Monday, January 28, 2013

It's like the last 6 months haven't happened!

So the last time I posted here was less than a week before I had Yellow. For those that don't follow the other blog, or actually know us, Yellow turned out to be pink and her name is Cate. She was born on July 18th, two days after her big sister's 3rd birthday, and the day after Michaela's birthday party. Yeah, I willed her to stay in.

Since then, it's taken a LOT of effort to keep up with the 365 Blog (I finished 2012 and started all over again in 2013), so if you want to get caught up, head on over there.

Meanwhile, I'll be back here in a few days to get caught up with pictures from Michaela's birthday, the news of Cate's arrival (I got that VBAC I wanted!), and all the happenings over the last six months. Having two kids is a lot more work than one kid was, especially when one kid is Michaela and she's running me ragged and the other kid eats every three hours and needs constant attention!

Check out Becca's 365, though. Since I don't know how to let a picture speak for itself, you can pretty much catch up with all the news there!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I'm behind on the belly pictures!

I'm just going to post a few belly pictures tonight... the most recent as well as the last two before that. I put at least one of them up on the other blog, but I want to have them all in one place.

I'm 38 weeks today... only two weeks away from the due date and now hoping that Yellow takes his/her time in arriving. My midwife broke her arm last weekend, had surgery on it yesterday, and is hoping she'll still be able to attend my birth when the time comes. So Yellow can stay put as long as possible so that there's a better chance of my midwife being there!!!!!

Meanwhile, I look like I'm smuggling a basketball. It really is funny to see a small person carrying an almost-full-term baby. There's no place for it to go but out, and out it's going. Ironically enough, I was measuring 2 weeks behind at my appointment last week. Go figure.

So here we go....

Belly Watch 2012

34 weeks, 4 days

36 weeks, 5 days

38 weeks

Sunday, June 10, 2012

You might not want to read this....

(Fair warning…this is a trip inside the head of a very pregnant lady who has too much time to think these days. And it's long. You may not want to keep reading! But scroll to the end for a belly picture at least!)

Holy cow. I have 6.5 weeks left. Six and a half short weeks until my “due date” rolls around and I start to get anxious about whether Yellow will actually come close to on-time or not.

Who am I kidding? I’m already anxious about whether Yellow will follow in his/her sibling’s footsteps and decide to come as close to the 40 week mark as possible. Why the anxiety? Because I’m trying to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) and, although my midwife is good with not even considering a repeat c-section until I’ve gotten to 42 weeks, she works for/with OBs who are not as confident in that plan.

That’s really the least of my anxiety right now, though. My big, giant, huge, enormous, hang-over-my-head all day, every day anxiety is just having the VBAC in the first place.

I’m a huge proponent of natural birth. I don’t generally like our obstetrical model of care here in the United States. I feel like doctors - and society in general - do a good job of convincing mothers that somehow giving birth needs to be medically managed instead of just helping us trust our bodies and being there in case something really goes wrong. I think that modern medicine is fabulous when it’s necessary. I think the problem with our current obstetrics model of care is that OBs seem to think that a woman can’t possibly have a baby without all that modern medicine and, in fact, many OBs have never seen a truly natural birth. It’s true; knowledge of surgery has definitely saved many a mama and baby since it became something that doctors know how to do, but it’s also been used unnecessarily way too many times for me to fully “trust” the system.

There’s a term used often in the “natural birth community” to describe the overzealous use of surgery – the “unnecesarean.” I’m not going to say that my c-section with Michaela was totally unnecessary, but I feel like, even though I tried for a fully natural birth, I allowed for at least a few interventions that probably helped contribute to my section. It took me weeks (months) after M was born to sort of mourn the loss of the birth I’d always pictured I was going to have. That probably sounds weird to some people, but when you spend your entire pregnancy planning to not have any medication, to basically forego all medical interventions, it can be a little bit heartbreaking to end up with the ultimate medical intervention – surgical birth. It took me nearly ten minutes to sign the consent form for the surgery; that’s how much I did not want a section.

My dear friend Abbie told me, just a few days after Michaela was born, that “the only unnatural birth would’ve been if you’d delivered her out of your nose!” That helped a little, but it’s really taken me almost this past three years to come to terms with what led to my c-section, and to feel like I didn’t completely fail at doing what my body is made to do. But I also know that there are things I could’ve done differently to help prevent the section. It might not have been totally unnecessary, but I’m still not convinced it was fully necessary either.

So that leads us to today. Well, this whole pregnancy, actually. Well, since we started thinking about having another baby, really. I have researched the risks versus benefits of VBACs, I’ve read a bazillion birth stories of all sorts, and I’ve analyzed and over-analyzed what happened with Michaela. All that led me to the pretty easy decision to want a VBAC, and to do whatever I can to make it as safe as possible for me and the baby.

