Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My midwife appointment

Had my 28 week appointment with the midwife today, we're on every 2 week appointments now (til 36 weeks I think).

The appointment started with me weighing myself and taking my BP when I first got there and then going to the bathroom, peeing in a cup, and doing the glucose/protein test strip. Today was the first day I've done all that stuff myself versus being at the OB's and them doing it all. It was actually pretty cool to be more involved and know exactly what's going on. My mom said it was like that when she had my sister and me with midwives. Part of the model of midwifery care is that mothers are not just a number or 'part of the process' but actually are the process. It's about empowering women to know their bodies and take an active role in the pregnancy and birth process.

Then we went to a bedroom with a bed and an ultrasound machine next to it. She felt my tummy to see where the baby was and knew exactly where to put the doppler. She literally put the doppler right on the baby's heartbeat. I've never heard the heartbeat so quickly, it always took 20 seconds or more to find the heartbeat at the Dr's. Not with Mif- she knows by feeling where the baby is and just confirms by doppler. SO cool. She said she learned back before ultrasounds and technology and she never wants to lose the ability to go by feeling. We were impressed. Then she measured the height of the fundus and I was measuring 34 weeks. She checked and double checked and made sure she was just measuring baby, not me. She said maybe I had a lot of amniotic fluid throwing off the measurement. I told her the dr and ultrasound tech have never mentioned a word about it, but my belly has always felt big for size this pregnancy. Then she did an ultrasound and confirmed there is extra fluid in there. I asked if that was an issue and she said it's better to have a little too much than too little. The concerns to watch with extra fluid are 1) is the baby swallowing? and 2) are there two functioning kidneys? She will call the OB's office to see if they checked these in the last ultrasound otherwise we'll see how I'm measuring in 2 weeks and possibly order an ultrasound to have those things checked- just to be extra careful. Isn't it weird that the tech didn't mention the extra fluid at the ultrasound I had 1 month ago and paid $300 for? And I know from hauling this belly around that it had this much fluid back then, too. Again, it's impressive that Mif notices all this stuff and tells me about it and keeps me aware of what my body is doing. My experience with an OB practice feels like preparing for a baby in the dark. This is like someone turned the lights on.

During the ultrasound today she explained everything we were seeing, like where the placenta was on the screen and where it was in my belly. She paused so we could see the baby's ribs going in and out for 'breathing', we watched the baby's legs and feet kicking like crazy, she showed us the umbilical cord 'outlet', the heartbeat several times, etc. I've had 5 ultrasounds with an ultrasound tech between Eliana and this baby and they never took the time to explain anything like Mif did today, even though each ultrasound cost me $300! With Mif it's part of my overall care fee, meaning I won't get a fatty 'radiology' bill from today. With the ultrasound techs I had to ask, "is that the head?" "Is that the leg?" and they would always answer but it was like I was inconveniencing them a little. What I always wanted to say was, "I waited 1 hour in the waiting room to come in here for an appointment I scheduled 3 weeks ago and this is my baby on the screen and I'm paying you $300.....do you think you could tell me what I'm looking at?" Mif loves babies, no doubt about it. When the baby was kicking and kicking her little feet and legs Mif was just as amused as we were.

Mif is spunky and kind and so at ease with everything. She does her work instinctively, she's a pro. It's so refreshing to know what's going on and have things explained. At the Ob's, I had to ask what my weight and BP were and urine stuff to write in my book and one of the nurses didn't like to tell that info. I told Dr. Quimby I was having issues getting that answered by the one nurse and I never had that nurse again :) I mean, come on, tell me my freakin' weight, right? So weird to keep it secretive. Women should know what their weight, bp, and glucose/protein is. How do you know if there's an issue if no one is keeping you up on things. How do you know what your personal normal bp is if no one ever tells you? It's just another huge difference between care at a practice and one-on-one with a midwife. A midwife wants you to be on top of things.

Some people approach birth a little bit like how I approach the Biblical End Times, "it's kinda hard to understand it all and I think I'd just like to take it as it comes!" However, with birth it is possible to understand and know what's going on. It doesn't have to be scary or mystical or impossible to comprehend. There is SO much that women can take back into their own hands and in doing so gain knowledge and respect for the whole process and what our amazing bodies can do. You do have options and you do have a say!  The patient before me was 37 weeks and will be doing a HVBAC (home vaginal birth after cesarean)  :) So cool. She has a little boy that was a c-sect and she'll definitely have a different experience this time around, which is so exciting for her.

I hope that by blogging about all this, if nothing else I can get the wheels turning in some of you women to think about what you want, what matters to you, and just what your choices are in general. Knowledge is power, truly. I think the more research someone does about homebirth, the less fears and worry there are. The fears most people have about homebirth are from lack of knowledge. Definitely not from being dumb, please don't think that's what I'm saying. I was clueless myself before I started this journey and I know I am not dumb! :) So, if you think you want a homebirth or midwife experience at some point, do some research, read some books, you'll be amazed what you find and how beautiful the birth experience can be.

Names and Squatting :)

Names, names, names, we are totally stuck!
I had a great name in mind thinking I had the meaning right, but then I checked it later and I was wrong and it doesn't work so well. I think I feel like it's weird if our first child's name means "The Lord answers our prayers to fulfill His promises", and then our 2nd child's name means, "from the grassy hill" or something like that. Name meanings are important to us, so I at least want one of her names to be something pleasant. I think we have the first name down...although we're not totally sure yet. But finding a middle name is tricky. Part of me wants to just wait and see how we feel when we see her (about both names), but the other part of me does not like leaving it up in the air so much. What if I'm holding her and nothing comes to mind?
Time is ticking and I'm praying for a flash of lightning with a name written in the sky :)

I'm 28 weeks and 2 days along. I have my 2nd midwife appointment today, yay! As of this morning I'm up a total of 7lbs. I had hoped it be 4 or less, but the past week has not found me eating the best foods. After the zoo last week I went to Trader Joe's. Blast! Their carrot cake cookies are SO good. And then at the Fair it was a french dip sandwich, fries, and scones. Saturday we went to my Grandpa's Bakery and I had a maple bar AND an apple fritter. Quite the confessions, huh! Last night we were treated to Red Lobster by my in-laws (Thank you!) so of course it was those yummy cheddar biscuits, a baked potato with butter and sourcream, and we split the Admiral's Feast (all fried). SO, considering this past week's diet, I guess I should be happy my weight gain total is only 7lbs :) I will now be getting back on the healthy food bandwagon....after I eat some of the cinnamon-sugar bread in my bread maker right now! haha. I've been trying to compensate by having salad's with meals, protein bars during the day (at 30g protein a pop) and drinking lots of water with lemon. But overall the sugar intake needs to chill. Perhaps I was nervous I'd have gestational diabetes so I was being SUPER careful and then when I got the call that I'm good, all bets were off! But, I do know that the better physical shape I am in, the easier my labor will go. Otherwise it's like sitting on a couch eating junk for 9 1/2 months and then trying to run a marathon. Fail!

I've been reading Dr. Bradley's book Husband Coached Childbirth. I'll be honest, it's a very dry read. It's based on natural birthing in the hospital setting- although he does reference home birth here and there. His focus is exercise, healthy eating, and training for a natural birth the same way you do for a marathon. I like a lot of his principles and will be trying to incorporate those. Such as squatting. He says that for everything you normally do during the day that you bend over, squat instead. Squatting is nature's natural way for a women to birth a baby. In the squatting position your pelvic area opens a whopping 10% allowing the baby to drop into the birth canal and come into the world. That is versus the typical hospital method of laying flat/slightly elevated with your legs in stirrups or held up by coaches where the pelvic area actually closes by 10%. No wonder there is so much 'failure to progress' or 'the baby is too big', etc. Squatting also places the uterus right out in front in the healthiest position- not compromising any blood flow to the mother or baby. Squatting allows the amniotic sac to have adequate pressure during a contraction to break when the baby is ready to enter the birth canal and squatting also helps with dilation and stretching the vaginal opening enough so that a tear or episiotomy is less likely (apparently baby girl wants me to squat- she's going crazy in my belly right now!). I will hopefully be doing a water birth, but squatting can also be done in a birthing tub. It seems ideal to have your spouse behind you to brace you and hold you up during a contraction, that way you're not just squatting on your own accord and getting those 'wobbly, tired legs'. Another reason to train I suppose- build up those muscles! I'm sure my husband will be wearing swim shorts and I guess we'll see where I'm at mentally as far as what I'm wearing! Right now I picture a cotton nursing/sports bra at least, but from all the stories of home births I'm reading it seems that during the labor process people tend to lose their clothes :) Even in a relaxed, trained mother the muscles in the uterus contract so heavy that those contractions alone cause quite a bit of sweating.

