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I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Newborn Tea

Introducing Theresa Diane Gollihugh!
The following are mostly taken
on Tea's actual day of birth.

Karen doing newborn exam.

Ria holding Tea for the first time.

Tea nursing (actually from the day after her birth).

Sage holding Tea on her Birth Day with Ria looking on.

For whatever reason, I couldn't sleep
when I woke up around 5am,
which is how you get so lucky
as to see these pictures already today!

Hope you enjoy them!

More to follow as time and fatigue allow.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A New Gollihugh...

GIRL! Another beauty queen to add to our "softball team, to be". ;) She really is a sweetie, too... And super strong, which I totally knew from her movement and reactions while still in utero (only a few hours ago, really).

THANK YOU so much for thinking about us, worrying about us, and praying for us. I KNOW that your thoughts and prayers have helped and even sustained us (me!). I went from extremely depressed and totally giving up on myself on Tuesday (after the ultrasound and subsequent talk with Karen), to peaceful, hopeful, and assured by Thursday morning when I went into labor (again) naturally.

Just so you don't have to read the whole labor story if you don't want to, I'll share with you our daughter's birth stats right away. The labor story will be told completely for my own record as well as to share with the you (as you're interested) the wonderful tale. ^_^

Our Daughter's Stats
Our little girl was born at 10:36pm.
Her name is Theresa Diane Gollihugh. We are calling her Tea (pronounced like Ria). ^_^
She is 21 and 3/4 inches long.
Her head is 15 and 3/4 inches around AND my midwife never felt sutures (which form when the bones of the skull overlap as they are made to do). That means that Tea's head wasn't much smaller than normal through the birth canal, though it probably closed over the fontanels during the trip through the canal... her head was totally round as soon as she was out!
She weighed in at 10 pounds 4 ounces, which is more than 12 ounces less than the ultrasound predicted!!!! Darn ultrasounds... and if you know me, I'm sure you can imagine I would like to add some stronger language, but am trying to be Christlike!

Comparison Reference Info you may find interesting to think about as you read THE STORY
Just for comparison/reference purposes, Ria was 8 poounds 4 ounces and Kat was 9 pounds 8 ounces. I pushed Ria out in 13 minutes while it took about 45 minutes to get Kat out. Labor with Ria was 21.5 hours from the very first to the delivery. With Kat it was right at 48 hours, with a few hours break during the first night, during which time I was able to sleep. With both of my first two labors I didn't eat much at all, IF at all from the time I started labor until the end. I vomited with both of them. I wasn't able to drink much water because it made me feel queasy even more... Very exhausting to not drink or eat!!

THE LABOR STORY and it IS long... just warning ya!
Because I'd had so many "false starts" with labor, and we'd already had a plan to see Karen on Thursday about some natural inductions, we did go to her office for 1:30pm on Thursday afternoon. Natural labor did stall after I started the homeopathics, but I was 4cm so it started back up quite easily with the remedy Karen gave me. Though I was in labor, it wasn't terribly taxing, so I don't count Thursday as a day or labor, really, because I don't think the labor produced much effect at that point. That night I didn't sleep much because I woke up regularly to pee and decided to keep taking the homeopathic remedy through the night in hopes of helping labor along more quickly.

Friday was a lot more active, but still not taxing the way heavy labor is. I know there was some effective work done on Friday, but not a huge amount. That night Jess worked at the club for a few hours, which was quite stressful for me... but we made it through. We had a "date night" and watched Cruso (not sure about the spelling, but it's a new show on Prime Time, though we watched it online) because we figured it would be the last chance to do so without a babe in arms. We both slept about 3 good hours.

Saturday morning I dreamed of experiencing contractions and having full-on labor and awakened at 5am to some! I timed them and felt assurance that this was the day. The contractions were lasting about 1.5 minutes with 4 minutes from start of one to start of another, which was awesome to me because that's when Karen told us to call her to come out to us. I was hopeful that this would be a faster labor than either of my first two, so called her with the info after I'd had the contractions going for an hour that I was aware of. She lives in DeLand, which is about an hour away, so she arrived around 7:15am. Everything was good when she arrived. I was dilated to a 4 or 5 on the outside part of the cervix, but the inside was only ONE centimeter and the baby was still very high! I was bummed, but figured things could go quickly since she could actually feel the inside part of the cervix (she'd not been able to previously).

I'd called my dear friend Sage soon after I spoke to Karen. Sage had offered to help me with my girls during the labor, many months ago. I was a naked birther for my first two labors and deliveries, so I'd been really troubling over who I could feel comfy asking to attend to my oldest daughters while I was labor. I wanted me children to be present to witness the birth (as Ria did Kat's). It would have to be someone I could feel comfy looking at after she'd seen me in all my naked "glory." She would have to be someone I could feel trust in the idea that she would not represent me unkindly to others afterward.

After just the first Sunday of seeing Sage and observing her with her children, I knew I wanted to know her and, hopefully, be friends with her... I was blessed tremendously to have the opportunity to forge a wonderful friendship with her as our daughters (both Victorias!) played together for Joy School. When she made the offer to take care of my daughters during my labor, I felt this HUGE surge of joy and thanksgiving and almost immediately accepted her offer. My delayed acceptance was due to my concern over the fact that she might have a difficult time leaving her baby (who is 20 months old now and still a nursling, which, if you know me, I TOTALLY love and aprrove of and think VERY highly of!!).

While talking to Sage there was some concern over her schedule for the day and some illness in her family recently and, basically, the conversation ended and I was going to call my visiting teacher (who I also felt comfy with because she's VERY beliving in natural living and so-forth). I didn't call Judy, my visiting teacher, right away because she lives closer to where we are and I knew it wouldn't take her as long to get to us. Before I made the call to Judy, Sage called me back and let me know that if I still wanted her, she could come out to us. YEAY! Of course I still wanted her!!! No matter how much I may love any of my friends (and Judy is definitely one!) a first choice is still a first choice, ya know! :)

Sage arrived around 8:30am (I think... my time reference could be a bit off through much of this story... it's approximates). When she came in, we were blown away because she was carrying at least 4 grocery bags and 2 Burger King bags! She relayed the idea that she just wanted to try to make the waiting special for the girls and had brought treats to help to that end. And boy, did she bring treats! She brought Mama/baby of almost everything. A huge box of goldfish, indivudual bags of goldfish; regular bananas, tiny bananas; muffins; and large juice boxes & small juice boxes! Burger King was breakfast for the Gollihughs! She also brought a box full of breakfast sausages to keep in the freezer, crustables, and a bowl of prepared fruit! Isn't that amazing? We felt overwhelmed and tremendously appreciative... touched and deeply grateful for her compassion, thoughtfulness, generosity, and love!

Ria was awake already and Kat awakened very soon after Sage arrived. Sage took over with the girls right away and kept the girls away from me during contractions, which were pretty intense already at that point, though still around 4-5 minutes apart. Sage did reading class with Ria and the three of them headed off to watch a movie.

It was around 10:30am that Karen checked me again to discover that I'd gone from a 1cm to 4/5cm on the inner cervix! YEAY!

Jess and I went for a walk to the beach so I could climb the stairs in hopes of helping the baby descend. Her head was above a 0, which is not such a good thing because it takes longer for the cervix to develop without the pressure of the head on it. We also completed a walk around our block. Although the exertion was minimal, I was sweating profusely and felt a bit tired when we arrived home. I took a shower.

By around 11:30am, soon after my shower, the contractions were petering out and I was feeling REALLY tired. :( I felt like I really needed a nap and conveyed that idea to Karen, who suggested that I could consider the idea of asking Sage to take our girls to her house so I could have some quiet time to nap and Sage could get to and attend to Mary. Sage had previously expressed some concern over being away from Mary too long, which was totally understandable to me. Sage was happy to oblige and BOTH of my daughters headed away from me with my dear friend. I'm not absolutely sure... there may have been another time that Sage took both of them, but if she did, it was for only a couple hours. I know Sage has taken Ria a couple times, but I'm pretty sure this was the first time Ria AND Kat left me. It really was a huge blessing. (I labored through the night with Kat, so Ria wasn't distracting or anything for the majority of that experience.)

