Sunday, January 25, 2004

Good Things are Happening

Just a quick post about all the good things that have been happening the last few days / week.

  • A good friend sent me a big box with maternity clothes and baby clothes. I will enjoy wearing the clothes and feeling the connection with her. And I looked at the baby clothes, and realized that this is for real! I am going to have a baby again!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Totally thrilled!
  • My stove is fixed!!!!!! A friend's husband looked at it for me, and it took him about two minutes to fix it... So much for all my dreaming about a ceramic stovetop :-) But very happy that I don't have to spend money on a new stove. Trying to pay off the mortgage instead of spending, spending, spending.
  • Got an unexpected check ( > $700 ) from the anesthesiologist from last April's surgery. I had always wondered why my health insurance would cover the surgery, but not the anesthesia??? I guess they did cover the anesthesia after all, so the billing service refunded me the money that I paid them! Woohoo, more money towards our principal! :-)
  • Got a package yesterday from another good friend, filled with tons of cloth diapers!!! And a bunch of cute covers too. Looking forward to diapering my deer totem baby! I feel blessed to have so many good friends who have comforted me in my sadness about the miscarriages, and now are sharing in the joy over this pregnancy!
  • Baby is moving around a lot, I even could SEE my belly move today, for the first time during this pregnancy. Love it!
  • Working on research about vaginal birth after myomectomy, and results are very reassuring. It will take me a bit of time to put it all together in a format to share with my backup obs, and I also will make a web page out of it, to help people who face the same choice as I am facing right now.
  • Wrote and submitted a small article today. Hadn't been doing much submitting yet this month, but plan on doing some more over the next few days/weeks.
  • Won a bread race today!!!!!!!!! Oh, you don't know what a bread race is? :-) Well, I have two friends who like to bake bread too. We take turns picking a 'race bread' and a day. On the race day, we all bake the race bread, and the one who finishes first is the Grand Prize Winner! :-) Yes, I know that we are weird, but we all enjoy doing it, and today I even won! We made the Soft Wrap Bread from the King Arthur Flour website. It turned out very well, it was like a tortilla, but more puffy, more substantial.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Birthing Issues

My midwife called today. She got the records from my surgery and sent them to the obs in the birthing center she uses as backup. They were my backups for my last four homebirths and I really liked them. One of them looked at my records and thought no big deal, I could give birth there. Then she talked to the other one and he said 'c-section' so now I am risked out for their birthing center. If I have to have a hospital birth, I really would like to go there instead of to our huge teaching hospital.

My current plan is to write them a letter and explain why they should accept me anyway. I haven't found any research showing a big risk of rupture. I just have met obs who quote rupture risk and say 'c-section', but it doesn't seem to be backed up by research. I actually met some one one line, who had a 'Strassman procedure', where they surgically correct a bicornuate uterus and none of her research showed a high rupture risk either. That procedure sure is a lot more extensive than my tiny scar would be.

My midwife's view is that a rupture can be catastrophic and she wants me to be in the hospital so that they can do a c-sec in case the baby's heart rate does weird things. I felt that I trusted her judgement and I was grudgingly going along with her reasoning. But I am wondering now.

She wasn't sure whether the ob was worried about an uterine rupture or about a placental abruption. I guess I should try to find that out.

Even before the midwife called me today, I had been wondering whether I really wanted to be in the hospital or not. I am still not sure. I was thinking that if I had to be in the hospital, the birthing center of my midwife's backup obs would be best. Now they don't even want me. Of course, they might re-consider after I write them a letter. Or I have even thought of just showing up there in labor, when they can't refuse me anymore.

I have been hoping to have a car birth instead of making it to the hospital. How silly is that? So maybe I should stay home anyway and take the risk of uterine rupture. The huge teaching hosptial is within 15 mins of our house, so that's pretty close. On the other hand, maybe I want the extra security that being in the hospital could give me? But I don't really want the EFM and the other procedures that would be part of a hospital birth.

OK, rambling now, I guess I have to sit, think, research, and decide. Not sure yet what would be the right decision. I might never know till after the birth. At least I get to think about birth this time, even all this stress sure beats miscarrying time after time.

On another note, I still have sick kids, nothing serious, but pretty annoying that it keeps hanging around. Will be nice to have all of them back to healthy again!

A few months ago, one burner of my stove stopped working. A few days ago another one broke, so now I only have the two small burners left. Guess I need to have some one come in and look at it, and hope I won't need a new stove. Although selecting a new stove would be fun :-)

Last night, the dryer stopped working... We replaced the dishwasher in December, I guess appliances failures come in threes? At least the inside air is extremely dry at the moment, so I guess I can just hang my stuff inside and have it dry pretty fast. I hope :-)

I used a new brownie recipe today, and managed to totally mess them up. Pretty amazing to do that to simple brownies LOL Guess I'll have to try those again :-)

The baby still is kicking though, and that's the important part!

