Sunday, April 27, 2008

Health Food????

Well, folks, I've got to say, in all honesty.... Our house STINKS. Really STINKS. And I'm not speaking philosophically or metaphorically - it smells terrible. You see, I've been on a quest to improve our diets by adding more probiotic foods to our food chain, a la The Maker's Diet, and one suggestion was fermented vegetables, which are just brimming over with beneficial bacteria. So I decided to make kimchee, which is a Korean condiment consisting of a blend of odorous vegetables, which is fermented at room temperature for a week. My bottle of kimchee is bubbling beautifully, but it is making itself known most unpleasantly. Joe got home from church today and said, "Okay, that's it. We're not having anyone over to the house until that stuff is out of here." I must admit, it does smell rather like.... well, fermented cabbage and onion, I suppose! Not to mention the garlic. Wow!! So unless this stuff is phenomenal, it won't be making another appearance in our home. I'm not sure we're even going to wait to see how it tastes - it may end up in the trash long before the week-waiting period.

I've decided that I need to get cracking on my diet again. If we do want to try for a baby sometime this summer, I need to get started on my "3 to 6 months" of diet preparation now. Our diet has improved dramatically since C. got here, I must say - plain oatmeal, raw milk, plain yogurt, and I've ditched almost all processed foods, plus artificial fats and sweeteners - but I still do have a raging sweet tooth which needs reigning in. So I need to start plugging away at it! If it gets me out of a repeat version of hyperemesis, it'll be worth it! (Not that I really think it will, but any little bit helps.)

Speaking of stinking houses, we lost our third bid this week (or are pretty sure we have). We found out that our beautiful little house has no fewer than eight bids on it, and ours is, sad to say, not the highest. Miracles are still possible, but not likely. I am really getting tired of this process! I trust the Lord to give us what he wants for a home, but I do kind of wish we could get through the process a little more quickly. We've been looking for almost a full year now! And it is so emotionally draining to fall in love with a home, put a bid on it, wait for weeks and then hear that one has, once again, lost it. So this coming week we have to begin the process once again with house #4. I hope that it is over soon!!!

Well, Caleb is showing great impatience with my blogging - and I can't blame him! Later!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Just for fun :)

Today I thought I'd take (another) break from hyperemesis gravidarum and try to post my birth story. Why? Because it's fun!!!! I love birth stories. When I was pregnant I read them compulsively (still do, actually, whenever I can get a minute). Just as a matter of form, here's my favorite site for birth stories:

Anyhow, my birth story. I don't think I'll get very far, as it's almost time for C. to get up, but it's worth a try - I can always do two installments.

I'm also going to write from memory rather than copying my own official birth story - something for which my faithful readership should be extremely grateful, considering that my "official" birth story is something like 15 pages, typed (or more!).

And those who are squeamish about birth stories should feel completely justified in moving on to the next entry and skipping this one. But I'll keep it modest. :)

We had my last prenatal on Monday, June 20, 2006 - my due date. We were worried because Wendi was leaving the country for six weeks that Saturday, and didn't want to have to have another midwife if we were a few days late. Wendi, bless her, wasn't a bit worried, and she was right. I lost my mucous plug the next day, so things were in motion.

(I should mention how I came to choose a midwife - When I got pregnant, we didn't have maternity coverage. In my cherubic innocence I thought that "no maternity coverage" meant that while our insurance wouldn't cover hospital birth, they would cover other services (such as homebirth midwifery). Well, I was wrong - they wouldn't cover any of it. But by that time I'd done enough research and read enough stories that I was hooked!!! I didn't care at that point - I knew I wanted a midwife.)

On Wednesday night I took a firm hold on Joe and told him that we were going to get our to-do list done, as I was tired of putting things off indefinitely. So we hung our clothesline, set up our bassinet, and did several other things. My one and only instance of nesting!!!

Thursday morning I awoke with a start at 4:28 a.m. with the odd dual sensations that (a) I really needed to use the restroom, and (b) I was already doing so! It didn't take me too long to realize that my water had broken. I was nervous and excited! I got up and cleaned like a maniac and then got dressed, being very careful to do my makeup and clothes nicely, since our midwives would be coming over! (Ha! As if that would last!!!)

