Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another Week, Another Papaya (Week 23)

Well, this marks the first week without a new fruit/veggie. But according to the website His Boys Can Swim, Lily is the size of an over inflated football, if that helps anyone. :-) And this week we finally hit the one pound mark.

So, what else is up with Lily?

"Your baby is probably quite active by now, and you should be able to feel movement or kicks in your belly.  It might even be possible to see the movements on the surface of your skin.  Overall, your baby is now more proportioned from head size to the rest of the body and is looking more and more like a newborn."

Having an anterior placenta (a placenta that has attached to the front of the uterus) has caused a delay in me feeling Lily move, but I certainly feel her now. Every day I feel some sort of movement, whether it's kicks and punches or somersaults like yesterday. It's the oddest and most amazing feeling I've ever experienced. Jay has not be able to feel movement from the outside yet, but I think we are getting really close to that happening. This morning, I think Lily had the hiccups because it felt like she was jumping off one side of my uterus and hitting her head on the other side. It was pretty big so I looked down, and low and behold, I was able to watch my belly twitch and bounce when she banged around. Unfortunately, Jay was already on his way to work so I was the only one there to enjoy it, but I also know it's only the first time and there will be many more opportunities for him to experience in the weeks and months ahead.

So, how is Mama doing?

I'm actually doing very well. I've stopped stressing over the food I eat after getting great advice from my wonderful friends and family. Then last Wednesday in our class when I expressed a frustration over the stress that came along with the diet to our instructor, she informed me that this was only a goal and not something I should expect to fulfill everyday. Um... would have been nice to know that last week! Duh! Oh well. So, this week my goal is to eat consciously. I try to make healthy choices but not at the expensive of my mental health.

Part of the HypnoBabies program includes a track of pregnancy affirmations. I actually downloaded this off the website before even signing up for the class, and have been listening to it for weeks now. Believe it or not, I think the thing is actually beginning to work. After struggling to find a time to fit it into my schedule, I decided to listen to it on my drive home every day. (Note that it's the only track you can listen to while driving.) So, instead of getting all riled up about politics or listening to the same song played for the umpteenth time on the radio, I listen to over a half an hour of positive affirmations about this pregnancy and childbirth. It truly is amazing the calming effect it has had on my Psyche. Usually my drive home is filled with frustration, yelling at other drivers and the occasional hand gesture (hand gestures have become more common since the pregnancy hormones kicked it). Now I spend the drive home concentrating on positive statements and practicing my "Bubble of Peace" mental trigger to keep out any negativity and anxiety.

I see it as kind of like exercising. You wouldn't go into the gym and expect to pick up a hundred pound bar bell or run a half marathon the day after buying your first pair of running shoes. You start slow and work your way up. Well, that's what I'm trying to do. I'm taking a rather mildly stressful situation and practicing my techniques. And I actually feel like my "muscles" are getting stronger. It's easier and easier to block out the anxiety and frustration elicited by the car that just decided to cut me off without a blinker or cursory hand wave. I plan to use the techniques tomorrow when I go see one of the other midwives at my practice and get my finger pricked again. Plus, I've been terrified of getting high blood pressure this pregnancy so I plan to use my techniques while they are taking that as well. Hopefully, by the time we get to the marathon in February, my mental and emotional muscles (as well as my physical muscles) will be strong enough to handle the challenge of childbirth.  That reminds me though, I need to take the list of questions I had for the hospital tour and look over it so I can get any questions I still have answered by my midwives.

So, how's Daddy doing?

Jay is wonderful as usual. He's been reading my scripts to me faithfully and never once laughed at them or made of fun the program, although its hard to hold back a giggle sometimes. In fact this week I got to read a script to him that is supposed to help him stay calm during the birthing time too. Like I said before, much to my dismay, and not for a lack of trying, he hasn't been able to feel Lily move yet. It always makes me frustrated, but he keeps telling me that it will happen in time and he'll have plenty of time to enjoy feeling her move over the rest of the pregnancy. Not to mention, in just a few short months, she'll be here and he can hold her and feel her move all he wants.

I think that's about all for this week! I have a few blogs in the works. I still need to update everyone on our experience on the hospital tour and I'm working on a blog about the Welcoming Ceremony we're putting together for Lily when she comes out.

Have a great Wednesday everyone and if you live near me may the weather not be as bad as the weather dude was predicting, and regardless may we all have a safe evening!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Going Home Outfit

Well, at least as it stands today. I'm open in the event that I find something I like better. Oh and I'll probably be taking two outfits to the hospital since I've been told that you never know how big they are really going to be and if a newborn size or 0-3 size will fit better. But enough with the stalling... show you the tiny adorable clothes, right?

The whole outfit. Including the most adorable fleece swing-y coat I've ever seen!

 The adorable onesie that goes underneath. It says "mommy's girl".

And the super adorable pants with the ballet slippers on them.

I mean, does it get any cuter than that?!? Except I say that about everything that I see. The really funny thing is, I'd already spent all my "allowance" for the week when I saw this at Target last weekend. But I decided that I didn't really like the dress that I'd bought to wear to my friends shower, and if I took it back and wore one of the perfectly fine things I already owned, I could buy this outfit for Lily. I know... I know. It's already starting. My mom informed me that I would soon find myself willingly going without out in order to buy her something that she doesn't even need! Ah... the life of a Mommy! I'm loving it already!

