Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Open Book

I am still feeling good about our decision to start trying for another baby. I am really liking having a realized approach to the whole thing. I don't think I will be charting this month and who know when or even if I will chart to help with conception. I much prefer charting as means of birth control instead. It's much less stressful.

I recently discovered that I am completely OK with talking to people about TTC. I don't mind if people know that we are hoping to add to the family soon. I feel like there should be no shame in that. I don't want to set myself up for worry. I guess I am, and always have been, a pretty open person. Several of my co-workers know we are TTC. My parents, friends and siblings know I we are TTC. I guess what it comes down to is the fact that I don't mind sharing things with people. And mostly, if I am excited about something, I can't help talking about it. I am really good at keeping other people's secrets, but if it's about me, I can't keep it in!

The day I found out I was pregnant with Lou, I told my husband and my mom and we decided maybe we shouldn't tell anyone else in case I miscarried because that seemed like what most people do. Then I just felt so excited, I told everyone by the end of that same day! I really feel like there shouldn't be a filter in whether or not you share good news with someone. I understand people waiting to share the news if you have struggled with infertility or miscarriage and want to wait a little longer, but I am more of an open book. For me, I will probably talk about my TTC/pregnancy journey to the people in my life that I care about regardless of what bumps in the road lie ahead.

Sometimes, saying it out loud helps me feel at peace with major decisions. That was certainly the case recently. This past weekend I told a few of my siblings (that don't already read this blog) that we are TTC. Besides the one sibling that does read this blog, the announcement was met with enthusiasm and support. I certainly could use a little of that. It feels especially good to honestly feel OK with being relaxed about the whole thing. We aren't using any kind of child achieving method. We aren't charting, or making sure we do the deed every day or anything like that. We are genuinely just going to go with whatever happens. Nothing planned, just take one day at a time and hopefully someday that means we add to our family. I guess I wouldn't even call it trying to conceive (TTC) we are hoping to conceive. I like that a lot better. Hope requires patience. Trying requires effort. I want this to be a loving and effortless process. I realize some effort needs to be put into it. *ahem* (the having sex part)  But I won't want it to feel like the negative kind of forced effort.

Now I am just rambling. But that is the purpose of this blog. For me to ramble about whatever I chose :)

Next post will be about how obsessed I have become with Dave Ramsey. Stay tuned. It's gonna be exciting. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

I am excited about TTC. I feel good about it and it's been something I don't feel pressure about. My husband took a little longer to not feel pressure about getting pregnant right away, but I think he has come around too. It's nice to have a relaxed approach. It's not something I stress over, or try to plan birthdays around or anything, we are just ready for whenever it happens.

The only hard part is hoping it will happen soon. Realistically, I am not expecting to get pregnant right away, but the face that there is a chance (however small that chance may be) makes me hope that I am. Then I start thinking about being pregnant again and I get so excited. I know if I were to take a pregnancy test and have it come up negative, I would be dissappointed, so I have decided not to test unless I am over a week late. Probably closer to 2 weeks.

Patience is a virtue. One that I am constantly working to acquire. I am excited about the goals that my husband and I have met for our baby bucket list. We worked really hard at them. It feels good to be ready. Now it just needs to happen. I am hoping for a baby in 2011, but I know that isn't incredibley likely as I would need to get pregnant within the next 6 months and with an average of 34 day cyles, that doesn't give me much time. But, we will try anyway :) 2012 wouldn't be so bad either. I need to keep that in mind.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My first loss

When I got pregnant, things were going fine and I hit about 9 weeks and I had attended my sister's wedding that day, did some dancing and had a great time. I got home and started bleeding. I just sat in the bathroom crying. I just knew I had lost a baby. It was Saturday night, so there was nothing I could have done until Monday anyway, so I tried to stay positive. The bleeding was very heavy and there were clots. I knew that wasn't a good sign. I really felt deep down that I had lost my child.

Monday morning, I went in to the doctor's office and got an ultrasound. They found a heartbeat! I was so relieved my baby was alive. The doctor told me I probably just over-exerted myself and he put me on bed rest. I was only on bed rest for about 3-4 weeks (during that time I was still bleeding and then spotting) and then things seemed fine and the rest of my pregnancy went smoothly. I have an adorable 2 & 1/2 year old son and life is pretty good.

Since I established with a new doctor's office, they had my medical records transferred over and my midwife called to ask me about the twin I had lost. That was the first I had even heard of it. She told me that the doctor had put in my chart that he believed I had lost a twin. I didn't really know what to make of it. It seemed a little weird at first. I shrugged it off and continued on my day.

Then about 2 hours later, it hit me full force. I was in the middle of my shift at work and I felt tremendous pain. I felt the loss so deeply it surprised me. During my lunch break, I called my mom and told her. She had a miscarriage before and just knew exactly what to say. She told me how sorry she was and how glad she was that we were blessed enough to have my son in our family. She also explained the reason for the doctor not telling me about my loss when it happened. (She knew the doctor very well and felt like he was a really good guy, and I trust her judgement.) She said he probably withheld that information to keep me positive and to help keep my surviving child healthy. (While I don't necessarily agree with this, I can sort of see it.) She feels like he would have told me after I had delivered my baby. Problem is, my doctor passed away shortly after my son was born. I never went back to establish with anyone new until now.That's why after all this time, I am finally finding out that I did lose a child. I knew deep down that I had lost my child and was so surprised that I hadn't. Well, I was right. I did lose a child that day.

