As I complete this post, it’s now September 18, 2014, and my #minivegan is 4 weeks old.  This story of Todd’s birth is quite long, but I didn’t want to leave anything out…

My niece, Ashley, made this sign for me while waiting for Todd's birthday.

My niece, Ashley, made this sign for me while waiting for Todd’s birthday.

Before I detail how Todd’s birth day actually played out, I feel the need to outline what I’d hoped for in a birth experience:

I planned to deliver Todd in the birth center where I’d been receiving all my prenatal care.  My midwife, doula, husband, sister, and 10 year old niece would be present.  I expected labor to be difficult, painful work, but not anything that I couldn’t handle.  I was strangely, honestly never fearful or anxious leading up to the onset of labor.  I wanted to experience it fully without any medication that would dull the sensations.  I wanted to have pictures and maybe video footage of Todd when he emerged from my body.

I pictured my husband perhaps catching him, and Todd being brought up to my chest immediately after.  His cord clamping would be delayed.  I would enjoy the flood of oxytocin and the “high” that I’d read about, immediately after his arrival.  Breastfeeding would be initiated as soon as possible.    Later, we would all enjoy the quiet time together.  Finally, we would share the birthday cake that we made for the occasion.

——————————————————-

And here’s what REALLY happened.  As “they” say, things don’t always turn out according to plan…

As per the recommendation from my midwife on Wednesday, August 20th, I ingested 2 ounces of castor oil at bedtime that night.  It was about 9:30 or 10 PM.  I drank it plain.  It was quite thick and somewhat tasteless.  “Let the games begin,” I wrote on Facebook.  Famous last words!!

The midwife told me to expect contractions to come ~2 minutes apart right away due to the castor oil, so I should not be surprised about that.

Something made me wake up at about 11:30 PM.  I didn’t get back to sleep after that, so I got only 1.5 hours of sleep to prepare me for the next ~19.5 hours…

Oddly, I don’t remember when the contractions started.  I also don’t remember when the horrendous watery diarrhea started.  I do know that I was back and forth from my bed to the bathroom many times in those early hours.  It was bad enough to make me really NOT want to repeat the 2 ounce caster oil dose again at 2 AM, like I was instructed to do.

Just before 2 AM, I called the midwife’s pager, seeking advice regarding the castor oil.  Ultimately, I followed my gut and I didn’t repeat the dose.  I’m sure glad about that!

I started timing contractions at 2 AM, using a phone app.  For about an hour, they were lasting about 45 seconds to 1 minute duration, coming 2-2.5 minutes apart, and they were of “moderate” severity.

At about 3 AM, I started rating my contractions at “strong” intensity.  Duration = ~1 minute.  Frequency= every 2-3 minutes, with a few longer breaks.  I felt the worst pain as a “ring of burning” around my hips.

I called my doula (Serena) at 3:15 AM to tell her that I needed her.  She arrived at 3:50 AM. I don’t know when the vomiting started, but I sure had poor Eric cleaning up my bathroom.  Serena wrote in her notes that I had “lots of puke” before her arrival, and that my last vomit was at 5 AM.

From the time she arrived, Serena would press in firmly against my hips to try and ease the intense burning pain around my hips.

At 4:20 AM, I had some leaking fluids that we suspected was my “water” breaking.  It wasn’t a big gush.  While at home, I labored on my bed, using the birth ball, leaning over the kitchen sink, sidelying on the floor, and sidelying on the couch.  Serena suggested I try to walk a little outside, but I just could not do it.  No way.  Too bad, because the weather was clear and it was probably a nice morning for a walk.

4:17 AM - Serena (doula) present - Leaking fluids

4:17 AM – Serena (doula) present – Leaking fluids

4:40 AM

4:40 AM

5:13 AM

5:13 AM

5:31 AM

5:31 AM

At 6:20 AM, Serena thought it was time to call the midwife and go to the birth center.  Jane was the midwife on call.  I was glad it was her, because I’d seen her the most during my pregnancy.  But I would have been happy if Brianna took the call, too.  They are both great!

At 7:00 AM, we arrived at the birth center.  In order to make the short walk to/from the car more bearable, Serena wrapped a long piece of fabric tightly around my hips to provide compression.

7:01 AM - With Serena

7:01 AM – With Serena

7:48 AM

7:48 AM

At 8:00 AM, I got my first dose of Penicillin, since I was GBS+.

8:12 AM - Jane (midwife), Gabi (birth assistant, checking fetal heart rate), Karin, and Ashley

8:12 AM – Jane (midwife), Gabi (birth assistant, checking fetal heart rate), Karin, and Ashley

8:25 AM

8:25 AM

At 8:45 AM, I was dilated to 5 cm, and Jane opened my cervix up to 7 cm.

8:46 AM

8:46 AM

At 9:00 AM, I got into the tub.  I stayed there for a long time because I felt the best there.

