Friday, 17 August 2012

Mission (Homebirth) Accomplished

I wasn't sure if I was going to come back to this blog or not.  I had kind of felt it had run it's course and I was ready to just focus on Life on the Bay and Dear Children Love Mommy exclusively and post everything there.  After the baby was born I decided to post about it here instead of on this blog.  It just seemed like I wanted to move everything back to that spot instead of jumping back and forth between this one and that one.

Last night though I revisited this blog and ended up reading through it all, and thought I had to post something.  It was so fascinating reading what I had wrote.  That is the main reason that I write anything anywhere, so that I can go back and read it.  It's so amazing to read about the past with today's knowledge, to read the words I wrote before I knew how things were going to happen.  I have to say I was very impressed with myself, for starting this blog, for keeping track of so many little things that interested me, and for tying my pregnancy into it all.

So after all the blogging about VBAC's, and my pregnancy, and my hopes for an HBAC, and all the drama between hubby and I, I am so happy and proud to announce that our baby girl was born in June, at home.  And it was amazing.  But you can read all about that on the link I posted at the beginning.

What I'm really thrilled about though was reading back through my journey to see how we got to this point, how it all unfolded.  It was an amazing feeling to know that I put my heart and soul into what I wanted and got it.  My daughter's homebirth could not have happened more perfectly.

Now I am thinking about what it all means for my dreams of becoming a doula and for this blog.  Just over one year ago I started this blog with the hopes of starting my doula training.  I felt so strongly that it was something I wanted to do.  I don't feel that way anymore.

I think there are two reasons that I don't really want to pursue becoming a doula anymore.  The first is that, in my travels through the pregnancy and birth scene I have encountered a lot of different people who are very much involved in it.  It has been an amazing experience speaking with midwives, doulas, and other natural birth advocates.  These people are often very similar in their ideals and opinions not only about birth but about a lot of things in life.  I have to admit I often felt intimidated by how strongly they feel about certain subjects, and while it's not that I agree or disagree, I just feel like I am not as openly opinionated as them and it makes me kind of uncomfortable.  It is like many of these topics go hand in hand (natural birth paired with other lifestyle choices) and I respect them but don't like to join any great debates about them.  So I think I'd rather just not be that heavily involved.

The second reason I think my thoughts of becoming a doula have faded has something to do with the arrival of my third and likely final child.  I felt in a way that I was chasing a birth experience, and my passion about it came from wanting to achieve it.  Now that I have had my daughter and had the most wonderful experience, I feel very complete and almost like there is a sense of closure.  I feel almost ready to leave the birth scene behind.

You bet that I'll still want to talk about this kind of stuff with anyone who is interested, and I think I would still be happy to pass on all that I have learned to others so that they can be informed and hopefully have positive pregnancies and births in the future.  Maybe I will even be so lucky to be a labour companion to a friend or family member one day.  That would be fantastic. 

So with that I am going to bring this blog to a close.  I'd like to print off all that I have wrote so that I always have it, but I don't think I will be writing anymore.  At least not for now. 

Short of winning the lottery we don't plan on having any more children, and while a part of me will always long to be pregnant and give birth 'one last time', I have made peace with the fact that it will likely never happen.  I loved each of my pregnancies and especially this last one, and I loved giving birth each time despite the different circumstances of each birth.  But I have realized that I am so lucky to have had three healthy pregnancies, three uncomplicated births, and three wonderfully healthy children, that I don't need to wish for more. 

Thanks to anyone who has had a read, it has been a pleasure!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


I have somewhere between 2-3 weeks to go with this pregnancy, and hopefully not more.  If I go by the due date my midwives have for me, I have about 2 weeks and 5 days to go.  If I go by the due date I've given myself I have 2 weeks and 2 days.  If I go by the due date they gave me at both my ultrasounds, I have 1 week and 5 days left.  Yikes!  But seeing as how the little person who ultimately decides when the big day will be knows nothing of due dates, I'm just telling people 2-3 weeks.  It makes more sense that way.

What an amazing pregnancy this still is.  Honestly, the little annoying things are nothing compared to how I feel they should be at 8.5 months pregnant.  I'm not constantly sore or anything like that.  Sometimes I feel slow but other times I feel completely normal.  Moving around is still pretty easy most of the time.  Sleep is not perfect but not horrible either.  My hands and feet are getting a bit swollen but that is pretty much due to the heat. 

