Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Why I Breastfeed

I used to have awesome boobs.  No, seriously.  They were large, but not too large, perky, and looked damn good in cleavage-showing shirt.  I can't count how many times they got me free drinks in college!

Now, I have mom boobs.  National Geographic, African tribes-woman, dangly, saggy, food-bags.  And I'm totally okay with!

When I was pregnant with Noli, I knew I would breastfeed.  It didn't even register that it was a choice - it's just what mothers did!  Now that I've joined 30,000 mommy groups online, I realize that so many women struggle with breastfeeding, or choose to formula-feed without even giving breastfeeding a chance!

Nursing Noli was easy - we didn't have any latch problems, supply issues, nada.  Since I stayed home with her, I didn't even really have any nursing tops, I just flopped the boobies out and let her eat!  Nighttime was harder, because I would take her in a different room to eat and change her diaper, then I'd bring her back to bed with me.  J started sleeping downstairs, and then I just nursed her in bed.  So much better!  Eventually she stopped nursing so often at night, and we put her in her own crib and J could come back to our bed.

Nursing Goldie is a little more difficult, simply because I have a toddler that needs attention too.  I can't just sit for hours and let her nurse as she pleases.  I haven't quite masters nursing while walking, or wearing the baby in a wrap (hey, it's only been two weeks!)  Nighttime nursing is MUCH easier, because a)We have a king sized bed now and b) Goldie can nurse laying down, a skill Noli didn't master until at least 3 months.

So, back to why I breastfeed.  Besides the facts that breast milk is nutritionally superior to formula and that it's the best way to bond, the reason why I breastfeed is because I am lazy.

That's right - I am lazy!  I could spend days in bed watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on loop (Or Doctor Who).  I could plant my ass on the couch for an entire weekend surfing the web, looking up stupid memes.  Breastfeeding is perfect! I get to sit in a recliner, set Goldie up on the Boppy (best breastfeeding accessory EVER), and play Candy Crush to my hearts content!  If I were to formula-feed her, I'd have to get up, walk to the kitchen, scoop some power into a bottle, heat up the water, shake it, feed the baby, then wash all that crap when I'm done!  Way too many steps for a sloth like me.  I sit.  Unbutton bra/shirt.  Feed baby.  Burp her, and DONE.

Bottle feeding at night?  I'd have to get out of bed, go downstairs, carrying the baby, mix the formula, yadda yadda yadda.  God, that would take FOREVER!  Now, Goldie doesn't even cry because I co-sleep and I hear her cues before she gets upset.  I just simply pull her to me, and let her nurse!  More often than not, I fall asleep with her still eating.  And then she'll fall asleep, and use my breast as a pillow (it's wicked cute!)  I joke that she's like a hamster with the water bottle thingy - she suck a little, sleep, come back, suck a little more, sleep... Easy peasy!

Now, let's talk about leaving the house.  Of course, I still carry a diaper bag.  But that's what it's for, diapers!  And wipes.  And a change of clothes, some spit-up rags, a plastic bag for gross stuff, and a blankey, and some pacifiers...and sunscreen...and snacks.  It's full.  Now, I couldn't imagine adding formula and bottles to that mix!  I already feel like a pack mule, why add more bulk?  My boobies are portable.  I literally cannot forget them at home.  You will never hear me utter the phrase "Oh crap, I forgot my boobs, we need to go to Wal-mart real quickly"  I may run out of diapers and walk around with spit-up all down the front of me, but my kid will never be hungry!

So, for a lazy-ass like me, breastfeeding is the only way to go.  Are there moments when I wish I wasn't stuck in a chair feeding my littlest?  Sure!  It's not always a beautiful and joyous thing.  I wake up covered in breast milk, leak through my favorite shirts, and sometimes my breasts hurt.  I have to go back to work in a few weeks, and I'm nervous about pumping and making sure my daughter has enough to eat.  But over all, breastfeeding is what works for me.  I wish it worked for everyone!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Photo Bomb!


Magnolia and Marigold

Making Goldie's Birthday cake!

Papa holding Goldie

Aunt Momo and Goldie

My sister and Dad

Throwing gang signs!

Jeremy and Goldie

Nursing because breast is best!

Noli loves her little sister

Melt my heart!

 Hope you enjoyed my photo bomb!

Friday, June 14, 2013

1 Week Postpartum

I can't believe it's been a week since Goldie came into the world!

