Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Laurel May's Birth Story

The following is the birth story of my little girl, Laurel May, a story that I will love and cherish forever.

As Memorial Day Monday rolled around, I started to feel increasingly anticipatory, as the baby’s due date was on Friday, June 03.  Because Everett had arrived three and a half weeks early we never had any chance to anticipate his birth, so every moment of the final three weeks of pregnancy was new and unknown territory for me.  As my belly and ankles swelled to previously unseen levels, I felt antsy and restless, tired of being so large that rolling over in the night or getting out of bed to pee was a major and uncomfortable undertaking.  All throughout the last month of my pregnancy I had been having frequent and intense Braxton Hicks contractions, with a few actual contractions thrown in here or there, but no additional real signs that labor was nearing. 

On Memorial Day, Monday, however, I started to feel that labor might be underway soon.  I was very tired, getting more irritable and swollen by the day, but mostly I was starting to have more period-like cramping in my low abdomen, on top of the constant and long lasting (think 2-3 minutes) Braxton Hicks contractions.  In the morning we went to Oakland Park Nursery to buy flowers, and one rogue contraction was intense enough that I had to sit down and want to rest.  Monday afternoon and evening continued uneventfully, but Tuesday morning, I again felt the twinges in my stomach.  Nothing consistent or timetable, and nothing to make me think “Aha, this is it!” but enough to make me think “Oh, any time now.”  I spent the day resting and conserving my energy.  By the afternoon and evening, I was back to feeling just cranky and irritable, but wasn’t feeling any more tightening in my abdomen.  In the evening, we ate dinner on the front porch, I soaked my extremely swollen feet in cool water while Everett and Chad rode bikes up and down the street, and later Chad and I watched an episode of Call the Midwife before retiring to bed around 11:00.
Our last appointment with the CHOICE midwives,
about 6 hours before I went into labor.

Chad and Everett zoom while I watch from the porch...
about 4 and a half hours before I go into labor!
We laid down and Chad was out cold in minutes, but I lay there thinking for a bit, and sometime around 11:30 I felt a tightening in my abdomen, which I commonly felt at some point in the night.  Usually when it happened, my first thought would be “Ugh.  Whatever, if I’m woken up by another one in 10 minutes, then I’ll know something is up, but otherwise, I’m chalking this up to pre-labor.”  But for some reason, this time when I felt the small wave, my heart quickened and I also felt a wave of adrenaline with the thought of “Oh my god!  Is this it!?”  I lay there wired as hell, waiting.  Sure enough, I felt another wave a few minutes later.  My suspicions aroused, I lay there, waiting, still.  And again, I felt another small wave.  By this point I thought that I had better download a contraction timer app on my phone.  Around 12:15, I started timing the contractions and they were coming every two minutes or so for about a minute to a minute and thirty seconds, fast and consistent but still weak enough.  I kept debating in my head over whether or not to try to get some rest, knowing that if things were rolling, they might pick up quickly.  I got out of bed and sat on the birth ball, walked the hallway, went and admired my full stomach for what might be the last time in our full length mirror, and went downstairs to grab a Kind bar.  All the while, I was timing contractions at a consistent rate of every two minutes for about a minute to a minute and a half each.  A little before 1:00 AM, I tried to lay down and rest, but laying down made the otherwise manageable contractions quite painful.  Armed with all the evidence, I decided that I was indeed in labor and went and woke Chad up around 1:00 AM.

Just around 12:50 am before I had awoken Chad.
I'm saying "Is this it?  Last pregnant photo?"

Moving from the bedroom into the media room, Chad and I assessed the situation and discussed what to do.  We decided to call our midwife, Mandy around 1:30 AM.  She suggested that I hop in the shower and see if the contractions got any more intense or not, the warm water may help create stronger contractions, and then call her back and let her know how things were going.  I dawdled and put off getting in the shower, walking around and pacing.  Chad started to get Everett’s diapers and clothes ready for a possible trip to Nonna’s while I continued timing contractions.  Probably around 2:45, I got in the shower for a few minutes, and got back out, not really sure if anything was moving forward or not.  At some point Everett woke up and we tried several times to put him back to sleep, but he was restless and awake and Chad was spending time in bed with him trying to get him to rest.  I hadn’t bothered to call the midwife back yet, thinking that I didn’t want to bother her if nothing was progressing.  In fact, just around 3:00 AM I was starting to have visions of a long drawn out 40-hour labor, ending in an exhausted trip to the hospital.

Mandy texted at 3:15 and said “Still up?  Any change?” to which I responded “Contractions are still every 2-4 minutes and lasting about 1:30 minutes and fairly intense…Not really sure if things are progressing or not.”  She responded “Have they gotten any more intense since they began?” And I started to text a response to her, but at that moment I realized that the contractions were getting stronger, stronger to the point where I grimaced and wanted to lean on Chad who was in the other room with Everett.  I thought to myself “Why am I sitting here texting my midwife at 3:15 in the morning when I’m having regularly intense contractions!?  I’m going to call her to let her know it’s time to come over and at least check my progress.” Which is exactly what I did.  Then I went in to get Chad and said “We need to call your mom to come take care of Everett because things are getting more intense and I need you!”  Chad got out of bed, threw Everett into a sling on his back, and called his mom at 3:30 AM. He finished getting Everett’s bags ready and waited for Mandy and Marilyn to show up, as I continued pacing and timing my contractions.

