Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2 months already!




With the holidays and all, I have been unable to update on my sweet Ean.

He is nine weeks and two days old as I'm typing this. He turned exactly 2 months on Sunday, the 27th.

At some point, right around the 8 week mark, Ean developed a personality! He now looks into my eyes, rather than looking through me, and he loves to be talked to. When I talk to him, his whole body moves. His trunk moves side to side, his arms flap, and his legs pedal up and down. He smiles with his whole face, and he giggles when he really gets smiling.

He looks up at me when he's nursing and gives me a big grin, which just melts my heart.

Ean loves to talk now. His mouth moves all over, like he's trying to form words, and then he'll finally let out a breathy "oooooh" or a "guuuuuu." He makes lots of little gurgly sounds. His breathing also has that classic two-month rattle, since he's starting to make more saliva.

He is in size 6-9 month clothes now, officially. He outgrew the last of the 3-6 months. When he's wearing certain diapers, he needs a size 12 month onesie because the diaper is huge.

My other babies were all summer babies, so Ean is the first kid to wear onesies all the time under clothes. It's chilly in our house, and he seems extra sensitive to temperature. Actually, he's extra sensitive to everything - he hates lots of noise and confusion, he hates lots of smells, he hates bright lights and big crowds. I guess he isn't headed to NYC anytime soon...

Ean still cries every night for no apparent reason. We are trying Gripe Water. It does seem to distract him for a little bit, so he stops crying for a couple minutes, then starts right back up.

Despite that, he is squishy and huggable and the sweetest thing ever. I think I'll keep him.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Seven weeks....


... plus one day.


He is crying, and doesn't sleep, and nurses 24/7, so no real update. Have not been able to put him down for days. He has slept a total of 45 minutes since 7 this morning.


Tired.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Six Weeks!




(Written Wednesday, December 9.)



Six weeks and one day, since I didn't have a chance to update yesterday.


Ean weighs around 13.5 pounds now, and wears mostly size 6-9 months. He is a chunky butt.



His diaper rash is completely gone. I switched to cloth. I hate it, because I don't have good covers (even the good ones I bought are crap) so they leak everywhere. But he doesn't have a rash, and that's the most important thing. None of the creams the doctor prescribed were working, but switching did, even though the doctor insisted that the rash wasn't due to a diaper allergy.


I know it was an allergy, because it's gone now, and because I have an allergy too. I am horribly allergic to feminine hygiene products (I have to use cloth) and the rash I get looks exactly like the rash Ean had.

Ean is spending a lot more time awake now. He likes to watch his brother and sisters playing, and he is starting to smile at everyone, not just me. He cries every night but I think I've found the solution - when he is crying because he's overtired, I set him down in his swing. He cries alone and it breaks my heart (I am a strictly "no-CIO" parent) but it only lasts a little bit. It feels like at least fifteen minutes but last night when I watched the clock, it wasn't even a whole minute. He then stops crying and looks around, and that's when I pick him up and he goes right to sleep. It's like he needs a second to cry, and get it out of his system, without any stimulation.

He looks exactly like his big sister. I wonder who he'll look like as he gets older?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Five Weeks, with smiley pictures!


Ean is five weeks old today. It's just unbelievable to me that five weeks have gone by so quickly.

We were at the doctor again today, for his terrible diaper rash. Turns out, I was right in the first place - he has thrush. It's in his mouth, and it's on his bottom. The diaper rash has a secondary bacterial infection, and its really bad, bloody and oozing. We have three different creams to put on it now. I also have some diaper covers coming in the mail soon, so he can be back in cloth full time. Cloth seems to help the rash dramatically, but he outgrew all his diaper covers so he's in disposables now.

He was weighed at the doctor, and he now tips the scales at 12 pounds, 10 ounces. Chunky boy!

Here are some pictures I took today.











Friday, November 27, 2009

One Month! And a Milestone!

Ean is one month old today. A whole month! This month has gone by faster than any month I've ever experienced.

Ean gave me something wonderful for his one month birthday - a smile! A real smile! We were soaking in the tub, and I had him lying on his back on my arms, completely submerged except for his head, which he loves. I was singing to him and smiling, and he gazed into my face and then broke out into a huge grin!

I am so happy this time around. I had a week or two with awful depression, but that's gone now and I really feel happy. This is such a different experience for me. Usually the depression doesn't go away until a year or more (or I get pregnant, whichever comes first!) But this time, it went away just like baby blues are supposed to. I feel strong and capable. I feel especially good after a shower, because The Hub, having spent twenty minutes alone with all five kids, says to me, "Honey, I don't know how you do it. I could never take care of them full time like you do." That just makes my day, and when times do get rough, like in the evening when Ean is crying and fussy, I just remember that, and it makes me feel so much better.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Four Weeks, and a Checkup.


Okay. Four weeks and one day, because I forgot to update. Also, he is 3 weeks in this picture, because the batteries in my camera are dead.


Ean had a checkup on Monday. We decided to take him in because his mouth looked thrushy, but the doctor thinks it's just spit-up that's sticking around too long. I've got some remedies I am going to try because it doesn't seem like spit-up to me, but anyway.


At 3 weeks and 6 days of age, Ean weighed 11 pounds, 15 ounces, and 22 1/2" long. He's grown 1 1/2" in length and gained 1 pound, 9 ounces.


Ean has to wear cloth diapers. No disposables. We tried Pampers and Luv's, but they both leak terribly. As in, soaking outfits with each pee, and ruining them with each poop. Huggies fit, and don't leak, but he breaks out in an awful rash. So it looks like for now we're doing cloth, which is fine with me. With the older kids, I switch back and forth regularly. I don't have any covers that fit Ean though, so that will be an early Christmas present for me.


He is starting to be more alert, and likes to sit in his seat and look around. He also decided that he doesn't like to have his legs up like a frog when he's being worn, and he definitely doesn't like being on his belly - unless he's tummy to tummy in the wrap, of course. He is still spitting up a LOT, but he doesn't seem to be in discomfort unless he's lying down, and he is obviously gaining weight, so I'm not going to worry about reflux at this point.


I love him. I can't even tell you how much I love him. There is nothing sweeter than planting a big kiss on his squishy cheek, or holding him on my chest and kissing his velvety little head. I can't get enough of him. He is so amazing.


Friday, November 20, 2009

3 1/2 weeks

Ean is 3 1/2 weeks old. Today he did the sweetest thing. He woke up, next to me, and snuggled in for a nurse. Then he let go, looked me in the eyes, and said "Ohhhh!"

That's his first attempt at communication other than crying. He is growing so fast.

He is also sick, I think. He's go a stuffy nose, which I have been suctioning like crazy, and kind of coughs. I'm not sure if he's actually sick or if this is because he spits up so much. I think possibly the spit up is going up into his nose. I have been dairy, soy, and nut free for nearly 3 days now but I'm not seeing a change. I think his reflux is just plain old reflux, not food related.

I decided I am going to make Ean big soft fabric blocks for Christmas. I think he'll like that a lot.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Three Weeks


Ean is three weeks old today. Can you believe that? Time goes by so quickly...
He is a lot more alert these days. He gets fussy in the evenings; not screaming like colic, but fussy and wanting to be held and comforted. I am afraid he might have reflux, because he spits up constantly and is uncomfortable when he's laying down. He likes to be upright at all times, even in arms.

I'm not sure how big he is, but I guess between 12 and 13 pounds. He's wearing outfits that The Babe wore when he was two and three months old. The Babe was not a teeny baby - 8lb 11oz - but compared to Ean he was really little.
He still has a little bit of blood in his eyes from birth, but just a tiny bit. He sometimes gets tears in his eyes when he cries, but usually he doesn't cry for long enough to have that happen. He goes to sleep every night around 8:30pm and sleeps for four or five hours, and then he wakes up to nurse and goes right back to sleep. I am not sleep deprived at all, because he sleeps in bed with me so I just doze through his feedings.
I think the thing that's hardest for me is knowing what he needs. He is only soothed by nursing so I worry that maybe I'm overfeeding him, or teaching him that feeling over-full is best. But it works, and I'd much rather have a chubby, happy baby than a "normal sized" miserable one.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two Weeks

Ean is two weeks old today. It's 10:18 pm as I'm typing.... two weeks ago to the minute I was sitting on the toilet, extremely frightened.

...

Ean woke up. Now it's 10:30... two weeks ago at this minute I was holding my newborn on the toilet. It seems like yesterday, but it seems like he's been here forever.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One Week with Ean

Yesterday Ean turned a week old. He likes to nurse and be held and cuddled. He doesn't like to have his diaper changed or be undressed. He likes to be in the carseat, but only if the car is moving.



We have not been to the doctor yet. I guess this is for two reasons - first, I don't see any reason to. Ean is healthy. Secondly, the doctor's office is full of sick children, and I don't want to expose any of the kids to more germs than we have to.



So, I have no idea how much Ean weighs now. He nurses great and seems content so I don't worry about his weight.

