NatureAmy

caring for creation while caring for family

Tag: pregnancy (page 1 of 2)

My Fourth Birth Story: Our Accidental Unassisted Home Birth (Part 2)

If you missed my previous post on the details leading up to labor, be sure to read up here.  This is the rest of the story…

It was 5 AM and I lay in bed, realizing that I was having consistent contractions that were starting to hurt.  They were not too long, yet, but they were low in the front of my abdomen and felt like painful menstrual cramps.  And they came every few minutes.

“Hmmm…” I thought to myself. “This feels real – like I’m going to have this baby today…” and I started to think of all I had planned for the day and how much I could get done before I got to intense labor…  I continued to think about that until 5:45, when I finally got up to go the the bathroom and realized that my underwear and pants were a little too wet.

Had my water broke?  Nothing was actively leaking, but unless I peed my pants without realizing it, my water seemed to be broken.  I also had bloody show.  So… I got up, got dressed, and proceeded to make some breakfast before my husband, Mike, left for work.

Things were rapidly getting stronger and I had to dance around and sing through my contractions that were coming in waves with less than a minute off between them.  But I had always taken so long in labor with my others, that I really didn’t think that baby would come too soon.  Still, at 6:30 am I called one of my home birth midwives, Cindy, to let her know I was in active labor.

“Should I come now?  Or should I wait?” she wanted to know, but I was indecisive.  I kept thinking of the hours I spent in active labor with my others, so she decided that I should lay down for a bit and see how things were in 30 or 45 minutes.

I did know that my husband should NOT leave for work, though, so I told him he had to stay home.  He believed me (unlike my 3rd labor – LOL – read that story here) and started to send out emails to his students and colleagues letting them know he would not be coming in that day.

I decided that a bath would be relaxing, so I ran a hot bath.  The night before I had turned the water heater to high so that we could practice filling up the birth tub the next day.  But still thinking I was hours away from birth, I only got into the regular bathtub.  My contractions were so low down in my abdomen still that the hot water covered the most painful part and felt very good.

I knew 30 minutes had passed when my kids got up at 7 am, like clockwork.  I let them know that they were going to have a baby that day.  My oldest, Clayton was nervous about it. My second, Micah, was super excited and started dancing around the house.  Our youngest, Addamay, really didn’t know what to expect…

At that point, I felt like the intensity of labor was ramping up even more.  I knew the midwives needed to be on their way. It was 7:10 am when I called Cindy back and told her to come.  She had gotten ready and was waiting to hear back from me.

“Okay,” she said. “I’m on my way.”  No questions asked, which was nice, because I couldn’t talk much at that point.

I called my mom next, only to discover that she was snowed in (she lives over the mountain from us).  She wouldn’t be able to come for hours until the roads were open.

My brain raced with all the things I was planning to do that day, and what I wanted to do before the baby arrived.  Should I call a friend to come get the kids?  Should I call my photographer friend who wanted to take pictures?  Should I call the kids school to let them know they would be missing their home school classes that morning?

All of these things flew through my head, along with everything we still needed to prep before the baby arrived, but they all flew out of my head quickly.  I was way past the point of calling people and arranging anything at that point!

I curled up in a ball on the floor, letting the contractions roll over me, one after another , after another.  I could barely catch my breath before the next one hit.  I pictured ocean waves and boogie-boarding at the ocean (the closest I’ve ever come to surfing).  The water crashing over me and the pull of it down, and the slight panic of wondering if you will ever make it to the surface again before resurfacing, and the water rushing back out again.  I remembered Ina May Gaskin, the famous midwife’s,  description of rushes and waves for contractions and focused on riding each one out.

I know that my husband knew that baby was coming today, but like me, he had a hard time believing it would come quickly.  These things take time… but apparently NOT fourth babies… When he saw me in fetal position on the floor of our room, he knew we were getting really close.  I had to be in transition and he recognized the signs.  Mike was rushing around trying to get things ready for baby’s eminent arrival.

I was giving him the instructions of how to cover the bed with a sheet, a plastic shower curtain, and another clean sheet.  He made sure our oldest was getting breakfast for his siblings and they were all watching Netflix in the living room.

Next he hooked up the hose to the hot water spigot behind our washer machine and started to fill up the birthing tub.  It holds 150 gallons of water and we were told that we would likely have to fill it up with one hot water heater’s worth of water, then wait as the heater filled up again before adding more water.  Thankfully we have a pretty big hot water heater.  After 1 tanks worth of very hot water, and then letting the cold water continue to fill up the tub so it was not too hot, the tub was about 2/3 full.

At about 7:45, I moved from the floor to the bathroom and labored on the toilet briefly until the tub was ready.  At this point, the contractions were not any more intense than they had been on the floor, but I wasn’t sure how much more I could take.  Wave after intense wave hit me with barely a chance to breathe before the next one.

“Please God,” I remember praying desperately.  “Please let this baby come soon.”  I didn’t realize how quickly He would answer that prayer!

“It’s ready,” Mike said from where the tub was outside the bathroom door.

Taking advantage of a quick break between contractions, I got in the tub, stripping down to just my bra.

Oh, wow, that water felt amazing.  The heat brought instant relief.  It also brought the longest break between contractions that I’d had in over an hour. This longer break often occurs when labor switches from the end of transition (fully dilated at 10 cm) to the pushing stage.  When the next contraction hit, not only did I feel like I finally had a chance to catch my breath, but I also I felt the urge to push.

At this point it was almost 8 am.  I knew the midwives would be here very, very soon.  I also knew that I had never pushed for less than 20 minutes.  It seemed safe to just go with the flow and start pushing.  Surely the midwives would arrive before baby made it out!

So I pushed once. It felt so good, but I figured I should tell my husband, who was right there with me, that I was pushing.

“Are you at 10?  Should I check you?”  Not that he knows what 10 cm feels like or what he should be feeling for, but he put his hand down to see if he could feel anything.

“Uh, Amy,” he said, kind of in shock. “That’s a head.”

I knew that was the head, but it wasn’t crowning yet.  It could still take some time.

However, with the next push I could feel the baby move down, start to crown, and as I put my hand down, the head popped out.  My husband’s hand was right there with me.

“The head’s out,” he said, sounding apprehensive.  “Push the rest out.”

So I pushed and he lifted the baby out of the water and onto my chest.  The baby gave a quick cry – Thank you, God – but then stopped.

“The cords around the neck,” my husband noticed before I did and quickly unwrapped the cord and the baby cried again.  The crisis averted, I took that time to move the cord from between the legs to see-

“It’s a girl!” I cried, absolutely overcome with joy.  We wanted another girl – a sister for Addamay.  As if on cue, Addamay came into the room.  She had heard the baby cry and came in to see what was going on.

