Monday, October 15, 2012

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Today is a day set aside for all the mothers who've ever suffered the loss of a baby, whether it be during by miscarriage, still birth, or after birth.  No woman ever hopes to be a part of this day.

You can read about how the day was set aside by President Reagan here.  I've always liked Reagan & learning he was the one that made it an official day to remember just adds a whole lot more points.

Thing is, any mother can tell you that she doesn't need to have a day set aside to remember her loss(es) because she remembers  Or at least I do.

I don't cry about it everyday.  It's not the very first thought in my head each morning or the last thought when I go to bed.  But I can pretty confidently say that at some point & in some way every day I am reminded of what I've been through from losing 6 babies.

Miscarriage, to me, is a kind of journey.  There are good days & bad days.  And then there are really bad days.  I can look back & see when I was in some really bad days.

I don't see my journey being over just because I've been blessed with 2 precious girls.  I could still face another miscarriage in the future.  The odds aren't really in my favor.  But as I've said before, I'm so glad that those odds mean nothing to God.

I'm at a place now where I don't stress over how to explain how many babies I have.  I don't stress about where they are.  I choose to believe that they are in Heaven but really I have no proof of that (and I don't say that to upset anyone or start a debate; it's just what I believe).  I don't stress over who they are.  Which were boys & which were girls?  What are their names?  Some recommend to give names to miscarried babies.  I don't think my situation would work well with that.  Had I actually known the sex of any of those babies then we probably would have named them.  But not naming them doesn't mean they mean any less to me.

I've never done some sort of charm or ornament or anything that's meant to be in remembrance of each baby.  And I have no issue with anyone who's done that.  I would have a necklace or bracelet with 6 charms on it.  And sadly I know that I would possibly have to add more to it.  And I just can't stomach the thought of adding to it.  And again, I don't need something like that to remember them.  I've thought of someday, when we know we're done having babies, getting something that is some sort of "memorial".  Or really it would be for remembering that period of my life that God brought me through.

I think really what I would rather do is get a charm with the date June 5, 2009 inscribed on it.  That was the day that we got our first blood results back after learning we were pregnant for the 7th time & had incredibly high numbers.  That moment was one of the best moments because I had hope again.  So maybe that's what I'll do someday.  I'll have a charm made with that date & the word "hope" inscribed on it.

At 7:00 tonight everyone is supposed to light a candle in remembrance of babies lost.  Will I be doing that?  Probably not.  Call me a rebel I guess for not wanting to do something because I'm being told to do it.  I'm just going to focus on the precious blessings God has given me & continue to thank Him for those miracles & the hope that He gave me.  But again, this is just where I am on my journey.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Duggars' Loss

I realize this is old news regarding the Duggars miscarriage of what would have been their 20th born child but I just watched the episode of their show 19 Kids & Counting that focused on that loss.  And I'm just overcome with so many emotions about this family but particularly on this mother, Michelle Duggar, & I just have to write about it.

The Duggars are a Christian family that have 19 kids.  Having that many kids is just unheard of these days & has brought them a lot of criticism.  People say their irresponsible, that they're to blame for the earth's over-population (really?!), that they are more focused on having as many babies as possible than on the children God has already given them.

I'll admit that sometimes I've judged them.  Well, really, I say we are all guilty of judging people whether we admit to it or not.  It's just human nature.  But anyway, I'll admit that I've thought they must be crazy to still be having kids.  Michelle is 45, had pre-eclampsia in the last pregnancy resulting in baby Josie being born at 24 weeks (she's now a thriving 2 year old), & I believe has been pregnant now 19 times, with 2 of those pregnancies being twins.  That's a lot on her body.  And her uterus!

But watching this episode has made me look at her differently.  This is a woman that deeply loves her children.  ALL her children.  Each one is precious to her.

When I had miscarriages I felt like it was harder for me because I didn't have a baby yet.  I just felt that if I at least had one it wouldn't be as hard.  It's not to say that another mother who has children already doesn't grieve.  But it's all I've known.  I'm so blessed that God hasn't allowed us to go through another miscarriage yet & has given us two healthy girls in a row.

Watching the emotion that Michelle showed on camera showed me that she truly loved this baby.  It's weird because it's not like I really thought she didn't love baby Jubilee.  But seeing that much emotion was amazing to me.  How dare anyone criticize this family!

I also commend the Duggars for being brave to show this to the world.  Infertility & miscarriage is still seen as something to keep quiet about.  So when I hear of "celebrities" that are dealing with infertility I'm sad for them but also happy that they are open about it.

What also got to me was when Jim Bob & Michelle came home to tell their kids that the baby had died.  Should I get pregnant again Shaylin will be even older so she's going to understand a little bit better & I hate the thought of having to tell her that we lost a baby.

Lastly I could see their faith in God.  They grieved as anyone should expect but they showed no shame in their trust that God was in control.  Right after Michelle was told that there was no heartbeat she said "The Lord giveth & the Lord taketh away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord".  And then they prayed together.  I'm ashamed to say that was never my immediate reaction.  They also leave their fertility future to the Lord.  I think they make it clear they don't necessarily "try" for another baby.  They just live their lives & if it happens, it happens.  They don't let their age or money or the number of children they already have get in their way.  They know that God will work it all out.  And here I'm 32 & worry if I can handle having anymore babies.

So after watching this episode I'm inspired.  I'm inspired to be a better mother.  She's got 19 kids.  My 2 aren't that much of a handful.  I'm inspired to be a better Christian & to rely more on God than I currently do.  And I'm inspired to be less judgmental of the choices other moms make.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Running Goals

And now for my running goals, because I didn't want this in the last post.

Unless I find a real cheap race any sooner, my first post-partum race will be the Run 4 Justice 5k on October 27.  I ran it back in 2011 but it was in February that year.  This will give me over 2 months to work on my pace so I can finally achieve my goal of running a 5k under 30 minutes.  On the treadmill I'm already very close to it.  If it wasn't for our ridiculous heat I'd give it a try outside.  But I'm going to wait at least another month before I attempt an outside run.

I would like to find a 10k after that.  I've actually never run an official 10k race.  Weird considering I've done a half & full marathon.  So I'd just like to find one just so I can say I did it.  And hopefully if it's after my sub-30 5k then I can do the 10k under an hour.

The big race I'm going to be working towards is a half marathon in January.  I have a friend who's also planning to run it & he lives very close to the course & says it's hilly.  So not only do I need to work my way up to 13.1 miles in 5 months but I've gotta get stronger for hills.  I'm really not worried about the distance.  That I know I can do, although I would like to run it at a 9:30 pace if possible.  Official training for it would probably have to begin in November so I still have some time.  But by November I need to be at a minimal of 7 miles for long runs.  That's 4 miles I have to add to what I did today & with 3 months to do it that shouldn't be a problem.

There's one more goal further down the road & that's to run the same full marathon that I did almost 2 years ago.  It would mean summertime training but I still feel like I need to redeem myself for that race & greatly improve my time.  That training wouldn't begin till June of next year so I have lots of time to get myself in condition for it.

So those are my goals now that I'm done with Couch to 5k.  Goals give me motivation to get on the treadmill 3 times a week.  As much as I love to run I really to struggle some days to do it.  So if you want to run I would encourage you to find a race & work towards it.

My Review of Couch to 5k

Just about 10 minutes ago I finished the Couch to 5k program.  I'm exhausted & need a shower but I'm gonna write my review first so I can cool off.  Because I know you're just dying to read my review!

Overall it's a great program & perfect for someone wanting to run a 5k.  The first few weeks are a good slow progression.  The first week has the running time at only 1 minute each time.  That was really easy for me.  But eventually it builds.

