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My Birth Story

The Story of Your Birth

We were starting to think you would never come. Throughout my pregnancy I was convinced that you would be born before your due date. I should have known that meant you would be late: I had also been convinced first that I wasn’t pregnant and then that you were a boy. Obviously my intuition was off.

On October 22, your Granny and Gramps drove up from Tennessee and moved into a house down the road that they had rented for a month. They took good care of us the last month that I carried you. Your daddy and I were so anxious for you to get here. I walked miles almost every day hoping that the exercise would start labor. Even though it was late fall here in the mountains, most days were very warm, and we spent many of them at Valle Crucis park. Your Granny and Gramps would walk with me. Your brother Chase rode his three wheeler and played in the sand. Sometimes your cousin Grayson was with us, and I pushed him in the stroller. We watched men fly fishing in the river, watched the remaining leaves fall off of the trees, watched as people bundled up a little warmer, and still you didn’t come.

You were due on October 30th, and I was hoping that you would be born on Halloween. On the 29th your daddy and I took Chase to Blowing Rock’s Halloween festival. On the 31st your Granny and I took him trick or treating on King Street. Everyone asked when you were due. I said “yesterday.”

Because you were due any day, I started going to visit my midwives, Lisa and Carrington, several times a week. They put a monitor on my belly so they could record your movements and heartbeat, and make sure that you were growing and healthy. This is called a non stress test. We had four before you were born. After our first non stress test, I was told that I would need an ultrasound the next week so that my midwives could make sure you were growing and safe. Your daddy and your Granny came to the ultrasound with me. You were so big in my tummy that we couldn’t see much of you. Lisa did the ultrasound and measured the amount of amniotic fluid you were floating in. There was plenty, so we kept waiting for you to decide when you would be born.

As the days and the visits to our midwives continued to pass, we made a plan: if labor hadn’t begun on it’s own by Friday, November 11, Carrington would sweep my membranes in order to induce labor naturally. Your daddy and I hoped you would come on your own; if you didn’t, then we hoped the membrane sweep would work. If labor did not begin in the 24 hours after my membrane sweep, I was scheduled to begin a Pitocin drip in the hospital on Saturday morning. My goal throughout my entire pregnancy was the deliver you without induction, intervention, or pain medicine, so I was adamant that you MUST come before Saturday morning.

On the morning of Friday the 10th of November, your daddy and I dropped Chase off with your Granny and Grandpa and headed to Harmony for our appointment with Carrington. We stopped at Stick Boy Bread Company on the way, and I had a blueberry scone and some water. Your daddy had a mocha and a chocolate chip cookie.

When we got back in the examining room, Carrington walked through the plan with us: I was 2 days shy of 42 weeks pregnant, and they were worried that my placenta might not be supplying you with all the oxygen and nutrients you needed to thrive. Carrington would sweep my membranes that morning. I would begin taking Evening Primrose Oil to soften my cervix for you to be born. Your daddy and I would walk and walk and walk and hope to start labor. If not, it would be Pitocin in the morning.

Carrington had me lie back on the table and examined me to see how far I had progressed. I was 1 centimeter dilated and 80% effaced. Before I knew it, she said “and here’s the sweep,” and had begun moving her fingers in a circular motion inside my cervix to loosen the membranes around your head. When she finished, she told me that I was now a loose 2 centimeters dilated. There was a lot of bloody show, and Carrington was confident the sweep would put me into labor sometime that day. I got up to begin getting dressed and could almost immediately tell a difference – I was having gentle contractions. Hooray!

Your daddy and I headed to the health food store to buy Evening Primrose Oil, and I took my first two pills just before we began walking in the mall. I wanted to walk outside, but it was very cold and damp. After a few laps in the mall, we headed to the hospital where your Memaw was having rotator cuff surgery. We walked the halls and visited with your Nana, Pawpaw James, Uncle Darren, and Aunt Renada. While we were there, we visited the birthing center and had a nurse show us the rooms. She offered to let us choose the room where you would be born – I chose room #8, a huge room in the corner of the birthing center. Next, we went downstairs and preregistered so we wouldn’t have to bother with paperwork when it was time for you to be born. While we were at the hospital, my contractions continued to increase in strength, but still didn’t hurt. From the hospital, we drove down King Street and parked and walked to the ASU campus. We walked to my old office in Sanford Hall, and then walked the staircases in the library. After a little while we decided it was time to go home.

