Tag Archives: pregnancy

Here we go again …

Judah has big news to share.

Big brother

Only he says, “I’m not a big brother, I’m a SMALL brother!”

His small(er) sibling is due in late September, which makes me 17 weeks along. Things are going well so far aside from the continued nausea, the hip and pelvic pain that showed up around 10 weeks, and various other pregnancy complaints.

My extended maternity leave begins in May, so I’m hoping to be around more online this summer and early fall.

Here’s hoping for a healthy (and quick!) 23 more weeks. Send us some good vibes!

I’m still here

My three-month break from blogging wasn’t planned. That’s why I never had the chance to post a note explaining my absence. I was always on the verge of posting an update. Tomorrow. Next week. Any day now. Soon.

It started with good news. Shortly after my last post in August, I found out we were expecting another baby. We were elated. Then came the fatigue, the morning sickness, the aches and pains. All of that added to a rigorous teaching schedule and a 21-month-old gave me little time for anything else — not even this blog that I missed so much.

Unfortunately, our good news was followed by heartbreak. At our first ultrasound at 10 weeks, there was no heartbeat. I had a miscarriage at the end of October.

It was painful and sad, but now a month later I’m doing much better. We’re preparing to celebrate Judah’s second birthday (TWO!), and I’m reminding myself daily just how much I have to be thankful for.

Long story short, I miss you guys. I miss this space. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. I love this blog too much to give it up completely. I hope to start posting regularly again, and I hope that some of my readers have stuck around during my extended break.

To those of you who emailed me, thank you. Your concern means the world to me. All is well. Obla-di Obla-da, life goes on.

What’s new with you?

One year ago today

Since Judah was born, time has been on warp speed. But man, this moment still feels like a million years ago.

It’s true that a lot has happened since the day I found out I was pregnant — we moved three times, Tony has started two different jobs, we traveled to Europe. But more importantly, I have changed so drastically, I don’t even recognize the girl holding this pregnancy test.

Last year on April 2, my office was closed for Good Friday. I should have been sleeping in. But I was wide awake way too early.

I had reason to believe I could be pregnant, but I doubted it. It had only been 3 weeks since we officially decided to start a family. Just a few weeks before, I was thrilled at the possibility that I could get pregnant right away. On April 2, I was ambivalent.

Two weeks before that morning, I had received a call from my dream job. I was already pregnant at that point, even though I didn’t know, but I did know that if I was pregnant, it had already happened. I started the interview process anyway, thinking to myself how unlikely it was that I could be pregnant after just one month.

The interviews were going well. It came down to me and one other candidate, but I had a feeling that the woman who would be my primary supervisor favored me. I felt 99% certain they would offer me the job.

We knew we were moving back to Indiana in just over a month. Neither one of us had a job yet. We made the decision that if they offered me the position, we’d temporarily stall our plans for a family so I could accept.

It’s so hard to explain my feelings about it now, as I hold my sleeping baby. I can’t imagine feeling anything but absolute joy and excitement to have him in my life. But for two weeks before I found out he would be born, I hoped I wasn’t pregnant. I hoped I’d have the opportunity to take my dream job.

I took pregnancy tests on March 31 and April 1. Both negative. I became convinced that I wasn’t pregnant. I scheduled a final interview with the board that would make the final hiring decision (via Skype, since I still lived in North Carolina). I daydreamed about the exciting career ahead of me. I didn’t know how long I’d wait to have a baby. Maybe a year. Maybe two.

And then I took a third test on April 2. Positive. I was going to have a baby.

Never before in my life have my feelings so dramatically and instantly changed. In one moment, I was hoping the test would be negative, hoping I would be able to take a job in Indianapolis. The next I was consumed with excitement and anticipation and joy, because, OMG, I’M HAVING A BABY. In that moment, I went from focusing on my career and myself to thinking about nothing but the little person I was incubating. Suddenly nothing else mattered.

To this day, even after experiencing the rush of emotion while holding him in my arms for the first time on the day he was born, I remember that moment as the moment I became a mother. Even then, I realized what a strange feeling it was to experience such a drastic, life-altering change in a split second.

