Wednesday, May 16, 2012

8 Months!

For a week that I didn't think would be that exciting, this one sure turned out to be a crazy one!  I have finally succeeded in spending almost all of my gift cards and think we now almost have everything we need (including newborn cloth diaper covers!).  We built the stroller and car seat this week and now I just look at them sitting there in the corner of our living room, so excited that our little girl will be in them soon!  (And when do you put the car seat in your car without looking like a pregnant crazy person?)  The only thing left to build is our co-sleeper and Ian had a good idea to wait until we do our maternity photos with June this Saturday so that we could have some pics of us putting it together.  The only other big item I still need is a breast pump and I have a few gift cards left to get it, I just have to find time to order it!  Oh and all of my cute, decorative Etsy stuff - gotta get those nursery decorations too!  (One more week of school and then we will have TIME for all of this!)

Friday we went back to the 3D ultrasound place to see if we could get some better pictures/video of Lemon.  This time, she had her hands out of her face but her umbilical cord up in her mouth (she must know where her food comes from!), but we couldn't tell in the pics so we didn't mind.  We ended up getting some really cute pictures and lovely video - I'm happy they wanted us to come back!

 (Sticking her tongue out!)



Saturday I went to prenatal yoga (10:15 was early for pregnant yoga!) and then I had my first prenatal massage as my yoga studio A Desert Song.  I have never gotten a prenatal massage before and was excited about the hole in the table for my belly, but didn't realize I'd probably need two more holes for my sore boobs!  I told her they should make cut outs for those too, it's hard to get into a position where they are comfy!  The massage was amazing, one of the best things I've ever experienced.  Most people think that they go easy on you because you are pregnant, but the only thing Laura didn't really rub hard was my legs, because of blood clots.  Other than that, she went to town, and after I felt like I could have slept all day!  But, we didn't have all day because later we were off to our first hypnobirthing class!

It took me about 3 teachers to finally arrange a hypnobirthing class that was convenient for us and for the instructors.  Most of them do it out of their homes, or our homes (and with 10 animals this wasn't going to fly), so I had to find someone that didn't have cats (like the first woman), had time for us and had a place we could meet at.  We ended up choosing Marne at Love and Light Birthings and I am so happy we did, she is a super sweet, gorgeous 38 year old with a not so great birth experience under her belt and then a successful hypnobirthing one.  We are the only people in the class and it is kind of strange because we were hoping to meet other couples and feel a bit uncomfortable talking about sexy stuff with just one other person (whom we don't know very well yet), but it is alright because she is very open and genuine.

The first class was all about the history of hypnobirthing and we watched some videos about it, she showed us some actual births using the techniques, and we got a book and two CDs with relaxation techniques and affirmations.  We also learned about the muscles in the uterus and how they work, what our bodies are capable of (we've been training for birth our whole lives through orgasm), some vocabulary (my favorite part!), how Ian needs to be the go-between for the doctor/nurses and me, and did some actual hypnosis exercises which I totally sucked at (but know I will get better at with practice!).  The reason I wanted to try this approach to birth is that I am totally in the dark about labor and I have no real negative thoughts towards it, and wanted to keep it that way.  The process of hypnobirthing is that you can relax while in labor, it doesn't have to be a big production, you are informed on what your body can do and what you really do or do not need a doctor's help with, and you are empowered knowing this is natural and that you CAN do this yourself, pain free.  They teach you a lot of tools to help you with this and since I had no preconceived notions, I wanted to go at this all in a positive way, only learning positive things about giving birth.  They even give you a button, during your first class, that you can wear:

On a side note - our first hypnosis exercise.  We were told to lay back and get comfortable and she told us to picture a kitchen, some place relaxing and a certain food cooking on the stove.  After I learned that neither Ian or I picked our kitchen (because we remodeled it ourselves and the thought isn't that relaxing!) and we both picked different foods - me, good old fashioned Kraft mac and cheese (not gluten free like I have to eat now) and him hamburger for some reason.  She told us to imagine a big, ripe, juicy fruit next to a cutting board and then she started describing the fruit and right away I knew she was going to describe a lemon.  It was so strange because of all the fruits in the world, she picked a lemon, and after that I was lost in thought, thinking of how we MUST be at the right place for us right now, this MUST be where and what we are supposed to be doing - it was just so weird.  We had to smell the lemon and bite into it and I have to admit I smelled it and tasted it, it was really cool.  But you aren't under hypnosis or anything, you are totally aware of what is going on, but you just learn to relax and listen to her voice.  It was really neat and we did a few more exercises (that Ian was WAY better at than me) but that proved what our minds can really do.

