Eva – Potty Training

Potty training was on the list of “things I never want to do”, like climb Mount Everest or learn Chinese. I’m just not that adventurous. I put it off as long as I could, which may have been to our advantage because Eva has done well and learned quickly and I’m really proud of her. We started last Tuesday after Labor Day so today is day 9 of “potty training” and I feel like she is basically good to go with going to the potty at home all day long. She has been wearing these training pants all day long and during nap, but still wearing a diaper at night. I bought a large black poster board (a thick one that could stand on it’s own, not paper) and some “neon” crayons and made a simple chart for Eva to put a sticker on each time she used the potty successfully. Her and I doodled on it and when she puts her sticker on she likes to color things on it each time too, so we’ll just continue to add stickers over the drawings until the whole board is filled. DSC_9608 I also bought her some sorta-healthy candy and she gets one as a reward each time she goes on the potty. She never gets candy, so she was really excited about that. I found these at Whole Foods and they are mostly just fruit with no preservatives or dyes or other junk. 20140906_114502The first few days were the hardest, but after day 3, she knew the drill and I wasn’t worried about accidents anymore and she was telling me each time she had to go and it’s been easier every day since. On day 1, before she woke up, I had the living room set up with a blanket, her small potty chair, a stack of training panties and a new toy: Mega Bloks. 20140901_230511 I also then put out some wipes, plastic bag and a laundry basket, but didn’t get a picture with all that. My idea was to sit in the potty area and play most of the morning so that we were close to the potty and could go easily. I also gave her snacks and juice (which she does not normally drink) so that she would have to use the potty more often. She surprisingly was not into the juice, so I could not get her to drink much more than she normally does, so it made for a long day, just waiting around for her to pee. The first few times on the first day when she had to pee she didn’t tell me of course, but then she realized that something was different, she wasn’t wearing a diaper anymore and she needed to pay attention to this. I also was trying to put her regularly on the potty to try to go, like every 30 min, but she did not have to go that often since she wasn’t drinking that much, so then I stopped trying to persuade her to go and I just let her have a bunch of accidents until she realized she needed to tell me she had to go. She used the white potty chair for the first few days, but then she wanted to use the big potty with the potty seat lid attachment. I preferred this since obviously we could just flush the toilet instead of having to clean out the potty chair. I ended up putting the potty chair back in the bathroom so she could have the choice of which one to use. I have to help her onto the adult potty, so that is the only disadvantage right now. Even if we had a stool, I don’t think she would be coordinated enough to step up and then turn around to get on. DSC_9609 DSC_9610

We talked about the potty all the time during the first few days. We read a bunch of potty books we got from the library. Sometimes we’d read while she sat on the potty and talk about each step of using the toilet, then flushing, then washing hands, then getting a sticker on the chart and then getting a reward. She has memorized the steps and will tell me what is going to happen next. It was extremely time-consuming the first few days and I definitely felt like I was losing my mind at certain moments because of the boring repetitiveness, but it now just keeps getting easier and I can hardly believe that just a few weeks ago she was wearing diapers all day long and now she only wears one at night. Sometimes she wakes with a dry diaper and sometimes she wakes with a wet diaper, so I haven’t yet gotten rid of the night diapers, so we’ll figure that out soon. She has been wearing training pants during nap and that has never been a problem. She also has done well going out to different places and has never had an accident outside (yet) but she refuses to go on a public potty so I have to figure out how to bring a potty seat along with us or how that will work.

We told her that when she fills her entire chart with stickers (she might be able to fit 100+ stickers on there), we will go out and get a special gift for her that she can pick out, so she has that long-term goal in mind and by then hopefully it will be second nature to her.

I’ve heard that potty training can be a challenging period of time with a young child and it could take a long time and be difficult for them if they aren’t ready, so I was really hesitant to do it for a while, but I think talking about it a lot before starting really helped, as well as making it fun with rewards for each success and doing a no-turning-back method of waking up on day 1 and putting on panties and never putting a diaper on again (except at night), regardless of how many accidents happen. We did not leave the house for the first 3 days except to just take a walk outside, because I wanted her to be immersed in this new reality. I think that helped her to not have any accidents when we finally did go out for many hours at a time. She has had fun with this experience and I’m so glad to not have to change (as many) diapers anymore. I can’t believe how fast my little girl is growing up!

