Wednesday, February 6, 2013

AnnaSophia's Birth Story (1 Month Old)

Dear AnnaSophia,

Mommy and Daddy prayed for you and we were so happy to learn that God was forming you in my tummy. We had been told that it would be hard to get pregnant on our own, but God had a plan for you to bring Himself glory and He didn’t care what the doctors said. As soon as we learned of God’s work I was filled with fear. I knew that I could not control what would happen to you and it’s always a little scary to have to completely trust that God will work things together for good. God was so gracious though and He taught me that if I surrendered your wellbeing to Him then He would fill me with peace…and that is just what He did.
            Even though I knew that God was in control I wanted to do my part and make my body as healthy as I could. I wanted to prepare a safe place for you that would help you to grow big and strong. I wanted to make sure that the little part that I played in your being would be to the best that I could. I started eating all kinds of good foods, even when I didn’t want to and I continued to exercise to keep my muscles strong so that I could bring into the world completely natural. 

            Through much prayer we decided that we wanted to take the risk of paying for a Birth Center instead of going to a hospital. There was a little more fear in my heart over this decision, because there was no guarantee that we wouldn’t have complications and end up at a hospital anyway. But we felt that this was the best decision for our family and for you. Looking back I now see that God was at work. We developed deep relationships with our Midwives and they played a huge part in making your entrance into the world so special.  We also attended a class to prepare for birth and that is where we met Cathy, our doula who loves the Lord and was there to support mommy while she was in labor. 
Mayanne and Jo Anne our fabulous Midwives!

            After months and months of anxious waiting, mommy found herself starting to fear again. You were getting big and you were “overdue” and even though I had prepared myself for all those things, I began to doubt that you would ever make it here. Again people prayed for me and for you and God worked in my heart, reminding me that He knew you and that He had formed you and that He would bring you out in His time.  I had to accept that if things didn’t go as I had planned, if for some reason at 42 weeks I had to go to a hospital and be induced, then that was okay. I trusted God and His plan, because you are His and we are just stewards of you while we have you. 

            God was faithful and you did come! Exactly 1 week after your “guess date” you made your appearance. It was one of the most beautiful days of my life and the Lord was there beside us as we welcomed you into the world. I had been having light contractions the day before. It was a Saturday and Daddy and I had spent some time at the gym. I mostly walked and rolled around on a yoga ball, hoping to encourage your little noggin to get in just the right place. I had been trying all sorts of natural ways to help you out, though I am sure you would have done just fine on your own. The contractions continued all day Saturday, but they never hurt and they were never consistent. They were just enough of a hint to let me know that you were on your way very soon.  I went to bed as usual and woke up at 6:20 and knew this was the day. The practice contractions had developed into real contractions and they were strong enough to keep me awake and they were coming roughly every 6 minutes. I decided to wake daddy up at 7:00 and we rested on the couch together and watched TV. We didn’t want to get overly excited, because we learned that adrenaline slows down labor and we knew we would need to be rested when things stated to pick up.

             I lost the plug that was keeping you in around 7:50 so I knew that things were progressing. Our friend, and student midwife JoAnne came over around 11:00 and let us know that I was 2 cm dilated, which was encouraging, but I knew there was still a long way to go.  We let our families and close friends know that you were really on your way and everyone started praying again. There were at least two Church Families that prayed for you during their morning worship service.

 Our friend Cortney came over to bring lunch and comfort me after Church and just as I had laid down to get my back massage I had another contraction and this one was accompanied by a Pop! I managed to make it to the bathroom with out making mess all over the floor, but it was clear that my “water had broken.”  

            Jo Anne came back over and said it was time to head to our birth center so she called Mayanne, our midwife, and we started packing. My contractions started to pick up and I wasn’t very excited about the car ride ahead of us, but once again God was gracious and as I labored in the car and hugged my pillow I even managed to get some rest between contractions.

Once we made it to the Birth Center it was time to get down to business. Your Daddy was the best birth coach; he never left my side! I started in the Birth tub, since water birth was my ideal birth situation, but the water was too cold and my contractions and shivering together were too violent. Through the next several hours mommy labored all over our birth room; laying on the bed, on the birth ball, on the birth stool, on the toilet, in the shower and daddy was right there to give me water or food or chapstick. He even squeezed my hips through contractions to take some pain off my back. At one point he shivered in his swim trunks as I hogged all the water in the shower. He was definitely mommy’s hero that day!

