December 19, 2014

Cai Alexander: One Month Old

I cannot believe our baby is a month old already! He had is one month appointment two days ago, and we found out that he gained 2 lbs. and grew an inch and a half since leaving the hospital! I was so excited and proud! There's a unique sense of satisfaction knowing that the food that I'm producing for him caused that weight gain! At the same time, it's bittersweet how fast he's growing. I'm excited about each  new stage, but I'm very aware that he will never be at this stage again. When I said something like that to Steve, he said, "But we'll have more babies." This is true, Lord willing (a year ago I was afraid we'd never have any children and now we're talking about more!), but Cai will never be a newborn again. 

Not his first bath, but the first (and only) on in the flower bath.
Cai seems to have better than average neck strength and control. Our first week home from the hospital he was already holding his head up for extended periods of time. He even rolled over once in those first few days; I'm sure that was just a fluke though because he definitely hasn't done it again.
This outfit barely fits him now!
Just like before he was born, he is a very active baby. He is constantly stretching. One of my favorite times of day is his first morning diaper change. When I lay him on the table he stretches for the first few minutes, and I just watch. He's usually very happy in the morning, and especially enjoys staring at the letters on his wall above the changing table. When he's not kicking up a storm or punching through his swaddle, he's laying completely still staring at things. Sometimes he doesn't even blink. He's also very vocal and spends a good chunk of time grunting and even does some cooing.

His first real smile was at three weeks and six days, and he smiled up a storm! Today we spent about forty five minutes laying on the floor together smiling and cooing and looking around (he did the cooing not me). 

Cai isn't sleeping through the night yet by any means, but he did have a few nights where he slept a full seven hours. For awhile he was only waking up once or twice a night, but then he went through a growth spurt. Most nights we try to lay him down between seven and eight. Our bedtime routine includes a bath every other night, lavender lotion, a feeding, and most nights a Bible story and praying together. He's often already asleep during the Bible story, but I read to him anyway. Twice Steve has given him his bed time feeding with a bottle of breast milk. The first time was tough, but the second one went well. We tried both Medela and Avent nipples, and he seemed to have an easier time with the Avent. Lately, after we put him to bed, he wakes up frequently between eight and midnight and cluster feeds, so I often don't bother going to bed until then. He then usually wakes up once between 2;30 and 3:30 and again between 4;30 and 5;30 then sleeps until 8:30. Last night he went to bed late because he and I spent some time with my family because Steve worked late. He had a rough hour or so where he was super gassy (I think because I ate some broccoli for the first time), but when we got home he relaxed in his bathtub and even kept falling asleep in there. He then spent the next hour or so eating off and on until Steve put him to bed. I don't know if it was the late hour or if he wore himself out crying, but he only woke up once last night. Yay for sleep!
Cai basically has two set nap times throughout the day. I swaddle him and put him in his cradle (a beautiful cradle my dad made when I was born) shortly after his morning feeding and then again around one or two. He spends most of that in between time awake. Trying to establish this routine has given me so much more freedom because I'm not just hoping he'll fall asleep.

We bought Cai a special outfit for Christmas Eve (a little pair of black pants, a gray checked shirt, and a red sweater vest), and Daddy wanted to buy him a little newsies style cap to go with it, but it was WAY too big. Instead, Steve decided that I needed to make him one, so I did. The picture above wasn't quite finished, but isn't he stinking cute!

Cai seems to have a dairy intolerance, so I have to be very careful about what I eat. This has been super difficult for me, as I love dairy, especially cheese. If I do eat too much dairy though, he gets a severe rash, almost to the extent of open sores on his tushy.

Cai is a bit of hot mess right now with baby acne and cradle cap. He has lost a lot of his hair from the top of his head too.

Cai has his Daddy's hairline, nose, longs arms, and big hands. I think he has my chin. Steve and I have the same color eyes, so he looks like both of us there.

I know most people aren't super interested in all of this, but I want to remember everything. Plus, with subsequent babies, I want to be able to look back and see how they compare or remember what we did and what worked or didn't work.

