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.

Working From Home

First of all, I just want to mention that I very badly want to write about our amazing family camping trip on Canada Falls Lake this weekend (where we were only a few miles from the Maine-Canada border!), but I’m going to try to wait until I can post a few cute photos of E. and beautiful (well, “beautiful”, I’m not a very good photographer) pictures of just what we were surrounded by. Amazingness.

But now that we’re back in civilization (my parents’ upstairs hallway to be exact), my mind has turned to a new, very close to home direction: my house.

We’ve been in our cute little home for just over a year now and while there have been some huge changes from the day we moved in (namely, we have an upstairs), not too much has changed. It’s both frustrating and freeing. I mean, I have so much I really, really want to do to the house, and it doesn’t help having all these home magazines floating around, plus being addicted to really liking the blog . That said, I grew up in two homes where we were constantly under construction (if your a renovation nut, you need to read my dad’s of how he and my grandfather totally refurbished our 18th century home in Massachusetts about 30 years ago). I know first hand that home improvement takes a lot of time, especially if you want it done right and to your personal specifications (unless you’re loaded/are extremely talented/have lots of time). This knowledge helps me realize that it’s okay if very little has been done since we moved in, because I’m not a DIY genius (neither is Mike) and we just don’t have the time right now to get a lot done, but we will, especially if we get organized, which I’m trying to do.

I’m currently forming plan in the very small part of my brain that is dedicated to home improvement. The first part of that plan? Try to figure out what exactly it is I want to do, short and long term, to this house. Of course, I need to confer in part with my husband and see what he wants as well, but those conversation are best held, I’ve found, when you already have something in mind.

The second part? A list. Not a schedule, as I had originally thought, but a list of all the projects I’d like to do and the general order in which I expect to do them. A schedule, I’ve decided, won’t work, because we’re so inexperienced that I don’t really know how long something will take us. Plus, I’m not clear on funds for each project, so if we need some time to put aside money, obviously a project with an expected “finish by” date might have to change course. And when you base your success on your ability to finish something they way you expected it, sometimes putting yourself on a specific time table is setting yourself up to fail.

I’m also planning on having a running list of things I’d like to get for the house/yard. Things that I can pick up easily while out, while yard sale-ing this summer, or ask a friend or family member to keep an eye out for. It’s crazy to expect us to be able to go out in one or two (or even a few more) shopping trips and buy all the accessories, artwork, and little knick-knacks we might want.

I’ve yet to decide if I’ll post any of this on a blog, things can end up collecting dust. That said, sometimes it’s a great motivator. If I do post of what I mentioned above on here, it’ll probably be after I’ve gotten a bit of a start.

What do you have going on at home?

My Pursuit of Happiness

It’s nearly nine o’clock at night on a Sunday and I’m exhausted. But it’s one of those pleasant exhausted feelings – that sort of mentally blissed out way of being.

For two days I’ve been stuffed full of every kind of information about birth, women, and the feelings they so strongly feel (both physical and mental during birth) during the amazing even that we so simply call birth.

After talking and listening and doing like I haven’t in over a year (the last time I sat in a college classroom), I feel a strength and readiness to begin to pursue more strongly a dream I had been keeping at an arms length. There is so, so much I still want to learn and to see, some things I need to think about, and my future, as it stands now, seems fuzzy and unsure, but it’s all good. It’s like the future ahead of me is hard to make out because it’s clouded or foggy, but so bright it will take just a bit for my eyes to fully focus.

Let me come out of the vagueness of above and give it to you straight. I spend this weekend learning the beginnings of what I need to know to properly attend a woman as a doula (a labor support professional – a person who helps a woman through labor and birth). The workshop I attended this weekend is one step towards becoming a certified doula through the organization DONA. I have a few more steps to tackle, but one of the largest is attending three births.

And this is where I say that if you are in Maine (or know me personally) and would be interested in having a doula attend your birth, my services will FREE while I remain uncertified, because I am training. This does NOT mean I will be any less effective than a certified doula. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact me (either comment below with a way to contact you OR contact me via Facebook (if you know me in real life).

I also have a couple of other workshops left to attend and some reading to do, but I’m thrilled this workshop is what I did first. It has given me a confidence and thrill to see what I could be doing not just as a hobby, but as a job. I do not yet know where this path will lead, if it’s a minor detour or the beginning of a lifelong journey, but it is exciting and beautiful all the same.

I know I’m starting to sound like one of those goofy New Age people (and maybe I’m slowly morphing into someone like that), but sometimes those over the top cliches are what best describe what you’re experiencing.

I’m just happy.

And I wanted you to know.

This year hit me with a bit of a crisis. I had spent nearly five years earning a degree that I had suddenly thought to myself, “What if I never use this?” It’s a scary thought, in some ways, freeing in others. While I covet the chance to have my own classroom, to plan units, to guide students through one year of their teenage lives, I am also open to the idea that may not be my path, at least not yet or in the way I had initially thought.