I did head off for a nap (Jess, too, of course). Contractions completely stopped. (Had I been in hospital for this sort of thing, this would have been labeled "failure to progress" and I would have been put on pitocin!) I was able to actually SLEEP for about an hour, which was a deep, real, energizing, and renewing sleep (unlike a few other nights this past week!).

I awakened to realize that the contractions had truly stopped and felt sad, frustrated, and depressed. I was praying and crying over it when Karen returned. She'd taken the time for a break as well (as she should!). I began nipple stimulation almost immediately and contractions started soon thereafter. Karen again started me on the homeopathics and labor was well on it's way again within an hour.

After the nap (can't remember how soon) I was up to 6cm dilated and 90% effaced, which is totally good, but not as far along as I'd hoped, of course. (I, obviously, still need to work on my patience... I think that's one very possible HUGE lesson my long labors are meant to help me with, don't you?)

Another few hours and I was 7cm.

Another couple hours and I was feeling really weepy over the duration of everything. I do want to add, just because it's a HUGE differnce in this labor from the others, that I'd been drinking lots of water AND eating bit by bit here and there through the whole day! I felt queasy a few times, but after burping I was totally cool. No barfy-butt stuff!!

It was after around 5+ hours from the time that Ria and Kat left that I began to feel this surging sadness over being away from my girls for so long... I missed them TONS!!! I wanted to hold them in between contractions, but I knew I would get frustrated over the distraction of them during contractions. AND to make things even more upsetting, frustrating, and depressing for me, I'd hoped we would have the baby in time for Jess to take the girls to our Ward's Trunk or Treat party (6:30pm last night). Sage took them and they had a BLAST! Sage also took our girls to the McDonald's and a grocery store, at some point during their day together. Ria told me they had some food (MikkyD's), ice cream treats, and soda (all of which are HUGE and rare treats for both our girls, but were facts shared with great joy, secrecy, and almost reverence by Ria to me! ^_^). Sage had conveyed her desire to make the day special for Ria and Kat... and BOY did she do a BANG-UP job!!!! :) I think that Sage is a most precious angel-friend!!! I'm so grateful for ALL the angels in our lives... know that, if you were praying for us and/or wishing us well, YOU are among the angels who have blessed us!!!

If you haven't experienced labor, you may think I'm nuts...but in labor MANY women experience the full range of human emotion. I'm DEFINITELY one of those... perhaps to the extreme. Even worse, because I have a difficult time removing my mind from the experience, I go through a full-range of thoughts on the situation, what I should do, how I should do it, what the baby is doing, how I can influence it... I could go on and on AND on! It's detrimental in many ways, but I know I'm not the only one like me. Anyway... that's just a little rant about myself and something I feel I need to change. :)

A Bit About Jess
I've not written much about Jess because I'm going to ask him to write the birth story from HIS perspective and share it in my blog, for you to read! I think he'll do it since he asked for my password last night 'cause he was planning to share some info himself! HA!!! I wasn't having that since this is MY "world". But his perspective is very different (obviously) and I would like to see it more clearly myself! ^_^ So, I'm not going to write what I think he was going through and such, but I do want to share that my sweet husband has COMPLETELY changed from our first birth experience to this one. When we had Ria... it was and should have been truly described as TORI went into labor and birthed Ria. (As opposed to the common description young lovers use of "our" for everything, including labor and delivry.) Jess was present for the whole thing in body, but he didn't DO anything beyond stand near me and pet me, which I fussed at him to stop regularly. I'm VERY easily overstimulated during heavy labor and much of any touching is very difficult for me/on my skin. Weird? True, though! The problem with Jessie's lack of DOing, for me, was that we'd regularly attended birth class together AND practiced partner led relaxation techniques and then he didn't do ANY of the things we'd learned or practiced! I was so bummed about it, felt WAY let down, and (yes, unreasonably) MAD about it for a LONG while afterward.

With Kat I knew, as a result of the experience of Ria's birth, that I had to tell Jess exactly what I needed. I did and it was all right. I was still sad that he wasn't as attentive as I wanted... he slept a LOT during the whole process!!! THIS time, though... OH MY GOODNESS!!! Can you say, "A changed man!??" Well, if you think you can, DO... because THAT is what I experienced! I feel all teary-eyed and full of gratitude and thanksgiving over the man who attended me as I worked to bring our child into the world!!!

Truly the process of labor to bring Tea into this world was a joint partnership between my Jessie and me! While I labored in a less mobile, less "doing" way, Jess was ever present, working in our home to prepare things, clean things, keep things moving and as everything progressed he sat with me (reading a book to stay awake during the less intense hours) and he held my hand tightly (which is the best and almost only physical touch I can tolerate during contractions) when I needed him. There were times when he wasn't right next to me and a contraction would start and then he was there and I knew that he knew I needed him. MANY fewer times (this go round) did I have a need to call out to him because he was already THERE for me!!! He was awake (physically, mentally, and emotionally) through the WHOLE thing (except for our nap time, of course) and he was present and attentive to me AND DOING anything he could for me! I feel such thanksgiving and gratitude for the partner he is for me!!!!

The miracles of prayer and potatoes

I experienced two things that I do not lightly name miracles during this experience of labor WE went through together, my Jessie and me. You can laugh all you want, but the first I'll share is about potatoes. Jess fed me as much as he could yesterday. He regularly suggested things and prepared them in due haste (even though he knew I couldn't eat them quickly, or even immediately) and presented them to me to eat ever-so-slowly (because that's how I've been eating everything for the past 1.5 weeks of feeling almost constantly queasy).

At one point Jess popped out this idea of making some mashed potatoes the way he'd made them the other night. I thought it sounded like something I could eat later, so he made them. I heard him share the info with Karen and she was very pleased because the calories would be very good for me. Did you know, women burn at least 200 calories during every hour of JUST labor (not including walking and other activities)? I was happy to hear she was so pleased, but wondered if I would be able to eat it. RIGHT when Jess brought me the mashed potatoes with a HUGE puddle of butter in them, I felt absolutely famished! I didn't eat them quickly, and I couldn't finish the whole bowl, but they were there right when I needed them. Why a miracle? During the whole last week and a half, if I didn't eat right when I was hungry, I would get really queasy and even go into dry heaves sometimes!! Not a pleasant experience with a huge preggie belly, I have to tell you! So, to me, the mashed potatoes were a huge indication of my husband receiving AND acting on revelation on my behalf! WHAT A BLESSING!!! The miracle of the potatoes is very precious to me! Laugh if you want, but it's HUGE to me!

Then there's the miracle of prayers. If you laugh at this one... I would have to say you might be a little sick because it's not funny. Seriously, it's not meant to be funny at all. Jess has recently begun (within the last 9 month to a year) to pray for our family prayers and such. That development was wonderful and precious to me. Even more recently he has begun to pray formally, which, to me, means using THEEs and THYs to adress Heavenly Father. For me, this a hugely important and is almost equally as precious as Jess praying at all! Well... yesterday my Jessie suggested we pray, offered to say the prayers, and said some of the most beautiful prayers for/over/with me and our baby MULTIPLE TIMES.... I feel all weepy thinking about it because I remember a few years ago just aching that my husband would pray over something with me and he wouldn't. And now he's suggesting we pray AND saying the most sweet, thorough, insightful prayers!!! He is an amazing man and a tremendous blessing to me and our girls!!! So, that's the miracle of prayer that I experience with Jess yesterday. On top of the fact of his prayerfulness, I want to share that each aspect of his requests was granted! Isn't that a bunch of miracles all tied together by the miracle of my husband praying!??!! I'm so grateful, what more can I say!??