The contractions were strong, but they never were more than I could handle. God was ministering to my soul the whole time showing me His beautiful plan in childbirth. He had designed my body to grow and bear life. As I would get a contraction my body would adjust to that level of pain and after a while it would get a little stronger, then my body would adjust to that pain and it would go on and on.

The most precious moment during labor happened while mommy was sitting on a birthing stool wrapped in warm towels. The lights were low and there were candles (flameless) light, the fire was glowing and everyone was sitting in a circle. Jesus Paid it all came on the playlist and daddy had them turn it up. The room was filled with praises as we all started to sing. The pain was still there, but the presence of the Lord was overwhelming. 

Cortney came over and started to braid my hair.  I began to cry as I thought back to how we had longed for this day. Before I knew it I was sobbing. Mayanne asked why I was crying, I am sure she thought I was in terrible pain.
“She wasn’t supposed to exist!” I exclaimed through sobs.
“What do you mean she wasn’t supposed to exist?”
“The doctors told us that we wouldn’t be able to have children” I managed to sneak out.
At this point I know Cortney was crying too because she spoke up and shared how we had been praying for you and you were finally here

Sometime after that I experienced a shocking contraction in which my body heaved on its own, my contractions were intense and I felt sick to my stomach. I remember our Doula telling me at one point “I know it might not seem like it, but there is a peace here”.  But I felt the flood of fear coming over my body and I decided that I wasn’t going to allow my body to get sick or heave like that again. And on my own will my labor stalled. Mayanne brought me a homeopathic remedy to help give me energy and hopefully cause my contractions to pick back up and I headed back to the shower. Daddy sat outside handing me water and labor aid and I had to face my fears.

As I was alone in the shower battling myself, Mayanne came to check on me. It was the first time I actually admitted that I was afraid. I was afraid that the contractions would get much harder, that I still had to go through transition. I was afraid that the pain would be like what you see on TV and I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Mayanne brought me another homeopathic remedy and said it would help with fear. I remember thinking she was just giving me sugar pills and telling me that they helped. But I knew that what I really needed was to trust the Lord. After all that is what He had been teaching me all through pregnancy. I repeated to myself over and over “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and self-control” I cried out to the Lord and asked him to give me His strength and I told Him that I trusted Him. With the next contraction I let the fear go and I embraced the pain and I knew it was time to push.

I got out of the shower and waddled to the bed with daddy’s help, stopping twice for contractions.  Mayanne said she wanted to check and see that I was completely dilated. Since my last check was at 11am we really had no idea how far along I was. My instincts were right and Mayanne said that I could start pushing whenever I wanted. It was 10 pm. After a few pushes on the bed we decided that it wasn’t the best position and Mayanne had us change things up. Daddy squatted; leaning against the bed and mommy did the same bracing herself against his knees for support. With one push you were crowning. It was amazing how my body would follow my lead as I pushed it would respond with a contraction. Within a few minutes your head was out, followed quickly by the rest of your little body. You were born at 10:15 pm. Words cannot describe those precious moments as daddy and I both wept for joy and you were placed on my chest and the three of us embraced. We spent time loving on you as you took your first breaths, admiring your little hands and toes. You were so alert. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating; giving you the last bit of good blood and then daddy cut the cord. The Lord truly blessed us with you and we thank Him each day for knitting you together in mommy’s tummy, growing you strong and healthy, and bringing you safely into this world. You are a tiny little miracle and the Lord has a plan for you. We love you so much! Happy 1 month baby girl!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Waiting Game (40 weeks)

I now understand...well at least sympathize with scheduled inductions/c-sections. I have been preparing myself all along that Baby Girl would most likely be "overdue" as is true for most first time moms. But there was something so exciting about hitting 37 weeks and the fact that she COULD be born at any time. The last month is definitely the hardest and the days seem to go by slower! 

Then once your due date comes and goes it can be really discouraging. I found myself thinking this week "what if she never comes?" Every well meaning "when is that baby going to get here?" would make me want to just cry and say "I don't know if she is ever going to come!" Well not quite that dramatic, but you get the point, it was hard. I am so thankful to have midwifery care that is encouraging and doesn't treat me being "overdue" as a concern. Baby girl is healthy and she isn't in any distress so there is no medical need for an induction at this point. I know that if I had an OB pushing me towards induction, it would be so easy to give in when I am so anxious to meet our little girl.
Despite my bursts of discouragement through the week, I was also really encouraged thinking that God knows my baby and he knows all of her days. He has her birthday already planned, down to the very second. I found myself meditating on scripture like "unless the lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. (Psalm 127:1)" and "'Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery?' says the LORD. 'Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?' says your God. (Isaiah 66:9 NASB)" Waiting is so hard, but I know that God is using this time to teach me to depend on him. It's so hard to wait because I can't control it. Pregnancy is so very humbling, as I have learned to walk by faith and trust in the Lord and praise him regardless of the results. 