I am healing fine. I still have some pain in my pelvic bones, especially if I move too quickly. I also get tired out fairly easily, but I never have an opportunity to nap. I had a couple days where I pretty much laid in bed all day but now I am so stir-crazy that I just can't rest. I need to get out and about. It's hard to have a baby during flu season, because you want to get out but you don't want to expose the baby to anything. We've gone out a few times and I just make sure no one touches him or even really looks at him, and we use hand sanitizer frequently.

I still miss being pregnant but I have such a beautiful baby. I am a lucky momma indeed.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Reflections

I can't believe it's over. This pregnancy was so unplanned and unwanted at first, and now I look at my beautiful baby boy and I can't believe I ever felt that way. I can't believe how fast the whole thing flew by.

I had initially planned to paint my belly like a pumpkin, but when October rolled around and I was so unbelievably uncomfortable, it didn't sound good anymore. I saw other people's bellies painted like pumpkins and I was just, ugh. I didn't want to do it. Now I sort of wish I had.

I miss my pregnant belly though. I miss feeling him move around in there, and the anticipation, and the quiet moments at night when he'd get hiccups and poke me with his skinny, bony little feet.

I miss wondering when he'd come. I miss planning for him, and buying little baby things, and setting things up for him. I miss daydreaming about him. I miss the trips to Yolanda's office, and her soft hands feeling my precious unborn baby. I miss waiting.

Last night I had a weird dream. I dreamed I had two babies. Ean, and another baby boy. They looked the same, pretty much, and they were both dressed in white onesies with white socks, with those scrawny red little legs and that sweet little chin-dimple. I was holding Ean and nursing him but I couldn't get to my other baby boy. I was reaching and reaching for him but I couldn't get to him, and I was so distressed. He just kept moving away from me into empty space. I don't remember if I was crying in the dream but when I woke up I just started bawling and missing my other baby. I cuddled Ean and rubbed his impossibly tiny little head, and longed for his brother. It came to me that maybe Ean had initially been a twin, and his brother had been lost before we even knew he existed. I don't know if it's true, but it sure feels like it. I ache, like there is another baby supposed to be here too.

This has been the weirdest experience of my life, truly. This is the most surreal thing that has ever happened to me, from beginning to end. I don't know how to move forward from here. I don't know how to do it. I don't really know how to adjust and be a mom of a newborn again.

This birth, in all it's beauty, is also the closing of a chapter in my life. The Hub had a vasectomy in March, so there will never again be another little person hiding deep inside me. I will never again agonize over a late period, or feel a mix of glee and dread over a second line on a pregnancy test, or spend months in a morning sickness fog. I'll never do any of this again. It's bittersweet and part of me really want him to go have his vasectomy reversed. Part of me doesn't want it to be over.

What a strange, strange journey this has been.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I had a BABY!

here is the birth story...

http://2undertoo.blogspot.com/2009/10/ordinary-miracle.html

You'll have to go see bwhether it was a boy or a girl... intelligender predicted girl, chinese gender chart predicted boy.

there's a picture too...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

oh. i think i know what this is.

I think this weird feeling is the baby's head. It's right on my pelvic floor and I can feel it moving around. This is different from anything I've ever felt before.

Dilated 4-5 with waters bulging, 95% effaced. It really could be any day now. Hopefully sooner than later because Yolanda leaves for vacation on Saturday....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

it continues

the waiting, I mean. No baby yet. I am so overdue that the pregnancy countdown thing on the right is now counting backwards, telling me just how overdue I am. 16 days. 17 days. 18 days. How much further can it go?

If you go by my latest due date, though, I'm only 6 days overdue. Isn't pregnancy supposed to be a little shorter when you've have a bunch of kids? I guess I just figured I wouldn't go this late. I thought I'd be a little early.

The midwife leaves for vacation on Saturday. The baby must be born in the next six days or I will not get the homebirth I have been planning for. Well, no, actually. If the baby is not born in the next six days I will rearrange my plans and have an unassisted birth. I will not give my body up to a hospital again. And if people think that's foolish, I understand, but the thing is, the doctors and hospitals are the ones who caused this, not me. If they had treated me with a modicum of respect on any of the opportunities they had, I wouldn't be planning a homebirth at all.

Anyway.

Lots of prodromal labor. Blah. I can literally think myself into a contraction. Just rub my hands over my belly and think "Oh, I wish I would have a contraction," and voila. Contraction. But even when I keep that up, labor doesn't kick in.

Today I planned out where my chicken coop and pig pen will be, come spring. Hopefully tromping all over the property got something moving.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nope.

No, I have not had the baby yet.

Five says maybe there isn't a baby in there at all. She says it's just a watermelon. Beastie says it's not a baby, it's a donkey. And EJ just wants to know when it's coming out so she can show the baby to all her friends at school.

I've been nursing The Babe as frequently as possible, to hopefully get something going, but it isn't working. I did lose my mucus plug yesterday, but further research says that was just the result of my exam on Tuesday and doesn't mean a thing.

I'm eager to meet the baby. I'm eager to have my body back. But mostly, the reason I am so anxious to go into labor, is because I hate the not knowing. I hate not knowing when it will happen, or if it will happen. What if there is something wrong with me and I can't have babies without artificial induction? What if there's nothing wrong with me at all, and it happens so quickly that no one can get here?

The Hub can't have his cell phone on the floor at work, and they just got rid of their security company, so there's no main number I can call. He works in a factory so it's not easy to get ahold of him. What if, by the time I realize what's going on, it's too late for him to get home? What if he gets home and I've already had the baby?

Another thing that's bothering me is the phone calls. They're constant. Starting around 8:30 every morning, my entire family starts calling, wanting to know if the baby has been born. If it's not "Did you have the baby?", it's "Are you in labor?"

I feel like a watched pot that'll never boil.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Progress .... ?

Midwife appointment this morning. 4 centimeters dilated, 80% effaced. Baby is head down and in the pelvis but ballotable - not engaged. Yolanda predicts baby will be born Thursday....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Not Here.

Baby is not here. Baby is in there, kicking around and probably laughing at all the commotion it's causing out here.

Early in this pregnancy, I was given three due dates. The firs,t based on last menstrual period, was October 7th. We have obviously blown right by October 7th.
The next due date I was given was October 13th, by ultrasound. October 13th has been and gone for almost a week now.
The latest due date they gave me, also by ultrasound, was October 19th.
That's today, and there are no signs that baby is at all interested in joining the world of the breathing.

I read somewhere that, 24 to 48 hours before labor begins, babies stop making fetal breathing movements, thanks to large amounts of prostaglandins. This makes perfect sense, because if they were still practice breathing close to birth, they could aspirate a lot of fluid and mucus.

Fetal breathing movements feel like hiccups most of the time. I am now far enough along though that sometimes I can place my hand gently on my belly and feel the baby "breathe" in there. Once I felt the heartbeat and that was amazing. It lasted for maybe 30 seconds and then moved away - I think the baby had kind of smooshed it's cord against the uterine wall, so I was able to feel it.

Anyway, the baby gets hiccups every day at exactly the same time. I love feeling them, but these days they're just a reminder that labor has not yet begun, and is still at least 24 to 48 hours away.

Saturday night, the baby didn't get hiccups. I was ecstatic. I was sure labor would be starting soon.

Then yesterday I spent some quiet time sewing baby's quilt, reflecting on the end of pregnancy. I was actually feeling a little wistful about the hiccups thing. I almost cried, sitting there thinking that that had been the very last time I would ever feel a baby bumping away in there.

And then... thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. The little booger started hiccuping, almost on cue.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Patience.

"Patience is a virtue,
Possess it if you can;
Seldom found in woman,
Never found in man."

My mom used to say this all.the.time and it drove me completely batty. Looking back, I think she said it out of desperation, because I was not exactly the easiest child to raise, and though she was saying it to me, I think she was, in actuality, talking to herself.

Anyway. I am trying very, very hard to be virtuous. Having a baby is a huge life change, and while I'm completely sick of being pregnant and ready to be done, I know that the minute this child is born, I will regret spending the last weeks of my last pregnancy agonizing over the end.

So I'm telling myself that the baby will be born when the time is right. The baby knows it's birthday and is waiting for that day. The baby will not come one minute sooner than it's supposed to, whether that means it's born in the next 12 hours or the next 12 days.

Patience.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Waiting.

I had my Blessingway. The baby clothes are clean and folded. There are tiny little diapers stacked on the changing table. My birth kit is assembled. Everything is ready for a new little person.... but the new little person is still snug and warm and showing no signs of wanting to leave it's current home.

I'm kind of at my wit's end with being pregnant. I hurt. I feel like a Barbie doll - like you could just pull my legs right off. Sideways. My back is sore and I have trouble moving, especially if I've been sitting for awhile. I'm crabby and irritable. I'm sick of having to pee every thirty four seconds.

So... we wait. Baby will come when baby is ready. The midwife says the baby feels term and currently 8 or 9 pounds. The baby is posterior but has lots of room to move around still, and it really could be any day. I just hope it's sooner than later.

Monday, October 5, 2009

What the hell was THAT!?

This morning I woke up at 4, hurting. My stomach - like, the actual stomach part, where food goes - felt like it was full of lava. It hurt so, so bad. It made my back hurt, and it took my breath away.

