Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Josephine's Funeral & Danni's Song

One of the couples that we met at Faith's Lodge lost their first baby, James, because of preterm labor at 23 weeks gestation. They had struggled with infertility, but finally conceived him only to loose him. I found out about a two and a half weeks ago that they were 23 weeks pregnant, and was overjoyed for them! They'd lost James about 11 months ago, and were now expecting their Rainbow Baby. Only to find out a week and a half later that Josephine was born, lived a short three and a half days, then went to be with her big brother, and Danielle (and Ashton, David, Drew, & Sprout... the other babies that we met through their parents at Faith's Lodge).

I knew I had to go out and be there for both of them at her funeral, as soon as I found out. I got in touch with the other parents and we got them a rock to put in James's memorial garden for Josie. On Thursday, I made the drive out to Madison with Nora and stayed with one of my friend's from college. (I debated on whether or not to bring Nora, as I understood it would be hard on my friends, but logistically we couldn't make it work - Adam works at 3am, and it would be difficult to find someone to watch her, plus I am breastfeeding her.)

I left our house Thursday around noon, loaded Nora and our stuff in the car and said goodbye to Adam. I got in the car and started it, and the radio turned on. It was about halfway though the song, but I knew Danni was looking down on us as I listened to the rest of If I Die Young by The Band Perry. (Just a couple of weeks ago I went to work on Danni's scrapbook at mom and dad's house, which I hadn't worked on in months. I was downstairs by myself listening to the radio, and the song came on then too.) It is a song that always makes me think of her, and lately it's been coming on the radio at the most appropriate times, like it did just then.

Friday morning was Josie's funeral. Ashton's mom also made it to the funeral, and was kind enough to watch Nora for me while I talked to Josie's parents. They had an open tiny casket for her, with a blanket wrapped around her, and a few toys for her. She looked to tiny and frail, but I managed to hold it together, not for too long though. When I looked through all of her pictures, and saw her parents reading a story to her and showing her a picture of her tiny big brother, I started to get all teared up.

As I was flipping the pages, one of Josie's great aunts started looking as I flipped though. One of the photo pockets held her neonatal shades. She looked a little confused, and I explained that some of the lights they use to keep them warm and healthy is hard on their eyes, so they put on these shades. We struck up a small conversation and I explained that I met Josie's parents at Faith's Lodge and had lost a daughter myself, but I couldn't image the pain of losing two children.

Ashton's mom couldn't stay for the funeral service, as she had to pick up her daughters. I stayed, despite Nora's fussiness. But, once I put her in the Moby wrap, she was content and dozed in and out, so I was able to stay. After the luncheon, I said goodbye to James & Josie's parents and gave them both a big hug, from me, from Adam, and from David's parents (David's mom wanted to carpool out with me, but wasn't able to make it).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2-Month Check-Up

Nora had her 2-month check-up today... that means shots. I was curious to see if she'd be like her Daddy & big sister, Danni, and not care, or if she'd be a big baby about it, (yes, I'll admit it!) like her Momma. Turns out she's a big baby (more than me even!). Adam held her leg while the nurse gave her her shots. I tried to distract her, but it didn't work. Now, I can listen to her cry at home for no apparent reason, but it broke my heart to see her cry, or maybe I should say scream, when she got her shots. Maybe, because I feel her pain!

Another note about her doctor visit... she's at the 88th percentile for height, and the 40th percentile for weight for her age. Which for height versus weight, puts her at the 0.9th percentile. So she's tall like her Daddy, but skinny like her Momma!

After her appointment, Momma & Daddy got their turn with the needles... we got our flu shots!
Matching Band-Aides!
On a final note (a Momma's gotta brag!), Dr. Cady said she's one of the cutest babies she's seen (and she has her own kids)!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Eleanor's Baptism

I've been meaning to do this post for a while, but I wanted to wait until we got her pictures from my brother. I think they're on Adam's computer, but I haven't checked... anyway, I'm write the post with or without the photos!

After we lost Danni, I could hold it together in most public settings. There was one that I couldn't, and I lost it several times: Baptisms. I don't know why it was this event that always set me off, but it seemed that right after we lost her, we always ended up at the mass & church with one or more babies being Baptized. (We were trying to find a new church, so we kind of hopped from church to church each weekend.) Most of the time I could hold it together enough to sit in the pew and (somewhat) inconspicuously wipe my tears away. (Of course, Adam always noticed). But I remember once at St. John Neumann, Adam taking me out of church and sitting in the lobby on a couch crying for most of the rest of mass.

With Eleanor's Baptism approaching, I wasn't sure how I would handle it. We had been to a couple Baptisms (for family & for stangers), and I was just fine. But when it's your Rainbow Baby, it's a little different. I wasn't sure if I'd cry for the joy of being able to Baptize her normally, or sadness because we didn't get to have a normal Baptism for Danielle. Surprisingly, I didn't cry at all. I had a huge smile on my face and was so happy to be able to celebrate this sacrament with Eleanor, but no tears!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What I Miss About Pregnancy

When I was pregnant with both Danielle and Eleanor, I was so excited to be done with pregnancy. But after giving birth, I missed being pregnant. (Talk about a catch-22.) With Danielle, the main reason was that when she was inside me, she was alive, and I knew she was. I was keeping her alive and safe. With Eleanor, I have found other reasons to miss being pregnant, and I wanted to list them here, so that next time around I can come back and read all of the joyous things about being pregnant that you really don't get once the child is born, so that I'm not so anxious to have the baby. I'm sure I'll keep adding to it as time goes, but here's a start...

1. Showering without hearing a screaming baby and starting to leak milk.
2. Not loosing all your hair.
3. No zits!
4. Getting out the door quicker.
5. Not waking up in the middle of the night to feed a baby (you're constantly feeding them and you don't even have to wake up for it!)
6. To go along with that... sleep!
7. Time to not just remove the old paint from your toenails, but actually put new nail polish on them too... if you can reach, that is.
8. Don't wake up wondering what you slept on, and find a nuk wedged in your side.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Eleanor's Birth Story

After I wrote the post about what I thought might be the beginning of Eleanor's birth story, and, at the time, I figured it probably wasn't. But, looking back, that's when my early labor started...

************* the continuation *************

Trying to write times in the dark
I can't remember now if it was Sunday night or Monday night, but either way, I woke up feeling some contractions. They weren't that bad, and I was able to fall asleep right away after each one. But after I felt a couple, I thought I better start timing them. So I grabbed a little piece of paper from my dresser and a pencil from Adam's, and set them on the bed next to me with my cell phone. I wasn't really timing how long each one lasted, but I was timing how long between each one. Times varied, but they were between 10 and 15 minutes apart. I was getting excited, as I thought that we might be heading to the hospital later that day. But I knew that I should try to sleep, as I would need the energy later to push her out of me. 

Eventually, we got up for the day and I told Adam I was having contractions throughout the night. As we got up and started the day, my contractions pretty well stopped. Our bags were still in the car (sans a couple things that we needed back in the house), but when we had gone in, we thought of a couple more things to add to it, so we threw them in as well. I told Adam that I didn't think it was going to be today, but I wished it would be.

We went to bed that night, and sure enough, I was woken up by contractions again. They still weren't that bad, and I was able to just breath through them. I decided not to time them this time though, because I found I got less sleep when I was worrying about watching the clock. When we got up for the day again, my contractions slowed and stopped. Again, I knew that it wasn't going to be today. This happened a couple more nights. 

