Braxton Hicks, Hypnobabies progress, and thoughts about the upcoming birth

Tuesday, May 5, 2014 –

For the past three weeks, I’ve been noticing Braxton Hicks more and more often. I don’t remember having them all that much with Tee. Then again, they may not have been strong enough to notice.

These are pretty strong, meaning that I notice, and they sometimes make me catch my breath. I occasionally notice them when I’m walking around or sitting down. But I definitely notice them most when laying down to nurse Tee to sleep in the evenings. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s the nursing that’s triggering them, given that I’m a only two and a half weeks away from being full-term. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m laying down, undistracted and therefore able to pay better attention to what my body is doing.

Sometimes there’s only a mild tightening sensation that I have to feel around with a hand to even be sure about. But more and more often, they are pretty uncomfortable. Those times, I usually go into Hypnobabies mode and use the Braxton Hicks for birthing practice.

I’m feeling good about how well I’ve stuck with the Hypnobabies home study program for the last several weeks, and I feel pretty confident that I’ll be able to stick with my maintenance schedule. I don’t remember being this diligent with things in the last month of my pregnancy with Tee. I may have been, but I really don’t remember. In any case, I like that I have at least one birth to use a reference point for the readings and listening sessions – it really makes a difference.

Gotta be honest, though: I’m anxious about this next birth itself.

With Tee’s pregnancy around this time, I remember being so excited. Sure, I was nervous about the unknown. What would a contraction (or pressure wave, in Hypnobabies lingo) feel like? What would translation (transformation) be like? How would it feel to actually push out a baby? But that nervousness didn’t keep me from being ridiculously excited when I lost my mucus plug or when I finally noticed that I was in labor.

I’m not quite so naive this time. Tee’s birth was intense. Yes, every birth and baby is different. I can’t predict how the birth of this next baby will go based solely on Tee’s birth (or anything else for that matter). But I know just enough to be glad that I’m still about a month away. I’m ready to meet this baby. I’m not at all in a rush to do the work to help him or her emerge.

Not to say I’m not excited about meeting this baby. I am so looking forward to that, and especially learning whether we have a little newborn boy or girl. I guess that’s an underrated bonus of not finding out the sex. The anticipation of finally getting to find out is just a little bit more motivation during birth.

Still. If I could push a button and switch places with TH for the last 12 hours or so of this pregnancy, I totally would.

Kidding. (Totally not kidding.)

Welcome back

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 –

Last night, in an online conversation, a friend made a comment that reminded me of the fact that, while I’ve been working behind the scenes (with my site private) to upload nearly two and a half years worth of journal entries (for perspective: a Word document comprised of over 350, single-spaced 11 point font pages… and counting) into this online space, from an outside perspective, it pretty much just looks like my blog ceased to exist sometime during my son’s first year.

Fair point!

I’ve got a thing about leaving things unfinished, especially if it’s an unfinished thing that other people are aware of, which explains why I changed my blog settings from open to private (that and the fact that I wasn’t even sure I had more than a handful of readers, and certainly no one that I thought would miss reading my ramblings). But I’m working on a self-set deadline – the end of May, a week before baby number two’s due date – to have everything from Tee’s first two and a half years uploaded so that I can start fresh with uploading my thoughts and experiences about life as a family of four. That’s certainly incredibly motivating in and of itself, but a little extra motivation – in this case, knowing that people are visiting and reading again – certainly can’t hurt.

So, I’m opening up my site again today. I’m assuming that anyone who gets email alerts about my posts will be notified accordingly, and if that means you, I’m waving hello!

I still have several more things I want to do here before I feel like my work is done. I no longer really think of this space as a blog, but instead think of it as my journal, archived online for additional safe keeping as well as for easy memory reference in the future. In addition, and since Tee was born, journal is now essentially A) still my journal, B) a family record of sorts and C) a replacement for personal, hand-written baby books for our kids (I’m not even going to pretend to have time for that with this next kid).

I’ll keep a page with notes about my progress here.

Briefly, they include:

  • Uploading about 2.5 years worth of journal entries, typed into the Notes app on my iPhone, and spanning the period of December 2012 to present. It’s a little more time consuming than it sounds because, for my own comfort, I go through each post and anonymize the names of family, friends, acquaintances and places.
  • Uploading Hello, Baby! letters for the child currently in utero and due in about five weeks time (Aack! So soon!)
  • Uploading 35 plus weeks of weekly pregnancy snapshots
  • Adding photos to posts to finally get them out of the photos file on our computer and into a more visible space, which I’m hoping will be fairly easy to do since our photo program archives photos by date, and I can retroactively line with up with posts I’ve uploaded here.

Most importantly, I’d like to never get more than a week behind with uploading my journal entries into this blog ever again. A tall order, especially once I have two kids and even less free time than I had before to work on this. But I’m pretty sure that remembering the frustration of trying to do things after getting months behind will be just what I need to keep me on track.