I went into the bathroom on the other side of the house so I wouldn't wake anyone up, and laid in the bathtub and cried. (Laying in the bathtub and crying is good for whatever ails you.) It didn't help.

I had to go potty, but it was weird. Instead of getting those awful cramps you normally get when you have that problem, I felt nothing at all. Just "holy shit, I have to go now!"

After about an hour of laying in the tub, crying, getting out to go potty, and getting back in and crying, I found the pepto, drank some water, and tried to go to sleep.

You aren't supposed to take pepto during pregnancy because it contains aspirin, but I was desperate. It didn't help.

I laid in bed, shivering under the electric blanket, for hours. I couldn't go to sleep because my stomach hurt so bad.

Finally The Hub got up and, bless his heart, got EJ on the bus and all of that so I could lay in bed and cry. At some point I fell asleep and finally woke up around 10am. This is ridiculously late for me, and I feel really bad because I didn't get to hug and kiss EJ before she left for school.

Now my stomach feels a little better. I am starving but afraid to eat, because it seems like I felt worse after putting anything in my stomach.

I don't know what the hell that was all about but I hope I never feel that way again. Totally sucked.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering

If you are 37 weeks pregnant, give or take, and you are not accustomed to moving faster than a slow walk, do not be alarmed when you take off running and feel a warm trickle. It's not your water breaking. It's, ah, something else.

Just in case you wanted to know.


Today The Babe decided to "help" me with the birth kit and baby clothes and the three dozen prefolds in my dresser. He took everything out and unfolded it, and then put it all back in this big bin that holds my birth stuff, and then he dumped it out and started over again.
Hopefully the floor is cleanish, because I don't feel like washing all that stuff again. (In fact, I know the floor is cleanish, because the carpet was just put in three weeks ago. So it's probably the cleanest it will ever be.)

I found out today I need to buy a new, sterile bulb syringe. I have two, but they get used frequently and I guess I didn't even think about the fact that they are difficult, if not impossible, to sterilize.

No signs of baby yet. Today I feel like it could be another month.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An Interesting Development

I think the baby is in the process of dropping. This is completely new to me, because none of my babies ever did this.

It's not constant, but it feels like a coconut right behind my pubic bone. When I sit, it feels like that coconut is going to come out of a very small place. (However, when I touch with my hand, I don't feel anything there. It all feels normal.) When I get a contraction, this coconut hurts really bad.

It feels like my hip bones are squeezing in toward my pubic bone, and it feels like a sharp, stabbing pain behind the pubic bone. I clearly remember this feeling from my past babies - but I always felt it when I was dilated to 7 or more centimeters and laboring actively.

When I lay down or stand a certain way, the coconut floats back up, no longer between my hip bones.

Yesterday I called the midwife about this, because I was also having regular, strong braxton hicks contractions. I could tell I wasn't in labor but I wanted her to be on alert just in case. She said this is all wonderful and will help my labor go more easily. She said that the bottom of the uterus is funnel shaped, but as labor comes near, it becomes more bowl shaped, so I'm feeling the baby slip down into that bowl.

I don't feel like I'm ready to have the baby though. I don't want this journey to be over. I know I will never be pregnant again so I am trying very hard to enjoy it. I am trying to enjoy the anticipation and even all the aches and pains.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bet you anything...

.... that the baby will be a boy.

Why? Because all my baby boy clothes are in a box, buried somewhere in my storage room, and I can't find them anywhere.

So I got all the girl stuff clean and folded, and all the gender neutral stuff too, but nothing blue. Nothing even remotely blue. The only thing that could possibly be more boy than girl is a black onesie with a kitty face on it that says "Baby's First Halloween," but even that looks kinda femme-y, because the kitty has long curly eyelashes.

The Hub says this pretty much guarantees a boy child. Guess we'll have to wait and see. It feels like the baby is very low, and I tried to do a cervical self-check, but couldn't tell anything. Last week my cervix was very soft but not open at all. Today, I'm pretty sure I don't even have a cervix. I couldn't feel a thing.

The birth kit is complete, the clothes are washed and ready, and there are tiny little newborn diapers stacked on the changing table. Looks like all systems are go - now watch the kid be three weeks late.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Don't look at this. It's gigantic.

You've been duly warned.

36 weeks, 3 days. (or a little more. But you know.)

I've never had a belly shaped like this. It's almost pointy. I wonder what that pointy bit is? The bum? The back? Hooves? Am I going to give birth to a centaur?

On another note - are you loving my saggy grampa pants or what? You will be even more delighted to know that yesterday I bought some gray slippers that look like deck shoes. Now I just need a yellow knitted afghan to put on my lap.

Monday, September 21, 2009

36 weeks already!

Can you believe it! Now, if you go by my first due date, I'm 38 weeks. But I'd rather go with the later one - that way, if the first one turns out to be right, I'll be excited to have a baby sooner than later. And if the later one is right, then I won't feel like I'm overdue for two or three weeks.

I met with the midwife today. I nearly fired her last week because she missed an appointment and didn't call me. The thing is, it isn't the first time, and she also forgot to tell me when the birth class was, and has kind of been dropping the ball lately. However, I decided it would probably be best to just stick with her, since I'm this far along.

I have gained a lot of weight. I am not proud of it. I've got another month to go and I've already gained 40 pounds. That's not a typo. I don't care about my looks; I care that I'm healthy and that I grow a healthy baby. With my last pregnancy I gained only 13 pounds and The Babe weighed 8lb 11oz. Yolanda says its doesn't matter how much I gain, so long as it's all gained on healthy foods. I'm doing my best, but I can't seem to resist peanut butter cups. I also adore sausage biscuits from McDonald's but since I don't live anywhere near a McDonald's, it's easier to avoid that one.

Otherwise though everything is good, baby is nice and high which was no surprise since my babies never drop until birth is imminent. In the past I'd be dilated at 8 or 9cm before my babies would move down and engage. The baby is measuring spot on for the last month of pregnancy and hopefully won't be too big.

I'm guessing the baby will be born on October 20th and will weigh 9lb 5oz. I don't know if it will be a boy or a girl. Some days I get girl vibes and other days I get boy vibes. I guess only time will tell...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

When Will Baby Come?

Depending on which date you use, I am anywhere from 35 to 37 weeks pregnant, which means that theoretically, the baby could come any day now.



I don't tend to have early babies. My first baby was 12 days late, but was of a very average size and had none of the signs of postmaturity. They say most first babies are late and that it would be more accurate to move most primips due dates a week later, so it doesn't seem like such a long wait. I think it's a great idea.

My second baby was induced on her due date, but I think she would have come that day or the next on her own. The day before I was induced, I was 2cm dilated, and less than 12 hours later when I went in for induction I was nearly 5cm. I don't know why I was induced. Back then, I didn't ask a lot of questions about anything and felt the doctor had my best interest in mind. (I now feel that the great majority have their own pocketbooks in mind, not the health of their patients.)

My third baby was also induced on her due date. I don't think she would have come that day though. I think she probably would have waited another 5 days or even a week. I was induced because I started measuring big, and then a few weeks later, the day before her birthday, an ultrasound estimated her weight at 10lb 5oz. The doctor didn't think I could deliver a baby that big so they decided to induce. The ultrasound was wrong - she weighed 9lb 10oz, and I delivered her over an intact perineum despite pushing flat on my back with an epidural.

My fourth baby was born early! A whole four days, which was kind of a big deal to me because as you can see, my babies never come early. My labor with him started spontaneously, 48 hours before he was actually born. What a trying labor that was - not necessarily painful, just extremely tiring.



I didn't experience any Braxton Hicks contractions with my first baby. I had a few here and there with my second, same with my third. With my fourth baby, wow. If I had not had a baby before, I would have probably thought I was in labor. These BH episodes happened for several months before actual labor began, and because of them, I was worried I wouldn't recognize true labor when it began.



This time I haven't had many BH's, until the last two or three days. I have been having very strong, regular contractions that will last for a couple hours, and then they peter out for a couple hours and start up again. I learned a few babies ago that drinking a lot of water helps prelabor contractions immensely, but these ones don't respond to water. They don't feel like labor at all though.

I am also starting to get contractions when The Babe nurses. Did you know that it's safe to nurse during pregnancy? It is.let me give you a super brief rundown of how it works - when you nurse, your body releases oxytocin, the "love hormone" that helps release the milk, but also makes your uterus contract. They make this artificially and call it Pitocin, and that's what they give you when you aren't doing things on their timetable.

The thing is, it's safe to nurse while you're pregnant because the uterus isn't receptive to oxytocin until close to term. That's why when a woman is induced a couple weeks form her due date, she is usually given some sort of chemical to ripen the cervix. Just straight up pitocin won't do the trick.

So the point of this biology lesson is this: Within the last few days, when I nurse The Babe, I get contractions. They aren't painful but they last a long time, 45 to 60 seconds, like a real contraction. This means my uterus is now receptive to oxytocin.

Of course, none of these symptoms could mean a thing. Most likely, the baby will be born sometime in the last half of October. I'm guessing October 20th. So long as he or she gets here by Halloween, because I bought the cutest little pumpkin pajamas...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Some People Will Never Get It.