22 Week Bump Pictures

These were taken yesterday morning (22w4d) before I headed out to my Bestie's baby shower, which was so fun! As you can all see, I clean up good, when/if I want to. I just don't usually want to. Hehe.

Grow baby, grow!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Reflections on a Name

I'm in the process of writing Lily's Welcoming Ceremony which I'll be writing a whole blog about very soon. As I did research on alternatives to baptisms/christenings/dedications one of the elements that I kept running across was the inclusion of a section where the name of the new child was announced.

I've always believed that names are important. Often times name have meanings in other languages and as metaphysical as it sounds, I think saying that word over someone their entire life can have an effect on them even if they don't know the meaning. So, I knew when I named my child that I would want to make sure I knew the meaning of the name I chose. I didn't want to be calling my child Crap Bag in Italian all his or her life and not know it. hehe.

So, I started my research on Lillian, which we had pretty much already picked and Jay was already head over heals in love with. I found that it means Lily, like the flower. So, I took it a step further. I know that flowers have meanings as well, so what did the Lily mean? Well.. it means Pure or Purity. I breathed a sigh of relief. At least it didn't mean big steaming pile of poop or anything like that. But I didn't immediately fall in love with the meaning because it invoked too many feelings of striving to be pure in a religious sense. That is.. until I starting meditating on it.

As a part of the ceremony Jay and I will announce the name we've chose, what it means and why we feel strongly enough about that name and meaning to speak it over our child their whole life. So, I really started thinking about what that would mean for her. And that is when I feel in love with both her name and its meaning. For me, it comes down to the core of each human being. Growing up in the Christian church I was taught that at the core of my being, simply because I was born, I am sinful, fallen, weak, bad, doomed by the bad deed of one human man and woman, and in need of saving by an external god. Combined with the other messages taught in my household, such as my dad's view that he was the only one with any wisdom or knowledge, this view of being inherently bad and wrong became a noose... a suffocating force that took me many, many years to walk out from under. To this day I still struggle with an ability to voice my own opinion because I still feel that because it is mine (regardless of how much I've studied or researched the topic), it will always be wrong and should always be questioned. It's not a question of if I am wrong, but how and why.

I do NOT want my daughter to grow up to struggle with the same thing! One of the things that helped me at least identify the messages that had been forced on me, was a broad study of world religions. I remember being blown away by the teachings of Buddhism, and the concept that at my core I am good and pure and that only through the corrosive elements of the outside world do I learn to be "bad" (i.e. egotistical, hurtful, prideful, racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.). This simply idea was liberating and became a core life value for me.

I want Lily to grow up confident in herself. She has worth and deserves respect and love simply because she is. She does not need to be saved or converted or rescued in order to be loved. She does not need to earn her place in this world, unlike her mother who spends much of her time and energy every single day trying to prove that she has worth and deserves to be loved.

There is something spiritual about holding an infant. Their spirit is so pure, it's almost like touching the other side, if there is another side. It's overwhelming to see how children are ignorant of things like sexism, racism, homophobia, and the hatred of those who are not like us. These things must be taught. I hope to not teach these things to Lily. I hope to raise her in a household filled with acceptance and love and laughter. I hope to teach her to hone and trust her instincts and that at her core, just like her name states, she is pure... she is Lily.

p.s. Note that this is not an overview of my entire child rearing theories and does not imply that I will never correct or guide or discipline my child. It does not mean that I plan to raise a spoiled brat of a child or have a "child ruled" house. So, please no comments about how I'm going to be a horrible mother.

p.s.s. Also, for my friends who are of the Christian faith, please do not take this as a judgement of you. I accept all my friends and celebrate the diversity that we as a group possess. I am thankful that Lily will have access to wonderful examples of different faiths and will encourage her to take advantage of these people and their knowledge in order to find her own path.

The End. :-)

Whoooo's Seeing Owls Everywhere... Oh It's Just Me?

I knew owls were a pretty popular thing, but I'd never really paid attention until the last couple of weeks. Well, folks, I'm here to tell you that owls are EVERYWHERE, which makes dreaming about Lily's perfect nursery both easy-peasy and overwhelming! Oh you don't believe me...

Look at this adorable set of owl nesting dolls from Urban Outfitters! What a cute family they make! I can just see them sitting on the top of a coat hook shelf or book shelf.

After looking at about a THOUSAND owl themed wall decals I think this one is my favorite. And being the cheapest at only $16, it's Jay's favorite too! Hehe. The color of the lettering and the owl can be customized, and I think it would be prefect over the crib or the changing table.

I have, have, HAVE to have this owl shaped pillow pattern from Etsy. And since it's just a pattern it's both inexpensive and customizable. I was planning on finding some other fabrics that would coordinate with the owl print so this project will easily pull all those fabrics together. It will probably end up sitting in the chair in her room for a while since nothing is supposed to be in the crib except her for quite a few months.

And finally...

Once I have the pattern I can shrink it and make a mobile like this one to go over her crib. 

I can't wait to get started. But first I have to clean out her room. Grrr. That's the part I'm not looking forward to. Her room and the guest room have been our dumping ground for odds and ends every since we moved into our house. It's going to be a couple weekend job, probably to figure out what should be stored, what should be donated, and what should be pitched. And it won't be happening this weekend, since this weekend is my Bestie's baby shower! Woohoo! I have to finish up a couple of project tonight and tomorrow and then wrap up her gift. I can't wait to see all the beautiful things she gets. I'll try to take pictures so I can share the things I made for her, but you never know with this pregnancy brain how that's going to go. I just hope I can remember to take my 22 week bump picture on Saturday since I'll be out of town on Sunday. Good grief. So many things to remember. So few brain cells to do it with!

