Friday, August 24, 2012

The Rings are Off! (21 weeks)

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How far along? 21 weeks 
Baby size: The length of a carrot! Averaging 10.5 inches (head to toe) and 12 ounces.
Total weight gain/loss: creeping up on 10lbs
Maternity clothes? Maternity Clothes are a must!

Stretch marks? Not yet!

Sleep: Sleep has been pretty great lately!

Best moment this week: My Friend Shelby is due any time and it has been exciting to wait for the news!
Miss Anything? I am pretty sure I could be pregnant forever!
Much more active this week! Daddy even got to feel her a few times.
Food cravings: It's back to wanting milk with everything.
Anything making you queasy or sick: This week I had a hard time wanting to eat my eggs each day. 
Have you started to show yet: YES! I am getting the ocasional tummy rub from people... and I love it!
Gender : It's a GIRL
Symptoms: This week I was very whiney 
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? officially off this week! I tried to make it work, but I was getting irritation so now they live happily around my neck.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Learning more about birth and then focusing on how to be the best parent.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Why We Chose a Natural, Out of Hospital Birth

Disclaimer: I would like to start by saying that I think that hospitals and technology are a blessing from God. I am very thankful that should something be abnormal about my pregnancy or labor, we have the option of going to a hospital. It is however our belief that under normal circumstances a woman’s body is fully capable of delivering a baby without drugs or medical assistance. Pregnancy and delivery are natural physiological processes that are beautifully design by God. We do not judge or look down on anyone who has had medicated births (I was a C-section baby) or choose this option for their family this is simply our conviction on the issue.
            I knew I wanted to have a natural birth from the beginning even though I wasn’t really sure why. I think I probably liked the idea of having the option of pain medication in case it got too difficult, but once I started educating myself about the birthing process my desire for the option was completely quenched. I was determined to learn as much as I could about birth, the process and the interventions.

Here are a few things I learned in my studying. 
·      I learned that the politics of birth are absurd in our country and insurance only likes to cover births done in a hospital that most likely costs between $15,000-30,000. But they wont cover a Birth Center birth performed by a professional midwife (the only certification that requires actual experience) which costs only $6, 000.
·      I learned that most doctors have never even witnessed a “normal” birth and that it’s much more common for the doctors to treat you like an ill patient in need of a remedy than a mother giving birth to a child.
·      I learned the term “cascade of interventions” and the effects that the interventions would not only have on me, but on our baby and I was shocked.
·      Most of all I learned that I, along with the rest of the American female population, had been very misinformed about pregnancy and birth. And we are all terrified! We watch sitcoms about women in excruciating pain as they are being rushed to the hospital and we cringe at the thought of giving birth. No wonder we are all screaming for the drugs and C-sections, no one is telling us that labor is normal and natural and that our bodies are made to accomplish this beautiful challenge that results in bringing a new life into the world.  I am not saying that labor isn’t painful; God promises that we will experience pain. Genesis 3:16a says, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.” The pain is to be expected, but in a normal, healthy pregnancy it isn’t unbearable.

Cascade of Interventions:
            The question a lot of women ask is “why should I put up with the pain if I don’t have to?”  Which, I think is very valid, the best way I can answer is by giving a common example. You are 40 weeks pregnant and you go in for a prenatal checkup. The doctor will say “wow your baby is 10 pounds we need to get him out!”  Even though it is completely possible to deliver a 10 lb. baby the thought is scary and not knowing that it is normal and that most first time pregnancies are 41 weeks or even later, you agree to an induction. You go in and they start by giving you a prostaglandin cream or more commonly now Cervidil (I wont even tell you what this was originally made of) to soften your cervix, then they give you Pitocin (which acts like your body’s natural hormone oxytocin….only not) to speed up your laboring process, it also causes your contractions to be much stronger and more frequent so the pain is intensified. You will most likely then ask for an epidural which numbs your pain and confines you to laying on your back (the worst position to actually give birth). Then the epidural slows down your labor so they increase your Pitocin to speed it back up and your contractions get worse, only you can’t feel it, but your baby can. These drugs have been given at a dosage that is safe for a woman your size and weight but a 160lb woman’s dosage is not the same as an 8lb baby’s, who is also being delivered the drugs through your blood stream. Not to mention that the FDA deems NO drug safe for a pregnant woman. All the drugs cause the baby to go into distress (the heart rate drops) and an emergency C-section is needed. And everyone screams “thank goodness for C-sections!” without realizing that all the previous interventions caused the need for a C-section. For me, the risks of the drugs outweigh the benefit and I prefer the pain.