Back to Labor Land
I think I finally hit 7cm by around 6pm. 7 is considered entering transition, which, I will add, is also entering in through the gates of hell on earth... whether you do it fast or slow, it's rough going! Unfortunately, transition lasted a FEW hours this time around!!! At least I didn't go through it a FEW TIMES this time as I did with Kat!!! UGH!

Andrea, our midwife's assistant, arrived a little bit before I hit the hard stuff, so I was able to speak with her a little bit. Jess had previously prepared a roast, which was actually uncut Rib Eye steaks! Karen, Jess, and I had already eaten some so Jess served Andrea a steak and some potatoes. Lucky ladies, aren't we?

Transition began shortly thereafter. I can't begin to properly explain that part of labor. It's different for everyone. I got the shakes really baddly at one point. The shakes lasted until I got into the birth tub, which Jess had prepared for me (which required bleaching the hose, filling it with water, as well as boiling water to complete the filling process). The tub helped a lot with pain management during transition, I think, but I wasn't able to birth in it because it was way too hot for me. When I chose to get out, I was 9cm dilated... YEAY! That was probably around 9:55pm-ish. It took, what seemed like forever to me, just a little while (until around 10:20pm) to get almost all the way to 10... I had a front lip that Andrea helped me get rid of during some pushes prior to pushing with all my might (the effort to push a baby out).

Believe it or not, it only took me 16 minutes of pushing like you're trying to get a baby out, to get my baby out! Consider the size of her head when you look at that length of time, if you would, please. Can you say, "She-Ra?" heeheehee ;) I felt and still feel super accomplished about the whole shebang, but, perhaps, especially about that pushing time - considering the baby's head size, especially. One thing that natural childbirth is good for, in my opinion, (perhaps even more the kind of LONG labors I have had) is that it teaches you exactly what you're made of!!! Would I prefer the lesson in another format? Probably... surely... if I could, but it's a tremendously worthwhile lesson, all the same!

My pushing this time was really low again... like when I pushed Ria out. I was actually able to do it WELL, unlike when pushing Kat out. The unfortunate side effect of both good efforts are these strange little red dots all over my face and neck. Broken capillaries or something, I suppose. I think my pushing SO hard with Ria was sort of overkill, in a way (I pushed her out in 13 minutes), but with Kat it was necessary because she was experiencing late decelerations and Karen was really verbally pushing me to work as hard as I could to get the baby out. Understandable under the circumstances: the expected size of the baby (including HUGE head and supposedly more than 11 pounds of baby, according to the ultrasound) added fervor to Karen's commands.

Almost immediately upon actually beginning to push Tea was crowning. WooHOO!!! So Karen called out to Sage that if they wanted to see anything, now was the time. I know they came, but things are very hazy in my memory for that period of time. The one distinct memory I have is of Kat standing in a place that I could actually see her and looking on with wise, wide, eyes and looking very serene and slightly excited. Both girls were completely cool with what they saw. Neither of them freaked out or ran away crying, "Baby go back" (as Ria did when she saw Kat's birth)! I think it was hugely beneficial to have the birth pictures of Kat's birth to share with the girls... it seems that the whole experience was somehow familiar to them as a result. What a blessing! And there can be no question in their minds that this new little person belongs in our family because they've seen exactly how she entered it! ^_^ One of the multitude of blessings I call HOMEBIRTH!

Another believe it or not for ya... While Tea's head is 15.75 inches around and I did tear, only TWO sutures were required to patch me up. No crazy rippage. No rip through the bum. No longer-term healing required! What a blessing!! And Karen was very impressed with my healthy perennial tissues. Happy to know it, aren't ya!? ;)

Jessie Continues to Blow Me Away
After the birth I sat with the baby and tried to stop shaking. Almost immediately Jessie resumed his physical DOing by breaking down the birth tub. Then he ended up with this huge mess in our laundry room because our washing machine totally flooded it... it's slightly temperamental! He said goodbye to everyone as a good host. He made some phone calls to share the news (only our parents because it was around 2am by then!). By then he still was pretty wound up, so he couldn't go to sleep (plus he'd not had any cigs all day because I couldn't tolerate the smell or his absence from me for that long, so he had to get his fix).

Today, he got up with Ria and Kat and occupied them quietly while Tea and I slept until somewhere around noon. I'd like to note that Jess got to sleep by 3am-ish, while I couldn't sleep until sometime after 5am because Tea stuck true to her uterine schedule of GREAT activity from about 2am until sometime right around 5am! So, although I did get more sleep, it wasn't by as much as if I'd been able to sleep when he did. And of course, it wasn't solid sleep anyway, because Tea nursed regularly through the time we were "sleeping". But what a service that my husband willingly took over with our elder daughters!

Upon waking, he presented breakfast, made sure I had water, took care of Tea so I could use the bathroom (still a long drawn out process as a result of the muscle pain and lochia), got me more to eat because I was still REALLY hungry and welcomed our first visitors (Mary Kat and Tim... Remember they live in our town. They served us tremendously on Saturday night by walking our girls around to trick or treat at the Trunk or Treat Ward Social so that Sage could spend the time with her own children!! Such sweet consideration! And Ria and Kat just love BOTH of them!!)! Soon after Tim and Mary Kay departed Judy, one of my visiting teachers, arrived and visited for a short bit. Leslie is out of town, otherwise I know she would have come by as well because they are both AMAZING, thoughtful, concerned, and loving friends and visiting teachers! That ended our visitors for the day, sort of. Mary Kay and Tim came by again to bring us dinner!! I heard them and was totally up and about for many hours by then, so came out wearing Tea in my sling when I heard, as I approached, Mary Kay asking Jess how I was doing. She was VERY surprised to see me walking around and looking so much better! :) One of the HUGE benefits of natural childbirth: REALLY fast recovery time, usually! Jess was the main host during all of these exchanges.

He also dealt with the girls, for the most part, most of the night. No easy task with the large and small revolts they each conducted once Tea and I were actively on the scene. Ria was definitely having a more difficult time, but I think that's more because she had less sleep than because she's actually going to have the most difficult time overall. Honestly, I really believe they are going to adjust beautfiully to having a new sister. The both adore her already. They want to hold her ALL the time... and when they have her, no amount of time, thus far, has been long enough! And, just as a frame of reference, Kat has held her for more than 5 minutes at a go!!!! No, SERIOUSLY! Amazing, right?

Tea Nurses
Oh... and just a note on this "little" nursling. The first time I offered her the nipple she seemed uninterested because she didn't op her mouth when I put it above her upper lip. So I was trying to figure out what to do, the nipple was right next to her mouth, when what to my wondering eyes should transpire, but a little fist pushed and FLIP... there goes the nippy right into a ready mouth. And she began, immediately, to suckle like a TOTAL pro! And, although that feat of fist gymnastics has not been repeated, she has nursed strongly every since. I'm so thankful! The problems I encountered with Ria and Kat caused me to wonder (when they were brand new to the world) if I could or even should breastfeed them! Imagine that... especially if you know that Ria nursed until she was just older than TWO (when I went dry from my pregnancy with Kat) and Kat nursed until she was 19 months old (which is when I went dry from Tea's pregnancy)!

I, personally, think every new mother (and each time you have another child you're new at it with that child!) doubts their abilities as a mother in just about every way imaginable. Don't you!?

Sage's Continued Blessings Upon Our Family
I honestly don't know when it transpired, or how, but somehow Sage was preparing to depart with a list of things to purchase for us. Karen required us to get a thermometer (because the one we had was caput) and some Motrin by today (Sunday). As far as I'd understood, Jess was going to go out to get those things. But Sage was leaving to do it? Well, she did. But she didn't return with the list. She returned with the list, plus an extra thermometer (just in case), a "baby's first present" (which was actually a huge pink bag that contained outfits, hats, a doll, diapers, and wipes!), and a balloon to hang on the mailbox announcing our new arrival!! Can you blieve her sweet service and huge generosity!? I feel that I haven't done (nor could ever do, really!) anything in my life to deserve such marvelous and sweet thoughtfulness!

