Category Archives: pregnancy

This Time Around We’re Getting A Doula

When I was pregnant with Eli I was pretty scared about the birth process. What I’ve come to understand is that’s not all that uncommon in this day and time. I didn’t know anyone, besides relatives, that has had a baby in the past 20 years and so had no idea what to expect.

In my quest to educate myself I found out about a person called a doula, which is basically a labor support person. She doesn’t take the place of the dad, she’s just another pair of hands in the labor room to help you with anything you might need. Most especially, she sees to your physical comfort and emotional needs and helps explain options when the situations changes. She helps dad with understanding ways to support you as well, so you become a team trying to get the baby here as opposed to a couple of people stranded in a hospital room with no one to explain what’s going on.

Which pretty much sums up my first labor experience. It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t good and mostly, I just felt stranded. The bulk of my active labor was during shift change and I’m not sure we could have scared up a nurse if Stephen had delivered the baby himself and then walked into the hall to ask for some assistance with the cord. There was one delivery nurse that was really excited about Eli scoring a 9 on the APGAR test but she moved out with the doctor to the next delivery. But my doctor was there on time and the baby came quickly so what is there really to gripe about, right?

My doctor is young and I like that about her, she’s only a couple of years older than me but she is a caring and confident person. When I asked her about getting a doula with Eli, she didn’t come out and say she didn’t want one in her labor room but I could tell, it aggravated her. So I dropped the subject. This time around, she has had one child and when I asked her about it a second time, was pregnant with twins. (She’s out on maternity leave now but is supposed to be back before my due date.) She seemed much more receptive to the idea of a doula, so Stephen and I started talking about it again.

At first, it seemed a bit silly to get one for a second birth. I mean, I’ve already done it once, right? What could I possibly need with a doula when I know what’s going to happen? But that’s the thing, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Just because one birth went relatively smoothly, doesn’t mean that the second one will. Since my epidural wore off on one side with Eli, I decided that I’d like to go as long as possible without drugs this time. I don’t know if or how I’ll make that but that’s the great thing about having the doula, she’s there for encouragement for whatever you decide.

So then came the process of actually trying to find someone. I had mentioned it to Ashley and since she’s having her first, she really wanted to get a doula. She started looking and found someone she’s really happy with. The problem in Huntsville is that there aren’t many certified doulas here and then because they like kids, guess what, they usually have a lot themselves. So sometimes even if there are multiple options in your area, they may be out because of their own births or booked up with other people’s births. Which is the case here right now. There’s about five practicing doulas but currently only two of them are taking clients. Ashley’s doula was a bit nervous about taking both of us on as clients since we are both due so close together and rightly so, I think. I contacted the other one set up a meeting with her.

We had our second appointment with Jeanne this week and she is great! I’m so glad that she’s going to be there with us. We talked about what I’d be wanting and she showed Stephen some foot massage techniques. I get my feet massaged during labor? Can I go ahead and get that part started now?

I’m actually starting to get excited about trying to make it through labor without the drugs. Not because I think it’ll be fun but because I want to be awake enough to experience it all this time. With Eli, I just wanted it to be over as quickly as possible but this time, I’m think I’m ready to give the whole experience a try.

I have to say the feeling of optimism concerning the labor and delivery is much more pleasant to look forward to than the dread that I felt before. I think the bulk of that is due to knowing we’ll have an advocate in the room with us no matter what happens.

Baby TBA update

I went to the doctor this morning and all is well. Baby’s heart rate is good and my BP is good. I had gained 2 pounds! So I guess that means the baby is growing, finally. My doctor is on maternity leave (twins!) so I saw a different doctor who was very pleasant and totally hip in her mod blue and green plastic jewelry to go with her teal scrubs. I felt unworthy but she did like my hip army green maternity pants with the embroidery down one leg so I was not shamed.

Eli did well (I try not to take him with me but this is Spring Break so no classes for him) and was cute while the doctor was in the room, watching his movie on the portable DVD player.

I go back in two weeks and then the once a week visits begin. It’s getting so close, I can’t believe it!

Pre-Baby House Stuff

Two weekends ago my mom came for a visit and we did an amazing amount of house rearranging for the coming baby.