At first I thought it was building too fast.  I mean, at the end of the 5th week I had to run a solid 20 minutes!  And that after only doing a couple 8 minute runs earlier in the week.

But I figured out why it was so difficult.

I was going too fast.  The program says to not worry about pace but I kinda ignored that.  But those 1 minute runs at a 10:00 pace seemed so easy.  So that's when I eventually bumped it as fast as a 9:13 pace.  That felt great until I got to the longer runs & suddenly I was burning out really fast.  I tried slowing to a 9:31 pace but it was still too fast.  Eventually I was back to the 10:00 pace again, which was still faster than I was pre-pregnancy.  It just wasn't as fast as I had wanted to be.

I've wanted to get down to a 9:30 pace for a long time.  It would guarantee a 5k under 30 minutes, a half marathon just over 2 hours, & a likely 4 hour 30 minute full marathon!

But I'm just going to have to be patient & slowly work my way to it.

So would I still suggest a newbie to do Couch to 5k?  Absolutely!  I would just suggest finding a pace right away that isn't too easy but one that isn't leaving you huffing & puffing.  The ultimate goal is to run a 5k without stopping.  So finish the program & then work on the pace.

Monday, July 30, 2012

4 Months

Jillian is 4 months old today.  She is such a sweet & precious baby.

  • She smiles at us all the time & "talks" & coos a lot.  
  • She's learned to roll over from her tummy to her back.
  • When she's on her tummy there's a lot less fussing because she's holding herself so well now.  You can tell she likes it because she's able to look around or if I give her a toy she can play with it.
  • She's learning to reach out for things.  When she lays on her activity mat she grabs hold of some of the toys hanging down.
  • Tomorrow is her 4 month well visit so I don't know her stats yet.  I do know that she's over 12 pounds though.  And so long!  She's been wearing 6 month clothes for a while now & already seems to be outgrowing the sleepers.  When she stretches her legs the sleeper isn't tight but definitely running out of room.  But other clothes like onsies are really lose.  So I think her length is all in her legs.  This she did not get from her momma!
  • She's still sleeping in our room but will be moving to her room very soon.  We've had a busy month & I'd like to get us back in our old routine before I make the big switch.  She's been sleeping through the night for a while now so I know she's ready.  I don't think I am though.  I cried the first night we moved Shaylin out & I'm sure I'll do the same with Jillian.
  • Although I don't intend to introduce solid foods to her for another 2 months, I'm going to start researching how I want to go about it.  I'm strongly considering skipping all the cereals altogether, or at least skip rice cereal.
With Jillian turning 4 months today it also makes me reflect on her birth, or more specifically my birth experience.  In some ways I feel like I shouldn't be too amazed that I did it all natural seeing how that's how it was done for hundreds of years.  But I am amazed!  I accomplished a goal that was very important to me. And it really has made me feel like a stronger person since coming out of it.  It's also given me such a passion for natural birth.  I read so many articles posted from some Facebook groups that I follow & just eat it up.  I don't know if God may someday have me to work in the birthing field but my interest in definitely peaked.

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Cleaning Schedule

Apparently my last post was my 100th post.  Woo hoo!

Going from 0 to 1 kid was tough.  Going from 1 to 2 is way harder.  It's taken me a long time to find a routine.  And really I'm still working on it.  Some mornings both girls wake up before 7.  Other mornings like today they both sleep till 8:30.  A lot of mornings Shaylin wakes up long before Jillian.  So that alone makes it difficult to find a good routine for us.

Sadly the more days we just stay home the better we seem to function.  Or maybe that's just me.  It's not easy when one child needs 2 naps a day & the other only 1.

I've been able to keep up with my running pretty well.  Hopefully Jillian can become more predictable soon so I can wake up, pump, run for 30 min. & shower all before she wakes.  Until then I'm squeezing it in when I can.  Today I had to wait till both girls were down for naps.  Not my favorite time to run but it's just how the day went.

Most important to me was finding a cleaning routine again.

Is it obvious yet that I thrive on routine?

I've always had a laundry routine & after Shaylin was born I slowly added a cleaning routine.  I thought I was going to be able to keep up with it during this last pregnancy but that goal quickly failed.  Oh well.  It's hard work growing a person!

It's been over 3 months since Jillian was born & at this point I pretty much got a good cleaning & laundry schedule.  Throw in running or working out & I have a full week.  Here's how my weeks typically look:

- grocery shopping
- girls' laundry
- run

- wash towels
- workout
- dust & vacuum

- change sheets on all beds & wash dirty ones
- run

- sweep & mop kitchen & bathroom floors
- clean bathroom sinks, toilets, & showers
- workout

- mine & Jeremy's laundry
- clean mirrors & sliding glass door
- dust & vacuum

On top of this, every morning I empty the dishwasher, after the girls go to bed I clean up the kitchen, make Jeremy's lunch for the next day, & every other day I wash Shaylin's cloth diapers.  I'm trying to actually vacuum more than twice a week since I have a constantly shedding dog.  And I'm trying to find one day a week where I do "projects" that I've been meaning to do, like file medical bills.

Sometimes on Saturdays I'm still working on laundry but usually it's just a matter of putting it away & doesn't take very long.  And of course I run on Saturdays, too.  But what I love about my cleaning schedule is it keeps me from having to do any of this stuff on Saturday or especially Sunday since that's the Lord's Day, not mine.

What's also great about keeping up this schedule is most activities don't take me that long because I do it every week.  I just never want to have a day where I'm doing load after load of laundry.

This certainly can't work for everyone.  And I don't always stick perfectly to it.  The crazy problem I have is if I miss a day, let's say Thursday's cleaning stuff, I won't do it the next day.  I'll wait a whole week so they will still be done on a Thursday.  Yes, I really am that crazy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2

If I want to post a new status update on Facebook, before clicking on the box it asks "What's on your mind?".  Rather than posting it as a status, I'm writing a blog post.  

Today is July 2.  It has significance to me.  It's a due date of one of the precious babies we lost.

But the problem is that I can't remember which baby the due date belongs to.

And that bothers me.  A lot.

I really haven't retained all 6 due dates.  Or the dates that we lost each baby.  That's just a lot of information to keep in my head.  There are certain ones that I will never forget, like the day we learned we lost our first baby (May 2, 2007) or that baby's due date (December 21, 2007) or baby #3's due date (December 3, 2008) or baby #6's due date (September 9, 2009).  But the rest I have a rough idea.  And I've been ok with that.  So why am I so bothered that I can't for the life of me figure out if July 2 was baby #2's or baby #5's due date?!

I'm not beating myself about this & in the end I'll be ok.  I know I'm still a good mother & I'm only human.  It's just another reminder that no matter how many years go by or how many of my babies are born, the painful sting of miscarriage will always be there. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Finally Adjusting

When we brought Jillian home we knew there was going to be an adjustment period, specifically for Shaylin. She's 2 so that already makes things interesting (side note: We don't use the term "terrible two's").  But for 26 months of her life she was an only child.  Now she was going to have to share our attention, especially mine.  And we've definitely had some rough days.

Her behavior changed a lot after Jillian was born.  That was hard to watch.  Shaylin would really try to push the limits.  Or not getting my attention would turn into near meltdowns.  I say near because we've always tried to stop them before they start.

One reason why I was at peace about holding off on potty training was because I could tell that she was still adjusting.  Getting a baby sister is a major life change so there was no need to add another one.

Lately I've seen a change in her though.  There's been less defiance, less attempted meltdowns, more immediate obedience, & more independent play.  Today we had to go to Walmart & it was the least stressful shopping trip with both girls that I've had yet.  She wasn't running up the aisles.  She was staying by my side or at least by the cart.  When looking through the kids' clothing section she wasn't hiding in the racks.  She was close by & looking at clothes with me.

