Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's!

In the long-lost days of my childhood, I put massive effort into New Year's resolutions. I'd take several hours to write out a long list that usually included a plethora of self-improvement chores - such as long daily readings of the Bible, Shakespeare, classics, and French/German/Shorthand lessons, besides other exercises in self-discipline. I'd write them out in complete self-satisfaction, file them neatly, and then forget them completely - perhaps remembering them briefly a week or so later - before my mind consigned them to utter oblivion (until I found them randomly years later and realized that no resolution had been kept longer than 24 hours... usually 12 at most).

So now? Nope. No New Year's resolutions. I've learned not to waste my time.

But I do pick things to work on (when I want to, not at New Year's) when I see that they are needed. So, in lieu of New Year's resolutions, I will write out what I'm working on in my life right now (a partial repeat from an entry a few weeks ago).

So here goes... here's what I'm working on in my life right now:

(1) Rebuilding the following areas of my life: physical (pregnancy weight, anyone?), marital, spiritual

(2) Decluttering - an ever-present chore

(3) Balancing having a clean house and spending time with kiddos (NOT easy!)

(4) Parenting - learning the skills that just aren't there by nature

(5) Learning to be a CROCK POT MASTER!!!

(6) [removed]

(7) Working on finding a preschool and an elementary school for our kiddos - and more importantly, figuring out how on earth to pay for them

(8) Trying something new - I am going to try out our local Arizona Student Midwives group! I am SO excited!!!!!

And so... Happy New Year's, everyone! Here's hoping 2010 holds great things for all of us.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Medical Cannabis for Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

This is not a new article (2004, I think), but I just saw it when a birth buddy posted it on Facebook. Interesting stuff! I haven't really been involved in the medical marijuana debate, so I don't feel justified in posting an opinion (morally, politically, medically). Here is the original article:

Medical Marijuana: A Surprising Solution to Severe Morning Sickness

Does anyone out there know anything more, or have any opinions to share?

I took a quick look around the web to see what the status of medical marijuana in the U.S. was (try this site) and found that it is legal in thirteen states, not including my own (which is in some odd state of legal limbo).

Anyhow, this is a hyperemesis blog.... so I post all information I find, however wacky!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Beginning-of-Life Day, Baby!

No, I am not pregnant. Just realized that the title might be misleading, so I thought I'd better disclaim first.


A midwife friend of mine said some time ago that she always celebrates her baby's first beginning-of-life (my own phrase) day - the day when he/she began life on this planet (as in "day of conception" rather than "day of birth"). I thought it was a lovely idea, and I intended to celebrate our baby's beginning-of-life day - and I just remembered today that it was four days ago! Ah well, better late than never.

December 12, 2008 was the day when I charted that cute little basal body temperature-rise that signals that ovulation has occurred... and knew that unless God Himself intervened, we would most likely conceive that cycle. I won't say why. Ahem. And one week later, when the nausea and heartburn hit, I knew I'd been correct!

Actually, in some ways, since conception occurs within 0-48 hours after ovulation, you could say that I knew about our baby before he was conceived! Pretty cool. (Long live Natural Family Planning!)

So.... Happy First Beginning-of-Life Day, Baby! You have been a most welcome addition to our family!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

HG on the Dr. Phil Show

Thanks to Anna for posting this!

Dr. Phil talks about Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Click on the story link to read the article, and then click on the "Talk about the Show" link to see many, many women writing in with their HG stories. Some of them are heart-wrenching.

Publicity is wonderful!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I had hoped never to be writing this again, but once again, our dear friends' babies are now in heaven.

I had been haunting Facebook and my friend's blog for news ever since Thursday, when I was expecting their announcement (their transfer of their adopted babies was on the 2nd), and by today I was pretty seriously worried. They announced this afternoon that their test results confirmed the worst.

I am devastated for this family. They have now dealt with years of infertility, adoption paperwork, and two failed transfers. I can't even imagine what they're going through. God knows what He is doing, but we do not... I'm not sure that my faith would hold up as well as theirs has.

The next time I make an announcement for this sweet family, I sincerely hope that it will be about an upcoming birth. Praying for them!

Monday, November 30, 2009

"The Whining Puker" - Now What?

Well, here we are! I am now writing from "the other side" that I contemplated when I started this blog - I have completed another pregnancy after having experienced HG with my first term pregnancy. I praise the Lord that I did NOT develop HG with this baby (thank you, Zofran! and thank you, God!), though I did get good and sick.

My first term pregnancy was drug-free, due to my ignorance (didn't know there were anti-nausea drugs, and since I wasn't hospitalized, I didn't find out) and also due to the fact that we had no health insurance at the time. So... it was ugly. Very ugly. Not as ugly as many of you ladies have experienced, but very ugly. A place of utter darkness which is impossible to explain if you haven't been there and to which I hope never to return.

My second term pregnancy would have been worse if I had been again sans drugs... As I've said before, I could tell that it was worse because the nausea hit earlier and harder. I started getting nauseated at 3 weeks (as opposed to 5 weeks with #1), a full week before I could confirm a positive pregnancy test. By the time I did get a positive test, I had already needed to start front-line anti-nausea drugs. I don't even want to know what this pregnancy would have been like without Zofran.

So... I have faced my fears! I've done it again. But "facing my fears" doesn't mean that they're gone - they're still here as much as ever. I am very scared of getting pregnant again, and I intend to do all I can to prevent that. I regret it, but HG is not something to play around with. (I know of at least one HG mama who, as a providentialist - i.e. no birth control for any reason, ever - has experienced HG repeatedly - 6 or 7 times. I don't have that stamina.)

And so - what now? What do I do with this blog? I started this blog for two purposes: (1) to organize and publicize my research into natural remedies for HG (almost none of which worked, LOL!), and (2) to work through the spiritual issues and fallout I've dealt with in my Christian life as a result of HG.

Well, #1 is complete, and the result is - use Zofran!! lots of it!! LOL Natural methods may be great for lesser complaints, but for HG - go for drugs. (And this is coming from a natural-medicine-minded, homebirthing, midwife-loving, crunchy, granola-type!) Drugs are very, very good. Mmm.... Zofran.

#2 - Not complete, but in process. I'll write more about that later. Honestly, I don't think one can ever work through something like that, in terms of "I have all my answers" - but there's a time when one has to move on. At least partially. Again, I'll write more on that later.

Now that I've gotten into blogging (and LOVE it!), I'll always have a blog. But should it be this one? I can either turn this into my personal blog and keep it up, or I can start a personal blog and leave this one intact as an HG blog and just add HG-only things as they come up. The second option might be better in order to leave this blog intact as a resource for HG mamas. There aren't many HG blogs on the web - I only know of three, including this one. I'll have to think about it and come up with something.

Anyhow, this blog has been a wonderful experience for me. I'm so thankful for my friend Jennifer, who got me into blogging and encouraged me with her advice. I have loved connecting with the HG community and getting feedback on my thoughts - it has been so helpful. Hopefully there will be better treatment for HG in the future! (They'll probably discover that it can be totally prevented by drinking carrot juice pre-conception, or something ridiculous like that!)

And now... Off to bed! More when I have time!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Random Thoughts

A free moment to blog!! Woo hoo!

Hubby and son are off to the train museum, and baby is sleeping, so I actually have (*gasp*) free time! I'm going to try to keep it quick, though, because I want a nap too!

As I posted on my birth blog, our breastfeeding bootcamp with baby went terrifically well, and baby is now breastfeeding - he hasn't had a bottle in three weeks! Kudos to our awesome pediatrician, who saved the day with his advice.... he is awesome.

I find myself quite stressed at the moment... just like after the birth of our first son. The postpartum period is really hard for me - probably because I'm so wedded to routines and a clean house. I've loosened up a lot, but still... really, I've been stressed out ever since our first son was born. Evidently I'm not a parent by nature!

