8 weeks & counting...

I have no picture this week.  Maybe I will at some point, we'll see.  But I found the fact that I have no picture a very perfect way to start off this week's post.  Because, you see, I'm too exhausted to take a picture.

This week has been unreal.  It's been unlike any of my other pregnancies.  I feel like a total failure as a mom and wife right now.  I'm so tired I honestly don't know how I even pull myself out of bed in the morning.  I have never, ever, ever, ever experienced exhaustion like this.  Saturday night I fell asleep a little after 6:00 and last night, at 5:30.

My house is a train wreck.  I say that a lot but in this case I'm actually not exaggerating.  There are probably seven...eight...maybe even nine loads worth of laundry just hanging out on my couch.  There's barely a place to sit which is saying a lot because we have a huge sectional.

The fact that I'm too tired to track down my black top and pants, walk to the camera, pick it up and then walk to our bedroom is indicative of whatever is going on.

I had exhaustion with Ben, but that just meant I was asleep by 8:00 every night the whole pregnancy, not that I couldn't function as a human being.

The nausea is bad.  Really bad.  Some mornings I put Addie down for her nap and cuddle in my bed with Ben while I put on a movie so I can lay down and not throw up.  I'm such a wonderful mommy right now.

And then there's the cravings - if I don't have what I want RIGHT AWAY then, well, let's just say it ain't pretty.  In fact, my sweet, patient and amazing husband is on his way to pick me up some guacamole and a cheese quesadilla from my favorite restaurant as we speak.

Tim?  He's a champ.  Picking up my slack left and right.  That man deserves an award.  If for no other reason than because he's actually putting up with me like this.

This does get better.  This does get better.  This does get better.


7 Weeks

Hey look, I actually sort of made my bed this week!  How classy of me.

So I think my belly totally changed shape this week.  Regardless, I'm becoming increasingly convinced I'm either having quadruplets or I'm a freak of nature.  Either way, oh well!  I kind of like seeing a bump already.  It's fun.  :)

Dear Sweet Baby of Mine:

This week has been quite a bit different than last.  I'm still overwhelmed with exhaustion.  Your amazing daddy has let me be lazy and get lots of rest.  You're quite the lucky thing to be coming into this world with him as your dad.  The small little business I'm trying to run has become very difficult to manage.  If I have one minute of free time, I want to spend it sleeping or with my feet up.  Not sewing.

Saturday was the start of some awful morning sickness.  In fact, I even slept on the bathroom floor for awhile.  The past three days have just been yuck.  I've begun a new love affair with saltines.  I went from being 100% convinced you were a boy because this pregnancy has started EXACTLY (to a T) like your brother's pregnancy, but this horrible sickness is now making me doubt myself.  Who the heck knows, it's way too early to be spending time on this anyway.  And I'm excited that you're our surprise baby, so I really don't want to dwell on it.  I can't WAIT to hear, "It's a..." as your daddy hands you to me.   :)

An interview with my (almost) 3 year old

My friend did this and I thought it was adorable and would be great for the "baby book" (AKA blog).  I'm going to try to do this once a year.  The answers cracked me up!

An interview with a (almost) 3 year old:

What is your name? I'm Ben

How old are you? I'm foyree

Favorite Color? I don't know.  Redgreen.

Favorite Animal? I don't know.  GREEN!

Favorite TV show? I no know my favorite TV show.  When I prompted him with a few he likes, he then said, Fireman Sam!

Favorite Book? Fireman Sam book.  (We don't have one, don't know what he's talking about.)

Favorite Food? Pickles.  (I literally LOL'd...he never eats pickles!)

Favorite Song? ABCs!

Favorite Toy?  Fire truck!  (Sensing a theme?)

Ben IN a firetruck this weekend.  They were doing tours at The Home Depot.  How fun is that?!


My soap box!

I used to be passionate about all sorts of things: politics, food, raising children, birthing children, etc.  These days I'm more carefree.  I still believe what I believe politically, but it's become less important what others believe.  I used to feel it was my duty to get everyone on my side.  Now, not so much.  If someone agrees with me politically (ahem, that is, liberally), AWESOME!  I would happily talk politics with you all day long.  But if you don't, I might try to sway ya, I might not.  In the end, it just doesn't matter to me very much.  Same goes for food and raising children.  We are all entitled to our own opinions and who is to say that any one of us is right?  Your child may very well need to be raised differently than mine.

