Friday, July 26, 2013

39 Weeks!

Amazing how time has flown...little man will literally be here any day. He might also take his sweet time and not come for a couple weeks. That fact was really bothering me a week ago, but I'm coming to terms with going 'over' again (40-42 weeks is not technically post dates, by the way). I'm trying to just enjoy my girls as best as I can with the lack of sleep and 80 degree house. It's a little tough because in my brain I think, "we should go to the zoo or the beach or the drive-in movies..." but then actually doing those sorts of things feels really overwhelming by myself with this belly, the contractions, and the heat. We've had limited time all together with Craig without things that we really can't get out of. Strangely the day that Eliana was born was my step-dad's father's memorial service and tomorrow is his mom's memorial service. And another grandparent of mine just passed away 2 days ago. Very weird. Five years ago I had six living grandparents...I now have only two living.
If there's no baby yet, Craig and I get a date night tomorrow after the memorial service, so that will be very nice! Maybe a movie and dinner :)

This might be my last pregnancy update, so here's the details:

39 Weeks
Baby: my guess is around 9lbs already
Mommy: Up 34lbs
My bp has been perfect, it was 118/68 at my midwife appointment on Wednesday. Baby's heart rate has tended to range in the 130's and 140's the last few months and he's incredibly active. My guess on his weight has to do with how large he feels. When he moves it's like, Whoa that's not a little baby! My midwife agreed on Wednesday, saying, "I thought maybe there was extra fluid but I'm just feeling a lot of baby." Him being big doesn't worry me, I just can't wait to hold him and snuggle him. I'm guessing his head will be about 15" and he'll weigh between 9 and 10lbs. If he comes out only 8lbs I'll be quite surprised. And I definitely don't have gestational diabetes. My blood sugars were only 100 when I did the 1 hour GD test and every appointment my sugars have been perfect on the pee test. It's amazing, I am really the healthiest in this pregnancy that I've ever been. I am also still less than my pre-pregnancy weight with either of the girls. Coincidence? Probably not :) AND, I also don't have Group B Strep this pregnancy (a common over colonization of vaginal bacteria in case you were wondering...and if you weren't, well sorry). I had it with both of my other pregnancies but have taken FemDophilus this time, a probiotic specific for women. It's nice to have one less thing to think about since I won't need antibiotics during labor.

My belly button is an outie now. That has NEVER happened to me before, despite being about 40lbs heavier when I gave birth to Evie. Somehow it seems like a chubbier belly should be more maxed out and that a belly button would push out more, but it's the opposite. The less belly chub you have the more likely you'll get an outie. My belly button is actually sore, the skin is stretched so tight and thin.

I've opted to have zero internal checks thus far. An internal check is to see what the cervix is doing and let you know how things are moving along. For me, I don't think they are really an indication of when labor is going to happen. If you are dilated to a 6 then yes, I would say there will be a baby quite soon...however getting a check every week at the Dr just seems pointless to me when you're only 36 weeks or even 38. At some point we just have to trust our bodies. That they know how to have the baby they are so beautifully growing. All centimeters are not created equal. It's very possible to be 'high and tight' (not dilated at all) and still have a baby 24 hours later...like I did with my Evie. I may ask for an internal next week since I'll be 40 weeks and it might be helpful to know if my body is likely to need a gentle push again (castor oil). But for now, I'm trying to trust the process and be patient. It's also just a fact that a lot of moms don't get to carry full term and they struggle through NICU stays and all sorts of stuff. I'm very thankful to be SO healthy this time around.

Alright, photo updates:
Last weekend, 38w1d. SO hot out. Reading my beloved Ina May and actually contracting during this photo- see the high and tight belly?

38w5d

39 weeks



Sunday, July 21, 2013

A post on miscarriage, 9 months after I wrote it

I wrote the following post mid October, 2012. I felt very raw when I wrote it and it was never posted or read by anyone. This morning, in the shower, this post suddenly came to mind and I feel the need to share it. I believe it was God that reminded me of this post, which means someone needs to read it. Here goes:

There is a question that is so commonplace in our society that I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't asked it (me included): "You gonna have a kid/more kids?"