We put up shelves in the laundry room to hold all the stuff from the guest room closet.
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Beautifully installed 8 foot shelves. Stephen rocks the handyman chores.

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Here are the same shelves, mostly full.

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Same room, opposite wall. 3 foot shelves. Yes, our laundry room would be considered bedroom size in some states. I thought it was odd when we moved in and now I’m grateful for the storage room!

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See my beautifully labeled bins? I am so OCD.

We moved this shelf from our bedroom to the front hall.
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It works much better here as it fits to scale under the picture better than it did in our room.

We moved this bookshelf from the guest room to our room.
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Also fits the scale of the room better. I got to hang that weird piece of art that hasn’t hung anywhere since we moved to this house. Check out my groovy new bedspread. Our room is much cooler now than it was before.

Today I went and purchased the paint for the baby’s room and some of the guys are coming over on Saturday to paint. More photos to follow…

Belated Baby Update

I went to the doctor on Thursday and all is well with Baby TBA. My blood pressure is good, which in the past has been a concern but it seems when I am pregnant I am in great health. Well, except for the yacking (which is now pretty intermittent, thankfully). I had lost another pound which my doctor thought was fantastic (I am now at my pre-pregnancy weight) and she seems to think that I will drop 20 lbs. with the baby. That would be awesome as far as I’m concerned, but I’m not holding my breath. The baby is much stronger now and is doing less swimming and more outright kicking. While we were in Boston, she actually woke me up one night kicking, so I guess she’s growing.

I’m having a hard time adjusting to the thought of having a girl. I was so sure it’d be another boy that it’s been hard to start thinking in girly terms. I guess ultimately there shouldn’t be any differences. You just love them for the people that they are and gender isn’t an issue. But I have to say I’m a bit miffed that I have to start saving for that wedding. I also have to remind myself that the anxiety that I feel now about who this person will be is exactly the same as what I felt about Eli. I came to love him quite a lot and it will be the same with this girl. I don’t know if my ambivalence is something that a lot of women feel while pregnant and they just don’t talk about it much or if I’m strange. It seems that I must be a least a little bit strange because most women always seem so excited about the prospect of a baby. And I usually am very excited, when it’s someone else. It’s just for myself that I’m not especially thrilled for. But with Eli that changed about two seconds after he got here. So again, I’m sure that will be the case here.

No, we haven’t talked about names much. We are holding onto the girl name we picked when I was pregnant with Eli. I have been calling her that name in my head to see if it fits. However, Eli was going to be Jack right up until I was about 8 1/2 months pregnant and then we changed our minds and chose Eli. But we don’t really have a list. Suggestions are always welcome but no promises that we’ll use your suggestion of Mazie or Zed. Extra points are awarded for names with Zs, Qs, and Xs. I have had Zoe on my mind but since there is now a Sesame Street puppet with that name, I’m less enamored with it.

My mom is visiting this weekend so we’re going to be doing some work on the baby’s room. I guess I should take some pre-baby photos so I can post them and then have some after photos as well. It was such a lovely guest room…

Jessica and Rick

This is a post I’ve been wrestling with for a while now. Whether or not to talk about it. Whether or not to link to the site I am going to be talking about. How to address the topic and say what I want to say in the most compassionate way. I don’t know if I’ll do it well or not. Before I post this, I’m going to ask Jessica and Rick to read it and they can say whether or not I can use their names or even post it all. (They said ok by the way.)

Jessica and Rick are struggling with infertility. It’s a pretty harsh reality and I have trouble with it on several levels.

One, of course, is the unfairness of it all. Here are two people who would love a child and rear it with great thoughtfulness and care. They have a strong bond with one another and have good ties to their families and their community. They know what they are getting into with having kids (well, as much as any of us do before we actually have them) and are ready and willing to take on the responsibility. Am I lobbying for them to get to have kids? Yeah, in a way I guess I am. If there’s an organization that I could submit an application to, I would.

Number two, is the indignities they are dealing with in an effort to have kids. I’m not sure that, if I were to face the same rounds of doctor visits, blood work, invasive medical procedures and tortuous waiting of tries and retries, Stephen and I would have managed to reproduce. There’s also just something spectacularly crappy about everyone else being that involved with your sex life. Before I was pregnant myself, I was sort of mystified and a bit horrified that everyone seemed so happy for a pregnant couple. “Congratulations on successful sex!” was the response that I always felt someone would say. How much more agonizing to know that everyone else knows that something in that department isn’t working quite the way it should.

