Wednesday, May 26, 2010

36 Weeks

NINE months today!!! That means only 4 weeks or 28 days to go, maybe even less if I go early... holy smokes! Hmmm, maybe I should consider packing a hospital bag in the near future. So much to do, so little time.

I had an OB appt at 35w1d. I had my first internal check and the cervix is showing no signs of dilation. I asked if the baby was head down or breech. She guessed head down, but wasn't 100% sure, so she got out the portable u/s. It had been so long since I've seen my little guy. I didn't get any photos as this is a low tech machine and is very grainy, but it was good to see him nonetheless. He is head down and was sucking on his fingers. She asked if I was nervous about delivery and I said no, bring it on, I've been waiting for this for years. I gave her a summary of what it took to get here (this was not my regular OB, but her partner) and she said she could relate somewhat. She had gone through 4 failed adoptions and spent $45k to get her little guy. She made a comment that she hates it when women dealing with infertility say "oh, I'll just adopt" like it's just a simple solution. I told her I could relate with how many times people have said to me "why don't you just adopt?". People think it's such an easy alternate road, but from my experience, infertility rarely takes you down easy street no matter which path you take.

We interviewed a doula and hired her. After hearing our concerns and stating what type of birth we would like to strive for, she shared some eye opening advice with us. Basically in a nutshell, it would not be easy to get the birth experience we want at our current hospital. Don't get me wrong, the hospital is wonderful and would take great care of us, it's just that their philosophy on birth is day and night different from ours. They are more geared towards the patient that wants to go with the flow, wants an epidural and doesn't mind interventions. There's just too many policies that we disagree with that we would be required to follow and fighting them is just not something I want to have to deal with in the middle of labor.

So our doula asked if we would consider switching to a midwife group as they treat labor/delivery as a natural process instead of a medical procedure and they are all about giving you the birth plan you desire, unless medically indicated otherwise. This sounded really nice after my OB showed no interest when I asked about giving her my birth plan. She instead handed me her practice's birth plan that says "Your birth plan is simple, you are under the care of your OB." and then it lists all their policies. Not once was I ever asked what type of birth I would like, just told to look over her birth plan and if I had any major issues with it, to talk to her and we could maybe negotiate. Again, don't get me wrong, my OB is wonderful, I've been with her for 10+ years and she has bent over backwards for me during my struggle with infertility. But the bottom line is that our philosophies on birth are way different and we need to do what's best for us, so it's nothing personal against her.

Kerry and I have made the decision to move to the midwife group. This is actually something we've been wanting to do for awhile but I guess we needed a little extra push. That push came easily after hearing some scary testimonies from our doula, like one of the OBs pushing the patient for an unnecessary c-section so she could get home, and in the end, the patient delivered vaginally successfully, just needed a little more time.

Yes I know, birth plans rarely play out exactly as we would like them to, but that isn't going to stop us from doing everything we can to increase our odds of getting the birth we desire. I wouldn't even be pg if it wasn't for this kind of determination. If I haven't mentioned it, our plan is to go completely natural. I've had enough intervention getting pg and staying pg, I just want to have something in this journey be natural. I'm not naive to think that this is an easy route, it will require an incredible amount of support, which is why I hired a doula and midwife and have been reading up. The cool thing about the midwife group we are switching to is that it's in a very high tech hospital, so if anything should go wrong or we change our minds on going completely natural, we're right there to make the switch.

I made the dreaded call to my OB to let them know that I was switching. It was a very difficult call. I was peppered with lots of questions and they really wanted me to come in so they could talk to me about it all. I even cried at the end of the call because I didn't want them to take it personal especially after all we've been through together. It's done, I have my records in hand. I still feel horrible about switching on them. I'll get over it.

Our first midwife appt is on June 1. Nothing like spicing things up at the last minute!

Here's a funny on Kerry at our doula interview. I told him in advance that he was not allowed to make me laugh during this interview because I would start coughing uncontrollably. Well wishful thinking on that! We were talking about episiotomy vs tearing and the doula highly recommended to get going on doing perineum massage every night. If you don't know what this is, it's where your husband massages/stretches the perineum at the vaginal opening to prepare the area for birth. Studies show this significantly reduces your risk of tearing or needing an episiotomy. The doula described the process to us, inserting 2 thumbs, pulling out and down until it stings and then doing a U-shaped massage to stretch the area. While Kerry is overly accommodating in helping me out here, I'm not so sure I'm quite as enthused. The doula told Kerry he could use olive or grapeseed oil. Kerry proceeds to motion 2 fingers in a U-shape at sonic speed and says, grapeseed has a higher smoke point! I about lost it and then couldn't stop coughing for the life of me. If you don't know what a smoke point is, it's how hot oil can get before it begins to break down.

