Monday, October 1, 2018

Oswin's Birth Story

After 18 months of waiting, 3 pregnancies, 2 miscarriages and countless changes in plans, we are finally home with another baby. Oswin Finley Howard was born the 28th of September, 2018 at 8:34 AM. He weighed in at 8 lbs 3 oz (a pound bigger than his big sister was) and 21.5 in long. I planned on a homebirth but ended up transferring to the hospital partway through.  All in all though, things went as well as they could have and I feel pretty good about how everything turned out. No one had a horrible traumatic experience and everyone is safe and healthy. I think it helped that I dealt with the placenta previa earlier in the pregnancy and had basically accepted both a homebirth or a hospital birth as a probable outcome. I'd even had a lot of time to process that I might have a c-section. I also had co-care with an OB I really liked and a hospital I was comfortable with as a backup. So I'm glad that all that forced me to remember I might not get an unmedicated, vaginal, relatively complication free birth experience like I had with Lyra. For the most part I had my ideal birth experience with Lyra. Minus the fact I wish I could have pushed her out in like 5 minutes instead of 5 hours.

So, first, to recap Lyra's birth experience for comparison and reference. She was born at a birth center in Alaska. I went into labor early one morning and had her by dinnertime on her due date. I dilated fully in about 6 hours (pretty fast for a first time mom) but pushed for 5 (an eternity for anyone who's been there), so a total of about 11 hours of labor. My contractions were always pretty close together, I never had long break times maybe 4 or 5 minutes at most. I didn't have any significant complications, no meds, no tearing, a bit of extra bleeding after birth but my uterus was tired. Almost transferred to the hospital due to the extended pushing but didn't have to. The full story is both on my own blog and on my birth photographer's blog with pictures to go along with it.

Normally, subsequent babies come faster and earlier than first babies so everyone kind of thought this boy would follow that. Especially because I had such an early positive pregnancy tests and all his ultrasounds showing he measured early. NOPE. Side fact, I had an irritable uterus with Lyra and had Braxton Hicks contractions constantly, especially at the end. Usually with subsequent pregnancies that's also worse. But I actually had less with this guy.

So when all my due date guesses passed me by and I was still pregnant, I was very surprised.  And frankly, quite displeased. I was 100% more ready to be done with pregnancy than I ever was with Lyra and I felt terrible and sore and exhausted. I didn't want to medically induce for anything other than a health reason or if I got all the way to 42 weeks.  But I had a few timelines and his due date was a little questionable. On Thursday the 27th I went in for my last appointments. I was somewhere between 40 weeks and 1 day at minimum and 41 weeks and 1 day. My best guess given all the factors was that I was 40 weeks and 5 days.

My OB did an ultrasound and monitored the baby and deemed him just fine in there. I had him check my cervix and I was 3cm dilated, 80% effaced and baby was at -1 station. I wanted to know a starting point and to have an idea if things were favorable should I need to induce. Basically the verdict was, "Not bad, I'll take that." I also had him sweep my membranes. Basically detach the amniotic sac right around the cervix to try and get a hormonal reaction to jump start labor. My OB was on call and suggested induction the following Thursday (42 and 1 by his timeline). He wasn't pushy at all and it was a reasonable suggestion on his part but I was hoping to not get to that point.

Factoring in when the OB suggested inducing, that Travis was just starting his weekend, my mom couldn't stick around indefinitely to help, and Amy (Travis' mom, an OB nurse) was also trying to make it to Travis' sisters birth in Portland (we were due the same time because why wouldn't that happen), we decided to try some at home labor inducing tricks. I went with the non invasive lowest risk things that appeared to have some evidence that they actually work and don't raise your risks for c-sections, inductions, distressed baby, etc. I went home and tried to bring on some contractions by using a breast pump. Didn't work really, caused some super mild ones while I used it but they disappeared really quick afterwards. Finally, I took my midwife's suggested castor oil recipe and tried to go to bed hoping labor would start in a couple hours. I felt mildly nauseous but other than that not much happened and I was just figuring nothing would happen that night.

Then around 11:30 I started thinking I was feeling some mild contractions every few minutes I also started to have a little bit of bleeding. We woke up Amy and called our midwife out shortly after that. Neither Amy or our midwife were terribly concerned about the bleeding, just something to watch at that point but it spooked me a little more and I was glad I had them both there to watch me. I mostly labored on my yoga ball  or standing and used my baby wrap that Travis rigged as a rebozo to hang from the ceiling. Probably one of my favorite ways to get through contractions. After another hour or so we called out the doula and birth photographer. That's also when we woke up my mother, we initially didn't so that she would be a little more rested than we were to be Lyra's person when she woke in the morning.

My sense of time gets a little fuzzy after that point because labor started to get more intense. I started to have heavier bleeding and began passing a few clots so I started to feel a bit panicky. I was still having bleeding that was "the upper end of normal." Then I felt what seemed like a giant clot (I believe it was somewhere around apple sized but it's hard to tell with those things) and I pretty much made up my mind things were not ok anymore. The midwife asked to check my dilation (something that hadn't been done yet since seeing the OB). At the same time my contractions had hit a new level of intense that was worse than anything I'd experienced with Lyra. I also started to feel pushy and have some of the contractions where I couldn't stop my body from pushing involuntarily. So I was expecting to hear I was very close to fully dilated. At this point I think it was around 5:30 to 6 am so I'd been in labor for as long as it took me to fully dilate with Lyra.

However, when the midwife checked I was only 5 cm. And I knew I had started at a 3. So there I was, passing some big clots that were so terrifying to me. Both Amy and my midwife were trying to reassure me that while the bleeding wasn't normal or great, I wasn't dying and the baby was doing well but we started to discuss the plan for what to do next.