9:13 AM - Serena

9:13 AM – Serena

9:16 AM

9:16 AM

At 10:00 AM, my sister went to the store to get me some Coconut Bliss ice cream. Unfortunately, I ate very little that day, but the ice cream was soothing and provided me with needed calories.

Earlier, I had some watermelon and a cherry flavored soy yogurt.  In retrospect, I should have been eating a lot more.  I took in fluids regularly while in the tub, but I’m sure I was still quite dehydrated from the early morning diarrhea.  Later on in the afternoon, I don’t remember drinking much.

At 12:20 PM, Jane did a cervical check, and I was at 9 cm.  I forced the smile in the picture below.  It was possibly the only time I smiled that day.  In the tub, I remember thinking to myself repeatedly that it’s a good thing I’m only going to do this once.  The pain was The Worst Ever.  I tried so hard to simply breathe through it, but sometimes it was just too unbearable and I would vocalize a sort of moan or a cry.  But, for what it was, I think I did a good job handling it.

12:40 PM

12:40 PM

12:46 PM

12:46 PM

12:50 PM - Ashley pours water over my back

12:50 PM – Ashley pours water over my back

At 2 PM, I started pushing while in the tub.

(By the way– I was not really aware of time throughout the whole labor.  I have recreated the exact timeline from the notes I received from Serena and Jane, along with date stamps on our photos and videos.)

2:01 PM - Pushing

2:01 PM – Pushing begins

I started out pushing while leaning back against the tub.  A half hour later, I pushed on a birth stool in the tub.  I felt inside myself and I could feel baby’s head.  I was encouraged.

At some point when I was on the birth stool, Jane had to do something REALLY, SUPER, PAINFUL.  She said that baby was not advancing over a 1/2 cm anterior cervix lip.  She had to stretch and manipulate my cervix during the pushes, in order to get baby’s head to move past the barrier.

I have 3 video clips of that part.  It must have taken 3 contractions for Jane and I to accomplish it, because the video clips are about 3 minutes apart.  When I watch and listen, I get tense and I can feel my heart rate increase.  O-M-G.  That’s a pain I’ll never forget.

Pushing was very frustrating to me.  I never really had the urge to push.  It was hard for me to tell when to start and when to stop.  I remember mentioning this to Jane several times.  I needed her guidance constantly.  I tried to breathe through the pushes and to avoid holding my breath.  Nothing about this phase felt instinctual.

At 3 PM, I tried pushing from reclining on the bed.  At some point, I was instructed to sit on the toilet to push.  Jane was having me try all different positions.

At 3:15 PM, I pushed on the birth stool with a Rebozo (a ~5 ft long Mexican shawl) wrapped around my back (held by Serena), while my legs were braced up against Jane’s chest.

All this time, baby’s heart rate was staying in the 120s-140s.  I don’t remember when it was that Jane mentioned something about baby “not tucking his head.”  Was that what was taking so long?  He was doing a brow presentation?

At 4 PM, I was instructed to assume all fours on the bed, with my head and arms down on pillows and my butt up in the air.  I remember being left alone for some time, and I felt really lost.  I still couldn’t tell when the contractions started and stopped.  I still wasn’t feeling urges to push.  Later on, I would learn that this position was used for the purpose of trying to reposition the baby somehow, so that he would advance better.

It must have been around this time that my family was getting concerned.  For myself, I was definitely “checking out” more and more.  I stopped opening my eyes.  I was getting more and more fatigued from the unending pain and exertion.  At some point, I remember asking, “What time is it, anyway?”  I don’t remember what the answer was.

At 4:25 PM, I was due for another dose of Penicillin.  I was also given IV fluids (sodium chloride).  Then, I was back on my back with legs drawn up.  I would continue to push that way for another 2+ hours.

Jane and Serena kept telling me that I was really effective with my pushes, but baby would go back up between each contraction.  After a while, I started to wonder if they were just being encouraging.  (When I met with Serena days after the birth, she told me that they were being encouraging, but it was also true.  That made me feel a little better.)

At 5:50 PM, baby’s head was crowning.  Jane said that I needed to deliver soon.  I had to find more strength with each push.  I heard the urgency.  I especially heard it in my sister’s voice when she pleaded, “c’mon, c’mon.”  I heard the worry and the desperation in her voice.  It makes me emotional to think about it.  I started holding my breath and bearing down hard with everything I had.  (This caused lots of burst blood vessels in my face, especially around my eyes.)

At the time, I thought I was “so” close, but looking back, I really don’t think I was.  Jane wrote in her notes that 4 cm of baby’s head was visible in the last hour.  She tried to help stretch my perineum as I pushed:  more excruciating pain.  It wasn’t enough.  Through all of this, baby’s heart rate remained in the 130s.

After 6:30 PM, I was completely exhausted, both mentally and physically.  It was clear to all that I needed some extra help.  Jane said baby needed a vacuum extraction.  I had to be transferred to the hospital, at Providence, which was a few blocks away.