I won’t get into the whole story about my first appointment with an OB here – where I ended up sobbing in the office at the words, “No. You’re not a VBAC candidate.” It’s not pretty, and the good that came out of it made the visit worth it. The good is that I found a wonderful midwife instead, who’s question to me at my consult with her was, “So why are you here?” I replied, “Well, I guess to find out if I’m a candidate for a VBAC, or if you’ll take me on.” Her answer? A simple, “Why wouldn’t you be?”

Since that consult when I was somewhere around 14 or 15 weeks pregnant, I have never once questioned my choice to see my midwife. I’ve never questioned my choice to switch hospitals to the one that’s WAY farther away to not only be able to use the midwife, but to have a more natural-birth-friendly atmosphere. And deep down, I don’t think I’ve truly questioned my decision to go for the VBAC. But the closer the time comes – and the more my body tells me how much less its enjoying being pregnant this time around (dude, I’m old), the more I wonder if I’m insane.

I mean, what could be easier than a repeat c-section, right? Schedule the day (much easier to have childcare set up for Michaela), no mess and fuss of actually laboring again (my labor with Michaela was NOT pretty), no worrying about having the “fight” with the on-call OB about whether or not I’m progressing quickly enough, no money to spend on a doula… well the list could probably go on. Sure, there are risks associated with a c-section – ones that some OBs often sort of gloss over – but people have c-sections every day. We’re told that the increased risk of hemorrhaging, possible incision infection, increased difficulty with establishing breastfeeding, and the various other risks aren’t anything to be too concerned about. So how bad could it be? Well, there is the whole cutting open your abdomen thing. And that’s not fun.

Meanwhile, what I get with a VBAC is the potential for another long, painful labor (I’ve been doing whatever I can so far through this whole pregnancy to try to keep this baby positioned correctly for an easier labor – my big issue with Michaela being that she was asynclitic, or crooked), the “fight” if things don’t go text-book and the on-call OB starts harassing my midwife about moving me along (I will NOT have any pitocin this time around unless there’s no other way this kid is coming out), the anxiety of trying to labor at home as long as possible without waiting TOO long to make the trip to the hospital, the expense of the doula/birth assistant (who is already worth every penny!), and don’t forget that small risk of uterine rupture (which, by the way, is less of a risk than all those c-section risks, but it’s still there).

But, seriously. I want to go through labor again!?!??! And without drugs, again (even more so than last time). What am I, insane??? I am truly not worried about *the* major medical risk associated with a VBAC; Because the risk of uterine rupture is less than 1% in a VBAC labor that is not induced or aided by pitocin (neither of which I’ll be doing), I personally feel that I’d be taking on more medical risk with the c-section. But with the VBAC I’m taking on labor! UGH! Contractions. Cervical checks (there will be very few of those). Back pain. And then pushing. Oh. Pushing. Yeah, didn’t actually get to that with Michaela…. not really excited about it, to be honest. It’s weird to be having a second child, but feeling like it’s a first because, although I certainly experienced labor, I have no idea what to expect for the pushing and after. And I’m scared.

There, I said it. I’m scared. I’m scared that I’ll have a similar labor, which I don’t know how I’ll manage again. I’m scared that this baby will also be crooked. I’m scared about actually having to do the work of getting the baby out. I’m scared about third stage. Then I’m also scared about *not* having the VBAC. I’m scared about going through all the work like I did with Michaela and then ending up with a c-section anyway, or, even worse, not getting the chance to labor at all. I’m scared about the possibility of c-section recovery with a newborn AND a 3-yr-old. And then, either way, I’m scared that our wishes for care of the baby after s/he’s here won’t be followed (a new fear after our meeting with our doula this week – YIKES!!). And I’m definitely scared of what our family is going to be like when Michaela is no longer the only child.

*Sigh* I trust my body to do what it was made to do, but having “failed” before (and I put failed in quotes for a reason… I don’t think I failed, per se, but it’s sort of the closest word I can think of describe not actually having a vaginal delivery with M), it’s also difficult to fully trust that things won’t go “wrong” again this time around. I know I’ve done what I can while I’ve been pregnant to set myself up the best possible way for this VBAC (good nutrition, physical therapy to get my hips lined up right, finding an awesome midwife and an awesome doula, and using positioning techniques from to keep the kid straight), but it’s still so daunting to give up the “easy” of the repeat section to try to do it naturally again. And did you know there will be a new baby at the end of all of this!?!??!

What did I tell you? Ramblings of a very pregnant lady (even more pregnant when I actually first started typing this up over a week ago!!) with too much time to think on her hands!

Meanwhile, here’s a picture from two weeks ago. I’m bigger than this now. Oh yeah… add another fear… I’m afraid I’m growing another ginormous baby!!! I need this kid to stay around the 8lb mark instead of hovering near 9lbs like Michaela!!