Adam's recording sheet
Thursday morning though, they didn't slow and actually got a little closer together. Some were even lasting more than a minute. My doula, Ashley, had left her birth ball for me to use at home. I made myself comfortable on the birth ball bouncing or rocking/rolling on it and set my laptop on one of our bar stools and messed around on the computer between and often during contractions. At this point I was very excited thinking that today might be the day. I would tell Adam when I felt one starting and he would write down the time and I would watch the second hand on the mantel clock (we got it from my Aunt Carla as a wedding gift) and let him know how long it lasted. They ranged from 5 minutes to 12 minutes apart. 

After an hour of timing, we took a break. I texted Ashley and told her the timing and how I was doing. She told me to start timing again if I felt they were getting "longer, stronger, & closer together." Around 3pm I told Adam that they seemed to be going away again, so he timed a couple, and sure enough they were about 20 minutes apart.

At some point during the day, we were invited over to Joshua & Macey's for dinner and a game of Catan with them, Matt, Dave, & Theresa. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go if I was still having contractions, as they were getting stronger than the ones I was having in the middle of the night. I eventually decided we could go, because I figured it wouldn't be tomorrow either, and that my body would just keep playing mean tricks on me. 

Matt of course wanted to squeeze her out of me, and everyone was hoping I would have her soon. I told them I was having contractions during the day for a change, but they weren't getting "longer, stronger, and closer together." Adam had brought the birth ball with, because it was more comfortable for me to sit on, so we ate dinner (me on the birth ball, rolled up to the table) and played Catan. Every once in a while I would have a contraction. Some were worse than others. I remember at one point, asking Dave a question about some rule of the game or something, and he answered me. I had no idea what he said because a contraction had started, but I looked at him the whole time nodding my head like I understood.

The game went way later than any of us had expected and we ended up leaving at 11pm. We quickly crawled in bed and went to sleep when we got home. Of course, I was woken up with contractions again. This time I would rub my belly and breath through them. They were starting to feel like the really bad period cramps I would get once in a while in middle school and high school (when I would have to get sent home, because they were so bad). 

Just before 1am, my contractions woke Adam up. I hadn't been paying attention to the clock at all still, thinking that they weren't that close together or anything. But, Adam started timing them, and pushing on my lower back when I was having one. After about an hour of timing, Adam told me that we should go in, they were 5 minutes apart, and some were even 3 minutes apart. Having not really slept much yet, I was hesitant to get out of bed, but I knew he was right in saying that it was time to go in. Adam put in his contacts and got dressed. I grabbed my contacts, but wore my glasses and got dressed. 

The car ride there wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, it wasn't comfortable sitting strapped into the seat, but it was manageable. I texted Ashley and told her we were heading in, she said that she would meet us there. We got to the emergency room door and the nurse offered me a wheelchair, and I declined, I felt better standing. We waited for Adam to park the car and she brought us up the elevator, telling me, "Oh hunny, we'll get you that epidural, and you'll be fine!" (I'm glad she didn't work on the maternity floor!) We officially signed into the hospital at 1:45am and were brought to our room. I will say that I had absolutely no concept of time at all until they told me what time she was born. Ashley arrived shortly after we got there, and then Adam went out to get our bags and stuff.

I gave the nurse my birth plan, and was hooked up to the IV (I needed an antibiotic since I tested positive for Group B Strep) and monitors. Originally, I was told they would do an initial hour of monitoring, and then do it periodically throughout labor. Apparently, they needed my doctor to sign off on that, so I was hooked up to the monitors the whole time. 

When the nurse put the IV in, before she started the saline, she drew some blood so that I wouldn't have to get stuck again later. Well, that didn't work out as planned, because later a lab tech came in and said she needed to draw my blood. I told her the nurse did it when she put in the IV, but she said she needed more for  blood typing or something. I told her only my left arm (the veins in my right suck). So she came around to my left side, and tried to grab my arm in the middle of a contraction. I said wait, but she wrapped the rubber band around without waiting. Once the contraction was over I grabbed a pillow to prop up my arm, and she got more impatient, after wiping my arm with the alcohol wipe for the second time. Then another contraction started and she tried to take my blood during it, but I pulled away, and she got kind of pissed. Finally, she took it and wiggled the needle around to find a vein. This is the only time during labor that I started crying. Not only did she leave a bruise on my arm, but there was a welt as well. I wish we remembered her name, as when I told a couple of the nurses about it later, they wanted to know who. They said most lab techs are smart enough to not draw blood during a contraction. 

Later, they did hook me up to the portable monitors, so I was able to move around more. Adam and Ashley helped me labor in different positions. We went for a short walk around the hallways, I sat on the birth ball, leaned over the ball on the bed, and other positions. At every contraction Adam and sometimes Ashley would push on my back (I was having some back labor and it felt amazing!). 

At one point, I decided that I just needed to sit on the bed. So I made myself comfortable, and closed my eyes. I rubbed my belly pretty much the whole time and Adam or Ashley would push on my back. I would point "up/ down/ left/ right" for Adam to move his hand. Eventually, I started rocking front to back, still rubbing my belly with my eyes closed. I was completely aware of what was going on around me. The pain was still manageable using the coping techniques we had learned. But I was exhausted. I would mumble things that Adam would mostly understand, but Ashley and any docs or nurses had no idea what I was saying. 

Side story: For whatever reason, when we are getting ready for bed at night, Adam or I always end up asking each other a question when the other has a toothbrush or mouth wash in his/her mouth. The other always tries to answer with mumbles and hand gestures, while the other usually figures it out pretty quickly. I think this might have helped Adam understand me.

Adam later told me that they all thought I was delirious, and that one of the nurses commented that she "does this 5 days a week, but has never seen anyone this exhausted." 

Ashley and Adam had been trying to get me into another position to help labor progress, but I wasn't having it. They suggested laying down, but the contractions hurt more if I was laying down or even leaning back. So I continued to rock and rub my belly with my eyes still closed. Eventually, a nurse (I believe Jessica, but really have no idea) got me to change positions. She moved the head of the bed so it was almost straight up and had me kneel and lean over it. Adam kneeled behind me and would continue pushing on my back during contractions. I used him as support to keep me from crumpling down, as I could barely muster the energy to hold myself up on the edge of the bed. 

I told Adam after a little bit in this new position (in what I thought was a perfectly clear sentence, but was apparently more mumbles that he managed to understand) that I didn't think I would have the energy to push her out and that I thought I should have an epidural. Adam talked to the nurse for me and told her what I had said. She said that we would try Fentenol (which is one of the drugs in an epidural) in my IV first. It would relieve some of the pain for a little bit and let me get some rest, but they would only give me two doses, because it would loose its effectiveness. We agreed to try that out and try to avoid the epidural. 

Once it went into my IV, I almost immediately felt relaxed. We got the bed almost completely flat and I laid on my side to rest. I could still feel the contractions, but they felt like they did the first night I started early labor, so I was easily able to rest my body. I didn't fall asleep, and could hear everything going on around me, but had no ambition to participate. When Adam would walk in the room, I would open my eyes to find him, so he decided to spend most of his time in the waiting room with my mom, in hopes of letting me get more rest.

She gave me the second dose, and when I could feel that start to wear off, I asked if I could have another dose. She said she had already given me the second. So I asked for the epidural. I don't know how long I had rested for, but I knew I still had so little energy. Apparently, Adam had already filled out all the paperwork (sans my signature) for the epidural while I was still on the first dose of Fentenol. I remember that I was sitting when I signed the papers, but I don't remember sitting up at all. (Maybe this part is a little fuzzy.) But I remember them telling me that they needed me to sign the papers, and I didn't respond the first time, because I knew that Adam would sign them for me. They asked me again, and I was kind of cranky about it and snatched the pen and signed my initials (it was quicker than my whole name). I didn't realize at that time that Adam couldn't actually sign my name for me, but he could fill out all the rest.

