Sunday, January 29, 2012

HG Mama's Birth Story!

Folks, this is something I've been waiting for all winter! Molly over at Knocked Up, Knocked Over has published her birth story! Hop on over and check it out (and the awesome pictures!), and make sure to send some congrats her way. This mama has been through the wringer to get this babe here - she is truly a warrior. Congratulations, Molly!

Almost, But Not Quite

I have mentioned before that my goal was to nurse through this entire pregnancy, and then to continue on with tandem nursing (nursing two babies at once).

The jury is still out on the second goal, but I am sad to say that I did not make it with the first. We stopped breastfeeding a week ago (basically at 38 weeks pregnant).

A couple of reasons:

Firstly, nursing had gotten down to once every 24-48 hours anyhow, and it was only on one side (the other side finally reached the "CHECK, PLEASE!!!" pain level), so we were down to one side, but it was so blastedly painful that I was really limiting nursing sessions.

Secondly, nursing while pregnant has made me incredibly prone to cracked/bleeding nipples (TMI, sorry!), and I realized that I needed some time to let those heal before I have to start nursing a newborn round the clock (no use starting with the deck stacked against me).

(Incidentally, I have no idea why those issues surfaced during pregnancy, as I've never had problems like that post-initiation.)

So, as of last Sunday, I pulled the plug. Our little dude is 29 months old, which is far shorter a time than I had hoped to nurse him (especially with his health issues), and not even as long as I nursed our first.

HOWEVER! I am not giving up yet. My hope is to reintroduce as soon as our newest is born, and see if we can get back on track. That should only be a gap of about 2-3 weeks, so I'm hopeful that it can be done.

Anyone out there tried this before? Tips?

I'm disappointed, but we'll give it a go to pick up the pieces!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quick Check-in (38w2d)

We're getting down to the wire, aren't we? Exciting stuff!

This week has been super-busy - activities and chores everywhere! If we can get through this weekend, I'm going to try to slow down and relax for a bit (ha!). Not that the nesting hormones will let me do that, but it sounds good on paper.

A few sound bytes from our week....

Speaking of nesting! You know you're nesting.....
..... when you are up at eleven o'clock at night scrubbing down your kitchen floor with Comet. And furthermore, when you enjoy it! (Should I be worried that I no longer have feeling in two finger-tips?) The floor really needed it (I had noticed for the past few months that washing the floor still produced a dirty-looking floor), but now it's made me a bit paranoid. ("Ack! No! Don't step on the floor!") I know that it won't last long, but I'm enjoying it while it's clean. And I'm doing my best to start a new no-shoes policy to save our poor floors and carpets (local friends, this is for family only - not visitors!). I'm also considering keeping the stroller in the garage, since it leaves such lovely black tracks behind it every time we bring it through the kitchen (anyone ever tried that?).

Pregnancy Beliefs:
A lot of people really go for the "how you're carrying shows what gender you're having" belief! I've had several people spontaneously evaluate me this way, though results are still inconclusive. :)

This week, a fond farewell to....
.... my oldest maternity shirt, which has been with me through three pregnancies. I ignored the fact that, by now, it was totally worn out... I ignored the fact that I'd recently gotten bleach stains on it... But when it started ripping spontaneously down the arms, I had to admit defeat. Farewell, sweet shirt! But on a happier note, I have managed to procrastinate my way out of shopping for (desperately needed) maternity clothes this pregnancy. If we are ever blessed with another, I will have to (*sob!*) break down and go shopping.

Various odd things:
Isn't it interesting how one's brain will, during sleep, incorporate real-time happenings into one's dream sequences? Last night I dreamed that someone was shouting "Insolent girl! I see nothing in it but your own willful ignorance and the malice of Mr. Darcy!" (Name the volume, scene, and character, fellow Austen fans!) Upon waking, I discovered that it had been the baby crying, translated into an Austen scene! Amazing mind games.

Huge personal accomplishment:
My first haircut in..... over two years!! Have I mentioned that I have a problem with procrastination?