In hindsight part of what happened for me was that all the blood and clots took me straight back to my last traumatic miscarriage. It physically felt the same, passing those clots, and happened in the same area of the house. I didn't think through that at the time and no way could I have vocalized that that was part of my mindset and decision making process but talking to Travis after the fact made me pretty sure that was a good portion of it. I was prepared for some level of sadness or triggering during labor, but bleeding like that didn't actually cross my mind. I knew you could bleed but didn't know you could bleed like that and be ok.

Another big factor was that my pain level was crazy. I'd done unmedicated labor with Lyra and this was a whole different level. So I was bleeding and freaked out, experiencing pain like I never had in labor before, and super stressed that I was starting to push uncontrollably when I'd made hardly any progress and was nowhere near ready for pushing. I also knew I couldn't make it through a slow labor like that without pain meds. I wanted an ambulance to take me to the hospital and get me all the drugs and stop the bleeding asap. With Lyra's birth I did eventually want meds and was debating a transfer because I wasn't sure I was getting her out. But there was much more of a debate and I was more indecisive. This time I was decided in a second and it just took me a bit to convince everyone that's what I wanted and needed. I'm still surprised by my conviction tobe honest. It took a minute for everything to be organized but we got an ambulance there and everyone scrambled to transfer.

Really at this point is the part that is funniest in hindsight. So I've been laying on the bed for a bit, I have nothing on from the waist down and I haven't really been able to move positions on my own, being ginormously pregnant and having a baby head low in my pelvis and intense contractions and all. There's some debate about how to get me out to the ambulance, I hear talk about taking down the 3 baby gates. Everyone is busy making plans about how everyone is getting there, what to take along, how and when to bring Lyra (she is somehow miraculously sleeping through all this) and I'm in one track mind mode. I am in more pain than I've ever been in my life, I'm bleeding, trying not to push, and I want to be in an ambulance on my way to drugs at the hospital, like, an hour ago. I also am 100% motivated to make it to the front door in one shot between contractions. No way in hell am I having one in the hallway. That's the worst, I like to be set up in a comfortable position during a contraction. Then I had a big contraction where I pushed and felt another bloody gush and was horrified and basically kicked into flight mode. So everyone helps me up, expecting to assist me in putting on a skirt or something, gathering my stuff and getting me to the front door. But the second I am up, I take off. Travis stopped to get shoes and I'm like, "Where the fuck are you, I need you right now. Keep up." My photographer and doula were laughing about it later saying everyone was basically chasing me down the hall because no one expected me to move so fast. Next thing I'm really aware of is being right at my open front door at nearly 7 in the morning, half naked, with paramedics I don't know (but Travis has met/will meet being a volunteer firefighter) screaming about how I'm pushing, I need a bucket (I was afraid the pushing was making a mess) and I want to get in the ambulance. People are tying to offer me clothes or a sheet to cover with to get in the ambulance, and I give zero fucks.

I make it into the ambulance with a sheet wrapped around me somehow and Travis is allowed in the back with me. I'm not sure if this is because he mentioned the firefighter thing or after my vocalizing through a contraction and kinda freaking out the paramedic decided he didn't want to be alone back there with me either. In any case as they're setting me up to go I feel a huge gush. I think it's blood and am really starting to panic. The paramedic tells me its very clear and it's my water, there's no blood. He lifts the sheet, looks between my legs and says, "Alright, looks like baby is going to come here after all." And starts talking about getting the midwife or OB nurse in here. I'm absolutely not comprehending any of this. I'm still about 15 seconds behind and I don't understand that I'm not bleeding and I'm thinking I'm only 5 cm and these guys don't know anything. Travis explained later that what he and the paramedic saw was part of the still water filled amniotic sac starting to come out and that my waters did indeed break. It was a slower leak than I had with Lyra and I didn't feel the pop I did with her or my last miscarriage so I didn't recognize it.

So somehow in the time between being checked in my bed and my mad dash to the ambulance I'd dilated the other 5 cm. In hindsight that's probably why the pain was so extreme. And the bleeding was from the rapid cervical change as well. Amy had reassured me I was making the right choice to transfer earlier with the bleeding when I was so far from the hospital and wasn't close to complete. If I would have known that I was almost done I would have probably felt a little better too, but no one could predict that. And it makes more sense why I felt pushy.

So anyway, we only know it was nearly 7 am when I started pushing because that's when Travis tried to call and get someone in the ambulance. Somehow his mom ends up in the back of the ambulance and she's the one who convinces me that I'm no longer bleeding and I'm fully dilated and can push because I know she at least has experience with this that the paramedics don't. And I should make it clear that the paramedics really were great. They originally didn't want anyone in the back with me and then basically followed Amy's lead with helping me and that's exactly what I needed. Not to mention they got an IV line in first try during a contraction,  that took some serious skill. And so then I pushed all the way to Reno. At that point I felt a bit dumb because I wasn't at home. I had been wanting to watch the sunrise before things got intense and I guess I kind of got my wish as I'm watching the sun rise in between my legs out the ambulance windows between pushes.

Sometimes I wish I was a little less dramatic. Like when we roll into the hospital and I'm screaming mid push all movie birth style. I was definitely louder and swore a lot more with this labor. But sometimes I just can't help it. So we make it to a room and get me on the bed. Luckily, the birth photographer we went with was already in the room (she works at the hospital, conveniently). My doula was there as well but I'm fuzzy on more details as I couldn't see without my glasses and I was deep into labor zone. My midwife was there as well but I have no memory of when or how everyone arrived. At first the nurses told me to stop pushing and wait for the OB. I didn't even bother explaining that wasn't a possibility and I heard Amy tell them for me.  My OB wasn't going to make it on time so his partner (who I hadn't met) was the OB they brought in. There was one single comment she made that made me angry but didn't turn into an issue. I asked to change positions because I was hoping to get the baby moving down faster. I actually like pushing on my back laying down in bed, which isn't generally a very effective way to push and I always assumed I'd want to avoid before I gave birth. But it's the only way I feel like I have a chance to rest and it just works for me to deliver.  Anyway though I asked to change, I think I said hands and knees because it seemed doable and I wouldn't have to move far. Someone suggested standing leaning over the bed. The OB made a rude comment along the lines of "That's fine, as long as she knows she's delivering in bed. The last time I had a midwife transfer and she tried to deliver standing the baby fell on the floor and had a fourth degree." I was braced for potentially clashing with this OB so I wasn't bothered other than I wish I could have been in a position to say what I thought about that. I don't like being told what I'm "allowed" like that or being bullied and scared into things.  Plus, I wasn't actually fighting to deliver like that. In any case, I just ignored it and kept pushing. I tried on my knees leaning over the back of the bed for a bit but then wanted to lay down again pretty quickly.

