Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Introducing...

Our newest addition to the family...

Everett Allen
Born 8/29/14 at 6:25am
6lbs 8oz, 19" long
(Born via a vaginal breech delivery!)




He's the cutest thing, and all four of us are completely in love. He's a great baby and is sleeping awesome at night. Birth story coming soon. Sorry I didn't post an announcement sooner! Just spaced. Life with 3 kiddos under 4 years old is a little busy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

still pregnant...

I hit the 39 week mark yesterday, and sadly, I'm still pregnant.

Here's the latest...


  • Despite chiropractic, acupuncture, home exercises, homeopathics, and attempting an ECV (after meeting with a total of 3 docs, 2 of the 3 recommended trying it, so we did, and it was not successful), this baby boy is still BREECH.
  • I've started shining a super bright LED flashlight on the bottom of my belly a few times a day (sounds silly, I know), and he's been crazy active when I do that. Maybe there's still hope he'll turn?
  • My fluid levels are back up and look great thanks to lots of h2o, so that's no longer a concern.
  • We officially have an OB who is willing to allow us an attempted vaginal breech delivery at the hospital. The hospital has approved his request (most hospitals won't actually allow it), and we have a birth plan in place...as long as he comes this week! Our doc has been extremely thorough in making sure all possible concerns about a breech delivery have been checked out to make sure I'm the right candidate for this...and I am!
  • Our OB is very supportive of our desire to deliver naturally. He personally calls me to check in on me, and I've either seen or talked to him every single day since we transferred care to him. He's done some breech births before, so while he's not crazy experienced, he is comfortable with everything.
  • I cannot tell you how much I love my midwives and how supportive they've been through this whole thing. We've hired one of them to be our doula through labor at the hospital. And we plan to transfer care right back to them after this baby is born for all postpartum and breastfeeding support. I am not sure I could do this without them! I talk via phone or email with them almost daily.
  • In the event that this little guy doesn't come on his own by his due date, I'll be heading to the hospital for a scheduled c-section. The concern is that past 40 weeks, babies get bigger and a bigger baby could mean more complicating factors for a breech delivery. And my OB also happens to leave town on 9/4 (I'm due 9/1), and there isn't anyone else who is going to deliver me. So if I went into labor after he was gone, I'd have an emergency c-section anyway. Our scheduled c-section is ON my due date...Monday, September 1st at 8am. So that's my deadline to get this kiddo to vacate my body on his own terms.
  • Just like I had with Charlotte, I've had several rounds of contractions that last a couple hours but then either go away entirely or slow down. So we'll see what happens. Hopefully these contractions are at least productive in that I'm dilating and effacing and not going through the discomfort for no reason!

If I can be totally honest for a minute...I'm terrified. I don't do very well with the unknown or unplanned. If he was head-down....I'd be not exactly looking forward to labor and delivery because I know what's coming, but I wouldn't be scared of it...because I've done this twice already! But this is kind of a whole knew ballgame. I don't know if labor will feel the same? Different? Be more difficult? Will pushing take longer? Will pushing hurt more? Will I need an episiotomy (this tends to be a more commonly used tactic with breech babies)? Sometimes I wonder...can I even do this?? Am I insane for wanting to do this? Will I be able to do this unmedicated?

It's been hard not knowing the answers to all those questions. I've been struggling with a lot of anxiety over it all. I've had some emotional breakdowns (sorry to my midwife who talked me through one on the phone yesterday!) due to stress and anxiety. A part of me just wants to have the c-section because maybe that will be easier. I haven't had one before, but at least I know it's not a matter of whether or not I can do it. But then I also know that recovery with a cesarean is harder and longer than a regular delivery. I'll be up and mobile and feeling better faster with a regular delivery. Breastfeeding will be easier and come more naturally. I won't have to worry about complicating factors for another baby if we had a #4. VBACs are allowed and practiced regularly in our state (only at one hospital in the state, but it happens to be the one that's 5 minutes from our house), so it wouldn't be out of the question...but it would be harder. And more complicated. And I wouldn't be able to do a birth center delivery. And there are plenty of risks with a c-section as well. 

