Friday, September 7, 2012

You don't get a medal for natural birth............

     I keep reading and hearing this phrase "You don't get a medal for natural childbirth."  Well, that's true, but you don't get a medal for running a marathon either. Yet people don't get chastised for wanting to accomplish that!  Can you imagine if you were running a marathon, and everyone on the side lines was yelling "You can't do this, are you crazy?" , "Just stop running already!  You could be done with all this pain if you stopped running." And at every water station they had an option for you to use a vespa for the rest of the race?  Not even just an option, but people telling you that is the only way to do it, and that you are crazy for continuing to run at all.
     Now I understand childbirth and marathons are not the exact same thing.  (But they are darn close!)  For one, saying that getting an epidural is like riding a vespa, I know that's not true, but its certainly makes a difference!  I know some people that say they still felt quite a bit with their epidural, and some people who said they felt nothing.  Also, epidurals do not come without risks, so again, another unfair comparison.  List of epidural risks here  Moms are being pushed to get epidurals, but not informed of all the risks.  I know I was not fully informed with my first daughters birth.
     People won't eat canned tuna while pregnant, lunch meat, sushi, hot dogs, soft cheeses, certain fish, sprouts, unpasteurized juices, and peanuts.  They won't have a sip of wine and religiously take their prenatal vitamins.  They are completely militant for 9 months, but when it comes down to delivery, people are begging for the epidural and taking Pitocin without asking questions.  Yet, I am crazy for wanting to avoid interventions and drugs?
     I don't expect everyone to have a natural birth.  That's like asking someone who has never been for a jog to run a marathon.  I would suggest training for this marathon!  By eating well, walking, taking a birthing class, surrounding yourself with a positive birth team, hiring a doula, and writing out that birth plan!  In mine, I highlighted that I was not to be offered pain relief.  (Like I didn't know it was an option anyhow??)  All I ask is that the next time someone says they want a natural birth, try not to look at them like they have an extra foot growing out of their forehead.  Instead, suggest things that could HELP them accomplish their goal.  Its not like they are on a personal mission to see how much pain they can endure without passing out.  They are just trying to experience all childbirth has to offer,and doing it like people have been since the dawn of time. Minus the squatting over a hole with blankets in it part.  (Although, that doesn't sound too bad to me)
     So no, you don't get a medal for natural childbirth.  You don't need one.  You get the satisfaction of accomplishing your goal and all the glory that goes along with it.  You get the extra rush of endorphins, you get to push in any position you want, you get to birth with little potential for harm or side effects for you or your baby.  I don't feel crazy for having a natural childbirth.  For me, it really wasn't that bad!  I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  Rock on you natural birth mamas, you epidural moms, you cesarean moms. Rock on you moms that know your options and support each other for making your own decisions!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

2 Years and a VBAC later

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my c-section.  It is also my daughters 2nd birthday.  These two events happened at the same time, yet are different.  The first was a life changing traumatic event that I will never be completely "over", that has made me cry, grown as a person, it has made me learn, and reach out to help others.  The second was a life changing blessing that mas made me cry, grow as a person, and has also made me swell with love beyond my wildest dreams.  See, the same, but different.

This year was honestly harder than last year.  Most likely because I was lucky enough to experience all childbirth had to offer, and it really makes me miss those first few moments with my first born, those moments that I can't remember clearly.  I don't really remember the first time I saw her, nursed her, or held her.  Its all quite a blur.

Thinking back on G's birth, reminds me of watching a horror movie.  (and not just because of all the blood)  You see the girl run up the stairs, and you yell at the TV "don't go up there!"  She picks up the phone "of course the call is coming from INSIDE the house"  When I relive the day she was born, my now knowledgeable and informed self yells things!  "Don't go in for an induction, wait for her to pick her birthday" , "Don't let them break your water" , "Get up off that bed and move" , "You CAN do this!"

Several times today I have found myself thinking "If I knew then what I know now.........................."  Well, If I had all that knowledge then, I wouldn't be who I am today.  I wouldn't be passionate about education during pregnancy, about fitness during pregnancy, doulas, drug free childbirth, or passionate about VBAC.  So, even though my day started out with a few tears, I'm ending it knowing that G's birth was supposed to happen exactly as it did.  Because of that, I have a beautiful, stubborn, smart, playful and vibrant little toddler.  And for that, I'm thankful.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Birth Preferences (not demands, this is not a hostage situation)

We labeled our birth plan 'birth preferences' because we wanted to show respect to our care providers and nurses that would be assisting in the birth of our baby.  I worded ours very carefully, and highlighted the most important parts.  (We highlighted no pain medication and no pitocin, because pitocin a lot of time is standard procedure after delivery.)  We wished to avoid demanding things that were against hospital policy.  For example, I knew that I would have to have constant fetal monitoring and a heparin lock while laboring in the hospital.  (That is unless you show up pushing, whoops!)  Our hospital also stated they required an ultrasound upon admittance, and we were going to decline the information.  (You can decline knowing your own weight if you want to.)  I have had someone argue with me that going along with policies like this is not informed consent.  She was mistaken.  I have been informed, and am consenting.