Goldie so far: Nursing well (cluster feeding in the evening, sleeping for longer stretches at night)
                      Lots of poopy diapers
                      Starting to  be awake and alert more often
                      Waiting for umbilical cord to fall off

Noli (aka Little Toots) so far: Wants to hold Goldie all the time
                                              Struggling with being gentle and quiet
                                              Seems to be adjusting, although bedtime routine is taking much longer!

Mom so far: Down 14 pounds, 11 to go to pre-pregnancy weight (21 to pre-Noli weight)
                    Stitches hurt, and make it awkward to sit or stand (let alone go to the bathroom...)
                    Nervous about caring for two children by myself!

Dad so far: Good, I think, although he doesn't have mommy's skill at waking up in the middle of the night and not being miserable!

I wanted to do a weekly body/baby pic, but with no smart phone, it's hard to do that!  Maybe later tonight.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Birth Story of Marigold Louise

I woke up at 4:30am on Friday, June 7th having the same contractions I'd been having.  They were about 10 minutes apart at first, then they spaced out and I would go up to a half hour without having one at all.  Since it was the same pattern that we saw since Tuesday, J decided to go to work.  His mother was coming to drive me to my check-up, since it was over an hour away and my biggest fear was having a baby in the car, alone!

J's mom, Lorraine, got to my house around 11:00am.  I was still having contractions, some more powerful than others.  She helped apply counter pressure to the small of my back when they got a little rough.  I ate a some lunch, and then we headed out.  It's roughly a 1 hour and 15 minute drive to Deb's office, and we stopped for a pee/candy bar break on the way.  When we got to Deb's, she hooked me up to the NST machine (the reason I was there), and I told her about my contractions.  She said it sounded like I would probably have the baby that weekend, but I was still doubtful.  She asked if I wanted her to check my cervix, and I agreed.  Originally, I didn't want any cervical checks, but after a week of contractions I had to know!  I was dilated about 2.5 cm, and I gave Deb permission to stretch me a bit further.  That. Was. Not. Pleasant. We were hoping it might just nudge me over the ledge in to true labor.  Well, it worked!  I had my first contraction as we were walking out of the door, and they continued for the entire drive home.  I was timing them using J's tablet, and they were never further apart than 8 minutes.  My poor mother-in-law was a nervous wreck (although she didn't tell me that at the time!)  We had planned on stopping by Target to pick up a yoga ball, but I was having too many contractions and said screw it.  By the time we got home, the contractions were 3 minutes apart!

I waited about half an hour to call Deb, just to see if the contractions would stop once I was out of the car.  I gave her a break down of how close they were and how long they lasted, and she decided to come up.  I called J to see where he was - he had just left work!  It was a little after 4:00pm at this point, and I was upset he hadn't left sooner.  He finally got home around 5:00pm with Little Toots.  I looked at him and said "We're having a baby today."  His response? "Oh, ok."  Then I told him Deb was on her way, and all of sudden he realized that I was serious!

 When Deb showed up, we decided to head up to my bedroom because Little Toots and Grandma were in the living room.  J brought up a soft lamp so I wouldn't have to use the overhead light, and he and Deb started lining the bed with plastic.  I thought I was super prepared, but we still scrambled to pull things together.  I had stopped timing contractions at this point, but I think they were about 2 minutes apart and lasting an eternity.  Meredith, another midwife, showed up to act as an assistant, and I was so happy to see her!  She was the first person I contact once I had made the decision to have a home birth.  Unfortunately, she had a client call almost as soon as she got here, and she had to rush off.  I was disappointed, but my labor was picking up and I didn't have time to dwell on it.

Deb suggested a shower, and it was wonderful!  The hot water was magic, but we decided that the jet tub downstairs might be better.  It was probably 7:00pm, although I"m not sure.  Little Toots kept coming in and feeding my strawberries, and asking if I pushed the baby out yet.  She was a nice distraction, but when a surge hit, I had to focus all of my energy to remember to breathe the baby down, instead of wasting my breath blowing out.  J and Deb were great, reminding me to relax.

To be honest, during this whole time I thought that these contractions were fake and would go away, and that everyone would have to go home disappointed.  Even when I felt like pushing, I thought I was making it up in my head!  I gave a few pushes, and while it felt good it didn't feel right, so I asked Deb to check me.  I was 8cm!  Since I was out of the tub, I walked around a bit.  I think this is when J's sister, Jen, showed up, and did a little Reiki on me.

