Dec 31, 2010

Reflections: Two thousand ten.

Two-thousand-ten was a big year for me. (Literally.) I spent most of the year pregnant, which is a strange thought in and of itself. I spent three-quarters of this past year growing a person in myself, a wonderful sweet person who is just starting out her life and will grow to become something amazing. I wonder what she will accomplish in her life? I look at her and try to picture her in 5 years, 10 years, 20... I spent some time last night crying (those dang hormones), wondering if I will be a good mom to her. I hope I can give her every little thing that she needs throughout her life. I want to be perfect for her. She's given me motivation to fix all the little things I can within myself, so that I don't pass self-doubt and worry down to her. I love Adelaide so much that I couldn't bear to see her without the stars in her hands, the moon shining brightly down on her. I will work always to make sure she has that.

And two -thousand-ten marked 2 years of marriage to my husband. I realized a week ago that in January we will have been together nine whole years! Such a long time! Almost a decade! In my mind's eye, I am still 18 and he is still 20 and we are just so young. But we're not. We've grown and this past year saw us become so much closer than ever. I really think this was our best year yet. Maybe preparing to grow as a family helped us realize how special we've got it?

I can't remember much of the last year, besides those two things. Yes, some new relationships were made, and some others seem to have broken. I've come to know how important it is for me to have others in my life. I ventured out a little, and plan to venture out a little more, soon. I know we took some vacations, did things, saw things.

But mostly, I remember being pregnant, and that's about it. Everything else seems so tiny compared to that great big thing. I grew a person. A whole person, who is perfect in every way! Can you imagine? My body, which I gripe about all the time, was capable of taking a tiny, tiny thing and growing and nurturing it within itself to form a little girl that bumped and jumped and hiccuped her way through 2010 in my tummy, to emerge into this world right before the turn of the new year.

No pressure, 2011, but you have big shoes to fill.

Dec 29, 2010

{Adelaide} One Week

Dear Adelaide,

You entered my life one week ago. Your birth was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life, but the most rewarding. I would do it one million times over if it meant I could have you over and over again. During my 32-hour labor, I was faced with self-doubt and worry, fear and pain. Your father was with me throughout the entire process, and helped me see that I could birth you in the way I had always dreamed of. Being my first baby, I had no vision of what to expect during labor and your delivery, no landmarks to know what was happen. Every hour, every turn, every bit of progress was new, exciting, and scary.

When I think now and try to imagine how painful the contractions were (each one working you down to meet us), my mind has blocked the memories. I remember being in pain, but the pain isn't there. The thought of your birth is not overshadowed by that pain anymore. It was momentary and necessary, and totally worth it. You are the result of that work, and you are the most amazing gift that I could have received for it.

The past week has flown by. You are so beautiful. Your father and I saw the beauty in you instantly, from the moment you were handed to me by our midwife. I cried tears of joy and you were able to truly connect with us because I labored drug-free. From day one, we've spent hours staring at you, while you sleep or while you stare back with scrunchy, furrowed eyebrows.

You are happy now that my milk has come in and my favorite moments with you are when you're breastfeeding. I love the milk-drunk look you get, with your eyes rolling back and closing with contentment. I love hearing you gulp down your milk, and when you pop off the breast and your head rolls back, I can see drips of milk running down your chin. It makes me happy to be able to feed you.

You sleep in between your father and I, so I can feed you exactly when you need it. I love feeling your little body next to mine, and I don't mind waking up every 2-3 hours to feed you or change your diaper. I couldn't imagine putting you in a crib in another room... sleeping as a family feels so natural to me.

We love you so much little one. You are our daughter! It's amazing and we've loved getting to know you. Every day is special... just don't grow up too fast!


Dec 28, 2010

Adelaide's Birth Story

Here is my birth story. I am an analytical kind of person, so I broke it up by days and times, because that's how I remember it. My midwife gave me a copy of her charts, so I used that also to remember some of the specifics. I know it's long, but I wanted to write every detail that I could, as a personal record, because I know that Adelaide will appreciate a good account of her birth someday!


December 12:
This was my due date. It came and went with no signs of labor. I knew that as a first-time mom that my pregnancy would likely go past the 40-week mark, but it was still a little disappointing when evening came and I knew I'd have to wait longer to meet our little girl.

December 14:
We had our 40-week appointment with the midwife, and she checked my dilation to see if anythig was happening. I was only a fingertip dilated and 50% effaced, but at least it was something.

December 16:
4:30 a.m.
As I got up for the 3rd time to pee that night, I began to see bloody show and lose bits of my mucus plug. I still knew that it could be days before labor began, but it was exciting to see evidence that my body was truly working towards getting our baby out so that we could meet her.

December 17:
I had quite a few contractions during the night as I slept, but when I got out of bed Saturday morning they fizzled.

December 18:
I felt crampy all day Saturday, which was a new feeling. I kept thinking, "Maybe tonight?" But Saturday night came and went with hardly a contraction at all. Sunday was equally uneventful.