In HG news....
Big congratulations to Sleepwalker on the birth of her new baby! Can't wait to see pictures, my friend! This is definitely the year for HG mamas to produce big babies!

Odd happenings:
On Tuesday, as we were leaving to see our midwife, we heard what sounded like two quick gunshots. Later that evening we learned that those shots had been the end of a standoff between a suicidal man and police who had been called to the scene. He threatened police with his gun and ended up getting shot. A very odd and uncomfortable feeling to know that we heard the shots that ended a man's life, and such a sad happening for his family. We don't know them, but they live within a stone's throw of our house (over the wall into another neighborhood).

Pregnancy stuff:
Feeling fairly well - just tired, nauseated, and rather painful - but fine and busily concocting new nesting projects as soon as I finish old ones. The sad thing - there is no way I could ever keep this house as clean as my personal liking (which is at "museum" level)..... unless I had a personal maid. Thus, I vote to bring back the era of domestic servants! (I'm still waiting!!) No signs of impending labor, and at the moment I'm just trying to work through this crazy-busy week.

I'll try to check in again soon if I can! Love to all!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Just in from the Front: New HG Tips

A local friend of mine just posted her "what might have helped" blog post regarding her current pregnancy (which is her seventh-or-so time through hyperemesis). Here it is!

Morning Sickness Update

You can read this author's original post about severe morning sickness here - I encourage everyone to read it, because it is a great picture of hyperemesis.

You will notice that a lot of these tips are "pre-HG" - i.e. you can use them up until HG is in full swing, at which point (as we all know) a lot of tips switch from helpful to impossible. But anything is worth a try - thanks for sharing!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Getting Close! (37w4d)

Here we are! I am too tired to think in coherent, logical thought sequences, so sound bites will have to do for a quick update:

How I'm Feeling:
Tired. No, make that exhausted. Sore. Heavy. Nauseated.

Signs of Impending Labor:

False Labor:
Nothing more, really - in an official way - but I have been having a ton of painful night-time contractions that are either keeping me awake or waking me up. This is so new! I've never had anything like this before outside of real labor. And no, the Hypnobabies tapes aren't helping yet, but I'm listening to them faithfully anyhow.

Weird Pregnancy Things:
Every day or two, I panic and think, "Wait! We have a baby! But I haven't fed the baby! Or changed, dressed, etc. the baby! Furthermore, I don't know where the baby is!!!" Then I remember that oh, yes, the baby hasn't been born yet. Relief!

Baby Names:
I think we're set.... again. We'd better be, because the family is waiting with long lists of requested names otherwise! 

To-Do List:
Almost completed! This coming week is our prenatal with our doula and our tax appointment, so if we can make it through that, I'll be happy!

The Lost-and-Found Cat:
After her latest escape, we realized two things: (1) she wasn't adoptable anyhow (we'd been trying to find owners), because you can't just give away a cat that is looking to leap for freedom every time she sees a square inch of blue sky, and (2) we didn't want her back. She was miserable, and our bully-cat was making mincemeat of her. So we decided that if she showed up again, we would just feed her outside as an outside cat. And it's worked! She's come down for dinner twice now (about once a week), and it is working for all parties. Thank goodness!

A Quick Reminder:
For Facebook friends, please don't mention this blog on Facebook (no worries for those who have forgotten!). The reason: I do not want my family reading my blogs. That sounds weird, but I simply want to maintain my privacy and my ability to express myself fully without worrying about family misunderstandings or input. Thanks, all!

Upcoming Plans:
Well, most of them are getting canceled due to sheer exhaustion. But things on the calendar these next few weeks include homeschooling, MOMS Club outings, weekly meetings with our midwife, a prenatal with our doula, our tax appointment, lots of errands and little last-minute things, and a lot of finger-biting-type waiting. 

Other Stuff:
I think there's a lot of other stuff, but my mind is too dead to think of it! Later, all! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Time to Start Guessing!