Another problem I have is the amount of loss they have already suffered. Yes, it’s a fairly well established statistic that between 30 and 40% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. I’ve had one, my mother-in-law had one, my aunt had one, several girlfriends have had them. Chances are good that, if you’ve been pregnant, you’ve also had a miscarriage. It took me a long time to deal with my miscarriage. It challenged Stephen’s and my relationship in a way that is hard to describe, so to repeat the process multiple times seems nearly unendurable in my mind. And to keep repeating the process without becoming numb to it seems nearly impossible.

This next one is a bit more personal for me because it has to do with my own issues. I’m a bit embarrassed by how easy it is for me to get pregnant. I feel as if in some way I should apologize for being effortlessly fertile. If there were some way that I could share this trait, I would scrape it off and pass it over without a moment’s hesitation. Especially since once this baby comes, Stephen and I are finished reproducing. So sometimes I wonder if in some way I’ve wasted all this easy fertility. If I were Jessica, I would have a hard time not resenting people like me. Lucky for me, she’s a bigger person than that.

All of that brings me around to the brighter side of things. They are dealing with this process in an amazing way. I’m usually not given to words like inspirational, but that’s the only word that I can think of that applies. Are they depressed about it sometimes? Sure they are. Are they mad at the injustice of it all? I’m sure that comes up for them as well. But overall, they are dealing with their situation in a miraculous way. They are positive in the face of repeated defeat. Not positive that they will achieve the results that they want, but that they will be able to face the outcome and deal with it no matter what that outcome may be. They seem realistic in their ability to deal with some of the monetary hurdles that infertility sets up. They seem to have set some limits as to what they are willing to do in order to achieve their goal. And lastly, and I think most importantly, they are truly seeking what God would have them do in this situation and they seem open to something different if that’s what He offers up.

I have been deeply affected by watching what they are dealing with. I feel closer to Jessica now than I did before she started talking about her difficulties. She’s been very candid and open about the medical procedures she’s dealt with and the emotional struggle she’s been through. She’s set up a website to chronicle her quest and while this is probably personally helpful to her, I can tell by reading what she writes that other women are eased by her words as well. I’ve been buoyed by their perseverance and their faith.

So even amidst this struggle there are bright spots. Maybe they know the example they set; maybe they don’t. Maybe they don’t think what they are doing is that big of a deal. Sometimes you can’t see the example that you are setting during the struggle. Maybe my words here will remind them of that.

Don’t Try this at Home

When I was between six and ten, I went to the roller skating rink all the time. One particular Friday or Saturday night I remember going with my family and my parents’ best friends and their kids. I was busily trying to skate among the masses of people when I came upon two women skating together. They were going kinda slow so in my little kid brain I decided it would be a good idea for me to zip around them. Well, I’m not sure if I was a good zipper or a bad zipper because I made one of the women fall right onto her butt. After I passed her and looked back I realized she was very pregnant. I skated on to my mom and told her what happened and she encouraged me to go and apologize to the woman.

To this day when I think of that moment when I looked over my shoulder and saw her belly I am filled with anxiety that I caused her or her baby harm. As an adult I’ve often wondered why she was ever there in the first place. It seems an unnecessary risk to take in my mind, but maybe she was so far along she was actually trying to induce labor.

This afternoon Eli and I were playing in the hall. We both had our socks on. He was chasing me and I had my hands held out behind me for him to grab. He grabbed and pulled and I attempted to pull back. However, between the hardwood floor and my socks I had zero leverage. As I was falling backwards and yelling for help and trying desperately not to land completely on top of Eli, I remembered that women at the roller rink. As my head smacked against the floor, I looked up at the ceiling and thought that maybe sometimes you just can’t see the risk.

Don’t panic. I’m fine — obviously, or I wouldn’t be posting this now. I have a headache but am having difficulty deciding if it was caused by the cold I have or by my trip to the floor. My right hip is sore, but then it was sore all week from the plane ride on Monday. I had a few moments of panic about an hour after it happened, so I called the doctor and he assured me that falling on my butt and my head was the best possible place to land for the baby. Not so good for me, but the best case scenario for the kid.