Kevin and I started to think that maybe we'd have a moon baby, since the lunar eclipse was to be Monday night. We thought of how neat it'd be to have a moon baby and thought that if she were born during the eclipse that we might even change her middle name to honor the moment, since it was the first lunar eclipse that fell on the winter soltice in hundreds of years. And to be born on the winter solstice at all! What a great story she'd have... Little did we know I'd be laboring during the entire winter solstice!

December 20th:
I was having some contractions, so I ran some errands in the morning to stay busy and to help keep the contractions coming. I decided to take a 3-hour nap in the afternoon. The contractions kept coming, and were far apart but getting closer together.

Kevin and I began timing my contractions just to see where we were. Three minutes apart, but only 30 seconds long. We called our midwife to let her know what was happening, so she'd be ready just in case, and she said to call if anything picked up. We took a short trip to Target to pick up some plain onesies to do some printmaking on, and I had to slow down during contractions while walking around the store. Stepping outside, we saw the beautiful full moon and tried to convince our little one that it was the perfect night to come out into the world.

11 p.m.
We ended up going to bed a little late and I got 45 minutes of sleep that was interrupted by 3 stronger contractions.

11:45 p.m.
I felt a pop and with curiosity, pushed a little and water came leaking out. I woke Kevin up with the excitement of it and said "My water broke!" Turns out it was just my outer bag, but with it breaking my contractions sped up and intensified a little. We labored for a few hours at home, and called our midwife at 3 a.m. to let her know that this was happening! She said we could wait longer at home or go ahead to the birth center. We chose the birth center because I had no clue how hard they were going to get, and I wasn't looking forward to the 30-minute drive there. In retrospect, I wish I'd stayed at home longer. (Next time, I'll know!)

December 21:
4:00 a.m.
We arrived at the birth center. We were tingly with excitement. The world felt so quiet and peaceful. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy to see the lunar eclipse, but the sky was beautifully orange. Our midwife and our doula were already there, and they watched us for a few minutes to see where we were. Midwife took my blood pressure and then checked me for dilation at around 6 a.m. She said I was 5 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced. She could feel the bag of waters. After the birth, she confessed that I was initially only 2cm at first, but she was able to stretch me to 5cm during the check.

8:30 a.m. - Noon
Now 6 centimeters dilated at around 10:30 a.m. Spent some time in the shower during the contractions. Kevin came in with me and held me up and supported me. The warm water felt really good and helped distract me from contractions. We also got the birthing tub filled up and that's where I ended up spending most of my time. The warm water and the counter-pressure of the water felt really relaxing and helped me through the contractions. It also felt like the water helped me hold my legs wider and get some good stretching.

12:30 p.m.
My bag of waters broke and there was some light meconium. My midwife wasn't worried though, because baby's heart rate was consistently strong throughout the entire labor, staying between the 130s and 160s. At this time I started feeling a lot more pressure during the contractions. I did a lot of vocalization, but I was also feeling a lot of self-doubt. I was scared about the pain and how much more painful it was going to get. I had the feeling of "I can't do this... I hate this... it hurts so badly" and that's what I'd say. I had moments of crying and anxiety during the whole labor, and really looked to Kevin for support. He did an amazing job of trying to reaffirm what I was doing and being completely there for me.

2 p.m.
I am now 8 centimeters dilated and at 0 station. I tried many more positions: laying on my side, on the birth ball, back in the shower, back in the pool, etc. I ate and drank throughout the whole labor: soup, apple slices, even mac 'n' cheese! It wasn't a lot, but it helped keep my energy up. Contractions were tough, but I worked through them, hoping I was dilating quickly.

5:30 p.m.
Still 8 centimeters, though the baby's head was slightly lower. I was feeling extremely discouraged as the last couple of hours were really painful and difficult to labor through mentally. My midwife said that I could labor as long as I wished at the birth center, and that she believed in me, but she also told me my options for going to the hospital and what that would entail should I want an epidural for the pain. I think her laying all that out for me really woke me up. I did NOT want to go to the hospital! I wanted a clear, unmedicated birth for myself and my baby. My doula told me that I was doing everything right, except for my mental state. I had to turn around my negative thinking.

So that's what I did. Kevin and I walked all around the birth center, and I began stating out loud positive affirmations (such as: I can do this; I deserve this; This is for our baby; I'm almost there, etc...). At first I didn't believe myself, but I was determined to birth this baby naturally. Kevin got choked up and cried with how proud he was of me. I think I saw my doula and midwife tearing up too. We were all a mess! It was definitely a trying moment in my labor, and a turning point.

I spent the next few hours laboring in different positions, constantly talking to myself. Instead of "Oww, this hurts," I began saying "Ow...this hurts because it's working." Amazing how your mindset can change things!

9:00 p.m.
I am now 9 centimeters dilated! Progress! My midwife can still feel a lip of cervix in the way, and I started getting the urge to bear down in the next hour and a half during a few of my contractions. My midwife gave me the okay to do what my body was wanting to do, so I pushed a little without any real goal... just to do something during the contractions.

