Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Any day......we hope :)

It would appear I am arriving into the 'not so fun' part of pregnancy. I'm tired, achy, big, just want to be done. I had a good midwife appointment last night. Baby has dropped quite a bit since 2 weeks ago and her head is down in good position (for now).

On the ultrasound we could see little particles of vernix floating in the amniotic fluid and also very small specks of calcium in the placenta. At first I was thinking, 'uh, as in my placenta is crapping out???' My midwife assured me it looks like a good, healthy placenta and is just getting ready for labor- the small calcium spots are totally normal as we get close to labor. Ohhhh, ok. She is thinking I will most likely not go over 40 weeks, so it could be any day. Although I'd hate to get my hopes up and then be mad if I go to 42, you know? So, we'll see.

My belly button is completely flat, my wedding ring still miraculously fits on and off, feet are a tad swollen, and I've gained 21lbs. And yes, it's stressing me out. I'm bothered by that number as I didn't want to gain more than 15lbs total. I have to tell you though, I think a lot of that 21lbs is fluid. Partially me retaining fluid, and then a lot of the extra fluid in my belly. There were big pockets of it in the ultrasound last night. Baby girl has quite a nice cushion. Not to mention she might weigh 7lbs already! I can only do what I can to be healthy, drink water, and prepare for labor. And then hopefully the weight will melt off after delivery like it did with Eliana (-26lbs in 6 weeks).

What I'm working on now is tying up loose ends in my life. The little things that nag my brain and might keep me from being relaxed and ready to have this baby. For instance, Craig and I switched auto/home insurance companies a few months ago and I'm STILL trying to get it all finished. It wasn't supposed to be my battle in the first place since the new company promised they'd take care of everything. But, since emails and calls from Craig to them go unreturned 99% of the time and even emails to corporate go unanswered, that leaves Craig and me in the position of having to try and sort it all out week after week. The old company still owes us $160. They took it in error 1 month ago and it's been a heck of a time trying to get it back. The way my brain works won't allow me to forget about that $160. I think about it every day and quite frankly need it to pay bills- but that aside it's still bothering me because it's unresolved. I HATE things that are unresolved. I HATE lack of follow through and flakiness and that's what we've been dealing with. There are several things going on like this in my life and it's really just stupid. Why I am as the customer being put out? It's crappy business etiquette.

Ina May Gaskin talks a lot about the mother and her role mentally in having a speedy labor and even labor starting. I want to feel free to have this baby whenever it's time. Not be worried about all the little things I'm supposed to be doing or babysitting people and/or companies that can't seem to figure out how to do their jobs. These little details nag at me and I have to have them resolved in order to move on. Or I suppose these companies could put me on their payroll since I'm doing all their work for them and then that might help how I'm feeling! :)

I just finished reading Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart by Carol Leonard. It was pretty good. I definitely prefer the vibe and stories of Baby Catcher better, but it was still a good read. Carol has worked a lot of the last few decades with Teddy Charvet who was the first President of MANA (Midwifes Alliance of North America).......AND who just so happened to deliver me! It was pretty surreal reading about these women and their huge role in getting midwifery out from the underground and making it legislated and legal and then to think that one of them actually caught me 27 years ago. I'm thinking I'll send her an email and tell her about me- she lives on Bainbridge Island now.

Anywho, off to pee. TMI? Uh, no, well all know preggo women pee every 10 seconds :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nearly 36 weeks

Well, according to the ticker on the side of my blog I have 31 days until my estimated due date. I am feeling very pregnant and that it is definitely coming. My fundus is measuring 40 weeks thanks to the pockets of water giving baby girl tons of cushion. When my water breaks, it's going break! Niagra Falls here we come! Hopefully it'll happen in the birth tub and then we won't have any mess to deal with.