I WANTED a hospital birth.  I trust the professionals in an emergency, and feel most comfortable at the hospital.  I am not going to go into the hospital demanding a home birth.  I think everyone should know their hospital policies, their providers policies, and standard protocol before choosing where to birth whether they are having a VBAC or not.  

Other things to keep in mind while writing your 'birth preferences'.  
  • Try to keep it to one page
  • Go over your preferences with your care provider and make sure they have a copy
  • Highlight the preferences MOST important to you 

At the end of the page, we also said "If changes need to be made, we prefer to give verbal consent."  I wanted the hospital staff to know that we weren't opposed to changing the birth plan, if a true emergency did arise, but that we just wanted to be a part of that decision.

Here is a google document link of the outline we used to write our birth preferences that you can also just print out and check what you want.  Birth Options and Preferences

Our Birth Preferences
  • I would like to wear my own clothes
  • Access to fluids and snacks
  • Free mobility
  • Access to birth tub/shower
  • Access to birth ball
  • Dim lighting and music allowed
  • Heparin Lock okay
  • Limited vaginal checks
  • No IV Fluids
  • No pain medications and please do not offer them
  • Mother directed pushing
  • Pictures and video allowed
  • We do not wish to know estimated fetal weight
  • No AROM

Requests for after baby is born
  • Husband to cut cord
  • Baby placed on mothers chest
  • Parents to hold baby for first hour
  • No Pitocin
  • Save placenta
  • Delayed cord clamping

Newborn Care
  • No formula
  • No pacifiers
  • Delayed eye treatment, vitamin K shot, and vaccinations
  • Parents to give first bath

Cesarean Preferences
  • Pictures/video allowed
  • Husband present
  • Wear my glasses to be able to see
  • Lower curtain to see baby
  • Husband to hold baby
  • Skin to skin (husband will hold baby there)
  • Baby to come to recovery room

If changes need to be made, we prefer to give verbal consent


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Healing after a VBAC

As of writing this, I am 3 weeks post-partum.  I am feeling really good.  2 weeks ago, I was still super sore.  Everywhere.  Childbirth is the craziest workout I have had since I took my black belt test when I was 16.  My arms, neck, legs, everything was sore.  And of course my vagina.  During pushing, I developed a hematoma on my labia and tore pretty bad, but my perineum is 100% intact!  While being stitched up, my midwife said it would never look the same.  (she was right)  There goes my playboy career.

1 week PP with my first on the left, 1 week PP with #2 on right
We came home about 30 hours after Hattie was born.  We were given the option to come home earlier, but was also reminded that if I did come home, I would have a toddler all over me that didn't understand why mom couldn't hold her.  And I was still using ice packs on my crotch every 4 hours.  I was nearly as slow to get up and down as I was right after my cesarean.  Going pee was a challenge as well.  (Took 3 tries before I was actually able to go)  Going poop was way more of a challenge.  (Took 4 attempts, and felt like I re-injured some muscles in the process)  I am also using numbing spray a few times a day, and ibuprofen every 8 hours to keep swelling down.  So I can't say that the physical healing after my VBAC has been easy.  I am already back to my pre-pregnancy weight though.  A HUGE difference from my first pregnancy.  Yet another benefit of not gaining a ton of weight!

Emotionally, it has been MUCH better.  I keep thinking to myself "so this is what its like to take care of a newborn without being terribly depressed."  The first few days I felt a little numb.  Not it a bad way, just like everything that happened was so surreal.  Our wedding day took a few days to sink in too.  I keep waiting for it to hit me!  Even at 3 weeks post-partum, it still hasn't hit me.  I relive her birth several times a day, and am obsessed with looking at the birth photos.  The NSFW ones.  I am very proud of myself, but also haven't given myself all the credit I deserve.  I think once the birth seems real, that part will come with it too.  Nursing is going great.  Its amazing how much confidence you have in breastfeeding the second time around.

I feel so much more confident in my body in general.  I have been at such peace with birth even before I went into labor.  Our bodies are amazing.  I cannot tell you how exciting it was to have my body go into labor, without any form of induction.  To labor and birth without any interventions.  This entire experience just reaffirmed the trust I have in my body.

Little Miss Hattie
Can I say it was a completely healing experience?  No.  The depression caused by my cesarean forced me to find a way to heal.  The support from my family and friends made it possible for me to heal.  Making the right decisions for me and my family helped me heal.  Birthing from within classes gave me the tools I needed to work through the birth of my first daughter.  For me, it was all about feeling empowered with my decisions, no matter what the outcome. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Birth of H- Dans perspective

What should I be doing right now and what should I be getting ready for.