Shaylin's also been extra helpful around the house.  We've always tried to encourage her to help, especially when she offers.  Sometimes it slows down what I'm doing or I have to re-do it.  But we never want to discourage that helpful spirit.  Today she helped pull laundry out of the dryer without me asking.  At one point I was going back for another armful & she wanted to beat me to the dryer so she could get more first.

Naptime isn't a huge ordeal like it used to be.  There are still days where she cries when I tell her it's naptime.    But she's not getting out of bed constantly & needing discipline.  She's going right to sleep.  Today she didn't even get upset about having to take a nap.  She went right into her bed without a tear!

The independent play has also gotten better & that's been especially helpful for me.  I love playing with her but I can't play with her every moment that I'm not taking care of Jillian.  I still have a house to clean, laundry to fold, & meals to make.  So if she can quietly play with her dollhouse or her farm & animal while I take care of some things then I can get those things done quickly & then get to play with her.

I'm getting into a good routine & adjusting as well, but that's for another post.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Slow & Steady

Tomorrow Jillian will be 13 weeks old.  That means I'll be 13 weeks post-partum.  And at 13 weeks I'm still working on losing the baby weight.

I know most women don't lose all the weight that quickly.  Most of the weight has come off.  Right now I'm 7 pounds away.  That's not too bad.  But it's gonna be a hard 7 pounds to lose.  Part of me isn't sure I can.  I was in the middle of training for a marathon when I got pregnant.  I certainly wasn't under weight but my metabolism isn't what it was in high school or college so getting to my desired weight takes a lot of work.

But I'm trying to not focus on the number on the scale.  What matters more is how I look in my non-maternity clothes & fitting into my jeans.  It's probably a good thing that our hot summer has hit because I have no desire to wear jeans now anyway.

It's my stomach that's gonna need the most work.  It's not terrible but I can't help but get discouraged.  Even though I'm 13 weeks post-partum I feel like I look 13 weeks pregnant.

And it doesn't help to hear of celebrities who had a baby & lost all the weight in a matter of weeks & are on magazine covers wearing bikinis showing off their perfectly trim bodies.  Yes, I realize these women have the money to hire dieticians & personal trainers & nannies to watch their babies.  And I bet most of those pictures are doctored.  But it's very discouraging to us normal moms.

There's a little bit of ab muscle forming in there & I know as I continue running & eventually add mileage that it'll get stronger.  It's just very frustrating that it's going so slowly.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Laboring Playlist

In the post of Jillian's birth I said that I listened to music during most of my laboring.  The selection of songs were pulled from my original running playlist which was about 5 hours of music.  I narrowed it down to an hour & a half.  I've now decided to "reveal" my laboring playlist.  It wasn't some big secret.  Some might find it weird though.  But I don't care.  

I'll include comments on some of these to maybe explain why I run to them & maybe why I left it for labor.

"Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga - Ugh.  Ok, first one & I'm slightly embarrassed.  But when running it had the perfect rhythm so that's why I left it for laboring.  Just took me back to some good runs.
"Born to Run" by Bruce Springstein - Every runner should run to this song.
"Bring me to Life" by Evanesence - I like running to this one because I remember it in the movie Daredevil.  It was a pivitol moment in the movie.
"California Gurls" by Katy Perry - Just a good rhythm.  I actually like running to a lot of Katy Perry's songs.
"Christmas TV" by Slow Club - Not a very fast song but has a great build towards the end & is also just a special song to me & Jeremy.
"Curbside Prophet" by Jason Mraz - It was always one of my favorite songs to run to.
"Dog Days Are Over" by Florence & the Machine - The chorus says "Run fast for your mother. Run fast for your father. Run for your children, for your sister & your brother."  Enough said.
"Eye of the Tiger" - Um, it's from Rocky.  How can you not run to this song?!
"Fighter" by Christina Aguilera - When I reached the last .2 of my marathon this is what I listened.  So it's very special & I had to include while laboring.
"Fix You" by Coldplay - Great build in the song.
"Hearts on Fire" by John Cafferty - It was in the Rocky sequel when he was preparing to fight the Russian.
"Hero of the Day" by Metallica - The version I listen to is actually a live performance with Metallica & the San Francisco Orchestra.  It's another special song from a running memory.  It was a few years ago but I listened to it as I finished a 5 mile run, the longest I had ever gone at that point.
"Let's See How Far We've Come" by Matchbox 20 - Doesn't it seem like this should be played while the doctor or nurse is checking how many centimeters a laboring momma is?  Maybe it's just me.
"Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi - I should have listened to this when they said I was 5 cm.  You know?  "Ooooooh!  We're halfway there!"
"Lose Yourself" by Eminem - Love running to this & I felt like it helped get my mind off the contractions.
"Rule the World" by Take That - This song is at the end credits of the movie Stardust.  Love this song!
"Stolen" by Dashboard Confessional - Another song I just plain love, even though the rhythm isn't quite fast enough.  Plus, I kinda felt like this was what I'd sing to Jillian once I finally got to see her.  "You have stolen my heart."
"Stronger" by Britney Spears - The chorus says "And now I'm stronger than yesterday".  Always a boost during a run to know that I was stronger than the last time I ran.  And now while in labor I was stronger than the last time.
"Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry - Just more Katy Perry that I like.
"Under Pressure" by Queen - Kinda makes me laugh now that I included this for labor.
"We're not gonna take it anymore" by Twisted Sister - Just makes me wanna roar.
"You're the Best Around" from the Karate Kid - Who wouldn't want to hear this while running or when you've reached transition & feel like you're losing it?!

So there you have it.  This was just one of the ways that kept me strong.  My doula often said I was rocking it & I guess in a way I was!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Halfway through Couch to 5k

I've started week 5 of couch to 5k so I'm halfway through now.  Technically the program is 9 weeks long.  But the 9th week is just 30 minute runs.  So in my mind I'll be done after 8 weeks.

I didn't quite finish week 2 when I got sick from allergies.  Nothing terrible but enough that I didn't feel like running.  So I had to repeat that week.  No biggie because the 5k I want to do isn't till the end of Oct. so I've got lots of time.

I started the program setting the runs at a 10:00 pace.  This used to be a fast pace for me.  But now it was easy.  This has just shocked me.  Not only had I been on a 9 month hiatus, but I was on that hiatus because I was growing a baby!  If this is all because I walked & did yoga during the pregnancy, then I'm even more convinced of the benefits of exercise while pregnant.

So I bumped up the pace to 9:31.  Then that became too easy.  Crazy!  So now I'm at 9:13, which is 6.5 mph on the treadmill.  And now it feels like a workout!

I've been having some longer runs now so I don't intend to be increasing the pace anymore.  I'm actually wondering if I need to back off.

Yesterday all the runs were 5 minutes long.  Tomorrow I have a couple 8 minute runs.  But Saturday will be the big one.  After a 5 minute brisk walk warmup, I have to run for a solid 20 minutes!  I'm a little nervous since I'm kinda struggling with the 5 minute ones already.  But I'm gonna go for it.  I'm trying to remind myself that I once ran for almost 6 hours & I've birthed a baby drug-free.

If Saturday's run is too hard I'll either repeat the week as it is or I'll back off on the pace.  Even if I go back to a 9:31 pace it'll still be a fast enough pace to guarantee a sub-30 5k.  But I'm hoping to just keep going & be able to see that not only can the program make a runner out of anyone but also that it can make a faster runner out of an experienced runner.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Just Another Day in Paradise

10 years ago this month Jeremy & I drove from Greenville, SC to Texas.  A straight 15 hour drive in one day.  He had to get his wisdom teeth out.  It also gave me the chance to get to know his family & for them to get to know me.  We had been dating for 6 months.  The long drive plus the 2 weeks together confirmed that we wanted to be together.