My contractions immediately made themselves known. I had had rolling Braxton Hicks contractions since my second month of pregnancy, but as soon as my water broke they became much more intense and uncomfortable - labor had started.

When Joe got up, he immediately freaked out and insisted on calling Wendi. After that we had breakfast, and then I headed back to bed. Getting up at 4:30 a.m. and cleaning wildly had been tiring! So I slept lightly, waking up for contractions.

Sometime that morning the toilet decided to overflow, so there I was trying to help Joe clean up a flooded bathroom in between contractions. Rather amusing! We called for emergency maintenance help which, as expected, never came, so the carpet had to dry on its own. We were too busy to fuss with it anyway.

Our doula came over in the early afternoon. Sometime during the afternoon, Wendi came over to check on us. I asked her if I could labor in water, and she said yes, so I immediately headed to the bathroom and stayed there - first in the shower, and then in the bath.

I have to put in a plug here for laboring in water. This may sound weird, but when I got into the tub/shower, labor pain initially vanished. Completely. It was wonderful. Of course it built again from there, but I don't think I could have done it out of water. It is, after all, reputed to reduce labor pain by about 40%, and I highly concur.

Another amusing thing was my total loss of modesty. When I initially got in the tub and Joe asked if our doula could come in to say hi, I was really reluctant. Well, it went downhill from there! By the end of the night I was walking around stark naked in front of everyone and not caring a bit! So funny.

One thing I also learned about myself was that I am loud in labor. Very loud. Think male sea lion during mating season. Or maybe a wounded bull moose. Many women are. I'd read enough birth stories to know this, so I didn't try to fight it (couldn't have, probably, anyway). So I yelled my head off with each contraction! Thankfully, none of our neighbors seemed to notice.

Somewhere during early evening, Joe and Jennie set up the birth pool in our living room and filled it up with warm water. I immediately headed in there, and the relief was once again great. Wendi and her back-up, Sue, arrived about this time. However, I was never actually able to say hi to them. It is true that in labor you do loose a lot of functions you normally have - such as conversation. Your whole body is focused involuntarily on labor, and all extraneous functions cease. Makes sense.

However, after going through childbirth, I realize how important it is to have an advocate with one - an informed husband or doula. A woman is really helpless during a lot of childbirth - she is vulnerable to suggestion and unable to fight for her rights. If I'd been with an unscrupulous caregiver, he/she could have given me pitocin, an episiotomy, whatever they'd cared to, because I wouldn't have noticed and/or been able to stick up for what I wanted.

This last part of labor was not a lot of fun. Everyone just sat around quietly, giving support when needed, while I dealt with things (loudly!). During the worst part I had a massive throwing-up spell, signaling transition (gotta love it!). It was during this time that I broke out in the standard "I can't do this anymore, dang it!!!" lingo. However, I was giggling inwardly at being so stereotypical - breaking out the typical transition phraseology like I'd been reading it from a script!! LOL

Our cat was totally freaking out. She had no idea what was going on - we have some great pics of her going around sniffing everything.

When I would ask "Am I almost finished?", Wendi would wisely say, "Soon!" I'm so glad she didn't tell the truth - I couldn't have handled it. She also told me that the only way she could know for sure was to do a vaginal exam. I refused each time. I knew that I couldn't handle it emotionally if she said something like "2 centimeters!"

When my vocalizations changed from yelling to grunting, Wendi said she'd like to check to see how things were going. She did, and not only were we fully dilated, but Caleb was at a station of +4! Almost there!

I should say that it is one of the proudest points of my pregnancy that the first vaginal exam of my entire pregnancy was an hour before Caleb's birth. Wendi is so, so hands-off (not all midwives are), and I loved that about her. No fuss!!!!

She tried to help me push more effectively in the water, and then after a while suggested I get out. Wendi mentioned later that most primips (first-timers) don't end up giving birth in water, as they tend to find the lack of gravity confusing. I concur!

So we went in the bedroom and pushed in a variety of positions, ending up with seated. I pushed like heck for one or two hours. It hurt like anything!!!! At the very end I just gave up and pushed, because I wanted it to be over more than anything. And Caleb was born!! At 10:35 p.m. - 18 hours of labor. We'd refused prenatal ultrasound, so the first big excitement was finding out that he was a boy!! Joe had desperately wanted a girl, but he immediately fell in love with Caleb and hasn't looked back since.

