to the Arizona rules and regulations currently governing Arizona CPM midwives.

Here is the description from the Facebook page:

"This is your chance to show the AZ Dept of Health how important it is for every women to have access to the care provider and location of where she chooses to birth. We will be meeting at Bolin Park at noon and then marching over to the Dept of Health around 12:30pm. Don't forget to look at our invite for SIGN MAKING on MON 21st at Nurturing Hearts!!!"

The address:

Wesley bolin memorial park
1649 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ. 85007

We have been told that getting high numbers of attendees is very important to this event, so bring your family (your neighbors! anyone!) and come on down! I hope to hear great things from this event.

Hurray for Arizona midwives! We have the best in the world, let's show them the support they need!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Endless Impossibilities

Hi, everyone! I really do need to do an official check-in - look for that over the next three days and bug me if I forget, eh?

In the meantime, I am doing well. That resurgence of NVP lasted in earnest only for one week, and then receded again - thank goodness! Now I just spend about half the time mildly nauseated, sometimes a bit worse, but that's about it - nothing to complain about. And I'm once again almost off of Zofran - not quite, but almost.

Anyhow, the other day I finally got all of my thoughts down on paper as far as "things I want to get done before the baby arrives." I think it's doable!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

No, in reality, I might get a third of it done pre-baby. Might. As in "probably not, but whatever." But I thought I'd share it with you all!

In the meantime, despite my ardent desire to skip to the holidays and put in the time scrubbing the house down with bleach, I am working through Thanksgiving cooking and getting ready for our trip next week (provided no one gets sick AGAIN).

Here's my list!

("SAT." refers to a project with which I need hubbie's help, and so is a "Saturday" project.)

To-Do List Before Baby

Done:
- Clean out and file 2010 papers
- Get back into life – routine, child-training, schedules, AWANA/preschool, cleaning, cooking, MOMS Club and outings, etc.
- Start homeschooling, buy curriculum
- Make appointment with Dr. P
- Make haircut appointment

Ongoing:
- Clean, organize, and declutter house

November:
- SAT. - Get started on stocking cars with emergency supplies, per the inventory list we have developed
- SAT. - Vacuum & wash under appliances
- SAT. - Clean high places in house – fans and ledges. Make note to seek out and murder whoever decided to put huge decorative (read: dust-collecting) ledges in each room in this house.
- Switch kids to winter clothes
- Clean & store fans
- Make my Christmas control journal!
- Write Christmas letter
- Address and mail Christmas letter
- Buy & wrap Christmas gifts
- Deal with Thanksgiving
- Go on vacation!
- Cook for Thanksgiving – cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie
- Re-do BOB (bug out bag) emergency kit



December:
- SAT. - Clean out garage
- Get G. sleeping through the night
- Move G. out of cradle into crib in his brother’s room
- Move G’s things to his new room
- Have DH fix our doula's computer for partial doula bartering
- Return computer to our doula, do any additional work
- Pay our doula by 36 weeks
- Pay our midwife at 34 week visit
- Buy or exchange car!
- Get carpets cleaned (need to find a good Groupon!)
- Go to Goodwill to get birth supplies (towels, plastic bowls)
- Finish making up birth supplies
- Replace pillows, buy covers for them
- Wash bedspreads & mattress covers
- Plan my lying-in: (1) Make list of places for DH and kids to go, and things to do
- Arrange for postpartum housekeeping (weekly for 4 weeks?)
- Arrange for regular housekeeping help for after that (bimonthly? Quarterly?)
- Deal with Christmas – cooking, gifts, stockings, houseguests, decorations
- Christmas cookies – baking day and giving out
- Prep meals in advance
- Pack hospital bag, add separate bag for C. and G. (clothes, toys, basic toiletries)
- Stock diaper bag and stroller
- Buy postpartum snacks (need ideas!)

January:
- Get or make mix for baby’s birthday cake!
- Make frosting for cake
- Buy non-perishable food/drink for birth team (granola bars, juice, etc.)
- Buy ingredients for placenta smoothies (yogurt, OJ, frozen berries)
- Print birth signs, put with birth supplies
- Order birth kit @ 34-35 weeks
- Stock up on paper plates, bowls, knives/forks/spoons

Right before baby (late January):
- Have smoothie ingredients
- Have cake mix ready

To-Do List When Labor Starts
- Notify midwife & doula
- Go to Sam’s Club: Sandwiches/lunchmeat tray, Fruit, Juice, Granola Bars, Frozen mixed berries, Orange Juice
- Double-make bed
- Set out birth supplies
- Scrub out tub
- Put up birth signs
- Straighten up, check laundry, etc.
- Make a cake!

****

I'll check in later in the week, everyone! Love to all!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pregnancy & Holidays

Last night at our Bellies meeting, the topic of the evening was, "How does being pregnant or newly postpartum affect the holidays for you?" etc. etc. etc.

It's an interesting question! I've never been in advanced pregnancy during the holidays; both my previous babes were summer babies, so pregnancy was either begun after the holidays or was in an early state. During my first term pregnancy, I was newly pregnant over the holidays, but I was so horribly sick (lovely, lovely hyperemesis) that all of the holidays completely went out the window, 100%. Some kind friends asked us over for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas so that DH could get a decent dinner, and then we would run home so I could continue vomiting. Lovely!

This time around, with the holiday season beginning, my main thought is "I don't have TIME for this, people!!!" Not that I don't love the holidays - I do! It's my favorite time of year, and I cherish it. But I have found that as soon as my NVP clears up, I spend the rest of each pregnancy in frenetic nesting mode, and my mind right now is centered on how to scrub down the entire house in bleach - not on decorating or buying gifts, LOL! (With my first, I was too sick to nest - only got in about 12 hours of nesting before labor started - but with these last two, it seems to last about half the pregnancy). So right now, my mind is running along lines of "Clean! Polish! Scrub! Declutter! Throw out! Wash, wash, wash!" - not at all along lines of decking any halls with boughs of holly, etc.

What about all y'all out there? How do you feel being pregnant over the holidays?

I should say that one very, very nice thing about being in more advanced pregnancy during the holidays is being able to EAT and not being hideously nauseated - still nauseated, of course, but not seriously. Very, very nice!!