Today we celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary.  I think what gets me more is that next year it'll be a double digit anniversary.  I love that we've been together so long already.  I look at the 54 years of marriage that my maternal grandparents shared & pray that we are blessed with that & even more.

When we prepared for that long road trip 10 years ago, we made a few CDs for our listening pleasure.  There was a pretty wide variety but we included a couple CDs of just country music.  When we crossed into Texas we popped one in with the first song being "If you're going to play in Texas".  It was fitting.

Anyway, another song was this one:

We said back then that this was a picture of our future.  And now with 2 little girls, bills to be paid, a squeaky dryer, & getting take-out Chinese for dinner, we made a pretty good prediction.

We promised each other for better or worse, for richer or poor, for sickness & in health.  And we've been doing just that.  And there's no one else I would have wanted to do it with.  I love you, Jeremy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Potty Training - Attempt #1

*If you don't like reading about potty training & all that goes on with it, then this post is not for you.

Yesterday was supposed to be the beginning of potty training.  I had gone shopping with Shaylin & let her pick out her own big girl underwear, set up her Elmo potty in the living room, & covered the love seat with trash bags & a sheet (that's her tv watching seat).  I was nervous about the extra work it was going to give me when I'm already caring for a toddler & a 9-week-old, but I was so ready to get her out of diapers.  She's still in cloth diapers & I'd really like to pass them on to her baby sister.

It started fine.  She was excited to pick out the pink pair of undies.  At first she wanted shorts too but I just said she wasn't wearing shorts today & she was fine with that.  This girl really prefers having clothes on, something her daddy couldn't be happier about.

My plan was to have her sit on the potty every 30 minutes.  She drank a lot of milk with her breakfast & then started drinking a lot of water.  I've always felt that if she could just actually pee in the potty & see the praise she would get for us she'd pick up on it real quick.  She's a smart kid!  So I was hoping that keeping her bladder full would cause her to pee in the potty at some point.

But an hour into it she had her first accident.  There were a total of 4 #1 accidents & 1 #2 accident, all before 12:30.  And that's when I decided to call it quits for the day.

I still think mentally she's ready or at least almost ready.  She's been able to tell me when she needs to go #2 for a while now & then tells me after she's done it too.  But I'm thinking physically she's not there.  She doesn't seem to get how to make her body do this stuff.  And she apparently doesn't know the sign of needing to pee & to hold it till she's on the potty.

She's also an extremely heavy wetter at night.  So bad that I finally decided to put her in disposables just for nighttime because I was tired of her cloth diapers soaking through her pajamas.  I just couldn't stuff those diapers enough to make them that absorbent.  But even yesterday morning her diaper was so heavy & that was after not having anything to drink after dinner.  So I can't imagine how nighttime would have been since I wanted to still keep her in undies at night, too.  Between that & Jillian still waking at night I wouldn't be getting any sleep!

I know I'm not a failure but I still don't like to quit something.  What doesn't help is when you read up on developmental milestones for 2 years old, potty training is on the list as one of the things most 2 year olds start to do.  So I think it makes moms feel like they have to get their kids potty trained before they turn 3 or else their kid is developmentally behind.  That's just not fair!  Some kids are ready sooner & some just aren't.  It's not fair to the kid to force them to do something they just aren't ready to do.  I don't make Jillian walk because she's not ready to walk (wouldn't that be amazing to have a walking 2 month old?!).

My plan for now is just to casually potty train.  She's already been used to sitting on her potty before she takes a bath.  So I'm going to add in some other times.  This morning I had her sit on it after she got up.  Then I'll add in other times like after naps or after meals.  But she'll still be in her cloth diapers.  If she can show any better signs of being ready, I'd like to try again in August.  We have family that will be in town through the month of July which will have us away from the house a lot.  I'd also like to give it a try while it's still hot since I want to still go the route of just undies & a shirt.  Good thing Texas summers last so long!

Until then I'm going to focus on the things she can do.  She may not know how to use the potty yet but she can speak in clear, complete sentences, does some crazy stunts on our king-size bed, & can eat better than some adults!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June 4, 5, & 8th, 2009

Yesterday I posted on Facebook that it was the 3 year anniversary of when we found out we were pregnant with Shaylin.  I know I posted plenty about it on my old blog but I thought I'd post again here & focus on those first few days.

One friend of mine said she loves our story.  That made me smile.  We have a story!  Shaylin will have a story to tell someday of how God answered the prayers of her momma & daddy & turned their sadness & dispair into hope & joy.

On June 4, 2009 I was at work by myself.  I had a nagging feeling that I was pregnant & walked to Albertson's next door to buy a test.  Took the test at work in the bathroom & that little plus sign popped right up.  But I wasn't happy.  This was the 7th time I'd seen that + & it never ended well so my first thought was "Here we go again".  Believe me!  It breaks my heart that this is my first thought knowing now that it was my first daughter.  But it is what it is.

I called Jeremy.  He still had some hope that this one would stick.  He always had more hope than me.  Then I called my fertility doctor's office but they were already closed for the day so I had to wait another day for bloodwork.  The next person to find out was my friend Lisa.  I sent her a message on Facebook.  We had bonded over the past year through our losses.

The next day I called the fertility doctor again & they sent me to a lab for bloodwork.  It was to be ordered stat.  Loved that!  I went on my lunch break & not 2 hours later I got a call while I was at work.

I still remember that moment.  I was in the filing room in the back filing paper.  It was a Friday & I always filed papers on Fridays.  The nurse said I was definitely pregnant & my numbers looked good.  I asked what they were (why don't nurses just tell patients without us having to ask?!).

In past pregnancies my HcG numbers weren't very good.  Pregnancy #2's numbers were only 12 & then I miscarried a few days later.  So I was used to low numbers with sad results.


The first words out of my mouth were "Holy crap!"

Yes, I know.  I'm classy like that.

22 would have been normal for me. Not two thousand two hundred seventy-five!

I called Jeremy & he knew that was good.  Not too many men understand things like HcG count but a husband in the midst of multiple miscarriages understands them.  He tried to not get too excited but he was.

A few minutes later I called that nurse back.  I wanted to be sure that she was reading my results & not someone else's.  I was just in disbelief.  Hopefully she wasn't offended.  It wasn't that I didn't think she was doing her job right.  It just wasn't normal for me.

Some women can go on from there & not need another blood draw.  But given my history we had to have another to be sure the numbers were doubling.  You want to see the number at least double in 48-72 hours.  Since the first draw was on a Friday & 2 days later would be a Sunday when labs were closed, I had to wait till Monday.  That was one looooooong weekend!

Monday came, blood drawn & done stat again, & I quickly got my results called back.


In case you're not good with math, that's more than doubled.

And in case you're not noticing, those are some crazy high numbers.  I've sometimes felt that God gave me those high numbers because that's what we needed.  We needed something huge like this to tell us that this one was going to be different.  I was obviously going to be scared for a long time (I think it took me till about 20 weeks to stop checking for spotting!) but this gave me some sort of "proof" that a baby was actually sticking & growing inside of me.

In the days to come we got more "proof" - fatigue (we were at a retreat with our church the following week & my memory is that I pretty much slept through the whole thing), nausea (at exactly 6 weeks & everyday till 17 weeks), & of course those first 2 sonograms.  The first at 7 weeks where we saw that tiny heartbeat.  Shaylin looked like a tadpole on the screen.  And then another sonogram at 10 weeks, this time with my wonderful OB who never gave up hope on us, where we saw Shaylin's arms moving around & her tiny legs kicking.  We could even see her brain!  And she was probably only an inch or so long!  Amazing!