            Some of the main reasons that we chose the Birth Center:

·      No IVs (once an IV is in it is much easier to administer other drugs such as Pitocin)
·      No hospital gown or hospital bed (we have a big plush queen size bed and can wear our own clothes)
·      No epidural, episiotomies, forceps, or vacuums
·      The option to deliver in water (a natural way to help with pain and prevent tearing)
·      Freedom of position, birthing ball, showers, and tub
·      A staff that really gets to know us. They care about our health and our baby and we aren’t treated like just another number.
·      A caregiver who shares a common view on pregnancy  

The place of interventions

There is still a chance that I could have a high risk pregnancy and need to be in a hospital for safety reasons. In this case we would come up with a strict birth plan and attempt to follow it in the most natural way that is still safe. There should be no shame for someone who hopes to deliver naturally, but ends up needing assistance. Hospitals and medical interventions have their place and they are a blessing when something goes wrong and if that should be the case for us we will gladly do what is best for our baby.

Some Resources:

The Business of Being Born  (You can also watch this on Netflix)

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

The Bradley Method

The Humbled Homemaker: This is one of my favorite blogs to follow and she has been doing a series on Natural Birth

Friday, August 17, 2012

Half Baked (20 Weeks)

How far along? 20 weeks 
Baby size: A Banana! Averaging 6.5 inches and 10.5 ounces (actually we know that she is at least 11 ounces as of last week)
Total weight gain/loss: 7 lbs
Maternity clothes? My t-shirts are starting to be too short with my growing belly so I guess I need to commit to the maternity shirts that I have. 

Stretch marks? Not yet, I have been using coconut oil religiously after my showers.

Sleep: Sleeping pretty well and loving my Leach pillow (I bought for $4 at a thrift store)!
Best moment this week:
Other that finding out we were having a baby girl, I really enjoyed finding a Maya Wrap (retail $67) for $4!! Very exciting! I also had a good time visiting with my family.
Miss Anything? I am content. I truly love being pregnant!
Movement: I feel baby girl wiggling around often, but only a few good kicks

Food cravings: Half Baked Ice cream, Tatiana cookies ;-)
Anything making you queasy or sick: I think my sick days are gone (I am hoping anyway)
Have you started to show yet: YES! :-) having strangers acknowledge my belly now
Gender : It's a GIRL
Symptoms: Big bump, tiredness, sensitive
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? off at night and on during the day is still working for me.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! I am very sensitive though, so people have to be gentle with me.
Looking forward to: Hubby being able to feel baby's kicks!

Friday, August 10, 2012

"20 Week Ultrasound" (19 weeks)

Yesterday Thursday, August 9th we had our "20 Week Ultrasound" it was a little early, but I guess that is still what they call it. It was such a fun and wonderful experience for us. Lucas and I were accompanied by my mom and sister who came to visit this week from North Carolina. We were so thankful that our Ultrasound Tech. agreed to send a text to Beth our Gender Reveal cupcake maker. She did a very good job of not giving it away to us (and we obviously had no idea what we were looking at). 
Baby West was nicely snuggled against my back bone and didn't really feel like moving. We know that she has a very nice spine, as that was what we got to see the most of. The Tech. had me get up and use the bathroom a few times, walk the halls, drink water, lay on my side... we tried all sorts of things and she was able to get all the pictures and angles she needed. Even though Baby West wasn't wanting to roll over she was still very animated. She was kicking and fist pumping (She must like Daddy's Techno Jesus Music)! She was laying on her other arm so we were joking that we knew She had two legs and two feet and at least ONE arm and hand! We did finally get to see the other one. 
The 4D Ultrasound was so Amazing! When we first saw her little face the first thing I said was "I think it looks like me!" I am not sure if it really does, but now that we know that "it" is a "she" I am glad it didn't have Lucas' nose (haha!) 
It was so special to be able to see Baby West and know that everything is forming the way it is supposed to. What a little Blessing and to think that God is knitting her together inside of me is breath taking. I am thankful for this little technology that has allowed me to have a small glimpse of the mighty miraculous work that He is doing. Baby West is 11 oz. and her heart rate was 146 bpm! We love her so much already!

The Results Are In: Gender Reveal (19 weeks)

 The beautiful cupcakes that Beth made!

 The Lovely Beth (who was the only one who knew the secret!)

Mom votes Girl, dad votes Boy!

Shelby and Jordan both dress in blue, but vote Girl. They are having a little boy later this month and would have felt weird wearing pink haha!

Cassidy, Laurie and Sam!

Grandma votes Boy!

