Friday, July 31, 2009

Last day

I just left work at Jennie G's for the last time. I expected to be crying on the drive home, but instead I just felt a strange nagging pull as though I'd forgotten something of mine back in the shop. I hadn't, though. I had collected my personal records, deleted old emails, and cleaned out my snack stash. I had turned in my key and name badge and packed up all of Suzi's pictures. The one thing I left was a mug that says "born to shop, forced to work." Because I'm not anymore.

I'm hoping things will feel normal once Ivey arrives. Even though the decision to quit was difficult, I know it was the right thing to do. I only would've been able to take six weeks off (with zero benefits, and even then wouldn't have had my job absolutely guaranteed when I came back). Six weeks isn't long enough for me to establish breastfeeding or bond with my baby. Maybe that is some mothers' idea of how to parent but it's not mine. I did it once and I don't intend to ever do it again.

It was still hard to leave today because I really do love the people I work with, and it's just not fair that to see them everyday I would have to leave my children. I'm hoping the shock will wear off soon. It's always been scary for me to make that leap from one season of my life to another. You never know just how far of a jump it's going to be!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Big plans for my placenta

With Suzi, I never even saw my placenta. I was too busy rubbernecking at my daughter who was being weighed and measured and tested across the room. It was unceremoniously thrown away. Now I regret dismissing this piece of our birth so carelessly, but at the time I didn't know any better. With Ivey, I want things to be different.

Many women feel compelled to honor their placentas in some way. The most common way I've heard of is to plant the placenta under a special tree. A few weeks ago, a lady from work told me she'd heard of women actually eating the placenta, and didn't I think that was weird? It's not that it's weird (other mammals do it), it's just not something I'd want to do personally. Placenta sandwich and placenta spaghetti just don't whet my appetite. Besides, if you consume the placenta this way it only lasts a day or two.

Instead, we decided on placenta encapsulation. I heard about it at babywearing (of course) and immediately thought it might be good for me. With Suzi, I remember experiencing almost immediate (fresh-out-of-the-hospital) anxiety and depression. My milk supply also suffered due to several factors, so I ended up getting a drug called Reglan prescribed to fix it. The trouble with Reglan is that it can aggravate postpartum depression. So, instead of getting over that horrible gloomy feeling, it just got worse and worse. I ended up on Zoloft, and I can't help but think that all of this could probably have been avoided if I'd taken a different path!

Placenta encapsulation involves drying out, grinding, and depositing the placenta into capsules so that it may be consumed in pill form. It is said to balance hormones, enhance milk supply, and increase energy during a mom's postpartum period (info from There are various testimonials to support its effectiveness as a supplement.

There are a couple of different ways to achieve the goal of having your placenta encapsulated for use after the birth. You could take a do-it-yourself approach, which would require purchasing a placenta encapsulation kit and a food dehydrator. We purchased our kit from Jodi Selander at Placenta Benefits, but we found a food dehydrator on eBay at a slightly better deal. (Jordan had been wanting one for a long time anyway, and they are good for lots of things.) The kit includes almost everything else you'll need (except for a few kitchen items), including the promise of phone support from Jodi during the encapsulation process should you need any help. The only catch to doing it this way is that the placenta will need to be encapsulated shortly after the birth--when mom will probably need to be recovering and bonding with baby, not standing in the kitchen. Therefore, most of the work may need to be delegated to someone else. Jordan volunteered to encapsulate my placenta, but this is not a job every husband is willing to do.

PBi Placenta Encapsulation kit

If there isn't anyone available to do the job for you, your placenta can be taken to a specialist who will encapsulate it for a fee. There aren't any in South Carolina at the moment, but there are some in North Carolina and Georgia. I offered this option to Jordan, but he declined. He's a do-it-himself kind of guy (plus I think he really wanted the food dehydrator). We'll see how it goes! I am going to try to sit at the dining room table and help him.

Our decision to try placenta capsules to remedy my postpartum issues wasn't a cheap one (as you know if you clicked the above links) but we feel it was the right thing to do. If my experience this time is even somewhat easier than what I went through with Suzi, it'll be worth it. Stay tuned for a few weeks to see how it works for us!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Suzi + ice cream = a good laugh for Mama

"I want some more!"

She thinks she knows what's so funny, but she doesn't.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I may be big, but I'm an angel

Me: Suzi, you're my little angel.

Suzi: You a big angel! *sweet smile*


I wonder how many more belly shots I'll get to take. This one is from 38 weeks, 2 days. I'm wearing dresses most of the time because my shirts are seriously lacking in the length department and there just isn't a good way to keep maternity pants up where they belong!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It shouldn't be a surprise

Suzi in June 2007, just a few days old

You dream of a baby, you try for a baby, you get pregnant with a baby. Then you spend nine months reading and kegeling and buying teeny little clothes to prepare. There is even an ultrasound picture of the baby with cute little feet and hands to prove she is in there. Why, then, is it a surprise when you go into labor and it results in a child? Really!

