Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Update on "The Boys"

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled baby updates for something....different....

It's no secret to anyone who knows us that our dogs are not just dogs...they're members of our family. We were only married 1 month before adding Gershwin to the mix and Lennon happened upon our family just 6 months later. So really we've never known what it's like to not have them.

Starting around week 8 of my pregnancy both of the dogs started to become a bit more clingy with me. They have always been very loving but I'm convinced that they know I'm pregnant. They fight over who sits nearest me and never ever ever approach K when they need food, water, or a trip outside. They still enjoy playing with him when he offers, of course, and they are always so excited when he comes home after an evening of practicing or studying. He takes them out to play while I make lunch and dinner every day and they love the time outside with him. However, it never fails that when given an option they choose to come to me for attention. On most days I think it's sweet but on others I want so badly for them to quit pestering me! :-)

Gershwin is such a sweet dog. He loves attention from anyone and is very sweet about asking for it. He'll come and sit nicely in front of you and stretch his head forward with a pleading look in his eyes. If that doesn't work he'll gently paw until he has your attention. He rarely licks but his favorite thing is to gently nose up to a new person's face and sniff them. Don't worry, though...only if you let him! He's pretty good about giving up the conquest for people who aren't interested but that leads to him throwing himself on the floor and sighing as loudly as possible. Dramatic. His favorite activities are roaming and taking walks because those are his best opportunities to explore. His purpose in life is to sniff and explore everything. He loves to play with Lennon and frequently resorts to ramming into him while he's busy with his Frisbee to remind him that there are more important things in life than flying discs....like brothers!

Lennon is a lover. K and I refer to Lennon's brand of affection as "fierce love" because he doesn't know how to give or receive it without going a little overboard. He runs in circles while people pet him, loves being in people's laps, and will lick every inch of you if you let him. Basically, people who don't like stereotypical dogs can't stand Lennon and true "dog people" think he's perfectly adorable. We are those people! His favorite activity is anything that involves his frisbee. It is an obsession that was truly born into him and K has become quite the budding trainer for him. They spend a good amount of time every day outside working on new tricks and throws while Gershwin explores new smells in the yard. Lennon is extremely intelligent, fast, and driven...the perfect combination for a disc dog. This time outside enjoying his frisbee time with K is absolutely essential to keeping his energy level under control and is the best way to work on training with him. We love him so much and can't quite imagine what life would be like without him and his big brother!

I have done a lot of reading up on the best ways to acclimate dogs to life with a newborn and tips for keeping balance when bringing the baby home. We're both agreed that doing everything we can in advance to prepare ourselves and the dogs for the transition is best. For Lennon this means lots of work on knowing when to be calm, not jumping, and less licking. For Gershwin this means working on not pushing boundaries (for instance, staying out of LDB's stuff). We take their training and well-being very seriously so we're prepared to do whatever it takes to help them transition to how to behave with a baby in the house. K and I are both trying to anticipate problems and work on them now so I think by the time we bring LDB home Gershwin and Lennon will be as prepared as possible.

If you're shaking your head in disbelief that I just wrote that much about my dogs please refer to paragraph number one :-)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Why I Chose a Certified Nurse Midwife

There are a lot of people who have been intrigued by my decision to see a midwife for my pregnancy instead of a doctor. To me, it seemed like the most natural decision! We are blessed to live in an area where pretty much any type of birth plan can be accommodated so there were a lot of available options.

Here are just a few of the reasons that I chose to see a certified nurse midwife (CNM):

1. I'm not sick...just pregnant. I know that doctors are wonderfully trained medical professionals and that they know what they're doing. I also know that my body is equipped for birth just the way God made it. If complications arise, as they often do, I will be in very capable hands at the hospital. If, like the majority of healthy women, I have a normal birth experience then I feel like there just isn't a need for me to have spent my pregnancy seeing a doctor. Here is a quote from my midwives website: "To a Certified Nurse Midwife, every pregnancy is a unique event. That’s why our approach centers on the emotional, spiritual and physical needs of each woman. We encourage women and their families to consider their options for child birth."

2. I want to have a natural labor. I know, I know. You can call me crazy all you want. As I said above, I really believe that my body is made to do this. The care that I am receiving throughout my pregnancy is very supportive of natural childbirth. It is important to me to be cared for during my pregnancy and labor in an environment that is not just tolerant, but encouraging of my plan for my birth. In the event that I decide to change the plan and get an epidural I will be supported in that as well, but the standard practice of my midwife group is to first help you exhaust all options of coping with the pain. Also, my CNM group has a cesarean rate of 12% ...the national average is 35%.