Where is the damn cell phone.

Pushing! Your not supposed to be pushing!

I REALLY wish our doula was here right now.

Do not get a ticket driving to the hospital.

Oh my, I see part of a baby.


Don't forget to take pictures.



Sure, I would be happy to pull the baby the rest of the way out and put her on Jesse's chest.

Hey, it is past midnight! I have a birthday twin.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Birth of H

I can't say I was totally patient that last week of pregnancy, but I was trying!  I certainly enjoyed the alone time with my daughter, before she was promoted to big sister.  A week before I actually went into labor, I had prodromal labor for 8 hours.  It started at 4 pm, with contractions 10 minutes apart, slowly increasing in intensity.  Not enough to move me from the couch, so I just tried to rest.  I eventually fell asleep around midnight, and they went away.  I had a prenatal appointment the next day, declined the vaginal check, because I didn't want to be disappointed, and we all know it doesn't mean anything anyhow.  Days went by, still having contractions here and there, but nothing exciting.

Monday, April 2nd, I decided to carry on with life, and go out in public.  (even though I HATE being harassed by people and their stupid pregnant belly comments)  I went and splurged on an Easter dress for the baby, and had lunch with my sweet G in the food court, the got harassed by some lady in the parking lot that yelled "When's that baby coming out?  I bet you're hoping soon!"  I just ignored her and continued loading my toddler into the car.  We came home, and took a nap.  Around 5pm, I noticed some contractions again, but continued picking up and doing laundry.  An hour had passed, and they seemed somewhat regular, so I decided to time them.  I'm not sure what it is about the end of pregnancy, but the closer you get to going into labor, the less you think its actually going to happen!  The contractions were 6-7 minutes apart, and a little crampy feeling.  I text my doula and a couple friends to give them a heads up.  They continued to be regular, and I tried to rest.  Around 8 pm, they became more intense, and I decided I couldn't lay down any longer.  I went and did my hair and put on my birth clothes. (black nursing sports bra, tank top and skirt)   I messaged my husband (who was drinking a beer and finishing some work in his garage office) and told him things were picking up.  He came in to see what that meant.

Things started to really pick up, and I decided to get in the bathtub to see if that helped the back pain.  Dan was following me around, timing the contractions, finishing packing his bag, and getting things around.  I had a few contractions in the tub, that were manageable, but I didn't feel like I could move much, and I just got really hot really fast, so I decided to get out.  Overall, the tub sucked.  Every time I got up to walk, I had another contraction, reguardless if I had just had one or not.  I think they were 4-5 minutes apart at this time, but Dan was so busy running around, he wan't timing too many of them.  He did tell me a few times that "you shouldn't be having another contraction, you just had one."  Thanks babe, you tell that uterus what to do.

After getting out of the tub, we set up to labor in the living room.  I felt like an animal trying to find a safe place to labor.  I remember watching my cat in labor when I was about 8 years old, I followed it all over the house, waiting for those kittens to be born, and she just kept searching until she found the right spot.  (behind the couch much to my moms dismay)  I leaned on the birthing ball and put on Super Troopers.  (what else is there to do in labor, right?)  Actually, I heard that laughter can help labor progress faster, so I though I'd give it a try.  But I can't say I laughed much, or watched much T.V.

During contractions Dan would rub my back to lessen the pain, and I started to moan a little through contractions.  All I kept thinking was that this was more tiring than I thought it would be, that I really have to do this now, and that I just wanted to find a comfortable position so I could sleep.  (I can dream!)  During the contractions, I kept repeating to myself "open open open", "you just need to get through one contraction at a time", and "your contractions cannot be stronger that you, because they are you."  All of it seemed to help, along with Dan rubbing my back.  All of a sudden, I couldn't be leaning on the birthing ball anymore.  I really couldn't feel comfortable anywhere.  I got up to go pee (another instant contraction) and when I wiped, I saw pink.  It was that moment I realized we were having a baby!  Dan got a little worried, and asked our doula (Nikki) to come over.  She said she would be there in about 30 minutes.  It was about 10pm.  Back to the living room we went.  I leaned on Dan for a contraction, then sat on the birthing ball pinned up to the couch, and leaned on Dan who sat in front of me.  I was getting pretty loud at this point, but it was helping me feel better, so I kept on doing it!

After only a few contractions on the birthing ball, I felt the need to get up again, and thought I would give standing in the shower a try.  I got up to walk to the bathroom, had another contraction of course, then sat down on the toilet because I felt like I had to poop.  I passed gas, felt better, and thought that it must have been that burrito I ate!  I got in the shower, feeling a little shaky, and leaned my head against the wall.  With the next contraction, my body pushed.  I didn't, but my body did.  I yelled out for Dan and told him what happened, and to call my friend and neighbor Kelly over to watch Ginny and to call Nikki.  (This was only about 2 hours after the uncomfortable contractions started)

It took some effort to get out of the shower, and get dried off.  Dan helped me put some clothes on, and I went back and sat on the toilet.  I kept pushing/trying not to push through contractions.  Kelly arrived during the bustle while Dan was loading the car, and asked me how I was doing.  I was mid contraction at the time and moaning and pushing pretty loudly and trying to answer her questions without being a total bitch.  (poor kelly)  We ran out the door, well, as much as someone having contractions every 2 minutes can run.