Once I had signed the paper, the nurse said she could call down to have an anesthesiologist to come up and give me the epidural. But she said I needed to sit up on the edge of the bed before she called. Well sitting was great before, but now that the Fentenol was in my system, I was relaxed and so tired from my lack of sleep. I said that I would sit up as soon as he/she got there to give me the epidural. But she told me they liked me to be ready before the come up, because they are very busy down there. Well, after a couple minutes, I won that argument. She called down, and said that I lucked out, because the anesthesiologist that was coming up was one of the few that liked his patients laying down when he gave the epidural. So they had me scoot as close to the edge of the bed as I could and curl up in the fetal position as best I could around my pregnant belly.

When he got there I was all set. He gave me two shots to numb the area. I kind of felt one, but it wasn't that bad. I think the Fentenol was still working a little, but I could feel my contractions. (He was smart enough to do it between contractions, unlike that overnight lab tech!) I didn't feel him put the epidural in my back at all, but soon felt almost no contractions at all. The epidural worked on everything but my left hip area. I was laying on my right side at that point, and wondered if it was because the drug just wasn't flowing up far enough.

Getting rest after the epidural
Eventually, I rolled over and slowly started to feel the "nothing" feeling go down through my hip, but then the contractions feeling started to grow in my right hip. Though, it wasn't quite as bad as it had been in my left hip. The nurse did a cervical check in the middle of my roll. I was at 9 cm and my water hadn't broken yet. She said by the time Dr. Mahan got there I should be ready to push, and they would break my water then if it hadn't already broken. When they had me roll over again later I had the "nothing" feeling everywhere from my ribs down. Other than the two times I rolled over and the cervical check, it was pretty uneventful until it was time to push, as I dozed through most of it getting rest, so I could push out our baby.

Eventually, Dr. Mahan arrived and was ready to break my water, but it had already broken on it's own. She also found meconium in the fluid, so they were ready to suction her out if she didn't start breathing right away (meaning her lungs were clear, and none had gotten in there). Somewhere along the lines, my mother found her way into the room, but was in the way near the door, so the "baby nurses" asked her to move to another corner of the room.

They got the bed all set up (more like taken apart, actually) and wanted me to move my legs to the sides. I could move them, but had no control over where they went (it was kind of like how a newborn flails his arms and legs, but really has no control over precise movement). Ashley helped me on the left, and Adam on the right. They held my legs, and I grabbed my "knee pits" to help pull myself to curl around my tummy to push. Then we waited for a contraction. If I hadn't had been hooked up to the monitors, we may still be waiting.

The nurse, Jessica, asked, "Do you feel the urge to push?"

I responded, "No, am I having a contraction? Should I start pushing?"

There was a resounding yes, and both Dr. Mahan and Jessica were impressed that I felt absolutely nothing. So between Dr. Mahan watching the baby's head, and Jessica watching the monitors, I was told when I was having a contraction and started pushing each time. For the first push, I wasn't really sure how I could do it, since I didn't have much control over the lower part of my body, but somehow you just know what to do. I grabbed my knees and curled around my pregnant belly and "pushed like I was pooping" (that's how the nurse that taught our labor class with Danni described it and she was right on!)

I don't remember how many times I pushed, but I remember asking Adam how much of her head he could see. Most of the time the answer was just hair on the top of her head, so I started asking if he could see her ears yet. At one point Dr. Mahan asked if I wanted to reach down and touch her head. I knew that this was an option during birth ahead of time, but I really had no desire to, so it wasn't in my birth plan. But when you've been in labor and you're so anxious to meet your baby, you'll take what you can get! So I reached down and touched her head. I could feel a ridge, which was the plates of her skull, and made a joke about her being a Klingon baby, not Adam's.

I pushed, I don't know how many more times, but at 2:39pm Eleanor Elisabeth was born! With my last push her head came all the way out, and her shoulders and the rest of her body slide out without an extra push. She cried right away, so I took the gown that I had draped over my chest off and they placed her on my bare chest. (Adam and I talked later about how we didn't cry this time when she was born. With Danni, we both teared up when we heard her cry, and Adam stood up to see his first-born daughter over the drape. We both agreed that we were both so worried about her well-being and health that it was such a relief to hear her cry. With Eleanor, we weren't as worried, so it wasn't quite as emotional.)

The nurse came and put a blanket over her and I, and later put a hat on her head. I let her kick/crawl around on my chest, and she found my breast and latched on. It was slightly painful, as she didn't have a proper latch, but such a wonderful feeling to hold my second little baby girl!

Once the cord stopped pulsating, Dr. Mahan asked if Adam wanted to cut the cord. She clamped it on either side of where he was to cut and he cut it.

I kept holding her and adoring her the whole time with not a care in the world. Of course, I still couldn't feel anything, like the contractions that were still coming to expel the placenta. Though, I did feel something kind of strange in my tummy, but I had my healthy daughter on my chest to adore and love, so I didn't care what it was that I was feeling.

I later found out that the weird feeling in my tummy was actually Dr. Mahan's hand inside my uterus. Apparently, my placenta wasn't detaching, and I was loosing more blood than she liked. So Dr. Mahan reached inside and took the placenta out herself. The next day I had a blood draw to check my iron levels, since I had lost a lot of blood. It was low, but not low enough to need a transfusion. So they put me on an iron supplement.

Weighing in at 7 lbs, 5.8 oz
Eventually, Erin (the nurse we met the first time we went into the hospital), took her to do check on her and make sure she was doing okay. Before she weighted her, she asked if there were any guesses as to her weight. I guessed that she weighted less than Danni, because she was skinnier. Danni weighted 6 pounds, 13 ounces, but as you can see, I was wrong. Eleanor kicked me a lot harder, and didn't look to have much body fat on her, so I figured since muscle weights more than fat, that's why she out-weighted her big sister.

Then Adam got a chance to hold his newest daughter. The nurse asked him if he wanted to hold her skin-to-skin and he was a little hesitant, but I encouraged him and told him I wanted to see him without his shirt on! ;)

Soon Ashley left, and let us bond with our daughter, but before she did, we snapped a quick picture of us both looking great after not sleeping much that night! (Alright, so Ashley looks way better than me, but I just gave birth!) :)

Eventually, Adam let my mom hold her. Of course, Grandma Denise was more than thrilled to hold her second little granddaughter for the first time! She just kept talking to her and pointing out little features about her. (Like her wrinkled little hands, that looked like Great-Grandma Eleanor's!)

While she held her, I closed my eyes and tried to get some rest (not that I was able to fall asleep, but I was very relaxed). I enjoyed listening to my mom talking to Eleanor, and couldn't stop smiling that our little girl was finally here and healthy!

My mom didn't hold her for too long, because it was time to give her a bath. Adam and mom stood right next to her watching and taking pictures the whole time, but Adam didn't want to give her a bath (he still hasn't given her a bath, but he does get her dried off and dressed after I take a bath with her!) She did not like her first bath until the nurse swaddled her in a towel. Then she was a much happier newborn.

I don't remember at what point my epidural came out, but it did. And, like with the spinal from the c-section with Danni, it took a little longer than usual to wear off. Two nurses tried to help me to the bathroom, but decided to wait until I had more feeling in my legs. But they helped me move me to a wheel chair, and had us switch rooms to a quieter area, so that I could get some much needed rest.