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Grace 5 Weeks Old

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It is impossible to do anything when you have a newborn baby that isn’t baby-care related. Impossible. My brain is fried. I can’t remember what day it is or if we have any food for dinner in the fridge. I went to the chiropractor yesterday after taking weeks to find one nearby since I’m having back pain, and I had to have Danail come and escort me and the girls since I didn’t know if I could survive going out with both of them, finding my way there and also finding a parking space, carrying baby and trying to restrain Eva from running around, etc. It was way too much to try to attempt. Anyway, we did great, and I’m so thankful for his help and patience.

Grace is more than a month old already. She’s barely fitting in her newborn clothes anymore and is now wearing size 1 diapers. She is nursing well and getting chubby baby cheeks. She slept almost all the time the first 2 weeks but now has longer awake times. I’ve completely forgotten how Eva was as a newborn. It seems like Gracie is calmer and sleeps more, but maybe it’s just because it’s my 2nd baby and I’m not as worried about things or perhaps she does have a more chill baby attitude. I love watching Gracie sleep. When she is awake she kicks her feet and moves her arms and looks so funny like this:

Birth Story of Grace Naomi

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Grace Naomi was born on August 3rd just after 8 in the morning after only 3 hours of labor. My labor and delivery of her was amazing because of how different it was from my first birth. If we have any more children, I would be very thankful for a similar birth experience. I think the experience of labor and birth is a miracle. No doctor in the world can tell you when a baby is going to be born. God just designed the body to know when the baby needs to come out and it’s a mystery to us all.

My first doctor gave me a due date of August 3rd, but the midwife re-calculated it to August 4th for some reason, so Grace came right on time. I took some notes when labor started, but just like last time, it wasn’t possible to document everything so hopefully I can remember some details.

On Sunday, 8/3, I woke up at 5am with painful cramps. They were immediately painful and immediately consistent every few minutes. The pain started in my back and moved around to the front, so I immediately thought, great… back labor already. (If you have not experienced back labor, there is no way to describe it. I had it with Eva’s labor and it was horrible. It feels like your body is breaking in half.) I was told that I had back labor with Eva because she was “sunny side up” or in a posterior position. But, this baby was in a perfect position, so why did I have back labor? I guess that’s just how my uterus likes to do it.

Around 5:30am I got in the shower thinking this was the start of a long labor process and I wanted to try to relax while I still had breaks between contractions. Not that it is possible to “relax” during labor, but the goal is to let your body do what it is doing and not get in the way. I also wanted to test out the ability of water to help ease pain since my thoughts were to have a natural “water birth” at the hospital in their birthing tub. I had read that immersion in water during labor could reduce pain by 50%, so I was all for that. After a shower, I took my time getting dressed and getting things ready for the hospital. Danail had awoken by then and I told him I was probably in labor, but he could just relax or sleep some more, because I was expecting it to be a while. I had hoped to labor at home for many hours before going in which was advised by the midwives also.

6am:  I started timing my contractions using this free contraction timer that I had used last time and they were about 20 sec long and about 3 min apart. I also had fluid leaking which I guessed was amniotic fluid, but with my previous birth, my amniotic sac never ruptured until close to the end so I didn’t know what that was like. The pain really increased and I was surprised because I had only been in labor 1 hour and I was blown away by the increase of pain and had a lot of doubts about how it could get any worse. I tried to not think about the pain but just count and breath until the “break” where I could then act normally and continue getting things ready. The entire time I was walking around, eating grapes, drinking coconut water (I wanted to make sure I was hydrated) and being active. When the contraction would start, I’d press the start button on the timer, then get into whatever position felt comfortable to deal with the pain, then stop the timer. I was pretty good about timing them until about 7am, then there was no way I could time anything.

7am: The pain was really intense and I got a little worried about how it could intensify so quickly. I was expecting to labor for hours before thinking about calling the midwife, but there was no way I was waiting now. I called and told her my contractions were 3 min apart and 30-40 sec long. She said that the frequency of them was fast (3 min apart) but that the length of them should be longer and I should wait until they were 60-80 sec long before coming in. At that time, we had called my parents and my mom was on her way to our place so she could watch Eva while we went to the hospital. I told the midwife that I would wait until my mom got here, then I’d call her again with my progress since we couldn’t leave until someone was here with Eva anyways. I felt for sure that we’d have plenty of time, no way I’d make that much progress before she got here.