Love to all!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Beautiful & Unique Birth - Told Twice!

An Arizona mama has posted her birth story (with pics), and her midwife has also posted that mama's story, and I just had to share! This is a gorgeous birth, made even better by the fact that it was a birth en caul, that is, a birth where baby was born with intact membranes around her - gorgeous, and my dream birth! I would love to have a caul birth.

Also, I really hope that someone in the textbook business gets notice of these pictures - they are gorgeous, and they would be great for a midwifery and/or obstetrical text! Academians of the birth world, take note!

Here is the birth story from the mama's perspective:

Welcome Earthside Scarlett Sinclaire

And here is the story written out by our mutual midwife, with the caul pictures:

Caul Babies!

A lovely birth! Congratulations to this mama and her family!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Night on the Town: My First L&D Hospital Tour

How to tell a true birth junkie: Her idea of "fun" is to sign up for a hospital labor & delivery tour.

And boy, did I have fun! It was great!

Here goes:

We live within a stone's throw (that is, a 10 minute drive) of three hospitals, but I have always had a preference for Mercy Gilbert. For one thing, it's absolutely beautiful (and new!); for another thing, it gets consistently great reviews from both mothers and care providers that I speak to. I think I've only heard one bad review of Mercy Gilbert, which is not too bad.

Being that we had tentatively chosen Mercy Gilbert as our transport hospital, and that I thought an L&D tour would be a ton of fun, I signed up for a tour, and after two reschedulings, last night was finally the night. Here's how it went!

Mine was an evening tour, and I arrived at about dusk. I was again struck with the hospital's beauty as I drove up - gorgeous architecture and exterior lighting, and I loved the statues (of Catholic sisters or priests) in front.

I also love that MG is a smaller hospital - over the past year I have grown used to the huge, institutional-type hospitals (St. Jo's, Phoenix Children's, Chandler Regional, etc.), and I always find their size to be off-putting. I love the smallness and intimacy of Mercy.

I should also note that, on a personal level, I love the fact that Mercy is a Catholic hospital. I have found that my views on life ethics line up almost 100% with orthodox Catholic views, and that makes me much more comfortable as a patient. I would not want to birth in a hospital where babies were being killed in abortions, as is unfortunately the case in most non-Catholic hospitals. My preference on that point is decidedly in favor of Catholic institutions - I feel much more comfortable and secure knowing that both I and my baby will be cared for under ethical principles that I value.

Moving on!

The first thing that struck me while walking up to the front doors was one of the most amazing things I've ever heard - absolutely thunderous birdsong! There were hundreds of tiny birds in their palm trees, and the noise that they made was deafening. Such beauty! I loved it. What a way to add to the atmosphere.

The inside of the hospital was similarly gorgeous and beautifully done. I was extremely impressed - especially as I have grown used to hospital exteriors that resemble cement blocks and hospital interiors that are grungy and unpleasant. This was such a refreshing change. It felt like a refuge or a resort.

The tour guide told me later that Mercy Gilbert has been designated a "healing hospital" - that is, everything about the decor and ambiance (interior design, color schemes, lighting, architecture, plants, etc.) was designed specifically to promote peace and healing. I can attest to the efficacy of their design! I so wish that other hospitals would take that idea into consideration in their plans. It makes such a difference.

When I got to the birth center, I signed in and sat down to wait. The tour consisted of myself and six other couples (five married couples and one seemingly mother-daughter couple). I had wondered if there would be introductions or group interactions ("Okay, everyone, tell your names and when you're due," etc. etc. etc.), but there was none of that. I suppose with a 30 minute tour, there just wasn't time!

Our tour guide was very sweet. She was not a nurse, but a hospital childbirth educator, and she told us that there were some questions that she wouldn't be able to answer but that she would get a nurse to answer those questions (nothing like that came up).

Our tour consisted of going through or by:

- An LDR (labor delivery recovery) room, showing off all the various assets. She mentioned their new labor tub (not birth tub, unfortunately) and the fact that several more are hopefully on order.

- A postpartum room

- The cesarean suite (they have two operating rooms).

- The newborn nursery (they have the capacity to care for newborns 32 weeks and above, so any micro-preemies would have to transfer to another hospital). One thing I loved was the guide's description of Mercy's emphasis on "couplet care" - the practice of keeping the mother and baby together as much as possible, both right after the birth and during the postpartum period - as opposed to routine separation. She emphasized that the nursery was only for babies who really needed extra care or by specific parental request - otherwise, mothers and babies are kept together. Great job on that one!!

- The anesthesia lounge (a room filled with needles, drugs, etc.).

Everything was beautiful and functional, and I was really impressed. It's the first time I've looked critically at an L&D unit. I have only been on an L&D floor twice before, and both times were before I had children and before I became a birth junkie (or indeed, knew anything about birth). It was fascinating to get to see it from the perspective of now knowing a wee bit (though not much) about childbirth.

The only thing there that made me go "eww, yuck!" (beside the squeamishness of the anesthesia room) was the sight of hospital housekeeping carts. For some reason, those always give me the shivers! I have no idea why - doubtless some past association that I've forgotten. But other than that, there was very little of that yucky "hospital" feeling. They really have done a great job.

Two things that I found upsetting/negative:

- A blanket statement that "when you are admitted, you will not be able to eat any more." Apparently Mercy still has a blanket "NO" on mothers eating during labor, despite the fact that the studies showing no harm from intrapartum food consumption are now more than a year old. Very disappointing. I wonder if there is any variation among nurses on enforcing this practice? I hope so! (I think a friend told me that there was.) This is one archaic practice that needs to go. In the meantime, mamas - make sure to bring your own food just in case!

Also, she mentioned that - after the food ban - the decision of whether or not a laboring mother would be allowed clear fluids or would be NPO ("non per os," or nothing by mouth, meaning only IV fluids) would be up to the mother's doctor. Really? Seriously? There are still doctors practicing NPO for laboring mothers? Please, tell me it ain't so!! I find this so incredibly disappointing to hear. (Better take your own drinks, too!)

