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Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Empty Dresser

My room is more crowded than normal. 

There is a new dresser next to my bed and tubs of baby clothes/cloth diapers stacked along one wall.

Michael keeps nicely asking me to wash all the clothes and put them away.  "You love looking through it all and putting it away."

He is right.  I do love the art of nesting.  I did it with Johnathon the night before my water broke.  Then I did it with Gabriel about 35 weeks and Bella about 36 weeks. 

I am 29 weeks right now and the only thing that goes through my mind is how I don't want to have to empty the full dresser out if something happens and I don't get to keep her.

Morbid?  Probably.      Do I have the right to have the thought?  Yes. 

I haven't ever personally lost one this far in pregnancy, but I know people who have. 

There are many, many perks to being a part of the birth community.  Knowing things such as loss is not one of them.

I am terrified I will wash, carefully fold, and put away all of this baby girl's clothes just to find out something has happened to her. 

I know I shouldn't think like that.  Michael reminds me often that I should be happy and think of only positive things.  I try and try, but I just can't. 

So I will do my best not to get emotional when I buy the baby detergent and unscented diaper soap for her tomorrow.  Even something that small brings out my anxiety. 

Using those detergents and putting her clothes away will have to wait for another day. least I have bought stuff for her.  That is a step.

Monday, September 17, 2012

That Which Reminds Me Of Deployment

Michael has field for the next two-ish weeks.  This is our first field experience and we are not sure what to expect.  Those two things alone bring up some anxiety. 

When Michael left for deployment we were unsure of where he was going, what he would be doing, when we would be able to speak to him again, if he would be safe, and when he would be home.

Now I do know when Michael will be home, I know where abouts he will be and we know he will be safe.  So the anxiety isn't anywhere close to as bad as it was when he left for deployment. 

There are the little things that trigger those emotions that only deployment or a long separation can bring up.

The truck is out front, but he isn't home.
I have put away the last of his laundry until he gets back.
I can't text him and expect a reply.
He won't be home for breakfast, lunch or supper.
I will be sleeping and waking up without him.

The kids have already commented that he would be home for breakfast by now. 

Two weeks isn't that long.  None of us are worried about it and we aren't sitting on the couch in tears like we were when he deployed.  You *can* tell though that the stress from deployment is not far enough away for him to be gone again.  At least in our hearts.

There is also the added thoughts that this will be the longest we have ever been apart when I have been pregnant.  I do have comfort that I have great friends who will help me if something comes up, and that I would be able to reach him if there was a true emergency. 

We do have much joy to expect when he gets back.  It looks like he will actually be here for Bella's birthday for the first time in her life.  Well except for the day she was born.  He did catch her after all.  :)

This is just another learning experience for us.  He will be going to field a lot next year and will be gone longer and a lot further away.  We are already preparing for another deployment.  He will miss a lot of Sarah's first year.

But we will cross that emotionally charged bridge when we come to it.....

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Silent Cry

Sonograms for me are not fun.  Since we found out about Sunny by sono, I have a bad habit of getting myself all worked up before I have one.

Sounds nothing like me right?  ;)

The fact is that I love having them, but I fear something will be wrong.  Especially if they are before I can feel the baby moving daily.

I noticed, starting even with Sunny before we knew she was gone, that I have a tendency to silently cry while watching the screen.  What a miracle it is. Out of the love my husband and I have for each other my body has grown a baby.  Isn't that amazing?

In the early sonos they look like shrimp or an alien.  I still cry.  As soon as I see a heartbeat, and especially if they are moving around, tears start streaming down my face. 

They are tears of joy, relief, and a bit of grief over Sunny.  Even though it has been almost eight years since we were told about our precious first child, I still grieve.  Michael does to in his own way.  Sunny was a child to us.  Not an embryo or what ever she was at that point in medical books.

I remember very clearly having a sono with Bella and watching her move and hearing that all was well with her.  Also hearing she was a girl.  I have a special connection with the woman who did her sonos.  She also did Sunny's sonos.  She remembered.  By that time she had done two other sonos on me for Bella.  Both times being happy right along with me that the baby was still ok even though I was bleeding heavily.

So we went for our sono Monday.  This was the only time we could get in before Michael goes back to New York.  We were worried that because I am only 17 1/2 weeks along that we wouldn't be able to check out all of the anatomy correctly and that we wouldn't be able to see if it is a boy or a girl. 

I did not care for the sonographer.  It isn't her fault that she doesn't know that certain phrases or being negative at all will cause me great worry.  She did though.  Something about her saying the exact thing they said before they told us about Sunny turned my stomach.  Blech.

Anyway....the baby is great.  Not measuring small at all like she felt she had to tell us before she measured.  My placenta is over my cervix right now, so if everyone would please, please pray and send good thoughts that it would move away as my uterus grows I would be happy.  I would like to avoid another c-section with everything I have if at all possible. 

She wasn't for sure but her guess right now is that we are having another GIRL!!!!  I am going back in a month to have another look and check everything out again.  We are thrilled to pieces and will not skip a beat if she becomes a he the next time we look.  :)  Healthy baby makes all else wonderful.

Her name, if she stays a girl, will be Sarah Margaret.  Michael's grandmother's name was Margaret and we love the name Sarah.  Everyone keep praying for use please.  :)

We are on vacation right now, so my posts will be far apart.  I will write when I can.  Love to everyone. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Those Who Serve Our Country, Have Very Little Freedom

I never really thought about what life was like for soldiers (all military really) when they were home.  I knew life would be unspeakably hard while deployed, but little did I know the freedoms they give up while at home too.