Alright, the toddler is up from her nap, off I go!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The last couple weeks I've found myself SO busy. The weeks are flying by and I look at the few days on the calendar with nothing planned with great expectation :)
Last week I was supposed to have Thursday free but got a call from a realtor for a showing and that sent me into a cleaning frenzy. When I'm gone everyday for 2 weeks, what gets left undone? Cleaning! So I had lots of catching up to do. I filled a big bowl with soapy water and cleaned all the cabinets (they're all white), swept, vaccumed, mopped, laundry, changed the bedding, decluttered (and hid anything with sensitive or personal information), scrubbed down the bathroom and tub/shower, dusted, put Elly's toys away, dishes, a little weeding, etc. I think I cleaned for 6 hours. Granted everything takes a bit longer with an almost 2 year old 'helping' :) So much for a free day!

Wednesday we went to La Leche League and then the County Fair for free courtesy of my dad's company who is a yearly sponser. Eliana was a little weary of the animals, I think because most of them are much bigger than her. She liked the llamas, bunnies, and dogs the most.

Friday we went to Point Defiance Zoo with a group of moms and kids. It was fun, but a lot of the animals were sleeping or not visible. We all realized that PD is not the most stroller friendly zoo. Trying to get through the elevators was a little crazy. It would be awesome if they could put in more ramps and make it wheel friendly.

Yesterday Craig and I took Eliana to the Poulsbo Marine Science Center (free!) and then walked around the waterfront park. The weather was great and she got to run around and explore.

Today- yeah, not so much fun so far. Craig and I kept waking up cold last night (and the previous 2 nights) but didn't put the pieces together until 5am this morning. I put my foot over the heater grate in our room: cold air. Tried the bathroom heater grate: cold air. Oh dear. I knew that meant we were out of oil and that would mean hundreds of dollars. I could hardly get back to sleep I was so stressed about it. Apparently the last time we got oil was February, so it has been a while, but it's still always frustrating and expensive anytime we need it. 150 gallons (which is how much you need to get a discount) will cost about $500 and I'm praying will last all winter. If it was just Craig and I, I'd put on sweats, a hoodie, wool socks, and a beanie (how sexy!) and call it good like I did in the first house we rented. But with Eliana and a new baby coming in 12ish weeks that's not really an option. And honestly, how lame is it that it's August and we are waking up freezing?
Then on the way out to the car for church Craig's glasses fell and both lenses got pretty beat up on the rocks they fell on. Not good. He doesn't have vision insurance :( Lens Crafters, where his glasses were from, said it'd be $125 minimum per lens (!), Costco is saying probably $75 total. We'll be heading there later to see what we can do. His prescription expires in February, so I'd rather just deal with it now.

It just feels a lot like we take 1 step forward and 2, or more, steps backwards. I know a lot of us feel that way and it sucks! We had bought a Graco Quattro double stroller about 3 months ago. I had a 20% off coupon but with tax it was still $225. Last week we decided that we couldn't afford it and needed to return it. I felt kind of bummed but sensed God was asking us to trust Him with providing one for less. We were literally about to head to Silverdale to return it and I checked Craigslist really quick and found the same stroller in a different color in University Place for $60. I emailed and they called right back and said if we came that night it'd be $50. Um, ok! That really felt like a God moment. It was missing a few cup holders and a tray needed for an infant seat, and a key/storage bag, but we got them on Graco.com and with tax and everything we still ended up getting the stroller for $100 total instead of the $225 we'd spent. We filled a bucket with warm soapy water and washed it down really good and I fixed a small tear on a seat and washed the seats and it looks brand new :) So, that's the step forward.........then today happens and it's like, 'well, we saved $125, but now we're out $600 for oil and glasses.....' Frustrating! Do I trust God to provide for us? Yes. I want to, I really want to. He always comes through and I know that, but it's hard when the bills and expenses are frequently more than the income. I pray that things won't always be like this for us. In the big picture I feel fortunate and grateful for everything we have and that's the space I need to live in and remember on days like today.

I wish our house would've sold (it goes off the market Tuesday) so we could rent somewhere bigger for about $500 less a month (seriously), I wish Craig and I both had great insurance available from his employer, I wish we could go to Starbucks, take vacations, eat out, shop at Macy's like the good old days.......but we just can't right now. I do usually get Starbucks once a month on the morning I sing on worship at Newlife. I pack Craig's lunch everyday (except when I forget and then I think he eats nothing :( ) That's just how life is right now.

I'm thankful for Eliana. She is the most perfect almost 2 year old I could wish for. She's smart and sensitive and gives us more love than we dreamed of. I'm thankful for the 2 1/2 lb little girl growing in me right now. I'm excited for my homebirth and the beautiful song I think it will be for me and us as a family. I'm thankful for my house, no matter how small it is, and that I can call it home and make memories here with my family. I'm thankful for my washer and dryer (we went 4 years with 25 year old set before they died and we bought the new ones 2 years ago), I'm thankful to have a car to drive and that Craig has a truck to drive. [Although I wish my car hadn't been in the shop almost 20 times in 23 months....] Things aren't perfect and things definitely don't always work out how I hope or wish that they would, but we have each other and God always provides. I wish he'd provide about $250k :) but His ways are not our ways, right?

Isaiah 55:8-9 (New International Version)

8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,"

declares the LORD.

9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Afraid of what we don't know

What we don't know scares us, don't you think? When it's something we've never experienced or know very little about I think our natural human reaction is fear and/or judgement. Some things I don't need to try to know I don't ever want to do them, that's fairly obvious. And then are those things that had you asked me 5 years ago, I would've screamed NO! But here and now I'm finding myself getting educated and realizing there is a whole big world out there I didn't know about; the natural birth movement and everything that goes along with it. Like placenta encapsulation (aka. placentophagy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placentophagy) . I know, that sounds weird, but I dare you.....do a little research on it :) It's quite amazing really! Placenta encapsulation is not the same as 'eating your placenta', although some countries and families choose to do that. Placenta encapsulation involves steaming, dehydrating, grinding the dried placenta, and placing in gel capsules (making a pill form). This website has pictures (you've been warned!!!) and is really informative about the process- http://www.cafemom.com/journals/read/1577334/Placenta_Encapsulation_Instructions_w_Pictures . I honestly would do it myself, but it seems messy and like a lot of work with a 2 year old and a newborn so I will be hiring my midwife's assistant to do it ( http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Dalai-Mama-Professional-Placenta-Escapsulation/107581499279043?ref=ts ).

The benefits of placenta encapsulation include:

•Decrease in baby blues and postpartum depression.

•Increase and enrich breastmilk.

•Increase in energy.

•Decrease in lochia, postpartum bleeding.

•Decrease iron deficiency.

•Decrease insomnia or sleep disorders.

The placenta's hormonal make-up is completely unique to the mother. No prescription, vitamin or herbal supplement can do what one placenta pill can. How amazing is that?

Another thing people are often scared of until they know more about it, is homebirth. I think people typically picture someone in a tie-dyed shirt showing up with a hemp handbag saying, "ok, let's have a baby!" But that's not really what happens. A typical licensed mifwife's kit can be 45lbs (and more)! What happens if I tear or need an episiotomy? She stitches me up or makes the cut happen. What happens if I need fluids or antibiotics via IV? She administers them. What happens if I need oxygen? She gives it to me. What happens if I need bimanual compression, pitocin, or methergine? She gives it to me. How do we hear the baby? She has a doppler. What about magnesium and breathine? Again, she has those. See where I'm going with this??? It's not as hippy as everyone thinks it is. These are highly skilled, highly trained women who are experts at their craft- delivering babies naturally.

In her book, Baby Catcher, Peggy Vincent states the distinct different between an Obstetrician and a midwife:
A Dr assumes birth is complicated until proven otherwise.
A midwife assumes birth is natural until proven otherwise.

I thought that said it pretty well. Again, I truly don't have anything against using an Dr for a birth. I do have an issue with unnecessary medical interventions (inductions, epidurals, c-sects, etc). Not all Dr's push or allow those interventions to happen when they shouldn't, but judging on the rapidly rising rates of induction and c-sect in our county it would appear that far too many Dr's are advocating these interventions. There will always be stories of how a medical intervention saved someone's life and that is truly the whole point! The available interventions are for saving someone's life! Not making it all easier and 'less complicated' for the patient or Dr.