We'd discovered mid-labor that our video recorder had quit, so our doula only caught the last minute or so on her camera. Big disappointment. Next time we're going to check it before labor starts!

One of my big disappointments was that I (through some odd act of divine intervention) missed out on the birth ecstasy - that "my baby, my baby!!" moment. I was really bummed. I wasn't actually that interested in Caleb. I just wanted to go to sleep! But he was pretty cute, and we spent the next couple of weeks falling in love.

Wendi and Sue and Jennie and Joe took turns cleaning up, getting rid of the birth pool, bathing Caleb, and doing a gentle newborn exam (we refused eye prophylaxis & vitamin K, and delayed newborn tests). I myself had only torn slightly (nothing to worry about), so I went and showered while they changed the sheets (after eating an enormous bowl of strawberries and cottage cheese, I should mention) and then went back to bed. They all left a couple of hours later.

(I should mention that midwives don't forbid eating during labor - in fact, they encourage it - but after breakfast, I hadn't wanted to eat anything. I just drank Gatorade. So I hadn't eaten since about 6 a.m. that morning!)

So that's my birth story! I have a feeling that I'm going to be coming back to my blog every couple of hours today to input little details I've forgotten, but that is the main!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another Week Goes By

What a week! It's definitely been a busy one. I have, as usual, neglected my poor blog, but that seems to be the normal state of things rather than the exception to the rule, so I think I'll stop apologizing for it and start accepting it as the status quo. Hey, once a week isn't bad! I run across blogs all the time that haven't been updated since 2003 or so!

Last week's main project was a cake made for a friend's baby shower. I was very happy with the end product! It was definitely a harrowing experience, though. She wanted strawberry buttercream filling, something with which I hadn't worked before, and I couldn't find a recipe. So I ended up just folding fresh strawberries into vanilla buttercream, and it looked so delicious that I just piled it on! After covering the cake, I realized that (1) in culinary school we were taught to cover fondant cakes with only the lightest scraping of filling and masking (gulp), and (2) the leftover strawberry filling I had sitting on the counter was bleeding torrents of juice! (Strawberries + Sugar = What??? Juice!!!) Aackk!!

And then, about two hours after I'd finished the cake, I was standing near looking at it, and realized that one of the sides was not straight but rounded. And squishy to the touch! Aaackk!!!! I imagined the worst - mounds of watery filling squishing out of the sides, taking the cake down in a puddle of goo. So I ran around the house like a crazed maniac until I thought of using some wide ribbon to restrain it - so the cake spent the next 24 hours wrapped up in its own little girdle with me fervently praying that it wouldn't collapse. If it had, there would have been nothing to do about it - it was too late!

Thankfully the cake made it all the way over to the shower, and when we cut it, the filling looked just fine! Not watery or anything (I guess it reabsorbed the liquid). But it was a good lesson for me - don't use too much filling!! (Delicious as it may be.)

But I was a total stress case. Running out to the kitchen to check on a teetering cake every three minutes (not to mention waking up all night wondering if is still standing) can do that to one!

So one of my big projects for the spring is over - making K's shower cake. My second big project is being the wedding coordinator for an upcoming wedding. After that I can get pregnant at will (if I want to) and not disturb anyone's plans too greatly! Assuming, of course, that we wait until after our assumed upcoming move (haven't heard anything on house #3 yet) - beforehand would be a disaster. So I guess moving would be the third big project - we can pregnant after that.

I just can't work up any great enthusiasm for getting pregnant. Despite the fact that most of Caleb's contemporaries now have siblings (crazy, crazy women!) I just can't get that enthusiastic about getting pregnant again. I view it with something approaching fearful apathy (is there such a thing?). Don't get me wrong - I loved being pregnant - but it was such an awful experience at the same time that I can't dig up any great desire to repeat it. Of course I'd love to see Wendi (our midwife) more often, one of the benefits of being pregnant (and have her as a captive audience to peg with midwifery questions! heh heh heh), but the remembrance of hyperemesis is enough to make me want to wait indefinitely before plunging in again.