When you get married you realize that is the logical next step in a relationship, right? So people start asking...."when are you going to start a family?" Because just a husband and wife can't possibly be a family, right??? Ohhh, but it is. That's the thing. When you get married, you do become a family with your spouse. Where they go, so do you. Hopefully they are your dearest, closest friend. They see you cry and scream with mascara running down your face and they don't care that you look crazy. They love you more than anyone else. They are your family.

If you are fertility-challenged, then that's all you have. Somedays it feels like plenty and the world is your oyster and you dance off happily to explore it with your spouse. Other days you feel totally consumed and miserable with:

why am I not pregnant?
can I ever get pregnant?
this is cycle day 21....I should've just ovulated, right?
is it too soon to test?
maybe I ovulated late.....should we baby dance tonight just in case?
what if I didn't ovulate at all!???

OH CRAP. My period is here. I'm not pregnant. Or maybe even worse....no period.....no baby.....my body is doing absolutely NOTHING.

This is when the question, "you gonna have a kid?", as totally harmless and kind as it's meant....can make your whole day feel bad. When you are living in Trying to Have a Baby Land, it takes real effort to not think about it. Everywhere you go it's like the pregnant women are following you and newborn babies are staring at you. Family members try to understand, but often even they get pregnant 'without trying'. It can feel immensely alone. It's hard to count how many people I personally know in an agonizing fight to try and have a baby.

This was SO me when trying to get pregnant with our dear Eliana. It consumed me. Then I had her and I could somewhat push the fertility struggle and agony out of my mind as I moved into life with a real live baby. Then we were able to conceive Evangeline in only 2 months of fertility meds. I thought we'd found the magical combo of drugs that worked for my body and I'd be able to have as many babies as we desired.

Spring of 2012 came around and I decided to go in my for annual and at the same time ask for more baby making drugs. I didn't tell Craig...I wanted to surprise him. I thought that if maybe I didn't chart my temp every day and we didn't map out exactly when to have sex, that maybe we could make it less stressful and I could actually do something fun to surprise him with a pregnancy! So I did a round of provera, metformin, and 100mg Clomid. A big fat nothing. My body felt crazy and I thought it was just because I was older and we were under stress with my MIL's health failing. But I couldn't keep it secret more than a month.....so I told Craig I was on meds and we were actively trying to have a baby. There went my surprise! I just knew I couldn't hide the drugs, my clomid moods, and what days we needed to baby dance. We had to be a team. So we started in on the 2nd month of drugs. "It was rough" is an understatement. I had a cyst rupture one night and the whole rest of the month was non-stop spotting, I was moody, angry, and pretty much just felt AWFUL. Add to it my MIL also passed away that month. I felt like I'd gone down the rabbit hole to Crazy Town and didn't know how to get back out. Then the month was over and I had to go get a new month's prescription. I decided to take a pregnancy test since my Ob said I could still conceive even though I'd had a cyst rupture. It seemed unlikely but I desperately wanted a baby and something hopeful and happy in our life following 9 months of horrible-ness.

Whaddya know.....the stinkin' test was positive. And the one I took right after that. And the blood test I went and had done at my Ob's office. I was definitely, for sure, pregnant and about 4 weeks along. I didn't tell Craig and wanted to surprise him on our 7th anniversary, July 16, 2012. That week one of my dearest friends was getting married at our house and I was dying to tell everyone, but I held my tongue. I didn't even tell my mom. I was exhausted and passing out on the couch every afternoon....my boobs hurt, and as is the usual, I was constipated. My sure-fire pregnancy symptoms were in effect. Then something happened.....I started bleeding. Dark red, fresh blood. It was a Saturday and there was no way to go see my Ob and I knew if I went to the ER they'd run tests, tell me to followup with my Ob and charge me $800. No thanks! So I waited til Monday, our anniversary, and went in that morning for bloodwork and an ultrasound. Because I hadn't had my hormone levels checked earlier in the pregnancy, there was no starting point, so the bloodwork was totally inconclusive. The levels suggested I was still pregnant but maybe not staying pregnant. I was told to come back in 2 days to check the levels and again and they needed to have doubled by then. Bad enough I waited all weekend....now I had to wait again! The ultrasound showed a big open, totally empty, uterus. The tech said that would be normal if I was about 4 or 5 weeks. The ultrasound also showed an ovarian tumor and tons of ovarian cysts. It was like bad news after bad news. I couldn't help but cry when I saw my empty uterus and packed-full-of-horribleness-ovaries. It just didn't seem fair. We lost my brother in law and mother in law in the space of 7 months. I needed and wanted something joyful for our family to cling to. Instead I got a miscarriage and a tumor.