December 22:
I have now labored the entire winter solstice! And I am finally at 10 centimeters! We began seriously pushing. My midwife told me I was a good pusher and that built my confidence. I consistently push 3-4 times with each contraction. I use the birth stool first, then move to the toilet (which, although very uncomfortable, helped me progress a lot), tried many positions on the bed (side-lying, hands and knees, on my back holding my knees, etc.), and went back to the pool for a bit. The other midwife arrived to help and she was awesome at getting me to push harder and stronger to meet my baby.

5 a.m.
It had been five hours of hard pushing, and I was extremely tired. My contractions started spacing out. My body was exhausted from working so hard, and our baby's head just wouldn't progress past my pelvic bone no matter what position we tried. I was so out of it I fell asleep and everyone decided to rest for an hour and a half.

6:30 a.m.
I feel so much more rested, but my contractions are far apart. We used a breast pump to get them going again, and the midwives started giving me drinks of blue and black cohosh to help with the contractions as well (which tasted gross! Like ash and dirt - blech!). Finally they pick up and we decided to try pushing again for 45 minutes-1 hour to try and get baby out.

If pushing didn't work, we would have to go to the hospital. I was feeling a little scared, but mostly determined to push harder than I did before. I was going to give it my all. After the long labor I'd had, having to talk myself into staying atthe birth center and giving it everything I could, I did NOT want to end up at the hospital without giving this last hour my absolute best.

8:00 a.m. (ish)
The two midwives, my doula, and Kevin all rallied around me, helping me push harder and longer and stronger. We started in the side-lying and back positions since they were the best positions before. We soon moved to me squatting on the floor, with Kevin sitting on the bed behind me holding me up. I pushed SO hard! My midwife was down on the floor on her hands and knees with a flashlight to see what was happening as I pushed. She started getting really excited - very vocal and even clapping her hands, so I knew we were progressing. The baby had moved past my pelvic bone and was lowering! Now I felt confident that I'd have the birth I wanted - natural with no drugs going to my baby.

I started to feel the "ring of fire". I was scared of the pain but so excited that our baby was almost here! I gave a strong, long push and her head came out - there was hardly any time between crowning and her head emerging. Her eyes opened almost immediately. Kevin and I couldn't see due to my belly in the way and our position, but my midwife caught her and told me to give another good push for her shoulders. I gave a weak push and stopped when I felt the pain, but my second push got her shoulders out and she came out in a big gush. Adelaide Jane was handed to me, and it was the most beautiful moment of my life! She cried instantly (so did I), and was born at 10:02 a.m., 32 long hours after real labor began.

10:07 a.m.
Five minutes old, Adelaide grasped Kevin's finger (who was still holding me up) and stared up at him. During those first minutes, we were so engrossed in our baby that everything else was a blur. I know I lost a lot of blood right afterwards, and since my contractions had been so weak the midwives were worried that my uterus wouldn't clamp down to stop the bleeding. They gave me a shot of Pitocin in my leg and got me up to the bed.

We spent time just staring at our baby. She was screaming and crying - she had such a story to tell! We marveled at her little nose, her tiny hands, her soft skin. We couldn't believe that such a perfect little person was our daughter! Instant, complete, heart-wrenching love.

10:20 a.m.
I delivered my placenta, which felt so good... a warm gush. We waited until the cord stopped pulsing and Kevin got to cut it. Our midwife showed us the placenta later and we took it home, where Kevin encapsulated it for me. (Placenta pills help with hormone balance after birth.)

I was able to keep Adelaide on my chest for the first hour, with no interruptions. She rooted and nuzzled against my breast, and it felt like the most natural thing ever. I'd worried during the pregnancy if it would feel weird to breastfeed, but that thought disappeared the moment she was there. We kept rubbing her body and time stopped, yet passed so quickly.

11:00 a.m.
Kevin held Adelaide for the first time. She was calm and stared at him. She looked so small in his hands, and it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. He is so naturally a father to her, and you could see the love flowing between them. My heart melted.

11:30 a.m.
We took our first family nap together while the midwives and our doula cleaned up. By the time I woke up at 12:30, Kevin was already packing up our bags to go. Our midwife gave Adelaide a little bath to clean most of the blood off of her, I got something to eat, and we were headed home by 2 p.m.

I am so happy to have had this birth experience. In the moment there was a lot of self-doubt and worry, but we all worked through it to end up with the natural birth that we wanted. I know there were a lot of instances during the labor where a hospital would have pushed interventions. My water broke 22 hours before she was born, and there was meconium. I wasn't progressing even after 5 hours of pushing. If drugs had been available, I probably would have taken them, due to my moments of weakness. The birth center was a safe and comforting place for me. I knew I was taken care of, and surrounded by support and love.