But it's those first few days that I will never forget.  As I sit here remembering them I still tear up.  I've said many times that with 6 miscarriages the odds were that we would never be able to carry a baby to term.  But God is bigger than those odds.

I know my story has given hope to other women who've struggled with some form of infertility.  I have friends who've dealt with it.  And I'm beyond thrilled for those who've been given their miracles & have their own story to tell.  For those who haven't yet, I pray for them whenever I think of them that God will someday bless them & they too will have a story to tell.

"For you formed my innermost parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb."  ~ Psalm 139:13

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Jillian - 2 months old

10 lbs., 7 oz. (25-50th percentile)
23 3/4" long (97th percentile!)

-Jillian seems to definitely be getting her daddy's height.  She's a whole inch longer than Shaylin was at this age. She's also a whole pound & ounce heavier.  No doubt that she's thriving!
- She's "talks" & coos a lot.  And smiles all the time.  She's such a happy baby!  I love coming to get her when she wakes from naps & seeing a big smile on her face.
- She holds her head up really well.  She started trying at only 3 days old!  I have a feeling she's going to be doing a lot of things early so she can keep up with her big sister.
- She occasionally sleeps through the night.  And I considering sleeping through the night when she sleeps till at least 6:30, which is the earliest I wake up during the week.  But most nights she still wakes up once for a feeding & goes back to sleep quickly.  Overall I'm getting better sleep than I thought I would be.
- Jillian rarely spits up.  And when she does it's not much.  Probably explains why she's putting on weight so well.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Birth of Jillian Grace

To really give a complete story, I've gotta go back a few weeks.

I went into this pregnancy wanting to go natural, as in drug-free.  The birth of Shaylin was wonderful because she was born but the birth experience wasn't.  I just try to not let it overshadow her birth.  But this time I knew what I wanted & didn't want.  However, I was still afraid that I might not be able to do it.

One night (close to 35 weeks pregnant) I was looking around on my doctor's Facebook fan page.  Yes, my OB/GYN has a Facebook fan page!  If you knew him, you'd understand why.  I read it from time to time to read other women's stories of how they found him & the kind of care he gave them.  For some reason Facebook let me know that a particular doula service was also a fan of his.  And this doula had commented often on the page.  So I looked around on her page.  Then to her blog & started reading some birth stories.  I started to figure out that she had assisted my doctor with a lot of births & at my hospital.  Honestly, before then I thought doulas only helped with birthing centers or home births.  I just figured hospitals wouldn't allow that.

Reading over what a doula does made me realize that I really wanted this for my birth.  I wanted that help to keep me drug-free.  But I knew it would come with a cost.  And I was certain our health insurance would not cover the cost of a doula (and it doesn't).  But we have an HSA account.  We set it up to the maximum we could contribute so our deductible would be met & then still have plenty in the account to hopefully not pay any medical expenses out of pocket.  I looked over the list of eligible HSA expenses & midwife/doula care was on the approved list.  So the next step was to contact her.  Long story short, we met with Katie & just loved her!  And we figured out that we could pay her with the HSA account through her Paypal account.  It was a huge blessing & we knew only God could have led us to find her.  So it gave me hope that He would help me get the birth experience I wanted.

Fast forward to 38 weeks & 2 days.  My mom was coming at the end of the week.  At this point I had gone further than I did with Shaylin so of course I was anxious.  I went for a checkup & learned from my doctor that he was going to be out of town for a whole week with my due date right in the middle of it.  So we knew if we wanted him to deliver this baby (since he didn't get to deliver Shaylin) we needed it to happen in the next week.  So I said we could schedule an induction for the following week unless I went into labor on my own.  I was excited but at the same time I already knew this wasn't the right decision.  I called my doula & she explained to me the drug that was going to be used (Cytotec) & the dangers of it.  She also reminded me that if I could go into labor on my own & show up to the hospital in active labor there wasn't much the nurses would be able to do to stop whatever I wanted.  But in the end it was still my decision.  But I knew she was right & this was exactly why we hired her.  I needed to get my focus back on my desired birth experience & not just on whether my doctor could be there.

So a week later we go for another checkup.  I agreed to have a cervical check to help confirm my decision. I had still considered doing the induction if I was already dilated & thinned out quite a bit.  But I was only 2 cm & 25% effaced.  Still better than I was when my water broke with Shaylin (1 cm & 0% effaced) but not far enough to go with an induction & get the birth I wanted.  So I let him know that I wasn't doing the induction.  And he was fully supportive of my decision.  He couldn't say it but I think he preferred me waiting.  He's been called the "male midwife" so he's all for being as natural if possible.  He just said he has to give his patients the option since he was going to be gone.  I made an appointment for the next week but left the office crying because I knew deep down that I wasn't going to make it to that appointment & he wouldn't get delivering this baby either.  I called Katie & she suggested making plans everyday to keep me busy.  That night Jeremy & I went on a date while my mom watched Shaylin.  Another day my mom & I took Shaylin to the zoo.  There were some shopping trips that week too.

On Thursday, March 29 I woke up to find I had some bloody show.  It had me really excited but it didn't necessarily mean I was about to go into labor.  Later I met Katie at a McDonalds so our kids could play & we could visit.  Then I had a chiropractor appointment.  I started seeing this chiropractor at 37 weeks.  I regret not going sooner.  Just one adjustment had me feeling better in those last 3 weeks than I did the entire pregnancy!  It was also helping to keep Jillian in an anterior position.  During the adjustment we talked about how I had been feeling & the bloody show.  I told her how I was hoping my doctor would still get to deliver this baby even though that would mean being pregnant for a few more days.  She then said I wouldn't like what she would have to say.  I said it was ok to tell me & she said that I would be having this baby the next day!  I was surprised to hear it but didn't let it get me too excited.

That night we went to bed around 11:00.  That's when I noticed a couple contractions.  They didn't hurt.  It was just a tightening in my belly.  And they were about 10 minutes apart.  But since I had already had them before & they didn't produce anything I didn't get too excited.  So we went to sleep.  And as usual my pregnancy-induced insomnia kept me awake while Jeremy went right to sleep.  So since I was awake I couldn't help me notice those contractions still coming & was watching the clock.  Sometimes they'd be 7 minutes apart & then they'd be 20 minutes apart.

At 2:30am I noticed the contractions were starting to get closer, averaging 10 minutes now.  So I decided to just text Katie & let her know what was going on.  I sent another at 3:15 letting her know of more bloody show.  She encouraged me to try to sleep.  I remember her telling me this back in one of our appointments that she tries to get her patients to get as much sleep as possible in preparation of labor.  She suggested I take Benadryl but we didn't have any so I went with Tylenol PM but only one.  I think I was hoping it would take a little bit of the edge off the contractions so I could sleep.  But then they started to pick up to the point that I couldn't lay still in bed.  So I got up & tried laying on the couch, hoping a different location would help me sleep.  That's when I realized I couldn't lay down at all during the contractions, which were now down to 3 minutes apart.  So at 4:50 I texted Katie again & let her know & see what she thought we should do.  It would be at least a 45 minute drive to the hospital & that was if traffic wasn't bad. We discussed me sitting in a warm bath to help with the contractions but I got really nervous about laboring at home too long & then getting in a long car ride when things could get really intense.  The thought of sitting in bumper to bumper traffic while working through a contraction was not appealing.  So I finally woke up Jeremy, who'd sort of gotten about 4 hours of sleep (my constant tossing & turning & getting out of bed didn't make it a very restful sleep for him), packed our things, & woke my mom to let her know we were leaving.  I sneaked into Shaylin's room to see her real quick before leaving.  I was so excited for our family but it was still hard knowing that her life was about to change in a huge way & I knew it wasn't going to be easy at times.