Later that evening, we had several visitors. The first of which was Auntie Jacque, Uncle Corey, and Cousin Addy. Auntie Jacque and Addy sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to Eleanor.

A little while later, Grandpa Mike and Great-Aunt Melodie came to visit. Eleanor Elisabeth was named after my Grandma Eleanor, and Adam's mom, Elisabeth, who died not quite a month before she was born. Grandpa Mike got teary-eyed when he met his newest little granddaughter.

While Grandpa Mike was still here, Grandma Denise came back and brought Grandpa Jack to meet Eleanor. He was already picking on her, and she wasn't even a day old! But, she didn't seem to mind, she just kept sleeping away.

The Richter cousins & Eleanor
Last, but not least, that day, the Richter clan came to meet Eleanor. Auntie Becky went to pick up Eleanor, and almost threw her up in the air. She wasn't use to holding such a small baby, since Cousin Spencer was two months old and out-weighted her at birth..

It was a long day for all three of us, and we were all very tired. The plan was for Adam to stay both nights in the hospital with us. (After Adam almost went home the night before Danni died, we had decided that with our next child Adam would stay the whole time.) But, he told me that he was very tired, and wanted to go home to get a decent night's sleep, since he wouldn't really be able to now that the baby was here. I told him he could do what he wanted, but expressed my desire for him to stay with us, and reminded him how much less sleep I'd gotten in the past week than he had. He went home for the night promising to get up with the baby every time the next night.


These are the notes that my doula, Ashley, took for us while we were there. Since I have absolutely no concept of time at all that day, it's nice to look and see the actual timing of everything.

2 am call from Adam stating at hospital
2:10 - I arrived
2:35- cervical check 2.5cm
3:25- IV placed
4:15 monitors moved to telemetry unit
4:30 bathroom
5:25- bathroom
6:30- vomiting
6:40- cervical check 80% more toward front and 3-4cm
7:00- bathroom
7:50- starting to show some signs of exhaustion, nurse change, changed positions to hands and knees over top of bed
8:40- phentenol administered
9:00- dr checked in, epidural discusssion
10:30- cervical check, 6-7cm, epidural requested
10:50- epidural placed
11:00- foley catheder placed
11:50 switched side, 9cm, just a little cervix left
12:45- switched side
2pm- dr arrived, was going to break water but bag had already broken on it's own, complete, +3 station
2:39- baby born
2:59- placenta removed with dr assistance

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Birth Plan for Nora

I wanted to post this, just to show you how we "planned" our birth to go, then you can read her actual birth story, and see why we threw a lot of it we just threw out the window! (I posted what really happened in italics on here too.)
Birth Plan for the Gibson Family

We request informed consent for both Sarah and our daughter.

-want to be able to get up and move around and/or use a labor tub or birth ball (I really thought I would labor in the tub, but didn't)
-want the least amount of monitoring as possible (I had continuous monitoring)
-would like IV in left arm & use numbing agent before
-would like to be able to eat and drink during labor (I could, but didn't really, other than water & ice chips)
-would just like my doula, Ashley, and my husband, Adam, in the room (My mom joined us for the birth)

-prefer dim lighting
-may want calming music 
-want to wear my own clothes (I decided I'd rather dirty their clothes than have to wash mine when I got home)

-would prefer more natural methods of helping labor progress (changing positions, etc.)
-avoid all methods of induction
-do not want membranes ruptured
-do not want Pitocin

Pain Management
-would not like any pain medication offered to me
-would like pain medication available only if I request it

-would prefer to risk a tear than have an episiotomy
-want to wait until I feel the urge to push (I never actually felt anything!)
-would like to try the squat bar or possibly another position to deliver her
            -prefer not to be on my back (Since I had the epidural, that was the only position I could be in)
-would like Adam on one side and Ashley on the other
-want our daughter placed on my chest immediately after she is born
            -if she needs immediate medical attention, Adam will be with her
-Ashley may take pictures at any time with our camera

After Delivery
-wait to cut the cord until it has stopped pulsating
-Adam might want to cut the cord
-wait for the newborn procedures and assessment
-would like our daughter’s assessments done in my presence
-wait for the placenta to release itself (don’t tug on it) (The doctor had to physically remove it herself)
-ask if I would like to see the placenta (I’m not sure if I will or not) (I was to enthralled with my daughter to look at it, but it was offered, and Ashley took a picture for me to look at later)
-would like to see a lactation consultant

For our Daughter
-I will be breastfeeding, please do not give
            -pacifiers/ nuks
            -water or glucose water
-Adam and/or I would like to give her, her first bath (I wanted to, but couldn't because of the epidural, and I think Adam was too nervous to do it)
-we would like her to room with us

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hopefully Our Last Appointment!

Adam and I went in yesterday, for what I hope, was our last appointment. It was with Dr. Mahan, so now Adam has met all the docs at Comprehensive as well. She went over again, like Dr. Tumaneng did last week, signs of labor, when to go in, and that sort of thing. She listened to baby's heart rate, which was 150 bpm. I asked her how big she thought the baby was, and she estimated between 6 1/2 and 7 pounds. (Just like her big sister!) Then she did an internal exam... UGH! Now that I've had a couple, and two of them by Dr. Mahan, I can say that hers are the most painful. In fact, Adam commented after she left, "That sounded like it hurt!" (Yeah, ya think!) She said that baby is still at the +1 station, I'm 70% effaced, and 1 cm dilated. She suggested we make another appointment for next week, just in case. So on our way out we did. When we got into the car, I told Adam I was glad to hear that I am starting to dilate, but I really don't think it was worth finding out!

Then after dinner, we had our last prenatal visit with my doula, Ashley. She came over and brought her birth ball for me to borrow. She showed us some different positions to labor in, different ways Adam could help comfort me, different places he could apply pressure on my back and hips to help relieve pain. I think Adam will be a great labor support, especially with Ashley there to support both of us!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Belly Pics!

So we haven't been really good about taking belly pictures, and I haven't been good at all about posting them. So for your viewing pleasures, here's two that I haven't posted yet. I should probably get one last one before this little girl arrives!
Adam & I heading to my friend,
Sarah's, wedding
35 weeks 6 days

37 weeks 2 days

The Beginning of a Birth Story?

Adam and I went out to dinner at Ruby Tuesday's with a friend who is visiting from out of state on Saturday evening. I was uncomfortable sitting in the booth and kept shifting to try to get comfortable. When we stood up to leave, I thought that I may have felt my water break. I wasn't sure, and I didn't have contractions really, so just ignored it until we got home.

When we got home, we started getting ready for bed (at this point it was about 7:30 pm), and I told Adam. He Googled it on his phone to see if we could figure out if it really had or not, but we couldn't really tell. He suggested that I call the hospital to see what they had to say.

The nurse, Erin, that I talked to said that since I was a VBAC that I should come in for monitoring and then we could see what to do from there. I was hoping that they would just send me home, and I could crawl in bed.

We got there about 8pm, and got checked in. Erin, the same nurse that I talked to on the phone, hooked me up to the monitors, and did an internal exam. I told her that last Tuesday I was 60% effaced, and the baby was in a +1 position. She checked and said that the baby was very low, and asked how I managed to walk. But, she couldn't reach my cervix to see how effaced I was or if I was dilated, because it was behind baby's head. So she said she would be right back with a "long-fingered friend" who might be able to check.

A few minutes later, she came back with her "long-fingered friend" and she could tell that I was still about 60% effaced, but said she couldn't reach to see if I was dilated without making me really uncomfortable. So we decided that was good enough. Erin asked if we would like to be monitored for an hour, and then we could go from there. I agreed.