These men and women are fighting for our country.  I am not going to get into what I think about the policies or the war.  If you know me well you know how I feel about it all.  Put the war aside for a minute.  These people make the decision to serve this country.  They do what they are told because that is their job.  Some fight hard and lose much.  Michael, thank God, did not have to do that.  He will be forever changed by the things he saw and the ramp ceremonies he participated in.  A Ramp Ceremony is a solemn memorial for a soldier killed in a war zone. The ceremony can take place at an airfield near or in a war zone, where an airplane is usually waiting nearby to take the soldier's remains home.  

We have been not-so-patiently waiting for Michael's vacation plans to be approved.  The army has the right to deny Michael the ability to go home for vacation.  Think about that for a second.

I get why they have this in place.  I know there are people who shouldn't be traveling and those who have screwed up repeatedly shouldn't be given the same perks as those who do their job everyday.  Michael doesn't fall into either of these categories.

He works hard, does what he is told right the first time and is not a flight risk.  As much as I would like to go home and stay there, he will honor his contract until the second it is up.  He is just *that* guy.

There is no reason for him to be denied, but the waiting is getting to me specifically.  He is thrilled about the thought of going home.  Even if it is only for 10 days.  The fact that he is thrilled and making plans, makes me want to make plans and be thrilled right with him.  :)

We all miss home.  We all miss our families and friends.  We miss the fun, food and freedom that Texas represents to us.  We are all excited.

So when you think about the military think about everything that they go through during daily life.  They are technically not allowed to have stubble on their face or get tattoos.  They are limited to where they can go without written permission.  Everything in their lives can change with a moments notice.  Plans can be cancelled, birthdays can and will be missed, and vacation plans hang in the balance while the higher ranks make their decisions.

They are only free to do what the army allows. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Power Of Words

I am in my 5th pregnancy.  I have had 3 live births.  I have had one miscarriage.  These are my stats at the OB's office.

On occasion something during a pregnancy will throw me for a loop.  Generally I know how this works for me.  Doesn't mean I don't panic when something that has happened before happens.  Like when I bled this time.  That is unsettling no matter what pregnancy I am in or how many times I have gone through it.

We hired a midwife at the beginning of Bella's pregnancy.  My choices of who would come out to our house at the time were very limited.  I was ok with our decision until she started, very early on, explaining to me all the reasons that she had to transfer people out of her care.  Then she would tell me how I had those same issues.

One thing specifically still stays with me now.  
The midwife speaking to a midwife in training about me while I was lying on the table "Wow!!  Look at her diastasis recti!!! I have only seen one that bad before!  I had to transfer her care out because there was no way that baby would be positioned to come out ever!!"

Diastasis Recti is also known as abdominal separation.  It happens a lot to women when pregnant.  Mine is probably because I have never had strong stomach muscles and I have been overweight a long, long time.

Now I probably had it with Johnathon and Gabriel, but no one pointed it out to me like she did.  After she said that I became so fearful about it.  I looked up everything I could on it and found that it can cause a baby to not be in the right position and can make pushing the baby out harder.

The way she had said it, the way she had made me feel, added fear to an already fearful pregnancy.  Just a few weeks later, after I tried to talk to her about what she was saying to me and how she was making me feel, she ended our professional relationship when I was half was through my pregnancy.

At the time I was distraught.  It all worked out for the very best in the end.  :)  Michael was everything I needed.

So a few days ago I sat up a little in bed and saw my stomach muscles separate.  The fear washed over me again.  I could hear her words and how she made me feel.  I have spent long hours since then trying to calm the panic in my head and researching, again, how to make it less of an issue.  

Michael keeps telling me everything will be ok and my favorite midwife (in Texas, God bless her soul) tells me all will be fine.  Even so, that midwife's words keep playing in my head.

Think before you speak.  Try not to plant a seed in someone that will haunt them right away or later.  Choose your words carefully.  Everything you say has the opportunity to build someone up or break someone down.  Especially when they are in an emotional place.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Moment I Realized She's My Friend

I didn't really want to have a girl.  Any healthy baby would have made me thrilled to pieces, but I wasn't looking to have a girl.

I have friends that have fought through wanting a specific gender and won.  I love their stories.  I couldn't be happier for them.  For my third baby I really just wanted another boy.

Boys are fun.   They are loud and messy and crazy and love football.  I love watching them learn to play with trucks and balls.  They are my thing.  I grew tired of people assuming that because we had two boys and I was pregnant again that we "had to be trying for a girl".  Right....because that is the *only* reason we would love this baby.  ugh.

At least I thought they were.  

Michael and I really believe that Sunny was a girl.  I think that made it hard to hope for a girl for some reason.  We hoped Johnathon would be a boy.  Michael wanted Gabriel to be a girl.  Michael gave up on wanting anything particular for our third.  I was always really just happy to be getting a baby.  Healthy, happy and whole was all I wanted.

So when we were with Mary, at the sono place, for the third time with our third pregnancy, we didn't have any expectations.  She said it was a girl.  Michael couldn't believe it.  I silently cried like I do at all of my sonos.  Both of us asked her if she was sure.  She just laughed.  She is good at her job.

It took us a while to get used to pink and purple instead of blue and green.  She is a hoot.  We love our Isabella with everything in our bodies.  Life wouldn't be the same with out our little girl.

