Thursday, May 28, 2009

26 weeks, 0 days: A Somber Sort of Week

This has indeed been a somber sort of week. There have just been so many deaths with people I am either connected with or interested in! I suppose that every week is that way for someone.

Anyhow, it started on Sunday morning when I woke up to the news that a baby whose mama's blog I had been following and praying for, baby Faith Hope, had died on Saturday. Her death was not completely unexpected, as she had a severe birth defect (anencephaly) that is 100% fatal. In fact, her survival to the age of 93 days was nothing short of a miracle - most anencephalic babies are either stillborn or die within minutes or hours. I don't know if she set any records, but she must have been close. However, she had been doing really well.

What made this story painful was really not the baby's birth defect or short life... It was the fact that the baby's mother received cruel hate-mail from internet sickos who thought she should have aborted her baby or not given her the care she needed to survive. Because anencephalic babies are born missing part of their brain, some people think that they are "not human" and therefore not worthy of either love, life or care. (How having a complete brain is a definition of humanity and a ticket to worthiness is beyond me.) She had to remove her email address from her site, shut down her Facebook account, and have her friends check her email to delete the hate mail from her inbox.

Never before would I have guessed that unconditional love was a qualifying characteristic for deserving the most despicable treatment possible. Hopefully these people have learned something from Faith's mama.

Anyhow, after that, on Monday we learned that an east valley midwife's client had lost a baby at 32 weeks. We are going to hold a bead ceremony for her tonight at birth circle, and we are organizing meals for their family. What a horrible grief. The odd thing is that I know that I know this girl by sight, as we attend the same birth circle chapter, but I don't know exactly who she is - I'll find out next week when I take them lunch. I keep running the list of pregnant mamas through my mind and wondering which one it is - a yucky feeling.

Then on Tuesday we learned that our Arizona Treasurer Dean Martin's wife had died unexpectedly in childbirth on Monday night and that the baby was not doing well. Today, after three days of prayers, we learned that the baby died last night. What an utter tragedy - to go from planning a family birth to planning the funerals for one's entire family.

And we can add to all of that the death of Mike Tyson's little girl in the news - something that makes all parents shiver with the possibility of in-home accidents for children.

So all in all, a somber week! I'll post about us later, and hopefully the rest of the week will be a bit more cheerful.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

25 weeks, 3 days: Phoenix Summer Begins

I'm sitting at home right now while our toddler sleeps in (he's got a cold) and hubby is at church... what better time to update my blog?

We are all well, though the heat from the beginning of a loooonnnnggg Phoenix summer is somewhat depressing, and we're all getting ready to hibernate indoors for the next five months. (*Sigh*) Rather the reverse of most places, I suppose!

Yesterday we spent a pleasant afternoon wandering around our local plant nursery, and had a bunch of fun looking at plants we'd like to buy eventually. At the very end, however, we stopped innocently at the front desk to ask the price of an unlabeled edible fig tree.... and were immediately sucked into an inescapable sales vortex by an enthusiastic young salesman and were not permitted to escape before listening to a half-hour talk on all of their programs, packages, and services! We did our valiant best to nod intelligently and look as if we perhaps did have $2,000 to pay offhand for trees at any given moment. I don't know if we succeeded.

We never did find out the price of the fig tree.

Moving on.... We are slowly learning the ins and outs of home-ownership, though I think it will be a long journey. I can tell that I am starting to feel better because I have started having my usual manic-decluttering moments, though in-miniature, in between bouts of fatigue/nausea. As usual, the hardest part is getting DH involved, but I have found that if I put a small box of "to be decluttered" stuff in front of the television, I can get him to look at it before bedtime. I love going through his computer stuff! Stick it in a box for a few years, and voila! It's useless and outdated! So whenever he goes through his computer boxes, we throw about half of it out. I love throwing stuff out! It's one of my main de-stressors in life.