I needed to get back in the tub, and once I did things really picked up.  I remember shaking my head "no" during a couple contractions, like I was not allowing it to happen.  I remember feeling so tired, and I said aloud "I just need a break" and my body listened!  I had a short break between contractions, and when they started up again, my body pushed.  I pushed  sitting in the tub for awhile, and Deb was trying to offer me suggestions but I knew I was in the right position.  I needed to move, but in the middle of pushing it literally seemed impossible.  Somehow, J and Deb got me to turn so that my back was in the corner of the tub - I was able to spread my legs more, but it still didn't seem right to me.  Deb asked if she could check the baby's position, and I must have nodded or said yes.  She said "The baby is RIGHT THERE!"  and then she apologized because when she felt the position, she broke my water.  I had been hoping for a baby born en caul, but it wasn't meant to be!  Anyway, hearing that she was so close, I gathered all my strength and hoisted myself up into a squatting position and pushed with every bit of myself.

I felt like I was roaring at the top of my lungs!  Everyone else said I barely made a noise, so it must have been my inner birth warrior screaming.  It burned, and it hurt so bad that I wanted to stop, but knowing that I had no choice I just kept pushing.  No, that's a lie.  I didn't push - my body took over and pushed without me.  I opened my eyes and all of a sudden - A BABY!  There was none of the "there's her head, now her shoulders" stuff; she was out in one big push!  Deb and I scooped her up and I looked at her and said "She has hair!!  Why does she have dark hair?!"  I think this picture says it all.
 She cried right away, and was amazingly pink and clean.  We waited for the cord to stop pulsing and J cut it.  My mother and sister-in-law had been standing in the kitchen, and J ushered them in to see our beautiful little girl, Marigold.

It's all such a blur, but there are bits and pieces that stand out to me:
J and Deb tag-teaming my contractions, one pushing on my back, the other hugging me.
The smell of the clary sage oil in the tub.
Little Toots feeding me strawberries and asking if I pushed the baby out yet.
Finding out Little Toots ate an entire carton of strawberries and being really concerned that she would have a tummy ache.
Deb telling me to grab my knees, me telling her I couldn't then doing it anyway.
Saying "I can feel her!!" when she was just about to crown.
Thinking to myself 'Keep your eyes open' so I could see my baby right away.
Holding my new baby and just sobbing!

When I stood up, I was bleeding a little too heavily, and I had a second degree tear, so Deb and Jennifer (the assistant that showed up sometime between 8cm and pushing) helping me to the couch.  Deb gave me a shot of pitocin and cytotec to stop the bleeding, and started to stitch me up.  The stitches seemed to take forever, and I still hadn't nursed the baby, so J brought her to me. 
Goldie is a champion nurser!  After I got sewn back together, Deb stayed for a while since my bleeding was a little concerning, and I passed a few huge blood clots.  By 1:00am, it had tapered off enough that Deb felt comfortable leaving (she had another birth to get to!)

I am not a talented enough writer to fully express what this birth experience meant to me.  This pregnancy was long, and at times really rough.  Sometimes I doubted myself, and I often felt guilty about not being satisfied with a family of three.  Now, I realized that this was the best gift I could give to my daughter and my husband, and myself.  Our family is complete.  And, I reaffirmed my belief that I can do anything I set my mind to!

Friday, June 7, 2013

So frustrated!

10 days past my EDD.  Seriously??  I thought I would have this baby at 39 weeks.  All the signs were there, increased Braxton-Hicks contractions, sore hips, everything.  May 28th came....and went.  My little May flower has turned into a June bug.

When I was in labor for Little Toots, I remember it hurting, but being manageable.  Every contraction was one step closer to holding my baby.  I breathed in through my nose, out through my mouth, and wondered why some women screamed and cried and begged for drugs.  It was no big deal, just labor, not pain, just strong surges.

Now, after 4 days of start and stop contractions, I think I'm starting to get it.  I'm having these really intense contractions, sometimes 10 minutes apart, sometimes 3 minutes apart (sometimes hours apart), and there is no end in sight.  It's so hard to say "I am strong" when I feel like I'm at the mercy of my body.

I know waiting it out is better than the alternative.  There is a reason she isn't ready to be born yet, and to induce labor simply because I'm losing my mind is selfish.  Motherhood means doing what is best for your babies, always, and if she needs time, then time she shall have.  If I was with an OB or midwife that worked in a hospital, they would be pushing me to induce, and feeling as miserable as I do, I might consider it.  My will might crumble, and I might just throw my hands up and say "Fine, I quit!"  But that's not me.  Anyone who knows me know that I'm strong willed, and if I say I'm having this baby at home, then I'm having this baby at home!