Our baby, Bethany, was slightly purple, but started to turn red.  She was still very quiet and Mike was concerned she couldn’t breath.  Neither of us was sure what to do next, but I knew that since she had cried, she must be breathing.  But why wasn’t she making any more noise?

At this point, only about 1 minute after Bethany’s arrival, Cindy, the first of the midwives to arrive, entered the room.  The look on her face was priceless.  She expected to see us laboring in the tub, but instead saw me with a newborn in my arms.

“Oh!” she said, surprised.

“She’s here…” I said.

“She?” Cindy asked.

“Yep, it’s a girl.”

Cindy came to the tub and checked her out.  Everything was perfect and she was breathing fine.

The boys were still in the other room, mesmerized by a show on Netflix, so we called them in.

“Come meet your baby sister” Mike said.

“A sister?”

“Yes. This is,… Bethany?”  I looked over at Mike to make sure he had not changed his mind.  He nodded.

“This is Bethany.”

And it was perfect.  We were surrounded by our three older children, gazing at this perfect baby girl in my arms.  Covered in vernix and still attached to her thick long umbilical cord.  Her little eyes squeezed tightly shut.  She was tiny, but chubby.  She was everything we ever dreamed…  She was our rainbow baby, born right there in our bedroom.

I stayed in the tub to deliver the placenta.  I kept thinking that I wanted to keep all the mess confined to the tub.  That worked perfectly.  Afterwards, we moved to the bed – my soft and cozy bed!  That was amazing!

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Bonding with Bethany

No hospital gowns, no IVs, no needles.  No constantly monitoring the baby or being poked and prodded.  No strange nurses coming in and out at all hours.

Our midwives were there, but by then they were like family.  They busied themselves cleaning up and doing everything that they needed to do.  Our family was able to cuddle on the bed and bond with sweet Bethany. I am convinced that home birth is exactly the way to go and I am so glad we decided to switch in the last trimester.

Because of her very fast arrival, and the fact that it was only my husband and I, we did not get any pictures of the birth, or even soon afterward.  We did take some pictures when the midwives were there, but due to a faulty SD card, those did not make it.  These pictures taken 1 or 2 hours after her arrival are the youngest we have, but they will have to do!

All four kids enjoying getting to know one another!

All four kids enjoying getting to know one another!

I am beyond thankful for our little girl and her fast and safe entrance into the world.  From the first contraction at 5 am to her entrance at 8 am, she beat her siblings records by well over 13 hours!  Two of those hours were painful, but only 45 minutes were what I would call intense.  I am so very thankful we were home and NOT on the road to the hospital!

Big sister Addamay is already smitten. In typical 2-year-old fashion, she has claimed the baby as hers and does not want to share...

Big sister Addamay is already smitten. In typical 2-year-old fashion, she has claimed the baby as hers and does not want to share…

She has already become a wonderful addition to our family and we could not imagine life without her!

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Leading up to my Fourth Birth Story… (or Part 1)

I know that you’ve been waiting to hear the full story of baby Bethany’s fast entrance into the world, but the story, it turns out, is not so fast.  So, I’m writing it in two parts.  The days leading up to labor starting and then, of course, the birth itself.  So, here goes…

I’ve never had fast labors.  At 48 hours, 22 hours, and 16 hours, none of my labors could count as short, although the 16 hour labor felt like a breeze compared to the others!  I really don’t mind longer labors, as long as the super intense part (transition) is not too long.  It gives me time to mentally prepare myself for the arrival of our little one and get the hang of riding out the contractions as they slowly intensify from uncomfortable, to painful, to intense.  You can read about my first, second, and third birth stories here.)

From the beginning of this pregnancy, I just had a feeling that this little one would come early.  And when I was already 3 cm dilated at 35 weeks and lost my mucous plug at 36 weeks, I was starting to get nervous that he or she might come too early!  I was also concerned that when the baby did decide to come, I would  already be dilated 5 or 6 cm and labor would be too quick for anyone to get here in time!  My husband works 35 minutes away and the midwives were 50 minutes away…

At 338 weeks, getting ready for a last date night before baby comes!

At 38 weeks, getting ready for a last date night before baby comes!

I made it through weeks 36 and 37 without going into labor (I was told I should “take it easy” for week 36, which is a very hard thing for me to do).  But once I hit 38 weeks, I was ready to be done.  I had early labor consistently all day the day I turned 38 weeks, but then my contractions stopped and only came sporadically the next few days.

Thai food and finally deciding on names for this little one. We decided on a girl name, but were still having trouble with the boy name...

Thai food and finally deciding on names for this little one. We decided on a girl name, but were still having trouble with the boy name…

On Monday, I was 38 weeks 3 days and I was exhausted.  I thought I was exhausted before then, but apparently I wasn’t…  I hit a wall, especially emotionally, and I was on the verge of tears all day for no reason at all.  I pushed through homeschool with the boys and was ready for a nap by 10 am.  Somehow I made it through the day, by the grace of God…

I recognized the emotional state I was in because I’ve been there 3 times before, always within 24 hours of going into labor.  So I wondered if, and hoped that, I would go into labor that night…

Like the many nights before, I had sporadic contractions through the night, enough to disrupt my sleep, but nothing “real”.  The next day, Tuesday morning, nothing had changed.  I was still exhausted and emotionally at my wit’s end.  Again I pushed through school and took a brief nap before loading all the kids up to head to my midwife appointment that afternoon.

The birthing tub (or water trough) all ready in our room. The kids thought this was a great new play thing!

The birthing tub (or water trough) all ready in our room. The kids thought this was a great new play thing!

Cindy and Kathy, my very experienced midwives, listened to me talk about how emotionally and physically I was just done.  They encouraged me that my emotional state was indeed a very good sign that my hormones were gearing up for labor.  I felt validated and encouraged (and not like I was just going crazy, which is what I suspected) after spending an  hour with them.

They checked me, only because I was curious what had changed in the last 3 weeks since they had last checked me.  And, surprisingly, not much had changed.  I was now 3.5 to 4 cm dilated and about 90% effaced, but nothing drastic.  I was more relieved than frustrated about that – I didn’t want to go into labor too far along because of my fears of not having someone there with me.

I took the kids grocery shopping on the way home.  We, of course, got lots of questions about when I was due, to which I replied, “Whenever baby wants to show up!” I loaded up on plenty of snack food and frozen food to make feeding the kids easier in post-partum – the kids were surprised and thrilled!  They never get food like that at our house, so it’s a special treat. And to top off the terrible food, I bought frozen Orange Chicken for dinner.

That night, I had more energy than I had in several nights.  I cleaned up the living room and kitchen, even sweeping the floor.  I had a good talk with my husband and we went to bed about 10.  Unlike the previous nights, I slept like a log until five AM when my husband’s alarm went off to get up for work.