I flipped on the TV and flipped through the channels until I found a channel with NCIS on. So Adam and I sat and watched. I wasn't really feeling any contractions, but was getting uncomfortable, so decided to sit up. Not too long after that Erin showed up at the door and said, "Oh you're sitting up! Lay back down." I guess the heart rate monitor was picking up my heart rate, not baby's and she got nervous. I laid back down, and her heart rate was picked up again, and all was good.

Around 9 pm, Erin came back in and looked at the printout from the monitors. She said that all was looking good, and that we could go home if we like. So she had me sign some papers, and off we went.

************* to be continued *************

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Name Searchs

I just got a phone call from Comprehensive. When I saw it on the caller ID on my phone, I thought it was a little early to get the reminder phone call for my appointment next Tuesday. When an actual person responded when I said, hello, I was a little shocked (they have an automated thing that calls to remind you about appointments), and wondered what was wrong, what they found in my chart or something.

Turns out Dr. Tumaneng was "Googling" her name and stumbled across my blog. (I have to say that takes dedication, because I just tried "Googling" her name a couple different ways and didn't come up with this blog on the first 8 or so pages, so I gave up!) I guess she had read my last post about trying to make sure the car seat is installed properly and she had Heather call me and let me know about their Welcome Baby Care program that will check them. I'm not sure if they charge or not, but I have an appointment with the police department to get it all checked out!

I also have a message into a pediatrician that was recommended by one of my friends so that we should hopefully have that all lined up before she comes!

Getting Ready!

We had another appointment with Dr. Tumaneng on Tuesday, and all went well. She asked if I had been having any contractions. I told her I had been having Braxton-Hicks and I thought I had had an actual contraction the other night, but it was just one, so probably not. I have been having those "I feel like I'm going to get my period" cramps for a couple days, and then they started to turn into "I feel like I have my period" cramps. While we were at the cabin on Saturday, I believe I counted 5-6 Braxton-Hicks contractions. Of course, driving down a bumpy dirt road sure helped I'm sure! :)

She listened to baby's heart rate and said it was between 125-130 bpm. Then she measured my tummy at 33 cm. I was kind of concerned, as I measured at 35 cm two weeks ago, but she said that it looks like baby has dropped, and that is probably why. When she did the internal exam, she said that baby had definitely dropped and was at a +1 position, and that I was about 60% effaced, but not dilated.

I wish I had something to compare this to, but with Danni, I never had any of these measurements (sans the heart rate). Though with Danni, I didn't have any contractions either, so maybe she never engaged anyway. 

I then asked her about when they decide to schedule a c-section if I haven't spontaneously gone into labor. I told her what Dr. Ledella had said last week at the ultrasound about scheduling one at 39 weeks, but she shook her head and disagreed. She said that they would let me go to 42 weeks at least, but they would probably order an ultrasound to check on baby's well being. (Which I've heard many people who are "overdue" have had done... typically a biophysical profile and non-stress test, which I had plenty of with Danni.)

We had forgotten to print out our birth plan to go over with her, but since we had a copy in Google Docs, Adam was able to pull it up on his phone and scroll through it for her to read. I was happy to hear her say, "Yep, that's what we normally do," for just about everything on our plan.

I think we are just about set to have her. We got pre-registered at the hospital, have our bags packed (though I keep finding more stuff that I just need to have and adding it to our bag). We have the car seat in the car, however, on the way home from our appointment we stopped at the fire station to have it checked out. As we were walking in Fr. Bob was driving by and yelled hello out his window to Adam (I'm surprised he recognized us, as our parish is pretty large, though Adam mentioned that we have talked to him a couple times). When we got around the corner, I asked one of the firemen standing around if they were able to check car seat installment, but apparently our city isn't able to, so he gave us a couple other places to check.

So I think the only things we have left are to get the car seat checked, and to pick a pediatrician for her. Though, her room is still not finished (what a horrible mother I am... it wasn't finished for Danni either!), and my mom said she would make a sheet for the bassinet we have, since we can't seem to find any in the stores. So she has the bottom of our bassinet, and our baby girl won't have a place to sleep until we get it back! (Hint, hint, mom, if you're reading this!) :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

No More Ultrasounds

We went in for (what should be) our last ultrasound. Julie was our tech again. She measured baby's fluids and got 13.4 cm (even more than last week!). She checked everything for a biophysical profile (BPP) as well, though she didn't tell us what she scored. I assumed 8 out of 8, since she didn't say anything. Plus, I saw 3 out of the 4 things that they look for, and felt the fourth one (a nice, good kick in the ribs!). Baby was actually, I think, in a better position for a 3D, but I didn't think to ask this time. Bummer. But we did get a couple 2D pictures of her.

After the quick scan, Dr. Ledella came in and said everything looked good and that they wouldn't need me to come in again. Then she said the first thing that made me not want her as my doc this time around. (I will preface this with, if I had a high-risk pregnancy again, I would, without a doubt, go back to her in a heartbeat. But, for a normal pregnancy, I'm glad she's not my doc.) She said, "If you don't go into spontaneous labor by week 39 you'll have to schedule another c-section, because they won't induce you."

With all the reading and networking I've done, that's not necessarily true. Yes, they don't like to induce you, as it greatly lessens your chances of having a successful VBAC. But, they will let me go longer than 39 weeks. One of my old co-workers was just allowed to go to 42 weeks before they scheduled her second c-section. Forty weeks is, by far, not out of the question, since that is supposed to be the length of a pregnancy.

It was kind of discouraging to hear her say that, because now I'm starting to worry what will happen if I don't go into labor. I didn't feel any contractions with Danielle before she was born. What if I don't have any with this one either? I don't want to go under the knife again. It is a little encouraging that I think I have been starting to feel a few, very small, contractions, but I've also heard that women have contractions like that throughout the third trimester, and still end up with a c-section. I just have to keep thinking positive thoughts! I can do this!

I LOVE Pampered Pregnancy!

If you've read my posts about my appointments at Comprehensive, you probably remember me mentioning how I've gotten gifts at each appointment: bath salts, formula, stretch mark cream... Well, yesterday, I cashed in on what was, by far, my favorite gift: a free half hour massage!

The lady that did the massage didn't introduce herself by name, so I don't know what it is, but she was very nice. Since it is easiest to give a massage when a person is laying on their tummy, but pregnant ladies (especially 2 1/2 weeks from their due date!) have a hard time laying doing that without squishing the baby and being very uncomfortable, she had a "belly bolster" to lay on. That alone, was quite comfortable! I haven't been able to lay on my tummy for quite some time. When she came back in she had a prop for my ankles too, making it even more comfortable.

Since I only had a half hour (I didn't upgrade for a full hour for a cost), she said she would just do my neck, back, and legs. I was fine with that. I would have been happy with just my back! Having never had a massage before, I didn't really know what to expect, but it was amazing! So relaxing! Before I left for the appointment, I was thinking of maybe stopping at Target afterwards. I'm so glad I decided against it. Afterward, she commented that I looked sleepy. I was so relaxed that I could have fallen asleep. In fact, last night, I slept better than I have in about 2 or 3 weeks!

One thing I learned though, was how to use hot rocks in massage. Adam and I got some for a wedding gift, and have tried to use them a couple times, but they didn't work all that well. One time it kind of burned me. She used them to rub up and down my back and legs. The book that came with our hot rocks said to place them in certain spots on your back: that's how they burned me. (Adam took them off quick enough that I didn't actually get burned, but it definitely wasn't relaxing!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Doc Said What?