Phone Calls
I finally called my Mom around 5pm-ish Sunday evening after leaving messages on my two brothers phones. I have to say today has been a rather wearing/draining/exhausting day. If I haven't called you yet, it's not for lack of desire or effort, but I haven't been able to call all that many people yet. I hope you will know that I don't mean any offense by not calling! And that, in fact, I'm not really sure WHO I should call beyond my family and those who've left messages recently (and I've not even called all of them back yet!). So, if you want to chat about the whole thing, please feel free to call me!

A Sneak Peak
This is a shot of Tea, held by Karen, during the newborn exam. Do you see that mane of hair? Also, just as a note, Tea was rooting NOT crying. She cried, briefly, immediately after birth and once right after waking up (a bad dream, I think) and once because of some really uncomfy bubbles in her belly, but has not cried other than those instances to this point! SWEET baby!!!

(Actually finished writing this at 12:18am on Monday.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

We have...

labor. Just labor, but... YEAY, LABOR! It's not super intense yet and it's not progressing quickly, thus far, but it's doin' something, which is good. It started, probably, before I woke up at 9:30am yesterday (Thursday), but I knew it when I woke up. I wasn't sure it would keep going... and it hasn't been intensifying much, but it's not completely disappeared either, which it has so many times in the past.

We went to my midwife's office yesterday to get EPO suppositories and some homeopathic stuff (all of which helped things along with Kat) and Karen checked on things. At that time, around 1:40pm yesterday, I was 4cm dilated, 60% effaced, mushy cervix, and the baby's head was lower than it had been before, which is quite good for effecting change on the inner part of the cervix. I was really hoping to have the baby by now, but that's not the reality, obviously. I can only hope and wish that some day I'll have a baby in less than 24 hours... Ria was 21.5 hours and I thought I had a long thing going there. Kat was 2 days... and pretty similar to this one. Perhaps that's my norm, eh? I pray that it will be shorter this time around. Please pray with me, for the same, if you feel impressed and desireous of so doing.

If you feel so inclined, please pray for the best outcome for us. A good outcome is healthy Mama and baby, which is totally acceptable and wonderful and I'm at peace with transferring to a hospital if it's the Lord's will. Thus far, each time I've prayed about it (and there was a time I gave up on myself a couple days ago and was just sure we should go to a hospital!) the answer was a definite "NO" on going to the hospital. So, please know that I am being smart and my priority is to have a healthy new family (including and, at this time, especially, baby and me). The best outcome, which I've asked for prayers for, is that those parts of a good outcome will come to pass at home! :) I desperately want to have my girls immediately present to meet their new sibling and for us to begin the process, immediately, of becoming a new family - increased by one.

The ultrasound on Tuesday morning said/suggested that the baby's due date was October 18, rather than the 9th. It suggested many other things that were troubling, but not cause for overmuch concern. I'm sure I'll share that information at a later time, but for now I just can't dwell on that stuff.

Thank you, in advance, for your thoughts and prayers for us. We are very grateful and also staying prayerful and hopeful for our part. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Adventures of this Post-Dates Mama

So, as of now (since it's almost 3am), I'm officially 13 days overdue. So annoying. At this point I'm annoyed merely because of the dictates of law and such. In about 5.5 hours I have to make it to an ultrasound. I've made it THIS far and haven't had one and now I "have" to have one... to preserve my opportunity/option for a homebirth I have to do it. On the positive/brighter side, if I was under a Doc's care I would have to go in somewhere (doc office or hospital) for non-stress tests every few days (and would've had to start that rediculousness way before now!). So, there's a lot I have to be grateful for... but, gosh darn it, I'm still annoyed about having to have an ultrasound at all! :(

I was feeling quite blue and bummed on Sunday (after breaking down in tears to my Mom the night before) because of the whole post-dates issue. I was especially annoyed by some of the comments non-thinking persons made to me about the subject at church on Sunday. "What's the hold-up, Mama?" Or, and I love this one, "Why are you taking so long?!" as if I was purposefully and consciously trying to NOT have this baby. Who in their right mind would do THAT? Okay, so maybe my mind isn't always right... but I certainly am NOT loopy enough to want to keep being preggie!!!

I admit there may be some things going on subconsciously, but REALLY TRULY I do NOT know what they are! I mean, I've tried NOT having anything planned so that things just happen, I've tried PLANNING things (because we ALL know how much kiddos love to interrupt, even before they're born)... nothing has worked. And I really have tried... as much as I can, anyway.

I suppose I'm just one of those women who go for a whole 40 weeks of actual gestation (which would be tomorrow, as a matter-of-fact), at least the 22nd of Octboer will be 40 weeks of gestation from the date of the act... since sperm can, under the right conditions, live in the uterus for up to 7 days, the 22nd could possibly be as "little" as 39 weeks of actual gestation (since I know the day we DTD that got me with child). *sigh* It's not for a lack of knowledge this little bugger-boo isn't here... that's for sure!

I'm so glad no one has made the "royal" mistake of suggesting castor oil or something equally or even more dangerous (castor oil can cause the baby to poop in utero and we ALL know we don't want our babies inhaling THAT stuff... BAD BAD BAD!). Someone did suggest a trampoline tonight and I countered with the fact that I'd rather be preggie for a WHOLE week longer than lose my waters at the beginning of labor!!! I KNOW the difference between laboring with and without amniotic fluid and I would fight just about anyone to keep the cush of that fluid until the very end of the already difficult labor process!!!! It's that distinct and tremendous a difference!!!

As we were leaving church on Sunday our Stake President stopped Jess to ask about the next Food Storage food preparation class (he's done 3 so far, on a monthly basis, and they're a BIG hit). I had to use the bathroom. When I came out President Markovitz asked me how I was feeling &/or when we would have the baby and I said something dismissive about myself and that we were 11 days overdue. He immediately asked if I would like a blessing. WHY that hadn't occurred to me, I'm not sure, but I TOTALLY jumped at the opportunity. What a JOY and TRULY a blessing that blessing of comfort has been!!

I've felt SUCH peace concerning this pregnancy and just about EVERYTHING else in my life since Sunday afternoon!! The blessing was like a huge blanket, too... it touched on just about every subject my prayers regularly deal with and provided me with such hope and... HOPE! What's more than that!? Well, I also felt a sense of sureness that I didn't feel before... like the hopes I've had will come to pass, so it's like I've been given a huge blanket of "sure hope" like the kind I've read about... I've felt that sure hope through the whole of today and it's SUCH a tremendous source of comfort and peace!!! I feel so grateful and blessed!!!!!! So, even though I still want to have this baby whenever it's ready, I don't feel anxious about when s/he comes! YEAY... what a joy and relief!

Monday night Mary Kay and Tim came over for FHE (they did the lesson!) and some training for Mary Kay. I worked on teaching Mary Kay how to cut a guy's hair. This is the way I'm contributing to the service trade with Mary Kay for her time teaching Ria how to play the piano. It was such a pleasure to have them in our home! Mary Kay REALLY caught on very quickly to the clipper/trimmer part of the cut and it was getting quite late when it was time for blending the clipper cut to the rest. I finished that up and we'll continue the less in a couple weeks, but she was doing REALLY well for a first-timer and I'm so excited to continue teaching her because she catches on so very quickly. It's a difficult thing, cutting a head of hair the right way (able to hold scissors and comb so that the process isn't too drawn out can be especially difficult to get the hang of and she did an AWESOME job!). I don't feel that I was at my best in verbalizing (one of the greatest annoyances of pregnancy to me!) the process, so that's yet another reason I'm so impressed with her and her understanding of my teaching! They are just such a totally sweet couple. They've been married about 5 months and they are totally sweet to be around without being the slightest bit annoying. :) At least, that's how I feel about how they interact.