That’s when things started to get exciting, but this post is getting awfully long already, so you will have to continue reading Part 2 for the rest of the story…

 

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My THM Pregnancy: 39 week update… Oops… 2 days post-partum!

Baby is here and it’s a…

GIRL!

Little Bethany Carolyn joined our family at 8 am on Wednesday, nine days before her due date.  She was 8 lbs even, 21 inches long, and has captured everyone’s hearts already.

Sleep my little one...

Sleep my little one…

I will be sharing her full birth story soon, but for a bit of a preview…

She arrived only 3 short hours after my first contraction and 1 minute before the midwives arrived!  She was born at home, as planned, with no complications, and a very, VERY quick labor.  My husband got to deliver her and is so proud of that fact!

I could not have asked for a better delivery.  It was fast and intense, but she arrived quickly and we were able to immediately relax as a family and just soak up the time together.

Big sister Addamay is already smitten. In typical 2-year-old fashion, she has claimed the baby as hers and does not want to share...

Big sister Addamay is already smitten. In typical 2-year-old fashion, she has claimed the baby as hers and does not want to share…

I’m supposed to be resting and in bed for the first week after delivery.  My midwives insist that it really is the best start for your body after birth to allow adequate time for healing.  And I’m trying to rest and stay off my feet as much as possible, but I’m terrible at taking it easy…  My husband and mom keep sending me back to bed!  At least they are here to take care of me…

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support and for following along this entire pregnancy, from my miscarriage a year ago, to healing from that experience, and finally throughout my pregnancy and birth.  God has been so good to us and has shown Himself faithful time and again.

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My Third Birth Story: My En Caul Water Birth

An en caul birth is where a baby is born still in its amniotic sac.  The bag of waters does not break and the baby is in a water balloon like clear sac at birth.  This is very rare and is said to occur only in 1 out of 80,000 births.  Legend says that babies born in the caul are said to be clairvoyant and possess supernatural abilities…

When I was pregnant with my third baby, my first girl, I knew I wanted a natural childbirth again.  We considered a home birth, but with our insurance at the time, a hospital birth would be fully covered and a homebirth was not covered at all.  Thankfully, the wonderful hospital based birth center where we gave birth to our second son was covered, so we chose to return there, even though it was almost an hours drive from our house. (Read my second birth story here. Or my first, where nothing went as planned, here.)

Four days before my due date, I knew that something was starting. I was supposed to teach that day, but I asked my husband (who I was co-teaching with at the time) to take over for me.  Nothing was really happening.  I’d had a bunch of Braxton Hicks and early labor contractions off and on for over a week, but nothing stuck.  That morning, however, I just had a feeling.

We were invited to go swimming at a friend’s house that day, which sounded like fun.  It was early May, but it was heating up and I was looking forward to a swim.  So the boys and I headed over that afternoon and swam in the frigid water.  I decided to be brave and swim into the deep end and tread water for a bit – brrrr it was cold!  But the activity got my contractions started.  Just easy early labor contractions like I had been having on and off for quite a while, but I thought they just might stick this time.

We drove home and my contractions continued.  They were not painful, yet, and they came every 10-15 minutes.  I went to bed that night wondering if they would stop or if they would progress.

I woke up about 3 am to painful contractions.  I couldn’t just lie in bed any longer, although I tried and dozed off between each one since they were only coming 3 or 4 times an hour.  By morning, they had picked up considerably and were coming every 5 minutes or so, so we decided to make the hour long trek to the hospital before driving in the car was too uncomfortable.

By 10 am, we made it to the hospital, which was very crowded.  Every room was full, except one basic delivery room without a birthing tub.  As soon as we walked inside, my labor stopped.  (This has certainly been a pattern for me.  My labor always stops when I reach the hospital…)  The midwife who had just come on duty was one of the three in the large midwife group that I actually knew, so I was happy about that.  Simone checked me and they monitored me for 20 minutes, but I was only dilated to 3 cm at this point, and my labor had stopped.  So, she suggested I go back home, or walk around town, get some breakfast, etc. to see if things would start up again.

I was devastated and embarrassed.  I wanted to have this baby, not go back home.  In hinds sight, I am so glad I was not admitted at that time.  Not being at the hospital helped my labor progress much faster than I think it would have if I was there, stuck in that tiny L&D room.


My husband and I decided to go out to brunch and see how things went from there.  As soon as we left the hospital, my labor started again, although just gradually.  I had a number of good contractions in the restaurant while enjoying my big plate of biscuits and gravy and fresh squeezed orange juice.  So afterwards, we decided to walk around town and down to the local university’s campus arboretum.  We were very familiar with this campus because we had graduated from there.

Walking through the familiar plants in the arboretum was very peaceful and my contractions got much more serious.  They were all over the place time-wise, though.  Sometimes they would be 15 minutes between them, sometimes there would be 3 minutes.  After a couple hours of walking, we made it back to our car and discussed the next steps.

I wanted to return to the hospital, but I was afraid they would just turn me away again.  My husband wanted to return home.  He was convinced I was still in early labor and we still had a long time before our baby would arrive. So, against my better judgement, we drove the hour long drive back home.

About half way there, my irregular contractions started to become very regular.  They came every 5 minutes, then every 4, and eventually every 3 minutes by the time we arrived home.  And they were starting to get to the point where I had to really concentrate to get through them.

The boys (ages 4 and almost 6) were excited that we were home already, they were at home with my mother-in-law, and they wanted to meet the baby.  I felt terrible telling them that she wasn’t here yet.  And to make things more complicated, my mother-in-law had some friends visiting who happened to be driving by and had stopped in to visit.  I wasn’t exactly the best hostess as I said a quick hello and then went back to hide in the bedroom.


My husband had a field trip planned with his students the following day and was debating whether or not he should postpone it.  He was talking on the phone with his boss as he walked into the bedroom and I heard him say, “yes, false alarm.  She’s still in early labor, so it could be days still.”  And he did not cancel the trip for the following morning.  At that point, with intense contractions coming every 3 or 4 minutes, I lost it!

“I am NOT in early labor!”  I snapped at him.  My poor husband gave me a sympathetic look and left the room to finish the conversation.

Our guests (or my mother-in-law’s guests) left, so I came out of the room and decided to try to watch a movie with the boys.  We put on Despicable Me II since I had not seen it yet and thought it might be a good distraction.  I still have not seen that movie. LOL!

I moved around the house, sitting on my yoga ball, trying some different yoga positions, leaning against the kitchen counter.  Finally, I told my husband – “I really think we need to go back to the hospital.”