Today we had my 37 week appointment with the new doctor at Comprehensive, Dr. Nelson. When she came in the room, she didn't bring her laptop in, didn't have me undress for the internal exam, and said she does things a little differently than the rest of the docs there. She handed me my "present" (a toiletries bag packed with the essentials), but said she couldn't take credit for it. She first told me that my group B strep test came back positive, and asked if I knew what that meant. My sister-in-law had just been telling me about it a couple days ago, so I knew that it meant my hopes of not having an IV at all were dashed. They have to give me a dose of antibiotics while I am in labor so that I don't pass it on to the baby.

Then she asked if I wanted an internal exam. She didn't find it necessary as they are rather uncomfortable, but said if I was curious she could do one. I agreed, they are uncomfortable, and opted not to have one. But she had me hop up on the table to listen to the baby's heart. She was right about 125 bmp. She made a comment about how I was carrying low, and I replied that she still managed to sit in my stomach. Then I added that it was because her fluid levels were low. With that, she said she wanted to double check my chart, so went back out of the room.

While she was out, my ever-attentive husband *insert eye-roll* said, "You have herpes?"

Slightly confused, I said, "What?"

He responded, "The doctor said that you tested positive for herpes strep."

I said, "No, it's group B strep."

Then Dr. Nelson came back in and asked if I was getting another ultrasound for the fluid levels. I said yes, and explained that the levels were back up last week, and I was measuring bigger, so as long as the levels are good tomorrow they won't make me come back for another one. She seemed to agree with that.

Then I told her that I had two questions. I laughed and said the first one was because of him, as I pointed at Adam. I asked what she said I tested positive for, and she again said "group B strep." I laughed again and said, "See told ya!" Then explained to her that Adam thought she had said herpes strep, and she laughed too, and assured him that's not what it was.

The other question I had for her was about banking the baby's cord blood. She said the lady that deals with that type of thing had already left for the day, but she would put a note on her desk for her to call me tomorrow. And off we went!

Appointments Between Planning

Last week, I had two appointments that I managed to get to between having people at our house (okay, so it was while they were there), planning a funeral for my mother-in-law. On Tuesday, I had an OB check at Comprehensive, and on Wednesday an ultrasound to check her fluid levels at Perinatal. Since I didn't have time to post about them last week, and I have another appointment this afternoon, I wanted to get the post written quick about last week.

Tuesday OB Appointment
The OB check went well, and it was the first time I had ever gone to a prenatal appointment by myself (weird, huh?). I met Dr. Mahan, who I found I really liked. She asked if I was having contractions at all. I told her on the bottom half of my belly I would get cramps/contractions a little bit, but nothing more really.

She checked baby's heart rate, but I don't remember what it was anymore. Then, she measured me. For 36 weeks, I measured at 35 cm! Which was a big improvement from last time they measured me. Then she did my first ever prenatal internal exam = not comfortable! I was 50% effaced. And she did a quick test for Group B Strep, which she said I would hear the results of at my next appointment. (There are so many new things this time around. I was never measured with Danielle, never had an internal exam, never checked for effacing, never tested for Group B Strep...)

She gave me my Pampered Pregnancy gift, which was two different things of formula with two different bags/totes, and I went back home to my house-full of people.

Wednesday Ultrasound
I had a feeling on my way there that Krista would not be doing the ultrasound, and I was right. Julie, who I had seen a couple times with Danielle, did the ultrasound. She commented about how it had been a while since they'd seen me. But I told her I was in just two weeks ago for a growth ultrasound, and found that her fluids were low.

She checked the fluid levels, and found that they were at 12-point-something cm. (Remember, 8cm is the low end cut-off, and last time I was at 7.9 cm, so this is good too!) She had a full bladder again, but Julie said that sometimes what looks like a full bladder is actually an ovarian cyst. That kind of made me nervous, but she said that they disappear after the baby is born, as it's usually caused by hormones from the mother. She turned on the Doppler, and said a vein and an artery going around the "blob," and confirmed that it was indeed her bladder, not a cyst.

She took a couple pictures of her with the 2D ultrasound.

Our little girl had her face pretty well hidden in there, but I asked Julie if it would still be possible to get a decent 3D of her. She pulled out the other wand, and was able to get half of her face, after she "cleaned it up" a bit. (They can rotate the picture around and crop out "noise" around her, like umbilical cords and what-not.) Adam thinks she has hair on top of her head, but I don't think she has nearly the hair that her big sister had. I think she might just have some "peach fuzz" on her head. I guess we'll find out soon!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

There's one more angel in heaven...

...there's one more star in the sky...
          ~Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Adam's mom, Beth,
at our wedding in 2009
On Sunday morning, July 17, Adam and I went to church. I had made pasta salad to bring to a gathering at one of my old co-workers from Saint Bernard's house. We were going to swing by home, change into "cooler" clothes (since it was so blasted hot and humid), grab the pasta salad, and head out. But towards the end of mass, Adam got a phone call from his sister. During the recessional song, Adam walked out of church to check his voice mail from her. His mother had been battling cancer for a while, and we knew she wasn't in the greatest of shape. His sister had been keeping us informed and updated on messages from their dad. For some reason, call it a gut feeling or mother's intuition, I knew it wasn't a good phone call.

I stayed in church while the song finished, and chatted briefly with the two families that were sitting in front of us. (I knew one from Boy Scouts, and the other was the kids' cousins, whom lived down the street from us growing up, and I used to babysit). The mother from the Scout troop told me that Adam had a beautiful singing voice. I chuckled and said, "I know, sometimes I am ashamed to sing next to him!" They asked when the baby was due and congratulated us (again, I'm sure). Then I quickly looked for Adam and headed out of church.

He was already outside, and said that his sister, Jacque, had said that his mother, Beth, was back in the hospital (which we had already known), and wasn't looking good. Jacque said that they should all get to the hospital. I was fine heading out there with Adam to be with him and the family, but he insisted that I go to the picnic and have fun. So when we got home, we headed out in two different directions. Adam packed up my laptop in hopes that he would be able to work on his history final that was due on Monday. I told him, depending on how things were going there, I would come out later with food for dinner for all of them.

At the picnic, all of my old co-workers (many of whom had also been Adam's and my teachers in high school) asked where he was and how he was doing. I explained that his mom was battling cancer, and was in the hospital, not looking good. When I was getting ready to leave, I mentioned that I was going to head to the hospital, and bring them some food. Diane offered to pack up some food for us, so sent me with pasta salad and cherries for them.

I called mom on my way home, and she said she would pick me up, stop by Cub to grab some chicken from the deli, and bring me to the hospital. While we were there, Adam called to update me. He said that the nurse had come in and talked to them. She had said that she thought that Beth would pass on tonight. Remembering how long my grandma hung on for, I thought we might be there for a while longer than what the nurse had mentioned. I grabbed a couple more things from home for us, and we headed out.

Adam met me at the door and helped me carry up the food to the family waiting room. Then we went to Beth's room. Jacque was sitting on one side of her, holding her hand, while Mike, Adam's dad, was on the other. She was still relatively aware, but the drugs they had her on, made her process things a little slower.

Throughout the evening and into the night, we came and went from her room to the family waiting room. At one point, the Catholic priest came to give Beth the sacrament of anointing of the sick. While we were all gathered around, she looked at me and made a spinning motion with her finger. I turned to the side, so she could see my baby bump, and she gave a small nod. The priest gave her the sacrament, while we were all gathered around.

