Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Any Time Now: In the Final Stretch!

How Far Am I: Tomorrow marks 38 weeks. I am 15 days away from being "due" if you go by my dates( 10/10) . If you go by the ultrasound, it said somewhere closer to the 15th, but we all know babies come when they want to!
Baby's Gender: We are anticipating a boy, based on what we were able to (not very clearly) see...there is still that small chance it could be a girl if God decides to surprise us!
How Much Weight Have I Gained: As of today at the midwife, 21 lbs total for pregnancy. I am guessing a pound of two of that is fluid retention from this weekend of my sister's wedding shower...I am beat, but it was worth it!
Cravings: Chocolate. Currently eating a Lindt chocolate mousse truffle. I think I earned it, hah!
Baby Movement: At this point, baby is getting more and more cramped. I get lots of bumps and wiggles, but for the most part, baby keeps their head down and just lets me know when I am squishing him.
Sleep Habits: Back to getting up every 3-4 hours to empty my bladder or rearrange pillows. God is rewiring my clock to get up every few hours to nurse!
Body Changes: Two things to praise God for this week: first, my labs came back with no signs of anemia, which is great! Also, my GBS culture came back negative, which means no antibiotics/ alternative therapies during labor. Woo hoo! It looks like smooth sailing towards an uneventful, natural birth. Nothing much new to report here aside from a little swelling in my feet by the end of the day.
What Micah (5) /Levi (18 mos) Think of the Baby: Not much new to report here, either. Micah has announced that while he did want to be woken up to see the baby be born, he does not any more, and would rather see the baby after he eats breakfast- LOL! We told him that he and Levi may be spending a night or two at Jose's parents house while in labor and the first days of having the baby, and he is SUPER stoked about that. It all depends on how things go here. Ideally I would love for our whole family (us and our kids, plus someone to be in charge of the kids) to be present for the birth, but I don't think that's going to end up being the reality. Right now, Jose's mom is our designated "kid corral-er," and I don't think she has any interest in being here when the baby is born. She can get really nervous about things like this. Last time I was in labor, she knitted an entire blanket and brought it to the hospital afterwards.
Baby Prep So Far: Most everything that we can control has been prepped for. We are still in need of a few items for the baby coming- namely a few diaper covers, and car seats. We are still unsure about our current vehicle situation. We have one car (a very compact 1998 Ford Escort), and it also has no heat, which will become an issue for that short period when Florida becomes cold and I have to take Jose to work at 6 am with all the kids. Selling our SUV was great for paying for the rest of our home birth and a few outstanding debts, but it has definitely been and adjustment for our family in planning, and carrying sleeping children to the car the days Jose works, and then picking him up at bedtime. With our current vehicle and current car seats, we cannot fit three children in the back seat (49 inches total means 16.3 inches per car seat, which is pretty much unheard of), unless we special order two special seats and get a different booster for Micah. That being said, buying seats will be cheaper than getting a new vehicle. Be praying that we could get a vehicle that could accommodate all of us, that would run good, and be on the lower end of the price range, and that God would provide for us to get the seats for our children to be safe. We are currently saving but it's going to be a few months down the road until we can get a vehicle, unless God decides to bless us otherwise!

All in all, Jose and I are extremely blessed right now that he has a new job, that Micah is doing well in school, that the kids and I are healthy, and that we have a new addition coming. We are so looking forward to cherishing each of these last days until our new little bundle's arrival! Keep us in your prayers. We are seeking God's amazing provision for our family... a quick, easy, safe, and natural delivery... that God would bless our midwife, Jyl, and her team of nurses and assistants... and that God would totally unite us as a family unit of 5 with as minimal stress as possible. Psalm 133:1- Look at how good and pleasing it is when brothers and sisters (families!!) live together as one!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tidbits As Of Late...

So much has gone on the last month or so... I really feel that life is flying by at warp speed. I don't know what comes after warp speed (maybe hyper speed?) but I know it's approaching so quickly! Here's a little peek into our lives the last few weeks, and what has been going on.

