Friday, May 31, 2013

36 Weeks- Twins

We've made it to 36 weeks.  The midwives are happy. :)  The family is making preparations to come into town, have hired a baby nurse, etc.  As meticulous as we try to be in our planning they may or may not make it for the birth.  I am going to do my best.  All along I've felt these babies will come at 37 weeks, but I am also preparing myself for the possibility that they could go to term.  Let's be honest.  I just. can't. see. myself. going. another. month.  This is by far the "most pregnant" I've ever been in my life... by 6 weeks or 6 cm. to be exact.  At the same time it's reassuring to feel that they are growing bigger and putting on weight.  This will make for a better situation all around in handing them over to their family.  I am so grateful that Forrest has been home this week to help me keep the house clean, stay on top of the kids, reassure me, etc.  He truly is an amazing husband and I am so blessed to have him.  Heartburn is almost *unbearable* at times and I can eat one meal and stay full all day.  To combat that I am drinking apple cider vinegar and resorting to Tums only when I need to.  Papaya enzyme tablets work pretty well too.  My ribs ache at night from the weight of the babies and I can't wait to sleep in a position other than on my side.  I feel baby A's head engaging and getting low in my pelvis.  I have been getting those shooting leg cramps that only come late in pregnancy when baby is sitting on my nerves.  Soon...... soon.

Anthony Turns 2!!

Our last baby turned 2! What a milestone for us all. As you can see he needed a little instruction in blowing out the candles, which was the cutest thing ever. He was fascinated by the dancing of the flames yet hesitant to get too close. In the end I ended up helping him and we blew together. There was no reservation in eating the cake though. :)

Red Velvet... mmm.

"Like this, Mom?"

"How is it again?"

Melt my heart.

We'll get this.

Well needless to say the passage of our last baby into toddlerhood is bittersweet.  It's been such a joy with him from the very beginning and he continues to melt our hearts with his sweetness and endearing happiness.  He truly is a good-natured boy, filling our home with joy every day.  I'm trying to preserve the last of the "baby" in him yet he is growing fast.  Happy Birthday Anthony.  We love you. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

All Feels Right

If I had one word for today it would be this: positive.  I feel surrounded by positivity, from both things and people.  It's a good feeling when all feels right in your world, one I don't take for granted.  Good things are in our midst.  Tomorrow I'll be 36 weeks with the twins, and really they could come at any time.  I'll consider them "term" at 37 weeks.  It's exciting to know that I'll be giving birth soon. 

Today I met with my doula client, Alex, for a postpartum follow-up visit.  We met outside at a Starbuck's cafe and she was in good spirits.  She allowed me to hold her sweet baby L for a short time, always a treat.  Theirs truly is a sweet and special family.  As an aspiring midwife and doula, it is rewarding to me to see a woman who is satisfied with her birth experience.  Furthermore when a woman is empowered I know something has gone right.  Birth is something a woman will experience once and relive for a lifetime.  I believe women assisting women in birth forges a special connection that lasts a lifetime.  Perhaps my greatest reward today came from Alex expressing gratitude for the space which I held for her darling little girl's safe, smooth passage into the world, and for honoring and advocating for her birth plan.  While she feels indebted I feel honored.  Honored to have been a part of the process, and honored that she chose me.  Her's was truly an inspiring birth and one that I am grateful to hold at the forefront of my memory as I approach so closely my own journey to walk.  There is nothing like being able to draw upon the strength of powerful women.

I had a feel-good visit with my mom today.  For someone who was so skeptical at the beginning of my surrogacy she has come the farthest in showing her support and "coming around" in due time.  I feel it has been as much a  learning experience for her as it has for me, as she gains trust through witnessing the process.  I am grateful for her confidence and demonstration of love and support.

