We Made it to Week FOUR!

Week 3 (June 3 – June 10)

Esitmated Due Date: February 11th, 2013

Symptoms: Cramps, a very tender upper top half (okay, fine, I’ll say it…breasts), headaches, being super, unbearably hungry (but losing weight, which is nice, I guess), and the moodiness is still here (the hubs is already cowering in fear of preggers Kirsten). It’s very much like what I remember from being pregnant with E., though I think there is more general discomfort this time around. Lots of crampy twinges all over that I don’t seem to remember from before.

Body Changes: About the same as last week, bloaty and booby.

Cravings: My love for salty things continues. I definitely find myself hankering for comfort foods where as the idea of sweets doesn’t do it for me quite as much (though, again, I won’t turn down chocolate…ever).

High Point: Getting to meet with the midwives of in Bridgton. While the hubs and I have pretty much decided it isn’t in the cards for those lovely ladies to deliver baby #2 (darn insurance), they do offer FREE prenatal care and super inexpensive doulas (only $50!!!). We’ll definitely be seeing more of The Birth House for those reasons!

Low Point: This. Still kind of mad about it, too, but I think, assuming I can get into their practice, All About Women in Portland will be a good option for us. They deliver at Mercy Hospital and seem to have a pretty good view on c-sections and VBACs.

Paranoid Moment: Worrying that every little uncomfortable twinge is a sign of something horrible. I had myself convinced for about two days that I must have an ectopic pregnancy, but then I realized two things: one, it would probably be too early to know, and two, I think if I were dealing with an ectopic pregnancy I would know I was dealing with an ectopic pregnancy, not just worry about it.

What I did to prepare this week: I called and made appointments with a couple of places and am still waiting to hear back from another (All About Women). I also had, as I mentioned that appointment at The Birth House. While I’ll probably only keep one or two of the appointments I made (the others sort of seem pointless now that I know people’s policies of VBACs), it was a good experience to get in touch with all the places I did, because I have a better scope on what’s available out there for me in terms of maternity care (and what I need to start fighting for if I ever become some sort of lobbyist for women’s health organizations).

I also bought five books: The Pregnancy Book, by Dr. Sears (I have The Baby Book, which I love, and I wanted an alternative to “What to Expect”, which I hated); Birthing from Within (yep, bought a crunch/granola pregnancy book); The Breastfeeding Book, also by Dr. Sears (I never had a book on this topic when I had E. and I didn’t have as much success breastfeeding as I wanted, so I hope with will help); What’s Inside Mommy’s Tummy (a book for E.; she has lots of questions and I think a good book about what’s happening will be helpful); and A Baby on the Way, another one by Dr. Sears (Are you sensing a pattern yet? And yes, another book for E.)

What’s going on “in there”: Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week explains: “Fetal development is still in the very early stages, but great changes are taking place! The blastocyst is embedded more deeply into the linning of your uterus, and the amniotic sac, which will fill with amniotic fluid, is starting to form.
“The placenta is forming; it plays an important role in the hormone production and transport of oxygen and nutrients. Networks that contain maternal blood are becoming established. Development of the baby’s nervous system (brain and other structures, such as the spinal cord) begins.
“Germ layers are developing. They develop into specialized parts of your baby’s body, such as organs. The three germ layers are the ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm.
“The ectoderm becomes the nervous system (including the brain), the skin and the hair. The endoderm develops into the lining of the intestinal tract, the liver, pancreas and thyroid. The mesoderm becomes the skeleton, connective tissues, blood system, urogenital system and most of the muscles.”

Baby Drama

Have you ever had a picture in your mind of exactly how something ought to go and then have it dashed in one fell swoop?

Welcome to my day.