Traffic ended up being great.  But when you hit the freeway before 6am there aren't too many people on the roads yet.  On the way Jeremy called his dad to wish him happy birthday & with that early of a call his dad knew what was going on.  The whole pregnancy he had predicted that this baby would be born on his birthday, since the due date was the day after.  But I kept saying it wouldn't happen because I didn't want to be pregnant that long.  I was so sure I'd go earlier simply because Shaylin came early.

I clipped my ipod shuffle to my tanktop & put my headphones in my ears & got in the zone.  My labor music selection wasn't exactly your typical laboring music.  No Enya or other peaceful music.  Nope.  I had running music.  I selected songs that were extra motivating during runs, especially my marathon.  This was going to be my marathon.  All the walking I had been doing through my 3rd trimester were done while listening to this music was "training" me for this moment.  I might just be the first momma to listen to Eminem's "Lose Yourself" while in labor.

We arrived at the hospital at about 6:30, with Katie arriving a few minutes later.  We had to fill out some papers to sign in & I signed when I could but during contractions I worked through them however I needed.  Sometimes I would lean over & just rock my hips left & right.  Sometimes I would squat down.  The contractions were uncomfortable now but I was handling them.  This was definitely like the first couple miles of a marathon.  I felt great & like I could totally do this!

We got to my L&D room & the nurse gave me my gown to change into, the girdle to go around my waist for the monitor, & some non-slip socks to wear.  I told her I was going to actually keep wearing my "marathon shoes" & the look on her face was something else.  It was as if I offended her by not taking her socks.  I guess not too many women labor in shoes.

Another nurse comes in since it was time for the shift change.  Right off the bat I could tell we were going to have to watch this one.  I was on the birthing ball, finding it a great position at that moment.  I wanted to stay on it as long as possible. She started through a whole bunch of questions. Somewhere in the questions was asked how many pregnancies I had had.  This was #8.  That number still overwhelms me but it's something I have accepted.  For some reason she needed to know the dates of all the pregnancies & asked if I knew them.  I'm a mother.  I can't help but remember when they were.  I don't remember the exact dates for all of them but I at least know the months & years of each.  So I started spouting them out:

May 2007
October 2007
April 2008
June 2008
October 2008
January 2009
January 2010 (Shaylin's birth)

By the time I got to the 5th one I just lost it.  I can usually talk about my miscarriage history without crying, but to sit there & have to tell how many times I have been pregnant so close together & without all those babies born was more than I could take.  And it didn't help that the nurse showed no reaction to my emotions.  Jeremy & Katie were not pleased with this.

After the questioning was done, it was time for a cervical check.  I was 3 cm & 50% effaced.  They checked with the doctor who was on call for my doctor but I already knew that I wanted to leave if I was less than 4 cm.  So we called a friend from church who lives in a house just a couple miles from the hospital & had offered her house as a place to labor should we need it.  The timing really couldn't have worked better.  She & her roommate were at work so it was going to be just me, Jeremy, & my doula.  We arrived at 8:45.

This house was great!  It's huge!  It was once used as a ministry by a couple who took in young pregnant girls who were searching for an option other than abortion.  If they chose to give their baby up for adoption they were given help to find an adopting family.  If they chose to keep their baby they were prepared with childcare classes & other help like life skills or getting their GED if needed.  And my doctor was the doctor who helped deliver those babies!

We started by hanging out in the kitchen, with me doing a lot of squatting at the counter.  I tried to eat some pudding & got down about half the cup.  I also had to keep drinking water.  Then we moved to the den where I stayed on my knees & would lay my top half on the couch during contractions.  It was starting to get difficult to join in conversation with Jeremy & Katie.  At one point I started feeling sick after each contraction.  Then it just hit me.  I finished a contraction & had to rush to the nearest bathroom.  And up came all the pudding I had eaten earlier.  Katie said this was a good sign.

Around 10:30 I decided I wanted to try the shower.  So I got in my too-small-for-my-belly tankini & stood in the shower, keeping the hot water hitting my lower back.  I stayed in there for an hour & a half!  And all while still jamming out to my music.  That was probably one of the best times of my labor experience.  It was hard but I was totally doing this.  It reminded me of miles 9 through 12 of my marathon.  It was like some sort of runner's high I had reached & I felt like nothing could stop me.

At 12:00 I got out & got dressed.  And my marathon shoes went back on of course!  We stayed in a bedroom where I got back on my knees & leaned on the bed during contractions.  Things really started picking up at this point, to the point where I started moaning through contractions.  Jeremy had left for Taco Bueno earlier to get lunch for himself & Katie.  Based on how I was acting Katie felt that it was now best to head back to the hospital since they would be wanting to get 2 rounds of antibiotics in me before the birth (I was GBS positive).  So as soon as Jeremy got back we started packing up the car.  That was 12:45.

As we were leaving my backup birth photographer had arrived.  I had one lined up originally, a close friend who shot Shaylin's birth.  But she had another client due the exact same day as me & had booked her first so we knew there was a chance that she'd miss mine for the other client, which was completely understandable.  Then she got really sick & was just too sick to make my birth.  So Katie contacted one of her friends in the area who was able to come pretty quickly for a mom of 3.  She had also been a doula for a few years so technically we had 2 doulas for this birth!

The drive back to the hospital was intense.  The house was up on a hill off a dirt road so Jeremy had to drive  slowly to avoid bumping me around too much.  I was in the front seat on my knees facing the opposite way, hugging the seat.  Once he got to the access road Jeremy took off.  I remember glancing over to see that we were passing cars that were on I-35!  He pulled right up to the entrance of the Center for Women & we got out, leaving the car there.  It kinda felt like a movie!

When we walked in we assumed we would get to go right back to the L&D room that I was in just a few hours earlier.  But because they had discharged me the lady at the front desk said we had to sign in again.  That meant signatures from me, filling out my personal information, & verifying insurance.  Needless to say Jeremy let them know that he was ticked.  Katie & Mary, my photographer, came in & started leading me to L&D anyway.  I was upset because for all I knew I was coming close to fully dilated & was scared my husband wouldn't get to be by my side because he had to sign me in.  I mean, seriously?!  Why couldn't they just have held on to the papers from earlier?  This is why I would consider something other than a hospital birth next time.

The walk to L&D was very slow with a lot of stops so Jeremy was able to catch up.  I did end up in the original room.  Changing back into that girdle & hospital gown wasn't easy.  But I still had my marathon shoes on!  They did a cervical check & said I was 5 cm, 80% effaced, & -2 station.  I didn't handle that news very well.  I felt like I should have been at least 7 cm but to hear I was now only halfway there was extremely discouraging.  And if it hurt this much now, how much more was it going to hurt for another 5 cm?!

They reminded me that they needed to give me a round of antibiotics but I didn't want to stay in bed.  Really, I wanted to walk but for 30 minutes I had to stay put.  So they let me sit on the birthing ball again & they raised the bed up so I could lean on it.

The nurse that was doing the IV didn't do so well.  I've never had good veins to begin with but this was on my hand so it's not as difficult to find.  She would miss & dig around for the vein & I was yelling out in pain.  Everyone thought it was another contraction but I said it was the needle.  This was really throwing me off.  I was also getting exhausted.  Every now & then I'd nod off.  Remember, I went into this with no sleep.

Finally at 3:15 they were done.  At this point I knew I couldn't walk around.  I asked about getting to labor in the tub & the nurse said she'd see if it could get ready.  Until then I wanted to sit in the shower.  But I really didn't want to try to get back into my tankini.  So the nurse suggested I use 2 of those girdles, one as a top & one as a bottom.  Now the shoes had to come back off.

