Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 2012

Our first Christmas with a baby. I know it was Sophia's first Christmas too but I feel like next year's will be more meaningful with her. This year all she wanted for Christmas was a dry diaper and a full boob :)

Christmas Eve we went to my grandma's and my mom came over too. My grandma likes to do gifts and such on Christmas Eve, always has. Sadly we didn't take any pictures!

Sophia received some clothes, headbands and a mobile for her crib, the latter of which mommy was very happy to receive!

I got a pair of Toms (yay!) in the metallic herringbone pattern and Classic style and an at home gel manicure kit. I am really happy about both of those!

Christmas day we snuggled in just the three of us. Our first Christmas in our home and our first Christmas as parents. It was very low key. We'd agreed not to exchange gifts but rather to plan a date night. But, I did sneak and put candy in John's stocking and a bone in the dog's.

I did her morning feeding and then we opened stockings. John bested me this year! He got me crazy socks, yoga pants I'd been eyeing, a chevron print scarf and a pair of Tommy Hilfiger black and herringbone riding boots. I was so surprised!! They are all lovely and fashionable!

Then we slept in, Sophia napping with me in the bed while Papa watched some streaming shows on Netflix.
Around noon Papa started getting together lunch. We had Honeybaked ham, mashed potatoes, dressing, baked beans, macaroni, yeast rolls, turtle pie and Klondike crunch ice cream. It was all very good.

Later on we took a short walk, gave Sophie a bath after her blowout and then watched the latest Batman and Trouble With the Curve (disclaimer again that we have a DVD player to filter out profanity and objectionable scenes). I really enjoyed the latter, even though there was a lot of silence due to the potty mouth of the crotchety old character Clint Eastwood plays.

So I'll wrap you up with some updated Sophie photos. Christmas Day was warm and all her Christmas outfits are long sleeved, so she didn't end up in them on Christmas :( But she wore plenty in the days leading up to it.

My little rein"dear"
Christmas lunch

Christmas Day. Does this flower make my head look big? :)

Trip to see the LC

I love baths!


I love the wrap- as long as I'm sleepy

Who says you can't mix animal prints? :)

You make me happy when skies are grey

Today is a gloomy and chilly day here.

But inside my house, I'm feeling optimistic. The bottle makes me happy. Breastfeeding without devices makes me happy. Being more relaxed with Sophie makes me happy.

I know my last few posts have been pretty Debbie Downer. I'm not sorry I posted them, it is really how I felt. But I figured you should all know the good points too, so you don't leave my blog in a funk :)

Thursday with the lactation consultant went ok. The only big problem was they'd forgotten to write down my appointment and had given my time slot to someone else. So I had to wait an entire hour. Thankfully I had a pacifier (even though I'm not "supposed" to, ha!). Otherwise I would've had to feed her and our trip would have been for naught.

Anyway, we are still nursing fine without the shields, and she got an ounce from each side. Her weight is up to 8 pounds 11 ounces. So she gained 7 ounces in a week. We've now surpassed birth weight!

But I wanted to discuss supplementing options. The syringe feeding is really a pain. The syringes get EXTREMELY hard to use after a couple days. Like calluses on our hands from filling and dispensing them. And I only had two syringes.

Since we (were) approaching close to a month old, I'd hoped she'd say it was ok to start using a bottle to supplement. Silly me. She did say that syringe feeding was not a good long-term option. Instead she suggested trying a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS). This way Sophie could meet all of her nutrition needs at the breast. It sounded really good. We tried it out there in the office and she took about an ounce of formula while at one breast. As usual, things went really well in the office. I felt optimistic.

She also suggested Domperidone to try and increase my supply. The Fenugreek should have worked by now if it was going to. Unfortunately, Domperidone is not FDA approved in the US any longer, and the practice my midwife is in doesn't prescribe it. The consultant called our pediatrician, but he has never prescribed it before and is out of town until Tuesday, so he wants to do some research to see if he is comfortable with it. For now I'm still taking the Fenugreek just for the heck of it.

Anyway, after less than 24 hours I wanted to throw the SNS out the window. It seemed to take forever for her to get her normal 2 ounces of formula through it, even with the largest tubing size. Not to mention it taking several tries each breast to get her latched on with the tube in and the formula flowing. I don't need that frustration at 2am. She latches and sucks just fine without any extra contraptions, she just isn't getting enough from my breastmilk alone.

So after a little soul searching, I decided to start using a bottle for her supplementation. She and I enjoy the breastfeeding we can do, and all these extra contraptions were ruining that. Our pediatrician gave us the go ahead for bottles a week ago, but did warn she could develop "nipple preference" but that we could work through it. Now I was willing to risk that.

I tried the Dr. Brown's bottles that we'd actually used twice before in the first week of life, but she didn't seem to want to take it, and the flow was way too fast. I think they aren't newborn nipples. I also tried the free bottle Avent sent. She didn't want it either. But she wasn't really hungry when I tried, so that could have been it. Anyway, my fabulous friend Hannah who has a 7 month old brought over her Tommee Tippee bottles for us to try. At the next feeding she took to it like a charm. I think the nipple design more closely resembles my anatomy. I still want to get some newborn Dr. Brown nipples and try that, but our last store trip they were out and I'm kinda afraid to mess with a good thing at this point. Their shape is much different than the Tommee Tippee.

I also noticed that my breasts feel more full between feedings, and she seems more satisfied and nurses better. I pumped a feeding yesterday just to see, and I got 3 ounces. So that's a little better. We're now feeding 10-20 minutes each side, then supplement from the bottle. She usually takes 2 ounces, but it varies from 1-3 depending on how she feels. So she is probably about half breast and half formula fed. And as the Lactation Consultant (LC) told me, "some breastmilk is better than no breastmilk". And I still really enjoy the bonding of breastfeeding.

I don't know if my body will ever produce enough milk to breastfeed exclusively. And if not that's just the hand we've been dealt. But I do know that the feeding routine is now SO much easier and I'm experiencing a lot less anxiety. It's hard to do something 6-12 times a day that's so frustrating. Now it's not.

I also want to thank everyone for all the sweet and helpful comments. I really appreciate it. I haven't tried the Mother's Milk tea yet. To be honest, I hate hot tea. Isn't that so selfish of me? LOL. I also tried to find donor breastmilk in our area, no luck yet. I do have a request in on a milk sharing group on Facebook. I asked the LC and she wasn't aware of any donor programs in our area.
But if I can't get the Domperidone then maybe I'll give it a shot.

And now I'm gonna write a more fun post...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

In the trenches of rookie parenting- breastfeeding

So while I'm on hold with our health insurance, figured I'd try to punch one of these out.

