Saturday, January 28, 2012

Welcome to the World

Jocelyn Claire Walker
8 pounds, 1 ounce
20.5 inches long
born at 9:11 PM
on Thursday, January 26th


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

3 AM update

Oh, pregnancy insomnia.... how I truly hate you. You are robbing me of my last few days (and I mean DAYS, not weeks!) of my ability to sleep all the way through the night uninterrupted.

Tonight, however, its probably not all baby's fault. I have a lot on my mind. A dear friend of mine was taken to the hospital yesterday to be induced. This is her first baby. (I'm also trying to ignore the fact that she was due after me, but whatever. So far every single one of my friends who was "due after me" have already had their babies. What's one more?)

You know I'm all for natural birth when it can happen. But its still sobering to realize that there are just some things completely out of your control. There is a reason that doctors and hospitals can sometimes be a better choice than a midwife and a birth center. There is a reason that Cesarean sections have to take place. Not every birth goes smoothly without complications.

And my heart breaks for these women, my friends, who have dreamed of the "perfect birth" surrounded by supportive family and friends, letting nature do its thing. When the dream is etched in your mind, that's all you are prepared for. Its inconceivable that another scenario might actually take place instead.

If you are the praying type, please send some prayers to lift up my friend. She needs all the positive birth vibes you can muster.
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As for me, nothing new. I was checked by my midwife on Monday morning. I was still at 2 cm, 40% effaced. Not the kind of progress I was hoping. I have had inconsistent cramping, braxton hicks, and real contractions pretty much since last week. Stripping my membranes sure stirred things up, too. Yet, active labor still hasn't kicked in. I go back to see my midwife for another check on Friday.

Baby's heart rate is excellent. Lots of movement and variability. (A little TOO much movement, if you ask me! Even fetal hiccups make my whole belly shake by this point!) When doing kick counts, it takes about 5 seconds to track 10 movements. I joked with a friend that the baby was already up to 100 kicks by 9 AM yesterday... and that's not even the baby's most active time of day!

My blood pressure rocks. My urine is always negative. I'm not measuring too big. There is literally just no reason to try to make this baby come before he/she is ready.

I just wish it would hurry up and decide that its ready. Cause *I* am ready!

Thanks for hanging in there with me :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

I Heart Faces: By the Book



As soon as I saw the challenge theme, I had just the picture I wanted to share.


It was one of our first soccer games of the season and we were running out the door so we wouldn't be late to the fields. And where was Jayce? Reading "Are You My Mother?" by PD Eastman to himself in his room. In full soccer gear :) This picture makes me smile every time I see it.

Go check out all the rest of the great By The Book entries over at I Heart Faces!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Terrific Kid

Jaina loves school and always has.

She loves meeting new friends, art class, recess, socializing at lunch, playing sports during PE and Health and Fitness, loves it when she gets to wear new clothes to class, and loves class parties.

The academics?

Eh, not so much.

I think she takes after my side of the family when it comes to Math, Reading, and Science :)

So it comes as no surprise that she has to work extra hard both in school and at home to keep her grades up to par. This is the first year I can say that she's enjoyed reading. Math continues to be a thorn in her side. She could totally live without Science and Social Studies.

At the last Awards Day at her school, she was upset that she missed out on all the awards that her peers received. No A/B Honor roll, no perfect attendance, no 100 book challenge award, no highest score in any subject award. She did receive the "Sunshine Award" but its just a made-up fluff award by her teacher to give to kids that don't earn any of the "real" awards.

This past Thursday, the day before 2nd Quarter Awards, she says to me, "I don't even care about awards day tomorrow. I never get anything. You don't even have to come."

She had no idea that her teacher had emailed me specifically requesting that Brian and I attend on Friday :) And I didn't say a word!

With my pregnant brain not fully functioning, I almost did forget about her program the next morning. I dropped both kids off at school in my PJ's and sauntered back to the house by 8 AM only to find Brian completely ready to go. Ack! I didn't have time to shower! I threw clothes on, brushed my teeth, ran a brush through my hair, and we barely made it up to her school by 8:15.