Okay, everyone! Time to guess baby's GENDER and BIRTHDAY! Just leave your answer in the comments below, and I'll put them on the calendar. No worries if there are repeat guesses - that just means there will be more winners if that date/gender wins!

Thanks, all!

For the record, my guess is February 1st, a girl.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Another False Alarm

Last night I had another episode of what I am calling, for a better term, "false labor" - contractions that woke me up in the middle of the night and halfway convinced me that I must be going into real labor.

This time it was longer than last time - for about five contractions - and took up about half an hour. Funnily enough, it woke me up in the middle of my Hypnobabies CD, which I have been "listening to" for the past week, but as I've been asleep for most of it, I've never actually heard it to the end. Rather confusing!

Thankfully the contractions stopped once I got up. I'm hoping this is not going to become a habit!

Things like these raise important philosophical questions, like (1) How can this baby even think about coming early when I haven't yet finished my to-do list??? and (2) Why on earth am I choosing to have an unmedicated birth again? Remind me?

Doubtless both questions will be answered by the wisdom of posterity. In the meantime, I am exhausted and rather cranky. Giving myself a ridiculously long to-do list for today (bake two cakes! process broccoli baby food! roast beets! do housework! blog! freeze blueberries!) has not helped.

Anyhow, off to get back to it! Have a great weekend, all.....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Term! Or Preterm! Or Something! (36w2d)

And here we are! We are now officially cleared for our third homebirth - very exciting, and very nerve-wracking! But we are sorta-kinda term now - hard to tell, since the old definition of "term" is 36 weeks, and the newer definition (out this year or last) is something around 37-38 weeks. Either way, we're on our way, and this baby will definitely be here in the next..... six or seven weeks at most. Most likely three or four. Yikes!!

Speaking of running out of time, I have a lot of blogging to do in these next few weeks! A lot of topics that I've had spinning in my head and which need to be written out before they are completely driven out of my head by birth stories. I need to get busy!

So for now (especially since I am totally distracted by "Good Eats" in the background), a super-quick update on how we're doing over here:

This baby is super-SUPER active. Lots of kicks, lots of hiccups, lots of rolling about (going back and forth between ROA and LOA, though at last visit she was - *gulp* - LOP. (Bad, bad baby! Flip now!) Speaking of fetal positioning, I am starting - slowly - to learn how to determine baby's position. Not well, but I'm starting to get the slightest feel for it. I have even learned to find baby's head! (Everyone out there is saying a big "duh," but I'm a slow learner.)

Baby Names:
Changing! What else?  

Ever-present, but usually only problematic in late morning and late-afternoon/evening. I keep forgetting that the blasted stuff lasts up until the birth. However, at least this time I shouldn't have to deal with two years of postpartum residual nausea like we did with the first one (when the HG was uncontrolled). I'm hoping to see it dissipate over the first post-birth week like it did last time.

Just one half of a Unisom each morning.

Other supplements I'm taking to prepare for birth:
Alfalfa - for vitamin K levels
Vitamin C - for immune system and for amniotic sac strengthening (I would LOVE a birth en caul)
Calcium/Magnesium - Because this stuff is so stinking good that I can't resist it - oh, I meant that it's good for the baby!
Floradix Iron - To reduce postpartum bleeding and to keep iron levels up
Red Raspberry Leaf - Classic herb for all things female, including labor prep
Evening Primrose Oil - Another classic labor prep supplement, good stuff

Childbirth Prep:
I have faithfully been listening to my Hypnobabies CDs every night since New Year's Day - I have no idea if they're helping (or are going to help), but it's somewhat reassuring to be doing something. Hopefully it can work subliminally, because I fall asleep within 3-5 minutes of starting every night. Other things I'm doing are exercising (walking) and the basic Bradley exercises (pelvic tilts, kegels, tailor sitting, butterflies).

We have come to another fork in the road, curricula-wise - I'll cover this in an upcoming blog post.

To-do List:
Coming along nicely! Will I finish? No, but I'll be close.