I probably can't relate all that has happened since my last update, but here's what I remember.

Sophia had her first episode of gas. Only I didn't realize that was the problem until the middle of the night. And we were in Tampa. And I didn't bring any medications with us. But at 7am a trip to CVS cured that problem. Thank you generic Mylicon. That was the only horrific night. I maybe slept an hour altogether, and she mostly screamed. It must have been something I ate, but I sure don't know what it was.

She had her frenulum under her tongue snipped in order to try and facilitate better breastfeeding and weight gain. At 2.5 weeks she was still 4 ounces shy of birth weight, eating all the time, and irritating my breasts even with the nipple shields. In fact I had a small crack on one side that was really making it painful.

Two days after the snipping, we visited the lactation consultant again to see about training her to feed without the shields. She actually did pretty well with that. However, I was concerned because she was still eating so much. Like 12 times in 24 hours for 30 minutes to an hour at a time. And she was still underweight at 3 weeks. I'd tried pumping twice, once after a feeding where I got like 5ml and once in place of a feeding where I was able to get 2 ounces. But it seemed my pump was really slow and not very forceful.

They tested my pump, and it was dead. At this point I was ready to rent one, to try and give my cracked side a chance to heal, and also to see what I was getting and to be able to let someone else do a feeding or two, because I was tired and tearful all the time. Sophie was sleeping for two 3-4 hour stretches at night, but it was during the day she would wear me out.

So the lactation consultant gave a plan. Start Fenugreek supplements to try and increase my supply. She said to only keep her at the breast for active feeding where I can hear her swallowing. No more hanging out for 30 minutes doing "tickle" sucking. I didn't realize she wasn't swallowing for so much of the feeding. It was just for comfort. Which is ok if my breasts weren't so worn out and irritated. So feed 15 minutes each side, then pump for 15 minutes both sides. Give pumped milk via syringe feeding to try and get in extra calories. Repeat process every 3 hours. Also massage the area around her mouth a few times a day to re-train the muscles and play "tug of war" with a pacifier to build mouth strength. But of course don't give the paci any other time.

So off I went to another area of the hospital to rent my pump. Only to find out they were out. They expected a shipment "hopefully sometime next week". Are you kidding me? Everything hinged on that! I was so upset. I called for their recommendation on purchasing a pump, since they said the rental pump is not great for taking to work anyway, too heavy. Only after three attempts at paging the on call Lac Cons, no one ever called back. Not until the next day. Turns out the pager died.

Anyway, I called the other hospital in town about a pump, but by that point it was 4:30 on the Friday before Christmas. I left a message but no one has ever called me back about that. There's a reason I didn't deliver there.

So I went to Craigslist and found a Pump In Style Advanced in the backpack that someone purchased in August from Target and only used for 3 weeks. For $100. Like 2 months of pump rental. Only they couldn't meet me til Saturday.

Saturday at noon we got the pump. By the time we made it home from shopping it was 3. I took my first dose of Fenugreek, fed her and then pumped. I got one ounce after she was done. One measly ounce.
And then 2 hours later she was hungry again. So we fed each side, pumped, then gave her the 1 ounce from before. She GULPED that ounce down. Got her settled and asleep. Only this time I had 5 ml from pumping. Like 1/6th of an ounce. So sad. She woke up 1.5 hours later, crying, head bobbing and hungry. I broke. I knew she'd be sorely disappointed with breastfeeding and then only like 2 sips from the syringe. I also knew I couldn't do this process every 1.5 hours. It's an hour plus with 30 minutes breastfeeding, 15 minutes pumping and 15-20 minutes to syringe feed. Add in burping, diaper change, swaddling and soothing and you could be at it 90 minutes or longer if she can't be soothed right away.

I was a crying, anxious, hopeless mess. I wanted to give her something to satiate her. I was said that my body was failing me yet again. So we called the pediatrician (he'd told us to call if I felt like giving up). After a 20 minute conversation with lots of crying, he gave the go ahead to start supplementing her. He agreed I needed the break and so did my poor boobs. He even suggested pumping only and bottle feeding for a few days. I didn't want to regress that far, so I decided to keep the consultant's regimen, except adding in formula via syringe so that she could be satisfied and I could have 3 hours between each feeding ordeal.

I can't tell you how much I didn't want to give formula. I hate the ingredient list. But, I also hate googling postpartum depression because I'm afraid I have it I cry so much. I hate thoughts of our pre-baby days being so nice in my mind. Believe me, I love Sophie and never had thoughts of hurting her or myself, but I did feel the thread I was hanging on by slipping. I was having trouble coping. I couldn't keep up our feeding routine for another three weeks (they keep telling me it gets better at 6 weeks).

So, after getting recommendations from the doc, John went off to the store to buy the formula. Enfamil or Similac was recommended. He came home with Enfamil because they were out of regular Similac. I did the feeding, pumping, and then syringe feeding. And she gulped down like 3 ounces of formula. She was soothed easily and slept for 4 hours. It was awesome.

I decided to give the left breast a chance to heal, so I would pump from the left while feeding on the right, then pump both, then syringe feed. It's still a 60+ minute process. And I was still only getting like an ounce of breastmilk from pumping. But then she'd get an additional 1-3 ounces formula. She would suck it down and scream while we loaded up the next syringe full. We'd know she was full when she was quiet once you stopped feeding. Poor little thing has basically never been full for all her 3 little weeks of life.

And I started to feel human again. I smiled more. John sent me out for a few hours with a friend. I left Sophie for the first time and didn't have to worry about her the whole time. Someone else could feed her if needed.

Today I see the lactation consultant again. She'll be weighed. Our home scale says she's now 3 ounces over birth weight. We have some things to address still. Despite 4 days of Fenugreek I'm still only getting an ounce to an ounce and a half when pumping after feeding. And only 2.5-3 ounces when pumping instead of feeding. That just isn't meeting Sophie's needs. And the syringe feeding is really an ordeal. Especially for John. It's frustrating and time consuming for him. And time consuming for me. It looks like we are going to need to continue to supplement for awhile, and I don't think we can keep doing it via syringe. Since she'll be a month old Saturday, we are probably going to start using a bottle to supplement.

I also want to know if there is anything else I can do to increase supply. I'd love it if we didn't have to supplement. But I also want to keep my sanity. It's essential to Sophie's well being too.

There's good to the story also. We are not having to use the nipple shields anymore. And after 2 days of exclusive pumping on the left the crack has healed and it's back in service :) So yay for that!