If Joe only wanted one kiddo, I probably wouldn't put up a fight for another. The only reason that I am open to considering another baby is simply that my experience as an only child was not a particularly positive one. I was shy and lonely and desperately wanted a sibling, and I don't want to do that to Caleb - especially as the women in my family tend to be really overprotective as mothers, something that's probably been made worse by the fact that most of them only had one child. Also, we're planning on homeschooling Caleb, and contemplating keeping him in that kind of isolation is just depressing. I'm not the kind of mom who wants to be out in the car running every which-way with activities, so a little in-home socialization would be good.

Also, I think that only-children (speaking from experience) tend to feel smothered with attention. There's a great desire to get away, to hide oneself and one's activities from parental notice, to have privacy and time to oneself. That doesn't happen too much as an only child! So I do want to provide a sibling for Caleb at some point.

But other than those reasons, one would be enough for me!

I guess that another of the reasons why I am reluctant to have another baby is simply that I am just tired. It took me a good 15 months to feel better after the havoc that hyperemesis + pregnancy wreaked on my body; also, I've always had struggles with fatigue. I could easily sleep eight hours a night and take two naps a day and still be tired most of the time. I've always been that way. And running after an extremely active toddler adds to that! So the thought of dealing with hyperemesis, pregnancy, childbirth, an active toddler, and tne exhaustion of the round-the-clock newborn schedule makes me tired just to think about!

I just read a great little article on natural childbirth, and I think I'll write about it in my next blog entry. Natural childbirth is really a paradox - it was the most pain I've ever experienced in my life, but it was also a completely transformational experience - I wouldn't trade it for the world. I think I'll try to explore my thoughts on that in my next blog entry. I'm wandering rather far from hyperemesis gravidarum, but one must take a break sometime! I think I deserve a break after the stress of last week!!

I would like to conclude with two just-learned life lessons:

(1) You know you have too many bananas in your house when there are fruit flies having mating orgies on your kitchen counter.

(2) Never, ever, EVER cut strawberries with a knife that you've just used to cut raw garlic.

Love to all!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Research: Homeopathy I

And it's been another week! This week I have been so incredibly busy that I almost forgot I had a blog at all! Seriously. Caleb's had a cold, and I've been working like mad on a cake for a friend's baby shower. I always forget how labor-intensive one little cake can be! And it's all going to be EATEN within an hour of showing it! Aaahhhh!!! Well, I'd better head away from that subject... it is that way that insanity lies. :) But seriously, I'm having a blast and have learned some new techniques. Oh, and we also put a bid on yet another house (this is #3). It's at the beginning of a short sale process, so it will truly be an act of an omnipotent God if we ever get our bid accepted.

Anyway, it's been forever since I posted any hyperemesis gravidarum research - ever since I blew myself out with that big essay on herbal remedies (which needs to be updated). I thought (assuming C. gives me time) that I'd write for a few minutes on homeopathic remedies for morning sickness.

Homeopathy is a healing modality that is not currently recognized by Western medicine. It is based on the "law of similars," that is, that a substance which causes a certain set of symptoms, will, properly prepared in minute amounts, cure the same set of symptoms. So, for example, onion causes itchy, burning eyes. A homeopathic preparation of onion would be used to cure conditions which included itchy, burning eyes (allergies, etc.). Make sense?

I too would reject homeopathy, as most western doctors do, except for one small problem - it works. I've seen it work on many occasions. Most notably, I have witnessed the power of Zicam, a homeopathic preparation of zinc, to prevent and mitigate head colds. I also know many people who use it regularly with great results. Many midwives carry homeopathics, and homebirth midwives are the last people in the world to use remedies that don't work. Further proof of homeopathy is that it works beautifully on children and animals, two classes of beings who are not open to the placebo effect.

The problem with homeopathy is that the remedies are not particularly easy to prescribe. The remedy will be based on the patient, as well as the malady. Therefore, two people suffering from the same condition may need entirely different remedies based on their personal constitutions. That's where a homeopath comes in handy, although careful self-prescription is possible.

Another lovely thing about homeopathics is that they are pretty much side-effect free, unless you want to go into the stronger doses (200C).

So.... homeopathy and hyperemesis gravidarum! There is one amazing story of a woman who was able to control her HG with homeopathics - I can't copy the hyperlink properly, but go to this website, click on "homeopathy" on the side bar, and read Kerry's guide to homeopathy and the story of her second pregnancy:

This website is a great resource, and this story was a very exciting find. The OB with whom I have signed up for baby #2 (assumed) shares an office with a naturopath who will be able to prescribe homeopathics, and I'm definitely interested in trying this out.