The drive to the hospital was about 20 minutes.  Dan set the cruise control at 80 and prayed we wouldn't get pulled over.  I sat in the back, holding the "o shit" handle.  At least thats what my dad calls it.  In between contractions I tried to rest.  I was thinking of how scary this had to be for Dan and told him that it sounded worse that it was.  (I had moved on to quite the guttural moan and pushing sounds at this point.)  I tried checking to see where the baby was, and felt the bulging bag of water.  My biggest worry at this point was how the hell I was going to get into the hospital.  It sounded like so much work.

My only labor picture- Mid pushing/contraction
Once we arrived at the hospital Dan ran to get a wheelchair.  I didn't feel like I could walk.  There was some crazy lady asking me questions while I was mid contractions/pushing. (Literally crazy.  The hospital isn't in the best part of town.)  Dan brought out the wheelchair and I threw a towel at him and said I wasn't sitting straight on that chair since I wasn't wearing any underwear. He wheeled me in past the crazy, into the waiting room.  I had about 15 seconds of a contraction before they moved me to check in.  (that's how fast things move when you're pushing in the waiting room)  They asked numerous questions, and all I muttered was, "ask him!"  Turns out there were talking to him, not me.  I had at least 3 contractions in five minutes, so they were trying to hurry.  My doula found us in check in.  And that's when Dan remembered to take a picture of me in labor.  (one picture is better than none!)  As soon as he did, I had another contraction.  I was whisked up to labor and delivery.

Finally!  In a hospital bed!  The midwife checked me and said the words I loved hearing "she's complete and at a +1."  (With my first birth I never made it past a -2 even with 2 1/2 hours of pushing.)  They asked me if I wanted to put on a hospital gown.  Um, heck no!  My water was still intact, and I declined them breaking it.  So, I started pushing, freely, thank God!  I pushed on my back, on all fours, and ended up in some weird side laying position.  My water broke after pushing for about 20 minutes.  I was sweating to death.  My doula thought to get a wash cloth.  That helped a lot!  After an hour, I felt like I wasn't really making progress.  Everyone assured me I was.  They said she had long dark hair.  Once I got her pushed under the pubic bone, everything hurt like hell.  A whole new pain!  Ring of fire is right, I just had no idea it could last for 20+ minutes.  At this point, epidural still had not crossed my mind, but episiotomy had.  I just wanted it to be over.  I started yelling with pushing saying things like, "shit, shit shit", "I can't do it" or "get it out" with contractions.  I never thought I couldn't do it, I just wanted everyone there to understand how bad this part hurt and how much it sucked!  But finally, after an hour and 1/2 of active pushing, I got her head out. I tore, and I felt every second of that.  (It reminded me of the movie knocked up where she yells "I feel EVERYTHING" , yeah, its just like that.)  One more push and out came the rest of her.  Sweet relief.  She was out!
I love this picture, Shock and Relief, all at once.

Dan helped pull her out, and laid her on my chest.  We waited some time before we clamped and cut the cord and we also waited on all the newborn care. We just sat there and basked in awe at our new baby, and everything that had happened!  I got some juice and gold fish crackers and got stitched up.  (I tore upward and required some stitches, but apparently have a very strong perineum!)  I was very shaky after delivery, so I had Dan hold her during the stitching.  She was calm and quiet, and still is.

Well.  There it is.  My VBAC story.  The longest short birth story I've ever read.  Only about 4 hours from start to finish.    I still can't believe that I vaginally birthed my baby.  Without medication or a heplock.  I even avoided having the fetal monitor hooked up fully.  (Our wonderful nurse just held it there off and on.)  I never even wore a hospital gown!  Hattie's birth went better than I ever could have dreamed.  Birth never goes as we plan or as we imagine, and I wouldn't have planned G's birth to end in a cesarean.  But without her birth ending how it did, I wouldn't have wanted or worked so hard for a natural birth this time.  I wouldn't be volunteering for ICAN.  I wouldn't be the co-leader of the Phoenix ICAN chapter.  I wouldn't have such a passion for natural birth.  I wouldn't be as educated on childbirth.  I just wouldn't be the same person I am today.  And for that, I have to thank both of my beautiful daughters, my amazingly supportive husband, and my family and friends.

Getting her cleaned up a bit.

7lbs 8.5oz 19 1/2 inches

Proud Daddy

Looking a little crazy on my adrenaline rush!  Love it!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Enjoying the last bits of pregnancy.