Surviving Our First Few Weeks

Our first couple of weeks were far more difficult than I thought they would be. This post will probably be a little all over the place, but bear with me.
We spent most of our first week at the hospital. Our original plan was to keep Cai in the room with us, but he ended up in the nursery a great deal of the time. In the beginning he had low blood sugar, and they kept checking it, until our pediatrician finally told them to stop because he was fine. 
Then he developed jaundice and had to be under the blue lights all the time unless I was nursing him. this was super difficult for me. I was definitely hormonal at the time and it killed me to not have him near me. I missed him so much. Plus, it didn't help that I felt like it was my fault that he had jaundice. When I was being reasonable, I knew this wasn't the case, but the nurses and the pediatrician kept saying things about how it was because my milk hadn't come in yet. They strongly encouraged us to supplement with formula because eating more would cause him to poo and pee the bilirubin out faster. We used something called an SNS (Supplemental Nursing System) which is basically a tube connected to a small bottle of formula. You tape the tube to your nipple, so that when you're  nursing, the baby gets your colostrum and the formula and it encourages your milk to come in. Anyway, I felt awful and had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't my fault and that it was normal for my milk to not have come in yet especially because I had a c-section.
Despite the jaundice, they still let us go home on the day we were scheduled, although they made us wait until evening. Cai's bilirubin was still a little high, so they sent us home with a bilirubin blanket.
 It's basically a photo therapy light that you wrap around the baby. It made our first night home AWFUL. Cai was attached to an outlet. The thing was so heavy that it was hard for him to lay flat; he kept rolling to his side. We couldn't swaddle him because of it. Actually, because it had to be on bare skin, it was difficult to even have clothes on him. We tried putting him in the co-sleeper in our room, but between the bilirubin blanket and the fact I couldn't sit up easily on my own (to pick him up and nurse him) because of my incision, all three of us ended up sleeping in the living room sitting up while we took turns holding Cai.

Then, first thing the next morning (Saturday), we had to take Cai back to the hospital for blood work to see if his levels had gone down. Getting out of the house on a schedule on your first day home with a newborn after a c-section and a sleepless night is no small task, but we did it. The levels were okay, so we didn't have to use the bilirubin blanket the second day home, but our night was still awful. Cai would cry every time we put him down and would only sleep in our arms. He slept half the night in his car seat and the other half sitting up in my arms.

We went back to the hospital for more blood work on Sunday, then to a pediatrician appointment on Monday. They sent us for blood work one more time, and at that point he was finally jaundice free. My milk had finally come in then also, so we stopped supplementing. I can't tell you how exciting it was to see milk spill out of Cai's mouth when he drooled! I was so proud and satisfied.

Somewhere in those first few days, I took an afternoon nap for a little over two hours while Cai napped and Daddy took care of him woke up. It was the first time I had slept more than two hours since arriving at the hospital (between feedings, and uncomfortable bed, and having my vitals checked every few hours, I didn't sleep much), and it was wonderful.

Steve was amazing through all of this. At the hospital, he did everything but nurse Cai. He changed every diaper and at one point even fed me my lunch (I was starving and hadn't yet perfected the art of accomplishing anything while nursing). Despite all of the difficulties, we both fell in love with our son in those first few days, and I fell even more in love with my husband as I watched him love Cai.

By his third night home, we had figured out a way to swaddle him called "The Secret Swaddle" which we had seen on Pinterest. Prior to this, we would wake himself up because he would punch his way out of the swaddle. This method works as a little baby straight jacket and allows him to sleep calmly (except Cai doesn't smile sweetly while we swaddle him like the baby in picture; he fights it until he's completely snuggled up).

Recovering from a c-section was harder than I thought it would be. Because of the c-section (and the reasons I already mentioned), we didn't really use the co-sleeper and ended up putting Cai in his crib (more on my recovery in another post). This made me a little sad, but it was what worked for us.

I've learned about mommy guilt very quickly. Not only did I feel like the jaundice was my fault because I wasn't providing milk for my baby right away, but around the second week home, Cai developed a severe diaper rash. At his second doctor's appointment, the pediatrician told us that the fact that the redness was centered around the anus meant that it was more than likely caused by an intolerance to something I was eating. She suggested either tomatoes (or other acidic foods) or dairy (milk protein). I cut out tomato sauce and cut back on dairy and the rash went away. It came back this week, but has cleared up again a few days later. It's awful knowing that what I was eating without a second thought was causing my baby pain. I experienced this all over again tonight when Cai had some pretty severe gas for the first time. I'm pretty sure it was because I ate some broccoli for the first time last night. The gas didn't last super long, but his screams were gut wrenching!