After my appointment I drove to Craig's worksite and told him I was pregnant but probably not for long. I felt like I needed to be sorry, like I'd done something wrong. Maybe because it's my body with all the issues. Because I'm the stupid woman whose body doesn't know how to behave like a woman.
We went out for dinner that night for our anniversary and we clung to what the nurse said, "the doctor thinks it's all ok....you'll be fine. Just come back in two days to retest." I later found out that my Ob knew I was miscarrying and what the nurse said came across as major false hope (SO not helpful). So I prayed I would stop bleeding and the baby would soldier on. I'd even had a special pregnancy announcement made on Etsy for Craig....figures the first time I get to surprise him it's with "Surprise! I'm pregnant....for now."

The lab work 2 days later was conclusive. It didn't 'stick'. I was officially not pregnant anymore. I was given a follow up appointment for a month later and sent off to bleed quietly. And so I did. For 2 whole flipping weeks. Prior to miscarrying, I had no idea that women bleed that long. Or that heavy. Every time you see the blood it's a reminder that your body failed you in keeping the pregnancy going. It's a reminder that you're not pregnant anymore.

And then baby shower invites come in the mail or on Facebook. Someone posts their creative "we're pregnant!" announcement on Facebook (or in my case 3 different people did). And yes, they all have roughly the same due date I would've. And it sucks. It's been nearly 3 months and it still sucks for me. I had surgery and am now tumor free. But I'm also still baby free.

And now I'm right back where I was 5 years ago. "You gonna have any kids?"
The thing is, for many of us it's not that simple. I can't just get off the pill, or take out an IUD and wind up pregnant after one night of fun. I haven't been on birth control for 5 years. I've conceived 3 times, all three with provera, metformin, and clomid. Before the miscarriage I at least felt like my body knew how to stay pregnant. It somehow missed the memo to ovulate, but it knew how to carry a baby. Then I miscarried and the innocence of how much it hurts physically and emotionally to lose a baby was robbed from me. Now I wonder if I'll always fear a miscarriage. If God allows me to be pregnant again...will I get to enjoy the pregnancy? Will I be afraid and checking for blood every single time I pee?

These are the things that women who miscarry don't say. Are afraid to say. Are shameful to say. Now, it's a fine balance to accept my loss and move forward while also being joyful and happy for my friends that are having babies. My loss doesn't mean they aren't allowed to be happy. I get that and I AM happy for them, truly. But yet I'm still bummed for me. See how this is a weird cycle? As my own health improves, I'm better able to separate my misfortune from someone else's blessing. I can truly celebrate with friends.

There have been times that it's hard to be in a doctor's office and listen to the 19 year olds next to me going on about how easily they get pregnant and how "they didn't even want to be pregnant." I honestly wanted to go over there and smack them. I think of women who eat whatever they want, smoke, drink, are morbidly obese, etc. and can STILL easily get pregnant. It just doesn't feel fair.  That's the thing about miscarriage....it likely never feels fair. I didn't do anything to cause it and there was nothing I could do to stop it. But I'm more sensitive now. I find things people say offensive when the Diana of 4 months ago would not have. Miscarriage changes us. Changes how we view our world and getting pregnant. I couldn't understand that until it happened to me.

I have debated so much about posting about my loss. I've gone back and forth on it this whole time. But I think for me I've realized that I did lose a baby, and it matters. My feelings matter. Remembering my baby matters. Helping others understand what someone miscarrying is going through, matters. My dear friend Rachel has been so courageous in sharing her journey of loss on her blog The Lewis Note, and that has encouraged me also. Did you know 1 in 4 women will experience a baby loss at some point? I don't say that to be fear mongering...but rather, why is it not talked about? Why is it hush hush? Women need to feel understood, validated, encouraged, and given the freedom to be all over the place in their hormones, to not return calls, to be late to play dates.....while the world moves on, many woman are experiencing a miscarriage, alone.