I was in the store last night and overheard a conversation between a man and a woman. They were in their mid-fifties, and were discussing their daughter and her baby-wearing practices.

"Did you see [daughter] and that baby wrap thing she had?" the woman said, bitterly.

"Yeah," the man said.

"That thing was so terrible! She had to wrap it around and around and then up and over [demonstrating] and across and around and then she stuck the baby in it!"

"Yup," he said.

"You know," she continued. "If she didn't want to just hold her baby with her arms, maybe she shouldn't have kids! I would have gladly held that baby but she insisted on putting him in that damn wrap thing. What a waste of time!"

This conversation shocked me. Everyone I know is extremely supportive of baby wearing, even if they don't practice it themselves. Even the most mainstream momma will tell you how much happier her baby is when she holds him, and some will even wish they "knew how to use one of those things." People of all generations know that babies do best when they're with their mothers, in their mothers' arms.

I am so glad that woman is not my mother. Imagine if she considered other parenting decisions, like leaving baby boys intact or breastfeeding. It would probably make her throw up. No, probably she would have a stroke from her high blood pressure. I have never heard of someone being angry at another person for holding their baby... wow.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Love/Hate @ 32 Weeks

32 weeks. Scary, really, that I have, at most, 10 more weeks of pregnancy to go. With all of my other babies I was already feeling done with pregnancy by now. I was eager to meet my baby, and be done with the whole pregnancy thing.

I don't feel that way this time. I wouldn't mind if I stayed pregnant another 12 weeks, or 14 weeks. I am savoring every moment of having my baby inside me, and trying to remember exactly how it feels to have a watermelon belly, because I know I won't ever do this again, so long as I live. I will never, ever, ever stare at two lines on a pregnancy test, or spend three months barfing my head off, or have a tiny bump in my lower belly, or feel those early flutters, or spend an evening with baby feet in my ribs and hiccups below my navel.



There are a few things I could do without, though. Heartburn, for one. I have the worst heartburn, and nothing helps it. Nothing I try prevents it, and I can't even reassure myself with "Maybe the baby will have hair," because my babies never have hair. They never have anything more than the tiniest peach fuzz. Even at two years old, my baby Beast has baby hair, short and wispy, with a few strawberry blonde curls in the back.



I wish I didn't have pelvic pain. It's terrible pain. It feels like my pubic bone is split in half and my legs are falling out of my hip sockets. Yolanda says this is good and normal for a multipara. She also said my abdominal muscle tone is phenomenal, especially since I'm having my fifth baby. (This is funny, because non-pregnant, I'm pretty sure I don't even have abdominal muscles.)



I hate the nosebleeds that always accompany pregnancy for me. They strike at the most inopportune times, usually when I don't have any tissue with me.



I would really like it if my cervix would cooperate. I haven't been checked, of course, but I can tell my cervix is ripening slowly, preparing for birth, and it doesn't feel good. It feels like the baby is sticking it's little finger through it, and it hurts. It's not an indicator of preterm labor for me, just my normal.



Otherwise, I love being pregnant. I love feeling all the baby's movements, and guessing about whether it will be a boy or a girl. I really like the way my belly looks - perfectly round and taut. I love the special bond the baby and I share. I don't understand women who want their pregnancies to be over as quickly as possible.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Stocking up for baby, and sleeping arrangements

I've been really stockpiling for the new baby. Just today I was able to pick up a yellow sleeper, brand new, at a sale for just seventy five cents. I also got five pairs of socks for a dollar, and two adorable little hats for a dollar. One hat is yellow and the other is deep blue and violet tie-dye.

But today I got the best deal of all - an Arm's Reach Co-sleeper, in brand new condition, for just $20. This exact same model is still in stores for $139.99 (ish) - can you believe the steal of a deal I got?

I've always wanted a co-sleeper but never bought one because my babies always sleep with me anyway. Plus, it was always a pretty steep expense for us. Our babies tend to come at the very least convenient time possible, money-wise, and I could never justify spending that amount of money on something that would be used so little.

This time, the co-sleeper is an absolute must for safety. The Babe is 11 months old, and still nursing and co-sleeping happily. He'll be 13 months when the new baby comes, big enough to smoosh the little bugger in the middle of the night, but still so much a baby himself. He is starting to sleep through the night once in awhile now, but generally he wakes up once or twice for a nurse. (I hate it, because nursing during pregnancy gives me wicked heebie jeebies. Its impossible to explain unless you've experienced it.) How can I deny one baby in order to care for another? Do you realize how much of a hassle it will be to have either of them in a separate room? The Babe will be inconsolable, I'm sure, because he is still a needy, dependent baby. And the new baby will be up thirty seven times a night to eat. If either of them is in a different room, I will be the one who gets no sleep and ends up wanting to jump out a window. (It's okay though. My new house is a one story.)

So obviously I need to make sure both babies are happy and safe, and I think the best way to do that is to keep The Babe in bed with me, and put the new baby in the co-sleeper right next to me. The Hub and I sleep in separate rooms, because he snores and I'm a bed hog. He was on third shift for the great majority of our marriage and now that he's not, we just can't get used to sleeping in the same room, let alone the same bed. Beastie sleeps in the same room as The Hub, on a pull out chair. In the new house, she'll share a room with Four, and will have her very own toddler bed. I'm even making her some Yo Gabba Gabba blankets to put on it. EJ gets to have a room of her own, because she's earned it. She's an awesome big sister and very responsible, and is desperate for some space of her own.

We do have a fourth bedroom in the new house, but it's quite a distance from the other bedrooms. This will be used for a guest room right now, and then in a few years, when my children are old enough to get themselves out of the house in case of fire, that will become a bedroom for one or two of the kids. It's a big room and could easily accommodate two.

The basement at the new house has egress windows and is framed in for three rooms. Each of the three rooms has an egress window, which means that these rooms could be finished and made into even more bedroom space. I wouldn't feel comfortable with any of my kids in the basement until they were teenagers though, for safety reasons.

I have to tell you, it is so nice to know that we can live in our new house forever. It is very difficult to have this many people in such a small space, but I do wonder if I will miss the closeness. I don't think so, because we're a very close family. I don't think our family dynamics will change just because our living situation has.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Meeting the Doula

I met my doula today. Her name is Kellie, and she is fantastic. She is very low-key and quiet, just the type of person you want with you when you're laboring. She's never had a chance to attend a homebirth, so she'll be providing my doula services for free. You can't get better than free folks, unless you can also figure out a way to get a cash rebate for something free. I haven't figured it out yet.

Today I'm 30 weeks pregnant. 30 weeks! Doesn't it seem like just yesterday I was staring at two pink lines on a pregnancy test? I can't believe thirty weeks have gone by so quickly. That means I have anywhere from 8-12 weeks left of pregnancy, but I'm going with ten and hoping I deliver around my due date.

We close on our house this coming up Thursday. That is a huge relief for me. I have been so worried about the closing date, because I need to get EJ and Four enrolled in school, and I can't enroll them without proof of residency. This means I can get them enrolled and get all the school supplies and clothes and shoes purchased and not have to worry about that on top of moving. What I should do is get a big huge plastic storage tote and put all the school stuff in that, so it doesn't get lost in the move.

I'm also geeked because it means I can really start planning the birth. It's hard to plan a birth when you don't have a place to plan it. I can get started scrubbing my new house, and picking out carpeting and paint and stuff.

So anyway, thirty weeks. They say the baby weighs about three pounds now, and will gain 1/2 pound a week from here on out. That would mean an 8 pound baby, but mine tend to be a little heavier than that. (Okay a lot heavier.)

I can't believe October is this close already...

Friday, July 31, 2009

So Pregnant it Hurts...

... And I still have 11 weeks to go.

I keep reminding myself that this is the very last time I will ever be pregnant again, so I need to cherish each moment. And I do, I really do - I feel spiritually connected to this baby, and I love feeling him or her kicking and flipping around. I feel sad when I read other women's blogs and all I see are mothers who eat nothing but junk and complain about every little twinge and refuse to open their minds to alternative ways of laboring, delivering, and mothering. I feel sad for their poor little babies, trying to grow on sub-optimum nutrition and surrounded by negativity.

Science (and common sense) tells us that our unborn children can't read our minds. But people are people, whether they're here yet or not, and if your two day old newborn can pick up on your moods, don't tell me your unborn baby can't.

So I try to take some time out of each day to spend one on one time with the baby. I talk to him or her, rub my belly, and try to send calm, peaceful, beautiful thoughts to the baby. I'm also preparing a beautiful place for the baby - in my head.

My babies always sleep with me, so I've never had a nursery or anything. Now that we're moving into a bigger house, I'll be able to make a beautiful space for the baby to spend time. I can't wait to buy and arrange crystals for the baby (especially quartz and amber) and create a calm, peaceful place. There will be a small water fountain and lots of live plants. I really can't wait to get in the house (if we ever close on it... August 20th is so far away!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Birth Place.

We're moving. We found the perfect house and we bought it and now we're moving, and I can't wait.

There is this great room. The Hub calls it a breezeway but I call it a great room, and I love it because no matter what time of day, it's filled with natural light. It's probably my favorite room in the house. I plan to put a table in there, and all the kids' art supplies, because it has linoleum floors for easy clean up.