But more areas of concern- Sophie get sleepy at the breast really easily. Even when she's naked. Then there are also times she gets squirmy and frustrated. It's a struggle to get 30 minutes of good quality sucking. To be honest, she probably only gets 15 minutes of good solid feeding each time. BUT- when I pump insteading of putting her to breast, I'm emptied in about 7-10 minutes. I've tried putting the pump back into letdown mode to see if I can get more, but it seems I only am able to have 1 letdown per session.

So it's been a wild ride here. I'm beginning to think Sophie is here to teach me to let go of my fierce grip on having it my way. And to empathize with those who do things that in the past I didn't "approve" of. I still want a natural birth and exclusive breastfeeding. Maybe next time around that's what I'll get. But that's not the hand I've been dealt this time. And all I can do about that is put it in God's hands and John and I make the best decisions we know how.

And kudos to all the women out there who overcome obstacles to keep breastfeeding. The pediatrician says it's supposed to be easier than a bottle after the initial break in period. I'm glad for those women that it is. But our pedi says I've "climbed Mt. Olympus" trying to solve our feeding issues, and all that's required is that I feel I've done everything I could. And I know that's subjective. I know there are women who've pushed through even more obstacles than me. But I've done what I can do and still be mentally healthy.

I'll try to update ya'll again if we make any changes or progress.

Until then- pray for us and specifically for my boobs! Those udders need to step up the production BIG time!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas!

I am still in all-consuming baby care land around here, but hope to update soon.
It has been a WILD ride!

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Mommy stream of unconsciousness

How come these other mommy bloggers I read don't mention how hard motherhood is???
Maybe they don't want to scare people.

We are on an all day car trip so I'm trying mobile posting. Please excuse the disorganized format. My brain is fairly fried anyway.

Since Sophie arrived:
-trip to the lactation consultant that included crying from me, Sophie and consultant (who's pregnant also). Was given nipple shields. Or silicone life savers, as I call them.
-two trips to the pediatrician. Still has the hemorrhage in her eyes, but improving a little. She's 4 ounces under weight. Pedi wants to wait and see. She is scheduled to have the frenulum under her tongue snipped next Wednesday. Hopefully she'll eat better and eventually not need the shields.
- I've made two trips out alone. I was scared at first. One was for a Mani pedi and she did great. I fed her while they did my toes. She's good at shopping because the bouncing of the cart puts her to sleep.
- it's great that she sleeps, but I get really anxious if she sleeps a lot during the evening, because then she wants to be up at night. And that's awful.
- I nurse her to sleep, once she's been changed and tightly swaddled. But sometimes she wakes up 5-10 minutes later. When I hear her rousing my blood runs cold.
- I've already done several things I said I wouldn't. I understand why people do them now. Babies can't thrive if momma ain't surviving.
- it's true everyday is a little better. But its impossible to fathom that when you're at about day 3.
- Sophie eats for 30-60 minutes each feed. It's really hard to get anything done.
- "Sleep when the baby sleeps" is great advice. I commend those who can follow it. I try to get one nap in with her during the day. But if I slept when she did there'd be no eating, showering, or any basic human functions going on. I can't just let go of all my other responsibilities.
- The postpartum hormone adjustment sucks. The sleep deprivation and isolation doesn't help. Days 4-8 were hard with lots of crying. But that's normal.
- My stitches dissolved starting day 6. I started feeling much better after that. I almost feel back to normal in that regard. Hard to believe.
-Sophie is still peeling like a snake. Poor scaly baby.
-Her cord stump came off day ten at about 3am. But there's still some left in there. Pedi said no soaking belly button til it's fully gone.
-My deodorant has become less effective. I put on tons but still smell myself by the next morning. Must be my hormones. Hope it levels out. Otherwise I gotta find a new one.
-I lost about 13 pounds the day I delivered. By day 9 I was 3 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. So 21 pounds lost. Toot toot. But I wasn't trying. Thank you breastfeeding. I know I'm not, but I feel skinny. Its really nice. I was able to put away all my maternity clothes.

And I'll end with some photos of the star of the show.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Deliver Me- Sophia's Birth Story

Disclaimer- this took me so long to write I'm not bothering to proofread. Excuse the errors.

So they tell me I'm supposed to write this down ASAP before my memory changes. Of course my memory of the actual labor is already a little fuzzy. John said he has to help me with the times because I'm off :)

If you read my previous post, you know we had to decide about being induced. We decided to go ahead and try that, starting at 7am Wednesday the 28th.

Day 1

Showed up at the hospital, still 2cm and 70% effaced, firm posterior cervix and -2 stations.

I had an excellent nurse named Melissa who I got along with so well. She was SUPERB. She did have to poke me twice for my IV, since the first one blew. Nice lump and bruise there. But I could not have asked for better care staff. We also found out that my former midwife Robin was working in labor and delivery as a nurse, since she hasn't been able to find a practice to take on a midwife. I was so happy I nearly cried. She wasn't my nurse, but did come in to check on me several times.

We went in at 7 and by 8 my midwife had placed the first 25mcg dose of Cytotec. I got a tub room! (Only 2 of the 6 labor rooms have tubs). Thankfully I never had a single problem from the Cytotec, which I was so concerned about. I started having irregular contractions, maybe 3-5 an hour and not very painful. Compared to what they would become, they were a tropical vacation :)
At lunch I had a second dose of Cytotec to see if we could convert to active labor. I was still 2cm and 70%, although a softer cervix and a tad more anterior. Things started to pick up a bit, but not too much.

At 2pm I started nipple stimulation at the suggestion of a nurse. It was really effective and my contractions started coming 2-3 minutes apart, more painful, but still manageable. I would just take deep breaths, do hip circles and concentrate. I alternated between walking and rocking on the birth ball. I played a lot of Flow Free and we listened to music. No one else had to help me. I was thinking "I can do this, not so bad!". John was really excellent, just being with me. We were both fairly quiet. He gave me lots of encouragement and compliments.

Unfortunately when the midwife came at 5:30 and did the exam- I was only 3cm 80% -1, cervix softer and more anterior. We had already decided before going in that if it did not work and we could go home, we'd go home and wait it out and see what happened. That's what the midwife suggested. She said I was in early labor, try and rest. I was asked to come back if things got serious where I couldn't handle the contractions. Otherwise, come in Friday at 8am for re-evaluation.

At 7pm we went home.

Once I went home and quit the nipple stimulation, my contractions started to space out. I still needed to stand and blow through them, but since the midwife advised rest, I took a big dose of melatonin and went to sleep.

Day 2

I actually slept decently and by morning contractions were 10-20 min apart, less painful and more irregular. We decided to try acupuncture to induce labor with a local chiropractor who specializes in it. His assistant told us to be ready to go because often times women go straight to the hospital. I a needle in each small toe, inner calf, hand and one in my neck. Then one leg and one hand were connected to a stimulator. I had a couple extra contractions but nothing big. I was asked to return that evening for another treatment.