The following week, I removed myself from consideration for the job. I made the decision for a number of reasons. I knew it wouldn’t be fair to begin a new job knowing that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom when the baby was born. We also worried that moving to a particular city would limit Tony’s job search too much, and he wouldn’t be able to find anything. It was essential for him to find a job if I was going to stay home. We decided it would be better to keep our options open so we could move anywhere with an open position. I knew it would be difficult to turn down a job offer even though I knew it wasn’t right for us, so I decided to drop out before they had a chance to make me an offer.

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t regret our decision to start trying that month. I was so so happy to be pregnant. But I did wrestle with the decision to give up the job. I toyed with the idea of being a working mother. I wouldn’t have considered it for just any job, but for this one, I strongly considered it.

In the end, I knew it wasn’t the right choice for our family or for me. My biggest fear was that I would someday regret my decision.

When I think about the way everything fell into place after that, it amazes me. No, it wasn’t ideal to be touring Europe with morning sickness, but I’m glad I wasn’t 9 months pregnant when Tony was offered his current job. If I’d waited even a few months to get pregnant, I wouldn’t have been able to have my baby at one of the most natural-birth-friendly hospitals in the state. Or worse, we wouldn’t have been able to accept the job, because I would have been too pregnant to consider undertaking a 300-mile move in less than two weeks.

One year later and four months into my little boy’s life, I know everything worked out exactly the way that it should have. I wouldn’t change a single thing. In the end, it turned out that being Judah’s mama was my real dream job. I know it’s trite, but it’s true, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

From stomach flu to baby in 24 hours

I promise this blog will someday be a personal finance blog again. At the moment, though, eight pounds of adorable have sort of eclipsed everything else in my life, so he might as well monopolize the blog.

And now a birth story! I promise to leave out the gory parts. Mostly.

I should start by saying that even though I’d been hoping to go into labor the entire week of Thanksgiving, I completely changed my mind on Friday. Labor was the LAST thing I wanted, because Friday morning I woke up with the worst case of stomach flu I’ve experienced in a decade.

I was determined to get our apartment decorated for Christmas on the off chance that I’d go into labor that weekend. So I woke up and I started hauling boxes of Christmas decorations out into the living room. I barely got the boxes open when I started feeling the kind of profound nausea that I haven’t experienced since the first trimester.

For the next 20 hours, I was sick every other hour. And every time I was sick I thought to myself, “Oh please, don’t let me go into labor until I’m over this. I cannot do it right now.”

I was up most of the night feeling closer to death than I ever have in my life. I was wide awake at 5:30 in the morning when I felt a bizarre pop in my belly. I knew my water had broken. My first thought? “Oh, crap.”

Throughout my pregnancy, I was reassured many times that Hollywood’s portrayal of labor is completely unrealistic. The dramatic moment when the water breaks and everyone rushes to the hospital because the baby is coming NOW? It does not happen. In fact, only 10% of labors begin with broken water. And even then it’s usually more like a trickle than a waterfall.

Well, my water did not trickle. It broke. In the middle of my living room. Just like in the movies. WHOOSH. And then it broke several more times ALL OVER THE HOUSE. I have no idea how I was carrying around so much amniotic fluid, but I lost at least two gallons. It was every bit as inconvenient as you would imagine.

I had fallen asleep on the couch in an attempt to keep my stomach flu germs away from Tony. So I went into our bedroom and woke him up with a very sincere, “My water just broke. Oh my God, I cannot have a baby today.”

I was exhausted. I hadn’t eaten in a full 24 hours. I knew I was likely incredibly dehydrated. But once your water breaks, you’ve got about 24 hours to get the baby out. So I tried to put on my game face.

I called to let my midwife know that my water broke, and she told me I’d likely have some time since my contractions hadn’t really started yet. She told me to hang out at home, try to get some rest, and drink lots of fluids. I figured I’d have a couple hours before I needed to go to the hospital.