Happy Friday everyone! Owl talk to you later! hehehehehehehe! Did ya just hear Jay groan all the way from his office. ;-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oh Mya... Lily's a Papaya (Week 22)

Holy cow! 22 weeks ya'll! Only 18 more to go!!! Time is passing faster and faster the further along we go. The summer was pretty sparse as far as activities go, so I figure that's why. Every week that passed seemed like an eternity. Now it's like every time I turn around it's Wednesday again and time for another weekly update blog.

So, this week we are a Papaya. Actually, we've switched from getting a fruit a week to getting a fruit a month and it'll be this way for the duration of the pregnancy. So, I'm going to have to come up with a different way of naming these weekly updates. Hum...

So, what's up with Ms. Lily this week?

"Your baby's senses are really developing this week.  Taste buds are forming and nerve endings are developing enough for your baby to experience the sensation of touch."

How's mama doing?

I've definitely had my ups and downs this week, but I try to keep in mind that as an unmedicated bi-polar that is to be expected. Right now I need to just focus on riding them out and reminding myself to not make any life changing decisions when I'm feeling "off". I've been focusing on, and struggling with, eating better this week. We went over the Brewer Diet in our childbirth class last week and I've been trying to follow it. The diet is high in protein and supposed to help prevent pre-eclampsia, which is something I am very interested in avoiding! But it's hard. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I'm a food addict. I eat as a way of exerting control over my life. My inner dialogue usually goes something like this, "I may not be able to have what I want in my life, but DAMN IT, I can eat whatever the heck I want!" Limiting and restricting my food makes me feel very out of control, almost vulnerable, and causes my anxiety to shoot through the roof.

I was dealing with this very well, right before finding out I was pregnant. I was doing Weight Watchers  and making great strides towards being free of this addiction to food. But that was when I was on the medication. I said a few weeks ago that I feel like I'm going backwards in my personal growth, slipping back into old patterns of thinking and behaving. This is one of those, and it has made eating a healthy well balanced diet at best overwhelming, at worse impossible. For most of the week I've felt like a failure as a mother because I couldn't fill in all the little boxes I needed to, and my daughter isn't even here yet. But my mom reminding me last night that life is all about balance. Balance in eating, but also balance in being kind to myself. I have a special challenge to deal with during this pregnancy and that is being unmedicated. On one hand there is eating a balanced diet for my health and Lily's... on the other hand is keeping my sanity for my health and Lily's. And I am a success in many other areas. For instance I was about a 1/3-1/2 a pack a day smoker until I got that positive pregnancy test and stopped cold turkey immediately after finding out we were pregnant. I need to remind myself of my successes sometimes.

At least I now know what I should be striving for... 4 servings of milk, 5 servings of grains, 2 leafy green veggies, etc. every day. But I cannot allow myself to breakdown if I do not meet my goal. I need to make eating healthy a priority for my health and Lily's while keeping in mind that unreasonable expectations are destructive and counter productive.

I've been working on writing a Welcoming Ceremony for after Lily is born. I'll be posting about that more here as we get closer to her birth. I may not be religious, but I believe whole heatedly in the importance of ritual in our lives and the lives of a community. Therefore, I feel it's very important to have some sort of ceremony marking the growth of our little family and the addition of a new person into our community. So, we'll be having a ceremony hopefully about 6-8 weeks after she's born that will basically welcome her into our community. I'm currently doing a lot of research on this and putting together the actual ceremony. I'm really excited with how it's coming together and I can't wait to share.

So, how's daddy doing?

He's great! He's patiently waiting to be able to feel her little kicks from the outside. I'm starting to feel them more and more but because of the placenta being in the front, he hasn't been able to feel them yet. He loves to kiss my belly and talk to her though, which is great since she can now hear our voices. He always tells her goodbye in the mornings before he goes to work and it's the cutest thing in the entire world! Just melts my heart every morning. I can't wait until she comes out and he can hold her. I know he is counting down the days.

Well, I think that's it for this installment of the Lily Show. See you all first of the week with belly pics! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Week 21 Belly Pics

I still can't believe that we are just a few days shy of being done with Week 21! The first trimester insisted on dragging its heals and now the second is just flying by! We are over half way there and only have about 6 weeks to go before the beginning of the 3rd trimester. But... without further ado... here is Ms. Lily at 21 weeks. OH! And yes that's the Puppy in the first shot. He just had to get in on the action.

There's no denying there's something going on now. For comparison purposes... I give you a refresher of week 15.

Pretty cool, huh?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Week 19-20 Bump Pictures

Week 19! The week of the Mango!

And yeah... I totally forgot to take the picture that week! Oops!

Week 20!! The week of the cantaloupe! Taken this past Sunday at 20 weeks 3 days.

Have a great day everybody!!

No Time to Monkey Around... We're Growing Bananas! (Week 21)

Things change a little this week. From 1-20 weeks measurements have been taken from crown to rump. But this week they start measuring from crown to feet. This week also begins a slow down in the growth of the little one. The next fruit will cover a two week period and then after that we'll get a fruit a month instead of a fruit a week. I guess that's good since there isn't a whole heck of a lot more room left. From now on, Lily will be putting on weight more than growing in length. But right now she's a banana... how is that possible???