I am very proud of myself, but also of the people that helped me labor. I honestly feel that Kevin, my doula, and my midwife gave me the strength and confidence to continue when I felt that I couldn't. Though labor didn't go exactly as planned, and I had envisioned a much shorter, less trying labor, it is still my story, and it still ended as I had wanted: with a perfect family that was able to connect on a deep level because we were alert and healthy and happy.

Dec 26, 2010

Introducing Adelaide Jane!

Born December 22, 2010
10:02 a.m.
7 pounds 8.5 ounces
20 inches

We are in love. We look at this perfect little girl and can't believe she belongs to us. I marvel at her tiny feet, her wrinkled hands, her dark hair.

She gets this furrowed brow, deep in concentration (or wondering what her dad is doing?).

A fellow mother I know says you can't know until you have a baby how it feels to have your heart on the outside of your body. She's completely right. This is amazing.

[The first night home...]

Birth story to come. It's a doozy. It turned out the way I wanted, but it took a lot to get there. Let's just say I labored throughout the entire winter solstice, and then some. I am processing it little by little. Slowly I am believing what my midwife is telling me: that I am strong and that I have a lot to be proud of in myself. This thing called motherhood is turning out to be a journey of self-growth, apparently.

And now, I have to put this little one down to sleep, in between the hubs and I. (She
s been laying in my arms as I type.)
She lays on her side snuggled against my breast, and I keep her warm and happy. We don't enjoy much sleep around here right now, but we sure do enjoy each other.

[Meeting papa for the first time... 1 hour old.]

Dec 19, 2010

41 Weeks

Dear Adelaide,

I'm 41 weeks preganant with you today. For the longest time I didn't think it would bother me to go over my due date. After all, I know that biologically due dates don't mean much. What really matters is how ready YOU are to come out into this big world. Most first time mothers (and many mothers in general) need more than 40 weeks before they'll go into labor. I learned this in my Bradley methods classes. When people asked me when I was due, I'd say "December 12th, but I don't really believe in due dates." I said, and still believe, that you will let me know when you are ready, even if that means another week of carrying you in my belly.

But then December 12th came and went and you didn't come that day. Or the next, or the next, and you're still not here, a week later. It's December 19th, and I still don't know when you'll be ready.

There are some signs though that tell me labor is on it's way. I won't gross you out with the details (unless you ask, then I'll be more than happy to share with you), but I do know that my body is getting ready for the marathon that will be the labor and birth of you, my sweet precious daughter.

For instance, the last two nights I have felt contractions, different from the practice contractions called Braxton Hicks. Instead of just tightening up my belly, these contractions were sharp, crampy pains that I felt from front to back, in my belly and in my lower back. They hurt, but I knew that if they were the true onset of labor, it would get a lot stronger and harder to handle. So I breathed through them and tried (unsuccessfully) to get more sleep, but I was just so excited that something could be happening. Then I woke up in the morning, yesterday and today, and they went away.

I have been dealing with a lot of emotions this past week, waiting for you to come, knowing that it could be any moment. Patience, frustration, sadness, excitement. Even jealousy for those women I knew who were having their babies before their due dates, when I am waiting past mine. I just can't wait for that moment when we meet. I am so close to finally seeing you and touching you and learning who you are that it's almost unbearable. Each day that passes is a trial in waiting for you. I hope it is making me a stronger person. Your dad is getting pretty antsy, too. He can't wait to see your little feet. He says you will be so beautiful, and he thinks you're going to have gorgeous eyes and a headful of hair.

Your dad and I think maybe you're waiting for the winter solstice. It's in 2 days and it would be pretty neat to have you on the first day of winter. This year there will be a lunar eclipse on the winter solstice. We think maybe you just want a grand entrance. Although, no matter when you decide to come, it will be the grandest moment of our lives. I guess only time will tell. It may even be tonight! And even though I am scared of how much pain this will be, how difficult and long it may be, I know that I will meet you soon and that makes it all worth it.

I love you sweet girl!

Dec 18, 2010

Just wanted to let you all know, baby's still not here!

Last night I had contractions for a couple hours. Not very strong, but consistent and frequent. They fizzled when I got up in the morning, but I've felt very crampy all day.

Maybe tonight's the night?

Dec 17, 2010

Momma, I'm Coming Home.

Well, she's not singing that tune yet, anyway. Still waiting on little Adelaide to make her appearance.

In the meantime, our bags are packed and ready to go. And that includes some awfully cute coming home outfits (although I doubt anyone will be at our house to actually see her coming home).

I'm neurotic, and even though the doctor told us at 22 weeks that it was a girl, I can't help but think that there's still that chance that it could be a boy.... so I have packed an outfit for a girl and an outfit for a boy. Really, it's just different onesies to go with the pants and hat I've got picked out.

If it's a girl (which we're pretty sure it is, but you never know!):
A simple light turquoise onesie with gray pants and a cute gray hat. It was SO hard to find a gender-neutral hat, but I finally did at a Once Upon a Child. This whole outfit was less than $10, including the mittens and socks.