Jeremy sat in the shower with me, holding the sprayer at the lower part of my belly.  The nurse came in at one point saying she needed to monitor the baby.  I had asked for monitoring to be intermittent & they had been honoring that.  So much so that when she came in she didn't make me get out of the shower but covered the monitor with a glove & put it on my belly.  It wasn't easy for her to get a reading with the water hitting it but she eventually got what she needed.  It was one of the times she was able to redeem herself.

At 3:45 I wanted to get out of the shower.  I was feeling a lot of pressure on my tailbone.  So I moved to the toilet.  The nurse was not happy when she walked by at one point & saw me there.  She made some comment about not delivering a baby on a toilet.  That was not a redeeming moment.  I knew the baby wasn't just going to fall out in the toilet.  But it was a great position for that part of labor.

Around 4:00 I asked to be checked.  I just knew we were really getting somewhere & I kept feeling like I was needing to push.  I got to the bed, still in just those 2 girdles, & was checked, now at 8 cm, fully effaced, & 0 station.  So close but still not there.  They asked me what I wanted to do, maybe go back to the shower or toilet, but I didn't feel like I could make it.  So I stayed in the bed on my left side.

This is when transition hit.  It was by far the hardest part, well, other than what came right after.  I had gone all day feeling in control & that I could do this & never once asked for drugs of any kind.  But somewhere during the next 15 minutes I cried out "I can't do it".  Jeremy said it started to scare him to see me like that & not know what to do.  And there really wasn't much anyone could do.  Had I wanted an epidural I highly doubt they could have done it even if an anesthesiologist was already in the room.

They had already called for the doctor but she still hadn't shown.  15 minutes after the last check they checked me again because my photographer/2nd doula could tell I was complete.  Something about how she could squeeze a part of my leg & the temperature of it.  So they checked me & sure enough I was finally 10 cm & +2 station.  15 minutes & I got the last 2 cm while on my side!  Crazy!

Funny moment here - I was clinging to the side rail of the bed where there are a lot of buttons, including the controls for the tv.  So when the tv came on everyone was confused.  They'd turn it off but then it'd come back on.  I remember getting mad at myself because I realized that I was doing that & thought that was a really dumb place for tv controls.  My photographer/2nd doula took on the additional job of tv control.

Now I had reached the hardest part - the part where I needed to push NOW but there was no doctor so I had to wait.  This is no easy task.  I remember seeing the nurses in the room & could tell they were stalling.  At some point I kinda started to push but it wasn't producing any progress.  But I think had I been in just the right position I could have done it & someone would have needed to be there to catch a baby.

Finally the doctor shows up.  I barely got a good look at her but I remember thinking that she looked like a friend of mine from church.  I then remember her saying something about getting olive oil out & making a salad.  This is good because that means she paid attention to my birth plan, something I wasn't sure would happen with an on-call doctor.

We're not exactly sure how many pushes it took.  It wasn't a structured hold-your-breath-count-to-10 type of pushing.  I tried to just take over & push when a contraction came.  Katie thinks it was no more than 4 pushes so we'll go with that.  However many pushes it was, this was the easy part.  I remember when I felt the "ring of fire" & realizing that it wasn't as bad as I had always heard.

Once I felt that she was out I wanted her right away.  I guess time seemed to go slow at that moment because I felt like they were cleaning & suctioning her for too long & at one point I yelled out "I want me baby!  Give me my baby!".  Jeremy says that when I yelled that that Jillian wasn't actually fully out & they were just trying to suction her some before getting her out completely.

The moment they put her on my chest was amazing.  I had crossed the finish line to my marathon.  And I was so in love.  Jillian Grace was born at 4:29pm & weighed 7 pounds & 13 ounces & was 20 inches long.  And she had a head full of blonde hair.

The doctor honored my request to not clamp the cord for 60 seconds, which was about how long it took to stop pulsating anyway.  They delayed newborn procedures & gave me 2 hours of skin to skin before we were moved to my post-partum room.  The hospital has really come a long way in the 2 years since Shaylin's birth & is trying to be more baby-friendly.

My recovery was so different this time.  Before even leaving the L&D room Jeremy commented on how different I seemed this time.  I felt great, other than a sore tailbone.  I know just the fact that I didn't tear has a lot with how much better I felt.  There were no drugs in my system that I was waiting to come out.  I had a very alert baby who nursed like a pro almost immediately.

I don't like to use the word "amazing" because it tends to be overused but I don't know how else to describe the whole experience with any other word.  Maybe empowering?  Not in a feminist kind of way.  But just feeling like I could do anything.  I went into this thinking of it as a marathon & I've come out of it with an even greater feeling than my 26.2 mile race gave me.  It was by far the most physically, emotionally, & mentally challenging experience of my life but also the greatest.  When I ran a marathon it showed me that God made me capable to complete such a challenge.  But to give birth naturally it showed that He created my body to be able to do something so much more incredible.  And I'm so thankful that He has again blessed us with another miracle & made us a family of four.

"A woman at birth is at once her most powerful, and her most vulnerable.  But any woman who has birth unhindered understands that we are stronger than we know."  ~  Marci Macari

*Birth photography provided by Embrace Birth Doula Service & Photography

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Couch to 5k

At long last I get to run!

My last run before learning I was pregnant was at the end of July.  It was 5 miles.  The one before that was 15.  I made one attempt to run around 9 weeks pregnant after my doctor said I could do some light jogging.  But 5 weeks off & hormones weakening my joints made me take an official hiatus.  Hopefully with the next pregnancy I'll be able to continue running.  I'd especially love to run a race, even just a 5k, with a big ol' pregnant belly!

I decided as I get back on the wagon again that I would give the Couch to 5k program a try.  In the past I've done my own thing, a walk/run-type training much like C25k.  But this time I want to try something that's helped non-runners become runners.  I want to see just how good (or bad) the program is. 

So I'm entering it mentally as a runner but physically as a newbie.  It's weird to do something like this considering I've completed a marathon.  But 9 months of growing a human & then pushing out that human puts a toll on any body no matter how active they've been. 

After the 9 weeks are up I'll give my review (assuming anyone is actually interested in my opinion).  I'm doing the running portions at a 10 min. pace which is faster than I ever ran before, at least anything other than sprints.  If this works after 9 weeks I should be able to run 3 whole miles at a 10 min. pace.  Ultimately I want to run a 5k under 30 min. which means I still need to be even faster but we'll take it one step at a time.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mom of 2

I've really wanted to start blogging again but finding enough free time to do it & when my head is clear enough to even think has been difficult. Take today for example. I woke up before both girls with just enough time to workout. After breakfast we did a quick trip to Target & then I decided to see my chiropractor after having pain in my neck since Tuesday night. Picked up a late lunch on the way home & started the nap process. And so far I've gone back & forth with both girls. Either Shaylin won't stay in bed & requires discipline or Jillian won't stay asleep & needs to be rocked back to sleep, which I'm doing now. I've found a Blogger app so I'm attempting my first post on my phone.

Speaking of Jillian, I have tried to write out her birth story but again, no time. That's not one I want to do on my phone.

Adding another child has had its good days & bad days. Shaylin had a hard time adjusting in the beginning but has gotten better. She's also 2 so that keeps things interesting. Jillian started out really easy but has been a bit difficult at times, especially with getting her to sleep for naps or bedtime. Last night took 2 hours to finally get her to sleep! I know she's only 7 weeks (tomorrow) but I'm starting to wonder if I need to start doing something about it.

But with all the hard times, the good times outnumber them. Seeing Shaylin kissing Jillian & Jillian smiling at her make it all worth it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Exercising During Pregnancy

Back at the very beginning of this pregnancy I was going to write a post about my goals for this pregnancy.  But in typical fashion I didn't get around to it.  But that has worked in my favor because I would have had to come back & post about my failure to keep any of those goals.  All-day nausea while taking care of a toddler kinda put a stop to my goals. 