Once at home I tried nipple stimulation again. Not very much success with that. Contractions were 3-12 minutes apart, irregular and not that painful. And you can't do nipple stim all day :) So we took a couple walks and tried to get things going. Only they slowed down even more. I did a second acupuncture treatment that afternoon. Not a single contractions during it. Nada. We were send home with acupressure points to work on. We made sure everything was ready for the hospital. I had a meltdown over having to more than likely get Pitocin and being upset feeling that my body had failed me.

Day 3

We arrived at the hospital at 8am. I knew this time we weren't leaving without a baby. The midwife came in and checked me. I was pretty much unchanged, except I think maybe she had moved down one more station. In fact, my cervix had moved a little more posterior again. The midwife suggested we try Cytotec again because I was still not a good Pitocin candidate without a soft anterior effaced cervix. I was glad to try it again because it had worked before at least some. I got the dose, and again not too much went on until I got the second dose. They gave me a double electric pump to do more nipple stimulation. Around 4pm contractions were closer together and I really had to focus during them.
I decided to walk in the hall again. I made it about 10 feet when a fairly strong contraction came on and I then saw two wet droplets appear on the ground. I told John "I think my water just broke, or I peed myself". I was fairly certain it was the former. He went and got my nurse (and former midwife, who was my actual nurse that day) and she tested the floor drops and then me. My water had indeed broken. It was 5pm.

Things between here at 3am the next day are kind of a blur, at least time wise. I do know not too long after my water broke I got in the tub. My support person Sarah came. I know I met my night nurse while being half naked in the tub moaning. So that was around 7-8pm. The water did help some, I think. By this point I was having a decent amount of back pain. I remember telling my night nurse that I hoped I didn't have to go through 8 hours like this. Her name was Shannon and she was awesome. My midwife delivered her little girl 14 months ago. They took the clock off the wall for my benefit.

Sometime before midnight, since I seemed to be in a decent amount of pain with my contractions, Shannon suggested we check me. I was scared to death of having a contraction out of the water, but I got out. She checked me and didn't say anything. I knew this likely meant I had not made much progress, but I didn't ask what she found. At that point I was still in a wet bra and had a towel on my head, but I didn't care. I did some contractions in the bed and then didn't feel like getting back in the tub. In retrospect I think I was in too much pain to think all that clearly. I do think my contractions were like 2-4 minutes apart at that time.

Sarah and John were there for every contraction. I was having super bad back pain. Like torture. The worst pain ever. They were taking turns leaning their fists and weight into my back with all their might just so I could make it through a contraction. I was doing my best to breathe, moan, and hip circle with each one. I tried standing, sitting on the ball, kneeling on the bed with my torso resting against the back. It sucked, major. I did manage not to curse, though I very much wanted to. I kept thinking- "I can't go on like this".

Shannon came in to discuss doing nipple stimulation or a little bit of Pitocin. Unbeknownst to me my contractions had spaced out to like 6 minutes apart. I wanted to cry. I was praying for and end to pain or less pain, not more! Shannon called and spoke with my midwife. She did not want to do Pitocin just yet. Instead she wanted me to try laying in bed on my side with one leg in the stirrup, a position called "fire hydrant". Along with an ice pack on my belly to try and make Sophia turn. Due to my amount of back pain we were pretty certain she was backward facing (occiput posterior). I tried this, but contractions every 6 minutes kept me from resting. Sarah went home, but John stayed with me. Sarah had work that day and hadn't slept.

While laying in bed I started feeling I had truly reached the end of my rope. I wanted drugs. At least something IV to try to take the edge off. John wanted to consult the midwife first. My nurse called her, and she came into the hospital to help support me and help decision making. By the time she arrived I was certain I wanted something. She persuaded me to get back in the tub and have the hot shower jet sprayed on my back as I contracted. This helped some, but not enough I thought I could go on, let alone have more frequent contractions. They gave me 100mcg of Fentanyl while in the tub. It felt so good to relax, to be able to focus on something other than pain and breathing.

But, IV meds only last so long. About an hour. I could feel the strength of the medicine waning during contractions. And my contractions had spaced out to about 10 minutes apart. I knew something to augment them was in my future, and I couldn't bear the thought. John was sitting on the tub and I talked to him. I felt like I was giving up at that point, but I just didn't care. I was exhausted and afraid. I told him "I know you're going to be disappointed, but I want an epidural." He gave the best response possible: "I'm not disappointed. You've done so much more that most people, you've been so strong and gone a long time."

So when my midwife came back in, I told her my feelings. She and John both asked me to consider trying Pitocin without pain meds, but I just couldn't. The midwife admitted that my contractions would be closer and possibly stronger than before. After having relief I just couldn't face it again.

So about 4:30 or 5am, I got out of the tub. They checked me, and I was 6.5cm, but could be stretched to a 7. Still a ways to go. Just as the anesthesiologist was about to start the epidural, Sarah came back. She had worked some and couldn't sleep. I know the epidural went in at 5:30am. I hated the way it made my legs feel, but it was better than the alternative. I did also get the shakes, but they went away after awhile. It didn't drop my blood pressure thank goodness, or give me a fever.

At this point I passed out (slept) for somewhere between 2-3 hours. The nurses turned me from left and right "fire hydrant" to modified sitting up with "frog legs" in order to help my pelvis continue to open. I know I woke up at 8:30 and told Sarah to go on home. My mom came in for a visit. Then she left and I napped again for about 30 minutes. Then John returned. I found out he'd gone to our postpartum room and taken a nap. Apparently he looked pretty bad and had the shakes. I found out from him that he'd eaten breakfast, but then developed hot and cold sweats and thrown it all up. He had the nurses take his temperature, and it was fine. I think he was just exhausted and his body shut down.

The nurses kept checking me, and by noon I was able to start pushing. My midwife said my body had relaxed a lot since the epidural. Although I still had a stubborn lip of cervix that took some maneuvering for them to stretch away.

And then started the pushing. Lots and lots of pushing. From every position they could get me in to. I don't think I'm a great pusher, especially with an epidural. Although it had started to wear off across the tummy and down my left flank at that point. My favorite pushing position was using the squat bar. I did have enough feeling in my legs to support my weight if they were propped right under me. But I also did traditional style pushing, tug of war pushing with the nurse, pulling on a towel tied to the squat bar, using handles on the bed and I can't remember what else. It was SUPER hard work. Especially since I'd been about 12 hours without food (bad choice on my part).