Yesterday I received some maternity clothes that my mother and sister bought for me.  (Hi Mom and Mary Beth!!!  Thank you!!!)  I was trying them on to show Michael.  One shirt didn't fit my chest, the shorts are perfect and a skirt and shirt might be a little case you wondered.  :)   

Bella walked up and said "oooohhh mama.  What those clothes?"
I said "They are clothes for while I have the baby in my belly."
I had on a shirt that had a gather at the bottom and a skirt.
Bella "Mama what this? *points to gather in the shirt*  Oh mama!!!  You have a tutu like me!!!!!  Mama spin around!!!!"
*I spin around*
Bella "Oh mama you so pretty.  I spin in my tutu now too."  

Every skirt is a tutu to her.  :)  She is my friend.  She is the girlfriend I will have in my house for at least the next 16-ish years. 

I will cherish every moment I have with our little girl.

Even though I swoon at the thought of getting to put dinosaur shoes on another little boy who will be throwing balls and making siren noises, there might be a little part of me that hopes this one is another girl.  

I still don't do pink.  Purple is an awesome color though.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Want To Throw My Doppler Away

It is an ok doppler, but just not for me.

I decided after a week of trying not to listen to the baby, trying to have faith, that I would break down and listen for my peace of mind.  

No peace of mind here.

We tried forever to find the baby.  After a lot of pain (it hurts my scarred area), crying and not being a very nice pregnant lady we heard what sounded like the thump, thump, thump of the baby.  Didn't get to actually hear the baby's heartbeat.  Just the "base" thumping.  

It was really frustrating.  I should have just forked out the money for a really good one.  It would have been worth the reassurance to know that I didn't have to stress about using the doppler when I truly needed to hear the baby.

Plus then I could use the doppler for when I catch babies.  ;)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Weird Time In Pregnancy

I find myself almost forgetting I am pregnant.  I haven't bled in a while and I am not all that sickly.  Thank God.  The baby is still too small to feel, yet I can feel stretching on my c-section scar area.  It is a weird place to be.

I remember feeling this way with Johnathon.  His pregnancy was blissfully uneventful until the wreck at the very end.  No bleeding and not much sickness.   Once the sickness stopped I was just there until I could feel him.  

With Gabriel and Bella I was sick or bleeding pretty bad until 17 weeks.  So I really only had a few weeks of calm before I could feel them fluttering around in there.  The relief was amazing.

I am so thankful every time I go to the bathroom and there is no blood.  I am thankful when I get that twinge of sickness to remind me.  I am thankful that right now I am not having many symptoms of pregnancy.  It just takes some getting used to.

I find myself wanting to use the doppler twice a week, which is so much better than everyday like I used to with other pregnancies.  It has been almost a week since I used it because it can be loud and Bella has been asleep before we have had a chance to.  The worry creeps in often.  I try, as always, to push it back down.  

So for now I will celebrate this calm in the pregnancy and pray that everything continues to be ok.  Find the joy right?  :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer and Mondays

So it is officially Summer for my kids.  The public school kids still have another week or so to go before they get out of school though.  We had a wonderful busy weekend filled with friends, fun and garage sales.  :)

I wouldn't trade these times for anything.  Sitting in our friend's front yard watching the kids run through the slip-n-slide over and over.  Lots of fun and great conversations.  Michael being right by my side.  It was awesome.

Until Monday morning when I realize how much catching up I need to do.  

You see I have OCD a bit and really like to have my house clean.  I go through this every year during the nicer weather and I have to readjust my expectations of what my house will look like.  It just takes me a while to get there.

My parents and sister sent some wonderful stuff to us last week including maternity clothes that I am going to be needing soon.  I am so thankful for the gifts.  The only issue is doing all the laundry and finding places for everything they sent.  That is on my list of things to do today since we were having fun all weekend.

I have like four loads of laundry to wash, dry and put away.  I hate laundry.  I try to find the good in it, but I just struggle.  I will be joyful...I will be joyful.  :)  I have a huge laundry basket full of items that need to find places.  The floors are covered with mud and grass from our crazy weekend.  

I am just behind.  I am way more tired this pregnancy so far than I wish I would be.  I fizzle out around 10am and can't find my groove to keep working around the house.  I just need to be ok with it all.  There is nothing I can do about being tired.

I am thankful for the baby in my belly.  I am thankful for my kids who are here to make all the messes.  I am thankful to have Michael home.  He is an amazing help.  

So today, Monday, after a summer weekend....I will be thankful and try not to cuss when I am putting away the 5th load of laundry.  :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

That Stinking Table

Last year, right after Michael was deployed, I bought a table that we had agreed on.  We have a table, but the screws to the chairs went missing years ago.  Michael worked hard to find screws to replace them, but those were misplaced in the move up here.

So we bought a new table.  I got the extremely heavy thing home, got it in the house and it was broken.  I then had to bother our neighbor, who I barely knew at the time, to help me get it back in the truck to take it back.  Then he was kind enough to help me get it back in the house.

It took me days to get all the chairs and the table together.  I had to ask a neighbor that I don't like being associated with to help me get the 350lb table upright.  It was a mess and such a pain.  When I got it up I was sort of happy with it but not thrilled.

The chairs seemed cheap even though we had paid good money for this table.  The table was ok, but I decided quickly that I didn't like that it was counter height.  The kids have all fallen off a chair while not paying attention.  The table then started chipping.  If I put a plate down on it there would be a mark.  

When all this started, I was going through a rough time with Michael being gone.  I made my way to Texas without thinking about the table again.  When Michael got home I asked him if he could try to put together our original table since I had found some of the screws.  We made the decision to try to sell the "new" table and go back to our old one.  

Lesson learned here?  New isn't always better.  The grass isn't always greener.  Things are made cheaply now.  

So we are cleaning it up, taking it apart, and asking the same sweet neighbor (who has become a wonderful family friend) to come help Michael get it into the garage.  Praying someone needs it and buys it from us.  