4:00 am on the dot and waiting for Nonna to arrive.
Everett is saying "Seriously guys!?"

Mandy showed up around 3:45 and even though it’s not necessarily their standard of care, I asked her to check my cervix to see how far I was dilated.  I hadn’t felt the need for a vaginal exam in the weeks or days up to this point, but now that labor was firmly under way, I needed a way marker.  She checked me, found that I was 7 centimeters dilated, and said “I thought you might be pulling something like this!”  Uh yeah, so I guess it was a good thing I called her after all!  Marilyn showed up around 4:00 AM, I went downstairs to say hello and see off Everett, carefully timing my descent down the stairs in between contractions, which were coming fast, steady, and strong at this point.  Mandy brought in all of her stuff for the birth and our media room was magically transformed from an office/living room area into a (very comfortable) birthing room.  She called our other midwife Tanya, who probably showed up around 4:15.  They sat in the hallway and talked in very low tones, staying out of our way as my labor continued to progress.

By 4:30, the contractions were starting to become unbearable.  I sat on the bed and rested in between and stood and leaned against Chad during each forceful tightening of my lower stomach.  I had made a decision early on to focus on my breathing and work quietly though the contractions, and I had been doing great with this, but it was becoming more and more difficult to keep the breaths deep and mindful.  The midwives sat and waited while I intermittently sat and then stood and clung to Chad in pain.  I remember seeing Mandy sitting at our desk going over notes from our file and Tanya pulling a Foxfire book off our bookshelf and thumbing through it while she sat on the birthing ball.  There was a feeling of waiting and passing time in the air.  I was working hard at this point, but there wasn’t a lot anyone else could do except wait and offer encouragement when necessary.  I remember once I joked to Tanya “Where is my orgasmic birth experience!?” (Which Ina May Gaskin talks about in her books) and she laughed and said “Ha! You’ve been cheated!”  At another point I remember clinging on to Chad and looking at Mandy with a look of desperation in my eyes, to which she responded that I was doing great, to relax my shoulders, and breath through it.  Then she suggested that I get in the shower to see if that would help ease my contractions at all.  I did get in the shower, but right around that time I started feeling the urge to push, so she made me get out so she could check whether I was fully dilated before I started pushing.  She checked and said I was fully effaced and could push at any time.  She also suggested that my waters might break soon and that I go sit on the toilet since it would be a good place to get my body in position for pushing anyways.  I went and sat on the toilet and with Chad standing in the doorway of the bathroom watching me, my bowels forcefully extracted themselves at the same moment that my water forcefully broke.  It was a moment that was equal parts gross, impressive, and eternally memorable.  About this time, I remember thinking thoughts such as “Goodbye Dignity, goodbye, it was nice knowing you!  Bye….” 

4:15 am - about an hour and a half before birth!

Husband and wife laboring together.
 So grateful for this image...
Chad supporting me through a contraction around 5:15 am - only 30 minutes to go!

At this point it was probably around 5:00 AM and we were in fever pitch, the most difficult and painful part of labor, with a few contractions that were almost unbearable.  Time seemed to be dragging on painfully slow, but I knew that when you get to the point where you think you can’t stand it or carry on any longer, you’re really almost there, and so I was.  Those few unbearable contractions passed and I began to feel the urge to really push.  I stood in the middle of the room, leaning against Chad, and pushing, with the midwives saying “Move to the bed and get on your knees!”  I remember not 100% understanding the meaning of the words they were saying even though I could hear them, and also not 100% believing IN the words they were saying.  But they persisted, saying “Get on the bed!  Kneel on your knees!  It’s a better position for pushing and you will have more of your weight supported!”  Warily, I fumbled through what they told me and ended up on the bed, on my knees, with my arms around Chad’s shoulders.  At that moment I didn’t care about blowing out candles across the room, tiny pushes, or even perineal tears.  With great intense and terrible pressure pushing down in my pelvis, I bore down and pushed as hard as I could.  I could tell that the head was born and waited for confirmation and approval to push again from the midwives.  This was the climax to a night’s worth of work, we were almost there, and no one was sitting idle waiting now.  The midwives gave me the go ahead and I pushed again, birthing the body this time.  A great gush of fluids came out and so did the baby, with Tanya catching it.  The gush was so overwhelming and I called out saying “Is this normal!?”  They assured me that it was and with that at 5:47 in the morning of June 1st the newest addition to our family had officially been born!  But the story wasn’t quite over yet… 