But there's also a lot going on in our lives. Our finances are in a near-crisis state, all the more so after I quit my job, but that (though stressful) is probably a good thing because it's forcing us to face our financial skeletons and bad habits and (hopefully!!!!) deal with them! But it's stressful, nonetheless.

Also, I'm trying hard to get a handle on parenting. Parenting has never, never, never been easy for me... I don't take easily to kids, and I had no experience with them prior to the birth of our baby. In fact, parenting has been a lesson in humility (probably also a good thing). Firstly because during my childhood, I was accustomed to being the best in school - easily and without effort. Parenting has been the direct opposite... I watch my friends easily pass me by on the most basic things! So I just watch them and do my best to imitate... but it's not easy! Secondly, because (like most childless couples, I think) I spent my child-free years thinking, "MY child will never act like THAT,".... well, I have been humbled!

Additionally, I'm trying to make up my mind on schooling options for our kiddos. We've thought "homeschooling" for years, but I am having to face the ugly and shameful truth.... I really, really, really DON'T want to homeschool. I've been dreading it for years, and now that it's just around the corner, I haven't yet gained that spark of enthusiasm that has made me do anything except cower with dread. So.... what now? I really don't want to do public, but we have no money for private (see above!!). So we're having to think. Hubby still wants to homeschool, but I'm doing my best to have us look at other options. However, that requires an entire shift in my thinking, as I've been thinking "homeschool" for years. And don't get me wrong - I am completely convinced that homeschooling is the best option out there. When we came to our current church, I met homeschooling families for the first time... and I was BLOWN AWAY!!! These kids are amazing!! I'd never seen anything like it. They're better socialized, better educated, less swayed by peer pressure and media, more able to think for themselves, more involved in the community, more involved in a wide variety of educational venues, not to mention having awesome relationships with their parents and siblings. That's where we got the idea! But the fact remains that I do not think that either I or my son is suited for homeschooling. I'm about ready to explode with stress as it is, and the thought of adding ANOTHER full-time job into the mix brings me to the verge of tears - not ecstasy. But the thought of giving his education into someone else's hands also terrifies me! Not to mention the realities of increased peer pressure, which is just terrifying. So... we'll see.

(Not to mention the fact that there is a whole cotillion of conservative Christians out there who militantly believe that homeschooling is the ONLY right option for Christian parents (or ANY parents), and that anyone who does anything else is living in sin and needs to repent and start homeschooling! My friend calls these the "homeschool Nazis," and I didn't know what she was talking about until I encountered them in a homeschool magazine I got! Ack! So now I'm saddled with "non-homeschooling mama guilt" as well! LOL!)

Another humbling experience for me lately (and enormous source of stress) has been the issue of submission in marriage. Feminists, don't get too riled! This is part and parcel of the conservative Christian life, and usually it works beautifully and easily. For example, my hubbie has the habit of signing up for martial arts classes... constantly. He gets super excited, buys all the gear, starts classes... and quits 2-4 weeks later. Fine. It's exasperating, but it doesn't directly involve me or my life. I just do my best to say, "Sure, dear!" and wait for him to get over it. Not too bad. But right now, DH is in the middle of making a rather large decision for our family that will greatly affect me and my life. And if it goes the way I think it will, I'm going to be very upset about it. For, say, 5 or 10 or 20 years or so. Minimum. But I do understand his reasons, and I'm willing (in an unwilling sort of way) to go along with it. I'm just really hoping that this is the right decision, because it involves almost everything I care about. I don't want to drag my feet and prevent what God wants for our life by interfering with DH's leadership.... but I don't want to have to deal with the fallout of a bad decision if this is not truly God's will and is just DH striking out on his own. So right now I'm just really praying for God's guidance for both of us, so that we'd be on the same page and have peace about whichever way the decision goes - and that we'd be going the right way! (If you don't believe in submission, please DON'T leave a comment telling me about it - I promise this is voluntary!)

A further note: When it's all over, will I be able to have the grace to move on without nagging continually and voicing ceaseless regrets? And will I have the further grace to put a "we" into it, as in "we have decided"? I always remember Anne, in "Anne's House of Dreams," disagreeing violently with Gilbert over a big decision, but after having realized the inevitable, graciously presenting the decision as "we think this is the best thing" when questioned by her neighbor about it. That's a big step of grace! That will be my challenge as well.

For the befuddled reader - sorry for being so vague! This is just my meandering ramblings, so pay no mind. Onward and upward....

In terms of HG, I still find myself torn in terms of birth control. I find myself unwilling to do anything permanent to end our reproductive life... but I know that I should. And I would NOT be happy to find myself pregnant! For one thing, I've got my hands full parenting two kidlets. For another thing, I was barely able to care for #1 while #2 was on the way - and that was on mega doses of Zofran and Unisom! Only God knows how #1 and #2 would be able to survive if a #3 was on the way. But I find (TMI alert ahead) that having the possibility of pregnancy is so terrifying that I don't want DH anywhere near me, and that just can't continue for the next 20 years. And regular forms of birth control just aren't sure enough to be sure! So we've got to find our answers soon.

Does that answer why I'm stressed?

With that in mind, here are the resolutions I've been working on:

(1) I am giving up the following - ironing (ha!), elaborate housekeeping (ha, ha!), elaborate hairstyles (ha, ha, ha!), and time-intensive cooking (ha, ha, ha, ha!)

(2) I am doing my best to keep my house only "reasonably clean" - that being, clean enough for my sanity. I can't stop housecleaning completely, because that drives me to the point of being so stressed that I can't think straight or talk civilly, but I'm trying to limit it to 20 minutes a day

(3) I'm trying to spend as much time as possible with my kids, playing and doing things with them

(4) I'm also trying to spend lots of time with them reading and going to the library

(5) I'm doing my best to use my crockpot almost every day, with super-easy recipes. Sorry, no time for anything else!

(6) I'm doing my best to (for now, *sob*!!) neglect my passion for birth subjects in order to focus on family until I get a handle on this parenting thing. I'm reading wildly on the subject (instead of having 5 birth books going at once) and also on the topics of education, homeschooling, etc.

(7) I'm working on potty training DS. At this point it is ridiculous - he is 3 1/2. I was always told that if I left him alone he'd potty train himself.... Well, it hasn't happened. He goes occasionally, but nothing consistent. It's definitely a power-ploy at this point. I got a book on the subject and am going to tackle it!

(8) I am working on learning effective parenting - through mentors, books, prayer, etc.

(9) I am working on rebuilding my spiritual life post-HG. It's time. I'll write more on this later on my HG blog, but really... I've just had to accept that I am not going to get the answers I want this side of Heaven. I'm just going to have to trust that there was a reason and that I will know it eventually.

(10) I'm also going to work on slowly rebuilding our life post-baby. With each baby, our social life has been reduced to nil - a year of either being seriously ill (#1) or feeling really yucky (#2), and a year of recovering from having a newborn! So our life is still pretty messed up - but I'm working back into things! Now that baby is 3 months old, I'm starting to think that there might be life after childbirth after all (I remember thinking the same thing at the same point last time!).

Okay, enough! Off to nap! I've had SO many thoughts, ideas, and blog entries (for both blogs) floating around in my mind for months, but just no time to write them out. Ack! Another source of stress! Oh well... life will get better soon. Hopefully some of our crises can resolve themselves so I can focus on only a couple sources of stress rather than a minefield of them, LOL!!

Love to everyone!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

9 weeks postpartum: Finally, a few minutes of free-time

Yes, I'm blogging! Don't get used to it, though.... this is a one-time thing.

So, a LONG story made very short....