They gave me the mirror to hopefully encourage my pushing. I told the midwife several times I didn't think I could do it, and that I was giving it everything I had. Since they kept telling me that's what I had to do :)
I didn't think I'd be able to get her out, but finally, I saw her head come out to about her nose.

And then things changed.

I heard my midwife say "Oh (expletive), where's the doctor?" They immediately put me back into regular pushing position, a nurse took each of my legs, another nurse started pushing on my pubic bone, my midwife got up on the table with me and another nurse supported her. John says there were like 4 people who "jumped' on top of me. The midwife started yelling for me to push as hard as I possibly could. It scared us both. I heard the midwife say "We've got a hand, and a shoulder."
This meant her hand came out by her face, and her shoulder was stuck (technically, an acynclitic presentation with her hand wrapped around her neck and shoulder dystocia). Boy was I glad I had that epidural, because next I saw scissors and I heard the sound of flesh being cut. My flesh. Glad I didn't feel it.

I saw the midwife deliver Sophie and rush her to the warmer. She had her under the shoulders and her arms and legs were hanging limp at her sides. That's when I really started to freak. The room filled with about 10 or so people. About 5 for Sophie and four or five for me. The regular nursery nurse, the special nursery nurse, the pediatrician, a tech, 3 or 4 delivery nurses and the midwife. I was so traumatized I didn't cry. But I did start calling on Jesus to save my baby. Quite loudly. At this point John was able to get close enough to hold my hand. I heard her cry after a few minutes, really weak like a kitten. Then the doctor showed up and they set to work on me. The midwife only repairs 1st and 2nd degree lacerations, and she had needed to cut a 3rd degree episiotomy in order to get Sophie out quickly. I was concerned for Sophie, but I was also freaking out about myself at this time. My epidural had worn off in places and I was freaked out at the thought of getting shots to numb me. I also developed the shakes again. I asked for something for pain or to calm me. They gave me another 100mcg of Fentanyl. Thankfully, I couldn't feel the repair stitching. I don;t know if they gave me numbing shots that I didn't feel or if the epidural alone was enough.

Back to Sophie. I finally got to hold her about 25 minutes after she was born. So much was going on it seemed like only 5 minutes. But I found out that she came out not breathing, and required 45 seconds of bag mask oxygen. Her 1 minute Apgar score was 2. She had a heart beat, and that was about it. However her 5 minute Apgar was a 9 and her 10 minute was a 10. So thankfully she recovered well. I cannot thank the team in that room enough. They knew what to do for me and her. She also has pretty large petechial hemorrhages in the outside corners of both eyes. But these will go away in time. But they are proof she got quite the squish. The midwife thought I would have some on my face and eyes the next day too from pushing so hard, but I didn't.

After this, things went pretty normal. She latched onto the breast well. Her blood sugars were normal. She had a little bit of fast breathing and a couple low-ish temps, but nothing that needed intervention.

I of course am having lots of fun taking care of my episiotomy.

And so that's it. Hours of slow progress and then horrifying minutes of frenzied activity. The midwife said I should not go very much past my due date next time. Although she was only 8 pounds 6 ounces, she was not a good fit for my pelvis.

My mommy amnesia hasn't fully set in yet. I'm a bit traumatized and not in any hurry to do that again. But, I do love her very much. I am glad she's here and were both healthy, but I don't want that particular experience again.

Most of all, I am thankful to God that his hand was on us. Just reading the definitions on the links I placed throughtout this post was enough to make me cry. Things could have been much worse.

Now that she's almost a week old, there is more to share. But since it has taken me a week to complete this post, it'll have to wait. Being a new mom is really tough, but I'm told it gets better :) And holding, feeding, changing and swaddling takes priority over blogging right now, as it should.                          

The day before I delivered.

After the epidural. There are no photos in between :) Just lots of labor.

Using the squat bar, and likely telling the midwife to just pull her out :)

She made it!

My fantabulous midwife who spent 11 hours with me prior to delivery and probably 36 hours in the hospital (two days being her "off" days) over the time I was there. She is a saint and it is a calling.

First meeting. I looked way better than I felt.

Skin to skin bonding with dad

Sweet angel

Going home day. I wore this same dress home 28 years ago.

Just about to leave the hospital

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

She's here!

I feel like most of you know because we also "see" each other on Facebook!

But Sophia Abigail came Saturday December 1st at 2:06pm weight 8 pounds, 6 ounces and measuring 21 inches long.

I'm working on the birth story. It's gonna take awhile since it spans 3 days and wasn't at all what I hoped for, except that Sophia and I are both safe and healthy :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Decision time, go time.

So today I saw the midwife. I already knew I wanted to be checked and for her to sweep my membranes. Aye yay yay! The membrane sweeping was painful, but thankfully in reality only lasted about 30 seconds. I didn't think you could reach that far up!!!! She also placed some Evening Primrose Oil directly on my cervix. I've been taking it orally daily and once weekly vaginally for a few weeks now. Along with oral red raspberry leaf.

We had a little discussion. Saturday at midnight I'll pass 42 weeks. Because midwives only care for low risk patients, I'd have to be turned over to her doctor at that point. I really don't want that. She told me the risks of going past 42 weeks, so I could make an informed decision. I also do have the option of continuing past 42 weeks as long as I'm consenting to the risks.

She said we'd talk after the BPP. I scored 10 of 10. They estimate her weight to be 8 pounds 3 ounces. The only mildly concerning thing is that my amniotic fluid index  was 7.25. This is not horrible but not great. It's also normal for it to decline the further along you are. It's just that usually as it gets very low the baby is born! But Sophie is stubborn. Midwife said so :)

We discussed wanting to deliver before we have to switch to a doctor. Her suggestion was to place a 25mcg dose of Cytotec on my cervix. She has had great success for it starting labor. She has had no adverse reactions.
I already knew I didn't want this. There's a lot of controversy about it's use. I confronted her about how it's black label for pregnant women. She stated that unfortunately no one wants to spend the money for a double blind clinical trial on it's use in pregnant women. That even Tylenol is technically black label for pregnant women. I can see her point there. There is a serious lack of testing for prescription drugs for pregnant women. But she basically sang the praises of Cytotec.
I asked about an alternative, Cervidil, which she said she would do if I wanted but she has had no success in her practice using it.

I asked about acupuncture or castor oil. She said I was welcome to try both but the results in her experience are iffy at best. And I could only try castor oil once because of the risk of it causing the baby to emit meconium (poop in the womb). And that she herself tried it with no results and horrible side effects. It's kinda 50/50.
I am waiting to talk to our doula about acupuncture. She has the name of someone who specializes in it for labor induction.

We decided to sleep on it and will let her know tomorrow if we are going to do Cytotec. I have John doing his own independent research so we both are aware of the risks vs. benefits. I won't post a link here on it because I want you to form your own opinion too.