Having a child really does this to a lot of people, I've noticed.  I ate my words so many times regarding the type of mom I was going to be that I quickly realized I have no right judging anyone else's parenting skills or beliefs.  To each his own!

But a few things have held true and I've become even more passionate about them: my religion and birth.  Because I believe these are the two most important things in life and they're worthy of being passionate about.

Our birth system is BROKEN.  B-R-O-K-E-N.  It makes me sick to my stomach every time I hear about elective inductions and c-sections.  It is NOT okay.  It is NOT healthy.  It is NOT right to play God.

I need to start off by saying that I don't blame moms.  Sadly, most of us don't really know anything about birth.  We go see our OB who tells us what to think and feel and do, down to how to hold your legs while pushing.  I accepted it all with Ben.  I accepted that I "needed" an ultrasound at every appointment (I didn't) and that I should be hypersensitive to every cramp or sensation inside of me.  I accepted that I had to lay flat on my back and push when the doctor told me to push.

Why?  Because, though I'd seen The Business of Being Born and had read as much as I could, I was still scared.  I doubted my own body and my own urges.  I mean, this was a doctor!  A DOCTOR!  Surely they knew more than me!

The second time around was much different.  With a pregnancy and delivery under my belt, I decided I could do this pregnancy thing without all the ultrasounds (yes, I'm the freak who believes ultrasounds aren't healthy) and hype and propaganda.  I decided I would birth on my terms.  I would have my birth plan and I would follow it!

Even me, who is about as crunchy as they come in regards to birth, wavered at the offer for an induction at 38 weeks.  And then I wavered again at 39 weeks when I was 5cm dilated and they insisted that I be induced.  And then, ultimately, I caved and had them break my water 2 days before my due date.

By most people's standards, at that point in pregnancy there is nothing wrong with inducing (naturally or not).  I regret it because I want my God to decide when my baby is ready, not me or a doctor.  I don't regret it because there were bad outcomes, but because I trust my body but didn't trust it that day.  I decided I knew more than my body on that day and I made the call that my baby was ready to come instead of letting my body (& my God) make that call.

So, like I said, I don't blame moms.  Even the crunchiest of us can cave when a doctor dangles an induction in our face.  We're hormonal and miserable!  OF COURSE we are ready!

But I urge you to get educated so that next time (or the first time, if you're that lucky) you can birth on your terms!

I was shocked when my doctor offered me an induction at 38 weeks.  Not for any medical reason - there was no concern whatsoever on any account.  I can only assume that it was easier on her to just schedule me in than for me to go into labor on my own.  Nothing else makes sense.

This article in the NY Times really won me over.  There is no denying that early elective inductions and c-sections put your baby at much higher risk for complication.  But doctors don't tell us that when they pencil us in for an induction at 36, 37, 38 weeks.

What woman, when facing these facts, would want an elective induction?  My bet is none.  Doctors should be educating their patients so that they can decide if they really want that elective induction.

  • Studies have shown that as many as 36 percent of elective deliveries now occur before 39 weeks, and many of these early deliveries are contributing to an unacceptable number of premature births and avoidable, costly complications.

  • With each decreasing week of gestation below 39 to 40 weeks, there is an increased risk of complications like respiratory distress, jaundice, infection, low blood sugar, extra days in the hospital (including time in the neonatal intensive care unit), and even deaths of newborn babies and older infants.

  • In a study published last December of babies demonstrated to have mature lungs before birth, those delivered at 36 to 38 weeks had two and a half times the number of complications compared with those delivered at 39 to 40 weeks

  • In 2006 the infant mortality rate at 37 weeks gestation was 3.9 per 1,000 live births; at 38 weeks, 2.5 per 1,000 births; and at 40 weeks, 1.9 per 1,000 births.
But until doctors do start educating their patients on all of the above, it's time that we educate ourselves and make up our minds early on in pregnancy that we won't have an elective induction or c-section unless it's truly medically necessary.  No matter how miserable we are!  I would love to be able to rely on doctors to remove this choice all together, but right now that's just not the state of our birthing system here in the US.