If you want to know more about all this please watch The Business of Being Born and get your hands on all the resources available out there. There's SO much available, even down to c-sect rates on the State websites.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thought I'd add something cool about homebirths; I was a homebirth!

My older brother was born in a hospital and similar to me my mother did not have a fabulous experience and felt there was a better, more natural way to do things. 2 1/2 years later she delivered me in our little house right outside of Poulsbo. My little sister was delivered almost 10 years later in another little house downtown Poulsbo. My midwife was Therese Charvet who is renowned among midwife circles in Washington and helped found the Seattle Midwifery School.

About Therese Charvet:

Therese Charvet was a founding member and first President of the Midwives Alliance of North America, a founding member and former president of the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council, a member of the Board of Directors for the Midwives Association of Washington State and a delegate to the International Confederation of Midwives.

I was one of her earlier births!
I've been reading The Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent and it's a really interesting book. Peggy has delivered over 3000 babies. Some in hospitals, some in homes, some in cars, on sidewalks, etc! Pretty fascinating, especially about the births in the 50's and 60's. Back then they still used the Twilight Drug on women (and unfortunately this was not Stephenie Meyer's version of Twilight). Can't even imagine being in that time. This is a great article about the history of childbirth- http://wondertime.go.com/learning/article/childbirth-pain-relief.html .

Also found this about Cesarean rates in Washington-

The Washington State Department of Health published a report in August 2008 on the staggering increase in c-section rate from 1997 to 2005 (60% in that time period). They also found the Puget Sound Region to have the highest rate in the state. The report notes "women living in the Puget Sound region had 275 (about 10 percent) more C-sections per year than would be expected when compared to women living outside the region. These women were giving birth to a single child and had no prior C-sections or noted risk factors".

The most recent numbers I could find (2008) for Harrison put them at 31% C-Sect rate, but only a 20% complicaton rate. Can't find more recent numbers or their rates for induction. I'm curious though!

Eliana's Birth Story

Eliana's Birth Story

Here's my story, shortened, and maybe why I feel as strongly as I do about avoiding induction when necessary-

I went in Friday morning at 38 weeks (although knowing what I know now about ovulation and EDD's, I'm 99% sure she was only 37 weeks) to have my blood pressure checked and without any further testing they said I had to go to the hospital that morning. My dr wasn't there yet so it was another dr I'd never met making that call. I tried to explain that work was extrememly stressful (Hello! Personal Banking during the recession!) and that my boss's boss was on her way from Seattle to meet with me.... I could hardly sleep the night before I was so stressed.......and that maybe we should read my blood pressure later. But no, they insisted I had to go now. I didn't know enough to be my own advocate so I said ok. In hindsight I should've had the option for bedrest and bp monitoring- not just ushered off for an induction. My work stress should've been taken in to account. A 9am meeting with the big boss from Seattle over some touchy stuff doesn't make for a great 8am bp reading.

Once we got to the hospital it took 2 hours for them to even get me and Eliana on a monitor and once they did I got, "uh, baby looks great, why are you here?" Then they took my blood pressure and said, "oh yeah, it's a bit high." But never did it seem emergent like they acted at the dr's office, and still I never got the option to go on bedrest for a few days. It took two 12 hour sessions of cervidil (looks and is used like a mini tampon with a really long string) and laying nearly flat (ow!) the whole time. I was allowed to get up to go pee and to walk for 30 minutes between the cervidil sessions. I had contractions the whole time; some minor, some painful enough I couldn't sleep. After the first cervidil there was literally NO change. I was thinking, "how can I be having all these contractions but nothing is happening!" Looking back I think, wow, my body was clearly saying it's not ready. The message your baby sends to your body when it's ready to come wasn't happening because Eliana was definitely not ready. Then after the 2nd cervidil I was slightly softened, but that's it. Still pretty much no change. My favorite nurse just chuckled and said, "why don't they just send you home to rest for a few days since nothing is happening?" But it was almost like since the ball had started rolling no one wanted to stop it and I didn't know enough about the process and my rights to stop it myself. In the wee hours Sunday morning (two days into labor by then) we started Pitocin and by 5am my water broke. The contractions were strong but I could breathe through them ok and decided to get the epidural around 9 or 10am. I had thought about going natural, but quite frankly I was exhausted from 2 days of laying in a hospital bed and having constant contractions. The whole process had been anything but 'natural' for me. And for someone like me who was up working and moving every day of my pregnancy, it was horrible having to lay flat for so long. I wasn't allowed to get out of bed unless I had to pee, even though Eliana had zero signs of distress. I also wasn't given a room with the jacuzzi tub and was never offered one. So, other than peeing I was flat on my back with the fetal monitor on 24/7 for 2 1/2 days. It was hell.

Getting the epidural itself was excruciating. Like to the point that I thought, "Um, that hurt a hell of a lot more than any of my contractions. Why am I doing this???" Dr. Worth, the anesthesiologist, said it went in weird and it doesn't normally hurt like that and he wasn't positive it would work at all. Ohhhhh great. It did work, mostly, for about 4 hours. The Dr had to come in and adjust it every hour since it would all of the sudden stop working, but I at least got to doze for a while. I woke up somewhere around 2pm and thought someone was trying to kill me. I went from sleeping peacefully to all of the sudden dilated to a 7 with strong contractions and deep stabbing in my lower back- but like on my insides. Lovely back labor. I grabbed the sides of the bed and literally couldn't breathe. I remember staring at the ceiling and just thinking OH. MY. GOSH. ! Dr. Worth came back and tried to fix the epidural but it was a no go. Nothing he could do helped and I realized then that this was going to be all natural (as 'natural' as pitocin contractions can possibly be) as I was now at about 8cm. Now at this point my mom (who was going to be in the room with Craig and me) was at my grandfather's funeral.......I know, bad timing. I held Craig off on calling her but realized these last few cm were going quickly and if she didn't get there fast she'd miss the whole thing. She got there about 30 minutes later and at that point I felt this even deeper, stabbing pain in my lower back. Within minutes I was like, "I need to push, I need to push now!" The nurse came in and said, "I just checked 15 minutes ago and you were only a 9..." I insisted she check again and sure enough I was a 10 and ready to go. She ran in the hall and grabbed Dr. Bohannon(whom I'd never met) and the pushing games began. This whole time my mom is standing over me reminding me to breathe because I kept freezing up from the pain, and trying to talk me through the pain. I couldn't even scream it hurt so bad. I was still on my back with monitors on. The pain was more than I ever could have anticipated. I didn't know that standing or squatting would've helped A TON with the back labor. The nurse said it was "normal to feel some lower back pressure even with an epidural". It's like she wasn't understanding that the epidural didn't work. It wasn't 'some pressure', this was full on labor and back labor no less (which my mom had with her babies, too)! It felt like I had no break between contractions, not even seconds, they just kept coming and coming (thank you Pitocin!). Anyway, the Dr was in the room and the nurse started counting me through the contractions and telling me when to push and when to breathe (a method of labor that many civilized countries have abandoned, by the way) and within 30 minutes little Eliana was out! I pushed hard and furiously because I honestly thought if I couldn't get her out fast I might just die right there on the bed. I didn't even want to touch her head, I was afraid it would break my concentration and I just needed it to be over with. I couldn't enjoy the thought that I'd meet her soon or even process the fact that my baby's head was within reach. The pain and process was horrible. I can tell you there definitely was no epidural. Ring of fire? OH yes. I felt the tearing, I felt everything. I even felt the dr stitching me up afterwards and I started crying and she looked at the nurse and said, "uh, I thought she had an epidural?" To that I replied, "uh yeah, that didn't work, I can feel everything!" She gave me a shot of something down there and finished the stitching with less pain. It's like no one was actually in the room or on my service long enough to know that 1) yes I did get an epidural around 10am, 2) the epidural stopped working sometime before 2pm, and 3) I could feel EVERYTHING- including those stitches on the tear that just seemed to be insult to injury. Give the poor woman a break, a little lidocaine never killed anyone! I didn't scream so maybe they figured I was just being dramatic about the epidural not working, but once they knew I could even feel stitches I got more empathetic looks. It was confirmed later by the anesthesiologist that it never fully took and definitely was off for the last 3-4 centimeters of labor. So basically in over 50 hours of labor I got a 4-5 hour semi-break.

