Monday, December 29, 2008

33 weeks

No wonder I feel so big I can barely move!

Yes, that is a maternity shirt that doesn't even reach my belly button! Seriously, though, I have been having problems moving around. Not walking, I can do that fine, but shifting from sitting to standing and laying down to anything is a real challenge. Rolling over in bed at night has gotten to the point of being a carefully thought through endeavor, with several steps! And tying my own shoes? You're joking, right? I'm not able to drive anymore, can't fit myself behind the wheel and still reach the pedals, but I didn't go that many places anyway. It's too hard to chase both kids. I'd rather have them in the house, where they pretty much know what they can and can't do and are fairly good about sticking to it.

The lack of mobility has been hard. The combination of not being able to drive anywhere if Chris isn't home, Chris working two jobs, and not being able to go outside due to sub-zero temperatures has not been good on my psyche. I've been feeling trapped and depressed. We try to go out as much as possible when Chris is home, but I have to balance my desire to get out with his need to actually be home now and then. It's been tough, and I'm pretty sure I haven't been easy to live with lately. I don't even really like being around myself.

But the "stuck at home" has an upside, and that is extra time to get my school work done. I finished and mailed in Orientation last week, several weeks before the suggested completion date and even a week before my self-imposed deadline! I'm really proud of myself. Now I have six months to put together my first submission of regular coursework before my first annual report. If I get even one submission in before my annual report, I won't have to pay the final testing fees of $250, so it's important to try. I'm trying to get some momentum to get at least a small submission ready before the baby comes, that way I have something I can send if I don't feel up to doing any work for awhile. If I do feel like working, I can always add to a small submission and make it a larger one. The trouble is that I'm having a bit of trouble getting started. To be fair to myself, we are in the middle of the holidays, and the kids and I were sick the last few days. But I still feel like I should have gotten a little more done.

Part of me just wants to forget about it and focus on these last few weeks of pregnancy and everything I still need to do to prepare. I've gotten behind in my Hypnobabies practice and I need to start doing the OFP postures again in just a few days. Some days I feel completely overwhelmed. Other days I feel bored out of my mind. How can I be both?

As if I needed any more on my plate, we are trying to decide if we want to cloth diaper this baby beyond the first few weeks. We actually have the money to invest in quality cloth diapers this time. The problem I foresee is being too overwhelmed to use them. If you could see the mounds of unwashed laundry in my basement... And I have to admit, everytime I have to clean Emily's poopy diaper, I'm so glad I can just toss it, instead of having to try to get the poo off in the toilet, then put the diaper in a smelly pail. I do know all the pluses of cloth diapering, though, and it makes me feel selfish to even consider not doing it. Any opinions or advice?

On a final, very positive note, Emily, at 22 months, has been taking HUGE steps towards potty training lately. She may actually be done by the time this baby is born! That would be amazing. GO MEMERS!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

28 weeks- Third trimester already??

I cannot believe that I am into the third trimester already. This pregnancy has just flown by. Can I hope that this last few months will go by just as quickly?

I was thinking today about the day I found out I was pregnant this time. With Emily, I didn't test until I had known for a long time that I was pregnant. I was almost nine weeks along, so the positive result didn't surprise me one bit. I only actually took the test so Chris would stop saying, "If you're pregnant..." Maddie's HPT came up negative. That one was disappointing, but not surprising. The blood test on the other hand, was quite shocking. But the point is, I was never really surprised by the results of an HPT before.