What’s more, there’s grad school. I’m going. At some point. I just don’t know where or how or for what. I have a list saved in Evernote on my iPad listing all the possible programs I’d like to check out, ranging from straight up education to library science to creative writing (and everything in between, it feels). I just don’t know what will be right for me, because, as a friend at work pointed out, what you get your Masters’ in sort of determines what you do for, like, ever. That’s a bit of a heavy decision.

So, I haven’t quite known what to do with myself at the moment. I’ve been going after a goal nonstop for years now, and with that initial goal crossed off my list (graduating with a bachelors’ degree), I feel lost without something else to work towards. I needed, more desperately than I realized, I think, something to work on. And I think I’ve found it.

This weekend I’m attending a doula training course. A doula, in case you were wondering, is a labor support professional, a woman who helps laboring women have the best, most fulfilling birth possible, regardless of circumstances. She is an advocate, an advice giver, a go-between for the parents and caregivers, and, in many ways, a birth partner, helping to physically and emotionally support the laboring woman in the most amazing event of her life.

I could get into the what’s and why’s in my decision to pursue becoming a certified doula, but I don’t want to – it’s complicated and long-winded and I seriously doubt anyone wants to read my explanation. But I will say that I am utterly thrilled that I have given myself this opportunity. Maybe the most exciting thing about being an adult is that I can choose to do this. For the first time in a long time I feel like I’m making a really great decision for myself entirely on my own. I didn’t consult anyone – I just did it.

This is, I think, the first step into creating a future of which I have dreamed.

I mentioned a while ago that E.’s fourth birthday is coming up soon (this Sunday). While we have two family “parties” planned (they’re not really parties so much as little gatherings for each side of the family) for this weekend to celebrate both E. and Easter, we aren’t doing E.’s BIG friend party for another few weeks. And it is that party that’s making me a bit crazy and lots excited.

The first thing to mention is that I did go with a theme (yes, I’m going to be one of those annoying parents): ladybugs. E. discovered them this winter as a few retreated in our house to escape the cold weather and has been in love since (we’ve got ladybug flip-flops, a bathing suit, pillow pet, among other things). So, while I’ve planned a variety of different ladybug/spring/garden themed decorations, foods, and games for the kiddos who will be at our house (all of which I plan to share here), the first order of business was to make the invitations.

Here’s what I made:


In case it’s not obvious (and it may not be, since I’m not as skilled at paper crafts as some), the front side is a ladybug and the back gives the party information. One of my favorite parts of the invitations is the font used (which, of course, you can’t fully appreciate in the poor quality photos). I found the font via Pinterest and it’s called “Doodlebug.” Very appropriate, right?

We’re really looking forward to finally handing these out next Monday (we had a slight delay because preschool had been cancelled for several days before our April vacation due to some pretty serious flooding). Hopefully I’ll be able to pop back in with more party plans as the week goes on!

One of my favorite memories of growing up are family vacations. We never did any very extravagant trips – no trips to Disney, anyway – but my parents tried to take us places, sometimes not all that far from home, and made those little family adventures fun.

Now that I’m grown up and E. is getting older (I can hardly believe she’ll be four in less than a month) and we’re contemplating the next addition to our family, I’m itching to make a go of our first real family vacation this summer. Because I’m in education I’m lucky enough to have the entire summer off (I guess it balances out the fact that I get paid beans), so I’ve got a solid two month stretch to figure out when we’ll go (and luckily, the hubs has hardly used any of his vacation time since he started his “new” job last June, so he’ll have a few days saved up as well).

While we’re not sure just when we’ll be going, a destination has been picked:

We live in Maine, the vacation state, the way life should be, we’re open for business (our latest slogan from our wonderful governor – you can decide for yourself if I’m being sarcastic or not). Even when I didn’t live here as a little kid, we still vacationed here, because my grandparents’ had a home in the town where we eventually moved. I love Maine, and I totally encourage people who haven’t come to visit, because this is an amazing state, from the beautiful western Mountains with it’s ski resorts and great hiking, to the coast with it’s sandy beaches and yummy lobsters, to the north, with it’s ridiculous amount of untouched land and state parks to explore.

I’ve been coming to and living this state my entire life. I get to be on “vacation” every day. We didn’t go anywhere except Old Orchard Beach last year and didn’t do one night of actual camping all summer long and we didn’t feel like we missed it, because there is so much to do as a tourist in your home town.

BUT.

This year we want to start a tradition of checking out different states, start camping again, and spend time learning about what else is out there for fun, food, and people. We chose Vermont as our first destination because it’s close, neither one of us has ever really been (I went once to check out the University of Vermont and didn’t get to see much of the state or even Burlington, for that matter), and I lived in Massachusetts, we live in Maine currently, and New Hampshire is crazy close, so we go there frequently and will probably return for our anniversary at the end of August, SO Vermont was the next logical stop.