Belly Watch 2012
(pictures taken at 31w2d, about 2 weeks ago)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Belly picture time!

I love how every time I take a picture of my belly, I think it's huge.

Right up until I see the next picture of my belly.

I lost my feet this week. I can bend over and find them, but when I'm standing up straight, they don't appear at all. Maybe if I had bigger feet, I'd get a glimpse of nicely-pedicured toes. But they're not that big, so they're hidden now.

Yellow is also very nicely hanging out head-down already, so I get to see/feel a butt shifting around just above my belly button pretty much all the time. And, like his/her sibling, Yellow seems to have a propensity for getting hiccups, so I've been feeling those every few days already, too.

In other pregnancy news, I failed my 1-hr glucose test this week (didn't eat before the test... I don't recommend that). But, because my midwife is awesome, and because I REALLY didn't want to do the 3-hr test (there is nothing natural or good for you about sugar-shocking your system like that!), I get to just do some standard blood sugar testing this weekend with a regular ol' glucose meter at home. As long as those numbers are fine, then I'm good to go. I'm pretty sure I'll be fine, but I'm happy to get to test this way instead of the sugar-shock method. This is just one more reason why I'm SO very happy I found my midwife and didn't settle for the less-than-ideal care I felt like I would've gotten from the OB I initially saw. It's good to be a person and not just another pregnant lady rotating out of the exam room every 5 minutes.

Anywho, onto the good stuff....

Belly Watch 2012
(28 weeks, 1 day)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Look how big my belly's gotten!

Oh my.

I somehow thought that my belly hadn't really gotten that much bigger in the last few weeks. Even though my midwife looked at me at my last appointment and said, "Ooo, gained a little weight. Yeah, you just look.... bigger."

I was wrong. Unless I was somehow holding it in when I took the picture 2 weeks ago and sticking it out when I took the picture tonight. I don't think either of those is true.

We did find out on Tuesday that Yellow is still a baby - gender to be revealed to all upon delivery! - and is measuring somewhere around 1 pound, 7 oz. I'm going to blame the big belly on that. I don't think a baby is supposed to be that big yet at 23weeks gestation. That does not bode well for me!

Anyway, so.....
Belly Watch 2012
(23 weeks)

And because this other picture cracks me up, I have to include it, too. My mini-me decided she wanted to be in on the belly picture action. So she stood in front of me and posed. I had to crop myself out of the picture because my eyes were closed and I looked awful, but this is what was going on in front of me while Jason just tried to get a quick picture. *sigh*

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Have I mentioned I'm pregnant??

I don't think anyone who reads this doesn't also know about my 365 Project blog (or 366 this year), so hopefully everyone's up to speed on the latest Dorval family news.

In case you're not, I'm pregnant. Not just a little bit either... I'm over halfway done baking this kid, affectionately referred to as Yellow (remember, Michaela was Green before she was born). I'm almost 21 weeks pregnant, there's just one baby in there, and we don't know what it is beyond Yellow. We're going to hold off until his or her arrival sometime at the end of July to find out, too! We're pretty excited about waiting - and I'm excited about the extra motivation to either get me through an unmedicated/low intervention VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) if that's in the cards like I hope, or to deal with the disappointment of having another section if that's what I have to do instead. (Fingers crossed for the VBAC, in case you didn't catch that.)

Anywho. Since I posted regular pictures of my growing belly back in 2009 when I was pregnant with Michaela, I figure I should do the same this time around. Of course, the second kid is already getting the shaft since I just FINALLY got to taking a picture tonight when I think we started at 13 weeks with Michaela. Ooops. We'll do better from here out I guess.

Like I said on my 365 blog tonight, I used "Bump Watch" with Michaela, but I don't like the term "Baby bump" anymore, so I'm switching it up to "Belly Watch" this time around. If all goes well, it will all stay in my belly, too.

Without further ado....

Belly Watch 2012
(20 weeks, 5 days)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Everyone needs pictures of Michaela

I know a lot of people check this blog and are sorely disappointed with how little I've updated it. But I've been keeping up with my 365 Project blog faithfully, so if you feel like you've been missing out, go check that one out instead. The link is right over there to the right!

Just a few minutes ago, I posted a little story about putting Michaela in a long sleeve bathing suit today to go swimming in our somewhat chilly pool. I put up one really cute picture, but I had a few others that I thought were blog-worthy, so I figured I'd get 'em up over here. Go see the other blog for the story, and just enjoy the pictures here!

(She got a little bored with the whole ta-da, show off my bathing suit "fun" by the time we got to this one.)
(And pay no attention to the less-than-stellar editing on these. My settings were all off on my camera and I just did a few quick tweaks to these to get them up.)