This is coming as such a surprise that I don't really know how to respond. I have gotten mixed response from people about this. Some people tell me they are sorry for my loss and that it's sad. Other people tell me that it wasn't a baby, just some unviable mass of cells. (Real sensitive, huh?) Other people react similarly to my initial reaction: "Oh, that's weird." I am not entirely sure what to make of all this myself. I honestly feel like God gave me the family I was meant to have, and I don't know that knowing about my loss would have changed anything. Sure, I wish I had known, but since I can't change that I am trying to come to terms with it all as well as I can. I am not angry anymore. I think most of what I feel know is guilt. I feel a tremendous amount of guilt because my body expelled a dead baby and I didn't even acknowledge it's existence. I didn't even mourn the loss. Once I found out I still had a living child, (and since I didn't know there were two) the bleeding was just inconvenient and annoying. Know I feel stabs of guilt for ever having those thoughts. I should have been grieving the loss of my child and instead I was annoyed. I feel horrible for losing a baby and not even appreciating or even acknowledging the life of that child.

I guess the good that came from the experience is that I have a wonderful, healthy, happy 2 year old boy. I am even more grateful for him now. My husband is a twin and since he loves his brother so much and just loved being a twin, it was hard for him to realize that his own son could have grown up with that experience too. My husband still doesn't have friends that are even half as close to him as his twin. I know he really wanted that for our son. He kept saying every kid deserves a brother. Now that we know he may have had one (or a sister, we don't know the gender since we lost our baby so early) it made it hard. I suppose it's silly, but when I found out, I immediately thought of the other name we considered choosing for our son and then didn't. I guess I just felt like that was our Ryland. Like I said, I know that sounds silly. I know that the twin could have been unviable and probably wouldn't have survived anyway, but the mother in me cries out to honor what could have been my child. We would have named him Ryland Blake.

Not sure what else to say on the matter. I just needed to pour out my thoughts as they came to me. I didn't even proof-read or spell check, and I clearly had no direction in my writing. Merely thoughts on a page. Thanks for listening.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ready

For the first time in my life I feel 100% ready to TTC. I feel really good about my goals and the progress I have made. I feel really good about my relationship with my son and feel like a sibling wouldn't diminish that relationship. I feel good about my relationship with my husband and we are on the same page in wanting another child. I don't feel anxious about TTC and it doesn't consume my thoughts like it did in the past. I am taking a really relaxed approach and this month I am not even going to track my cycle. (Partly because Lou broke my thermometer and I keep forgetting to buy a new one.) I am just going to enjoy the holidays and hope that my Christmas gift to my family is a pregnancy announcement. That would be pretty awesome. I am also going to be realistic about it and I realize it is very likely I won't be pregnant by Christmas. I am OK with that too. I am just happy to finally feel completely at peace with a decision. And for me, the over-analyzer, that's major progress.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Not expecting to feel this way

September, where did you go? This was the month I was supposed to start TTC. This was what I had been planning for months. I lost some weight, (still have a ways to go, but I made great progress.) started eating super healthy, taking prenatals, etc. I should have been ready, but I am not. The longer I wait the older my child will be before he ends up with a sibling. (and the more guilty I feel that he doesn't have one.)

September. This month, not only did I forgo TTC, I quit tracking my cycle! I haven't taken my temperature in the mornings since before our Disneyland trip. This was supposed to be the big kick off to TTC. I was hoping to have a better attitude toward it than I do. I was a lot more excited last month. Now that it's here I am dreading TTC. I guess I just haven't gotten out of this depressing funk I have been in lately.

I gotta get back in the groove of things and start out my next cycle at least charting. I suppose if I am dreading TTC this much, maybe I need to just not worry about it and let whatever happens, happen. But how do I do that while charting? I drive myself crazy sometimes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blah

That's how I am feeling lately. Just blah. I have struggled with depression throughout a significant part of my life and have even taken medication for it. I generally try to avoid medication, but I did get to the point where I felt it was truly necessary. I have weaned myself from the medication (I took it for less than one year) and although it did help quite a bit (for once I felt like myself again) I don't want to be on medication when plans for TTC are in my future. Knowing DH and I would want another baby sometime in 2011, I went off of birth control in February and started weaning myself from anti-depressants in March. I figured going off both at the same time would throw me out of whack a little too much.

I have mixed feelings about anti-depressants. I know they are over prescribed. I see it everyday. I work in a pharmacy and know first hand how prevalent they are. I also know that something a doctor should prescribe instead would be diet, exercise and healthier sleep habits. So I decided to take the initiative and prescribe myself those things that I know I can do to help myself. I started exercising 5 days a week and eating very healthy. I also set a better routine at night in hopes of sleeping better.

I noticed a slight improvement but overall, I wasn't any happier, didn't sleep any better, and I just didn't feel any different. I am afraid to admit this, but there are days that I honestly don't care enough to be the kind of parent my son deserves. I don't neglect his needs and I am loving toward him, but there are days that I feel no desire to interact with him. I just wish he would play by himself and let me have some alone time. Then I feel extremely guilty for ever having those feelings and I start to berate myself. Those negative feelings feed other negative thoughts and pretty soon I feel completely worthless and have no desire to even try at anything. I lay awake thinking there is no point to my life at all. I hate feeling that way. I love my family and especially my son. I don't want to feel that way or think that way. That's why I felt medication was necessary when I was on it. I am still going strong with diet and exercise, but now I am debating going back on medication despite hoping to become pregnant relatively soon. Living a miserable life just isn't worth it.

I know enough about medicine to understand that my depression isn't situational. It's truly a chemical imbalance that is improved with the help of medicine, but it's depressing to need a chemical to help me be happy. I also know enough about anti-depressants to know they aren't a "happy pill" as many people call them. They just reduce the amount I want to be happy and I know I have every reason to be happy. I also know that certain anti-depressants are fairly safe to take while pregnant, but I HATE the thought of taking anything but a vitamin while pregnant. I was offered and refused to take nausea medication when my morning sickness was at it's worst. Now I am considering taking an anti-depressant?! I don't really know what to do. I feel like it's unfair to my husband and son to keep living the way I have been lately. I feel like I need the medicine. I also want to add to our family and don't want medication interfering with TTC or pregnancy. Even though it seems pretty safe (so long as it is discontinued before the 2nd trimester), I always think about thalidomide and how people once thought that was safe until their kids were born with serious defects. I don't know what to do, but I need to do something.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New Habits

A coworker of mine shared a quote: "There are no successful people, only successful habits." He didn't know who said it and neither do I, but I think it's inspirational anyway. He told me this quote got him started on a healthier lifestyle. He told me he started by acquiring one healthy habit and once it became a true habit, he would add another. A year and 60 pounds later, he is a wonderful example of healthy living.

