Friday, August 31, 2007
Here is a link to the recipe I made this morning for a Mom in my moms' group who gave birth last month. I also made some for dinner tonight for our family. It was delicious! I found this same recipe on another blog here . Based on that blog, I'm starting to think that I need to add The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas to my cookbook collection.

I'm starting to finally feel a little bit back to normal after this crazy, crazy week! --Karli

Prenatal Appointment--27 Weeks

Thursday, August 30, 2007
I had a prenatal appointment today, and everything once again looks great! Here are the stats:
Blood Pressure: 116/68
Pulse: 80
Baby's Heartrate: 156 bpm
Fundal Height: 26cm
Weight: 165.0, which is exactly what I weighed at this time with Samuel.

The baby is currently in a breech position, but there is still plenty of time for her to turn. In fact, I was able to move her into a transverse position while watching a movie this evening, which is where she has stayed since then. I had my suspicions about her position prior to the appointment. There's been a LOT of movement down low in my pelvis, where the head should be, and minimal movement up high. I've also had a hard time discerning which end the baby is laying, and she changes position frequently throughout the day. With Samuel, he was head-down from 20 weeks on, and never moved position. He always laid spine curved outward (anterior), and to the right of my uterus. This baby moves all over. She never stays in one position for very long. However, out of the two babies, Samuel was much more active. This baby moves position, but also sleeps quite a lot, and her movements are much more gentle and not as frequent as Samuel. Anyway, it's interesting to compare...

I have an appointment for Sept. 10th with my midwife for a CBC to check hemoglobin, glucose test, and a RhoGAM shot, since I am Rh-negative. Those RhoGAM shots aren't any fun because of where they administer the shot--take a guess!


Jury Duty, Part 3: Deliberations

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I really thought I'd walk into the jury room today and we'd all be on the same page and have the verdict form filled out within an hour. Unfortunately, that was not to be. It was a civil case, so there needed to be a majority, which in our case was 9 out of 12 jurors. After deliberating all day (8 hours), we finally reached a verdict. I was never in the majority, and kept my vote the same until the end. It was rough sitting in court while the verdict was read, since I didn't agree with it. It was a pretty long & emotionally charged day. There were times where jurors raised their voices at each other & things got heated in that small room. At some point, the majority ruled, and a verdict was reached. This has been an interesting experience for me. I can see why they only allow you to serve every two years, however, as these cases can be extremely stressful and draining to participate in.


Jury Duty, Part 2

Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Sat in a courtroom from 9am-5pm listening to witnesses testify & lawyers run through the same lines of questioning over and over. Felt extremely tired and bored at times, but did not allow myself to doze in court. Took lots of notes, so I'm definitely prepared for deliberations tomorrow. Glad I'm sitting in the back row on the jury, as the back row has chairs that swivel, whereas the jurors on the front row sit on folding chairs, and have to cock their heads to the left in order to view the stand. Being pregnant, that would have been extremely uncomfortable for me. Looking forward to a quick deliberation (hopefully) tomorrow. Landon is out of town, so Samuel is at a friend's house for the day, and will be there again tomorrow. He's having fun, but is definitely not used to being away from me all day. He's been more emotional in the evenings. Makes me so glad that Landon and I don't both work f/t.

Jury Duty, Part 1

Monday, August 27, 2007
In the past, jury duty has consisted of sitting in a big room with a TV feeling bored all day long. My name has never been called in the past, so jury duty has always been one to two days of boredom. This time, however, my name was called right away, and I was selected to be on a jury in a civil case. When I was selected, I debated on whether or not to claim this would be a hardship for me, as I knew Landon was due to be out of town this week on business, and I had no idea if I would be able to line anyone up for childcare. Most of my family is on an Alaskan cruise this week, so I don't even have the option of calling one of them. I took my chances, however, and fortunately was able to line up a friend to watch Samuel tomorrow & possibly Wednesday if the trial runs that long. It was a long day of listening to emotionally draining testimony. I was so tired by the time I had picked up Samuel and made dinner, that I fell asleep when I put Samuel to bed, and never woke up until the alarm went off at 6:15am for another day of jury duty. This is going to be a good experience for me, and a nice diversion from the day-to-day activities of being a stay-at-home mom.