As of today, I am basically considered "good to go" for our home birth. It's the 37 week mark. We had our home visit last week with our midwife Jyl and her two assistants to make sure we have every thing in order, and that went well. I still have white-coat syndrome with her- it's ridiculous!- so my BP goes up about 20 points every time I have a visit, but other than that, things are doing fine. Baby is head down, I am taking it easy as I have started to feel uber pregnant, and Jose and I are about as prepared for birth as we can be.

Micah has finished his first two weeks of first grade, and is enjoying every second of it! He has three teachers this year, depending on the subject and day: Mrs. Pam, Mrs. Tara, and Mrs. Tiffany. He adores every one of them. He is also excited because one of his closest friends is going to school with him now, and he gets to see him so often! He did great on his first spelling test, and actually looks forward to more tests because it was so "fun."

My baby sister is getting married the same week I am due, and I am so excited for her!  We are having her wedding shower this weekend, and my other sister, my mom, and I are all working together on an afternoon of surprises for her. It's going to be a blast, and I am so excited to be celebrating her and her fiance Paul's upcoming wedding. He is so good to her, and it's so amazing to see her being treated so well. I got to see her gown last weekend, and it brought all the memories of Jose and my wedding flooding back. I am going to be an emotional wreck if I can make it to the wedding!

We scored a glider for $25 off craigslist. And it was made for a short person like me! I know, it sounds trivial, but my feet are always dangling because I can't reach the ground. It's in the corner in our room, along with a boppy pillow that was handed down from a friend, and the Moses basket made by my grandmother that all our kids have slept in.

I am getting asked by total random strangers about childbirth. Take, for instance, these questions from the medical assistant at my endocrinologist's office:
"So, do you have to ride a scooter when you are pregnant or are you allowed to walk?"
"Are you in pain? Like right now?"
"Oh my gosh, you had your kids NATURAL? Oh, not uhhh...."
"So you just, like, hard cored it, shot them out?"
"Did you look in the mirror down there when their face was all like this?"
She proceeded to put her hands to her face like the picture below, acting like she was a crowning baby. I have never had to keep a laugh in so bad!

God is providing for Jose and I, and it's continually blowing us away. We have had so many answers to prayer over the last few weeks. Friends randomly dropped off groceries to us because they felt led to by God. They just showed up at our house after Jose and I had payed all our bills on payday, and came to $91 left over for the following 2 weeks to cover all our expenses for 4 people (gas, food, etc). We had a friend give us extra sheet sets for our bed, which was a need for our birth. We got a gift card that was just enough for me to get a few diaper covers that we needed for the newbie. Also, someone is going to buy our car seat for us. So while we may not have an abundance, God is meeting our needs for the moment we are in! It really is Psalm 23:1 being lived out- "I lack nothing." Jose also may have an opportunity to pick up some home care patients, which would be a little extra income here and there. We still have needs, but since giving them over to God, our stress has gone way down, and we have gotten to witness God do some cool stuff. Keep praying that God provides enough for a few more baby items, and makes a way for us to obtain a second vehicle.

Jose and I went out on a real, bonafide date for the first time in ages. We went for Thai and sushi (a first for Jose), and he actually enjoyed the sushi! I was so surprised when he ordered a spicy tuna roll (which is raw), and I was completely floored when he ate it and LIKED it. It was even more delicious to just be out and enjoy each others company, uninterrupted, no kiddos to corral, just the sound of rain on the restaurant roof and us in our own private world... er, booth.

That's a nutshell of what has happened these last few weeks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rethinking Birth- and Life's Situations in General- Through Scripture

This weekend, I set out to compile a list of biblical scripture to meditate on in the coming weeks before our newest addition makes his (possibly her) time of arrival known. So much of going through the labor and birth experience is purely staying focused - mental preparation (and for me, meditating on the Bible's principles) is key to keeping your sanity through it all, whether you deliver au naturel or in an emergency cesarean.