We had to start supplementing baby's diet with pumped breastmilk due to dropping weight. Breastfeeding still didn't improve. We found out that baby had tongue-tie and got that corrected, but it was done so late that baby was already good and hooked on the bottle and stayed exclusively-bottlefed. I have thus been tied to the breastpump for the past seven weeks - it's hard work!! Not only is it really hard to work breastpumping around a toddler's schedule, but it's a big time commitment and also rough on one's social schedule (not that we have one at the moment!). If anyone out there is considering bottle-feeding as a "convenient alternative" - DON'T DO IT!!! It's a pain in the neck!!! More details later.

Anyhow, here we are. We've had two appointments with lactation consultants, spent a fortune in breastfeeding paraphernalia (pump rental, bottles, etc.), and are really no closer to getting back to breastfeeding. So today, on our pediatrician's advice, we are going cold turkey. No pumping, no bottle-feeding, no nothing - only breastfeeding. Needless to say, baby is NOT happy! (And neither am I, for that matter - engorgement like this is quite unpleasant!) But I have hopes that he will see the light and convert back. He needs to, or I shall go insane from this breast-pump schedule.

So today is the day, and hubbie and son are out running errands. I've taken a break from nursing-attempts to blog, and I need to get back to it. So... that's all for now! Too bad, because I have lots to write about - but it'll have to wait (for another month or so, most likely). Much love to all, and I'll check in when I can!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

5 weeks, 5 days postpartum: Too Discombobulated to Think of a Title

Hi, everyone!

This is the quickest of notes to let everyone know that yes, again, I'm still alive - just with no time to blog!! Seriously, my computer time has scaled off to almost zero. I'm either doing round-the-clock baby and child care, or they're napping and I can't use the computer because it often wakes up my preschooler. That, and I'm still tied to the breast pump every 2-3 hours during the day - something that I hope to quit soon, but only time will tell. We have an appointment on Tuesday to see about possibly getting baby's tongue-tie corrected, and after that baby may be able to get back on board with breastfeeding. However, if he has (as I suspect) gotten extremely lazy with his bottle-habit, we may have more work to do before we can kick that habit.

But otherwise, he is growing quite plump and is very healthy - hurray!!

My blogs and my correspondence are definitely suffering, though - I haven't been blogging, I haven't had time to read the blogs I subscribe to, and I have gotten months behind in answering email. If you've emailed me and not heard back, rest assured that everyone is getting the same treatment!

I've been really doing serious thinking about family dynamics and how I want to form our family. Having two children is really a cosmic shift for me, being that I was raised as an only child in a family of only-children. What do we want to do with our family? Do we want to have the boys share a room, or have rooms of their own? What philosophical methods do we want to use for training and discipline? Do we want to homeschool, private school, or charter school? What should our routines be? I'm trying to read, think, and research to get some direction. We've ordered "Shepherding a Child's Heart" to read, and I'm thinking about looking into the PEGS system and Doorposts Ministries (thanks, BreAnna!). There's a lot to determine, especially as parenting does not and never has come naturally to me (unlike most of my friends, who seem to take to it like ducks to water... *sigh*).

I've also made a few resolutions to improve my role as a mother. The first, and by FAR the most difficult, is to (aack! hyperventilating!) do my best to avoid stressing about a house that is less than perfect - in order to spend more time with my children (deep breathing....). I can never be comfortable with a messy house - I find it deeply, fundamentally disturbing. But the truth remains that I simply cannot have a house that is clean to my satisfaction while I have two young children. I just can't - it's not possible. So I'm trying to focus on essential routines (dishes, laundry, meals, pick-up) and allow myself no more than 20 minutes of other cleaning per day (and honestly, that only happens 2-3 times a week max).

Secondly, I'm going to do my best this year to create holiday traditions. I'm pretty hopeless with holidays. I never decorate, we rarely attend holiday events, and I generally forget about the holidays themselves until the night before. For our kidlets' sake, I want to do better with that (within the bounds of sanity) - I have very fond memories of the holidays, and I want our kids to have the same. So this year, I'm going to do my best to make sure we have at least some basic activities going for the holidays.

Well, while I've been writing about improving my family, I've been neglecting my family! So back to work. I'll do my best to check in occasionally... but life is quite hectic right now, so it won't be often. Love to all!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

3 weeks, 2 days postpartum: Yes, I'm still alive

And now for 30 seconds worth of blogging:

What a couple of weeks! I have had at least ten blog entries (for both blogs) written in my head, but I simply have no time for writing nowadays! This will be a super-quick entry, mainly just to let everyone know that (1) my blogs are not dead, and (2) I am still alive. :)

My pride got a good bashing two weeks ago when we had our week-visit with our pediatrician and heard the words, "His weight looks awful - you need to start supplementing." (Before everyone gets up in arms, I would like to say that our ped is really breastfeeding-friendly and also alternative-parenting-decision-friendly, so I tend to trust his judgment.)

Now, a bit of history... We had weight-gain issues with our last son too... However, we were able to solve them without supplementing. Our son nursed for two years and nine months, and I never once pumped, gave him formula, or fed him from a bottle. So... I guess I considered myself somewhat of a breastfeeding veteran? In other words, I didn't really anticipate any insurmountable nursing challenges with our newest.

Apparently I was wrong.

After getting the "start supplementing now" directive from our ped, I held out for three miserable days, determined that I could make it work. Well, I couldn't. Try as I might, I could NOT get this kidlet to wake up! Tickling, massage, bare skin, wet washcloths, talking, diaper changes, whatever - he could sleep through it all. So on Monday, after being reduced to tears by the whole thing, I finally gave in and headed for the breastfeeding store to rent a pump. It's been quite an experience, never having even bottle-fed before.

However, his weight did start to turn around, and things have much improved (for some reason it's easier to keep him awake bottle-feeding than breastfeeding). What a relief. Of course, it's rather embarrassing to be bottle-feeding, especially as I'm such a breastfeeding advocate. And I know that we have a HUGE challenge ahead of us in converting a bottle-feeding baby back to the breast (hints, anyone???). I'm trying to still give him some nursing time, but he's not particularly interested (surprise, surprise!). So that will be our next challenge.

And speaking of which, someone around here is hungry! (Hint: He's lying on my lap yowling.) So it's time to go! Much love to all, and I'll attempt to write soon!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

At Long Last: Birth Story!!!

Tomorrow night is baby’s week birthday, so here goes!! Birth story!!!

(I have to admit that even during the worst labor pains, I was busily writing my birth story. I have a bad habit of writing – mentally – about things even while they’re happening, and there were no exceptions here.)

I know that I’ll be coming back to add/improve/clarify this birth story for at least a month, so this will have to serve as a rough draft at best.

I had originally thought that we might just have a due-date baby (September 5th) due to the fact that our due date fell on a full moon – our midwife had told us that full moons and bad weather tend to put moms into labor. Well, we didn’t make it to the full moon – the bad weather got to us first!

I had a ton of long-lasting pre-labor symptoms that had me living on edge for about 2 weeks before baby actually arrived – a week and a half of an upset tummy, a week of menstrual-type cramps, and 48 hours of blood-tinged mucous. Completely unlike last time (when labor set in suddenly). It was kind of like waiting for the other shoe to drop… and it took its time to do so!

On Monday night (August 31st) we had a terrific electrical storm – thunder, lightning and lots of rain. I wondered briefly if “tonight would be the night.” Thankfully we were ready! (We found out later that the storm brought not only our baby, but two more – our midwives had three births that night!! One of our midwives arrived at our labor straight from another birth, and our other midwife arrived at our labor only to have to leave ten minutes later to attend another birth - you can read that birth story here.)

I went to bed sometime around 10:30 p.m. and woke up at 11:36 p.m. to use the restroom. When I sat up, my water broke! But unlike last time, when there was enough fluid to drench several counties (thus making it quite obvious what had happened), this time there was only a small amount of fluid – making me unsure if my water had really broken or not. However, by the time I had made a quick trip to the bathroom to clean up, I had already had one good, strong contraction – and so I knew that this was the real thing.