The ambulance was called.  I heard the sirens.  Eric said they used a full sized fire truck to block off Colby street.  I hadn’t opened my eyes in a couple hours and I never opened them while I was being moved from bed to gurney.  I never looked at the EMS personnel who helped me.  I don’t know what it looked like inside the ambulance.  All I remember were the voices and the sound of my now continuous moaning.  They put an oxygen mask on my face and they started an IV line in my arm.  I reached down and I could feel baby’s protruding head.

Eric, meanwhile, got our things packed up in the car, and he ran lights to try to catch up to the ambulance.  He didn’t know where to go, exactly.  (We never took a hospital tour!)  Fortunately, he managed to get there right when they were loading me into the elevator.  He asked if he could come  into that elevator, but they said he should wait.  He told them, “That’s my wife,” and then they let him in.

My sister and niece drove separately.  Unfortunately, they first went to the wrong Providence campus, which is located further north in Everett, before being directed back to the correct location.  I guess Ashley cried during my ambulance transfer.  It makes me sad to think about it.  I’m sorry she had to see me having so much difficulty.  I didn’t see them until later.

Once I got into the hospital room, I finally opened my eyes.  I swear I remember someone telling me that they were giving me some Fentanyl.  I had IV lines in both arms.  Later, I would ask about that.  Oddly, there was no documentation that I ever got Fentanyl.  Weird.  My memory of that is so vivid.  I don’t think I would have been given that drug in the ambulance. (??)

The doctor said she would do an episiotomy, so she would give me a local anesthetic.  When she warned that it would hurt a little, I actually laughed a little to myself.  What’s a little pain from a needle poke after what I’d been through?!  Eric told me later that it was a nurse who suggested the episiotomy.  Once the cut was made, I was ready to push during the next contraction.  At this point I still doubted my ability to get baby out.  I still feared a C-section.  I gave that push everything I had left.

It was 7:08 PM, and baby Todd came right out.  Eric said the doctor reached both hands in there and guided him out.  I saw my baby boy for the first time just briefly as the medical personnel quickly lifted him up and moved him to a bassinet near the foot of my bed.  He didn’t come right to my chest.  There was no delayed cord clamping.  But oddly, I just did not care.  My overwhelming feeling was just the immense relief that he was out.  And it was over.  And he looked healthy.  And it was over.  I could finally relax.

7:10 PM

7:10 PM

Video of Todd at 7:15 PM:  IMG_1742

7:43 PM

7:43 PM

Video of Todd at 7:44 PM:  

At 7:45 PM, the nurse brought Todd to me for the first time.  I was still pretty dazed, though.  It was awkward to hold him because the IV in my right elbow crease prevented me from bending my arm enough.  That was annoying.  But it felt really good to have him in my arms.

After the birth, Serena and Jane were allowed to visit me.  Serena brought me some pop and pretzels (the only vegan snack options she could find in the hospital at the time).  Jane took the pictures of me holding Todd for the first time:

7:45 PM

7:45 PM

7:45 PM

7:45 PM

7:51 PM - 3169 grams = 6.99 pounds

7:51 PM – 3169 grams = 6.99 pounds

The whole time that Todd was away from me and being manipulated by the medical staff, Eric was with him.  Eric had noticed some twitching that became a concern because of the possibility of seizure activity.  Because of that and because of an elevated white blood cell count, they wanted Todd to go to the NICU.  They wanted to give him IV antibiotics as a precaution against infection.  Another disappointment.

My sister and niece came into the room to visit me after Todd was sent to the NICU.  It was a great comfort to see them.  My sister said she was so sorry about all that I went through.  It wasn’t the joyous birth experience we’d all hoped for, with all of us together.  Of course, the important thing was that Todd appeared healthy.

8:27 PM - Not a happy guy in the NICU.  Separated from mom and poked/prodded by strangers. :-(

8:27 PM – Not a happy guy in the NICU. Separated from mom and poked/prodded by strangers. :-(

When Ashley tried to visit Todd in the NICU, she was denied access because of her age.  To know that happened and that she cried over not being able to finally see baby Todd just broke my heart.  That sweet girl had been anticipating Todd’s arrival more than anyone else, and she was with me the whole day.  It was so upsetting.  She had to wait a full 24 hours before she could finally meet him and hold him, because that’s how long Todd was in the NICU.

I was transferred to a different hospital room, and I went to visit Todd in the NICU a little while later.  Eric slept in my room overnight, and we visited Todd again the next morning, at about 7:30 AM.  Eric went home for a while.

I visited Todd in the NICU every few hours that day.  He made cute frog noises, so Eric gave him the nickname, “Ribbit.”  The neonatologist decided during their staff rounds in the late morning that Todd didn’t need any more IV antibiotics.  There was no concern about seizure activity.  The only thing that kept him in the NICU longer was maintaining his blood sugars.