One of my favorite quotes from  probably my favorite childbirth book ever by Ina May Gaskin goes like this: 
“Remember this, for it is as true and true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.” 
I have been taking that quote quite seriously ever since I read it. And in my quest to change my thinking about my birth and my body, as well as educate others, I thought I would post the words that have been speaking to me as of late. God's people were commanded in Deuteronomy 6 to take God's word in a serious, respectful, reverent manner, to think on it continually, and to have it in plain view. Check it out:
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6: 4-9, NLT
And why? So that they would "be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued [them] from slavery in the land of Egypt" (Deut. 6:12, NLT). 

That glorious tub is going to come in handy!
In preparing to embark on another journey through childbirth, I was looking to relaxation therapy CD's, suggested by others to try hypnobirthing techniques, and searching for what I could settle in and meditate on. The reoccurring thought that I can keep coming back to is that the God has provided for us all along this pregnancy, so why should I have to turn anywhere else but Him for that sustaining power? that peace? that tranquility? that safety and security? In order not to forget the promises of God, I now have all of these scriptures taped to the walls and mirrors in my bathroom and in our room, since that will most likely be my birthing venue of choice.

Here are the words, inspired by God, transcribed by man, that are so influencing me lately. I am not capable of doing this on my own- of doing anything on my own!- but with Him, and the husband He gave me, it will be amazing. Think on these words and they will give you peace- whether you are birthing a baby, or just in one of life's stressful valleys.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Children are a heritage from the Lord,offspring a reward from him. Psalm 127:3 
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14 
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3 
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
Psalm 40: 1-3, 5 
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31 
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34: 4, 8 
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16 
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him.
Psalm 37: 7a 
You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pumpkin Update: 35 Weeks and Counting!

