10 days old (pics) and a bit of an update

I know, I know – all I seem to do anymore is post pictures. :oP I’m trying to find the time to write some actual posts, but it just hasn’t happened yet.

So in the meantime, I decided to get out of bed yesterday and take some pictures of my “little” boy (he weighed 10 lbs., 6 oz. at his one week check-up) before he loses all of his newborn characteristics. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to doing it until the sun was setting (doh!), so I only had 15 minutes of daylight to snap, snap, snap away.

Here are the best ones of the bunch. :)

Julian at 10 days old

Things are going well pretty here.

Julian is a cuddly little bundle, who nurses well and sleeps a lot.

I may have jinxed myself earlier by saying how well Ava was adapting. She is definitely in love with her baby brother, but she has had some meltdowns in the past week. I think it’s been hard for her to share mom and dad. Some days are better than others. Yesterday was really hard, but today was much, much better. While daddy or Aunt Carrie have been good about getting her out of the house most days, I think it helped that she had a playdate with another child today.

I am feeling good. I had a couple of migraines last week and ended up taking my acupuncturist up on her offer to come out to the house to treat me and prescribe more Chinese herbs. So she was here on Saturday and did a bit of acupuncture and got me more herbs (that taste even worse than what I had prenatally). Blah. No more migraines though since she came to see me. I’m knocking wood that they are gone (at least for a while).
I have my 2 week check up with my midwife on Thursday, then I don’t see her again until 6 weeks postpartum. After seeing her so much these past few weeks, I will probably go through withdrawal.

Jody is home from work this week again, which is wonderful. His help around the house and with the kiddos is priceless. I’m feeling very thankful for my husband.

The photographer is coming to our house on Friday to take some family pictures of us. I’m looking forward to that because (for a change) I will be able to just relax and be with my family while she worries about all the photography stuff. :)

Now for my random thought:
I can’t believe it’s already December! We haven’t done anything to decorate for the holidays yet. That might have to wait until my parents get here next week. Oh, and Christmas shopping?? Hmmm, that might all be done via the Internet this year.

So that’s us in a nutshell. Hope you all are doing well. :) I’m trying to read up on my regular posters when I can, but I don’t usually have time to comment these days. (Sorry!) Hugs. :)

We are getting close!

Every time I head out to the grocery stores (Safeway or Vitamin Cottage) the past few weeks, I wonder if it’s going to be my last trip before baby. And because I’m in major nesting mode, I end up stocking up on more and more things each trip. If I end up going to 42 weeks before having this child, our house is going to be seriously bursting with food!

Today I decided to pick up an organic cake and frosting mix (never tried one of those before) to make while I’m in labor so we have a birthday cake for baby boy. Ava immediately told me that she will have a piece of it. ;) I think it will be something fun for us to do together in the early stages of labor and will be a nice way to celebrate the little one’s arrival. :) I wanted to get chocolate cake AND chocolate frosting, but settled on a marble cake mix with choco frosting, because I know not everyone (*ahem* – Jody) likes chocolate as much as Ava and me.

I also bought some things for our Thanksgiving dinner today, including stuffing mix, ingredients to make a pumpkin pie, and cool whip. I’m not exactly sure who’s going to be making our Thanksgiving dinner because my sister may well be flying back to MI to spend it with her boyfriend (provided that baby boy has made his grand entrance) and my parents will probably not be in town yet – so I’m thinking Jody it is (with me yelling instructions from the bed or couch – hee, hee). I plan on making the pie this weekend and freezing it and may end up making some side dishes that can be frozen if I have time next week.