10:52 AM - 8/22/14

10:52 AM – 8/22/14

Video of Todd at 2:53 PM on 8/22/13:  

In the late evening, Todd was discharged from the NICU and brought to my room.  Ashley finally got to meet him and hold him.  I was sooooo happy!!  We stayed one more night in the hospital.

9:51 PM - 8/22/14 - Ashley finally gets to meet Todd.

9:51 PM – 8/22/14 – Ashley finally gets to meet Todd.

10:06 PM - 8/22/14

10:06 PM – 8/22/14

On Saturday, August 23rd, we got to go home!

4:43 AM - 8/23/14

4:43 AM – 8/23/14

8:14 AM - 8/23/14

8:14 AM – 8/23/14

1130 AM - 8/23/14

1130 AM – 8/23/14

1:17 PM - 8/23/14 - Going home!

1:17 PM – 8/23/14 – Going home!

1:40 PM - 8/23/14 - Home!

1:40 PM – 8/23/14 – Home!

Reflecting back, 4 weeks later–

I know it sounds really bad, but initially I considered my baby’s birth day to be the worst day of my life.  Why?  It was not just the physical pain.  If that was the only thing, then it would have been okay.  Even though it was the very worst pain ever, I do feel like I coped with it well.  What made it bad was the pain compounded by everything else:

  • feeling like a failure because I couldn’t get my baby out on my own
  • having to be transferred to the hospital
  • not having my family present at the end (other than Eric)
  • being unable to feel intense joy once he came out (because I was utterly spent)
  • being personally separated from my baby in the minutes/hours/day after birth
  • not having intimate family time with Todd after his birth

Of course, what made it the worst day wasn’t “that” he was born, it was “how” he was born.  I’ve done a lot of crying.  I’ve had to process my sadness and my disappointment.  I wanted it to be different.  I know I should count my blessings.  It could have been worse in a thousand ways.  I am grateful.  But it’s still normal to grieve, and I’ve had to do a lot of that.  It hasn’t been easy.  I’m only human.

Writing this post (and others to come) is one way that I can give some closure to the experience.  I love my baby Todd so very much.  I’m so glad he was born.  But I’m so glad that I don’t ever have to go through childbirth again.  Maybe it would be different and better “next time,” but we are definitely “one and done.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took several walks to Jennings Park while #WaitingForTodd

I took several walks to Jennings Park while #WaitingForTodd

AKA: My pregnancy, Weeks 38-41+

I’m finally catching up with this blog and, although a LOT has happened, I’ll start where I left off at the end of July.  This blog is really just a personal (and yet public) way for me to record (most) everything about my pregnancy and birth.

Oh– and #minivegan does have a name, and his name is Todd.

WEEK 38

This was my last full week of working.  By this time, I was really having a hard time getting through the intense, full work days, and the summer heat made it much worse!  Low back pain was an issue for the first time during my pregnancy.  Also, this one spot in my right lower rib cage area was constantly feeling stretched and sore.  Ligament stretching?  Muscle stretching?  I didn’t know.

I had a midwife appointment on Wednesday, July 30th.  On Friday, August 1st, I had my 6th veganniversary.  (Yay!!)  During the evenings and nights, my heartburn and poor sleep continued.

WEEK 39

I worked Monday and Tuesday this week.  I took Wednesday off.  Thursday, August 7th was supposed to be my last day of work.

I had a midwife appointment on the Wednesday (August 6th – Happy 40th birthday to my sister!)  I could have opted for a check of my cervix, but I decided against it.

I never made it to work on the 7th.  In the early morning hours, I was feeling some mild crampy sensations that I thought could be labor starting.  It wasn’t.  Wishful thinking!  I felt dumb about calling in to work.  Rookie mistake.  I regretted not having the experience of “last day goodbyes” with my co-workers and patients.  Oh well.  I spent the weekend shopping, cooking, relaxing, and gearing up for the big day…

WEEK 40

40 Weeks Pregnant

40 Weeks Pregnant

Monday, August 11th was my due date.  I went for a walk and then I had an acupuncture appointment.  I was hoping the acupuncture would give my body a nudge toward labor.  I don’t know what it did, but I definitely had the best sleep in a long time that night.  Baby was super active that evening…

On Wednesday, August 13th, I was awake from midnight to 4 AM, again feeling mild crampy sensations.  I hoped it was labor starting, but it wasn’t.  I had a midwife appointment in the morning, and Brianna checked my cervix (ouch!!).  She said baby’s head was “really low!” and that I was at +1 station and 1 cm dilation.  My cervix was in a good, anterior position.  I was optimistic that labor might start soon.  My sister and 10 year old niece decided to drive up from Oregon.  I wanted them present for the labor and birth.

Welcome sign

Welcome sign

On Friday, August 15th, I was again up in the early morning hours with the same pre-labor sensations.  When I noticed my mucus plug and bloody show on the toilet paper in the morning, I really got excited!  I was convinced the day had come.  I even called my doula to give her a “heads up.”  But, no.  (Poor Eric stayed home from work that day for nothing.)