After all this I was exhausted and poor Elly was too. She was lethargic and had no interest in me or nursing. She didn't make eye contact and I felt incredibly disconnected from her. I believe this was from the whole induction process, including the epidural drugs being pumped into Eliana and me, despite the fact they didn't 'work'. By the time she actually came neither of us had anything left. There wasn't excitement or 'bonding' the way I expected. We were simply too pooped. After birth she was quickly grabbed, given her vit k and hep b shot, weighed, measured, bathed, and given the eye crap (NONE of which I should've allowed them to do immediately and most of that not at all. I was so clueless). She was also only 7lbs which is very small for anyone in Craig's or my family. We tend to have babies that are between 8.8 and 11lbs. Then we were moved to another part of the hospital and had to stay for 2 more days because of Eliana's jaundice (another issue with induced babies). I wanted to go home SO bad but once again didn't know my rights as a patient enough to fight for myself. 5 days in the hospital for a vaginal delivery of a healthy baby is absolutely ridiculous. Her bili levels were never even close to 'brain damage' level,  and I felt like the dr's were just covering their backsides and using up my double insurance.

Once home on Tuesday we had to do the Bili light from Harrison Home Health for the rest of the week. I mean, this was not an ideal situation. 5 days in the hospital and then we finally get home and we're stuck to a cord in the wall. I never really saw the point anyway since we were told (by Harrison) that the maximum the bili-light would help was 15%, the other 85% is from breastfeeding.

Nursing was a major issue. She couldn't latch successfully even once and I wanted to give up. I was afraid I was starving her, especially after a couple nurses said I had to give her formula and "it's not a big deal if I don't nurse" (really? not a big deal?). The support and tough love that breastfeeding moms need in the first few days wasn't there with the hospital nurses(although the lac consultant was extremely nice and sweet, just too busy), but fortunately was available from my mom and cousins. On day 3 she finally latched (with a shield) and the next morning my milk was in and we never looked back, although had to use a shield the entire duration of our nursing relationship. She did have about 1oz of formula at the hospital, given to her by a nurse, but that was it. Then sharply at 2 weeks to the day, the colic started. Blood curdling screams from about 5pm til 1am, 3am....basically all night. She was up eating every 1 1/2 hours and often every 45 minutes. It was literally the ONLY time she didn't scream. I was lucky to get 2-3 hours of sleep at night. Nothing calmed her; swaddling, rocking, bouncing, car rides, sound machines, eliminating dairy completely from my diet,etc. The Happiest Baby on the Block methods. You name it, I tried it. Shortly after the colic started she also had GERD. The colic lasted in it's glorious severity for a full 4 months, the GERD was treated with Zantac and by 6 months she seemed fine. I kept dairy out of my diet for a full 3 months but noticed literally no difference so went back on dairy after that.

When I'd see moms out and about or at a dinner party with a newborn I felt slightly jealous and wistful and wondered what that must be like. I was a prisoner in my home for that 4 months. People would ask us over or to dinner and I had to try and explain, without crying, why I would be sitting home. Well meaning and opinionated people offered all their advice and what I 'should' do, but nothing worked. I just braced myself every day and tried to get through it and prayed that I wouldn't hurt her in my frustration and exhaustion and waited for the day she'd outgrow it. It was a very dark 4 months for me.

All this to say, I wonder in my own heart how many of our struggles could've been alleviated if Eliana was allowed full residency and not evicted 3-6 weeks early. For colicky babies they say it's often like they need another couple months in mom to develop their nervous system and ability to self soothe. Surely more time in me would've helped Eliana. With Gerd it's an issue with a valve above the stomach not closing properly and allowing acid to wash back up their throat. I also feel this might've been resolved with more time to develop in utero. You might disagree with me, these are just my own personal feelings and ponderings.

So anyway, obviously next time around I will try to be as healthy as I can and allow my child to stay in as long as possible.

I also want to make it clear I have nothing against Dr.'s, nurses, etc. I love my current Dr. and I respect her knowledge and position. I just simply feel that women need to educate themselves and realize that there are almost always options. We have rights as patients even if we're never told what they are- it's our job to learn them. Obstetricians are trained surgeons. A friend put it this way, "would you use a cardiologist instead of a regular MD just in case something happened to be wrong with your heart? Obviously not. But using an OB (who is a skilled and wonderful surgeon) instead of a licensed or nurse midwife is like doing that." I feel truly blessed that I didn't end up with a C-section after all the interventions I faced. Maybe it was a good thing my epidural didn't fully take so they couldn't just wisk me away to the OR when I things weren't 'progressing fast enough'.

And as far as the whole formula in the hospital situation, obviously that was frustrating and probably not handled the best way by those particular nurses. What I've found through months of educating myself and being a part of La Leche League, is that sometimes in the medical community they like formula more than breastmilk simply because it's predictable and easier to track. When a baby is nursing there's no real way to know exactly how much they're getting or the caloric content of that day's milk. It's about trusting your body to do it's job and trusting that your boobs and baby will communicate about the baby's nutritional needs. With formula you can measure, count calories, and track easily. This feels safer for some practitioners/nurses even though they know that breastmilk is clearly best. I can't necessarily fault them for liking something they can keep track of, however that is a sad reason to negate the importance of breastmilk. Any supplementing in the first few weeks can be detrimental to milk supply! Find a pediatrician who is very supportive of breastfeeding and that will help a lot. Have a network of breastfeeding support BEFORE you give birth. I could go on about this, but I think you get my drift. Feel free to read the other breastfeeding posts on my blog.

There is so much I didn't know before I had Eliana and I think that is often true for first time mothers. It's important that we be educated and know our options.
I LOVE the DVD The Business of Being Born and there are awesome books out there as well. My two favorite birth books are Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin and Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent (my entire immediate family read that one after Eliana's birth). And of course there's a lot of websites.
Don't rule out a homebirth or VBAC just because you think you might be high-risk- you might be surprised :) Learn your options. Even in a hospital birth, there are options.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

hCG and PCOS

I had an interesting conversation with Dr.Quimby today about hCG (the pregnancy hormone). I am 27 years old. For as long as I can remember, I've had weight issues. I believe I was about 8 and I remember being in my room and not wanting to come out because I had on a swimsuit- the same one my best friend had, only in a different color- and her body was lean and perfect and mine was quite chubby. I was sobbing and I remembering thinking, "I hate myself." By 14 I was 5'8" and 128lbs. My waist was 26 3/4 inches. You know how I was that size? I didn't eat. And sometimes when I did eat, it would end up in the toilet. I learned quickly the only way for my body to stay lean was to deprive myself of calories. From 13-14 I lost over 35lbs. This wasn't a beautiful coming of age where I happened to thin out- I thinned out because I had 1/4 cup of cottage cheese for breakfast, a piece of lunchmeat for lunch and nothing the rest of the day. Well, unless I was with someone and had to eat. Of course there were other issues going on, I mean clearly I didn't feel good about myself. Controlling and restricting my diet helped me feel in control. I would say that, yes, I did have an eating disorder. Mostly along the lines of anorexia since vomitting was gross and hard to hide with 5 people living in 900 sq ft. I got over it around 16 and of course gained weight and then by 18 when I went away to college I dealt with it all over again. I had the meal plan at school but didn't like going to the cafeteria alone and was so afraid of getting fat that I mostly ate Wheat Thins, yogurt, and apple juice in my dorm room. And the occasional seafood chowder I could get from my job. I'm not sure what happened, maybe it was meeting Craig, I started caring about my body a little more and caring about being 'fat' a little less. I gained 25lbs when I met Craig which wasn't ideal for my wedding day- it bothered the crap out of me. But I saw the alternative, starving myself and running every day, as something I didn't want to do again. I knew there was something different with me, I couldn't eat the occasional pizza and icecream and bounce back. If I ate it, I gained weight. Period.

It wasn't until we wanted to have a baby that we learned what my problem was. It took ultrasounds and bloodwork and we found out I have PCOS- PolyCysticOvarianSyndrome. I don't ovulate and 'Aunt Flo' NEVER comes to visit (this is the most shocking thing to women I think). I also don't metabolize food the way my body should. I eat and it gets stored. I'm a storer. Lucky me! I wish I had learned all this before I was 24, it would have validated a lot of what I struggled with and how absolutely hard it was for me to lose weight unless I was eating less than 1000 calories a day. What I didn't quite anticipate was how my body would actually work correctly when I'm pregnant. My first Ob (with Eliana) didn't know much about PCOS and actually made some hurtful comments about my weight. Then I met Quimby who knows a lot about
PCOS and has a lot of empathy and kindness about it. She explained that for some reason, when I am pregnant, the pregnancy hormone, hCG, makes my body use food the way most people's bodies do instead of immediately storing it. How else do you get to 26 1/2 weeks pregnant with only 3 1/2 lbs weight gain? She said that the hCG diet that is out there now is for people like me. Our bodies don't necessarily respond to Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, or simple calorie restriction. There is a hormone issue causing me to 'store' fat. Makes me kind of mad that I have to deal with this, but it is quite interesting. Quimby said she thought I was quite interesting. Maybe you are all sick of me flaunting how little weight I've gained, but I have to be honest- when you fight to not 'store food' your entire life it's extremely rewarding and validating to have 10 months where your body does what it's supposed to do. It's like, see, I'm not a huge pig! I actually have a legitimate issue happening here! Had I never gotten pregnant we might not have seen it clearly. I am like a case study for hCG. Maybe someday when I'm not pregnant or breastfeeding I'll try the diet and drops and see what happens.
As a side note- the typical body type of someone with PCOS is what you might refer to as a 'linebacker'- broad shoulders and waist and narrow hips and legs. It's always amazing when I find out someone else has PCOS and sure enough they are a linebacker. Weird, huh?