- Also, I found it discouraging how many decisions were left to the doctor rather than the mother (or mother and doctor jointly). When will I be released from the hospital? "That's up to your doctor." Do you routinely practice delayed cord clamping? (My question.) "That's up to your doctor." I found the lack of patient autonomy to be discouraging. (Though she probably had to say that.)

But other than that, I loved Mercy Gilbert, I had a great time on the tour (I wish it had been longer!) and I am confident that it will be a great transport location should we need it (praying that we don't!).

Of course, as with any hospital, the care that one receives depends primarily on one's midwife or doctor and on the nurses that one gets. I'm very thankful that our midwife has several great groups of hospital care practitioners with whom she works in transport cases so that we are sure of good care once we get to the hospital, should the need arise.

After the tour, I stayed behind and thanked the guide for her time. She asked me if I planned to birth at Mercy, and I told her that we have our babies at home but that Mercy would be our transport hospital, and she was very sweet. Afterwards, one of the women on the tour told me that she had had all of her babies at home (a long time ago) and was very enthusiastic about our plans. 

And there you have it! Maybe I'll do another hospital for fun sometime, to compare, but for now, this was a great start. I loved Mercy Gilbert! Thanks for a great tour, and congratulations on all the wonderful work you are doing to promote a healing atmosphere, provide water-labor capacities, and serve the birthing women of our community!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Which an Unwanted Guest Returns (25w5d)

I'll check in for real (as in, a life update) sometime soon, but in the meantime....

Remember that whole "I'm off Zofran!" thing? Well, it was extremely short-lasting - 24 hours, to be precise. I've been back on the stuff ever since, and have actually had to increase the dosage - back to 8 mg Zofran and two Diclectin per day. And unfortunately, I've gone from "I'm feeling okay most of the time!" to "I'm feeling blech!" for about half of the day.

Not that that's anything to complain about. Because it's not! I have much to be grateful for. After all, HG has been avoided this pregnancy, and I'm pretty much completely functional - I'm eating, cooking, teaching, going places, doing a wee bit of housework - nothing to complain about.

So I'll keep my whining to a strict minimum, I promise!

But it is odd. I have never experienced the third-trimester NVP-return before, so it is odd that it seems to be occurring during my by-FAR easiest pregnancy ever. I don't really know what to expect (is it going to get worse? will it last till the end?) or what to do about it (besides the meds). Hopefully it will go away, because I was starting to finally enjoy this pregnancy!!

More later, right now it is NAP TIME, hurray!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Birth Plan Rough Drafts: Home and Hospital and Transport, Oh My!

I've been working on these for ages - here they are, for your consideration and amusement!! Rough drafts only, hopefully to be finished up in the next 10 weeks or so so that they can be printed and ready to go.

A few notes (and I'll add more notes throughout the document):

- I have tried to utilize Rixa's "Just Do It!" principle, which I absolutely love. A quote from that:
"What if we simply stopped asking permission? What if we simply did what we wanted to? What if the mantra of laboring women became "don't ask, just do"?

"Don't ask if you can eat or drink. Just do it. Don't ask if you can get out of bed or walk around or go to the bathroom. Don't ask if you can change positions or give birth kneeling or squatting. Just do it.

"Do it with confidence. Do it with an "I know what I'm doing, and please don't mess with me!" attitude.

"Just do it."
 With that in mind, I have tried to eliminate everything from my birth plans that does not need the cooperation of hospital staff (this isn't an issue with homebirth). For example, I haven't written "I'll be eating and drinking" or "I'll be laboring in different positions" - in those cases, I would just do it. Good thing to remember! (Also cuts down on verbage.)

You will notice that I have a hospital birth plan in here as well as a transport plan - this is just for my own amusement (I love writing birth plans!), as we are not planning a hospital birth. A hospital birth plan is considerably different from a transport plan - for example, a hospital birth plan might say "no pain meds, no IV, etc. etc. etc.," but in case of a transport, we probably need whatever is being offered!

You will also notice that the homebirth plan is considerably different from a hospital or transport plan, and this is because (thank goodness!) I don't have to fight my homebirth midwives on the subject of unwanted interventions like restricted mobility, restricted food/liquid intake, routine IV insertion, continuous fetal monitoring, etc. etc. etc. Good stuff.

I have also tried not to mention anything that isn't vitally important to me. For example, you will see repeated mentions of delayed cord clamping - because that is extremely, extremely important to me. An absolute must. But birthing positions, on the other hand, are not important to me - and thus I have not mentioned them. It's not that I don't know that certain positions are better than others, but for me, by the time I get to pushing, I don't care what position I'm in simply because I loathe pushing so much (please remember that most women love the pushing phase!). So for me, I don't care if I'm squatting, lying down, whatever - so I didn't write about that.

I have also tried to (1) keep each plan brief (each is under one typed page), and (2) keep each plan friendly rather than combative/confrontational - both good things to do when interfacing with hospital staff.

I'd love some input here! Have I missed anything? Comments welcome!!

******





Homebirth Birth Plan

- Please take lots and lots of pictures and videos! Of anything and everything, both graphic and modest.

- I prefer to avoid cervical checks. In case it’s really necessary, please do not tell me my dilation unless it’s really necessary or it’s super-encouraging (i.e. complete!).
 - I really don't know how women can stand knowing their dilation - to me, anything other than "ten!" is incredibly discouraging. I learned that with my first birth, and now it's a must.
- I need lots of verbal support, coaching, and encouragement – please! And don’t be surprised that I’m really wimpy and extremely loud.

- For afterpains: Placenta smoothie as soon as the placenta is available – yogurt and OJ in fridge, mixed berries and bananas in freezer, blender on counter. Thank you!!! Also, I’d like to take four Advil and some Arnica as soon as baby is out.
- With both my babes, extreme afterpains have prevented both immediate bonding and immediate breastfeeding. After I learned how much placenta medicine helped, I determined to make that an immediate priority. I'd like someday to be able to enjoy the immediate postpartum!

- Birth team – Snacks in fridge! Remember not to park on the street if it is Wednesday or Friday (use driveway or center section).

- J. would love to catch and also cut the cord (delayed!).

