July 29, 2008

Who ARE You?

I got this doo-hicky from Flo. It is scary accurate. (Except for the 'infinite patience' bit. PSHAW!) Take the quick 40 question quiz and get a MIRROR INTO YOUR SOUL.

heh.




You Are An INFJ



The Protector

You live your life with integrity, originality, vision, and creativity.
Independent and stubborn, you rarely stray from your vision - no matter what it is.
You are an excellent listener, with almost infinite patience.
You have complex, deep feelings, and you take great care to express them.


In love, you truly see relationships as an opportunity to connect and grow.
You enjoy relationships as long as they are improving and changing. You can't stand stagnation.


At work, you stay motivated and happy... as long as you are working toward a dream you support.
You would make a great photographer, alternative medicine guru, or teacher.


How you see yourself: Hardworking, ethical, and helpful

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Manipulative, weak, and unstable

Pregnancy: Week 14!
(Or "What Have You Done with my Brain Cells?")



I feel I am lacking in brain cells lately. I have nothing original to say. I keep leaving the refrigerator door wide open. For, like, 20 minutes before I realize I didn't close it. All my creative juices must be flowing to the baby blip, which actually is totally fine by me because creating life is the most creative act of all, when you think about it. So.... I'll have to make due with the leftovers.

Every time I have sat down to write something here, all I can muster up is "UHH... THIS PREGNANCY BE LOTS DIFFERENT THAN LAST ONE" posts, and for that I am sorry. Where I used to be able to write meaningful things- my brain previously a constant swirl of activity- now I often find myself staring into space thinking... NOTHING AT ALL. It is all so strange, this quietness in my head. But I do appreciate it on some levels. Less tumultuous. But, boring.

I have been reading loads of material about natural childbirth. I am increasingly shocked and sickened by the maternal care system in America. I found a book at the library the other day called "Pushed" by Jennifer Block (also, a blog here) and I have not been able to put it down. It is heavy on statistics- and the statistics are shocking. SHOCKING.

A big part of me is thinking of reconsidering the home birth option. The Bradley class I have been in has been SO HELPFUL... it has also helped me see exactly what Chris and I are going to be up against by wanting a natural childbirth within hospital walls. Because, basically, the moment you step through their doors, you are on their turf. And on their clock. Most hospitals REQUIRE electronic fetal monitoring and IVs- simply because the printouts from Electronic Fetal Monitors are submittable in court. If the hospital gets sued for this, that, or the other, they bring that strip of paper from your labor in and try to cover their butts for whatever surgical procedure they've done to you. (See here! Distress!) But, since Electronic Fetal Monitoring has been introduced in birthing wards, it has proven to have NO beneficial effects on the outcomes of births. It has, however, contributed GREATLY to the astounding Cesarean statistics in this country. (Some hospitals in America have 49% cesarean rates.)

Anywho, I could ramble on for PAGES AND PAGES about natural childbirth and it's benefits, and the strange and unnatural way we view birth here in America, but I know this is not a natural childbirth blog. But, that's what I've been studying and what has been on my mind these past few months. I promise to resume other topics of interest as soon as my hijacked brain cells are returned.

(They WILL come back, right? RIGHT??)

I am looking into becoming a Bradley Instructor sometime after the birth of this baby. Because I am learning so much and have an ever-growing passion to share this knowledge with people who would otherwise be unequipped for their own birth.

I must say it is exciting to finally feel passionately about something again. To be hungry for knowledge about something again. To study something and feel like what I am learning could impact someone else in time.

I haven't felt that way about something in a very, very long time. And I have this precious baby in part to thank for it all. What a gift this child already is!

Still 14 weeks. Rapidly approaching "basketball" status.

July 24, 2008

Grace Inward.



As the thought of another wonderful child looms, I hold him tighter. I wrestle longer. I watch harder. I try to memorize today and yesterday and the one before that. In a few short months, it will no longer be just me and him. He will have to share me. I will have to share him. My two ears will not be tuned to him in the 100% way they are now. Right now, he commands center stage. And he knows it.