Also- Pitocin is a last resort for her. She also said that I'm not progressed enough that it would be effective. My Bishop score is too low and it would likely be ineffective. Not to mention that I still want to avoid narcotics or epidural and Pit makes that a lot harder, because the contractions are more intense. It can also give the baby fetal distress. I didn't ask her what my Bishop score was, BTW.

In the end, we just have to consider and pray about it. We'll make sure to go in fully informed. There is no elimination of risk entirely unfortunately, and in the end we have to be comfortable with our decision.

In the meantime, we'll be trying some other natural methods to see if we can't convince her to come on her own.

Oh, and I lost another pound this week. Just because. No reason. They are ok with that and I'm actually quite happy about it! :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Baby White Week 41

So I'm still here, and still prego.
Tomorrow will be an official week past my due date. But today I start my 41st week. Pregnancy dating is weird. Anyway.

I worked Monday and Wednesday for about 5 hours each. It wasn't too bad. Just kinda makes me useless for the rest of the day. I was supposed to work today if I felt up to it. I didn't.

Tuesday we had a good appointment with the midwife. She felt her position and did confirm that she has moved lower. I told her I was concerned about her getting bigger the longer she stays in. She felt around and is pretty certain she's nowhere near a 10 pounder or anything like that. Normal size, so probably around 6-8 pounds. Apparently her butt still feels like a head, because she did a quick ultrasound to confirm she's still head down. She said "I've had a rash of breeches lately and I don't trust anyone right now." Lol. She is still head down.

I also had about 15 minutes of heart rate monitoring. The rhythm strip looked great and very reactive. (This means her heart rate had a lot of "variability" or changes, like speeding up when she moves).

The midwife still didn't think I need to try and do anything to naturally induce myself at this point. Next Tuesday I'll have an exam with her and then a biophysical profile ultrasound just to confirm that she's still happy and healthy. They will measure her breathing, movement, tone, heart rate and amniotic fluid. Then will go from there with the test results.

As I was scheduling for next week she did say "maybe this weekend", so I'm hoping not to need that ultrasound. But we'll see.

Last night through today my whole belly has been sore. I don't know if it just from the lack of space and her continued movement or what. I secretly hope maybe I'm having mild contractions and just can't feel them and so my uterus is sore. I've tried putting a hand to my belly to see if I can feel a contraction, but I can't say that I do. I continue to feel pain from her moving, but that's nothing new. I wake up about 3-4 times a night now. So I can nap at anytime during the day :)

I'm just kinda achy and lazy all over. My back and feet hurt some. My pelvic region hurts some. My belly hurts some. And mostly just sitting or laying around is most comfortable :)

And can I just say- I am so tired of getting advice from "they". They say this, they say that. They say babies stop moving before they're born, they say you'll get a burst of energy right before the baby comes, they say you'll get diarrhea before the baby comes, they say you'll lose your mucus plug before the baby comes, they say you'll have Braxton-Hicks before the baby comes, They say your bump will drop before the baby comes. All of these can be true. All of these can also not be true and the baby can still come.

I was also told at work this week "Oh no pain meds, that'll last about 2 contractions" and "You're over 40 weeks, that's a reason to be induced." Folks are so supportive. I'm still amazed at the things people will say to you when you're pregnant.

So today's big accomplishment will be going to the U-cut tree farm to pick our tree. I even showered and ran two loads of laundry. Go me.

Also this week, I decided to end the hair growing experiment. I've been waiting and waiting to cut it. But I figured there's no way it could grow much more in he next week or two, and honestly I was tired of it. I don't have the patience for long hair anymore. It tangles too easily, makes me hot and gets pinned under my own shoulders or John's arm when I lean back. So I made the cut. I also go my highlights re-done to help blend my roots. I don't want my roots just as blonder as my ends, but I also had a bit too much of a root line for my liking. So she used 14 foils to blend the roots. I doubt anyone but me can tell, but I feel better :)

And still only 2 people noticed! Or at least said anything.
Please let this be the last week!

Happy Thanksgiving! (Taken the 22nd)
For Thanksgiving we had early lunch at my grandma's and then late lunch at our friends the Seymores. I ate a lot and was about to pop! Can't do that anymore!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Baby White Week 40

So here I am, the day before "D" day. Trying not to obsess. It's hard when you have to answer questions about your due date about 10 times a day (work days).

I've not had any real signs that labor will start. Other than back and foot pain :) At my appointment this week my midwife reminded me statistically first babies are 41 weeks and one day. So she is guessing the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Starting next week I'll only work in 4 hour shifts, 2-3 days a week. Or none at all depending on how I'm feeling. I'm not on the schedule after tomorrow. But work is available if I want it.

My midwife says everything looks good and as long as the baby is happy, she is happy. No matter how momma feels :) I lamented quite a bit this week. The day before my appointment wasn't a great one. She was like "now remember, feeling big and tired is no reason to be induced." I assured her I was nowhere near wanting an induction. But if there was a natural way to do it, I would! She said unfortunately none of the natural methods are 100% effective all of the time. I asked about putting Evening Primrose Oil on the cervix. A lot people recommend doing this nightly. She told me she would only want me to do it once a week, because we want to keep the risk of infection low. If I never said, my Group B Strep was negative. This is good because I won't have to worry about getting antibiotics during labor or worry about increased risk of infection if I have prolonged rupture of membranes.

I asked a little bit about what the plan would be after my due date. I almost had her check me to see if there was any progress. She and John didn't think that was necessary. The reasoning is sound, and she's shared it with me before. She could check me, I could be dilated and effaced some, but still not have the baby for another 2 weeks if I'm not in actual labor. Or she could check me and find no change and then I'd be even more discouraged and it would make it even harder to wait. Like she says, you can be 4cm for two weeks or you can be closed and thick one day and have a baby the next. Most everyone at work thinks it's pretty radical not to be checked :)

So if I'm still pregnant at my next appointment, I'll likely get 15-20 minutes of monitoring just to confirm that all is still well with Sophie. And if I'm still pregnant at the appointment after that, she'll check my cervix. That's when we'll probably start discussing ways to encourage labor to start. I don't relish the thought of waiting that long. But I want to do what is best for Sophia and me.

I only gained a pound the last week. With all the eating we did during camp, I was very pleasantly surprised. My vital signs and urine dipstick were all fine. I am swelling a tad but that is normal. I'm trying to be really good with my fluid intake.

Sleep periods are down to about 4 hours max. And if I do go that long I'm in a fair amount of pain on my waddle to the bathroom. I've been having a lot of nightmares, and that was making sleep even worse. But I've been praying about that too and thankfully they are going away. Between nightmares, potty trips and taking a while to go back to sleep after each wakeup, sleep was getting fairly poor. But it's improving again thank Jesus (literally!).