I let my husband, Joe, know what had happened and went back to bed in hopes that labor would hold off long enough to get some sleep, as I was quite tired. However, it was not to be. Two strong contractions later I was resigned to the inevitable – so I hopped out of bed and started moving our birth supplies out to the kitchen table and posting the informational signs I had made for our birth team, and generally getting things ready. I was quite nervous.

Sometime around 1:00 a.m., Joe went ahead and called our midwife. I hesitated on letting him do this, as I didn’t want to wake her (not knowing she was already at another birth!), but things were really moving quickly and he thought it would be best. She told him to go ahead and get our doulas, Rose and Nikki, to come over, so he called them and they said that they would be on their way. I was really embarrassed when Joe told me that he had called them already, as I thought that they wouldn’t be needed for several hours and shouldn’t be bothered. However, our midwife was really on-target with that one (surprise, surprise!) – by the time they arrived, I was completely ready to have them there.

When our doulas arrived, I was still able to deal with contractions by closing my eyes and focusing, but within a short time of their arrival I felt the need to start moaning with each contraction. I asked them how soon they thought I could get in the tub, and they said that any time would be good! So they went to start getting things ready in there.

I should say that despite the hours of research I have put into the subject, the only method of pain management I have found that works for me is making massive amounts of noise – moaning, groaning, shouting, yelling, whatever. Sad, but true! I trust that our birth team is recovering well from their client-induced hearing loss, because I was quite loud – just like last time, but this time I didn’t bother trying to suppress or control it.

I got in the tub sometime around 2:00 a.m., and stayed there for the rest of the labor and birth. Things really moved along quickly. Contractions got more and more and more painful, and I got louder and louder and louder! That about sums it up. Having our doulas there was a wonderful godsend – their coaching, encouragement and physical help were lovely. It didn’t reduce the pain, but it made it less of a panic-stricken ordeal and more of a journey with companions who had been there before. If you don’t have a doula, get one!!!
Our midwife arrived at 4:00-something, and our second midwife arrived shortly thereafter – however, she had to leave for another birth within a short time, so one of their students was called to help out. We were sorry to lose our other midwife, but their student did a terrific job as well.

I found it super-interesting to notice changes between my first and second labors. For one thing, it didn’t get as painful or as terrifying. It was still hard and extremely painful, but it never reached the level of labor #1. My estimate is that it got to about 70% of labor #1, plus or minus about 15%.

Additionally, I stayed much more cognizant of my surroundings. With my first labor, I was really out of it. I didn’t notice most of what was going on or being said, I didn’t notice anything that was being brought in or done around me, and I completely lost the ability to communicate verbally with anyone (I spent about 2 hours trying to say hello to my midwives – never managed it.) With this labor, I noticed most of what was going on (people arriving, equipment being brought in, etc.) and was able to hold a conversation throughout my entire labor (though I refrained through most of active labor due to fatigue and the need to focus – but I was always able to communicate when I wanted to). I even managed to greet all three of our midwives and hold (extremely) brief conversations with each of them. Fascinating! That fact alone made me think that I was a lot less further along than I really was.

Our three-year-old woke up at 5:00 a.m., and Joe got him started with some toys, which kept him happy. He wandered in and out of the bathroom at various intervals, always pausing to spout some of his birth knowledge (“Mommy has to make noise to get the baby out”) and adding a tag about Winnie the Pooh (“And Tiggers don’t like honey!”). He was completely unphased throughout the whole thing. According to my best memory, he was present during the entire pushing phase and the birth, as intense as it got, and dealt with it perfectly. We had set up a babysitting team who ended up being unable to be there for the birth, but thankfully he didn’t even need much supervision – our preparation definitely paid off! He was just fine.

We tried counterpressure duing one contraction, and it was very powerful – unfortunately, it made the contraction much worse! Also, for some reason I felt really uneasy facing the back of the tub. So after half of a contraction, we gave that up.

During what I guess was transition I had my one big throwing-up spell, just like last time. I was worried that it might be earlier (I’d recently heard a midwife say that some moms throw up at 4 cm and then again at 8 cm, or some such thing), but it was actually pretty close to the end.

Second stage was fascinating. Last time I had no idea when the dilation phase edged into the pushing stage – it was a gradual and hazy transition that I never noticed. This time, the change was instantaneous and noticeable. After one contraction, the lights in my head switched back on, and I opened my eyes and looked around – “Hello, everyone! I’m back!” It was amazing! What a complete switch! One of our doulas said that she noticed the switch actually happening in the middle of a contraction – it started as a dilation contraction and ended as a pushing contraction. Wow!

Pushing contractions started immediately. Now, I must say… I hate pushing. I really hate pushing. I often hear women say that pushing is a relief for them, but for me… no. Pushing is just as bad or worse than dilation, even though the contractions themselves are less painful. So with the beginning of pushing, I was pleased to find out that I could control the urge to push – and not push! (Heh, heh, heh… I’m supposed to be pushing, but I’m NOT!!! Mwa ha ha ha!) It was great.

Unfortunately, that lasted for only 3-5 contractions. At that point (and this gets a bit hazy, so don’t quote me on the order of things), I had a forebag emerging (where the bag of waters emerges intact in front of the head) – I’m not sure what I thought it was, but when it burst…. Well, with apologies for the profanity, all hell broke loose as far as I was concerned. My body started pushing violently, completely apart from my own willpower, and so I was dealing with tremendous pain. Pushing had started in earnest!

I checked his head to see how far he was descending, and it was encouraging – quite low, with just the thinnest rim of cervix (which wasn’t a problem at all) - though in between contractions his head would shoot all the way back up out of reach (our midwife said that this is typical of multip labors – unlike primip labors, in which progress tends to be a steadier 2-forward-1-back progress).

Then our midwife came over to check heart tones (which she’d been doing all along), and things got even more intense because baby was having some serious heart decels – down into the 80’s with bad recoveries. She immediately said, “Okay, this baby needs to come out NOW,” and started helping to coach some pretty intense pushing. I pretty much lost all control at this point and was screaming my head off! Pushing was bad enough, but sustained and hurried pushing was worse. However, as before, I reached a point where I finally gave in and thought, “Well, if I really have to push out a bowling ball covered in broken glass shards, I may as well get on with the job” – and started pushing like a maniac. Once we got his head out, our midwife helped to deliver the rest of the body (thank goodness!) to help hurry that part along. Baby was born at 6:47 a.m., and Joe was able to catch.

(Apparently something similar happened with our first son, though in a much more minor way, but I was too out of it to notice – I hadn’t known anything was wrong until after the birth when my husband told me about it. However, our first son was crying almost on the perineum and was completely fine immediately (additionally, his decels hadn’t gone so low and had a better recovery in between contractions. This baby didn’t have good recovery between contractions and was a much slower and harder starter.)

When baby came out, his color was not too great (grey-purple) and he was none too anxious to start breathing/crying. We stimulated him on my chest and our midwife suctioned him repeatedly with her DeLee (first time I’d seen a DeLee in action – very cool). I have no conception of time, but it definitely took a while to get him going.

For some reason, I was not worried at all during the time it took to get baby started. I'd been paranoid about him for the entire pregnancy, but now I really felt that everything was going to be just fine - and it was.

Meanwhile, I was getting really uncomfortable from third-stage contractions. Eventually (quite a while later, actually) I got out of the pool to try to deliver the placenta, and it fell out as soon as I squatted down. Hurray! I had specifically requested no cord traction unless an emergency occurred, and that was just lovely. It took longer, but what a relief!

I moved onto the bed, but unfortunately (as with my first birth) I was immediately hit with rather yucky afterpains that made the immediate postpartum extremely unpleasant and completely prevented nursing for several hours. However, this gave Joe some great time with the baby, which he very much enjoyed.

We had decided to utilize placenta medicine, but for those with weak stomachs, I will not detail that here. 