Now don't get me wrong, I know labor is tough and I am not surrounding it with roses and butterflies.  But I DO think that the mind holds a lot of power and that if you start thinking positively about something, from the beginning, and go into it like that, you will have a more positive experience.  It is proven that your endorphins kick in during birth and that if you tense up, are scared or nervous, you will block the euphoric endorphins and only send the pain receptors out into your body (there are technical words for all of this but I've forgotten them).  The woman who started this technique had a horrific birth experience (twilight sleep) with 3 of her children and after reading an article about a doctor in the 1890's that saw 3 natural births for the first time and was impressed, knew she could do it a different way for her 4th child - and she did.  The doctor, whom she read an article about, was called out to assist with 3 different deliveries that ended up not needing his assistance at all, because the women didn't know any better and therefore did it all themselves and were perfectly capable of doing so.  

The history is there, the facts are there and the mind is a powerful thing - so I'm going to do my best to stay positive, not get nervous and know that I AM ready for this experience (and am kind of excited about it!).  Marne ended the class by teaching us about perineal massage and showed us how to do it, and gave us that to do as homework (this was the sexy part I was talking about!).  I also have to listen to my CDs (and we did this yesterday with the affirmation one) and read my book, although I am a bit caught up in another book at the moment - Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.  If you haven't read this and are pregnant, or plan on getting pregnant sometime in the future - read it.  Talk about empowering!  So positive and lovely, and it just goes along with all that I've been focusing on regarding labor.  We have 4 hypnobirthing classes left and I am so excited to hear even more about the birth process, since I know hardly anything yet and to learn what my body is really capable of doing.  So awesome!

Speaking of birthing, we had our first twice monthly OB appointment on Monday.  As I told you before, our doctor isn't really that supportive of hypnobirthing, because she's never seen anyone succeed at it past 7cm, and I am not really that fond of her lately making jokes and not really listening.  But, I do like her straight-forward attitude and matter-of-factness and have been told by Christine, who also did hypnobirthing, that the nurses at the hospital we are delivering at are very supportive of the technique, so I am not really worried about our doctor.  If I choose to go natural, so be it, and if I don't, that's fine too.  But, I'd like to use the things I have learned in my classes along the way, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.  I would love to have a midwife and do this at home or at a birthing center, but for my first I'd like to be in a hospital with an OB just because I'm not sure what to expect.  

Our doctor also said to me, "Are you ready for this, this is really real now."  And I laughed and said, "Yes, it was really real this whole time."  And she said, "No, this is really real now."  It just solidified all that I've been learning and reading about - they try to scare you and make you nervous about birth, when I don't think it needs to be this way.  I know this is real, I knew the moment I found out I was pregnant a year ago and then again the moment I delivered our first baby, at home through a natural miscarriage.  I knew the moment I got pregnant again, learned that this baby was healthy, felt her move and heard her heartbeat on Christmas morning.  I don't need to hear about how this is "real," I am fully aware of the reality of all of this.  I know that babies grow and eventually have to come out and am beyond excited about meeting Lemon for the first time, holding her in my arms and participating in the birth experience.  My question back to her should have been - do YOU know how real this is?  Maybe years of delivering babies has numbed you to this, maybe seeing so many moms and dads in the hospital and treating them like dollar signs makes you feel like this is less real, but to us - it couldn't be more real.  I think she wanted a stronger reaction from me; but too bad, she didn't get one.

Sunday (I know I'm going back a day but wanted to save this for last) was a scary day for us because my bestie, Christine, ended up in the hospital around 12 with a grapefruit sized cyst.  (And yes, she gave me permission to post about this.)  She wrote me around 1pm and then I didn't really hear from her after that so I texted her boyfriend, Jeremy, and asked him if he wanted us to pick up her son, Espen, from the hospital so he could come swim with us (and get out of there).  I thought that it was probably sad for Espen to be there, to see his mom in pain and all hooked up to machines, and so maybe he needed to get out and do something fun.  Plus, Jeremy is in law school and if Christine ended up having surgery, he could use the time to study for his finals.  I ended up meeting Jeremy at their house, so he could pick up some things for her, and got Espen and we headed to Dairy Queen for ice cream and then the pool.  Jeremy texted and said that Christine's parents had arrived from Yarnell but that they all wanted to stay while she was in surgery so we kept Espen for most of the day.  We swam, watched a movie, cooked some spaghetti and then Christine's parents came to get him.  We learned from Jeremy that the cyst was so big they had to remove her right ovary too, because it had twisted about three times and was black, it had no blood supply going to it.  He said Christine didn't know yet, and probably would be upset, but I knew that for the rest of the night she would be pretty out of it and couldn't wait to talk to her the next day.