I think she was secretly happy that we came :)

One of the first awards handed out was for outstanding work in Technology Class.


and it went to Jaina! We were as surprised as she was! That's not the award her teacher had told us about. Brian was especially proud, you know, being a computer geek and all :)

The next award that was given went to Jaina's best friend Eva for creative writing. Their teacher asked Eva to come up and share her story that helped her to win the award. 


The story was entitled, "My Best Friend Jaina" and went on to describe the qualities Jaina has that makes her such a great friend. It was so sweet!!! Jaina's ears turned bright red!



After all the academic awards and "fluff" awards were given out, it was time for the most important award: Terrific Kid.

Only 8 children a year are picked for Terrific Kid in each class. Normally its one girl and one boy, but since Jaina is in a single gender class, her teacher got to pick two girls.


Jaina was SO surprised!!!! Terrific Kids are chosen based on many different merits... hard work, kindness, respect, character, etc. Its a very big honor. This is the third time Jaina's been chosen since 1st grade :)



Jaina just happened to be the classroom's Pink Princess this week as well. This means she was the teacher's right hand helper. She got to deliver messages to the office, be the line leader, act as the bathroom monitor, and water the plants :)


It was a very uplifting morning for Jaina. Sometimes she struggles with feeling special in our home. 9 years old is such an awkward age. She wants to be independent, but still my baby. She wants to be grown up, but still play with toys. She craves the attention that Jayce receives from both Brian and me and his team of therapists.


I'm so proud of my baby :)

365: Third week of January








Saturday, January 21, 2012

Update...

My best friend Farell, who is currently residing outside of Nuremberg, Germany, just came up yesterday to visit with me. She is only here for the weekend, then will be heading back to Atlanta to catch her flight out on Wednesday to return home to Germany.

She was only here a few hours before my contractions started last night. I was very quick to remind myself that it was probably not the start of real labor. They didn't have a pattern and they weren't increasing with strength or lasting very long. But still... I thought in the back of my head that this baby was waiting for his/her aunt Farrell to arrive and maybe, just maybe, she would be present for the birth.

See, she missed Jaina's birth by TWO days. She had her plane ticket to Seattle booked for May 21st, 2002. I was due on May 12th, 2002 with my first baby and I just *knew* I'd have the baby by the time she left. Nope. Miss Jaina was ll days overdue. Talk about frustrating. I had used Certified Nurse Midwives at our local hospital and they assured me that babies come when they are ready. And most of my friends assured me that if I had been using a "real" OB/GYN, I would have been induced at least by 39 weeks. It was definitely a lesson in patience!

Still, I wouldn't have changed my birth experience with her for the world. Okay, maybe I would have gone back in time to take a Bradley birth class and I definitely would have skipped the epidural (that I got during transition and had no idea that I was so close to delivering!). But, I still think my non-induced vaginal birth was lovely and well worth the wait. She was 7 lbs, 10 oz of beautiful pink skin. She didn't look "overdue" whatsoever and my placenta showed no signs of being old or calcified. She came when she was ready. She got excellent APGAR scores and we had no trouble with breathing or latching issues. There is no doubt in my mind that she needed those 11 "extra" days to develop. And it also taught me that I could trust my body to do its job.

On my due date with Jayce, I had a different set of friends. These friends were more like me... used midwives, breastfed, co-slept, practiced attachment parenting. They were a wonderful support system when my due date with him came and went. I was honestly expecting another almost-two-week overdue baby like his sister, so wasn't I pleasantly surprised when he came just 4 days after his documented due date?

Even past term, he was only 6 lbs, 13 oz. He looked so tiny compared to Jaina. A pound can make a huge difference! Because of some meconium in his fluid, he did have a slight respiratory issue when he first came out. But NICU docs checked him out and all was well. I had him with the same Certified Nurse Midwives by my side and also had a doula for the first time. With this support, I was able to give birth completely drug free. It was a beautiful labor and I felt so confident when I was able to relax through contractions and just ride the wave. It only got intense during transition and by then, I knew he was going to be coming soon.