I realized this is my 3rd pregnancy, and I have always been too embarrassed of the way I look to ever take a picture of my actual bare belly. Yeah, there is extra skin, and stripes, and flab, but it's still beautiful. I am a real mom. I don't have a trainer. I have never been thin. I have always been jealous of friends that have had 2,3,4,5,6 kids and have beautiful bodies...but my pregnancy is no less cute, no less of a miracle growing in me, nothing to be ashamed of! I have struggled forever with this issue, and in thinking about things today- I have realized that a pregnancy, a life forming- is beautiful, no matter where that pregnancy is being housed. Embracing myself, the victories of two pregnancies, and this new life inside.
How Far Am I: According to my dates, about 35 weeks, 3 days. Winding down! It's more of a due "month", so our newest pumpkin will be arriving some time in the next 3-7 weeks. I am not stressing about the date at all.
Baby's Gender: Anticipating a boy but the ultrasound was a tad iffy...
How Much Weight Have I Gained: Roughly 20lbs. We will see next week at our midwife visit. I was being a real stickler about my weight gain...and then last month, our dog had explosive diarrhea in our bathroom, all over the scale...needless to say, I haven't weighed my self at home since then because the scale  got pitched!
Cravings: None whatsoever as of late. A piece of chocolate would be nice every once in a while, but since I never buy it, it's never here to tempt me!
Baby Movement: Those big swirly flips are a thing of the past at this point. Baby was head down at our appointment for 33 weeks, and hasn't gone anywhere! I get lots of little wiggles and such, and baby their rump up under the right side of my rib cage almost always. All my babies have been right-side-of-the-belly kiddos, probably due to where my placenta has attached.
Look at that belly! Not much room for stretching out!
Body Changes: So many lately! I think the baby is dropping into my pelvis- which has it's pros and cons. I can breathe a little easier and I don't get so much heartburn, but my feet have started swelling up as the day goes on and I have to pee constantly now. My ring has always fit on the snug side, and I usually have to remove it about the time I hit the 3rd trimester...the good news is, I haven't had much swelling in my feet or hands until the last week or so, compared with starting around 28 weeks or sooner. I think it is due to me being at home, not on a nursing floor for 12+ hours at work.
Sleep Habits: I am sleeping less and less. We aim for 8 hours a night, but with getting up to pee every few hours, and rearrange pillows, it amounts to much less :) It's God's way of preparing me to be up every 2 hours after our little one arrives!
What Micah (5) /Levi (18 mos) Think of the Baby: Micah surprised Jose and I last week when we were  asking him if he wanted to be here when the baby came. We were talking about how the baby gets his food (a cord goes from mommy to the baby, so he gets all he needs), and Micah asked if he could cut the cord after the baby came out. I looked at Jose, who looked at me, and we said that would be okay as long as he was there. TOTALLY threw me that he would think about the cord getting cut. We asked if he was sleeping, would he want to wake up for the baby to come, or just meet the baby in the morning, and he wanted to be woken up.
Baby Prep So Far: My mom and dad bought us some new diapering supplies as their new baby gift, as well as some cloth nursing pads. All of those have been washed and prepped. We got the Moses basket set up in our room, along with the playpen where we change diapers and keep supplies. All the teeny tiny clothes have been washed and folded, and are in bins in our room, since that is where baby will be sleeping for the first few months. We are slowly trying to move Levi over to Micah's room, but it hasn't been going well so far, so we aren't pushing it. He absolutely loves his crib, and though he thinks the big boy bed in Micah's room is cool to read on, he wants nothing to do with it come sleepy time. Oh well, we'll get there! This week, I am starting to cook some meals larger, and freeze half so we have some easy meals for after baby comes and Jose is helping out. So far we have sloppy joes, and pulled pork...  I have to be honest, I had a few moments this week where I started letting things get to me. My best friend is throwing me a "shower on the go," for people that want to send us things for the baby, and it's been so hard to just trust that God has every aspect of this baby under control, and to settle in and see what we get. We all know that babies come when they are ready...but I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that it's happening so fast! I feel like there is so much to "do", or to "get," or to "take care of," before then... then I remember- does he have a place to sleep? Check. Milk to eat? Check. Clothes to wear? Check. Diapers to dirty? Check. Reminding my self that everything else on my to do/get/finish lists can wait.
Birth Prep: We were able to order our birth kit thanks to my sister Michaela, which has all kinds of supplies that our midwife uses, like gloves, a cord clamp, chux pads, and the like. We also got a mattress bag (basically a king-sized ziplock bag to protect your mattress during birth, if that's where you decide to have your baby), and a friend of ours gave us some hand me down sheets- which is awesome, since I don't want to have to ruin nice pretty sheets.
Part of our birth kit included this awesome prayer (which is taped to my computer screen), and a beautiful footprint card.
Name Ideas: We have some names picked out for a boy and a girl just in case, but I have a really hard time with telling people what they are because I am so afraid that baby will arrive, and we will go, "No, wait, that's not your name!" Micah and Levi were so easy to name, and this time around it's much harder.
Plus Sized, Nursing, and Pregnant: Big mistake last week counting Levi as having weaned. He didn't nurse or ask to for 4 days...then out of the blue, has picked it back up again. I have started making colostrum, and I think him nursing again is the combo that he is finally getting something after the tap being dry for the last few months, combined with 2 teeth coming in right now. I am just taking it all in stride. He is just barely 19 months, and I figured at the beginning of my pregnancy that I would end up tandem nursing because he has always been a boob child. He will give it up on his own. For now, he has learned nursing manners- he asks "please," and knows that he has to wait. I really only let him at bed time or nap time, so he knows not to ask if we are out and about. Last night, after nursing him, I clipped up my nursing top and he said "night night, -urse." He either calls it "nu-nu's" or says nurse without the "n." I am cherishing every last little minute with him and Micah as a mommy of two, as well as my time with Jose, since I know things are going to get very interesting in a few short weeks!