Ezra spontanteously tells me that he LOOOVES ME at least 100 times a day. Pretty much any time there is a lull in the conversation. I scoop these words up and marinate in them- because like the lady at his school often reminds me- there will come a day when those words won't fall quite so easily from his lips.

That's what I'm doing these days. Marinating in the time spent with my boy. Soaking him up.

I had a friend tell me the other day that she feels like she doesn't even know her son like she used to since the new baby came along. Because they no longer get those one-on-one moments that used to make up their entire days.

The thought is somewhat terrifying. What silly jokes will I miss? What songs will slip past my ears? What quiet observations will go unheard? Will I be enough mom for the one and the two? Will my fragile patience survive the blow?

There will be a lot of letting go. And I know that it will be good for all of us. Like pruning a bush to make room for new growth.

There will need to be an abundance of Grace. Mostly for myself. Grace inward. Because I need to let go of the idea that I can be all things for everyone at all times. I can't be. Even for my two children- I can't be it all. I can be me right here and now and that's about it, yes? I think that's what Grace means. Allowing yourself to be you now... not frantically trying to get to the you of tomorrow, or bogging yourself down with the you of the past... Just... You. Right now.

Grace.

There is definetly new life headed our way. And it's so easy to forget that life and death are often one-in-the-same and marching towards you hand-in hand. With this new life will come the death of the way it has been. But if we didn't prune back and change every now and again, where would we be?

Overgrown. Supressing life. Unhealthy and wild... full of old branches that do nothing but suffocate. (Like those shrubs of mine out front. Ahem.)

Pruning is painful! I can feel the shears preparing for the cut already. I'm wincing, but I'm ready. I'm ready for the growth that will come from the loss. And I trust that God is preparing Ezra in the same way He's preparing his momma... Gently. With compassion and understanding. A kind gardener at work.

July 22, 2008

Self Sabotage.


The heat has zapped my brain and the most creative thought I've had all day was, "I wonder if those weeds out front will scorch and die on their own, or if I'll have to eventually haul myself outside to pluck them manually?"

I am admittedly NOT a Summer time person, and the heat-induced lock down syndrome is starting to take it's toll on my emotional state. The days are filled with TV and air conditioning and attempting to play with Ezra while every fiber of my being is fighting it. There have been many naps on Ezra's floor whilst in mid-play. Luckily, my boy lets me rest when that happens- for 10 minutes or so.

Then he jumps on me.

I haven't done anything remotely productive in weeks except for yesterday when I finally cleaned my floors.

It's hard not to slip into a funk when the sun takes over my life. I start to feel like a caged animal. Meanwhile, my poor husband is outside all day everyday- scaling roofs and painting eaves while the sun is slowly turning his skin a darker color than it has ever known before. Despite the SPF 50.

Frazzled, I am.

And I'm starting to realize that soon and very soon? There will be TWO humans in my care. Say whaaa?!? (Insert mild panic attack here.)

The things that I know would help me are the very things I fight. Planned activity. Staying productive- cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping. Calling friends. GETING DRESSED IN THE MORNINGS. Reading my bible. These are the things that usually help me. These are the things that I do not do. (Self sabotage!)

Instead I laze around and give the sun the evil eye out the window. And wait for the clouds to come rescue me.

Any one know of a cure for the Summer time blues?

July 18, 2008

When the Options are Few.

"Morning."


"Night."


Thank you all for your kind words yesterday. They helped me.

I am going to try a different midwife next month (in the same practice as the other) and see if I can get along better with her personality. There are four midwives to meet within the practice, so I am hoping the other three are more compatible with Chris and I. Here's the kicker, though: whoever is "on call" when you go into labor is who will show up at your birth. So, I have to decide if it's even worth having a 1 in 4 chance of having the blah midwife at my labor & delivery, or if I should find some other practice all together.