Sunday, August 26, 2007
Hey, I pulled an all-nighter last night, but instead of the all-nighters of my early twenties, which were done on purpose, this time I was plagued by pregnancy insomnia. Wide awake with an active baby all night long. Tonight I didn't have reflux until 4:35am when I finally tried drinking warm milk to make me sleepy. Instead of making me sleepy, it gave me a good case of reflux, which is when I had to laugh, finally give up on sleep at 5am, take a shower, and get dressed to start my day. My parents arrived @ my house at 7am, and we took them to the train station so they could catch their cruise to Alaska in Seattle. Needless to say, it's been a long day. Stinging eyes, shortness of breath, weak muscles... I have a feeling my insomnia will disappear tonight, because I'm honestly so exhausted that no matter what attempts to keep me awake, I'm going to sleep through it. I'm heading to bed now w/ Samuel, and it's only 8pm. Can't remember the last time I went to bed that early. I have to get up no later than 6am...tomorrow I start jury duty...sigh...


Creating a Playlist

Saturday, August 25, 2007
My massage therapist burned several copies of meditative & relaxing music that she plays during my massages that I've now put into a playlist on itunes to use during labor/delivery. Little by little, I'm feeling more and more prepared.


Rough Night

Friday, August 24, 2007
So far, I've only had rough nights during this pregnancy every once in awhile, but then again, I'm just on the cusp of entering the 3rd trimester, so I expect these nights to increase in frequency. I'm usually good at dealing with a couple (maybe even three or four) discomforts at one time during pregnancy, but when the three or four become five or six, I get overwhelmed. Last night, by 2am, I finally broke down and had a good cry. My shoulders would go numb when I laid on my sides, I was suffering from reflux, restless leg syndrome, dehydration (I think from eating too many wheat thins topped with generous portions of brie), an active baby, and backache. I couldn't seem to get the pillows positioned in a way where I could fall asleep. Finally, I got up when Landon got home quite late from session, relented and took 2 Tums, (I've been trying to rely only on my papaya enzyme tablets, but sometimes they just don't cut it), and talked for awhile until I started to feel better. By 3:30 or 4am, I drifted off to sleep. Landon took Samuel for a haircut in the morning and let me sleep, then spent the early afternoon playing music at a friend's house with Samuel so I was able to spend the afternoon alone. It was just what I needed, and I'm feeling much better. I even picked up a few new maternity items, as my maternity bras & pants are all getting pretty tight. The baby really grew this week, and my clothes are suddenly all at once too small.
P.S. My pregnancy ticker crept below the 100 day mark w/out my noticing! Can this baby's birth really only be 90+ days away? The maple trees in our backyard are starting to shed their leaves. Fall (and my 3rd trimester) are on the way. 3 short months to go!