Since I am trying to focus on living a healthy lifestyle I decided I better start acquiring some better habits. I was able to make a habit of taking my temperature everyday. Instead of focusing on dropping bad habits, I am going to take a more positive and proactive approach and just try to gain one healthy habit. I am hoping to gain one healthy habit per week, but if it takes longer than that, I am OK with that too. So long as I am continuing to make progress, I won't worry about meeting a deadline.

This week my new habit will be to only drink water. (Excluding one serving of milk per day.)

Other habits I want to add to my list after mastering my first:

Get out of bed at 7:00 a.m. whether I work that day or not.
At least 50% of each meal will consist of vegetables
No Internet unless I have exercised that day
If I want to eat something unhealthy, I will only eat one serving
I will take a vitamin everyday
Go to bed by 10:30 p.m.

I know I always post goals and never end up reaching all of them, but I figure there is no harm in constantly striving to improve myself. I am pretty goal oriented, but also lazy. I am hoping to find an extra dose of discipline and get started one habit at a time.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bucket update

After reviewing my Baby Bucket List I figured I would need to update my progress.

All but one closet is completely organized and I gave a truck load of things to good will.

Lost a few pounds but still haven't completely gotten into a groove with a regular fitness routine. I am hit and miss depending on the craziness of my week and if I have a babysitter. (Which is rare these days) I am, however, eating very nutritious foods and I did give up caffiene. So I am doing something.

We have a trip planned for out little family of 3. We are going to Disneyland!

We have paid down our debt considerably but haven't paid it off completely. Hope to do that before baby is born, but that all depends on how long it takes to get pregnant.

Found a healthcare provider! I am very excited about that. I am still working on the birth plan, though.

DH is also doing very well in school and is still on track to graduate next spring.

Plans

I have a really strong feeling I am going to get pregnant this cycle. Man am I going to be crushed when it doesn't happen. I suppose I should revel in my optimism instead of focusing on how I will feel later (when it doesn't happen). We won't officially ttc til September, but I still feel like I will get pregnant this cycle for some reason. It would be great news since I want a baby, but the last thing I need is another May birthday! Getting pregnant in September and the resulting June baby, would be ideal. I suppose I should stick with that plan. But, I have heard several times lately "If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans." So here's to hoping I have a baby in 2011 at all. Gotta get me some of that baby dust people keep talking about.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Something in the Water

I hate when people say things like "there must be something in the water" when referring to the number of pregnant people around. I guess I just feel so left out! I have 2 SIL's that are currently pregnant. I have 2 co-workers that are currently pregnant. I have a 3 friends who just announced their pregnancies and a few more with newborns. My next-door neighbor is pregnant, and I went out to dinner with a friend over the weekend and we lost count of how many pregnant women were in the restaurant that night! (We seriously quit counting after 16!!) We do live in Utah, the state with the most pregnancies in the country almost every single year, but it seems like I am the only one NOT pregnant! Why am I so jealous?! I think it's wonderful and I am happy for them, but I want it too. I am ready for my turn.

I have a few things I am nervous concerned about when it comes to having another child, but I think I am finally emotionally ready to get pregnant. I was concerned about Lou adjusting to life with a sibling and learning to share my love and attention. But now I feel bad for him when I think about what he is missing out on by NOT having a sibling. I come from a large family, and while they irritate me at times, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my huge family and all the chaos fun that comes with it. I don't necessarily want 6 children, but then again, I don't have the stamina, patience, or funds my parents had, so 2 or 3 will be just fine for me.

I am ready to be pregnant again! I am anxious for it and craving it. I want the nausea, fatigue, backaches and all that comes with pregnancy because in the end I will have a BABY! I want my chance to test myself and my conviction about the birthing choices I have decided on. I am ready to try out a CNM as a  provider instead of an OB. I am anxious to wear the maternity clothes I have boxed up in my closet. I am anxious to plan for a baby and to talk to Lou about being a big brother. DH and I are already talking non-stop about baby names. He is more excited than I am! We may even have a boy and girl's name already decided! (Not telling this time until baby is BORN!)

Am I jinxing myself by wanting it this badly? Probably. I am very baby hungry. In fact, I am the most baby hungry I have ever been. Hopefully once we are ready to TTC (next month) I will be able to have success fairly quickly. I really don't want my children to be 4+ years apart! Lou is 2 and 1/2 and will be closer to 4 then 3 by the time I give birth even if I get pregnant right away. That makes me a little sad, but life doesn't always work out the way you want it to, but I do believe it works out the way it should.

Wish me luck (and sanity) through this process. I know I will need it!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm taking charge

I've been reading and rereading Taking Charge of Your Fertility for a little while now and I am really excited about charting my cycle and learning more about my own body.

Charting your cycle seems easy until you start to analyze your temperatures and realize how little you actually know about your cycle! I am hoping to get the hang of it soon. I need to be better about remembering to take my temp. I have made it 4 consecutive days without forgetting but that's my longest stretch. (Bad, I know.) I also forget to check my cervix and because I go through long periods of time between checking, I forget what normal feels like. I can't tell how firm or soft it should feel. I can't tell if it's high or low, and I certainly can't tell if the "open" I feel is related to me giving birth previously or if it's related to ovulation. Yikes. I gotta get better at this.

I can't begin to tell you how excited I was to see my thermal shift! Thanks to my SIL for helping me interpret my temps! I probably would still be confused if it weren't for her. I know all I need is practice, and I am glad I will have the chance to practice before we actually start TTC. Yep. We decided to wait til after Disneyland. I know that sounds horribly selfish, but I did want a vacation with just the 3 of us, and I don't want to be sick or have to sit out during our trip.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Am I crazy?