I scurried around doing some last minute things and getting my bags together. Tony took a shower. About 45 minutes later, my contractions suddenly went from zero to every three minutes and INTENSE. I knew then that I would not have several hours. Just like in the movies, we needed to leave NOW.

Tony is generally a pretty cautious driver, but we had a 30-minute drive to the hospital, and we made it there in about 15 minutes. Tony said later, “I was so hoping we’d get pulled over so I could dramatically tell the officer that my wife was in labor.”

We arrived at the hospital around 6:30 a.m. Just as I suspected, I was severely dehydrated, so I was given IV fluids. I was also having a remarkably fast labor. I dilated from 4 cm to 7 cm in under an hour. Because of the speed of my labor and the extreme fatigue and dehydration from the stomach flu, I was not managing my pain well. I was shaking pretty violently — I’m not sure if it was because of the pain or because of the fatigue and dehydration.

Despite my hopes for an unmedicated birth, I asked for an epidural. Tony and my midwife remained confident that I could do this without it. I knew that I couldn’t. I was just too weak from the illness, the dehydration, and the fact that I hadn’t eaten in over a day.

There are many things that contributed to my decision to go ahead with the epidural, but the biggest reason was the speed of my labor. I’d already reached 7 cm before I requested the medication, and my labor was moving along like a freight train. One of my biggest fears about the epidural was that it would stall labor, which would require labor augmentation drugs, which could lead to fetal distress, which could lead to a C-section. Since I was already at 7 cm and moving so fast, I knew I was pretty unlikely to need further intervention beyond the epidural. So I went for it.

I received a very low dose epidural. I was still able to feel my contractions, but the pain subsided enough that I could focus. I finally stopped shaking. The IV fluids began to reverse my dehydration, and that gave me a little strength.

Honestly, though? The biggest source of my strength during labor despite my weakened, ill state was an incredible desire to get this baby OUT. I was so done being pregnant and so ready to meet my baby. I knew the ordeal of pregnancy was almost over, and I was willing to do anything it took to get to the finish line as quickly as possible.

We had called my mom when we first headed to the hospital. She lives an hour and a half away, but she figured she had some time to get up and moving. Three hours later, I was 10 cm, and she hadn’t arrived.

When my midwife told me it was time to start pushing, I asked how long we had. She told me, “First time moms can push up to 2 hours. Your mom has some time.”

Fifteen minutes later, my midwife leaned over to Tony and said, “Just how important is it that her mom get here? Because this baby is coming fast.”

Thankfully, my mom arrived a few minutes after that. Just thirty minutes later, I was holding my little boy. Two hours of pushing? Pfft. No thanks. I got him out in 45 minutes.

From the start of my contractions to Judah’s birth, my labor lasted under four hours. Yikes! Thankfully, I required absolutely no intervention beyond the epidural. However, I do not recommend fast labor. It is incredibly intense. If I had a choice, I would have added another four hours or so to space the contractions out a little and give me some time to prepare myself.

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end here. But typing with a baby in my lap isn’t so easy, so I suppose now is a good time to take a break. More on Judah’s exciting first days later!


So I bet when I didn’t post yesterday, some of you wondered if my next post would be an adorable picture of my baby. Especially since Sunday night was the full moon.

HA. Nope. Still pregnant! Despite my wishing, hoping, and guessing that he’d come yesterday sometime.

We had a lovely weekend that included an early Thanksgiving celebration with Tony’s family. They came to us since I’ll be too close to my due date this weekend to travel several hours from home. Tony made the most delicious Thanksgiving dinner, and I once again reminded myself what a good move it was to marry a man who can cook (take note, single girls).

I’ve been having irregular contractions on and off since Sunday evening. In fact, I honestly thought I’d be heading to the hospital early Sunday morning when they suddenly fizzled out. Boo.

The contractions returned throughout the day yesterday, but stopped again in the late afternoon. So Tony and I took a long walk, and then we went to 25 cent wings night in the hopes that the old wives’ tale about spicy foods and labor holds some truth (it does not in my case).