7:30am: My contractions very quickly kept getting longer and closer together. The last note I wrote was that they were 1.5 min long and 2 min apart. I told Danail to call my mom again and see what was taking so long because I felt that we had to go to the hospital now. He called her and found out that she was lost! There was road construction and the one exit to our place was closed, so she had taken the next exit and went the wrong way. He was on the phone with her giving her directions. Eva had woken up by this time and was worried about me as she could tell I was in pain. I tried to assure her between contractions that I was fine, but baby sister was coming and it hurt sometimes. Danail fed her breakfast and other things, so she would stay in the kitchen and not be scared. I remember thinking that I didn’t know how I could ride in a car at this stage of labor and I really wished we had left earlier.

7:45am (maybe): I don’t know the timing of the next few events but I’ll just guess. During pregnancy, I had done a lot of exercises with squatting and being on the floor on hands and knees as preparation for labor, and I found that those were the positions I instinctively went into in order to deal with the pain. I was up walking around being active between contractions, but the moment one started, I had to get on my hands and knees and put my head almost to the floor with my butt higher up which slightly took pressure off my back and just felt like a productive position to be in. My mom finally got there around 7:50am (12 min before Grace was born). We only know that because Danail was on the phone with her and reviewed the phone time long. She was trying to be with Eva and out of the way so that Eva would not be scared. I don’t remember anything about her arrival. I do remember feeling like I should go in the bathroom and sit on the toilet. I sat for a moment, but when the next contraction came, I thought I’d try squatting to see if that relieved some pressure. The moment I did that, I felt a huge pop and my water broke. That was surreal since I had never experienced that during my first birth. I said to Danail that my water broke. I can’t remember if I said that I thought the baby was coming now or what… but something made him decide to call 911. My mom came over a minute later and said what should she do, and I said to call 911 and she said Danail already is on the phone with them.

7:50am: After that I just knew the baby was coming at any moment, so I grabbed every towel in the closet and spread them all over the bathroom floor. I was already on the floor on my knees so it was easy to just open the door and grab everything and spread it around. For some reason I wasn’t scared because I felt like everything was okay. For some reason, even in the horrifying pain of childbirth alone in a bathroom (and it is the most horrifying pain that no man will every understand), it felt like my body was doing the right things, nothing felt wrong. I could feel the baby coming and that was all. I had been praying most of the time, but probably not at the end because there was no room in my mind for thought, so perhaps God was just giving me peace and I went with it.

8am: Danail was on the phone with 911 and they were telling him to tell me to get on the bed on my back and look to see if he sees the baby coming. He said this to me and I said “no way, I am not moving.” First of all, I could not move because my body was not going to let me, and secondly, that was a ridiculous idea, EMTs do not know how to deliver babies and the worse position is on your back with your feet up in the air. They just read that in a book or something and thought they’d suggest that. I knew I had to be in this position, it just felt right and I felt that everything was okay so I wasn’t moving. Danail had come in the bathroom then and was trying to see if he saw the baby coming. He said he couldn’t see anything, but then just moments later Grace was born. There was no moment of “pushing” or seeing her head come out then waiting for the body like normally happens. It was just, “I don’t see anything” and then she was out. I don’t remember consciously pushing. My body was doing everything and it was so quick that I just had to let it happen.

8:02am: Grace was born. Danail was behind me and said he put his one hand out and she sorta slid from his hand to the floor. I have no memory of him even being there, but I guess he was the first to see her. He didn’t really catch her, but maybe shortened her fall. I was already on the floor and so close to the floor and there were towels everywhere, so I don’t think it would have been a problem if she just dropped onto a towel, but I wasn’t thinking about that at that moment. She immediately cried and looked perfect. She had a really long umbilical cord and it was just draped over her foot. I know it would have been terrifying if the cord was wrapped around her neck or something like I’ve heard stories about. I’m so thankful that everything was perfect. We sat about 5 minutes and just looked at her while she screamed and the EMTs arrived a few minutes later. I actually had a bulb syringe in a drawer close by and I got it out thinking I would suction out her throat/nose and I started to but realized I didn’t need to, she was breathing just fine. When I first saw her I thought she looked exactly how Eva looked when she came out. I could not believe this had just happened and thought for sure I was dreaming.

8:15am (or so): The EMTs arrived. I think a fire department team was there too. There were maybe 5 very large men and 1 very nice lady. They were very kind and said I did a great job. There was no rush since baby looked perfect and was screaming and very pink and alive. It is amazing how after the moment she came out, immediately all the pain was gone and I was a normal person again. The uterus is an amazingly strong organ. The placenta came after another mild contraction and then they transferred us to the hospital to check us out and make sure everything was okay. I road in the ambulance and held Grace and Danail followed us in the car and Grandma stayed with Eva at home.