There are so many things that I want to get done before this baby is born, but in all honesty, getting this record uploaded has been by far the most important to me. Unlike my ongoing work volunteering and training for roles in two breastfeeding advocacy and support organizations, or even the things that TH and I are doing to prepare our family for its newest member, this journal project is something that I have been doing for me, because I want to – and because I hate to leave an important project unfinished.

While time consuming, it has been a labor of love, and I am so glad that I took the time, a few minutes here and there several days a week, to write about my thoughts and experiences from the moment we became a family of three and on. I’ve enjoyed going back to old journal entries, and reading my feelings about whatever our family was doing at the time. It’s been incredible to see how much I’ve grown as a person over the past two and a half years, how much Tee has grown and changes from his newborn days, how my relationship with TH has evolved as we gone from being not only a married couple, but parents.

I’m curious about where we’ll be two and a half years from now, and I hope you’ll still be around, reading, commenting, and sharing in that experience.

Nearly there

Monday, May 4, 2015 –

Today, one of my friends’ mom asked me when the baby was due. I gave my standard answer (around the first week of June) and then paused because it is the first week of May, and it is crazy to realize that our lives are going to change dramatically in only a few weeks’ time. I’m 35 weeks as of yesterday, and I’m realizing that this means I’m anywhere from three weeks on the low end to seven weeks on the high end of meeting our next baby. Given that Tee came pretty much right on his estimated due date, I’m not at all under the impression that I have more time than less.

I’ve made my peace with not completing the requirements for LLL leadership in six months as I’d hoped, so that I could have it behind me before the baby came. I don’t want to rush through what I’m learning, and since I expect LLL to be a part of my daily parenting life until my youngest child weans, I know that there is plenty of time.

I’m thisclose to having my journal completely uploaded to my blog. This is the one thing I want to finish for sure before the baby comes seeing that it has taken me the better part of two years to catch the two up with each other.

We’re finishing up other things around the house that I wanted to have done: the closet has been organized and it is fantastic! TH’s parents did such a great job with it, and we have so much more space in there now. Plenty of room for two kids’ cloths and things.

Speaking of clothes and things, I’ve taken out all the newborn things, including diapers and clothes, as well as any additional clothing of Tee’s through about six months that is gender neutral. I’ve also gotten rid of a ton of things that I didn’t really use with Tee and likely won’t with this baby either, just to free up clutter and so that I can admire our baby things hanging in the closet without also mentally noting all the things I have been meaning to get rid of. Diapers were prepped and folded into the dresser a couple of months ago, and I’ve added a few things to our toddler diaper stash as well – including several free or cheap diapers in fantastic shape from friends who are done having kids and wanted to get rid of some things.

I’ve been breaking in my new wraps and sling, as well as learning a few carries perfect for newborns – love my Facebook group for getting me up to speed, and also our local BWI that I still need to join for helping me face-to-face.

The car seats are getting arranged and inspected this week. We’ll be side-carring the crib sometime this week. We have the glider that we’re borrowing from TH’s parents, and my parents will be delivering the family rocking chair that they’re reupholstering as a gift to us in the next couple of weeks.

My home birth kit arrived. I’m in the maintanance stage with my Hypnobabies home study course. My birth plan has been updated. The doula/photographer and placenta encapsulator has been paid in full, and we’ll be finishing up payment to the midwife soon, too. My 36 week home visit and check with our midwife is scheduled, as is my 36 week and final check with our parallel care nurse practitioner.

The last few things that I’d like to do in the next few weeks: clean all the bathrooms in the house from top to bottom, sort through the freezer and get rid of anything old to make room for things that I’ll want to stock up on as well as for any meals that I may freeze in advance, pack an emergency bag, and finish writing thank you notes that I’ve been stalling in before I forget about them completely after the baby is born.

Other than that, everything is ready. That’s perhaps one of the finer beauties of natural parenting, as well as of not finding out the sex prior to baby’s birth. We don’t need to fix up a nursery or feel inclined to buy any new newborn/infant things to ‘match’ a particular sex or gender. We have pretty much everything the baby could need, and anything else is just for my own personal enjoyment (for example, I’ve been forcing myself not to go our local consignment store, which is located all too entirely close to our new house, because we don’t need a ton of new baby clothing but it’s still tough to pass up on a 10 onesies for $10 sale when you see one!).

We’ll be ready, I think. And ready or not, this baby is coming!

Night weaning’s slow progression

Saturday, January 10, 2015 –

I’m loathe to speak too soon, but I think the child led night weaning approach I’ve been taking is working. Well, child-led plus the added fact that my milk has dwindled and is transitioning to colostrum, but still not in any copious amounts.