Pastor Rod votes Girl! (I think he wanted a pink mustache instead of the girly lips)

 April votes Girl, because she said older girls are very helpful!

Ryan came a little late, but voted Girl! Tyler voted Boy, but it looks like he wanted twins!

We all opened them together!

Moment of Truth!


There was a silly String attack when we thought we were taking a sweet picture!


Team Girl!

Our Celebration Kiss!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Polls are Open! (19 weeks)

My Mom and Sister decided a question mark needed to be painted on my tummy!

This is my sister and myself pondering over the gender of Baby West!

How far along? 19 weeks 
Baby size: A Mango! Averaging 6 inches and 8.5 ounces.
Total weight gain/loss: 6 lbs
Maternity clothes? My mom took me maternity shopping today and I now have a ton of outfits :-)

Stretch marks? Nope

Sleep: Sleeping pretty well
Best moment this week: My mom and sister came up to visit and we have been having a lot of fun, but I think tomorrow will have the BEST moment.

Miss Anything? I am pretty good this week
Movement: Definitely moving!

Food cravings: I really want soda again this week...
Anything making you queasy or sick: I haven't really been sick this week
Have you started to show yet: YES! :-)
Gender Prediction: Very last gender prediction before we find out.... I am going to be on team GIRL since I know Lucas and my mom are both team BOY
Symptoms: No new symptoms to this week, just the same ole'
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? off at night and on during the day... nice compromise
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Tomorrow when we have our ultrasound followed by our gender reveal party... I am so excited, I doubt I will sleep tonight!!

Gender Reveal Plans

Our plans for tomorrow when we go to our ultrasound appointment are that we won't actually find out the gender. There is still a chance that we will discover the results since part of our ultrasound will be could be pretty obvious. But supposing that we don't "see for ourselves" we will have the doctor text my friend Beth (see peach picking post) who will then make our gender reveal cupcakes. We are having a few friends over and we will skype/call in our families out of town. Everyone at the party will get a cupcake and we will all bite into our cupcakes together. If the filling is blue, it's a boy and if it is pink, it's a girl! We thought that would be more fun for everyone than having a stranger tell us and then just outing it to everyone. Hopefully we will have a video to post to let the rest of our friends know!

The polls are open...we would love to hear your guess!

Friday, August 3, 2012

People Really Eat That?! (18 Weeks)

How far along? 18 weeks 
Baby size: A Sweet Potato! Averaging 5.5 inches and nearly 7 ounces.
Total weight gain/loss: I think close to 5lbs
Maternity clothes?Maternity tops and comfy (stretchy) bottoms
Stretch marks? Nope
Sleep: Sleeping better this week...crazy dreams
Best moment this week: Our Family was visiting this week and we went on lots of fun adventures to the zoo and The Great Wolf Lodge. It was nice to have a little vacation and spend time with family.

Miss Anything? Being able to ride rides!
Movement: Definitely moving!

Food cravings: Pancakes, YUM!
Anything making you queasy or sick: overeating, blagh!
Have you started to show yet: This week I had my first stranger gesture to my bump :-)
Gender Prediction: I guess I have to commit since we find out soon... I will go with girl even thought I flip flop
Symptoms: New to this week....lets just say its good to know that I can feed our baby :P
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? off... hoping to wear it more next week!
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! No meltdowns or tears (except tears of worship in Church)
Looking forward to: My mom and sister are coming to visit on Tuesday and we have our Gender Reveal on Thursday Sooo exciting!!

The Magical Wonders of Placentas
So this past Bradley class I learned that our instructor also encapsulates placentas. What is that, you might ask...I did!  We got a really neat lesson on all the wonders of the placenta. Its actually pretty fascinating! Similar to breast milk, the placenta is chock full of vitamins and nutrients tailored to mom (and baby)'s body. All other mammals consume their placenta after giving birth to get back all the nutrients that they have lost and in many other cultures they eat the placenta, it's just seems a little weird in America. It is also a natural way to stop a hemorrhage after delivery. It only takes a piece the size of a dime to do the job of pitocin and you avoid the harmful side effects. There are tons of other benefits of the placenta including postpartum depression prevention, and energy booster. It sounds great right? If you can get your mind around consuming a human organ sure! Now I can't imagine frying up my placenta like a steak (yes people really do that) or even blending it into a smoothie, but taking a vitamin...I can do that! So what our instructor does is she dehydrates the placenta and seasons it with natural herbs then grinds it and encapsulates it into perfect prenatal/postnatal vitamins tailored specifically for Mom's needs. I am not completely sold on the idea, but it's definitely something worth considering.... and it makes perfect sense with my new found love for all things natural!