Speaking of gas, another struggle those first few weeks was dealing with the (kindly intended) suggestions from family members. Every time Cai wiggled, stretched, or fussed, whatever female family member was nearby (mother, grandmother, great grandmother, great aunt) suggested that it was gas. I can't tell you how many times my grandmother said, "Oh, he has a belly ache." Like I said, tonight was the first time he really had gas, but that hasn't stopped everyone from talking about it. It's way harder than I thought to deal with the advice of EVERYONE.

Anyway, we made it! All three of us! And Cai is thriving! My intent is to write a post about his one month update tomorrow, but we'll see how that goes. Hopefully I get to it because the next week is crazy busy, with fun stuff, but busy none-the-less.

December 07, 2014

Belly Growth {Just for Fun}

I thought I'd share this just for fun.
Shortly after finding out that I was pregnant...5 weeks, I think
Week by week

December 06, 2014

Hello, Cai Alexander! {A Birth Story}

On November 18, 2014, our lives changed forever. The gift we'd been hoping and praying for six years finally arrived. Very little about Cai coming into this world went as I planned or expected. He wasn't conceived when I wanted him to be, or the way I expected him to be, and his birth didn't go anything like I had planned. But, God had a plan and his timing is perfect. That is one of the biggest lessons I've learned over the past six years. That, and the fact that giving up control and trusting him is much easier and always goes better, than trying to control things myself (I'm learning that even more now, every time I put Cai to bed and have to trust the Lord to keep him safe when I am sleeping and can't see him).

The morning of our induction, 39 weeks 2 days
In the past nine months I have read and planned and researched about what I thought a safe and healthy birth should look like (who am I kidding, I've been doing that for years). Steve and I both wanted a natural birth without pain meds or medical interventions and with all of the good stuff; immediate skin to skin contact, delayed cord clamping, etc. In fact, I was quite a bit elitist about it, silently congratulating myself for doing research whenever somebody talked about their medicated birth or looking forward to joining the club of  natural birthing mamas. Serves me right.

The first hitch in the plans came when at my 37 week appointment, my doctor suspected that I had cholestasis of pregnancy, a condition where your liver produces too much bile. The main, and sometimes only, symptom is all over itchiness that tends to get worse at night. I had suspected it myself because my itchiness was OUT OF CONTROL. I could barely fall asleep at night. I had made the mistake of looking it up online and read that it could cause still birth, but when the doctor gave me the script for blood work to test for it, she was reassuring. Because I seemed to be developing it at that point in my pregnancy, the risk was minimal. The bigger concern is preterm birth for women who develop it at an earlier stage of pregnancy. Phew! However, if the results were positive, they would likely induce right away. So I went for the blood work and waited. For a long time. Apparently the results take a long time because they need to be sent away for. A week later they still hadn't come back.

The second hitch came at my 38 week appointment (Friday, November 14). We had already been keeping an eye on my blood pressure because it had been a little high, so when I came in with my legs and feet EXTREMELY swollen (seriously, that's an understatement) and pitting edema and some protein in my urine, they were concerned about preeclampsia, so they sent me to the hospital for blood work and to be monitored. My blood pressure stayed pretty decent and the protein level in my urine went down while I was there, but between that and the fact that my blood work for the cholestasis came back while I was there (it indicated that I was developing cholestasis though I didn't have it fully yet), they told me to come back Monday morning to be induced.

I had heard horror stories about induction and the evil it makes the pain so much more severe and makes you blow up like a balloon, yada, yada, yada, so I was not looking forward to the induction. I prayed that I would go into labor before then. I was already 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced and having pretty frequent, though not painful, Braxton Hicks contractions, so I was pretty hopeful as were my doctors. I ate spicy food, got a massage, went for walks, bounced on the birthing ball, etc., all in hopes of bringing on labor, with no luck.