We picked up Chase and made ham sandwiches for lunch. Aside from the minor contractions, it felt like a very normal day. After Chase went down to nap, I took a walk on the gravel road behind our house. Later that afternoon, I took another. Though contractions weren’t picking up, I was hopeful. Your Daddy left to take Chase to your Nana and Pawpaw George’s house to spend the night, and I went to visit with your Granny, Gramps, and Aunt Megan. After a short visit, I was tired and decided to head home for a nap. Because I was having a little back pain, I decided to draw myself a warm bubble bath and settle down with a book before my nap. I sat down, began reading one of your Daddy’s Louis Lamour books – and realized I was having contractions! I sent your daddy a text, then grabbed a piece of paper and a pen to record to length and time of my contractions. I continued reading in the tub, but was interrupted every few minutes by a contraction – I would stop reading, count how long it lasted, then jot this and how strong it was down on my paper. Then I would begin reading again.

I got out of the tub when your Daddy got home. We were both very excited. I bounced on my birthing ball, recorded contractions, and talked to your Daddy. I bustled about the house making sure everything was packed for the trip to the hospital. My contractions had never been longer than a couple minutes apart, but as the evening progressed they became stronger. Our plan was to stay home as long as possible.  Around 9PM, while pressing my head into the doorframe of my closet during a particularly strong contraction, I realized that I didn’t want to wait so long to go to the hospital that I was unable to get familiar with my hospital room. Daddy and I left the house a little after nine so that I could unpack my pillows, blanket, and nightgown, and make myself comfortable for your arrival. Since I hadn’t eaten dinner, and since I wouldn’t be allowed to eat once I checked in to the hospital, we knew that I should get a bite to eat on the way. After much deliberation I decided on a (not very healthy) meal of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, a biscuit, and sweet tea from Bojangles. I ate it in the parking lot of the hospital, then we checked in.

A nice nurse named Shiloh took us up to the room where you would be born. She understood that I didn’t want to be hooked up to medical equipment throughout my labor, but explained that I needed to be monitored for a few moments to make sure that you and I were both healthy. She hooked up a monitor to my belly to measure your heartbeat and the strength of my contractions. She took my blood pressure and temperature. Weeks earlier I had tested positive for Beta Strep, so she started an IV and I began getting antibiotics. At first, I was afraid contractions had slowed or stopped because of the excitement of checking into the hospital. However, as soon as I settled down and began answering questions for Shiloh, contractions began again. I was fascinated to watch them increase in strength and duration on the monitor. Soon, though, the monitoring time was over and I was released to bounce on my birth ball and walk the halls of the birthing center. We let all of your grandparents know that I was at the hospital in labor, and your daddy left to get himself something to eat. I continued walking the halls while he was gone, noticing that my contractions were getting stronger and stronger.  I kept thinking about a Storypeople quote that I found on the internet the last week before you were born – “She softened gradually, melting in the light of the sun, all the while thinking, O, this is what it’s like to be a planet & suddenly it was over & the universe expanded by one.”

Just before midnight, the nurses let your Daddy and I out into the waiting area so that we could visit with your Granny, Gramps, and Aunt Megan. We talked for about thirty minutes, long enough that the nurses came looking for us. By the time we got back to our room my contractions had become strong enough that they were beginning to require all of my concentration. Your Daddy helped me by encouraging me to blow raspberries and reminding me to keep all of my noises in a deep pitch. The books I read explained that doing this would keep me calm and focused. It worked! Your Daddy blew raspberries through the contractions with me as I bounced on the birth ball. He got me cool cloths to put on my forehead, and I discovered that biting on a washcloth helped me focus through contractions. I spent the rest of labor and delivery with a washcloth in my mouth and another on my forehead. Your Daddy gave me fresh washcloths between contractions. We turned on Bob Dylan’s soundtrack to Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, and I lay down in the bed to rest my legs. While I was lying there on my side listening to the music I heard a POP, and suddenly there was water gushing everywhere! It felt like it was never going to stop. I told your Daddy that my water had broken, and he went to get the nurses. They helped me change out of my polka dot pajama pants and into some hospital undies.