Jess likes both of them as well, which is just wonderful to me as I hope we'll have many more opportunities to spend time with them. Tim spent time with our girls while I showed Mary Kay how to do a cut on Jess. Tim was just totally wonderful with them. They were really absorbed (even Kat!!! which is a HUGE deal) and totally entertained by the tiny-pumpkin decorating activity they brought over for our girls. What a JOY!

A Visit
I'm so excited and looking forward with great anticipation to a visit... my Mom is going to come see us!!!! We haven't seen her in ages (it'll be almost a year... or is it more than a year?) and we are totally looking forward to her company and any/everything we might get to do with her. Arguably the most exciting thing about the whole visit, for me, is that she'll be here for nearly TWO weeks!!!! It'll be really nice to have company and help from Jess and then my Mom after this babe's arrival... especially since I didn't really have that sort of constant companionship after either of the girls.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Genetically Modified Seed, Fruits, and their Pushers

So, I haven't written much about this issue, but it quietly effects my choices of foods and influences many of my opinions. I won't share all that I know, but I would like to share just a couple of things about the issue of GMOs: Genetically Modified Organisms (foods/seeds).

Monsanto is the "evil empire" who is pushing the distribution of GMO seeds and products. They propose that their products will end world hunger, increase productivity, and generally improve things for the farmer, but, in fact, their products cause soil degradation and increase (drastically) the need for chemicals (which they also sell, by the way) that cause general environmental deterioration. In addition, their products have become so expensive that they are slowly and surely pushing "small" homesteader farmers out of their work.

The only other point I'm going to touch on, briefly, is the disturbing effects that GMO foods can cause in the body of the one seeking nourishment from them. (This means that if you're eating meat that has been fed these things you're also going to be effected via the food chain!) Many of the genetic modifications to the seeds, and thus the plants, involve tolerance to chemicals used on the plants to deter insects or make them stronger than surrounding plants/weeds. While this is, in theory, a good thing for the food product, it's bad for the consumer. The modification of the seed is passed to the plant and the plant passes it to whom/whatever consumes it. For reasons I don't pretent to completely understand, some of these genetic modifications can sort of stick in the body of the conumer (the person/animal that eats it) and cause that person/animal to have code that increases its sensitivity and reaction to those chemicals as well as other microbiotics.

I have not completed my studies on this subject, by any means, and I doubt I'll ever be able to as long as these things are on the market and being hustled by the BIG DOGS of the economy (of which Monsanto DEFINITELY is!). While these are very brief and limited in scope, I hope they will increase your interest in this subject. The information isn't difficult to find. More and more it's even easier to find the "negative" perspective on GMOs than it was when I first started this line of investigation.

It makes me think that this sort of thing is one of the reasons many, many, many of our Prophets have counceled us to have our own gardens! The councel and even direction is given to both Priesthood and Relief Society via lessons for presentation in thier seperate classes! Of course, we need to be just as careful as other farmers in our choice of seeds. Hybrid seeds are not always GMO (in the way I'm referring), but organic heirloom seeds will steer you as far clear of GMO as is possible! AND you can save seeds from your produce (whereas you can't with hybridized plants/produce), which makes them even more valuable because you won't have to purchase organic heirloom seeds year after year, so they end up costing FAR less!

If you'd like to participate in informing Hershey that you don't want GMO sugars in your candy, check out the link by clicking on Hershey. And if you'd like a great newsletter on the subject, check it out!

Happy reading! ^_^

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Some Pictures

Ria took all of the following pictures with very little coaching by Daddy
(and a tripod). I think she's done a really marvelous job and can't
help but think she's one of the most talented 4 year olds I've ever encountered!
The Belly

Kat and The Belly

Kat, Daddy, and Mama

Going for a family photo, but Kat didn't cooperate.
Ria took this picture with the timer! Awesome, right!??

Tori Preggie Belly Pictures
Monday, October 14, 2008
5 days overdue

Daddy holding Kat before her birthday dinner.

The girls waiting for some of Kat's birthday cake.
Notice Jess in the background with the cake in the next picture.

Ria and Kat watching a movie.

Ria and her pompoms!

Ria and Kat with their Mama-made dolls.

These are a few of my favorite things!

Check out my YouTube channel, if you haven't already. I'm uploading more little videos! There is at least one (probably more by now) that you can only view if you have the code. Need it? Let me know! They are too cute to miss (the little videos you can only see with it)!

And We Have...

absolutely nothing going on to get this baby into the world. Well, that's not completely true. There are minor bits of action, but nothing progressing. I broke down Saturday evening over the whole issue and Ria said to me, "It's okay, Mama. The baby will come out someday!" She's SO funny! She always points out that sort of thing, which is really ALWAYS true, but sometimes doesn't feel like much of a relief.

A little while later Kat came over and patted my leg and then laid her head against my belly and soothed, "Tay Mama. Tay?" (The funny thing about that is Kat can totally pronounce the "k" sound quite well and does so regularly, but not for "okay" I guess.)

Calling Jess at Work
It's pretty funny because, from what I understand, Jessie's co-workers are totally anxious to know when the baby is born. I've heard there may even be two bets going on about the whole situation. One might be about WHEN the baby will come and the other, I've heard tell, is over WHAT the baby will be. Funny, right? My question, when Jess told me about possible betting was, "Are they giving us the winnings?!" heeheehee ;)

I try not to call Jess at work because it's distracting for him (I'm sure) and, especially now, when he hears someone has asked for him I'm sure he's hoping I'm calling to tell him to come home and help me through labor. It's not just him! I called a few days ago and he told me the staff had surrounded him around the phone. So he paused for a moment to say, "No, no baby." I'm pretty sure I heard a sigh of frustration from the group! And to them I say, YOU AND ME BOTH!!!! Seriously!

Today I called and one of the ladies in the kitchen answered. Jess was upstairs in sushi so she had to have him call me back, which meant she had to go way out of her way to get him for me. Before she hung up, she asked if I was calling because the baby was on the way. ^_^ How funny, right? I know the purpose of the question was to determine whether having Jess call me back was of an emergent nature or not, but still. Funny stuff.

Ria and Piano
For some reason piano practice did not go well today. I think it may be the transition from the black keys to the white ones. It's a hump for us, I think, but at least she has the easy keys of the keyboard rather than the harder to intone real notes on a piano. Hopefully she'll get over this "hump" before we're able to get a real piano. She's definitely still interested, at least, which I'm very grateful for!

Friday, October 17, 2008

It would be nice if I could...

just crawl into a shell and wait until this baby comes along. But, unfortunately, I have things to do and places to go. Thankfully, not too many places to go. Thursdays are our busy day. I seriously considered skipping our activities just because I didn't want to hear about it from the ladies, especially at dance class!

I guess it wasn't really so bad... if you're someone who doesn't mind people talking about you like you #1 can't hear or #2 aren't there! :( Seriously. I would think these people just landed on planet Earth or something. I thought I was of little tact/finesse, but they certainly take the cake right out of my mouth, I must say! I mean, can't they imagine that, yes, I would REALLY like to have this baby, but that maybe I have more on my mind than my personal comfort!? *sigh* It's REALLY depressing to me to realize how LITTLE people (women, especially) know about the processes of labor, birth, and the importance of limiting (eliminating!) drugs from the newborn's experience! I swear they ALL either asked when or if I would be induced. WHY!??! All of them were concerned about how they wouldn't be able to take being pregnant. Yeah, ok, it's difficult and emotionally debilitating, to be completely honest, but MAN, get over it! Seriously, I'd rather feel a little bummed or whatever and have a baby born in its own time and in a TRULY safe way than try to force the bugger-boo along and have complications due to underdevelopment or side effects of pit or the epidural!!! I swear... if I swore... *sigh*

I'm going to try to leave than rant alone, though I would really like to keep purging.