Well, I have a whole folder full of photocopies of info on homeopathy for morning sickness, but I don't think I will start there now. Our baby has now slept almost three hours (he's sick - normally he only sleeps 1.5 hours), and I know he'll be up any second. I don't want to be interrupted in the middle! So now, having given an introduction to homeopathy, I will continue next time to go straight into the research. Till then!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Conversations with Sarah - Part I

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I have been emailing with a fellow client of my midwife's, and a fellow-hyperemesis-gravidarum (HG) mum. Sarah has had three babies. #1 - normal morning sickness. #2 - moderate to severe HG. #3 - life-threatening HG. She has given me permission to post from her experiences, so I am going to paste her story of her second pregnancy (the one with modernate/sever HG) below so that readers of this blog can get a taste of the even-yuckier side of HG than that which I experienced (which was quite mild by comparison). I will post the story of her third pregnancy as soon as she sends it to me! (Her little one is only 6 weeks old, so it's not too surprising that it's not been written yet!)

Sarah, if you're reading this and see anything which you do not want publicized in a public blog, tell me and I will take it out pronto!!

Here it is:

"I read your blog the other day. I was struck by a few things that I thought I would share with you. First, I think that you had it harder in some ways since you did not have access to a physician at the time of your HG. You had little choice but to keep doing what you were doing. I am also impressed at the amount of research you have done about HG treatments and preventative measures. I am interested in hearing about how your diet and the herbs change things for next time. I also appreciate you writing how you understood how women get abortions rather than endure endless nausea and vomiting. I, too, understand and was surprised at myself for relating to women who choose to end their pregnancy. I never thought I'd be in that place.

"I understand your fear in facing another pregnancy with possible HG. I did not want to have a third child because I did not want to endure hyperemesis again, and when I found out I was pregnant with Natalie I immediately spiraled into a abyss of anxiety and depression. When I began having suicidal thoughts, I knew I needed help and told my husband. I spent a week in a psych facility last June because I was a danger to myself. I never want to be in such a dark emotional place ever, ever again. It was truly a nightmare.

"My HG story with Katrina, my second baby, is not too bad. The pregnancy was a surprise, but not unwelcome. I had an 20 month old at the time and I was nursing her but soon stopped because the nausea was so bad and nursing did not seem to help (in hindsight I think it kept the HG mild). Around 7-8 weeks the nausea turned into vomiting and I started to slowly lose weight. I tried phenergan, reglan, and tigan with no relief. In fact, the side effects were so bad that I was literally pacing the hall out of restlessness. I tried accupuncture, ginger, small frequent meals, carbs, protein, exercise, B6, and who knows what else with little relief. I got IV fluids in the ER and at the birth center. Nothing helped. The vomiting got so bad that I lost about 10 pounds in a week and got down to my lowest weight of 109 (I am 5 feet 9 inches tall). At that point my midwife at the Bethany Birth Center put me in the hospital. There I got IV fluids and Zofran. Once hydrated and with the Zofran on board I felt much better and could keep down food and fluids. I was 12 weeks pregnant at the time and was hopeful that my morning sickness (as I thought it was) would end soon.

"The physician from the birth center came to see me in the hospital. He told me that I had HG and that 90% of my problems were in my head. Sadly, I believed him and felt like I should be able to think my way out of it. But somehow I realized that I did not bring my sickness upon myself. Why would I choose to endure such misery? They discharged me soon after with a prescription for more meds, although I can't remember what. It wasn't Zofran, because the doc said that it wouldn't work orally. He wouldn't even let me try it.

"I didn't gain weight in the first few days at home but I didn't lose any, either. But when the vomiting started up again I went straight to the ER for more fluids. The ER doc was puzzled why no one had tried Zofran yet and he prescibed it for me. He only gave me 3 days worth to get me through the weekend. It helped enough to keep the vomiting at bay and I wanted to keep taking it. So after the weekend was over I went to the birth center to see a midwife and get a script for more Zofran. They reluctantly wrote a prescription for about 10 more pills, told me to use them sparingly, and generally treated me as if I were seeking drugs to fuel an addiction!