After my water broke, my contractions became very strong and time seemed to stop. I was very focused on what my body was doing. I blew raspberries through contractions until they became so strong that I let your Daddy know those didn’t help any more. Then, I started making sounds that I thought sounded kind of like a whale – very low noises. In fact, everything about your labor felt like an ocean. Contractions felt like waves rushing in and out. The room was very quiet and the lights were dimmed. Your Daddy and I were very, very tired. I kept apologizing to him for keeping him up all night, even though I knew I couldn’t help it and knew that he didn’t mind. Your Nana called your Daddy to see if he needed anything – coffee! Both of us were falling asleep between contractions by this point. Your Daddy got his coffee and fixed it with cream and sugar. Then, I had another contraction and began making my whale noises – your Daddy moved so quickly to get back to me that he knocked over his coffee!

My midwife, Lisa, had been in to check on me a few times throughout the night. Around 5:00AM she came in, checked me, and let me know that I could begin pushing whenever I felt like I was ready. I was so excited to begin pushing. During each contraction I would bite on my washcloth and push as hard as I could. I was laying in the bed, and although I knew from my reading that I needed to stand, sit, or squat to help you come down, laying in bed felt the best to me at the time. I pushed without much progress for a while, then Lisa told me that my bladder felt a little full and asked if I wanted to go to the bathroom and try to empty it. I got out of bed and she helped me walk to the bathroom. When I sat down on the toilet I had a strong contraction and Lisa encouraged me to push. This felt different – my body took over and I could actually feel my muscles pushing you down! Lisa held my hand and let me pull on her while I pushed. She asked if I wanted to try a few more pushes on the toilet. Definitely. This worked!

When we walked back to the bed, Lisa and the nurses took the lower part of the bed off so that I could sit up and push with my legs hanging off the foot of the bed. Between contractions I would lean back and fall asleep sitting up. Then, a contraction would begin and I would sit up fast, take Lisa’s hand, brace my feet on her stool, and begin pulling on Lisa and pushing as hard as I could. Your Daddy stayed right next to me and helped me know when I should push. I watched the sky become light while I was pushing. I watched blackbirds fly outside the hospital window. Soon, Lisa said she could see your head. Daddy looked and could see it, too. The nurses wheeled in a mirror so that I could watch as you were born.

I pushed, pushed, pushed, as hard as I could. Your Daddy put on gloves and moved to the foot of the bed so that he could catch you. A few more pushes and Lisa told me that I could feel your head – I reached down and there you were. Still inside of me, but I could touch your head. That was an amazing feeling. After that, I pushed even harder. Your head began to ease out. Daddy got his hands ready. The cord was wrapped around your neck twice, so Lisa eased that off. After four hours of pushing, your Daddy held you as you slipped out of me, then placed you on my belly. It was 9:11 AM on Saturday, November 12. You were blue and purple and the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. The nurses rubbed you with blankets while I counted your fingers and toes. I couldn’t believe how quickly you turned pink. Your head was slightly cone shaped from the pushing, and had a large bruise on the back. Your little nose and mouth were both smooshed towards the right side of your face. Your ears were smooshed to your head. You were perfect. After the cord stopped pulsing your Daddy cut it. Then he went out to the waiting area to let your Granny, Gramps, Aunt Megan, and Nana know that you had been born. They had been waiting all night. While he was gone, you pooped all over my belly. The nurses cleaned it up quickly. I didn’t care. I didn’t want to let go of you for anything. You wanted to nurse right away and latched on without any trouble. I held you until Lisa began cleaning me up, then I passed you to your Daddy. He put your first diaper on you – a mint green cloth diaper.

After I was cleaned up Daddy put you back in my arms. The nurses left and the room was quiet. Your Daddy and I hadn’t told anyone your name before you were born because we wanted you to know it first. We told you your name – Elizabeth Murray Sudderth. Your first name is my middle name, and a family name from my side of the family. Your middle name is your Daddy’s middle name, and a family name from his side of the family. We wanted a strong name that would have meaning for you. Because we both also like old-fashioned names, we decided to call you Eliza.