Tanya then said something about how the cord was very short.  I was still kneeling on my knees, hanging on to Chad, and hadn’t yet really seen the baby yet, but the midwives were doing something below, I started to get anxious and asked if everything was okay.  They said that it was, but they just needed to figure out what we were going to do with the baby and me while waiting for the placenta to be delivered.  I asked if it was a boy or a girl and no one knew yet!  I think in the end I might have been the one to exclaim that it was a girl, but I really can’t remember.  Tanya somehow transferred the baby through my knees and handed her to Chad, while they instructed me how to put my legs and lay back, all the while taking care of the baby not to pull the cord.  I remember at one point Chad started to pull the baby up and I said “Don’t move her!  The cord is short, leave her where she is!”  Finally, I was situated in a laying down position and sweet little Laurel May was placed on my stomach while we waited for the placenta to be delivered.  I did so wish to hold her though and after 15 or so minutes they said that they thought the cord had stopped pulsing and that we could go ahead and cut it even though the placenta hadn’t been delivered yet.  Yes!!  FINALLY I got to hold my baby to my chest!  A few minutes later the placenta was delivered, and we checked it out.  It was kind of gross looking, but impressive, I suppose.  After a bit, I nursed Laurel, the midwives went downstairs to do some paper work, get us some food and juice, and then leave Chad, Laurel, and I to our golden hour.

The baby with the short cord
patiently waits on mamma's stomach!
First nursing session about 30 minutes post-birth

Foot prints!
8 lbs 4 oz!
After an hour or so, they came back up and asked if I wanted a shower.  I was covered in sweat, blood, meconium, vernix, amniotic fluids, and who knows what all other bodily fluids, so I took full use of the opportunity to get cleaned up.  The midwives checked me and Laurel over, tucked us into bed, and after having determined that all was well, left around 9:00 AM.  Chad and I were free to cuddle with our new little lady for the rest of the day!  Though we were absolutely wracked with exhaustion and we had challenging days and nights ahead of us, we were so thrilled both by how our story unfolded but of course especially by the addition of our new little girl.

Exhausted Dad takes a moment to rest with his new daughter

Mamma baby snuggles

Monday, May 16, 2016

Pregnancy Update: Week 37!

I sit here at my desk on a Monday afternoon in the second story office of my townhouse bouncing on a yoga/birthing ball at 37 weeks 3 days pregnant and it occurs to me that these next few hours, days, weeks (who knows!?) are to be some of the most cherished, ephemeral, perfect, wonderful days of my life.  I sit on the precipice, this fleeting moment in time is the cursor between two worlds, all that was before and all that it will soon become.  Today is the first day of my leave from work, which will continue over the next 12 weeks, and though it’s medically mandated (due to prior experience of pre-term labor) I’ve asked myself several times:  Am I selfish for taking this time before birth to prepare mentally and physically?  Is it really necessary?  Should I be powering through?  I’m well aware that it’s a luxury many don’t have.  But then I remember that my doubts are shaped by living in one of the only countries in the world without mandated maternity leave (with the exception of three states), in a culture that expects women and families to do all and be all without ever skipping a beat or taking their health into consideration.  After doing a little digging around on the internet, I found that women who take 1-3 weeks of rest before delivery are 4 times less likely to have a c-section or other complications, and that helped put my mind at ease.  But more than that, the overwhelming sense of peace I feel surrounding the upcoming days or weeks of preparation, that feeling is what truly informs me that my decision is the right one.  Especially in juxtaposition to the complete and utter stress I’ve been feeling about doing it all-heavily pregnant and working an incredibly stressful job with erratic hours and a long commute (and training a new employee by myself), all while keeping up with housework, meals, and parenting while Chad has been consistently working 50-60 hour weeks for the past several months.  This ability to slow down, contemplate, process, prepare, putter around the house, nest, NAP, fold baby clothes, is so, so, so vital.  And I know in my bones that I’m taking part in a great time-honored piece of the human experience: preparing and waiting for new life to arrive.

In other news and notes, I was able to delve into the preparation for labor, delivery, and birth by a weekend with my family AND a weekend long birth preparation class at Balanced Yoga called Mamaste.  Friday evening, they had a family night and free showing of the movie Babies (which I highly recommend!).   Everett, Chad, and I went, sat on a blanket on the floor, and ate dinner while watching the movie, surrounded by other expectant parents as well as lots of toddlers.  It was a beautiful warm spring evening, with a warm breeze flowing in the windows of the large yoga studio, filled with young and expectant life.  The next day Chad drove Everett to my mom’s house, where he had his very first overnight away from us!!  I relaxed around the house in the morning, and then went to the yoga studio for 3 hours of prenatal class, followed by an hour of prenatal yoga instruction.  I was completely fine all day, but as I lay there at the end of class in shavasana, I thought of my little boy wondering where Mommy and Daddy were at bedtime, feeling lost and alone, and silent tears started to roll down my cheeks.  Hopefully if the yoga instructor saw, she thought that she had just provided me with a really moving yoga practice J  Anyways, it turns out that Everett had an awesome day, slept no worse than he might at home, and missed his parents the appropriate amount – in short, we all survived!  After Saturday’s yoga class, Chad and I went out for a super fancy date night at Angry Bear Kitchen.  We had super fancy cocktails (alcoholic and non-), three appetizers (gratuitous!), delicious entrees, and dessert (or port, if you’re a Chad).  We joked in the beginning about how we felt a little awkward, as though we were on a first date, all over again.  “How does this whole dating thing work?  We can barely remember!”  Somehow we stumbled on and had a truly lovely two-hour dinner full of great food and conversation.