I'm at a pause in the process, but it's coming along nicely! I have easily gotten rid of multiple hundreds of pounds of unwanted STUFF, thanks to the added nesting-ruthlessness. There is a lot more I'd like to get rid of (like about half of our stuff), but at this point it becomes a matter of which relative I want to insult most. Anyone who comes over to our house, please feel free just to start tossing stuff in the trash. I would appreciate it!

Well, that's about all I can think of at the moment! I'll try to get busy on those other blog posts so that I can finish up at least the basics before this babe makes an entrance.

Love to all!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Birth Plans, Final Versions

Here they are! (I welcome all input!!) One for home, one for transport:


Homebirth Birth Plan

- Please take lots and lots of pictures and videos! Of anything and everything, both graphic and modest. Would love pics of umbilical cord progression and also of red line phenomenon.

- I prefer to avoid cervical checks. In case it’s really necessary, please do not tell me my dilation unless it’s really necessary or it’s super-encouraging (i.e. complete!)

- I need lots of verbal support, coaching, and encouragement – please! And don’t be surprised that I’m really wimpy and extremely loud.

- For afterpains: Placenta smoothie as soon as the placenta is available – yogurt and OJ in fridge, mixed berries and bananas in freezer, blender on counter. Thank you!!! Also, I’d like to take four Advil and some Arnica and our afterpains tincture as soon as baby is out.

- Birth team – Snacks in fridge! Remember not to park on the street if it is Wednesday or Friday (use driveway or center section).

- Joe would love to catch and also cut the cord (delayed!).

- C. (our son) may or may not want to be present for the birth (undecided).

- In case of hospital transport:

o Someone grab the hospital bag, camera, and video camera

o Nab the placenta pronto! Don’t let it get away! Very important!

o Please do everything possible to advocate for delayed cord clamping, regardless of how the birth ends up (even with c/s).

o I would love still to practice placenta medicine as soon as is humanly possible.

o In case of cesarean, let’s talk probiotics for baby.

o Please make sure, in case of mother-baby separation, that one midwife/student/doula stays with both baby and Diana (esp. baby)


Hospital Transport Birth Preferences

- Parents: Diana J. & Joe J.

- To our hospital caregivers: Thank you for taking care of us!

- Our midwife is Stephanie S. (xxx-xxx-xxxx). Our doula is Rose D. (xxx-xxx-xxxx). We ask that one or both of them be able to stay with us at all times.

- I love verbal encouragement & coaching, the more the better.

- I tend to be rather loud during labor. Please just ignore me, I’ll be fine.

- I prefer to avoid cervical checks. In case it’s really necessary, please do not tell me my dilation unless it’s really necessary or it’s super-encouraging (i.e. complete!)

- Please do not clamp/cut the umbilical cord until it is completely finished pulsing, preferably until the placenta is out. We would love it if any neonatal resuscitation could be done near Diana so that the cord can remain intact. In case of cesarean, please still leave the cord to pulse as long as is possible. Joe would love to cut the cord.

- I would like an unmanaged 3rd stage and to deliver the placenta without assistance. Please, no Pitocin outside of emergency circumstances.

- We will take our placenta home with us.

- In case of cesarean birth: We would love still to have delayed cord clamping (as much as possible) during a cesarean birth.

- For Baby: Please, no Hep B shot, eye ointment, newborn screen (we will do this in a few days), or vitamin K (except in case of a physically traumatic birth). We will be breastfeeding. We would love uninterrupted mother-baby time immediately following the birth, baby’s health allowing.

- Thank you for your kindness, support, and care!


Questions? Thoughts? Anything to add?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Introducing Our Newest Arrival!!

A little (or a lot) earlier than expected, but still very welcome - and absolutely gorgeous, of course!!

See beautiful pic below, along with various stats:

 Oh, wait! How did that picture get in there? Sorry, my mistake. Our newest arrival is below:

Isn't it gorgeous?????