I am experiencing pelvic/pubic pain that I never had with Eliana. It's like being punched in the crotch, although the actual va-jay-jay is fine. Hmmm,  I liked that saying a lot more when Oprah wasn't throwing it around every episode. Time to find a new nickname for the lady part. Apparently this pain is more common with 2nd and subsequent pregnancies and commonly happens around the 35 week mark. Sometimes it's Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction-, which is a separating of the symphysis pubis bone (the Wikipedia description and picture is helpful). Not sure if that's exactly what's going on. For me it is a general aching, as if I have a bad bruise, from the groin to the upper thighs. It's quite uncomfortable. It hurts the most after walking a lot or getting in and out of bed. My chiropractor said the baby has probably dropped and is putting a lot of pressure on my bones now. That is good, so I'm trying to remember these are good pains! For most women the SPD pain goes away after delivery, a few continue to have aching for several months as things get back to normal. At any rate I have a good chiropractor and I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. Baby is making sure I have to slow down a bit!

I'm super tired. The burst of energy you are supposed to get before baby comes has not come yet. I just want to crawl in bed and stay there. But alas, this mommy has a sweet little 2 year old that wants to read and play all day.

I thought I wouldn't end up feeling too crowded since I never really did with Eliana, but there is literally a little butt right between my ribs when I sit down. I can press on it and it moves a tad and bounces right back up. I'm slightly nervous about how big this baby will be, but I believe that God grows babies our bodies can deliver (generally speaking and GD aside). Whether she's 7lbs or 10lbs, she's gonna come out and I'll survive. And because I'm an overachiever I'll probably be more proud of myself if she is big! haha!

Anywho, blood pressure continues to be perfect with my 1-2x daily checks. It was a little high this morning, but that was definitely stress caused. It's fine now. Starting next week I'll be on weekly checkups with my midwife and the home visit will be in a week and a half.

I'm pretty much just super curious when baby girl is going to decide to grace us with her presence and how the whole labor and delivery will go. I'm also kind of excited to start labor spontaneously and out of the blue since I was robbed of that experience last time.

Ok, having major braxton hicks contractions today. ugh! They are not painful and are not increasing in intensity or frequency, but they are uncomfortable! Between the crotch bruise and the rock hard uterus I'm feeling like an alien has abducted my body, thankfully she is a very cute little alien :)
I haven't been in a blogging mood lately. Sometimes I just feel like the rule 'if I don't have anything nice to say I shouldn't say anything' should be followed :) This is a lesson in self-discipline that applies not only to our children but also to us. The internet (or email, or facebook, or blogging, etc) gives us enough anonymity that it's easy to say things that you would never say to someone's face. The adage, "hurt people, hurt people" is true. When we're upset and lash out it's because we are in fact hurt. I am frustrated and basically just angry I guess about some things in life having to do with dealing with people- but I'm going to hold my tongue for the moment and pray that God gives direction in the situation with all involved. Is that vague enough to drive you crazy???? :)

In life I tend to jump in with both feet if I'm going to do something. When I went to highschool, after being homeschooled for 10 years, I got A's in every single class. I was bored. Then I went to OC doing Running Start, A's again (until the 2nd year and then I was bored and stopped going to class and ended up with a 3.5 gpa). Then I went to Northwest University, A's again and the Dean's List. This is less about me being 'smart' (although I hope I am!) and more about me not liking to half a** anything. If my name is on it, I want it to be excellent. I met Craig and within a year we'd completely fixed his credit, paid off his truck, planned a wedding, and gotten married. If I say yes to something, I say yes all the way. Working at the banks I tried to always go above and beyond in my sales goals. I hated thinking my name would be in the bottom of the ranking. I definitely hated not being in the top 10% of sellers. I was always the person in class who showed up, homework done days early, ready for the test. I never flaked on a fellow student when doing a group activity. I never flaked on fellow coworkers and always felt super bad calling in sick even when I was puking and had a major fever. I would stress about the customers that were supposed to come see me and how my coworkers would have to rearrange their lunch breaks because of me.
I typically only say yes to things that matter to me. I don't want to waste my time and devotion on something I only sort of care about. I won't comment on just anything, it has to actually matter to me in order for me raise a strong opinion. Craig's says my hot button issues are breastfeeding, unnecessary hospital interventions/inductions, and colic. He's right, those are the topics I typically will always have something to say about. Those are the topics I know about. I would never try to tell someone how to prevent testicular cancer or make a comment about why they got it- I know jack squat about it! But how to deal with colic (or moreso just survive it) and standing up for women everywhere who have been through it and told it was because they didn't do something right or didn't eliminate a certain food from their diet, or 'if they'd only just read this book' etc- you better believe I will jump in and speak up. So, if it's something I'm volunteering in (which is I guess every area of my life since nothing comes with a paycheck!), my marriage, raising my daughter, researching and writing about something- I do it all the way. My midwife told me she doesn't imagine I ever do anything slow. She's probably right. Craig says he strongly believes the only reason that Eliana was born in 25 minutes of pushing after 50+ hours of exhausting labor and didn't end up a cesarean was my sheer determination. He's probably right. It was mind over matter. That is just my personality. It also comes from not having an easy life. Dealing with challenges encourages us to build strength and coping mechanisms. This doesn't always end up well for folks. I do have a hard time trusting others to follow through and do what they say they will. Life has many times taught me the lesson that the only person I can count on is me. This is not a healthy lesson and one I hope my daughter doesn't have reinforced 20 times like I did. God wants us to live in community with other believers that will love us, support us, help hold us accountable. satan wants us to try it all on our own. But what do you do when you feel that is your only choice?