The options are very few here in the state of Oklahoma, however. There are NO birthing centers, and only 3 groups of midwives within the entire area. (A metro area which holds 1,000,000 people.) There are the midwives at OU (who I saw yesterday), another group in south OKC (homebirths only) that I've been told to stay away from by a friend, and one last group down in a town called Norman- which is just a tiny bit too far away for my liking.

I feel a bit lost at this point, but I know that I will know the right thing to do when the time comes. I trust myself enough to believe that. So, I will continue to explore my options and wait for my gut feeling to tell me what to do. And educate myself. That's all I can really do at this point!


Thirteen weeks- second trimester here I come!


Ezra has decided that he wants a baby sister, and he's even chosen two names that he likes. If it's a girl, he either wants to name her "Uncle David" or "Dada".

Uhhh...




Recent weird pregnancy symptoms: A bloody nose everyday (I NEVER get these normally), and lots of shedding. My hair is EVERYWHERE. It seems to be falling out constantly. Hopefully I will not be bald before the 9 months is over... That would put a bit of a damper on Operation: Grow Hair, I think.

Today's agenda: make dinner for a friend who recently had a baby (chicken enchiladas I'm thinking), do lots of laundry, and practice the songs I'll be leading at church on Sunday. Ezra is home from VBS today with a cold, so he'll be my partner in crime today. Stick em' up!

July 17, 2008

What We Do Know: There's A Baby in There.

I had my very first baby appointment this morning and it was... somewhat anticlimactic. After waiting nearly 13 weeks to have the appointment, there was very little to come away with.

The facilities were super nice and the nurse was great. The midwife was not at all friendly or personable, so I will not be seeing her again. I've switched to a different midwife in the practice for my prenatal care- one that came highly recommended from some friends.

She asked me a million questions today and then did all the lovely exams that we women dread. Without any warning, she pulled out the Doppler and started trying to find the baby's heartbeat. After a couple minutes, she found it- the room filled with the swishing of life as Chris and I looked at each other and smiled from ear to ear. The midwife didn't say one single word, turned the machine off, and went on to the next round of questions.

Lovely. Buzzkill.

I had to go downstairs and get blood work done, and my arm is still throbbing hours later. I hate getting blood taken! It always hurts me so much. I feel poked and prodded. And queasy and tired.

So, no ultrasounds to share and no news to report. I could only hear one heartbeat, but she didn't take much time to listen, and they say it's very hard to tell if there's more than one babe just by listening. But I'm about 99% convinced there's only one in there at this point. There's just got to be one.

I'm feeling a little bit disappointed.... I don't really know what I was expecting. I think the blah midwife took the wind out of my sails, and I'm wondering if we've made the right decision by choosing to go with the midwives at OU. I'm still having trouble with the insurance after making TWO trips down to the office to get things figured out, and things just aren't going as smoothly as I would have liked them to go.

I'm realizing more and more what excellent care I had in California. That state has their act together apparently. Are my standards just too high from my experience there? Maybe. Maybe I'm just expecting too much and need to let go of "my ideal" a little.

All in all, I know everything is fine, and everything will turn out just fine. I'm just feeling a little down, and three months of feeling awful just seem to compound these disappointments. I'm SO ready to feel like myself again... to not feel like I'm letting everyone around me down. This pregnancy has been much harder on me than my first so far, but I'm trying to keep my spirits up and not complain too much. I guess I'm just... tired.

It's hard to be your old self when you just don't feel like her.

July 16, 2008

Undies.

Yesterday, I picked Ezra up from VBS and decided to take him somewhere fun for lunch. We love Wendy's, so we headed there for his chicken nuggets and oranges and milk. He ate like a champ, and I was so proud of him that I told him we could get a Frosty.