They asked us to stay at the hospital for 48 hours because I had been GBS positive and normally if I delivered in the hospital I would have been given antibiotics during labor, but since we delivered at home that didn’t happen, so they wanted to watch the baby. She was fine and I thought I would go crazy being in the hospital that long. I was so bored. It was impossible to sleep because someone was always coming in and out checking on me or the baby. If there is a next time, perhaps I will plan a home birth since it worked out so well this time unintentionally.

Grace has been a very sleepy baby from the beginning and so I have been blessed with our first few days together and have been able to rest much more than I did with Eva in the beginning. I love the newborn stage. My milk came in on day 3 instead of day 5 like with Eva. I have been having cramping every time Grace nurses, which is a new thing with baby 2. I was told this could be more painful with each pregnancy but is beneficial to help the uterus contract back to normal size. Everyone at the hospital was wonderful and we had to retell the birth story many times since the midwives and nurses were confused about how we got there with a baby but didn’t deliver there. Even though it was unplanned, it was the best birth experience I could have imagined and I thank God that everything was so fast and perfect.

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Sisters

39 Weeks Pregnant & Labor Notes from Previous Early Labor/Birth

How far along: Will be 39 weeks on Sunday, but I’m getting this post out early when I have time.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: 3 more pounds, so up around 15 in all.

Sleep: I’m sleeping well at night but it’s still hard for me to take naps during the day.

Movement: Lots of movement. She might be turning a little since I feel her feet pushing up against my ribs on sometimes one side and then the other. I really hope she doesn’t go posterior!

Food cravings: Still into cherries, all kinds, dried, fresh, or even cherry jam.

Labor signs: I might have had some tightening, or maybe it was just baby girl pushing outward. I remember being confused by that with Eva’s pregnancy too. I wasn’t sure if I was feeling Braxton Hicks contractions or if baby was just stretching.

What I miss: Nothing! Can’t wait to meet our baby girl!

What I am looking forward to: Surviving labor and delivery and having a healthy baby girl.

These are from last week but can’t be much different.

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I found my Labor Notes from my last labor/delivery with Eva.  How nerdy am I that I took notes during my early labor? I’ll totally try to do it again because you just can’t remember those things and it’s a good way for me to have an idea of what might happen this time. I started my notes on Sat, 1/14/2012 at 11am before labor had started and the notes ended about 24 hours later at 11:30am, Sun, 1/15/2012. They ended because I went into, as any other mother knows, the final stages of labor which require complete concentration and definitely do not allow note-taking. Eva wasn’t born until 12 hours later after 11pm that night.

Here are the notes I took:

Sat, 1/14/2012 11am: Took less than 1 oz of castor oil in juice. (***I was 10 days past due date and this was an attempt to start labor to try to avoid the hospital induction and it seemed to work or was totally a coincidence that I started labor that night.)

6pm: Mild cramping.

9pm: Cramping increased to something more like a contraction, but I’m not sure because I never had contractions before.

10pm: Tried to sleep. Still having contractions, but they are irregular.

11pm: Can’t sleep, contractions are getting very painful and now have a pattern of every 5 min for about 60 seconds.

Sun, 12am – 3am: Labored at home, contractions staying regular. Called OB around 3am and she said to come in.

4am: Went to hospital. Triage checked me in. I was 3cm dilated so I was admitted.

4am – 5am: Took my vitals, signed paperwork and checked into room. Requested room with labor tub.

6am: Nurse put in heplock and I was given a dose of anti-biotics because I was Strep B positive. (***This is not an illness or disease, it’s a bacteria that some healthy women carry and it does not make them sick, but it could be passed to the baby during birth and make the baby sick, so anti-biotics are given during labor. I have only taken anti-biotics a few times in my life and I hated that I had to get them in labor, but I wanted to greatly reduce the chance of it affecting the baby, so I agreed.)

7am: OB and nurse switch shifts. Talk to new OB and nurse. My regular OB happens to be on call while I am in labor and deliver, so that is a nice coincidence that I didn’t have to be with someone I didn’t know.

8am: Nurse fills jacuzzi tub. This is amazing for pain relief. I was in there 2 hours and then nurse said I should get out and move around. (***That hospital allowed women to labor in the tub, but not to give birth in the tub, which is why I switched to U of M this time, which allows water birth.)