My estimated due date is Nov. 16 – less than a week away. After today is done, I feel like I am OK to have this baby. The photographer who’s coming to photograph the birth had a wedding to shoot today, but after that her calendar can be easily freed up. So I think baby boy and I will have a talk tonight so that he knows that any time he’s ready to come now, we are ready to meet him. :)

I went for another acupuncture appointment on Wednesday. All is going well and the supervisor of the clinic I go to was very encouraged by my recent lab results. She mixed up a special blend of Chinese herbs for me (in addition to my usual “pregnancy” herbs) to be cooked up while I’m in labor and drank right after the baby is born to help prevent hemorrhaging (which was an issue with Ava because my platelet levels were so low). She also said to call her if I do have any bleeding and she will come to my house with other herbs that will help my recovery. So nice of her! But anyway, the way everything with this pregnancy has been so different (for the better) from my pregnancy with Ava, I feel like while it’s great that we have courses of action for “just in case” scenarios, everything is going to go so well with this birth that we won’t need any of it. :)

My midwife STRONGLY recommends that I take it very easy for the first two weeks after the birth, which will help significantly with my recovery. (She suggests this with all of her clients, I’m no exception.) In fact, for the first three days after he’s born, she wants me laying in bed with the baby, sleeping as much as possible (even though I may feel great). I have to admit, that part is rather appealing to me. Sure, I know I will have a baby pretty much attached to my breast the whole time, but just chillin’ with the little guy will be nice. After day 3, I can venture downstairs, but still need to stay off my feet and am NOT to do any cooking, laundry, picking up toddlers, etc. I think after a week I can start spending a little time on my feet (no more than 10 minutes at a time), but still should not be cooking or doing household chores. (Do you see why I’m not fighting this? *wink, wink*) Although I am sure that I will start getting a little stir crazy and will want to be getting back into the swing of things, which she says is fine by the time I am 2 weeks postpartum. So we’ll see how it goes. I think having the house well-stocked with food, organic fruits and veggies delivered to the house each Monday, as well as having our milk delivered, it should help Jody out a lot. Thankfully, he has two weeks paternity time off work to be here with us, and has some additional vacation time he may take later. After he goes back to work, my parents plan on coming from MI to help out with Ava for another week or so. I am sure all of this assistance will be very much welcome as we adjust to our new life.

So now, the waiting game begins. :)

By the way, the picture of the book above, “Welcome With Love,” is a wonderful children’s book about natural childbirth. In the book, Jack, his family and the midwife await the homebirth of his baby brother. There are beautiful pictures depicting the midwife preparing for the birth, mom in labor, the birth itself, the baby after he is born with the umbilical cord attached, and many lovely images of the family. Ava has greatly enjoyed reading this book in the last few months and I think it well prepares any child for the natural birth of a sibling, whether it be a homebirth or hospital birth.

Take this and call me in the morning

I got my first batch of Chinese herbs from the acupuncture clinic this week. The instructor told me she didn’t see a crucial need for me to take them (because I’m appearing quite healthy – yay!), but it certainly wouldn’t hurt if I did. So she gave me the option to try them if I wanted. She put in some herbs for keeping my blood pressure down and boosting my liver function, and said she has another herb to add the next time around that’s for my uterus (I think?), but it may start causing contractions so she wanted to wait until I’m at least 36 weeks. My instructions were to cook them up in 4 cups of water, then divide into 6 parts – drinking 1/6 in the morning and at night for 3 days.

They honestly didn’t smell that bad while still in the brown paper bag – sort of “new agey,” but not nasty. HOWEVER, when I finally got around to cooking them up this morning – LOOK OUT! – oh my, did they ever stink (as did my whole house)! The smell sort of resembled dirt and pot (but not in a good way).

I was disappointed by how much liquid was left after boiling them for 45 minutes too. I figured a lot more would burn off, thus leaving me less to drink. But no. There was still quite a bit remaining that I was supposed to gag down consume.

I decided to get it over with and take the first swig (while Jody stood by with the camera to capture my reaction – before and after). As you can see by the look on my face, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be (though I think I look like I was going to cry or bust out laughing). I didn’t run to the toilet and hurl and I didn’t spit it back into the glass. ;) I mean, it was not a good-tasting drink by any means, but it wasn’t *that* foul. I think the smell was worse than the taste. So I successfully drank down my first 1/2 cup of Chinese herbal tea today and have lived to tell the tale. :)

Added 10/15/06 8:37 p.m.: Just found this interesting info about wolfberries (which are the red berries in the pic) on Wikipedia: “Wolfberries and Lycium bark have long played important roles in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), where they are believed to enhance immune system function, improve eyesight, protect the liver, boost sperm production, and improve circulation, among other effects. In TCM terms, wolfberries are sweet in taste and neutral in nature; they act on the liver, lung, and kidney channels and enrich yin. They can be eaten raw, consumed as juice or wine, brewed into a tea, or prepared as a tincture.”