Sunday continued on the weekend of awesome.  Chad went to pick up Everett from Grandma’s house and drove him to Nonna’s house, where the weekend of grandmother fun for Everett would continue while we went to our second day of labor preparation at Balanced Yoga.  The doulas teaching the birth preparation class went over the stages of labor and we practiced some coping techniques.  I wouldn’t say that I necessarily learned a lot…I have had a kid before, have read pretty extensively about labor and birth, and am part of a few mom’s groups where we talk about such things, but it was great to be in a class with several other families who were in the same page in life, sharing and talking about our impending labors and births.  It was especially great to be able to share that time with Chad, so that we could get into the groove together, and I really appreciated the opportunity to practice coping techniques together.  The best part of the weekend seminar was the partners prenatal yoga taught by Abby Dorn.  I have been going to prenatal and baby yoga classes taught by Abby for a long time, and have always enjoyed her instruction, but this class was especially great.  Most of the poses in the class were collaborative poses that employed team work and communication between Chad and me.  It was an amazing experience during which we felt at different turns intimate, silly, collaborative, and unsure.  We felt many of the emotions we might feel during our labor experience, and were able to hone our collaboration and communication while at the same time focusing on restoration and rejuvenation. 

Finally, around 7:00 PM that evening we got to eat pizza (obvious follow up to yoga) and see our little boy!  I was so happy to see Everett again!  Of course, he had had a BIG BIG weekend and was an exhausted crank monster, so we only saw him for about an hour before shipping him off to dream land, but it was enough just to hear him intermittently sighing from the bedroom while Chad and I hung out in the media room, the next room over.  We ALL slept peacefully and soundly through the night (with the exceptions of my several lumbering trips to the bathroom), which we all sorely needed!!

And that’s the end of the beginning of Week 37 J

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Pregnancy Update: Week 35 Recap!

How far along?  36 weeks tomorrow!!

Total weight gain:  35 pounds so far…let’s see if we can keep this whole thing 40 or under…

Baby’s size/development this week:  OMG, the baby weighs like 6 pounds!!!  Which, is interesting, because Everett was born at 36 weeks 4 days and was 6 pounds 3 ounces J  He followed the curve perfectly…but this blog is about our upcoming baby J

Maternity clothes:  All the clothes I never wore throughout most of my pregnancy because they were too big are the ones I’m wearing now!!  I am a freaking whale!

Miss anything?  Not being achy.  Being able to easily move.  Tying my own shoes easily.  Running.

Food cravings:  I want sweets…but I have sworn them off (except maybe once per week?) in the interest of my health and the baby’s health.  I haven’t had any desserts since Sunday! (That’s 4 days!)

Anything making you queasy or sick?   Nothing in particular.  Earlier in the week someone’s camp fire was making me queasy as well as the smell of pork BBQ simmering on the stove on Tuesday….

Sleep:   I am enjoying every moment of sleep I can get.  The only interruptions are when I get up in the night (several times) to pee, which is always a production.  Since we have a floor bed, which is very low to the ground, it is hard on my pelvic region, which is sore due to the relaxin coursing through my body.  I hoist myself onto my hands and knees and back out of bed, wincing while I go.

Best moment of the week:   Last weekend Chad, Everett, and I had a family weekend and it was really fun!  We went to the farmer’s market, a duck parade at the library, cooked a pork roast, got stuff ready for our midwive’s home visit.  It was a pretty stellar weekend if I say so myself!!

Nursery:  We finally got some boxes out of there and now it looks much better!

Weddings rings on or off?   Off…swelling seems to fluctuate from day to day and I think I won’t bother with rings until the whole thing is over…

Belly Button:   In, of course.

Movement?  Lots of movement!  Baby was quiet over the weekend and I was freaked out, but Monday morning it started up again.  I love to feel those rolls and kicks, it’s the best part of being pregnant! J

Labor signs?   My body is definitely gearing up to head in the direction of labor.  I don’t know how much longer I have left (hopefully several more weeks!!) but I have felt some low abdominal cramps here and there.  I noticed them in the night after I had gotten up to pee and laid back down.  I let myself drift back to sleep and I haven’t really felt anything since then, but every twinge and niggling pain brings trepidation right now.  I know I have to roll with the punches, but I really want this whole thing to play out in the least stressful way possible.  And right now that means avoiding pre-term labor.  Next week at this time, I will start mentally preparing myself to the fact that our new family could grow at any time and actually feel at peace with that eventuality.

