July 7, 2014

ultrasounds (or lack thereof) :)

We went to an in-law family gathering on Saturday, and during the course of conversation, I revealed that we never had an ultrasound while pregnant with Zoey.  Now I keep thinking about it and being annoyed with myself for not discussing it a little more, as everyone seemed rather shocked that we wouldn't have gotten one.  Nicely shocked, of course, but confused nonetheless.  :)

So, because I really think it's important for experiences that are 'outside the norm' to be shared more often, I am going talk about it here on my blog.  Not as good as regular conversation, of course, but I'll feel less regret regarding the fact that I didn't elaborate on the topic in person.

Also, keep in mind I'm completely understanding of others' choices, but I feel the need to share due to the fact that our choice is the choice less taken.  And actually, I think people probably don't even realize there is a choice, as many docs these days take it as a given that folks will want an ultrasound (or 2 or 3 or 4).

We decided not to get ultrasounds done with Zoey for a variety of reasons.  For one, the American Pregnancy Association recommends ultrasounds "when medically necessary".  Had one been medically necessary for us, we would have done it.  We didn't want to know the sex of the baby ahead of time, and we knew that other things (like twins, fluid, or positioning, etc.) would have been detected by the midwife using non-invasive methods.  And other things that couldn't be 'felt' with a midwives hands would show up in other observable symptoms, which would then lead to that medical necessity mentioned above. Many folks get ultrasounds to determine due date... I was very aware of my ovulation date and figured out Zoey's due date based on that (and was apparently spot on, as she was only 6 days late, typical for a first time mom).  It's an example of knowing and trusting your body, which unfortunately we aren't really encouraged to do in our society.   Finally, it's only been in the recent past that ultrasounds have suddenly been performed soooo frequently and as a definite part of prenatal care.  So to me that signals it's not a 'need' but more of a 'want', plus it just made us worry a bit about long-term research that hasn't been done.

So there you have it.  Again, I do not judge anyone for their choices, and I hope you don't judge me for mine.  I just needed to share this perspective, as I think it's one we don't hear in the modern medical world.

p.s. The Zoey birth story is still coming one day... I started it and have notes that I took the week after she was born so as not to forget anything.  You know, it's just tough finding time in baby land, ha ha.  At the moment she's snoozing, so maybe I'll start on it.  ;)

January 2, 2014

Welcome, Zoey Indira!

So, yes, indeed we did it naturally, and Zoey was born at home on November 15, 2013 in our bedroom.  :)  I am completely grateful for amazing midwives, as my labor experience was quite the epic adventure (5 days long), and I now acknowledge that birth involves pain-- but the pain is completely worth it, and my body was able to bring Z into the world even after a week of crazy contractions, back labor, and physical/emotional exhaustion.  Our bodies are amazing.  I'm glad I chose the home birth route, because a hospital would have declared 'failure to progress' very early on.

 Birth story will be told eventually, once I have the time/energy to devote to its depth.  For the moment, we are just basking in the beauty of parenting and enjoying every moment with our beautiful Zoey.

(top photo: a day or so old; bottom photo: 1 month old)

October 31, 2013

Over 38 weeks pregnant... The end/beginning is suddenly in sight!

I wish I knew HTML, because then I bet I could get these photos to lay out nicely.  Alas, I do not, so you will have to just deal with this hodge-podge look.  :)  I wanted to give you a snapshot (or 9) of life before baby.... with baby always on my mind!  The above framed pics are of me with both sets of grandparents.  My mom gave me those and some other frames for my birthday (the 26th), and I set them up in our bedroom to give me peace and bring me inspiration during my home birth.  And even further up, you can see the bitty bumpkin's closet packed with clothes.  Our top dresser drawer broke, so we had to add more to the closet as well as a clear bin under the bed.  I think we've got plenty of clothing to choose from!  Lots of those onesies were decorated by family at a shower.  Too cute.

Then of course there is my belly pic.  38 weeks and bursting with baby!  :)  I just looked back at my 18 week belly, and it's soooooooo crazy to think I was ever that small (or that baby was that small!).  I'll be 39 weeks pregnant in two days.  Overall I still feel really good, and it's weird to imagine that belly baby will soon be real world baby.  We are very, very excited.  Bilbo is a little jealous, but that's to be expected.  I am truly going to miss having my baby bump for when I hold the Bilbo boy--  It's a perfect perch!