We assume that a 37 week baby is totally ready to come.  Because, you know, 37 weeks is full term.  This is not the case, as can be seen in the above stats.  Now, as the article states, if your body goes into labor on its own, chances are much greater that the baby is ready.  We're talking inductions and c-sections here.

That's my first beef with OBs.  Elective inductions for no reason other than convenience should flat not be an option.  Period.  Exclamation point.

My second is the "necessary" inductions and c-sections.  Sadly, in this day and age, doctors make decisions out of fear of getting sued.  I can't say I really blame them.  But it's a major contributing factor to all the early c-sections.  It's something we should always have in the back of our minds during pregnancy.  If a doctor performs a c-section, he can say he did everything possible to save that baby.  So naturally, he's going to move to the c-section much more quickly than necessary.

It was supposedly necessary that I be induced when I was 5 cm dilated even though I wasn't in active labor.  One of the midwives I interviewed told me a story about a woman who was 6 cm dilated at 36 weeks.  As she pointed out, any OB would have required an induction at that point.  She didn't.  And do you know that that mother went on to deliver at 39 weeks and a few days?  Some women (me, a case-in-point) actually can walk around ridiculously dilated and stay that way for weeks.  Sadly, had she gone an OB route, she would very likely have been delivered at 36 weeks without knowing better and that baby could have been in NICU and had complications.  But they trusted her body and God and she carried that healthy baby to term with zero complications.

Other doctors will refuse VBACs and require that patients have subsequent c-sections because of the fear of uterine rupture.  Do you know that the risk of rupture is LESS than one percent? And now they're saying a woman who has had multiple c-sections is at no greater risk of uterine rupture than one who has had only one.   But doctors are still hesitant to accept the facts, so they encourage repeat c-sections.  Because they don't want their patients to actually go into labor, they schedule these c-sections often WELL before the due date.  Because of a risk of uterine rupture less than one percent, they up the risk of complications to baby by tons (see above).  How does this make sense?

See what can happen when we educate and empower ourselves and decide that our bodies almost always know best?

Now I'm not one to shun the medical profession.  There are cases where doctors are needed and I'm very grateful for them.  In fact, I chose my midwife based on the fact that she seemed to share that philosophy with me much more than the others.  She said she never hesitates to make a transfer to the hospital when necessary, and she believes sooner is always better.  I totally agree.  If there is even one sign that something isn't quite right, I would much rather play it safe and end up in the hospital unnecessarily than the other way around.  I'm all about safety for my baby.

That's the entire point of this post.  Safety for your baby.

Educate yourself!  Empower yourself!  YOU know your body more than anyone else!  Have the birth you want with the healthiest baby possible!

And, above all, don't trust that your doctor always knows best.  Read the studies, seek out information on your own.  Because doctors are notoriously very slow to accept new information and change the way they practice.


6 weeks & counting...

I know it's common to slack off with each subsequent pregnancy.  Everything seems a wee bit less exciting when you've been there, done that.  But there's something to be said for this, too.  Because though it may be a little less exciting, it's also a little less scary.

I know what to expect now, with number three.

Basically, I know to expect the unexpected.  I thought I had pregnancy nailed down after Ben.  But Addie's pregnancy threw me for a loop.  I was so sick.  I could barely function.  From weeks 6-11, I was worthless.  I could have won several worst-wife-of-the-year awards and I parked Ben in front of the TV for about 5 weeks straight.  It wasn't my proudest moment.  The hardest part is that I hadn't expected it.