Drape Project--Complete!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Yeah, drapes are here! I went out last night & got the drapes I've been looking for since July. There is so much out there, and it took time to learn about window treatments & hardware, then to narrow it down to what I wanted. I went with panels. Roman shades didn't work, because it blocked about 4 inches from the top of the window w/ the hardware hanging down. Plus, I thought it looked drab & basically like burlap sacks hanging from the window. Anyway, I went with panels. I got a cafe curtain at Target today w/ a small rod for my walk-in closet/ office window, which I hung from the top of the window so the bottom just touches the bottom sill. I did not buy the valance w/ the cafe curtain, so it just looks like a small curtain made just for that window. For this window, I mounted the hardware 5 1/2 inches wider than the window frame so that when the cafe curtains are parted, they hang just outside the frame, allowing me a view of the entire window during the day. For our double windows in our room, I bought red Twill curtains @ Pottery Barn, and will be able to use our original curtain rod, because I decided against buying double rods for the benefit of adding sheers. It would be nice, but not so nice that it was worth the extra expense, and when I really thought about it, I couldn't think of too many times during the day that I prefer filtered light, especially in our bedroom, which faces north. I think sheers would be good in a living room and/or dining room. Samuel has new curtains for his room as well. We'll mount those tonight. He has the blue corduroy panels (don't have the link for this one, because they aren't shown online) from Pottery Barn Kids. Since his room faces south, sheers would probably be good in there, but again, not worth the added expense of buying the double add-on kits. The hardware can really add up, and the rods we have our antique-looking & I'd like to keep them if possible. I still need to decide on whether or not to use hold-backs. If the hardware is mounted outside the window frame, it not only creates the illusion of the window being larger than it is, but allows for enough room for curtains to hang w/out hold-backs. So, I'm waiting on those to see how it all turns out. I also got a beautiful rug from Pottery Barn Home that was on sale. It was the last of that rug, and I got it for nearly 1/2 off. It's a 3x5, and goes by our bed. It has lots of red & the sage & silver colors that our room is painted, so it matches perfectly. Last, but not least, I'll get new bedding, then a mirror & a few pictures for the wall. Anyway, this project is nearing an end, finally! I'm really happy so far w/ the results, but it has taken a lot of time to really be sure of what I wanted & to narrow it down. Stay tuned for pictures! Our camera is in the shop, and will be fixed within two weeks.
P.S. Above picture: Samuel swimming at Jamison Sq. in NW.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Only 5% of pancreatic cancer patients make it past a year of their diagnosis. My Dad is now 2 1/2 years post-diagnosis, and as of last week's result from his cat-scan, is still cancer-free! At this point in my life, with my Dad in good health, a loving family, a healthy baby girl on the way, a healthy boy, and a nice house & supporting & loving husband w/ a good job, I have a lot to be thankful for. I know there are many other things and people I could have listed, but those were just a few that came to mind...
P.S. Picture of Landon and I several years ago at Cannon Beach.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lots to do to prepare for my homebirth & our new baby girl. Been working at getting some of these projects done. In addition, I spent most of today cooking for a sick Mom in our group. I made a vegetarian lasagna, salad, dressing, and also brought over a cherry pie from Zupan's & some Santa Cruz echinacea & ginger juice. Next week, I will cook for a Mom who just gave birth last month. We started doing these meal trains to support each other during certain times--like illness or the birth of a child. It's great! Today was my first time making a meal for someone, so it took me a lot longer to get the best process down for transporting food. Also, I was limited in what I could make based on their dietary requests. I'm hoping next week's meal I make will go much smoother now that I've worked out some of the kinks!


Rain, Rain, Rain!

Monday, August 20, 2007
Summer really does feel over now! It's cold & rainy outside, much like our fall & winters here. It's supposed to be a little nicer later in the week, but for now, we're going to have a quiet day indoors. I'll get caught up on laundry, maybe do some cleaning, and we have an indoor playgroup to go to this morning. The weeks continue to fly by, and now I'm down to just over 3 months before the baby arrives. The above picture is my youngest sister Shelly with her son Kaenan at the Spaghetti Factory in Portland earlier this year. --Karli
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Trip to Costco and Scrapbooking

Sunday, August 19, 2007
Based on how Samuel is bundled up in this photo, you can tell it was taken earlier this year in winter or early spring. We became Costco members today! We've been meaning to for awhile, but I was a little hesitant. Now that I've been, I see how much we'll start saving on non-foods. I don't think we'll buy perishables like produce or meat there, just because it's important to us to support local growers as much as possible, and we also like to get organics, which I didn't see hardly any of at Costco, although I hear they are starting to sell more and more. We spent about an hour and a half at Costco, then ran everything home to drop off before heading off for our grocery shopping at New Seasons. I then spent a good chunk of time organizing cupboards and putting everything away. Afterwards, I spent about 6 hours working on my pregnancy scrapbook, which is now finished through this month! It includes ultrasound photos, papers from my midwives, little notes I write to ask my midwives at each appointment, blog postings about the pregnancy, all my pregnancy photos, index cards describing the changes in each month of pregnancy, and sometimes photos of things we did as a family each month. I bought some of the Martha Stewart Crafts tools & supplies, which has made it a lot of fun & pretty easy. Each page is decorated with crafting paper and enclosed with plastic pouches to protect it. I use lots of ribbon, lots of hot glue sticks, and colorful pens. The end result is a creative display of all the memorabilia from my pregnancy. I have one from my pregnancy with Samuel as well. I'm not a scrapbooker, but I thought it was fun for this particular project. For photos, I tend to use albums only. I'm now in the process of uploading over 1K photos to Snapfish to start making albums from Samuel's birth on. --Karli
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Finding Out: The Story from March