It's official- Homebirth here we come!

Alright, probably half of you reading this think we're crazy and the other half are saying, "you go for it!" Either way you feel is ok, but as for us, we're thrilled :)

I called a midwife my cousin recommended on Monday (she had delivered my little 2nd cousin a month ago) and ended up crying on the phone because she was so wonderful and validated so much of what I was feeling and thinking and about things that happened at Eliana's birth. I felt so valued. We talked for easily 45 minutes and I never felt rushed. Then Tuesday my mom, Eliana, and I (Craig had to work late, he'll go next time) went to her house to meet her, her assistant, and her husband. I had 4 pages of questions, and not easy questions either. I was honestly intimidated to ask them so my mom kindly took over that part. I mean, who wants to start off a meeting with 'what is your death rate'? Um....yeah, awkward right? Her answer by the way was that in over 30 years of delivering babies and having delivered over 1000 babies she has NEVER had a mother or baby die and she has also never had a mother or baby permanently injured. Wow. She goes by Mif and is a calm, gentle person but understanding and has a sense of humor, too. She started doing births back when it was illegal here and midwives were radical hippies! Since then Seattle Midwifery School started and it's cleary not illegal, but my point is that she has been doing this since square one. She shared how she was VERY against home births prior to being a midwife. She had her first child at a hospital and then her 2nd in the back of a car. With the 2nd birth it was like something clicked because it was so easy and wonderful, despite being in the car, and it got her thinking, "maybe there is another way to do things." She delivered babies for about 10 years before doing a water birth and had an RN patient finally win her over. She's been doing waterbirths for the past 22 years, which is great since I am hoping to at least labor in water for pain management and possibly do a water delivery as well.

If you are looking for good questions to ask a midwife feel free to give me your email or message me on Facebook, it's just obviously too much for me to post them all here.

I was happy with every single one of her answers and pretty much just impressed. In the past 6 years she's only had 2 hospital transfers. That is incredible considering she takes on about 2 births a month. One transfer was a woman trying to VBAC her 12th (yes, 12!) pregnancy whose uterus was tired and the other was a 1st time mom with exhaustion. Everyone was fine and nobody died :)
Mif's assistant is awesome, too, and even leads a LLL  (right up my alley, huh!). Her husband Jim is an old farm boy and had such a kind, gentle demeanor. I think we'll all make a good team.

After I asked all the questions there wasn't too much Mif needed to know about me. I had told her about Eliana's birth on the phone already. I told her my BP's from appointments (average 125/70) and she asked my weight gain, which is a total of 5lbs at 26 1/2 weeks. They were shocked I'd only gained that much but impressed. Woohoo! And actually I lost 1 1/2lbs between yesterday and today because as of today at my last OB appointment I'm up a total of 3 1/2 lbs (with my clothes on) :)
Mif's statement after all this was, "I think your family will be great for a homebirth". YAY! We're approved!

There is so much I can share about meeting Mif, but I'm trying to keep from writing for two hours. What I do want to share was how personal it was. We walked right in, no wait time or waiting room to deal with. She has a scale and BP cuff which we'll use at my appointments from now on. She'll do the urine sample (to check for protein) and will also check for Strep B and do the CBC blood test at the right time. She takes the samples and sends them to the lab.  I get a whole hour with her at each meeting to establish a relationship, prepare for the birth, and be healthy. Want to know the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around? She actually WANTS me to call her! When I asked, "how far apart do you want my contractions before I call you?" She answered, "Um, the first one!" She wants to know everything and what my body is doing at all times. If there's mucous (sorry, TMI), she wants to know how much and what color. I can call at any time, even 2 am (I asked!) and they WANT to know how I'm doing. As soon as I was home I had follow up emails from the assistant with helpful stuff I had asked her to send me. Mif also recommended I take Calcium, Magnesium (to help prevent pre-eclampsia), Potassium (electrolytes), and Cod Liver Oil.

When I got home and was going over all the questions and answers with Craig I started crying when I told him about them wanting me to keep in touch and call often. It's just refreshing. I matter. They care about me and the baby. I find myself crying a lot lately. This is all so close to my heart and it's like my first birth experience scarred my heart and now I'm finding healing and closure to the pain and a new chapter is beginning. I see how God has used so many things (including the horrible 1st birth experience) to prepare us for this new chapter. Craig sees it too and has been filled with emotion over how different this new chapter is and how right it feels for us. I like the word Providence. It means divine guidance or care: God conceived as the power. It's not luck or coincidence, it's God working behind the scenes to orchestrate this beautiful symphony.

The issue in all this to me was how to tell my OB. It honestly scared the crap out of me and made me want to crawl in a hole. I love Dr. Quimby. She is a wonderful OB. I respect her and have enjoyed getting to know her. But the bottom line is that when I think about what really matters to me in my birth experience and what I truly want out of it- it's a home birth. So I prayed last night and this morning and went to my apt planning to tell her. We did my glucose and anemia blood work, bp, weight, and then I went to the exam room. She came in and we did the normal stuff. Then I broke the news with much trepidation, "I've decided to do a home birth." She answered, "oh, ok." And not in a judgemental, 'you're a weirdo and I think your baby will be born brain damaged' kind of way but in a 'oh, wow, that's a big decision but I totally respect your decision and don't hate you for it' kind of way. Talk about relief. She was so kind I immediately started crying (seeing a pattern with the tears here?) and thanked her for being so gracious and told I really, really like her and I was so afraid to tell her because I didn't want to never be able to see her again. She said if something happens and I need to be transferred she'd be happy to be my dr and I can see her anytime for anything and she wants me to bring in the baby :) Dr. Quimby is amazing and how she handled my change of plans just confirms what a great person and dr she is. I told her I know the AMA and ACOG are strongly against homebirths and she's probably not supposed to say anything good about them, but she just said that really depends on the physician (meaning she didn't plan to be a jerk about it). She asked who my midwife was and just wanted to make sure I had someone experienced. I'm so glad she is still my gynecologist and that our relationship is not severed.

I thought you all might want to know some of the more interesting questions and answers from my midwife interview:

How many births have you done? Over 1000 (100 even before finished schooling)
What is your death rate, for both mother and baby? 0
What is your permanent injury rate for both mother and baby? 0
What is your transfer rate? 2 in the last 6 years
Have you ever dealt with a major bleed? Yes, every time it was controlled and everyone was fine. The worst bleed she ever saw was on a transfer patient AFTER they were transferred and went through a D&C at the hospital
Do you encourage family/father participation? Absolutely. "The less I can do the more successful the birth is". She wants the husband and wife to be a team and allow the woman's body to do what it needs to do. She is there to support, provide safety, and make sure the baby is healthy.
What are  your expectations of me during pregnancy? Stretching, exercising and taking care of my body. Exluding white's-sugars, breads, and milk to keep from having a too big baby. She recommends prenatal chiropractic and massage.
How do I reach you? Are you available 24 hours a day? She wants to be on the same page at all times; especially when in 'the zone' (37 weeks and later). She'd rather be at my house a day too long than a minute too late. She will come when I want her there, doesn't matter how long she is there for. She gave me her cell phone number and home number and the same for her assistant. They are always available.
Do you provide postpartum visits in the early days after birth? Usually 3; within 24 hours, at 3-5 days, at 5-7 days.
Have you handled complications such as hemorrhage, cord around the baby's neck, or the baby not breathing spontaneously? Yes, all of those, everything worked out good. Both Mif and her assistant are certified in Neonatal Resusitation.
What medical complications require transport to the hospital? Prolapsed cord, non-reassuring fetal heart tones, major blood loss, and high blood pressure.
What is included in your fee? prenatal care, newborn assessment (PKU, etc), labor and delivery, breastfeeding support, postpartum care,etc
What happens if I go overdue? At a time that Mif and I agree is right we will do a biophysical profile and possibly non-stress test on the baby. 42 weeks is not the magic number for induction- we will give my body as much time as we can if the baby is still strong and healthy

Wowza, right?! So cool :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Homebirth, the ongoing exploration

Still pondering, praying, researching, and investigating doing a home birth. Yes, I know, I should've thought about all this before 26 weeks! But for some reason it didn't land on my heart until about 23 weeks.....so here I am. I've contacted 4 midwives so far and 2 are available. The problem is that one is in Federal Way and the other doesn't take insurance. I'm still working on things obviously. Craig and I are discussing and praying about things and want to make the right decision for us. I really don't think it's a black and white issue for most families. Some people should not do a home birth and that's totally ok. Some people are good candidates and then you still have to decide if it's for you.