Lastly, I received a reassuring text from an important person in the equation.  Let's just say it was the reassurance a birthing woman needs.  Confidence has been restored and I have the security I need to go forth in the journey.  I remember things "aligning" themselves like this the week before Anthony's birth and a calm peace that settled over me.  One can hope that means these babies will be coming soon. :)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

First Doula Client

On Thursday I attended my first birth as a certifying doula. Last October I became a member of DONA International, the leading doula organization in the world, and I have two years to achieve certification.  I am working on this alongside my childbirth educator certification with IBWP.  It works well because many of the requirements overlap each other, along with some of the reading.  Having been a birth junkie for years many of the books are on my shelf already. :)

Anyhow, Alex is her name, and she came seeking me about a week ago after coming across my profile on a website.  We met once and I agreed to attend her birth.  She had a previous difficult delivery and birth experience with her now 8-year-old son and was seeking to do things differently this time around.  We had a good conversation and discovered that we were on the same page on many issues.  I felt we were a good match.

As it turned out circumstances necessitated she go in for an induction Wednesday night.  I provided continuous phone support to her the first half of Thursday, and landed in her hospital room about 6:00p.m. that evening.  She had received Pitocin but was determined to go it all natural.  I think my presence there gave her the reassurance she needed to stick to her birth plan and be an advocate for herself.

Alex managed her contractions beautifully and had a wonderful, relaxed, controlled rhythm established of breathing through them.  We walked, talked, ate, rested, and waited.  At about 10:00p.m. I felt the need to get her into the restroom.  Just as we did, waters ruptured spontaneously and baby was born 10 minutes later.  It couldn't have been more beautiful.

Congratulations to mama and baby. :)

35 Weeks

Thursday marked 35 weeks with the twins. My weight has gone back down to 176 (from 181) as my appetite is still missing.  Has anyone seen it?  It's pretty discouraging to eat when even a piece of watermelon gives you heartburn.  Dare I eat something such as Taco Bell (as I did yesterday) and my body ensures I will pay for it the rest of the night. :/
I find myself feeling very heavy lately and asking, "Where, oh where, has my energy gone?"  Movements are slow and deliberate and it's all I can do to maintain the household until the birth.  I am grateful though and feel blessed for what an easy, uneventful pregnancy it's been.  Heavenly Father's been good to me.
This guy loves to go out back and play on the birth tub.  Our patio provides a safe place for him to go outside when he begs for it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Daddy Projects

We love having our daddy home. This has been a very productive week in the way of cleaning and projects around the house, and I certainly appreciate the added help.  He has a way of bringing out the best in the kids in terms of work ethic and motivation.  Here they are scrubbing the kitchen cabinets:
The kids repainting the patio chair:
Refinished toy box from 5 years ago.  We used to have it a light pine color with the kids' hand prints on it.  At first I was a little nervous when I heard that he had painted over it, but I really like the distressed satin espresso finish.  It matches our living room better.
He built this adirondack chair a couple of years ago, and now we have a matching one, along with a patio table.  I love the set.
As I write there are more projects underway: refinishing the T.V. stand to match the toy box, scrubbing and re-touching parts of the walls, and possibly re-staining the cubby shelf in the dining room (formerly known as the homeschool supply shelf.)  I love that the beautiful spring weather makes all of this possible. :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

There's a Birth Tub on my Back Patio

The midwife sent us home with it today... just in case.  The kids became very excited upon seeing it, deducing that "Mommy is going to have the babies pretty soon."  I heard them retelling stories of how each of them were born in a birth tub, and who watched whom.  It was very fun to see them all buzzing with energy.  I love that my kids have an intimate knowledge of birth, that it has been a family affair in our family, and that they have distinct memories of how each of them were born.

In other news, I am 34 1/2 weeks and measuring 45 centimeters; safe to say I am "more pregnant" than I have ever been.  On that note I have also exceeded my 9 month pregnant weight... by 20 lbs.  I don't see it much on my body, so I'm hoping much of that is baby and belly weight.  There is a baby engaged in my pelvis and I was able to feel his head today with my hands.  Midwife tricks. :)  I like that Rebecca described them as being in a "Yin and Yang" position, one curling into the other.  Very suiting for their origin. :)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Despite Forrest's being out of town Mother's Day felt extra special this year.  I was surrounded by my kids and that's all I need.  Ashlee arose before me and made a breakfast of pancakes, which we all enjoyed.  I sat on the couch, drank my tea, and called my "mothers."  After church the kids played outside for a bit and I relished in a quiet house.  We made grilled chicken, asparagus, and rice for dinner.  The best part of my Mother's Day came in all the little cards, pictures, hand-picked wildflowers, and words of adoration from my children.  The night before Kaitlyn gave me a special Mother's Day "dance" to her favorite ballet music.  The morning of Rachel woke up in my bed at 6:30 and said, "Mom, I love you.  I love you so much."  She ended the day with the same words.  That made my day. :)  Thank you children for giving me 6 reasons to celebrate.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