Here's to fixing things that are not working, instead of moving on.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Get Rid Of The Stuff

I have been working for over two years now to get rid of the junk in our house.  After we were rudely told that we had too much stuff, by someone I would actually like to thank now, we were offended.  At first.  Then we realized that they were right and we started getting rid of the stuff.

We had lived in our house for nearly three years and had three kiddos by then.  I saved everything "just in case" we might need it.  It took over our attic, garage and every closet we had in our house.   When we had to quickly move to Wylie and Michael was stuck doing all of the moving because I was two to three weeks postpartum, he told me we had to purge.  I was upset.  I didn't want to get rid of baby items that we could eventually use.  I liked all of our stuff.  I also watched the stress and pain on his face when he was moving everything.  I knew it needed to be done.

So we started going through everything.  We would take a box, go through it, and decided if we could sell it, throw it away or if it just had to stay.  It took us a few weeks, since Bell was so tiny, but when we finished we felt lighter.  It was a good thing.  My parents and sister had a garage sale for us and we were able to make some much needed money from the items we sold.  

Then Michael joined the army and we decided to move in with his parents.  As we were packing all of our stuff, we would go through things here and there.  Again trying to get rid of as much as we could.

Michael and I would go to storage and go through boxes, decide on furniture that needed to go and take boxes back to the house with us to go through.  We donated lots of items, got more for another garage sale and threw away things that just shouldn't have been kept in the first place.  I continued to do the same when Michael was in BCT (basic).

A lot of the decision to get rid of the stuff after he joined the army is the weight limit they have for moving household goods.  Typically soldiers in the lower ranks are either single, have a spouse or maybe have one kiddo.  Now, because of the economy, more married people with kids are joining and making it work with the allowed amount.  We are allowed 8,000lbs.  Seems like a lot right?  It can be depending on how much furniture you have.  Some people have full bedroom suites with dressers and such for each bedroom.  That weight adds up fast.  Tools, clothes and books are heavy.  

We worked hard to get under the allowed amount and we did it.  We came in with 4,700 lbs for five people.  Since then I have done two more rounds of purging.  We have added things to our house.  Tv, bed, Bella's bed, entertainment center and such.  We have tried to keep track of how much it has weighed too try to stay under.  If you go over you have to pay so much per pound.  Not something we want to have any part of.  :)

I participated in a good friend's group this year with the goal of getting rid of 2012 things in the year 2012.  I have gotten rid of 2401 so far.  Actually I need to add four things to that official count.  

We go through each room in our house once a month to make sure we haven't missed anything that just needs to go.  The only things that I don't use the "if you haven't used it or worn it in six months get rid of it" rule is with maternity clothes, regular clothes when I am pregnant, precious baby items that I can not part with and our one box of memory items.  

Michael and I share a tub for our memories.  We go through it along with everything else and we haven gotten rid of things when we feel we can.  He has items from vacations and a bank his grandfather made him.  I have items from my grandmothers and my hospital socks from the day I had Sunny.  I just recently gave Bella the Sunshine Care Bear that Michael had given me after Sunny.  I cried when I gave it to her, remembering when and why I got it, but seeing her playing with it is precious.

Letting go of stuff is good.  It makes you feel lighter.  More free. there anything you can give up?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day 1 of Deployment Revisited

It has been a year since Michael left for his first deployment.  I wasn't sure how I would feel about this day.  I thought that I would be able to look back and smile.  Be able to be happy that we made it through the deployment.  To be thankful for all that we have made it through.  I am all those things, but I am also emotional.

Blame it on the pregnancy maybe, but I cry every time I think about the day he left.   How I felt that day is burned into my memory forever.  

I remember how the kids felt and acted.  I remember Michael being unable to fake a smile.  The way he didn't smell like himself because of the new uniform.  The quietness of Michael holding Bella as she slept on his shoulder.  I knew his arms were tired, but he wouldn't put her down.  The boys tried to play, but couldn't find their fun.  What it felt like to watch the bus drive out of sight.    How I shook uncontrollably.  The feeling of getting home and knowing he wouldn't be there for a long time.  Instinctively watching the clock around the time he would be getting home, and remembering he wouldn't be coming home.  Explaining to Bella every morning, for weeks, how daddy wouldn't be home for a while.  How wrong it all felt. 

I am not cut out for this life.  I won't ever be. I am ok with that.  We are finding that neither of us are cut out for this.  I envy people who are.  Those who can bounce back after their love is sent away.  Those who can find the good in the situation and find a way to go on.  

So June 7 will be forever etched in my memory as a day of sadness.  Just as March 17 will always be a day of immense happiness. 

Take a moment every once in a while and remember that military troops are constantly being deployed.  No matter what you hear on the news about the war being over or ending soon, they are still being sent over.  Right now the tours in the Army are nine months with no r&r.  So for nine months they will not see their loved ones in person.  The Army could change this at any given moment.  They have added to people's tours before and they could again.  Pray that they don't.  

If you would like to read the post I wrote about the day Michael left click here.  

Thank you all for helping me through this life so far.  I am eternally thankful.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

I am going to talk about c-sections today.

If you are sensitive to posts about c-sections or birth, you might want to skip this one.

I keep being reminded that I don't need to rationalize my feelings or thoughts, but this time I think I do.  This post is not to offend anyone or make anyone feel bad.  If you had a c-section that you are happy with, this post is not for you.  If you had a c-section because of the health of you or your baby, this isn't for you.  If you had a c-section because of infertility or loss and you just wanted a live baby, this post is *not* for you.