And if it just so happens to be a boy:
Same everything except for the onesie, which was also found used at Once Upon a Child. It's actually from H&M, a store I never would shop at because of the cost, but this was only $1.50 because it was used! And of course, like most small baby clothes, it's in wonderful condition because it was probably hardly worn! I just love the little fox :)

Anyhow... Hopefully soon I'll be able to show you pictures of these little outfits... with a little person in one of them!

(Nothing new to report, by the way.)

Dec 16, 2010

While waiting, let's DIY.

This little girl of mine is letting me know she's here, with kicks to the ribs and head-butts to my cervix, which results in sharp pains similar to the ones I felt at the midwife's office (which did not result in screaming out of pain, as my father-in-law interpreted. It just freaked me out, that's all, but now that it's a few days later I can't even remember what it really felt like and that makes me realize what women say about birth: that the pain is quickly forgotten).

And an update: I have lost my mucus plug, or at least bits of it. Last night, hubs and I took a 45-minute brisk walk to try and move something along, and maybe that's what did it? All I know is at 4:30am, when I was up for the 3rd time peeing last night, I saw bloody show and gunk and I couldn't get back to sleep because of the excitement that something was actually happening! I felt so silly getting worked up over it because I know that labor could still be days away, but it was nice to actually see evidence that my body truly is working towards getting this baby out so that I can meet her soon.

Anyhow, like I said, I may have days, so here are a few projects I might try and whip up while waiting. Might as well be productive, right? The puzzle I bought went way too quickly, so I'm off to my next project, perhaps one of the following:

I've got some teensy shiny and glittery green ornaments that I could use for this ornament wreath.
Cold wintry weather calls for scarves and cowls.

I don't remember where I got this image, but it seems simple enough... felt alphabet.

I have a ton of tees that don't fit anymore. This 2-minute t-shirt dress tutorial seems like the perfect way to upcycle them!

Crochet chain trees. I love the simplicity of them, in look and process. This may be first on my list tonight!

Let's get busy! (I'm talking to you, Adelaide!)

Dec 15, 2010

Baby Update and Honesty about the Fear of Pain

I went to the midwife yesterday, at 40 weeks + 2 days. It was a good visit, but left me feeling scared. It was nothing that my midwife did. She was perfect in fact. Let me explain.

First of all, baby is wonderful! Still in the best position, with her back a little to the left of my belly button, which will make it easy for her to turn just right to slide through the birth canal in the most painless way possible (as opposed to being posterior, which is where her back is facing my back, and causes the head to scrape against the pelvic bones on the way out - ouch!). Her heart tones are strong and steady, to which midwife said "Don't be too happy in there... it's nice out here too!" Everything on my part looks good: urine (she's said that I have the best urine she's seen in a long time! haha), not much swelling now that I'm not working and on my feet every day (but still a little), no headaches, dizziness, etc.

We decided to check my dilation, which I was iffy about doing. We decided to do it only so that we can have a baseline to measure my progress with should I still be pregnant next Tuesday - my next scheduled appointment. (Please, don't let me still be pregnant!)

This is where my naivety pretty much left me. I will try to explain this without getting too personal because I know that my grandparents read this and probably a bunch of other family that just stay behind the scenes, but for years I have had problems with pain "down there." It's very sensitive, to the point where even a regular gynological exam is more painful for me than it is for the average person. I have no idea why this is. I've seen doctors about it, but we can't quite figure it out. It's just something I have to deal with. Knowing this has been a point of anxiety for me with this pregnancy, thinking that labor and pushing the baby out may be more painful than average because of my physical issues.

When my midwife began checking me, I was a little tense anticipating the pain, which of course made it a bit painful. And she told me (warned me) that I would feel a pinching feeling when she pulled my cervix down so that she could check the dilation, which I did. And it hurt. Really bad. I tried to relax and practice my breathing, but basically it really freaked me out and I just started imagining how painful birthing this baby really is going to be (because I know that checking my cervix is nothing compared to pushing a 7+ pound baby out). I squeezed the crap out of Kevin's hand while trying to relax my body. Self-doubt exploded and I cried.

My midwife was so great about calming me. She leaned down to hug me (which I doubt most doctors would do in that situation), she talked with me, she really looked at me and tried to build my confidence. She's wonderful!

We left the appointment, at which time I cried again because it was just me and Kevin in the car, and I babbled and snotted and said "I can't do this" over and over again. He said some really great things, got me to calm down some, and we ran errands before going home for the night.

See, I know my body can do this. My body was made for growing and nurturing and birthing a baby - I believe that with all my heart and being. But I have never experienced a lot of pain before - never been in an accident, never broken a bone, etc. I have nothing to gauge this pain on, and nothing to know what my pain tolerance is. And I know that my appointment yesterday was really just a taste of what's to come. I know on the scale it doesn't measure up to childbirth, but it just opened my eyes to what's about to happen. And it's scary! The fear of pain has been the hardest bit about my decision to have a natural childbirth to deal with.