I really want to add to our family. I do. But, I also want to accomplish the goals on my baby bucket list before getting pregnant. The particular goal I had in mind was to take a trip with our family of 3 before it becomes a family of 4. We have the perfect trip planned. We are going to Disneyland! DH and I have been dying to take Lou to Disneyland and we have the perfect opportunity to go in September. We will be able to save enough by then and we would have a free ride to California (courtesy of my parents) and a free place to stay (courtesy of my in-laws) so not only would it be perfect timing, it would be the least expensive way to go.

One problem: I don't want to be pregnant at Disneyland! Is that so selfish? I want to be able to go on the rides and really enjoy myself. That said, I still want to add to the family and try for another baby. I suppose I could  stick to my original plan and wait til September to TTC. I guess that would make the problem disappear, am I patient enough to wait til then? There is also a chance that I could TTC and not get pregnant before then so that would be another way to nullify the problem.

Anyone know if it's dangerous to go on Disneyland rides during early pregnancy? Their rides aren't super extreme like other parks, but I still plan on hitting up Splash Mountain and the like. It won't just be Fantasy Land.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mid Year Resolutions

As I am someone constantly trying to better myself, I decided to do a mid-year resolution. Really, I just like to have goals to be constantly working toward. Here's the list of things I am currently working toward:
  • Set a budget and pay all expenses in cash
  • Go for an entire month without eating out
  • Exercise at least 4 times a week
  • Improve daily scripture study
  • Have Family Home Evening each week
  • Get my closets organized and keep my apartment CLEAN!
There it is out there for the world to see and hold me accountable for. I like to write things down to signify the permanence of the goal and help keep me motivated.

Fresh Start

I finally started a new cycle! I am actually quite excited about that. This will be my first cycle that I will be temp charting. I am excited to find out more about my cycles. I have read most of Taking Charge of Your Fertility (TCOYF) and feel ready to start learning more about my body. I have a hard time starting new routines. In fact, I don't have a morning routine. I don't do the same thing in the same way or in the same order everyday. I never have. When I lived with my parents, I had a toothbrush in every bathroom in the house because I never brushed my teeth in the same place everyday. It's silly My handwriting isn't even consistent. I have about six different ways that I sign my name on a regular basis. I guess one thing that is consistent in my life is inconsistency. I am hoping to solidify a routine, but I am nervous about being able to remember to do it everyday. I guess it never hurts to try, so here it goes.

Potty Training

I'd like to say I decided to start potty training, but it didn't happen that way. My well meaning mother decided my son was ready and started potty training him. Since you can't really start and stop, I decided to go with it. My mom must have known something I didn't, because it has gone very well. Lou is thrilled to be a big boy and actually likes going potty. I know his interest will fade and he won't be as excited about it in the future, but I hope to have him trained by then.

Diapers are TONS easier. Changing a diaper a few times a day is a lot less work than taking a kid to the potty every half hour so they can "try." Frequent trips to the potty ensure that there are less accidents and allows him to become more comfortable with going potty. It's worked pretty well. Today we took him potty right before we went to a movie at about 2:00 pm (Toy Story 3) he didn't need to go but we praised him for the effort. After the movie, we went straight to the potty. Dry pants! He still didn't need to go (and he had been drinking quite a bit.) but again we praised him for the effort. Then we got home from the movie theater and he was asleep. He was so tired he didn't even wake up when we brought him in the house. He slept right up until we needed to leave for a BBQ at 6:00pm. He woke up with dry pants! I took him to go potty right before we left and he sat there but still nothing. So we went to the BBQ and as soon as we got there HE told me he needed to go potty. He finally went and man did he have a full bladder! I was happy to report that he had no accidents and wore clean dry pants all day long.

I know I have a long way to go before he is completely trained, but I am glad he is doing well. He hasn't gone #2 in the potty yet and I have heard that it can be hard to get kids comfortable doing that. I also realize I am going to have to suck it up and hit up public restrooms more often. I hate public restrooms so much that I will only use one in extreme emergency. If I can hold it, (and I usually can) then I wait til I am home. Can't really do that now that I have a kid. It was funny seeing Lou's reaction to public restrooms today. He hasn't been in many since I avoid them like the plague. He was surprised that the movie theater had a bathroom. It was like they never existed before. He is such a character.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

AF you're LATE!

I am on cycle day 40! This is a record for me. I didn't want to test because a negative is disappointing even when/if I really don't want a positive. In those 3 minutes you wait before viewing the result, I completely convince myself that I want a baby. Just for those 3 minutes. I know that emotionally, financially, and physically I am not quite ready, but I still find myself wanting another baby so badly in those 3 long minutes that when the test shows only 1 line, I feel devastated.

I finally broke down and tested and of coarse it was negative. DH was really sad, which made it even harder. My LMP was May 21st. We are on July's doorstep and I still haven't seen AF. I am seriously annoyed. Since I haven't been temp charting, I have no idea when or if I even ovulated. This will be the last cycle where I am in the dark about my own body. I don't want to go through this kind of stress each month. I am going to start charting so I can avoid all this stress. If I knew that I ovulated late or even just how many days past ovulation I was, I wouldn't be stressed at all.

I know the tests are pretty accurate, but I always wonder if I will be one of the few people who get false negatives. I never have gotten a false negative, so I should just quit worrying and know that AF will be here soon enough. I will be wondering why I was ever excited for her visit once the cramps and bleeding start. I wish I could quit wondering about it. I wish I could shut my mind off, but no. I am literally losing sleep over this. I can't seem to snap out of it. I worry about what I would do if I was pregnant (like I mentioned before, not emotionally, physically or financially ready for another kid yet). I worry about how I will feel when I know for certain that I am not. I don't feel pregnant, but maybe I subconsciously want to?