By Saturday, August 16th, we were all getting pretty stir crazy, so we planned a full day of activity.  In the morning, I saw a little more bloody mucus.  We walked on the Centennial Trail in Snohomish, WA…

Centennial Trail - 40 Weeks +5 Days - August 16, 2014

Centennial Trail – 40 Weeks +5 Days – August 16, 2014

Centennial Trail

Centennial Trail

We went to the Snohomish Aquatic Center, which is pretty cool!  I was not able to do certain activities…

Eric at the Snohomish Aquatic Center

Eric at the Snohomish Aquatic Center

And he's down...

And he’s down…

Ashley comes out of the water slide.

My niece comes out of the water slide.

Sunday, August 17th I hit my emotional low point.  It was now 40 weeks + 6 days.  I was so done with being pregnant.  I was drained by getting my hopes up every night, only to still be pregnant each morning.  I felt bad that my family had been in town for several days and there was still no baby for them to hold.  I wanted them to enjoy the maximum number of days with Todd, before needing to go back home.  Finally, I was increasingly fearful about the possibility of induction.  With each passing day, I doubted my body’s ability to initiate labor on its own.  That afternoon, I cried and cried.

WEEK 41

41 Weeks Pregnant - August 18, 2014

41 Weeks Pregnant – August 18, 2014

New week, new attitude.  Another good night’s sleep helped.  On Monday, August 18th, we took Ashley to the American Girl store in Lynnwood.

American Girl

American Girl

On Tuesday, August 19th, we walked in the neighborhood in the morning, and I had an acupuncture appointment and a massage appointment in the afternoon.

Acupuncture Associates of Marysville

Acupuncture Associates of Marysville

Ashley also used her special energy forces to try to coax baby out…

Ashley

Ashley

Ashley uses her energy forces to coax Todd out.

Ashley uses her energy forces to coax Todd out.

On Wednesday, August 20th (after yet another night of being awake with pre-labor sensations, this time more intense than ever before), we decided to make Todd’s birthday cake.  I made the recipe for Peanut Butter Mousse Cake, out of The Voluptuous Vegan cookbook.

At noon, I had a midwife appointment.  Brianna did another cervix check (ouch!), as well as a stretch and sweep (double ouch!).  I was 3 cm dilated.  I also had a NST (Non-Stress Test).  Baby responded well.  I was sent for an ultrasound, too, but that was more of a wild goose chase than anything else (not worth discussing here).  Brianna said it was time to use castor oil to induce labor.  I was instructed to drink 2 ounces at bedtime (~10 PM) and then drink another 2 ounces 4 hours later (~2 AM).

NST at 41 Weeks + 2 days - August 20, 2014

NST at 41 Weeks + 2 days – August 20, 2014

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

 

 

 

 

As I write this LONG post, I’m now 2 weeks from my official due date of August 11, 2014.  Technically, it could be any day, which is exciting to think about!  It’s also maddening to imagine having to wait another 3 weeks.  It’s so strange that such a momentous and life-altering day is also one big mystery.  When I prepared for our wedding, I knew the date of the big day.  Now, I have no clue other than knowing that it will eventually come!

WEEK 27

I started my third trimester in mid-May.  Our “other” anniversary, on Saturday, May 17th, marked 23 years of Eric and I being together as a couple.  No one can tell us we rushed into having kids, now, huh?  ;-)

WEEK 28

On Tuesday, May 20th, I had another midwife appointment.  It was another opportunity to hear the heartbeat:

I also noted more “big rolling movements,” rather than distinct kicks.  Baby was tough to catch on video, but I got a pretty good clip here:

28 Weeks

28 Weeks

28 Weeks

28 Weeks

That weekend, we went for a short hike at Meadowdale Beach Park.  I was eager to be with the trees!

Meadowdale Beach Park -  May 24, 2014

Meadowdale Beach Park – May 24, 2014

Afterward, we had the Vegan Sofritas, at Chipotle Mexican Grill.  YUM!  I love that they give you a LOT of guacamole!!

Vegan Sofritas at Chipotle Mexican Grill

Vegan Sofritas at Chipotle Mexican Grill

WEEK 30

30 Weeks

30 Weeks

On the same day that I wrote, “most active day yet” in my calendar (June 3rd), I received this baby shirt in the mail.  It’s from my #NSNG friend, ScottyO, from Aspen.  Sweet!

 

Thank you, Uncle Scotty!

Thank you, Uncle Scotty!

On Wednesday, June 4th, I took the day off work, to go to a 3 hour midwife appointment.  The purpose was testing for gestational diabetes.  I had to fast the night before, and get my blood drawn at 9 AM.  Then I drank 75 grams of glucose.  Icky!  My blood was drawn again at 10 AM and 11 AM.