I love this quote from the recent Reader's Digest, "Hard work spotlights the character of people: Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses,  and some don't turn up at all." ~ Sam Ewing

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A few good reasons to shop at Goodwill!

I have found some particularly good (and cheap!) items at Goodwill lately and thought I would share :)

Dirt Devil Jr $20.99 retail. Ours (and works with new batteries) for $3.

Beautiful new with tags holiday dress for Eliana for $6, and it is this season's Costco dress, retailing $18.99.
Columbia Vertex Waterproof toddler snow bibs new with tags $50-$100 retail. Ours for $7.

Hanna Andersson quilted pink coat, $3. Typically $40 and up retail.

Carters footed jammies, $8 at Costco where they are cheapest. Ours for $3.50.

Bunny Costume, ours for $1.50!

Super cute western shirt, ours for $2.

Fisher Price Rainforest Waterfall Peek-a-boo soother. Retail is $36 and up. Ours for literally $2. Works with new batteries.

Are you inspired??? Ok, go find some deals!

I also should add that just because something looks a little 'icky' in the store doesn't mean you shouldn't get it. A good washing and stain treatment works wonders on most clothes. Many people simply don't treat stains and just bring them to Goodwill instead. Your gain! I use Clorox/Lysol wipes to wipe down and clean toys that cannot be submersed in a bleach water solution. The toy vacuum was rather filthy when I brought it home but looks brand new now :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Prenatal Supplements

Thought I'd post real quick what I'm taking supplement-wise during my pregnancy. Please consult your caregiver for what you specifically should be taking.
As a patient of an OB I was instructed just to take a prenatal. As a client of a midwife I have learned there is a lot I can do naturally to help my body.

Nature Made Prenatal Multi +DHA: 1 a day liquid softgel
Available at Costco, it's nice because you only take one a day and it's a softgel.

Kirkland Signature Vitamin D3 2000IU: 2 softgels daily
There is a lot of research available about Vit D's importance to our immune system, this is one great article, . It is recommended to take 4000 IU daily.

Carlson 100% Norwegian Cod Liver Oil 1000mg: 1 daily
For skin and heart health

Country Life Calcium 500mg-Magnesium500mg-Potassium99mg: 2 daily
I am taking this to help prevent high blood pressure and preeclampsia. FYI, if you do develop Pre-E, guess what they put in your IV........magnesium :) I'd rather take it preventatively personally.

Nature's Way Evening Primrose Oil 1300mg: 2 daily
Does a host of wonders for the female body. Excellent for Trying to Conceive. EPO contains a wonderful prostaglandin and helps prepare the body (specifically your cervix) for labor. Also can be used vaginally after 36 weeks to soften the cervix and any scar tissue, . It is recommended to take 2400mg daily orally after 34 weeks of pregnancy. Highly recommended for women with PCOS.

Rasberry Leaf Tea
Can be taken your whole pregnancy. Is said to help prepare your uterus for labor and help induce labor in a 'ready' uterus and baby.
I buy most of my supplements at Super Supplements.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Eliana!

My sweet little girl is officially 2 years old in 1 hour and 40 minutes. *Insert sad face*.