We attended a breastfeeding class. Very informative and highly recommended. We interviewed a pediatrician and hired him on the spot as we share the same philosophy on vaccinations and that is to only give ones that are truly necessary and to space them out as to not overload the small infant's body. So we are making progress.

We had a lovely 3rd baby shower hosted by the best MIL ever. We didn't manage to get very many photos, but here's a few:

#7 cupcakes:

A #7 cross-stitch made by my SIL and niece:

A giraffe boppy:

A giraffe lamp:

A giraffe paci:

A stuffed giraffe noise soother:

Cute car graffiti courtesy of my step-son:

This week's belly:

Everything is going pretty well except for some swelling.  I start the morning off with normal size legs and feet:

And by the end of the day I have elephant stumps, doubled in size from hip to toe and even have fat rolls around my ankles, or what used to be ankles:

It's kinda funny, I can press a finger into my foot and this huge indent will stay there for several minutes.  My mom says I have memory foam skin, lol!  The fluid retention is ridiculous and it's showing on the scale.  I'm up FIVE pounds in one week!!!

Nursery update... we have finished the stripes!!!!  Well we have a little touch-up painting to do, but that's minor.  It looks better in real life than these pics.  Next up is chair rail moulding and painting trim.  Oh I can't wait to actually put the nursery together!

Lastly, I'll leave you with the tip of the week...  NEVER send a starving pregnant woman grocery shopping!!!

And no, this is not why I put on 5 lbs in 1 week, these are still sitting in the freezer.  ;-)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

35 Weeks

5 weeks to go!!!

Our church family threw us a wonderful baby shower last Sunday. Great food, awesome fellowship and blessed with generous gifts. Here's a few pics...

Feeding the guys mystery baby food where whoever got the most correct won.

All of the food was disgusting according to the guys and the sour faces had me rolling. No mercy from me, I was loving every minute of it! ;-)

Opening gifts:

Some gifts bigger than me:

Thank you to my hosts Charity and Heather, you two rock!!!

After the shower, I found myself coughing uncontrollably and haven't stopped since. It figures, I was just telling Kerry it's amazing that I haven't been sick once this entire pg, guess I jinxed myself. I'm talking the violent, painful, unproductive type of coughing that has left me with no voice and a chest so sore I feel like I popped a rib. I honestly can't believe there's still a baby in me with the shear force of them. I'm sure it won't surprise you when I tell you that it has me peeing my pants all day long. Forget little panty liners, I've moved onto the big guns, the gigantic super sized maxi pads in size waddle. Oh I hope this goes away soon, my chest is killing me.

Due to the coughing, I keep having to reschedule all my appts. My ob appt is now tomorrow and I'm going to see if there is anything I can do about this that is safe. On Fri we'll be interviewing a doula. Then on Sat, we have our breastfeeding class and our family baby shower.

We've made some progress on the nursery, as much as we could with Kerry being out of town last week on business.

I've gone through 3 big rolls of painter's tape and will be happy to never have to look at that stuff again. I'm sure Kerry feels the same about painting stripes. Here's where we're at as of tonight:

Speaking of Kerry being out of town... I sent him off with "The Birth Book" and begged him to read it. This is the pic I got from his phone as he was out laying by the pool. What a great hubby!

This week's big belly:

A girl from our childbirth class made me this shirt, I guess I made my point that I did not want pitocin, lol!

Ok, the bare belly too.... (or my friend Cathy will yell at me!)

You want to see something funny?

This is my belly with muscles relaxed:

And this is my belly with muscles fully engaged! I have a very geometric-like belly, I've gone through stages of square, then round and now a triangle! Kerry and I laugh so hard every time I try to sit up.

And lastly, I'll leave you with a video of little Seven shaking his booty:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

34 Weeks

6 weeks to go!

It's going well. Lower back pain has been completely gone for a week now. Not sure if the chiro fixed it, baby changed positions or my body just adapted, but whew, that was not fun. I've had a few bouts of swollen feet/ankles to the point of not being able to wear anything but flip flops, but it only happens if I'm on my feet a lot. I'm definitely slowing down, my energy level is falling off the cliff and I'm all of a sudden having to take lots of naps. All in all, everything is going pretty smooth.

Baby is gaining a half pound a week and boy can Kerry and I tell! My belly gets bigger by the day. He's now in my ribs and his movement continues to get more pronounced. I've gained 23.5 lbs and my waist is measuring 39".