Now, don't let the mass or the weight of the fruit fool you. The fruit is only to show the length of the baby not the mass. So that's why we go from something big to something skinny. And again, we're now measuring from crown to feet instead of crown to rump which is why it looks like she jumped a bunch!

So, what's up with Ms. Lily this week?

"As your baby's digestive system develops, she will begin to swallow amniotic fluid and absorb small amounts of sugar.  However, most of baby's nutrients are still delivered from the placenta.  Inside your uterus, while there is still room, your baby is actively moving around, kicking and flipping positions.  You may be able to track patterns in her movement."

Unfortunately, since I have an anterior placenta (the placenta has attached directly to the front of my uterus), I still am only feeling "muffled" movement as if she were kicking and punching into a pillow. The got noticeably stronger yesterday though and hopefully we will be able to feel them from the outside soon. I keep putting Jay's hand on my stomach when I feel her, but so far he hasn't been able to feel any of it yet. I guess it's hard since I'm feeling from the inside. I'm probably imagining that I can feel it from the outside too. Oh well. All in due time, I guess.

How is Mommy doing? I'm doing well. Had some ups and down this past week, but that's to be expected in any pregnancy, and even more so with an unmedicated bi-polar. Nothing lasting more than a day, though, so nothing to worry about. This Sunday we went to tour the hospital. I have mixed feelings about the tour. Some of their procedures I think are awesome and very forward thinking, some concern me. But I'm going to write a whole other blog post about that.

My mom was home this weekend which was AWESOME! She's been working or in the mountains every weekend for about 6 MONTHS, so it was so nice to have her over for breakfast and then go shopping without having to worry about when she had to sleep so she could go to work.

Tonight is our second HypnoBabies Childbirth Class. I really hope I can stay awake. Last week I relied on the trusty ol' caffeine but slept like hell because of it when I did get home and then paid for it Thursday at work, so I'm going to pass this week. We'll see how it goes. We haven't done the practice as rigidly as we should have this past week, but we did do some practice and I love it. Last night Jay read the script to me and it was lovely. I did notice that I had a harder time relaxing though because I kept worrying about him being bored or tired or thinking the scripts were stupid. But that is something I'm going to have to get past. I have to learn to give myself permission to be selfish at times, this practice time being one of them. (Plus I know he truly is very supportive and happy to do it, but it's still hard for me.) When I'm in labor I'm going to have to be able to focus on me and Lily and relaxing and not worry about how Jay's doing, or if my mom, his mom or our friends are bored in the waiting room, of if I'm annoying the nurse by not taking the meds. I'm going to have to find my voice and be able to speak up and be an advocate for myself and Lily since I am delivering in a hospital and not at home which would afford me more flexibility.

It's amazing how much this childbirth preparation is bringing up. So may things to address and practice that go way beyond the hypnosis techniques taught in the class. I did talk with my psychiatrist about the program and he was totally on board! He said he thought it sounded like a wonderful thing and exactly what I needed! And he said that he thought the things I could learn from it would be beneficial way beyond just the childbirth.

Something really funny happened last night while we were practicing. When Jay was reading the scripts, Lily started dancing all around! I had to stop him for a minute and see if he could feel her but he couldn't. :-( But it was still adorable. I've never felt her move so much at one time. I think she really liked hearing her daddy's voice! That's another nice thing about him reading some of them because she gets use to hearing his voice even more.

I'm going to have to figure out a new schedule for taking my weekly bump pics. I've been trying to take them on Wednesday or Thursday nights after work, but that's not possible now that the sun is going down earlier. So, I'm trying to take them on the weekend. But that puts me in the middle of gestational week. Oh well.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Owl Love You Forever...

This weekend was quite productive on the baby front. Not as restful as it probably should have been, but ah. I figure that will be my life from about now on. First thing we did was Saturday my mom and I went down to Gastonia (about a 45 minute drive) to the Costco of the fabric world in this area called MaryJo's. It's a legend in these here parts. If MaryJo's doesn't carry it, it almost definitely doesn't exist. (Well, except for last summer when I was looking for netting to make a birdcage veil for a bride. They weren't carrying it at the time but that's because it had fallen out of style and then suddenly popped up in all the wedding magz that summer and MaryJo's didn't have enough time to contact a supplier to stock it. But unlike the other fabric store I called who thought I was asking for water from a turnip, the lady at Mary Jo's did in fact know what I was talking about and lamented her inability to get it in stock in time.)

I've known for a while that I wanted to make my own bedding set for Lily's nursery. See... bedding sets usually come with at least four things. A crib bumper which has arguably been associated with an increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), a quilt which can't be used in the crib for many months also due to an increased risk of SIDS, a crib skirt, and a crib sheet. The only things we'd really be using would be the crib skirt and sheet which unfortunately are usually the duller, less interesting elements of the set. The rockstars are usually the bumper and quilt as seen below.

With only a quick bit of research I was able to find some awesome tutorials for making your own crib skirt and also found out that a lot of people are deciding to forgo the traditional sets in favor of making their own. For instance here's a tutorial from the great decorating/remodeling/diy'ing bloggers Young House Love. And here's a great video from Project Nursery on making the crib skirt the focal point of the design. And for those who just can't quite visualize it... here's an example of an awesome bumperless/quiltless crib.

image via Project Nusery

I should also probably back up a minute and tell you that we decided a while ago to get this crib from IKEA.