It seemed like forever but I really only pushed for a little under 2 hours which was so much better than the 5 I had with Lyra. The second scary part was after I got Oswin's head out everyone started telling me I had to stop pushing because he had a really tight double wrapped nuchal cord. Meaning it was around his neck really tightly twice. It took everyone by surprise because he had a great heart rate during labor. Luckily, I was able to comprehend what was happening and stop pushing. That takes some effort.

And as an aside, this is where I have a huge problem with OBs like the one I was delivering with. I want feeling very inclined to listen to her advice after her comments earlier. I had enough people I trusted telling me to stop pushing and was aware enough to realize what was happening. All it would have taken was a "I'd prefer you stay in the bed to deliver,  it's how I feel I can help you deliver safely," would have changed my entire perception of her. No need to jump straight to scare tactics. This is why I like the OB we picked so much, he treats you like you're capable and have a right to make decisions as long as he says his opinions and passes on the facts, he's pretty ok about going with your plan. 

Back to delivery, I had planned on delaying cord clamping but it had to be cut off before I could even finish delivering him. But I mean, breathing is pretty important. I got to hold him for about 10 minutes but honestly didn't get a good look at him because we were both a little stunned and he was up high on my chest. Then he just wasn't pinking up very well and they took him across the room for at least 20 minutes, timing is fuzzy but it was a long time for me. I still couldn't see and Travis went with Oswin. I had my doula, midwife, birth photographer and Amy all with me and everyone was in a good mood the whole time so it was clear Oswin was going to be fine but it's not a good feeling to be worried about your baby who is struggling and you've been waiting for so long to hold him.

Travis explained afterwards what all happened.  He had pretty high APGARS but pretty mottled color. They took a pulse ox and he was mid 80s when they want over 90. They ended up using a CPAP and deep suction to clear out fluid from his lungs and get him breathing better. They also did his newborn stuff and got his stats and what not. Luckily, they didn't have to take him to the NICU at all and he ended up back with me after a while.

The timing ended up working well where Lyra and my mom were concerned. They showed up (with my glasses) to meet Oswin shortly before we moved to the postpartum room for our 24 hour stay.  The rest of the time there was pretty unremarkable. We were able to go home a little over 24 hours later and thus far things are going pretty smooth for adjusting to life with a toddler and a newborn. He was worth all the wait and the trouble but I'm so ready to not be pregnant for a while. So far Oswin is an easy new little dude and my recovery is going even better than I hoped for. Probably just jinxed it all but guess we'll just see what the next few weeks bring. I'm already working on some postpartum posts but this one is long enough as is!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Due Date Update

How preggo I am: Too pregnant. My favorite guess for a due date is today. With all the ultrasounds he was due at the earliest on the 16th and the latest on the 26th. The official count puts me at 40 weeks 3 days right now. No signs of imminent arrival whatsoever so far, sadly. I had Lyra on her due date and the was never any debate about her due date so this is driving me crazy.

Baby size: Newborn sized. Watermelon, spaghetti squash, something like that.

Food cravings/aversions: Blue cheese. I love blue cheese this week.

Sleep: I tried to sleep in this morning. I was up at 6.

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Mood: I need this baby out. I am so tired of the comments from the general public. People are so freaking rude. I mean, yes, I am quite pregnant but keep your opinions to yourself. I don't need to hear,  "Wow, you sure look like you're going to have that baby soon," for the 18th time today. It's not like I haven't noticed I'm pregnant yet.

My mood right now.

Names: Still no name.

Lyra stats: She is very entertained with both the grandma's here right now, thankfully.

Labor signs: None. I'm going to be pregnant until mid October probably. My mother in law has started joking about slipping me some castor oil to induce. I told her to go ahead and try but she better never accept food or drink from me for the rest of her life. She says she's joking. I warned her I'm absolutely serious.

Other symptoms: My hips have been hurting a ton. The chiropractor has actually been helping quite a lot. I asked everyone for tips. My OB was super honest though when I asked what would help. "Delivery."

Heartburn is hitting with a vengeance. It hasn't been as bad with this one as it was with Lyra. Until this week. I'm basically a dragon. I'm 95% sure I could actually breathe fire.

Best moment this week: Getting the grandmas in town for backup with the toddler. We also had a hilarious family discussion and realized how many crazy animal stories both sides of the family have. Storytime included everything from, "the time Chandler woke up with a dead chicken in his room," to "the times Martin was attacked by bats." There was also "Roxi gets in a fight with a porcupine," and "Roxi gets mauled by alpacas." "Mom's taxidermy hobby" and "Dad's undead vulture," are more personal favorites of mine. I could write a whole novel. The best part was immediately after storytime Travis encountered a mysterious creature in the garage while we were packing up for the night.

Other stuff: I don't think I have anything extra this week.

Looking forward to: Birth. Not being pregnant, miscarrying, recovering, or waiting to be pregnant for the first time in 18 months. Finally, will have a baby out and here and feeling less in limbo.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Full Term!

How preggo I am: 37 weeks, officially full term (although I expect it will be a few weeks, I'm still thinking the 22nd or around there is most likely) I'm officially on baby watch. It's a bit surreal to just be on alert to go into labor with a full term baby and not be worried about it being too early or my placenta being in the way.