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

One Year Ago...

One year ago, I was 11.5 weeks pregnant and finally started bleeding. After three long weeks of waiting after founding out that our baby had passed away. Three weeks of sadness, but also of feeling blessed that I was going to get a little bit more time with this precious baby. I didn't want to lose her, and relished the extra time I got with her. On the other hand, it came as a relief when the bleeding finally started and I could start the physical miscarriage process. But over all, there was a profound feeling of deep sadness, of loss, of despair. Of 'Why does this happen over and over again?' 'Why can't I just carry a baby to term like I used to be able to?' A feeling of unfairness, of loneliness. It felt like 'every one else' was getting pregnant, having babies, but me. I knew that that wasn't true, but it still was how it felt to me at that time.

Even although I am pregnant again, I still miss this baby. I had wanted to see her first smile. To watch her first wobbly steps. To hear her first words. To read her first stories. To see her grow into a toddler, kid, teenager, and eventually an adult. All that was ripped from me in yet another miscarriage. All those dreams, those hopes, those visions, they are all gone now. The only things I have to remember her by, are my writings and my belly pics. I still can't look at them.

I bled for four long weeks. Not all the time, but either bleeding or spotting. I thought it would never end. It took ages for my serum hcg level to go back to zero. I think I really did not want to let this baby go. I kept thinking that this must be a bad dream, that I surely should wake up soon. But it wasn't, it was reality :-(

I still remember being thrilled that I made it past all my miscarriage dates. Elated when the beta levels were excellent, even at the high end of normal. Overjoyed when I had a good looking first ultrasound, including a little blip where the heart of my baby was starting to grow. It stopped beating soon after... I sank into the deepest depths of despair, when the next ultrasound showed that my baby wasn't here anymore. Just her physical remains, but her spirit was gone.

I decided to plant some bulbs today, to commemorate my angel baby, both her and the others that I lost. I planted an amaryllis and five paperwhite narcissus. Their lifetime will be short, but beautiful, which is the nature of bulbs. Which was the nature of my angel babies. They only could be with me for a short time. I will enjoy watching those bulbs grow, and bloom, and think about my angel babies. I also planted some clover and grass for the bunnies, which doesn't have anything to do with my miscarriages, but it still felt good. Growing things instead of having miscarriages. I remember that gardening last year was very healing for me, I think I am trying to bring some of that gardening energy inside the house, in the middle of winter.

I am very happy to be pregnant again. But also very sad that I had to lose those other babies, before being able to welcome this baby into our family. It does show me even more what a miracle every baby is It's amazing that this process ever can go right. I look at newborn babies and marvel at the miracle of life. I feel my new little one kick, and feel extremely blessed that I am pregnant again, and that this is a keeper baby. I am looking forward to seeing him grow and develop, and watching him take his place in our family. I look at my deer necklace and remember all that I went through to have him, and am grateful that I am carrying this miracle baby.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Santa with Strawberries

Erik's Birthday

My baby turned three years old!!!!!!!! How did that happen??? I feel that he can't be that old yet, but I guess he is. And this is the first time that I have a three year old and no new baby yet. But at least that will be fixed in May. Or June :-)

He had a great birthday. On his real birthday, we did a family celebration, lots of presents, he could choose his own dinner, and choose what kind of cake he wanted. We had pizza for dinner, and after thinking a long time he decided on a 'Santa cake with strawberries!' Hmmmm, of all the things I had expected him to pick, this was not on the list! No idea how he came up with it, but he was extremely determined about it. So I ended up constructing a Santa cake with strawberries... It didn't came out perfectly, but he didn't see all the imperfections that I saw. He saw the cake he was dreaming about, and was totally thrilled with it.

He helped putting on the candles. One of them ended up upside down... Oh well :-) He wanted a few more than just three, so it looked like he was turning 6yo instead :-) He was glowing with happiness when all the candles were on and we were all singing for him. He felt very special.

Today we had his birthday party. This was the first time he asked for a birthday party, he is growing up too fast! He invited a few friends from our homeschool group, and he even has three of them sleep over! Who has heard of a 3yo having a sleepover birthday party? It helps that all those friends are more my older kids ages I guess :-)

Blowing candles
I have been making a web page for a friend. She almost got kicked out of a children's museum because she dared to nurse her baby in there! Our society is so warped, people get offended by moms using their breasts the way they are designed for. I am trying to get as many people as possible write or email the museum to point out the errors of their way.