The biggest change in the past week or so is that it's simply uncomfortable everywhere I am... The exercise ball has saved me, but even that isn't comfy for a long period of time.  The other night (like 3 or 4 nights ago) I had some weirdness-- This might be too much info, but I like to document all the weirdness!  Anyhow, I went to bed at 11, and between 11:30 and 4:30, I went to the bathroom 4-5 times, first thinking I was nauseous and going to puke, then sitting down to pee, then completely "clearing out" my system.  Sounds gross, was actually slightly relieving.  I also felt kind of feverish, but my temp had dropped to below the norm.  So that happened 4 or 5 times, and then finally I slept the rest of the night.  Soooo strange, and I had heard about systems "clearing out" to prep for labor.  So of course I was on the alert for any labor sign the next day!  One of midwives said that it is very normal, due to the nutty hormones, and that I could expect it to happen maybe one more time before baby comes.  Today, Halloween, I'm just feeling baby sooo low down, all up (down?) in my privates!  Silly bean.

I am all caught up (and have worked ahead) in my classes, so it's suddenly 'go time' for being baby ready.  Nate of course has tons of work to do, but his profs all know about me, so they will cut him some slack if needed.  We have our birth kit plus other supplies sorted into totes for us and the midwives.  And we're really trying to keep things organized so as not to interfere with my mind's peace.     Here's hoping this kiddo stays stuck with her/his head down low (I kind of don't think baby could move it out if he/she tried)!  I am really looking forward to laboring and giving birth.  I feel like a dork saying how excited I am.  Everyone's always like, but what about the pain?  Maybe I'll regret saying this, but I think our bodies naturally know how to handle positive pain, and I've practiced relaxation with Nate and working with my uterus to do what it's made for.  In a couple of weeks (or more!), we can share with you how our experience goes and whether we were able to handle it the way we thought we would.  Can't believe it's coming so soon!!!!!

October 17, 2013

Hugeness at 36 weeks pregnant :)

On Saturday I will be at 37 weeks, but I wanted to share the 36 weeks photo, as I am enormous.  I will add more to this posting later when I have time.  For now, I'll just say that I feel like baby is ready to fall right out of me.  Extreme heaviness super low down and endless Braxton Hicks.  But other than those things, I am feeling good!

I'm back, and it's now Wednesday, the 23rd.  In 3 days I will hit 38 weeks pregnant!

We had a great appointment with the midwives at our house last Sunday.  Talked a bunch, measured out pool-sink distance, and looks like the pool can go in our bedroom!  And baby is indeed head-down (more like 'head-stuck'!) and very low.  Back is on my right belly side and oftentimes that side of my uterus rises up super high and looks super weird!

This week I am attempting to get most of my classwork done, so that I won't need to worry about projects/papers once baby is here.  I'll still have readings to do and then of course the final exams, but it will feel good to have everything else out of the way.  IF I manage to get productive enough!  I've been feeling really worn out a lot in the mornings, and my belly 'fullness' is just so uncomfortable.  It's hard to sit and do work, even if I'm using the exercise ball.

My Bilbo cat has been cuddlier with Nate, which is an excellent thing.  However, he's also been a bit needier with me, doing odd things like putting his feet up on my back/shoulders from behind me and other such antics.  I do love that little cat baby.  He sits on my belly so often that I am hoping baby is getting to know his purrs!  ;)

We stocked up on some Trader Joe's goodies to have on hand... Super turkey bacon, Indian veggie burgers (not soy-based!), toilet paper, and dark chocolate.  :)  The bacon and Indian burgers will be handy to have when we are overwhelmed by new-baby-ness and just want something quick and tasty to eat.

I can't remember if I mentioned having my last shower.  My mom did an awesome job-- it was a lovely time with family and family friends!  Nate and I are truly soooo very lucky to have such amazing people in our lives.  And little baby will be lucky too!

We've got some name choices narrowed down.  But feel free to comment with suggestions... Just remember we're looking for an earthier, not-too-common, but not too hippie dippy kind of name.  We've got lots of girl options, but only 3 boy options.