10am: After getting out of the tub, the pain increases immensely and I have a contraction every time I move. (Wish I could have stayed in the tub.) I try a position on hands and knees since I’m having back labor and it just feels like I shouldn’t be on my back.

11am: 6cm dilated. OB asks if she should break my water. I said let’s wait a bit and see if it breaks on it’s own. I’m happy for the progress.

11:30am: Danail is a sweetie and keeps bringing me water. (***I love this last note, I totally don’t remember thinking or writing that.)

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Those were the end of my written notes, but I was in labor another 12 hours until Eva was born. I wrote a full birth story on my previous blog so I’ll have to post the link to that when I find it. There was another note written at the bottom of the page which said that during labor I didn’t want any massage or counter-pressure on my back (which is what the husband’s learned to do in Lamaze class), didn’t want to be touched or spoken to. So, basically when I was in that much pain, I just needed to be left alone in a calm environment to allow my body to do what it was meant to.

37 Weeks Pregnant

How far along: 37 weeks. 3 weeks to go! or 4 or 5 :)

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Gained 3 more, so up around 12 lbs.

Sleep: Sleeping fine but waking twice a night for bathroom.

Best moment last week: I got a prenatal massage, which was great, but my back still hurt later that day. I’m having success with using an ice pack when I have pain, so not sure if I’ll bother with another massage, since they are not cheap.

Movement: She moves so much and is kicking my ribs more on my right side. I think she’s been in the same position for a few weeks since I always feel her feet in the same area under my right side ribs.

Food cravings: I’ve been craving dried tart cherries this past week. Trying to find them without preservatives can be expensive, but I found a large bag at Costco that had nothing too bad added. I’ll have to pick up a few more bags, that may be a good snack to take to the hospital for before or after labor. Even though I don’t think I’ll be interested in eating by the time I would get there, but just in case.

Gender: F

Labor signs: None, just a kicking baby, she is so active.

What I miss: Being able to walk for long periods of time. I’m at the point where my back is just tired and is feeling the larger load and I can’t walk around a lot like I used to. If we go out shopping or something, I have to sit down more frequently. I’ve been using an ice pack in the evenings when I lay down, and that really helps.

What I am looking forward to: Meeting baby girl and having labor and delivery behind me. I’m getting a little nervous about the thought of labor again. But, I do feel like this time it cannot possibly be longer or more painful than it was with Eva and I survived that.

I am also feeling that I’d like my normal brain back. I have typical pregnancy foggy brain and low energy. I think I am normally a creative person and I usually always have little projects going on, but during this pregnancy, especially when I was sick for so long, and then now as I’m getting toward the end, I feel like I can’t do anything besides maybe cook dinner each night and that doesn’t even always happen. I have no energy or incentive to do a lot of things I usually like to do, so I’m really hoping I can bounce back from that and be the productive person I’d like to be. I think a lot of that has to do with having hashimotos too, so I’ll be trying some new things to try to heal from that after baby comes.

34 Weeks Pregnant

I have been sooooo sick the last 6+ weeks, but I am feeling almost normal again. I almost cannot believe how sick I was so I have to rant/document this experience because I will forget. I had mentioned that I started getting some innocent allergies after 4/26. I know the exact date because it was my mom’s birthday and we went to a park with a large farm animal exhibit. It was a really fun day, Eva loved seeing all the animals, and pretty much the next day I started having allergies. I thought I was just irritated by something on the dirty animals or something, but no, this was something that was going to stick around for 6 weeks and cause me not to be able to sleep because I was so congested I could not breathe while laying down. I was waking up with sneezing fits and feeling like my head/sinuses were inflamed beyond anything I had ever experienced. I had never had allergies before and it was horrible. It was like having a miserable cold that never goes away. After a month of that, on top of these regular allergies, I did come down with a common cold, but it was the worst cold I’ve ever had. And that lasted 2 entire weeks. Who has a cold for 2 weeks? I don’t know anyone who has a cold for that long. It was like it was never going to go away. I had a low-grade fever, nothing too horrible, but had a really bad cough that caused me to lose my voice on several different days from coughing so much.

I am usually one of those people who never gets sick. I’ve never had the flu, and I might get 1 or 2 mild colds a year, but I’ve never experienced sickness like this, so it was very nerve-wracking. The whole time period is like a blur now because I wasn’t sleeping well and wasn’t hardly doing anything but being miserable, so now that I’m almost normal again, I feel like this pregnancy has just gone by way too fast. Oh, Eva and Danail also got sick, but they only had the sickness a few days, unlike me whose body held onto it for 2 weeks.