My weight gain has slowed right down and I probably won't gain much more, maybe another pound or two.  So actually I think I will finish off with a total weight gain of 35 lbs, a new record for me! 

The heartburn has let up, at least for the time being.  Sometimes it comes back, but I haven't had any in a few days.  I get tons of braxton hicks contractions but that is totally normal and I did with my other pregnancies as well.  I just like to think it's my body getting ready so when the day comes everything will go nice and smoothly.

I'm not getting to the gym as much as I'd like, but that's mostly due to being busy and not wanting to put the boys in childminding that often.  So I have been going about once or twice a week.  Last week I was still walking quite a bit, but now that my older son is out of school I haven't been walking as much since I always walked him to school in the mornings.  That's actually ok with me though, since we're in the middle of an awful heatwave this week and I don't think I could manage being outside walking in it.  I'm still always on the move though, maybe not exercising but just busy with life and that keeps me from slowing down.

We are officially planning a home waterbirth which is really exciting!  Last week we had a very positive home visit from one of our midwives and she gave us a lot of reassuring information about homebirth which helped convince my husband to plan for it.  He is definitely feeling much better about the idea and maybe even a little excited.  I still went ahead and registered at the hospital, and I am going to pack a bag just in case we decide to go there.  I'm really looking forward to the possibility of having a home waterbirth though and I hope it goes smoothly so we can stay at home.

At first when I looked at the homebirth and waterbirth supply lists I felt very overwhelmed at all the stuff I had to gather.  But I started getting bits and pieces here and there, and next thing I knew I had it all.  I don't think there is anything left to pick up.  Yesterday at my midwife appointment I picked up the tub and the pump, so we've got that here and ready to go as well.  We do need to have a look at it though and make sure we know how to set it all up when the time comes.

Everything is still looking good with me and the baby whenever I see go to my midwife appointments.  One crappy thing is though I tested positive for group B strep (GBS), which is really common but it means we have to make the decision to whether or not to have antibiotics when I am in labour.  Both previous times I was negative so it was never an issue.  I am really not crazy about the idea of having antibiotics, and I really hate that it would mean I'd have to have an IV placed for the labour and birth, but I think I would rather be cautious and take the antibiotics than risk a GBS infection with the baby, even though it is rare.  That is what we are thinking for now anyway.  As much as I hate antibiotics, I'd rather treat the fallout from them (possible digestive upset for me and the baby as well as an increased risk for thrush for both of us) than have to treat potentially scary and life-threatening infection in baby.

My younger son has been rather clingy lately, and I'm starting to wonder if he senses there is something going on.  I do worry about the little guy, as he is still so attached to me and I'm sure he is not going to be happy with a new little person invading his space and stealing some of his attention.  I have to make sure I give him lots of special attention.  I would like to pick up some little gifts for the boys from the baby.  I saw some cute wheelbarrows and tools at Walmart for kids that I think they would love, so I might pick those up next week and have them all ready for them.  I'd love to get some other stuff too, we'll have to see how much I can afford to spend.

We got a van!  That is a huge relief, and it's just awesome having it instead of my tiny little car.  There is so much more room in there, and it makes getting around with kids so much easier.  Now I need to dig out the infant carseat from the basement and arrange all the seats in the van so everyone has somewhere to sit.

We're pretty much all set.  There are always other little things, but if the baby came tomorrow we'd be fine.  It's amazing how much more relaxed I feel by the third baby.  There's nothing that needs to be done that can't be done after the baby is born.

So for now it's just waiting and puttering around, getting done what we can but really just enjoying these last few weeks before everything changes....again!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Counting down the days

33 Weeks and counting!  Just in this past week I have suddenly gone from feeling totally fine to feeling like I am ready to not be pregnant anymore.  I'm just feeling slow and sore, but actually still pretty good.  It's just getting hard to move around quickly, and my left hip is really causing me trouble on and off.  So I finally feel as though I am slowing down.  Last week I was not able to do my weekly spin class.  I started it but quickly felt like I wasn't going to be able to continue because of my hip so I stopped.  I might try it again, but won't feel too bad if I can't keep doing it, even though I wanted to do it right until the end.  We'll see what happens.  I'm still planning on going to the gym regularly to workout on the elliptical and strength machines, and I do a little bit at home as well with my weights, stretching, pilates and still a bit of hooping.  I've also been doing a lot of walking which is great too.