But before I do that, I plan to have a baby there.

As we were touring houses, I tried to imagine myself giving birth in each one. I'm glad we got the one we did, because this house, this room in particular, screamed to me. It is the perfect place to have a baby.
I love it because it's close to the bathroom, should I want to shower or bathe or sit on the toilet. And it's close to the bedroom, should I decide the bed is a more comfortable place. And it's got a sliding glass door that overlooks... nothing. Just a yard. From the street, you can't even tell this part of the house exists. So I can be naked and laboring and really connect with the primal, animal, laboring-mother part of me, without fear of neighbors hearing or cars driving by.

The linoleum on the floor is great, should I decide to get a birth pool. And not only does it have the sliding glass doors, it also has a door on the other side of the room, which I can open, leaving the screen closed, if I feel like I need fresh air. It has a completely secluded deck so if I want to go outside and labor awhile, I can do that.

We haven't closed on the house yet, and the room is filthy right now, but here it is. My perfect birth place:

And here is the view of my private little deck, from my birth room:


Just looking at these photos makes me happy. I feel like I can finally get back to the business of being pregnant, because now I know for sure where my baby will be born, and it's a good, happy place.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

You're going to do WHAT!?

Have you heard about eating your placenta?

Did you just throw up a little in your mouth when you read that?

Yeah, so did I.

But check this out. It would appear that the placenta is rich in what is believed to be the perfect balance of hormones for your body, and by somehow ingesting it (and not upchucking) you can make huge strides in warding off postpartum depression. Somehow I doubt that other mammals eat their placentas simply to avoid the blues, but then again, I've never seen a mother cat sobbing in her bedroom while the kids eat dried up spaghetti-o's off the kitchen floor. I'm just sayin.'

Here's what they say are the benefits of "placentophagy:"

Your baby's placenta, contained in capsule form, is believed to:
  • contain your own natural hormones
  • be perfectly made for you
  • balance your system
  • replenish depleted iron
  • give you more energy
  • lessen bleeding postnatally
  • been shown to increase milk production
  • help you have a happier postpartum period
  • hasten return of uterus to pre-pregnancy state
  • be helpful during menopause

What's all this "in capsule form" business?

See, instead of trying to eat a 2 pound chunk of delicious flesh (barf,) you have someone who knows what the hell they're doing take your placenta and dry it. Then they grind it all up and put it into little pills, and you take them just like any other pill. And really, it's not so gross. Premarin, for example, comes from the urine of pregnant mares. (Pregnant Mare Urine.) It might be synthetic these days, but honestly, I would rather take pills containing my baby's placenta than ones containing horse piss. For real. (Although, even if it wasn't horse piss, I wouldn't take Premarin. It's hormone replacement therapy, which I'll never do.)

So this time around, I'm going to save one small piece of the baby's placenta, and a piece of the cord, for spiritual purposes. (No, no one's going to eat it.) The rest of the placenta, I'll give to a lady I know named Amy, who will dry it up and grind it down and put it in little pills. Bless her heart - I don't know how she can deal with all the disgusting-ness that is afterbirth. But you probably get immune to it eventually. One would think.

And then, I'm going to take pills containing my own body parts. Or would it be considered the baby's body part? I don't know, because it's weird and gross and not fun to think about. But regardless of all that, it'll help the depression, and if you've ever had screamingly bad postpartum depression, you know that you'll do just about anything to feel better. Up to and including eating a placenta.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stress.

I hate stress. It stresses me out to be stressed out. Just the thought of being stressed, makes me more stressed. These days, I'm ready to pack my bags and move away - just because of the stress.

Reader's Digest version - we can still stay in our house. But we may be forced into a house we don't want because a bid has been placed on our behalf and The Hub won't tell the lender to retract the bid. (We plan to have a certain family member purchase a house and then buy it from them on land contract.) So I am very afraid to be stuck in that house.

I keep trying to think positive. I recently read The Secret (better late than never I guess) and I'm trying to visualize and meditate on what needs to happen. Here are my current affirmations:

The bid will be rejected. The bid will be rejected. It will. It must be rejected. It must.

The house we want (insert visualization of the house I want) will come to us. We will have the house our family needs. We will have a safe, affordable family home. We will. We must.

So if you all feel like doing some affirmations on our behalf, go ahead and use those. Bid - reject. Good house - get.

Baby news: I saw the midwife this week. She yelled at me because I haven't been eating or drinking enough. Apparently I have to drink 64 ounces of fluids a day, and this is a problem for me because I never feel thirsty. I mean, I do sometimes, and I then I drink, but probably only 44 ounces a day. I have a 16 ounce water bottle that I keep filling up, but damn. I don't think even a fish could drink that much. Also she said my liver function was bad again, probably because of how concentrated my urine is. No, it's probably because I eat so much fast food and am taking mounds and mounds of vitamins. I'm telling you, vitamins will kill us all yet. They will find out that lettuce is fattening, lard makes great arterial lube, and vitamins are deadly. Mark my words.

Otherwise, the baby is growing well. I'm measuring 25/26 weeks, which is just about right. I've gained a cumulative total of 19 pounds. And at some point, a large squishy baby will be coming out of a very sensitive area. That scares me. But I have affirmations for that too, which you know, I think I'm going to actually make a separate post for those. But not now. Later.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Baby Stay In!

Yesterday I got terrible upsetting news about our living arrangements. The first thing I did was throw up, and then I had the runs, and then I threw up again. It's that upsetting. I won't go into detail but I will say that it looks like my family will be homeless, at least for a little while, through absolutely no fault of our own.

I've never been so upset in my life. I can't shake the feeling that I am going to be sick. My children overheard me talking to The Hub about this, and they went in their room and packed their overnight bags. "I don't care about my toys," EJ said. "But we can't forget Bingo and Petey." Unfortunately, Bingo and Petey will probably need to find new homes as well. We have nowhere to go and there's no place for us to rent, and if I can't find a place for my children I sure as hell can't find a place for my dogs.

But the scariest thing is that last night I started having lots of painful contractions. I'm somewhere between 24 and 26 weeks, so this is a BIG problem. I've been keeping myself well hydrated and watching the contractions carefully in case I need to go to the hospital. I don't know what preterm labor feels like, because my babies are always late, but I suspect it feels something like real labor, which is how the contractions felt last night. Today they are milder and I can't feel them on the outside anymore, which I think is a good sign. But I could really use any "baby stay in" vibes you might have. The last thing I need is a micro-preemie on top of everything. And I'm so early that I don't know how good of a chance at life the baby would have if it was born right now.

I'm sure everything will be fine. I'm just stressing.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Itch.

I've got The Itch.

I'm not sure what it is - hives or PUPPP or what. But it sucks, big time.

It started out a few days ago, with a couple little bumps on my side, where a bra band might go (if I were one to wear a bra, which I am not. Call me a hippie, I don't care.) I thought the bumps were bug bites, because they itched so bad. I thought maybe I had bedbugs or something but no one else in my family has them, not even The Babe, who sleeps with me every night. [Aside: doesn't the thought of bedbugs just freak you out? I have actually lost sleep over them, and I don't even have them.]

So I forgot about the bumps, except to itch them. Until the next day when I woke up and there were like ten of them all down my side, over my rib cage. Now I was really freaked out. Did fleas somehow get into my house? Did my screen have a hole in it where mosquitoes could get in?

I bathed the dogs. No fleas. I checked the screens. No holes.

That afternoon I found bumps all over my belly.

Then on my legs. And my feet. And tonight, my face. All over my damn face.

The bumps look like flat mosquito bites and they itch like the devil. I think they might be hives, but why? I haven't introduced anything into the house to cause this. No new detergents or anything in the clothes, and no new air fresheners or anything like that. I know some people get hives when they're stressed, but I really wouldn't say I've been under any undue stress - I mean, other than the weird OCD shit I put myself through every day. Yikes - as I type this, I can actually see a bump emerging on my knee. I can feel them emerging on my scalp. I think they're even in my ears.

I looked up PUPPP, which stands for something really long but basically means big itchy bumps you get when you're pregnant. Everything I found says PUPPP only occurs in first pregnancies and it only occurs in the third trimester. (It also said 70% of moms who get it give birth to boys. Interesting.)

I see the midwife tomorrow so hopefully she can shed some light on this. I wonder if it has to do with The Babe having thrush for the past week or so? He also had a high fever for a few days, I wonder if he was fighting off measles or something. My own vaccinations have long ago expired so its realistic, although improbable, that it could be something weird like measles.

Now I'm off to apply calamine, liberally and with gusto.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More name ideas

For a girl, I think I love Elia Autumn. I can't decide how to spell it though - Elia, Ellia, Elya, Ellya. I think one of the first two though - it looks too trendy with a "y." This name does not fit with the first four though. Their middle names are all a single syllable, long "a," as in Mae or Ray. Elia Autumn just really fits though and I think I love it. Truly.