But I know that this is what is best for my baby and for me. I want to be undrugged so that I can have that immediate connection with my child. So I can look at her and she can look at me and we can actually see each other. So that I can be aware of what's going on around me and within me (however scary and painful that may be). So that I can recover quickly and be able to go home the same day to the comfort of my home. So that I can birth in my own way, moving around and making noise. So that I can choose who will be around me at any given time - women who have braved this passage before and can know what I will be going through, who can help me to believe that I am doing a great job. So that my husband can be a hugely active part of this labor, from coaching me the entire time, to catching the baby, to making decisions, etc. So that I can have a calm atmosphere that I control.

Birth and the pain that comes with it is a very scary thing to imagine (for anyone, really), especially when checking my dilation was a lot more painful than I anticipated, but having a natural birth is still what I think and feel is best for my baby and I. Perhaps having experienced this bit of pain yesterday is a good thing, so that I can better prepare myself for what's to come. I know I still have no idea the enormity of what I'm about to physically experience, but maybe just having a small feel for it is better than going into it blindly.

This post may be a bit too much information for some, but it's the truth, and honesty is better than trying to make everything seem like roses. I know there are other women out there with similar issues, and working through them can be really tough, both physically and emotionally. This pain is something I've been dealing with for many years now. I just hope that I get a surge of confidence and am able to push through my labor and delivery strong and sure of myself. I will have a great support system around me: 2 midwives, my doula, and my husband. My midwives and doula have had natural births and are so supportive and will give me what I need to make it through. And of course my husband will help me in more ways than that. He will be my rock that I will look to for assurance, strength, support, and love.

I just have to think like the little engine that could: "I think I can, I think I can..." I know I can.

Dec 14, 2010

Check! Car Seat Installed!

Well, it's actually been installed for a couple of weeks or so now, but I'm just now getting around to posting about it.

It was more difficult than we thought. Thankfully I had a big, strong husband that could really tighten the belt and get the carseat secure. If it weren't for him, I'd have driven to the nearest fire department and had them do it. (You know, a bunch of firemen are trained in car seat installation, and will do it for free.)

But now it's in! We even went ahead and put on the window cling shade. We don't want little Adelaide to get sun in her eyes, now do we? And of course a soft blanket to wrap her up in if it's chilly outside.

I can't wait for that first drive home, when I can sit beside her and just hold her little hand all the way to our house. She will be so tiny at first. Precious!

Dec 13, 2010

40 Weeks + 1 Day

I'm touching the other tree! Check out week 13 and how much room I began with!!!

Will there be a 41-week photo shoot???

Here and Gone.

Yesterday was Adelaide's due date. It was here, and now it's gone. Boohoo.

All along, when people asked when I was due, I would say "December 12" with air quotes, because I KNOW that due dates are so off sometimes. And I know that they are based on the first day of your last period, and on a 28-day cycle. My cycle is wonky, so who knows when I actually ovulated? My due date could actually be a week from now.

(I hope not.)

And up until a few days ago, I was still alright with the thought that I could go over my due date. That I could go a week over my due date. Two weeks. I thought all those women who talked about how crazy they got at the end waiting for their babies were just that: crazy.

And then yesterday happened. Oh, normal day. I putzed around. Watched TV. Cooked. Cleaned. Grocery shopped. Took a late-night trip out to Target just because I wanted a puzzle.

And I wished and hoped and wanted so bad for her to have a cool birthday like 12/12. I thought about it all day. I talked to her, pleaded for her to let me know she was ready to come out. But it didn't happen. Honestly kind of a bummer. At least she spent the day doing acrobatics so I know she's perfectly healthy and fine in there. But just not ready (like I am!).

Who knows when this baby is coming? Apparently everyone and their mother has a December birthday and they think that she's waiting for their birthday. As long as she doesn't wait until Christmas day I'll be happy. Today is her Uncle Jesse's birthday (Kevin's brother). He'd be a great person to share a birthday with, Adelaide. Just sayin'.

I just have to stay busy so I don't go stir-crazy. I need to go get gel capsules so that Kevin can encapsulate my placenta (post on that soon, probably). And taking some laps around the mall might not be a bad idea.

And I do have that new puzzle.

Dec 12, 2010

Figuring out insurance (or, pulling my hair out).

With impending baby, I needed to figure out what to do about insurance.

I work for the state as a teacher, so I have a really good plan (Blue Cross Blue Shield standard PPO). The state pays for this plan which is awesome, and they will continue to pay for me until the end of February, at the end of my Family and Medical Leave. I plan on staying out at least another 5 months after that (more if finances allow), and if I wanted to continue my plan, I'd have to start paying over $400/month out of pocket. For myself only.

Um, too much. I wish I could afford it because it's a great plan, but to pay that much for myself isn't feasible with our budget. And besides, I'm a healthy person. I know insurance is just that: insurance... but we can't afford a major plan like that for one out of three people in the family.

Kevin has a HSA plan through his work, where there is a $2500 deductible and then everything is covered 100%. His work pays the monthly fee, and so basically health coverage is free for him unless something happens. Then he pays out of pocket till the deductible is covered.