I am so incredibly excited. My last out of state vacation was back in ’98 or ’99, when I was still in elementary school (we visited Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. – a vacation I so want to recreate for E. when she’s older). The few glimpses I got of Vermont when we visited UVM’s campus about seven years ago have stuck with me all this time later and I’m looking forward to seeing those mountains, picturesque fields, and quaint towns and cities all over again.

I’m pushing hard for a camping trip not too far from Burlington and on Lake Champlain. Husband wants the Green Mountains (if someone can give me a general idea of the proximity of the Green Mountains to Burlington, that would be amazingly helpful). In the end, I don’t think I’ll mind too much where we end up – I’m just excited to be going somewhere different, even if, in actuality, it’s not all that different from Maine.

Other places we plan on going this summer:
The White Mountain National Forest for a more unplugged camping trip (basically, there are sites you just walk up to and pitch a tent – no room for our pop-up there)

Old Orchard Beach, which is a perennial vacation spot for our predominantly French Canadian family (OOB is THE vacation spot in Maine for French Canadians – I hear more French there than English, for the most part).

Scituate, Massachusetts is on the south shore of Massachusetts (my mom’s old stomping grounds) and is where my aunt currently lives. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she’ll invite us all down for a stay again this summer at her beautiful home just a short walk from the ocean.

My parents’ house is across the street from a lake that provides miles and miles of great boating, swimming and fishing. We love visiting, and it helps that their house is lovely and only 20 minutes away.

Our local beach! It doesn’t get better than a cute little sandy beach on a lake, a picnic lunch, and a few hours of playing in the water, laying in the sun, and then going for an ice cream afterward!

Lady Stuff is Cool

Don’t you love discovering really cool, new things?

I do!

While I was surfing the web last night, stalking different midwives in the area (because, you know, it’s not like I’m obsessed with having another baby or anything), I made a really super neat discovery – in Bridgton, Maine. I already knew about the Birthwise midwives and midwifery school, but I had not realized they had opened a clinic that offers a variety of free (FREE!!!) services, including family planning and fertility awareness education.

As it happens, I’ve just purchase the Holy Bible of fertility awareness, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, and when I read that these two services were offered (again, for FREE) at the clinic, and may have started screaming like a half-crazed, middle-aged lady at Oprah’s Favorite Things taping.

I want to do this so bad.

So, I e-mailed them tonight (because I’m a chicken and can’t make phone calls, plus it was evening and was sure no one would answer, and I hate leaving messages almost as much as I hate making phone calls). I e-mailed to see if I could schedule an appointment, because I’ve gone completely insane and just want to talk to someone professional about making babies so I can feel like we’ll be able to do just that sometimes soon.

I know I’m completely off my rocker and am probably over-sharing (I can see my mom breaking into a cold sweat right over this, saying, “Oh, God, Kirsten, don’t be that person!!!”). But, I can’t help it.

Plus, informing the few who read this blog of this discovery serves another purpose: now other people know about it, too. The free services provided are more than just baby stuff, but also basic lady health stuff. In a time where many programs are under threat that support women in taking ownership over their health, it’s important to know about what different programs are out there and to support them in some way, even if it’s just spreading the word.

What You Do When You’ve Got A Fever

I’ve gots the fever.

Baby fever.

And what’s a girl to do when she feels so emotionally ready for another little one, but all the pieces haven’t quite fallen into place? Why, she dreams about all the little baby things she wants to have when baby number two makes his (or her) appearance.

Now that we’re a few (almost FOUR) years into this whole kid shindig, I think I’ve been able to give myself some perspective on what crucial “stuff” I want for our next baby that we might not already have (or were decimated in the multiple moves we had to endure or from over use).

Here are the top ten things that I think we need and really, really want.

1.) An electric breast pump. Word to the wise, if you anticipate having to pump more than just rarely, get an electric breast pump. It will save you hours of stress and probably some discomfort. We weren’t really able to afford an electric pump with E. and I felt like they were too pricey to put on a registry for someone else to purchase, so we went without. I will not do that this time, especially since I’m sure I will have to pump a lot as I plan on going back to work after I have our second (assuming the world doesn’t end this year, or something, being 2012 and all).

2.) The Joovy Scooter. I have a Joovy jogging stroller and I love it. While I don’t really jog per say (though I’m trying), it’s a dream to push on almost any terrain (including along the water at the beach), folds compactly into my little Ford Taurus, and just sort of looks cool! Now I want the Scooter to be our new stroller to replace the old Graco (which lost a wheel about two years ago), because the jogger isn’t really the place for infants, PLUS, it is a wee bit bulkier than a regular stroller. AND the Scooter allows you to place an Graco infant car seat inside of it (I probably didn’t describe that well, but hopeful the above picture gives you an idea), which leads me to number three…

3.) The Graco SnugRide 35 Infant Car Seat (preferably in Zurich). We had a Graco car seat, which I loved, but mysteriously disappeared after we transitioned E. into her “big girl” convertible car seat on her first birthday. I loved the Graco car seat and am all over getting another, even if the old one is found. Because, let’s face it, I like pretty things and I like the Zurich pattern way more than the pattern of our old car seat (though that wasn’t bad, either).