Hopefully these contractions are a good sign that things are progressing, and the baby will be here sometime before his due date. I know this week is probably asking too much, but I’ve already eaten Thanksgiving dinner so I’d be totally okay with spending the holiday in the hospital if it means leaving with my baby. But really, I’ll be okay with it as long as he comes before December 9th.

I hope he’s reading this.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already, head over to this post and make a guess about when he’ll arrive.

So close yet so far away

Today I’m 37 weeks pregnant. That means I’m medically considered “full term.” At this point, baby is pretty much done with all of his major development. For the next few weeks, he’ll just be gaining weight.

Since big babies run in both of our families and rough estimates from my midwives have already determined he’s likely on the large side, I’d really rather he didn’t stick around too long to gain too much weight.

I figured now would be a good time for all of my lovely readers to make some guesses! Here’s some information to help you:

  • I’ve only had two ultrasounds — a very early one around 9 or 10 weeks, and an anatomy scan at 18 weeks which pretty clearly showed a boy. But I guess we won’t be 100% sure until he’s born. (Sure hoping it’s a boy, though, or a girl who really likes blue and green.)
  • Tony was close to 10 pounds at birth, and I’m pretty sure he was born after 40 weeks. I was born on my due date, and I weighed roughly 8 and a half pounds.
  • My belly has measured exactly 2 weeks ahead consistently since they started measuring at around 20 weeks.
  • My original due date was December 5 based on measurements taken during the initial ultrasound. I’ve been told this is a pretty accurate way to estimate due dates, but I felt like the dates were off, so I talked them into pushing my due date up to December 9 to avoid an early induction.
  • *TMI alert* At my appointment last week (11 days ago), I was 2 cm dilated, 80% effaced, and the baby was at -1 station (almost completely dropped). In the past week, changes in his movement patterns and increased pain and pressure lead me to believe he’s dropped even lower. My midwife at this week’s appointment felt my belly from the outside, and said it feels like he’s pretty locked in, so I’m guessing he’s at 0 or lower at this point (completely dropped and in position for birth).
  • Most babies are not born on their due dates. He could come at any time between 37 and 42 weeks. My midwives won’t let my pregnancy go past 42 weeks, so December 23 is the latest he can be born.
  • I plan to let baby come on his own without any induction methods unless it becomes medically necessary, which is unlikely unless I go all the way to 42 weeks.
  • The full moon this month is this Sunday, November 21.

Here are my guesses:

Gender: Boy
Birthday: November 22
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Weight: 8 pounds, 2 oz.
Length: 19 inches

I think that’s more wishful thinking than actual guesses, though. :) Now make your guesses!

Photo by photosavvy

I think I might be nesting

One of the most noticeable pregnancy symptoms I’ve faced (one of them) is extreme fatigue. I was told myths about a burst of energy at some point in the second trimester. I never experienced it. As my due date rapidly approaches (21 days!), I’ve been wondering if I’d experience the pre-labor burst of energy accompanied by the “nesting” urge.

While the extra energy has yet to arrive, the nesting instinct is in full force. I just take lots of breaks (and naps) in between getting things ready.

Last week, Tony came home from work to find me knee deep in piles and piles of baby laundry. Clothing, bedding, towels, blankets, all of it. He asked, “Is this a bored thing or is it a nesting thing?” At this point, I don’t really know the difference. I’m constantly adding new things to my to-do list, but most days I’m lucky if I have the energy to check off one or two things.

I guess the last couple weeks I’ve come closer to a “burst” of energy than I have in the entire 9 months I’ve been pregnant. The baby laundry is washed and organized in his closet and dresser, the diapers are pre-washed (despite the fact that we probably won’t need those until a few weeks after the baby is born), and as of last night my hospital bags are finally packed.

Yesterday I woke up, looked at my floors, and decided they needed to be mopped. We have a Swiffer WetJet that we normally use to keep the floors clean. But no. Yesterday the Swiffer would not do. The floors were dirty, and they required the kind of mopping that can only be accomplished with a bucket, scrubber, and a lot of elbow grease.