So Monday morning rolled around and Steve and I loaded the car seat, diaper bag, and my suitcase into the car. Steve prayed for all three of us before we left the driveway, and we headed to the hospital.

They started me on pitocin shortly after I arrived. According to the nurses, my doctors are more conservative in their use of pitocin and increased it at half the speed that most doctors do in hopes of a more natural result. This meant the pain wasn't bad, but that things progressed quite slowly. I was already having some VERY mild, but somewhat regular contractions when we got there, and they slowly became more intense. I was also almost four centimeters upon arrival. Things moved very slowly. Steve was bored. My back was killing me from sitting in the stupid hospital bed.

This is where the third hitch really came in. Because I was being induced, they wanted to monitor the baby's heartbeat constantly rather and intermittently. And because my son is a stinker who moves constantly, this was difficult. Even if a stayed in the same position, sometimes we would lose his heartbeat because he was so active. This made movement really difficult. At one point my nurse (Sidenote: total God-thing that my nurse was a family friend and was able to be with me until around 7 PM, I think. She was WONDERFUL, and I am so blessed to have had her with me) tried to let me use the birthing ball, but as soon as I would sit on it, we'd lose his heartbeat. At this point my pain wasn't bad, so it wasn't a big deal that I couldn't move except that my back hurt a bit, but later, when my pain became bad, it became a major problem. Almost all of the ways I planned to manage pain had to do with movement (birth ball, using the Jacuzzi, walking, etc.), so when I couldn't move, that left me with essential oils and breathing, which didn't help all that much.

At some point,after 7 PM I think, so at least twelve hours in, one of the residents came in to check my progress. He checked me an looked at the nurse and said, "You said she was 4 cm.? She is not 4 cm." The nurse (a new one who was also wonderful, and pregnant), looked at me and then at the doctor and said, "What do you mean?" We were both confused. I was thinking he was suggesting that I went backwards or something, and I'm pretty sure she did too. "She's like 7 cm." was the response. I think the nurse was more excited than I was. She was quite proud of me.

Shortly after that my doctor came in and said it was time to break my water. Let me tell you, that was nothing like I expected it to be. First of all, it looks like it would hurt; they use a tool that looks like a crochet hook; but it didn't hurt at all. It did feel strange though. It feels just like you're peeing. Uncontrollably. And for me it was for a very long time. Every time I moved more water would come out.

This is where the details start to get blurry because my pain increased dramatically at this point, but it's also where hitch number four comes in.. On a scale of 1 to 10, I went from a 4 to a 10 in what seemed like no time at all. When the doctor checked me a little while later, she said she was concerned about how tight my pubic bone was. She recommended getting an epidural so that if she had to, she could "get in there and move around easily." At first I was totally against it, but my pain escalated so quickly, and the doctor seemed so concerned, that I told Steve that if he was okay with me getting one, I thought it would be a good idea. Somewhere around this time, I kicked my family our of the room. My mom, sister, dad, and Oma had been behind the curtain in the room with us. My mom was a little obsessed about being there, even though she knew, and was okay with the fact that, I planned to kick her out at some point. In the beginning it was nice having them there because things were boring, but once my pain became more severe, I asked Steve to ask them to leave. I didn't want them to hear me moaning which I definitely was doing at this point.

This is the only picture I have of myself with Cai
at the hospital. I kind of hate it. I was retaining SO
much water it was RIDICULOUS! 
I was shocked at how quickly he pain became so strong, and it seemed like forever until the anesthesiologist came to give me the epidural. All the while I was debating with myself about whether or not I would regret getting one. I came to the conclusion that given all of the circumstances, I was making the right decision.

And here was the the fifth hitch. The anesthesiologist gave me the epidural, which freaked me out so much. And I waited for the relief. And waited. And waited. And it didn't come. My legs went all pins and needles, but I could feel every contraction FULLY and the pain was getting worse. So the nurse had me press the button to give myself a bolus of the epidural medication.I could feel the medicine going in. And I waited again. And nothing happened. So fifteen minutes later I pressed it again. And waited again. And nothing happened. So fifteen minutes later I pressed it again. And nothing happened.