With those two wonderful, but different, experiences, I can only guess what this next baby's birth will be like. I am sad that I had to transfer from the CNM's practice due to their new policies. I would have loved to have the same wonderful women surround me at the birth of all my children. But it wasn't meant to be. If I stayed with the CNM's practice that they are affiliated with, I would have a 95% chance that my baby would be delivered by an intern completing his round of obstetrics for his residency.

No offense to any residents out there who read my blog (or is married to one!). I know they have to learn somewhere. I just don't want to have to fight with someone who is trained in birth complications to let me labor naturally. Our residents have a hard time believing that birth is not a problem. Believe me, my CNM's are trying desperately hard to change their view. Their main function at the hospital now is to educate the residents in natural birth. If I cared more about my view of natural labor than my baby, I might even be willing to help out in this education. But I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Too many interventions may be suggested and a laboring woman can be very distracted by all of the options.

I have chosen this time to give birth with a South Carolina licensed midwife team at a local birth center. The only difference between this and a home birth is that its not at my house :) The birth center offers birthing suites with full sized birthing tubs in them. I can labor on the bed, in the tub, on a birthing ball or birthing stool, or any way I need to. I'll be permitted to wear my own clothes (believe me, I will not miss the hospital gowns required!) and even my contacts if I want. I will have access to drinks and snacks for energy. I will not have an IV or a catheter. I will not be confined to a bed on my back. I will not have constant external monitoring. I will be free to move around the entire birth center, or even go outside, if I choose. My children are welcome to stay as long as they'd like and even witness the birth. I am allowed a birth photographer and a doula and anyone else that I'd like present. There is no 48 minimum required stay. Instead, the midwives will let me go home when baby and I are comfortable with it. They will then come to my house at 24 and 48 hours after the birth to do both maternal and newborn monitoring.

My husband can be as active or inactive as he'd like (His plan right now is to update FB until the baby is actually crowning, then he wants to help guide the baby out and cut the non-pulsating cord). There is no pressure on him since I'll be surrounded by the wonderful women I've chosen to support me during my labor.

I feel very ready. I want to get this show on the road and meet my new baby :)

Because of liability, I will not allowed to go over 42 weeks gestation. And yes, before you ask, I know exactly the day I ovulated due to charting my cycle, so I am very confident of how long this baby has actually been gestating.

Tomorrow I'll be 41 weeks. I have an appt at the birth center on Monday to check for any dilation or effacement. She will also strip my membranes. If the baby does not come that week, I'll be transferred to my old OB/GYN practice for monitoring with ultrasound and non-stress tests. An induction at the hospital will be scheduled. I have no idea if I could arrange to have my CNM there with me or not. I don't know what her delivery schedule is like. Most likely I'd have a supervising doctor admit me and a resident deliver when its time.

Induction means pitocin. I've never had it, but I've heard its horror stories from women who have had both pitocin inductions and labors on their own. I think the consensus is that pitocin contractions hurt about 10 times worse than your own natural oxytocin contractions. Most women I know on pitocin opt for an epidural early in labor. I will be one of them! And I have to be honest.... epidurals scare me. Yes, I know that I had one with Jaina and everything was fine, but the possibility that something could go wrong (like leaky spinal fluid that results in a spinal head ache and consequent spinal patch) has me terrified. The research is pretty darn clear. Failed induction and use of epidural are directly correlated in the c-section rate.

I cannot have a c-section. I just can't.

I have an intestinal condition that required multiple surgeries when I was just 24 hours old. My 33 years of scar tissue that has resulted from that surgery has left my abdomen a mess. Cutting into that mess would not be fun. And the doctors can pretty much guarantee that I would have massive amounts of scar tissue from any other kind of surgery, especially a c-section. This would make having any subsequent children extremely risky from a medical standpoint.

Although this baby #3 is possibly our last anyway, *I* want to be the one to make that decision, not a doctor. My heart breaks for women who are told, "Sorry... you really should get your tubes tied because our practice won't do more than 3 c-sections on any given mom. So this is your last kid..." To have that choice taken away from you? I never want that.