For now, I'll just practice my breathing and find the best way to cope with these spine-splitting contractions, talk to my baby, and urge her to come out.  I have a non-stress test this afternoon, just to make sure everything is okay (I'm sure it is).  No woman has been pregnant forever, so eventually this baby WILL come out!

Thursday, June 6, 2013


June 4th:

At 41 weeks pregnant, I was starting to feel like my body forgot how to go into labor!  However, when I woke up on Tuesday, I had some mucus with red streaks in it.  I literally said "FUCK YEAH" and fist pumped!  I hopped in the shower, and had a pretty strong contraction that started low and wrapped all the way around to my back.  Excited that something was happening, I finished getting dressed.  J was driving me to my check-up at Deb's office, so we dropped Little Toots off at daycare and headed out.  I had a few more contractions on the drive to Deb's, and I noticed that they were coming about every half hour.  Woo hoo, consistency!

Since I was technically past my date, Deb wanted to hook me up to the non-stress test monitor, just to make sure that everything was okay.  It was such a change from the NST at the hospital!  Deb sat on the floor, and J was next to me.  We talked about GMOs and fracking, the state of the USA and how medicine is standing in the way of families having great birth experiences.  The baby must have been sleeping, so J fed me some gummy bears...except that they had melted and congealed into this passive gummy bear steak.  One bite, and the baby started moving!  It was really funny.  After about 20 minutes, everything looked good, and we decided to come back on Friday if she hadn't arrived by then.  The great thing about Deb is that she trusts my body to do it's job, but she's still medically professional and monitors accordingly.

Since it was kind of late, J decided to just take the rest of the day off from work.  We went out to lunch, and then walked around Barnes and Noble.  I was still have surges every half hour, and more lovely mucus.  I went about our evening routine, dinner with Toots and some TV.  Contractions picked up to 12 minutes apart until I went to bed.  I fell asleep after watching some classic Doctor Who in bed.

June 5th:

During the night, a few contractions woke me up.  I went to the bathroom, and had so much mucus that I figured it must be my plug.  I hadn't turned the light on, but from what I could see, there was a lot of brownish-redish in it.  However, surges really slowed down.  I got out of bed at 7:00am, and took a shower.  I asked J to stay home with my and Toots, because I just didn't want to be alone if something happened.  We took Toots to story hour at the library, where everyone was like "You're still pregnant?!  When are you getting induced??"  I just smiled and said "Well, we're doing a home birth, so we're letting nature do its thing".  I had a few more surges during (a very loud) story time.

Contractions tapered off again, and I went to bed early because I was just feeling beat.

June 6th:

Little Toots screamed in her bed at 4:30am, and I rushed to her room to see what was wrong.  Turns out, her blankets fell on the floor (heaven forbid...)  but that little jolt caused a really strong contraction.  They started coming roughly every 10 minutes.  After I woke up and took a shower, I started really timing them.  They stayed at 10 minutes for over an hour, so I called Deb.  She told me to rest up, and call back when they were 5-7 minutes apart, or if my waters break.

For some reason, though, they seemed to slow down again.

Now I'm sitting here, feeling like a failure.  Why can't my body just do it's job?  I've gone through the "signs" of labor, yet I'm still not really laboring.  I've made my poor husband take 3 days off from work, wasting his precious vacation time.  My dad is nervous, people keeping calling and texting, and I'm just sitting here, 9 days late, with nothing to show for it other than some contractions.  Knowing that this could go on for hours, days, weeks...ugh.  I feel like I'm going to crack!

I have to drive all the way back to Deb's tomorrow for another NST if the baby doesn't come today.  Please, baby, please come out!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why I Hate Due Dates

40 weeks.  That's what experts say is the average gestational length.  40 weeks.  Except, the experts are wrong!  Why do we all buy into this idea of 40 weeks?  Only 5% of babies are actually born on their due dates, so in reality, shouldn't women be given due MONTHS?  Normal pregnancy lasts from 37 - 43 weeks!  That is quite a range!

As you can probably guess, I hit the 40 week mark this past Tuesday.  I keep waiting for some sign of impending labor, but besides some Braxton-Hicks contractions, I've got nothin'.  I'm trying to be all "zen" about waiting.  After all, I know that I could be pregnant for weeks still (oh, lordy...) but chances are she'll come pretty soon.