Two years ago, I was just shocked to see Suzi for the first time. Although I knew I wasn't just getting fat, that there was a baby in there, it wasn't like I expected to see this little black-haired girl gazing up at me at the end of it all. Maybe it was because I had envisioned a blondie with blue eyes (like Jordan) and she wasn't one. Maybe it was because I really wasn't used to seeing newborn babies.

But last night Jordan and I were sitting at the movies together and my mind flashed involuntarily to the image of a fuzzy-headed black-haired baby. I thought, "wow--that could be Ivey!" I don't know what she'll look like. Even though she's been taking up residence in my belly for nine months and we've been closer than close, I don't know what to expect. I tried to explain this terrifying and exhilarating phenomenon to Jordan on the way home but he didn't get it.

Why is it so impossible to look down at my basketball belly and translate the feet and butt scraping by to a sweet tiny girl in a pink blanket that fits right in the crook of my arm?

I guess it's just too miraculous to imagine.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Closer and closer

The Braxton-Hicks contractions have been getting stronger and stronger, and the baby seems to be getting lower and lower! If I remember correctly, this is about how I felt near the end of my pregnancy with Suzi... but I don't want to get too excited. I certainly am not expecting Ivey to take after her sister and be nine days late, though!

Here's what we've accomplished in the last couple of days:

1) Scrubbed the whirlpool tub--it is sparkling
2) Painted belly bowls; pictures to follow
3) Made Suzi a stretchy little wrap carrier for her doll
4) Swaddled her doll up (see details below)

I read that it was a good idea to help the older sibling feel included by getting a special baby doll, swaddling it up, and having the nurses at the hospital give the doll to the child on the first visit with the new baby. Well, we aren't going to the hospital, but we decided this was a good idea anyway. We ordered Suzi a Corolle Tidoo Suce Pouce (impressed by her lack of bottles and pacis, and by the fact that Suzi can even give her a bath without ruining her). We wanted to be sure the doll was small enough for Suzi to wear in a wrap, and she definitely is. I swaddled her in a flannel receiving blanket and we will give her to Suzi at some point after the birth.

Here are the things we still have to do:

1) Finish stocking up on birth-day snacks
2) Get all our cameras ready with batteries and things
3) Clean the bathroom one more time
4) Clean the bedroom one more time
5) Get our birth kit from the midwives (they are coming Thursday)

I'd also like to straighten up the whole house once more before the birth, but if it doesn't happen it's no huge deal, and it wouldn't take that long anyway. We are pretty much ready!

My mom took me to get a pedicure, and I picked "Purple with a Purpose." Then we bought the bottle and she painted Suzi's to match! Suzi is so proud of her purple toenails. Thanks Mama!

Grumpy girl fell asleep, woke up in a much better mood.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Today I want to post a prayer request for Vicky. She's our friend who is waiting on a kidney transplant and blogs at 2LilPumpkins and Sjogrens and Me. Right now she's in the hospital recovering from surgery to remove an extremely painful blood clot from her leg. She's been there 11 days--way longer than she or anyone expected.

Vicky came to work at Jennie G's almost three years ago, right after I did. We've spent hours in the shop together talking about husbands, kids, breastfeeding... life. And in that time she's become one of my best friends. I love her fireball personality and her unwavering good attitude. I've gone to her for advice, like, once a week or more.

She went on a long weekend trip with her family and I was expecting to see her Monday morning. Instead I unlocked a dark, empty shop and got a call a few minutes later about her blood clot. With every update she kept saying she'd be in later that week, but one thing led to another, she was admitted to the hospital, and now it's clear that she'll be out for a while. My last day at Jennie G's is July 31. My mom and I visited Vicky yesterday and she said, "Do you realize we're never going to work together again?" It makes me want to cry.

Anyway, please pray for Vicky's pain to be healed, for her strength and energy to come back, and for her to be home as soon as possible. Also pray for her husband and two sweet boys who miss her.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The home stretch

Suzi helping Pluto feel Ivey last night

Wednesday we saw Dr. Stafford (or "Dr. Polo Shirt," as Julie calls him). He wrote my prescriptions, said the baby had a strong heartbeat, and we said thanks and goodbye until I get pregnant again! We picked up the prescriptions (two injectables and some pills we need to have available for the birth just in case) on the way home and luckily it was under $35 with our insurance. I'm 37 weeks and a day by the midwife's calculations. Our midwives are coming for the home visit Tuesday to bring the birth kit and go over final details.