Sorry this is so long and rambly. Possibly my readers can forgive me since I'm suffering, yet again, from pregnancy insomnia. I would much rather lose sleep over a nursing newborn than be awake for absolutely no reason.

Today I will watch my children play basketball, tell anyone that sees me there "Nope, STILL haven't had that baby!", eat lunch at Chick-fil-a, vote for Herman Cain in the SC Republican primaries ("Because a vote for Herman Cain is really a vote for me!"- Stephen Colbert) and enjoy my best friend Farrell's company. And try not to think about when I'll go into labor.

Feel free to add me as a friend on FB if you would like birth updates. That is the first place that information will be posted :) If you don't think I know your name, please add in a message that you are a blog reader :)

Thanks so much for all the kind, supportive words you've shared with me in the comments section. They mean a lot!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

40 weeks 4 days

Um, yeah.


This baby is now officially more overdue that Jayce was. 

But luckily, still not as overdue as Jaina was.

But I'm even more impatient this go 'round. 

Come on, baby... please! Mommy does not want to have a hospital induction, okay?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A new stim

Everyone knows what a stim is, right? In the Autism World, its short for "self-stimulatory behavior". Way too big of a mouthful to say every time you see your kid hand flapping. "Hey, Jayce! Let's use your words to show how excited you are instead of using a self-stimulatory behavior!"

Honestly, stims aren't a huge problem in the grand scheme of things. I read on a SN forum one time, "No one has ever been injured by a stim" or something like that. When you have a child that is non-verbal or one that engages in self-injurious behavior (where's the abbreviation for that?), a little hand flapping gets ranked pretty low on things to work on.

Before I had Jayce, I was not very knowledgeable about stims. I only thought there were three: hand flapping, toe walking, and rocking back and forth. Ha! Now I know there are verbal stims, visual stims, and that physical stims can be very subtle or seen as a tic.

I also had no idea what caused them. Or why the person felt the need/compulsion to do the behavior. From what I understand, most stimming is related to sensory input some how.

Jayce has had many stims over the last 4 years. Most of them I just ignore. It will pass. The hand flapping does get a verbal correction because it seems to help him in the long run with communication. He pretty much only hand flaps now if he's super excited about something or else sees things in motion. With the excitement thing, if he uses his words to TELL us how excited he is, most often he forgets to use his hands to tell us. With the motion thing, there doesn't seem to be anything we can do about that.

His newest stim, though, bothers me. Its not so much that he looks weird doing it (and I do worry about teasing the older he gets), but its that he's told me that he is very uncomfortable. Its this crazy little shoulder shrug while pulling on his shirt. It looks like he is very uncomfortable in his skin. When I ask him about it, he tells me that nothing hurts, but he can't stop moving his shoulders that way because they are uncomfortable unless he does the motion. It was just an occasional thing a couple of weeks ago. Now he does it all the time.

I don't want him to be uncomfortable :(

His OT suggested that we give him a lot more proprioceptive input. We haven't had to visit a sensory diet in what seems like forever! But as I'm reading this website to re-familiarize myself with appropriate sensory activities, I am realizing that Jayce is having a lot of sensory issues again. Its affecting his ability to focus, his gross motor skills, and his inability to sit still.

We're going to try some sensory activities before moving to a weighted vest or a pressure vest. I know he's only in 1st grade, but I worry about him needing a vest at school and looking different. I know I shouldn't.... just being honest here.


On a completely different topic, the kids received report cards today. I asked Jayce to tell me what his grades were.

"Well, I got a 64 in Math. That's an "F" mom."

I quickly open up his report card to see for myself.

He had straight A's, which is what I was expecting.

"Jayce! You have an A in math! Why did you think you failed?"

Then I see his one fast facts test (sums up to 14) in his blue folder with a 64 on it. It looks like he just ran out of time. The 64 he completed out of 100 were correct. The rest were unfinished due to time constraints. I then had to explain to him what an "average" was and how one little fast facts score wasn't enough to mess his A average up :) Silly boy!

Oh, and no... still no baby. Jayce is determined for me to have a c-section and he can't fathom why this baby does not know that its 40 weeks are up!