Yesterday for nap, I was exhausted. Tee has been sleeping so poorly what with the molars and the general rashy discomfort following the pineapple incident. I went in with him to nurse him to sleep, but he was still pretty restless and wanted to play instead. So I got up, locked the bedroom door to keep him close by and told him I needed to sleep and he could either play on the floor, or he could lay next to me with his trucks if he wanted to. And, he did just that – he settled down under the covers with his trucks in each hand and his head on TH’s pillow. I usually have a very hard time sleeping when he is awake – it’s like I can’t turn off the parent part of my brain that has to know what he is up to. But he just stayed next to me, very quiet. I eventually dozed off. I woke him once to see him looking at me and smiling. The next time I woke up he was asleep, too. Without nursing! Although his hand was on my boob and he was nestled into my side.

That’s been how nights are going increasingly, as well. For instance, last night he nursed, then moved up to lay his head on my shoulder, nestled into my side, his forehead against my cheek, a hand across my chest. He was soon asleep. During the night, he still stirred just as much as he has all week, but he alternated wakings with either a) scooting closer to me or laying across my chest, b) nursing, or c) drinking from his sippy of water.

It’s remarkable to see him consistently falling asleep without nursing. And I’m relieved that it’s been mostly dramatics and trauma free. That’s not to say there hasn’t been any crying. There’s been some for sure, especially this week. But I can pinpoint a lot of the crying to his teeth and the painful cracks on his lips from the pineapple that dry during the night and then split open again when he opens his mouth. It’s looks pretty painful. He’s not crying because I’m not letting him nurse. In fact there are times when I’m practically begging the dude to clamp onto a boob and hush so Dad and I can go back to sleeping in peace, but he’s too busy shouting that he doesn’t want any covers or that he wants ice in his water or that he wants his orange cup instead of the green one or… He screamed most loudly and vehemently in the beginning of the week to be able to twiddle one boob by nursing the other but that’s slowing down, too. By far, last night was the least eventful of the whole week and I think we’ve turned a corner.

I’m still not pushing the night weaning, but I can see it coming over the horizon and I’m okay with it. I’m trying to be mindful about still offering to nurse him during the day and at night, too – I really don’t want him to wean totally before my milk comes in after the baby. I want him to have the opportunity to nurse longer if he would like rather than stopping because he assumes the milk is gone and never coming back. I’m still a little nervous that he may wean outright rather than compensate by nursing more during the day. But if he does wean, I don’t want it to be because I cut him off.

He has shown a lot more interest in asking to nurse during the day, which is fine by me. And speaking of asking, he no longer asks by saying nah nah, or other side, or nah nah other side, as he’s done for I don’t know how long. Instead, now, he just shortens everything to nah. “Mama, I want to nah,” or “Mama, nah please?”

A day at home and the arrival of colostrum

Thursday, January 8, 2015 –

Such a great day so far. It’s below freezing out so I woke up not wanting to leave the house but also not wanting the day to go entirely to cartoons. But after waking up, Tee only asked (and cried) for Dora once before becoming engrossed in other things after eating breakfast. I was shocked by how easily we moved from one activity to the next and how he immersed himself in what we were doing. It’s been such a long time since we’ve had a day spent entirely at home in which he didn’t stop doing one thing to ask for a show and then to wail about it endlessly if I asked that we do something else instead. Not that we have many days spent entirely in the house, but still. I take my points where I can get them.

We read a big stack of books. He built a “monument” as he called it out of his bristle blocks — he was so proud of it he asked me to take a picture. I sent the photo to TH and he joked that maybe we should homeschool our budding engineer afterall. We played with his trains for a while. Then he asked to finger paint (I pulled them out for the first time yesterday and he loved it). Just as he began to grow bored with that, he asked for his trumpet. So I put on our CD from the latest music class and pulled out the toy instruments. We had a mini jam session. I was sure he’d ask for a show after all this, but instead he pulled out some puzzles.

We’re just now nursing for nap, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how the morning and early afternoon went. We usually do something out of the house most mornings of the week, and I often dread being housebound on rainy and cold days. But now I have renewed faith in our ability to find things to do that don’t involve an hour or two of cartoons.

Speaking of nursing, I officially have colostrum at 18 weeks. I totally forgot that this would happen. I’ve been occasionally hand expressing a few drops of milk once a week or so just to monitor my dwin supply and had noticed well over a week ago that I could barely get a drop. Today I noticed that Tee had a watery eye – I immediately thought to try to put some milk on it, but didn’t think I’d be able to express any. I tried anyway, right after Tee had nursed, and when I got a drop to emerge, I was totally surprised by the thick gold fluid I found. My milk came in really quickly after Tee was born do I never got to see or feel (or taste lol) my colostrum. It’s thick and creamy. I rubbed some on between my fingers and it reminded me of dense lotion. I noticed that I can only express from one side, though, and it takes a lot of effort. Tee still nurses from both, so I’m assuming he’s being rewarded somehow.

Just typing this has me thinking that in going to rub some on Tee’s lips and face once he’s asleep to see if it helps with his pineapple rash! :-)