This time, I hadn't been charting as well as I should have. I came home from a trip to California for my sisters graduation, and restarted my temping. I knew the temps I was getting were post-ovulatory, but I didn't know how long they had been that way. There had been only one chance for us to get pregnant, so I figured the odds were in our favor and didn't worry about it. We were having a difficult time and my mind was on other things. A week or so after my trip, I got a nasty stomach bug, very unpleasant. But under that sickness, I thought I noticed a note of a very familiar, very particular type of nausea. I had been having some slight adhesion pains for a few days as well, but had written them off as nothing. Once the pains were paired with the nausea, the possibility of pregnancy was in my mind like a fish hook. It wouldn't let go. I wanted to wait it out, wait until the 18 days of high temps had gone by, letting me know I was definitely pregnant, but I was going crazy. This was not a good time for us to be pregnant, either financially or relationship-wise, and Emily was only a little over a year old. I decided that if my options were to test or drive myself crazy for another week, I should just test. When Chris went to work the day before Father's Day, I went out and bought a test. I used a self-checkout at the grocery store because I was so afraid of the comments that I thought I'd get towing a four year old and a one year old and buying nothing but a pregnancy test.

I considered waiting and using first morning urine, then decided it was now or never; I might lose my nerve. I took the test, left it sitting on the counter for three minutes while I pretended to be interested in a TV show. I couldn't bear to watch. I thought I was prepared either way, but I fully expected to get a negative and spend the rest of the evening laughing at myself, relieved, for being so silly. I walked into the bathroom and saw the biggest plus sign I'd ever seen. And the test line was so much darker than the control line that there was no way it was a mistake. I felt like I'd been kicked in the chest. I walked out of the bathroom and sort of paced around the house for awhile, trying to catch my breath and wrap my mind around the idea that I was having another baby. It just couldn't be true. People with our history don't get pregnant without trying. They just don't. Except apparently they do.

Right before Chris came home, I wrapped the test up in a box and put it on his computer. When he came home I told him it was an early Father's Day present. He opened the box, looked at it for a long time, then turned to me and said, "Okay, so you aren't pregnant." I was a little stunned for a second, then said something like, "A plus means I AM pregnant..." Then it was his turn to be stunned for awhile. I tried to let him have his space to digest the news. I hadn't mentioned anything specifically about thinking it was possible that I was pregnant, but he usually knows what's going on. He told me later he knew I had gotten a pregnancy test that day. Just suddenly knew it. A feeling.

Obviously, we've both come around since then. We are very happy to be welcoming this third baby into our lives. Maddie is thrilled to be having another baby. She says it's a little brother and has named him God, for reasons only she knows. Emily didn't seem to be aware of anything for a long time, but they pick up more than we know. A few weeks ago, she was cuddled up against my tummy when she got a hard kick. She looked up at me and said, "Oh, baby in 'ere," and gave my tummy a kiss. Now she says it all the time. She's getting so big. They both are.

It seems so strange to be thinking of starting again with another tiny newborn... little onesies...nursing round the clock. But I know that this baby was meant to be a part of our family, right now. I can't wait to meet him or her.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Because it was there?

One of the ICANers recently linked to this blog post. Obviously, I just had to have one! Why? Because it's cute, it's funny and my knitted uterus needed a friend. Only one problem- there is no pattern! I searched the web and couldn't find a pattern for a knitted placenta anywhere. So I decided to make my own! Here's how it turned out:

In case anyone is interested, I used four double pointed needles to make a hexagon, exactly from the instructions I found here. Then I used a spool knitter to make the cord and sewed it to the center hole of the hexagon. Instant placenta! It only took about two hours to make... I'm sure a really experienced knitter could make one of these in no time. Happy knitting!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

25 weeks

Time for a new belly picture!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I've spent the last few days moving files from my almost-full laptop hard drive to my new external hard drive. Yesterday and today I've been moving and reorganizing pictures. Of course, I spent a lot of that time marvelling over how much my babies have grown. But I was also amazed at how many pictures there are of me holding Maddie when she was just a few months old. In all of them, I'm grinning ear to ear. Why shouldn't I be? It was a fabulous time. I had my precious and much-desired baby girl in my arms, I felt really good about the way I looked for the only time in my life, we were looking at buying our first home in just under a year. I look at these pictures and I remember how genuinely happy I was. It was awesome.
Yet, this is also during the time that I was crying myself to sleep every night. Things were starting to look up a bit, but they were still pretty bad. I had found ICAN by this point, but I was still traumatised. Chris and I were past talking about divorce, but it was still very tenuous.
I just can't help my amazement that I could be so genuinely happy and so genuinely miserable at the exact same time. The best time of my life and the worst all wrapped up together. It is an odd thing that people can manage to feel such extremes at the same time, while still keeping them, for the most part, separate. My sadness and pain rarely interfered with my ability to appreciate and even relish the good times. I'm so very grateful for that.