I'd expected exhaustion because that was my symptom with Ben.  I would come home during lunch breaks and sleep.  But I never had exhaustion with Adalyn.  Never.  I guess God figured the morning sickness was enough.  Rightly so.  :)

I also now know that babies come in all shapes and sizes...and personalities.  Ben was easy as pie.  Didn't cry, totally content doing anything.  I was so excited to have another newborn that I completely forgot that there was a possibility that the next newborn wouldn't be so easy.  And, though she is our heart & soul, BOY was she not easy.  She's still not easy.  She cried ALL THE TIME.  All. the. time.  She has been sick so many times (go figure, my exclusively breastfed baby gets sick way more than my partly formula fed child).  She won't drink from a sippy cup (nope, we have to put a glass to her mouth each and every time), won't eat anything but fruit that has been highly pureed (as in she won't eat anything I puree myself, has to be first foods from a jar) and she still cries all the time.  She's the pickiest child I've known personally.  But she is also my baby!  She and I...we're just attached.  In this crazy awesome way.  The next baby may be tough or he/she may be easy but either way, we will love this baby more than words can ever express.

This time around, I'm bracing myself for all possibilities.

But rather than slack off, I try to use each pregnancy to do things better than the time before.  I want to eat better and be more physically active and take better pictures and keep better notes, because these are all the things I have regretted from before.

And, to be brutally honest, I don't enjoy pregnancy too much so I have to force myself to have some fun.  Pictures = fun.  Doing pictures right = double fun.

I've always wanted to take belly pictures in the same outfit the entire pregnancy.  I never thought I'd have such a belly so early, but what are you gonna do?  I could whine and fuss and complain and feel sorry for myself.  Well, I have done all those things.  But it hit me today that I can actually force myself to enjoy this.  To embrace the belly.  Hey, short girls on their third pregnancy when having a baby 8 short months ago can't be that surprised to see this in the mirror.  Right?

All this was basically just a really long way of saying that this blog is going to be one gigantic pregnancy journal, so if you're not into that sort of thing, feel free to stop reading.  I will understand.  No hurt feelings.  Promise.  :)   I realize this is much more for my sake than anyone else.

And you can feel free to follow my unpregnancy-ish stuff at my other blog.

Dear Future Baby O' Mine,

This week has been good.  Other than the massive preggo belly I've managed to sport, I'm feeling pretty good.  I have had my serious morning sickness moments, but so far they're just that: moments.  The exhaustion is pretty bad and I struggle to keep my eyes open every couple of minutes, especially because your big brother has taken to not napping.  But if this is as bad as it gets, I can handle it.  It's all worth it for you!

We've discussed the mini van purchase we will inevitably be making and whether or not all three of you kiddos can fit into one bedroom for the time being until we can sell our house when the market improves (oh, the housing market slump...remind me to tell you all about that one day).  We'll see.  God will provide and it'll work out.

We met with two midwives for interviews.  We're excited to have you at home.  So, so excited!  Just having a heck of a time deciding between these two amazing women.

We love you...so very much!


Why yes, I'm having a baby at home.

This post could be controversial.  I hate that I have to preface it this way, but I ask that you please keep any nasty/hateful comments to yourself.  We may have different birthing philosophies and that's okay.  I won't judge yours if you don't judge mine.  :)

Shortly after I found out I was pregnant with Ben, I got word of a new documentary called The Business of Being Born.  I also happened to have a friend preparing for a home birth at this same time, so it was really fresh on my radar.

I was as far from "crunchy" as one could be at this time.  I drank lots of pop, ate lots of crap, was incredibly wasteful, used endless amounts of chemicals on my body, our home, in our food.  I was just blissfully unaware.

But I was a newly pregnant mama, and that changes your brain.  It really does.  Suddenly you want to change everything about your life that won't provide a perfect environment for your child.

And so I watched The Business of Being Born.  And that little documentary changed my life.  It didn't just convince me of a broken birthing system, it rocked my world.  It changed my philosophy on everything.  It was the first step in a desire to learn about my baby and my body and my food and my environment.

I wanted a home birth.  I wanted it so badly.  But my husband didn't and my mom didn't and I'd had surgery on my cervix not too long before getting pregnant, so after time, I realized that I probably wasn't the best candidate and even if I was, I couldn't change my husband's mind.  And he's half the equation.  So I had a hospital birth.  And honestly?  It was a pretty good experience.  My doctor was hyper-paranoid and ordered ultrasounds at almost every appointment which I'm not a fan of - ultrasound technology is still fairly new in the scheme of things and they used to say that x-rays were safe for babies too - until they learned they weren't.  You see, that's how we do things in this country.  Did you know that in America, a chemical is assumed safe until it's proven harmful?  A company does not have to prove the safety of a chemical.  HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!