Weird pregnancy thing of the week:   I don’t know.  It’s all freaking weird at this point.  The fact that there is a 6 pound human IN MY STOMACH is pretty freaking weird.  Are we completely sure that pregnancy is a natural phenomenon???

Daddy is feeling:   Busy!  Of course now that he’s done with school, shit is hitting the fan at work and he’s been working insane hours!  Tomorrow he has to get up at 4:30 AM and go be on the local news with the Jeni’s Street Treats food truck.  The first interview is at like 6:15 AM and he has to be there and set up before that…of course he’ll be at the shop until after 5:00 PM, because…he’s Chad and he’s crazy.

Mommy is feeling:   Trepidatious.  Expectant.  Excited.  Nervous.  Achy.  Preparatory.  READY TO BE DONE WITH WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!  With Chad working 50-60 hour weeks, shit blowing up at MY work every day, training a new employee, taking care of a toddler, keeping the house in order, AND trying to get things prepared for the birth of our new baby, I need some mental and physical space to process everything that’s going on.

Workouts this week:  Saturday, Sunday, Monday, we did the 2 mile Walhalla Nature loop J  I’ve taken Tuesday and Wednesday off due to rain and to give my pelvis a chance to rest.  If I do too much, it gets really sore.

Books I'm Reading/Media I'm Ingesting:
Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Breastfeeding.  It’s been a good and interesting refresher J

Looking forward to
·         I found there is a Birth Without Fear mini conference on June 26, so New Baby and I registered and are looking forward to attending together!  It’s only a 3-4 hour event and it’s at a coffee shop right down the street from my house!  I figure it’ll be a perfect official inaugural outing for us.
·         Farmer’s Marketing it up with my family on Saturday morning J  Maybe buying some fresh rhubarb!?

·         Having a family day on Sunday!!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Pregnancy Update: Week 34 Recap!

How far along?  35 weeks today, so I’ll do a recap of week 34.

Total weight gain:  33 pounds so far…

Baby’s size/development this week:  OMG, the little internal parasite is 5 ½ pounds!  That is HUGE.

Maternity clothes:  I bought 4 dresses and a tank top off the Buy/Sell/Trade for $10 and 3 large maternity tees for $6.  God, I love the BST.  I’m so happy because everything is super cute, in good condition, and super cheap.  Not to mention, several of the dresses will be GREAT for nursing in the first couple months postpartum so I feel even better about the money spent.

Miss anything?  At this very moment I am sitting at a desk and I miss being able to sit so that the edge of the desk isn’t cutting into my stomach.  I miss being able to move like a normal person.  I’m so over waddling.  I miss my back not hurting.  I miss glasses of wine.  I miss being able easily to run around after my toddler.

Food cravings:  Just give me a nice brownie or piece of cake with lots of ice cream and whipped cream on top and I’ll be fine.  Still trying to eat like a relatively healthy person though.

Anything making you queasy or sick?   I have started to feel slightly queasy lately.

Sleep:   Sleep is awesome.  I slept so great last night and it was truly wonderful.  I just wish I could do more of it.

Best moment of the week:   There were a lot!
  • Everett’s birthday bash was pretty freaking awesome.  Friday was wonderful spending the day with Chad and Everett.  Things have been so busy lately, we REALLY enjoyed a day with no pressure, no stress, no plans, and nothing in particular to do.
  • Saturday was another great day, with family visiting from both in and out of town.  We went to the Conservatory, walked around German Village, and had dinner at Black Creek Bistro.
  • Picking up my new maternity swag was pretty awesome as well, and I shopped for new nursing bras which I DESPERATELY needed (still waiting on those to show up though!)
  • We also got a new stroller which will be able to accommodate Everett and the new little one, which we were super excited about!
  • I also had my 35 week appointment with the midwives, which Chad was supposed to go to, but ended up having to work open to close. L  I was sad about that!  But the appointment was good though – baby’s head is DOWN, so that was a reason to celebrate!  We discussed more of the birth in detail and things started to feel more real, the excitement for the baby’s imminent arrival is starting to ramp up.

Nursery:  Eh.

Weddings rings on or off?   I was really swollen last week and took my ring off.  I feel LOTS better this week and could probably put it back on, but I think I’ll just forgo the stress and forget about it until after I give birth.

Belly Button:  The belly button of steel is in and shall forever remain so.  

Movement?  All the movement!  Elbows and feet and hiccups!  I also sometimes feel the baby is ramming its head into my pubic bone too, which is particularly jolting.