I feel like I have Jekyll and Hyde on my shoulders whispering the risks and downfalls of each type of delivery. Makes it hard to look forward to having this baby in either form! I just wish he'd flip around already! 

So that's where I'm at. My midwife has suggested, and I agree it's entirely possible, that I'm stalling my own labor due to my fear and anxiety of this whole birth. Corey and I have been praying together, and I'm trying to seek Jesus in the moments where I feel overwhelmed by everything. It's hard to let go of the birth experience I thought I was going to have and so badly wanted. It's hard not knowing what will happen. It's hard giving up control. 

So that's where I'm at. I've got a couple more doctor appointments this week, I've started in on some homeopathics to help encourage labor (as prescribed by my midwife). I've got a labor induction acupuncture appointment for Friday afternoon. And now it's just a matter of letting go, trusting God, and waiting. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

almost there!

I am 37.5 weeks pregnant. This little guy has decided to make things a bit more exciting...we found out by chance on Monday via ultrasound that he is breech (butt down instead of head down)! We had NO idea, so it was rather shocking! My midwives were also very surprised as I did not display any other signs of having a breech baby. He's perfectly healthy and everything else is fine. But my whole birth plan is going out the window...

I am currently doing home exercises (thanks spinningbabies.com) to encourage him to flip. I'm seeing a chiropractor who practices the Webster technique. And I've got some acupuncture appointments set up for next week. Doing everything we possibly can to get him to turn so we can stay with our midwives and deliver at the birthing center...but I don't have a whole lot of time. We did see a specialist about doing an ECV (aka a version) where they give you a muscle relaxer and attempt to manually flip your baby from outside your belly. But due to my amniotic fluid being a little on the low side, and how wedged in my pelvis this guy's butt is, he did not think it would be successful and is not recommending it for our particular situation. Normally, the procedure has a pretty good success rate for subsequent babies (not much success with first time moms though), so that was a little disappointing.

The plan is currently to attempt a breech vaginal delivery at a hospital (it's against the law to have a breech baby at a birthing center in Washington) IF he doesn't turn head down. It's not something that's very common or done very often, and I had a HECK of a time trying to find a doctor that would even meet with me to discuss the possibility of it. I've got a day full of appointments on Monday with 2 consults with 2 different docs, a chiropractic appointment, and an acupuncture appointment. According to my midwives, I am THE ideal candidate to attempt a breech delivery if I can find a doc who has experience with it. I've had 2 successful vaginal births before, so we know a baby can fit through my pelvis just fine...so the risk of his head getting stuck is pretty slim. He's in the optimal breech position (frank breech) for an attempted vaginal birth, I have a history of quick labors that progress normally, his head is not disproportionately larger than the rest of his body, he has no abnormalities that could be detected via ultrasound, etc. So I have a lot going for me. We know we could still end up with a c-section if labor doesn't progress normally or if he gets stressed out by labor, and that's ok. I've come to terms with a c-section if it's necessary, but I really want to try and do it the old-fashioned way first. At the very least, going into labor first triggers a lot of beneficial hormones in both mom and baby (like signaling baby's immune system to kick in, contractions can help push some of the fluid out of their lungs so they don't go into respiratory distress after a cesarean, etc) even if I ended up in the OR after attempting. I'd rather try it first than go straight for the surgery. Surgery is a big deal. Cesareans are no small thing. They are considered major abdominal surgery, so I would like to avoid it if possible. I have 2 toddlers running around, and recovering with them would be difficult! Plus, if we ended up deciding that we wanted a 4th, having had a previous cesarean can complicate things.