It has been frigging cold here, I am finished with winter already. Wind chills of down to -50 F are just too cold for me! At least it hasn't been snowing much. I should be decluttering, but somehow not in a decluttering mood. Three desks have been decluttered and that has been it for now. Oh well, I still have at least another 18 weeks to do all the decluttering I want to do :-)

Heartburn has started. But I don't care, too happy to be pregnant. And it isn't too bad yet, mostly at night when I am still sitting at the computer, not as much when I lay in bed. I feel the baby kick more now, mostly at night when I am sitting/laying quietly. Not as much during the day when I am running around doing stuff (especially today, getting ready for the birthday party :-) I love feeling this little one kick!

Sunday, January 11, 2004

He Felt the Baby!!!!

Deer Necklace
Last night was a very restless night. Erik is still sick, had a fever again, and woke up every half hour or so, sitting up and babbling incoherently before falling asleep again. Or sometimes coughing, coughing till he almost threw up. Kate seems to be coming down with something too, and was moving around a lot, and somehow she always ended up with both her legs on top of me. I would wake up to move her to the side a bit, and ten minutes later she would be half on top of me again. And then the baby inside was kicking too! Which I loved of course, and at some point I told dh to try to feel it, since the kicks seemed pretty strong (he was awake already, he didn't get much sleep either :-). He put his hand on my belly, and got a kick within seconds!!!!!!!! How amazing!!! The baby didn't want to repeat it, but I didn't mind, at least dh had felt his first kick! I am so happy!

Another thing I was happy about, was when it finally turned light! The night was over! It had been so restless, that dawn was the marker of finally giving up on sleep and getting up LOL. So dh and I got up, ate a nice, leisurely breakfast (after calming down Erik who woke up without mommy or daddy in bed) and started the day.

I went swimming today, swam 48 laps, not bad for some one who still doesn't have a voice :-) After that, I went grocery shopping, and made pad thai when I came home. Didn't any other big cooking or baking today, spent a lot of time with Erik on me, looking through the Moosewood cookbooks, trying to figure out what I want to prepare this week.

I have been working on a web page for a friend. She was almost kicked out of the Cincinnati Children's Museum, when she dared to breastfeed her baby there. It's amazing that things like that still happen. I am trying to get as many people as possible to write or email the museum, asking them to change their policy on this.

The picture is the deer necklace that a good friend sent me. The new camera does a much better job in making a picture of it than the old one did. Still amazed and grateful that she was able to find such a perfect present.

Friday, January 09, 2004


I had hoped that the sicknesses would be over for a while after our Pox Party and related illnesses. But I was wrong. Erik came down with some throat bug, high fever, and just feeling very sick. He is doing a bit better now, fever is gone, but he still is extremely grumpy, and kept falling asleep today, waking up crying and complaining.

Kate had some asthma issues, which do seem to be getting better now. Tara was throwing up yesterday morning, but seems to be over that too, but still, it kind of disturbed our night time sleep at 4am... Especially since Erik had woken up at least 10 times before that too.

But now I am coming down with something! I suspect it's the same bug that Erik had. I have lost my voice, have a very sore throat, am nauseous on and off, and thought I wasn't doing too badly with it. But today, I am just not feeling well anymore, so I guess that it's effecting me more than I thought. At least I don't have a fever. And it's a good excuse not to go outside in our -30 to -40 F windchill! LOL I have to admit that I skipped my morning walk this morning because it was just so frigging cold!!!

I still do have energy to bake though. Made blueberry muffins today, and chocolate chip cookies for snack. I ended up using the left over pizza from earlier this week for dinner, by that time Erik wanted to be on me all the time, so I couldn't get anything done. Glad I had some high quality pizzas in the freezer :-)

The reality of this baby is slowly starting to sink in. I might be holding her in May! Or in June, since I always go overdue :-) Very happy, but still a bit scared too. Not of the birth or the baby, but of something still going wrong before she is born. Will the worrying ever stop???

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

A Baby!!!!!!

There really is a baby in there! How amazing! How unbelievable. I had my second prenatal today and heard the heartbeat for the very first time. I cried. She felt baby parts, but it's too early to tell which is which. She thought she felt the head somewhere at the left top of uterus, but wasn't sure. The baby kicked the fetoscope while she was listening. And I still can't believe it! How weird is that? The heartbeat was 148 bpm, perfect. I measured 20 cm, which is right on track, and my urine was fine. I did gain a lot, guess you can tell that my appetite is back. She didn't care though, and I didn't either. Too happy that I have energy to cook again.