Labor signs?   So yesterday, at 34 weeks 6 days, I felt the first signs pointing to the fact that labor is just around the corner, how far of course nobody yet knows.  I took the day off work because I woke up feeling super tired and lethargic.  Except for after lunch when I dragged myself out for a slow, leisurely two mile walk, I laid around in bed all day.  Around 4:00, I was getting ready to go pick Everett up in the upcoming hour when I started getting some pretty intense Braxton Hicks contractions and my stomach felt super hard.  The baby also did this thing where it lodged its back firmly against the left side of my stomach and seemed to be pushing out HARD.  I couldn’t tell if it was a contraction or just the baby moving and pushing.  Then I started to feel some low abdominal cramping, much akin to a period pain.  I was all alone, about to pick up Everett, and starting to *freak out.*  I was just praying that it was a false alarm, but the last time I went into labor (a month early), I started by feeling super lethargic for a few days, and then when the contractions started, they came on FAST.  And so did the baby, so I was super concerned that if these were indeed the beginnings of labor, that the baby would arrive in just a few hours and I would be screwed.  I started out to go pick up get Everett and figured I would go get him and take things a step at a time.  I tried to get a hold of Chad and couldn’t (he was in a meeting), which made me freak out even more.  So then I contacted my midwife and she told me that it could be preparatory labor, which is very common at this point in a second pregnancy, but to stop drinking pregnancy tea (which I was drinking at that moment) and to lay down for the rest of the evening.  Given my prior pre-term birth, she wanted to keep a closer eye on me, but didn’t feel any urgent action was necessary.  Chad wasn’t supposed to get home until 7:30 or so, but I got a hold of him around 5:30 and he came right home, made dinner, and was on toddler duty for the night while I lay around upstairs watching the Gilmore Girls.  Once Chad got home and nothing seemed to progress, I felt less stressed, at least in an immediate sense, but I still feel on high guard and will probably remain so for the next two weeks.   I’m just praying I make it to 37 weeks.  NO PRETERM BABY!  NO ASSOCIATED POSSIBLE HEALTH CONCERNS! NO HOSPITAL BIRTH! (Especially since I’m all paid up with my midwives!) …After 37 weeks, the rest is just icing, but I REALLY want to make it at least to 38 weeks, so that I can go to my prenatal yoga seminar and labor preparation with Chad and have a few days at home to relax and get my head in the right space before the arrival of our new one, which holy shit, could be arriving anytime from the next few days to the next five weeks.

Weird pregnancy thing of the week:   See above stupid story.

Daddy is feeling:   Super stressed.  Between finals and papers and work being super insane, things have been rough for him lately.  I think we both deserve a break.

Mommy is feeling:   Yesterday when I went on a nice leisurely walk, I could feel myself turning inwards in a more reflective, contemplative, slowed down world sort of way that I experienced after I gave birth the first time.  Work will be wrapping up soon and the immediate matters of my body and family are starting to take precedent both physically and mentally.  I’m really looking forward to this weekend where Chad, Everett, and I get a chance to spend  it just the three of us for one of the last times evarrr before we become a family of four.  Since shit is getting real and I’ve been woken up to how quickly things are progressing, I have really, really been hit with the strong desire to savor the last few days and weeks of our awesome little threesome.

Workouts this week:  I’ve done the 2 mile Walhalla Loop at least 3-4 times in the past week or so, and it’s been good for my body and spirit, but I’m wondering if I should stop the walks until I hit 37 weeks.  Bah.

Books I'm Reading/Media I'm Ingesting:  I’m on my last season of Gilmore Girls.  I have no idea what I’ll do after that!  Actually, I might read another Ina May Gaskin book I picked up on breastfeeding…it might be a good idea to get my head back in the game again after a 6 month hiatus.  I also need to delve back into the book I’ve been reading (First Bite:  How We Learn to Eat) about food and developing healthy eating habits in our children without going insane (not really sure if I believe this is actually possible).

Looking forward to:  
  • The first Clintonville Farmer’s Market of the year!!!
  • A full weekend off with Everett and Chad!!!
  • Preparing and organizing for the birth on Sunday!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pregnancy Update: Week 33 Recap!

How far along?  33 weeks on 4/15.

Total weight gain:   30 pounds on 4/15…ugh.

Baby’s size/development this week:  I don’t know.  This thing is freaking huge, get it out of me!

Maternity clothes:  I’m getting too fat for some of my maternity clothes.  Go figure.

Miss anything?  Not being huge.  Not being slow.  Not being swollen.  Not having an achy pelvis.  Not having a sore back.  Being able to roll over without pain when I’m sleeping.  Being able to sleep on my stomach.

Food cravings:  I just want to mindlessly eat, which I’ve been doing too much of, which has been making me gain more weight, which is probably contributing to my being swollen and unhappy.

Anything making you queasy or sick?   Nope!

Sleep:   Sleep is still going pretty well!  I have been enjoying sleep a LOT.

Best moment of the week:   I had a great weekend with Chad and Everett!  We got LOTS done in preparation for the baby.  We cleaned up all the stuff from our new mattresses that we just got, Chad put screens in all the windows, we cleaned off our back patio, did a little gardening, went through all the baby clothes.  We also had lunch with a friend and talked running, which was fun!

Nursery:  We started making room for the baby’s clothes.