Okay, I’m done with my sickness rant so will move onto other news.

How far along: 34 weeks

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I can’t believe this, but I have not gained anything in the past several weeks. I am still up only 9 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight. So weird.

Maternity clothes: My maternity clothes are still big since I had gained much more weight during Eva’s pregnancy.

Sleep: I am finally able to breathe again at night, so I am sleeping better. I am really tired and some nights I’m sleeping 10-11 hours. Eva goes to bed around 9 and I usually lay down and read a book, but immediately get tired in like 5 minutes, so my night reading hasn’t been very productive lately.

Best moment last week: Getting over this cold.

Movement: So much movement, especially when I sit or lay down.

Food cravings: I’ve become a very picky eater. This happened during Eva’s pregnancy at the end. I feel disgusted by leftovers or anything that isn’t totally fresh. My body seems to want a certain food and I cannot eat anything else. I’m usually not at all picky and I will eat leftovers and eat the same thing a few days in a row, but not now, I cannot eat the same thing twice, and I’ve had to buy different varieties of food because my body just wants something different.

Labor signs: None

What I miss: Having energy.

What I am looking forward to: Having energy :)

Milestones: Only 6 weeks until my due date. We think we have finalized the name, but I won’t share until baby girl is here because I’m just private like that and I worry about what if I change my mind at the last minute or something…

This pregnancy has been so different from Eva’s in so many ways. I’ve only gained 9 lbs so far and with Eva I think I had gained 50 lbs by this time. I have felt this baby girl move from really early on and with Eva I never felt her move until closer to the end probably because my placenta was attached right in front and might have muffled any movements. I had some swelling at the end with Eva’s pregnancy (probably from the weight gain) but I’ve had none with this baby girl. I still have 6 weeks though so maybe it will come. I was working full time at a stressful job with Eva and this time I’m working part time from home with much less stressful work. I feel much more confident about things with pregnancy, labor, delivery obviously since it’s my second. In some ways this is good, but then in some ways, it makes me worry about labor/delivery more because I know how painful and hard it is. I only hope that my 2nd labor will be shorter and not as painful as everyone tells me.

We had an appointment at our new pediatrician’s office today to meet the pediatrician and see the facility. We are transferring to an office that is literally a 1 minute drive from our place. I really like Eva’s pediatrician but now that we’ve moved 15 miles west of there, I wanted to go somewhere closer, especially since I’ll be frequently going to appointments with a newborn. This is a smaller office with just 3 doctors and 2 nurses, but they have amazing reviews online and I’m so happy to go somewhere so close. I love the area where we live, so many things are just a few moments drive away. We could even walk there, but probably too difficult with 2 small children, unless I get really coordinated.

That is all that I can remember that is new with pregnancy. I’m so thankful to be feeling better, even though I’m very tired, at least I can breathe at night and sleep. I have midwife appointments every other week until due date.

Belly at 34 Weeks!

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Water Kefir

I’ve made milk kefir for a long time now, but this week I am trying water kefir for the first time. If you are looking for the similar health benefits of milk kefir, but want a dairy-free option, water kefir is the next logical step. I have resisted trying water kefir because the culture feeds on sugar and I was worried about how much sugar this would contain, but I understand that the kefir grains feed and consume most of the sugar and create enzymes, B vitamins and beneficial bacteria, and this fermentation process reduces most of the sugar. The end result will be a probiotic beverage that could taste like juice, or it can be fermented further to create a carbonated drink.

I bought the water kefir grains from Cultures for Health and followed their simple instructions. Learn about the importance of eating fermented foods here.

Water Kefir (3)

Water Kefir (1)

Water Kefir (2)

Potted Herbs

Herbs

We planted some herbs and lettuce in pots on our modest little porch. We have mint, oregano, dill, chives, basil and romaine leaf lettuce. There is also a random jade tree that I put out there and am hoping does alright in the warm weather since it’s always been inside. Eva loves going out there and watering her “purple flower” (petunia), which was a gift from Grandma. As you can see, the builder has not done a thing to the landscaping, so the outside of our condo looks a little deserted, but it should be nice whenever they decide to add grass and bushes or whatever else they will do. We can use the porch door as a front door and come in that way, which is convenient. Eva loves this porch and uses her table out here all the time and brings out her toys and art projects. She is really good about not messing with the plants, she doesn’t play in the dirt or do anything with them unless I ask her to help. She does ask about 10 times a day to water her purple flower and I try to explain that once a day is probably sufficient, but she’s still trying to understand that.