Saturday, August 18, 2007
Here's a picture of my positive pregnancy test from March. It was March 30th, and we were on Orcas Island vacationing after a stressful term of Anatomy & Physiology. My period was about a week late by my calculations, so finally one morning I went into Eastsound to get a latte & check my e-mail at an internet cafe. While checking my e-mail, I couldn't shake the feeling that my period is never late, and that I should take a test just to make sure. On my way back to our cabin, I stopped in Eastsound at a grocery store, and purchased a pregnancy test. I went back to the produce department to use their public restroom & took the test, which instantly turned positive. I was in complete shock, but incredibly happy as well. Driving back to our cabin, I must have pulled over at least twice just to make sure it really was positive. It didn't take long before I told Landon. Keeping that kind of news inside is very difficult! I just sat down and said, "Landon, we're going to have another baby." He had to lay down for a few minutes, but was excited and happy as well. I won't name the baby Orcas Isla since we found out on Orcas Island, but it will always be a special place to us now. I figured at the time that I was between four and five weeks pregnant, but I was actually nearly 7 weeks pregnant when I found out. This was a surprise pregnancy, and by ultrasound calculations, it looks like I conceived quite early in my cycle--probably around day 10 or 11. I've charted for years, and have always ovulated around day 18 of my cycle with a 10 day luteal phase, making my cycles about 28 days. Going by this data, I assumed by the 34th day of my cycle (when I took the test), that I was nearly 5 weeks pregnant, but due to an early ovulation, I was actually 7 weeks pregnant at the time.

(About today--we went to the Multnomah Days Parade w/ our neighbors. It was fun, but Samuel had way too much candy!)
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Summer Work Picnic

Friday, August 17, 2007
My husband's annual work picnic was this evening, and it was a lot of fun! The Be Good Tonyas and The Old Crow Medicine Show performed on stage, but the party was in a private viewing area by the cafe. This all took place at the Oregon Zoo. Lots of good food, desserts, fun for the kids, and great music to be heard by all. We even picked up a couple of CD's on our way out. We didn't get home until pretty late, and all slept deeply. It was a long night full of fun, and I think we were all pretty tired by the time it all came to an end.

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Dad!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Today was my Dad's 62nd birthday, and we all met at Applebee's to celebrate. Many of you might not know this, but he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 6 weeks after Samuel was born. He underwent the Whipple surgery as well as chemo & radiation. Only 5% of pancreatic cancer patients survive a year after their diagnosis. My Dad is still cancer-free 2 1/2 years later. He is one lucky guy! Congratulations on another birthday, Dad!
P.S. This picture was taken on the 4th of July, 2001.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I'm trying to cut back on my sugar intake, so didn't have dessert tonight after dinner, which unfortunately left me in a bad mood!

Saw my friend Sharla's brother Paul @ a concert in Lake Oswego tonight. Met Sarah, Ben, Aaron, and some of their friends. Samuel & Ben are only a week apart, and have a lot of fun playing together. Paul was there representing Metro, with a display of native plants & brochures on how to garden w/ native species & w/out chemicals.

Despite the concert, I was still in a bad mood! I'm going through withdrawals!

A Crazy Morning

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Things started going downhill this morning when Samuel's diaper broke open just after he'd messed it, and then I had a lovely little mess to clean up on our staircase. I had a doctor's appointment this morning, and for some reason, I thought I had plenty of time, but by the time I got us ready & out to the car, it was 10 minutes to 11am, and my appointment was on the other side of town at 11. Despite construction forcing me to go downtown, being stuck behind a bus for part of the way, and seemingly behind every driver in Portland that wanted to go 10mph, then turn right suddenly w/out using a blinker, I made it to the appointment only 10 minutes late. Unfortunately, Samuel pinched his finger, then banged his eye on the exam table during the appointment, which led to uncontrollable screaming for 10 minutes during the appointment, including a full-body throw-down with head buried in hands in the most dramatic way possible. My nerves were pretty frazzled after that, so Samuel and I went over to Hawthorne after the apointment and had bento for lunch, then Starbucks, which made both of us much happier. Now he is napping, the dishes are done, the rice noodles are soaking for dinner, and I'm enjoying some quiet time before Samuel wakes up and Landon gets home from work.