Things I have done this week to keep busy and distracted
  • Devotions 
  • Cleaning out the closet
  • Packing my bag for the Birth Center
  •  Walks around the neighborhood
  • Dinner with friends
  • Dates with hubby
  • Crocheting...I just learned this week!
  • Decorating the nursery
  • Prepping my cloth diapers
  •  Finishing the last season of 24!
    Natural Induction/Encouragement Methods
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Herbal labor prep
  • Pineapple
  • Time with the Hubby ;-)
  • Acupressure (ankle and skin between index finger and thumb)
  • Acupuncture  (ankles, hands, pinky toes, collar bones)  
  • Pelvic Rocks
  • Sitting on a yoga/birthing ball    
  • Rebozo sifting

How far along? 40 weeks
Baby size: A Jackfruit (i dont know what that is either)! About 20 inches long and weighing nearly 8lbs.
Total weight gain/loss: 52lbs yikes! That is going to be fun to lose, really thankful that I will be breastfeeding you burn 500 calories a day just sitting there. 
Maternity clothes? I have been wearing sweatpants and slippers all week. I try to wear a nice shirt with my black yoga pants and pretend that I am dressed up.
Stretch marks? I have some tiger stripes (or zebra stripes as my hubby put it!)

Sleep: I love sleep! I have been a little more sleepy this week, taking cat naps here and there. 
Highlights/Best moments this week: Hubby had the whole week off from work...we were hoping baby girl would make her appearance while he had it off, but it was nice to spend time together as a couple. We went to the gym 4 days this week I swam, walked, and Zumba-ed...pretty much anything that would encourage our sweet baby to get in a good position. 

I started acupuncture this week at my chiropractor appointments. I was really nervous about the pain, but surprisingly it didn't hurt at all, with the exception of the needle in my pinky toes.  We decided to do acupuncture because it releases oxytocin  and stimulates definitely works! We are just waiting for the contractions to be strong enough to be considered labor. ;-)

We completed the nursery (see Project Nursery part 2) and I cleaned out our closet, put away maternity clothes and summer/spring clothes. Cleaned the house...twice and I think I will do it again haha. Oh and I finally started packing my Birth Center Bag. 

Miss Anything? I am looking forward to having a "normal" sized body again. It's getting too hard to get up and down. I hope I never see 200lbs again, its too much work!
Movement: She is still moving, not crazy big movements, but she is big enough in there that her little movements are noticeable.

Food cravings: ummm... I have been trying to eat salad and protein this week to prepare my body for labor...I may have snuck in a few cookies too
Anything making you queasy or sick: No sickness
Have you started to show yet: yes
Gender : It's a GIRL!!
Symptoms: swollen feet, frequent bathroom breaks, back ache, nesting, braxton hicks contractions, huge bump, colostrum, baby on my pelvic bone.
Belly Button in or out? outie
Wedding rings on or off? off and around my neck.
Happy or Moody most of the time: happy and anxious...sometimes discouraged, but mostly humbled!
Looking forward to:  I AM HAVING A BAB

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Project Nursery [Part Two] (40 weeks 3 days)

Today we finally put all the finishing touches on the "nursery." It has been a fun project to turn our single bedroom into a bedroom and a Nursery and we are quite content with the outcome!

Here is what it looked like when we started


And then we painted

Daddy put the crib together soon after

And following many weeks of baby steps this is the final result...


 Aren't these precious?! I can't wait for AnnaSophia to wear them! You can get yours HERE!

Now all we need is Baby Girl!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

For Unto Us a Child is Born (39 weeks)

I just haven't had time to make a chalkboard the past few weeks. I am so busy, which helps me not to just think about how badly I want to meet baby girl. 

How far along? 39 weeks
Baby size: A Watermelon! About 20 inches long and weighing "a bit over 7 lbs)... actually their guess this week was that she is in the upper 8s. Just like I want her. I really like the idea of a 9 lb baby they are harder to break lol
Total weight gain/loss: 48.5
Maternity clothes? This week I have mostly worn dresses. They are just more comfy and I dont have to keep pulling them up.
Stretch marks? Still aren't super noticeable, but they are there alright.