I am beginning to understand why "country folk" can sometimes have more hardened attitudes toward animals and wildlife than us "soft city dwellers." Even though we're still in the city, just having a larger property seems to have translated into semi-country living - and there are so many things, to put it vulgarly, that need killing! Roaches, gophers, crickets, ants, scorpions, tumbleweeds - just to name a few. DH, to put it frankly, doesn't mind at all - it's bringing out his "hunter-man" nature. Lately he's been perfecting his technique of killing flies by snapping them with bath towels. Even I have become somewhat hardened to killing scorpions, though I don't like it - we just have too many to relocate them, as I used to do in our apartment.

One thing I can't get accustomed to, however, is the killing of gophers... those things are just so darned cute! I love them. But they can destroy one's property, for sure.

Baby is doing well; she is very active!! I find the difference between her and our DS in-utero to be utterly fascinating - who would have known that one could tell differences in babies pre-birth? She remains hiccup-less, which makes me laugh when I remember my pregnancy with DS, who had hiccups several times daily from conception onward. Fun stuff!

I am doing my best to wean myself off of Zofran. It's not that I'm running out, but that I really would like to have a small stash left at the end of this pregnancy. It's not that I'm planning another baby... but there are such things as surprises, and I don't want to be left at the mercy of our insurance company should another surprise hit before I get up the guts to make the final decision to end our reproductive life permanently. I find that I can go without Zofran for a day, but the nausea just starts building and I have to go back on it after that.

Well, I'd better go get DS before he sleeps the whole day away! Love to all! Enjoy the holiday!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chiropractic Care for Morning Sickness

I've finally found something that seems to work! For me, that is...

Here's my history:

When I was doing my research into naturopathic remedies for morning sickness, chiropractic care was one of the options that came up. However, I did not get a chiropractic adjustment during this pregnancy until two weeks ago. Why? Well, for the reason that I have a bartering arrangement with my chiropractor - she gives me an adjustment, and I cook her dinner. Need I say more, LOL? Cooking doesn't happen with morning sickness!

However, after hurting my back a month ago, my nausea skyrocketed - to the point of throwing up multiple times (this is at a time when I hadn't thrown up for several weeks). This is the first evidence I saw showing me concretely that spinal alignment affects nausea! I realized that I really needed to go to the chiropractor for my back, regardless of my nausea, and so I payed cash and went. Not only did my back feel better, but my nausea was greatly reduced. I was able to back off on the nausea meds considerably.

However, the nausea gradually crept up again - and then improved again with my next chiropractor appointment! So I have now seen three instances in which spinal alignment has affected my nausea levels (one negatively and two positively).

A couple of notes:

- An adjustment has not made my nausea disappear - just lessen.

- Also, the lessening was not permanent - repeat adjustments would be necessary to deal with nausea.

Would this work for everyone? Mmm... maybe, but I doubt it. Here are my thoughts:

- Remedies for morning sickness/hyperemesis seem to be highly individual. If you spend more than 30 seconds on the internet researching morning sickness remedies, you will find countless repetitions of, "I had terrible morning sickness until I tried [insert remedy here], and I haven't had any problems since!" Then one tries said remedy, and it has no effect. For example, ginger is lauded to the skies for morning sickness - for me, it just made things worse. So while chiropractic care might work for some people, I'm not going to say that it's a cure-all for everyone.

- As I said, this didn't cause my nausea to disappear - only lessen. When one is truly dealing with hyperemesis, a slight reduction in nausea just isn't going to cut it.

- And again, with this pregnancy I did not experience hyperemesis. What works for morning sickness (sea bands, ginger, protein snacks, etc.) is generally ineffectual or useless for hyperemesis. So it might be worth a try, but I'd use it in conjunction with anti-emetic drugs. Hyperemesis is not something that one wants to play around with and risk letting get out of control.

Anyhow, it's something to try! I'm going to try to commit to getting an adjustment every two weeks through this pregnancy, both for nausea and for breech/posterior prevention (and for an easier labor). So I'll post if I get any more insight into this matter! Please let me know if anyone else has used chiropractic care (or any other alternative care) for nausea successfully.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

25 weeks, 0 days: Checking In

Wow, I didn't realize how long I'd neglected to update this blog! My other blog has been going through a flurry of activity lately, so I guess this one got shoved onto the back-burner.