Anyway, aside from the mega exposure to ultrasounds, I liked that experience.  They were sweet, doting and accommodating to my desires, but I did feel pressured into the epidural as they kept telling me that the anesthesiologist was at home and that it would take a bit so if I wanted one, I should go ahead and make that decision.  But really, I can't complain.  It was a beautiful birth and a wonderful experience and it taught me that my body carries and births babies well and that I would be a good candidate for a home birth in the future.  Something to get excited for!

Fast forward to Adalyn's pregnancy.  Both Tim and I were on board this time, but we kind of dropped the ball.  I kept putting off making an appointment and before you know it, I'm 12 weeks pregnant.  I finally called the only midwife I knew of and she said she'd call me back.  Only weeks and weeks went by and I never heard from her.  So I called her again.  Again she didn't call me back.  By that point, I was 17 or 18 weeks pregnant and we just gave up on the idea, called an OB and that was that.  I later found out the one midwife I chose to call was one who has taken on WAY too many patients and is not recommended by anybody else in town now.

This time, I don't have a good hospital birth.  At 38 weeks while I'm complaining about my comfort level, my OB asks, "Well, do you want me to go ahead and induce you?"  I thought I was going to faint!  My doctor was just offering up an induction at thirty-eight weeks (!!!) for discomfort level only.  Not because baby was in distress or my bp was high or there was some indication that baby needed to come out now.  Nope.  Just because I hurt.  Because, you know, no other pregnant woman hurts at 38 weeks.  Most hospitals in the country are moving away from unnecessary inductions because they're just that: unnecessary.  Why should we mess with God's plan merely because we're uncomfortable?  If there's a reason to take baby and baby is better off outside of the womb earlier than God would have, hey, I'll support that.  But to offer up an induction to a vulnerable woman who is at her wit's end and uncomfy as all get-out is dangerous and irresponsible.  I am quite crunchy these days, in case I haven't made that obvious, and even I toyed with the idea!  Half of me was shocked and the other half was like, Hmm, maybe I should just do it!  Luckily my smarter half convinced my vulnerable half to say no.

Then she wanted to give me pitocin when I was dilated to 5 because she was afraid the baby would come too fast.  I pretty much begged her to just break my water instead because pitocin scares me (statistically speaking, your risk for other interventions is quite large after getting pitocin and I'm just plain scared of the painful labor that I've heard pitocin induces), but she wouldn't have that.  So I went home and was told to come in with the next contraction, which happened a day or two later.

Then they broke my water.  I can't fault them for this because I asked for it.  That was on me.  I was going for the "natural induction" route and while it's not totally accepted within the "crunchy" circles, I'm not really opposed to it when all signs point to "baby is ready!" (I was 6 cm dilated, fully effaced, etc., but not in labor). In hindsight I wouldn't do it again because I am at a different place in my life now - one in which I would prefer to trust God's timing and not my own - but I wasn't quite there yet during this time and I was impatient and fearful.

When my doctor broke my water and it got on her, she jumped back with this horrified, disgusted look on her face.  Like, how DARE I!  Because she's an OB doctor and somehow that's not a regular part of her working life?  This was after rolling her eyes at me when I told her I needed to potty before she broke my water.  She was annoyed at me that I had not done this before she got in the room because I was wasting her time, you know?

I asked for several things in my birth plan that were not honored.  I asked that they not cut the cord until it had stopped pulsing (something that is becoming increasingly accepted and even if they didn't buy into the philosophy that baby needs that last surge of blood, they could and should have humored me as it was in my birth plan).  They didn't honor that.  I asked that baby be bathed in our room for her first bath.  They refused that.  They took my brand new baby away from me to bathe her.  That was the last straw - that was the moment that I realized I could never birth a baby in a hospital again, unless circumstances dictated that it was NECESSARY.  I don't believe normal, healthy births HAVE to be done in a hospital.  Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with hospital births if that's where you feel most comfortable and you won't find me judging someone for having one.  I did!  Two of them, to be exact!  But for me, this time around, I want to experience birth as I believe it was intended to be, and I hope that having a home birth will facilitate that.