I know it doesn't look like much but it comes very highly rated by all the "experts" for safety and value and gives me basically a modern, blank slate to work with as far as decorating.

In order to make this whole DIY nursery decor work, though, I had to find some inspiration in the form of some cool fabric, which brings us back to our weekend adventure to the fabric Mecca of the Charlotte area. I was actually amazed at how quickly mom and I found a pattern that we LOVED! And from then on we just kept comparing anything we found that we liked back to our favorite and amazingly we never did find anything that we liked as much as our first fav. So, by now I'm sure you're totally dying to see what it looks like. Well here it is...

I L.O.V.E it! It's whimsical yet modern, gender neutral, fun and playful and uses some of my favorite colors. I think what I'm going to do is make a basic crib skirt straight from the fabric. Then I'll make a valence and hang a black out shade or curtain behind it. I'll take the fabric to Babies R Us and register for sheets that coordinate with the colors, and then start working on cool wall decorations using the fabric. My biggest idea is to take the shape of the owls, cut out the shape from the fabric and then applique it onto a solid color fabric to make a scene... I'm thinking a mommy, daddy, and baby owl. Then I'll stretch the fabric on a square frame and mount it on the wall. Sort of like this...

or this..

I am also insistent that I will make my first quilt to put over the back of the rocky chair (since it can't go in the crib). I have a good idea of how I want it to look but haven't found a pattern that looks anything like it. So, I might be winging that one. I have the Quilting for Dummies book. Hopefully that will give me enough info to be able to make it up as I go along. :-) But really... would you have expected anything less from me.

So that's where we are on the nursery. Except that we can talk all day long about how to decorate it, but if I don't get off my fanny and get it and the guest room cleaned out then all the baby stuff is going to have to live in my living room where it currently is and I simply cannot take 4 more months of that!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Screw Pumpkins... We're Toting Cantaloups Over Here (20 weeks)

That's right folks! It's the week of the Cantaloupe here!!?!?! And from the ultrasound on Friday we know that Lily is weighing in right on schedule at 10 oz.

Not only is she getting freaking huge (and so am I, pics to come this weekend)!! But we've attained another major milestone. Just like my all time favorite ice cream, little Lily is...


That's right! We're Half Baked BABBBBYYYY!!! Well... approximately that is. On average a first time mom, if not induced, will go into labor at approximately 41weeks 3days and since I'm very much hoping to avoid an induction, I'm getting myself set up to go at least a week over. My midwife will let me go up to 42 weeks before inducing, assuming there are no indications of problems with Lily, my placenta, or fluid level.
So what is Ms. Lily up to in there?
"This week your baby's skin will become covered with a waxy-like substance called vernix which will protect her skin from becoming scratched or chapped.  Your baby is also starting to produce meconium, the result of digestion which will accumulate in her bowels and eventually pass during delivery or in her first diaper."
How's Mama doing? Pretty well. The ultrasound and knowing the sex of the baby really caused everything to hit home. That's been great and overwhelming at the same time. My iron came in low at my appointment. Not by much (10.5 and they like it to be at least 11), but still enough. I'm making a point to eat more iron rich foods and they will retest at my next appointment. I was proud of myself for not screaming or kicking when they said I would have to do a quick finger prick. I'm fine with getting blood drawn, with shots, and good lord... even tattoos, but the thought of a finger stick made me want to run and hide. I had to concentrate very hard to keep my butt in that chair! I think it's just that I haven't had one since I was a small child. I don't know what kind of industrial strength needles they use at the pediatricians office, but they were much worse than the little one the nurse used at the midwife's office. Thank goodness! It was no big deal which puts my mind at ease as far as the gestational diabetes test I'll have to take in a few weeks. I can cross that fear off my list of things to worry about! So, now I'm left with pre-eclampsia, a failure-to-progress induced c-section, pooping on the delivery table and about a thousand other things. But at least we are a thousand minus one! Woohoo!
I'm up about 6 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight which isn't bad at all. And I actually lost 2 lbs a week before I found out I was pregnant so I'm not even back up to my heaviest yet. I know it's vein and all but it's hard to watch that scale creeping back up again. I was so proud of myself for losing weight and have been so unhappy with my weight gain for so long that it's hard to see these added pounds and what will be the heaviest I've ever weighed as a good thing. It's also sad that we live in a society that puts so much importance on a woman's looks that she can't even enjoy watching her body grow to accommodate a new life!! Trust me, this topic comes up on my online pregnancy boards ALL.THE.TIME! It really is a sad commentary on our society.

Wednesday night, Jay and I started our HypnoBabies natural childbirth classes! It was awesome!! Well, minus the fact that it is scheduled for Wednesdays nights from 7 to TEN. Um... my bed time has become 8:30pm since I've been pregnant. I wasn't even sure my brain could fully function at 10pm. Surprisingly it did. Now Thursday at work was another story, hence why this post is being finished up today. The concept of the program is simple.
  1. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. And everyone can learn to do it.
  2. The brain controls everything in the body.
  3. Self-fulfilling prophecy is a very real thing.
  4. Our expectations often dictate how we experience a situation.
  5. Our body instinctively knows how to have a baby (baring any major unexpected complications) and for the most part I just need to learn to relax and stay out of its way.
  6. Fear leads to tension which leads to an experience of pain.
Well, those are my boiled down bullet points at least. One of the things I like the most about this program is it's emphasis on eliminating fear from the birthing experience. As someone who has dealt with anxiety and depression all my life this is such a foreign concept to me. I remember one time late at night when I was about 7 years old getting so worried about the fact that in just 5 short years I would be 12 years old and would have to have my 12 year old shots at the doctor's office that I worked myself into a panic attack. I had to get up and find my parents who looked at me with the most helpless expressions on their faces, completely at a loss for how to help me or how to even understand what I was experiencing.