My mother-in-law agreed, so we loaded back into the car, after being home for about 90 minutes, and returned to the hospital.  I had no idea how far along I was, but I suspected I must be near transition.  I started to time my contractions using my phone as we made our way back.  We called the midwife and let them know we were coming back and she assured me that there would be a tub room waiting when we arrived.


My contractions were coming every 3 minutes, then every 2 minutes, and eventually I would only have 30 seconds to a minute between each.  I concentrated on the air vent in front of me and wished that I had my scripture cards from my birth bag to meditate on.  Since I didn’t have those, I just said the name of Jesus, over and over, mostly in my head, as I breathed through each contraction.  It was painful, yet it wasn’t.  I seemed to transport out of myself when I focused on His name.  There IS power in His name.

My husband had finally decided that I must actually be in labor and was starting to get worried that we might actually have this little one in the car!  When traffic slowed (it was after 5 pm at this point) he seriously considered driving in the emergency lane, but thankfully it only slowed for a minute and then picked back up again.

We reached the hospital birth center and I attempted to make it to the door, but with breaks between contractions only lasting 30 or 45 seconds, I didn’t make it to the door without having to lean on my husband and breath through another one.  They knew who I was at the check in desk and led me into my room.  All was peaceful and calm, unlike when we had been there that morning.  I was the only mother in labor.

They hooked me up to the monitors for my mandatory 20 minutes of monitoring at check in.  It was torture to try to lie still while they put the two monitors on my stomach and started the test.  My husband started a calming CD and I tried to breath through each contraction, but was distracted by having to stay in one position for so long.  It was the only time during this labor that I felt was unbearable – I had finally learned how to NOT focus on the pain, but being strapped to a machine was more than I could take.

The nurse started to fill up the birthing tub since she could tell I would want it as soon as I finished my test.

The nurse we had was wonderful.  Later, we found out that she was a Christian and had been praying over the entire delivery.  Since she had no other patients to attend to, she stayed with us and rubbed my back.  At the end of 20 minutes, our midwife came in (she had been taking a dinner break).  But before she could even check me, my contractions changed.  I felt the urge to push.


At first I didn’t say anything and just pushed through the first one – it felt so good.  Then I decided I better say something, so I told the midwife.  She went to check my dilation, thought better of it (this was my third), and told me that if I wanted to have this baby in the water, I had better get in the tub! ( I was only checked at 3 cm dilated that morning.)

The warm water felt so good and eased the pain significantly.  I tried pushing in a squatting position and then on all fours, but wasn’t getting too far.  My midwife suggested I turn over and push from a sitting position with my legs bent up.  That worked and my baby girl started to crown.

The CD we were listening to stopped at that point and my thoughtful husband asked if I wanted him to restart it or put in something different.  “No!  Get the camera!” I told him instead.

At this point, my water still had not broken, so the bag of waters ballooned out as I was pushing her head out.  As she slipped back before the next contraction, the bag of waters stayed out, holding me open so that she came out easily on the next push, still in her bag of waters.

This in the only picture we have of Addamay still in the sac. It is no longer covering her head, but you can see it around her shoulders and my hands.

This in the only picture we have of Addamay still in the sac. It is no longer covering her head, but you can see it around her shoulders and my hands.

The midwife swept her out of the water and quickly broke her bag and released her head.  She was perfect and covered in vernix like frosting as she was placed on my chest.  It was so quick that we don’t have any pictures of her “en caul” and my memory of the event is blurry as I was kind of busy at that time…

We were only in the hospital about 45 minutes before our precious little Addamay was born.  She was perfect, just like her brothers – her blue eyes, button nose, and round head had us captivated from the start.  And she was not “too big” as a late ultrasound predicted she would be.  She was 8 lbs 6 ozs, just under the 8.5 lbs that our midwife had predicted using just her hands.

She latched on immediately and nursed in the tub and then on the bed.  I had a severe tear with her, which took some time to sew up.  However, I also healed quicker and had a better recovery with her than with the boys, so I can’t complain.

A few hours after her birth, she's all cleaned up and ready to sleep.

A few hours after her birth, she’s all cleaned up and ready to sleep.

We spent the night at the hospital and chose her name in the morning.  We are terrible about picking out names, so we had a short list to choose from.  Addamay means Noble Child of Light and is very unusual, but is the combination of two very familiar names.

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Being greeted by her grandmothers and her brothers just as we came in the garage door.

And just like our previous births, we requested early check out from the hospital.  We were home by late morning the following day.

Her big brothers could not get enough of her.

Her big brothers could not get enough of her.

Thankfully, Addamay settled right into home life and slept beautifully among the familiar loud sounds of her brothers playing.  She was restless and unhappy at the hospital, but as soon as we were home, she was as happy as could be.

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My THM Pregnancy: 36 Weeks Pregnant – Home Birth Preparation

Wow – where did the time go?  Somehow, I’ve made it to the last month of pregnancy!  In only a week, I will be considered full term with this precious fourth baby!  And I can hardly wait to meet him or her!  (The suspense is killing me – boy? girl? ahhhhh!)

Girls and boys clothes are ready!

In the last month, we have been mainly preparing for our last minute change to a home birth. Read about why we decided to switch from our planned hospital birth here.  I am soooo excited about the switch and all the anxiety I had over the birth has gone once we made the decision.

I’ve been in full-on nesting mode.  I’ve moved a dresser into our closet for the baby and have been washing all the newborn and 0-3 month clothes we have for a boy or girl.  My favorite baby wearing wraps are washed and ready!  The baby swing has new batteries.  The swaddling blankets and receiving blankets are ready!

The midwives gave me an extensive checklist of items to have for the birth.  I have all but two of them now.  The first part was a list of consumable medical supplies.  I thought I would have to track these down from Amazon or a medical supply store, but it was so much easier than that.  My midwives have a specific kit to order from a small medical supply company in Oregon.  The only hiccup was having to wait for Oregon to melt from the “Snowmageddon” they experienced this January before they could ship my supplies.  But they arrived quickly once the roads cleared.

The other items on the list were either things we already had around the house (receiving blankets, extra sheets, flashlight with new batteries, towels, wash cloths, etc.) or things that can be easily purchased to be on hand.  Things like menstrual pads, juice, electrolyte drink, perineum recovery supplies, etc.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (loose leaf and in bulk from Amazon) is helping to prepare my uterus for labor. I limit myself to 3 cups a day - too much can actually start labor.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (loose leaf and in bulk from Amazon) is helping to prepare my uterus for labor. I limit myself to 3 cups a day – too much can actually start labor.

My boxes are ready in my closet with the baby items, just waiting for “D-day” (delivery day!)  I also have a unisex outfit for the baby right after birth, complete with socks and hat, and a boy and girl outfit picked out for a little later.

We will pick up one of the birthing tubs in a week or two from another family after they have their baby.  It is actually a large Rubbermaid water trough!  I can’t wait to tell our little one that they were born in a water trough! LOL!