Not comfortable me on the left, comfy me on the right :)
I never thought I would be so patient as we approach the end of this pregnancy.  But, I'm feeling comfortable, I'm not bloated, sleeping is O.K. (and I mean ok, not great),  I'm 30 pounds lighter, and by some grace of God (and a LOT of hard work from my husband) we've finished everything on my "baby bucket list."
In the past 3 weeks or so we have completed the following:
-head gasket replaced in car (ouch! )
-sold our truck
-bought a "new" vehicle
-finished baby room
-made it to the zoo
-had blessingway
-kept the remainder of our family out of the hospital and ICU
-made it to the ICAN meeting
-pool fence installed
-belly cast made (but not yet painted)
-office in garage is built and even has a/c (not totally finished, but its functioning)
-and last but not least, Christmas Lights are down!!!
And of course after finishing all that, my poor husband has a lingering cold/cough/allergies mess that won't go away.  I'm up to pee 12 times a night, and he's up coughing, and our 21 month old just likes to be up.  Thankfully, they both are getting some sleep this morning.
Well.  I only have 1 week of work left.  And an ICAN meeting this week.  Nothing but relaxing, walking, and playing with my first baby until BGF gets here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


The day finally came!  The Blessingway was amazing in so many ways.  I know I am one lucky lady to have so many loving and supportive family and friends on my side.  Not only support from family that lives here, but also a very loving letter and bead sent from my great Aunt in Ohio, the bead from my Great Grandmothers jewelry box.  But, before I get things out of order, lets start from the beginning.

The morning started with my friend and sister in laws decorating the dining room with flowers, quotes, birth art, fresh fruits and many little surprises.  My mom was tearing up already.  I still didn't know much of what was to happen.  Who doesn't love surprises?  The morning also started ON TIME.  That is one for the record books in this family.  And at 10 am to top it off.                  

I had requested healthy food, NO CAKE (I know, its like a pregnant sin)  and the food couldn't have been more delicious.  We indulged in some brie, crackers, pink lemonade, tea, fruit salad, and veggies and dip.  After all my hard work this pregnancy, it seemed counter productive to be eating cakes and sweets at the ceremony.  (don't worry, there were a few lemon cookies here, and they were delicious)

We started the ceremony with everyone reading their poems, prayers, or quotes.  I'm going to share a few:

"No one ever told her about this thing called 'mothering.'  Maybe because it was a journey of discovery.  Her greatest work of art, her biggest lesson in letting go, where she'd learn to nurture a 'self' to shine bright and find her own self in the process.  No one can tell you that.  You have to live it, to know it, and when you do, it changes you forever."  - Bone Sigh arts (From my Sister in Law Andrea)

"The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power sourse.  She may need and deserve help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will always have the power"  -Heather McCue (From my friends Nicole and Stephanie)

"Happy are those who dream, and are ready to pay the price to make them come true"  (from my Mom)

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me, and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."  Jeremiah 29: 11-12  (from my Grandma)

"The Lord is my Shepherd: I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For thou art with me; Thy rod and they staff, they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of enemies; Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever."  The 23rd Psalm  (from my Mother in Law Hattie, her husband recited this with her through every contraction of her last birth, and by the time the verse was over, so was the contraction)

"It is spring and your baby is coming.  I wish for you a mind of prayer when your baby decides she is ready.  I wish for you deep strength and patience for yourself and your body.  I wish for you courage to not doubt what your body is capable of doing.  And when Baby arrives may you be awake and enlarged by the experience.  May your love give you the energy to figure out who Baby is and what she needs.  May the journey be joy-filled."  (From my friend Kayla)

After many tears were shed, we moved on to the bead ceremony.    Basically, we went around the table and everyone who brought a bead, described what theirs meant.  Power words like bloom, strength, wonder woman, slow and steady, liquid of life, and afterward, I made a bracelet to wear.  That way I can remember everyone's kind words while in labor.

Next, we went around the table again, everyone sharing their gifts and crafts.  My friend Stephanie made me a birth art statue, Nicole brought a beautiful pregnant Willow Tree Pregnant statue, My Grandma made some beautiful cards, MIL Hattie also made a me a card, with a gorgeous beaded cross on the front of it.

My SIL Ruth made a family of handprint elephants (elephants are the theme in the baby room)  quoting " There is no creature among all the beasts of the world which hath so great and ample demonstration of the power and wisdom of almighty God as the ELEPHANT.  - Edward Topsell.

My SIL Andrea made a beautiful mandala.  On one side - A woman coming into a cycle of life with the full force of womanhood.  She dares to live the passion of what are absolutely her own thoughts and choices.  K-Vogen, the other side- A circle of loved ones around a woman giving birth to provide a space of love and energy for birth to come with ease.