Latest happenings in baby world

There’s not too terribly much to report on the baby boy front, but I thought I’d post a lil update anyway since I’m quickly approaching the end of this pregnancy. Where did it all go??

I’m 32 weeks and still feeling good, though getting a bit more uncomfortable because of my growing belly. Friends have told me my belly looks small for being due in two months, but it feels huge to me.

My midwife sent me for a liver panel (labwork) a few weeks ago to make sure my liver is functioning properly, since liver function is something that breaks down with HELLP syndrome. Everything checked out good with it. I think I’m going to do another one at 36 weeks.

Also in the preventative vein, I went for more acupuncture, but this time to the acupuncture college clinic in town, where they also prescribe Chinese herbs. The supervisor of the OB/GYN clinic used to be a midwife and is very knowledgable about treating pregnant women. I met with her on Wednesday and she definitely wants to see me start on the herbs soonish. She said they are going to taste just awful and make my house smell nasty (I have to cook them up every three days and drink some twice a day), but she thinks they are the best thing I can do (even better than acupuncture) right now. So I’m going back this week to get my first batch of herbs **gulp**, as well as more acupuncture. I’m sure I’ll be reporting back. She also noted that my tongue was a little red, which in Chinese medicine means I have too much heat (though not in the traditional Western sense of heat). But it’s not a good thing for a pregnant woman to have so she’s hoping that will lessen with treatment. I don’t really understand what it means myself other than my body might be working a bit harder than it needs to.

At my last midwife appointment on Thursday, everything was good. My blood pressure is remaining normal, I’ve not had any swelling (like I did big time with Ava), baby’s heartbeat is good, he’s still head down, etc. We scheduled my next appointment for 34 weeks and also tentatively scheduled my 36 week appointment which will be “the home visit” and take place at my house rather than my midwife’s. It’s a chance for my midwife and the midwife who will be assisting her at my birth (there are generally 2 midwives at every birth) to make sure they can find my house, talk more about what will be set up where in the house (like the birthing tub), what everyone’s roles will be (Jody’s and Carrie’s – who will be here to help out with Ava), and just answer any questions we have about the birth. It’s exciting and scary to think that it’s coming up sooooooo soon!

In the meantime, I need to order my “birth kit” which contains a lot of the medical-type supplies needed for the birth and after, as well as get all of the rest of the supplies (towels, bowls, old sheets/plastic cover for the mattress, etc.) that we will need.

So that’s where we currently stand. Unfortunately, we still owe the midwife over $1,000 and have to be paid up by 36 weeks, so we’re trying to figure out where that money is going to come from. Eep. It’s kind of hard to think that if we went the hospital-route, everything would be covered by insurance, but because we’ve chosen the homebirth-route, we have to pay over $2,000 out of pocket. BUT, BUT, BUT…I really feel like it will be soooooooo worth it to experience the kind of peaceful birth that I desire in our own familiar surroundings. And there’s a good chance we can get the insurance company to reimburse us for some of the money after it’s all said and done. We just can’t hold our breath waiting for that.

The lil one continues to be an active lil guy, especially in the middle of the night when I’m trying to sleep. ;) Funny how that works.

Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far. So much for being a “lil update.” LOL ;) And thanks for all the continued support and positive pregnancy/homebirth vibes. :)

By the way, plaques like the one pictured above can be personalized and purchased here.

Sick and tired

I have a full-blown cold and feel like total crap. I must have gone through at least 75 tissues (and sneezed well over 100 times – seriously – usually I do 4 or 5 sneezes at a time) today. (I so need to get my hands on one of those contraptions in the pic!) My nose is sore and red. My throat hurts. I took a short nap today, but I’m still tired.