34 weeks pregnant, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, and completely exhausted!

34 weeks pregnant, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, and completely exhausted!

One idea that I loved from the book “Birthing from Within” was the idea of having a birth or labor project.  This project can keep you occupied during the often long hours of early labor and even into the tough time of transition.

I love this idea because I’ve found from my previous labors that having a distraction from the pain is one of the best ways to cope with labor.  My labor with my third was so smooth and easy and I credit that to many things, but one of the most valuable with that I was not stuck in a hospital room dwelling on her labor (in fact, we barely got to the hospital in time).

So, if I am able, I plan to do a simple sewing project during my labor this time.  Of course, this depends on the time of day and length of labor.  I may not have time for such things, but that’s okay, too!  I’ve been eyeing these simple cloth napkins on Pinterest, so I plan to have the cloth ready so I can make these if I want.


These last few weeks I have had 3 appointments with our midwives and I just love them.  One week we had a private home birth class with just my husband and I. It was great to get all our questions answered and know what to expect (as much as you can plan such things) this time birthing at home.

We also had our home visit, where the midwives both came to our house so they would know the layout before they came for the labor.  I showed them the two boxes where we are storing all the labor supplies and also where we plan to put the birthing tub.  They have a 50 minute drive to get here, so they continually emphasized how important it was for me to keep them informed of any changes, no matter how minor they seem!

The midwives also made sure we planned out a detailed emergency plan in case I need to be transferred to a hospital.  I don’t think it will be an issue (they don’t either), but I am glad that they are prepared (and preparing us) for the possibility.  Better to be safe, than sorry.

I'm planning to make my bedroom prayer corner my birth place. The table and chair will move temporarily to make room for the birthing tub.

I’m planning to make my bedroom prayer corner my birth place. The table and chair will move temporarily to make room for the birthing tub.


Early labor signs?

This time around my body is already getting ready for labor.  This is somewhat normal for me (after my first, anyway), but it has been happening earlier each time.

The midwives checked me at my 36 week appointment this week and I was already 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced.  I am experienced enough to know that that really does not mean I will go into labor soon, but it might…

36 weeks and feeling like I'm carrying around a bowling ball!

36 weeks and feeling like I’m carrying around a bowling ball!

I also just lost my mucous plug and have been having frequent light contractions on and off, so I am trying to take it easy for the next week, just in case!  This is not abnormal for me in the last month of pregnancy, but it is about 2 weeks earlier than I normally start experiencing prodromal/early labor.  This baby needs to stay put for at least another week so that I can safely deliver at home and he or she can finish fully developing.


Stay tuned for what comes next!  Hopefully we will have a new baby sometime in 1 to 5 weeks!

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Why We’re Switching to a Home Birth

In my last pregnancy update, I hinted at a big change in our birth plan coming up.  As you can see from the title, we’ve decided to switch from a hospital birth to a home birth.

I have always wanted a home birth with a midwife.  My mother had four of her five kids at home with a doctor or midwife.  I was her first home birth and I love the pictures of her and my dad and newborn me snuggled up on the bed, cozy and comfortable at home.

I’m a homebody, an introvert, and I hate hospitals.  With my three previous hospital births, I have always requested an early release and have checked out of the hospital about 12 hours after giving birth each time.  I just want to be home, in my own bed, being cared for by my mom.  No nurses coming in at all hours.  No loud sounds from the hospital coming through the walls.  No uncomfortable hospital beds.  I want to be home.

I love my bedroom - it's bright and cheery, uncluttered, and it makes me happy. I can't imagine a better place to give birth!

I love my bedroom – it’s bright and cheery, uncluttered, and it makes me happy. (This post was a perfect opportunity for a mini-tour!) I can’t imagine a better place to give birth!

I also love the relationships that you get with a midwife.  I’ve had midwives for my last two hospital births and they were both great.  However, I delivered with a midwife group, so there was very little, if any, prior interaction with my midwives.  My mom developed a wonderful friendship with the midwife that delivered my little sisters. I crave that.

My husband and I had discussed paying out of pocket for a home birth before we knew we were expecting this little one.  He was completely supportive of the idea. However, I felt somewhat selfish and guilty for spending all that money on what I wanted.  We could use that money to help pay off our school debt faster. We could use that money for a family trip to Disneyland.  I knew what I wanted, but I couldn’t get over feeling selfish about it.

I love my poppy print!

I love my poppy print!


My husband has good insurance coverage with his work and we are very blessed by the generosity of his employer, but we are limited to one insurance group and hospital.  (Not the hospital based birth center that I’ve delivered my last 2 kids in – which I loved.) I’ve been happy with my care and our family doctors, however, I have had many friends deliver at the hospital we have to use, and I know that it is NOT my ideal birth environment.

I’ve had a friend who has had two of her births at that hospital all-naturally, so I was encouraged that it was, indeed, possible.  She had to fight a bit and sign some liability forms, but she was able to get the natural birth she wanted.  So, I was prepared to fight to make the situation work.

However, a couple weeks ago, I decided to call to make sure that everything we thought was covered by our insurance plan (which said it covered all prenatal appointments, etc.) was actually covered.  I learned that although all my appointments, labs, tests, etc were completely covered by our insurance before meeting our high deductible, the actual birth was not.  We would have to pay our full deductible before they would cover the rest of our labor, delivery, and hospital fees.  So, I learned, that it would actually be significantly cheaper for us to pay out of pocket for a home birth instead of using the hospital.

I was really excited! The search for a midwife started immediately!

I love this verse from Song of Solomen 8:6

I love this verse from Song of Solomon 8:6

We live in a more rural area, so finding a midwife that delivers here, even when only a couple months pregnant, can be a challenge.  But I had the additional challenge of finding a midwife that delivered locally AND had availability in just TWO short months!  After making a lot of calls, I finally found a midwife team who could take me.  I set up a meeting with them the following week.

Before the meeting, I prayed that God would give me a feeling of peace if this was the right place for me.  In previous pregnancies, I’ve met with providers before that I was not comfortable with.  I couldn’t tell you why, but I had an uneasy feeling after our meetings.  I didn’t want that to be the case with this meeting, but I prayed for God to make it abundantly clear to me.  And it was.

The two midwives work together, are licensed and certified, of course, and have birthed over 1000 babies between them.  The meeting was relaxing and peaceful.  Addamay played happily and I talked about my previous births and why I wanted a home birth.  I felt comfortable and at complete peace with the situation.


Now it’s time to get serious!  In the next few weeks I’ll be ordering the supplies for my home birth kit, picking up one of the birthing tubs that they provide for their clients, and generally getting everything ready for our birth!