37 weeks!

Baby size: Smallish newborn sized probably.

Food cravings/aversions: Pumpkin. It is also basically pumpkin spice season and I'm antsy for cooler weather and not having an allergy attack every time I get a slight whiff of outdoor air.

Sleep: Why do I even include this? It will be crappy for the next few years. I keep having apocalypse dreams lately. I either need to write a book or find some good apocalypse fiction to read or watch.

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Mood: I swear I'm generally a cheerful nice person but this pregnancy I am a grouch. I'm still annoyed with how many comments about my size that I'm getting. I get it, I'm very visibly pregnant. But what do you expect? I'm not exactly huge to start with, I have a nearly full size baby inside me. But the "ready to pop?" and the, "is it more than one in there?" questions are just so rude. And after months of them, I'm done. Also basically no clothes fit, which sucks.

Names: Maybe we'll name him someday. This is the last detail besides some burp cloths I have to make so I'm starting to dwell on it.

Lyra stats: Trying to get in some good quality time in with her before this next one shows up. We let her stay up the other night and watch a movie and then went to the park to look at stars. She was totally into it. It was entertaining, even the part where she was cuddled up on me, farting on purpose, and announcing it.

Her new favorite toys are empty dvd boxes, so that's ridiculous.

Labor signs: Nothing. He's down super low though and in a good birthing position at the moment. I've been "nesting" I suppose. Although I tend to think that it is just my natural state to overly clean and organize my life and home.  I am trying to stay as up to date on all chores as possible. Plus I've made little breastfeeding stations and postpartum care stations around the house. I've stocked a few freezer meals and snacks. I may make a few activity baskets for Lyra too for when baby needs quiet time.

Other symptoms: My hips hurt, getting up and down from laying or sitting is rough. I'm visibly wincing or making those "ooooh this hurts" noises. This is different from Lyra's pregnancy. I'm pretty convinced it's due to his positioning much lower down. Plus the extra weight I'm carrying can't help. I've gained about 35 total so far, still seems like that slowed a lot the last few weeks so I'm hoping that won't be too rough the last bit. I've just never been this sore for this long, ever. I am basically in a constant state of discomfort and/or pain. The headaches I had earlier in the pregnancy were worse pain level wise and close to as consistent, I wouldn't trade for those, but this is still wearing.

I also am pretty sure I pulled a muscle in my right ribs from allergy induced sneezing and coughing. It is getting fairly excruciating actually. I'm hoping that doesn't last long or bother me in labor.

I can tell with the soreness and general hugeness, my balance is off. I'm trying to be careful but I feel a lot clumsie. Fingers crossed I don't hurt myself too badly before I get this baby out.

Best moment this week: Hitting that full term mark. I've been waiting a long time for that.

Other stuff: I finished 2 of the crib sheets! They were a pain to make because I couldn't find fabric big enough (and the fabric lady cut the single one that was big enough too short) to cover the mattress and foam I have to use to close the gap between the crib and bed.

Also, here's an example of this kid's ridiculous gymnastics that I managed to capture on camera. Keeping in mind this is not the craziest I've seen, he's usually calmed down a bit by the time I get the camera out. Stomachs should not look like this. Generally I think these pictures are his butt sticking out when he pushes his legs straight. Lyra did not do this and she was not a tame fetus by any means.

Pretty sure I was also having a Braxton Hicks contraction the same time I took this one. 

This ones a bit older when he was laying more to the right.

Another earlier, laying on the right picture. 
Just for reference, my belly is generally not freakishly misshapen. 

Looking forward to: My mom shows up in a little under 3 weeks!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

8 Month Update

How preggo I am: 36 weeks! I just need to get 1 more week in and then he is allowed to come any time at home.  I'm really hoping I don't go late but everyone is going to be here on the early side so naturally that will happen. I'm also feeling much more ready to be done being pregnant than I was with Lyra. I want to get this baby out and take a freaking break from being pregnant already.

Baby size: About 19 in and 6lbs. Close to being ready for birth. For reference Lyra was born at 20.5 inches and 7 lb 4 oz

Food cravings/aversions: I want pizza. Like really quality home cooked pizza, not Dominos or something. And also cheese stuffed bacon wrapped dates. Handy as apparantly dates are good for things like cervical ripening and likelihood of needing pitocin and shorter labor. Small studies but it's enough excuse for me to make delicious food. And apple juice. Which gives me heartburn but I still want it.

Other symptoms: Same things as per usual really. Typical 3rd trimester with a side of severe allergies, wildfire smoke, and irritable uterus. Not as irritable as with Lyra though, I don't think. It is hard to tell. I might just be busier and/or less stressed about it now that my placenta moved. I did get a virus a couple weeks ago. So did Lyra. She had a fever the first non smoky day we had in like 2 weeks. Then I got a sinus infection which was extra fun. I pulled a muscle in my side and now it hurts anytime I sneeze, blow my nose, or cough. Which is approximately every 30 seconds soooooo that's not fun. My hips are really sore too. Also different from my experience with Lyra. My heartburn is less extreme so maybe this baby will have less hair.

I also had the most ridiculous morning sickness experience of all the pregnancies. I had a morning where I went from 100% normal and feeling fine to "absolutely going to vomit, right now" in under a minute. And upon throwing up, had a similarly shocking speedy recovery and was back to feeling 100% normal and great in under 3 minutes. Besides hysterical laughter because I was so surprised and I half pulled a muscle moving too fast.

Sleep: Still shitty. The newest thing this last week was waking up with a crazy dry mouth, super uncomfortable. Blasting a couple humidifiers all night seems to help.