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4.) Cloth diapers. There are so many reasons why I want to cloth diaper. The eco-friendly factor. The cheapness factor (after you get over the initial expense). And, okay, let's face it, since I'm a cute-things dork, the CUTENESS factor. I had wanted to cloth diaper with E., but since we were a) completely broke (versus only kind of broke now), and b) didn't have constant access to a washer and dryer, it just wasn't really in the cards. The next time around we will certainly be cloth diapering, hopefully with full success.

5.) A GOOD breastfeeding book. You change as you grow as a parent and adult. Or, at least I hope people do and I’m not the only one. Because, I’ve changed a lot. Prior to having E., I researched nothing. In my defense, coming from an age of technology, where I researched everything online in high school and college, I’m not entirely sure if I fully remembered how to look things up in a book, and while I was pregnant I didn’t have reliable access to the interwebz. So, I knew very little about what was going on with my body, with my baby, and what would happen afterwards, at least beyond what a couple of pregnancy books told me (which, trust me, was a enough at times…can we say paranoia?). I knew very, very little about breastfeeding. I had a couple of pamphlets and there was a chapter or two in my pregnancy books, but nothing in-depth. Plus, I received limited help at the hospital. I was also burdened with a “know-it-all” attitude that prevented me from really pursuing help. It made breastfeeding HARD and unnecessarily stressful and not at all the experience I wanted. I feel with the extra help of a book specifically on breastfeeding and being able to show that I don’t know everything and ask for more help will make a difference.

These are the top five items I really, really want/think I need the next time around. In short, some other stuff I think will make it’s way into my home are:
6.) Trays made for freezing homemade baby food, plus a new blender…maybe (having made baby food before, I really do think these are necessary).
7.) A bouncer.
8.) A co-sleeper (rather than a bassinet, which we had and never used)
9.) Nursing bras and/or shirts.
10.) One of those band thingies that helps your belly go back to normalish.

So, are any of my items completely useless? Or do you have a better idea? What items do you totally wish you had the first go around?

and are two massive parts of my life, but those are areas that change a great deal over time. There will come a day, many years in the future, when my children will be gone and while I hope to still offer them something as their parent besides cash, the everyday duties will diminish significantly. And, though it currently feels highly unlikely, I would like to retire at some point down the road, so my career may, at some point, become a fond memory as I go down other roads (travel, anyone?).

This leaves me with my passions. What will I carry on, in some capacity, after my children have left the nest and my job is no longer my job? After much thought, research, and, admittedly, some prayer, I’ve decided I want to get the ball rolling on becoming a . It’s a longish process, but one that I look forward to. I’ve begun by doing some reading, which is suggested by DONA International (the organization that certifies doulas), which is only adding to my desire to work with expecting women as they work towards the most life-changing event they’ll ever experience – bringing a child into the world.

I am continually in awe of pregnancy and the process that occurs during birth, and though I currently have little desire to go back to school for my medical degree (but who knows, perhaps I will at a later time), I feel that I could be a comfort and help in the delivery room (or birthing center or even someone’s home). Any material, text, audio, and video, regarding birth is something I suck up with fiendish desire, with a fervor that used to only be reserved for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings novels and films. It’s one of those knowledge bases that, once absorbed, stays in my mind and I can’t shake it off, even if I want to, and become a walking encyclopedia on the subject (again, very similar to how I can be with Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter). I have been thinking about pregnancy and birth constantly for several months, and not only in the context of my own possible future pregnancies, but in the context of being that “helper” to the mother as she brings forth new life.

I find something incredibly honorable, yet humbling, about working with women and their partners to bring about the best possible situation for the birth of their child. Pregnancy and birth are the most beautiful and natural processes a woman can experience in her life, and I love the idea of being able to promote that beauty amongst other women. I think in these modern times, where there is so little left that is truly untouched, it’s important for all of us, female and male, to realize that we are still so capable of doing incredible things like making new life.

The journey has begun, and while there will be a lot to do ahead of me, thankfully they are all things I truly look forward to doing and are things I will be able to do while still working my regular (awesome!) job. I plan on completing the initial required reading over the spring, applying for DONA membership this summer, and then taking either a breastfeeding or birth course over the summer as well.

I know I may be the only person who’s really excited by this, but trust me, I’m really, really excited by this. A lot.

It feels good to be following through with dreams.