Your Daddy went to get your Granny, Gramps, Aunt Megan, and Nana. They all thought you were beautiful. Everyone took turns holding you and we took pictures. The nurse weighed you – 7 lbs. 4 oz. She measured you and found out that you were 20 inches long. I was very tired and very happy.

Your birth was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but also one of the most enjoyable. I truly loved every moment of walking, monitoring contractions, bouncing on my ball, and pushing through contractions.  My body worked perfectly to birth you. I am so happy that I chose to have a natural birth. I was strong and focused throughout labor and delivery, and you were born alert and without any pain medication in your body. The next day, your daddy read you the book The Day You Were Born. The last line of that book expresses exactly how we feel – “We are so glad you’ve come.”

30 Weeks

Hey everyone! I am here to report that I had a fantastic appointment with Carrington this past Friday morning, and all of my worries about giving birth at Watauga Medical Center have been eased.

I went to my appointment armed with three pages of handwritten questions – “Is an IV mandatory at WMC?;” “Will I be able to move freely during labor?;” “What will happen immediately after the baby is born?” Carrington listened to the baby’s heartbeat (which sounds great,) measured my belly, and asked if I was experiencing any negative side effects from the pregnancy (of course not.) Then she asked if I had any other questions or concerns…I said, “Not about myself, I’m great, I love being pregnant (she clapped her hands), but I am really nervous about giving birth in the hospital.” I’m so happy that I voiced my fears. What happened afterwards went something like this:

C: I look like this (indicates scrubs) because I delivered a baby at 7:15 this morning and came straight from the hospital. Let me tell you about the birth. The mother went into labor at 5:30 yesterday afternoon. She got the the hospital and I put her on an IV, because she was positive for Beta Strep and needed antibiotics. I intermittently monitored the baby. We walked, we squatted, we bounced, we walked, we squatted, we bounced – by 5:00AM she was fully dilated, and had her baby at 7:15 completely naturally. I stayed with her the whole time. If that is what you want, and everything goes well, you can expect something like that.

Me: So…I don’t have to have an IV?

C: No, not unless there is a reason for it – like, in this case, the mother needed antibiotics. If everything goes well and you don’t have need for an IV, you certainly don’t have to have one.

Me: That sounds great. I understand that if there is an emergency, things change. Lets talk about this like everything is going normally with no complications, alright? Do I have to have an EFM (Electronic Fetal Monitor)?

C: I’ll monitor intermittently – every hour or so I will come in, hook you up, and check the baby’s heartbeat. Then you can be on your way again. If for some reason I feel like I need to constantly monitor the baby’s heartbeat, I made WMC buy me a walking monitor – that way you can move while I monitor the baby.

Me: That sounds great! I was so worried I was going to be hooked up to machines and stuck in the bed laboring on my back.

C: That isn’t going to happen.

Me: Well, Chip’s told me about when Chase was born. IV, EFM, ice chips only…that isn’t the birth I want.

C: A lot has changed at WMC in the past two and a half years. There wasn’t a midwife in the hospital before that.

Me: How about eating and drinking? Can I do that during labor?

C: You can drink all the clear liquids you want – water, sprite, gatorade, juice…but you can’t eat once you are admitted to the hospital. Eat at home. Stay at home as long as you can and eat while you are there – you’ll need the energy. Ideally, you would be 8 centimeters when you got to the hospital.

Me: That sounds fantastic. That is exactly what I want to do. I want to labor at home where I am comfortable….How about moving? Will I be able to move around during labor at the hospital?

C: We have squat bars in the hallway, a birthing ball in the room, and WMC has birth tubs that can be brought in the room, as well. I don’t do water  births, but you can stay in the tub right up until you give birth, if that is what you want.

Me: That sounds great.

C: This is mine and Lisa’s goal: We want to give you as much of a homebirth experience as is possible in the hospital. The rooms are big, the lights will be dim, and it will be warm. If it were up to me, they would let me paint the rooms and make them look like a bedroom. It’s up to you to make it that way – bring your own clothes to labor and deliver in, bring your blankets, bring your fuzzies, bring your aromatherapy, bring your music…

Me: Can I bring my cat?

C: *Looks Surprised*

Me: I’m joking. I don’t want to bring my cat. I was just seeing how far I could push it.

C: *laughs* You sound like my daughter.