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Mood: I'm so done, I have no more patience. We're trying to get our car fixed, Travis hit an antelope, and it is taking far too long on the insurance company's part. It happened almost a month ago and we still haven't been able to schedule it somewhere to be fixed. It currently has no AC which means it's a horrible car for Nevada in the summer. The insurance company finally came through though so now we can finally get it scheduled. It's basically going to take like 6 to 8 weeks total and we'll be pushing it right up to when I deliver to get it done.

Also I have the worst hair luck, EVER. I go through these cycles. First I move somewhere new, I'll go to Great Clips or Fantastic Sam's or something for a while and be low key frustrated with weird hair issues, for example, an inch or so section of hair that's an inch longer than the rest of my hair but only 75% of the time. Or someone who dyes my hair red and darker instead of blonde like I wanted and tries to talk me into it, "No, it is the lighting, it's definitely blonder." Seriously. Then I find someone who I think will be really good or is really good but I stop going for some unlucky reason or another or we move again.

More backstory, probably taking the cake for the worst story was when Lyra was about 4 months old and I decided to use the first several hour break I'd ever had away from her to go get my hair dyed and cut. So it had been like 6 months since I'd done anything with it, I was excited for my first taste of freedom. Then I'm chatting with my stylist I'd used before a few times and trusted enough to dye my hair. She asks how my hair has been doing postpartum and I explain I'm having some of the usual expected hair loss and my scalp seems a little more dry and itchy since having a baby but nothing too drastic or crazy. This is where everything goes downhill. She tells me I have lice. I freak out because if I have lice, so does my 6 month old who sleeps with us, and our house requires decontamination. I'm also super disappointed my first day out post baby is ruined and I'm embarrassed. I held it together until I left but basically went home and cried and made Travis go out for de lousing things. And we spend the next couple hours hardcore searching for lice just to find no lice. None. No lice anywhere, on anyone. Good thing Travis is a skeptic and is like, let's research before you just put all this on your head. Upon inspection Travis is like, "Ehhh I mean, your scalp is a little dry but not even extreme...." I still do some intense moisturizing treatment to be sure and after a couple hours my hair is essentially back to pre baby normal. I debated going to get a doctors note to make a point but I didn't want to spend the $30 copay, especially after spending the same on unnecessary de-lousing products. So I never went back to that hair stylist again. It is kind of a funny anecdote in hindsight but at the time it was awful.

Besides the imaginary lice incident, there was the Justin Bieber haircut debacle. That started out as an edgy assymetrical pixie/bob type haircut I had done somewhere I trusted. Then I believe we moved or I couldn't travel to Spokane all the time for a haircut, something like that. So I got it trimmed locally. And it wasn't as awesome anymore but it wasn't terrible. But the next time was. And so then I was like, let's just do a pixie. And then that made me look like a weird cross between Justin Bieber and my baby brother before he hit puberty and if he was white. I mean my brother isn't bad looking, we look eerily like opposite gender, different color twins. I just didn't want to look like his twin brother. I was working on the slope at the time and the company man literally called me to his office once because he was worried he made me feel bad with teasing about my haircut. I still have to laugh because my true feelings were more embarrassed for anyone who didn't realize that I realized my haircut was something out of a horror story.  I gave myself the Justin Bieber nickname because sometimes you just have to laugh. The poor stylist I found in Anchorage to help fix the worst of it clearly was a little taken aback by it. That was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I was coming off nightshift and quite tired and probably had a beer first. I told him, just do something with it to try and improve it for growing it out. I know there's not much to work with and I will be legitimately impressed if you can make it worse than it is, so have some free reign and know I won't be mad. That's how I ended up with my first pink and purple hair ("Maybe some bright colors to just...distract...from the rest of it...."). And that pixie from hell haunted me quite literally up until the imaginary lice incident, that was the last of growing that out.

So anyway, cut to now. I have a stylist who does my hair well, but is so unreliable about scheduling that I just couldn't anymore. I'm talking 5 out of 7 appointments cancelled and/or rescheduled. So I found a new place, scheduled a few weeks in advance and verbally explained what my hair looked like and what I wanted. And I'm not dumb at this point, I sent in photos and gave myself a week before I really wanted it done (for maternity pictures) in case something happened. And 48 hours before my appointment my hair stylist emails to say she can't do it and refers me to someone else. So here we are.  I'm unsure when and how and if I will get my hair done somewhere around here again. I had Travis help me mostly dye it back to my naturalish color with 4 dollar Walmart dye. A frightening gamble but it mostly worked. We're probably giving it a round 2 and hoping for the best. Travis has had to help try and fix or manage so many of my hair disasters at this point that he says he's going to open up his own business.  Something like, Travis' Mediocre Hair. So that's my long winded story about why the last of my patience is gone and why I'm a brunette again. With a few weird patchy spots but, oh welllllll.

On the plus side I found a birth photographer I really like and I'm not stressed about not having one anymore. She's worked with my midwife and doula a lot before and has birth experience as a nurse too. I also found out my mom will  still be able to make it out here as planned as well. So maybe now I can have the last 6 weeks of pregnancy calm and planned as much as possible??

I have everything almost as set up as I can have it before baby gets here. The nursery is done, our bedroom is prepped with a birth space and baby sleeping space, breastfeeding/pumping stations are set up, some meals are frozen. I still need to do a few more freezer meals and stock a couple last minute homebirth items but we're good to go other than that.

Names: My vote is still Oswin Finley. Travis is still Finley Oswin.

Lyra stats: She is 3 now! She's started soccer which is adorable and funny. While "Baby Shark" is still an all time favorite song, a new favorite is "6 Cats," this random YouTube video that is both obnoxious and really catchy. Horrible combo, really. She has a new weird (for a toddler)  food she likes, blue cheese. Her tastes alternate between sophisticated and hating traditional toddler food, and super typical toddler preferences. She won't touch ketchup but she loves edamame. Still obsessed with sushi

She briefly went through a napping phase again but I think that was a growth spurt and she's coming out of it again. She gained 2 lbs for the first time in like a year though. Watching her growth patterns has been interesting. When she was exclusively breastfed, she was on the high end of the growth chart, around 80th percentile. Once she switched to solid food and picky eating, she dropped quite a bit and now she's definitely on the petite side, around 15th percentile. I haven't worried as she's clearly grown mentally and I think she has grown a bit in height, but it was weird. She was in 2T clothes by around 18 month and she still hasn't outgrown it all.