Sleep: I have actually slept really well this week. It can be hard to get comfortable, but I sleep hard when I sleep. It's been strange to wake up with sore hips from laying on my side all night. 
Highlights/Best moments this week: Baby girl rotated this week and was anterior. I am pretty sure she went right back though... still trying to "spin" this baby.
This week we celebrated my birthday, had a Christmas Eve service that included a true Nativity Story. We had so much fun! We also had Christmas dinner with a family from Church. It is so nice to realize that even though we are away from our biological family, God has blessed us with another family of believers. 

This Christmas God really opened my eyes to what it meant for Christ to be born. God humbled himself to be born in the form of a tiny baby. When I really think about that it gives new meaning to our Christmas Carols and it humbles my heart. I love how Bob Kauflin puts it, 

 Jesus, the eternal Son of God who before time was worshiped by countless angels, set aside his glory and entered the world through the birth canal of a young woman he had created.
He came not into a 21st century environment with trained doctors, sterilized instruments and fetal monitors, but into a 1st century cave filled with flies, animal excrement, and filth.
The fullness of deity took of residence in the body of a baby gasping for its first breath.
The one who spoke the universe into existence lay silent, unable to utter a word.
He came by choice and with the sole intention of redeeming a fallen and rebellious race through his perfect obedience, substitutionary death, and victorious resurrection.

When I meditate on that, I am ashamed of how commercialized Christmas has become. Traditions and time with family and even gifts are all a part of God's common grace to be enjoyed by us, but none of those things are what Christmas is about. 

My car is fixed, the nursery is mostly complete...just need to hang the curtains!

Miss Anything? I am just ready to hold my baby girl. I have loved being pregnant and I don't feel like I made some huge sacrifice, but I am so anxious to meet her.

Movement: She still moves around in there, mostly at night when I am falling asleep
Food cravings: Well it was Christmas so I just ate everything.
Anything making you queasy or sick: No sickness
Have you started to show yet: yes
Gender : It's a GIRL!!
Symptoms: My feet have been swelling more lately, but nothing too bad. I am definitely getting more emotional, my back hurts more frequently and I have to pee everytime I stand up.
Belly Button in or out? it's out and you can see it through my shirts 
Wedding rings on or off? off and around my neck.
Happy or Moody most of the time: mostly happy, but definitely moody at times
Looking forward to:  I am just looking forward to the fact that it will be no longer than 2 weeks tops before AnnaSophia is here! It's really happening!

"But Daddy, I Want This Baby Nowwww!"(38 weeks)

How far along? 38 weeks
Baby size: A Pumpkin! About 19.5 inches long and weighing 6.8 lbs... actually their guess this week was that she is close to 8. I always knew I would grow a big's all that protein (and maybe the cookies too :-) )
Total weight gain/loss: 45
Maternity clothes? I still have a hanging belly and few of my maternity clothes do the job... I just rock the saggy belly, because I refuse to buy more clothes at this point
Stretch marks? They are creeping up on me, they haven't gotten any worse than faint purple lines, but they are there.

Sleep: Sleep can be difficult some nights because my back starts to hurt. I am on a 2-3 hour schedule of waking up and rolling over. This should be good practice for nightly feedings in a few weeks.
Highlights/Best moments this week: Baby girl is still posterior so I am trying all sorts of exercises to get her to roll over. For example, I am currently sitting on a birthing ball as I type this. I have also started Rebozo sifting , which is just taking a scarf like fabric and lifting up on the belly and shaking back and forth. its supposed to soften your round ligaments and give baby a better chance at rolling over.
I started having car trouble this week... blah so I am hopeful that we will get it fixed before the baby gets here
This is my last week of being 22! I turn 23 on the 23rd and I will be 39 weeks pregnant! 
Miss Anything? I miss being able to bend over without lots of effort
Movement: Still moving, dancing, digging, building sand castles and just enjoying life in the womb

Food cravings: Still want Christmas goodies... and fruit. Fruit > Christmas Goodies
Anything making you queasy or sick: I did get car sick on our way home from our getaway.
Have you started to show yet: yes
Gender : It's a GIRL!!
Symptoms:My feet only swell on Sundays, indigestion, sore back, uncontrollable laughter and crying
Belly Button in or out? mostly out
Wedding rings on or off? off and around my neck.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy, but my moods can be unpredictable 
Looking forward to:  Still looking forward to getting stuff together, celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, having a few days with the hubby OH! seeing Les Miserables, and AnnaSophia's Birthday!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Full Term (37 weeks, with a little from 36)

How far along? 37 weeks
Baby size: A Winter Melon! About 19 inches long and weighing 6.25 lbs.
Total weight gain/loss: 40+
Maternity clothes? As you can see my belly just hangs out of everything at this point the word "maternity" doesn't make much difference anymore.
Stretch marks? At the very end of 37 weeks I can see the start of my first "real" stretchmarks...just when I thought I was getting out free.