So that's where we're at. Any prayers you could send our way for this baby to flip would be greatly appreciated! All in all, we just want him here safe and healthy in whatever form that comes. That's more important than HOW he arrives. Hopefully I'll be updating soon with a birth announcement :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Currently

LOVING // lazy summer days outside: bbqing, letting the girls play in their inflatable pool, berry picking, running around barefoot, iced tea...
READING // is everyone hanging out without me? by mindy kaling
WAITING FOR // so many things...but mostly this little baby boy who's due in 5 weeks!
EXCITED ABOUT // meeting our little man and a possible family vacation at Christmas (to New York if it all works out!)
TRYING TO // relax and get some good sleep, but it's getting so difficult these days between bodily discomforts and a racing mind!
WORKING ON // trying to get my bag packed for the birthing center...though I'm not very motivated. haha. His bag is packed and ready...though I've changed my mind about his going-home outfit several times, but I just have no desire to pack my own bag for some reason. 
ENJOYING // summertime fun with my little family...picking blueberries, letting them run around barefoot outside, playtime in their inflatable pool, walks on the waterfront, grilling, spending whole days outside...
USING // our grill for the first time! Corey really likes to be the one to grill...it's just always been his thing. But I've been wanting to grill during the week (we usually save it for weekends), and he gets home pretty late most nights (6-7pm)...so I've been trying my hand at grilling our dinners. And I'm rather enjoying myself!
WEARING // this awful maternity support belt. It's a necessary evil since I'm basically unable to walk due to hip and pelvic pain without it...but it is SO annoying! It digs into my skin and makes me pretty uncomfortable some days...certain pants that are tighter make it worse, it makes me SO hot...I'm just DONE. The only time I don't have to wear it is when I'm sleeping. 
PLANNING // Charlotte's 2nd birthday party! Her actual birthday is a week before my due date, so we'll be celebrating a couple weeks early to play it safe. 
NEEDING // watermelon. craving.so.much.watermelon.
LEARNING // contentment
DOING // other than this survey, I'm putting together a prioritized list of our last minute "needs" and then the "wants/would be nice to haves" for this baby so we can budget and plan accordingly. 
DREAMING OF // having my body back :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

They grow up too fast

June is almost over. July comes next week. Where has the time gone??

Eden has lost that toddler chub and belly (sad day...I loved that belly!) and has sort of grown into her body a bit. Her speaking skills and vocabulary have blown up in the past month. I feel like I've watched her completely transform from my toddler girl to a little girl in just a matter of a couple weeks, which could be true. Seems like when they go through growth spurts they just wake up one day looking older and not fitting into any of their clothes anymore.

Charlotte is looking less baby-like and more toddler like these days. Especially when she lets me put her hair up. But she still has that adorable baby higher-pitched voice, and I relish it everyday because I know it'll be gone too quickly. Her vocabulary has also exploded, and she's starting to put together small sentences. She's going to be a whole TWO in just two short months! She's got a big girl bed now that she sleeps in (they share a bunk...Eden on top, Charlotte on bottom). Growing up so quickly! I think a large part of it is her fierce determination and highly independent personality. While it can be difficult to reason with her sometimes, I have no doubt that she'll be able to hold her own in the real world someday.

And I was officially 30 weeks as of Monday. How did that happen? I'm feeling...ok. I'm kinda done being pregnant, which is not a good thing considering I've got 10 more weeks. I'm having a lot of pelvic pain and hip problems the last month or so with this pregnancy. I'm seeing a chiropractor and massage therapist to help, but it gets pretty bad. If I've done too much or had too much activity, I can hardly walk by the end of the day...and sleep? There is no comfortable position with this hip/pelvic issue. It's not sciatica. It's actually an issue with the ligaments around my pelvis not holding it together adequately so that it comes "unlocked" at times (I guess it's a pretty common pregnancy issue). I'm doing some exercises at home per my chiropractor's recommendation to help strengthen the muscles, but some days nothing helps. I can't hardly clean my own house (as in...our shower has not been thoroughly scrubbed in like 2 months...super gross, I know). Even sweeping and mopping can leave me unable to walk. I did a "mini detail" on the CRV the other day because Charlotte had dumped a bag of snacks all over the floor...and they'd been stepped on and ground into the carpet...and the rest of the car was just getting gross. Took me 2 hours to clean it, and it felt great to have a clean car at the end. But I was in excruciating pain by bedtime! And shaving my legs in the shower? Forget about it (we just have a tiny standing corner shower, so I have to left a leg up and put my foot against the wall to shave it). Corey actually has to help me shave. And to top it all off, I have "pregnancy-induced gallbladder disease". Basically, I've either got gallstones or bile "sludge" (where the bile gets thick) and the stones or sludge get stuck in my bile duct from time to time and cause very intense stabbing pain that lasts 12-18 hours at a time. I would put the pain level on par with labor. I get cold sweats and nausea because the pain is so bad. It doesn't happen super often, thankfully. It seems to happen once every few weeks. I have another ultrasound of my gallbladder Friday to make sure there's no developing infecting or major blockage of the bile duct. There's not anything they can or would do about it while I'm pregnant unless I got an infection and needed emergency surgery (other than diet changes that I've made per my naturopath). And it's highly likely that it will resolve after I give birth. Apparently my weight yo-yo (having 3 pregnancies in 4 years) is the likely cause, and I'm more likely to have it with subsequent pregnancies now that I have had it once. Especially if I get pregnant again quickly. SO. I don't know what that means for future babies. We'll cross the bridge when we get there. But those two things have been enough to make me kind of miserable the last month or so. We're looking at getting someone to come in and deep clean the house before baby comes to help me out so I don't have to freak out about the things I'm unable to do.