Friday, October 3, 2008

15 Weeks

Yep, a very late post. But here is my 15 week belly picture.

20 weeks!

I know I really should have updated before now, but hey, I'm pregnant. I have an excuse. I'm 20 weeks along, for a few more hours anyway. I made it to the halfway point! YAY!

How about a quick rundown:

Morning sickness: Not as bad as with Maddie, but worse than with Emily. And for some reason, it has gotten worse since I hit the second trimester rather than better. That seems pretty unfair.

Energy: Low. I am still waiting on the second trimester energy boost. Pretty sure it isn't coming. I'm sure that has to do wih chasing two active kids and still aving morning sickness though.

Movement: Lots... and lots... and lots. Maddie was a very active baby and Emily was pretty quiet. This baby seems even more active than I remember Maddie being at this age. It is constant kicks and flutters, rolls and somersaults. I love it!

Belly size: Huge. I've seen full term pregnant women with bellies smaller than mine. The twin question is already coming up frequently. But I'm just one of those people who get HUGE. I had an ultrasound that I didn't want with Emily because I let the size of my belly get to me, and got concerned about twins. I'm not doing that this time. I'm not really worried. If it's twins, I'll know when I need to know. But I don't think I'm that much bigger than I was when I was at this point in my pregnancy with Emily, or even Maddie. And I expect to get much, much bigger. Really, I don't expect to be able to reach my belly button by the time I hit 40 weeks. I'm not uncomfortably large yet, and I can move around pretty easily. I am growing out of my maternity pants though.

Mental state: Improving. I went through a really bad patch where I really didn't want to have to give birth again. As I whined to Chris once, "I haven't forgotten yet!" It wasn't the pain, really, but the exhaustion. I am a girl who needs her sleep! Spending days awake laboring is not my idea of a good time. Here are a couple of posts I made to the ICAN and Birth After Cesarean lists when it was really bad.

Post 1:

I've been wanting to write this post for a while now, but I didn't know how to start. But last night I had a really awful dream that has been haunting me most of the day, so that seems like a good place to start. In my dream, I was in a hospital in labor. That sounds bad, but really it was kind of nice, because I was in a big room with three other laboring mamas. We were supposed to be in bed, but we were all on the floor in various positions, laboring over chux pads. None of us had any support people, so we were supporting each other. Suddenly I felt like pushing, and I felt something coming out, so I reached down, and I felt the cord. Only it felt way more like loops of intestines, tiny baby intestines, than cord. Then I thought, "wait, I'm only 15 weeks!" But I knew the baby had to come out now. So I pushed as hard as I could, and the baby was crowning, a good full-term sized baby head. But I couldn't get the baby out any further. I pushed and I pushed and it wouldn't come out. I knew my baby was dying, so I kept pushing and pushing. And then I woke up. I've never been so glad to wake up. It was a horrible dream, and it makes me want to cry now, thinking about it.