If this baby is a boy, his namr will be Ewan. But what middle name? Daniel? Too biblical... ugh. Not my style. Ewan James is nice, but that's The Babe's middle name. Ewan Elyas? I think I like that - Ewan Elyas. His initials would be EES, not too weird right? Don't know if Hubs'll go for it though...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

vitamins

This is the first pregnancy where I've taken prenatal vitamins. I know that's shocking to some people, but I think I should also point out that I tend to have a varied and complete diet, and I have real concerns about synthetic, chemical vitamins. I really don't feel that they can be properly synthesized by the gut, so they aren't absorbed well, which basically means you end up with very expensive pee.

This time, though, I have a midwife. And what a difference. The care I've received so far from my midwife (who is not a nurse or other medical professional - just a midwife) has been 180 degrees from the care I received from an obstetrician. Yolanda focuses on nutrition and exercise. She encourages spirituality and communication with the unborn baby. She doesn't treat pregnancy as a disease because - gasp - pregnancy isn't a disease.

Yolanda recommended a multi that's made from all vegetable sources. It's not as "complete" as synthetic multi-vitamins, but it contains 100% real ingredients that the body can use. I was skeptical, but since I've been taking it, I feel absolutely fantastic.

I have more energy than I've ever had before, and the edge of depression that always lingers within me seems to rear it's head less and less. I'm hoping that I can ward off postpartum depression by replenishing my body with vital nutrients. I've also got three months worth of Wellbutrin that I plan to start taking the day the baby is born. (The baby will get far less medication through breastmilk than he or she will if I take it prenatally. If the baby didn't get much prenatally, I'd start it in the final weeks of pregnancy.)

Monday, June 8, 2009

"Birth Plan"

I'm really glad to be having a home birth, because I don't have to have a strict birth plan. Birth plans are stupid, because you spend all this time making one, and then you get to the hsopital and they might as well tear it up right in front of you, because they don't take anything you wrote seriously.


So its cool to have a homebirth because I don't need to write "please don't give me an iv" or "don't circumcise my son" or any of the other stuff you have to worry about, because its all impossible! You're at home! Yay!


But there are a few things I'm thinking about. In no particular order (and assuming you're the midwife, which I am quite aware you are not.)

-----------------------------------------------------

Please don't cut the cord until it stops pulsing.

Please don't wipe the baby off, unless there is mucus that needs to be wiped off the face to facilitate breathing. I would like to give the baby his or her first bath.

Please don't announce the baby's gender. We'd like to discover that on our own.

Please don't punch me in the belly to make the placenta detach, like the obstetricians do in the hospital. If possible, please just let the placenta detach on it's own, even if it takes a few hours.

Please don't do any internal exams unless I feel "pushy."

Please don't coach me in pushing, and don't make me hold my breath during pushing.

Please don't adminster eye drops or a vitamin K shot to my newborn.

--- > I'm sure there's more. I'll add to the list when I think of something.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

FANTASTIC NEWS!!!

I just got the greatest news!! I had to share it with all of you...

So if you read Two Under Two, or if you know me in real life, you know that we have no income right now. The Hub got laid off at the end of April (but the layoff took effect the first part of May.) He thought he was going back June first, then they changed it to June 8th, and this morning they called and said he would get a call back, that they weren't setting a new return to work date. Great.

This has been upsetting because I need money to pay the midwife. Her fee is $2200, which includes prenatal care and the home birth. I just assumed that insurance would not cover this, since they pretty much cover nothing. Heck I still owe $3000 from The Babe's birth in September. I did eventually call BCBS, and they said only certified nurse midwives and hospital births were covered. Wasted phone call, I figured.

Well anyway. I signed up for Medicaid when The Hub got laid off, because I wanted to make sure I had medical coverage for the kids if there was an accident or something. So far we still have the private insurance, but Medicaid is picking up co-pays and will become primary if we lose the BCBS. Medicaid also pays for things that BCBS didn't, like certain prescriptions and stuff. I don't like being on state assistance, because I'm a very proud person, but my children's needs come before my pride.

Today I got a piece of paper in the mail from Health Plan of Michigan, which is the HMO that Medicaid automatically put our family into. It said that they thought I was pregnant (Big Brother much? Sheesh!) and that I should call them to get authorization for an OB/GYN.

Well, I thought. I better call them and have an OB/GYN on standby, in case something goes wrong. It can't hurt, right?

So I called them. And I told them that my midwife is a CPM, not a CNM, and that I would be having a homebirth. The lady was not at all judgemental, and did give me authorization to see any OB on suchandsuch a list. This is good also because if I should need hospital transfer, the Medicaid will cover the portion that BCBS doesn't.

BUT LISTEN TO THIS.

Medicaid will pay for my prenatal care with Yolanda!!! THEY WILL PAY THE PRENATAL PORTION OF THE $2200!!!!

They do not cover homebirth, big surprise, but they will cover the services of a CPM for prenatal care. (They would also cover her services if I gave birth in a hospital.)

This means I do not need to freak out about finding 2200 extra dollars in our screamingly tight budget! Even if prenatal care accounts for just a quarter of the total, which I doubt, but even if it does, that's a portion that I don't have to worry about!!

I don't pray, but I did put out a call to the Universe to please help me find a way to pay for the midwife. Apparently, the Universe was receptive! This is the best news I've heard in a very long time!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Another appointment under my belt

I saw the midwife Thursday. Nothing great happened, other than learning I've gained a total of twelve pounds and that freaks me out. (I only gained thirteen with The Babe.) But, whatever. This is a different pregnancy, a different baby, so it is what it is. I started pregnancy at an unhealthy weight (not fat, but chubby) so I do worry a little about gaining even more.

I don't know how far along I am. But around five months. Maybe four and a half, maybe five, I don't know. The baby flips around all the time, and yesterday for the first time, I could feel it on the outside too. I've never felt it on the outside this early, but like I said, different baby, different pregnancy.

I am now thoroughly convinced that this baby is in fact a girl. I'm so convinced that I don't even bother looking at blue things when we're out and about - but, I won't really look at girl things either, because I just have so many. I have bought quite a few gender neutral items, including a snowsuit (lightweight enough to fit safely under car seat straps.) If baby turns out to be a girl, I can just put a little pink bow on her white and yellow sleepers, and if it's a boy, I'll put on blue buttons or something. But its not a boy. I'm sure of it.

My new project - cloth diapers. Despite being almost militantly AP, I've never used cloth, but really there's no good reason not to. Even if you have to pay for laundry (which I don't, since I have a house) but even if you did, it would still be cheaper than disposables. Anyway, I'm switching Beastie and The Babe over to cloth, and the new baby will be in cloth from the beginning. I'm learning how to make covers, since I've decided that prefolds are the way to go. We have very hard water here, so I chose prefolds because of their durability. I'm ordering some Chinese prefolds soon, once I figure out exactly how to make covers. They're ridiculously easy to make, so even though my first attempts are crap, I know they'll be better as I practice.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Panic Mode

I'm really worried that having the baby will be an overwhelming emotional adjustment. I mean, mentally, I know a baby's coming. And physically, too, with little taps and wiggles reminding me just when I start to forget. But I don't have any way to make myself emotionally aware. I need to do the work, the physical work, of preparing for a baby, and I can't.

See, I already have everything I need for the new baby. Everything. (Well, I do need the birth kit, and some white stuff for baby to wear right out of the womb.) Otherwise though, there is no preparing to be done. And it's making me crazy.

I'm not even five months pregnant, but I'm feeling so anxious and antsy, and I don't know what to do with this anxiety. My mom says I need a project, and I think she's right. I've been working on making inventory for my etsy shop, but that's not really helping. (Plus also, I don't even HAVE an etsy shop. So I'm making stuff with the hope of having an etsy shop, and hoping to have an etsy shop and actually having an etsy shop are two very different things. I guess I should get on that.)

What I need to do is busy myself doing something to get ready for the baby, and I think I should make something.

I thought about making a quilt. The problem is, I don't know how to make a quilt. And I don't know the baby's gender, and 99.9% of "baby" fabrics are either pink or blue, and if they're not pink or blue, they're definitely masculine or feminine. Or just downright ugly. And to be honest, when I look at all the work and measuring and cutting and just the overall precision of making a quilt - well, let me put it this way. Just thinking about it makes me want to rip out my hair and gouge out my eyeballs. A quilt is definitely out.

Here's another problem. I know how to sew, and am actually quite proficient, but I have absolutely no clue how to read or use a pattern. This is another thing that sends me into panic mode. Do you know what patterns look like? They have like, printing all over them. And you're supposed to measure, I don't know, something, and then you have to cut it out all neatsy peatsy, and then you have to pin it on the fabric and cut that out, and AUGH! It's just too much. Too, too much.

So for now my mission is this: Find a project. Do the project. And stop panicking, already.

Monday, May 11, 2009

18 weeks

18 weeks pregnant. Wow. I definitely have a belly, and it looks pregnant if I have a shirt on, but its not baby. There is a hard ball low down that's all baby, but the part that looks like a pregnant belly is just fat. It must be from the growing uterus pushing it up. I can still wear all my regular clothes, especially jeans and stuff. Since I don't like to broadcast what's going on in my womb, I wear a lot of hoodies and jackets over my clothes. I kind of like the thought of this special little secret growing inside me.