31 Weeks Pregnant

I have been very tired and still struggling with allergies and waking at night. I scheduled an extra appointment this week just to check on baby since I’ve not been feeling good and just wanted to hear her heartbeat and make sure everything was fine. Baby is measuring perfectly and the midwife said everything looks perfect. I think my thyroid is just still struggling and also having these allergies have just knocked me down during this pregnancy. She increased my levothyroxine to 225 mcg and hopefully I can stay on that dose until baby comes, but we’ll do another blood test in 4 weeks to make sure. I plan to see a thyroid specialist after baby is here to try a different med and try to get my thyroid more stable.

How far along: 31 Weeks

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I lost another pound since the last appointment 4 weeks ago, so total weight gain is only 9 lbs. I’m still surprised by this because I’ve been feeling so tired that I definitely have not exercised as much as I would like. But, I have been eating very well most of the time, so I think that is just it and my body just doesn’t need to gain a lot. My midwife said she doesn’t care too much about weight gain, as long as baby is measuring/growing well, everyone is different.

Maternity clothes: It is getting hot here, and I have about 4 pairs of maternity shorts, 1 maternity skirt, and maybe 5 maternity shirts, so basically I’m wearing the same clothes over and over again. No need to buy anything else since I only have 9 weeks left.

Sleep: I still wake up once a night because of allergies. Sometimes I can go back to sleep, but sometimes I have to get up and make some tea or something to clear my congestion since I’m usually waking up because I can’t breathe well. Very annoying.

Best moment last week: Can’t remember last week.

Movement: Lots of movement.

Food cravings: I haven’t been able to taste things well because I’m congested, so that makes eating less enjoyable. But, I still am liking steak and fresh salads.

Labor signs: Nope

What I miss: Being able to breathe through my nose all the time. My midwife said to not be surprised if I have these allergies continually until baby comes. She said to blame it on the pregnancy, since I’ve never had allergies before, and it’s just my immune system acting crazy, which is very normal.

What I am looking forward to: Next week is our “meet the midwives” and birth center tour. The “meet the midwives” meeting is where we’ll meet the whole group of midwives at the hospital, since any one of them could help deliver the baby, depending on who is on call that day. I’m looking forward to that and to seeing the birthing center rooms. I’ve requested to use a birthing tub, so I’m curious to see what that looks like.

Milestones: I’m happy to be in the final stretch. I can’t believe it’s only 9 weeks. We have chosen a first name, but we’re struggling with a middle name to go along with it. It is such a big decision. I don’t like trendy names and I like classic spellings of names, and I like to make sure they go with the last name and the flow of the name is good, so I’m particular about following those personal guidelines that I like.

I spoke with my midwife more about labor and delivery thoughts. I will definitely be declining the Hep B vaccine and the antibiotic eye ointment for baby girl, since those are not necessary for newborns with healthy disease-free mothers. I have not decided on the Vit K shot, still researching that. With Eva, I also declined the Hep B, but allowed the Vit K, but I’ll look into it a little more this time. I also would like to try the birthing tub, but want to leave it open to get an epidural if I choose to and that all depends on how baby is positioned and how labor is progressing.

28 Weeks Pregnant

Am I in the 3rd trimester? I can’t believe it. This pregnancy is going by fast! I have been feeling a little crappy lately, but finally got another belly shot.

28WeeksBaby#2 (2)

28WeeksBaby#2

My belly is bigger! Wow, even though I’ve done this before, it is still amazing to see your belly grow with a baby inside. I still sometimes forget that I’m pregnant for a moment, but then am reminded by a kick or by seeing myself in the mirror and being surprised for a second, haha!

Here is the baby questionnaire for the past few weeks:

How far along: 28 weeks

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I gained and then lost 2 pounds since 25 weeks, which is weird. I think I’m still about 10 pounds above pre-pregnancy weight.

Maternity clothes: I can still wear normal shirts, but if I wear a t-shirt, I just look fat, but if I wear a maternity shirt, it’s much more flattering and then I actually look pregnant, not just like I ate too much pizza.