Okay, I had to take a mental health break for a few minutes. So, yeah. I'm scared. Of everything. I'm scared of something being wrong with the baby, but mostly I'm scared of labor. It doesn't really seem to make sense. I've done this twice now, and my last birth was pretty darn good, considering I had a hospital transfer. Most of both of my labors have been painless, just really, really long. I have a really high pain tolerance anyway, and I know this. But I recently had an experience that just scared the life out of me. I always get intestinal cramps as part of the way I do "morning" sickness. I know it, I expect it. Sometimes they hurt, but its usually not a big deal. About a week ago, though, I woke up with the most horrible cramps I've ever had. Before I woke up, the pain had been in my dreams. After I woke up, I was able to crawl into the bathroom and shut the door. At night that bathroom is the most complete dark, you could develop film in it. In between the cramps, I was sitting, rocking, crying. But during them, I couldn't do anything. I pretty much ceased to exist. Time stopped. There was nothing but the most complete, unbearable pain. My entire existence was that pain. I couldn't even think to myself that it would end, couldn't fathom that it was possible to not be in pain that way. It happened every couple of minutes for about half an hour. I couldn't even cry out to my husband, asleep beyond the door, not even in between the pains. It stopped after about half an hour, and its a good thing, because I probably would have passed out if I had had to go on like that much longer. I crawled back into bed, sweaty and crying that I couldn't go through anything like that ever again. I woke up my husband and just sobbed to him that there was no way I could labor with this baby. Because I knew in my (heart, soul, fear?) that it would be like that.

Even before that episode, and long before last night's dream, I've been obsessed with "What if I have placenta previa?" I thought I was afraid I'd have it, but after thinking about it for awhile, I realized I wanted to have it. Because I saw/see it as the only non-emergent reason I could schedule a cesarean and be able to say, "well, I didn't have any choice." But that's a total cop out, and I know it. Because if I really want to schedule a cesarean, I know I can walk into any OB's office and they'll gladly accommodate me. Certainly no one could say I wasn't informed enough to make the decision. I just want the decision not to be mine.

I don't want a cesarean. But I don't want to labor either. I don't even really want to acknowledge this pregnancy at all. It is a very unwanted pregnancy. Not the baby. If someone were to hand me my baby right now, I'd be thrilled to have it. But I am not pleased one little bit about an unexpected pregnancy and the fact that I have to get the baby out, one way or another. I thought that I'd feel better about it with time, but time seems to be flying by, and I just seem to be getting more resentful all the time. I don't know what to do or how to change it.

I feel like there was more I wanted to post about this, but I'm too drained to remember. If there was more, I'll post it later. Until then, I really need a nap and a good cry.

Post 2:

I was urged to keep talking, so I am...I'm still processing so much. The nightmares seem to have stopped, at least for now. I wanted to thank everyone who was concerned about my physical pain. I had tons of people ask me if it could be gallbladder pain. I doubt it, because I am quite sure it was intestinal cramping, like I've had so many times before, just intensified by a lot. It never happened before, and hasn't happened since, so I've decided not to worry about it. I suspect it may have been some sort of food poisoning, but I'm just guessing there.

I think I've moved past wanting to schedule a cesarean. Now I'm falling into the "well, I could just labor with a strong epidural..." I have a feeling I'll move out of this stage rather quickly though, as I know there are definite downsides to that. I'd actually have to labor for possibly days before I could get an epi I could be reasonably sure wouldn't interfere with my labor, and even then, it would have to be really light, so what's the point? The cesarean for me was a much harder thought to break, because, from a physical standpoint, my cesarean experience was good. I know that another one isn't guaranteed to go as well, but when my cesarean recovery was physically easier than my VBAC recovery, that's a hard thought to just brush away.

The particularly irritating thing is that I know darn well what I'm gonna do. I'm going to wait, go into labor on whatever schedule my body uses, labor according to that same schedule, and birth my baby. Hopefully in the quiet and privacy of my home. I just don't WANT to do it. So I feel like a tantrumy two year old."I don't wanna! I don't wanna!" My mind is trying desperately to find some way out of it... but I know there aren't any good easy ways out. Only through.