Here's the list of things I've done to prepare so far:

1) Put together and made up Ivey's bed (Arm's Reach Cosleeper)
2) Got cradle set up for downstairs naps
3) Bought a food dehydrator and encapsulation kit for my placenta
4) Put together a basket of labor tools
5) Wrote an emergency hospital birth plan
6) Called Carey about 20 times with questions
7) Installed Ivey's car seat (well Jordan did)
8) Made and froze a chicken pot pie and a couple other things
9) Did a lot of cleaning in various places
10) Did some plaster belly casting (messy!)
11) Washed Ivey's cloth diapers
12) Made music playlist for labor
13) Packed in bins all the stuff we'll need; see below

When you're having a baby in the hospital, they supply all the linens and pretty much everything you need. For a homebirth, YOU are responsible for all that. I went through our linen closet and picked out all our crappy, mismatched towels and washcloths. Then I washed them on hot with Clorox, rinsed twice, dried them on high, and packed them up for the birth. Not only is our linen closet tidy, but we didn't have to spend any money! We also had to wash and pack up two sets of bedsheets, some receiving blankets, and clothes for the baby and me. We bought some teeny little Seventh Generation disposables for Ivey's first black tar poo (if you've had a baby, you know the one I'm talking about). There are many other things we packed up too, and they are all stacked in the corner of our bedroom. I had a good time getting them ready.

I decided not to pack a just-in-case hospital bag, because I don't feel like it. If I do have to go to the hospital in a hurry I probably won't need much and someone can throw a bag together for me. I need the stuff I would pack for my homebirth, and how can it be in the right place if it's in a suitcase? Besides, the whole thing seems so pessimistic. My emergency birth plan is in my purse, so I'll have that in case I need it.

I have just two weeks left of work and then I'm a stay-at-home mom. Big changes are coming for us!

One more picture... Because Suzi said "take my picture, Mommy!"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My first picture (25 years ago)

My dad, me and my mom after she squeezed me out with no drugs (yay Mom!)

It's my birthday, so I wanted to share the first picture of me and my parents. Their previous baby (my brother Paul) had been born 15 years prior, so a lot had changed. My mom had two rather oppressive births with my brothers, but for this one she was prepared. She and my dad took Lamaze classes and he was really involved in the birth for the first time. Afraid of developing gestational diabetes, she ate no sweets the entire pregnancy except for one slice of coconut cake. She insisted on delivering me drug-free because she wanted to be awake and aware when I arrived. For my brothers, a nurse just came in and said "we're going to give you something to dry up your milk," but she breastfed me. When the nurses tried to take me away (for tests and things) she firmly insisted I would be staying with her. She recognized, as so many women don't, that I was her baby and she was in charge, even in the hospital.

In a few weeks we'll be having our second daughter and I hope I experience this same night-and-day difference. We are certainly set up to have an awesome birth right in the comfort and privacy of our own home! Really, in my own way, I am following my mom's example.

I had a great birthday today. Suzi sang her cute little rendition of happy birthday. Jordan's mom came over and had lunch and cake with us, and asked Suzi how old I was. Suzi insisted I was "just two!" Maybe it's confusing because she can't count to 25 yet. I spent almost all day cleaning, organizing, and doing laundry to get ready for Ivey. This has become my new favorite pastime (weird, right?), and we have nearly all of our birth supplies packed up and ready to go. We took our dog Phibby for a walk after dinner and then went to Target to pick up our last few supplies (candles, a Boppy, tennis balls). We'll probably watch a movie in a little while and then go to bed. More things on the agenda for tomorrow!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Big belly, long list

By my calculations, I am 36 weeks, 3 days. By my midwife's, I am just 36 weeks. The official date is August 6 instead of August 3, which is good because if Ivey is a little late, she won't seem that late to me. Either way you look at it, I've got less than a month left to get a bunch of stuff done! In a way I'm glad, because I'll spend that time doing meaningful (sometimes fun) activities rather than groaning about how I'm so tired of being pregnant and ready for the baby to come. That's what I did with Suzi and it was stupid. You don't get to be pregnant for long--enjoy it!

A belly self-portrait. I wanted to get a picture of my sashay that I'd been saving to wear for months and nearly forgot about. Those little feet definitely represent how my belly feels most of the time as Ivey gets her exercise.

It would've looked bigger if I'd turned completely sideways, but again I wanted to show off my accessory. It really is good for adding length to my maternity shirts, because now even they are too short. Also, awesome new amber necklace that my parents got me for my birthday! I'm turning 25 Saturday!

Here's just part of the list. I am probably going to have to prioritize some of these things...