I'd avoided new stretchmarks until recently, but this last month I've gotten some around my belly button. Oh well, nothing to be done. I'm just thankful I don't have a husband who focuses on things like that. Everything that makes me feel fat, tired or ugly he just says "No you're not ______, you're pregnant." So sweet. He also still thinks I'm just as pretty and lets me know it :)

When we went to our appointment this week we sat across from a grandma and grandson who were waiting on momma. I noticed that the baby's legs looked funny. Later John told me he learned the baby was born with only one bone in each shin/lower leg. Unfortunately to be able to walk he'll have to undergo bilateral below the knee amputations and wear prosthesis. So sad :( But the grandma said it will be done when he's still very young so it'll be all he ever knows. To think just one of two bones missing makes all the difference.

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday. She was hoping she and Sophia could share. I wish I could make that happen! My mom would also like to come home for Thanksgiving, but can only take off for the birth. So many days she could come that would make everyone else happy. Unfortunately she doesn't know that :) Her control of our lives has already started! Haha.

So here I am this week. Hopefully I won't have to take another photo. We shall see.

Oh and I can't wait to get to the salon for a cut and color!! Hurry up Sophie! :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

One More Day...

Of work. Of 8 hour shifts anyway.

I have prayed several times this week to make it through my last three full days of work. And the Lord has answered. I've done just fine, which is more than I expected.
But I am looking forward to completing my last full day tomorrow.
My midwife has said 4 hour shifts would be reasonable from now on. I'm usually most needed Wednesday through Friday, and with next Thursday being Thanksgiving, I'm only needed two days. And of course there's the possibility that I'll have the baby by then anyway. But my midwife says I should prepare to wait :)

My evenings after work are filled with sitting on the couch :) I've been watching a lot of Netflix. Mostly bridal shows and Extreme Couponing. After watching several episodes of the clippers- I've come to the conclusion that Yakisoba noodles must always be on sale. I would say at least 2/3rds of the hauls I've seen included those high-sodium high-fat low-nutrition noodle trays. I am still impressed at their savings. But there's no way to be balanced in your nutrition without getting "overages" to buy fresh foods to fill in the gaps. Yes, you paid nothing for 93 bags of croutons and a bazillion boxes of pasta. But what the heck kind of menu does that make? I most admire those who coupon and then combine it with growing their own veggies and hunting their own meat. Otherwise your family is going to be eating a lot of processed crap, candy and condiments.

If you recall, a while back I took a couponing class and tried my hand at it myself. But honestly I found it too stressful. In fact, watching the hours and hours the extremists put into it stresses me a bit. Math is not my favorite subject and you need to be quite good at it to be extreme. Coming up with all the combinations for their transactions and watching the register like a hawk is enough to give me an ulcer. It really is a gift for those who can do it, and actually enjoy it!

A show that John and I watch together now is Shark Tank. We actually watch it on YouTube- so you can watch it too, for free. It's a show where inventors pitch their product to investors. But the investors are semi-famous, and there's a lot of good banter between them. We have seen some really neat products and some really stupid ones. And the same for the inventors :) It's nice to have a show to watch again, since most stuff on TV is too objectionable for us.

So now that I'm done with my pause on Extreme Couponing, I'll leave you to it and get back to my show :)
(One can only watch so much TV before your mind goes numb)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Baby White Week 39

Hi peeps.

We've been out in the boon docks since Wednesday and just got back this evening.
Our church owns a rural campground area about 90 minutes from our house, and one time a year (in November) we hold camp. It's very rustic, and lodging options are bunk beds (males and females separate), or bringing your own tent, camper, pop-up or RV.

Last year we stayed in a tent. This year, I don't think that would've been an option :) Thankfully the son of one of our members graciously let us borrow his camper. Otherwise I don't think we would have gone.

There's no big agenda at camp. Breakfast at 9am with a short devotion time after. Lunch is serve yourself leftovers from the kitchen. Dinner at 6 and service at 7. So most of the day is yours to yourself. Read, nap, walk a trail, play a game, sit and talk. The kitchen staff are at it pretty much all day long, and lots of others do small things to help them out. We all just pitch in.

The food is so amazing. We have a couple in our church that is over the cooking every year. He cooks and she handles all the baking. It will definitely show when I get on the scale on Tuesday.

I didn't take any photos except one shot for the weekly prego photo. I should've taken some pics of the grounds and the peaceful spot by the creek. Oh well.

How I've been feeling. I tire pretty easily. Just getting my normal chores done is about all I have in me these days. John is pitching in. I continue to feel really big. I've given into the waddle. A little flap of my belly button is out. The top half. I've had a little swelling. I've been taking my rings off to sleep and during the day some. In fact, we went on a trail walk that ended up being about an hour, and by the time we got back my fingers were so puffy they looked like Vienna sausages. The skin between my knuckles was so taught it blanched a little. But an afternoon of lots of water and putting my feet up took care of that. I still have a little swelling in my hands, which I think is here to stay at this point.

I've been having some backaches and continue with foot aches if I'm on my feet more than 30 minutes to an hour. Space in there is getting very tight and my belly is very firm. But Sophie continues to move around like it's the penthouse suite. Lol. Makes momma a little uncomfortable. I'm feeling stretching/achiness a little lower, so I'm hoping she's dropping a little. I had someone tell me I looked lower.

A girl I know who was due the day before me had her baby Monday. Two weeks early! Jealous. We have the same midwife and she said she did great and her labor was less than 18 hours. Lucky her.

I'm ready for Sophie to come anytime. Really. I'm in some ways enjoying being pregnant, because I keep reminding myself I'll probably miss this. But I'm also really ready to have a "normal" body back. If she came before my last three scheduled work days, which start Wednesday, that would be great!!!!! I'm dreading spending 6 hours a day on my feet. I'm scheduled to float all three days, and that means more feet time than usual, and not having a dedicated spot to land. We'll see after the first day if I can handle it. I may have to ask to work half days.

I'm still taking my herbals- red raspberry leaf capsules and evening primrose oil capsules. I've been upping the dose on the latter. Hope it'll help me not be too overdue.

For the record- John thinks she'll come three days before Thanksgiving. That would put me two days past my estimated due date. We shall see.

Blurry cell phone pic in the camper before church service

Friday, November 2, 2012

Baby White Week 38

Hey ya'll.

I feel like I updated everything yesterday. With my vomit like spewing of complaints. Lol.