From my SIL Sharon, she made a gorgeous "name" for us to hang in the baby room.  (we will share when she is here what that name is!)  Kayla made a gorgeous scrapbook page with a wonderful quote, Kelly gave me journals, to write anything that comes to mind while raising 2 children, and some much needed diapers.  My mom hand my daughter color a picture for us, and shared some sweet wishes and a thank you from G for being such wonderful parents.

Lastly, my Grandma (tried) to read a letter from my Great Aunt Sherry,
"Dearest Jesse,
When your Grandmother told me about your blessingway ceremony and the various aspects of it, such as the bead ceremony, I thought, what kind of bead could I give that would have any meaning.  And then I remembered a little elephant I found among your Great Grandmothers jewelry in a little box she kept it in.  I don't know anything about it.  Why she had it, where it came from, or what meaning it held for her.  She did like collecting elephant figurines so perhaps it held more significance than we will ever know.    So, with those thoughts I am sending it to you on this special occasion in remembrance of your Great Grandmother, Frances DeWulf.  And know too that she loved you and loves you still.  And I am sure that she is looking down from heaven and smiling.  Love and Prayers, Your Great Aunt Sherry.
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus..... For I Can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength"  Phillippians 4:6,7,13"

I feel so incredibly blessed to be surrounded by so many strong women.  Women who know how to love, and it flows from their veins.  I wish everyone could feel this much love before going on their birthing journey. I want to thank everyone who had any part of my blessingway, allowing it to happen, and making it happen.  Now, in these last few weeks of pregnancy, I have nothing but positive words, quotes, prayers, letters, pictures, artwork, statues, surrounding me and my family as we go through this journey.  I am more ready than ever.

My MIL Hattie and I

Some of the birth art and quotes

Grandma and Mom

Kelly and I

My "moments of clarity" jar for after the baby

Pregnant Willow Tree statue

Bracelet made for the baby

The other side of the mandala

more birth art

My favorite quote

my bracelet

Card from Hattie

Saturday, March 3, 2012

BAM! 9 Months Pregnant

about 14 weeks

35 1/2 weeks
Seriously, where did the time go???  With my first pregnancy I was sitting around twiddling my thumbs, off work at 37 weeks, waiting for baby!  The room was finished, I had my baby announcements all addressed and ready to assemble, all I had to do was shop and eat ice cream!  Fast forward 2 years, and we have 3/4 of the room painted, and office to build, our Christmas lights are still up, we need to sell our truck/buy a new vehicle, have a head gasket fixed on the car, have a pool fence installed, make the belly cast, and have the blessing way that we had to reschedule because my father in law was (still is) in the ICU.  (He's doing better, thank you)  SO, next week, baby is "full term"  but she is welcome to stay in for a few weeks, so mom and dad can get ready.
Pregnancy symptoms include:     (don't get me wrong, overall feeling pretty good!)
-heartburn (papaya enzymes are helping)
-fatigue  (naps aren't helping much anymore)
-pregnancy brain (For example, I have forgot deodorant 5 times in the past 2 weeks)
-IMPATIENCE  (in all aspects of my life, until I come back to my breath, thank you Birthing from Within)
-frequent urination (well, with all that baby in the way, who wouldn't be!)
-mild mood swings  (I would be lying if I didn't say I was weepy)
-inability to fall back asleep  
-Braxton Hicks
This pregnancy has brought a whole new meaning to "Braxton Hicks" contractions.  I must say, its way more exciting than not having any. It might just be because of the "contractions" but I feel like this pregnancy will come to an end sooner than later.  (Watch me go to 42 weeks now)  Either way, when baby is ready, she will come.  I start weekly appointments next week with the midwives.  Still every 2 weeks with my chiropractor.
Now, to make myself feel better, a few things that we do have done:
-Birthing classes are finished
-Doula hired
-I'm attending every ICAN meeting that comes up
-eating well
-hospital bag packed (SHOCKER)
-celebration champagne purchased
-books are being read
With all this said, we are getting there, slowly.  Or quickly if baby does come sooner than later.  This mom is getting excited.  I can honestly say I don't feel nervous about it at all either.  That means I've come a long way too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lactation Cookies

the final product
I whipped up some "lactation cookies" for a friend who just had her baby, and I thought I would share the recipe.  I doubled the recipe, and it made just over 4 dozen.  I froze most of the dough, for when BGF gets here, and also, since 2 of my sister in laws are expecting, so that I can just pull them out of the freezer and pop them in the oven.  Did I mention these are also delicious?  Who cares if they, they are a filling, not to bad for you cookie.  My husband was eating them too.  He said he would be concerned if he started lactating.  I told him not to worry.  But, they are supposed to help increase milk supply.  Click on the link to read more.

all balled up and ready to go
I got the recipe off of the peaceful parenting blog-

Major Milk Makin' CookiesRecipe by Kathleen Major

I had my hubby mix them,
it was a workout!
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 3/4 c. oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 c. almond butter or peanut butter
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. flax
3 T brewer's yeast
1/3 c. water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 c. (12oz) chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
In a large bowl, beat almond butter, butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, brewer's yeast, flax and water until creamy.
Mix in eggs.
Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Mix in nuts and chocolate chips.
Add oats slowly, mixing along the way.