1) Finish buying supplies (just 4 or 5 things left)
2) Sand and paint belly bowl
3) Pack (just-in-case) hospital bag
4) Make some casseroles and freeze for later
5) Get snacks to have at the birth (my mom volunteered to help)
6) Make wrap carrier for Suzi's doll (more on this later)
7) Wash Ivey's diapers
8) Take a few more pictures of my belly
9) Get video camera ready to go
10) Make sure every camera has batteries in it
11) Put together basket of labor tools
12) Install Ivey's car seat (well, this one's for Jordan)
13) Deep-clean our whirlpool tub (possibly Jordan too? Please?)
14) Clean bedroom and bathroom for birth

And there's more, such as cleaning and organizing tasks not related to the birth but which I'd still like to get done. I've also been meaning to paint my toenails. We've already done a bunch of things, though. I'll try to post a list of those later. Today we have an appointment with our midwives, and next week we have an appointment with the OB (required for a homebirth in SC). We're almost there! I'm so excited!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

"I'm a bird in a nest! Tweet tweet!"

Suzi loves playing in this beanbag we found at the latest consignment sale. Sometimes she's a bird in a nest, and sometimes the beanbag is a swimming pool and she runs and jumps into it. I love to see how she uses her imagination to have fun with everyday things. It kind of reminds me of when I was little. My Barbies used to ride around in shoes because they didn't have a car.

And here was our project of the day today. I am embarrassed of the before pictures, but there are better ones after...

This is our storage room.

See that big white boxy thing in the bottom right corner? That is a really nice chest freezer, and yes, it's buried. Jordan had to be the one to put stuff in and take stuff out--I couldn't get the lid up with all that junk on it, and as you can see there is no way to stand in front of it. So today, I decided it'd be good to organize this room. Jordan was thrilled. His favorite part was when I went through all his tools and said "What's that?" and "What does this do?"

It took us several hours. We took everything out, swept the floor, threw a lot out and consolidated the rest. Jordan had already hung pegboard on one wall, so I put the pegs up and hung anything that had a hole in it! Jordan put a shelf up above the freezer. In the end, I think we are both pleased with the results.

I don't think we threw out anything good, but we will definitely be able to find the stuff we kept, and at a glance. Because most of it's hanging on the wall.

And there is nothing sitting on the freezer anymore!

And I can stand in front of it!

Hopefully soon that freezer will be filled with casseroles. I am hoping to start making some soon so we'll have them for after the birth. If you have a good recipe that freezes well, please share it!

Friday, July 3, 2009

What we've been doing (nesting, mostly)

I've only got about a month left until my due date. Wow! We're having a baby next month! Maybe this is why I've been so fired up about cleaning and organizing lately. I've been keeping a to-do list up on the computer screen every day I'm off work, and most days I get everything or almost everything done. Yesterday I did things like organize the (once cluttered) dining room, clean out the fridge, go grocery shopping, and did regular stuff like dishes and laundry and vacuuming, plus a few other things. Jordan helps with all this. I am sure he is overjoyed each morning when he comes downstairs and sees my list staring him in the face! (Do daddies nest too? I know they sometimes have morning sickness and gain weight, but neither of those have happened to him this time.) He has been a pretty good sport, and even got up at 6:30 this morning to take some things up to the attic for me. He has the day off Monday and will be doing yard work.

Suzi is contributing in a big way, too. She frequently says "I can help you!" and will pick up her toys and complete simple tasks most of the time. But that's not all she's done. Our little girl is using the potty! I don't know what to say about this, really. I mean, she's 25 months old and in the past month she's gone from not wanting to potty consistently at all (when I say "not want" I mean kicking, screaming, crying, saying "I want diaper!") to using the potty with 97% success. Yesterday I took her to the babywearing meeting at the library and she even went to the potty there. We have a special little seat for her, recommended by Hobo Mama. It works great! I know I'm probably not qualified to give advice, seeing as how we arrived here through sheer dumb luck after we happened to be blessed with a potty prodigy, and most of you who are still potty training probably want to slap me right now. But just in case we did a thing or two right, I'll share what helped Suzi in a future post. We are so happy about not having to deal with diapers anymore that we are hoping to implement elimination communication early on with Ivey.

And the picture... This is Suzi playing with her little cousin Anna, who is about five months old. Isn't she beautiful? Aunt Jeanie brought Anna over to visit at my mom's house the other day. Suzi just loves Anna and I'm hoping she has as much fun playing with Ivey later. We are all so happy because on my dad's side, there has been a sudden baby boom--and all girls! This Christmas at the farm there will be four sweet little ones: Suzi, Olivia, Anna, and Ivey!