Me: Okay. So tell me what happens after the baby is born.

C: Well, we’ll deliver her. I let the father help as much as he wants. Once she is out, we’ll put her on your chest and cover her up. We’ll wait until the cord stops or almost stops pulsing before we cut it – that helps with increased hemoglobin, iron, and a better Apgar score. And it keeps a nurse from snatching her away.

Me: Then what?

C: You can try breast feeding right away – we encourage that. Breast feeding and bonding. You can keep her for two hours before we have to clean her up. Then we can do pretty much everything that needs to be done in the room.

Me: And after that, how often do I get her? Does she have to stay in the nursery?

C: If everything goes well, you can have her 24/7.

Me: Fantastic. I feel a million times better than I did when I came in.

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In other news, after much blood (Chip’s finger), sweat, and near tears (that would be me), we finally got our three nasty upstairs storage rooms organized and cleaned out, and we moved Chase’s things up there late Saturday night. That means that we now have a guest bedroom/office, Chase’s room, and a big organized storage closet. Yay for a house that looks like a HOUSE! I am so happy that Chase has a normal sized closet for his clothes and a big boy dresser – I hardly know what to do with myself. And Chase loves his new room. When he got home Sunday he ran into his old room (which is empty except for a pack and play, a picnic table, and a bouncy seat), and exclaimed, “It looks WONDERFUL!” Then he ran upstairs and yelled “I LOVE my room!” and kissed both of us. He spent his first night upstairs last night, and slept over an hour past the time he normally gets up – hooray for darker and quieter bedrooms!

The baby is growing every day – which means that I am growing, every day. She has started stretching out and putting her feet under my ribcage when I sit down. I told Chip that I won’t be surprised if she has figured out how to get her feet into my armpit by the time mid-October gets here. And it is getting here fast!

We picked out paint samples for the nursery on Saturday night – all natural colors with hints of brown, pink, yellow, or blue. They are sooo close to being the same color that I don’t know how we are going to settle on one – but we will, soon, so we can get this nursery thing rolling. Right now I am so happy just to have an empty room to put the things I am accumulating for her in that I don’t CARE what color it is.

My mom and dad found a place to stay around the time the baby is born, thanks to our wonderful friends Paul and Lindsey (who happen to be expecting their first baby in mid-December.) Paul’s grandmother rents a cabin in Seven Devils that she has offered to them for a month, and Lindsey and I are going out tomorrow to take pictures for mama. I’m happy I’m going to have them around, and I know Chase will be happy, too. He has already been asking if Randy and Susie can sleep upstairs with him.

I promised this blog entry would be happier than the last. Hope I delivered. =)

A

28 weeks and 3 days

My pregnancy is progressing so smoothly that sometimes I forget I am pregnant – until I look in the mirror or try to put on a pair of pants. I passed my glucose screening, had my antibodies retested, and received a RhoGam shot because I am Rh-. Lulu is kicking and moving more and more every day. Sometimes she puts both of her feet under my ribs and pushes – that isn’t fun. She seems to kick the most when we are out in the sun. We have decided on a name (I swear we aren’t naming her Lulu!), but have made the decision not to share it with anyone until she is born. I want her to be the first person other than Chip and myself to hear her name. My nesting instinct seems to be in full force – of course, according to Chip, there has never been a time when my nesting instinct HASN’T been in full force. He insists that I “nest” any time I have been away from the house for over an hour. He’s probably right. Last Sunday we made progress in cleaning the two upstairs rooms in preparation for moving Chase’s room and making way for the nursery. Monday I rearranged furniture, cleaned, and hung photos in our living room. Today I began the monumental task of cleaning our bedroom. I want it to be a relaxing space for us as my pregnancy comes to a close and in the months after the baby is born. I know I am going to need an oasis. Right now I have clutter. We have decided on September 27th as the date for our Tennessee baby shower that my mother and sister are throwing. It is going to be a “drop in” shower. Chip and I are registered at Amazon.com. Please don’t feel like you have to bring a gift to come to the shower. But please DO bring a bead large enough for me to string on a silk cord – I want to have all of you with me when this baby is coming.