So this is my journey, a very personal one. I might be high functioning....I come from a long line of over achievers and people who press in through the pain. So I cook, and create, and sing, and clean, and so on and so on. Often it's a tight rope walk to keep sane and to stay in the joy of my Saviour and not wallow in the grief or sadness too long. But the downside to people like me is that everyone thinks we're fine. That we're super mom and  have it all together. Even my mom and husband often don't know how hurt I am on the inside. It's takes vulnerability to show my hurt and I think sometimes I'm afraid I'll be judged for showing my hurt or people will have their 'fixes' (I was told once to just pray about it and that fertility meds are unGodly), or that somehow accepting my pain will make me flounder in it. The reality is that often healing comes through vulnerability. By letting people see our hurt and what we might perceive as 'weakness', also allows them to help us and love us.

So here I am. Moving forward and taking care of me and my family and working to trust God and have faith that He is Faithful. Tackling life as a mom and the mundane everyday things as best I can to give my 3 children stability and security that the last year has achingly lacked. If you are experiencing a loss, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry you're entering into this club that none of us want to be a part of. You are not alone.

Early miscarriages can be tricky also, because when you don't get to see a heartbeat or know the gender or feel a flutter I think your mind starts to tell you it wasn't real and it doesn't matter and your feelings are dumb. I was 5 weeks when I miscarried. It was still a baby regardless of me not ever feeling it move.

That's where my post ended. I didn't know how to finish it and it never got 'published'. I conceived our little boy just days after this post was written. What an amazing God we serve. I never would have guessed my Rainbow Baby was on his way and how differently my life would look not even a year later. When my lost baby's due date, March 15th, came around I thought about the baby and I was sad, but also having a new baby growing made it so much easier. I know many women don't get that sort of consolation on their lost baby's due dates. Even though I'm over 38 weeks with my little boy, I do remember what the pain felt like and I pray this post helps someone in their pain and feelings.
~ Diana






Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nearly 38 weeks and lots of nesting

I have been a cleaning machine this week! I am sore and stiff and exhausted, but this ticker list keeps scrolling through my brain....shampoo carpets, clean bathrooms, mop floors, do laundry (never ending), finish the baby room, return x to so and so, get x from so and so, buy more bread for freezer, make more freezer meals, clean the white couch, etc. 
The details drive me nuts...clutter on the counter that has to go somewhere, things that need to be returned....all the little to-do's. I just want them DONE. I might be annoying Craig, I'm sort of annoying myself. But I can't help it. I feel a mix of, "maybe if I get it all done then my brain will chill out and labor will start" and also "Ohemgee I will have 4 kids all by myself (Craig is gone nearly 12 hours a day) if I don't do things now they'll never get done!"

It's also sort of weird anticipating a home birth because I know that once labor starts there will be at least 3 other people here, probably more. So yesterday I vacuumed and shampooed the entire downstairs. Which is a lot since this house is 90% carpet. After the girls went to bed I shampooed a couple random stairs, the top of my Lane hope chest that has a cushion and also an entire couch. This morning I did the upstairs carpets, probably 60% of them and mostly the girl's room and the hallway where I know toddlers have had accidents over the last couple years. Then I cleaned and mopped the upstairs bathroom and the two bathrooms downstairs. I've also done about 7 loads of laundry during all of this and mopped the kitchen.

I think I'd like to dust a bit, but mostly now I just want to work on freezer meals as I only have 6 in the freezer so far. The bummer is that it's been really hot and the thought of standing in the kitchen and cooking sounds rather nasty. Maybe tomorrow.

This last week I've definitely felt changes with my body. Monday night I had 30 minutes of real contractions. My first thought was, "oh wow, I forgot how much these hurt." And then I realized he'd be born on our 8th anniversary if things continued! After 30 minutes they puttered out and I went to sleep. I also feel a ton of pressure in the nether regions, strange pin pricks at times, and even weird pressure at the top of my thighs. My midwife says it's all just part of things loosening up and getting ready. Today at the chiropractor his hands were up by his head, so let's hope he knocks that off when the time comes! I imagine he'll have about a 15" head like his sisters so I don't need the added width of hands in there :)

I'll be 38 weeks tomorrow which is pretty strange. By this time Eliana was already 4 days old and Evangeline was still 3 1/2 weeks away from being born. It's anyone's guess what this baby will do. In the beginning I assumed I'd go a week or two past my EDD, but then I never imagined how very pregnant I'd feel and the intensity and frequency of braxton hicks. My chiropractor says the BH serve to help push baby down, so that's a good thing. He tends to ride high, but I do feel like he's gotten lower. And as I type this, there's a good contraction!