The nursery is slowly starting to come together. On Friday we'll be picking up an amazing steal of a dresser we found on Craig's List (a Drexel too!). Corey is taking next week off to do stuff around the house, so we'll get the room painted and the lighting changed out as well. A friend and I are going to get the kiddos watched and get together to have a crafting day to get creative and make some stuff, so that will be helpful. And the poor kid needs some clothes. I have 3 onesies and 3 sleepers for him, and that's it...not exactly a sufficient wardrobe! I'm sort of waiting until after my baby shower at the end of July to buy stuff, but we have gift cards to Target, Amazon, and Zara to use as well. And part of it is just that I'm exhausted and tired and can hardly keep up with things. If we have to go buy him some clothes to wear the day after he's born, so be it. I don't even care anymore. Worst case scenario, he'll wear pink and flowers until we can get to the store! It's not like he's going to know the difference.

While I'm over being pregnant, I'm also not quite sure I'm ready to add a third baby to the mix. I'm trying to cherish and enjoy the last weeks I have with just my girls since it will never just be them again!

And that's that. Corey's travel has died down a little bit, and he'll be home for sure the last month before my due date. It's been really nice having him home more. Summertime is always crazy for us, and I don't see it slowing down...so hopefully the business will help these next 10 weeks pass quickly so I can believed of some of these issues and have this baby boy already!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Busy but loving life

I might just be writing to the wind these days, but I thought I'd give an update.

In the pregnancy department...I'm 24 weeks pregnant with a little BOY! We're super excited to be adding a little man to our family. I was glad to know all my suspicions were correct, and I wasn't just crazy. We don't have a name picked out. We have a few possibilities, but I think we may do what we did last time and wait until he's born to name him. I'm feeling really well. I have energy, I'm not so huge that I'm uncomfortable all the time, I'm sleeping pretty well, I have a healthy (aka huge) appetite, I'm right on track for my weight gain... So yes, things are going well. I'm getting the nesting bug already. I'm ready to get going on his nursery. Currently, it's being used as our guest/extra room. We keep an aero airbed in there for friends/family to stay the night. We have our filing cabinet in there. And the closet stores the girls' craft/coloring supplies and dress up clothes. So we need to clear all that out, paint, and get to decorating. I've already got the crib moved in. We moved Charlotte out of the crib a few weeks ago (she's sleeping on the crib mattress on the floor just like Eden did), and we'll move her to a big girl bed next month.

I'm busy helping one of my closest friends get ready for her wedding! She's having a really small, intimate ceremony (20 people), but still asked me to be her matron of honor, which is really special. I'm feeling very honored to help her and support her in this! Wedding is next month, so we're down to crunch time. She got me the most gorgeous outfit to wear (and I'll be able to wear it when I'm not pregnant too, which is awesome), she's going to be beautiful, and the wedding will be gorgeous. I take my MOH duties very seriously and am thoroughly enjoying helping her and getting my mind off myself and my own stuff some of the time! I feel like all I think about sometimes are my own kids or this baby. And that's not a bad thing necessarily. But it can drive you a little mad sometimes when you're cooped up in the house constantly by yourself with your little ones. Sometimes it's nice to focus on somebody else!