I felt a bit ill and headachy after consuming the drink, but it was okay.  The worst was that I didn’t eat any real food until shortly after noon, and by then my blood sugar was really crashing.  As I sat down to eat my lunch, I was shaky and sweaty.

Gestational Diabetes Testing - June 4, 2014

Gestational Diabetes Testing – June 4, 2014

Fortunately, my results were excellent!  They want your readings to be:  fasting glucose <95, 1 hour glucose <180, and 2 hour glucose <153 mg/dL.  My readings were:  87, 104, and 90 mg/dL.

WEEK 31

On Sunday, June 8th, we hiked to Heather Lake, which is right next to Mt Pilchuck.  It’s ~4.7 miles round trip, including circumnavigating the lake.  It starts at 1400 ft elevation, and the lake is at 2400 ft.  It felt really wonderful to be in the mountains, and I saw 2 other pregnant hikers, too!

31 Weeks - Heather Lake

31 Weeks – Heather Lake

Heather Lake - Sunday, June 8, 2014

Heather Lake – Sunday, June 8, 2014

My first baby shower was on Saturday, June 14th.  It was fun to socialize with family and friends.  And, I “made” each person pose for a picture with us when we opened his or her gift.  I am a picture taker!

The venue was the Shire Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant in Arlington, WA.  All the food served was vegan…of course!  My sister made this adorable diaper cake…

Diaper Cake by Karin

Diaper Cake by Karin

Baby Shower - Saturday, June 14, 2014

Baby Shower – Saturday, June 14, 2014

WEEK 32

On Friday, June 20th, we drove to Bend, OR to visit my family for the weekend.  On the way out of Seattle, I finally had the opportunity to satisfy the vegan donut craving I’d been fighting way back in January/February.  Mighty-O for the whole family!

Mighty-O Donuts (Vegan)

Mighty-O Donuts (Vegan)

We met up for lunch in Bend at Salud! Raw Food Cafe.  It’s pretty much the polar opposite of vegan donuts!  You gotta have balance in your life, right?

Eric's Salad

Eric’s Salad

My Plate

My Plate

On Saturday, June 21st, Eric went mountain bike riding with our brother-in-law, while my sister and I hiked along the Deschutes River with her kids.

Hiking along the Deschutes River - Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hiking along the Deschutes River – Saturday, June 21, 2014

WEEK 33

On Monday, June 23rd, I had a special surprise waiting for me at work.  My ~95 year old former patient, Lillian, had left me a baby present.  Lillian never had kids of her own and she was so happy for me when I told her I was pregnant.  She was way too generous!

Gifts From Lillian

Gifts From Lillian

WEEK 34

This week I officially decreased my work schedule from 5 days per week, down to 4.  It was time!

At my midwife appointment on Wednesday, July 2nd, I found out that baby was head down and facing toward the back.  To date, he’s stayed in that good position.  We also met with my doula, from Serene Doulas.

34 Weeks

34 Weeks

For the 4th of July holiday, we headed to Wenatchee for our last “just the two of us” weekend at our condo.  I put on my bikini and we cooled off in the pool.

34 Weeks + 4 Days

34 Weeks + 4 Days

For comparison, THIS was me exactly a year prior!

What a Difference a Year Makes - July 4, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes – July 4, 2013

On Saturday, July 5th, we hiked 4.6 miles of the loop trail at Icicle Gorge, just outside of Leavenworth, WA.  More wilderness therapy…I need it to remain grounded!

Upper Loop at Icicle Gorge

Upper Loop at Icicle Gorge

Mountain Views From Icicle Gorge

Mountain Views From Icicle Gorge

Along the Icicle River

Along the Icicle River

After the hike, we had a tasty and beautiful vegan pizza at Lemolo Cafe & Deli, in Wenatchee.

Vegan Pizza at Lemolo

Vegan Pizza at Lemolo

WEEK 36

Thanks to my friend, Molly, we got a nice car seat and stroller set.  Here, the fuzzy frog from Nana tests it out for us!

Looks Comfy!

Looks Comfy!

36 Weeks

36 Weeks

On Wednesday, July 16th, I started my weekly midwife appointments.  I also had my 2nd baby shower.  My thoughtful co-workers at my last job put it together for me.  I hadn’t seen these gals since last October.  I especially thank Sharon for being the host and Julie for making the cake.  I felt very special!

Anacortes Baby Shower - July 16, 2014

Anacortes Baby Shower – July 16, 2014

Vegan & Gluten Free Cake with Coconut Bliss Ice Cream

Vegan & Gluten Free Cake with Coconut Bliss Ice Cream

Before I left work on the evening of Thursday, July 17th, I suddenly leaked some watery, clear fluid that gave me a brief scare.  It wasn’t much, but it didn’t seem like urine, and it wasn’t anything typical for this pregnancy.  I called my midwife and she told me to wait and see if more fluid leaked out.  It didn’t…phew!  I was glad that it wasn’t my water breaking.  I was only at 36 weeks + 3 days.