I feel the need to write this post because there are people who have been very vocal about their beliefs that home births are stupid, risky and uninformed.  I could have just said, "Hey, I'm having a home birth!" and that's that.  But I know I would have to brace myself for some comments that would hurt my feelings and some disrespect and honestly, some misinformed viewpoints.  I know this post sounds like a giant justification.  It really isn't, but it is a plead to respect every woman's right to birth as she wants without rolling your eyes, judging or vocally expressing your distaste for her choice.  I do feel the need to explain myself because I know what the common conception is and I've already received several strange looks and a few disagreeing scowls.

You have every right not to choose to home birth.  We should all choose to have our babies in the place that makes us most comfortable.  For me, that's my home.

But I don't feel you have a right to tell me I'm endangering my child by birthing at home.  Unfortunately, the studies on the matter are flawed.  Most studies say that home birth is as safe as hospital birth and results in far fewer interventions, but people question the validity of these studies.  A few studies claim that infant mortality is higher among the home birth group, but people question the validity of these studies, too.  I wish there were a definitive answer.  The best answer I find comes from the studies on OTHER countries - ones with much lower infant mortality rates and much higher home birth percentages.  We're one of the few countries in the world that decided to consider birth a problem that needed fixing by modern medicine.

My heart and my soul tell me to birth this baby at home.  I'm kind of old fashioned in a lot of my beliefs.  I do tend to err on the side of "if we did it in the old days, it must be the right way!"  Years of frustration with our current system (food system, chemical system, government, parenting, etc.) have tainted my views and shaped me.

Until very recently (in the scheme of things), women didn't birth in the hospital.  We've been birthing at home since the dawn of time.

I don't want interventions if unnecessary.  I'm not so prideful that I would forbid them.  I'm not so prideful that I will refuse to go to the hospital if baby has low fetal heart tones or something is obviously wrong.  I believe that hospitals can be a wonderful thing when needed and I'll have no shame transferring to a hospital if need be.  There's one quite close, as we discovered a few months ago when rushing Ben there after he ate peanuts.

But I don't want a c-section because a doctor is tired of waiting on me and wants to go home.  I don't want pitocin becuase my labor isn't progressing fast enough to make my doctor happy.  I don't want the cord clamped immediately and my baby whisked away from me for his or her first bath.  I want to give birth to my baby in a quiet, peaceful, dark, COMFORTABLE environment surrounded by people who love me and my baby.  I want my husband to help (and most importantly, he wants to help) and I want to do what feels right and natural.

When I was ready to push with Adalyn, they told me to hold it to wait for the doctor.  If you've birthed a baby, particularly without an epidural (I say this because I never experienced the need to push with my epidural birth, which I think is common), you know that there is no "holding it."  When baby is ready, baby is ready.  You don't control pushing - your body does.  Then they FORCED me onto my back to push her out regardless of my pleading not to make me.  Rolling onto my back felt so horribly painful I honestly thought it would kill me.  I cannot find the words to describe that pain.  Every time I would try I would be hit with horrendous pain, and the pain would immediately lessen when rolling back to my side.  But that wasn't convenient for my doctor, so she forced me into the most unnatural position a woman can be in for labor.

When I met with the first midwife we interviewed this week, we talked about birthing in WHATEVER POSITION I WANTED.  WHEREVER I WANTED!  Imagine!  I get to do what I want!  And really, doesn't that seem like the most natural way for labor to progress?  Doesn't it seem like something God equipped us to be able to do?  I think we women don't give ourselves enough credit that we know how to get baby out.  We're so brainwashed into the idea that we need to be flat on our backs taking orders from our doctor that we don't think to question that.

I am the perfect candidate for home birth.  I have had two normal, uneventful pregnancies, produced two healthy babies, had a natural birth and quick labors.  As far as risk factors go, I have almost none.  I will have the 20 week ultrasound to check for heart defects, deformities and anything else that would make the hospital the safest place to birth this baby.

I don't feel I'm naive, uninformed, stupid or risking my baby's life. I have thought long and hard about this, I have taken in as much knowledge as I can soak up and I am ready for this!  In eight months, that is...