I'm planning to make my bedroom prayer corner my birth place. The table and chair will move temporarily to make room for the birthing tub.

I’m planning to make my bedroom prayer corner my birth place. The table and chair will move temporarily to make room for the birthing tub.

I’ve had friends tell me I’m brave for not having the option of pain relief during labor, but really I’m not worried about it at all.

God created women to give birth.  It is completely natural and something that women have been doing since the beginning.  I’ve given birth completely drug free twice already and my third birth was my easiest yet.

Of course, some women have high risk pregnancies and really should give birth in a hospital setting.  I, thankfully, do not fall into this category.  I have very easy pregnancies and somewhat easy births (not counting the useless interventions in my first birth).  I don’t think any birth is exactly “easy”.

I am not afraid of not having an epidural.  I’ve given birth with an epidural and without – I much prefer doing it without – but, that is a post for another day…


So – that’s our big news!  I’m so excited that I’ll be finally getting the home birth I’ve always wanted!

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My THM Pregnancy: 32 weeks

With the holidays, I have fallen behind on my blogging to spend time with my family. This also means that I’ve fallen behind on my pregnancy updates! It’s been 9 weeks since my last one!

As far as my pregnancy goes, these last couple months have been mostly uneventful. My checkups have all gone smoothly, my tests have all been perfect, and my doctor’s only complaint has been my weight gain.

A bump picture from our family photos at 25 weeks pregnant.

A bump picture from our family photos at 25 weeks pregnant.

Unfortunately, I seem to be one of those pregnant women, who no matter how healthily they eat, still gain about the same as my other pregnancies. I was hoping, since I eat THM now, don’t eat sugar, and stay on plan most the time, that I would only gain 20 lbs, instead of my normal 40. However, I am definitely on track for gaining 40 lbs again.

I could be really upset by this, or I could choose to be happy that my baby is growing well and that I am healthy. I’ve decided to choose the latter. However, I was really annoyed at my doctor for bringing it up! Who wants to hear that they’re gaining “too much” weight, right? Not me!


32week_wimpAm I a Pregnancy Wimp?

This pregnancy has brought more heartburn than my others (maybe this baby will actually have hair????) and it’s made me realize that I’m a total pregnancy wimp. I know many women who have heartburn almost constantly during pregnancy and I only have it occasionally. However, I HATE it! I would seriously rather go through labor than a night of heartburn that won’t go away.  I admire those women so much for putting up with it for months! You are true pregnancy heroines!

Another thing that makes me a pregnancy wimp?  I usually sleep really well, even in pregnancy, but when I don’t – I’m a complete grump!  I know many friends who have aches and pains and trouble sleeping much of the 40 weeks, but for me, missing one good night of sleep is frustrating.

I finally had to break out my pregnancy pillow – my Snoogle. My husband hates it – he’s not a fan of the big pillow wall between us, so I try not to use it. I didn’t use it in my 3rd pregnancy at all. But, after several nights of waking up sore, I decided I needed it again. It did the trick! I don’t need it every night, but when I’m feeling especially achy, it helps me get a good night’s sleep.

Real life trying to take blog pictures at my house! Addamay trying to drag me away and some laundry in process down the hall...

Real life trying to take blog pictures at my house! Addamay trying to drag me away and some laundry in process down the hall…

Now, if I could only get my 2 year old to sleep consistently through the night, I would have no night time complaints! Please pray with me that she starts sleeping solidly every night before the baby comes. She has been my toughest sleeper. All my others slept solidly through the night from 12 months on (often 9 months), but she is inconsistent. Some nights she sleeps just fine – others, not so much!


My growing bump at 26, 30, and 31 weeks!

My growing bump at 26, 30, and 31 weeks!

We had some exciting changes to our birth plan come up, but that is news for another post!  Can’t wait to tell you all about it soon!  Any guesses as to what it might be?

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My Second Birth Story – The All-Natural Birth Experience I Wanted

When I found out I was pregnant with my second son, I knew that I wanted things to be very different than my first birth experience (you can read that story, where nothing went as planned, here).  I knew without a doubt that I was not going to give birth at our local hospital again.  That was out of the question in my mind, but I wasn’t sure where I did want to give birth.

A natural home birth with a midwife sounded ideal, but our insurance wouldn’t pay for that.  A free standing birth center was my next option, and we checked one out and met with the midwife.  However, they did not take our insurance, either.  So I ended up going with a midwife group at a hospital based birth center about a 50 minute drive from our home.

I was apprehensive about going with another hospital after my previous birth experience.  But, after speaking to the midwives about my concern and taking a hospital tour, I felt very comfortable.

The hospital birth center was completely different than our local hospital.  In fact, my ideal natural birth plan was all standard practice of the midwife group.  I could have a water birth if I wanted, without an IV, with only intermittent monitoring.  Skin-to-skin, nursing immediately, and delayed cord clamping were all part of their standard procedure.

If my water broke and my labor did not start for some time (my biggest concern, since that is what started the negative cycle of my first birth), they would only want me to come in for monitoring, but would not check me, admit me, or induce me (unless the baby was in trouble) for up to 3 days.  I knew we had made the right choice.

A week before my due date, I was having contractions all day.  They were not painful yet, but they were steady and getting closer and closer.  Since I never went into active labor on my own in my previous labor, I really wasn’t sure what labor without Pitocin felt like.  But nothing stopped these contractions.  I tried laying down, I tried walking, but everything I tried only made them closer together.  So, we dropped our toddler off with my friend and headed to the hospital.

And when we got to the hospital, about 1 hour later, my labor came to a screeching stop.  Nothing.  I was dilated to 2.5 cm, but as they monitored me, nothing was happening.  I was embarrassed and discouraged.  They sent me home with the encouraging words that my labor would probably start up within hours and I’d be having my baby really soon.

Except I didn’t.

I continued to have early labor contractions on and off for the next two weeks, but that was it.  Nothing stuck.  Nothing progressed into painful contractions.  I was getting really frustrated.

I had a midwife appointment and non-stress test planned for the day I turned 41 weeks.  I really didn’t want to go to that appointment.  I really wanted to have our little guy instead.  So on the night before that appointment, I started nipple stimulation using only my hands just to see if it would get the ball rolling.

It worked!  My body was obviously ready.

My contractions started up and continued to get stronger.  By 11 pm, I knew this was the real thing and I was getting excited.  My contractions went from being uncomfortable to painful.  About 3 am, I told my hubby that we should go to the hospital and I called the midwife on call.

However, she could see that I already had come in once in a false alarm and she was not convinced it was time to come in just yet.  She encouraged me to wait it out at home a little longer.  I was frustrated, and worried about the long drive, but tried to get some more rest.

The next morning, about 8:30, I called the midwife again.  This time she was convinced it was time (I couldn’t talk through the contractions anymore) and said they would have a tub room waiting for me.  So, off to the hospital we went – again!