Sleep: Sleep is decent... I have some trouble sometimes, but definitely not as bad as most people say it is.
Highlights/Best moments this week: Lets see since I skipped 36 weeks... We had our Birthday Planning Appointment and I tested negative for group beta strep woohoo! Baby Girl has been head down so that is one less thing to worry about. 
The Nursery is almost ready! We still have a few more finishing touches to put on it and then I will share more pictures. I have been washing lots of baby clothes and finding spots for them and I have even begun packign the diaper bag (that I am in love with!)
We decorated for Christmas which consists of a tree and some stockings.
At my 37 week appointment I was able to see one of the girls from my Bradley class leaving with her baby...It was so sweet she was only 38 weeks and everything was perfectly fine. It just got me really anxious and excited to meet little also made it more real, I am really going to have this baby soon! 
Hubby surprised me with a weekend getaway to a sweet little Brick house that we shared with our friends Shelby and Jordan (remember baby Jack?). We had a wonderful time to just relax before baby girl makes her debut.  I am sure lots more happened but that is what I remember ;-P
Miss Anything? umm...not being 200lbs its pretty hard work lol
Movement: She is moving quite a bit, but she likes to be posterior (her back against my back) which is really sweet when I get to feel her hands and feet, but we will want her to turn before labor....posterior babies make for killer back labor. This means I am doing lots of pelvic rocks.

Food cravings: Christmas goodies... what a terrible time to be pregnant!
Anything making you queasy or sick: nope!
Have you started to show yet: Well I would think so
Gender : It's a GIRL!!
Symptoms:My feet only swell on Sundays, indigestion, sore back, uncontrollable laughter and crying
Belly Button in or out? mostly out
Wedding rings on or off? off and around my neck.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy, but my moods can be unpredictable 
Looking forward to:  packing the diaper bag and mommy bag, our Christmas Eve service, BABY GIRL!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Nesting Begins (35 Weeks)

 Progress of the Baby Bump!

How far along? 35 weeks
Baby size: A honeydew! About 18.3 inches long and weighing 5.25 lbs.
Total weight gain/loss: I think around 35, but who can really tell?
Maternity clothes? I am now in need of more long sleeve winter shirts that cover this giant belly
Stretch marks? Still doing pretty good on the stretchmarks, only have the little ones on my sides
Sleep: Sleep is okay I had a few rough nights this week, but nothing really to complain about
Highlights/Best moments this week: This week I went to an aqua fitness class at the gym in addition to my Zumba. It turned out to be a lot more difficult than I anticipated, but it was nice to be able to jump and do ab workouts :-). By Wednesday this week I was sick and I layed on the couch from Thursday-Saturday. Hubby took off work to take care of me and it was such a huge help even though he fed me McDonalds, ChicFila, Pizza, and cookies (haha) my food log this week is horrendous! 

We were finally able to venture out and we picked up a few more cloth diapers for our stash and looked for some things for AnnaSophia's nook.  The whole time I was sick I also really wanted to clean and organize. I didn't have the energy to do all that, but I did prep my prefolds (washing them a few times so that they are absorbent) and wash some clothes...3 loads of tiny girl clothes! It's so fun to fold little girl clothes! I am sure I wont be saying that in a few months though. 

We also caught a mouse, well actually two, this week. They were hoping to sneak food from our pantry, but we tricked them with chocolate. At least they died happy.
Miss Anything? I miss sleeping on my stomach and not having to rock in order to get up
Movement: This week we played a game with baby girl. I would rub where I knew her feet were and say "where's your feet?" and then she would kick my hand and I would respond "there they are!" She even played with Lucas too! It was really sweet! We can't wait to play fun games with her when she gets here!

Food cravings: I haven't eaten too much in general this week since I have been feeling lousy.
Anything making you queasy or sick: nope!
Have you started to show yet: Yup
Gender : It's a GIRL!!
Symptoms:Still having joint pain, and its getting much harder to find a comfortable position to sit or lay in. 
Belly Button in or out? mostly out
Wedding rings on or off? off and around my neck.
Happy or Moody most of the time: I have been very needy this week since I have been feeling pathetic, but I am happy to be feeling a little better.
Looking forward to:  Christmas Caroling, our appointment this week (we will be going over what to do when labor starts/when to call or come in), Christmas season festivities, finishing touches on the nursery and the arrival of baby girl!