Ava has a cold too (she got it first), but thankfully seems to be on the mend.

Jody is out playing D&D with his friends tonight (don’t get me started), but my sister is over hanging out and entertaining Ava.

I am taking Ava’s homeopathic cold remedy and am hoping this won’t last too much longer (though I just started feeling sick last night). I also plan to try a cold remedy that my midwife recommended (involving fresh grated ginger and fresh grated garlic mixed honey and hot water with fresh lemon juice) tomorrow, now that my sis was kind enough to go buy some ginger and more garlic for me tonight. It sounds soothing.

I guess the good news in all of this is that there’s a 3-day weekend on the horizon and Jody can play nurse if he needs to.

Sorry for being such a whiney baby, but that’s how I feel. **Sigh**

28 week maternity pics

Since I have a maternity photoshoot for an acquaintance scheduled for this weekend, I thought I better take out my trusted camera and get some good practicing in yesterday while Ava napped. Seeing how I have a baby belly myself and a desire to document my pregnancy as well, I figured I’d try my hand at some self-portraits. Eeep! It was a lot harder than I thought. First of all, it’s NOT easy to get the focus right when you are using a timer and have nobody to stand in for you. Secondly, it’s a lot of work going back and forth from the camera to the backdrop (in a house without A/C) in between each picture. I took probably 40 pictures and have about 8 that I’m sort of happy with, and 2 that I will share here. :)

Here I am – one day shy of 28 weeks:

I saw my midwife on Tuesday and everything is going well. I got to hear baby boy’s heartbeat through the stethescope which was really amazing since it was just pure heartbeat and not all the ambient noise you hear when you listen with a doppler. She felt him a lot (and could feel limbs, his butt, his back) and he is head down, though his head is off to the side. She gently reminded him where the exit is. ;)
My blood pressure is great and no protein in my urine.
She got my records from Ava’s birth so we went over those a bit and talked about what signs they saw that lead up to them admitting me, inducing and deciding I had HELLP syndrome. From what she could tell, I either had a very mild case of HELLP or they caught it VERY early. Either way, it’s reassuring, though it makes me wonder if there really was the urgency to induce as quickly as they did. Ah well, it’s water under the bridge and there’s no undoing it now. The good news is that I’m not showing any indication that I may develop HELLP this time around. :) *Knock wood*

I had my second acupuncture appointment today and it went well. I began to feel relaxed as soon as she started putting the needles in. I think someone on my blog inquired as to if I’ve noticed any difference since starting the acupuncture and I’ve read that it usually takes 4-6 visits to see a difference. My heartburn has lessened a lot though lately but I don’t know if that’s from the acupuncture or the changes I’ve made to my diet (like not drinking liquids with meals and avoiding some trigger foods) or it could be a combination. Obviously, with her treating my internal organs (liver and kidneys primarily), I’m not going to notice any difference. But she is also doing some work on some upper back pain I’ve been having, so we’ll see if that gets better.

I need to set aside time to do more relaxation work to help me prepare for the birth. In fact, since the kiddo is napping, I think I’ll go do that now.

Oh, one last pregnancy-related thing…the great book I’m currently reading – Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. It’s a wonderful, inspirational read. I HIGHLY recommend it to all pregnant women or those who plan on having children someday.

“Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention.

Filled with inspiring birth stories and practical advice, this invaluable resource includes:
• Reducing the pain of labor without drugs–and the miraculous roles touch and massage play
• What really happens during labor
• Orgasmic birth–making birth pleasurable
• Episiotomy–is it really necessary?
• Common methods of inducing labor–and which to avoid at all costs
• Tips for maximizing your chances of an unmedicated labor and birth
• How to avoid postpartum bleeding–and depression
• The risks of anesthesia and cesareans–what your doctor
doesn’t necessarily tell you
• The best ways to work with doctors and/or birth care providers
• How to create a safe, comfortable environment for
birth in any setting, including a hospital
• And much more

Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth takes the fear out of childbirth by restoring women’s faith in their own natural power to give birth with more ease, less pain, and less medical intervention.”