Ready to go home!
At this point the nurse called the anesthesiologist back in so he could redo the epidural (which was almost as scary to me as continuing without the epidural). The anesthesiologist was really nice, but he had a really strong accent, so he was super difficult to understand. He was quite frustrated that it hadn't worked because he wasn't sure why it hadn't worked. The only thing he could think of was that he had put it up too high  because it was difficult to tell where my hips were (I told him it was because I was too fat, but he said that wasn't it, haha). The time while he put the second epidural in was the most difficult part of the whole experience. I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the stool, and Steve stood in front of me so that I could lean my forehead on his shoulder. My pain was so sever at this point that I had been moaning and writhing, but I knew I couldn't do that while he put in the epidural. Between the contractions and the needle in my back itself, it took every once of strength I had to stay still. Plus I was sweating and felt like I was slipping off of Steve's shoulder. Apparently he was watching the doctor give the epidural. He said it was fascinating and that the doctor was afraid Steve would pass out from watching. He didn't though, and I survived.

He's got his daddy's hands (and hairline and ears
and nose and...)
Once the epidural kicked in, I was able to take a nap. The medicine made me quite a bit dopey, which was the whole reason I didn't want to get an epidural in the first place. When I woke up from the nap, at least I think that was the timing, I was a full 10 centimeters dilated and the baby had dropped a little lower. The doctor said that she was still a little concerned about my pubic bone, but I had proved her wrong already (she hadn't expected Cai to drop any lower), so maybe I would again.

So I pushed. It didn't hurt because of the epidural, but I was surprised at how challenging it still was. First of all, I couldn't really feel the timing of the contraction, but mostly it was hard because it took so much breath to give a a good push, and I would run out of air before the doctors wanted me to stop pushing.  According to the doctors though, I did it right though.

Oh, somewhere in all of this, I threw up three times. I don't remember when. I was only allowed to have clear liquids once I arrived at the hospital, but somehow I still managed to throw up a ton. It was awful.

Hitch #6. My doctor came back in and checked me again (the residents were with me for the rest of the pushing), and said that she could tell that I was doing a good job pushing, but after an hour of pushing, Cai hadn't moved any lower. In fact, he was getting a cone head because I was pushing well enough, but only his skin was moving past my pubic bone; his head was not. She said I could continue pushing for another hour and see if I got anywhere, but she recommended a c-section because he wasn't moving.

Cai and Finnegan!
We decided to take her advice, and they quickly prepared me for a c-section. They didn't let Steve in with me, but they told him that as long as they didn't have to sedate me, he would be able to come in after they got me set up.

Funny side note, as I entered the OR, I corrected the grammar of the only male resident. He knew I was an English teacher and had told me how much he hated English. He had used a superlative and used both the word "most" and an "-est" ending. Everyone got a kick out of it.

And then there was hitch #7. At this point, I made sure they knew that I was starting to feel things again. The anesthesiologist told me that they would be switching medicines, so I shouldn't worry. He put the new medicine in, and my doctor tested to see if I could feel anything. And I could. So he upped the anesthesia, and tested again. And I could feel it again. So he upped it again, and tested again, and I could feel it again. So they upped it again, and tested again, and I could feel most of it again. Somewhere in the midst of this I threw up again, a really awkward thing to do when your arms are strapped to the table and you can only turn your head. They couldn't go any higher with that medicine though, so they had to try something else. The something else basically sedated me without actually knocking me out (so Steve wasn't allowed to come in). They didn't tell me what would happen though, so I didn't know what was happening at this point. It was awful. I basically hallucinated the whole time. I thought I was on an episode of Dr. Who, a scary one. I kept flashing from scene scene. At one point I thought I heard Cai cry, but I didn't know that was what I was hearing. I also thought I could feel the pulling in my belly, but I didn't know what that was either. Then I started to come back and suddenly realize the blue stuff I was staring at was the sheet they put up in front of me. I could hear them talking about putting staples in, but I still wasn't fully aware that my baby had been born. I couldn't even think straight enough to ask for details about him. This part seemed to take forever. I also started shaking uncontrollably, which I had been warned about ahead of time, but it was awful.