When I found out I was pregnant I had three places I was planning on checking out for giving birth, a birth that I had planned on being a vaginal birth after a c-section (VBAC) and I wanted to go completely naturally. (I have reasons for all this, but I’m not going to list them now, maybe that will be another post.) Those three places were:

1.) The Birth House in Bridgton, Maine
2.) My family practitioner, also in Bridgton
3.) Western Maine Midwives, through Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine

Well, now none of these are on the table, except for maybe The Birth House (which was my ideal choice, but that is now dependent on finances…which we don’t really have). Let me explain how this all unraveled.

Let’s start with The Birth House, which, as mentioned above, is still sort of viable. The Birth House does perform VBACS, both at their birth center and at home. However, it will cost me roughly $2500. That’s $2500 we don’t really have lying around and insurance won’t cover it up front. They might however, reimburse us, which, honestly, doesn’t really help. The hubs and I have to discuss if we’re willing to pay this much when we could pay far less at a hospital.

Which leads me to option number two. Well, first of all, my family practitioner doesn’t do OB work. Fine. Well, maybe she can recommend an OB for me to work with? Well, sure, but guess what? Bridgton Hospital doesn’t allow VBACs. What. The. Hell??? Does no one know the freaking risks in repeated c-sections?? This is ridiculous!! I’m sorry, but I like my uterus, and the fewer people I have unnecessarily cutting it open, the better!

Now, I am by no means anti-cesarean. There are times when they are necessary. BUT just because you had a previous c-section does not make you a candidate for another. That’s ridiculous.

Anyway, once I realized that my FP wouldn’t be an option, I looked for another one. I had heard good things about the midwives and maternity group at St. Mary’s, also in Lewiston. I called, got an appointment, but while I was on the phone scheduling, I was told that I would have to have a c-section if I delivered at St. Mary’s. Again, no VBAC. No thanks!!

So, this leads us to choice three. I called, got an appointment for the the 15th of this month for an intake visit and then another “official” visit with a midwife. Sounded great. But after finding out St. Mary’s doesn’t do VBACs I decided to call CMMC back to see if they do VBACs. Well, they do. But not with the midwives. Which makes no freaking sense at all. The midwifery style of care is WAY more conducive to successful VBACs (as has been proven in numerous studies).

And that leaves me here, with no idea what I’m going to do, with few options, and feeling pretty crappy. I have a very clear idea of what I’d like my birth experience to be like. And I do understand there are always outstanding reasons for why a birth may not go the way wanted or expected, BUT there are lots of things you can do to help things go the way you want and I’m being kept from those choices!! It’s extremely frustrating and heart breaking.

I am going to call two more hospitals/practices to see if their midwifery groups are allowed to perform VBACs, but I’m not holding my breath, as it seems those practices that do allow for VBACs list them on their sites and the two places I’m calling tomorrow don’t say anything about VBACs on their sites. But we’ll see.

So, I leave you now with this thought: If/when you’re expecting, and you want all options available to you in regards to your maternity care, avoid a c-section at all costs, because, in some areas, once you have that done, you’re spent in the eyes of a lot of doctors and hospitals. It’s really, really sad.

Hello Mother, Hello Father, Welcome to…

Camp Awesome!!

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I was going to tell you all about our amazing family camping trip to Northern Maine. And I’m going to do that, I promise, but it will be sans pictures because I cannot find my camera and I just really need to write this stinking post before I lose details that I want to get down! Maybe once my camera is discovered I will throw the pictures in as well.

On the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend, we all piled into my teeny car, along with all our camping gear (we’re not light packers, that is for sure), and drove the millions and millions of hours (or four) that it takes to get to…Well, technically, I think the town is Rockwood, or we were near there anyway. But once you get to Rockwood, you turn on to this endless dirt road and just drive. Forever. And ever. And eveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer.

It seriously was an hour of dirt road. Or more. And there was more beyond what we traveled. Like, miles and miles, until you hit Canada (which we nearly did the next day). Eventually you do come up to a ranger station and they let you in. There is an official title for where we were, but I honestly can’t remember. Where we ended up camping, however, was on Canada Falls Lake, and it was amazing.