For the weekend of July 19th, we traveled to Ocean Shores, WA, to visit Eric’s parents.  It was our last “long” road trip before baby comes.  Now, we’ll stay close to home!

WEEK 37

At my midwife appointment on Thursday, July 24th, I found out that I am a carrier for Group B Strep.  That means I will take IV Penicillin during labor.  GBS can cause serious problems in newborns, even though it’s not harmful to the healthy carrier.

WEEK 38

At this late stage, I’m thankful for a LOT.  Top on the list is not having our baby premature.  But, I’m also thankful for no stretch marks, and for being able to keep my navel ring in.  I’ve had the ring since 1996!

38 Weeks

38 Weeks

38 weeks

38 weeks

Now– Just WHEN will this #minivegan be born???  I hope soon!

————————————-

3rd Trimester Weights (Weeks 27-40):

May 13, 2014 = 124.6 lb
May 20, 2014 = 126.4 lb
May 27, 2014 = 125.6 lb
June 3, 2014 = 126.0 lb
June 10, 2014 = 128.6 lb
June 17, 2014 = 128.0 lb
June 24, 2014 = 130.2 lb
July 1, 2014 = 130.2 lb
July 8, 2014 = 131.2 lb
July 15, 2014 = 131.4 lb
July 22, 2014 = 132.8 lb
July 29, 2014 = 131.0 lb
August 5, 2014 = 131.4 lb
August 11, 2014 = ?? = Due Date!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, now, I’m already a few weeks into my 3rd trimester with #minivegan.  Already??  It’s time for a recap of the 2nd trimester.

I already posted about my 20 Week Ultrasound.  This post includes all the other happenings.

In general, it’s true what “they” say about the 2nd trimester (for me).  My energy came back.  And that was a good thing, because I was working a lot.

My food aversions went away, and I started eating more like “normal” for me.  The “desperate hunger” diminished, although I was left with a pesky sweet tooth.  I really got that under control after we got back from Snowbird (week 21).  I also stopped having to eat in the middle of night, except for some especially hungry weeks (i.e. ~week 25).  I think the little boy has growth spurts.  Despite my appetite ups and downs, my weight gain has been very consistent since week one.

As each week passed, my belly was much smaller than I thought it would be…

WEEK 15

I had an appointment with my midwife at Cascade Birth Center on February 19, 2014.  We heard baby’s heartbeat:

WEEK 16

At the end of this week (March 1), I think I felt the first little kick.  I’d get real quiet before going to sleep at night, and see what I could feel with my hands on my belly.  It felt like a little tap.

16 Weeks

16 Weeks

WEEK 17

On March 5th, I had my blood draw for the Harmony prenatal test.  The next few kicks came at the end of this week (March 7, 8, 9).  Eric was lucky to feel a BIG one on the 9th.

WEEK 18

On Friday, March 14th, the blood test results came back:  BOY!  (See the 20 Week Ultrasound post for more details).  After that, I was feeling kicks daily.  I called him my “lowrider” because I felt the kicks barely above my pubic bone.

WEEK 19

I had a midwife appointment on March 19th.  The ultrasound was on the 21st.  Listening to the heartbeat never gets old!

WEEK 20

We spent the week with family, skiing in Little Cottonwood Canyon, at Snowbird and Alta (Utah).  This shows our view out the window.

Week 20

20 Weeks

WEEK 22

By this week, baby was kicking with higher frequency.  After dinner was a particularly energetic time!

22 Weeks

22 Weeks

WEEK 24

For some reason, I started getting more emotional this week and the next.  I could cry without much provocation.  I cried tears of gratitude, love, worry, and for no real reason at all.  If you’d needed an actress to cry on cue, I was your girl!

24 Weeks

24 Weeks

WEEK 25

This week was when I noticed that my belly felt much more firm instead of soft.  I had another midwife appointment, which meant another opportunity to hear baby’s heartbeat…

On May 3rd, my belly was lopsided as I snuggled with Millie on the couch.  When we went out to dinner with Eric’s parents that evening, my mother-in-law gave me a nice gift.

Baby "swam" over to the left side!

Baby “swam” over to the left side!

Thank you, Diane!

Thank you, Diane!

WEEK 26

At the start of this week, my mailman delivered a super sweet gift from my friend Anja.  Go check out her website/blog at All Up Anja.  I love my #PPNSNG pals!

At the end of this week, I started feeling my first Braxton Hicks contractions.  At first I thought that baby was just doing something different, but then I realized what it was.  My belly just got uniformly firm and stayed that way for a minute.

Thank you, Anja!

Thank you, Anja!

26 Weeks

26 Weeks

My biggest physical complaint during the 2nd trimester has been my declining sleep quality.  It seems to be a pattern of:  go to bed about 9:30 PM, then wake up any time between 11:30 and 2:00, pee, then wake up at least 2 more times after that.  Or, I’ll just stay wide awake for an hour (or 2), or I’ll toss and turn the rest of the night.  Ugh!