Last time we had the distinction of having a super-long umbilical cord… This time we had a super-large placenta!! Fun!!!

Upon examination of our placenta, it was confirmed that our water did break twice, just as I’d thought.
I loved looking at the placenta – so fascinating!! Last time I didn’t even really give it a glance. Mamas of the world, check out your placentas! They’re beautiful things!

Our birth team got going about three hours after the birth (when they were all ready to drop), and we were left with our beautiful newborn!

I can’t say I’m left with an immediate “Let’s do it again!” feeling…. But I loved being at home, I adored our lovely birth team, and I had a great experience of being respected, loved and treated with the utmost care. All in all, a great birth! Thank you, birth team!!

Baby Glenn Matthew
Born at home on Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 at 6:47 a.m.
7 pounds, 15.5 ounces, 21 inches long

Saturday, September 5, 2009

39 weeks, 5 days.... Plus 5 days: Baby is Here!

I'm sorry to have been so remiss! Baby arrived Tuesday morning at 6:47 a.m. following a lightning-fast labor (~7 hours) that started with my water breaking at 11:36 p.m. on Monday night. Against all expectations baby was a BOY whom we have named Glenn, and whose feeding and care are the reasons that my blogs have been ignored! I have about a 5-page birth story manuscript brewing in my head (I have so much to write about!!), so it'll probably be a while before I get that published - hopefully sometime next week before DH goes back to work. Anyhow, I just wanted to get that announcement out - I'll write more later, hopefully! Love to all!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Note to Martha

I wanted to post a comment that I recently received on this blog (Martha, let me know if you'd rather I not post this, and I'll delete it pronto)....

"My daughter is in the 10th week of her second HG pregnancy. The first one was so awful, we had never heard of HG and she was so sick. She lost 30lbs in a month and she and her husband moved in with us so I could give her the round the clock care she needed. When she was 12 weeks her doctors put her on steroids, which helped so much and she was eventually able to resume her teaching job. We are in week 10 this time, she has a PICC line and receives PTN ( nutrition IV) everyday here at my home. This is such hell, she is so sick and feels so alone and misses taking care of her child. We are all exhausted, but hopeful the steroids will again help because zofran and reglan have little effect for her. It is very hard for "outside" people to understand how serious this is and want to give advice about crackers, ginger, etc....."

Martha, I just wanted to say thanks so much for your love and care that you're giving your wonderful daughter. Mothers like you are LIFE-SAVERS, and we couldn't do it without you. I hope that the road gets easier from here for all of you, and we'll be keeping you in prayer. Thank you, thank you for being such a blessing to your daughter, her child, and her family!! I know that this is not an easy road - I had only a fraction of the illness that your daughter is experiencing, and it was life-shattering.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

38 weeks, 6 days: Waiting!

Greetings, all ye in bloggerland!

This week I find myself in an odd circumstance - that of (mentally, at least) sitting around and waiting for labor to start. Weird! Last time I didn't really even think about it - labor took me by surprise. But this time, I find myself doing a bit of clock-watching. Not that I'm anxious for this pregnancy to end, but I am curious about labor and excited to meet baby - and it will be nice to be able to walk comfortably again!

A week ago this past Sunday, three separate people told me, "Oh, you've dropped!" I hadn't noticed anything (didn't notice last time either), but the fact that non-first-time moms aren't supposed to drop until labor has already started put me into a frenzy of baby preparation - a frenzy which, though unfounded, proved extremely useful in that it helped me to finally pound through the last main items on my pre-baby to-do list. Hurray!

So as of this past weekend, our birth supplies are finally ready, our baby things are cleaned and set up, and I'm pretty much ready to go. The house isn't completely unpacked, cleaned, or organized, but it's not bad - and I've given up on any idea of EVER having the house cleaned to my level of perfect satisfaction - at least until all the kids are out of the house, LOL! For me, at least, "perfect" baby preparation was possible only for baby #1 (when there wasn't another ex-baby running about making messes as I cleaned!). But considering that all of my baby preparation from last time went down the tubes as soon as baby was born (i.e. the perfectly clean house, etc.), I don't mind too much!

I have been having minor pre-labor symptoms for the past 5 days or so (upset tummy, mild menstrual-type cramps), and that again convinced me that labor was imminent - but upon research, I discovered that these types of things can mean that labor is either hours away - or weeks away! So we may have a post-due-date baby after all.

Anyhow, having everything at least semi-ready has meant that I can relax a bit and get some much needed sleep - what a relief! So I've been indulging in super-long naps and trying to get some extra rest - anything to build up a buffer for when little one arrives and destroys any semblance of long sleep-stretches!

A quick note - Upon randomly surfing one of my blogs a while ago, I discovered that I have been receiving email notification of only some blog comments. Some are emailed to me, and some are not! I have no idea why - but I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm not receiving all blog comments, though I do my best to review entries manually to find the lost comments.

And to close (as starving hubbie is home and wanting dinner), I wanted to share this fun video! (Facebook friends have already seen this... sorry for the repetition.) This is purely personal - nothing to do with HG, pregnancy, birth, etc. - this is my sister-in-law (she's the dark-haired one) doing a commercial with Fred Willard, and it's fun! My SIL has been working with Mr. Willard for several years now, but being that we haven't been able to make it out to California for their shows, this is the first time we've gotten to see them act together. So fun!!

Love to all!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Note on Pictures

After 30 minutes of fiddling, I finally figured out how to put these pictures on my blog (a computer genius I am not!), but I couldn't figure out how to add text! So I wanted to note that these pictures were done by my sweet friend Jennifer, who should be a professional but chooses to remain a hobbyist - thank you, Jen!! These pictures finally gave me the opportunity also to update my profile picture, which was quite inaccurate due to its being out of date by two years, a different hairstyle, and an unnamed (ahem!) amount of baby weight. Hurray!!

37 weeks, 4 days: Maternity Pictures!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

37 weeks, 2 days: Life Lessons at the Fire Station

Today I would like to start off with a very important life lesson that I would like to impart to the public consciousness:

Don't push your already well-aged maternity pants too far.

Just don't. Really. I mean it.

Unless, for some reason, you relish that moment of exquisite humiliation when you realize that you have been walking around.... for at least 30 minutes.... in front of an entire battalion of firemen (albeit very well-mannered, gentlemanly firemen).... with all the bending, squatting and reaching that accompanies the care of an excited preschooler.... with a very revealing rip across the entire rear-end of said maternity pants! (Only finding out about said rip when DH sidles up to me and says, "Um, honey, let me get you a sweatshirt to tie around your waist... right now.")

Enough said.

Though I have no doubt that our local firemen are currently laughing themselves sick (who wouldn't?)... And the maternity pants are on their way to the trash - pronto.

But at least our car seats are installed properly! Yet another item to check off the to-do list.

Moving on....

We are moving ever closer and closer to D-day! Things are getting done, baby things are getting washed - I can't believe it's so close!

This is SUCH a different experience from last time! As I've mentioned before, last time I was just so sick that the thought of having a baby was a bit of an afterthought. I didn't think about the baby, the baby's gender, anything - I was too tired and sick to care! This time I'm curious about the gender and anxious to meet him or her! So fun!!

I must admit that this has been quite a stressful summer. Trying to move in and get unpacked and baby-ready, dealing with the stress of losing my paycheck as of next week (we've decided that it's time for me to be a full-time SAHM), dealing with the sticker shock of home-ownership and trying to set up a budget on a very small salary. Additionally, I am dealing with a family decision that DH is in the process of making, the initial conclusion of which has proven extremely unpopular with his constituency (i.e. me), and which decision has provoked full-out rebellion amongst said constituency, which has a tendency to be too pig-headed to submit to family leadership with any type of grace. *Sigh.* Anyhow, I'll be glad when things settle down (like when all kids leave home and we're retired).