They wheeled me into recovery and I remember seeing my sister and my mom smiling at me as I passed them in the hallway. Steve came into the recovery room pretty quickly. He showed me pictures of Cai. He was so beautiful! He told me he cried when he saw him, and he got to cut the cord. I was so upset that I hadn't seen him yet. I didn't feel like I had actually had a baby.

Finally they, brought him in, but I couldn't hold him right away because I was still shaking so badly. They had to take him right back to the nursery though because his temp and his blood sugar were both low, but they brought him back  quickly so I could breast feed him. That was when it finally felt real. Steve and me and our boy.

I'm spent with writing for today, but I'll write more soon about our first few weeks (almost three already!)

Daddy in love

Momma in love

October 31, 2014

Pregnancy Update: 37 Weeks

How far along: 37 weeks (tomorrow actually)! Cai is officially full term and can come at any time now!

36 Weeks
Showing: I think I have my own gravitational pull.

Weight Gain: More than I'd like. I think I'm at 42 lbs now. I eat a lot, partly because sometimes my heartburn makes me feel like I'm hungry when I'm not.

Maternity Clothes: Not wearing as much anymore. I have one pair of maternity jeans, two hand me down long sleeve t's, and one sweater that I've been wearing. Other than that I've been in Steve's tshirts and yoga pants I just bought.

Food I'm Eating/Craving: Nothing good for me. Except maybe bruschetta; I'm still loving bruschetta.

Things that Make me Sick: I'm still throwing up at least once a week sometimes from coughing, sometimes from bending over. I'm getting tired of it.

37 Weeks (although, the next day my belly looked
so different because he had dropped even lower)
Other symptoms: I'm just generally uncomfortable (not miserable) all of the time. My pelvic pain is either better or I'm just used to it. The round ligament pain is worse though. I've been forcing myself to walk more, but I tire very quickly. My heartburn is worse. I itch all the time, mostly my belly, but all over. I've actually noticed little spots of blood on my body pillow from scratching my belly. Gross. I'm peeing more. I have hemorrhoids. They're awful, but not from constipation; rather from going often. I also had my second yeast infection (I've only ever had one before, so they are definitely pregnancy related. This one, I got rid of without medication (I used organic apple cider vinegar, organic plain yogurt, and organic coconut oil-- sounds gross, but it worked!). My hands fall asleep while I'm sleeping making sleeping even more difficult. I've been on the couch lately. My hands and feet are quite swollen; my feet look like Cabbage Patch Kid feet and my finger joints ache. Again though, none of this is TERRIBLE, just uncomfortable. I'm fairly content right now. Oh! I've also started having Braxton Hicks fairly often. When I'm standing they sometimes hurt and make it difficult to walk.

Pregnancy Brain: I left my hair straightener on. Steve found it.

Miss anything? I would love a bottle of hard apple cider right now. I would also love to roll over or stand up without pain. Or to be able to walk like a normal person.

Best moment: Time with Steve. 

Movement: Cai is a very active baby. The doctor comments on it at every appointment. He gets the hiccups fairly often too! He really does sometimes feel like he's trying to push his way out through my belly. And he likes kicking me under my right rib.

Gender: He's all boy! Two weeks ago the doctor did a quick ultrasound to see if Cai was in position and it was clear that he is ALL BOY.

Happy or moody most of the time?: Content. Struggling sometimes with physical symptoms of anxiety, but not the emotional stuff. Sometimes my heart rate goes up or I feel super fidgety or itchy. Mostly I feel like I can't catch my breath or like I'm really hot. All of this sometimes makes me feel anxious, but not too bad.

Labor signs: I had a doctor's appointment today. I am almost three centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. Cai has dropped pretty low already. She said she could feel his when she checked me internally. She said she doesn't think I'll make it to my due date, but also that she could be wrong. 

Getting Ready for Cai: Other than a few odds and ends Cai's room is ready. I've shared pictures on Facebook, but I'll make a blog post with a source list tomorrow. I'm pretty happy with it. It's a very tiny room, and it sometimes feels a little cramped, but overall I'm happy with it. 

October 08, 2014

Third Trimester Thoughts

Instead of posting a pregnancy update, I thought I'd share some general (and somewhat random) thoughts and experiences right now.