Best moment this week: I got out of jury duty! I was figuring they wouldn't want me as a juror seeing as I was basically full term, but I don't even have to go at all.

Other stuff: I took maternity pictures and I love them! Lyra cooperated beautifully. I also had to take some rainbow baby photos with rainbow scarves. Because there is no better time to climb around in your underwear on rocks in the middle of the desert than when you're 8 months pregnant. Here's my absolute favorites.

Looking forward to: Getting this kid to 37 weeks, that feels like one of the last few milestones and then he can show up whenever. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

33 Week Update

How preggo I am: 33 weeks, only 7ish more to go. I could have a baby in 5 weeks though. That's not out of the realm of possibility. Or 10 weeks, haha. I don't want to set unrealistic expectations for myself.

33 weeks

Baby size: 
Between 4 to 6 pounds roughly, it's weird to think about how baby like he looks by now. He's close to birth height 17 to 19 inches. He definitely feels ginormous.

Food cravings/aversions: I want all the things that are going to give me insane heartburn. Chocolate cookies, jalepeno popper dip. Things I will eat and regret.

Edit: I regret nothing about eating jalepeno popper dip. Worth it.

We did have a good laugh at our mommy and me brunch. You could tell the majority of us that came that week were pregnant by the lack of mimosas and wide range of food from jalepeno popper dip to waffles and watermelon. It was all delicious, I might add.

Other symptom: The usual again, I'm tired, my bladder is the size of a squashed pea, Braxton Hicks (not as bad as with Lyra I don't think, or I'm too busy to notice them), my lower back, hips, and feet are sooooo sore. Heartburn is basically a given these days, zantac still helps but not 100%. I predict this baby will have hair too.

I've slowed on weight gain again, I gained like 5 pounds total the first 20 weeks, then about 25 in about 10 weeks, and the last 3 not really any again. It seems like it all happened at once. And it seems I gain more than average. I didn't really track with Lyra and I'm trying to be chill about it but it is hard. Especially with everyone commenting about how huge I am. The day is coming where I am going to hear "You look like you're about to pop," one too many times and I really will figuratively "pop" on someone. It nearly happened the other day. I'd already heard it once that day and then I am 95% sure I heard a random guy make a comment about me, not even to my face, just about me where I could overhear. I was not 100% sure though. I possibly misheard and I didn't want to look dumb yelling at someone for something they didn't do. But I'm pretty sure it happened. I don't understand how people think it is ok to make comments like that. And for the record, I think I'm just a bit larger than I was with Lyra which is really normal. Not to mention I'm measuring perfectly on track for 33 weeks.

I had a fantastic pregnancy brain moment this week. Travis found a coffee mug half filled with water that I'd put away in the cupboard. While I was pregnant with Lyra I lost a measuring cup of water in the microwave for a few hours.

Sleep: Still pretty awful. I slept so much with Lyra's pregnancy that I didn't feel super tired. This time I don't have that luxury. Also my allergies and the intense wildfire smoke are not helping, I wake up to sneeze and blow my nose as often as I do to pee. It sucks.

Lyra is in a terrified of monsters stage so she is waking up about once a night again. But she's also obsessed with monsters and wants to watch monster shows all the time and recently expressed the desire to be the chupacabra for Halloween. I fully support this and will absolutely make baby brother dress as a goat. It might be my fault that Lyra likes and fears monsters so much, I 100% relate.

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Mood: It is constantly too hot and there's horrendous air quality with the wildfires and my allergies so I'm kind of testy but not too terrible. Other than today is hitting me pretty hard. I had the last miscarriage a year ago. I thought I'd be fine but I'm feeling 1,000 more feelings than I thought I had. I'm debating a whole post about it. I just haven't had a good time or energy.

Names: My vote is still Oswin Finley.

Lyra stats: She had this one day where she was the spawn of Satan despite a 3 hour nap, I don't know what was up with that, it was a new level of terror. But then she had a really good day where she was patient and wonderful through a full day of errands.

Funny toddler quirk moment of the week, she had this weird obsession with my arm for a day. She kept rubbing her face on it and cuddling and kissing it. Just my arm, not me in general.

Best moment this week: I don't know that there's a specific event that comes to mind

Other stuff: Major baby prep happened this week after finding out my placenta moved. Plus Amazon prime day and baby registry discounts kicked in. We have a few more things to get and not everything has shipped yet but the baby's nursery and our room is pretty much set up.

The crib and possibly glider won't stay in the room.

The baby crib will be side-car style next to the bed here, mainly hoping to not have our bed completely overrun by small children.

The baby changing station will also be in the master bedroom too.
I also did some couponing and deal finding and scored big on diapers and wipes. We use cloth mainly but disposable wipes for outings and poop because it's just so much easier. And disposable diapers are our backup for travel, laundry emergencies, babysitters, etc. I got all of this for $100 after stacking coupons and gift cards back from a target deal and Ibotta.

That's 6 boxes of diapers and 2 of wipes, normally it would be $180. There's some tax in there and such but still, great deal. I already had 2 boxes of wipes from previous less extreme but still satisfying couponing. So I'm honestly thinking this should get us through a full year. I'm fairly impressed with myself.

I also set up my birthing space in our bedroom. I know things happen where they happen but I'm thinking it is my probable spot for labor and delivery.

I'm planning on adding some string lighting, birth affirmation decorationy stuff, and hopefully a yoga swing or some type of suspended support system. 

And I have a cozy nook for anyone sitting and waiting or needing a break.