- C. (our son) may or may not want to be present for the birth (undecided).

- In case of hospital transport:
          o Someone grab the hospital bag, camera, and video camera
          o Nab the placenta pronto! Don’t let it get away! Very important!
          o Please do everything possible to advocate for delayed cord clamping, regardless of how the birth ends up (even with c/s).
          o I would love still to practice placenta medicine as soon as is humanly possible.

******



Hospital Transport Birth Preferences

- Parents: Diana J. & Joe J.

- To our hospital caregivers: Thank you for taking care of us!

- Our midwife is Stephanie ------ of --------- Birth Services (XXX-XXX-XXXX). Our doula is ------- (XXX-XXX-XXXX). We ask that one or both of them be able to stay with us at all times.

- I love verbal encouragement, the more the better.

- I tend to be rather loud during labor. Please just ignore me, I’ll be fine.

- I prefer to avoid cervical checks. In case it’s really necessary, please do not tell me my dilation unless it’s really necessary or it’s super-encouraging (i.e. complete!)

- Please do not clamp/cut the umbilical cord until it is completely finished pulsing, preferably until the placenta is out. We would love it if any neonatal resuscitation could be done near Diana so that the cord can remain intact. In case of cesarean, please still leave the cord to pulse as long as is possible. Joe would love to cut the cord.

- I would like an unmanaged 3rd stage and to deliver the placenta without assistance. Please, no Pitocin outside of emergency circumstances.
 - A lot of hospitals practice routine pitocin administration during 3rd stage, even during uncomplicated births. I would like to avoid that.

- We will take our placenta home with us.

- In case of cesarean birth: We would love still to have delayed cord clamping (as much as possible) during a cesarean birth.

- For Baby: Please, no Hep B shot, eye ointment, newborn screen (we will do this in a few days), or vitamin K (except in case of a physically traumatic birth). We will be breastfeeding. We would love uninterrupted mother-baby time immediately following the birth, baby’s health allowing. Please make sure in case of mother-baby separation that Joe stays with the baby.

- Thank you for your kindness, support, and care!

********


Hospital Birth Preferences

- Parents: Diana J. & Joe J.

- To our hospital caregivers: Thank you for taking care of us!

- No IV or heplock.
- This is an absolute must, no discussion allowed. And if someone did stick me with an IV, I would immediately rip it out. It is that important. Period.

- I love verbal encouragement, the more the better.

- Please don’t offer me drugs. I would love a third unmedicated birth, but I am a wimp around pain and don’t need the temptation.

- I tend to be rather loud during labor. Please just ignore me, I’ll be fine.

- I choose to decline routine cervical checks. If a check is medically necessary, please do not tell me my dilation unless it’s really necessary or it’s super-encouraging (i.e. complete!).

- Please do not clamp/cut the umbilical cord until it is completely finished pulsing, preferably until the placenta is out. We would love it if any neonatal resuscitation could be done near Diana so that the cord can remain intact. In case of cesarean, please still leave the cord to pulse as long as is possible. Joe would like to cut the cord.

- I would like an unmanaged 3rd stage and to deliver the placenta without assistance. Please, no Pitocin outside of emergency circumstances.

- We will take our placenta home with us.

- In case of cesarean birth: We would love still to have delayed cord clamping (as much as possible) during a cesarean birth.

- For Baby: Please, no Hep B shot, eye ointment, newborn screen (we will do this in a few days), or vitamin K (except in case of a physically traumatic birth). We will be breastfeeding. We would love uninterrupted mother-baby time immediately following the birth, baby’s health allowing. Please make sure in case of mother-baby separation that Joe stays with the baby.

- Thank you for your kindness, support, and care!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday (24w3d)

Reposted from my personal blog!

***

Hi, everyone! Sorry it has been so incredibly long since I checked in! Last week we had an impromptu visit from my parents, and life has just been incredibly busy around here with homeschooling and trying to reconstruct my life post-NVP (the usual!).

Speaking of NVP, today is (can you guess????)...... drum roll, please..... my first day without Zofran!!!! Yes!!! Really!!! (*Insert wild party dance here*) My nausea levels have been dropping even more drastically these past few weeks, allowing me to drop a medication dose every couple of days. So far today I have had only one Diclectin (Unisom), and if all goes well I'll be cutting that out soon too. Can you believe it?? Last time I was on Zofran till the early-thirty-something weeks; this time it has been so much sooner. I am so grateful!

Homeschooling is going pretty well.... considering the moderate dose of schooling that we're starting with, there aren't any huge difficulties to overcome (we're done each day in under an hour) - the true challenges will probably start next year - or rather, when our new babe arrives and I'm trying to homeschool a kindergartener with two babies underfoot. I think life is going to get pretty hairy after this new little one arrives!

Speaking of arrivals, the birth of this babe is looking a lot closer from this side of twenty weeks! Yikes!! Not only is the thought of birth intimidating (it always is!), but I have so much to do before then! Getting through the holidays, organizing my birth supplies, decluttering the house... more than I can ever possibly accomplish. But I'll do my best.

Speaking of decluttering, I have arisen out of the mists of NVP to find - as usual - that our house was trashed in the process. It gets worse with each child, I'm afraid! But unfortunately, my decluttering time also decreases with each child. So right now I'm using a method that works well for me - printing off a blank calendar and just trying to write in one small decluttering project that I've done each day, regardless of how small (usually it's just cleaning out one drawer, or some such thing). I'm also using the "Throw Out 100 Things" challenge - writing down things as I toss them in order to find further motivation.

Other family news:

Last week we had our first majorly-bleeding-child episode as parents. No one saw what happened, but it was something along the lines of run-slip-fall-crack in the kitchen, with the end result that our eldest ended up with a nice gash on his head that bled copiously - everywhere! When the blood was cleared up and staunched, it turned out to be only about an inch long, but my goodness - how it bled! Add into that mix a thoroughly hysterical child, and you'll get an idea of the fun we had. Thankfully my dad was around - he has absolutely no nerves (the end result of having grown up as a mortician's son and being trained in the business) and was able to take command of the situation beautifully. We didn't end up having to go into the hospital, and all is well.