  • I recently joined an infertility support group on Facebook that I found through the blog Sawdust and Embryos (you can read about it here). The group was just started, and everyone has been sharing their battle story. One woman's story struck me so hard. She dealt with years of infertility, finally got pregnant, and went into labor at 38 weeks. But she knew something was wrong, and she and her husband rushed to the hospital only to find out that the baby had no heart beat. An emergency c-section was preformed, but her baby girl had already died about 3-5 hours before she arrived at the hospital. Other women have been sharing their discouragement about multiple IVF attempts failing or working, but ending in miscarriage. Now, I'm not sharing this to be a Debbie-downer, but it really hit me. The whole time we couldn't get pregnant, I thought, "Why us? Why has God chosen us to go through this? Why us?" And now, after reading some of the stories in this group, I'm left thinking, "Why us? Why, Lord, did you choose to give us a baby, and not all of these other couples who want it so badly." Obviously, He knows the answer, and I may never, but it reminds me to continue to be grateful, not that I needed to much reminding, but I'm surprised at how easy it is becoming to take this gift for granted already. 

  • On a related note, Cai hasn't even been born yet, and I'm already starting to get nervous about doing a frozen embryo transfer for subsequent babies. It will be hard not just assume it will work since we got pregnant on our first attempt. I know it's silly to worry about it now, (don't get me wrong; I'm not freaking out or anything), but it has crossed my mind. We have four frozen babies left, and it's a strange thought to think we could end up being a family of seven total, or end up having an only child. I'm sure we'll learn to be content either way, but it's a strange thought.

  • In general, it's a strange feeling to feel so far beyond all of the pain of infertility, yet still so connected to it. It had become a part of my identity, which isn't really a good thing, and it's strange to feel so far past it. At the same time, I know it's not over, but even if we can't ever get pregnant again, it will be different than it ever was before because we'll have Cai.

  • Over the years, every time I heard someone complaining about the third trimester of their pregnancy, I always kind of felt like they must be exaggerating. Especially the complaints about not being able to sleep well. I'm learning very quickly that they are not. I don't sleep well between peeing constantly, having to wake up to roll over, a husband who starts snoring every time I wake up, and my mind running a mile a minute when I try to fall back to sleep. And I'm huge. Seriously, people need to stop telling me that I look like I'm ready to go any minute because that's going to make it really difficult if I go late! I'm also dealing with what I think is Pelvic Girdle Pain which has something to do with the joint in the center of your pelvis getting a little too loose because of the relaxin your body is producing. It makes my legs feel like they're going to kind of wobble off sometimes. It causes pretty significant pain when I roll over, walk up stairs, and walk in general. I've read that wearing my pregnancy support belt can help a little bit. Boppy Tummy Support Maternity Band with TheraPearlI've also changed the way I sit and how I get in and out of the car or roll over. And I've been doing more pelvic floor exercises because that's supposed to help too. I need to talk to the doctor about it though because it can affect delivery and the position they want you to push in.

  • I bought a birthing ball, aka an exercise ball. I've been sitting on it as much as I can instead of sitting on the couch. It's supposed to help in multiple ways including helping with the PGP pain, giving Cai room to turn (he's transverse right now), and help baby engage once he is in the right position. It helps with back pain too. I'm really enjoying using it. The hospital where I deliver will also provide one when I deliver to help with delivery. Here are some of the sources I've used as reference for how to use the ball:

  • I found this tutorial on how to make reusable cloth wipes from flannel sheets. I plan to use cloth wipes at home since we're going to try to use cloth diapers. It seems to make sense since it would be annoying to throw wipes away in on pail and cloth diapers for washing in a separate pail. It makes sense to throw them all in the same spot. On the same note, my aunt and uncle bought me this diaper pail that I registered for which is supposed to be great and can work for cloth or disposable diapers and doesn't require and special bags. 

  • Heartburn is ridiculous. Last night I was actually afraid it would burn a hole in my esophagus. And I'm still throwing up some days. I actually threw up in my driveway this week because I didn't think I could make it to the bathroom. 

  • I really want to buy this for Cai because I love flannel and babies in flannel= stinking adorable.

  • I'm perpetually hungry. Like ALL. THE. TIME. It's a little annoying.