Sometime when I have extra time, I plan to write "The Art & Science of the Vomiting of Pregnancy, A Complete Guide in Three Volumes." Honestly, I now know so much about throwing up! But seriously, I need to take my own knowledge seriously first... This morning I was so busy when I got up that I forgot to eat and then had to interrupt DH mid-sentence in order to run to the bathroom for a rather lengthy seance with the porcelain fixture installed therein - you'd think I'd learn, wouldn't you?

Well, I have tons more to write - but housework and family call! Have a lovely weekend, everyone - and don't forget my hard-earned wisdom on the fallacy of aged maternity clothing! :)

Love to all,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"It's All In Your Head" - Myths of Hyperemesis

If you've been around the hyperemesis world for more than 30 seconds, you will hear thousands of women bemoaning the fact that their condition is belittled and ridiculed as being "all in your head." Such as...

"You need to just get out and get some fresh air. Stop thinking about yourself."

"Stop being selfish and think about the baby's needs instead of yourself. Just make yourself eat."

"So... Why don't you want this baby? Why are you subconsciously rejecting it?"

"Are you having problems at home? Why are you making yourself so sick?"

"Get some therapy."


All of this is, of course, beyond absurd. When was the last time you heard any of the following?

"So you've got gestational diabetes, huh? Why are you being so selfish and only thinking about yourself? It would go away if you'd just focus on the baby."

"Preterm labor? You must need counseling, or else you wouldn't be making yourself sick."

"Pre-eclampsia? Why don't you just go get some fresh air? That's all that's wrong with you - you need to get out more."

Yup, that's right... you don't hear those. So why is hyperemesis constantly (and I do mean constantly... look online for the stories) classified as an "it's all in her head" condition?

Ashli McCall has a great chapter on this subject in her book "Beyond Morning Sickness," so check it out if you haven't read it before. In that chapter she writes,

"Kaltenbach seems to have started this whole "HG as a neurosis" mess in 1891. In 1968 a frustrated Fairweather concurred and published a study that was shamefully uncontrolled and obviously biased. He hypothesized that women with HG had mental issues that basically caused psychosomatic illness."

Additionally, in my own experience I have noticed that any physical experience that is exclusively female (i.e. never experienced by men) has been in the past, or is currently, attributed to "female hysteria," "nerves," etc. - i.e. it's all in her head. Examples of this would include:

- Morning sickness of any kind
- Menstrual cramps
- Labor pain
- Emotional nature of pregnancy
- Postpartum depression

(And by "it's all in her head," people don't generally mean that a disorder is caused neurologically by hormone imbalances, etc. - they mean that the woman willfully brings it on herself by her own selfishness or weakness.)

Unfortunately, a lie is a hard thing to kill, simply because the fallacy of hyperemesis-as-imaginary has been repeated ad infinitum in medical textbooks and references. It is present equally in mainstream medicine and naturopathic medicine - perhaps even more so in the naturopathic world, as naturopaths are more likely to recognize the mind-body connection (which can be important but is usually irrelevant with hyperemesis).

For example, see the following excerp (which I am not going to cite, as I love both the author and the book and don't want anyone reading this to write her or it off!):

In reference to a hyperemetic woman, she writes:

"Loving help should be given the mother with any aspect of her life which makes her unhappy, whether it be her reluctance to have a child, her sex life, her fear of labor, or whatever. Encourage her to increase her activity, rather than laying around, and to do things that will get her attention outside of herself. If you can counsel a woman and give her real help, you can stop a condition which, left to itself, could require hospitalization."

That paragraph alone is enough to make your average hyperemetic woman fully suicidal, if not to send her on an enraged killing spree.

I found a similar passage in another book (which shall also remain uncited!) written by one of my most beloved birth authors:

"It bears mentioning that hyperemesis gravidarum is one of the only conditions for which conventional medicine acknowledges emotional underpinnings, and some midwives do note a correlation between hyperemesis and psychological conflicts or difficulties regarding the pregnancy..... With emotional factors outstanding, suggest counseling. Otherwise, have the mother immediately take ginger root three times daily..... If vomiting persists beyond the first trimester, consult with a colleague...."

Point #1 - See above comment about enraged killing sprees.
Point #2 - Ginger doesn't do squat for hyperemesis! Give it a rest with the ginger!!
Point #3 - If you wait to treat HG till after the first trimester, you (a) are incompetent as a caregiver, and (2) will have an extremely ill mother on your hands whose baby and whose life have been endangered by lack of needed treatment.

So, in conclusion, I will note the following:

(1) It is NOT in her head (or in your head).
(2) Unfortunately, the medical literature is often outdated and will point toward psychological causes.
(3) Ditch any caregiver who goes along with #2.
(4) And rest assured that you are not crazy!

Did I miss anything?

Love to all!

Monday, August 10, 2009

36 weeks, 4 days: "In the Window".... Plus a Great Reunion Breakfast!

"In the window" is a phrase used by our midwife to denote a woman who is 36-42+ weeks and thus "term" and able to have a homebirth.... and that is now us! We are cleared for launch at any time now, though I'm hoping very much that it won't be for a while yet!

Last night, in honor of the break in the heat, I spent an enthusiastic hour attacking the weeds in our yard (our "lawn" is a conglomeration of tack stickers and a weird, fast-growing tree-like weed that can grow to a man's height in a matter of three weeks) - and paid for it! I spent the rest of the night crashed due to a nice combo of painful Braxton-Hicks and round ligament pain - not unusual, I just overdid it! So my body seems to be saying, "It's time to slow down. Now!" I think it's about time! I've been nesting maniacally for too long.

So now I'm just trying to focus on getting my birth supplies gathered and my main to-do items finished, but without the frantic haste that has accompanied the past few months. No matter how hard I try, my house is not going to be perfectly clean or organized pre-baby (and wouldn't stay that way even if it was!). I'm going to do my best to be satisfied with "good enough."

I forgot to tell an amusing story that happened a couple of months ago, and which illustrates why pregnant women shouldn't be trusted with anything riskier than cold oatmeal.....

I was working at church (where I do secretarial work) and decided to send a quick email to a good friend of mine... from the church account. (I used to do this all the time... no more.) The email was mostly information about our new Phoenix birth center, and I threw in a link to a now-famous Spanish mattress commercial which features a homebirth and is one of my very very favorite videos. And then, not thinking.... I sent it out to the entire church. That's right... the pastor, elder board, deacons, congregation - everyone. How mortifying was that???

In all honesty, I was really glad in the end that the email just didn't contain any gossip, criticism, personal information, etc. That would have been oodles worse. But people have been teasing me about mattress commercials ever since!

Two weeks ago I went and did it again (sent an email out to the whole church by accident), but thankfully it was only a rough draft of the bulletin. Phew. I'll be thankful when I hand the reigns over to my successor in two weeks and don't have to worry about such idiotic adventures!

Moving on....

This past Saturday was a very special high point in my summer - it was the second annual reunion-breakfast that I've had with two special hyperemesis friends of mine: Sarah, who is a fellow-client of my midwife and whom I met at our midwife's annual picnic, and Jenna, who met Sarah over the web (Jenna is also the author of "Body Mutiny," an internationally famous book on hyperemesis). I am the junior member of our trio, having had an experience which some would call hyperemesis and some would not (had to live on a liquid diet - yes; hospitalized - no, though this was more an insurance thing than anything). But whether or not I am a true member of the HG (hyperemesis gravidarum) club, I'm still only the junior member - my HG/morning sickness merely made my life a living hell - both Sarah and Jenna nearly died, besides spending a majority of their pregnancies in the hospital on just about every drug you can name. Yikes!!!

We had an absolutely lovely time getting caught up, chatting randomly, and having lots of good "HG talk," something that is always absolutely refreshing in a world that often thinks that all morning sickness can be resolved by ginger pills and brisk walks, LOL!! I really need to get more hyperemesis articles on this blog... this is a condition that is so drastically underestimated and misunderstood - I would love to get more public awareness out there in any way that I possibly can. Hopefully soon!