Things are well! We saw our midwife (one of them, actually, as we have two) last Tuesday and had a ton of fun with her. This is the first time we've seen this midwife as a midwife - last time we saw her in-office (last pregnancy) she was still a student/apprentice midwife. Now she's licensed and out on her own! Pretty cool! And she does a great job. We're hoping that both midwives will be able to make it to our birth.

Speaking of birth, our birth team is finally shaping up! We have two doulas (tentatively, still working out details) who happen to be two of my very favorite people in the Phoenix birth community, and I am incredibly excited about that!! We also have a toddler-chaperone.... but only if the birth takes place on a night or weekend, LOL! So we'll hope for a due-date baby (which is a Saturday).

I have started doing my pregnancy exercises in earnest (tailor sitting, kegels, pelvic rocks, squatting) and am trying to get a walk in when possible (it's a lot harder with a toddler in tow!). I'm trying to practice the principles of optimal fetal positioning too, so I'm doing my best to sit on the floor or my birth ball and to lean forward while sitting. I do NOT want a posterior or breech baby birth!! I also dug out my Hypnobirthing CD and have started listening to it at bedtime. (This is on the principle of, "Since it didn't work last time, I guess I should do more of it!" LOL) Seriously, did relaxation really work for anyone out there during labor? I tried to practice relaxation during my last pregnancy, but it all went out the door with the first serious contraction. Well, maybe it will work better this time... I'll let you know. After all, I really do have a horribly hard time with meditation of any kind (my mind starts making grocery lists), so maybe it's just me.

I have been reading "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" and enjoying it. Oddly enough, I never got around to reading it last time. One interesting thing in it that has gotten me thinking is its emphasis on high protein intake. I've been contemplating the "protein vs. carbs" debate and thinking that quite possibly we Westerners have gotten it all wrong by focusing on a high-carb diet. If you look at it, most of our diets are extremely high-carb. I don't know how it got that way (possibly a combination of lobbying by the grain industry and the low-fat diet craze), but it seems to be true. However, I have noted the following:

- High protein seems to be much better for morning sickness. Even now, at 25 weeks, I get nauseated after eating a high-carb snack/meal (like waffles or fruit smoothies), but do not get nauseated after eating a high-protein snack/meal or a combination protein/carb meal.

- I feel better after eating a protein-heavy meal (eggs, cottage cheese) than a carb-heavy meal (cereal, waffles, toast, etc.). I have more energy and don't tend to crash and burn like I do with the other.

- My mom is using a low-carb-ish diet to control her high blood pressure.

- High protein intake is one of the key components of the Brewer Diet, which is used during pregnancy to prevent pre-eclampsia

Anyhow, this isn't a pitch for low-carb diets... After all, my DH made himself good and sick on a low-carb diet (apparently one's body can go through a really weird reaction if one eliminates carbs, which he did). And when I tried to do that diet with him, I lasted.... hmm, maybe 48 hours? I'm definitely not a no-carb or even super-low-carb person. It's just a thought that our incredibly and maybe overly-high-carb diets (focusing on processed grains to the exclusion of higher protein and/or fruit/vegetable intake) might not be the best idea after all. Thoughts, anyone?

Moving on from diet.... Other than that, I am doing well! My nausea improved once again after my chiropractor's appointment on Monday, so I am a believer in chiropractic treatment for nausea (I'll post about that soon). We are keeping busy with church and home improvement projects, as well as finishing our yard project. We are toying with the idea of throwing a "come see the house" party, which would be our first ever, and are also getting ready for a flock of family birthdays/anniversaries and more houseguests. June will be a busy month!

I hope that you are all doing well! I will do my best to check in more often. Have a great weekend, all!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

23 weeks, 2 days: Base Ingratitude, and Other Sins

I have come to the disgusting conclusion that the human heart is capable of the basest ingratitude possible, myself being the number one example.