 (Shortly after this we found out why you don't give a 5 year old ice cream at 3pm, he was nuts but fun the rest of the night!)

(A picture Christine posted on Instagram of her bandages, her gorgeous face in the hospital and her HUGE cyst!)

When she first when in the hospital, she didn't know what was wrong and was just in horrific pain.  She told me they were going to do an ultrasound and this got me thinking the worst - what if it's cancer?  I started to think about losing my best friend of 18 years and what I would do, and I was so scared all day thinking about her, not knowing what was going on.  She is truly my twin, my other half, my person and I don't know what I would do without her.  When I picked up Espen and had him at our house, it made me think of my Aunt Kathy and her best friend (of over 40 years), Debbie, who passed away a year ago, leaving her 15 year old daughter, Stormy, in my Aunt's care.  I would do the same for Jeremy and Christine, we would take Espen in a heartbeat, but how sad would that be?!  You grieving your friend and having their child right there with you, all the time, and having to put on a happy face for them?  Seeing your friend's face, in their face, every day, and having to stand by your now child while they are hurting just like you?  I can only imagine what this would be like and feel so much for my Aunt Kathy and Stormy, thinking of them (and the anniversary of Debbie's death) this week.  

The loss of Christine's ovary was sad for her and sad for me when Jeremy told me about it after the surgery.  I understand they had to take it, she understands this, but in her mind she felt like she was missing something.  I wondered this, before I talked to her, would she feel like less of something because she is now missing a piece of her?  I remember my step-mom, Leslee, telling me after her double mastectomy that she felt like less of a woman, when she was still totally a woman but just had no breasts.  It's like you lose a part of what makes you something, but not really, it just makes you feel that way.  Would I feel that way too?  I bet I would and I bet everyone does in situations like this.  So, here it was, Mother's Day and Christine lost a piece of what made her a mother there at the very beginning, a piece of the puzzle that made Espen a fetus at first (her egg could have come from that ovary!).  But, this doesn't make her any less of a mother at all or less of a woman.  

Some of my students at school wished me a "Happy Mother's Day" on Friday before we left and it made me feel so good, even though I celebrated Mother's Day a bit last year too.  One student said to me, "Next year, you will really be able to celebrate because you aren't really a mother yet," and this got me thinking . . .  Just because I haven't actually delivered my baby and held it in my arms - does this make me less of a mother?  Nope.  I told my student that I am still a mother, and was a mother last year also and that there are many mothers who are mothers without having birthed their own babies.  My Aunt Kathy is a mother and celebrated Mother's Day last year and this year with Stormy, anyone that has adopted a baby or cared for a child when someone else couldn't or didn't, is definitely a mother.  Someone who has been pregnant and carried a baby for any amount of time, or even cared for a child in their life, even if the baby/child/person did not survive, is still a mother.  A step-mother or father is still a mother or father, whether they were there in your life the whole time or not.  It doesn't make you any less of something just because life didn't go as planned or because a piece of your womanhood is missing - and this is something all of us should remember.

So, I've been down lately and Christine has been feeling down too.  We talked last night and both shared the same complaints - our bodies don't feel like our bodies, she looks down and sees her bandages and feels like she's done this before (she HAS had two cysts in the past), and I am feeling guilty because lately I miss wearing my normal clothes, having options, laying on my stomach, cracking my back and just feeling "normal" again.  But I gave her the same advice I need to remember myself - it is all temporary.  This too shall pass and we will be back to ourselves sooner than we think.  Maybe a wiser version of ourselves, but ourselves none-the-less.  

I love you, Christine, and am so happy you're ok!  We have so many years full of fun ahead of us!  :)

 (Right around the time Christine went to the hospital, these were delivered to my house, from her, for Mother's Day!)

(From my mom, representing a contribution to Maggie's Place.)

(My Mother's Day pic that my Instagram friend, Amber, told me I should take so that next year I could take one with Lemon instead of a belly.  Ian took it and makes me smile with bottom teeth, I hate it.)


  1. Wow what a week!! I am a firm believer in hypnobirthing. I did it with my first son, my second was a c-section and I did it with my fourth son also. It is amazing what the mind an d boy can do, such an amazing thing!!! Good luck, I'm sure you will do great!!

  2. Replies
    1. Kari!!! I've been meaning to write you back on here but school is almost out and we've been so busy, I'm glad I finally found a chance!!! How are you? It has been so long!!!

      Thanks for reading and commenting, I always wonder who is reading these posts or if I am just writing them to no one! I hope I can do well at hypnobirthing, I am going to try my hardest to stay positive and not freak out, it's just so hard when you don't really know what to expect!

      Hope all is well with you and your family, SO nice to talk to you!!!