I'm considering getting back into the workforce. It's a BIG "if" at this point. Something we're discussing. It likely wouldn't happen until the end of the year or early next year since we have another baby coming end of this summer. IF I go through with it, I'd be working from home and probably just hiring a babysitter to come over during the morning hours a couple days a week. I'm looking at getting into virtual assisting. I think I have a lot of the strengths and assets required to do that job, and I would really enjoy it. We'll see what happens. It's also possible that I just do some sort of volunteer part-time work for church in the same realm of administration, but it's all still something we're talking about and discussing.

The girls are at a really fun yet challenging stage. They play well together and are having a lot of fun together. But they also get into a lot of trouble together and have their fair share of fights. I think it's just a small glimpse into what the future with two teenage daughters so close in age will look like. And I'm scared. Haha.

I'm dabbling in some more natural beauty and skin stuff. Starting to experiment with essential oils and using the whole oil cleansing method for skin care. I am still doing research and gathering info before I dive in full-bore. There is SO much info out there, it's hard to discern between it all! I've been looking to my naturopath for some direction, and that's been helpful. Has anyone else gotten into this? If so, I'd love to hear your experiences!

I'm also gearing up to kick processed sugar to the curb for good. I have done it temporarily a few times and have cut back a lot in how much I use it...but it's gotten out of control again with being pregnant. Our family is just plain addicted. Corey and I crave it and feel like we need it. The kids go nuts for it, but then they act like crazy people when they have it. I noticed such a difference in my skin and my seasonal allergies when I was off it for 3 months at this time last year, and I know how good it was for me to be rid of it. It's not an easy thing though because it's everywhere and in everything! It'll be a process. I already substitute raw honey and/or organic maple syrup when I can, but I'll just have to learn how to do a whole lot more of that! We'll start with not using it in homemade stuff and not buying sugar-packed snacks or baked goods and slowly transition it out of everything (condiments, breads, etc). I know how much better I will feel not having it. But it'll require some extra work on my part (more homemade stuff), some additional equipment (namely kitchen appliances), and just getting into a new routine. I know that over time we'll adjust and our bodies will thank us and we won't miss it. And of course, we'll make occasional exceptions. I just don't want it to be a part of our everyday life.

Corey got yet another promotion at work. Sheesh, overachiever much? But seriously, he so deserves this and I'm so incredibly proud of my hard-working man. He's now managing the engineering department. It's a transition from him not doing so much of the actual work and delegating more of it to be able to take on the managerial duties, so it's all still in process. But I wouldn't be at all surprised if he was running the company someday. He has real talent and skills for leadership and managing. I think it's a gift that God has blessed him with and he's finally getting to use it! He's also in a leadership apprenticeship program at church, so it's all been good for his development! So happy for my man!

Ok, well, that was probably the most random post I've made in a while. How is everyone?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Second trimester and prepping for Italy!

Do you like how creative my titles are these days?? I know, you'll never guess what this post is about, so I'll go ahead and tell you. I'm going to talk about how things are going now that I'm a few weeks into my second trimester. And I'm going to excitedly tell you about our travel preparations for Italy!

So...first thing's first. Baby stuff. I'm 16 1/2 weeks pregnant now...the second trimester energy has kicked in, thank goodness! I still occasionally need a nap, but that has more to do with the fact that Charlotte is teething and not sleeping well (getting bottom molars and top cuspids at the same time...ouch). Nausea has eased quite a bit, which is huge! I threw up yesterday, but I also woke up with a pounding headache (must've slept weird) and attribute my morning puking episode to that. As long as I don't go too long before I eat breakfast in the morning, I'm good. And I still take a half of a unisom at night to keep the queasiness at bay in the morning. Done with the B6 though. My last puking session before yesterday was a little over 2 weeks ago, so I think it's safe to say I'm pretty well in the clear now. SO thankful it didn't last as long this time as it did with the girls (sick with both until about 25 weeks). Could it be that it's a little man in there with my sickness going away so much faster?