Also last week, in the next episode of "the lost and found cat" - said cat is now, once again, lost. She managed to slip out of a cracked door, and despite an hour long hunt by DH, has once again vanished into the mist. We have no idea when or if we'll see her again.

I have mixed feelings on the subject. On the one hand, she is a great cat and I don't want her going hungry out there. On the other hand, I definitely was not thrilled to have another cat, especially as it is so difficult navigating between warring cats (our other cat is a bully) - should she come back, I will be actively searching for a new home for her. For now, we wait.

Big news of today - I finally got our little dude to voluntarily take some solid food, and without (too much) gagging!! It was thinly sliced quartered banana, and I got him to take it with each meal - by dinner time, he was eager for it! This is major, major, major improvement and progress, and super-exciting. I'm thinking of other things I can try - pear? watermelon? Anything to finally move forward!

We saw our midwife two weeks ago, and all is well with baby - perfect measurements, all looking well. I really enjoy talking with her and getting to know her better, and we're having a lot of fun.

Well, I'd probably be getting on with chores for the evening! I hope everyone is well, and I'll try to check in again soon!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Placenta Medicine Awesomeness

Have I ever omitted to post anything and everything that I find on placenta medicine? No, I have not!

Why not?

Because placenta medicine is so amazingly awesome - I want the world to know about it! Once one gets over the "eww yuck" factor, there are so many wonderful benefits from this practice.

And so, without further ado.....

An article by one of my wonderful doulas, Nikki:

The Placenta Lady

And, if you can believe it, this article was posted on the blogs of one of our local OB practices. Is that not amazing, wonderful, superb? Hurray for Boojum Obstetrics!

Nikki says:

"My own personal experience was enough to convince me that placental medicine works. I had my daughter at a time in my life when emotions were high. My mother in law died unexpectedly 2 weeks before my due date. She and my father in law were supposed to visit our new daughter and us shortly after her due date. Obviously, that didn’t happen. My father in law and sister in law came instead and I spent a good part of my recovery from a difficult vaginal birth entertaining heartbroken relatives while trying to grieve myself. Amazingly, even through all of that, I experienced only 1 weepy day. Previously, postpartum, for me, meant 2-3 weeks of crying non-stop until I ended up using medications. I was so surprised and encouraged that it worked!"

Good stuff!

And another short article on the same subject:


Placentophagia: Benefits of Eating the Placenta

From that article:

"In Western cultures, eating the placenta is often viewed as barbaric, but thanks to new information about the surprising benefits, there has been a recent push among young mothers to eat the placenta after giving birth. While many Western doctors discourage placentophagia with the claim that it carries no inherent benefits, studies have shown that eating the placenta can curb postpartum depression, replenish nutrients, increase milk production, and slow postpartum hemmorrhage." (emphasis mine)

And on the "risks" associated with placentophagia:

"Many doctors, especially in Western culture, have expressed some concern that eating the placenta may spread disease such as HIV, hepatitis, and other blood-borne illness. However, placentophagia is traditionally practiced only by the mother and not by other parties, so there is no risk of spreading disease. If she has a disease, she cannot reinfect herself, and if she is not currently ill, she cannot become ill from eating her own placenta."

So, to summarize: Placenta medicine has no risks and a plethora of benefits - it is something that needs to make it out there to the general public! I simply could not believe the difference that placenta medicine made for me after my second birth - it was night and day difference after I started to use it, and I will never voluntarily omit it from my postpartum regimen!

If you haven't looked into this yet, please do!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reaching that Magical Week

This week we reach 24 WEEKS - a very, very exciting time - namely, in American terms, the week of fetal viability!

One midwife I know calls the 24th week the "magical week of fetal viability." In very approximate terms, the babe who is born at 24w0d has a 10% chance of survival, and of those who survive, only 10% will survive without longterm problems. But the babe who is born at 24w6d will have an 80% chance of survival, and of those who survive, 80% will survive without longterm problems. What an enormous difference a week brings! A magical week indeed - and today we start our journey through that week.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quote on Miscarriage

Today, as I flipped through my Vision Forum catalog, I came across the following quote regarding miscarriage, taken from the CD "The Biblical Theology of Miscarriage: How to Have Hope in Tragedy":

"What if miscarriage was God's means of showing mercy and love on a human soul, and if He chose you to be the honored vehicle to usher that child into eternity? Miscarriage is for a moment, a soul is forever."

- Doug Phillips

Something about that really struck home with me - I loved it. I believe that human life begins at conception and is fully human, unique, sacred and precious from that moment. Unborn babies who are lost to miscarriage, early or late, are just as human - and as special and precious - as the babes whom we eventually get to hold in our arms. I love to remember that, especially as modern attitudes toward miscarriage tend more towards "It wasn't really a baby yet anyway" or "It's better this way, you wouldn't want an unhealthy child, right?" etc. etc. etc. The above quote is a really interesting perspective, and I'd love to hear more.

Hopefully I'll get to hear the whole CD sometime!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Article List on Delayed Cord Clamping

A few weeks ago, at the request of a friend, I put together a short list of internet articles on the subject of delayed umbilical cord clamping - one of my huge, overwhelming passions that I am enthusiastically committed to championing (as my Facebook acquaintances know only too well). Women out there, if you do not know the risks of immediate cord clamping (still the usual in-hospital practice), then please - do your research and find a practitioner who will support physiologic cord clamping for your baby (this is when the cord is not clamped until the placenta has delivered the full volume of the baby's blood back to the baby, rather than clamping the cord immediately and depriving the baby of a vast amount of blood that it would otherwise receive.)

To start, here is probably one of the best visual aids on the subject, posted two days ago by my midwife. Check it out, and you will see the "why" of delayed cord clamping - an awesome picture record of the process of natural cord clamping!

Magic Umbilical Cords

A couple more articles I have recently found:


Another Reason to Delay Cord Clamping

Could Early Cord Clamping Harm Neonatal Stabilization?

Giving You Newborn the Best Start: Delayed Cord Clamping

OMG, You Did Not Just Cut Off a Third of My Baby's Blood Supply! 