We were admitted about 10 am, and I was at 4 cm at that point.  Once again my contractions stopped when I  got to the hospital, but they were not concerned.  I was allowed to labor in my own clothes (so nice!) so we went for a walk around the hospital to get things moving again.

I wanted one last belly shot between contractions just before getting in the tub.

I wanted one last belly shot between contractions just before getting in the tub.

We went outside and walked all the way around the hospital. Then, we walked in the rose garden, which was pretty depressing in February.   Soon, the contractions were getting really strong, but I wasn’t ready to go inside yet.  I was afraid they would stop again as soon as I did.

However, the nurses were glad we came back – apparently they were a little worried I was gone so long.  They checked me again and I was up to 6 cm dilated and progressing quickly.  They started to fill the birthing tub since I wanted to spend the most painful part of labor, transition, in the tub.

The warm water in the birthing tub was amazing.  It took the edge off the pain.  Contractions that were beginning to become unbearable outside the tub were manageable again.  I relaxed and let my body do what it needed to do.  Soon I progressed into transition.

Working through transition in the tub.

Working through transition in the tub with my husband and midwife.

I was experiencing back labor, which I did with my first son, as well.  Labor, in general, is really painful, but back labor is even worse.  My husband had to apply counter pressure to my back with each of the contractions.  Poor guy.  His arms were getting really tired, but he never complained.  The midwife, a sweet lady whom we had never met before, kept saying what a great job we were doing and that we were making her job easy.

I was hoping to progress through transition quickly, but I stalled at 8 cm for a long time.  I screamed, cried, and begged our little boy to come out, but he was not in the best position and so he was taking his time moving down.

Finally, I’m not sure how much later, but I think it was about 6 hours, I had reached close enough to 10 cm that the midwife said I could try pushing if I liked.  Yes!  I was so ready to have him out!  The problem was, I really didn’t have the urge to push yet.

But I didn’t care. I never felt the urge to push with my first because I had an epidural by that point.  I just wanted to meet our son and be done with this all, so I pushed anyway.

For over an hour I pushed and felt him move down, start to crown, and then slip back as soon as I stopped pushing.  Over and over and over…  Eventually, they became concerned because they were having a hard time finding his heartbeat with the little doppler in the water.  So they literally dragged me out of the water – I was too exhausted to get out on my own – and up onto the bed.

Suddenly, the room filled up with people.  I don’t even know who was there, but apparently people who could rush our baby to the NICU if necessary.

My midwife got me on my side with my husband holding one leg.  She got right in my face and told me I needed to get my son out NOW, so just keep pushing.

So I pushed and when I felt like I was going to faint, I pushed more.  And he came out in a rush of water and blood (my water had broken just minutes before, but never escaped because his head was stopping it).

Covered in vernix and fresh from the womb. I was so glad he was finally out!

Covered in vernix and fresh from the womb. I was so glad he was finally out!

They placed my little boy, my Micaiah (or Micah, for short), on my chest. He was perfect, round and chubby with a huge round head.  All the extra staff left the room and it was just us.

My sweet little Micaiah

My sweet little Micaiah

The midwife helped me get my sports bra off so I could nurse him. He was a natural nurser and latched on immediately.  All was quiet.  They let us nurse and cuddle for over an hour.  I asked if they wanted to weigh him or wash him, but they said no.  As long as he was nursing, they were going to let him.

So, we bonded.  I thanked him for finally coming out.  And the nurses worked to clean up the room around us.  We ended up staying in the delivery room for the night because all the recovery rooms were full and they knew we wanted to leave as soon as possible in the morning.  So, we never even left the room until we checked out the following morning.

Spending a quiet morning waiting to check out of the hospital. It was so peaceful.

Spending a quiet morning waiting to check out of the hospital. It was so peaceful.

The next day we left the hospital before noon and brought our second son home to meet the family.  I was amazed at how big my oldest son, Clayton, only 21 months old, suddenly looked.  It was like he grew a foot over night and was no longer my baby.  He immediately fell in love with his baby brother.

Clayton and Micah meet for the first time.

Clayton and Micah meet for the first time.

Micah is not so sure about this...

Micah is not so sure about this…

All in all, Micah’s birth was 22 hours long, less than half my 48 hours I experienced with Clayton.  I was very happy with his birth and the hospital birth center.  The midwife and staff were amazing and I did not have to fight to get the birth I wanted. I had the all natural labor and delivery I wanted and felt supported and respected. My recovery was very quick and nursing was much easier the second time.

If only first births could be second births, life would be so much easier.

 If you just LOVE birth stories, you can binge to your heart’s delight at my friend Suzanne’s blog The Glorious Mundane’s Birth Story page.  She publishes weekly birth stories and they are always so good!

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THM Pregnancy Update: 23 Weeks

I can’t believe it’s already been over 5 weeks since my last pregnancy update!  Time is just racing by this time.  (Check out my other pregnancy updates here).

Not too much has changed this time around.  I’m still much more tired this second trimester than normal, but I think the three kids and homeschooling, added to my husband working very long hours at the moment, is to blame.  But that is life at the moment, so…

I had my 20 week appointment with my OB before I had my 20 week ultrasound, so there was very little to discuss.  It was a simple in and out appointment.23-weeks-preg

My ultrasound happened at 21 weeks and we had to go to the hospital for it since that is the way our new insurance provider does things.  I changed the appointment to a Saturday so the whole family could come.  Other than our two year old being very loud in the waiting room and scaring a grumpy elderly lady away, it was a fun trip.

The ultrasound tech was very sweet and let me know that everything looked great from her end (which my doctor confirmed).  Our little one was very wiggly and hard to measure because he or she just would not sit still.  I thought this was funny because at that point I had not eaten in over 3 hours and I didn’t have anything sweet.  This little one is just a mover!  Lord, help me!

Our 2.5 year old is never still either! Another girl?

Our 2.5 year old is never still either! Another girl?

I wanted to know whether we were having a girl or boy, but my husband and I had agreed to wait this time, so I was good and didn’t ask while he wasn’t in the room!  As it turned out, little one was too wiggly to cooperate anyway, so the tech was really glad we didn’t want to know.  It would have been a challenge for her to find out and she didn’t even try.  So, I guess not finding out the sex was meant to be…

People have been asking me what I think we’re having.  I have never had a strong feeling with any of my kids and I don’t with this one, either.  I have been leaning towards girl this entire pregnancy, though.  I don’t know if that’s because I would love another little girl and I think two boys and two girls sounds perfect, or because my last pregnancy was a girl,  or…  However, I do feel confident that whatever this little one is, that he or she is meant to be in our family.  I believe that God’s plan and spacing is perfect, so I’m not fretting about it.23-weeks-selfie

I’ve been too busy this month, but made an effort to cut back on our extra curricular activities this last week.  We have still gone to all the boys’ classes and AWANA, but other than that, we stayed home.  I can’t get away with that every week.  My social kids would go crazy, but I realized I need to do that more often.  My oldest, especially, won’t like it.  However, this is just a short season and he will survive without as many play dates with friends for a few months.