There was a long line of people in front of us, so we waited patiently for our turn at the counter. Ezra was getting antsy, as any three and a half year old would do when he was aware that ice cream was only moments away.

That's when it happened.

Out of NOWHERE he stuck his hand up my skirt and yelled, "WHERE ARE YOU UNDIES, MAMA???!"

Needless to say, I am dead from the embarrassment. Totally dead.

(And YES, I was wearing undies.)

I may never go to Wendy's again.

July 15, 2008

VBS and Lettuce Wraps.

Ezra started VBS (Vacation Bible School) yesterday and he is LOVING it. Something about a beach ball and duck-duck-goose? Apparently these two things are the most bestest things that have ever occurred in his young life. He gets so excited when he talks about it that his voice raises to the level of a scream... you know, just in case I can't hear him from where I sit two feet away. Gah... it's hilarious.

I am also loving life because I have my mornings to myself for FIVE WHOLE DAYS in a row! Yesterday I went to Target and tried to spend more of my birthday money. Wee! I considered this shopping trip my 'exercise' for the day, because... well, I was walking, right? Or was it more like sauntering? Sauntering is totally exercise. Let it be known.

Today was less glamorous, however, due to the fact that my midwife's office called and said that I am STILL not cleared for insurance even though I should have been cleared weeks ago. Apparently, the insurance place lost the paper that was the documentation of my pregnancy, so my account is still 'pending'.

Today, I drove all the way up to my regular family physician's office to get another copy of that documentation. Then I drove allll the way down to the County Human Services Department (eek.) to drop them off. There was over an hour's wait to see anyone, so I will be going back down there again tomorrow at 8:00 AM to try and get this sorted out before my appointment on Thursday. There is NO WAY I am waiting another month to see someone due to insurance issues. NO. WAY.

Yesterday I was craving lettuce wraps from Pei Wei, so I drove down there and ordered some at TEN O'CLOCK in the morning. They had just opened their doors and I was the only person eating in the restaurant. I felt silly, but was too excited about the food in front of me to be bothered too much by the employee's opinions of my strange brunch of choice.

I ate ALL of the lettuce wraps but one, and was just thinking to myself how I could've SWORN these used to come with some sort of sauce that made them super yummy (they were a bit dry), when I lifted up the very last piece of lettuce and found the sauce HIDING THERE underneath the lonesome green dome.

I felt dumb.

Then I dumped the whole cup of sauce on my last lettuce wrap, took a huge bite, and was instantly transported to the third tier of heaven.

July 12, 2008

12 Week Belly Shot.



Sorry for the poor image quality... but this is me at 12 weeks huge.

A Nurse Caught my Baby.

Lately I've been thinking about my birthing experience that I had with Ezra, and it suddenly hit me: He was delivered by a NURSE. There was NO doctor or midwife in sight when Ezra decided to show up. It never seemed that weird to me before, but I'm realizing now that it was a pretty unorthodox circumstance. When I've said in the past that I gave birth using a midwife, I guess it's not entirely accurate. My midwife didn't show up until 15 minutes after Ezra was born. The nurses didn't call her in time.

I was a first time mother, so the nurses kept saying, "Oh, honey- you won't be having this baby until tomorrow. Why don't you just go home and labor for awhile?"

When I showed up at the hospital, I was only 1 cm dialated. This was... disappointing. They tried to get me to go home and come back later, but something in my gut (perhaps the rapidly approaching BABY?) was telling me to STAY PUT.

They shoved me in a crappy room and ignored me for awhile.

Finally, my friend (really, she was amazing and should be a professional Doula) went and got the nurse and demanded that they check me again. The nurse kindof rolled her eyes and slapped on some gloves. They were busy that night. She had more pressing issues to tend to.

When they checked me again, about an hour later, I was four centimeters dialated. Within another hour, I was at seven.

I was only in labor for five or six hours total. I pushed twice, and Ezra was born.