Last night I started remembering so much of what happened in the hospital that I hated. Having to wear the fetal moniter and lay in bed for 2 1/2 days even though Eliana not even once showed any signs of distress. Being woken up every 2 hours at night by the nurses once she born so she could be stripped down and weighed (was she going to lose 3lbs in a hour? I didn't understand the purpose). The almost dozen heel pricks she received for jaundice (which when the numbers are fairly low typically resolves itself once your breastmilk is in, but that doesn't happen the first night!). The fact that my dr didn't deliver her and then also took 2 days just to stop in and 'say hi'. How attentive! The nurses bringing in formula and pacifiers and saying we should give them to her 'just until my milk comes in'. The nurse who mixed up my chart and thought I was scheduled for a tubal ligation. I could go on and on and on.

Let's just say that I don't agree with 'blanket treatment' of newborns. Just because one mother may have ghonnorea or chlamydia and therefore her baby may need the eye medication after birth does not for a second mean that all babies need it. I understand it's purpose and frankly it's sad that STD's exist and babies can be very harmed from coming in contact with them. But I would bet my house, my cars, everything I have that I do not have either of the STD's that they give the babies eye gunk for. Nevermind the fact that most OB's test their patients nearly 3 times for STD's during pregnancy. The eye treatment burns and causes blurry vision- for who knows how long. There's a lot of info available about this subject, definitely look into it more if you're interested. We were never even told about the eye gunk (other than maybe signing a form real quick? I have no idea) at the hospital and frankly had no idea what it was until we looked into more ourselves. Poor little Eliana, if only I'd known.

I mean, picture this, you're in a warm safe bubble inside your mommy for the most heavenly 40ish weeks of your life and then you pass through the birth canal in a triathlon of sorts and the second you come out although you just need to feel and smell the warmth of your mother you are instead passed to a cold, hard scale then given a bath to wash off the 'ickyness' of the sanitary environment you just lived in for almost 10 months (Side note- but vernix is actually shown to have great benefits for newborn skin when not immediately scrubbed off. Again, look into it if you want more info). Then a burning goo is put on your eyes and your already poor vision becomes even worse. Then you get a heel prick, Hep B injection, Vitamin K shot...and finally if you're lucky- you get to go to your mom, whom you cannot actually see because your eyes are burning. And whom you cannot actually feel because you are swaddled so tightly that no part of your skin is touching hers.

This is not the experience that all women experience, but it's exactly what Eliana and I did. It's basic hospital protocol and seen as normal and 'necessary' by the ACOG and most parents who don't know any better. Call me a hippy mom or whatever, that's truly fine, but one can't help but wonder if there is a connection between all these hospital protocols and the embarrassing rates of induction and C-Sects in the United States.

Here are some interesting birth statistics from BabyCenter.com:

Birth and delivery

•Doctors remain top choice: In 2006, the vast majority of moms in the United States gave birth in hospitals (99 percent) with the help of a physician (91.5 percent). Midwives attended about 8 percent of all births (most midwife-attended births are in hospitals), up from less than 1 percent in the mid-1970s.

Of the 1 percent of births outside the hospital in 2006, 65 percent were in homes, and 28 percent were in birth centers, numbers that have remained largely the same since 1989. Midwives attended 61 percent of home births, and physicians attended 7.6 percent of home births in 2006. In all, 38,568 births happened outside of hospitals in 2006.

•C-sections soar: The number of cesarean deliveries in 2006 rose to 31.1 percent of all births, a 3 percent rise from 2005 and another record high. [It rose to 31.8 in 2007, I can't find more recent numbers] The c-section rate has climbed 50 percent in the United States over the last decade.

•Labor gets a push: The number of women whose labor is induced has more than doubled since 1990. In 2006, it rose 1 percent above the previous year, to about 22.5 percent of births. Sixteen percent of preterm and 24 percent of term and higher deliveries were induced in 2006.

•Boys outnumber girls: With about 1,049 male babies for every 1,000 female babies in 2006, boys are keeping the edge in a ratio that's stayed about the same over the past 60 years.

•Twins level off: The number of twins born in the United States was roughly the same in 2006 as in 2005, with 32.1 pairs of twins born for every 1,000 births. While leveling now, the rate skyrocketed 70 percent between 1980 and 2004.

The rate of triplets and higher multiple births declined in 2006 for the eighth consecutive year to 153 triplets per 100,000 births. The rates shot up by more than 400 percent between 1980 and 1998 but then started to drop, in part because of improvements in fertility treatments.

Doesn't it look like a direct correlation between induction (and medical interventions) and C-sects?  This is exactly what proponents of natural birthing and midwifery are saying. Ricki Lake's movie The Business of Being Born is a very interesting watch. I'll admit that when I watched it during my pregnancy with Eliana I thought it was a weirdo conspiracy theory group of people. Then, I went through it myself. I had no idea that all the craziness talked about in the movie actually happens to real people! If you have Netflix, the movie is available there or you can purchase it on Amazon or Ebay.
A few statistics cited in The Business of Being Born:

• The U.S. has one of the highest maternity death rates in the world

• The U.S. has the 2nd worse death rate for newborns in the world

• In Europe and Japan, midwives deliver 70 percent of all births; in the U.S. midwives delivery a mere 8 percent of births

• In the U.S., as of 1900, midwives delivered 95 percent of all babies; by 1938, midwives delivered 50 percent of all babies and; by1955, less than 1 percent of all babies born were delivered by midwives.

So anyway, I'm not sayng 100% I'm doing a homebirth, but I'm also not saying 100% I'm doing a hospital birth. I have more work to do. I feel like I'm cheating on my OB even thinking/talking about all this, but I have to do what is best for me and my family- not a surgeon. And I will add that my OB has done nothing wrong. I'm not flipping the switch because of an issue with her. I really like her and almost think that because of her kindness and humanness towards me I feel more free to do what I need to do. I only wish I'd had her when I was pregnant with Eliana- maybe my experience would've been a little better.

 I love this website- http://bringbirthhome.com/home-birth-advocacy/a-guide-to-home-birth-for-first-time-moms/
I found this grading system to determine if you are considered 'high risk' or not. Thankfully, I am not! -http://www.obfocus.com/questions/qanda13.htm
Great resource for changing care providers- http://www.injoyvideos.com/mothersadvocate/pdf/hbyw-ChangingProviders.pdf
Helpful website for creating a birth plan. Even emails it to you when finished :) -  http://birthplan.com/

Friday, August 13, 2010

Love Languages

Craig and I had a good discussion (well, started as an argument since we were both hurt about some things and morphed into a good conversation) last night and one thing I thought was really interesting was the subject of love languages. Of course we didn't say, "you're not speaking my love language!" But one thing Craig did say is, "I work so many hours and try to take care of the house and yard and all the things I do because that's how I know to show you and Eliana that I love you." Ok yes I was crying and thinking, why could I not have heard that earlier? Who knows, maybe I wouldn't have listened anyway. But it made me think about love languages. It's ironic and a little twisted that often in relationships the way we know to show love is not the way the other person knows to accept it. And btw, if you're not familiar with love languages, check this out- http://www.5lovelanguages.com/learn-the-languages/the-five-love-languages/ . Craig was doing everything he knew to do and yet it was like he was speaking Mandarin to me. Don't get me wrong, I do love and respect him for being hard working. I noticed that about him on our first date and knew I wanted those qualities in my spouse. However, that isn't what makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside or totally loved. As I've told him often, I'd rather be in a happy marriage in this tiny house than a miserable marriage in a mansion. I think this evolves and changes a little over the years, but for me I think it's pretty much about Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. I appreciate Gifts and Acts of Service but they don't scream LOVE to me. It's just not how I tick. I have a dear friend that speaks gifts as her primary love language. We're all different which makes it tricky :) Physical touch fits in there somewhere for me as being important as well, probably in between the ones I've already said.