Weddings rings on or off?   OFF, oh god!  My fingers are so swollen!  And last night when I got home, I realized that I no longer have ankles…I am so depressed!

Belly Button:   It’s somehow still in.

Movement?  The tiny human is just bopping around in there, keeping me engaged with it.  One of the few PERKS of late pregnancy – it’s really fun to feel the little human you created moving around and swishing all around your stomach.

Labor signs?   No…and I know I’m not supposed to wish for them yet (and I don’t, not *really*), but I’m starting to be ready to get this thing out of me.

Weird pregnancy thing of the week:   I had a nose bleed when I woke up the other day.  I have no ankles.  That’s just great.

Daddy is feeling:   Busy with work!  Busy with finals at school!

Mommy is feeling:   Blah.  Like I can’t wait for this to be over.  Large.  Overwhelmed.  Tired.  Fat.

Workouts this week:  I went on a couple walks and am planning on upping my walking game in the next couple weeks.  It makes me swollen while I’m doing it, but it’s supposed to be good for you…

Books I'm Reading/Media I'm Ingesting:
Mostly just the Gilmore Girls because I am too lazy and tired to care.

Looking forward to:  OMG MY SON IS TURNING TWO ON FRIDAY (4/22)!!!!!  I’m super excited about spending the day with Chad and Everett on Friday!  Then I’m looking forward to a visit from relatives and grandparents on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pregnancy Update: Week 31 Recap!

How far along?  I was 31 week on Friday (4/01) and am currently finishing my 31st week.

Total weight gain:   28 pounds so far.  I started out at 133 and currently weigh 161.  Hoping to gain no more than 9 more pounds….

Baby’s size/development this week:  OMG, the baby is almost FOUR POUNDS and over 19 inches long!!!  Oh yeah, at our last appointment at 31 weeks, the baby was apparently still in breech position.  Fewer than 5% of babies assume the bottom down position by full term, so I’m hoping this thing flips in the upcoming weeks!  The midwives were not concerned…

Maternity clothes:  I’ve started noticing that some of my “maternity” shirts are starting to get small or are having a difficult time covering my whole stomach.  Yikes.

Miss anything?  My pelvis not being sore.  Not having to make sure my stomach is too big to squeeze through certain Running.  Training.

Food cravings:  Nothing in particular.  Maybe a hamburger.

Anything making you queasy or sick?   Nope!

Sleep:   No one in our house is currently sick!  We are sleeping like champs for the most part!  Everett has been fighting bed time, but once we jump that hurtle in the evening things go pretty well.  Everett did wake up inconsolable in the night two nights ago and Chad applied what he calls “Cheese Therapy”.  I did wake up to find a partially eaten piece of cheese in the bed the next morning….

Best moment of the week:   Chasing my husband around Cuyahoga Valley for his 50K and taking lots of pictures and videos!!  Also having an easy week (Chad is not closing or working insane hours this week) after the insanity of last week.

Nursery:  No nursery.

Weddings rings on or off?   On and able to be taken on and off at any time except for the first hour after I wake up in the mornings.

Belly Button:   Still hanging “in” there!

Movement?  Every day!  It was doing some crazy stuff in there earlier today and I could see it moving from the outside.  Sometimes I’m sure that it’s trying to make its exit by kicking its way out of my groin.  So pleasant to be kicked in the groin from the inside….

Labor signs?   Lots of Braxton Hicks in the evenings when I overdo it, but no labor signs as of yet…

Weird pregnancy thing of the week:   The fact that there are only 8 weeks (at the most) left in the pregnancy is pretty weird.

Daddy is feeling:   Busy with finals coming up!!

Mommy is feeling:   Ready to get this show on the road!

Workouts this week:  I feel that chasing Chad around a national park on Saturday was a workout unto itself!!  We walked around the block with Everett yesterday after dinner, but I’m not sure that counts as a work out…

Books I'm Reading/Media I'm Ingesting:
·         First Bite:  How We Learn to Eat, by Bea Wilson
·         The Gilmore Girls
Looking forward to
·         The weekend!!
·         Chad not having some insane run to do on Saturday.
·         Prenatal yoga on Saturday.

·         Maybe some baby cows on Sunday??

Pregnancy Update: Week 30 Recap!

How far along?  I was officially 30 weeks on Friday (3/25).  I am officially ¾ of the way through this pregnancy!!

Total weight gain:   I currently weigh 160 (started off at 133)…I’ve gained 27 pounds so far and have 10 weeks left to go.  I will almost undoubtedly gain more than the 25-35 pounds recommended, but hopefully not too much more.  I’m currently at the weight I was when I gave birth to Everett (albeit I did go into labor one month early)

Baby’s size/development this week: The internet is telling me that the baby weighs 2 ½ - 3 pounds and is 16 inches long.  Wow!!

Maternity clothes:  It was 70 degrees on Sunday and I rocked my maternity cut offs when Everett and I went to the park!!  So excited for the opportunity to wear them more over the next 10-ish weeks!!