I am a member of a few Facebook groups for mommies, and my May group stuns me almost everyday.  There are so many post saying variations of "I'm 39 weeks, getting induced Monday!"  My questions is always "Why?"  Is there a medical reason?  A REAL medical reason?  Big babies aren't a medical emergency (especially since ultrasounds can be off by two pounds!).  Overdue isn't a medical emergency (especially since postdate doesn't happen until after 42/43 weeks).  Why are all these women getting induced, and don't they understand that they raise the risk of c-section exponentially with every unneeded intervention??

I may need to go in for a bio-physical test or ultrasound if I hit 41 or 42 weeks, just to check to make sure there isn't a medical issue (placenta deteriorating or something), but I have a feeling that Deb will just let it ride for awhile.

I guess, for now I'll just enjoy my three-year old as an only child and wait and see what happens!

Monday, May 20, 2013

What's Your Birth Vision?

At 36 weeks, I had my home visit.  For non-birth obsessed people, this is the part when the midwife comes to your home to get acquainted with it.  I also got to meet the back-up/birth assistant, Meredith.  She runs a midwifery practice as well.  In fact, she was the first midwife I contacted when I decided to switch to home birth, but her practice is a little too far away.  Ah, the joys of living in the middle of nowhere!

Some midwives conducted all their check-ups at the patient's home, but in Deb's case, it wouldn't be possible.  I have about an hour and 15 minute drive to her office, but honestly, it's not that bad.

Meredith arrived first, and we sat on the front porch and chatted while we waited fro Deb.  It's interesting meeting people in person after you've "met" them virtually via Facebook.  I forget what we talked about, but it was relaxing and pleasant.  Deb finally found the house (I told her it was gray...it's definitely brown.  I'm an idiot!)  I gave them the grand tour, starting with the kitchen and working our way to the front of the house.  They both determined that the bathtub with jets will be ideal for laboring in, but it's not really wide enough for birthing.  We decided against renting a birth pool because of the cost, so we're going to have a "land" birth.  I showed the ladies all three of Little Toots playrooms (otherwise known as J's office, the dining room, and the spare bedroom/Baby G's room).  They also asked to see the washer and dryer, because they'll do a load of towels and sheets before they leave after I give birth!  Whoa, full service!

We all went back to the living room, and I finished filling out some paper work regarding pediatricians and back-up doctors.  Then, they asked me a wonderful question: "What is you birth vision?"

My birth vision?  No one had ever asked me that before!  I was surprised and didn't know how to answer!  My birth vision...hmmmm.  Well, I pictured myself laboring in the tub.  I've made two different playlists - one energizing, one calming - and I planned on walking around as I needed.  For the actual birth, I just see myself in the living room.  After all, it's where I spend most of my time.  However, I'm not opposed to being in my bedroom if I feel like I need to be in a more intimate setting.  Little Toots will have free reign, she can be there or not, whatever she's comfortable with (mom-in-law is coming to watch her, so I won't have to worry about it).  Deb has a birth stool and a birth ball, and I love the idea of a birth stool, so I'll probably push on that - or not.  I know I'll want it quiet, cell phones off, no one texting people while I'm trying to concentrate.  Sister-in-law will hopefully be there to perform some Reiki, in case I need pain management.

As I was talking, the midwives kept nodding, occasionally offering suggestion (like certain foods or drinks that might be nice).  I felt so relaxed!  I realized that I'm not nervous about labor AT ALL!  Yes, I'm anxious to meet my daughter and to see her face, but contractions?  Pushing?  Not even a blip on my radar.  I am completely ready for it.  In fact, and this will sound crazy to many people, but I'm looking forward to it!

They both gave me a big hug when they left, and I made my next appointment with Deb.

Now all we have to do it wait!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Home Birth Myths

I've been so immersed in birth culture, that I have kind of forgotten that most of my "normal" seems pretty bizarre to mainstream Americans.  Words and phrased that are part of my vocabulary are more foreign than Japanese to many of my friends, family, and co-workers.  You mean to tell me people don't openly discuss placentas all day long??  What???

I just assume everyone knows what a home birth is, and how awesome I am for having one (teehee), but I thought I could take a minute to explain some of the process, and debunk some of the myths that surround the idea of home birth.

#1 Myth - Home Birth is dangerous.
There have been studies that show that home birth is just as safe -if not safer! - than giving birth in a hospital. Safety is rated by mother and infant mortality rate, and as a country the US is rated very poorly.  Here is a lovely write up by the BBC that explains the study a little better than I can.