It's weird and cool feeling a baby move at this gestation. He's obviously good sized and sometimes I can tell specific body parts like a knee or ankle or foot or spine. He's busy and active.

Sunday night a dear and extremely talented friend did a maternity photo shoot for me and also some family photos and some of Craig and me. First time out of all the kids that I've done maternity photos. I think she captured some beautiful and fun shots and I can't wait to see them! She was awesome with the girls and really has such an eye for what makes a great photo. The top photo on my blog is from the shoot, just a quickie shot from the very end and even it is amazing! I'll share contact info for her once I have photos to share :)

This photo took bravery from me...it's a bare belly. It's very pale because I don't show it to anyone, even the sun and it's shiny thanks to Sensaria Body Butter (what will I do when it finally runs out????).
37w5d


Friday, July 12, 2013

37w Photos

14 weeks....in Cali when my dad died
Same shirt at 37 weeks.

37 weeks
My belly is so tight. By the end of the day my belly button is an outie- never happened with my other pregnancies!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

37 weeks


Hard to believe it, I'm almost full term. 37 weeks on Friday which means I'll be clear for a home birth and labor can start anytime (hint, hint uterus). This pregnancy has been harder than my others...I think a lot because my sweet girls don't let me sleep much and then keeping up with them and a teenager while growing a baby just isn't easy. I mean, geez...I'll have 3 kids 4 and under plus a 13 year old. Ack! I feel like I'm ready to have my body back. This little guy, if I guess correctly, won't be quite so little. He feels good sized so I'm guessing 9-10lbs if he goes to 39-40 weeks (please little man, don't go longer!). He seems to be head down and thankfully staying that way for now. He's still high in my ribs and hasn't settled into my pelvis yet, which is pretty normal for my babies. It means I have to pee a lot AND he plays my ribs like a harp with his toes :)
I started Evening Primrose Oil orally last week. It's a natural prostaglandin (like semen) so it works to soften and prepare the cervix to make labor easier. I took it with Evie, but only from 39 weeks on. My midwife said it's fine to take orally at 36 weeks and then vaginally at 37 weeks. It's a gel tab (like Vitamin E) so it dissolves while I sleep.

33 weeks

33weeks5days, photobombed by Evie

34 weeks

36 weeks

36weeks5days
I feel like I look puffy in my face...must. drink. more. water.

Pregnancy stats 7-10-13, 36w5d 
Weight gain: approx 32-34lbs (ahhh!)
Baby's size: somewhere over 6 1/2lbs
Still seeing my Webster Chiropractor at least weekly. Trying not to pack on too much more weight. Ironically I'm not eating much because the heat gives me zero appetite, but I'm gaining faster than I did earlier in the pregnancy :( Trying to force myself to eat more regularly and more protein. It's tempting to avoid food all day and then eat only at night once the house cools off. Not good for the metabolism! Still below my pre pregnancy weight with either of the girls :)

Pregnancy symptoms: Tons of braxton hicks all day, every day. Have to pee all the time. Lots of pressure in the lady bits when I stand or walk, even pain at the top of my thighs. Feeling so much more 'pregnant' than I did with my other pregnancies.
Baby is very active and his movements are more rolls and slow motion karate jabs now as he's beginning to finally run out of punching room. Quite a few moms in my August birth group have had their babies already so it's very weird to see a baby born at 35w gestation and realize my little guy is even bigger than that! Can't wait to hold him and meet him and name him. Knowing a real, live baby is growing is the motivation at this point to survive the next month. My first two pregnancies were so easy compared to this one. I never used to understand the 'complainers'....it would make me angry thinking, "don't you realize how lucky you are to be pregnant?!" And while that is true, it's also true that sometimes pregnancy is hard and takes every ounce of our strength and leaves us feeling like cranky zombies. I also feel a bit anti-social, which is weird. People stare at my belly in the grocery store and it just makes me feel self conscious. I keep telling myself to enjoy these last few weeks because newborns are a lot of work.....trying!