Another Week

Monday, August 13, 2007

I met Jen & her boys @ a nearby park this evening, and Samuel had a lot of fun riding his bike. It's so easy to throw into the trunk of my car, and the park gives him much more space in a safe, enclosed area to ride freely. Samuel's still fighting this miserable cold, which I'm hoping is nearing its end. I honestly cannot believe how quickly the summer (and the pregnancy) is flying by. It's nearly over! In the meantime, in keeping with the spirit of summer, I've posted a picture of a delicious slice of watermelon. Landon cut some up this week, and it was really good! --Karli

Farmer's Market

Sunday, August 12, 2007

We checked out the Hillsdale Farmer's Market this morning. Our neighbor stopped by at 10am w/ his kids to see Samuel. They were on their way up there, so after finishing up a few morning chores, we headed up there as well. We didn't stay long. I came home & read for awhile...Landon took Samuel to OMSI, we took naps, and now Landon is riding his bike (pulling Samuel in the Burley) to a blackberry patch to pick berries. After dinner tonight, I'm thinking about heading to a coffee shop to make some progress with this latest novel I'm reading for book-club, Midaq Alley by Naquib Mahfouz. I'm not really enjoying it, so am eager to finish it so I can read something else.
P.S. The above picture was taken a few weeks ago while on the Mt. Hood Railroad Train for one of their two hour express rides.

Camera Report

Saturday, August 11, 2007
Qcom stock has been doing so poorly lately that we've decided to save money & repair our current Canon digital camera rather than invest in a new model at this time. We think it won't take much to repair it, so hopefully within a couple of weeks I'll be able to start posting photos again. We've taken so few pictures over the summer. I look forward to getting the camera out more often once it's repaired. Also, we moved the photo collection back to Landon's PC. Iphoto was awful, and it took about 10 minutes just to open the program and post a picture. I don't think iphoto was designed to handle image collections like ours, which contain more than 20K photos!


Family Outing

Friday, August 10, 2007

Today we took Samuel down to the Enchanted Forest south of Salem, OR. This is a great little family-owned amusement park, and has been maintained over the years with care. Afterwards, there was a wreck on I-5, so it took us nearly two hours to get home. In the evening, we headed to Dickinson Park, which is located just a couple of blocks from our old house, for a movie, which was "The Wizard of Oz." It started around 9pm, and since it was a little chilly, we were all cozy on the ground wrapped up with blankets. This is a wonderful new program that Portland Parks has organized, and was a lot of fun. They serve free popcorn for everyone, and there were even "door" prizes. We plan to go to a few more before the end of the summer. Here is a link to the schedule.
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6 Months Pregnant

Thursday, August 09, 2007
I can hardly believe that I'm already 6 months pregnant today! Onto month seven! The calendar shows there are only 3 months, 20 days left until her due date (give or take 2 weeks). I'm off right now to get Samuel a new toy--an "animal farm," as he calls it--probably the Fisher-Price Little People Farm. He's excited! Can't wait for Landon to get home tonight...we miss him when he's away!
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Slow Days

Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Samuel came down with a cold/cough over the weekend, and I'm starting to get it now, so it's been a drag the past couple of days with Landon away on business and feeling so tired & cooped up in the house. The days are going by very slowly! I'm hoping that by Friday we'll be feeling much better for the weekend. I want to take Landon to this sushi place this weekend that I tried out with some friends last week. I swear it was the best sushi in town!


Move, Baby, Move!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Here's an old picture of Samuel from early 2006. Last night, the baby was laying transverse (I think), and putting quite a bit of pressure on my sides. This was pretty un- comfortable, and also caused an evening of Braxton- Hicks, which were stronger than any I had with Samuel. Walking in the park was pretty uncomfortable, due to the tightening sensations & stretching the baby was causing on the sides of my waist. I e-mailed my midwife, and she suggested trying to do pelvic rocks to try to dislodge the baby from its position. I planned to do that after getting Samuel to bed, but at some point while I was laying down, the baby moved, and I felt much more comfortable. It was a long evening! --Karli
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6th Month of Pregnancy