One of those goals was that I was going to exercise everyday or at least nearly everyday of this pregnancy.  And I think at first I made the attempt but walking on the treadmill.  But then nausea set in & I just couldn't get myself off the couch.  It was a drastic change going from running 20+ miles a week to nothing at all. 

I had read that exercise could help with nausea so I thought I'd give it a try.  It wasn't easy but after a few minutes I didn't feel sick anymore.  And for maybe an hour after I was done I felt good. 

Walking also helped a little with my insomnia.  I could wear myself out just enough to help keep me extra tired for bedtime.

I can't say I haven't put on weight though.  But it was bound to happen.  But I can tell that I haven't put on as much weight on my thighs & butt as I did with my last pregnancy.  The maternity jeans from that pregnancy still don't fit me really well despite now being 35 weeks.

And now that I'm determined to do a truly natural birth I've got an extra push to keep walking.  It helps keep my sciatic pain at bay & prevents me from waddling.  Who knows?  Maybe it'll help from staying pregnant all the way to my due date.

I can't say this was an easy routine to get into.  It really took me till the 3rd trimester to find a time of day that works, which is 11:00 during Sesame Street.  Shaylin can sit on the couch & watch her show & the treadmill is set up where I can easily keep an eye on her.

I've started adding in some yoga after my walks.  Netflix has a program called Yoga Mama geared towards pregnancy.  I'm doubtful that any of the women on the video are as far along as I am & they seem to have been doing yoga for a while, even before getting pregnant.  I'm still not very flexible & the backs of my thighs are extremely tight but after just a couple weeks it's starting to get a little easier & I can definitely see where it's helping my hips.

So for anyone that's pregnant or hoping to get pregnant, whether it's your first time or 4th time, I would highly recommend finding some kind of exercise.  It really will pay off.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Going Natural

I've been wanting to blog & was determined to blog about something today while I had the chance.  But about what?  I finally settled on yet another pregnancy-related topic - natural birth.

People have different definitions of what "natural birth" is to them but to me it's simply a vaginal birth with no drug intervention. 

Last time I was hoping to go natural but was at peace if I decided that I needed help, either with getting contractions to come along or an epidural to ease the pain.  This time around I'm still telling myself that it's ok if I can't do it & that I'll still be a good mother no matter what happens but I really, really want to do this natural.

When I went into labor with Shaylin, it started with my water breaking at midnight.  It took 3-4 hours for any contractions to start.  And when I checked into the hospital (this was before contractions had started) I was barely 1 cm dilated & 0% effaced.  About 16 hours after my water first broke I caved & asked for pitocin & epidural.  Only then had I reached 4 cm.  I felt so pressured that I was going to have to have a c-section that I was willing to have the pitocin to get things going.  And I knew that as bad as my contractions were once they had finally started (LOTS of hip & lower back pain) I wouldn't be able to handle the intensity of labor without the help of the epidural.  That was around 4pm & at 11:38pm, after 1 1/2 hours of pushing, Shaylin was finally born.  The pushing took so long because the epidural was very strong & only turned off right before they told me to start pushing.  So I felt nothing & couldn't figure out how to push.  Once I started feeling pressure & actually felt contractions I knew when to push & she came right out.

That was a Saturday night.  We didn't get to leave until Tuesday afternoon because they wanted to be sure Shaylin was ok since she was in there so long after my water broke (23 1/2 hours).  The day before leaving I started getting a headache.  They tried things like Tylenol & Aleve but they barely gave any relief.  They thought it was sinus related because of the weather change but that didn't make sense to me seeing how I'd been cooped up inside for 3 days already.  The next day it got worse & a nurse saw me break down while trying to nurse my screaming baby & started to assume it was PPD (post-partum depression).  But it was the headache.  Finally they said it could be from the epidural & recommended doing a blood patch to fix it.  Basically it was like the epidural left little air bubbles in my spinal column & that was causing the headache.  So to fix it they had to draw blood from my arm & inject it in my spinal column, doing it just like an epidural.  That experience alone was so stressing with it taking 3 nurses to get the blood & my newborn crying but not allowed to leave the room.  But once it was done it was instant relief.

I tell that whole story to show why I want to go natural, particularly epidural-free.  I realize my experience doesn't happen all the time but I don't want to chance it. 

Some people seem bothered by women that are pro-natural birth.  They say it's wrong for them to want to prove to themselves & other women that they can do it.  I say why not?!  What's the difference between that & a runner who decides to attempt a marathon just to prove to himself & others that it can be done?  At first I told my doctor that I thought since I've run a marathon that I can go through labor naturally but he said really it's the other way around.  Oh well.

So that's my plan so far.  I'm really hoping my water doesn't break so early this time so I can labor at home for as long as possible & then when I get to the hospital continue doing things like walk or use the tub or shower for pain relief.  Unless he's sick or out of town, my doctor should actually get to deliver this baby & that alone will make this experience better & better my chances of staying natural.

Monday, January 30, 2012

2 Years Old

My whole life I've heard "grown ups" say how fast the years go by & how quickly kids grow up.  They couldn't be more right! 

Shaylin turned 2 last Monday & every new sentence she says or new skill she learns just amazes me because I'm so certain she's still just a little baby.  But she's not.  She's a big girl now.

Her speaking ability is great.  We've made an effort to not talk "baby talk" to her & can see the pay off.  When she's learned to say a word but it's not said correctly we don't just start saying it her way, despite how cute it can be sometimes.  We just continue to say it the correct way & she eventually gets it.  She can easily put together 4-word sentences.  There may be 5-word sentences but my pregnant brain can't think of any at the moment.  Here are some of my favorite things she says:

"What happened?"
"Did you hear that?"
"What's that noise?"
"Good morning."
"Momma, play?"

She's got the questions down as you can see.  She's also very polite.  She will say "thanks" or "thank you" for just about anything you give her or do for her without us having to tell her to say it.  She says "sorry" for the slightest bump into you.  And if you sneeze she'll say "bless you".

She can jump off the ground & loves to climb on everything.  Unfortunately this means that she figured out how to climb out of her crib.  It hasn't happened a whole lot & she's never gotten hurt so however she's doing it she's doing it safely.  This week she's going to be moving into a new bedroom & a twin bed so the issue of staying in bed is just going to get worse.  But it's time, especially with her sister due in just 2 months!

Shaylin continues to be a great eater.  The things that she's picky about or doesn't like are so few that they're not worth a fight.  Her newest favorite food is pickles.  Yet she doesn't like rice.  Crazy kid!  Breakfast is always easy.  She loves pancakes, eggs, toast, & french toast.  Most of her lunches are pb&j's, grilled cheese, or quesadillas.  She always has a fruit with lunch which is either a banana or peaches.  She's starting to like grapes but I'm hesitant to buy them until I know she'll really eat them.  For dinner I try to always feed her whatever I've made for me & Jeremy.  The exceptions have been soup nights, just because she's not quite skilled enough with the spoon for me to want to deal with that mess.  But if it's some sort of pasta dish she will gobble that right up.  She's pretty good with most veggies.  She prefers her potatoes mashed than any other form.  She loves corn & carrots (as long as they're not crunchy) & green beans (except in green bean casserole) & will usually eat broccoli. 

She seems to understand that there is a baby in my belly & we're not just calling my growing belly by Jillian.  She asks to tell her good morning or good night just about everyday.  Sometimes she wants to "see" Jillian which means lifting my shirt so she can talk to her.  And she'll lay her head on my belly to hug her & give kisses.  It makes me so excited to see how affectionate she already she to her baby sister.  I know I'm just going to be an emotional mess when the 2 girls get to meet for the first time.