I weighed myself today. I won't tell you what I weigh, but I will tell you that so far I've gained eight pounds. I'm surprised it isn't thirty, with my humongous appetite. But then, I'm nursing The Babe (he's just eight months, after all,) and creating a new life, and trying to keep my own body alive. No wonder I'm so hungry.

I need to buy some white things. White onesies and shirts and pants and hats and socks. Oh and blankets, lots of white blankets. I want the baby to be all dressed in white at first, because, well, just because. When I think of homebirth, I think of a specific birth story I saw one time, years and years ago when the internet was still a novelty. The parents had documented the birth with photos, and what I remember most is that their brand new baby was all dressed in white. It just seemed so perfect. The birth had been pure and wholesome, and the baby was pure and wholesome, so of course he (or she) should be dressed in only pure, wholesome clothing. Probably that baby, whose birth affected me so much all those years ago, is in his or her early teens now. Amazing how time goes by.

I'll see the midwife in two weeks. I need your help to be strong - Now that the baby is big enough to tell, I'm having serious ultrasound temptation issues. I want to know!! But I found out the genders of all my other children, so I want to stay strong and let this one be a surprise, just like his or her very existence.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How Soon We Forget

I can't believe I forgot about this part of pregnancy - the HUNGER! I can't seem to get enough to eat, and instead of grabbing half a sandwich to tide me over for 20+ hours, I now find myself eating at least four full meals a day.

Today alone I ate:

1 bagel with cream cheese
2 oz smoked whitefish
1 cup coffee with cream
1 bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar
an entire can of tomato soup
a turkey sandwich on 12 grain bread, with swiss cheese & horseradish mustard
three ears of corn
a slice of cherry pie
2 glasses of rich chocolate ovaltine, mmm
a big bowl of pasta salad
a small bowl of mint chocolaty chip ice cream
2 bananas
...and one starburst.

It's not dinner time yet. I'm planning on having grilled chicken, more pasta salad, broccoli, and a big giant bowl of sliced strawberries for dessert.

I haven't gained much weight at all... I think that trend is about to change. Now I need to go get another snack.

Friday, May 1, 2009

intelligender

I caved and did the intelligender test. In case you missed it at two under two, the results are...

I really thought this one was a boy... I guess only time will tell for sure.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Coming to Acceptance

If I told you I was thrilled to be having another baby, I would be lying. I'm not thrilled. I know the work that's ahead of me, and I know the tears the my older children are going to cry. This is the only instance i can think of where being an AP mom has been less than ideal... the babies don't know how to go to sleep on their own. I've always rocked them and loved them to sleep. It wouldn't be such a huge deal except that The Hub works second shift, so it's just me and my one lap, and its hard as it is. Beastie is 21 months old, and will be 26 months old when the new one comes. Anyone who thinks a 2 year old is not a baby is misinformed and expecting too highly of their children. A 2 year old child is gaining independence rapidly but is still very much a baby and needs the love and gentle guidance that one would give a younger child.
So the point is, I know my Beastie is going to spend some time crying once the new baby gets here, and that kills me. Because I refuse to let her "cry it out" to teach her to fall asleep on her own. It's non-negotiable; it isn't going to happen. She will cry next to me as I rock her little siblings, who will be 13 months and newborn. She does it now sometimes, and it hurts so bad to see your little child in so much emotional distress. I fear that it will get worse with a new addition.

But, I am starting to accept the new little one. The midwife gave me a packet of the things I need for the birth and immediately following, and on the packet it said "newborn diapers." That completely floored me. I know it sounds crazy but for some reason picturing tiny little cloth diapers (which I do not use, by the way) made the fact that a baby is coming seem so much more real.

And that got me thinking of the way newborns look, with their fat bellies and bowed legs and little black cord stump, and those unbelievably tiny butt cheeks, and their red faces and milia and stork bites (of which my babies always seem to have plenty) and the way their gums look and their little fisted hands and... for a moment, I can stop seeing the work and trouble, and imagine the little person who's coming.

I imagine white side-snap t-shirts and itty bitty socks and white caps and those little gowns. (I hate those little gowns. They always ride up and they never fit my babies properly, but I have a ton of them because they are just so sweet.) I'm imagining it being autumn, my favorite season, and bringing my Little swaddled bundle outside to smell the dying leaves and bonfires, and I'm picturing Halloween, with the baby on my front in a wrap and The Babe on my back in his backpack carrier, and Beastie and Four and EJ running through the neighborhood dressed as witches and ghosts and cowgirls, and in these moments, it doesn't seem so bad.

There's a little voice that creeps in right about now. Don't fool yourself, the voice says. You will be too tired to go for walks. You will be horribly depressed and overwhelmed, just like each time before. This might break you.

I know. I know in my heart that it will be, at times, horrible. But I also know that it will be fleeting. Look at Beastie and The Babe. It's almost laughably easy to take care of them now, and I've only been doing the "two under two" thing for eight months.

I think another reason I've had trouble with acceptance is because I come from a family who does not really value babies and children. No one has ever been happy to have a new baby enter the family, except me. When my brother and his girlfriend were expecting their children, I was the only one who was excited for them. My parents and grandparents, and my husband's parents, think children are a burden, and that child rearing is a dirty thankless job. It makes me feel really sad. I wish that, upon hearing we're pregnant, just one person would say "Congratulations," rather than "Oh my God, what are you going to do?" Because, really, what am I going to do? Birth the baby, then hate it? No, of course not.

I had to tell my mom I'm pregnant and she was furious. I do not understand this. We aren't rich by any means. Technically, we live below the poverty level. But we never ask anyone else for money, ever. The kids are well fed and dressed in nice clothes and always clean. The kids have plenty of toys and are genuinely happy. They have safe car seats and we ride around in a safe vehicle. There is no reason for people to judge me based on the number of children I have. I may need to deal with this further, and remove myself from these people and toxic situations, if it gets too out of hand.

I am going to make a conscious effort to love this baby now. I know it will get easier closer to the birth, but I want the baby to feel positive energy now, not negativity. I want the baby to arrive happy and in good health. And I don't care if they say your mind-set doesn't affect the unborn child - I think it does, and I want to surround him or her with light and happiness.

Friday, April 24, 2009

(nearly) 4 month prenatal appointment

I saw Yolanda, the midwife, yesterday. This was my first official prenatal appointment. She weighed me and then checked my blood for iron, and checked my urine for all kinds of stuff. Oh also she checked my blood pressure and pulse, and of course listened to the baby and measured me.

First things first: I am in excellent physical condition. She said she wishes all women could start pregnancy as healthy as me, and that made me feel really good. I have a large frame and my weight is well above "ideal," and I consider myself plus-sized. I wear about a size 16, which I guess is right at the cut-off of regular and plus-sized. But Yolanda said I am really very healthy. It was interesting, because my urine test said I had some minor things going on with my liver, and she asked if I had taken Tylenol or anything. I hadn't, but I just started taking an antibiotic for a dental issue. I took my first penicillin about three hours before the test, and it was kind of interesting that you could see that my liver was working to eliminate the medicine.

My uterus was measuring 20 weeks, which is more than a month ahead, but that's no big deal really, because this is my fifth baby. Yolanda said that in your first pregnancy or two, in her words, "the baby and the house grow together." But when you have more than two or three children, "the house grows faster than the baby does."

The baby's heartbeat was perfect. We couldn't get a long enough reading to get an accurate heart rate, because s/he was moving all around. But you could hear a nice healthy heart rate and that's the most important thing at this point.

We also looked at the Chinese gender chart and some other things to see if its a boy or a girl. Yolanda kept reminding me that those things were just for FUN, and not to count on them. All the charts said Boy, and Yolanda wrote it in my chart, so we can see if any of them were right.

I go back in a month, and in the meantime I need to go over my "birth kit" and start gathering supplies. Yolanda says to start gathering them now, because when I am in my eighth month I won't feel like going to medical supply stores. I have to agree with that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A name has been chosen

Dear Baby,

You are fifteen weeks old. You have been gliding around in my womb since conception, but I;ve only felt you twice. The first time was two days ago, as I lay in bed reading a craft book. You fluttered, and it felt like a butterfly slowly opening and then closing its wings. And then again I felt you this morning, as I read aloud baby names. You fluttered at Ewan, just as you did two days ago.

Your name means "From the Yew Tree," and it's an anglicized spelling of the Gaelic name Eoghan. Both of these things are important, because the might yew grows in our native Ireland, and it's an ancient, meaningful, powerful tree. It is the Grandmother Tree, the tree of our ancestors. Perfect. I felt chills when I read the meaning of your name, and I KNEW it had to be for you.


Love,
Mom

PS. If you're a girl, you have some 'splainin' to do.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Things I am Thinking About

Intelligender.
I don't think I can bullshit my way into a 20 week ultrasound with the OB. They are already furious with me for getting the last ultrasound, then cancelling my prenatal appointments. They keep calling me to reschedule, and I keep telling them I don't need to see the doctor. They're persistent fuckers though, calling me every other day. I stopped answering their calls.

I'm also thinking about baby names, and this part is tricky, because all of our kids' names start with E. And their middle names are one syllable with a long "a" sound, like Rain. (Which is a great middle name, except our middle names are all classic names, and Rain wouldn't fit in.)