With Braxton Hicks happening all the time, I am curious if I'll even know if I'm in the early first stage of labor!  But I suppose if I don't, that's a-okay too.  

September 26, 2013

Almost 34 weeks pregnant

It's funny how very many people say, "I bet you're ready to be done with pregnancy!" at this point... because I don't feel that way really at all.  I mean, sure, I look forward to being 'comfortable' again, but I'm also still really enjoying being pregnant.  The other thing people always say is, "I bet you're feeling nervous about giving birth!" (or something similar), and I have NO way of relating to that statement.  This midwife/home birth journey has done amazing things for my sense of self and belief in my body... I feel like I even have my mind in a good spot if something were to happen and require a hospital transfer.  We've been doing Bradley classes as well.  While I feel like I am already in that sort of 'Bradley mind space', it's nice to get to know other couples seeking a natural birth, and it's fantastic for Nate to experience the vibe I've been feeling for the past 8 months (and learn how he can be an amazing birth coach).

So my belly is feeling very full and tight as of late, and I think that's mostly because baby has shifted to a more central position in my uterus... which is good, but it's definitely a different feeling.  The head still seems to be down, as it's been for the past couple of months, so hopefully baby just loves it like that and will avoid crazy flipping maneuvers.

We had an amazing Karnes/Burgess family shower, and then last weekend my friend Elise and sister-in-law Thea gave me a lovely friend shower.  It was so nice to have friends from different parts of my life in the same spot (but definitely missed those who couldn't make it).  I'd been really worried about having a shower without Nate there too (I hate having the attention on just me), but it was completely comfortable, which means I must have some very cool friends in my life.  Oh, and then Nate and I had a party that night and stayed up past 2 a.m. (that's a pretty big deal for this tired mama)!  Had to get one last 'party' in.  ;)

My mom took me shopping for some possible birthing outfits.  I know, I am a dork.  But I really wanted to be sure that I have a couple of options for something comfortable, cool, and somewhat cute...  Not for the photos (well, maybe a little) but just for my mind, so I don't need to focus on anything but the incredible laboring adventure.  I am also hoping we can keep our house in a state of psuedo-organization once we get closer to 40 weeks, as I don't want to have any mental blocks caused by un-finished business.  Luckily we have everything pretty much ready for our little one, so even if it happened early, we'd be able to handle all things baby (just maybe not the kitchen or the cleaning or the bookshelf reorganization, ha ha).

I had told myself that I wouldn't really give much weight to the whole "full term at 37" thing, because I want this baby baking as long as possible, but I can't help but think about the time left being in a time range now, rather than just thinking, "I have 6+ weeks left!"  A friend of mine was surprised by her little one arriving at 35 weeks (I think), and there's always that chance, no matter how unlikely statistically.  So I am trying to work ahead a great deal in my classes... JUST IN CASE.

Most guesses of baby's sex have been 'boy', due to people's gut feelings, my very 'boyish bump', etc.  I still don't really have any gut feeling myself, although I did dream that we had a baby girl complete with curly golden locks (too funny).  We shall see, and we shall be very happy with either!

We are headed up north to Lake City this weekend with my parents to visit our best family friends.  Very excited to being heading north during my favorite time of year.  I love fall so much.  Crisp air, sometimes-sunny skies, autumn colors everywhere.  I think we're going to go to the pumpkin patch up there too.

September 14, 2013

32 weeks pregnant... huge, happy, sneezy, uncomfortable, excited, etc.

I'll get my 32 week photo up here soon, but for now let's look at a jealous Bilbo cat instead...  That's a fabulous organic Baby K'tan carrier (not done up properly, fyi) I'm using.  I'd wondered if the size small would work, and I think it will definitely do the trick if it can manage a kitty boy.  :)

If you are a stranger (or friend, or even foe, I suppose), feel free to leave a comment on my blog entries.  I just finished my obsessive blog search "33 weeks pregnant blog" (I like to look at the week I'm coming up to), and I was thinking how I should really leave comments on the entries I so enjoy.