Our last childbirth class went well. We all brought up our concerns we had from our previous class where the labor/delivery nurse substituted. As soon as we started addressing concerns about delivering at this hospital (1 couple did end up switching hospitals), our instructor said, remember I said your doctors would kill me if I told you what really happens. Apparently our instructor is required to teach from the book, but unfortunately hospital policies don't line up with the book. For example, the book highly encourages walking around to help labor progress and get the baby to engage, but then hospital policy states that everyone must be on an IV and continuous monitoring. I addressed this concern with the hospital on the class review form. I suggested that they let the instructor teach hospital policy in addition to the book so that the patient can prepare for reality and not be caught off guard while in the middle of labor. The instructor spent a lot of time with us helping us to be our own advocates. Our 2 hr class turned into 4 hrs. She suggested that I get an order from my ob to be monitored 20 mins of every hr as long as everything is fine with baby. She also recommended trying to get a hep lock instead of an IV. I got her advice on how to approach the nurses if they try to push any intervention that I'm uncomfortable with. She suggested that instead of just saying no and refusing, to talk with them and ask questions as to why I would need that intervention and if there was any alternatives, etc. She said it would be in my best interest to hire a doula and labor at home as long as possible. I've left messages with 2, but have yet to hear back from them.

Nursery progress is going slow. Can I tell you, stripes are a lot of work!!!!

We finished our test wall and are pleased with it. It will look better once we get the chair rail moulding up.

We completed the baby blue color on the remaining walls. 3 more colors to go!

I purchased 2 giraffe photos to hang in the nursery. Not sure which wall yet, but here they are:

That's all for this week. Have a great rest of the week everyone!

Monday, May 10, 2010

My 1st Mother's Day

It never fails, Mother's Day always has a way of bringing me to tears. For years it was pitiful crocodile tears, wondering if I would ever get to be a mom. The kind of tears that followed this video from our 3rd IVF.

This was supposed to be our video that we would use to share our happy news with friends and family. I never posted it because well, it was not a happy video. This is actually the first time I've even been able to watch it.

But this year, the tears are of joy and relief, that finally, I get to be included in this holiday!

My day started with attending 2nd service and then serving in the nursery 3rd service with my mom. After church, a friend mentioned to me that our pastor used our journey as an illustration to his message in the 3rd service. The context of the message was not letting failure or tragedy bring you down and make you bitter, but instead to keep pressing forward despite failure and not giving up. I watched it online and was very touched, and of course the tears started flowing.

Here's a clip of the message.

After I started writing this post, I realized that the timing of the events are a little off, but no biggie. We both were so sure it was last Mother's Day that we failed IVF#3, until I looked at our calendar. It was actually IVF#4 that we were in the middle of during Mother's Day 1 year ago and it was IVF#1 that we failed on Mother's Day 2 years ago. It's easy to lose track when you lived the life of a lab rat for so long and you have preggo brain. Oh well!

We then met up with some family for dinner at Olive Garden. Kerry gave me a very sweet Mother's Day card that thanked me for persevering through all the trials. I bawled.

My mom gave me a very special gift. This baby carriage planter was given to my mom the day I was born by her mom. It included a beautiful note about how much this planter means to her and how she's been waiting to give this to me for 37 years. It's the only thing that is left from my birth, so it's quite special to us. Yes, I bawled again!

I also received lots of emails, cards and e-cards wishing me a happy Mother's Day. Thank you to all that did, I smiled, I laughed and I cried.

This next video is just a short clip of us celebrating at Olive Garden.

Happy Mother's Day to all (one day late)! Even if you're not there yet, I believe that some how, some way, you will get there, just never give up!!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

33 Weeks

I feel like I'm in a time warp, seriously, how does Wednesday pop up every time I turn around?  SEVEN weeks to go!

So we had a substitute instructor for our childbirth class last week.  She's a labor/delivery nurse at the hospital I will be delivering at.  Prior to this class, our instructor has been teaching us about relaxation techniques and things like using gravity to help us progress through labor, etc.  Well all things changed during this class, which discussed medical intervention.  I asked the nurse what determines whether a patient gets Pitocin or not.  Her answer about dropped me to the floor, "everyone gets Pitocin".  I asked why's that?  Her answer, "because it's a hospital".  Someone please pick me up off of the floor!  I then asked how I could avoid Pitocin and her answer, "labor at home".

If you're not sure what Pitocin is or why I'm against it (unless medically necessary), it's a synthetic drug that mimics our body's natural oxytocin to bring on contractions.  Our bodies spit out oxytocin in spurts causing contractions that are spaced apart and allow the mother and baby to recover between contractions.  The body will also release endorphins in response to oxytocin for some pain relief.  But with Pitocin, the contractions are much stronger, longer, painful and can cause the mom and baby distress.

We then were given a tour of the maternity floor and L&D rooms.  She told us that as soon as we arrive, we will be given an IV and put on monitors.  This pretty much tethers you to the bed.  I asked if we would be able to walk around and the answer was pretty much no.  It has been proven that walking around and utilizing positions that use gravity helps labor along significantly.  The last thing I want is to be stuck in bed on my back halting progress and then necessitating intervention.