One of the things I'm most worried about is that I will not be able to stay present in the moment. I will be so worried about the next contraction and the next and the next and the potential hours of labor I have ahead of me that I will lose my ability to stay in control. I know from the extensive reading I've done on the subject that taking things one contraction (or pressure wave as we call them in hypnobirthing) at a time and learning to ride them like waves is one of the major keys to having a pain-med-free birth. This concept does not come naturally to me to say the LEAST! That is why we are starting now, 20 weeks before our estimated due date. I'm hoping that if I really take the program seriously, and practice every day which I'm supposed to, then I can learn to overcome my natural tendencies and just might be able to have the med-free birth I hope for.

So far my practice has resulted in nothing other than increasing my ability to fall asleep. I thinking I shouldn't be waiting until bedtime to listen to the tapes. But then again, it's creating some of the best sleep I've ever had which tells me that it's helping me eliminate at least some of the normal every day anxiety I usually deal with. Plus, there is alot in the program about behavioral conditioning and cognitive therapy, which as a psych major I can totally get on board with. So when I pare the deep relaxation to the point of sleep with the music and the voice on the CD for months on end, when I'm in labor my body will associate the sounds with relaxation plus I'm teaching myself how to relax which is something that someone like me actually needs to be taught how to do. Tonight Jay will be reading the scripts which I think it awesome! We were given a CD with the relaxing music and he will be reading instead of the lady on the CD. This way his voice will also be pared with the deep relaxation, plus it helps him feel involved in the process.

I initially read the HypnoBirthing book to try and get an idea of the philosophies. I liked the ideas but thought it was a bit magic-y with concepts like the Law of Attraction where they teach that if you say and think only positive things about childbirth then you will attract a positive childbirth experience. My scientific minds calls bull sh*t on that one. It's just too metaphysical and un-scientific for me. The HypnoBabies method is a new version and makes more sense to me. For instance they don't teach about the Law of Attraction, but they talk about what is basically expectations and self-fulfilling prophecies. If you expect childbirth to be painful then your brain will interpret the sensations you feel as painful. If you expect the sensations of childbirth to be described as things like intense pressure, stretching, powerful, even discomfort yet safe and helpful then your mind will interpret the signals it gets like that. You are training your mind not relying on some sort of magical Law of the Universe. And as a psychology major THIS makes sense to me!

So when the HypnoBabies program uses it's own vocabulary like pressure waves instead of contractions, birthing time instead of labor, transformation instead of transition, birth breathing instead of pushing, pre-labor warm up instead of Braxton Hicks contractions, and practice labor instead of false labor it's not in an effort to be different for the sake of being different, or to imply that by speaking those things I'll draw a positive experience to me or by saying the others I'll draw a negative experience to me, it's to break the mind of the associates it has with the conventional words. This helps reprogram the brain to experience the birth differently and it helps eliminate the fear that is so tied up with these words due to the numerous horror stories I've been told over the years through well meaning women, online birth stories, TV, and movies. And fear leads to tension which leads to an experience of pain.

We'll see how it goes but even after just a few days of listening to the tapes (and still not feeling like I'm doing it "right") I can tell a huge difference. I just feel more settled, less anxious. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist this evening so it'll be interesting to speak with him about it. I hope it's just not a bi-polar upswing. 

Hopefully, this weekend will be pretty low key. I'm in desperate need of some extra sleep and really want to start cleaning out Lily's room. We bought a baby swing on Craigslist the other day and I'm anxious to get it set up instead of laying against one of the chairs in our living room. Eventually it'll live downstairs were our IKEA chair is now (when the IKEA chair goes to live in Lily's room), but for now I just want it up stairs. I have a couple of crafting projects to either finish up or start on too. And I'm looking forward to doing some cooking/baking this weekend. I'll also be taking my weekly bump pic this weekend. I've discovered that the sun is just going down too quickly now. It's impossible for me to get home while there is still enough light on our back deck to take the pic. So, I'm going to start taking them on the weekend so I can take advantage of the natural light. eventually I want to put these pics in a book or video or something so I want them to look as similar as possible.

Well, Happy Friday everyone! Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

May I Please Introduce...

 BabyName Ticker

That's right! Against both of our suspicions, and the guesses of most of our friends... we are having a little GIRL! Ms. Lillian (Lily) Louise will be joining us sometimes in late February. And her father is currently out shopping for a shotgun! Hehe.

Our anatomy scan appointment went beautifully. I was a borderline basket case, but that's pretty much par for the course for me right now. Jay picked me up at the office on Friday and we headed out to grab a bite to eat. When we were pretty much done at Chick-fil-A, I realized that somehow I had grossly over estimated how long it would take us to get to the office, and therefore, we were going to be about a half an hour or so early for the appointment. I decided that we could either sit in the car, or we could sit in the waiting room at the midwife's office and hey, it's always better to be early rather than late, right? Who knows... they might be able to take us early. Well, I was right. The person with the appointment in front of us had not shown for their appointment so we went almost right back.

