home birth?

ML and I were watching The Business of Being Born last night. Interesting documentary about the birth industry in America. Growing up with my radical mother, none of it was very shocking to me. My middle sister was born at a birth center and my littles sister born at home while I slept in the next room.

I'd done my research on our local hospitals years before we even started trying. Our community hospital has a c-section rate of over 35% with an epidural rate approaching 90%. The next nearest hospital isn't much better, and I've actually heard from their nurses that doula's are routinely asked to leave and that they've been given explicit instruction to increase their epidural rate as a revenue generating procedure. yikes!

The County hospital, which deals with a much higher risk population, has much lower intervention rates. However to deliver at the County, you must receive your prenatal care in their OB clinic, which has a large team of doctors. Appointments are will different doctors and you deliver with whoever is on call that day.

The next County over is much more granola than ours, and has so many good birth options. They have a birth center with awesome stats, and a well respected hospital that has impressively low intervention rates. There are practicing midwives in almost every OB practice. It is like night and day from our local options.

I chose my OB, Dr K., many years ago, before we started trying. She practices in the next county over and delivers many babies at the birth center. Skilled in VBAC's and breech deliveries, she believes that childbirth is natural. She has a small practice, just her and a midwife, and delivers all of her babies. It is a bit of a drive, but I feel like I'm in such good hands. I chose her because I really wanted someone who trusted pregnancy and birth as a natural process but also had the skills to handle unexpected risks.

We've had two appointments with Dr K's office, one with her and one with her midwife. I brought a typed list of questions to each appointment and they took plenty of time to answer the questions that I'd asked, as well as many others that I hadn't thought to ask. I feel like they really care about me, and want me to feel cared for.

So, last night ML and I are watching this documentary that included some footage of homebirths. ML says "It looks like homebirth is the way to go." I agreed because I really do believe that for a normal healthy pregnancy homebirth would be an awesome option, then paused as my mind repeated what he'd just said, and asked "Are you saying that seriously? Would you really want to do a homebirth?" He was, and he does. And its all that I've been able to think about since.


my missing voice

I've been silent as of late. Got a lot going on in my head, but seem to have lost my voice in this transition to pregnancy. Everything about this experience has been so different than I expected. It is hard to explain, and i am still searching for the right words. I think a lot about our decision to use donor  sperm, and wonder if it was the right one. I wonder why we never considered using donor embryos, wonder if I might feel differently about things.

We've started getting gifts of baby clothes and things, which is really sweet, but hard to accept. and hard to know what to do with when we bring them home. The garage is full of hand me downs from my wonderful sister in law. ML is missing his garage space and suggested bringing the big items inside to their permanent home, but I couldn't respond. It just feels too early. Do you think we can wait until after the baby is here to set things up?

Talking to Bestie the other day about some of the garage stuff, it occurred to both of us that my experience of this pregnancy is oh so different from hers. She asked if I was talking to the baby yet... what? um, no, i can't say that the thought has occurred to me. She asked if I was feeling more secure now that i'm into my second trimester... what? maybe, a little, but um no, the caution is still here with full force. She asked when I thought it would be okay to move the baby stuff inside... and I don't have an answer. It was actually a very sad conversation.

Melissa G at Banking on It had a great post that nearly made me cry because so much of what she said resonated with me. 

None of this is to say that I am not enjoying this experience, because I am. But in a way that is just so different from what I expected. I am feeling pretty good these days. Building my new wardrobe of cute maternity clothing. Thinking about starting my christmas shopping now so that we are ready before the little one arrives. Strutting my little bump into pilates this past Saturday. Its awesome, really. The gratitude that I feel is simply overwhelming.

I am taking it all one day at a time. Accept that how is feel is how I feel.

Bloganthropy and Mel

Mel recently posted that she has been selected as a finalist for the 2011 Bloganthropy Award, recognizing women bloggers who use social media to support a good cause.  There is no voting, the winner will be decided by a panel of Bloganthropy folks announced this coming week. 

I just love idea to honor bloggers who are using social media to make our world a better place!