So I filled up a bucket, painfully lowered my 9-months pregnant self to the floor, and scrubbed both bathrooms and the kitchen. On my hands and knees.

An hour later when my lower back was screaming at me in angry pain, I regretted the decision. But my floors are clean! You know, in case I decide to let my newborn infant roll around on the bathroom floor and/or lick it. People do that, right?

I better make sure the toilet bowl is thoroughly disinfected in case he wants to drink some toilet water. You can never be too prepared!

Photo by robertvega

Seeing a midwife does not mean I’m giving birth in a hut in the woods

One of the funniest things I’ve noticed throughout my pregnancy is how little people know about midwives — especially young people who haven’t yet considered having children and older people who gave birth during a time when hospital births and obstetricians were pretty much the only option in the United States.

Midwives are still much less common than obstetricians in the United States — in 2003 only 8% of births were attended by midwives. That’s likely gone up in the past 7 years as natural birth has become increasingly popular, but the majority of births are still attended by obstetricians. This leads to a lot of misconceptions about midwives.

I don’t know if it’s because the word sounds New Agey or what, but when I tell people I’m seeing a midwife, they often make the following assumptions:

  • I am planning a homebirth.
  • I am somehow opposed to modern medicine.
  • I’m taking a great risk with my health and the health of a baby by refusing the care of a doctor.
  • I’m a crazy hippie lady who wants to give birth in a hut in the woods.

None of the above assumptions is true.

I’m sure most of you reading this are quite familiar with midwives and what they do, because I have smart readers. But I just want to clarify for my own sanity.

Midwives are modern care providers. They are highly educated nurse practitioners who happen to specialize in child birth and female reproductive health. Instead of medical school, they attend a graduate program in midwifery — a form of medical school condensed to include specialized education in caring for pregnant women and female reproductive health. Because they’re not learning a variety of specialties, their education is shorter, but still comprehensive.

Midwives typically have a different style than obstetricians. Because they are nurses and birth attendants, they often stay with patients throughout the labor rather than showing up to catch the baby at the end. (I’m sure there are obstetricians that also do this, but it’s less common.)

Midwives are also more likely to encourage natural birth practices such as unmedicated birth, but that doesn’t mean they’re not qualified or capable of administering pain medication during birth if you choose to have it. Choosing a midwife does not limit you to a natural birth, but if you want a natural birth, choosing a midwife can make it easier for you to achieve it.

Choosing a midwife also doesn’t mean you’ll be giving birth outside of the hospital. Most midwives have hospital privileges.

Midwives also deliver at freestanding birth centers and some do home births. Freestanding birth centers are sterile, modern medical facilities that are often dressed up to provide a more homey atmosphere than a hospital. They are not huts in the woods. Women who choose freestanding birth centers always have an emergency back-up plan in place to transfer them to a hospital in a hurry in the event of complications. However, complications are rare, because midwives generally only care for women with low-risk pregnancies.

Midwives cannot perform surgery, so if an emergency c-section is required, a surgeon will need to perform it. The good news is, all midwives are affiliated with obstetricians, which means there is likely a doctor on call within their practice who can take over if you become high risk or a c-section becomes necessary. Because they’re unable to perform the surgery themselves, midwives are less likely to push for unnecessary c-sections.

I don’t think home birth is for me, but I would have liked to use the birth center affiliated with my midwives’ practice. Unfortunately, it wasn’t covered by my insurance, so I’ll be giving birth in the hospital.

So you see, midwives aren’t just for crazy hippie ladies who want to birth in a hut. It’s just another option for prenatal care and delivery.

If you’re considering getting pregnant in the near future, and you’re not familiar with midwifery, definitely look into it as an option for you! I have been so happy with the care I’ve received from my midwives. It’s possible that you’ll decide to stick with an obstetrician for your prenatal care, but you should be aware of all of your options in case it turns out that a midwife would better suit your needs.

If you suffered complications during your birth and you’re facing a medical negligence claim, be sure to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Photo by jonlarge