A Dentist in Our Future!
We're going to finally have dental insurance for Jess and the girls as of tomorrow! YEAY!!! Now... to find the money to use it so they can each SEE a denitist! Joke of the century, right? Perhaps that's what my next ChaCha check will be for, instead of the piano or homeschool stuff I was hoping to be able to fully payback/purchase. Rats, foiled again!

Story Time
So, if there was any room for wonder in my mind before, there is no longer. Ria is definitely a performer! Today after Story Time the story time volunteer lady had Ria choose a book to read to her. She'd mentioned she'd like Ria to do as much last week and did, indeed, follow through. Apparently (this is all through Jess and Ria), the other two adults who brought children decided to stay and observe as an audience.

So, Ria read a book she chose from the children's section. It was not a leveled reader, it was not a book she'd read previously, it was just one she randomly selected based on interest. She read it to the story time lady (and audience) and then was emphatically applauded. When Jess and I asked her how she felt about the people clapping for her when they were home, Ria got this sweet whistful/joyful expression on her face and said something like, "I felt like a princess on stage! I love it when people clap for me!" ^_^

The Story Time volunteer lady was duely impressed. She told Jess that Ria was a gifted reader. Jess responded that Ria had a good teacher (and I would add, teacherS!). The lady countered that, no, it didn't matter how good a teacher she had, Ria would be a gifted reader no matter what.

I beg to differ! The woman does not know how much effort and time went into the program we did to get her ABLE to develop on her own. Yes, Ria has made great progress since completing her huge step into reading via HOW TO TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ IN 100 EASY LESSONS because she reads to herself, Kat, Jess, and me almost constantly, but she didn't teach herself!

To me, a gifted reader is one (like my brother Eddie was, I believe and like Jess was) who teaches him or herself to read by memorizing texts and making inferences based on prior memorizations! Ria IS exceptional, she TOTALLY DOES have an exceptional (perhaps genius of a) memory, but I'm quite sure she's not gifted in and of herself in reading... she's VERY motivated and loves to read (and since she doesn't get to watch TV all the time, she has LOTS of time for reading!), but she's not gifted in the way I think of as gifted. I'm sure she has her genius, but I don't believe we've found it just yet. :)

Still, I do have to admit that it's pleasant to hear that a career kindergarden educator believes my child is gifted. I'd be blowin' smoke where the sun don't shine if I tried to deny that! ^_^

Dance Class and Piano Class
Ria did well in both of her classes. I was able to watch a little of her dance class and she was quite attentive and followed along really well. I love to see her dance! And when the little girls do barr work at the beginning... I think it's about the sweetest and most beautiful thing!

We walked to piano class (the mere 5 blocks round trip) because Kat was tired and I didn't want her to sleep in a hot van! She slept through almost the whole piano class. So, because Kat was sleeping, I didn't get to sit in and watch/listen to her lesson.

Ria was fidgety and easily distracted, but did her lesson pretty well. Mary Kay told me she could really tell we'd worked on memorizing how to find the keys as well as counting notes while playing. I'm so glad! Ria did pretty well for me prior to the last lesson (with regard to counting her beats), but then didn't perform as well for her teacher. It seems her performance did improve this time.

Mary Kay was surprised by Ria's opinionated expressions today. Ria told her a few times (not rudely, at least, though) that she didn't want to do certain things for the lesson. I'm very frustrated to hear she would do such a thing with an adult outside of our family, but that's definitely a part of the phase we're dealing with lately! I'm glad, at least, to know that she knows what she wants and doesn't want (on the bright side?).

As of this lesson, we have transitioned from working exclusively on the black keys, to working on the white ones. That's so exciting to me, but also daunting because here's where praciticing on a keyboard becomes a bit of a detriment. Ria's little fingers aren't as strong as they need to be to play a piano with any clear sounding notes and the only way to get them stronger is to practice on a REAL piano! So, that's my goal for this weekend. I've already borrowed some money from someone who loves us and I've found TWO absolutely beautiful pianos for $100... now I just have to see if our hometeacher with a truck can take Jess to Jacksonville to buy one of them (assuming one or both are available)! One has a broken spindle (front leg from piano to foot), but they are both sound and gorgeous!!! I feel almost lucky to have missed the previous $100 pianos I've come across because these two are far more beautiful to me! Cross your fingers that it works out so Ria can practice on a real piano and keep making the awesome progress (and even better, strengthen her fingers in the way pianists need) as of this weekend. That's what I'm hoping right now! Actually, I'm hoping lots of things, but this is the one that seems most likely to pan out! ;)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blessings of Love and Tithing

"I believe with all my heart that if they will accept the gospel and live it, pay their tithes and offerings, even though those be meager, the Lord will keep His ancient promise in their behalf, and they will have rice in their bowls and clothing on their backs and shelter over their heads." A statement by President Gordon B. Hinkley in a missionary meeting, Philippines Cebu Mission, 1 June 1996. (“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, Aug. 1997, 3)

Malachi 3:10 "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

I felt so very sad and down when, last month, I couldn't put any money toward any of the charitable offerings we can do through the LDS church. Normally we don't do much, we do just enough to stretch (keep things from being too "cushy"), which is the point as I understood it from this one article/talk I read. Anyway... I was so sad and even cried about it and wondered in my small and silly way if I would be reprimanded for not being able to maintain those efforts I'd been making. Well, I have to say, I think NOT!

We've been blessed constantly to have our food storage tremendously supplemented with fresh fruits, veggies, bread, and milk for the past many weeks. If that's not blessings falling from heaven (and confirmation that I'm not being reprimanded), I don't know what is!

In addition to ALL of that, in the last couple of days we've been blessed by living angels! Yesterday, Jess called me from work to let me know that his co-workers had purchased 3 bags of newborn diapers for us! Then today, my dear friend, Heather, showed up to check on me because I'd sounded down on my voice mail. AND another of my dear friends, Sage, came by with pizza (which I've been TOTALLY craving for the last 2 weeks), root beer (my favorite soda!), vanilla ice cream (can you say root beer floats!?), and pickles (just because I'm preggie!) because she'd just been thinking about it for the last few days! Aren't those acts of service and love just the sweetest? I think I have room enough in my heart to receive all that love and I'm certainly trying to accept it without reservation, but it certainly does feel a bit overwhelming.

Ya know, I really feel I have to share (and I want to) that the most awesome part of all this is that when I was feeling my most desperate this past weekend, over the whole CRUD with Jess, I did have some fierce arguments with myself on many topics. One of those subjects of internal debate was regarding Heavenly Father's love and whether I deserved it or not... I thought that perhaps I'd done something wrong and wasn't a cherished daughter anymore. I know, I know... pretty silly and totally lame, but I was SUPER down. I was able to talk myself away from that stupidity, but it still FELT sort of real, even though I KNEW it wasn't. Ya know? Well, then these things happen... and I totally FEEL the love and FEEL cherished... and it makes me feel so totally and completely grateful! What an AWESOME Father in Heaven we have!!!!

Oh, and yes, I'm still preggie
I think the heading says it all! :) My across-the-street neighbor yelled across to ask if I'd had the baby. I think I look totally bloated and pregnant, but I guess not to everyone. Of course, she just realized I was pregnant about 2 weeks ago! (I seriously think I've looked pregnant for AT LEAST the last 2-3 months!) In answer to her query, I turned to the side and held my huge t-shirt over the belly so she could see for herself. She did, as most people do, the pitying facial expressions and then suggested I go for a run on the beach.

And THAT, my friends, is why I haven't left the house lately! I know people mean well, but seriously... pity and weird suggestions for inducing labor?! OF course, they don't know that I can barely walk because of either hip or back pain... and most recently because I'm feeling super front heavy! but if I went for a run and it caused labor to start, I wouldn't be able to labor in motion, which would cause the whole thing to drag out forever! The only really safe and sort of possibly effective methods of self-induction are: pressure points (acupressure, but I don't know enough about it to avoid the points that could cause the baby to pooh in utero!), acupuncture (OFTEN works, but we can't afford it), massage (could work, but can't afford it), and sex (which was just causing false labor and I just am not interested in it anymore for various reasons). So, possibly TMI*, but... I suppose that's still a bit "Tori" for ya. I really have improved in that regard, but it seems, on this subject especially, TMI goes with the territory.