Also, from my midwife - check out #4 on cord clamping (the other points are great too!):

Myths-Understandings

And now the letter that I sent to my friend, with accompanying links:

***

Hi, M.!

Three Facebook groups for delayed cord clamping (the first two are the most active):

Delayed Cord Clamping


Cord Clamping
(Accompanying website: Cord-clamping.com)

Save the Shoelaces


Best article on the subject of delayed cord clamping:

Delayed Cord Clamping Should Be Standard Practice in Obstetrics/

And here is the same OB/GYN giving a talk on the same:

Delayed Cord Clamping Grand Rounds

Another top article by an L&D Nurse (this is a great blog):

The Deal With Delayed Cord Cutting or Hey Doctor Leave That Cord Alone

A news summary of a recent article in the British Medical Journal:

Don't Clamp Umbilical Cords Straight After Birth, Urges Expert

And a couple more:

Wait to Cut Umbilical Cord, Study Says

Do We Cut the Umbilical Cord Too Soon?

"Delayed" Cord Clamping and Stem Cells - When to Cut the Cord?

Also, if you google "benefits delayed cord clamping," you will come up with a TON of articles!!

Best wishes to J. and her little one!!! :)

Diana

****

Ladies out there - got any more that I should have listed?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Awesome Article for National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

This article on miscarriage and pregnancy loss was written by a good friend of mine, who has lost five babies through miscarriage, and I just loved it! Check it out here.

Here's a snippet from the article itself:

"1 in 4 lose a child, and yet the American dialogue remains largely silent on the subject. I think that's one of the reasons that it's rather hard to cope with. I can't speak to losing a child I've carried to term, but at least in the case of miscarriage, there are no pictures. There are few to no pleasant memories. In early miscarriage, there's not even visible physical evidence of your child's existence. There are no funerals. There's just a void in your heart for the baby you loved the moment you knew of her existence. A void that only that child can fill. Though Matthew fills up my whole heart, there are still simultaneously 5 baby-shaped, whole-heart sized holes that are reserved for his siblings.

"But the world keeps going. It's maddening. You want everything to stop so that you can process what just happened, but the rest of the world keeps going, without even knowing your child existed. I remember the night of my first miscarriage, we'd been in the hospital all day and I'd lost a ton of blood. I left weak and hungry, so we went to a restaurant. They asked us if it was "just the two of us" and I nearly lost my head with the realization that the answer was "yes" even though hours before, it had been "no." Miscarriage grief can be a very lonely, silent kind of pain. Most of the world answers it with, "Goodness, get over it already. It's not like it was a REAL baby," as though your child was not yet old or big enough to have caused you pain to lose. Or, "you can have another baby," as if a new baby could take that baby's place. Or "Maybe there was something wrong with that baby, so thank God He took the baby early." Or the ever-generic, "these things happen for a reason." Especially among people who claim to be pro-life, it blows my mind to hear them. Or, people just say nothing. No matter how early in their life they are born to heaven, he or she is still a real baby who has died. Empty arms and an empty cradle await the parents who were so anxious to meet their little one."

Great stuff. Read and pass along!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beautiful Birth Story in Pictures

Just had to check in really quickly to post a link to this birth story that my midwife posted on her birth blog - it is lovely, and is also really great birth photography - very clear pics of a waterbirth! These should be used to teach classes!! Someone needs to pic up on these for use in midwifery/med schools! Congrats to this family as they welcome their new little one.

Quick update on me: I am not dead, regardless of the evidence otherwise, and am starting to feel much better as the NVP gradually leaves. The next time I blog on my personal blog, I am going to start cross-posting the posts here, so that I can record my pregnancy on both blogs as it goes along. We are now 23 weeks, and the finish line is looking waaaayyyyy too close from here! Too much to do!

Love to all, I will check in soon!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Delayed Cord Clamping Article

Just really quickly had to post this article that I saw posted on Facebook regarding delayed cord clamping. Great stuff, and even better pictures! Check it out, and share!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Amazing Story

Cross-posting this from my hyperemesis blog, ladies! It is my strong belief that every birth professional and birth junkie needs to have a working knowledge of hyperemesis gravidarum, because ignorance in this area causes mothers acute suffering and can cost lives. Definitely take the time to go through this story!!

This story comes from a client of my midwife, here in town, who had her babe two weeks ago. (She is a client of both my midwife and one of my doulas, also mentioned.) She has an amazing story, and I wanted to share it!

The more I delve into the HG world, the more I realize how blessed I was in regard to the "mildness" of my HG. When I came out of my HG pregnancy, I was under the impression that I had been to Hell and back and had personally grappled with Satan himself. That's what that pregnancy felt like. But when I read stories like this (and like the stories of lots of you mamas out there), I realize how easy I had it. You ladies out there are such amazing warriors for your little ones.

Here goes!

(I have put all names as initials to protect privacy.)

*****

For those who don't know, I had a very challenging pregnancy. I struggled with hypermesis gravidarum (HG) for nearly the entire time. HG is basically a severe form of morning sickness. It is kind of like having food poisoning that lasts for weeks on end, but it's not. It is so much worse.


Please know that I haven't covered everything that I experienced or felt during my pregnancy. Some things are just too painful to rehash. However, I am trying really hard to heal from all the damage HG caused. I'm hoping by letting some of this out, I can help myself let it all go. I don't want to hold on to these feelings anymore, especially now that A. is here. It is her time now, and I don't want anything to come between us anymore.


I do also share what I believe is the proudest moment of my life. I am so thankful that I was able to give A a beautiful, quiet, peaceful, and loving birth. With everything that she had to experience while growing in my belly, it just fills me with joy to know she had the most perfect arrival.


Lastly, I talk a little about what is going on postpartum. To tell you the truth, I never expected to be dealing with my HG issues AFTER birth. Yes, I am not nauseous. Yes, I can eat anything I want. Yes, I'm not puking. Don't get me wrong, all these things are wonderful, but I still haven't healed emotionally. I knew HG had taken its toll on me, but I guess I didn't realize just how hurt I am by it all. I honestly thought once Aria was here, it would all fade away like a bad nightmare. Unfortunately that just hasn't been the case.