Now with that being said . . . I had a c-section with Johnathon.  My experience was traumatic.  I don't use that word lightly.  I know friends who have had way more traumatic experiences than I have, but to me, my c-section wasn't a good time.

It was decided, after 28 1/2 hours of painful induced labor, that I needed a c-section for "failure to progress".  That was changed later in my records to "brow presentation".  I was eventually able to come to terms with that birth because I was told there was no other way for him to come out.  "Ok" I thought.  "It wasn't my fault."  There wasn't any other way for him to be born right???  That is what they said.  I had infertility issues, a painful loss and wanted a live baby.  I probably would have let them cut off my legs to have Johnathon.  I didn't realize that he *could* have been born another way until I met the precious lady I call my midwife.  Only mine.  No one else's.  :)

I met her at a childbirth educator class and she told me that she had homebirths with her last two births and one was brow presentation.  What?????  I was interested and crushed all at the same time.  I knew there wasn't anything that I could do about J's birth now, but I wanted to know more.

Anyway....that is another story all together.  Back to the c-section.  When they told me that I would have to have a c-section I said ok, after fighting it for about four hours.  Never was I told any of the risks or complications that might occur.  I knew some of them.  I had tried to educate myself to the best of my ability.  I knew having a child surgically removed from one's belly wasn't the best way of doing it, but I didn't know the half of it.  

Do you know what informed consent is?  I didn't.  Informed consent ensures that patients or clients are aware of the risks involved in a particular treatment or procedure.

Basically doctors are supposed to tell you all of the risks of any procedure they want to do to you.  I wasn't told any.

What are the risks of having a c-section?  They are many.
 The information below was found on
  • Infection: Infection can occur at the incision site, in the uterus and in other pelvic organs such as the bladder.
  • Hemorrhage or increased blood loss: There is more blood loss in a cesarean delivery than with a vaginal delivery. This can lead to anemia or a blood transfusion.
  • Injury to organs: Possible injury to organs such as the bowel or bladder
  • Adhesions: Scar tissue may form inside the pelvic region causing blockage and pain. Adhesions can also lead to future pregnancy complications such as placenta previa or placental abruption.
  • Extended hospital stay: After a cesarean, the normal stay in the hospital is 3-5 days after the birth, if there are no complications.
  • Extended recovery time: The amount of time needed for recovery after a cesarean can range from weeks to months. Extended recovery can have an impact on bonding time with your baby (1 in 14 report incisional pain six months or more after surgery4).
  • Reactions to medications: There can be a negative reaction to the anesthesia given during a cesarean or negative reaction to pain medication given after the procedure.
  • Risk of additional surgeries: Includes possible hysterectomy, bladder repair or another cesarean.
  • Maternal mortality: The maternal mortality rate for a cesarean is higher than with a vaginal birth.
  • Emotional reactions: Some women who have had a cesarean report feeling negatively about their birth experience and may have trouble with initial bonding with their baby.

Risks and Complications for the Baby:

  • Premature birth: If gestational age was not calculated correctly, a baby delivered by cesarean could be delivered too early and have low birth weight.
  • Breathing problems: When delivered by cesarean, a baby is more likely to have breathing and respiratory problems. Some studies show the existence of greater need for assistance with breathing and immediate care after a cesarean than with a vaginal delivery.
  • Low APGAR scores: Low APGAR scores can be the result of anesthesia, fetal distress before the delivery or lack of stimulation during delivery (Vaginal birth provides natural stimulation to the baby while in the birth canal). Babies born by cesarean are 50% more likely to have lower APGAR scores than those born vaginally.
  • Fetal injury: Very rarely, the baby may be nicked or cut during the incision.
 Researchers have also talked about an increase in miscarriage risk after a c-section.  That is a lot to think about before having an elective c-section.  Right?  

All I am saying is, again, you should educate yourself about everything before subjecting your body and your baby to something that could potentially be harmful.  I am very thankful for c-sections when they are needed.  I know many women with real medical reasons why a c-section was indicated and everyone is thankful that the option was available.  

Having a c-section is major abdominal surgery.  It isn't something that should be taken lightly.  It shouldn't be used so a doctor can make it home for supper, used as an elective procedure because a sonogram past 24 weeks says the baby will be huge, or because a mother doesn't want to feel pain during labor.  

It should be used selectively to save lives.  Period.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I am a Pregnancy, Birth, Breastfeeding and Postpartum Nerd

If you haven't already noticed, I am a nerd.  Specifically about birth and everything having to do with it.  It is my passion.  I met a midwife when I was about 13 or 14.  I never knew that they existed and knew as soon as I learned about what she did I wanted to do that.  I also wanted to be a mom and had an interest in photography.  Still do.  :)

I tried to become a midwife when I got older.  I was told that since I didn't have children no one would want to hire me.  So I should wait until I had kids.  Well for someone who was told I would never have kids, this was a kick in the bottom to say the least.  I gave up on that dream then.

Fast forward many years and because of my first two births I went through training to become a Birth Doula and Childbirth Educator.  I loved it.  I didn't work as much as I wanted to, but I still adored it.  Learning all about the process was so enlightening.  I thought I knew a lot, but I had no clue.

After having Bella, I stopped being a Doula.  It didn't seem right to me anymore.  I knew how birth could be.  I knew it could be healing instead of damaging.  I knew that the things that doctors and some midwives would say were false.  I couldn't sit and watch the train wreck anymore.

Do not get me wrong...being a Doula is fantastic if you have a servants heart and wish to comfort and mother a woman and her family in labor.  I realized that is not my gig.  My gig is working with a mother and family to make her birth as close to how she dreams it will be as possible and to help her understand and deal with the whys after if it didn't happen that way.  That is what I want to do.