"By that time I was about 14 weeks along and could make it through most days only vomiting once or twice. I was horribly constipated, though, and had to do a couple of enemas. Not that you wanted to know that, but it contributed to my misery.

"My nausea was totally gone by about 22 weeks or so and I felt pretty good the rest of the pregnancy. I knew very little about HG but I knew that I never wanted to experince it again. I did nothing to work through my feelings. Rather, I stuffed them and felt robbed of the pregnancy experience that I had wanted. So that is my story with Katrina. I have never written it out before, so thank you for giving me this outlet. I will write my Natalie story some other time because it is very, very long!"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Various Musings

Wow, what a week!

This week has been incredibly busy. Many things have been going on, but the main thing was having my parents over to stay for a week of intense house-hunting. Nothing turned up, but it was a good experience and I think we have a bit more knowledge to go on now. We're going to try to keep it up on our own. With our price limits, this is not an easy process! Our poor realtor is doing a ton of work for what is going to be an absurdly small profit.

I have not been able to give this poor blog nearly all the love and attention that I want to, this week or any week. I've just been too busy!!! But I have been thinking a hundred miles an hour on topics and research that I want to post. Perhaps it's best that I don't have unlimited time! I'd probably run through all my ideas in a week or so and then have nothing to say (not likely, but possible). But for now, I have ideas and thoughts absolutely overflowing. Hopefully I'll be able to post at least twice a week or so. Some of my ideas for posts: Disease as a social phenomenon, HG and spirituality/faith, The myth of "it's all in your head," HG and Grief, etc. I still have a ton of research to post also. One of the main beasts that I need to tackle is homeopathy - I have a small volume-worth of homeopathy info for HG, and I need to start posting it.

I've also decided that I need to start using the phrase "hyperemesis gravidarum" at least once or twice per blog to make it more "out there" for internet search engines. So I'll try to do that. After all, this blog was started to give out info - which is hard to do if no one can find it!

I have been corresponding with a fellow hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) mum (the one mentioned in an earlier post), and it has been absolutely creepy - her emails to me read like pages from my own diary. It is so cool to know that one is not alone! We all go through the same stuff. She has given me permission to post from her emails, so I am going to start posting her story soon as well.

Today I thought I'd make a brief mention of the pregnancy notebook that I started a month or two ago. I needed to have a way to file all of my research, so I got a huge notebook and put three sets of dividers in it - one each for hyperemesis gravidarum, pregnancy, and childbirth. I thought this might be of interest to some obscure person out there (???), so here is how I have it organized:

I. Hyperemesis Gravidarum

1. Hyperemesis - General Information
2. Supplements - Herbs, Drugs
3. Homeopathy
4. Naturopathic Options - Chiropractic Care, etc.
5. Other - Tandem Nursing, etc.

II. Pregnancy

1. Pregnancy Notes - Notes from past pregnancies to share with care providers
2. Records from Wendi (our midwife)
3. Records from OB - this and #2 are so that I'll have records from each to show to the other during times when I'm under co-care
4. Nutrition
5. Pregnancy Herbs & Homeopathy
6. Pregnancy Complications
7. Prenatal Test Research - Mostly my compendium of articles showing why I choose to refuse all prenatal tests!
8. Shower Ideas - Next time, if I am able to have a shower, I want to do more of a Mother Blessing ceremony than a traditional shower, so I'm collecting ideas. Things like bead ceremonies, handing out candles, etc.

III. Childbirth

1. Childbirth General
2. Childbirth Prep - Class materials, exercises, etc.
3. Birth Plans, with research - One for home, one for hospital (this one not to be used, God willing)
4. Birth Complications
5. Birth Herbs and Homeopathy
6. Postpartum
7. Breastfeeding
8. Midwifery


I know I shouldn't have too many topics, but I'm making up for lost time. And this next topic, which I shall attempt to keep brief, is more for myself. I am so tired of the fear that accompanies each end-of-the-month "am I pregnant?" question. Of course, I don't think that I will ever be able to be rid of this fear. The HG mum with whom I am corresponding wrote that when she found out she was pregnant with her third baby, after having experienced one HG pregnancy, she grew despondent to the point of suicidal thoughts - so much so that she had to spend a brief period in a psychiatric ward. I know how she felt (to a lesser extent). I will never be rid of that fear. But to alleviate at least some of it, I thought that I would write out the advantages that I would have going into a third pregnancy which would make things (hopefully) a bit easier. Here goes:

(1) I am not naive. I am not expecting an easy pregnancy (how I wish!). I am expecting HG, and know that it could very possibly (even probably) be worse than last time. So it's not going to take me off-guard. I am not going to waste time with idiotic morning sickness remedies (dry crackers, etc.). I can go straight to the big guns - homeopathy, herbs, liquid diet, drugs, etc.