I like Ean for a boy, but it sounds like my son's name. I like Ellice for a girl, but my sister in law wants to name a future girl that. I am out of E names, except the nerdy ones. Dammit.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Strange...

I don't like online communities. It seems like every time I join one, I am ignored by most, and a few others completely ostracize me. Not only that, but I have very specific, unwavering opinions on child-rearing, and, in my mind, anything different from what I believe is borderline child abuse. So its hard to be part of a community where you constantly want to throttle people for doing cruel things to their children.

Anyway, that's not the point. The point is, I went to a well-known, absolutely hideous online community (Abybay Entercay otday omcay) to see how far long I am. Isn't that terrible, that I don't even know how far along I am? So I went there, because my friend, Dr. Google, said they had a pregnancy calendar.

When I got there, someone else was already logged in. The person's name was Ditra, and she had two children listed - a boy born in July 2007, and a girl born in 2005. I didn't poke around much after that because I have an overdeveloped sense of decency. I just logged this person out and went about checking the pregnancy calendar. (In retrospect, I wish I wuld have done some more digging. It's my damn computer after all.)

But this concerns me. I know that one of four things happened, and all are so farfetched that I can't even believe it.

Scenario One: My friend visited us in February and while she was here, she used my computer. Her name is not Ditra, but she and I both have July 2007 babies, and she has a 2005 baby. This is hard for me to believe, but she could have somehow gotten someone's log-in information (legit or otherwise) and logged in on my computer.

Scenario Two: The same friend created a completely new profile with kids that don't exist and logged in using that. You hear about that sometimes, crazy people doing stuff like that. The kids had completely different names than my friend's, and were of different genders, but I guess you never know.

I don't think either Scenario One or Two are possible, because that was two months ago. Since she's been here, I've cleared cookies and temporary internet files, which means that information should have been cleared. And not only that, but my friend is not crazy. She would never do something like that - I mean, at least I hope not, but honestly. She has 3 little kids, ages 3 and under. She doesn't have time to mess around with that kind of thing, even if she wanted to.

Scenario Three: My computer was in for repair in March, because I'm an idiot and screwed it all up. The computer repair guy took the computer home over the weekend to fix it, because I needed it stat. (I didn't, technically. But I felt like I did.) I remember the guy mentioning his son, who was a year and a half old. He said that because I had told him I was a "mommy blogger" and that my little two were (then) nineteen months and six months. That puts the time frame correct - July babies are now a little over a year and a half old. So my thinking is maybe his wife logged on using my computer...? But why would she? (Or maybe I guess the guy could have done it too, being all creepy.)

This is just really unlikely to me. It doesn't make sense, and I am of the opinion that if something doesn't make sense, it probably isn't true.

Scenario Four: Someone sat outside my house and used my wireless internet to hack into my computer and go to a heinous mainstream baby website.

That's not likely either, because my internet is secure and I have an alert system to tell me when people are trying to get on my network. You would have to know I have wireless, because this is the middle of nowhere and it's unlikely anyone would drive around here in BFE looking for a network, when you can go three miles down the road and use the library's wifi for free. Then the person would have to hack through my passwords and get into my computer, and why would you do that just to go on a stupid website? If you were going to go to the trouble, wouldn't you steal credit card info and stuff?

I'm not sure why, but the whole thing leaves me feeling really uncomfortable.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ultrasound Pictures.




It sure has grown. The past few weeks, since I found out, have just flown by. Even though I feel like hell (but starting to feel better) and each day seems to drag on, it really is going by like lighting. I can't believe I'm almost in the second trimester already. I can feel a tiny little baby bump really low in my belly, but you can't tell that I'm pregnant and I don't need to wear looser clothes. I have lost about five pounds since I found out, but I'm not worried. I always do that.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Food.

Things I am Craving:

Canned tomatoes

Beer battered onion rings

Mongolian Beef from First Wok (I ate this four times last week)

McIntosh apples with caramel dip

Whipped potatoes made with heavy cream and lots of butter, with homemade beef gravy

Yellow cake with chocolate fudge frosting

Homemade vanilla custard

Watermelon (the sugary-sweet kind that you can only get in August)

Lemons

Cottage cheese

Things That Make Me Sick:

Pickles

Chocolate

Chicken noodle soup

Sour cream

Cheese in any form

Tacos

Garlic

Coke/Pepsi

Fake banana flavor

Eggs

Saturday, March 28, 2009

So much for instincts.

Up until yesterday, I had the utmost confidence in myself and my body. I have always listened to and trusted my gut instincts and, until yesterday, they never steered me wrong.
So when I felt sure that I had lost the baby, I accepted it. I KNEW I wasn't going to have a baby. I could tell by the way I felt. I no longer felt life energy within me.

I went in for the ultrasound yesterday evening, after much cajoling and coaxing from the nurse at our backup OB's office. The doctor put the probe in (yes, in, and I will never get used to that) and there on the screen, was a little alien. An alien with tiny legs that were kicking all over, and arms that moved from belly to face and back again. And a heartbeat, bumping away at 160 beats per minute.

It's big now, a lot bigger than it was last time. And its very much alive. It measured 11 weeks 3 days, a week ahead of where the last ultrasound put me, and it looks it has a penis, but that's misleading because boys and girls look the same at this stage. I have a picture that I will show you later - I can't do it now, because my mother in law is here, and she doesn't know we're expecting.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spot

I have been feeling "off" for a few weeks. According to the ultrasound a few weeks ago, I am 10w3d today. I started feeling strange around 8 weeks. I know this feeling - I had it in 2003, when I unknowingly carried around a dead fetus (my first son) for a month.
My pregnancy symptoms are gone, except for the vomiting. But even the vomiting is different. It's a different feeling. The nausea feels different. There is dizziness now, which was unexpected. And then, my breasts are no longer sore, and since I am breastfeeding a young infant, there is no reason for the decreased pain. I have nursed babies through pregnancies twice (this is is the third time) and it never stops hurting.

I am also experiencing cramping. But this is my fifth baby - I know not to mistake cramping for miscarriage. I've had a large number of miscarriages and never experienced cramping till it was well under way.

And then, last night, as I used the bathroom before bed, I saw it. Spotting. Not a lot, but enough.

I am a fairly intelligent woman, especially when it comes to childbearing. I've had my share of babies and losses. I know that spotting does not signal the end of a pregnancy. When I was pregnant for both Beastie and The Babe, I had not just spotting but large amounts of bleeding through the first trimester and well into the second. They are both here with no ill effects - so I know that a little blood means nothing.

The thing is, this spotting was weird. It was exactly like the spotting I had when I lost my first son in 2003. I won't go into detail - you don't want or need to know that. But it was different than just regular spotting, and the only other time I've seen something like that was six years ago.

I can't get an ultrasound. My midwife doesn't perform them, and the OB who delivered The Babe refuses to see me for this pregnancy until I first see a nurse. I said I would see the nurse but she's booked for two months. So I wouldn't be able to get an ultrasound for another ten weeks at least. I called other OB offices and none of them will do an ultrasound until I see the doctor and nurse, and they are all a few weeks out too.

So right now I am in a waiting pattern to see what will happen. It is really strange for me, emotionally. I feel worried and hopeful at the same time. I did not want to be pregnant this time - so much so that I very seriously considered termination - but I feel strangely disappointed. I was getting accustomed to the thought of being pregnant. But at the same time, I still really, really do not want another child.

I suppose time will tell. There is nothing set in stone yet, and in the meantime I am going to call the midwife to see if she can get me in with her backup physician.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I spent the whole weekend in one of three places: in bed, where I laid there and cried and retched and ate cookies and retched and drank sprite and retched; in the bathroom, hugging the toilet, retching; and in the bathtub, where, miraculously I did not retch. I feel great in the bathtub. Unfortunately, I have four children who would rather I get out of the tub now and make them some dinner.

The Hub has a vasectomy scheduled for this coming Friday, the 27th. I am mad because his mom is coming to "help him out" afterwards, and staying the whole weekend. Do you think she ever came and helped me out after bearing her grandchildren? Of course not. I find it very insulting that she thinks I cannot care for the kids while he is recovering from a very minor procedure, but that he can care for them while I am recovering from childbirth. Geez lady, what do you think I do while he is at work all day? Make them change their own shitty diapers and read their own stories and sing songs to themselves, while I sit in front of the tv with a box of BonBons and a bottle of Boone's? (Ahhh, sounds nice though, doesn't it?)

I called the doctor. I don't feel like I have regular morning sickness - I feel like I did in 2003, when I had a stillborn baby. He died in utero and was delivered nearly 2 weeks later, and those two weeks were absolute hell. I felt so unbelievably sick, and I feel like that now. My midwife can't order ultrasounds so I called the doctor, who wants me to have bloodwork. Assholes. I swear to God, I could be a doctor just from what I've read on Google. I just need an ultrasound to see if the baby is alive. I do not want this baby. I am not requesting an ultrasound just to get an excitedlittle peek. I WANT TO FEEL BETTER and if I am carrying around a dead fetus I want it out so I can get better.