The last two nights I've woken up probably around 2 a.m. and not been able to go back to sleep for 2+ hours due to sneezing and nose-blowing.  Darn ragweed.  It's turning into my favorite season, and I can't fully enjoy it because I don't dare venture outside for too long.  I only just started feeling like I have a normal nose, and it's already 4 p.m. the following day!  Hopefully this ragweed season comes to an end soon.  It's tough adding that to an already rough night's sleep.

My walks to class have brought on Braxton Hicks like crazy.  I just try to grin and bear it and say, "It's great; my body's preparing for what's to come".  It's not painful, per se, just extremely uncomfortable.

Our weekends through October 6th have suddenly filled up with fun stuff.  We have our first baby shower tomorrow-- with Nate's extended family!  Then the next weekend I'm having a more traditional one thrown by a good friend and my sis-in-law, and that night we're having a hopefully huge house party to celebrate one of our last "pre-baby" days with friends.  It's funny to think back to last summer/fall, when we seemed to have friends over frequently for porch beers or late-night games.  I obviously was not pregnant then, and Nate was only taking a couple of classes, so we loved hosting impromptu gatherings.

I can't even express how relieved/lucky I feel that we're able to do this baby adventure during a time when I'm just taking classes (that aren't terribly tricky) and Nate is also just taking classes.  It means we are home way more than we'd be in any other situation.  And my classes are always night classes (and I'm actually going to try for an online one in the spring term), so I can sleep in and rest whenever needed.  And we've always been super frugal with money (splurging only on healthy groceries, for the most part, and going out to eat at local yummy places... oh yeah, and also things like a homebirth midwife, Bradley classes, and placenta encapsulation), so that won't be an issue.

It's kind of funny how I've never really been a big baby fan (and neither has Nate really), and quite honestly, I don't really even know if you could call me one now.  But it's so amazing how consuming it all becomes... I mean, I hardly ever think of much else, like an obsessed woman.  The cool thing is that a couple of friends of ours just had their first/only baby, and I imagine they are a bit like us, not the type to go baby crazy over other babies but excited and fascinated by their own.  I do wonder, though, if I'll start being more 'into' others' kiddos once I go through it myself, you know?  I have definitely had moments the past 8 months when I've thought back to how I reacted to friends' pregnancies... and I wish I had reached out more, asked more questions, been more interested in what was going on with them, etc.  But I think it's something that you just can't connect to without something similar to relate it to.

I've now gotten into the 'hungrier' part of pregnancy, perhaps because it feels like baby shifted down a bit, freeing up my stomach.  Whatever the reason, I can eat more in one go, and I am craving the unhealthier things (and usually not giving in).  The one thing I could eat and eat is crushed ice, so that's not terrible.  I think I'm going to be a big frozen drink fan once baby's out (think: margaritas, etc.).  But the other things I keep wanting are chocolate cake with sweet icing, ice cream, and cinnamon rolls.  And I don't even normally like chocolate cake!

And now I must stop this endless update.  RAMBLING is my new talent.

September 7, 2013

And we are getting closer...

I am actually at 31 weeks pregnant today, but haven't done my weekly photo yet.  Boy, my belly is sure out there now.  Feeling good still, though, which is a happy thing.

The strangest change in the past week has been how very very HEAVY I feel.  My abs are achy, and when I walk to class, I feel such pressure down low, almost like the baby is starting to drop.  Might be early for that, but I think some people drop early, and from what I've read, it doesn't really mean labor is coming soon (although plenty of people say that).  I've also had some intense Braxton Hicks on that walk to class, usually at around the 15 minute mark (it's 30 min. there and 30 back).  I told Nate it's so interesting how it's not really painful, just an uncomfortable tightening.  Pregnancy is fascinating.

I'm trying to be a diligent student and work ahead for my classes, and it seems like my two courses should be timed nicely pregnancy-wise.  The nearest thing to a conflict that I have is a presentation on October 30th, a bit over a week before my due date.  But everything else is very workable, and missed classes just take points off my total (which is out of a huge number of points), so I'm thinking this should be okay.

We've also gotten baby's room ready, more or less.  It will be a LONG while before baby is in there (planning on bed-sharing or a co-sleeper if that doesn't work for quite a while), so in the meantime, people will be able to enjoy the cozy vintagey eclecticness of our baby room as it acts as a guest room (our 2nd guest room, so hopefully we'll have many visitors!).  :)