(2) I know what to do - Kind of like the last one. I don't have to try to research this when I am sick as a dog. I know what I have and what my options are. I've done my reading and my research and have my resources set up.

(3) We have maternity coverage - Last time it was only emergency-only maternity care, and as insurance companies are notorious for ignoring pleas for help from HG mums, we couldn't risk it unless it was a true emergency. I am set up with an OB who knows my situation and we are ready to go. I am not crazy about using prescription meds, but if necessary, I will go willingly down that path.

(4) I have my caregivers in place - I have an OB for HG-care. I also have a wonderful midwife (last time we were searching for our midwife at the beginning of HG) who knows my history and is ready and willing to help. Her partner is also skilled with homeopathy, so that's a big plus.

(5) I have a great support system - If and when we do get a positive test, I am going to mobilize all of my support network (church family, biological family, etc.) and let them know that I may need help.

Of course the main problem with a second pregnancy would be the result of the first pregnancy - Caleb!! Someone said to me, "When you have your second baby you don't have the option of laying around all day being sick." Hmmm. Well, it's hard to tell people, but with HG, you don't have the option of getting up. If I get as sick or sicker, I will have no choice but to utilize outside resources to care for Caleb. Not to mention that I wasn't able to handle food. so feeding him would be an issue.

I find it odd that I am delving so deeply into my experience with HG so long after the fact. Thinking back, it has been over for almost two years! Wow! It seems like yesterday! But I can see a couple of reasons: (1) At the time, I just couldn't "process" the experience. First, I was too sick, then too busy, then preoccupied with childbirth prep and then dealing with a baby. Women always need to "work out their feelings," and it seems that I am no different. (2) I am a different person, for good and for ill, after coming through this experience, and I need to work through this. My religious faith is what has been most deeply affected, and this needs to be dealt with. (3) This experience is not "over." The threat of recurrence will be there until I cease to have the ability to bear children, and as we do want to give Caleb a sibling, the menace is a constant overshadowing presence. Thus I can't just bundle this into "past experience" and move on, because it is (mostly likely) just as much in my future as it is in my past. Even if I never get pregnant again, though, the fear of it will always be there.

But anyway, enough blogging! This is enough for the great American Novel, and I don't have time to waste anyway - when Caleb is asleep, things need to happen!!

Lots of love to everyone!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

And We Wait......

Well, our second house just fell through!

So disappointing. I had really hoped that this was "the one." Kind of like serial dating. I'm so tired of looking - we've been looking for almost a year.

Our first house actually still has our bid waiting - it's been about two months. We just got word that it is going up for action in May, so I guess they found our bid wanting. We haven't decided if we should bid on it or not.

Our second house (a foreclosure, the one that just fell through).... Well, our bid had been accepted, and the inspection was going to be on Monday. My parents came out yesterday and did their own "inspection" this morning with our realtor, and after they were through, they all agreed it was a no-go. The things they found would fill a book. Mold, bad plumbing, nonworking electric things, non-permitted add-ons, non-working AC, abuse, poor workmanship, etc. etc. So we are back to the drawing board.

We're limited by our income (a 150K house is our upper limit, in an area where houses under 200K are almost nonexistent), and by the fact that I don't want to move to far-far-far outlying areas such as Casa Grande, Maricopa, and Queen Creek. My parents want us to move far out to get a good price, and hubby is willing also, so it makes it three against one, which has been rather awkward and unpleasant. But honestly, what is the point of having a nice house for a good price when (1) you have to lose all of your friends, plus your church, to do it, and (2) you totally make up the savings in what you spend in gas???? So it's an endless argument.

Hopefully this whole process will be over soon. I hate not being able to make plans because we're always "going to be moving."