My midwifery studies ARE making it harder on me. A lot of this started when I was reading some articles on pain relief in labor. The message that I was getting out of it, even if it wasn't the author's intent, was that if you use any sort of pain relief, including water or breathing techniques or homeopathics, you aren't having a natural labor and you may as well go get an epidural now. Talk about depressing! I've decided that the mental place that I want to get to regarding that is: I'm informed enough to make any decision I darn well please and if I want a TENS machine and a birth pool and Hypnobabies and Rescue Remedy then I'm gonna have it, and you can't make me feel bad about it. Actually getting to that place is harder than it seems though. And now, not only having had a VBAC, but being a chapter leader AND a student midwife, I feel like I have something to prove. Even if I proved it to myself (and honestly, I don't think I have), I still feel like I have to prove it to the world... because it feels like everyone sees me as the girl who talks up homebirth but had two hospital-and-epidural births... so what does she know. How can I be a midwife if I don't have a homebirth myself? Then I also fear that all this worry is going to be a self fulfilling prophesy, and maybe I should just concentrate on having a fairly short, easy labor. But then if my labor is long and hard anyway, I won't be prepared and it'll be that much worse. Is there any way to prepare for the worst without thinking about it? That's what I tried to do last time, and look what it got me... an almost week-long early labor and forty hours of active labor... I just don't know if I can do it again...

Post 3:

For some reason I keep having bad dreams about being unable to push my baby out. The first one was really a nightmare- cord prolapse, all alone even though I was in a hospital, knowing my baby was dying and pushing with all of my might and not being able to get the head out. The others haven't been as bad, more frustrating- I know baby is fine, but no matter how hard I push I just can't get it to budge.

I'm not even sure why I'm dreaming about this. Consciously at least, pushing is my last worry. I didn't get to pushing with my c/s, so no prolonged pushing there, and about four contractions worth of pushing for my VBAC... and I loved it. I really enjoyed pushing. I might not have if it had lasted a long time, but it didn't, and I thought it was great to be able to DO something with all the energy pouring through me finally.

So why are all my bad dreams focusing on pushing and not the long, exhausting labor that I'm afraid of?


But, like I said, my mental state is improving. I haven't come close to conquering all of my fears, but I'm working on them. I've hired a montrice, and I've lined up some good friends to come help out, so that there are enough people around me that they can take breaks and I won't ever be alone. Unless I choose to be. Chris and I are also going to be doing Hypnobabies. We have the home study course already, and we'll be starting it at about 24 weeks. I think that will help me to stay relaxed and maybe even sleep through the earlier part of my labor. Of course, we still have the birth pool, and I will definitely be using that! We are also going to try to make a birth stool and buy or rent a TENS unit. I've used TENS at my old chiropractor's office, and I love it. It is so relaxing. Like having a great back massage and the masseuse never gets tired!

I'm also just regaining my trust and confidence in my body. I know I can do this. And that is a HUGE leap from where I was just a month ago.

That's pretty much everything about me right now, at least in regards to this pregnancy. I need to update about school, too, but that'll have to be a different post.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A different perspective

As I expected, Maddie came to me a few days after our cesarean/birth canal conversation to clarify a few points. Mostly her questions were repeats of what she asked when I first told her. Other times she just told me the story.

A couple of days ago, though, she asked again to see my "straight line." She looked at it while telling her birth story in her words: "I was a little baby in your tummy and when I got big you thought I was sick, so the doctors cut open your straight line to get me out fast but I was okay." Then she gave me a hug around my waist and said, "I love your straight line. I was okay cause I came out fast from your straight line."

I didn't and don't know what to say. Except that I have a new perspective on my scar. It no longer represents betrayal and pain to me. It represents love and sacrifice, and my willingness to do what I thought was best for my baby, even if it wasn't best for me.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Telling Maddie

I've been stressing for awhile about how I was going to tell Maddie that she came via cesarean. She's been saying things like, "When I was a baby in your tummy and I got big, I came out of your birth canal." Each time it was like a little knife in my heart. Do the repercussions ever stop?

I knew I had to tell her, somehow, but I had no idea how to do it. I was a cesarean baby and it never seemed a big deal. I don't remember being told, or where I learned it. I want her to also have a sense of peace about it, just that it was and that's that. She's at a tender age though, and I was afraid she'd ask a lot of questions that I didn't think she was ready for the answers to.