Place balls of dough onto greased baking sheets or baking stones.

Press down each ball lightly with a fork.
Bake 12 minutes.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Ode to you, "overdue" baby.

Dear "overdue" baby,
     Thank you for picking me as your momma.  Some people would have rushed you out, before you were ready.  Not me!  I'm patient, and can wait for you to pick your birthday.    (well, I am waiting, even though I may not feel as patient as I should be)  I am happy that you have found my womb to be the safest, most comfortable place, but I assure you, my arms will feel the same.  I also thank you for staying healthy enough to stay in so long!  There are so many babies that need to come out early, whether it be fore moms health or babies, and clearly, you are happy as a clam.  Its comforting to know that when you are earthside, you will be a chubby, healthy baby.
     Its hard to believe that its time for you to be here already!  If I think (hard) it seems like just yesterday we found out we were expecting you.  It feels like my belly just started to swell, and I felt your first kick.   It makes me a little sad to know that this pregnancy is coming to an end, that we will no longer be one, but 2 separate beings.  
     I love the excitement too, that any moment, labor could start!  And we could be hours from meeting you.  Its so much excitement, that friends and family can barely stand it!  My pregnant body is swollen, and a bit tired, but it is strong enough to continue to carry, and soon, to birth you.  So I will take these last few days, hours, moments, and cherish this pregnancy, and the ability to hold you so close. 

Your mom.

-dedicated to Alyssa, and all you other patient,  41+week mommas

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Home Stretch!

Pregnancy #2 on Left,        Pregnancy #1 on right
Still wearing pre-pregnancy pants over here!!!
Well, my plan was to get to this post at 30 weeks, but with time flying by, we are at 31 weeks already.  That being said, we are in the home stretch!   The ending, the conclusion, the finish line, the completion!  Time really has been going fast.  Having a little one to look after makes pregnancy fly by.
I'm still feeling pretty good, but I have noticed baby girl has gotten lower.  Making mobility a little bit more restricted.  I keep pulling round ligaments, from simple things like standing.  (heaven forbid I stand up!)  Weight gain has slowed to a normal level, blood pressure is perfect, along with baby heartbeat and movement.  Happy as a clam over here.  Now if only I could get some things done around here..........
1.  Paint baby room
2.  Have pool fence moved
3.  Build Hubby an office in the garage (there's already a room in there, it just needs to be finished)
4.  Sell truck/ buy car with better accommodation for 2 car seats

Thankfully, with having another girl, we already have all the stuff.  So, even if we don't get everything done, its not a big deal.  At least thats what I'm trying to convince myself of.  I also have a list of things to do on a personal level!
1.  Re-read a few of my favorite books
2.  Continue walking
3.  Practice pain coping techniques from the Birthing From Within Classes (which I LOVE by the way)
4.  Spend some time connecting with baby.  Even if its just 5 minutes before bed.
5.  Do yoga at least once a week.  I have been a slacker.

I plan on surrounding myself with happy thoughts, and happy, empowered women the last few weeks of pregnancy.  I will continue to go to the ICAN meetings (every 2 weeks at this point) and hopefully make it to a bellies meeting.  We have sent out the invitations for my blessingway, which is in 3 1/2 weeks already.  (holy cow)  Its a very small group of women that I love, and I can't wait to see what all it entails.  I love surprises!!!  Well, that about it here, and I'll post again after the blessingway!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dear Pregnancy, here's a few reasons you suck.