As a mother I feel like every milestone is very bittersweet. It's awesome that she's saying 1-5 new words every day, but I also remember when she was days old and trying to just figure out breastfeeding. It's awesome that she loves to read and plays with her baby dolls as if they are really her babies, but I remember when she was still the baby. It's awesome that she loves avocado, scrambled eggs, and eating 'crunchy balls'- aka Kix cereal, but I remember the first time she tried pureed carrots and the crazy face she made..........she'll never be that little again and that's a bit sad to me. My joy in it is that she is so sweet and tender and loving. She is innately, I believe, a sensitive and kind soul. I am blessed to be with her every day and have the opportunity to hug and kiss her all day long. We can sit and read Little Mommy (her favorite book) 5 times in a row. We can count her toy cars and say the colors together. She can watch me put on makeup and ask to wear some of mommy's eye shadow. We can go outside and pick peas from our veggie garden and wave hello to our corn. I am so lucky and blessed to be her mother and get to have all these moments with her.

I think it would all be that much sadder for me if this was my last or only child. I am thankful I get to experience all the baby stuff again with a new baby soon and hopefully more after that. But little Eliana will only continue to get older and I will have to deal with the tears of losing my little baby.
I noticed yesterday that her last two molars, on top, are indeed making their way through. She almost has a full mouth of teeth! She is literally, like I said, saying 1-5 new words everyday. Craig and I look at each other and say, "how did she learn that?" Like Sunday at TJ Maxx, she pointed to a huge stuffed teddy bear and said, "I need that." Uh, really? Oh my. lol. She instead made it out of the store with a super sweet book called My Sister and I :)

Eliana is growing and changing every day and becoming less my baby and more my child. I'm thankful to God every day that He chose us to raise her and teach her about Him and life. I pray we are doing a good job and someday Elly won't need too much counseling because of me :)

Ok, I feel like I'm rambling........and I need to go clean the oven (again), I did it twice yesterday but there's some stuff not coming off. I also cleaned the bathroom, did 3 loads of laundry, vacuumed, mopped, did prenatal yoga, made Craig's lunch for today, made meatloaf and Dutch potatoes from scratch, and paid the bills. And I was exhausted last night, seriously. I'm realizing my body is trying to enforce limitations on me in this pregnant state and I'm not loving it. Sunday I was up at 5:30am to be at church by 7am to sing with the worship team in the 3 morning services. I got home around 2pm and then Craig, Elly, and I left again to run errands for a few hours. I didn't get to bed til almost midnight that day. And again, I was exhausted. I feel like I need to push the envelope because I will be so busy and probably overwhelmed with a 2 year old and a brand new baby in a matter of weeks....but I also know somewhere in my brain I should be taking it easy and relaxing and resting up for the marathon known as labor. Balance I guess. Forever working on it!

Alright, off to conquer the oven and then my 34 week midwife appointment later.......

Friday, October 8, 2010

Haven't updated on my garden in a while, so here's a few new pics:
Baby Corn! I planted these from seed the end of June- meaning way late, but they are still trying to give me some produce :)

Ok, in hindsight, I should've planted them on the other side of the box because they block the sun from my eggplant and zucchini now. Oops!


Baby Winter Squash. Not sure what kind this is yet, I planted seeds from a 4 type seed packet. Hoping it's acorn or spaghetti :)

Ah, the beauts- green beans, cucumbers, and a winter squash stretching out towards the front.

Green beans!

Scrawny transplanted corn. So, when I needed to thin out my corn (which I should've done more of) I felt so bad just throwing away the little stalks that I decided to try and plant them somewhere else and see what happens. They are growing, albeit thin and even have some baby corn growing! Yay for endurance :)

This first year of gardening has been a good lesson in what to plant, what not to plant and how to do it better next year. Next year I intend to have carrots, cucumber, corn, zucchini, peas, chives, basil, maybe rosemary and lettuce, and then winter squash later.

The problem I'm having now with my veggies is slugs and snails. It's been a big problem for about a month. The wetter the weather, the happier the slugs and snails are :( I have Slug-O out like crazy, but I still find little snails all over stuff in broad daylight, and judging by my dying zucchini and peas the slugs are making visits every night as well. So frustrating! We did the beer thing one night and it was entertaining, but honestly I just don't see myself putting fresh beer in a container every night. And coffee grounds- tried that too. They just end up getting moldy-eww.  Anyway, we trek on! I'm proud of my corn at least. I planted it so late in the season and it's trying so hard to produce fruit. Gardening has a lot of analogies for life doesn't it?