Sleep: I have been having horrible sleep because I’ve had terrible ALLERGIES the past 3 WEEKS! This has been very miserable. I do not ever normally get allergies, so this is a totally new thing to be happening. I’ve read that it’s called pregnancy rhinitis and it is the most annoying thing ever! It has been worse at night. I wake up every single night around 3am feeling like I can’t breathe and I’m sneezing and blowing my nose over and over and over again. I feel like my nasal passages are swollen and irritated all the time. I did not want to take any medicine, because I’m pregnant and usually try to never take medicine unless absolutely necessary, but I was told that benadryl was fine, so after 2 weeks of misery, I started taking just 1 benadryl before bed, so I could at least sleep better. I did that for a few days and I did fall asleep more quickly and deeply, but I still woke up every night around 3 with the same congestion/sneezing/feeling like I can’t breathe. So, I stopped that, since it wasn’t helping much anyways. I’ve been using a neti pot, which is a natural safe way to clean out the sinuses. That does work, but it only feels good for about 1 hour afterwards and then I am right back to congestion again, so it hardly feels worth the effort, but I’ve been trying to do that at least once before bed. I also have saline spray but that doesn’t do much but make me have to blow my nose 10 times afterwards. So, I’m out of ideas, and just hoping that this stage will pass.

Best moment last week: I don’t have a one best moment, but Eva has been sweet in her understanding that she is going to have a baby sister soon. She says “say hi to baby?” and then wants to see my belly and she says “ahhhh” and pats it, so that is very cute. Sometimes she says “see baby now, please?” and I say we have to wait a little while for baby to grow more before we see her. Then she goes into her “why?” after everything I say, so that’s an ongoing conversation.

Movement: Baby girl still moves a lot all day long.

Food cravings: Hmmm, probably sweet things. I’m in love with lemons so I’m making a lot of healthy lemonade with fresh lemon juice, water and stevia. I’m also making iced red raspberry leaf tea with fresh lemon juice and stevia. Red raspberry leaf tea is fabulous for women, especially during pregnancy. Some sources say that it helps to tone the uterus to prepare for labor and delivery. I need all the help I can get so I’m up for that :)

I steep the tea right in this large glass pitcher, add fresh lemon juice and lemons with some liquid stevia and then let it sit for a while to cool down, then add ice a bit later and have it most of the day.

DSC_7998

Gender: F

Labor signs: None

What I miss: Being able to breathe clearly and not blow my nose all the time!

What I am looking forward to: Having 2 precious girls :)

Other Discomforts: I totally added this last question in because I’ve had 2 other physical discomforts that I did not have in Eva’s pregnancy. I’ve been having heartburn, especially after eating anything slightly spicy. This is also something I’ve never experienced, before pregnancy, or in Eva’s pregnancy. I’ve never had heartburn before and it’s not fun. I would say it is very mild, because it only lasts 5-10 min and its happened maybe 5 times, so it’s not as bad as what I’ve heard others say who get it every time they eat or at night and it lasts for hours, so I’m lucky, I just have a mild form of it. But, I do wonder why. Maybe because I’m older in this pregnancy and my body is just struggling more, not sure.

The other issue I’ve had is extreme fatigue and I really think that is because of my thyroid. I am having my thyroid monitored every 4 weeks and I’ve had to keep increasing my meds every time, which is the same as the last pregnancy. I am currently on 200 mcg of levothyroxine, which is the highest dosage I have ever been on in my life, which means my thyroid is really struggling. I expect it to need to be increased consistently throughout the rest of the pregnancy and then consistently need to be decreased after the baby comes to whatever level it needs normally. But, if I’m on these high thyroid meds, why am I so exhausted? I am tired beyond any level of fatigue I’ve had in a long time. If I take a walk through a park, I am wiped out for the rest of the night. It is frustrating and makes me sad. I feel like something is wrong with me.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been watching this seminar series about Autoimmune Thyroid Disease and it has been enlightening and encouraging. I’m encouraged because I have hope that I can feel better and possibly reduce the thyroid med that I was told I’d have to take the rest of my life. I’m learning a lot and it has motivated and encouraged me to stick with eating gluten-free and removing other allergenic foods and toxins from my diet and my life that could be harming my thyroid. It’s hard to believe that if I eat a certain food, my body reacts by attacking my thyroid. That is just sorta crazy to think about. But, I’m listening to the science behind it and I’m seeing how this is reality and it would be foolish of me to not do my best to try to follow these guidelines. Many people have healed themselves or at least greatly reduced their side-effects of thyroid auto-immune disease by changing their lifestyle. I will share more about that in future posts.