Monday, August 06, 2007


Here I the last few days of the sixth month of my pregnancy. I'm 23 weeks, 4 days today, and by Thursday, I will enter my seventh month. So far, the 2nd trimester has been a breeze, except for feeling really tired all the time. I'm getting used to that, though, and have adjusted. I know that once the baby arrives, I'll be getting a lot less sleep. Lately, I've been having a hard time sleeping for very long, if at all, because of frequent trips to the bathroom, midnight snacks, and an active baby in-utero all night. I'm also entering the stage where it's getting harder to get comfortable at night, and rolling over isn't easy. Overall, though, I'm loving that my second trimester this time has been fairly easy. I didn't get to experience an easy second trimester with Samuel, since I was diagnosed with gallbladder disease at 18 weeks, had surgery at 21 weeks, and was in recovery from that until about 28 to 30 weeks. Much easier this time around! And this summer has been much cooler than usual, which has been a huge blessing! It's hard to believe that our new baby will be here in less than 3 1/2 months!

Oh, and as far as weight gain goes, I gained 8 pounds last month, which was a little surprising to me, but after checking my weight gain chart with Samuel, I've coincidently gained the exact amount at this point in my pregnancy (13 pounds altogether), that I'd gained with Samuel at 24 weeks. What worries me a little is that I gained nearly 60 pounds with Samuel, and he was 9 pounds, 14 ounces, and although I know I can birth a baby at least that big, I really would prefer to birth a smaller baby this time around. But, I'm going to gain what I will gain, and the baby will be the size it is meant to'll be interesting to see if my weight gain continues to follow the same pattern as my first pregnancy. --Karli
P.S. Here is a link to my 5th-month in pregnancy photo. I'm not noticeably bigger this month, but will definitely be by next month's photo! Click HERE.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

I was up until about 4am this morning, partly with insomnia, and partly because Samuel is sick with a new virus: cold, cough, temperature. It was a long night! The baby was moving quite a bit, there were lots of bathroom trips, and lots of wake-ups with Samuel. I even had to get up once to eat a bowl of cereal. With Samuel, I was doing that a lot the first and third trimesters. I did that a lot the first trimester with this baby, but not so much the past 6 weeks. Now it's starting up again. Dinner just isn't enough to get me through the night.

In other news...since we've had Samuel, our cats have taken a big backseat. They used to be pictured w/ us in our Christmas cards, like the one pictured above from December, 2005, when I was 7 months pregnant with Samuel...but now, we just don't have the desire to spend the time to be affectionate the way animals require now that we have a child (and soon to have one more) of our own. They seem so bushy & unlovable in comparison to Samuel, whose cheeks are irresistible! People used to tell me that this was the case for parents who had children--they would give their pets away. I always scoffed and was harshly judgmental towards people who gave their pets away. Now, after nearly 3 years of feeling nothing but frustration over litter box changings & cat hair all over the house, I'm ready to give them a better life. They need to be with someone who loves them so much that they don't feel resentful about the time it takes to take care of them and all their many needs. Don't get me wrong...they've been wonderfully cared for and loved, and are amazing cats that will probably miss us greatly. I'm just feeling too overwhelmed by the pets at this point, especially now that we have another baby on the way. So, Landon is in the process of giving our tropical fish away. The next on the list is my purebred flame-point Himalayan male cat (spayed & 6 years old) that we drove to Idaho a few weeks before 9/11 to get from a breeder. Those were the days of lonely evenings prior to kids where a cat was just what we needed to fill the void. These days, I just don't have enough love in my heart to extend past my own offspring. Lastly, I will consider adopting out my female Persian mix, Priscilla, who is also 6 years old. She is spayed, and was my first pet that I got when I was renting my first apartment. I used to drive home on my lunch-hour to check on her. And now...I'm considering a new home for her. Am I really terrible for considering to adopt out our cats, or am I being unselfish in seeking to give them a better life than I can give them?


Saturday, August 04, 2007
No more plants for me! I purchased 5 plants a week ago, and they just now went into the ground this evening, only because Landon helped me dig the holes. I just don't have the energy to struggle on our steep slopes & plant new things right now. It's about all I can do to keep up with the weeding and watering at this point. I'm going to have to push the pause button on beautifying my garden until next spring, at which point I'll hopefully have more energy again. Thanks to Landon, though, those 5 plants are happily planted, and the garden and sidewalks are weed-free.