Today has been a nice day at home with my little girl. Went to the chiropractor this morning and then we've been home the rest of the day. Which isn't to say I'm doing nothing- it's been lots of emails and time in Word (unfortunately I mean Microsoft Word, not the Bible) for the mom group I co-coordinate. Yesterday was one of our meeting days and it was super fun. My mom came and was our speaker for food and kitchen organization. We have a great group of moms and it's always special to see who God brings to the group.
It was a long day for me though. I got up at 6:45am and didn't get home until 9:15pm since I had worship team practice last night. I think I made it bed around 11:30pm. I was pooped and am still feeling it today. That's a long day for a 3rd trimester mama with an almost 2 year old!

Today the chiropractor said I'm looking good, we just need to keep working on getting baby girl in the best position we can. She's posterior on my right side at the moment. Ideally she'd be on my left side. It's possible that she isn't able to just slide over based on wherever the placenta is. We're trying to have her rotate back along my spine rather than out in front like they usually do. For rotating in front they suggest being on all fours and hiney in the air, too. This week we're going to try me laying on my back for a few minutes before I lay on my left to see if she can move that way instead. She may end up just staying on the right, which is ok, but we'll want her anterior- spine right out front- for the best labor for me. At any rate I'm hardly having back pain anymore which is fabulous. My lower back was not so great a couple months ago from this huge ball in front and now I'm pretty much fine. If I overdo it or carry Elly on my left hip then my left lower back will give me trouble- but it's fairly rare now.

I'll be 34 weeks on Sunday and will have Craig take a pic- we'll see if I like it or not! My weight gain is 14lbs total as of yesterday. Sort of weird how I only gain in the 3rd trimester, but ok I guess. Taking my own blood pressure at home regularly is going fabulously. I have taken it 9 times in the last 6 days and have not had one bad reading. My average seems to be 126/78- good!

Not sure how to close this entry, but my brain just shut off, so I guess that's our closure. Time to go find my lemon water and see if my brain will turn back on! :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rewriting the Script your Brain Plays

I think we all have a script that plays in our brain and it impacts the way we do things. If you were always told you couldn’t do something, didn’t (or did) look a certain way, had a certain issue, were a certain way…..those play over and over on a sort of repeat setting in our brain. Often it takes a conscientious effort to stop that track from playing. And even more often we don’t know that track is playing at all, even though it literally touches every part of our life.
While preparing for my baby girls arrival, that is coming soon, I have been reading and reading and trying to emotionally, physically, and spiritually open myself up to labor, birth, and all that it means. In her book, Guide to Childbirth, renowned midwife Ina May Gaskin talks about how women can stop, progress, pause, and quicken, etc labor with what is playing in her mind. This isn’t referring to a weirdo cult type of thing, but rather what we choose to dwell on and live on in our brain effects our body in a very real way. Women have literally helped themselves dilate from 4cm to 8cm in a matter of minutes by repeating, “I am open, I am dilating, etc” during contractions. Conversely, women have stopped labor because of unspoken fears (one woman’s was that her husband wouldn’t always be there for her and the baby) or worries. The more these things are addressed, processed, and dealt with before labor, the better the labor is going to go. I asked my midwife her experience with this type of thing and she gave me an example of it happening just in the last few weeks. That woman needed to be transferred to the hospital (in a non-emergent situation) because fears from her previous labor and c-sect were keeping her from pushing. She was able to talk about it and realize what was holding her back, but yet the fear literally paralyzed her and she needed medical help to force her to push. I believe the mental-physical connection is HUGE and much, much bigger than most of the American medical community gives it credit for. That being said, I want to process my fears and deal with them now and allow God to heal me and make me whole so that I can enter labor knowing and believing it to be beautiful, God-designed, and redeeming.