Miss anything?  Cuddling with my husband when we watch shows in the evenings.  Not having achy ligaments.  Not having a sluggish digestive tract due to all the space being taken up by the baby.  Being able to work out.  Not feeling exhausted (wait – will that one change!?)

Food cravings:  All of the food?  My dream in this pregnancy, as in last, is still to sit around and eat an entire box of berry Kix or Peanut Butter Bumpers with milk….I should really do that at least once before giving birth…

Anything making you queasy or sick?   No.  Although I ate two huge pieces of carrot cake on Saturday and I felt slightly sick after that, but that was more due to sheer quantity of food and not particular pregnancy related.  I still contend it was worth it!

Sleep:   We have a toddler, so everything is different than my updates from the last pregnancy!  I *THINK* Everett has been getting in his two year molars in the past week (and will continue to be for the next couple weeks?)  I can’t say for sure, but he has been difficult to put down to sleep in the evenings, and has often woken up screaming in the middle of the night, but other than that, we’re all sleeping through the night for the most part.

Best moment of the week:   A lunch date Franklin Park Conservatory with Everett on Friday followed by a visit to see Daddy at work was pretty fun.  So was a family walk in the park on Sunday afternoon!  Also, Easter dinner with Chad’s family on Saturday was pretty awesome:  ribs, scalloped potatoes, mac and cheese, and a fresh asparagus/roasted tomato salad.  Followed by that carrot cake J

Nursery:  We don’t have a nursery, we have a play room, and it won’t be updated very much.  We do need to purchase a bigger bed soon though…

Weddings rings on or off?   On, although I have swelling in the mornings, so I can’t get them off for a couple hours…

Belly Button:   My belly button is a champion, so it’s in.  Or maybe it’s kind of been stretched into non-existence…

Movement?  Movement every day!  Shudders, kicks, and rolls.

Labor signs?   No labor signs yet (thank goodness!)  I have lots of uncomfortable Braxton Hicks each evening, which I really don’t like at all, but aside from that, I’m hanging in there.

Weird pregnancy thing of the week:   Nothing weird, I guess.  Everett and I went to the doctor on Friday to get a Rogham shot since I’m a negative blood type.  He was very well behaved and reserved the WHOLE doctor’s visit.  I was very proud J
OH – one weird thing is how sometimes I feel SUPER pregnant.  Just walking to the bathroom at work or rolling over in bed, my ligaments ache, my stomach feels huge, and I feel that I just cannot be pregnant another moment.  But then there were moments last week when I was staying home with Everett, and I had him hoisted on my hip, laundry basket in hand, running up and down stairs, when I would completely forget I was pregnant.  In those moments, I would think “Wow!  What a bad ass!”

Daddy is feeling:   “Daddy is very excited for the new baby to arrive, but can't believe the first eight months of the pregnancy have gone by so quick! Daddy is excited to greet the new baby also so mommy can be done being pregnant, because being pregnant is hard work! Not too much longer!”

Mommy is feeling:   Stressed, overwhelmed, and cranky.  Between me working full time, Chad working full time plus school which is coming up on finals, me being super pregnant and fairly uncomfortable, and having to take on most of the work at home, not to mention a cranky toddler due to teething, I am way super stressed.  I can’t wait until finals are over so that I can feel like we have a regular work load to balance.  I’m also fighting this feeling of wanting the next couple months to go slowly so that I can savor our last little bit as a family of three, but also wanting time to hurry up so we can stop being in limbo and officially start “the next phase.”

Workouts this week:  Ha.  I have no idea.  We have been on a couple walks.  I did do pre-natal yoga on Saturday!  Between ligament pain, an extended chest cold, teething, and general exhaustion, I haven’t been able to muster the energy to work out in the mornings.  I was kicking so much ass at this point in my last pregnancy, but I try to tell myself that hanging out with a toddler *HAS* to be a work out unto itself…right?

Books I'm Reading/Media I'm Ingesting:
·         First Bite:  How We Learn to Eat, by Bea Wilson.   So far, I am really enjoying this book, which delves into how we as humans pass on the knowledge of eating from one generation to another, and how things have changed so drastically in the past hundred years or so in this new era of plenty.
·         I’ve also been watching the Gilmore Girls intermittently and Chad and I have been watching House of Cards, but we’re almost done with the most recent season.
·         There are several podcasts I’d like to catch up on, but I have been reading in any quiet moments I have, and the rest of my time is taken up by crazy toddler!

Looking forward to
·         We have an appointment with our midwives on Wednesday, and we are supposed to go over our “Ideal Birth Plan,” which Chad and I have both written one from our own perspectives.  Chad’s is a story and mine is like a 5 paragraph essay with a lot of reflection on the previous labor and birth.  I like how Michael Jordan and knitting somehow make their way into Chad’s birth plan J  I think we both included marathon metaphors, of course J

·         Chad’s 50K (!!) is on Saturday and we’ll be staying at my parent’s near Akron this weekend, so that should be a fun trip!