Well, I have tons more to write, but life calls. Thus, I'll try to catch up more later! We are well, are having a very busy week, and are looking forward with our next appointment with our midwife, which is tomorrow. I'll be doing the GBS test (something I don't really agree with, for many reasons, but which I have elected to do so that I don't have to fight any antibiotic-happy hospital staff in case of a transport), so I'm hoping for a nice fat negative on that one. Then a friend of mine is going to do some pregnancy photography for us this weekend, so I'll try to post that after we finish.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Responding to Commenters

A quick note: I have decided that I'm going to start responding to comments by leaving my own comment on the same entry - isn't this what most of you bloggers do? I have been trying to go to the commenters' blogs to leave comments, but it is an involved and time-intensive process that isn't usually too successful. If anyone knows anything that I'm missing, let me know.....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

34 weeks, 2 days: Time is Still Racing!

I have come to realize lately that, like it or not, both of my blogs are going to be neglected for a while. I really regret that. Not only do I adore blogging, but I spend a lot of my time "mentally blogging" - writing out entries in my head which, unfortunately, never make into onto the computer. What a pity! I have at least three articles waiting to be written onto each blog, and countless news items for my birth blog which have had to be ignored.

Why am I so ridiculously busy?

Mostly because I'm working against the clock in getting ready for baby. Because we just moved into our house in January and I have only recently felt well enough to really dig in, there's quite a bit of stuff left to do. Unpacking, organizing, cleaning, getting baby things out, learning about home ownership, working on home/yard/car projects - and that's only the beginning!

A more difficult task is regaining my life post-morning sickness, something that I've had to do with each pregnancy (though not this time nearly like last time!). This means regaining routines, cleaning habits, shopping, meal plans, getting back into cooking, etc. - it's harder than it looks! And when you add in a very active preschooler, it makes it all the more interesting.

Additionally, we are seriously considering jumping onto the homeschooling wagon - meaning that homeschool "preschool" begins this year. Yikes!! I won't say that I'm not seriously conflicted on this issue, but the current plan is to go ahead with it. So I am trying to get plugged into the homeschool community and attempting to corral my thoughts in that direction.

Also, I know that my blogging life will be seriously slowed once baby does arrive next month. So this may last for a while!

While I'm thinking of it, I wanted to say a quick thank you to those of you who sent in the idea of the hormone-free IUD as a birth control method. You all are so sweet to take the time to do that! As a matter of fact I had already considered the IUD and decided against it (for multiple reasons), but I forgot to mention that in my post. Thank you, dear friends, for your thoughtfulness!

Anyhow, this isn't a real "update" post - it is just a "this is why I'm not around a lot" post, with my apologies. Hopefully at some point (perhaps soon!) I'll be able to jump back into active blogging. But for now, it's going to have to take a back seat to baby-prep. However, I'll try to post a proper "update on my life/pregnancy/etc." post soon just to check in, even if I can't write all those juicy and delicious articles that I've been pondering for so long.

Cheers, my friends! Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

32 weeks, 0 days: Has Time Sped Up Lately?

I mean, my goodness! Every time I look at the calendar, another week has sped by! Why couldn't it do that when I was dealing with the serious nausea? Ah, well... Time flies when you're having fun... and it certainly doesn't fly when you're not!

This week I reached an exciting point in my unpacking - the point where I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. The end is not here, but it's close! I MIGHT be able to finish pre-baby! That is immensely exciting. I still have a to-do list the size of Mt. Rushmore, but it is looking more doable. I've got two weeks before I need to start kicking into high gear with birth prep (ordering supplies, setting up the cradle, etc.), so if I can finish the house by then, I should be set. I want to get as much as possible done, because I know that my life is pretty much going to stop for a while when baby arrives! (Like for two years or so.) I felt like my existence terminated when our first arrived, and I know it is going to be beyond crazy with a newborn and a preschooler at once. How do you moms out there DO it? I definitely don't feel up to the challenge.

(TMI warning....)

I'm still grappling with the birth control issue. There's no easy answer, is there? Physical methods are a pain in the neck, chemical methods are no longer acceptable to us for a myriad of reasons, permanent sterilization has health ramifications for both sexes, and natural family planning requires a lot more self-control than we apparently have. So that leaves us.... where? I have no idea. I don't really want any more kidlets (at the moment - though that is purely an HG issue rather than a numbers issue), but I don't really want to permanently end my reproductive capacity either. So for the moment, I'm stuck.

One question that runs through my mind often is what I would choose to do if (God forbid!!) complications during labor necessitated transport to a hospital and ended up requiring a cesarean - which would be a perfect time for a tubal ligation (it would save a lot of trouble later!). Would I do it? Or would I wimp out? Only time would tell.... But hopefully the situation won't arise anyway!

But if I have any sense at all (something which I often doubt), this does need to be our last child. I can tell that the hyperemesis would have been much worse this time if it had not been suppressed with medication, due to the fact that the nausea hit much earlier this time (over a week before I could get a positive pregnancy test) and much harder (I was seriously nauseated by four weeks, whereas last time it didn't hit till sometime mid-five weeks). The trend with most HG mums (that I've seen) seems to be that HG tends to get worse with each pregnancy - not better. And it is almost unheard of for an HG mum to have a subsequent non-HG pregnancy (HG recurrence is well over 80%). So unless I want to risk going through the hell that some of my dear HG friends have endured, I should probably play it safe.

Well, I have run out of time! So I will have to post more later. We see our wonderful midwife team next week, something to which I am greatly looking forward, and we're off for a weekend spent up north with DH's parents. Should be fun! Next week is going to be crazy (doctors' appointments, midwife appointment, playdates, homeschool conference, houseguests, etc.), but I'll do my best to check in.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

30 weeks, 2 days: Checking In, Again

Hi, everyone!

I'm afraid that my blogging life has really gone on the backburner (for both blogs) over the past month or so. I really apologize for that, as I wanted these blogs to contain a good record of my pregnancy. However, not only is our schedule quite busy right now (MOMS club, finishing up loose ends at work, church, family visits, etc.), but I am still working maniacally to try to get our life "in order" before baby comes - i.e. house projects, unpacking (this goal seems further and further away all the time), getting organized, getting my mostly-post-morning-sickness self back to my normal routines, etc. - all while pregnant and chasing a preschooler! And that doesn't even go into our rebelling septic tank issue, our scorpion infestation problem (and now their eggs are hatching so we're getting baby scorpions), and in-process car repairs. So computer time has really been scaled back.

All seems to be well with baby; she is very active and getting bigger all the time. Her position is terrific - a nice LOA (left occiput anterior) which is optimum for birth, and a great heartbeat. My one grief is that I am so busy that I often forget that I am pregnant! I want to find a balance between getting things done and taking time to slow down and enjoy this pregnancy, so hopefully that can happen in the next month or so. But I don't want to leave things undone any more than possible - I know that they simply won't happen after the birth!

One lovely thing is that I can BREATHE during this pregnancy! Last time I had horrible breathlessness issues from about week 15 on. This time I feel great! Baby is carrying lower, and I'm showing a TON more (that's what happens when you've already stretched out your tummy with baby #1!!), so I guess that leaves more room for my lungs. Hurray!!!

In another month I'll have to start seriously preparing for the birth as well, in terms of gathering supplies, etc., so that will be something else to throw into the mix.

I forgot to say a few weeks ago that I had a simply lovely church baby shower in the beginning of June - it was terrific! Wonderful food, fellowship, games, gifts, and a lovely bead ceremony. It made my month - thank you, Jen!!