  • I'm loving my husband's new schedule. I actually get to see him for significant amounts of time. Today, for example, he stopped after work to pick up some things, grab dinner for us, and get his hair cut, and he's still home an hour before he would have been at Walmart. I love it.

  • My stretch marks are ridiculously ridiculous. There is no describing how gross they look. I keep telling myself, "oh well."

  • As I mentioned earlier, Cai is transverse right now. He was head down at my thirty week ultrasound, so the doctor hasn't really said anything, but it makes me a little nervous. It also means that at any given moment his little but or his little head is trying to bust out of my tummy creating a huge lump and some pain. It's awesome seeing my whole belly move when he does, but boy can it be uncomfortable. Last night I switched from the bed to the couch and when I laid down, the side of my belly wasn't quite touching the couch. Cai kicked really hard and I swear it felt like he was trying to stand on the couch. I'm convinced he's an abnormally strong baby.

  • My college roommate got married last weekend in England (where her husband is from) and is having an American ceremony in Eerie this weekend. I'm so excited for her, but I'm really sad because we won't be able to make it. Steve has to work the day of the wedding, and we decided it probably wasn't smart for me to drive up there by myself at this point (especially because we are without insurance until the first of the month because of the job change). On a brighter note, because we couldn't make it, Steve's brother and his family are visiting this weekend. Steve will have to work for some of the time that they're here, but not so much that they won't be able to spend time with him. I'm looking forward to seeing them.

I think that's it for the rambling right now. Thanks for reading!

September 27, 2014

Pregnancy Update: 32 Weeks

How far along: 32 weeks! 5 to go until I'm full term, 8 until I'm a full 40 weeks

Showing: I'm waddling. I

Weight Gain: 22 lbs.+  I'm not sure how much past that I am right now.

Maternity Clothes: Yes.

Food I'm Eating/Craving: Everything

Things that Make me Sick: Bending over to put laundry in the washer or dryer. The smell of some of the bouquets of flowers left over from my shower (My sister bough a gazillion flowers).

Other symptoms: Still muscle/round ligament pain in the lower sides of my belly off and on. Back pain. Fatigue, Not sleeping. Started having crazy dreams again including one about crazy looking porcupines that attacked me. Oh, and one where I was taking care of a baby (I don't think it was mine, and I seemed to be still living at home with my family), and my youngest sister didn't think I should be breast feeding it because all I was eating for breakfast was an English muffin. So one morning, she took the baby before I woke up, and when I woke up I literally attacked her and started screaming in her face that it was my decision not hers. Geez.

Pregnancy Brain: I just left the oven on. Luckily Steve saw it.

Miss anything? I've always been a light sweat-er. Some days I could get away with not wearing deodorant. I miss that. Sometimes I can still smell my pits in the shower after I've soaped up, so I have to wash them again. And I'm soaked with sweat ten minutes after leaving the shower. Sigh. 

Best moment: Steve has off this weekend at his new job. Plus he was home by 4:30 on Friday, so I feel like he had off Friday too. It's SO nice to have him home!

Movement:  My son is violent. I think he's convinced that if he pushes against my belly hard enough, he'll be able to pop right through. It hurts.

Gender: It's a boy! Cai Alexander.

Happy or moody most of the time?: Mood swings are still better, but I had some major anxiety yesterday for several hours. My heart rate went up; I couldn't seem to cool off; and I couldn't sit still. At one point I called my best friend and asked her to tell me some funny stories about her sons to distract me. It helped, and I was so thankful that I happened to catch her while they were riding the train at the zoo, so she was able to talk. By the time Steve came home though, I was a little frantic and didn't know what to do with myself. His presence helped, and later in the evening he took me out to eat just for a change of scenery.

Getting Ready for Cai: The alphabet wall is done (pictures coming soon). I still have this urge to go out and buy at least some of the things we still need (rather than buy it all at once), but I haven't gotten the green light from Steve yet. I just want everything to be settled. I really think I'm going to end up going early, although not too early hopefully. Because of Steve's job change we are without insurance until November 1st, so we're hoping that nothing eventful happens before then. I won't be full term before then anyway, so I should be fine, but it's still a little nerve-wracking.

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