Thoughts in Pregnancy and Childbirth

Friday, August 03, 2007
(I wrote this @ 1AM last night when I was extremely tired, and am hesitant to post it, but Landon thought it might be beneficial to someone out there, so here you go).

I'm sure you've all been there--those times in life where you're stretched--forced to see something from another point-of-view. My recent stretching experience has been the result of venturing personally into a previously unexplored territory: the world of midwifery. Because of my personal beliefs about giving birth, I realized after going through prenatal care with an OB-GYN, then giving birth in a hospital setting with nurses and doctors whom I had never met (my OB-GYN wasn't on call that night), that the way I wished to give birth would be nearly impossible in a hospital. There are just too many routines and protocols, and I don't know about you, but I don't know if there is enough paper to write a birth plan to address each and every one, and even if there were, I don't know if anyone would even read or honor it. The whole environment for me was counter-intuitive. My experience of giving birth in a hospital setting led me to more seriously explore a home-birth with a midwife. I knew from the time I came home from the hospital that I would give birth differently the next time around. I've read many books on the subject of giving birth naturally; here are a few:

The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
Diary of a Midwife: The Power of Positive Childbearing by Juliana van Olphen-Fehr
An Easier Childbirth: A Mother's Guide for Birthing Normally by Gayle Peterson, PH.D.
Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent
and the classic Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin

I always felt like I would be a perfect match for giving birth with a midwife, as just about 100% of what I believe on the subject has been written about in books like these. What I'm learning as I go along is how little I really do know. Growing up, I was only ever exposed to western medicine, and I actually know very little about naturopathic medicine. I failed to realize that by stepping into the community of midwives meant also stepping into the world of natural medicine and practice. In many cases, I've been thrilled with natural remedies for pregnancy ailments, as my prior experience had been recommendations by MD's to use Tylenol or to "hang in there, because it won't be long now...(code for deal!). For the most part, my experience with midwives has been a learning experience. I don't know much about herbal remedies, so have been pretty receptive to trying them out (and they've worked--I haven't had to suffer in pregnancy nearly so much!), especially during pregnancy when you are so limited in what medications you can actually take. However, I have been surprised at how far I am from fitting in as well with this community. Like I said, I thought I would be a perfect match, and maybe I am, but there have been many instances where I have realized I have my foot in two camps: giving birth naturally (midwifery), but wanting all the prenatal screenings and tests (western medicine).

I'm a pretty analytical thinker, so believe me, I give each and every test a lot of thought and consideration before forming an opinion. My midwives are definitely conservative on what tests they recommend, and most they feel are unnecessary. They provide information on the tests, then leave it up to me to decide what to do. Other than the AFP, which I declined due to its high false positive rate, I have wanted every screen, mostly to alleviate my anxiety about whether or not everything is progressing normally, but also to prevent some potentially negative outcomes during pregnancy/childbirth. Even though my midwives are fine with whatever I decide, I think deep down I want to feel like what I decide is what they would recommend, and this is not the case. For example, they tend not to recommend testing for gestational diabetes unless the woman is showing symptoms for the disease, because the screen has many false positives, which means women have to undergo a 3-hour glucose test in addition to the 1-hour glucose screen, and neither test is pleasant for the woman to undergo, especially considering most women go through them unnecessarily. This is a different practice than what I am used to. Most hospital-based physicians recommend the gestational screening as a standard part of prenatal care, regardless of the situation. Presenting them as standard screenings, rather than optimal, has left me, as a patient, to feel that they are necessary in order to have a healthy pregnancy. As an aside, I do realize that much of western medicine is fear-based medicine. The desire to prevent leads many people to undergo unnecessary screenings or to worse yet, get a false positive and live in weeks of turmoil over the health of their baby before they undergo a more invasive & diagnostic test. As an example of fear-based & preventative medicine, I was told after being in labor for many hours that I needed Pitocin in order to speed things along, or the baby COULD go into distress and I'd end up having a emergency c-section. The baby (Samuel) wasn't in distress, and never did go into distress, but the Pitocin led to an Epidural, which didn't work, but forced me to remain on my back due to hospital policy, when many other positions would have been more optimal with a baby Samuel's size, which led to an Episiotomy, which led to many, many months of pain after the birth. These interventions were unnecessary, but were nearly forced upon me by nurses and physicians that led me to believe that if I did not agree to them, dire consequences could follow--mainly the health of the baby could be compromised.