Here is where it gets tricky. Did you know how difficult it is to have coverage for a newborn? "They" seriously do not make it easy for new parents to insure their new baby. After researching our options, we've chosen to get Adelaide a Blue Cross Blue Shield HSA plan for herself (at least for a while). However, unless she's born by a specific date, we can't start coverage for her.

For instance (and I know this is SOOO interesting to you guys), she had to be born by December 8th to get coverage starting December 15 through the plan we want her to have. Obviously that didn't happen. Now if she were born before December 22nd at midnight, we could have coverage for her on January 1st. Which would be fine if she turns out healthy.

But if there's some unforeseen health problems with her straight away, obviously that wouldn't work. And there's no way to sign her up and start paying for her now, because according to them she's not an actual person yet.

So we have to add her to my existing plan (you know, that expensive one) and pay for the entire month of December (even though it's nearly halfway over already) AND January. Just so she has coverage. Then we can think about moving her to the much cheaper individual HSA. And then figure out something for me, since we won't be keeping me on the state plan.

How confusing and frustrating is all this? I can only imagine how entertaining this post has been for you all, but trust me when I say, I am 100x more bored and perplexed by the whole insurance biz. Trust me when I say, don't wait until a week before your due date to try and figure it out. Not that it will change anything as far as when your baby can get covered (unless you have some magical insurance company), but the stress of figuring out the mumbo-jumbo is not needed in that last week.

But now it's done, will be paid for out of my next check (goodbye extra cash for January), and I can cross that mad sucker off my to-do list. SHEW!

Dec 11, 2010


The hardest part about waiting for our baby is when everyone else is having their babies.

Out of my birth class of eight couples, I am the last. One of the couples had the same due date as me, tomorrow, but she just posted a beautiful picture of her new family on Facebook (and had the wonderful compassion to post on my wall reassuring me that I can do it when the time comes).

Another friend who was due three days after me has had her baby for a week.

A blog I follow has had her baby nearly 10 days early.

I have a fellow coworker due 2 weeks after me (on Christmas!). If she has her baby first I may just pull my hair out.

I haven't even hit my due date yet, but I'm already anxiously awaiting my little Adelaide. Everything is ready for her. And now we are just waiting. I know she will come when she is ready, and that might be two more weeks from now. In the grand scheme of things, that is not long. But I want to hold my baby. It's like I miss something I haven't even had yet.


Dec 9, 2010

Adelaide's Room: Finished!

I'm finally done with the little girl's room! I put finishing touches on it this morning, and breathed a sigh of relief knowing that whenever she decides to come, I don't have to worry about working on this room anymore! I am absolutely in love with every bit of it, and now I just wish that all our rooms looked this good! :)

[Entering the room. Rug from IKEA.]

[Bookshelves made from a vinyl gutter. New vibrating seat was a $5 Goodwill find!]

[Bamboo blinds from Lowe's. Curtains from IKEA. Wooden bike from Goodwill.]

[Shelves I've had for years.]

[Dresser from IKEA, with new knobs and changing pad on top. Cloth diapers, covers, handmade wipes, etc. are in the top drawer, while clothes are in the other two drawers. Wet pail to the left of the dresser. Tall mirror hung low so Adelaide can use it when she gets older. Dandelion decals from Target.]

[Mobile I made, inspired by the one found here.]

[This will be Adelaide's view when she's getting her diaper changed.]

[Closet doors, and door into room.]

[Martha Stewart alphabet cards. I love the vintage feel.]

[Knobs on closet doors, found at Hobby Lobby.]

[Gulliver crib from IKEA. $0.99 sheet from Goodwill.]

[Crochet blanket was a gift from a friend. I made the owl years ago, and the kitty is IKEA.]

[I made this bunting that hangs over the crib. If you flip it over, the other side says "I love you".]

[Closeup of the bunting. Both of these fabrics are being used in the quilt I'm making her.]

[Crib/bookcase corner.]

[Frame collage over bookcase. I made the paper collages in the five gray frames using scrapbook paper.]

[Hubby and I made this bookcase out of birch plywood. We put it together using dowel rods and no screws! We are very proud of it. It's very sturdy and stable, and will last years.]

[$5 piggy bank from Target, no longer sold.]

I can't wait to put little Adelaide in her room! I think it's made well enough so that it will grow with her. The crib converts into a toddler bed and will most likely stay where it is. The bookcase of course can hold so much more than it is now (we just don't have many toys yet). Books can be switched out in the gutter bookshelves. The changing pad can be removed and little girly things can be placed on top. And the closet is still practically empty and can hold tons.

I'm so happy with the way this room turned out! Total cost was around $500, but that includes all the big furniture, the wood to make the bookcases, and the tons we spent in paint samples! Not bad for a room that started off beige all over and completely different!