As I get closer and closer to the end of my pregnancy, I have begun looking for any fears or misgivings that I have about giving birth. What I have discovered is that all of my fears are directly related to having a hospital birth. I am not afraid of pain and I am not afraid of childbirth. Both of these things seem perfectly natural to me and I know that I am strong enough to have this baby the way women have been having babies for centuries. I am, however, terrified of giving birth in the hospital. I am afraid of unnecessary interventions, unnecessary medications, and the high rate of cesarean sections in hospital births. I am afraid of the cold, sterile atmosphere.  I am afraid that I will not be allowed to labor in the way my body wants to.

To combat these fears I am making a list of questions to ask my midwives:

What is the cesarean rate at WMC (where I will be giving birth)?

What is your personal cesarean rate?

How often do you find the need to induce birth? To speed up labor? What methods do you use?

How long will I be allowed to labor naturally at WMC?

Will my movement be limited? Do I have to be hooked up to an IV and fetal monitor?

Will I be allowed skin to skin contact with my baby immediately after birth?

Will I be allowed to breastfeed before the baby is taken to the nursery?

Does WMC allow a healthy baby to stay in the room with her parents?

I know I will add to this list. I have a lot of worries. And I have one complaint. I am tired of people telling me that it is useless to complete a birth plan – damn it, I want my midwives and nurses to be aware of what I want. This is mine and Chip’s and my daughter’s birth, and I have a right to make some decisions. I know that complications may arise and things may not go as planned, but it is just as likely that I will have a smooth birth with no complications. After all, I am young, in good health, and have had a very healthy pregnancy. And my head is in the right place. So, I have decided, I will just ignore those people who insist on telling me not to fill out a birth plan. And I will continue ignoring people who tell me that I will decide I want pain medicine once my labor begins. And I will continue ignoring people who insist on telling me horror stories about childbirth. I’m not interested in you. Be nice, or I WILL climb up on my soapbox.

That is all. Next time I will have a more positive entry, I promise.

A

Still a Girl!

Although I KNOW I spent weeks insisting I didn’t want a second ultrasound to confirm the sex of the baby, I changed my mind. I’m allowed to do that, you know. =) Chip’s cousin Meleah told me weeks ago that Hope Pregnancy Resource Clinic in Boone provides free ultrasounds to keep up their tech’s certificates. I decided to check it out last week and found out that they only do ultrasounds up to 24 weeks – I am 23 weeks and 4 days today. They were able to get me in quickly and Chip took a couple hours off of work to go with me at 11:oo thi morning to see if we really are having a little girl. We took Chase and Grayson along for the ride – Chase was excited. He told my mom on the phone that he was going to the doctor to see pictures of the baby. And that he was wearing flip flops.

Chip’s Memaw, who happens to be an angel, showed up at the clinic shortly after we got back to the ultrasound room to keep an eye on Grayson while we were busy. Chase decided he would rather be with her, so Chip and I had peace and quiet for the ultrasound. And all was going well until my body decided that it would like to pass out. I started feeling the tale tell signs of getting hot, clammy, sweaty, slightly nauseous…I tried to close my eyes and ignore it. I mean, really. Who passes out during an ultrasound?? Chip eventually noticed that something wasn’t right, and though at first I tried to pass it off as just having to pee, eventually I had to admit that I was very dizzy and in danger of passing out. I sat up and he held on to me while the very sweet nurse turned on a fan and got me some water. After a few minutes I felt well enough to walk down the hall and use the bathroom – still dizzy, but much better. And after THAT interesting and somewhat embarrassing intermission, we got back to the ultrasound.

Everything looked great. Lulu is measuring at about 24 weeks and a couple days – so about a week further along than scheduled. According to measurements, my due date is October 25th instead of 30th. But when it came down to determining sex,we were afraid that the nurse was going to have a hard time. She kept saying that there was a lot of baby and that she had her legs cross – and we have cute photos of her bottom and legs to prove it. Chip says it looks like a photo of frog legs. Finally, after some poking and prodding and the now familiar “well, I don’t see any boy parts” comment, the nurse exclaimed “there’s her labia!” Definitely a girl! I’m happy! We got sweet photos of her feet and bottom and legs and several of her little face with her fists tucked under her chin. It looks like she might have my square jaw, or at least my chin. It would be nice to have someone else in my family who looks like me!