I called my mom for advice, to find out how she told me, but she didn't remember ever having actually told me. She did give me some pretty good advice on easing into the information though, and I appreciated it.

So yesterday the moment came. We were watching one of my many "baby come out movies" and Maddie started talking again about how babies come out of birth canals and how when she was a baby she came out of my birth canal. I paused the movie, took a deep breath and just did it. I pulled up my shirt and showed her my scar.

"See this little line?"


"When you came out of Mommy's tummy you didn't come out of my birth canal. You came out of that little line."


"We thought you were sick, so we wanted to get you out really fast. But once you were out, you were just fine."

"I commed out of that line?"

"Well, it wasn't a line when you came out. We thought you were sick, so the doctors made a little cut on Mama's tummy and got you out really fast. " She looked shocked and scared so I quickly added, "But it didn't hurt Mommy. Mama was fine."

"And I was fine after I was out?"

"Yes, honey, you were fine."

"Emily commed out of your birth canal?"

"Emily came out of my birth canal, yes."

"And I commed out of the line."


It went back and forth like this for a few more minutes while she clarified some of the points in her head, then she asked if she could touch the scar, which I let her do. Then we put the movie back on. We haven't discussed it anymore, but I know we will. Maddie is like that. She'll mull it over in the back of her mind for a few more days and then bring it up again in her own time. I will wait for her. I just hope I did okay. I hope I didn't tell her too much or too little and scar her. What does one say to a four year old about matters as adult as a cesarean, anyway? It was a conversation I had been dreading since the day she arrived. Somehow I don't feel any better now that it's over.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Maddie's Drawing

Maddie is almost four and a half now. She understands the idea that there is a new baby in Mama's tummy and that when it gets big enough, it will come out. When asked where babies come from, her usual reply is "Tummies and uteruses and birth canals."

I know this. But I was still somehow unprepared to get this drawing today of "Mama with the new baby commin' out."


okay, the video doesn't want to embed. Here's the link:

This is a little video I made to share the news with our family that we are having a new baby!! I am due at the end of February again! I haven't been as sick this time around thankfully. Some nausea and lots of tiredness, but nothing too bad. I do need to get to the chiropractor soon though, as I can feel a bit of sciatica creeping up on me. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted about my pregnancy as it progresses.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Been a long time...

Wow, its been awhile since I updated. Not because there was nothing going on, but because there is too much! I have been very busy with my AAMI classes. Since I last wrote, here's what happened:

~I got completely enrolled and was sent the Phase 1 assignments.
~I was offered their Introduction to Midwifery class for a steal, so I took it.
~I spent six months completing ITM (its a LOT of work!) and sent it in at the end of May. It is a great course. If birth or midwifery is something you are even remotely interested in, I recommend you take this course.
~I was also doing the Phase 1 assignments and I sent in my request to be sent Phase 2 on the same day I sent in my ITM assignments. Woohoo!
~I received my Phase 2 assignments and information yesterday and have been getting organised and ready to start! I'm so excited to be getting to the next step.

I'd love to give more detailed information, but I don't want to violate any copyrights or other such stuff. AAMI is a touch paranoid about having non-students get access to the course material. Of course, if I poured my heart and soul into something and people were stealing my work, I'd be paranoid about it too! So I understand their concern.

I'm also thinking more and more about an apprenticeship, even though it really isn't feasible right now. I REALLY want to start apprenticing! One of these days, I'd also like to take an internship trip somewhere that I can get experience in a higher-volume birth center. A friend of mine is getting ready to go to the Philipines on a trip like this in a few weeks. I just hope she blogs it so I can live vicariously!

At any rate, I am loving my classes, and I am learning more than I would have expected by this point. I'm busy, busy, busy working on all the assignments, but it feels like "me time" instead of work. Hopefully I'll remember to update again sooner than six months.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008