If you’re going to go camping literally in the middle of no where, with no electricity, no plumbing, no phone reception, no internet, with none of the regular trappings of civilization, and aren’t used to it (and I’m one of those people), this was the place to go. You are fully emersed in God’s unbelievable creation (being out in the middle of Maine’s woods makes you a believer in some kind of higher being), BUT there are other people around. Nice people. People who are quiet. People who you believe would likely report to the authorities if you went out for a hike and didn’t return. People who are nice, don’t bother you, and have adorable, kid-friendly dogs that fetch rocks. The good folks. While part of me was a little bummed that where we camped was full of other people camping, most of me was relieved. We could still get away into the woods and enjoy the peace and quiet, but there would be people looking out for us, too.

And even if there weren’t a ton of people near our campsite, we didn’t go alone. My father-in-law, his wonderful wife, and her grandson (so, technically, E.’s cousin, though their not biologically related) joined us. They had been camping up that way many times and knew a lot about the area, which was super helpful. They were also awesome about taking E. and letting the hubs and I get away for a bit on the kyaks they brought up (more about that later). They all really made the camping trip. We enjoy spending time with my father-in-law and his wife, and E. had a blast with little J. (they’re the same age).

So, here are some highlights:

Saturday – The hubs and his dad took E. and J. out on the kyaks. The kids loved it out there, looked for fish, and got to paddle around a little island. When they got back they weren’t for a swim! While the men and kids were out, my father-in-law’s wife and I went for a walk down a path that took us winding through the woods, into fields, and past a lot of different animal tracks. Eventually we got out pretty far and felt a bit nervous so we turned around (we were afraid we’d go around a bend and run into a bear or moose!).

Later that day we went for a long drive down the dirt roads, looking, supposedly, for the Penobscot River. We never found it, but we did get up close and personal with a young deer who decided it would be fun to follow the car. We also saw two moose, a beaver, and a couple rabbits! So cool! It was all sort of like a safari, between the bumpy roads and the rarely seen animals.

Sunday – I snuck out early, early in the morning and snagged one of the kyaks and went out to the lake by  myself (but don’t worry, hubs knew where I was). The mist was still on the lake, it was dead quiet, the earth just starting to wake up around me. If I had any doubt about how amazing the world I live in actually is, it was erased out there. I couldn’t help but feel a presence of something so far beyond me and it was so uplifting that it brought me to tears. It was a truly amazing opportunity and I’m glad I got it. My soul feels refreshed just thinking about it.

The rest of Sunday was pretty relaxing. The kids played in the lake, and we did a lot of walking and fishing. That night after supper, when it was starting to get dark, we all took a walk out of camp to a field where the hubs and his dad set off fireworks. So cool!

Monday – We picked the perfect day to go home, because it was a pretty dreary, rainy day. We stopped at Pittston Farms, a little farm about 20 minutes from where we camped, sort of a last stop before you head deeper into the woods. They had a store and a little restaurant where we had a really yummy breakfast (you can’t beat home baked bread and homemade preserves). We had stopped in Saturday as well to check out the farm, where they  had horses, cows, and goats, which the kids thought were amazing. After breakfast we hit the road and arrived home very happy, but very, very exhausted.

I’m a huge lover of camping trips. As I’ve written previously, we’re planning a trip to Grand Isle State Park in Vermont in August and I’m so pumped for that trip. I’m sure we’ll go on several more as the summer goes on, especially since it’s a cheap way to check different places out! Next year I’m pushing for a camping trip into Canada or Niagra Falls. We’ll see!