Dec 8, 2010

Week 39, Letter to Adelaide

Dear Adelaide,

As your father and I wait for you, we talk about who you will be. We talk about what you will look like, who's nose you will have, how tall you will be. You have half of your father and half of me in your genes, and how exactly we combined to make you is still a mystery. We only have a few days until we find out how much hair you have, how tiny your fingers are, how cute your mouth will be. People always say that waiting to find out if a baby is a boy or girl until birth is the biggest surprise of life, but even knowing that you will be our baby girl, I think that not knowing what you will look like and who you will be is just as great of a surprise.

[Just a teensy bit of space left! If you wait till your due date, I bet I'll touch!]

Yesterday, your dad and I were watching a tv game show, where two sisters were trying to win enough money to pay off their mother's mortgage. They talked about who their mother was, and what she meant to them. They cried when thinking of that love for her, and then I cried thinking that I am a mom to a daughter and we will share that kind of love. I already feel so much for you, and I'm anxious and excited to experience our relationship through the years. I will be your nurturer, your guide to the world and life, your secret-keeper. I can picture us as you grow, but only time will really tell who we will be together.

[Can you see my love for you? It grows every day.]

Your birth is so near. Although I'm not having many contractions throughout the day (and not strong when I do), I can tell. Our midwife says your head has dropped even lower, but that you still have room to grow, if you need to. I want you to stay warm and cozy inside my belly as long as you need, sweet girl. I want you to be nice and strong and healthy and ready for this world. I will be here waiting as long as it takes. When you are ready to come out, you will be welcomed with smiles and kisses. We hope that your father will be the first one to touch you as you come out, and with the midwife's help, he will place you into my arms, where I will hold you and cradle you to my breast. We will stare at each other and instantly that love will connect us for all time.

[Your fluffy brother, Keagan. His winter coat is beautiful!]

I am so, so ready to meet you. Your room is ready, our birth bags are packed, the house is (pretty much) clean. the Christmas tree is up and decorated, food is cooked and in the freezer for those days we can't bear to be in the kitchen. Now I am just waiting for you to come say hello!

I love you, baby!

P.S. We got our camera back last week! My photos are so much better!

Dec 4, 2010

DIY Tutorial: Christmas Stockings!

This year, considering how we're getting an extra-special brand-new addition to our family, I wanted to do something extra-special for our Christmas stockings. (Well, that and because I like to make stuff.)

So I used some materials I had on hand, and whipped up a snazzy tutorial for you all to make this:
{It's SO easy, and it looks SO good!}

  • Fleece
  • Water-soluble marking pen
  • Scissors
  • Wool felt (acrylic is fine too)
  • Sewing pins
Optional: Tissue paper to create a stocking pattern.

Step 1: Lay out your fleece, and double it up so you can cut through two layers at once (makes it quicker). Use your water-soluble pen to draw a stocking shape. (Tip: If you're hesitant to mark directly onto the fleece, draw a pattern onto regular tissue paper, and pin that to your fleece.) Cut out your stocking.

Step 2: Grab your felt, lay it under the stocking, and trace the top of the stocking onto the felt. Before you trace, make sure you like how big the felt piece will be. This will replace that fuzzy white stuff on the traditional stocking. :) Cut out your shape, then trace it onto the remaining felt to make a second piece exactly the same size.

Step 3: Pin the felt pieces to the top of the fleece stockings. Notice I flipped one of my stocking pieces over, so that in the end, the felt will be on the correct outside part of the stocking, front and back. The felt may not fit perfectly, but that doesn't matter as long as it covers the fleece.

Step 4: Sew the top and bottom edge of the felt onto the fleece. Don't worry about the sides.

Step 5: Make snowflakes following this tutorial from The Purl Bee. I used the same felt as for the top of the stocking so the colors would match. I also didn't make mine double-sided since I'd be sewing it directly to to the stocking. Here you see the three snowflakes I made for our three stockings.

Step 6: Find the perfect placement of the snowflake on one of the stocking pieces (whichever you want to be the front) and pin in place.

Step 7: Sew that bad boy on! I just sewed along the 6 branches of the snowflake and didn't worry about all the little bits sticking off. It seemed secure enough with just that.

Step 8: Pin both stocking pieces right-sides together. Sew along all sides except the top, because you want Santa to be able to put in his treats, right? :)

Step 9:
Before you flip it right-side out, trim any excess felt off. Otherwise, it'll make your stocking kinda bulky.

Step 10: Cut a long-ish rectangle from your felt. This is for the loop to hang the stocking.

Step 11: Place your rectangle onto the stocking like this, and sew it on, making sure to go over it a couple of times for reinforcement. Now you're done!

Step 12: Iron carefully, and then hang by your tree, fireplace, what-have-you! Here are all three of our stockings, finished and hanging!

Kevin gets the orange one, I get the teal, and our little lady will have the maroon. We each have our own, and they're each slightly different. The snowflakes are all individual and we each get our own color.

Please let me know if you make (or plan to) one of these! It's really not that hard... the most time consuming part is the snowflake, but only if you're obsessive like me and actually use a ruler to make sure each branch is exactly the same (like a true snowflake).

What do you think?