Because of all that, I basically gave up (after week 23) doing any before-work exercising.   I’m cutting myself some slack right now.  I skied all through ski season and now I go on walks each weekend, but, with my work schedule, that’s all I can muster.  At least my job is an active one.

I’m very much looking forward to my last 2+ months.  My work schedule is finally lightening up, I’m almost finished with getting the house ready for baby, and I’ve got some fun events on the calendar.

Not to mention, it’s almost summer, which is always good for body and mind!

——————————-

2nd Trimester Weights (Weeks 14-26):

February 11, 2014 = 113.2 lb
February 18, 2014 = 113.4 lb
February 25, 2014 = 115.6 lb
March 4, 2014 = 114.6 lb
March 11, 2014 = 116.4 lb
March 18, 2014 = 117.0 lb
March 25, 2014 = no data
April 1, 2014 = 118.0 lb
April 8, 2014 = 120.2 lb
April 15, 2014 = 121.0 lb
April 22, 2014 = 121.4 lb
April 29, 2014 = 122.8 lb
May 6, 2014 = 124.8 lb

Total 2nd Trimester Weight Gain = 11.6 lb
Total 1st + 2nd Trimester Weight Gain = 25.8 lb

 

Well, #minivegan is now 25 weeks gestational age (on Monday, April 28, 2014).  This pregnancy is flying by, and I’m long overdue posting an update.  I’ve been working my ever-growing-larger ass off, working to save up extra $$ for my maternity leave.

We went in for our 20 week ultrasound (US) on day one of our 2014 ski vacation to Snowbird, Utah.  What a perfect way to kick off our trip!  The sonographer and perinatologist that we saw at Evergreen Maternal-Fetal Medicine were wonderful.  Dr. Kline said she had a baby in her 40’s, too!  She was pretty excited for us.

For many couples, the 18-22 week ultrasound (“anatomy scan”) is the procedure that reveals the baby’s gender for the first time.  We definitely wanted to know!

But, we chose to have the Harmony prenatal blood test done prior to our 20 week scan.  Harmony tests for three trisomy abnormalities (trisomy 13, 18, and 21) with >99% accuracy.  It also tests for the presence of a Y chromosome (Y chromosome = boy).

My blood was drawn on March 5th (at 17 weeks + 2 days).  I expected to wait 2 weeks for the results, but thankfully mine came sooner than that.  On Friday, March 14, 2014, I got the phone call while at work.  I was with a very sweet man, with quite severe dementia.  My patient, Tom, was the first person to hear my good news:  that our baby does NOT have trisomy 13, 18, or 21…AND…our baby is a BOY!!!  (The next week, Tom had no recall of this.)

I didn’t call Eric right away.  Instead, I stopped by Target after work, to pick up a little gift for Eric that would reveal the gender to him when I got home.

Friday, March 14, 2014 - IT'S A BOY!

It’s a BOY!

Sunday, March 16, 2014 - Sportin' the Purple Pregnancy Pants at Week 19.  (Mission Ridge Ski Area)

Sunday, March 16, 2014 – Sportin’ the Purple Pregnancy Pants at Week 19. (Mission Ridge Ski Area)

The ultrasound was performed on Friday, March 21, 2014 (at 19 weeks + 4 days).  Our boy appeared healthy in all ways and weighed about 10 oz.  His growth measurements were between 43% and 62% for his gestational age, and the heart rate was 147 bpm.  The placenta is posterior and without previa.  My cervix is long.  Excellent!

We received a DVD of the scan.  I took this short video clip with my phone, that shows baby’s face:  moving his jaw, yawning, moving his tongue, and even smiling.  You can also see his forearm in front of his face.  Watch it again and look for the heart beating.  Precious!!

I took these images by pausing the DVD and taking screen shots:

Head Profile

Head Profile

Eye Orbits/Top of Head

Eye Orbits/Top of Head

Face - Showing his tongue

Face – Showing his tongue

Face - Open mouth

Face – Open mouth

Chin, mouth and nostrils. And a hand waving!

Chin, mouth and nostrils. And a hand waving!

Heart and blood flow

Heart and blood flow

Heartbeat

Heartbeat

Legs and umbilical cord (showing cord blood flow)

Legs and umbilical cord (showing cord blood flow)

Legs and penis

Legs and penis

Lower leg bones (tibia/fibula)

Lower leg bones (tibia/fibula)

Forearm bones (radius/ulna) and hand

Forearm bones (radius/ulna) and hand

Foot

Foot

Here we are, skiing in Utah!

March 23, 2014 - Alta, Utah

March 23, 2014 – Alta, Utah

March 24, 2014 - Alta, Utah

March 24, 2014 – Alta, Utah

My motto this ski season!

My motto this ski season!

 

"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

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