I'm a mess.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Getting closer to a decision

I have had so much stress and anxiety about making a decision about what I want for my next birth. I don't want an overly medicalized birth that generally happens in the hospital, but I don't feel comfortable enough to birth at home. I kept looking for a happy medium. I needed the right mix of comfortable personalized and unmedicated care and the safety-net of the hospital for that dreaded "what-if" factor. (I know there are lots of people who believe that it is more dangerous to give birth in a hospital, and to them I say, you're right. I have read the research and I believe that to be true, but I still feel more comfortable in a hospital. Who knows? Maybe I will change my mind by the time I am actually pregnant.)

I have been hoping that going to a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM or hospital midwife) would be the middle ground I was looking for. I was told not to expect much. I was told they are only as good as the OB's that control them and that they have to transfer patients to the OB's for nearly everything. I started to doubt that a middle ground even existed. Then, after lots of phone calls I realized that much of what I had been told was true, but not all of it. I realized that, just like any medical professional there are good and bad providers. I felt like I just needed to find the right CNM, and I think I did. :)

Today I met with a CNM named Lindsay. The clinic where she works is in a large hospital. This clinic says (on their website and reitorated in person) they are intentionally small in order to provide personalized care. They have only 1 OB and 2 midwives, including Lindsay. The OB is the doctor who delivered all 3 of my boss' children. She wanted an unmedicalized birth with her second and third children and he was very supportive of that. I considered going to him, but I really just don't like the idea of choosing a surgeon to help me with something that doesn't and should only in rare instances require surgery. I was thrilled to hear he had CNM's working in his office.

I talked to Lindsay for over an hour! She never seemed rushed or irritated by the questions I had. She asked me a lot of questions too. She wanted to hear about my husband and family and how long we had been married. She asked me to tell her about my first birth and my experience with the OB and the hospital and nursing staff. We talked as though we were friends instead of a doctor-patient relationship. I felt so comfortable with her.

I told her about my episiotomy and she told me that she never does those. (Exactly what I wanted to hear!) I told her about how I was induced because my baby was big. She told me that big babies are not an medical reason for induction and she doesn't do elective induction. (Exactly what I was hoping she would say.) I asked her about which circumstances required her to transfer my care to an OB and she told me only if I have gestational diabetes that requires insulin, or severe preeclampsia. I asked her if I had to transfer to an OB if I was overdue and she told me only if I was 43 weeks. She could deliver my baby up til 42 weeks 6 days. I was concerned about that so I felt relieved. I asked her about autonomy during labor and she told me she encourages intermittant fetal monitoring and no iv. She said her patients usually labor in the jacuzzi or walk around. She told me she delivered a baby yesterday while mom was standing up. (Awesome!)

I then asked her about hospital policy on several things. Since she was a labor and delivery nurse at that hospital she was familiar with the staff and policies. I wanted skin to skin and to breastfeed immediately after birth. I also felt strongly about delayed cord clamping and waiting for established breastfeeding and bonding before bathing the baby. She told me all these things were no problem at the hospital so long as baby was breathing. Baby always rooms in (unless medically required to be elsewhere but I don't even want to think about NICU) and won't come in to weigh or check baby until an hour or more after birth. They encourage bonding and breastfeeding. I am sure I will have to make a request for these things, as I doubt that is standard procedure, but I am glad my CNM will back me up. She told me I wouldn't need an iv unless I tested positive for group b and even then it would be a hep lock that could be removed so I could walk around and not be stuck to the pole.

Anyway, I felt really comfortable with Lindsay and I feel comfortable with my decision to have a hospital birth with a CNM. I am open to change and will continue exploring other options, but I feel relieved to have made some progress. I still need to get pregnant first! I am still open to other options, so it's likely I could change my mind and skip the hospital altogether. My next plan is to gather the required paperwork from the hospital and go over the details. That may help me decide if a hospital is really where I'd like to give birth.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fence sitting is frustrating

I have been thinking a lot about what I want for my next birth and I felt I should start writing a birth plan to get a clear idea. That got me thinking about who reads the birth plan and if it will even matter whether or not I have one. If the doctor or nurse will just ignore it, why go to the trouble?

I think maybe I will write one out to get a better idea of my own wishes for birth. Then I can work on choosing a health care provider that will support my wishes. I am still leaning toward a drug free hospital birth, but that could easily change. I really like the idea of  homebirth but I still don't feel comfortable enough to plan for it. I know that it is safer and that I will get the birth I want at home, but I still don't feel comfortable with it. I want a homebirth, but I am scared. Why does a hospital that has more germs, more unnecessary interventions, and less freedom feel more comfortable?! Maybe because I have been a sheep for too long. It shouldn't feel more comfortable, but it does.

I have a long road ahead of me.

Revised Birth Story

After rereading my birth story from a year ago, I decided to write a revision. No longer do I feel the need to be defensive or afraid to admit any negative feelings about the birth of my son. I know it was a happy day and I will remember it as such. But that doesn't mean nothing negative happened. This is a pretty straight-forward account of my birth. Not overly happy, not overly sad. Just a normal, routine unnecessary induction.

Toward the end of my pregnancy I went to the OB for weekly visits. Dr. Hansen checked my cervix each time and would tell me how far I was dilated (or rather that I wasn't.) My baby was still really high, I had absolutely no braxton hicks contractions, I was dilated to a 2 and labor seemed weeks away. My body wasn't ready to give birth yet. My doctor asked how I felt about induction and I immediately jumped at the chance to not be pregnant anymore. (How foolish of me.) He told me I would have to wait until my due date. He wouldn't induce any earlier than that. We scheduled my induction at 6:00 a.m. the day I was due.