The nurse then demonstrated the position we would be in to push, flat on our back, no assistance from gravity whatsoever.  She explained that we would push like we were having a bowel movement.  I commented, since when do we take a dump laying flat on our back?

I left this class feeling quite stressed out.  This is not the experience I was wanting.  3 of the 4 couples in the class were questioning whether they wanted to deliver at this hospital after this class.  It's really sad how intervention heavy hospitals can be these days.  I know it can be a true blessing when medical situations arise and intervention can really save the mother/baby, but it has gone so far that it has become standard practice.  C-section rates should be no more than 5-10%, but today's rates are more like 25-35%.  I have seen this consistent pattern over and over again while watching shows like Bringing Home Baby or The Baby Story where they hook you to monitors leaving you in a non-gravity-friendly position, you don't progress as well as they think you should, so they start Pitocin, contractions become unbearable, mother gets an epidural which slows down contractions, they up the Pitocin, baby shows signs of distress, next thing you know, you need a c-section.

As soon as I returned home, I dug into my book "The Birth Book" by Dr. Sears and was unable to put it down.  If you're planning a hospital birth and are looking to avoid unnecessary intervention, this is a must read!!!  Kerry and I both started questioning if we should switch hospitals or hire a Doula, ie labor support person.  Hiring a Doula seemed like the less stressful option being this far along.

At my OB appt (everything was perfect), I addressed my concerns.  My OB was upset at the L&D nurse for telling us all this.  She said that no, not every patient automatically gets Pitocin and as long as my water has not broken, I would be able to walk around our room, but they unfortunately don't have wireless monitors, so I would be limited by the length of the cords.  Her statements were filled with lots of disclaimers.  I told her that after $93k in medical intervention to get me pg, if anyone understands that sometimes the body fails us and medical intervention is needed, I do.  I'm just trying desperately to avoid unnecessary intervention and looks like I possibly have my hands full in that area.

Kerry and I are now looking into hiring a Doula.  It will be 100% out of pocket, but we feel it will be well worth it considering how long we have waited for this experience.  Our goal will be to labor at home as long as possible with the Doula helping me through the process and telling us when it's time to leave for the hospital.  Once at the hospital, she'll continue to support me through labor and be my advocate against unnecessary intervention.  In today's hospital environment, you don't have a dedicated nurse helping you through this, they only periodically check on you.  Outside of that, they are watching multiple patient's monitors from their desk and the OB is monitoring you through the nurses via phone.  So a Doula would provide me with one-on-one support.  This will help take the stress off of me and avoid unfriendly comments from the nurses when saying no.  This also relieves Kerry to be a loving husband and cheerleader and not have the pressure to get me through something he can never understand, which he is very happy about.

My goal is to go natural, but if the pain is unbearable, I'm not against an Epidural.  I obviously have no concept of how painful this could be and while I will give it my all, I won't beat myself up if I just can't make it.  If at any point my baby is at risk, I will do what is necessary.  The Doula will also take pictures/videos for us, freeing those attending the birth to enjoy the experience and not be bogged down with camera duty.

Regarding diapers, Kerry and I are going to give it our all and try cloth diapering.  Cloth diapering has come a long way since our mother's time.  I have received a few from my registry and am really excited about them.  I'm planning on trying out a few different brands to see which system works best for us.  So far I have a Gro Baby, Bumgenius and Bumboo.  I also registered for a FuzziBunz.  The up front cost will be a little more, but in the long run will save us quite a bit of moola over disposables.  If we can pull this off, we'll also be helping the environment as disposables take around 500 years to break down in the landfills.  I'll gladly put out a review after I've had a chance to use these, if anyone is interested.

This week's belly.  According to the scale and my waist measurements, baby is really growing in there.  I'm starting to get a very faint brown line from my belly button down, boo!  It's starting to become difficult to do things like put on socks, give a urine sample without peeing on my hand and well, wipe my bum.  I'm having to get creative.

Nursery update.  We're making good progress!  The crown moulding is up; nailed, puttied, caulked and just needs a layer of touch up paint.

We've taped off the chair rail moulding.

 I've started taping the stripes.  We're doing random vertical widths.

I notated what color to do on each stripe and Kerry started painting.  We haven't gotten beyond this wall, so long ways to go.  Once the stripes are done, we'll then install the chair rail moulding.

I made a changing pad cover.  I know, you'd think I would have been able to find a pre-made blue minky dot cover, but all the ones in stores are a totally different blue, so alas, I made my own.

In other good news, as of today, we are officially IVF debt free!!!!!  Thanks to a huge tax refund resulting from huge out of pocket medical expenses in 2009.  Wahoo!!!