#2 Myth - Midwives aren't professionals.
There are three different types of midwives - CNM, CPM, and lay midwives.  Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) are training nurses - many times they actually work with an OBGYN and deliver in a hospital.  Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) are - you guessed it!- also certified professionals.  Lay midwives are NOT certified and NOT professionals.  I wouldn't recommend using one - but I believe this is what many people think of when they hear "midwife".  I've only ever seen CNMs.  Once, I looked up the education CNMs and CPMs need...and whoa, boy, it's a lot.  Like a lot, a lot.  Yowzah.

#3 Myth - If there's an emergency, you're in trouble!
Nope, again, not true! Midwives carry tools and drugs in case there is an emergency, and there is always a plan B in place.  We extensively talk about what will happen in case of an emergency, what hospital I would prefer to transfer to, and if I have a back-up OBGYN (currently, I do not have a back-up, I'll have to take whoever if I need to transfer.)  My midwife will have Pitocin in case I bleed too much, oxygen for the baby if she needs it, sutures, and herbs.

#4 Myth - It's too expensive.
Yes, out of pocket payment can be a bit rough, but many times insurance will cover home birth.  For us, we have the worst insurance in the world, and we realized that with a natural childbirth in hospital, we would STILL end up paying at least $6000 AFTER insurance.  My midwife doesn't take insurance, but she only charges $3500 for all pre-natal care and delivery.  To me, that's a bargain!  My insurance will reimburse us for a portion.

There are a thousand blogs and websites out there that are much more eloquent than I, so I suggest you check some out, especially Birth Without Fear .

Monday, April 22, 2013

35 Weeks

Well...almost 35 weeks!

My mother-in-law hosted a little baby shower for me yesterday.  It was nice, and an Amish girl from down the road made the cake, and it was INCREDIBLE!  And you KNOW it was all natural!

We got a few outfits, some bottles and some diapers, but now it's really starting to set in: We're having a baby soon!  I still need a TON of stuff (more for me than for the baby), but hopefully I can start getting things set up this weekend.  One important thing I have to do is find a better pediatrician...our current one SUCKS!

Another awesome thing happened this weekend: My father-in-law and his wife bought us a new TV!  IT's a flat screen LCD HDTV...I mean, I never expected that!  They're also letting us borrow a large chunk of cash to pay the midwife with, so I never in a billion years would have expected a gift as well!  They are so generous!

I just need to put in to writing that I married in to the greatest family.  You always hear the "in-laws" horror stories, and you see shows like Everybody Loves Raymond where the husband's family is BSC (bat-shit crazy).  J's family is so open, warm, and loving, generous to a fault, and from day 1 they have made me feel welcome.  I never get shut down or made fun of (well, teased with love is ok) and they don't ever point out my short comings.  I've listened to like an adult, even if my views differ from theirs.  They never hold things over my head, and never play the martyr.  I'm so glad my daughters will have them to lean on.

Being brought in to a family that truly cares about each other has really changed the way I see myself.  And I will forever be grateful.

Monday, April 8, 2013

33 weeks

Tomorrow marks 33 weeks of this pregnancy.  I'm tired, sore, and apparently have a cold.

On the bright side, we made a little baby registry at Target.  On the down side, I realize how much stuff we need and how little money we have.

I was going to write more, but I'm just too tired to bother!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Good news!

Yesterday was my appointment with the perinatologist.  First, we had an ultrasound.  The tech measured everything, and I was watching the screen.  Everything was completely average!  The baby is still a girl, weighs almost 3 pounds, and is about 52 percentile in terms of size.

Then, we had our consultation with the doctor.  I swear, the doctor looked like she was 12!  Some Doogie Howser stuff was going on, because there is no way she was old enough to go through college and medical school!  Either way, she was very nice and helpful.

I definitely DO NOT have circumvallate placenta, which is great news.  She was concerned about my low-laying placenta though.  Apparently, to have a "safe" vaginal delivery, your placenta should be 2cm away from your cervix.  Mine is 1.91cm away (although one measurement during the ultrasound did come out to over 2cm).  I'm only 29 weeks pregnant, and my uterus has a lot of growing to do.  Basically, my analogy is this: When you put a piece of tape on a deflated balloon, then slowly start inflating the balloon, it looks like the tape is moving up - that's what happens to the placenta.  It doesn't actually move, but the uterus stretches, creating more room between placenta and cervix.  Anyway, the doctor said that at 1.91cm, she would recommend a c-section.  HELL NO!  I'm not being gutted like a fish over a measly .09cm!  Do you know how small that is?  Especially since I still have 11 weeks of growing to do.  Nope, nope nope!  The doc suggested a follow up ultrasound in 5 weeks just to keep on eye on it...we scheduled the appointment, but I highly doubt I'll be keeping it, unless my midwife is adamant.