So, after much ado, since we are certain we know the sex, I am releasing the link to the registry. It is an Amazon.com wishlist, so there are items on the registry from several different websites. Please feel free to get similar items if you can’t find exactly what I have down – we know you have good taste. And please don’t feel obligated to get us a gift. But if you want to, here are some suggestions of things we could really use. And a few we just want. If in doubt, cloth diapers are a good choice.

http://www.amazon.com/registry/baby/HEKVVTN9U1NW

I’m not sure of the shower situation up here in North Carolina, but my family is planning on a Tennessee baby shower somewhere between mid August and mid September. It will be a drop in shower so that I can see as many old friends as possible. Stay tuned for a date and invitation. Also, I am hoping to have an informal Blessing Way ceremony…basically, I would like each person who comes to my shower to bring a bead and a blessing for baby – the bead should be large enough to be strung on a silk cord (so it needs a hole bigger than one for thread or wire). I will make this into a necklace of sorts and take it into labor and delivery with me – that way, baby and I can have your love and support and blessings with us.

For those of you I don’t talk to often, I have been doing great. I feel good almost all the time. Baby has starting kicking A LOT and is big enough that I can see her wiggle around in my belly.

I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Love,

Audrey

June 17 – 21 weeks

I know, I know, I’ve been slacking.

I have a lot to share with you since my last update. The big news is….its a girl!

Probably.

Don’t go out and stock up on everything pink just yet. While the ultrasound techs oohed and ahhed over what a good sweet baby we have while they were checking her anatomy (she was cooperating so well that they were able to practice checking parts that they usually only check in a high risk ultrasound – her aorta and her pulmonary valve), by the time they were ready to confirm gender Lulu said “enough is enough” and decided not to cooperate. She was very low, right up against my cervix, and had the umbilical cord right where the techs needed to look. I was instructed to get up and walk to see if I could get her to change positions. While the techs went to consult with a doctor, I paced in the tiny room, bounced Grayson, and got poked and prodded in the belly by Chip. When the tech came back the baby HAD moved – but now she didn’t want to open her legs. I let the tech know it was okay to jiggle me around a little – so she did. And each time she jiggled, baby opened her legs for just a moment. By the first jiggle the tech was saying “I THINK its a girl.” After a few more she was nearly certain. We got a couple good – though fleeting – looks at her, and are certain we saw the three little lines that indicate girl. Yay!!! I want a girl, I’ve always wanted a girl, and I was convinced this baby was a boy. I would have loved him just as much, just like I love Chase, but I wouldn’t have been able to dress him in that cute bumblebee bathing suit from Gymboree. Chip was convinced the baby was a girl, just as he was convinced I was pregnant when I insisted that I wasn’t.

Maybe I should start listening to him?

Nah.

I felt the baby move for the first time on Memorial Day. Chip was getting ready to mow and I was lamenting my pregnant, exhausted, and slightly sick feeling condition while lying face down on our bed. Then I felt a poke. People say the first movements are flutters, or that they feel like gas – not for me. This baby went straight to poking. Since then, she has started kicking pretty hard – this past week hard enough for me to feel when I am sitting or standing, although I still feel her most often when I am lying down before bed.

The other big news is that I have started clothing diapering Grayson – today marks the end of two weeks in cloth diapers. Why is this important? I decided a long time ago that I wanted to use cloth diapers when I had children. I understand the convenience of disposables and am sure I will fall back on them from time to time – for long car trips, visits overnight with grandparents, ect. I just don’t like the idea of using them all the time – they are so wasteful. Also, I like the way that cloth diapers look on babies. But although I knew I wanted to use cloth, I didn’t have any experience actually diapering with them. Thats until Meleah, Grayson’s mom, decided to begin cloth diapering him, something she had wanted to do but was unable to because she works during the day. Meleah decided on FuzziBunz, a one size pocket diaper, and the same diaper I have decided to register for. FuzziBunz are a great value – with each diaper you get two inserts. They have a great warranty, and reviews make them the most popular diaper to use for multiple children – which is what Chip and I plan on. The downside to cloth, the only one I have found, is the initial investment. They are expensive – or they SEEM expensive. However, if you do the math, you realize you will be saving a HUGE amount of money in the long run. A pack of 6 FuzziBunz costs approximately $100. A pack of 30 as environmentally friendly as they come disposables costs approximately $13. Chip and I are hoping to get 12-20 FuzziBunz (which work for children 7lbs.-35lbs.) and make them last for this baby and the next. If you are looking for a shower gift, think diapers, wet bags, inserts…I am working on a registry and will share it with you soon. Basically, I am happy that cloth diapers, in practice, are living up to my ideal.