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Blessingway

The Blessingway ceremony comes from Navajo tradition, but has been embraced by many communities. A Blessingway can be offered to celebrate, support and honor many life changes--healing, the beginning of menstruation, marriage, birth, life transition, even a journey or a move.





My dear friends from our local La Leche League chapter honored my upcoming labor and birth with a Blessingway. It was a beautiful celebration with my lovely friends.

Each guest had a turn in lighting a candle. These candles will be re-lit during my labor.

Amy painted the above picture and felt inspired to include a nighttime scene due to my pregnancy insomnia. It will hang in our master bedroom above the bassinet where the baby will sleep.

Angie decorated my growing belly with henna. We hope it to last, unfaded, until I give birth.

Mary and Kathy pampered me with a foot massage. It was heavenly.

While we were enjoying each others' company, each guest passed around a bound journal in which they could write a poem, letter, or draw a picture that will help me through the birthing process.

I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends lift me up in spirit these last few days of my pregnancy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

All About Me Meme

My friend Allie over at Baby Fields Blog tagged me in an "All about Me" blog meme. Its been so long since I've participated in one! I appreciate having something to do while I wait for my real labor to start :) Thanks so much Allie!

There are four rules to this meme....
  1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
  2. Link back to the Blogger (or Bloggers) who awarded you.
  3. Answer the following questions, down below.  
  4. Pass the award out and victimize recognize other Bloggers letting them know, of course, that you've nailed love them.
Now on to the questions:

-Favorite color:
My favorite color has always been purple. I even used to have purple keds when I was in 6th and 7th grade. I still love it.

-Favorite animal:
Let's see... my dog Shaggy would probably win out as my favorite animal. I wish I could say that I'm a huge animal lover, but I'm not. Only special ones make it into my heart. Shaggy is definitely special :)

-Favorite Number:
Its always been 53. It might have been because of a certain hot looking basketball player with the same number in HS. Or maybe not? :)

-Favorite drink:
Hands down, an ice-cold fountain coca-cola. I love me some coke :)

Facebook or Twitter?:
I don't own a twitter account, so I'll have to pick FB. Which I spend way too much time on.

-Passion?
Probably breastfeeding and attachment parenting. Autism advocacy will always be a passion, too, but its not at the forefront of our lives as much as it once was.

-Getting or Giving presents?
I'm going to say that I actually prefer receiving presents. Why? Because I'm easy to please and I pretty much like everything. However, shopping for others stresses me out greatly and I always wonder if I picked the right thing, spent the right amount of money, and if my friend appreciated it. I put way too much thought in the process. For example, I love candles and can't have too many. But do I give candles as presents? Typically not because I always feel like its an impersonal gift. See the catch-22?

-Favorite Day:
Friday. I love the anticipation for the weekend and the end of the busy week.

-Favorite Flower:
Tulips



So, now you all know a little bit more about me :) And on to the tagging....

My friend Dodi over at Memorable Times is probably looking for something to do as she waits out the last 8 weeks of her pregnancy :)

My friend Julie at Growing Days has a lot on her plate, but I know she's always up for something fun :)

Thanks for playing ladies :)





False Labor

This is one post I really wish I wasn't writing.

Yes, my dear blog readers, I was all set to have the baby today. Why did I think that? Well, maybe it was the contractions that I had from 1:30 PM until 10:00 PM? They might have been irregular, but they weren't going away.

Then around 10:00 PM, Brian wakes me up to ask me how my contractions were. Well, if I was sleeping, obviously they were not that bad!

But when I got up to go to the bathroom, a contraction ripped through me and held on.

I never thought it was going to end. Changing position did nothing. Then I had this horrible feeling like I was going to throw up, while I was still having this gripping contraction. It was all I could do to communicate to Brian that I needed something to throw up in. Since I was laying on my bed on all fours at the time and he did not want to wash a comforter in the middle of the night, he was pretty darn quick at getting me a bowl :)

I started having hot flashes during this contraction (that honestly felt like it was 5 minutes long!) so I took off my shirt.