Just before midnight, some of us were in the family waiting room, when Jon came in and said that her heart rate was around 30, and we should all come. We all went down the hall, me walking slower than everyone else, waddling, trying to keep up. We all stood around her (minus me, I was sitting in a chair, not feeling well, just behind my husband), while she took her last few breaths. Jon, Adam's oldest brother, started praying and everyone joined him.

Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. 

Other than tears, sniffles, and the passing of the tissue box, the room was quite. Soon her nurse, Amy, who was actually done with her shift, came in to let us know that they no longer had a heartbeat appearing on her screen anymore. She asked if we would like her to pray with us, and she said a short prayer, thanking God for the time we did have with her.

A couple people, started sharing memories of her, bring more tears, but also some laughs were choked out between the eye wiping. Slowly we trickled out of her room, and went into the waiting room again, where we waited for Mike, Adam's dad, to come in. We packed up our things, and when Mike came in made plans to gather the next day for breakfast to begin planning Beth's service.

Tired and exhausted, physically and emotionally, we all went home to try to get what sleep we could.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Comforting My Baby

Adam downloaded and installed Windows 7 for me a while ago. I think it was a birthday or Christmas present. At any rate, it has one pretty cool feature where you can have a rotating desktop background. You select the pictures that you want it to flip through, and then every 5, 10, or 15 minutes it will change the picture. We both, of course, have pictures of our beautiful baby girl, Danni, that rotate though our computer backgrounds. 

Most of the time I have windows open on my computer and can't really see the pictures. One in a while I see the edge of a picture and it catches my eye, so I minimize my window and see our daughter. Sometimes I smile. Sometimes I just stare and miss her. Sometimes it brings back a memory. Sometimes I talk to Adam about her. But these four photos...

... have recently brought up a new feeling. I used to see them and love how alive and well she looked. (Nothing tells you more "I'm here, I'm alive, and I want attention," more than a crying baby.) They would make me smile at the thought. But recently, I see these pictures pop up on the computer, and I want nothing more than to pick up my baby girl and comfort and sooth her, let her know her mommy's here, and everything is okay. But when these pictures were taken, I was in the recovery room, while Adam was standing over her (taking the pictures to show me). He couldn't pick her up and comfort her, because they were testing her, checking her, getting her hooked up to countless machines, etc. So all he could really do was watch her.

It does make me feel a little bit better knowing that she might have just been crying to hear the sounds she could make, as Adam said she only cried for a minute or so, and then was perfectly content again.

I think it helps too, to know that she is in heaven, and not in any pain. No nurses are working on her. No one is poking her with needles. She's not hooked up to monitors with alarms going off. I'm sure she's made lots of friends in heaven (we've met lots of their parents, and they are wonderful people!). I know she is very happy, smiling down on us, and waiting for us to meet her little sister, knowing that this little baby has brought so much hope into our lives again.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back to Perinatal... (& Comprehensive)

Today was full of baby appointments, and since it is my mom's birthday (and she has off work, and she really really wanted to see her granddaughter) I had her come along instead of Adam. At my last appointment, two weeks ago, I was measuring a little small, so they ordered a growth ultrasound to make sure everything was okay with the baby, and I had asked to be able to go back to MN Perinatal.

All last week when I would worry about it, I kept thinking that her amniotic fluid levels were low. It made sense to me, because I felt like I could feel her moving a lot more than I could with Danielle, so I figured there was less room for her to swim around in without hitting me. Without having any fundal height measurements from Danni, I really have nothing to go by for a comparison.

When we got to Perinatal, Wendy, the receptionist, wasn't there, and the past couple times I've called, I've gotten someone else as well. So I asked the receptionist if she was still working there. I guess she's just on vacation this week, and there's another receptionist that has been working sometimes too. We waited a couple minutes and soon Kristen, an ultrasound tech that I've never met, called me back. (Kristen doesn't normally work at the Woodbury clinic, and was hired on towards the end of my pregnancy with Danielle.)

She asked lots of questions about the pregnancy, ones that I'm guessing Krista (my favorite tech) wouldn't have had to ask, since she knows the answer to most of them. Then she got to scanning. Baby was head down with her butt up in my stomach (as always! UGH!), and her legs stretched straight across with her feet into my side. Her face was kind of buried and hidden, so she couldn't really get any 3D's done, but she got a 2D done of her looking straight at us.

She measured everything she needed to measure for the growth, and gave her all 8 points for the biophysical profile (BPP). She checked her heart rate; it was 141 bpm. I asked if she could see if she had any hair (you could see lots of hair on Danni's head at her 29 week ultrasound), but she didn't really have any. At the end of the scan at 34 weeks and 2 days, she said she weighted 4 pounds 14 ounces (Danni measured 5 pound at 33 weeks, just for comparison's sake), putting her at 33 weeks and 3 days. So, pretty much right on track. Kristen said she would give the information to Dr. Mills and that she would be in shortly.

While we were waiting for Dr. Mills to come in, Joan, the genetic counselor, stopped in to see us. We talked about the baby a little and how I might be able to be a stay at home mom. She told us her youngest just finished with daycare and started going to school this past year. When she got the final statement from the non-profit church daycare that the total she had paid was $50,000. We talked about how much money it saves being able to stay home with your kids.

Soon Dr. Mills came in the room, and Joan left. (Let me tell you first off, Dr. Mills is much better at letting you know something is wrong than Dr. Danilenko, "the scary doctor.") She introduced herself and came in the room. Then, she told us that baby girl is growing well, and is pretty much right on track, and that she passed the BPP just fine. (She told us all the things that were right with her.) Then she said that her amniotic fluid was just slightly low. I guess 8.0 to 24.8 cm is normal, and baby has 7.9 cm. (Call it a mother's intuition!)

(As a math teacher, it bothers me that a fluid level is measured in a length, and not a volume, like cubic centimeters. But, they only measure lengths of fluid pockets, so I guess that part makes sense. Like I told Krista once with Danni, it should at least be measured as an area. Anyway, enough on that rant...)

Dr. Mills took a look at her, and said just by looking without measuring, her fluid did look on the low end, but she had a pretty full bladder, and if she peed, it would put her into the "normal" range, but still on the low end of normal. She said that she could partly blame it on the summer heat, and that I should be drinking more fluids, but said that the doctors should be watching it also.

Before she left, she asked if we had any questions. I did; I wanted to know if what my doula, Ashley, she agreed with. Ashley said that they got a more accurate size of the baby by palpitations than by ultrasound. She smiled and said there was a report in some journal (she said the name, but I don't remember) about that very thing. She said that doctors, with experience, can more accurately tell the weight of a baby than ultrasounds. The thing with ultrasounds is that they measure the bone lengths in several places, and then the circumference of the abdominal cavity, but they don't take into affect the chubby little legs and arms and cheeks... She went on for a little bit about it, and I found it quite interesting. She seemed to be an "old-fashion" doctor, and said a lot of doctors now-a-days just depend on ultrasound, and the practice has kind of gone to the wayside.

Before we headed to Comprehensive, I asked for a copy of the record, because I figured they wouldn't have it in 20 minutes when my appointment was. Then off we went.

At Comprehensive, we met with Aimee Neumann, the nurse practitioner. I gave her the report and she looked it over. She measured my fundal height at 31 cm. I should be at 34 cm this week, but she said that I had grown so that was good. But she wanted to get another ultrasound done next week. I asked to go back to Perinatal again and she was fine with that. She listened to the heart rate and said it was between 130 and 140 bpm. Before she sent us on our way, she gave me my next Pampered Pregnancy gift: bath salts!