Next "issue" was my amniotic fluid level.  It's in the low normal range.  And my first thought was...."In other words, it's normal?"  She wanted yet another ultrasound to check my fluid level in a week, and told me to up my water intake.  Ok, I"ll drink more water, but why do I have to recheck a normal level?  Oh, because you're a surgeon and really, really want to see what my insides look like.  Gotcha.

Then she tells me that if I start bleeding or if my water breaks, to go to the hospital.  It took all my will power not to say "Duh!"

But really, she was very sweet, but she's a highly trained surgeon that specializes in high risk pregnancies...of course she wants me in a hospital!  I'm 100% confident in my body to birth this child naturally, with no interventions.  Now that I know there is nothing wrong, everything should be smooth sailing.  We just have to figure out a way to pay the midwife!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tired and cranky and hungry, oh my!

I have an appointment with a perinatal doctor on Tuesday, so I will know early next week if I'm high risk, or fine, or what have you.

Lately, I've been one emotional mess!  I started crying in the bathroom at work yesterday for no discernible reason.  Every time the baby kicks, it hurts so much!  I just want her to stop, but at the same time I feel relieved that she's okay.  I can't sleep but I'm so so tired.

I'm still only 6 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, which makes me happy but also worries me.  I'm definitely eating, so I know I'm getting nutrients.  All I really want is a giant glass of wine and a steak!

I hate to be complaining, but I'm just miserable!  Only 12 weeks left...let's hope I can keep my sanity!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Well, I'm glad I fired them!

I had my first check-up with Deb, my home birth midwife.  Everything went well!  I was measuring spot on, the baby's heart rate was good, and I spent an hour talking to a health professional for the first time in my life.  It was brilliant!  I also learned a lot about supplements and herbs...and I had always thought that I was so educated!

At the time of my appointment, the OBGYN office still hadn't sent over my file.  I got a call when they finally did.  It went a little something like this:

Deb: So, did the doctors explain your condition?
Me: Well, they mention I had  a low lying placenta but that they weren't worried about it.
Deb: Oh yeah, that's moved and that's fine, but you have something called circumvallate placenta.  I can't believe they didn't tell you!
Me: Nope, never mentioned it.
Deb: Okay, I'm going to need to refer you to a perinatologist, because this is a major concern - I can't believe they didn't tell you?!?!!

(This is why I'm not a script writer)

Anyway, apparently the doctors saw something weird on both of my ultrasounds, but failed to mention it to me.  Circumvallate placenta (CVP) can cause some huge problems in pregnancy, from pre-term labor to miscarriage to placental abruption.  I'm out of the woods for a miscarriage, and I haven't had any bleeding or severe pain, so Deb's gut instinct is that the doctors didn't know what they were looking at.  The referral is just to get a clear diagnosis.  However, if I do have this disease then I think my chances of home birth are gone.

I'm glad my midwife is referring me to a specialist, and quite frankly I'm pissed that my first doctors never did.  What if I had a miscarriage, or had hemorrhaged and died?  I'm hoping that there's nothing actually wrong with me, because my greatest fear is a hospital birth.  And, if I end up being high risk, it will probably be a c-section.  Next to losing the baby, a c-section would be a nightmare.  I'm angry and frustrated and worried.  Every little twinge has me wondering if I'm losing the baby, and every BH contraction makes me think I"m in pre-term labor.  I need to get out of my own head!

The perinatologists should be calling soon to set up an appointment...I was hoping that they would call yesterday, but no such luck.  Fingers crossed that they call today!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Switching providers at 24 weeks

At my last check-up at the OB-GYN practice I had been using, the midwife I was primarily working with told me that she wouldn't be there for my delivery.

"Vacation?" I asked.  She shook her head.  No, not vacation - she was leaving the practice.
"Why?  Where are you going?"  She explained that she was leaving to work at a more midwife friendly hospital.  More midwife friendly?  I immediately started asking question.

The practice I had been using consisted of four midwives and two OB-GYNs.  I knew that there was a chance that "my' midwife might not attend my delivery.  However, once she was leaving, she felt that she could be more candid about the practices of the hospital I would be delivering in.  It sounded very much like the last hospital I delivered in - quick to administer Pitocin to speed up labor, more than happy to give you an epidural, making you lay in bed while they monitor the (unnaturally strong because of Pit) contractions, use of forceps, and other red-flags.  I left that appointment feeling defeated.  I am strong, and well-educated about patients rights.  I could very well fight to have the birth that I want, but why should I?  Why should I have to check and double check that my rights aren't being violated?  Shouldn't I have some say?  Having a child is not an illness - it's a perfectly natural thing that doesn't need to be medicated or messed with!

