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.