Okay.  I can't say that I LOVE being pregnant.  Kudos to those of you that do.  I also can't say that I hate being pregnant either.  But there are things about pregnancy that I hate:
-The increased sense of smell.
So you have a super nose.  Do things ever smell super good??? No.  But I am convinced my entire house smells like cat poop.  Can I smell the flowers outside or the fresh fruit? No.  I can only smell crap.  Everywhere.
-The 3 months of nausea.
Luckily, this one isn't about me.  But I do have a couple friends experiencing this right now.  It feels like an all day hangover everyday, but you didn't get to go out and party your ass off the night before.  Chances are, the night before, you fell asleep on the couch at 7:30, because you were too nauseous to lay in bed, or move.  Oh, and this feeling lasts for 12 weeks for the lucky ones, 20+ weeks for others.  Thats at least 84 days of constant hangover.
-Waiting to tell people you're pregnant.
Most of the time, you wait until 12ish weeks to tell people you're expecting in the first place.  But, by this time, you end up severing multiple friendships because you keep cancelling on them.  Because you are too nauseous to go out or because they'll notice you're not enjoying a glass of wine. (when you normally do)  Or you too nauseated to even hold a proper adult conversation, because all you can think about is not throwing up.  People start to worry about your well being.  Little do they know, its because of the "little being" you're creating!  Thankfully, most of your good friends will understand why you have fallen off of the face of the earth for a couple months.
-You can't drink wine.
I'm not talking about sipping on 1/2 a glass of wine.  Because I do that when I miss the taste.  I'm talking about going out with the girls, having a couple glasses of wine at a fancy wine bar, and making a DD drive me home.  Call me selfish, but I miss my adult time.  I miss happy hour on my patio with my husband.  I'm not saying I want to get smashed every night, but man oh man do I miss the warm fuzzies wine give you after a full glass.
-No clothing fits well. 
First there is the "I just look bloated" faze.  Then you have the "I can't fit into maternity clothes or my regular clothes" faze.  Then you have the "holy crap I'm 9 months pregnant, and my maternity clothes don't fit anymore."  Even in the few month in between those fazes, when maternity clothes "fit", they don't really fit.  They are baggy, ill fitting clothes.  That are way too expensive.  Add the word 'maternity' to a shirt, and suddenly its now worth 25 dollars for a $10 tee shirt that's not going to fit well in the first place!
-Third trimester sleeping issues.
Anyone who's been pregnant knows what I'm talking about.  You can't sleep on your back.  Or your stomach.  You have 2 positions.  Right side.  Or left.  And as soon as you get comfortable there, you'll have to pee.  Or the baby will be kicking around, keeping you up.  (yes, they keep you up BEFORE they arrive!)  There's also the crazy dreams, the leg cramps, hip pain, and the  incessant heartburn that haunts you no matter how many tums you take.
-Peeing your pants.
Only a few tinkles thankfully.  And I keep up on my kegels!  But there is something about a little human inside your body, kicking the shit out of you bladder, out of the blue, that will make anyone with a bladder o steel pee a little.
-The AWFUL COMMENTS people make.
I'm not sure what it is about a pregnant belly that turns people into idiots.  But it makes people say things like this:
--Oh, when are the Triplets due?  (because that makes me feel thin and beautiful, jerk face)
--You MUST be due tomorrow!  (no, actually I have 3 months left.  Thanks)
--You must be having twins, you are HUGE!  (when is it ever okay to tell someone they are huge?)
--I need to get you out of here before you make a mess on my floor.  (from some cashier at target when I was 41 weeks pregnant.  It was the last time I went out in public.)
And here are a few postpartum comments that also suck:
--Got another one in the oven already huh?  (4 weeks PP)  No, pregnant women gain weight, and it doesn't just fall right off instantly, jerk!
--Enjoy it now before the baby comes!  ( this happened a  few days PP to a friend, who's child was in the NICU)

In conclusion, stop giving pregnant women a hard time!  We have enough going on as it is.  There's extra hormones and all of the above.  Just tell us we look great, and go about your day.  Because I would love to be able to go to the gas station without having someone make a completely ridiculous comment about how GIGANTIC I am.  Us preggo's need love too.

New Year, New Trimester!

2nd pregnancy on the left,     1st pregnancy on the right.
Happy 2012!  Thought I would give everyone a quick update.  As we barrel into the new year, I'm barreling into the 3rd (and final) trimester.  I am feeling great!  Keeping active with walking, being the mother to a 1 1/2 year old, and occasionally, a yoga DVD.  Honestly, I haven't been doing yoga as much as I'd like, the holidays are exhausting!!!  Getting heartburn back, and some fatigue.  Thanks to my awesome chiropractor, my back/hips are feeling amazing.
I have gained some weight, nearly 20lbs now.  And it kind of pisses me off!  I mean, everyone can always eat healthier.  But I am eating REALLY healthy, and still gained 8lbs last month.  This is why I don't weigh myself.  (perhaps I should start)  I was able to tell my midwife, that whatever weight I gained, I must have needed, because I have been eating amazing!  I mean, I've only had french fries twice in the past 6 months.  Perhaps a little more chocolate than I should, but I think I NEED some chocolate.   Lets just hope everything comes back normal from my gestational diabetes test.
We have hired a doula!  And I have been to one birthing class, and will resume classes in 2 weeks.  I have also been attending local ICAN meetings.  I am not sure where I would be without their constant support.  A friend has also offered to throw me a Blessingway.  I can't wait!  (here is a link if you want to read up!)  I have also registered for about 4 things on Amazon.  We don't really need anything, but it would be nice to get a new stroller.
I have days where I feel a little scared/emotional about birth, and then I have days I feel that I could birth a 20lb 3 month old, with no complications.  I am hoping that the birthing classes will get me in the best mental state possible, and that I can stay there.  I plan on re-reading The Silent Knife, Birthing From Within, and Ina May's new book, A Midwives Manifesta, sometime here in the near future.  If you have any other tips, for getting in a peaceful state of mind, leave them here!