There was mass chaos in the room when he came. The extremely flustered nurse caught him (after telling me not to push {YEAH RIGHT} because the midwife wasn't there yet) and then she cut the umbilical cord before anyone knew what happened and she disappeared around the partition with Ezra to clean him off. I remember asking, "Is it a boy? What is it? Where'd he go?"

Ezra was crying like a mofo. After a couple short minutes, they brought him to me so I could nurse him.

My midwife showed up about 10 minutes later, and she was pretty upset that they hadn't called her in time. She stitched me up because I tore a little bit, and that was the extent of her involvement in my labor.

I'm realizing that this time around, it could be a totally different experience. Maybe this time around, I will have a midwife by my side through the whole process. I wonder how that will change things. I think about myself when I had Ezra: I had no idea what I was doing, and I just had to figure it out pretty much on my own. If it hadn't been for my friend and Chris being there to help me, I probably wouldn't have been able to do it naturally. I needed that support.

I feel so much more prepared this time around. And I'm so excited to give birth again! Hopefully this time I will actually get to have a 'midwife guided labor' instead of a 'Holy crap! Nurse! Catch the baby!' type experience.

I imagine every birth that a woman has is incredibly different, so I don't have too many expectations at this point. I'd love for another short and easy labor, but I'd be unwise to expect that and then not be prepared if this labor is much longer or more difficult. (Did any of you have a more difficult labor the second or third time around? They always say your labor gets progressivly quicker with every child, but I'm sure that's not true for everyone...)

I'm trying to educate myself as if I've never done this before. So, Chris and I will be joining my neighbor's Bradley Birthing Method class on Mondays, starting this coming week, and I'm really excited about it! I think it wil be really helpful for us.

Have any of you taken Bradley classes? What was your experience with it?

My first prenatal appointment is actually the 17th, not the 19th like I thought, which is this Thursday. I CAN'T WAIT!! Surely there's only one baby in there... right??

THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME.

July 7, 2008

My 26th Birthday.

Yesterday was fantastic! I woke up feeling great- and I felt great all day long until right after dinner (of which I ate way too much) and then I started feeling nauseous again. But I felt totally fine for all my birthday activities! God totally provided for me and answered my prayers. A whole day of relief! On my birthday! It was a TOTAL blessing.

Here's a quick photo recap of the day:


We woke up really early to get to the lake before the crowds. This is Ezra enjoying his breakfast before we left. He's so dang handsome.


This is all of us in the boat (minus Jared- he was off parking the boat trailer). It was so beauitful and the air was so crisp. I miss crisp air. There's not much of it in Oklahoma due to all the humidity.


Me and Ezra. Ezra thought the boat was awesome. And so did I.


We found a small cove and anchored the boat just offshore. This beach was beautiful and perfect for a day of lounging. It was smoky from all the CA fires, but not as bad as it has been.


Jared, Kristy, Ezra, and I took the boat back out after awhile and went 'Wake Surfing' which is similar to wakeboarding except you aren't strapped to the board. And the theory is that once you get into the right place in the wake you can LET GO OF THE TOW ROPE and just continue to surf behind the continuous wave of the boat's wake. I never got to the place where I could let go of the rope, but it was a total blast and the water felt SO SO good. Totally refreshing.


Ezra liked climbing UP the rocks, but he depended on Jared as his ride back down them.


Ezra was such a good boy all day. I loved watching him climb and explore. I borrowed my mommy's swimsuit because mine was suddenly MUCH too tight around the midsection. Ahem.


After we got home, we showered and napped and then everyone came over for the yummiest BBQ dinner on record. I opened some presents and got lots of great maternity stuff (that Ezra picked out himself), a gift card to Old Navy (for more maternity goodness), a vintage copy of 'Grapes Of Wrath' by Steinbeck, and a collection of short stories by Roald Dahl. Great gifts!!!


After dinner I started to feel yucky again, so I went to bed early and slept like a rock. (Assuming rocks sleep.)