3.  Relaxed atmosphere. I have a not-so-secret fear of all things hospital. I do NOT like tubes, IVs, monitors, or the general smell and atmosphere. This is why my amazing sister makes a great nurse and I make the worst hospital guest in the world. I really sought out all options for a good combination of safe environment (in case something goes wrong) and an atmosphere that is relaxed enough that I can just forget about the tubes and IVs and feel free to walk around when the panic sets in. Yes, it probably sounds as though a homebirth might be a better option but 1) We rent and 2) I'm aware that in the event that something goes wrong (especially since this is my first pregnancy) it's best for me to be at a hospital. The CNMs that I see work in conjunction with an ObGyn practice and they deliver at a hospital in our city that is fully supportive of natural childbirth. Exactly what we were looking for!

I'll end this by saying I fully understand why this isn't for everyone. It fits exactly what my husband and I desire for the birth of our son but plenty of women have an entirely different idea of what their ideal birthing experience is. I would never, ever think poorly of a woman who chooses to do things differently than me just as I would hope that no one would ever think poorly of me for my decisions. This is such a personal journey and it's one that deserves lots of thought for the expectant mom. I hope that this post has given some insight into my journey because I know that I'm loving every minute of it!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's a Boy!

I know that some people think it's so wonderful to save the gender reveal for the birth. I agree that it's wonderful. Just not for us! K and I were agreed from the beginning that we wanted to know if our little grape was a boy or a girl. When we scheduled the anatomy scan ultrasound we were so excited and started counting down the days. We scheduled the appointment for the Thursday after we came back from Germany and invited our moms to come along. Unfortunately, K's parents were spending that day with family for Christmas but my mom was able to come along. We made sure that his parents were the first to know afterwards!

Because of a frustrating experience we had with our first ultrasound tech they sent us to a specialty office for this ultrasound. My mom made it JUST in time and we were ushered back to a nice room with a gigantic flat screen TV in the corner. Amazing! Instead of having to all gather around the little computer monitor we were able to see the baby perfectly clear from each of our seats. The scan began with lots of measurements of bone lengths and checking each of the tiny organs. It was very surreal because at 18 weeks the baby is still quite small but on the screen it looked as though we were viewing a full term baby! After several minutes of the tech measuring, taking little pictures, and pointing out all the important things to me she asked one more time if we were sure we wanted to know the gender. We reassured her that, YES, we hadn't changed our minds so she moved her little wand around until she found what she was looking for. I knew before she said it out loud and so did my mom. Honestly, the little dude made it very, very easy for us. The tech looked over and asked me if I knew and I told her yes, but I needed to hear it out loud.

"It's a boy!"

She took a few pictures of the evidence as K, mom, and I all laughed and shared the moment. It was so special and relieving to finally know that our baby looked perfectly healthy and was so fun to finally be able to know the gender. After a quick check by the doctor to confirm that he looked healthy we were sent on our way with a DVD of the ultrasound and checked out of the office. We immediately called K's family and shared the news and then went to lunch where we told my dad over the phone as well.

This day could not have been more perfect. We didn't care one lick whether this baby was a boy or a girl but knowing made everything feel so much more real. Of course, we had a definite name for a girl and nothing for a boy but we took care of that in time. I've always wanted to be a mother and knowing that this baby inside of me is my son, given by God, and already so loved is an answered prayer.

18 Weeks!

Monday, February 13, 2012

First Trimester Overview

Since I only blogged about two very stressful moments in my first trimester (in order to share my hormonal goofiness with the world wide web) I think it's a good idea to give an overview that better reflects the normalcy of my first 12 weeks!

I certainly had the occasional crying outburst but I spent more of the first trimester trying to convince myself that I really and truly was pregnant. I expected to have all of the "normal" symptoms like morning sickness, sore body, crazy mood swings, etc. Instead, I really had a very calm experience.
I felt completely normal every morning and this more than anything had me convinced that I wasn't pregnant! Shouldn't I be barfing my guts up every morning? Well, apparently not because I'm now 24 weeks and have only thrown up 3 times. Believe me, I am so aware of how lucky I am! Of course, I did have the occasional emotional outburst and one area of my body stayed sore for weeks, but I'm drawing the line at sharing about that. You're welcome.