Finally, the pain started to ease. Then I got freezing cold and started shaking. I had another bad contraction after that, but this one wasn't as long.

I called my doula Angie to update her and could barely talk. She told me to call my midwife.

I called my midwife and could barely talk because of the contractions. And the shaking. Now I couldn't get warm! Brian walks in and calmly says, "You should put your shirt back on, silly!"

Midwife knew I had been having off and on contractions for almost 12 hours, so she told me to go ahead and come on in. I called my mom as soon as that last contraction stopped to come over and watch the kids. She arrived at our house by 10:45 PM.

As soon as I got in the van, I felt better. So good, in fact, that a little doubt crept into my head that we should even be heading to the birth center.

By the time we got there, I had only had 3 mild contractions that were no big deal.

Then came the discouraging news.... 2 cm. Ouch. Not really effaced. Double ouch.

So, we came back home. I rolled into bed at midnight and now am up for the day.

And haven't had a single contraction in the last 30 minutes that I've been up.

So, if you could, please send me some "go into labor" vibes because false labor absolutely sucks and I'd really like it to be real!

I'll keep y'all updated....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Basketball

After playing soccer for the last 4 Fall seasons, my kids decided that they would try their hand(s) at a new sport: Basketball.

I briefly played basketball for a short time during my adolescence. I was on a church league in 6th and 7th grade. This gave me the confidence to go out for the Jr. High 8th grade team at my high school. I was thrilled when I made the team!

(And the only reason I made the team was due to the fact that there were enough uniforms for everyone that tried out!)

I sucked royally at basketball. I wasn't fast, I wasn't aggressive, I spent the whole time unsure of what position I was actually playing. I probably only made about 1/2 of the shots that I tried to put up.

It was not a surprise when I didn't make the team when trying out again in 9th grade. And there ended my glorious basketball career :)

But I'm trying hard not to transfer my less than stellar skills onto my children. You never know... they might actually be good at this sport.


Jayce learned how to properly shoot the ball, but has yet to make one in the basket yet. But he's got dribbling down pat!

And, more importantly, he had a blast at his first game :)

Jaina?


She had fun.... but fully admits that she likes soccer much better.


Both their first games were a success! I hope the rest of the season goes just as well.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ten on 10: January 2012

ten on ten button


Well, really its Nine on 10. Tuesdays are extremely busy days and I went lots of places that weren't conducive to taking pictures.









Monday, January 09, 2012

Getting Ready

I think baby is getting ready to make his/her appearance. Not only am I only 6 days away from my due date but I can also feel my body start to prepare for the upcoming birth.

So, am I ready?

For the most part, sure! Bring it on!

We've got the beautiful handmade blanket and hat courtesy of my stepmom Kim.


We've got the gender neutral turquoise and yellow flannel receiving blanket made by my friend Miranda.


Thanks to my friend Michelle, we are equipped with a gorgeous yellow, gray, and lime green bassinet.


I've got enough yellow, gray, off-white, and turquoise newborn sized clothes to last for a good week or so.

We have our names picked out :) And we actually agree!

Bags are packed. Childcare is arranged. Midwife, doula, and photographer are all waiting for my signal.

We just need a baby :)

Off to bed just in case tomorrow is the day! Coincidentally, tomorrow is the 10th. I am supposed to do my Ten on 10 photography challenge tomorrow. Its also one of our busiest days of the week. So maybe I'm *not* quite so ready....

Oh, and if you look to the right of my blog up near the top, I've added a poll option to the side bar.

Boy or girl?

What do you think?

I Heart Faces: Best Face of 2011



Okay, this was hard. Really hard.

2011 was an amazing year for me as a photographer. And it had nothing to do with me, but everything to do with the wonderful clients I had. Such beautiful people, families, and kids... all with amazing personalities.

I'm choosing to enter this photo of this sweet baby:


He belongs to one of my friends from college. This little one was born several months premature and has amazed us all with how resilient he is.

Its those eyes and smile... they get me every time!

Go check out all the other gorgeous "Best Faces of 2011" over at I Heart Faces