Looking forward to:
 Hopefully making the last few big decisions about my ideal birth plan. I'm trying to decide on a birth photographer and there's a few travel arrangements for friends and family up in the air.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

31 Weeks and a Placenta Update

How preggo I am: 31 weeks! Although here's the official baby countdown standings. I've been tracking all the "due dates" I've been given to see when I think he's actually likely to get here and because I want to see how close I actually guess his arrival time.

Sept 26: my last period due date
Sept 22: first dating ultrasound (the earlier ultrasounds are generally more accurate than the later ones) as well as the anatomy scan.
Sept 23: my 31 week placenta checking exam (spoiler, it's moved!!!)
Sept 19: late dating scan around 14 or so weeks with the OB I'm seeing.
Sept 16: 12 week ultrasound when I had spotting and the placenta previa was found.

My conclusion is the 22nd is the most accurate due date. It's lines up with ovulating a bit early which is what I tend to do and it makes the early positive pregnancy test make sense. Plus, my cycles are real regular and I'm sure of that period date so I don't think it's too far off that one. And finally that's the date he's measured at most consistently soooo that's my guess. I'm too far in to change my apps and this blog count right now though, I'll stick with my easy to remember Wednesday week change dates.

Baby size: I have a personalized ultrasound estimate for this week.  He's around 3 lbs 7 oz right now, give or take, ultrasounds aren't exact. Right now that puts him on track to be about 7.5 lbs on the due date of the 19th. Lyra was 7lb 4oz on her due date. He is positioned exactly like Lyra almost always was, and exactly how I thought he was laying in there. His head is down by my left hip and his butt is up by my right ribs. His feet are alternating between kicking me up on the right and down low by his face.

Here's his little face profile.  He's got his hand up under his chin. 

Food cravings/aversions: Reese's dipped pretzels. And chicken salad on croissants. Not all together though.

Other symptom: The usual. Braxton Hicks a good bit, heartburn, I waddle and can't pick up things off the floor. I've also been getting these lovely moments where I get suddenly hungry and I think my blood sugar drops because I have to eat immediately since I start feeling so shaky.

Sleep: Awful. I cannot wait for fall with a newborn. I'm uncomfortable laying down in pretty much any position, still peeing like 5 times a night and my allergies are so bad I have to wake up to sneeze and blow my nose all night long. Also sometimes I get hot flash/night sweat type episodes.  Not cool. Literally. Lyra is also pretty frequently waking up at night, probably at least 30% of the time.

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Mood: I'm having a wonderful week. Someone called me huge again ("You look like you're about to pop, when are you due? September?!? Oh wowwww!") and it didn't even bring me down. I didn't get to use any of my snappy replies though because she was cutting Lyra's hair at the time of commenting. I decided I didn't want to risk Lyra's hair or her face by being rude back to her. And then she gave me a discount so I still won.

Anyway, I'm happy because I went to the OB on Monday for my ultrasound to check the placenta previa situation and it moved so much more than I hoped! It is 3 whole centimeters away, well past the "at least I can try to have a vaginal hospital birth" and even well past the "I can have a homebirth" point. No scheduled c-section for this reason at least. Plus, now I don't have to worry constantly about bleeding or spotting or going into labor and bleeding out and dying before I got to the hospital. I mean yes, it's still life and shit can happen, but it's a huge weight off my mind and a big risk factor gone. I have a to do list a mile long now since I procrastinated any prepping for anything but a c-section. The rest of the year is going to be insanely busy. I have appointments every 2 weeks with the OB and midwife until 36 weeks and then I have weekly appointments. I am keeping up with the back up care in case I have to transfer for any reason. On the plus side I think the time will fly until the baby is here. I have 10 weeks to get everything set up. My mind is going 100 miles an hour the last couple days.

Names: I told Travis I'm calling the baby Oswin Finley this week to just test it out. He said, "I know what you're trying to do here."

Lyra stats: Well I gave up on potty training again. It is intensely frustrating to go from 95% of the way there to total trainwreck but it is what it is I guess.

Lyra has learned how to bargain and count apparently. Today she looked at me while we were watching a show she likes and said, "I need to watch two more movies." I said, "Nope." She gave me this huge grin as and a giggle and said, "Okaaaaaay, I need to watch one more movie." Still a no, but it was a valiant effort.

She also made up her own phrase this week, which was priceless.  She's heard me say "holy cow," and "holy mackerel," a ton.  She added her own twist mid conversation when she yelled, "holy mac and cheese!" It was one of the funnier things I've ever seen her do to be honest.

Best moment this week: Definitely the ultrasound.

Other stuff: So funny story time, I peed on myself this week. Normally the OB's office sends a plastic urine sample cup home with me and I just  bring it with. Plastic is great, you can clean/dry off the outside of a plastic sample cup in the privacy of your own home. However, since it was an ultrasound and  not a regular appointment, I misunderstood and didn't bring one. So I had to go with the paper cup in office. Now at this point I can't see around my belly which makes it difficult. And everyone can tell if you're messy when it's a paper cup. Further complicating things is my 2 year old. You have to watch them constantly in public bathrooms. Kids are gross, you look away and they're eating something they found on the floor or peaking in the used sanitary supply bin. Did I mention this was an OBs office bathroom? They have a display IUD. I didn't want to be the mom who's kid ate the IUD. So I'm basically trying to get this sample blind, just hoping for the best while I keep an eye on Lyra. Before I know exactly how it all went wrong, pee is suddenly going everywhere, I'm trying to get my shorts and shoes off before it makes it to those, trying to keep Lyra at a distance before she slips in it, and trying not to spill my sample. Surprisingly, the cup was pristine, not a clue how I pulled that off. I manage to clean everything else up and put my clothes back on and only had to stop to yell once. "Lyra no! STOP! Don't you dare open that door right now!" As she stares me down, hand on the door and decides how angry I actually would be if I had to chase her down the hallway with my pants down. I'm absolutely a mom, I looked at my shorts and felt such relief that it was only a little bit of pee that spilled on them. Not even close to the worst that's ever been on me in public without spare clothes. Plus having the toddler with me was handy, if anyone called me on smelling a little like pee, I was fully prepared to blame her diapers. Despite that, it was still an excellent day.