Still feeling good and sleeping good for the most part which is great.  My midwife appointments are pretty uneventful as nothing is ever amiss and I never really have any questions.  I'm now down to appointments every two weeks to make sure everything is on track, which it always is.  I'm consistently measuring a few weeks behind, but the midwives say that is fine because I'm growing and that is the most important thing.  I think I've gained somewhere between 30-35 lbs so far.  Hoping to make this the pregnancy with the least amount of gain, so need to come in under 40 lbs!  I'm sure I will.  I am definitely just belly though and haven't really gained weight anywhere else though which is nice.  Feeling much smaller this time around than with the boys.

I'm still getting occasional heartburn but even at it's worst it's just an annoying, nagging feeling and nothing more.  It's still the most heartburn I've ever had in my life!

Baby is still very active and moves around a lot.  As far as the midwives can tell it is head down, and I am sure it is too as it feels very much the same as my last pregnancy.  A breech baby feels very different, with it's large head way up high.  I'm fairly certain I don't feel a big head anywhere near my ribs like I did with my first baby.

Right now I am planning both a home and hospital birth.  Since my husband is still not entirely comfortable with a home birth, it is only fair that we prepare for both.  I'm going to the hospital in a few weeks to fill out all my registration paperwork and have a look around.  I'm going to make sure I have a hospital bag packed and ready to go.  But I'm also going to make sure I have everything on the homebirth supply list so that if things are going smoothly we don't have to leave.  Everyone I talk to agrees that's a good plan.  That way we're prepared for everything.  The midwives don't seem the least amount worried about a homebirth for me, even being a VBAC, and especially since we are so close to the hospital anyway.  One of my midwives even lives on my street and could walk and still be here in 5 minutes!

I'm getting anxious to know what we are having.  I go back and forth between boy and girl.  I think we have some names narrowed down for either, but once again we will not be sure until the baby is born.  I think we should probably sit down and come up with a proper list though, right now we've just talked about a few but not sure if we have actually agreed on any!

We are feeling pretty relaxed about the whole thing.  Though there is a lot I'd like to get done around the house before the baby comes and it seems like time is flying by so we better get a move on it.  We tend to be last minute type people by nature anyway.  But I really need to do some serious cleaning and organizing.  We're still hoping to move the boys into the same room, and I would have liked to have done it by now to give them lots of time to adjust, but we just haven't had the chance to get the right furniture and move everything around.  I need to clean up all the baby clothes and get the cradle set up in my room.  The living room desperately needs to be cleaned and the kids' toys need to be organized, so that I can bring up some baby stuff from the basement and set it up.  I guess I better get out the infant car seat as well!

We also really need to get a van!  There's no way we could get 3 carseats in my tiny car.  Hoping that we get that sorted out soon as well, otherwise we'll be walking everywhere for awhile.

In terms of baby stuff there's nothing we need desperately.  In fact pretty much everything I'd like to get can wait until the baby is born.  Not to say that I don't want to run out and start buying stuff now!  But I don't need to yet. 

I'm not sure that the boys are getting terribly excited yet about the baby.  The older one talks about it a lot and he knows the baby is going to come soon.  I think he will be so excited to have a baby brother or sister.  The younger one gets that the baby is in my tummy, and that's about it.  He doesn't seem to know that the baby will actually be here, and I do worry that he might be a bit jealous or upset at losing some of my attention.  Though I am sure he will be a great big brother as well.  I'm glad that they will have each other to play with after the baby is born.

The weeks are really flying by and I am really enjoying myself.  I am so excited to meet the baby but I am not wishing the time away, even though it will be nice to not be pregnant.  I know I will be very sad once it is over and I will never get to do it again, so I'm just trying to enjoy every last minute because it really has been a wonderful pregnancy.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Hello, Third Trimester

27 Weeks.  6 Months.  2/3 Of the way through.  3 Months to go.  However you want to look at it, the weeks are just flying by.  Nevertheless, it does seem like a long way to go still before the baby arrives, though I know it will go quickly.