In HG (hyperemesis) news:

This week I had an interesting exchange on a birth group. A woman wrote in trying to get advice for her sister, who is in the middle of severe hyperemesis. I wrote back talking PICC lines, IV hydration, Zofran, etc. Other advice was given talking about herbal teas and high protein snacks and taking brisk walks (!!!!), and the like. I have to admit, I was so upset about the whole thing that it nearly brought me to tears.

I guess two points come to mind: (1) As always, there is the belief that what works for morning sickness will work for hyperemesis. IT WON'T. For most hyperemesis mamas, herbal teas or solid food will cause uncontrollable vomiting. Trying to force these things (which may work just fine for normal morning sickness) will just make the situation worse. (2) I guess that the one downside of being part of the natural living community is that sometimes intensive allopathic medicine is rejected when it is actually needed. I know that interventive practices in pregnancy and birth are harmful when overused - but they are sometimes very much needed. A PICC line can be a godsend to an HG mama, as can hard-core pharmaceuticals. Let's use them when they're needed.

The moral of the story: If you know a hyperemesis mama (that is, a pregnant mother who is experiencing severe, out-of-control nausea and vomiting), PLEASE observe the following:

(1) Do not urge her to eat and drink if she says she can't. If she can, she will. If she can't, she can't, and trying to do so will only make it worse. At that point, it's time to go for IV hydration or PICC nutrition.

(2) Please know that most morning sickness remedies do NOT work for hyperemesis. In fact, they usually make things much worse.

(3) Don't reject intensive pharmaceutical treatment when it is needed. It can be the difference between a hellish nightmare of hyperemesis misery and a tolerable pregnancy. Sometimes it can mean the difference between life or death (for mom or baby).

Enough said. I'd love to get comments on the above in case I am off-track in any way.

Well, as usual, I'm procrastinating on something I should be doing while I blog! And so farewell for now! I'll do my best to check in as often as I can.

Monday, June 15, 2009

28 weeks, 4 days: Time is Moving Too Quickly!

Hello, everyone! I just wanted to do the quickest of check-ins to say hi. My parents are coming in town tomorrow, so I will most likely be maintaining radio silence for the next week (my blogging life is something in which I do NOT want my parents involved - nothing against them, just a personal thing). We are gearing up for a housewarming party this weekend (all locals, consider yourselves invited) which will probably take up most of the week (trying to make the house look presentable, that is!).

We are keeping very busy... A summer class for DS, fixing our irrigation system, normal social/church engagements, and on my part, working madly to unpack/organize the house before baby arrives. For some reason I seem to work most days without any visible improvement (a small but over-energized three-year-old tearing around the house might have something to do with it), but I have hopes that my goal of unpacked-before-baby might be reached sometime this summer. As far as decorating, that can wait - for years, if necessary - I don't have time to dust pictures and knick-knacks anyway! (Last time we moved I was too sick with HG-remnants to decorate, and the luxury of halved-dusting time was so lovely that I never put them up! A bit bare, perhaps, but what a relief to be relieved from the chore of dusting china.)

We are now well into the 3rd trimester, and our visits with our midwives are down to 2-week intervals. Hurray! But rather nerve-wracking! I can't say that the thought of another natural birth doesn't frighten me - it's not the easiest thing in the world. I need to get busy practicing!

I notice that with this baby I have more time to actually think about the baby. Last time it was "Sick-sick-sick-sick, oh wow, here's a baby!" This time, not being so ill, I have had more time to fall in love and look forward to meeting her. A nice switch!

We're still vacillating on names. The problem is that all of our favorite girl names, planned since childhood, are (oh, curses!) on the list of top-ten baby names. In fact, our favorite name had to be jettisoned since it is currently the number one baby name - and we didn't want to do that to our little one. Several others have bitten the dust for the same reason. Thankfully, our current first-choice boy name is something like #694 on the list, so we don't have to worry about that one!!! (That'll leave you guessing!)

By the by, we have decided to keep our name a secret this time (not that we've settled for sure with either gender). This is not because we object to friends knowing, but simply because last time we had "the name wars" within our family - and we're going to avoid that by not announcing the name till it's on the birth certificate (and the birth certificate is signed and mailed, LOL!!!). But we will post as soon as that happens.

Well, I'd better get to doing something productive! Love to all!!

P.S. Both of my blogs have been neglected of late (probably because the sound of the keyboard wakes DS up from his naps, something to be avoided at all costs), but I hope to remedy that soon (not this week, though!). However, a commenter (Michelle, right?) left a great question on my birth blog about the daddy-doula dynamic, and I wanted to let her know that I am going to post on that very soon! (Or as soon as I can.) It's a great question, and I've been wanting to address it for some time. I am not ignoring you!!!!

Have a great week!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

27 weeks, 0 days: Inching Closer All the TIme!

This week I decided that it was time to face some demons from my past. That's right; you guessed it.... I opened my fridge's vegetable drawer and looked inside. Yikes!

Actually, it wasn't too bad, considering that I haven't really opened it since Christmas. This time I sensibly stopped buying vegetables when I got a positive pregnancy test, unlike last time, when I kept doggedly at it, thinking that "any day I'm going to feel well enough to eat this!" So the sum total wasn't nearly as bad as last time. Some celery gone over to the dark side, a bag of carrots covered in roots, something that used to be an orange, and a bag (thankfully Ziploc) of something (???) that was now entirely liquified. Not bad for a five-month sabbatical!

I'm still not buying any vegetables (except for premade salad mix), but hopefully that will come too in the next month or two.

My diet has taken exactly the same path with each pregnancy (just not as severely this time).... Degeneration into total junk food and/or prepared food (due to my inability to cook), followed by a gradual climb back out of the pit to my usual crazy health-food experiments, which seem like a far-off dream at this point (I can hardly believe that six months ago I was eating kale and making homemade yogurt!). Right now our diet is at the "Standard American Diet" level (a.k.a. "SAD"!!!), but I hope that it will continue to move upwards as the months progress.

I can hardly believe that I only have three months of pregnancy left! It is going by WAY too quickly!! I wish it could last another two years! (Now that I'm feeling better, that is! LOL!!)

I have noticed that I am having to fight a distinct tendency toward what I will term "second-time mom conceit," i.e. "I've done this whole labor thing before, so I don't need to practice relaxing/do labor exercises/etc." What a laugh! Several moms have told me about this phenomenon before, and how it actually made their second birth harder because they were then caught off-guard. And the truth is that not only did I not handle labor particularly well last time, but I am probably one of the biggest wimps around with regard to pain. I can't even have a mildly uncomfortable Braxton-Hicks contraction without thinking, "Ack! Epidural, now!" So I really do have a long way to go.

However, I do have two lovely doulas signed up to help us out, so hopefully that will make a difference.

We have a busy month ahead of us! My baby shower on Saturday (hurray!!!), DH's dad's birthday, my birthday, DS's birthday, our anniversary, a visit from my family and hopefully a housewarming party, and then a trip in early July to go camping and visit DH's family up north. Whew!! And we may or may not be going to California for a wedding (if it's in July, yes, if August, no - I'm not going to be that far away from our midwife once week 36 hits!).

We are going to see our midwife next week, which should be a blast, and we get to see her new office as well! She has just taken up residence in the same set of offices (which are actually an old farmhouse) as our CPA, so that is a fun coincidence and we're looking forward to checking it out. Her last office was actually where our pastor had his first office (before the church had a building), and that was a fun coincidence to find out too! We're looking forward to that, and also to the fact that our appointments will go to every two weeks at that point (hurray!). I've also badgered her into bringing along her model pelvis so that she can show us the cardinal movements, so that should be a lot of fun (I just can't figure them out from a book.... too dense, I guess).

So life is good! Busy, but good. Every week I get more and more back to normal, so hopefully life will be up and running again in another few months - just in time for the baby to bring it crashing back down again for the next year, LOL!!!! But it will be fun.

Love to all! Have a great weekend!!!