I told J that enough was enough - I wanted a home birth!  I wanted one to begin with, but always figured it would be too expensive, or the midwives wouldn't travel out as far as we are.  Well, there was only one way to find out!  I started emailing people, and finally got the name of a local midwife, Deb.  We emailed back and forth a bit, and after having to reschedule because of an ice storm, we met for a consultation.

Her office is a bit of a drive for us (about an hour) but it's cute and cozy!  I fell in love with her almost instantly!  We were scheduled for a half hour, but ended up staying a full hour!  She had great answers for all of our questions, and we discovered that it's cheaper to have a home birth, even though she doesn't take insurance.  As soon as we got in the car, I looked at J and said "So, we're doing this, right??"  He agreed.

Now, I just have to have my files transferred to her office, and go on my merry way.  I'm super excited that I'll be able to have a peaceful birth, in my own home, without the stress of doctors, nurses, IVs, machines, fluorescent lights and hospital smells.

I can't wait to meet our newest little girl!!!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Changing diapers changed my mind

Now that I'm pregnant with baby girl #2, I've been thinking about all the ways I've changed my views on certain things.  Parenthood can flip your opinion faster than a toddler destroys a living room!  My advice to new moms (and dads): Try to not say that you'll never do something, or always do something, because you will eat your words!  That said, here are some things I've changed my mind on since having a child.

#1. Smoking
I smoked in high school and in college.  Of course I knew how bad it was for me, but what did I care?  I was 18 going to live forever!  Plus, I was just so super cool, smokin' my cig, saying things like "Oh my God, I totally need a cigarette right now!!"  Most of my friends smoked, and it was a social thing, especially at the bar.  Cigarettes were practically currency (not in the prison sense, but still...).  When one of my best friends got pregnant our senior year, I was a little put out that I could no longer smoke around her.  Like, really?  What's the big deal?  I mean, I'll open the window!

Fast forward to June, 2009.  Holding that positive test in my hand, I knew my smoking days were long gone (they had been gone for over a year at that point, but I still had the option).  Now, I'm like a smoke detector!  I work on a smoke-free campus, and I can pin point with amazing accuracy which students smoke, which staff members smoke, and how long go their last puff was.  I walk by smokers standing outside of buildings and dramatically hold my breath as I pass through their fog of nicotine.  If I know someone smokes in their home, Little Toots will never go there.  My mother-in-law smokes, but she does so respectfully.  She goes far away to have a cigarette, washes her and hand and brushes her teeth after, and if possible she changes her clothes.

It drives me bonkers to see mothers with a cigarette in one hand and a baby in the other.  I want to scream at them "You are KILLING YOUR CHILD!"  Since having Little Toots, smoking now equals coughing, ear infections, SIDS, asthma, and a half dozen other preventable illnesses.  This is by far my biggest change of heart.

#2. Nursing Toddlers
Before, and even after, having Little Toots, I felt that nursing was for babies and toddlers should be weaned.  I nursed Little Toots for 8 months.  She stopped being interested in it, and I called it baby-led weaning.  I now realize that she was probably on a nursing strike, and I should have kept at it.  I used to think that toddlers nursing was a little creepy.  I mean, here is this great big kid, with teeth, the ability to walk and talk, yet they are drinking milk from their mother's breast!  Ugh!  Since then, I've done a TON of research and I realize the value of full-term nursing.  Every worldwide health organization recognizes the benefits of breastfeeding until two years of age.  I fully intend to nurse the newest little one as long as possible! Here is the link to The World Health Organization

#3. Male Infant Circumcision
Oh, the things I've learned about circumcision!  Originally, I was in the "let the dad decide" camp, now I'm firmly against cutting perfect baby boys!  I don't even think it's a "personal decision" for parents to make. It's genital mutilation  plain and simple.  There's no medical benefit, and we're not religious so that wouldn't make a difference to us.  Basically, it's a cosmetic surgery and I would never alter my daughter, so why my son? I'm a little relieved that I'm having another girl, so we wouldn't have to worry about it, but I truly hope this barbaric practice ends, and soon! Check out The Whole Network to find out more...

These are just a few things that have changed since becoming a mother...and I'm sure that my opinions on other things as I learn how to manage two children!