I can say at this point that this has been my best pregnancy to date.  I have especially enjoyed these last few weeks immensely.  I feel great, and I can honestly say I attribute that to staying healthy and active.  If only I had been so diligent the first two times around!

That looming hip and pelvic pain that I was having has not increased, in fact it has improved greatly.  I have figured out that a combination of staying active, daily stretching and exercise, and resting smart has meant virtually no discomfort.  There are times where I feel a bit of pelvic pain if I have been sitting or standing for any length of time, so really the trick is to stay moving.  I also make sure that any time I am sitting and relaxing, I'm on my exercise ball and not on the couch.  It really is the best place to sit for optimal back and pelvic positioning, and I never get sore from sitting on my ball but if I spend time sitting on the couch or chair I'm sure to feel it when I get up again.

I am still doing all the things I always have done, with no sign of slowing down.  I do wonder if one day the pregnancy will catch up with me and I won't be able to do as much, but I'll deal with that the day it comes.  I remember with my last pregnancy it was around 7mos that I stopped doing my regular bellydancing, so we'll see how I feel at that point.  But I expect I will push through much longer than that.

Not too sure how much weight I have actually gained but I know that this is the smallest I have been yet out of any of my pregnancies.  In fact I have been getting a lot of comments about how great and tiny I look, which is music to my ears.  With the boys, when people would ask how far along I was and I would say "6 months", it was usually followed by the comment, "REALLY, that's all?"  With my first I easily looked 9 months pregnant at 7 months.

Yesterday I had my latest midwife appointment with Lynne-Marie, who I had met before I was pregnant but not yet for any of my prenatal appointments.  She is fantastic!  We chatted forever and she was really great to talk to about my hopes for a homebirth and the attitude that I had been met with from my husband.  Her words and experience were really reassuring to me.  Everything checked out fine and she said she has no concerns at all about my pregnancy.  My blood pressure was perfect, in fact I don't think it's been high a day in my life.  I'm measuring about 25 weeks which is a bit smaller but I'm happy with that!  As far as she can tell the baby is head down though I know it's still early and that can change, but it's still reassuring!  It was at 26 weeks that we found out our first baby was breech, and he never moved from that point.  I'm hoping this baby has decided that is the best place to stay.  The baby's heartbeat sounds great, between 140-150, which interestingly she said indicates that it might be a girl.  I don't know if I believe any of that kind of stuff though!

I have declined the glucose screening test, given that I really do not have any risk factors.  It's interesting because I didn't know it was optional, in the past it was always offered as a routine test.  Lynne-Marie said we could always test at any time if any red flags came up, but I feel confident that gestational diabetes won't be a problem for me.  It's funny knowing what I know now, how many different decisions we are making with this pregnancy than we did with the other two.  Before I just opted for all the testing offered to me, but this time around I have more information and it has been the simplest pregnancy so far, with fewer scans, blood tests, and other tests in general.  It's kind of nice to not have to go through all that.

I spoke with another midwife as well named Jane who just joined my team.  I had met her previously as well at the parenting expo I attended in October and was happy to see she was on my team.  She also had some very reassuring things to say about planning a homebirth and said if there was anything we needed they would help us with out decision.

Next week is supposed to be the homebirth information night that I booked us for, but I hadn't written down the date and now we can't make it which is a bit disappointing.  But we can still gather information from the midwives and attend the next one in June.  Lynne-Marie and I discussed the possibility of a homebirth and even a waterbirth, and she gave me a list of things I would need for both as well as a registration package for the hospital.  I figure the best thing to do would be to register at the hospital and plan for the possibility of either a home or a hospital birth.

So I finally got up the courage to bring up homebirth with my husband again, and at least this time was not met by total negativity or hostility about the topic.  He was more understanding but it's obvious that he is still far from comfortable with the idea.  I think I have to accept that homebirth is never going to be something he is comfortable with, but hopefully when the time comes he will be able to trust my instincts as well as the midwife's to know where the best place to have this baby will be.  It might very well be the hospital, but it might be home too.  We may not know until the day arrives.

This baby beats me up on a regular basis.  My first son was active in utero.  My second son easily topped him.  This one takes the cake by far.  It actually turns my stomach and makes me feel ill occasionally with all the kicking and moving it does.  I have said to my husband that I can't bring myself to believe that this baby is a sweet little girl, and that it must be another crazy little boy.