I arrived at the hospital right on time and checked in at the nurses desk. They took me too my "birthing suite" and gave me a hospital gown to change into. I did as I was told despite the fact that I felt very uncomfortable in the hospital gown. (Anyone who knows me well, knows how insanely modest I am, especially around strangers. I love to be covered up and cozy. No wonder I love the winter.) Then I was given a stack of forms to read and sign. I was informed that if I had any questions about the forms, to ask a nurse and they would happily explain. I did have questions. I was given a short response that included little to no relevant detail about my questions. Basically, when I brought up a concern, I was told not to worry. Forms were signed and I was asked if I wanted an epidural. I hadn't even had pitocin to start my labor yet! I told them I planned on getting one, but that I wanted to hold out as long as I could so it wouldn't slow down my labor.

They put in my I.V. and my contractions started. I was hooked up to an external fetal monitor and a contraction monitor and I was stuck in bed from 7:00 a.m. til 2:00 am the next morning.

At about 10:00 a.m. a doctor that I had never met came in and broke my water. It hurt pretty badly and it was very uncomfortable to be stuck in a wet bed. I asked the nurse to change the linens and I was told that I would continue to leak so there was no point. They did change the linens right after they broke my water (the ones that were completely soaked) but after that I was stuck in a damp bed the rest of the time.

My contractions became more intense, but I didn't focus on them. I was enjoying my time with my husband. We played backgammon and listened to an audio book. We actually had a good time. It was wonderful being with him in anticipation of our baby's arrival. We had some great moments together just the two of us before adding to the family. The nurse came in periodically to check my cervix and ask if I was ready for my epidural yet. I held out pretty long. I was feeling ok and didn't want the epidural to slow down my labor. Little did I know that as soon as they give you an epi, they crank up the pit to keep you progressing on schedule.

The nurse came in and said my contractions were pretty intense and were happening one right on top of another and my baby's oxygen level was low. I was given oxygen and shortly after, the nurse assured me everything was ok. (Hello?! Maybe the pitocin? Thankfully I avoided the fetal distress that would have gotten me wheeled into the operating room.)

Mid-afternoon (around 3 or 4 p.m.) the nurse came in and said my contractions were about as bad as they would get and if I wanted the epidural I needed to get it now or never. I thought about not getting it and felt like I could do it, but I really felt compelled to just get it. I kept having this nagging feeling like I should just get it. The anesthesiologist came in and gave me the epidural. I felt numb almost immediately. I remember feeling really numb on my left side and not so much on my right.

Shortly after my epidural I was told that my doctor was stuck in a snow storm and wouldn't be able to get to the hospital for a while. I was asked if I wanted to have a different doctor deliver or if I wanted to wait. I felt so relieved that I had gotten the epidural because I didn't feel pain or pressure and I was able to wait for my doctor.

About 2 hours later, my doctor arrived and I was told to push. I pushed and instantly felt sick. I turned my head to the side and ended up puking in my hair instead of that bean shaped hospital puke dish. I was so nauseous that I wasn't able to push. The doctor told me to just catch my breath and keep pushing. With difficulty, I managed to calm my stomach and concentrate on pushing. I started to tear and the doctor gave me a 3rd degree episiotomy. I still remember the look on my husband's face when the doctor did that. I wish I had gotten a picture. I didn't have to push long once they cut me. My son was born and I could hear his scream the second he was born. He came out screaming. The doctor asked the nurse for the suction and she dropped it. I remember my heart skipping a beat and worrying that my son would suffocate because they didn't suction him fast enough. The nurse quickly grabbed a new one and I calmed down. (Now I know that I didn't need to worry. Babies don't need to be suctioned at all.)

My husband cut the cord and the doctor put my baby on my belly and he was bright purple screaming his head off. I thought right in that instant, "Whoa! He looks like my sister!"  That is still a funny memory. Before there was room in my head for another thought, the nurses took my baby to the table next to my bed and washed him and weighed him. My husband was there taking pictures and watching the nurses at work. We were going to wait to see what he looked like before naming him and DH looked at him and decided on a name. For blog purposes I use my nickname for him. He is my little lovey-Lou and I call him that all the time, so on this blog is he Lou :)

The nurse increased my pitocin and in a matter of about 3 minutes my placenta was born. The doctor inspected it and held it up for me to see. I immediately turned my head away. "Gross!" I couldn't look at that red mass of yucky. (I'm gonna look next time.) He said everything looked healthy and he started sewing me back up. It took nearly 45 minutes to sew me back together! I just sat there bored since my baby was over on a table being weighed, cleaned and checked. (At least he was still in the same room.) I ended up calling my family on my cell phone while the doctor was still sewing. (Rude, I know.)

He finally finished and my husband and I had time with our son before the onslaught of family showed up. I have a big family and they all showed up within an hour it got crowded fast :) Dh's family lives farther away and they came the next day.

The nurse came in and told me Lou needed to be fed. I asked if I could nurse him (Why am I asking if I can feed my own child?!) and the nurse told me his blood sugar was too low and that I needed to give him just half to one ounce of formula. That was the very first thing he had outside the womb. FORMULA!! No wonder he had a hard time nursing afterward. He got a bottle first.

After my family left, I got settled into a recovery room. I had to be wheeled in there because my left leg was still numb. The numbness didn't wear off for hours and hours after Lou was born. That was really annoying.

Lou was able to room in with me and he didn't leave my side the entire time I was there. I was able to breastfeed and Lou didn't get any formula at all besides the very first time. I was able to work with a lactation consultant and felt more confident each time. Besides that one incident, I was surprised at how breastfeeding friendly the hospital staff was. I was never offered formula again. I was also not even sent home with any! That was actually a surprise.

I grew tired of the hospital very quickly and convinced my doctor to release Lou and me a day early. The doctor actually had no problem with it. I was glad. It made me wonder how much sooner I could have left.

I have learned and grown so much since the birth of my son. I am so happy things turned out the way they did. I am so grateful for the experience I had. I am also grateful for the knowledge I have now. I am grateful for the options that now know I have. I am grateful for the person who opened this door for me. She is the one helping me transition from ignorance to empowerment. I owe her a lot. I am excited to write my next birth story. I know it will be another happy one, but a different one too. Just need to get pregnant first ;)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Is ignorance really bliss?