My iron was a bit low for me, so I am supposed to eat more iron rich foods, and she'll recheck it at the next prenatal. She also would like me to keep a food diary for a week, so we can see where there is room for nutritional improvement iron and protein wise. I started out by making whole wheat crepes for lunch and filling them with goat cheese and dried apricots. Yum! And nice and iron rich too I would think. Then I put together a richly filled tomato soup in the crockpot, including beans, millet, spelt, rice, and tons of veggies. That should do for dinner. Maybe I'll make some whole wheat pretzels to go with it.

We talked a lot about the emotional issues I am having this pregnancy, a feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. A feeling of disbelief and wondering whether things really are going well. She asked me what I did when I got those feelings, and I told her that usually I try to focus on something positive instead, or bake, or walk, or write. She said that I also could try to do visualizations, and she even lent me a tape with special mother baby bonding visualizations. I am looking forward to listening to them. And she recommended a book, which I got out of her library, which she thought might help too. She agreed with the trying to focus on something positive instead of the worried/unbelief feelings, so I am going to try to do that even more. It was nice to be able to talk to her about this and get some ideas.

It was a wonderful prenatal, I feel so blessed to have a midwife who takes the time to talk to me about my worries and issues. And of course, hearing the heartbeat was even more wonderful! I am still in awe that there really must be a little person in there!

Went swimming again early this morning. Master's swim team, I am still the slowest :-) I swam 1.5 km, so not too bad after the break I took for the holidays and the chickenpox. It is hard to get out of my bed that early, but it makes me feel really good the rest of the day, that I got all that exercise done already.

I made an awesome tomato soup in the crockpot for dinner. One of those 'everything but the sink' ones :-) It turned out really well, and of course generated tons of leftovers, for lunches and such. I baked whole wheat pretzels with everything topping as a side. Those were good too, and very popular with 67 % of the kids :-)

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Smashing the gingerbread house


Our New Year's Day was celebrated by the kids smashing the gingerbread house. Always a very popular project :-) I put the house on the table, kids around it, and they take turns with the hammer. The chimneys tend to be the first parts to disappear. A first hole in the roof will appear, while all the kids are yelling excitedly. The next ones will make the hole bigger, until one decides to work on a hole at the other side of the roof. After the roof is gone, the walls are fair game, and it doesn't take long before the whole house is smattered into pieces and ready to eat. The kids are looking forward to next New Year's Day already.

A new year and a new baby! Hard to imagine still. I will have my second prenatal on Tuesday, and she should be able to hear the heartbeat with the fetoscope now. I am not sure whether I am looking forward to it, or dreading it. It would be nice to hear it, but there still is some doubt in the back of my mind whether she really will find it. I think I am feeling some kicks, but it's easy to convince myself that those are just figments of my imagination. On the other hand, my belly keeps growing, which should count for something too I guess. Will the worry and ambivalence ever end? I don't think it will before I have this baby safely in my arms!

Belly pic!I have been doing some more decluttering in our computer room. We have three totally clean desks now! Well, as long as you don't look into the drawers or under neath them that is :-) Those are projects for other things. But it is nice to sit here and have a little oasis of neat space around me. Some day, the whole house is going to be like that! But it might take a few years... Heck, a few decades even, but who cares? LOL

Tonight, we finally made pizza again, after being too tired to do it for quite a while. I really must be getting my energy back. The girls were asking for it, so I said yes, let's do it. They had a blast, rolled and assembled their own pizzas. Kate and Erik made cheese pizzas, Jane and Tara chose pepperoni ones. Jane's pizza was in the shape of a ghost... I used the last batch of pizza dough to make pizzas for Sander and me too, just veggies, no cheese for Sander. Veggies, goat cheese, and soy cheese for me. Yummy! We had enough leftovers that we should have another pizza meal out of it, one which just involves putting it in the oven. Love it!

We are getting yet another snow storm. Not too bad, about 3 to 5 inches, but still enough to have to go out there and shovel our challenging driveway! Can it be spring yet? I got some seed catalogs in, so I might spend some time drooling over those, to keep my mind off the winter :-) This baby definitely will interfere with gardening season, but I can only be happy about her anyway, who wants a garden when you can have a baby? LOL OK, maybe I am going to have both, but I can certainly live with a less than perfect garden this year :-)

Tomorrow there will be a homeschool support meeting at our house, so I am busy making my 'famous' cinnamon raisin bread. It's rising right now, and I will shape it after finishing this blog. Then I will put it in the basement, where it's cold, so it will rise very slowly. By the time I get up tomorrow, it will be perfect to just shove in the oven and bake, making the house smell really good when the visitors arrive. That is, if they make it through the snow. But if not, then we will just have more to eat for ourselves :-)

Rolling pizza dough
Rolling pizza dough