I talk about birth a lot in my normal life.  I try to help people as best as I can through any questions they have.  So all this birth talk on my blog isn't just because I am preggo.  :)  It is because it is a passion of mine.  

Oh and that whole midwife thing?  It's gonna happen.  Just give me some time.  Sooner or later I will be catching babies right along side some of my closest friends.  Someday.

Monday, June 4, 2012


We got the doppler in the mail yesterday.  It was delivered Saturday but I was afraid to go get it.  Heck I was afraid to use it once it was in my hands.

We rented a really nice doppler with Johnathon and Gabriel and we were blessed with one to borrow with Bella.  A quick check of the baby's heartbeat can bring beautiful reassurance to someone who worries as I do.  This time we decided to buy one.  It isn't fancy and it will take some getting used to from the others we have used.  It was recommended by someone I love and trust and it was in our price range.  Sold!  :)

Some will want to tell me that the doppler could harm the baby if used to often and so on.  I understand that.  I don't use it everyday.  I don't use it for more time than needed to just find the heartbeat and be reassured.  The chance of a risk is worth it to me.  I would constantly worry if the baby was still alive or not if I didn't have the doppler.  That kind of constant worry isn't good for the baby or me.

Anyway...knowing what I know about dopplers and about my body I knew there was a chance that I wouldn't find or get to hear the heartbeat.  *This* terrified me.  Even though I can tell you why we wouldn't be able to find it, and how it is still early and so on and so on.  It would still bring panic with just the thought of not finding it.  

Fear is a running theme in my pregnancies.  I know it.  Michael knows it.  Everyone now knows it thanks to this blog.  :)  I am not proud of it, but I understand it.  I hope that one day I have enough faith to believe that everything will be ok.  Today is not that day.

We used the doppler yesterday afternoon.  We are pretty sure we heard the heartbeat.  It sounded very far away, but again due to my body and such I am ok with that.  Michael and I smiled and put the doppler away.  Until I need that precious reassurance next time. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

We Are Weirdos

We are weird in our culture and we are ok with that.  :)

We don't vaccinate, go to the doctor that often (if ever), and we homeschool.  Those three things there just touch the surface of our weirdness but it already sets us apart from a lot of people we know. 

Even though we are generally ok with how most people will treat us when they find these things out, sometimes it is just hard to be weird.  Like at the doctors here.  If we were at home there wouldn't be an issue.  We have a wonderful doctor who understands why we do what we do and supports us.  Here?  Not so much.  At all.

We have very, very personal reasons for the decisions we have made.  Some are easier to explain than others.  People either try to understand, totally understand or automatically think we are terrible parents for the choices we make.  Usually we are ok with it all.  Sometimes it wears us thin.

Michael and I have a healthy amount of doubt in the medical community.  We both love learning about medical stuff and would probably both be in the medical field if given the opportunity.  We wouldn't be your typical medical people though that is for sure.  :)

Look at our birth track record.  

Sunny - The doctor I was seeing knew that I was low in progesterone, but didn't think it was important to give me any even after I asked repeatedly.  He was rude and heartless when he told us our baby was gone.  He didn't give me any choice about the d&c.  I guess that isn't all his fault.  I blindly followed what he told me without educating myself.  He did not inform us of complications during the d&c that later caused me terrible pain and sickness.  The nurse eventually told Michael after he called because he was afraid.  No one was human enough to tell me my milk might come in and how to deal with that.  He told me at my month check up that I was still too emotional to have relations with my husband and I should wait a year to try to have another baby.

Johnathon - Was check repeatedly by numerous nurses and doctors after the wreck, which we think might have led to my water breaking early.  I wasn't allowed to walk around after my water had broken even though his head was engaged because of hospital policy at the time.  Every time the doctor checked me I was much less dilated than when the nurses checked me.  I had a terrible experience with stadol.  I was told I was lying by nurses when I was telling them I was having contractions and the monitor wasn't showing them.  My epidural was traumatic and they let it run out while I was being sewn up from my c-section.  I was told in recovery that I would always have to have c-sections and I could only have three children.  A nurse told me that I could never breastfeed Johnathon.

Gabriel - I was induced because I was close to my due date and they wouldn't let me try for a VBAC if I went over.  I was messed with continuously because again the monitor wouldn't show my contractions.  I was bothered by the anesthesiologist constantly about needing to have an epidural.  His actual birth was very scary because no one would tell me what was going on and why they were making me change positions and why so many people were touching me.

Now this is just the bad.  I didn't go into the good things that happened because the good things didn't factor into our decision to change to a homebirth with Bella.  It was the things listed above, the times that we were lied to, left in the dark, or traumatized that led to our decision.   

See how our decisions are made?  We trust.  They let us down continuously.  We educate ourselves and change our minds.  Our birth choices are only one of our decisions that have been overhauled because of our experiences. 

Our way of thinking isn't very different from other choices you make.  If you eat something you don't like, you might try it again just to be sure, but eventually you will just write it off as something you can't stomach.  That is how we feel about most of the medical community.  We just can't stomach it.

So from now on, before you judge, please take a moment to think about the "whys" that would lead to someones decision not to do something that is the norm.  We don't do these things to make you uncomfortable or to buck the system....although it is fun to be different sometimes.  We do them because we have prayed and truly believe this is what is best for our children and our family.

Weird or not, our kids are happy, healthy and whole.  *That* is what matters.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lucky Number 13

I have been a proud member of the Qualls family for almost eight years.  Entering into Michael's family has been such a blessing.  I love them all.