I have actually been experiencing a very tiny little bit of mild heartburn lately which is not something I have had in the past.  I don't recall it at all with my first pregnancy, and with my last one I think I had it the odd time, again very mild and not enough for me to even know for sure.  It's very similar this time in that I'm aware of it, I *think* that's what it is, but it is not bothering me at all.  It's not like I need to take anything for it or lie a certain way to make it go away.  But it does seem to be happening with more frequency than it had in the past.

I feel very ready to have another baby in the house, and there really isn't all that much we have to do to prepare.  We have essentially all the gear we will need for this baby.  Clothes we can get when we need them.  I do need some cloth diapers and a few diapering items, but those can wait awhile as well.  I can't think of anything specific we will be needing for when the baby comes.

We still need some names though as we have yet to agree on any single one, boy or girl.  Agreeing on names has always been a challenge for us, it's a wonder our children get named at all!

So a pretty good update from me.  All is well and I'm feeling great.  No complaints, let's hope it stays that way for the next 3 months!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Sharing My VBAC Experience

Re-living and sharing my VBAC experience never gets old for me.  I could recount it a hundred times and so many details will be the same, but there will always be something new to add to it.  Almost 2 years later and I'm still sharing it with anyone who asks.

The leader of our local ICAN chapter has asked if anyone would like to share their VBAC stories with her to include in a binder that she is putting together to keep at the midwives clinic here.  I of course was happy to send my story to her. 

I think one of the most important things for a woman planning a VBAC is to be able to hear from other women who have planned VBACs, even if they didn't turn out the way they had originally hoped.  Because it is one thing to read all the research and facts, but it is quite another to read about how it all happened for someone in real life.  Somehow the stories of other women seem much more powerful than all the medical research in the world.

I hope she will be able to include my story in her collection for other women to read, because I think it is a really positive one and hopefully will give others hope that they too can achieve their VBAC dreams. 

More pregnancy updates to come!

Monday, 20 February 2012


I'm halfway through this pregnancy.  Which means 20wks down and 20wks to go.  It's hard to be patient sometimes.  I really want to enjoy every minute of this last pregnancy because I know I'll never do it again, but at the same time I already feel like I'm tired of being pregnant.  It seems like with every subsequent pregnancy my body has just given up a little bit more, and some days I feel like I'm much further along than just 20wks, which makes me scared for how I am going to feel at 25...30....35wks!

Still can't really complain though.  Well, I can, but I shouldn't.  I feel good, am eating well, sleeping fairly well, and managing to stay active. 

Not sure how much weight I've gained at this point though, maybe around 15lbs.  I'll check it out tomorrow at my midwife appointment.  I feel huge sometimes, but actually when I look at pictures from my last pregnancies at this same point I look about the same, so I don't think I'm bigger than I should be for 20wks along.

We had our big anatomy scan last Thursday and it went really well.  The ultrasound tech was really nice, but the scan took forever, or at least that's how long it felt as I lay on the table needing to pee so badly.  It's really cruel making a pregnant woman drink so much water and then not letting her pee.  I don't like scans simply for that reason.  But everything looked good as far as we could tell, of course she couldn't actually tell us anything and we'll have to wait to hear if anything looks amiss from the pictures.  We saw two arms and two legs, and it looked like baby had all 10 fingers and toes.  I was surprised that I wasn't even tempted to find out about the sex!  It's too late now, we really have to a wait until baby arrives. 

I'm feeling tons of movement and have been for many weeks already, since about 14wks.  I have always felt movement from 14wks on with all my pregnancies, which I know is early.  Now I am feeling full out kicks and can even feel them with my hand on the outside.  All of my babies have been super active in utero, and this one is no exception!

One thing I can complain about though is I am experiencing a lot of discomfort in my hips already.  I have felt it before in my other pregnancies, but it occurs earlier and earlier since my body is more relaxed from having gone through this before.  It's just given up!  So while I stay active and I feel great when I am exercising, by midday and the evening I'm often in a bit of pain.  It's affecting my legs which get tired and sore very easily.  I have been seeing my chiropractor and a massage therapist which really helps, but I am pretty much always aware of the discomfort all day long, every day.  It's only going to get worse I imagine!  One thing that really helps is sitting on my exercise ball instead of on a chair or couch, so I try to do that every evening as well as stretching.