It also feels like a fitting time to share a tiny bit about the significance of Melissa Ford's blog Stirrup Queens has had in my life. After suffering silently through the most painful devastating two years of my life I discovered the online ALI (Adoption, Loss, Infertility) community. Mel's insanely organized blogroll directed me to a list of blogs that were written by others who had our same rare diagnosis. Reading the stories of others who were going through the same challenges that we were facing was beyond incredible. I suddenly felt like i wasn't alone on this journey anymore. I discovered that there were words to communicate the mess of crazy thoughts that had taken over my head. I found my own voice. Most surprisingly I've made some incredible friends. 

Mel's projects - International Comment Leaving Week (ICLW), Lost and Found (LFCA), the Weekly Round-Up, etc - invite the participation of everyone in the ALI community. She has created a safe space for connection and growth, for love and support, for grief and celebration. 

I am so amazed that one women, a woman who doesn't even know me, could give me so much. I will be forever grateful to The Stirrup Queen for helping me find my own strength to navigate our personal and private journey of infertility. 


Body Image

A dear sweet friend graduated from high school last week. I am so proud of her, and know that she is going to do great things beyond high school. Her family and mine have been close family friends for decades. I have two sisters, as does she, and we've all basically grown up together. She and her sisters used to come over to our house to watch my sisters and I get ready for school dances, and now, my sisters and I cheer her and her sisters on as they navigate adolescence and early adulthood.

It was a really beautiful event, and we took a ton of pictures, as we always do, lined up by age with my sisters and I in the back with the  younger sisters in the front. We have that same lineup at various events ranging back to the days when my sisters and I were holding the little girls as babies.

My littlest sister just posted a batch of photos on her Facebook page.

Oh Jeez.

I look awful. My face is all round. My sweater, the new sweater I was so excited about ordering, looks gigantic, with my breasts and tummy bulging. There is one picture that I just want to delete. Its just terrible. and there is a comment under it from a friend of my mom's. It just says "Foxy....?"

Why would I be so upset that I might be looking pregnant? I mean, I am. right?

Why would I be so offended by a comment like that? I immediately went to that place of, how dare she assume anything, she doesn't know what we've been thru, what if I wasn't pregnant, this is none of her business. So defensive. Yet I know that this lady is super sweet and kind and would never cause harm intentionally.

Maybe I've gotten so used to carrying around the invisible cloak of infertility, that it is hard to adjust to having my body reveal this sign of fertility.

I guess that my reaction to this picture goes beyond a body image issue, and touches also on my perception of self, and the way that other people 'know' me.

Until now, I've had the ability to reveal our pregnancy on my terms, telling people in the way that felt right to me, and most often including a statement about the journey that we took to get here. Just about everyone who I've shared our news with also knows how long and painful our path was. I guess it was inevitable that I would lose that kind of control over our message.

I do love my body. I love my growing breasts, and checking out my bulging belly from every different angle. I'm just surprised, I guess, at how 'our' news is going to quickly become not so private. I'm also surprised at how challenging it is going to be that cute pregnant lady that I always dreamt of being.


the list

Waiting in the mail for me today when I got home was an envelope from my new OB. Inside was a printout with a list of all my OB appointments between now and December 15. I sat at the counter just staring at this printout.

It has my name on it.

These are my appointments.

It just feels so... still feels so surreal.

Today, while driving to a meeting, I couldn't help but think about how lucky we are. We have each other, we have jobs, we have our home, we are healthy, we have wonderful friends and family. How did we possibly deserve more luck to get pregnant? I'm not saying that we don't deserve it, just that suddenly feels so freaking unfair. Why us? Why not all us us?

People keep asking me how I'm feeling, alluding to the concept that I must be so excited and in love with this baby. But I don't feel that. All I can think is that every day that passes brings us one day closer to December. I have this feeling that I can't trust this, that this won't feel real until December, until we are finally holding this child in our arms.

I went to the bargain fair with my mom last weekend. It is like a massive community garage sale that is held every 4 months. My sweet mama is so excited. She had so much fun shopping for adorable little baby clothing. I found some gender neutral sleepers, but as I bought them, for $1 each, I felt a little like an impostor. Like I was simply engaging in a business transaction, without the emotional investment that I would soon enough be dressing MY long awaited baby in these clothes.

Later on my mom and I went to Macy's and found ourselves in the baby section. My sweet mom wanted to buy all of the perfect little outfits. Yet I could't let her. Maybe after December, it will be alright, but not now.