What does this have to do with HG? Answer: Nothing!! I just felt like venting!!!

Actually, it has quite a bit to do with my HG journey. On my huge, 10-page-long checklist of "things to do before getting pregnant," one of the big things is figuring out our housing situation (i.e. purchasing, packing, moving, unpacking, doing major repairs) before we even THINK about getting pregnant. Having HG and moving are just NOT compatible!!! (Of course, with the accuracy with which we use NFP, we may not have a choice! LOL) So having our house fall through pushes our second pregnancy even further into the future (barring divine intervention, of course). Kind of disappointing! Of course, considering how much I fear pregnancy, I wasn't dying to jump into another one anyway, but I did want to give Caleb a sibling before he starts school!! Their age difference would be considerable even if we conceived today.

Sometime I think I'll publish my "to do before pregnancy" list here as a blog entry. It might be of use to other post-HG mums considering another pregnancy.

Also on the discouraging side has been my first venture into the childbirth community. I have started trying something out, but have been experiencing unexpected complications due to various factors (I won't go more into it than that to avoid being too personal). But it has been very discouraging.

Although I know that childbirth is a lifelong passion, I simply can't figure out where I fit into the childbirth community. The main options are midwife, doula, and childbirth educator. After that it's harder - one has to work out an individual niche rather than following the roads more commonly traveled. I simply can't figure out where I fit in. I'm somewhat content to just watch and learn for now, but I don't want to remain in limbo forever - I need a niche.

So it hasn't been the most encouraging week! Hopefully things will start looking up soon! For now I'd better sign off, as Caleb is getting antsy in his high chair, having finished his lunch.

Love to all!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Pretty Amazing

First of all, I should observe that my efforts to update this blog regularly are failing miserably!! This time it's been well over a week. Well, I do my best. With some major projects going on, including an attempted house purchase, even that is an accomplishment! One simply doesn't get a lot of auxillary projects done with a veerrryy active toddler running about!

Anyhow, I seem to be noticing lately that watching God move is simply a matter of paying attention. In other words, God is moving all the time, but we will not notice it if we aren't paying attention. I love what Beth Moore says about watching for "God STOPs" (Savor The Observable Presence) - that is, being attentive and ready to notice God moving in one's life, and how he is orchestrating everything for our good and for his will. Not to mention just noticing God's majesty in creation!

Anyhow, an example of this in my life this week.....

Joe and I were at our midwife's annual client picnic which she gives each year for present and past clients of hers. We were over at the swing set with Caleb, and Joe and I happened to fall into conversation with a mum who was there with a couple of her kiddos (including a new 6-week old!). As part of an entirely different conversation, he mentioned casually about my experience with HG, and we immediately learned that this wonderful woman had dealt with HG twice!!! Wow!!! I wasn't even out there looking for other HG mums, and this one just fell into my lap! How exciting is that! We got to share some details of our experiences, and are going to be corresponding and sharing stories in more depth. Her experience seems to be unique in that she didn't have HG with her first pregnancy - just normal morning sickness. Then she had "mild" HG with her second (if HG can EVER be said to be "mild") and life-threatening HG with her third, who was born just six weeks ago. (Most women of whom I have heard who have dealt with HG have had it with their first and all subsequent babies.)

This is actually the first time that I've been able to converse in person about HG with another mum who had it. I've emailed with Ashli McCall, and I know of two other ladies who have had it. One is the friend of a church friend, whom I've never met, but who had life-threatening HG. Another is the sister-in-law of two ladies at church who had HG severely enough to be hospitalized several times (as her idiotic insurance, as usual, wouldn't pay for HG meds). I have met this lady once, briefly, at a birthday party, but wasn't able to ask her about her experience - it was just too short of an acquaintance to dive into it at a social function. So meeting my first real HG mum in person was a wonderful opportunity! I am really looking forward to hearing her story.

So God moves in wonderful ways! I went to a picnic to have fun, and ended up coming home with a new acquaintance and a wealth of new information! I will share any information that she gives me permission to share here in coming weeks.

Well, I'd better get going! After a very tiring morning cleaning the home of a dear friend whose renters have absolutely beaten their beautiful home to a pulp, I am off to choir practice!! And houseguests tomorrow!!!