I’m going to sit on the heating pad now. I think I might try non-skid slippers tomorrow when we are playing. And you can bet I won’t be going roller skating anytime soon…

and the Comparisons Begin

Something I wasn’t prepared for at all. This baby already has a personality of his/her own. How can I tell, you ask? Well, for starters Eli kicked like a soccer player: short, sharp kicks and repeated often. Mostly at night, much to Stephen’s annoyance. This kid is a water ballet specialist. He/she floats, swims, pushes off from one side and rebounds on the other. I often feel like one of those clear plastic bags you get fish in. If only we could as easily peer in and see what the gender is!

The doctor assures me that this baby is doing great. However, it’s hard to not feel as if something is wrong given the huge differences I feel almost hourly. The other day as he/she was sloshing about I thought to myself, “This isn’t like Eli at all!” and I felt a moment of panic that I was comparing this kid to the one I already know so well.

It Really is Easier the Second Time Around

Last time I was pregnant, we agonized about the stuff we needed to get for the baby. Where to start? What to get used? What to buy new? What not to buy at all? When do I register? And then once you’ve answered all those questions there are just about 1.4 billion products available on the market and all their packaging insists that if you don’t have this product your baby will be deformed for life. It’s tough and I was never so glad to see the last of Babies R Us and Target and their hand-held scanners of evilness.

To help us with the task last time, I bought a book called Baby Bargins and it was incredibly useful in helping us weed through all the unnecessary stuff. As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, when we don’t know how to do something around here we buy a book. So this particular one was our sanity when I was a crazy pregnant lady last time. I loaned my copy to a friend and never got it back, so after I told Ashley that I didn’t have ours, she loaned me her newer edition. Of course, I had been the one to originally tell her to buy it, so see how the world all works out sometimes?

Last night I sat down and reviewed the couple of big products we need to replace stuff that is either too old or worn out from Eli. I decided to check what was online. I did my entire registry process in about an hour. I think the last time it took several weeks, if not a month, to make the list and then get to the stores to get it done. I am so glad to have that chore over with and now I can move on to other closets.

Let the Nesting Begin

I have returned from our Christmas holiday in Arkansas with much energy and a dedicated spirit to cleaning out all nooks and crannies of our house.

My super step-mom gave me a huge bag full of clothes in hopes of staving off me having to buy maternity clothes. I vowed that I would clean out my closet before any new clothes went in, so this morning I have cleaned out every part of my closet.

Even (gasp!) the purses and (double gasp!) the shoes!

I am ever so slowly getting rid of shoes that aren’t Birkenstocks. I actually thought that I’d get rid of all the non-’stocks this cleaning but there were several pairs of shoes I couldn’t bring myself to part with.

Yesterday, while shopping at Wally World, I purchased several closet organizer-type objects. Two of the three are for Stephen’s closet and the third is for my cross-stitching stash in the office closet. Stephen doesn’t know it yet but I see closet cleaning in his future this weekend. (Hi Honey!) We’re also going to do some closet rearranging/shelving additions so that the chest of drawers that is in my closet can go into Eli’s room and the changing table/dresser can go into the baby’s room. Stephen wants to add some shelving to his closet as well. I thought that it would be a good idea to have the closets cleaned out before we start adding new stuff so that we don’t have to tackle the cleaning and the adding at once.

So far, I have created one giant bag of my previous life’s work clothes to go to the women’s prison ministry and started a second bag to go to Purple Heart Veterans. Also, I made a giant bag of trash.

How in the world do we accumulate so much stuff? Thank goodness we didn’t get many things for Christmas. We mostly got money from our parents and we plan to use that on our trips to AZ and MA.

It’s a…

Foot!

We’re having a foot! Actually, it’s still a baby with all the usual parts. There was just a foot in the way of one particular part that we kinda wanted to see today. But all is well and he/she is healthy. I gained two pounds and considering the baby weighs 1.5, I think that’s pretty good. My doctor says we can check for gender next month when I’m in, if their schedule isn’t too far behind.

Here as some photos:
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