My Pregnancy

At 5 weeks, I am exhausted. Not just sleepy tired, but down right run down. All I could do was sleep. At 6 weeks the nausea and vomiting have started. By 9 weeks I can barely keep any food or drink down. At this point I see a doctor for a prescription of Zolfran to help calm my issues. The meds don’t seem to be helping and I go a couple days without being able to keep food or drink down. Exhausted and dehydrated I go to the ER. Weeks 10 through 12 are a huge struggle. I’m vomiting about 15 to 20 times a day. Nothing is staying down, not even water. I get a different prescription for Phenergan. This medication completely knocks me out. It was so hard to believe that a medication which had that strong of an effect on my body could truly be safe for my baby, but my hands were tied. Not eating and drinking wouldn’t be safe for the baby either. Week 13 and home health care has finally been setup and approved. A nurse comes out and hooks me up to an IV and Zolfran pump. I have the IV on and off for the next five weeks. The Zolfran pump stays for the next three months. Weeks 14 through 25 are horrible. Even with the medication and IV I am puking everything that passes my lips. At one point the only way I could keep small amounts of water down was to blend ice and eat the snow. I was a freaking mess. By 26 weeks I manage to be off the pump. I am still puking at least 4 times a day, but when you drop down from 20, 4 seems like a piece of cake. At least at this point I can keep food and water down. I am still taking oral meds once in a while, however I am trying really hard not to. Weeks 27 through 37 are better. By no means was I back to normal. I would still have some good days, and then have some crappy days (crappy really isn’t a strong enough word…). But again I was actually able to keep food and drink down, even though I was still vomiting. Weeks 38 through 41 and I feel much better. I only vomit a couple times during these weeks, but the nausea is still there.

Needless to say, being pregnant has been one of the worst things to happen to me. Thank you HG. HG robbed me of a time in my life that was supposed to be exciting, beautiful, fun, joyful, etc. HG took away my ability to connect with our unborn baby. How could I love something that was causing me such pain and sickness? At times I was actually resentful towards our baby. I would sit and cry for hours thinking about how horrible of a mom I was that I couldn't nurture and love this baby yet.

HG isolated me. Not just physically from the world around me, but also emotionally. Physically, I couldn't go anywhere. When you are puking all the time, it’s hard to leave the house. Then there was also the motion sickness. It was bad. I couldn't watch TV, look at a computer screen, read a book. It all made me horribly nauseous. Try passing time when all you can do it lay there. Well you can't. There was nothing to take my mind away from the HG, so I would sit there and just think about it all. Not good. Emotionally, I felt separated from everyone, especially any woman who was pregnant or had been pregnant. I HATED speaking to them about my pregnancy, especially when they started talking about theirs. They would talk about cute little cures like crackers and coke, or say they “know” how I felt because they puked too (although they still went to work, could drive, could eat and drink, you know pretty much function like a normal human being). It didn't help that I hated them and was jealous of them. It was really hard. It didn't feel like anyone could understand. But how could they?

HG almost took away A's homebirth. I'll never forget the appointment with my midwife where she looked at me and said something about 28 weeks. Honestly I don't remember her exact words, I just remember thinking I've got 10 weeks to pull myself together or I'm going to lose the homebirth too. That thought was almost unbearable. I was already super freaked about the amount of drugs being pumped into my body and the effects they were having on my baby. Then I had to start considering what would mostly likely happen at a hospital. Pitocin, epidural, IV's, antibiotics, high likely hood of c-section, oh and all the damn germs. I just didn't want that for my baby, but really it wasn't up to me. HG isn't something you can just "pony up" to and get over. You have no control, as much as you wish you did. Yet, by 26 weeks, I was off the pump and the home health care. I was still puking like 4 times a day, but that was manageable. Plus I could actually keep food and water down. The homebirth was saved. Thank God.

HG also forced me to compromise my morals. I am a vegetarian, but wasn't during my pregnancy. HG took that from me too. Beans, grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts would all come up. And I mean all of it. Still at 38 weeks I could barely choke down a banana or raw carrot without my nauseous levels skyrocketing and puking. With this forced diet change also came a HUGE load of guilt. I couldn't stand the fact that my diet, well when I could eat, consisted of processed foods and meat. That's it. I freaked every time I thought about the lack of nutrition that I was giving my body. I mean if I wasn't giving myself the proper nutrients, how on earth was my baby getting what she needs?

My HG also took its toll on C. (husband). He was forced to take care of everything, and I mean everything. Working a full time job, feeding us, keeping the house clean, taking care of the animals, and the hardest part—taking care of me. Cleaning out bowls and bowls of puke. Helping me in and out of bed because the Zolfran pump made me so sore I couldn't do it alone. Plus, at times, I was even attached to an IV. Sore, strapped to a pump and connected to an IV… it's almost impossible to get around. He had to stab me every day with a needle, because the Zolfran injection sites cause so much trauma to your body that they have to be moved just about every day. Two months off the pump, and you could still feel the bumps in my legs. He would help me shower (when I actually could stand it, and even then I would often vomit afterwards), help me dress, brush my hair, help me to the toilet, you name it, C. had to do it for me. On top of all that, he had to deal with how mentally unstable I was. I was a wreck. I was sick, I was scared, I was sad, depressed, and worried. I was angry, helpless, fearful. I hated the guilt, the resentfulness towards baby and others. Really I was a MESS. Try and console that. You can't. You have to sit there and watch me cry, sit there and take it when I scream. Sit there and just watch me fall into a depression. Oh and of course I knew all this. I knew just how much stress I was putting on C., and it killed me.

I feel like I could go on and on about all the layers and layers of unhappiness, guilt, fear, sadness, and resentfulness that I feel about my pregnancy. I'm working really hard to let it all go, especially now that I have my beautiful daughter in my arms, but it is hard. I mean just the other day (yes I am taking about AFTER A's birth), I woke three times in the middle of the night to the sound of my Zofran pump going off. Each time it took me a while to shake all the bad feelings. Healing is a process I guess.