Except for this one little thing.  We joke, but sometimes it seems to be true, that if you are a Qualls you have the worst luck ever.  Seriously.  If it can happen to one of us it will.  

Michael and I have always said that Friday the 13th is a lucky day for us.  The the Qualls family as a whole gets a break on that day from all the bad luck that seems to follow us.  So most of the time we like to say lucky number 13 is our number.

Unless you are talking about pregnancy.

I had the realization a couple of days ago that I was at the same point in my pregnancy that I was with Sunny when she had already passed away and I was just waiting for my d&c.  This made me over emotional.  I don't have a doppler yet to check on the baby.  Usually by this point I have one and when I get nervous I can just check on the baby's heartbeat and go about my day.

Thinking about being at that same point in this pregnancy made me cry.  I couldn't help it.  I can remember the horrible feeling of knowing that our precious, very wanted baby, was gone and all I was carrying around was a shell.  I can remember how we spent that whole day before my d&c.  We were all over at my sister-in-law's house.  We ate snickerdoodle cookies and watched the Summer Olympics.  

I cried all through the last Summer Olympics and I will probably cry all through the next one.  

Over the past couple of days I have been told the same general thing by two of my closest friends, who have suffered much more loss than I have.  They both said something to the extent of "I wish you didn't know what we know."

Such a true statement.  You can't unlearn what you know.  I know that my first baby died in my womb just a couple of days before I was 13 weeks and that the day I turned 13 weeks she was mechanically removed from my body.  I can't forget that or pretend it didn't happen.  I am not healed from that experience.  

Don't get me wrong, with each passing year it gets easier to get through Sunny's day.  The pain is still there, but I don't dread that day like I used to.  The pain comes to the surface much worse when I am pregnant.  Getting through the time when we lost her and making it through her day are all harder when I am worrying about another precious life in my womb.  

I am reminded what we lost.  I am reminded how the experience was anything but healing.  I remember that we are the parents of five babies right this second, not just the three living on Earth and the one growing in my belly.  

So, again, love me where I am.  I really am trying to be normal.  I would love to be one of these women who can go blissfully through their pregnancy never questioning if everything would be ok.  I just can't.  I will be ok with that.  Someday.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Maternity Clothes or Bust!

We took a quick trip to the store that has a bullseye as their sign to look for maternity clothes. I was really disappointed.

When I was pregnant with Johnathon I bought two really nice maternity shirts from there and two pairs of shorts and a pair of jeans from Old....Navy.  That is all I needed with two of my pregnancies. With Bella I didn't really buy anything but I was given a bunch to borrow and to have.

Somewhere along all our moves my shorts and favorite shirts are gone.  I know I didn't get rid of them.  I have no clue where they are.  It is driving me nutso.

So I decided to go try some out.  Now I am a big girl.  I know this and I pick up clothes accordingly.  I tried on a basic t-shirt, a cute dress and a pair of shorts.  I didn't buy anything.

The shirt was way thin and very low cut for my taste.  I could see my bra in the front no matter how I tried to hide it.  The dress was the same way...very low cut and not made for my size bust.  The shorts looked like something a teenager would wear.  Very, very short.

I tend to be modest to the best of my ability.  Mostly because my husband doesn't like my chest hanging out for everyone to see.  To be honest I don't like that either.  Also I am not a skinny girl.  I don't like to flaunt my fat all over the place.  Not my thing at all.  :)

I have looked online at both stores and others and I just can not find what I am looking for.  I wanted a couple of shorts that went almost to my knees, a couple of shirts that you can't see through and that don't show off my chest at all and a couple of skirts.  Should be easy enough.  Right?

Oh well...until I can find something I will just stay with my regular clothes.  They aren't too tight yet.  I know they will be soon though.  Got to give a growing baby room to grow! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Lasting Imprint Of Birth On Fathers

We were hanging out with our great neighbors and we were chatting about our birth experiences.  As I was talking about Johnathon's birth, I tensed up as I always do.  What I didn't expect was the way that Michael tensed up.  I saw his jaw go tight and his hands clench.  I was surprised.

I shouldn't have been though.  Why wouldn't he be bothered by the same things I was?  He had to watch me go through it all.  He had to be helpless off to the side while everything I wanted for my first birth went to pot.  Looking at it from his side, I couldn't imagine being in his shoes.

My friend Jessica was there also, but she hadn't had to listen to me for my entire pregnancy speak about how I wanted this birth to go.  :)  She didn't have to go home with me after and deal with the mess afterwards when it didn't go how I wanted. 

I didn't want much.  I wanted to have a intervention free birth.  I had always wanted to have a homebirth, but after our loss I decided to trust a doctor with the life of this baby.  The doctor did as best he could during the pregnancy and for most of the birth.  It wasn't all his fault.  The hospital wasn't the best, the doctor could only fight so hard against the hospital policies, my water breaking before labor began, Johnathon being early, the management by the nurses was terrible and we just didn't know what to do.

I won't go into it all right now, but Michael watched me cry in pain and be called a liar by the nurses.  He saw my epidural botched and me cry again.  He went without sleep just as I did.  He watched our dream of a normal birth go out the window.  He sat next to me and listened as they surgically removed our first born out of my belly.  He watched me cry when I was told that I would never breastfeed our son.  He was there while I tried to heal and take care of the precious baby that we had made.

Why wouldn't he be as changed by it all as I was?   He had the same fears and anxieties as I did going into that birth and even more coming out of it.  Johnathon's birth changed me forever.  I have come to realize that it changed Michael too.  He just doesn't show it or express it as I do.  