In more positive news, I am having a ton of fun shopping for myself! I just got my first delivery of maternity tops, all of which I absolutely love. Old Navy and Gap delivered me 6 awesome tops for less than $100 - can't beat that. My blouses are starting to bust at the bust, and aren't long enough to cover my maternity pants elastic band. It was a necessary purchase. And I guess that if I can keep loving my body, that some of that love will seep into the little life that is growing inside.


Week 13

A few weeks ago I signed up for a top pregnancy blogs contest on the Circle of Moms website. I must admit that I shamelessly voted for myself everyday, which is probably the only reason I got selected, but somehow I ended up in the top 25 on the list. They've asked me a few questions and will be featuring the blog on their site later this month. The one question that has me stumped is "What are 3 adjectives that describe your blog?" I don't know what to say... any ideas?

How far along? 13 Weeks
How is Mommy Feeling? 
- like I have a lot to say, and nothing to say, all at the same time. 
- the food aversions/nausea has started to subside. Maybe in part because I've learned to manage it all better with more regular eating, and a ginger beer every afternoon, but also I am guessing that the hormones are off a little.
- extra emotionally needy. I wish that ML could anticipate my needs more.
- thrilled that the sex restriction was lifted at our OB appt, but strangely not in the mood.
- still very overwhelmed by work, and falling farther behind everyday. I'm worried about next year and how my maternity leave will work and how I can put some plans into place so that I don't leave my boss hanging while I'm gone, and if I don't come back full time. 
- frustrated by the insurance game. I got some preliminary information about what our insurance will cover and felt like I was pulling teeth to get the whole story. I must have been crazy to think that our $3,000 out of pocket maximum meant that we'd only be paying $3,000 for our maternity care and birth. whatever. 
- still very much feeling that so many things i thought mattered, like where i deliver, and the type of birth i have, and whether i can stay home really don't matter. so long as we can bring this baby home with us, everything else is just a detail.

How is Daddy Feeling? 
- Lots of thoughts, but none to share with the world this week.

Total weight gain? 
- holding steady at 168.6. Pre-IVF I've been at 155 for years, but then jumped to 160 during the IVF cycle, and then up to 168 pretty quickly after getting our positive. It hasn't changed since.  
- the food aversions/nausea/hunger are still a daily issue to deal with, but seem to slowly becoming less and less.
- my boobies have grown so much, I could stare at them in the mirror for hours. 
- I am drinking more water, and thus making many more trips to the restroom. 
- insomnia is a recent addition to the list. I get up to pee in the night, and can't go back to sleep again. So I lay in bed for a while, then turn the tv on, and eventually fall asleep again. 
The Belly? 
- My sister noticed a little bump the other day. She said it looked like I'd eaten a really big lunch.

The Boobies?
- the new bra's are fabulous. I never thought it was possible to love a bra as much as I love these bra's. 
- The sleeping bra was especially awesome, but I've been able to go without it a few nights this past week.
- I'd ordered some special breast warmers from Australia a few weeks back and they finally arrived yesterday. They are a thin fabric that reflects your own body heat to keep your breasts warm. I'm trying them out today and hoping that they do the trick.
- I asked my OB about the Boob Attacks, and she said it was not a common complaint and that I would need to talk with a Lactation Consultant. Then before I left, she consulted with her midwife who has another patient with nipple vasospasms and knew the perfect LC to refer me to. Yeahhh!
- I talked to the Lactation Consultant who knew exactly what I was experiencing, confirmed that it was nipple/breast vasospasms, aka Reynauds, and suggested that in addition to keeping warm I should also start taking some vitamin B6. She also said that there is medication that can be prescribed after the baby is born if the pain is a problem for breastfeeding. Good to know that we have solutions waiting for us.

What I miss? 
- not missing much this week. 

Big News this Week? 
- We chose our Doula! She will help us get prepared for the birth, attend to us during labor and delivery, and help make sure that we are all set afterwards. It is another out of pocket expense, but I feel so good knowing that we will have someone to help us have this be the best experience possible. 
- We had our first OB appt! It went really well and the Dr. took lots of time to answer all of my questions. I'll have to write more about it soon. Our next appt isn't until June 24th, which feels a long ways off... But everyday is another day closer to our dreams coming true. 


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