I've maintained my Top Guide status thus far. I'm happy about that and pleased with my performance; especially when I accomplish a number of searches at 30 seconds or less! But even though my searches have improved, I haven't worked as much primarily because I'd felt guilty about working when the girls are awake and decided to curb that (and pretty much stopped it most of the time).

Even though I worked a lot less during the day, I've still maintained either a very heavy part-time job status or a light full-time job status (between 20 and 32 hours each week). My payout for the month was about half as much as last month... HOPEFULLY, though, I can purchase the Math program I want to start Ria on, but I'll have to make sure things work out in the budget as far as everything being covered by Jessie's paychecks. It should because we've still got another 2 checks coming for the month, which means catch-up money and rent... hopefully it'll work out so we can "officially" start Math in a way that doesn't scare the bejeebers out of me (and Jess, for that matter). My goal is to work for a piano in the next month... we'll see how that goes, of course. And if I have to cover bills, it won't happen. :(

*Too Much Information

Have You Heard of It?

I'm referring to the movie "The Business of Being Born" a documentary produced by Ricki Lake. It's AWESOME! I think my Great Aunt Milli would advocate for it, which is very high praise of it because A. Milli is probably the most highly educated woman I know on the subjects of birth and early childhood education. She's amazing!

Anyway, check out the movie if you can and if birth is of interest to you. Also, there's this really great blog I found in connection with TBOBB. It's called "A Mama's Blog." The author has a wonderful way of describing things. The post/review of the movie was written in February 2008. Her most recent post would, I hope, be of great interest to those who support Obama... you might second guess yourself, so maybe you won't want to read the October 12th post on the blog I've just mentioned!

I've watched TBOBB and it is really truly AWESOME! I didn't expect to cry because I've done the natural hospital birth (against the odds) as well as successful home birth, but I totally cried! It's just such a miracle... birth! And even more, in my opinion, unmedicated birth because of the complete with-it-ness of the Mama involved!! They didn't use these words, but one message I took from the movie is that natural childbirth is transcendental. It reveals you to yourself and, in all the best and worst thoughts and feelings you may have during the whole process, you realize that no matter how little (or much) you think you can do, you can do more if you just keep going! I've certainly felt that, for myself, with my daughters' births! It's like that Country Song by Rodney Atkins:

"If you're going through hell
Keep on going, don't slow down
If you're scared, don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there"

That, RIGHT THERE, is what it's like at the worst points in natural childbirth. You don't think, you just keep on going!! I know there were MANY times during my births (especially Ria's) that I was super scared. But I was determined not to show it because I didn't want Jess to doubt me and the process and then not support future home births! Weird? I seriously thought that!

Anyway, all of this 'empowerment' stuff is really coming at a PERFECT time for me because I've had so many more fears as I approach this birth. Karen, my midwife, has told me that it's really normal for women with a couple good births to have this sort of experience because it's almost like, "It's gone really quite well already with my previous births, how lucky can I get?" And that's exactly what my underlying concern was! It's amazing how perfect, for me, Karen is as a midwife!

Then, on top of those fears, the extended duration of this prodromal labor has been wearing me down. Much of the time I feel like my nerves are raw and I'm just trying to coast through the day. I'm sure that's also partially due to fatigue, but more due to the regular (and often constant) pain of light to middling contractions. I'm grateful for moments and times when I don't have contraction related pain. It's such a relief!!

The Baby and This Pregnancy
We had a midwife visit on Monday afternoon. I didn't have her do an internal check my progress because I was afraid of being frustrated by it. Everything is normal. Baby seems to have dropped more because the belly measurement didn't change from last week. Normal... check. Movement is still strong and regular. I'm still tired and crampy.

Starting REALLY early this past Tuesday morning I thought I might be actually starting labor. I even stopped working ChaCha to get to bed because I was just sure that I would need the rest. It was difficult to fall asleep, but I was able to do so by convincing myself that the contractions would wake me up later. Imagine my disappointment when they DIDN'T!

I have had lots of "action" today, but nothing constant or intensifying. Bummer.

If this baby hasn't decided to grace us with her/his presence by Tuesday, I'll have to go in for an ultrasound to buy me another 5 days of non-interference. If you feel so inclined, I would appreciate prayers that the baby arrives on his or her own before an ultrasound would be necessary on Tuesday, October 21. Dog-gone-it, I've made it this far without one! It's not an extra expense, other than gas, at least, but I'd still rather avoid it completely.

The thing is, with both Ria and Kat I had relatively non-invasive and natural interventions to cause labor to start and it wasn't good for me mentally because the WHOLE time I knew I was in labor. I don't want to do it that way this time! I want to keep wondering and hoping and then KNOW at some random point in time. Ya know? Anyway.... Karen's all for that and doesn't even plan to try anything at 42 weeks, which is awesome. (Of course, I'll have been for the ultrasound the day before, but that's not part of any induction process unless some problem is discovered there.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Who Do You Choose? Take a Stand!

I choose McCain and Palin. Not because they are perfect or because I agree with ALL of their ideas and stances, but because they are the best of the choices available. I choose them because I believe they will truly work for our country, rather than expect that they were raised up to save it.

As I learn more and more about the two main contenders, I have felt the wool to be removed from my eyes. You see, I was totally bedazzled by Obama. He speaks well! His ideas are attractive, at least the main ones, like HOPE, that he speaks very eloquently about in the big meetings. Jess and I were both planning to vote for him.

I truly feel like I was awakened from a dream. In reality, the truth is that I was able to discern the truth rather than continue to move in the mire of a bamboozled and befuddled brain, convinced by what was said, rather than understanding what has already been done.

If past behavior is any predictor of future behavior, and in human behavior it REALLY is, then I can not trust Obama. While there are ways that someone of the opposing perspective could say the same of McCain, I think that McCain's actions speak MUCH more loudly of integrity than Obama's ever will. I agree that Obama is a wonderful speaker. I agree that his speaches are uplifting and inspiring. But I have to say that I truly believe he is much more talk than he is any actual substance. And, when it comes right down to it, we need a leader of substance who will not balk and simper and make slip ups in statements about his own religion.

Which brings me to my first of many issues and the first of the three I'm going to share with you. Did you hear about that one? It was aired, but the nothing was said of it after the slip. True, Obama and the interviewer were speaking about Muslim as a part of his upbringing and how the other party had made or not made statements about it, but when it comes right down to it, if you're truly and completely dedicated to your system of beliefs, would you ever accidentally say, "My Muslim faith," if you are not Muslim? And then, have to be corrected by an interviewer who said, "You mean your Christian faith."

I have absolutely nothing against Muslims. And as a dear friend of mine pointed out, Muslims and Christians have a lot more in common than most people realize or are willing to acknowledge. I love that because, in my opinion, that happens to be the truth across most divides. My problem is not that Obama might be a Muslim, but rather... that he's unwilling to openly be what he seems to be! If you're a Muslim, BE a Muslim and don't pretend to be something else because that's what will get you where you want to be. That's my problem!

Then there's the whole abortion issue. I won't even begin to try to explain my personal beliefs and perspective on that issue. I'm never quite able to make my perspective understood, so I won't even try. Suffice it to say I'm completely IN SUPPORT of any and every baby born having a right to life! I think most people, especially those who have had any children, feel that way as well. Not Obama.

And have you seen the information that shows some dirty hands with regard to the financial ridiculousness happening right now? Who has the dirty hands? Obama.

My presentation of information here is very brief and really incomplete. There are tons of much more eloquently stated explications about this man who has such a great face, but not nearly enough substance. Check them out. One place to look is A Mama's Blog. And there's always Google!