Today at work was better. Probably because I slept well last night. No disturbing dreams and only one ptty break, that I was able to promptly fall back asleep after.
I was feeling pretty good at work until about 3, when I had to be up and on my feet consistently for about an hour. Then my feet started to hurt a good bit. No one at work was in desperate need of my help today, so they let me go on home. Then John rubbed my feet :)

I think being this cumbersome is the closest one could come to know what it feels like to be morbidly obese. It's annoying not being able to easily reach the things I need. Both on the floor and even parts of my own body. I don't like that feeling so much.

But, today is a happy day, because I have the next two days off and next week I only work 2 days. Then after that I work the three days before my due date. And I'm not scheduled for anymore after that. We shall see. Anyway, completing another work week helps to remind me I'm in the home stretch!

Today I took a photo before heading off to work. My hair is up a lot these days because I've been feeling hot lately. All that blood and hormones I guess. My body is having to work overtime.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fat, sick and nearly due

That's about how I feel these days. Especially work days. After work I have the energy of a slug.
Thankfully I only have 6 work days between now and my due date. Of course if I go past due (I'm told that's likely) I'll try and put in a few extra hours so I don't eat up my maternity leave. Maybe a few half days or something.

I'm ready for this baby to come. I feel so large, slow and awkward. And tired. Not like I need to take a nap tired, but like, I just want to sit down and not move tired. I have dirty floors right now and the bathrooms will need cleaning again before my due date. I wonder who's going to do it? Lol. I think if I just do one small task and then rest, I should be able to get it done. Especially on my two days off before Monday.

Yesterday I got off work early and so I took advantage of the time to grocery shop. Sam's, then WalMart, then a solid hour in the kitchen making dinner and repackaging meat for freezing. I was totally slap worn out after. I hope to not go grocery shopping again before she comes. We loaded up on meat at Sam's, so that we would have provisions til she comes and for a week or two after.

The big mistake is that I bought things to fill in our menu. The mistake with a menu is that it involves cooking. Which involves effort and motivation (and being on your feet of course), all of which I lack.
John is pitching in (or he'd starve!) by cooking. Tonight he even cleaned too. I offered to help with dinner cleanup but he refused.

I've taken to wearing tennis shoes to work. At least on the days I wear pants. My feet are either a little swollen or have just plain gotten bigger. My tennies were pressing on my big toes. And there's a lot less lace to tie than before. But just looking at my feet they don't look puffy. And I can't make indents in them with my thumb. But my hands and feet do just feel bigger and more awkward. It's uncomfortable putting on shoes, but only for a few seconds. I considered asking John for help this morning, but I was too worried it would be an ordeal to shove my shoes on and then my socks might bunch up wrong or something.

My belly button is still holding in. Not out. Lol. For a little while a small part of it was out, but I guess it was just the way she was laying.

I'm glad we got the maternity photos done- because the "miserable" stage has started. Although honestly I'm not miserable, just uncomfortable. I'm ready to have a normally functioning body back. I feel almost handicapped.

Anytime now Sophie, anytime!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Baby White Week 37

Hi guys!

Sorry I am late in posting. We got back from our trip yesterday around 5 and I spent most of today doing errands and getting ready for my work "week" which starts again tomorrow.

Thursday afternoon we set out for the outskirts of Birmingham (Childersburg to be exact) to spend time with friends of ours and just get away and relax. It's so pretty there- the colors are starting to change, and everything is not flat :) In fact, it's pretty much mountains by my standards. Nothing like the Rockies or anything, but very hilly. I think I could possibly trade the beach for that nice scenery. Except it still gets just as hot there as it does here :( And the traffic, I could definitely skip.

We enjoyed lots of lazing around, dining out and browsing. Combined with just a tiny bit of shopping. I also got treated to a lovely pedicure. We stayed with John's best man and his parents. We are equally good friends with both :) It just so happens John's friend is a manager at the movie theater, so we also got to see "Here Comes the Boom" for free! It was super funny. We laughed a lot.
A peanut butter shake with banana foam and "lacquered" bacon at FLIP Burger Boutique. I was not so much a fan of the bacon.

View from The Summit outdoor shopping mall

Getting ready for another delicious fattening dinner :)

Church of the Highlands. Part Sunday morning church, part worship concert. :)
Lunch Sunday at Cheesecake Factory. So so good!

After lunch at FLIP Burger at The Summit. With my new hat from Charming Charlies.

We had a doctor appointment today. I don't like going in the afternoon. We had to wait a stinkin' hour! In the last 3 weeks, I've gained 7 pounds. Yikes! Four of those were just in the last week! But I figured it would be high with all the rich food we ate on our trip. That makes my total weight gain 22 pounds. So I'm 2 over my goal with 3.5 weeks to go. Boo. But I plan to watch it while at home and back in our routine. The midwife was not concerned. What she was concerned with- I had ketones in my urine. In fact, I got a stern talking to about my water intake. She said if the ketons were any higher she would send me to the hospital for IV fluids. I don't want that! So I'm chugging away today. Here's to sleeping in 2 hour increments.

Otherwise everything else looks great. My belly measurement is right on track. Sophia is head down. We did one last quick ultrasound to make sure, since if we needed to turn her now would be the time. We got a quick peak at her profile and her back and ribs. The midwife was very happy to see that she was doing breathing motions with her chest/ribs. She said babies that are really well oxygenated do this. It's weird since that's not how she actually breathes. But good practice for her! I've started Evening Primrose oil and Red Raspberry Leaf capsules as of yesterday. The midwife suggested it at my last appointment. The oil (capsules) are supposed to help soften the cervix and the leaf is supposed to help tone the uterus.

We also got our maternity photos back last night. I was so pleased with them. A few are really just of us and don't feature the belly, and I love those! I love belly ones too of course.

 And to think these photos are not from a "professional" per se. Just from my great friend/fellow blogger Lauren, who loves to take pictures. And is quite good at it. I'm trying to convince her to start a side business :)

I got a lot of errands done today. My last round of baby returns to Target, along with purchasing a few items off the registry. Not that there are many unpurchaseds left! I took the car and carseat to the fire department for inspection. It was pretty funny to see 5 firemen all surrounding a baby seat :) But they showed me how to get it just right. I also voted! I was taking some donations to the library, and it happens to be an early voting location. Since I work next Tuesday and I could technically have a baby any day now, I figured I'd go ahead and check that off the list.

Oh, on  the way home from our trip we stopped at a local pecan company. It's like a Cracker Barrel store too. They serve a lunch buffet but other than that there's just pecans, sweets and coffee. And a ton of Alabama football flair and lots of other really neat (and mostly overpriced) items. But I just loved the socks and had to have them. Even at $7.
Here's this weeks' belly photo. Taken on the road :)