I LOVED my first birth. I don't really have anything that I would change about it. Sure my episiotomy sucked, but it wasn't bad considering what could have happened. My  incredible SIL started a "doula blog" (wow. She has come a long way since then.) and asked me to share my birth story. Being a bit (yes I'll admit it) ignorant and defensive, and knowing this was going on a "hippy birth" blog, I wrote everything as though I knew exactly what was going on in my birth and was in complete control the whole time. It's defensive and a bit self righteous but if you must, you can read my birth story here.

Having reread my birth story over a year later (Lou is 2 &1/2 but my birth story was only written a year ago), I realize that there are a lot of things I wasn't in control of. It was the perfect birth because I was the perfect patient. I wasn't an active part in it at all. Yes. Technically I was the one who approved the decisions that were made. I certainly felt I was informed in those decisions and I honestly feel that my doctor and nurses didn't intentionally hold anything back. I think they really felt all the interventions were safe and that I knew what I needed to know before proceeding. I don't have any negative feelings about the doctor or nurses. I think they are a bit ignorant themselves, but I don't believe they meant any harm. I am still glad I was able to have Dr. Hansen deliver my baby. Like I said before, I wouldn't change anything. But I also wouldn't repeat it.

Sure. I was happy in my ignorance. Yes. I was lucky everything went smoothly. But what if it hadn't? Would my ignorance be bliss if it involved sitting next to an incubator watching my child have tubes and monitors put all over him? Would it be bliss if I had a scar on my abdomen where they had to cut my baby out? Would it be bliss not being able to hold my child, or breastfeed him? This sounds like more like a nightmare; one that many people I care about have had to experience. This the bliss that comes with being ignorant of your choices in birth. This is reality slapping you in the face. Forcing you to live with consequences of some choices that you may not have had control over; choices that doctors may have made for you. (Understand that I am not judging anyone over their choices and I am certainly not referring to a specific event. I am just talking about how I feel about potential outcomes from medical interventions.) The only thing blissful about ignorance is when things turn out well despite your poor choices. When out of sheer luck, you manage to walk into a dangerous scenario and come out unscathed.

So is knowledge what brings about bliss? I wish. Now that I know more about my choices and what could have gone wrong in my birth, I am more terrified than ever. I know I have reached the point of no return. I can't go back to the blind faith in doctors who may not have my best interest at heart. I can't go back to the hospital where medical interventions were routine and where the epidural was constantly mentioned. I can't go back to the ignorance that once held me back.

I can't go back, but I am not ready to go forward.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Defending homebirth

I am working on a project for my company that requires me to work in various locations and I meet new people all the time. It's one aspect of the job I love. I met Heather, Ellen, and Sara. Lovely ladies who were very nice to me and I enjoyed talking to them and getting to know them. In the course of our conversation, they discovered I have a 2 & 1/2 year old. This follows with the typical, "So when are you going to have another one?" I felt comfortable talking to them and I am not really hiding the fact that I am preparing for baby #2 already, so I told them DH and I will be ttc sometime late 2010.
This got the ball rolling and of coarse birth was brought up in the conversation. They asked me what doctor I go to. I had to explain that the OB that delivered my son passed away and I need a new doctor or midwife. This is followed by the next dreaded question, "What hospital are you planning to deliver?" I said, "I haven't made up my mind yet, but as of today I am leaning toward a home birth." Ellen doesn't hesitate. "Wow. That's risky." I managed to stay calm and just point blank asked her if she had ever researched it. She tells me she hasn't, but that "it's irresponsible to gamble with your child's life like that! If something goes wrong, you're both as good as dead."

I look back and am amazed at the fact that I still remained calm while I told her that every statistic shows that a hospital birth is actually more risky, that home births have little to no unnecessary interventions, and are healthier for mother and baby. I didn't expect her to believe me, but I at least didn't shy away from the chance to inform someone the truth.

I was asked how I came to feel this way and I told them about the birth of my son. I was induced because my baby was so big. (I know better now) I had an epidural, and a 3rd degree episiotomy that didn't heal for 3 months after my son was born. I explained that I don't look at the day my son was born as a bad experience at all. In fact it was one of the best days in my life, but I was lucky. I was damn lucky. I left that hospital relatively unscathed by the effects of the interventions that could have gone so terribly wrong. Yes the episiotomy was unpleasant, but that was the worst of it.

I started learning a lot more about birth after my son was born. Even then, I didn't feel like I had a bad birth experience at all. I became interested in learning more about birth when my SIL started learning more about birth and kept asking how I felt about certain things. I realized I didn't even know how I felt. Once I researched pitocin and the avalanche of interventions that usually follow I knew I could never feel ok about having it again. I began to feel the same way about various other interventions.

I am just shocked at the overwhelmingly negative feelings toward home birth. The second I mentioned it, it was scoffed at and deemed "dangerous." Do people not realize there is a definite RISK in giving birth in a hospital?! Perfect example: The day after Lou was born, I was still in the hospital and DH's twin came to visit with his wife and their 6 month old daughter. DH's grandparent's were there as well. Grandpa was really concerned with my 6 month old niece being in the hospital. He kept talking about how much sickness was in the hospital and all the germs and such. He didn't like her being there and was concerned for her well being. Later I reflected on this experience and realized that a healthy mother and baby has no business being in a hospital full of sickness either. My baby was born very healthy. Why wouldn't someone be as concerned about a 1 day old baby in a hospital where he could acquire any number of dangerous bacteria? Why didn't I realize this before?!