Well, That Was Fast…

Let me start by saying this: Our family should probably buy stock in Clear Blue and First Repsonse pregnancy tests. I would be embarrassed to admit just how many I’ve taken over the last week. But when you’ve been waiting to be able to at least try to get pregnant for roughly three and a half years (I was ready to go when E. was about six months) and you think, maybe, when you take that first test, that there might just be a smidge of a line, you can’t resist the temptation to test…and test…and then test quite a bit more. You test, in fact, until one day you finally pee on a stick one morning and the lines that had formally been so very, very faint are not so faint any more (i.e. you don’t have to stand directly under a light and squint). That’s when I decided, sort of spontaneously that same day, to take one of the digitals I’d been saving for when I missed my period.

I don’t know what it is about the digital appearance of the word “pregnant” on a test that made what I had been seeing all week anyway more real, but somehow, at that moment, the reality of the situation hit me. I was, in fact, pregnant. All those pangs I’d been feeling all week, along with the exhaustion, were totally legitimate, not just the fabrication of a hopeful heart. I guess it was all the more surprising because this was the first month we actually tried. I don’t know why, but I always assumed that getting pregnant with number two was going to take forever. And I do realize that just because I’m pregnant now doesn’t mean it will stay that way. The earlier I know the more likely I’ll know I miscarried, rather than assuming I just got my period late.

That said…I really think this is going to stick. I’m not quite four weeks, but I don’t think I could feel more pregnant if I tried. And I’m really hoping the general, crummy, almost flu-like feeling I’m dealing with will dissipate after a couple of weeks (by the way, I don’t actually have the flu, in case you thought that; no fever!).

All right, let’s get to the good stuff:

Week 3 (May 26 – June 2) *

*This is just a guesstimate according to when I think I ovulated and when I *think* implantation might have occurred. Hopefully after my first prenatal visit I’ll have a better sense of how far along I am.

Esitmated Due Date: February 11th, 2013

Symptoms: Crampiness (I remember this from E.’s pregnancy – very annoying); peeing…a lot; very tired; headaches; swinging between feeling sick at the sight of food to being so ravenous I easily ate everything in my Chinese take-out meal last night; being very tender up top and already starting to have major changes there, too; very, very, very emotional…like, bad

Body Changes: Feeling a wee bit bloaty and my upper top half is experiencing some major changes as well, and it’s a pain, literally.

Cravings: Not much yet, other than I definitely am prefering savory over sweet. Anything too sweet sort of grosses me out, though, of course, I still love chocolate.

High Point: Getting repeated positive pregnancy tests all week!! And telling the family – E.’s super excited!

Low Point: Sobbing uncontrollably at work because I had to be an aid on an hour long bus run while I was already feeling incredibly naseous AND am very susceptible to motion sickness even without being pregnant.

Paranoid Moment: Worried that I’m jinxing myself by being so open so early about being pregnant and that this whole grand adventure will be done long before I want it to be :-( I’m trying to not think like that though and just enjoy everything, even though it’s making me feel lousy.

What I did to prepare this week: I got out ALL of E.’s old baby clothes and started sorting through them. More to do, but at least I got a start. I also started researching strollers since we’ll need a new, non-jogging one.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “What’s going on in your womb now? A lot. Your baby-in-the-making is just a tiny ball consisting of several hundred cells that are multiplying madly. Once the ball of cells (called a blastocyst) takes up residence in your uterus, the part of it that will develop into the placenta starts producing the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which tells your ovaries to stop releasing eggs and triggers increased production of estrogen and progesterone (which keep your uterus from shedding its lining — and its tiny passenger — and stimulates placental growth). HCG is the hormone that turns a pregnancy test positive; by the end of this week, you may be able to take one and get a positive result! (If your test is negative and you still haven’t gotten your period in two or three days, try again then.)

Meanwhile, amniotic fluid is beginning to collect around your ball of cells in the cavity that will become the amniotic sac. This fluid will cushion your baby in the weeks and months ahead. Right now, your little blastocyst is receiving oxygen and nutrients (and discarding waste products) through a primitive circulation system made up of microscopic tunnels that connect your developing baby to the blood vessels in your uterine wall. The placenta won’t be developed enough to take over this task until the end of next week.