He is the love of my life.  We have gone through a lot and we haven't even scratched the surface of our life together.  I will try to do better at remembering that it isn't only me going through these life changing moments.  He has changed right along with me.  It feels good not to be alone in my thoughts.

One thing hasn't changed.  He can still make me crack up with just a look.  Or a dance.  :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Merry-Go-Round of Friends

Very, very soon one of our favorite families on this street will be pulling out of their driveway to start the drive to their new duty station.  

This is the first time that we have had to watch a set of great friends leave.  I know it won't be our last.

Army life is funny.  They throw you into a duty station knowing practically no one.  You are usually away from family and all of your friends.  They expect you to survive without your soldier for months and months at a time.  So what do you do?  You find friends who know what you are going through and you hang onto them for dear life. 

Michael and I have a hard time finding real friends.  We are friendly with everyone and everyone loves Michael.  Sometimes I am harder to love.  :)  So when we find people that we are compatible with we are thrilled to pieces.  

We love hanging out with this family.  They are hilarious and fun and help out whenever they can.  They will be greatly missed.

So starts the craziness of losing friends, gaining new neighbors and wondering if the new neighbors will be crazy.  Fun times.  

There are other precious people who will be leaving eventually.  Until then I will enjoy every moment I can with them, nurture these relationships that I hold so dear and find a chain big enough to chain myself to their moving truck on moving day.  

What?  I can protest with the best of them believe me. 

"Heck no they can't go!!!  Heck no they can't go!!!"  ;)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day and BBQs

I have been posting a lot of Memorial Day stuff on Facebook.  Trying to have everyone remember what this day is really for.

Know what?  I have kind of been leading a double life on this one.

As a wife of an active duty soldier, who has been deployed once already in his 1 1/2 years in, I have a bad habit of thinking of Memorial Day as a day for BBQs.

No I am not stupid.  Yes I really *do* know what today is about.  My grandfather served.  My father-in-law served.  My cousin, Michael's best friend, my person's husband and my husband are all currently serving.  Think about it though.  Really think about it.

Wikipedia - "Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces."

I am thankful for all of the men and women who have died serving our country.  We owe them more than we will ever be able to repay them.

I think about the families most.  The people left behind when someone who is serving dies.   The wives and mothers and fathers and husbands and children and sisters and brothers and all of the extended family.  They will never be the same.  

Put yourself in my shoes.  My husband is active duty for at least another year and nine months.  He has already deployed once and there is always a chance he will deploy again in the time he has left.  Does he have a typically dangerous job?  No.  Does that mean that he is safe?  No.  No one is really safe while at war.  

So although I do remember, today I will be pretending that it is all about BBQs and friends.  I have said a prayer for all those who have been lost, their families and everyone still serving.  

I don't want to think about losing anyone I love today or any day really.  Especially my precious husband.

"A day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces."

We have a big picture of a soldier with a flag behind him in our staircase.  The scripture on it reads:
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends"  John 15:13

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Poorest We Have Ever Been

We had lived in our house for almost three years, and we got the feeling that we were supposed to move.  We were not sure where or how, since Michael didn't have a job.  

Did I mention I was 38 weeks pregnant when we started talking about this?  :)

Over the next six weeks everything fell into place for us to move out of our house and into a trailer.  I didn't say it fell into place in a good way, but it did fall.  :)

We moved to Wylie, Texas from Wolfe City, Texas when Bella was about 2 1/2 weeks old.  Craziness?  Yes.  It was a welcomed change though.  We didn't like the town we lived in and we didn't have enough money to make the drive to see family as often as we wanted.  It was good.

We lived in a nice trailer close to all kinds of stores and such that we had been so far away from for so long.  The problem with that is that we were poor.  I mean really poor.

I mean all of our bills, which were not that much, took all of our money which was just an unemployment check.  Michael had been looking for a job for a while, but we didn't see the point of him taking something that didn't at least make what the unemployment brought in.  Later came the army, but that isn't a post I have the stomach for now.  :)

While living in Wylie we didn't have any extra money.  We were eating what we could get from WIC with about $20 added to it a week.  Our families helped a ton, but money was still tight.  

Know the funny thing?  We were so very happy.  When Michael and look back at that time we only have great feelings about it.  We were going to church, learning about the bible and making major life decisions that we still follow today.  Some we don't.  *hangs head*

We can remember all of Bella's baby time there.  The boys discovering Veggie Tales and watching them over and over and over.  Turning on music and dancing around the house.  Cooking really great for you food with what we had.  Michael and I having lots of beautiful talks while I nursed itty bitty Bella.  

It was beautiful.  Makes me cry to think about.  Our time there ended quickly after Michael joined the army and we (gladly) moved in with his parents again.  Those days were beautiful too, but the relaxed love and family time was gone.  There was a deadline to our happiness.  I would have to take him to a Dallas hotel on September 12, 2010.  From there he would go to BCT and AIT.  Urgency and dread set in. 

But that isn't what this post is about.  This post is about those days when we ate chicken noodle soup for days on end and we were happy about it.  When snacky cakes at his parents house were the treat of the century and people were in awe that we could get all of us to church on time Sunday morning.  

I miss those days a lot.  Not that these days are beautiful and wonderful.  Believe me they are spectacular since he is home.  The dread is still always there.  When will go to field?  Will he miss another one of Bella's birthdays? (He has missed them all)  Will he deploy again?  Will he change his mind and stay in the army?

So here's to the innocence of Wylie.  Moral of this story?  We can be happy with little or nothing.  As long as we are together . . . anything is possible.