Although it's not one of the 5 love languages, the huge thing for a man is RESPECT. And while I do respect Craig as a hard worker and provider, I was feeling jipped in the lovey-dovey side of things and then stopped showing that I respect him. That just makes him want to be less lovey-dovey, etc etc. You see the cycle? I'm writing about this because I know 100% it's not just Craig and I that deal with this miscommunication, but neary every marriage at some point and some level will have this 'crossing of wires'.

Let's say you have someone with gifts as their primary love language and someone with acts of service as theirs, in a relationship. Typically (until we learn otherwise) what happens is we try to show love in the way that we best receive it (even though our spouse might be speaking a totally different language than us). So, the person who speaks 'gifts' will try to show love by giving gifts. But their partner speaks love by 'acts of service' and is grateful for the gifts but not hearing I LOVE YOU even thought the 'gifts partner' feels like that is what they are screaming. Conversely the 'acts of service partner' might be changing the oil in their spouse's car, filling up their gas tank, taking out the trash, scrubbing the bathtub, emptying the dishwasher, etc, all in an effort to say I LOVE YOU but the 'gifts partner' is simply wanting a bouquet of flowers on their counter or a new book, etc. Talk about mixed wires, huh?

So, I implore you to think about what your language is and to think about and ask your partner what their's is. It's amazing how much more loved we feel when we're speaking the same language.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My messy and flawed life/self

Right now I feel like buying a billboard along the freeway that says, "if you're dating someone who has children with a crazy ex- RUN!"

Hmmm....I guess that seems harsh. But honestly, it's less than 20 hours until Jacob is supposed to fly here and the X is saying she won't put him on the flight. It boggles my mind that Craig was ever with her. And it ticks me off that I'm 25 1/2 weeks pregnant having to deal with this crap! I honestly feel like I have to take care of everyone and everything else, but who takes care of me?

I know the 'big' answer to that is God. But in all the little details of life (which I know God also cares about), sometimes I feel forgotten. My belly is huge, my back hurts, there's too much going on for me to remember to eat or drink, I have lot going on in my own life and mind that have nothing to do with 'spawn of satan', aka the X. But yet here I am having to deal with this junk simply because I'm here. What did I ever do to deserve this constant nightmare?

I guess as a woman, or maybe it's just me, I imagine being pregnant as enjoying the new life growing in me and having someone to say, can I get you some water? do you want to put your feet up? do you need a back rub? how are you feeling about labor coming up? anything you want to talk about? Basically, care. Be there. Support me.

Craig works so much and then is busy with yardwork and crap with the X that I haven't been feeling like there's anything left for me. And then I get cranky and irritable and he wonders why. Women want to feel important. Women need to feel important. Especially when said woman has a growing belly, lovely pregnancy acne and greasy hair, an achy back, and is busy with an almost 2 year old all day. Lost in the mix is the last way I want to feel. I guess I'm supposed to be learning something in all this, but I just want to scream IT'S NOT FAIR and take off to Hawaii with Eliana.

This wasn't how I pictured things as a child. As thrilled and blessed as I am to even be pregnant- it's really a buzzkill that I get to experience it with all this garbage surrounding me. I'd be lying if I said I'm not jealous of my many friends with kids that get to enjoy their life as just them- no exes to deal with, no child support to pay etc. I feel kind of sad (well, happy for them, sad for me) when I see the joy of them living their life together without the past being dragged along with it. My friends get to have babies with their husbands and plan and be excited for their future together. THEIR FUTURE TOGETHER. Not how they will pay for and plan for their future when one spouse's ex is costing them a ton of money and time and stress. I get to pay for, stress about, deal with, and live with Craig's past. How delightful for me. It's maddening. And I just have to say, unless you have been in my shoes....don't judge. Don't sit on your little soapbox and think, 'well that's not very Christian of you', or 'it's only a bad situation since you're letting it feel that way.' Unless you've been in these shoes, you have no idea what it's like. I'm only 27 and I've already been dealing with this for 6 YEARS. How did you spend your twenties? Probably not like this.

Many people don't like their exes, I get that. But this is a whole different ball game. This is a vindictive, bitter, person that does everything she can to try and keep Craig from his son and make life difficult for us. She constantly complains about having no money. That irritates me to no end. We have a toddler and another baby on the way- nobody sends us money every week! She gets money from two different fathers for her children every single week. She has no idea how easy she has it. We pay taxes on that money although we never see it. She conversely doesn't even have to claim it on her taxes- free money! And Jacob says he's on the free lunch program at his school, but I wonder how they qualify with her income (whatever it is) and her husband's 70k....unless she's lied on the paperwork.
It's extremely frustrating because as much as I want to get away from this mess- there literally is no way to get away from it. I can leave Craig- but I love him and want to stay married forever and of course if I leave him then my 2 children will have to go through the mess that Jacob has. [I feel this goes without saying but I'll say it anyway, I'm speaking in a satirical kind of way. I absolutely don't want a divorce.] I can stay- which is what I will always do and thus I will always be right in the middle of this mess. Lord help us.

The bright spot in all this is that our neighbors finally got rid of their dog. It was a long 3 years of 6am wakeups, 10pm wakeups, all day barking and their rudeness, but they finally decided to get rid of the dog. The woman owner was never really rude and told me many times 'the dog will be gone in 10 days'. Of course it never happened. She loves animals, which is great, so her plan was always to take it to Paws or the Humane Society for adoption. Her husband was the one to be rude and say the dog wouldn't be leaving. It's kind of ironic that the day before they got rid of the dog I sent a long letter, another copy of the letter sent in January 2009, and ANOTHER barking ledger to the county. Craig and I have always been dog people. We like dogs and we loved our dog. But it's been disheartening living here and having to suffer the worst case scenario of an undisciplined out-of-control dog. My love for dogs has been dampened because of our awful experience. Then the house down the street lets their dog out to run around the neighborhood and it's been pooping in our yard. Fabulous. I have no idea how people can be so inconsiderate.

I don't know, all this stuff going on makes me want to just stay home, not go anywhere, not reach out to anyone, ignore my phone, and keep to myself. In this particular moment, I feel like people suck. I will probably simmer down and feel fine in about 10 minutes and then think I should delete this blog. But here's the deal, I'm real. Like it or hate it I'm not fake. I don't have the energy to be fake. I can hold my tongue and pretend life is perfect just as well as the next Duggar ( I actually like them a lot but notice they never say anything negative, at all???)  but I have to say with everything I've been through in my life I happen to appreciate honesty, from myself and from others. Life is not always pretty (and if yours has been, well, lucky you), life is hard a lot of the time. Writing a blog about daisies and puppies and making millions of dollars just isn't in my blood right now. Being real about the mess and that I'm conflicted and flawed- that's all I can do right now. Where does God fit into all this? That's what I'm feeling out. I feel like He fits somewhere right in the middle of it or at least that's where He wants to be. Where am I allowing Him to be is probably the real question.

A couple months ago my pastor and his wife were speaking together and she shared that growing up her father was so loving, always supportive, gentle, kind, there for her, etc.....that she had no problem picturing God being that way for her, too. I couldn't help sitting there with tears and noticed I wasn't the only woman sitting there looking like a little girl that just wanted her daddy's love. You see, I didn't grow up with a dad to give me unconditional and present love. I've tried and worked to see God that way, but the natural connection between our earthly father and heavenly Father does make it a little difficult. I never had that safe place in a dad where I could hide and find security and solace. I fended for myself and I find myself in that pattern a lot- thinking I have to fend for myself. Then when I stop and let Him in I find myself in tears again realizing that when I allow God where He wants to be, I always become that little girl that needs her daddy's love. And unlike earthly fathers that weren't physically or emotionally present- God always is. Sunday at church I realized I held back during worship. I held back from singing the words like I wrote them, even though I agreed with everything I was singing. Why? Because I knew I would cry like a baby and I just couldn't let myself go there. Once again, trying to fend for myself. Why does life have to be so messy?