Looking forward to: The homestretch! Getting my head wrapped around going with my original birth plan after all. And getting all the planning and prep done for that.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Made It To The 3rd Timester

How preggo I am: 29 weeks/7 months, officially in the 3rd trimester now.

I have been working on this post for so long that this picture is more like 30 weeks (tomorrow). Oops. 

Baby size: Baby boy is almost 16 inches long and weighs around 2.5 lbs.

Food cravings/aversions: Cheesecake. I've been experimenting with making it. My favorite so far was either lemon or chocolate. I went all out and made lemon curd, chocolate ganache and whipped cream for those.

Other symptom: Ok, so there's one I haven't mentioned much as it's personal but I feel like I should because it's getting hilarious. My boobs have grown, significantly. Lyra has noticed. Now she stopped nursing almost a full year ago, last August when she turned 2 and I had the second miscarriage. I was just done and sore from pregnancy and I cut her off. I think she would have happily continued, my original plan was to let her self wean but again, life said otherwise.  Anyway though, point is she asked to nurse maybe 4 or 5 times over a month or two after we weaned but then dropped it entirely. I assumed she'd forgot. But the past few weeks she's been asking to nurse again. And then questioning if I can do chocolate milk too. Sorry, kid. She's also been asking me to nurse her baby dolls for her. I'm finding it hard not to laugh when she comments on them too. "You have big boobies, mama. I like them." At least she's complimentary.

Also I feel huge right now. I measured and when I have to carry Lyra and a full diaper bag and I factor in pregnancy weight gain, I'm literally carrying around 50% of my prepregnancy bodyweight. Good thing Lyra is actually tiny for her age. No wonder I'm tired and my feet hurt. I felt bad when I had to rest on the way to the mailbox (it's down the street and around the corner) when I was carrying Lyra yesterday. But I feel better about that now.

Sleep: So terrible. The other night I woke up around 3 because I had to pee. Travis gets up at 3:30 so that can make it hard to really fall asleep again in time. And then the cat decided to chase a pebble around the house. So I had to get out of bed, turn on the lights, and scour the floors for a pebble the size of a pea so she would shut up. Seriously, a freaking pebble. Then Roxi decided she had to go outside to pee. So I had to take her out as the alternative would be cleaning the floor at 6 am. At that point I was angry and couldn't fall asleep. Didn't matter though because the second I heard Travis leave at 4:30, I heard Lyra's door open. I am not exaggerating when I say that to stay awake, she will refuse to stop moving for even 10 seconds. She laid in my bed for an hour and a half before she would hold still for a few seconds. As soon as I got her to hold still for a minute, she was out. But only for 40 minutes so I only got an extra 30 minute cat nap. That's about how well I sleep anymore.

And I fell out of bed this morning. In my defense I was trying to escape Lyra and there was a pillow in my way but my pride is a little bruised. I'm starting to have trouble maneuvering, clearly.

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Mood: I'm stressed and sad about the state of the country lately but I don't think that's hormone/pregnancy related.

Names: I don't knowwwww.

Lyra stats: I'm feeling quite defeated with potty training. I've spent literally 6 months between the 2 attempts. However, her doctor is of the opinion that constipation is causing her to struggle with it. So it's probably not that I'm wrong about her being ready or I'm doing something wrong. I swear 70% of parenting is dealing with other people's bodily functions. Hopefully we get it straightened out in the next few weeks. For now I'm just resigning myself to the double whammy of the mess of diapers and the hassle of potty training at the sane time. Not that that's much different than what I've been doing already.

Also she says "apple" like "asshole." I can't unhear it now.

Best moment this week: Funny story time.  The other night Lyra woke up around 3 and came into our room complaining about how she was scared of the monsters in her room. She started describing, in a very scared tone of voice, how they roar and have sharp teeth. Midway through her narrative she suddenly started to switch from scared to excited. Then it was all about the chupacabra and how she needed to get her chupacabra book to read. I was a little thrown by her sudden change of heart. But it seems deep down she likes her monsters too.

Also, Lyra's birth story was published in a book and I got a copy this week! So that was a highlight too.

Other stuff: There was a day this week where baby boy wasn't moving as much as normal. So that stressed me out enough that we went in to go get checked out. He was perfectly fine. Hopefully there's no more of that the next few weeks.

Also the nursery is coming along. We'll be decorating Lyra's room more in the next couple weeks too. And our room will have a crib sidecarred to the bed and a changing station and potentially the glider. The nursery is mainly for show and storage for at least a year.

We aren't doing anything too hardcore, leaving the walls white and going with a rainbow theme. 

I'm also adding in sky themed touches, potentially something with hot air balloons, I haven't quite decided.

Wall hangings I made. And this one gets my old Jenny Lind bed. Lyra got my old bunk bed so we're 2 for 2 on hand me down beds. 

Fabric and embroidery hoops.

And I tie dyed a muslin swaddle blanket too. I think I love it. 

Also I am getting back into sewing so I'm working on some new baby projects. Like this bonnet. 

Looking forward to:
 I get my next ultrasound in about a week and a half to see if my placenta finally moved off my cervix fully. Fingers crossed. I'm already convinced it's going to be marginal I'll have to wait until 36 weeks or later before I know for sure. Best case scenario, I will have no idea when this baby is arriving! Worst case scenario I will probably get a c section scheduled just in case and I still won't actually know for a few more weeks. It is driving type A me a little batty. I have several guess dates written in my calendar with notes about their likelihood and the frequency with which that dates been predicted. Lyra at least was cooperative and measured exactly on time always and arrived on her due date. This one, not so much. I blame Travis for this.