A fear I’ve been battling has been about my blood pressure. As many of you know I was induced with Eliana at what I believed then to be 38 weeks. Knowing what I know now about when I ovulate, I was actually 37 weeks. I had a meeting Friday morning at 9am in Poulsbo with my boss’s boss who was coming over from Seattle to address issues happening in my bank branch. To get these issues resolved it would require me being confrontational with my boss about things that had been happening to me and to my coworkers that shouldn’t have been happening. Let me tell you, I HATE confrontation. I am a middle child- I am the peacekeeper. I like everyone to be happy and everyone to get along- even at the risk of me being unhappy (granted this blog is helping with that). Knowing I had that meeting coming I was scared to death. I tossed and turned the whole night before.

Guess when my blood pressure reading was scheduled for? 8am the morning of the meeting. So of course, it was very high. I want to say 140/85or90. My Dr. wasn’t in the office yet so the nurse went and talked to another Dr, whom I’d never met or seen. The nurse and Dr came back and said I needed to go get my things from home and check into the hospital for induction as it looked like I might have preeclampsia. They said it was dangerous for me to continue being pregnant and the only cure for my blood pressure was to have the baby. I was young, dumb, and believed every word 

After 2 Cervidil (12 hours each), non-stop fetal monitoring (which meant me laying flat on my back for 50plus hours with one 30 minute break), Pitocin so strong my bag of waters ruptured at 1 or 2 centimeters, an excruciating epidural that didn’t work, and a long and very difficult labor, then being stitched while awake and not numbed (OW!), Eliana came to be.

I believe 100% my labor would’ve been different if I hadn’t been induced and had known a few things:

*Blood pressure can absolutely be affected by things going on in our lives. The fact that I couldn’t even sleep the night before shouldn’t said something. I still feel anxious thinking about the meeting that was coming.

*High blood pressure and preeclampsia is not the same thing. You can have high blood your entire pregnancy (which I did not) and yet still never develop preeclampsia. Pre-e is a neurological condition that is a whole picture illness, affecting many parts of the body. You cannot diagnose pre-e based on one high blood pressure reading.

*It would not have been “dangerous” for me to go home, relax, go on paid disability with my employer, and allow time and less stress to help me and my baby (and check my BP at home regularly).

*I had a right to more information, another opinion (God forbid maybe even MY doctor’s opinion, not someone I’d never met).

The way that everything went down and the scare tactics used and then the horrible labor that ensued have left a sort of Scarlet Letter on me. I am afraid every time my blood pressure is read. A track starts playing in my mind that it’ll be too high, I’ll have to go to the hospital, the labor and birth I want will be out of reach, etc. There is a sort of trauma that lives in my brain because of how things were handled with Eliana. This is bigger than ‘white coat syndrome’ in which someone has a higher BP at the doctors than at home. I am literally afraid of having my BP taken. I feel like I have been labeled as HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE and it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

My midwife does not handle one high BP reading like my OB’s office does. She realizes that stress, anxiety, a bad day, etc all play a role. Especially the mental aspect of it. It’s taking time for me to realize I won’t be banished to the hell I went through with Eliana with one high reading. My midwife is calm, gracious, and understands what I’m feeling. She’s had other clients that went through very similar situations and have had this Scarlet Letter issue as well.

I have decided that one way I can rewrite the track in my brain is to take my own BP at home regularly. I bought a fully automatic Panasonic BP cuff and have used it for 2 days now. Both times my BP was 117ish/ over 73- perfect  The more I can associate me being healthy and not broken with having my BP taken the better my readings will be at the midwife’s and anywhere else. The whole blood pressure issue may seem minor to some people, but for me it’s a part of the whole trauma of Eliana’s birth and the big picture about what was done to me. Through reading and spending a lot of time thinking through things I am finding myself a little raw at what happened and what I want to happen this time. I know I cannot plan for everything and I don’t intend to. But the emotional aspect of it all is something I do have some control over; how I deal with things, what I allow to play over and over in my head, and what I hope/expect out of things.

My personal issue is BP, what is yours? When we can find and address these issues and work through them, as painful and raw as that can leave us, we allow ourselves to heal and be better versions of ourselves. This is true whether it’s birth, marriage, our childhood, etc. We all have tracks that play, we can learn to rewrite the negative ones and keep the good ones.

Friday, October 1, 2010

BF'ing Supply and Demand

This is a great, short article about breastfeeding supply and demand. EVERY new mom should read this!