I started feeling this little bean move just before I hit the 15 week mark, which sounds crazy early...but I felt Eden at 15 weeks and I think Charlotte was closer to 16 or 17. But I'm feeling pretty regular little taps and thumbs throughout the day now, so I know it was indeed the bean I was feeling so early on. Movement with this baby has been so different and interesting...both my girls sat really low. Their movement was all down in my pelvic area, and this baby's movements are much higher and closer to my belly button. One more reason to think maybe it's a boy?? (Can you tell we're sort of hoping for a boy? Haha)

I am not even 17 weeks yet and I already feel like my belly is huge. Definitely feels much bigger at this stage than it did with Charlotte...and I didn't pop out with Eden until 20-22 weeks. I hope I just got round a little earlier this time since it's my third pregnancy and that I'm not in for a giant baby! But it's definitely obvious that I'm pregnant. In that weird stage where regular jeans no longer fit and are totally uncomfortable but my maternity jeans are still a little too baggy in the hips. So I live in long shirts/tunics and leggings or dresses and tights. Or tees and yoga pants around the house.

We are finding out this baby's gender. We have our 20 week ultrasound scheduled for April 14th! It will only be a week away when we get home from vacation! Pretty darn excited. And I think we'll probably follow the same thing we did with Charlotte...not go public with names until after baby is born. I think we'll wait to pick his/her "for sure" name until we see his/her little face. I really loved doing that with Charlotte (we'll have narrowed down our options to a handful of names that we'll pick from, most likely).

And now onto the thing that is dominating my thoughts 24/7 right now...ITALY!!! We leave in NINE days, people! NINE! We will technically be gone 9 days because of the time difference, but will only spend 7 days in Italy plus a layover in London on our way there. (Funny how that works, huh?) We've got our hotel booked for 5 days in the Tuscany region and 2 days in Rome. We felt like the Tuscany region had SO much to explore (we're renting a car for this portion so we can get around to all the cities...we're particularly excited for Florence), so we're spending the bulk of our time there. Two days in Rome will be a little tight to cram everything in, but we felt it would be enough time to see the major tourist attractions (the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Pantheon, Colosseum, etc). We prefer to spend most of our time in the less touristy more relaxed areas seeing the landscape and exploring. We want it to feel like a vacation, not like a huge guided tour to cram in as much as we possibly can. I have a feeling we'll want to go back. We debated taking a train up to Venice for a day, but I think we'll wait for another time (hopefully). We had to weigh the cost of doing that for one day versus being able to bring some special things back to remember our trip by...and we decided we'd rather be able to bring some special things home. (Hopefully some art and a ceramic piece...fruit bowl or something...and maybe some leather shoes. How do you go to Florence and not bring home some leather good of some sort?) Oh, and SO excited for the coffee. SOO excited. We live in the Seattle area, the coffee capital of the nation, but I know what we've had here will be nothing like the coffee there. (We have some dang good coffee here too, and NO I'm not talking about Starbucks. Starbucks is not real coffee. Sorry if you like Starbucks. It's ok if you do. You just can't call it real coffee. Real coffee is an art. It doesn't come out of automated machines in 20 seconds. And I'm officially getting off topic, so I'll stop.)

Honestly, I haven't even thought about London. Haha. We'll have about 12 hours there, so we definitely want to sight see. I guess we should hurry up and figure out what we want to see in that short time! I think what I'm most excited for on this trip is the food. Specifically the gelato. And I've heard nothing but amazing things about the gluten free food availability in Italy. Some things I've read online say if you call in advance and make a reservation at the restaurant you want to eat dinner at and let them know you need to be gluten free, they'll prepare an entire meal specifically for you. Isn't that crazy?!

I'll be instagraming it up while we're over there (handle is amberhansen), so follow me there if you want to see pictures. I don't plan to post many here (it's a hassle and I'm lazy). I'm a bit protective about my instagram since I mainly post pictures of my kiddos (my account is private), so if you request to follow me, follow it up with an email letting me know (coreyandamber[at]gmail[dot]com). Otherwise I may not recognize you and won't approve you.

As they say in Italy...ciao!