Mwa ha ha ha ha ha!!!

Birth date: Sometime in the 1960's
Weight: About 400 lbs. and odd ounces
Length: ~ 3 1/2 feet

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Though I am excited (and nervous!) to announce that we are just one short week away from being in the window!! ("In the window" meaning being in the 36w-42w stage in which a birth would be considered term - though "term" has been redefined recently as 38 weeks - and which we could have a birth at home.

This past weekend, though, I did have an interesting labor scare. We were three hours away up north, when I was awakened at midnight by a definite and painful contraction. Bam! Then, 3-5 minutes later, another one. Bam! By that time, I was in complete emergency mode. Great... we're three hours away from home in preterm labor, we're going to have a baby too early in a hospital we've never seen, and without our midwife!!! Thankfully, those two contractions were it, and they have not repeated themselves (except for non-stop Braxton-Hicks).

I did learn a couple of lessons, though - one of which being that I needed to get started on listening to my Hypnobabies CDs!! (Especially since I started to panic with what were only the equivalent of wimpy early-labor contractions.) Even if it doesn't help, it helps me to feel prepared - so I started last night and plan to continue. If anyone has left it till the last minute, it is I!!!

And so, Happy April Fools! Or Happy New Year, or whatever. Love to all!

Reflecting on Past & Present

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you've all had a great Christmas and New Year's! We had a fun time, and I'm also thankful to be moving past all of that. The clock is ticking!

We went north to DH's parents' house for New Year's, had a great time, and brought home one heck of a cold that DH is currently working through while we wait to see how it is going to move through the family (fun!). I'd be tempted to say that he caught it from a family member who came to our family reunion with a raging illness, but I'm not sure if 18 hours is too short a time from exposure to symptoms. In the meantime, bring on the Zicam!

This past year has been an interesting one! I spent four months of it being good and sick (though not seriously, especially compared to the past), and half of it being nauseated at some level. As for the first part of the year, I don't remember much of it! I remember dealing with the deaths of two beloved family friends (one church friend and our pediatrician), moving through the medical system while dealing with our little guy's issues, and spending every other moment on homemaking and parenting.

I love the idea of a new year, and a clean slate - but at the same time, I have learned - repeatedly! - through the years that making New Year's resolutions is, for me, a complete waste of time. I think my record to date for remembering my resolutions - let alone carrying them out - is approximately three hours. So, while I used to enjoy sitting down and making resolutions, I no longer waste time on it, as it is an effort in futility.

However, it's always good to sit back and reflect, and to plan for the future. So, in that spirit, here are the things that I am (not "will be") working on in my life and plan to continue working on:

(1) I am working on becoming a woman of the Word and a woman of prayer. These have been weaknesses for me, and I am working on rectifying this. I have also come to realize that I cannot give away what I do not myself possess, so I want to work on my own spiritual life so that I will have more to give away to my children.

(2) I am working on neglecting my hobbies (birth activism, blogging, Facebook) in order to focus-focus-FOCUS on the important things in my life, that is, marriage, parenting and homemaking. All of these are challenges for me. Marriage is hard, all the more so after having children. Homemaking is a challenge, all the more so after having children. And parenting is beyond hard - all the more so after having children, LOL! (It was a lot easier to be an armchair parent!!). I would be lying if I said that parenting was anything other than super-super-challenging - it has humbled and challenged me in so many ways, and it has also kicked my rear royally in even more ways. Any illusions I had of my own perfections have been shattered by dealing with parenting challenges - a good thing, but still an uber-challenge to develop my skills and keep up with this crazy thing.

(3) I am working on continuing to declutter. We still have waaayyyy too much stuff (and way more than I am comfortable with). My initial goal is to continue getting rid of things until we feel like we can fit comfortably into our home, rather than being shoe-horned in along with our stuff. It's amazing how many trips I can make to Goodwill and still not see a huge difference! But progress is coming.

And there you have it!

Off to do all the stuff I'm neglecting right now - Happy New Year, everyone!