Will It Ever End?

Just joking, of course I know it will end, this pregnancy... but I have to tell you, especially those of you who haven't experienced the sheer torture of going over your due date (and even more especially to those of you who've never made it to your due date) that it TRULY bites the big one to be pregnant beyond the day birth is supposed to occur!

Oh, by the way, I'm officially FOUR days overdue now. And the whole process of this pregnancy is getting ever increasingly painful - emotionally as well as physically. I totally skipped church yesterday because I'd slept a whole whopping 30 minutes all night. Yeah... not good. But I could have gone. I just couldn't make myself face all those loving (and a couple spiteful and mean) people looking at me like a freak for still being pregnant and then having to pretend to be fine and happy and all that other gobbledygook. Jess and I had a huge fight and I didn't want to sit next to him, much less pretend that I liked him. Of course... I do love him, but I really REALLY don't like him very much as a person even now and I liked him far less a few hours ago! And, "NO!" It's not pregnant hormone stuff going on, either! It's a big huge pile of crapola that I thought I wouldn't have to wade through again, actually. Now, the fact that I couldn't stop crying for more than 12 hours could well be related to the hormones. I will admit that one!

So, I just watched this movie online "The Women" because there's not any point in trying to lie down to go to sleep before midnight when I've had just enough sleep during the day, which, of course, I did as a result of not going to church. In the movie one of the characters said something about how every relationship experiences betrayals of some sort. In some relationships, the betrayal is one big huge one, while in others, it's billions of little ones all stacked together over time. Nary a mention of multiple big ones stacked together over time. Perhaps that's because most people hit the road after one or two big ones? So, I guess that makes me a glutton for punishment because I'd have to say that the betrayals I've experienced amount to a bunch of big ones... and I'm so flippin sick of it!

But then it boils down to this... how do you end something you KNOW you're suppose to be in!? I mean, the real concentrate (like OJ from concentrate) of the matter here, for me, is that I know Jessie is the person I'm supposed to be married to... I just happen not to like his behavior and choices AT ALL at times. So, I think what I'm supposed to do is just sort of deal with it. Not in a doormat sort of way, but more like in an "unconditional love" sort of way... and a "patiently guiding and waiting and hoping for improvement" sort of way. And if you know me, those last quotation marked bits are really not inherently my strong points. AND, like the main character in the movie, I think I'm meant to work on improving me and liking myself more fully and completely so that the billion little (OR enormous) betrayals don't fracture my world the way they have been.

I've realized, after this most recent bout with Jess, that it's as if the frame of the house of my life is built out of Jessie material and that it's the wrong stuff for that particular job. I think I just need to start putting Tori stuff in there instead because I KNOW what that stuff is made of and that it won't break down on me in ways that I can't catch before it falls. The Jessie material needs to be used in the house in ways that it's more suited for... how that is, I'm not quite sure yet. I haven't made it that far in my philosophizing and analogy-making about the whole situation. But I'm working on it! Also, in all this philosophizing I've realized that while my "house" had been shaking because bits of framing have failed (again), the most important part of the structure is in tact. "And, why might that be," you may ask. I'll tell you, because it's all built on the foundation of Christ, that's why! I'm so grateful for that... in all the aching and paining I've felt over the last while!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

One Day Overdue

So, it looks like this baby will follow in his/her sisters' pattern in that s/he will be late. I SERIOUSLY hope not as late as either Ria OR Kat. Ria was 11 days and Kat was 14 days late. The last days are the hardest and I'm totally wiped out. I'm still not able to walk and becoming less and less able to be constantly mobile through the day. The hips become agitated after too much (30-45 minutes) constant standing/walking in the house. Also, fatigue definitely plays a part in how much my hips flare up. For whatever reason, they spasm really badly and I literally cannot move until it stops. It takes much longer to stop when standing, but, unfortunately, that's when it happens most! I'm actually becoming afraid to stand for very long at at time because it's such debilitating pain!

Jessie Helping Lots
Thankfully, Jess has been really good to me this time around. He says it's because he has more time, but, honestly, from my point of view it has MUCH more to do with more wise use of the time available! He actually swept the WHOLE house the other day. It was such a sweet gift to me because I'd been wanting to do it, but just couldn't make myself because I knew after two rooms I would have spasms (the last FEW times that's what happened) and if I can't sweep the whole house the dust and dirt left on the floor just goes from one room to another. It just feels really pointless!

Jess is still the "Dish King" which he has been for a while. My belly has made dishes nigh on impossible for a few weeks now. If I tried to do them (which I did this week), my back ends up spasming as badly or worse than my hips! Rough stuff, let me tell you!

What I Can Do
I have been able to maintain the laundry. I actually have NO dirty clothes in the laundry basket at this time and after Jess comes home I'll still have none because all worn clothes (right now) will be laundered immediately tonight. Of course, that means I have drying and folding to do, but one small load versus numerous loads is AWESOME!

I also spend time with the girls and ChaCha, though I didn't do that either of the last two nights. Ria and I have piano practice to work on, regularly, and I try to do reading class with her sometimes, too. I also want to do more writing class, but haven't made that a big priority because of my attention span, short temper, and fatigue (which the last two are certainly SUPER related).

Ria and Kat Contributing
Ria has been the most awesome helper lately! She's been doing many of her jobs without reminders and when asked to do something, she's totally willing and even lovingly responds, "I'll be happy to help you!" It makes me feel so blessed and LOVED! Kat hasn't been quite as helpful, but for 2 (she turned TWO yesterday!!!), and not having the kind of guidance to learn how to work as Ria did, she's really doing quite well. She also doesn't have as much to do because she doesn't (believe it or not) bring as much out into the house as Ria does. Ria has actually gotten MUCH better about her toys and books, too. She brings a LOT less to the living room than she used to. I think it's sort of sunk in that if she brings it out, she'll have to bring it back! Nice.

Kat and Potty Training
It's basically a done deal! :) She has had a few accidents, but they have (almost all) been due to hyper involvement in something and not allowing herself enough time to get to the potty before she had to let it go. She's actually wearing panties when we go anywhere. She even wore panties when we went from Dance class to Piano class yesterday AND kept them dry! I'm SUCH a pleased and impressed Mama! As I've mentioned a few times, I give her training "credit" to Jess, and Kat, of course. She was not interested in the potty at all until he involved himself and tried to get her to use it! So, Ria trained with and for me... and Kat did it for Daddy. Funny, huh?

I'm updating my voice mail on a daily basis (at night) to share the news regarding the baby. In the updates I share how many days overdue (as of today) I am, and so forth. You'd likely be able to hear, to some extent, my frame of mind as well as the actual message. The first time I left the message I think I sounded almost as tired as I felt, even though I certainly wasn't trying! The main reason for all this is that, even though I have a cell phone, I do NOT keep it with me. I'm aware of and concerned about the radiation issues inherent in and with cell phones, so treat it much more like a land line than most people do their cell phones. Having said that, it takes me a while to get anywhere and I can't stand to hear the phone ring much (I've even considered reducing the number of rings). So, combining my tolerance for hearing the ring (4 is the upper limit right now) and my inability to move quickly, I am rarely able to answer the phone. Most, if not all, of the people calling lately have been friends calling to check on the status of baby's birth/progress. Since I love that people care, but can't stand to repeat myself over much, I'm leaving the stats in my voice mail. If you have the number and think about us, go ahead and call to check! :) If you're lucky (or unlucky, as the case may be) I may answer if the phone is near me, but more than likely you'll get to hear whatever message I made in the evening of the most recent change. If you don't have my number, and want it, drop me an email and I'll send it along. If you want me to call you back about something specific, please state as much in the message AND let me know if I can call after 9pm, when my minutes are free. Otherwise, you might have to wait until the weekend for a call back!

Thanks for checking on us and loving us! We REALLY appreciate it!

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