34 Weeks- Home Visit

This is where the magic will happen. :)
Tomorrow I'll be 34 weeks with the twins.  Today I had my home visit with the midwives.  I feel I am getting the best of both worlds.  As many of you know I had to change midwives with this pregnancy, which was a bit unsettling at first.  However, I have come to love my new midwife team.  The wonderful part is that we have decided to have Kaleem and possibly Marlene (my previous midwives for 4 of my births) at this birth as well, so we will have the best of both worlds!  Kaleem has been my photographer for all of our home births and has agreed to take the pictures at this birth as well.  She will also serve as back up midwife (they like to have 2 or more on board with twins.)  Needless to say I feel beyond blessed and surrounded by such a wonderful circle of love.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Every so often I eliminate refined sugar from my diet, and it does wonders when I do.

Today marks the beginning of another sugar detox.  I've decided I've had enough with the highs, lows, and crashes.  I just can't handle the mood swings and lack of energy.  It literally *drains* me.  On top of carrying the twins, I just can't sacrifice any more energy. 

It's GOOD energy fueled by GOOD foods from here on out.

Wish me luck. ;)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Birth Supplies

I am in the process of collecting homebirth supplies this week and was especially excited to see this postpartum recovery kit from Earth Mama Angel Baby on my midwife's list. It contains all sorts of goodies for the postpartum mother that I can't wait to pamper myself with.  :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Surprise

I came home after a long day today of running kids around to baseball and Costco to a pleasant surprise on my countertop.  Almost makes up for the hubby being out of town on Mother's Day... almost.  These are so beautiful honey, how did you know I love purple and white?  They were a special delivery from a friend in Cameron Park.  I hear he had to pull some strings for that one.  Whatever the sacrifice, I know my Mother's Day will be full of love and joy surrounded by my little ones and with this token from my honey.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Maternity Photo Shoot- 32 weeks

Here's a handful of my favorites from last week's photo shoot.  April Szabo Photography.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Fun Week

We've had a fun week, despite Daddy being out of town, that started with some house cleaning and ended with swimming at the lake, a day at the park, and a Rivercats game. We are lo-o-oving this summer-like weather. Pollock Pines is especially beautiful this time of year.
Park day with Rachel and her kids.

Sly Park Lake

The water was a bit chilly for my taste but the kids handled it well.

Another "bump" shot, or as Forrest calls it, my "baby got back" picture.  Can you tell where I carry my baby weight?  I call it counterbalance. ;)

The boys' school during Jacob's baseball practice.

My little acrobat.

Last night's Rivercats game with Jacob's baseball team, 3 rows in.



The area in affected female legs where the calf meets the foot in an abrupt, nontapering terminus; medical cause: adipose tissue surrounding the soleus tendon, probably congenital, worsened by weight gain and improved in appearance only by boots. From the English "calf" meaning wide portion of the lower leg, and "ankle" meaning slender joint of leg with foot. -Urban Dictionary
This pregnancy has introduced some swelling of the feet and ankles.  It started last weekend with a 1 1/2 hour drive out to Auburn for a family reunion.  It didn't go away for 2 days.  My midwife recommended soaking in an epsom salt bath.  They were fine all week but after yesterday's full day of driving around and 2 baseball games, my cankles are back, and with a vengeance.  They almost kept me home from church today.  I told Forrest why I wanted to stay home and he just laughed.   Darn twins.  It is an odd feeling to look down and not recognize your own feet.  I think I'll take another bath tonight and hope they are gone by the morning. :/