My only two persistent symptoms were extreme food cravings (one of which I shared about here), and frequent gagging over any food that didn't meet that craving. Most days there would be one thing my body wanted and absolutely nothing else would settle well. This was pretty easy to fix because we live near enough grocery stores and cheap restaurants that pretty much everything I wanted was within reach. Only occasionally did I want something that wasn't attainable and those days I would make myself eat something really plain in the meantime.

Overall, my first trimester was a dream. I had my first appointments with my midwife group, first two ultrasounds and the joy of sharing the news with our family and friends. Watching K transform into the guy who points out a cute baby or unique stroller to me with a gigantic smile on his face has been amazing. He's so excited about every little detail and thrilled to be a dad. I've never had to deal with an uncaring attitude from him like I know so many women do. God has TRULY blessed me with a supportive husband.

The truth is that I love being pregnant. I'm not one of those women who feels like constantly complaining. Each day of this journey is fun and special and the days are going too fast for me to waste my time being miserable! Yet another reason why LDB's middle name means peace...this pregnancy is so peaceful and I'm not taking it for granted!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Big News

At the end of September, as our semester started to get CRAZY we had to move. Terrible timing, I tell you! Our little on-campus duplex had a pipe leaking that had completely rotted out an area of the wall between the kitchen and bathroom and it was no longer safe for us to live there. Fortunately, we only had to move a block away and our school provided boxes, a moving truck, and two sweet helpers. We also had the help of two friends who went WAY above and beyond the call of duty helping us load boxes and do late night trips between the duplexes. In case you think I'm exaggerating a little about the frantic nature of this move, let me point out that we found out Monday morning and were moved completely by Tuesday night. We had to take two unexpected days off of work/school and were so stressed, but God provides! We were out of the moldy old place and into a much more updated version of a duplex with the same floor plan as before.

That Thursday, Kris had to have a class through lunch and I decided to go and grab a sandwich out instead of going home. I was exhausted and didn't want to deal with taking the dogs out on my own. All that morning I had been feeling slightly strange and it hit me as I passed CVS....
Could I be pregnant?
No, surely not. I'm just tired and stressed, that's all.

But somehow the little feeling wouldn't go away so I stopped in, grabbed what I needed and went along my merry way thinking that I might take the test in a few days if the funny feeling persisted.
HA! Yeah, right.
By the time I was back at work that little box was burning a hole in my mind and my purse so I rushed to the downstairs ladies room and sure enough! Two lines!
Craziness. I have no words for how shocked and excited I felt. I wanted to go and tell K right then but I decided it could wait a few days for it to sink in.
HA! (do you see a trend??)

That night I cooked dinner, acted like nothing important was going on and when we were finished eating handed him my Bible. I told him that I had come across a passage that I thought he needed to see. I had marked the first chapter of 1 Samuel and asked him to read it. When he finished he looked up at me and with eyes all big asked, "Does this mean what I think it means?" I had him turn forward a few pages and there was the test...proof that God answers prayers.

This, after days of craziness and pure stress, was just the most peaceful moment. So much joy! During the the following weeks of doubt that this could be actually happening, which were only met by more and more assurances and peace from the Lord, is why we chose his middle name. It means "peace" and could not be more perfect...because the peace that God has brought to our hearts through this tiny boy can't be measured.

We chose to keep it a secret from everyone until we could visit my midwives and get an ultrasound. On October 31, 2011 there he was! Perfectly growing and heart beating like little fluttering wings. What a miracle!

A Time to Blog

Well, I cannot deny that I have always been a slacking blogger but somehow I seem to have gotten worse. I used to think that I would be one of those pregnant women who wanted to keep a weekly journal of feelings, symptoms, and milestones but that just hasn't been the case. I enjoy the changes that are happening in my life right now but the urge to blog just isn't frequent. I'll probably look back in a few years and kick myself for not doing a better job at this, but oh well! Life goes on!

Today, however, I am determined to at least give a little summary of how I've been, how my husband is doing, and how our LDB is faring.
(If you can come up with the meaning of LDB I'll give you a hundred cool points)

So, I'm going to write a few posts about some milestones in my pregnancy so far that I'll post throughout the week. The first one will be coming soon and I can't wait to get started!