A's Birth


Sunday September 18th

I awake to what I thought were cramps. I soon realize these pressure waves are different. They are requiring a little more of my concentration, but I can still function quite normally. My midwife had promised me I would "know" when I was in labor, and since I was still questioning it I thought for sure it wasn't time yet. So I go about my day. My mom comes over for a visit. We order Mexican food, watch football (C's idea), chat and relax. It was a nice and relaxing day. That evening the pressure waves continue to get stronger, but again, I was still questioning it. I decide to make cupcakes and cookies for our doula and midwives. I was secretly hoping that if I made these treats my birthing time would start right away.


Monday September 19th

I text Rose (our doula) at 11 AM telling her the pressure waves are averaging 9 minutes apart. I've got ants in my pants just sitting at home, so C. and I head out for our two favorite things. Cassanova Pizza and Bergies Coffee. Pizza and coffee in hand we head back home. At 1 PM I text Rose that I can't exactly talk during the pressure waves anymore, but that they are still about 10 minutes apart. At 7 PM I text again saying they are 7 minutes apart and strong. I still remember during all this time not having that "ah ha" moment, and thinking well this can't be it then. But Rose suggested I give Stephanie (our midwife) a heads up, so I text her as well. 9pm and pressure waves are super strong and 4 minutes apart. 10 PM I call Rose and ask her to come over. At 11 PM Rose is over and she and C. work on setting up the pool.



Tuesday September 20th

My times are going to get murky now, but I have a rough idea of what went on. We have a very small water heater which meant it was going to take forever to heat the pool up, so C. went to put some water on the stove. Of course I just assumed that he was going to use our giant canning pot to heat up the water, but as I look over to the kitchen I see him filling up this tiny little pot of water. I start cracking up. I'm laughing so hard, I can barely speak. Here is my husband trying to fill this giant pool with a pot that holds about 12 cups of water. Good luck with that hunnie! It just seemed so silly to me, but it was really nice to have a good laugh. We eventually get the pool filled up and I get in. It feels good to be in the water, and the pressure waves seem to be slowing down and becoming less intense. I start chatting with Rose about if she should stay or go since things seemed to be slowing down. I just didn't know what to do.

As a side note, during this all this time our cat had been put away so he wouldn't be bothersome while setting everything up. Then the cat got let in. Less than two minutes in the room and our stinking cat jumps on the pool and puts three very nice puncture holes in the pool. So C. and Rose get to work breaking down the pool and setting up her other one. I have no idea how much time passes here. I just remember the pressure waves getting stronger again. Rose suggests I get back in the pool. The pressure waves are really taking my concentration now. Again, I have no idea how much time passes here, but around 3:15 AM I feel a pop. My water has broken. The pressure waves come and they come strong. Finally I have my "ah ha" moment. I know it is my birthing time now! Rose asks me to tell her when I start to feel pressure. I think I remember feeling that pressure right away, which I didn't like. It felt like I needed to use the bathroom. I was terrified of accidentally going to the bathroom in the pool. I know this can be a normal process for any woman in labor, pool or not, but I just couldn't do it. So C. helps me to the bathroom and I labor on the toilet. I was horrified that my husband had to see me in this position, but I was also horrified of going to the bathroom in the pool. Then eventually the pressure waves made me not care anymore.

Back in the pool and I try a new position leaning back against the pool. I sit through one pressure wave and it is horrible, so I tell myself I am going to "finger drop" for the next one. I don't know how I did it, since I hadn't been practicing my hypnobabies (Thank you HG) but I manage to "finger drop" getting through the pressure wave much easier. The next pressure wave comes and I am back on my knees leaning over the pool hanging on to C's hands. No more hypnobabies (sorry Noelia, but I did try!) I remember crying and cussing. The pressure waves sucked. Then C. asked Jen (our other midwife) a question. I don't know what he said, but I remember her saying that I would feel burning. Next pressure wave in and I feel the burning. Pressure wave after pressure wave and I feel more burning and more pressure. It was time to push. Jen tells me that I can take control. It felt so good to hear that. My entire pregnancy had been out of my control, and I just got permission to take the reins and do what I wanted/needed. 18 minutes of pushing and at 5:01 am our baby was born right into her daddy's arms and passed to me. C. says "it’s a boy,” and for the next 15 minutes we think we have a sweet little boy. It is time to cut the cord and I move our little boy… SURPRISE! It's a girl! C. cuts her cord and then I snuggle back up to her.

At this point I still have not birthed the placenta and I am getting quite frustrated and annoyed. I would like to focus on my beautiful daughter, but I couldn't because of my placenta. So C. takes our daughter tight in his arms. I remember feeling horrible that I couldn't spend these precious moments with my daughter, but I also knew she was safe in her daddy's arms. I'm not sure how much time passes but finally, with a little help, I am able to birth the placenta. My daughter is back in my arms. I was in a state of shock. It was hard to believe HG was over, and that here in my arms was our beautiful daughter.


Postpartum


The one thing that I held on to throughout my pregnancy was this idea that once the baby is here it is all over. This idea that I'll finally get to bond and connect with my baby. That I will finally get to love on her and enjoy what I have been trying to for the past 10 months. I never prepared myself for the reality of what it is like after a baby. I had no idea just how painful and miserable breastfeeding could be. For 10 months I had been telling myself when she's here I finally get to love her and enjoy her. Yet I found that at least every two hours my baby was still causing me pain. During these moments that I wanted to be bonding with my daughter, all I could think about is how much I wanted her off me. I hated it. Then all those HG feelings just rushed back to the surface and I was drowning in them. I would see my husband all cuddled up to his daughter telling her how much he loves her and I would just ball. I wanted to do that, but my breasts were so sore I couldn't hold her close. I wanted to tell her I love her, but I couldn't. It took me a week to say "I love you" to her. Of course it is not because I don't love my daughter. I do. More than anything. It is just really hard for me to put all my emotions aside. I'm scarred pretty deep. My wounds are still fresh and trying to heal, and they are easily torn open.

Lots of moms keep telling me you will soon forgot all the troubles you went through. That everything will be worth it. I'll agree with that second part. A. has been worth it all, but I won't forget. Perhaps the details of my pregnancy and postpartum issues will get murky, but I sure won't forget. I guess only time will tell. Until then, I'm going to take it day by day.