Time to check on the new chickens…

A

My Ultrasound is Scheduled for….

June 2nd. So excited!

Also, I had gained 8 pounds since my last appointment.

A

16 Weeks

16 Weeks

15 Weeks

It seems that as my morning sickness waned and my energy returned, I found less reasons to blog about my pregnancy. I’ll try to do better, I promise!

Weeks 13-15 have been smooth sailing – I feel good almost all of the time, I’ve stopped craving chocolate 24/7 and have returned to a healthy diet of only a little more food than I was eating before the baby, and for the most part, my energy is back to where it usually is. Every now and then I still feel the need for a nap after an especially busy morning, but I figure that is normal.

A lot has happened since I blogged last. Over the past few weeks I have completed the spring semester at both Appalachian State and Caldwell. Portfolios are graded, grades are posted, and all I have left to do is pick up my last paycheck. Also, over the past few weeks, I have begun to keep Chase’s 7 month old cousin, Grayson, more regularly. I began keeping him full time yesterday. Both of his parents work, so we made an arrangement where I would watch Grayson in exchange for a little extra income. This is in lieu of a summer job. I am staying home with the babies for the foreseeable future. I may tutor or teach online, but I will not be working out of my home for at least a year, and maybe longer. This is a big change for me, but one that I look forward to and that Chip supports and encourages.

Also over the past weeks, winter seems to have finally given way to spring. We are having 60-70 degree days, though we have still had 30 degree nights where we have rushed to bring all the plants in. As the weather has warmed Chip and I have both begun dreaming about our garden and working hard to get it in shape for growing. He has worked harder than I have, tilling, composting, and putting up fence. Also, tending his 30+ baby cucumbers and lord-knows-how-many baby broccoli plants. We planted all open-pollinating seeds this year (no hybrids and no chemically treated seeds – heirloom varieties when possible) in hopes of saving our seed from year to year and becoming less reliant on seed catalogs and nurseries. Yesterday, we planted cucumber, broccoli, and squash plants in the kitchen garden, along with snap pea and bush bean seeds. I also tucked three heirloom tomato plants (Appalachian Princess, Cherokee Purple, and Black Krim) purchased on a recent trip to Asheville away in our flower beds. We have snap peas, french breakfast radishes, broccoli, spinach, and red and green lettuce flourishing in our front bed; rhubarb and asparagus out back, buttercrunch lettuce and carrots in a small flower bed, and pots of Cherokee Purple, Arkansas Traveler, Cherry Sweetie tomatoes, Jalapenos, Cayenne Peppers, Cucumbers, Broccoli, and Squash waiting in the wings until a.) they are big enough to plant or b.) we till and fence in the upper garden. That is the plan for later this week. What does all of this have to do with baby? This is what I plan on feeding myself all summer. Healthy, homegrown, organic produce. Yum!!!

My next appointment with my midwife is the coming Thursday. At my last appointment I learned that my blood type is A- and I will have to have a Rhogam shot during my second trimester and possibly again after the baby is born. For those of you who don’t know, that it because of the Rh factor – it is a preventative measure so that my body will not reject a second pregnancy because of antibodies built up at this birth. Chip and I also decided at that appointment that we are not going to schedule any extra tests – tests that screen for Downs Syndrome, for instance. We are going to love this baby, and I don’t like the idea of unneeded testing. I asked Carrington at that appointment about my weight gain – basically, at that time, I had gained *maybe* a pound. She said not to worry, and not to be surprised if I put on a lot of weight before my next visit. She was right – I have gained 4-5 pounds and have already had to retire several pairs of shorts. At this appointment I will schedule my next ultrasound. I will not have another unless it is medically necessary.  Cross your fingers the baby wants to cooperate and show us its sex, because I have made up my mind that I am not scheduling an extra ultrasound simply to find out if I am having a boy or a girl!

A

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