The ultrasound tech introduced herself and asked if we wanted to find out the gender if she was able to determine it during the scan. We told her we would like to find out assuming the little one cooperated, and we got started. The first thing I noticed was that she kept the ultrasound gel in a warmer, woohoo!!! She put the ultrasound wand on my stomach and... there was our baby! It was quite amazing, although I will say she did look like an alien! But she's our alien! :-) I was initially worried that she wasn't moving around, but apparently she takes after her father and is quite chill. ::fingers crossed that she doesn't inherit her mother's neuroses!::

It was so hard to stifle the impulse to ask the tech if everything looked ok. I know that they are not supposed to tell us stuff like that since regardless of how many years they have been conducting scans they are technically only trained to conduct the scan and not make any conclusions based on their observations. And I didn't want to put her in an awkward position. Now when I watch the video of the scan (yes they gave us a DVD of the entire scan, how cool is that!), I see that Lily was moving around I just couldn't see it between the screen being on the other side of the exam room and the wand moving around.

One of the first things the tech did was locate the placenta which is anterior. This means that the placenta has attached to the front of my uterus, which isn't a problem at all. Thank goodness it hadn't attached over my cervix or we would have had a problem (and I'd have most likely been experiencing bleeding, which I've thankfully not dealt with). But because it is in the front, it explains why I haven't been feeling movement like my Bestie is and like other girls I've talked with. That was very nice to know. It put my mind at ease as far as why I hadn't felt much, and it made it ok to just kick back and know that everything is ok and I'll feel her when I feel her, which will probably be a few more weeks.

It was amazing to watch the tech locate and label all the different parts.  We saw arms and legs, the heart, stomach, kidneys, and the brain. The heart beat was beautiful and right at 152 bpm. She is weighing in at about 10 ozs which is right on schedule and she's measuring about a day ahead of my estimated due date (EDD) which shows that I had a textbook cycle the month we got pregnant. I began to worry a little bit when the tech started zeroing in on the sex organs. Her exact words were, "Well, he or she is just sitting crisscross apple sauce for us right now!" And she had her hands between her legs covering everything up. Since she was channelling her daddy's Prozac-on-vacation demeanor, and being so chill, it took a while and some prodding by the tech's wand to get her to move at all.  I kept watching the screen to see if I could see and kept thinking her leg was a pee-pee. I keep thinking, "WOW! That's one big pee-pee!". I was trying not to hold my breath, but I knew if she didn't cooperate then we would be Team Green until she was born. (Team Green is the term used by people who are not finding out the sex until delivery day. It's as opposed to Team Pink and Team Blue.) I also knew that since determining the sex isn't a medical necessity, we wouldn't get another go at it since our insurance only pays for one ultrasound per pregnancy unless medically necessary.

But eventually she let us look. The tech paused the image and asked us if we were ready to find out. As soon as she said that I saw it. The three bright white lines that are indicative of a girl baby! I about passed out! I couldn't believe my eyes! There was just no way! We were having a boy... I just knew it! Everyone else knew it! No matter how much I wanted a girl... I had already made peace with having a boy!
And now I was getting my girl! I cried, Jay almost cried, we both sat there in shock! I just kept saying, "I can't believe we're having a girl!"

The tech finished up with the last few images she needed to get and I got cleaned up. That ultrasound gel is a mess! And the tech said, in a voice that implied that she wasn't really supposed to tell us, that as far as she saw everything looked just fine. Yay! We were ushered into the exam room to wait for the midwife and Jay and I just started laughing... and hugging. WE ARE HAVING A GIRL! We sent out the text messages and continued laughing as we started fielding the replies. After a few minutes the midwife came in and told us that everything looked great and we had a health baby girl on the way! It was one of the most amazing moments of my life.

After the appointment was over, we went out shopping to celebrate. We didn't get much, but I did pick up a couple pairs of socks that look like little Mary Jane shoes and a onesie that says "Mommy + Daddy = Me". That evening we met up with some friends and family for dinner to celebrate Jay's birthday and our little Lily. The boys spent half the night talking about the best types of gun to scare off potential boyfriends and the engraver Jay can get to engrave the boys names on the side of the gun. Jay said he thinks he'll put it in his will that when he dies Lily will then be allowed to date. My mom laughed about the fact that when it was her daughter dating (me), Jay had no problems with it, but now that it's going to be HIS daughter it's going to be a different story.

It's been a bit of an adjustment getting used to knowing there's a she inside. I didn't realize how often I had been using "he" before. There's something about knowing the sex that really makes everything feel very real and that's been a little overwhelming. It's like, I always knew there was a baby in there but I couldn't really visualize it. Now it's real. We are having a baby! We are going to be parents! We are going to forever carry the responsibility of another life! WTF WERE WE THINKING!!!

I've always known these things, but I've been so focused on getting pregnant for so long that it's almost like I forgot that after being pregnant you become a mommy. It's like what happens to brides sometimes when they get so focused on the wedding that they sometimes forget about the marriage. The responsibility of bringing another human being into this world is overwhelming! But the truth is, I'd be worried if we weren't a little intimidated by the task before us. I know we'll make mistakes, and I know it'll be hard, but I think we are up for the challenge.