Here's a good example:

Last pregnancy = out of control morning sickness (hyperemesis), complete misery/despair/etc. I swore to myself that I would never complain about anything else ever again should I be blessed with a non-hyperemetic pregnancy!

This pregnancy = I find myself grousing because (oh, tragedy!) I have put on more weight than I want to!

I mean, come on! Anyone who has dealt with hyperemesis knows that there is almost nothing out there (including death) that we would rather not deal with as opposed to undergoing hyperemesis again. And I'm complaining about a few added pounds?

So, my sermon to myself today is: "DEAL WITH IT, LADY!" And stop the grousing!!

I must confess myself surprised to find that it is so easy to gain weight in a non-hyperemetic pregnancy. With our last I lost weight rapidly and then didn't start putting any on until somewhere midway through the second trimester. So weight gain as a problem was never an issue for me.

However, I should have known (by the fact that I managed to gain a completely normal amount of weight last time, even with hyperemesis) that I might expect to gain more this time! And I definitely have. I've actually gained, at 23 weeks, as much (and some, if I want to be honest) as I gained the entire time last time. And we still have 17 weeks to go! Yikes!!

So the truth of the matter is that I am just going to have to resign myself to being a bit plumper than normal for the next year or so. Worse things have happened. After all, it is better to be plump sans hyperemesis than fashionably slim by means of puking one's guts out around the clock, LOL!

Sometimes we just need a bit of perspective pounded into our heads.

Other than that, all is well! Baby is doing well. She is more active than DS was, and also has far fewer hiccups. DS had hiccups multiple times daily from the time he was conceived, as far as we can tell, and this baby has had them only a couple of times that I can count. It's great that we can tell physical and personality differences even in-utero!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

22 weeks, 2 days: Moving Along (Slowly)

I'm in love!! In love with a big, purple, birth ball. Mmmm... I bought it as a birth ball, but it is heavenly for a sore back! I don't know how on earth I lived without it.

We've been working on this birth ball purchase for about a month now. I had wanted a specific brand that my friend Laura recommended and which I loved (the Thera-Band ball). She lent it to me last time, but I ended up using it mainly as a foot-rest, and completely forgot about it during our birth (I think it'll be different this time!). Anyhow, we could only find it online and DH didn't want to pay shipping (which increased the cost of the ball by about 50%). So DH has been on a "ball quest" to find the perfect ball... which has taken a while! He finally found "the ball" on Thursday night and brought it home for me (spending, I might add, a good $5-10 more than he would have on the Thera-band, including shipping, LOL)! It's definitely a really good ball, and I love it. It's great for exercising, for sitting, for doing pelvic tilts... I'm living on the thing right now. Now if I can only keep my cat and my toddler away from it!

I'm beginning to see that I should have set an earlier date than 20 weeks for my "start preparing for birth" date. It would have been fine if I'd hit the ground running at 20 weeks, but that seems to have been my "start easing into preparations" date... meaning that I'm really behind on most things. Last time I was calling childbirth educators at 4 weeks... this time I'm really behind the times.

So far I've started a few exercises (not much), some reading, some walking, buying my birth ball, and interviewing doulas. I have so much more to do!! (Not to mention last-month things like gathering my birth supplies and ordering my birth kit.) Let's see... I need to:

- Finalize my doula
- Really start exercising
- Choose a method of childbirth ed and WORK ON IT
- Start listening to my hypnobirthing tapes (just in case they work better this time!)
- Find a chaperone for DS (our midwife requires that so the daddy is free to catch/participate)
- More reading

And a ton of other things that I'm not remembering right now! A year or so ago I made up a huge pre-baby to-do list; I should probably get it out again and update it so that I can feel slightly more organized. Having a move in the middle of everything does complicate things!

Other than that we are doing really well... I am gaining more mobility daily, though my back still hurts quite a bit, and we are moving our way slowly through the first days of home-ownership. However, I quite seriously believe that we won't be moved in and finished with our initial projects for at least a couple of years. But that's okay with me!

I'll check in soon! Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!