It was an amazing and perfect birthday. (Well, if Chris could have been here it would have been totally perfect. I missssss himmm!!)

Now... uh... On with the 26-ed-ness!

July 5, 2008

Sicky Face.

It seems I've come down with something. I've been laid flat for the last day and a half. Sore throat, fever, headache, body aches, congestion, and unending nausea. I have no idea where the sickness begins and where the pregnancy symptoms end at this point. Every time I sit upright I feel like I'm going to puke.

This happens every time I come to Reno.

This morning I was feeling a bit better, so Ezra and I went for a walk with my brother and his wife and my mom. We drove up to the meadows which are just below Lake Tahoe. It was a gorgeous day and the fresh air felt good, but on the way home I felt the nausea creeping in again and it hasn't left since.

Miserable, I tell you.




I'm hoping I will feel better by tomorrow for my birthday. My mom is making my favorite food: steak, artichokes, and banana creme pie. I CANNOT MISS OUT ON THESE THINGS. CAN!! NOT!! That would be torture!

If you think of me tomorrow, pray that God would heal me. He totally does that still. Did you know?

July 3, 2008

Embracing the Reno in Me.

Ezra and I are in Reno- safe and sound! The flights were very pleasant- despite the fact that every single electronic gadget that I stuffed into my 100 lb backpack and lugged through the airport ended up NOT WORKING once we got onto the airplane.

The DVD Player hadn't actually charged even though I thought it had.
The hand held video game system Ezra got didn't work very well WITHOUT THE GAME CARTRIDGES.
And the laptop couldn't play any movies from iTunes because I'd forgotten to "authorize" my new laptop before we took off.

So.... we read books. And traced mazes. It wasn't all that bad- Ezra did great.

Since being in Reno, I've realized how much I needed this little trip and didn't even know it. As soon as I stepped into my parent's house, my body went on 'sleep mode'. I have found it difficult to do much of anything besides laying on couches and eating food. MoMar is off work this week, so she's been around during the days to make Ezra's life an absolute joyride while mama reclines and reposes on the sofa. They've played in the kiddie pool and explored outside everyday. Ezra has taken his motorcycle out quite a bit. And he's had lots of time to get reaquainted with his toys. He is LOVING it.

Joy Ride.


Making Dinner.


Poolin' it at Bower's Mansion- the same pool I used to play at when I was his age. TRIPPY.





My brother Jaxon and his adorable girlfriend Erin.


I've gotten to see my brothers, and on Sunday morning for my birthday we are all going up to Tahoe in my brother Jared's boat. Then we are going to come home and consume ridiculous amounts of grilled steak. I can't wait!

As far as the pregnancy goes, I'm still feeling tired and getting nauseous in the evenings. I am SO ready for the second trimester relief. And it still feels so strange to me that I am this far along and have yet to see a midwife. They like to see you between 8-12 weeks, so I am still in that window, but when I was pregnant with Ezra, I saw a midwife right at 8 weeks- and have an ultrasound picture and everything from the very beginning of it all. I feel like there is a small part of my brain that has yet to actually believe that there is a baby in there- simply because I haven't seen it with my own eyes.

It's getting pretty tough to deny, however. look at this beast-of-a-belly!




Love it. Anywho- I can't wait to hear or possibly see this little baby blip soon. My appointment is the 19th.

Oh, and on a last note- Phantom of the Opera was amazing! The trip was extra fun because it was so last minute and spontaneous. Our seats were the second row from the back on the very highest balcony in the very far left corner, due to the last minuteness of it all, but I still got chills every time the Phantom would open his mouth to sing. Next time? I'm bringing binoculars. And kleenex. Poor mutilated Phantom Man! All alone in the bottom of an abandoned opera house! He needs to join a support group. And learn some social skills. And maybe stop being so creepy all the time.

Chicks totally dig guys that don't try to force them into marriage by threatening to kill their fianc├ęs.