Before we left the clinic, I made the rest of my appointments. Then mom and I headed out shopping and for lunch. We went to Panera Bread, right next to Perinatal (which is where mom took me after our first ultrasound with Danni), and saw Joan getting lunch there as well.

And now for your viewing pleasure... here is me at 34 weeks and 2 days pregnant with our baby girl!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Too Small?

We had an appointment this morning, a morning where I've been pretty emotional. They're so quick and, dare I say, boring. One of the nurses that I've seen before took us back and took my weight & blood pressure. Both were good.

Dr. Tumaneng came in a few minutes later, asked if we had registered at the hospital yet. I told her we were waiting to hear about VBAC'ing at Woodwinds, and she said it looked like a "go," but I didn't get registered yet. She asked if we had any other questions, but we didn't.

So I got up on the table and she measured me. Having not done this many times before (like growth ultrasounds or biophysical profiles), I learned that I should be measuring between 30 and 34 cm this week. But I measured at 28 cm. She said she wanted us to get an ultrasound to make sure that she's growing alright, but wouldn't be surprised if it's just because I'm a small person. I don't really have any measurements to compare it to from Danni, as I was never measured. (But I'm going to keep it in mind with our next one if it turns out she is just fine.) She was getting ready to write up a slip to have an ultrasound done there at their clinic, but I asked if I could go to MN Perinatal instead. She was concerned about my insurance covering it, but I assured her it would be fine, and told her that Krista (my favorite u/s tech) had told us to come back if we needed another one.

Then she tried to listen to baby girl's heartbeat. She was kicking and moving around, so it took her a little bit to find her. But she finally got her to hold still for long enough to hear. Her heart rate was 135 bpm.

Before she left, she said another nurse would be in to talk to us about postpartum stuff. And shortly after she left, another nurse came in. I wish I would have remembered her name, but I didn't. She asked if this was our first, and I simply replied 'no.' She started talking a little about postpartum stuff, then asked how old our one at home is. I said, "She would be 13 months old," and I could see her looking at me differently. So I added, "She died when she was two days old." She apologized, and said she had a little one in heaven too. As she kept talking about the postpartum stuff again, I noticed she had a tattoo on the inside of her forearm of two tiny little feet with a heart around them and a name that I couldn't read. Later, when we were in the car, Adam commented that if they were the actual size, then he or she must have been about 20 weeks along.

Before she left, she gave us our Pampered Pregnancy gift. It was a booklet with some postpartum information and a $20 gift certificate to some postpartum workshops that we could take, along with a yellow receiving blanket. The blank, I think, matches her nursery pretty well with brown, blue, and green polka dots.

On our way out, we made our next appointment. From now on, I will be seen every 2 weeks since I am in the third trimester.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Back Down

I feel like I just posted about how I was feeling less depressed, and now I'm back down again. I'm not sure if it's the pregnancy hormones, or if I just really can't handle doing this all again.

After school today we had our last meeting of the year to give out years of service awards and say farewell to those who were leaving. I wasn't sure if I would be included in this or not since we don't know if I'll be back yet or not. But I was... and it was the way I was that set me almost on the verge of tears right there in the lecture room.

Polly, our principal, called out my name and I gave a wave showing her (and everyone else I guess) where I was in the room. She said, "Sarah was a long-term sub with us this year..." And that's what did it. I am not a long-term sub. I am a white contracted, first year probationary teacher. I would not have broken my contract with Sacred Heart last summer for a LTS position. I would not have turned down a job offer at Immaculate Conception last summer for a LTS position. I would not have taken a LTS position, because I would have known, for sure, that I would be in the same boat one year from then, searching for a job.

Yet, here I am... searching for a job... again.

Another Year, Another Job Hunt

The past two days I've been pretty depressed. Mostly about jobs and income, but of course every time I see a picture of Danni on my background, it doesn't help matters. A lot of times her pictures can make me smile, but when I'm already down, it just makes me miss her that much more.

Saint Bernard's was, by far, the best place to work (yeah, the pay wasn't the greatest, but the people were, and that alone is priceless). Eagan has been nice to work at too. My co-workers are all very nice, and the kids (most of them anyway!) aren't so bad either. The pay, of course, is amazing, compared to SB.

But, now, again, a year later (and 7 months pregnant), I'm looking for a job. The position that I currently have is being cut to a .8 (instead of full time), and is being split between two schools. I have to reapply (already done), and re-interview for the position. But the more and more I've been hearing about the position, its seeming less and less like a possibility.

On Monday, I got home from school, depressed, and applied to 8 different openings that I found. (Keep in mind last year, I sent out over 40, and got 13 interviews, and 2 1/2 job offers - one I was second on the list and they later called me back because their first choice backed out.) But this year will be different. Last year I did do a couple interview 8 and 9 months pregnant with Danielle, but this time all my interviews I will be 7, 8, or 9 months pregnant. Granted, it's legally not supposed to play a factor in whether or not they hire you, but if you tell me it honestly doesn't, I won't believe you. When you're looking for a teacher to start a school year and you have two equally qualified candidates, but one will have a baby at the beginning of the school year, so you'll have to do more interviews to find a long-term sub, which candidate do you think they're going to pick? I was so depressed and stressed that I fought so hard (and unsuccessfully) to not cry myself to sleep. And of course, being pregnant I couldn't take any sleeping drugs to help.

Yesterday, I got home from school, slightly less depressed, but I couldn't bring myself to apply to any jobs. Adam didn't have school, so he was home when I got home. We talked a little about the whole situation, and Adam reminded me that if I don't get a job, there is always unemployment. As I was getting ready for bed, he had out his phone and was checking websites for figures, and calculating what I would be making after day care costs, and what I would be making on unemployment. When we looked at what we would have each month and compared the numbers, they were fairly close. We thought about it, and after refinancing our mortgage, the money that we're saving each month on payments is about how much less I would be making on unemployment.

Today, as I'm sitting at work on my prep, I wanted to double check some numbers. We couldn't access the unemployment website (apparently you can only estimate your benefits online from 6am to 6pm), and I wanted to double check the daycare costs. We were pretty much right on with the unemployment estimate, but were a little high on our estimate of daycare costs. The difference was only about $100 a month from what we had calculated last night. Then I looked at what I would be making if I got the .8 split-school position, and found (after day care expenses) I would actually be making more on unemployment.

These numbers are a little uplifting to me. I'm not so depressed about the income part, but I am still depressed about the job part. I think it's hard not to be if you lose your job twice in a year through no fault of your own.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sharing Attention

I remember when we were pregnant with Danielle, being very excited to give her my attention: holding her, feeding her, loving her, watching her grow and learn. And being excited to see Adam with her, teaching her, and interacting with her. But at the same time, I wasn't ready to share Adam's attention with her. I wanted to see him with her, but when I wanted his attention, I wanted his full attention, without having to share it with a baby.

I'm starting to feel the same way again. Adam has been playing video games with one of his friends online a lot lately, and it was starting to get to me that he wasn't giving me as much attention. Then I started to think about when this baby comes, and how I will have to share his attention with her as well. (And I'm sure he will still want some time to play video games every once in a while.)

Yesterday, though, Adam came home from school and didn't even turn on the television. I had (pretty much) his complete attention. He read his book while I cooked dinner (much easier for him to put down at a moments notice to talk to me or whatever). We ate our dinner together on the couch and watched a couple episodes of NCIS (we're hooked, and now need season 8!). We probably would have eaten out on the deck, but it was pretty windy out, even though it was great weather otherwise.

I guess I'm feeling a little better about sharing him with a baby, after getting his full attention. But (again) I'm still not sure I'm ready to share his attention, even this second time around.