Hurry up and get big Ms. Lily. Mommy and Daddy can't wait to meet you!

Friday, October 1, 2010

And Mango Was Its Name-o... (Week 19)

Sorry for the lack of a post Wednesday. It was a bad bipolar day and one where I knew the best thing to do was just batten down the hatches and get through. Thankfully, I was right and the storm lifted, leaving clear skies as far as the eye can see right now.

Well, here we are folks! 19 weeks down, 21-ish to go! As usual, I can't believe it! Next week will be the half way mark. I feel like this month has just flown by, but I've been a lot busier this month then the past couple. I'm sure that has contributed. Plus I'm feeling better! Woohoo! Haven't had to take the anti-nausea medicine once this week! And getting more energy too. So what's up with baby this week:
"Many of your baby's senses are developing as specialized areas in the brain are being designated for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Millions of motor neurons are continuing to develop in your baby's brain allowing more controlled and conscious movement."

I'm definitely feeling the movement more. For a while it was just flutters, which feel like there is a fishy swimming around in side of your and brushing up against the sides of the tank. I now know what it would feel like to be a gold fish bowl, in case I'm ever reincarnated as one. ;-) In the last couple of days I've felt more pops or kicks. If I didn't know there was a little one in there, I'd chalk it up to a muscle twitch. Until yesterday morning, they were so sporadic that I was always left wondering, "Was that a kick?". But this morning, I kept feeling it in the same place. I even put my hand over the area and was able to feel the twitch. My Besties, who is a few weeks ahead of me, says that very soon it'll change and I won't be left wondering if that was/wasn't a kick. I can't wait for Jay to be able to feel a kick. Sometimes I feel really selfish being the only one who gets to experience all this fun stuff. Half the time he spend the evening sitting on the couch watching Netflix with his hand on my stomach. I don't know if he's just waiting to feel something or if he wants the baby to know that he's there too. Either way it's adorable!

How am I doing? I've been struggling emotionally the last couple of days, ending with a really horrible day Wednesday. But thankfully it seems to have passed. Being unmediated isn't fun. When I first went off my meds I wondered if I'd realize I didn't need them. Sometimes you wonder if the medicine makes things better or worse, but I am very much looking forward to the time in my life when I can go back on the meds! Right now I'm living in a constant state of heightened anxiety. I heard the best description the other day on the show House MD. House was telling his good friend not to worry and made the comment, "I know your emotional default is set to "worried", but try not to". That's me to a "T". I can always find something to worry about. I was talking to my Childhood BFF and my mom about some of my fears of childbirth while we were driving to the beach a couple of weekends ago and my mom was shocked at my seemingly endless list of things I was worried about. I think part of it is the curse of being raised in the information age. Google and I have quite the love/hate relationship! I'm also a part of an online community of pregnant women and having access to hundred of other pregnant women and their stories opens up all kinds of experiences.

We have women who have been through infertility treatments, miscarriages early in pregnancy, and losses late in pregnancy. Before this, I'm not sure I'd never met anyone IRL (in real life... I spend too much time on message boards) who had ever miscarried, that I knew of. It would have never crossed my mind to even be worried about that as a possibility. Like I said, information can be a double edged sword. Within the last three weeks, three girls on my February 2011 message board have gone in for their anatomy scans (usually done somewhere between 18 and 20ish weeks) and have found out that their little ones had either already passed or would not survive outside of the womb. The heartbreak I experienced for these women was overwhelming. I have no idea how I would survive something like that. And it made me very apprehensive of our scan today. But I have to trust that I'm strong enough to deal with whatever life throws at me. And it's not like it's going to stop after the scan, or even when the baby is born. Then there's SIDS, stranger danger, household accidents, car accidents... if I let my life revolve around fear, there will be no joy.

So, I am constantly trying to take the new experiences I'm coming across, file them under unexplainable bad things that happen in this world, and press on. And enjoy this pregnancy! TODAY we have our big anatomy scan, and I'm actually excited about it! This will be the first ultrasound we've had the entire pregnancy. I can just hear the chorus of "Well, in my day we didn't get any ultrasounds at all!" But these days some women get multiple. Depending on the care provider, the insurance company, the type of pregnancy (high vs. low risk), how consistent the mother's cycle was pre-pregnancy, and the types of genetic testing the couple choose to have, the mother could have had multiple ultrasounds. Well, seeing that we are (THANKFULLY!!!) having a run-of-the-mill, vanilla, low-risk pregnancy and we decided to decline the genetic testing, this will be the first time we get to see the little one! If he/she cooperates, we should be able to find out if we have a little boy or a little girl floating around inside here, but the scan is about so much more. They will do a lot of measurements and look for the chambers in the heart, all the organs, etc. Basically a good scan to make sure everything is developing where and how it's supposed to. Thankfully, my Midwife practice does the scans in house so we'll be able to talk with our midwife right after the scan and find out the results. AND from what they said on the phone yesterday, they should tape it and give it to us on a CD!

I'm nervous and can't wait at the same time! T-5 hours. I'm sure everything is fine. Really... :-/

Keep us in your thoughts today, and I'll post an update with the gender as soon as I have the opportunity. Tonight we are going to dinner to celebrate Jay's birthday which was Wednesday so I might not be able to get on until later. Have a wonderful Friday everyone, and a safe and relaxing weekend!