I don't know if this makes any sense, but I'm feeling stretched in my way of thinking. I think I've become used to the doctor telling me the proper course of action, and me going along with it. The way midwives practice is that they give information that contains both the benefits & the risks, then ask and strongly encourage the patient to make the decision for themselves. In a lot of cases, this means the patient can make a decision that the midwife might not recommend, but will support. This means it's about me making decisions about my own health & pregnancy, not someone else. Bottom line, this is what I want--I want a birth where I'm in control, because I really do believe that my body is made to give birth and can do so without intervention (as long as I am healthy & the pregnancy is normal).

To get where I want to be means going through some mental stretching, however. This is my pregnancy, my birth, my baby...and everything that goes along with those things are my decisions to make. I do appreciate that I'm supported by my midwives no matter what I decide, but I have to admit, I'm not used to making my own medical decisions...not used to viewing those who oversee my medical care as advisors who advise...and advice is just that--take it or leave it. I really can create for myself an experience that is unique to me. So, I'm learning...growing...changing...and this is uncomfortable for me, but it will lead to a positive outcome.

I had a dream the other night where nurses strapped me down in a hospital and despite my screams of protest, jammed an IV Pitocin-drip into my arm. I was not in control, and my birth experience was not my own. No one listened to my screams. I was silenced & faded into nothingness while everyone around me handled my birth the way they saw fit.

Another dream of mine involves going into labor and running away into a deep forest where I'm all alone and far from anyone. There I give birth alone in a peaceful and quiet place.

Overall, it's been a bit frustrating for me to feel like I don't fit into the model of western medicine, nor completely into the model of natural medical practice, but I'm trying to take the good in both fields, and put them together to fit my particular desires & needs for maternal care. I think that for me, this stretching process, which entails sifting through information & doing research, will lead me to be an even more confident person, trusting my decisions despite what is recommended to me. I believe this will lead me to give birth without fear, because my confidence and peace is based in myself, not in others.

Names for Girls

Thursday, August 02, 2007
What are your favorite girl names? We have a name picked out, but lately, I've been questioning whether it's the right name. After reading through The Baby Name Bible the other night, I'm still mystified and no closer to a final decision. For a boy, I wanted Jasper Milo or Henry, but I'll keep our one girl name secret until the baby's birth. After all, there has to be some element of surprise, right? Plus, I can do without the old "Oh, I knew this awful girl in highschool with that name, and I've never liked it since, but that's cool you like it" or "Well, I'm a teacher and there are 5 Amelias in my class, so as long as you don't mind the Amelia trend, go for it!" I've noticed people tend to keep these comments to themselves once your baby is born, but they never cease to boldly share their associations with the name you've picked out if you tell them before the birth. So, "the name" shall remain a secret for now. Suggestions?

Happy 29th Birthday to my sister Tracy!

Getting Bigger

Wednesday, August 01, 2007
About a month ago, a mom in my playgroup, who is 3 1/2 weeks further along in pregnancy, e-mailed me that her belly was growing so quickly that she could feel it stretching daily! I will say that this past week, my 23rd week of pregnancy, my belly has noticeably increased in size. I've been experiencing light Braxton-Hicks, and my uterus is about 3 cm. above my belly-button. I'll post an updated belly shot in a few days.

Earlier today, Samuel and I met Annagrace and her daughter Penelope at Grant Park. I knew Annagrace from PBC/CBC, but we hadn't seen each other for years. It was fun to get together and reconnect--we hope to do so again sometime! Grant Park has a great little wading pool for kids that is mostly shaded. I would highly recommend it if you haven't been there!

This evening, we headed down to Willamette Park to hear the Flat Mountain Girls. They were great, and we had a fun time. Sarah, Aaron, and Ben were there, and Samuel had a lot of fun playing with Ben (I even saw one of my midwives there!). Sarah is one of my closest friends from my moms' group, and is also expecting. In fact, we are exactly 8 weeks apart in pregnancy. Ben and Samuel are almost the same size, and are only a week apart in age. They've always played well together, and I'm excited that Sarah and I are having our second babies so close together.

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