I am grateful that my birth went well. I am grateful that my highly medicalized birth didn't result in any serious problems. I know better now though. I couldn't put myself or my child at risk again. I am starting to discover better birthing options, and while I haven't completely decided what I will do for my next birth, I have definitely ruled out several things.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Decisions Decisions

I am starting to feel the hunger. I really want to be pregnant! I wanted to wait a few more months before we start TTC, but I can't keep baby off the brain. I think this will be my LAST pre-TTC cycle. I don't feel quite ready per se, but I am anxious. I think I am going to work really hard this month on improving the goals I set on my baby bucket list. If I give it a solid month of A+ effort, then I will feel good about TTC.

Then again, I am the ultimate flip-flopper when it comes major to decisions like this. Don't be surprised if I change my mind once I wake up in the morning :) Although, I did start taking prenatals today. I am excited about that.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Choosing a Healthcare Provider

Since I am going to be giving birth in a hospital I not only need to find the right doctor/midwife, I need to choose the right hospital. I am anticipating this will be a long and involved process. I am committed to doing whatever is necessary to have a successful natural birth, so I am going to do my homework now, before I am even pregnant, in order to avoid making hasty decisions that I may regret later.


I have a co-worker who gave birth to 3 children and was still able to birth naturally despite some very serious complications. I don’t remember all the details, but I do know that almost any doctor or midwife handling her case would have forced a cesarean. Her doctor knew how strongly she felt about experiencing childbirth and helped her deliver her children without any major medical interventions. That sounds pretty promising and since we both work for the same company, I am sure her doctor will be covered on my insurance. I plan on interviewing this doctor to see if she would be a good fit for me.

I have had several recommendations for doctors and once I look into them and ask about their stats on cesareans and induction/augmentations I find myself disappointed. I have looked into Certified Nurse Midwives and it’s usually not much different from OB’s. I think it’s going to require a lot of work to find the right fit for what I want out of my birth experience.

In order to narrow down the hospital choice, I am going to start with the list of hospitals my insurance company covers. I am going to acquire the legal forms usually given upon admittance, and read the fine print. This may have quite an impact on which hospital I end up choosing. I won’t be going to a hospital that requires me to sign away my right to choose what interventions I receive. I also want to be able to hold and breastfeed my baby right away and hospitals that don’t allow that aren’t for me.

I know I am expecting the impossible, but I am determined to try as hard as I can to get what I want. I will certainly have better luck getting it, if I decide what I want and how to get it now. I don’t want to wait until I am pregnant and have a limited time to research and make a decision. I realize I am expecting a completely unmedicalized birth from a medical facility. I know I am crazy for expecting this to work out, but I am not nervous at all. I know I will get the birth I want.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bad Habits

Spending too much time on the computer.
I am losing sleep over it. I end up browsing blogs or other pointless things and before I know it, it's 2:00 a.m. I relish having time to myself. It's nice spending some time on the computer after Hubs and Lou have gone to bed, but this is getting out of hand. So instead of shutting the computer off and going to bed once I realize it's 2 in the morning, I blog about it. That will get me far.

Texting while I drive.
This is actually illegal in the state I live in, but I find myself doing it all the time anyway. Most of the time I don't even realize I am doing it. If I feel like texting someone, I pull out my phone and send a message before it even occurs to me that I should wait until I am not driving.

Flossing in the mornings.
My dentist has told me that while it's great that I floss, I should switch to flossing at night. Problem is, I never remember at night. So any food stuck between my teeth that my toothbrush didn't get, is left there til morning. Gross.

Inconsistent fitness routine.
This is on my bucket list, so I know for sure this bad habit needs to die SOON. I end up working out a few times a week, but I'd like to get that up to everyday. If I start now, I should be able to continue moderate exercise during my pregnancy.

I am sure this is only the tip of the iceberg, but I don't want to dwell too much on negative things about myself. Just a few things that I know I can change. What are your bad habits?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Baby Bucket List

I stole this idea from Future Mama but I thought it was a great idea so here is my baby bucket list. (Things I would like to accomplish before baby #2)

1. Get ALL my closets organized. Anyone that knows me well, knows that this will be a tough one. I am kind of a pack rat and I have plenty I need to get rid off before adding another person to the chaos and limited space.

2. Lose some weight and get into a regular fitness routine. I wanna be in prime physical condition before my next baby.

3. Take a vacation with my little family of 3. Lou (my son) has never been to Disneyland.

4. Pay off some debt. I want to get the credit cards paid off completely before jumping into hospital bills. I know I am horrible for having credit card debt, but it happens and we are working hard to fix it. That's what happens when you don't have a rainy day fund. You have to use the card. Won't be making that mistake again.

5. Write a birth plan and chose a health care provider before getting pregnant. This needs a whole separate post. I'll get on that.

6. Get Hubs through school! He is graduating in 1 year and we hope to have a baby sometime soon after graduation. (Which means we will be ttc sometime after September. I don't have much time to accomplish all this. Yikes!)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Going Green

There are many things I am passionate about. Mother Earth is one of them. I am also lazy and enjoy many modern conveniences that add to the waste and pollution caused by excessive consumerism. So, with that in mind, I am trying to implement some earth friendly practices in my home, but to a reasonably convenient extent. I need to go at this slowly in order to stick with it and to convince hubs to do it with me. I haven't purchased paper towels in a while. I feel that is one small step toward my goal of reducing waste and being more aware of my carbon footprint. Hubs so far has purchased paper towels on his own on 2 different occasions, but that's been over a span of a whole year. I have him pretty well trained to use to use cloth.

This weeks goal: RECYCLE. I live in an apartment complex and am constantly amazed at how much waste is produced by the residents. The city I live in has a curb-side recycling program and I am not sure if apartments are able to participate, but I am going to look into it. I am hoping to get our apartment managers involved in some sort of recycling program. Maybe they already have one and I just don't know about it yet. At any rate, I have designated a recycling bin that is currently sitting next to my garbage can and I will recycle even if my neighbors don't.


I am also entered into a flowerbed contest for my apartment complex. I am hoping to xeriscape the flower bed to conserve water. I am on a tight budget, so I hope it's affordable to buy the plants that will be best suited for xeriscaping.