I guess I'm grateful that God always reaches out to me and is patient with me. He's teaching me, although I'm apparently a slow learner, that I don't always have to fend for myself. As an adult when I see the patterns of dealing with things I've created for myself it's sort of incredible to look at my childhood and things later even that have impacted who I am and how I deal. For me as a little girl, not having a father taught me that I can't trust men (at least not all the way). God got dragged into that by default. Craig and I have had many conversations about what we want his relationship with our girls to be like. He knows how much I've suffered because of what I didn't have and he doesn't want our girls to suffer. He knows he has to tell them they're beautiful and hug them and kiss them and spend time with him. I was a bit taken back a couple days ago when I realized that by the time I was Eliana's age I'd already been without a dad for 15 months. SAD. I want so much different for my children. My prayer is that they will have a close, loving relationship with their daddy and that that relationship will enable them to see God as their close and loving daddy, too.

Ok, see, I'm already feeling much better. People don't suck, I retract that. Only some.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

C-Sect vs. Home water birth

Perhaps it's my fears of my awful first hospital birth repeating itself, but for some reason a home birth seems more and more intriguing.
This video is graphic, so consider yourself warned. However, it's also amazing and beautiful!

A Dramatic Difference...

WARNING: video of cesarean section in progress. VERY graphic, triggers to cesarean, trauma, child treatment, and delayed mother/baby meeting.... but the HBA2C waterbirth at the end is amazing!


Cesarean vs. VBAC: A Dramatic Difference from Alexandra Orchard on Vimeo.

I was really moved seeing how awful it was for the baby being pulled out it's mama and then looking scared to death and screaming........then compare that with the home birth and the baby came out and went directly to mama's chest and didn't cry at all. I thought the c-sect looked awful and I pray my babies don't ever have to go through that.
I particularly love this video because this family conquered the 'you can't deliver a baby normally after 2 c-sects' medical community. This poor women was told 2x that her body was not capable of laboring on it's own and the process of birth was taken from her. Then she didn't even get to hold her babies for hours and hours after the unnessecary surgery.
It's kind of the same way I feel about breastfeeding. Let's not tell a women that her baby is failure to thrive and her supply can't keep up- making the mom feel like a failure- when maybe there are other issues happening, such as a tongue tie. When these mothers are loved and supported and given help to conquer the issues they learn to trust their bodies and themselves. Beautiful!

I do believe there absolutely is a need for our excellent community of trained OB's/surgeons. I have been happy so far with my OB. I just don't think that women should ever be treated as a number and lined up to receive what may be considered 'hospital protocol'. Home birth is not 'thinking outside the box'; it's been done for centuries and is still a great option for low risk, healthy pregnancies. The risk of needing a hospital or surgeon is something the parents have to willingly take on. Even in a hospital birth things can go wrong.

I feel that most OB's consider a successful pregnancy, labor, and birth end result to a be a live baby. As a mother who has been through it I will say that there are actually about a million other things that go into account for it to be considered successful, even though a live baby is of course the desired end result.
Would we say that a marriage is successful strictly because it doesn't end in divorce? NO. It takes love, committment, respect, sharing life and passion, etc.....a million other things besides just simply staying legally married.

It seems this way of thinking is actually considered 'out of the box'. I'm not exactly sure when natural childbirth and breastfeeding became rogue :) .......but the numbers of rogues are increasing and the desire to prepare, know our bodies, know our options, and advocate for ourselves is definitely not a bad thing- even if it ends up being a hospital birth with trial of labor that ends in a c-sect.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chillin' in the motherHood

Good evening friends. Another week has passed in a blink!

My poor little angel has had a bad cold and I've been staying home mostly keeping her happy. Last Thursday was a rough day for a mom. I needed to get some things from Grocery Outlet to make a last minute casserole for a friend. Eliana had woken up sick that morning, but seemed semi-ok, meaning I could make a 15 minute run to the store ok. Right? Um, no. Two minutes after getting in the store Eliana starts coughing and coughing and was THIS close to throwing up all over in the store. Boy did I feel like mom of the year for making her go somewhere. She was in tears and just wanted to be held. Can you blame her? I got the needed items quickly and we went home. We'd only been home an hour or less and she had a sippy cup with 1/2 white grape juice and 1/2 water (she only gets this when truly sick) and she tripped and fell on her face with the sippy still in her mouth. I picked her up and she was screaming with a mouthful of blood. That is not an overstatement. Things happen and little mouths bleed pretty fast and I know to not freak out about it, but this was seriously the worst amount of blood I've seen from her. I was really worried about her little teeth. Her washcloth and blankie were covered in blood. THEN, she's coughing and crying so much she makes herself throwup- yes, the whole sippy of juice water she'd just drank. Fabulous. I almost put her in the tub but didn't think she'd make it through a bath, so I wiped her down, changed her, gave her some Tylenol, and put her down for a nap. I figured I'd assess the mouth damage when she woke up. Ugh, not a good day. I spent her nap making the casseroles I needed for the next morning and then spent the rest of the day comforting her and trying to keep her as happy as possible. The sippy cup incident was the only time she threw up, the rest of the week has consisted of a nasty cough and nasal discharge. Today she finally seems to be feeling a lot better although the symptoms still aren't totally gone. Her little mouth seems ok, although one top front tooth seems a little farther out than before :( She'll be going to the dentist soon and they can check it out.

Saturday I was gone for 9 hours to a planning meeting for a fabulous mom's group I am helping with this coming year, momsandmorepoulsbo.blogspot.com , and left Craig in charge. That was the longest he'd ever had her alone and the longest I'd ever been away from her. I left a note on the fridge of foods she likes just in case he couldn't figure out what to make her. He was planning on staying home anyway since she was sick. She had a great day with her daddy and I honestly didn't worry about her at all. I did miss her tons though and was SO happy to give her kisses when I got home. I teared up a little thinking how different my life would've been if I'd had to go back to work after having her. I can't imagine only having a couple hours max a day with my child. I feel so blessed and lucky to be in the situation I'm in even though it comes with it's own set of challenges and trials.

My garden is doing great. Yesterday Eliana had a bowl of blueberries with her dinner and Craig was eating a piece of zucchini bread and I just felt so proud. The blueberries and zucchini came from MY garden! The first zucchini to come off my plant was a whopping 13 inches :) I'm sure it would've kept growing but my grandma told me they taste best smaller and she knows her gardening. I decided to make 2 loaves of zucchini bread with it but it only used half the zucchini. I might grill the rest.


I was bummed to notice some weird little black spots on my artichoke plant a couple weeks ago and made a mental note to google and find out what the heck was going on. I didn't get around to it until today when I found out they are black blean aphids- the infamous predator to artichokes (apparently)! I was actually more concerned with the swarm of little ants overtaking the plant but it turns out they are only there to help the aphids farm the sweet nectar out of the plant. Web articles suggested to spray off or kill the aphids and just watch it closely for a reinfestation. Sadly, I waited to long to deal with it and the poor plant was overtaken. We decided to get rid of the artichoke plant rather than risk damage to my fabulous zucchini and cucumber plants very near by. Sad day. I hate to kill a living plant, which I know is sort of weird since it doesn't have feelings or anything, but I just feel like I'm growing this little food villages and I want to see them succeed. I honestly don't think I'll plant artichoke next year since they are very prone to this problem. It's too time consuming to keep them aphid free :(
My cucumber plant is doing well though and has about a 7 inch cuke so far. There are lots of little babies so it should keep going.
It's funny how the weather changes are sometimes great for my garden and sometimes not depending on the plant. The 95 degree weather was fabulous for my corn- it grew like crazy! But then it killed one of my pea plants and almost the 2nd one. This past week has been cooler and my almost dead 2nd pea plant has revived itself, but the corn has slowed it's growing. Can't please everyone I guess.

I am 24 1/2 week pregnant (or 25 according to ultrasound). Babycenter.com says my uterus is the size of a soccer ball and looking at the size of my belly- I believe it! My biggest issues at this point are forgetting to drink water and eat. I know you're thinking, "I wish I had that issue!" But honestly it's not a good issue. I'll go 6 or 7 hours or more with zero fluids and then feel hot, get a headache and wonder what's up. Then I think about it and go, "oh man, I haven't eaten anything or drank anything today!" Not good. I like water, it's not a matter of not liking it. Part of me gets tired of going pee. This sweet little baby has been happy to ride low and she puts a lot of pressure on my bladder. When I drink consistently I pee all the time. That sort of created a cycle of me not drinking because I didn't have time to pee every 5 minutes and then the cycle created a habit of no fluids. The not eating thing is not intentional or because I'm afraid of weight gain. It's because I'm busy with my toddler and life and feeding myself seems to take a backseat to most other things. I'm trying to remind myself to eat something whenever I feed Eliana and that's helping a bit. I just really need to get on track with fluid consumption. I need a butler!
Tomorrow we see our little doll again. I guess we'll know for sure if she actually is a girl. Wouldn't that be mind boggling to find out she's a he? haha