So, any guesses or strong feelings about the gender of this little one?  I’d love to hear!

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THM Pregnancy Update: 18 weeks

It’s been about a month since my last pregnancy update.  I was hoping to write an update every other week, but, obviously, that has not happened!

Since my last 14 week update, things have been pretty smooth – except for the fact that I tend to forget my limitations (i.e. needing to stop and eat, rest more often, and make sleep a priority).  This has led to a few reality checks in this last month, but… such is life with three kids, busy schedules, field trips, 90 degree Fall weather, and homeschool!

18weekscolor

18 week baby bump – getting bigger and starting to feel the baby move around!


Check-up Fun with Three Kids

I had my 16 week appointment over 2 weeks ago and took all three kids with me this time.  It was one of those easy appointments (no tests), so I had hopes that I would not regret the decision too much!  And, thankfully, it was really quick, painless, and easy.  I checked in, was called to the back just after sitting down in the waiting area, and took my weight (7 lbs gained so far) and blood pressure – all good.

Next, we went right to the bathroom for my urine sample.  We had to wait to use the bathroom, but that 2 minute wait was the longest of the day!  I took my 2 year old in with me, and left my 6 and 8 year old waiting outside the door.  Then we all traipsed back to the exam room to wait for my OB.

My oldest took out his book to read and my ever curious 6 and 2 year old pointed at all the posters in the room, tools, cup of pee, etc. demanding a detailed explanation.  Well, we are homeschoolers, after all, so what better time for a science lesson!

My OB knocked on the door after less than a minute of intense questioning by the kids, and then they turned their barrage of questions on him!  He tested my urine with a test strip – more questions from the kids.  Then he measured my growing belly – more questions.  Finally, he took out the Doppler to listen for the heartbeat – and, you guessed it – more questions.  He was actually very patient with the kids and was not bothered by the questions at all, thank goodness!  If he was, I would seriously consider changing providers!

The kids loved hearing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time.  (I did, too!) They decided it sounded like “one THOUSAND horses galloping” which was a pretty accurate description.

Then we were done! The entire appointment, from check in to release was less than 10 minutes!  I was very thankful for that!


My THM pregnancy - 18 weeks - Learning the hard way not to overdo it! - NatureAmy.com

Taking a quick snack break on our hike.

Don’t forget to eat…

In the last four weeks, since my last update, I have gotten over the majority of my pregnancy exhaustion that reappeared after I started our busy homeschool schedule.  Any nausea and food aversions also were gone.  However, these two things made me more relaxed in my routine, which led to some not so great things…

Like I said, well into the second trimester, I was getting lazy about eating.  It wasn’t so much what I was eating – I am still sticking to the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating most the time – but when.

I had to eat every 2 hours in my first trimester or I would feel sick.  But I was very careful during that time and rarely felt any nausea and never threw-up.  However, with our school schedule getting busier and extra curricular classes starting up, my eating routine started to slide.

I no longer needed to eat every 2 hours, which was great, but I found out on week 15 that if I did not eat after 3 hours, I would be sick!  Ugh- not fun!

Week 15, I had just dropped the boys off at a morning class and was taking my 2 year old grocery shopping with me.  Suddenly, on the drive to the store, a wave of nausea hit and I felt like I was going to throw up.  I looked at the clock.  Three hours had passed since breakfast, I didn’t have any snacks with me, and I knew I was going to gag right then and there.

Thankfully, I was at a red light.  I picked up an empty cup (there are good things about a cluttered car!) and threw up!  The light turned and I drove through it and pulled over to the side of the road until my head stopped spinning.  We went to the store, bought the first thing that I could find, a bag of veggie chips, and went back to the car to eat 2/3 of the bag between myself and my toddler.  Finally feeling better, we finished our grocery shopping.

You think I would have learned my lesson after that, but I can be a bit dense sometimes…

The next day we were at home and it was a particularly long morning of math with my boys.  Suddenly feeling sick, I looked at the clock to realize it was over four hours since breakfast.  I threw-up again!  Then I ate lunch, but it had been too long and my blood sugar had dropped too low.  Eating a meal was not enough.  My head was spinning still and nothing was helping.  My toddler went down for her nap and the boys got to watch “The Magic School Bus” while I took a nap for about two hours and finally felt better.

I DID learn my lesson after that time, thankfully!  Now, I’ve been sure to pack a piece of fruit, nuts, or cheese stick in my purse before we leave the house.  I’ve also been sure to stop and have a mid-morning snack when we’re home.  Just because the second trimester is easier (usually) than the first, it doesn’t mean I can neglect the needs of my body.


My THM pregnancy - 18 weeks - Learning the hard way not to overdo it! - NatureAmy.com

Our family – minus my 8 year old who is taking the picture – with Mt. Lassen behind us.

Over doing it…

The second hard lesson I’ve learned this month is the importance of rest.  We always do a Fall semester weekend field trip for my husband’s students.  We bring the whole family, spend two nights in the wilderness, and everyone learns a lot and has a great time.  But, it is also a lot of work (read what I feed this large crew with an allergy friendly menu, here).

I spend the entire week before the trip buying the food, and preparing whatever I can before hand.  Then, early Friday morning, we load the kids, food, and gear up, and head to the college to meet the students.  A full day of learning, and eating, later, I have the fun task of getting a toddler, who deals with night-terrors when camping, to sleep.  We did not get much sleep the first night in our little tent.  And a full two days later, after getting home at 10 pm on Sunday night, this pregnant mama was exhausted!

My THM pregnancy - 18 weeks - Learning the hard way not to overdo it! - NatureAmy.com

About 3 miles into our hike to King’s Creek.

Normally these weekend field trips are tiring, but this time, it hit me so much harder.  My husband and I opted not to take our family on the most strenuous hike to the top of Mt. Lassen Peak.  But the 4 mile hike we did instead gave me hours of Braxton-Hicks contractions that did not stop until that evening.  Monday morning, I was spent! I was physically tired, mentally tired, emotionally tired… I had a headache… Tuesday, after more rest, I was starting to feel better, but I had a lingering headache still.  Wednesday, our busiest day of the week, I finally felt like myself again!  Thank you, Lord!


I’m looking forward to our 20 week appointments coming up soon!  We will get a chance to see our little one growing!  It will drive me crazy to not find out the sex, but I’m also kind of excited about waiting – can you be both?

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