I'm coming to terms with the fact that this will be my last pregnancy and feeling pretty good with that decision.  My hubby has made it clear that he is not interested in more children after this, and while I really did agree I also found it hard to shake the feeling of not going through it again.  It was hard to close the door on pregnancy and babies for good.  But as time goes by, I am actually looking forward to being done with this stage.  I have always loved being pregnant so much, and so I'm sure I will always miss it, but I am very ready to move on and focus on me, and get my body back!  There are things that interest me that I haven't been able to fully pursue because I've either been pregnant or breastfeeding or taking care of small children.  So I look forward to the days when I will get to do more stuff for me again. 

On a related pregnancy topic, I finally got my copy of More Business of Being Born!  I have watched two of the four dvds so far, the one in which they visit the Farm Midwifery Centre in Tennessee and speak with Ina May Gaskin and the other midwives there, and the one about VBAC.  They were interesting for sure.  I look forward to watching the other two dvds as well, hopefully sometime this week.

Will try to post pics of my last ultrasound if I get around to scanning it onto the computer, and will write more after my next midwife appointment as well.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Home Birth and Home Birth After Cesarean (HBAC)

Ok ok, I've put it off long enough.  I have been avoiding doing this post because I haven't been in the mood to sit and think and write.  But really, I don't think have to think about much for this post if I don't want to.  All I really wanted to do was link up a bunch of information I've come across in my research about home birth and HBAC so that if anyone is so inclined they can have a peek.  That's easy enough to do!!

I guess a little blurb on what home birth means for me is in order though.  The first time home birth may have come up between my husband and I as on option for birth, it was not something we would have considered.  I think I may have read a little about it during my first pregnancy, but did not think I would ever be comfortable with it.  This is probably something that is really common for most first time parents to think.  Childbirth and becoming parents can seem like such an overwhelming experience the first time around.  It's uncharted territory. 

When I was pregnant with our second son, while I did know more about birth and had more confidence in the process, I still would not have considered a home birth, mainly because I was having a VBAC and also it was not given to me as an option by my midwives.  I'm sure I could have pressed for it had it been something I really wanted, but given my births were going to be only 20mos apart, it was not recommended and I was fine with that.  Plus, since I hadn't laboured or given birth naturally with my first, the birth process was still very unknown to me, even though I had taken the time to educate myself a lot more than I had with my previous birth.

My husband likes to remind me of the fact that we had previously decided that home birth was not for us.  I am not so quick to go back to my ways of old thinking.  I know a lot more now, I have been through a lot more.  I would like to consider a home birth this time around.  He on the other hand is not so keen.  Let's just say we have had two arguments about it thus far (months ago already) and have not spoken a word on the topic since.  It is still early, and I have no desire to bring it up again this early in the game.  But trust I am not laying down and giving up on this one.

For me:  I have experienced childbirth in two different ways now, both in hospital settings and both positive experiences.  I have spent the last several years reading and learning about the birth process, and have come to have confidence in this process and in my body.  While I did have a positive hospital birth with my VBAC, in my heart I just want to be at home.  I know it is safe, I know it is where I want to have my child.

For him:  He has not read anything on the safety of home birth (or anything on birth for that matter), and is still following the ignorant point of view that it is best to be in the hospital.  He cannot shake that fear that something could go wrong where we would need instant access to care.  He feels I am putting myself and my baby at risk and am being selfish for wanting to do this.

Well, how much detail do I need to go into here really?  I have been secretly compiling information on home birth (as well as HBAC) for him to read, because the bottom line is he has not read anything and does not have significant information to back up his side of the argument.  Right now what I think would be fair is if this discussion is only brought back to the table once he has read the same amount of material as I have, for only then will he be allowed to have a say in this choice.  He is free to try and dig up as much anti-home birth information as he can find, but I think he will see that what I have researched is accurate and much more compelling. 

The stats and the research is there:  Planned home birth under expert midwife care is just as safe and maybe even safer than hospital birth.

My case was not helped by our first meeting with the midwife, who in her inexperience did not seem nearly as comfortable with an HBAC as I would like.  I made the mistake of having my husband at this appointment, and let's just say he was rather shaken by her lack of confidence in the matter.  This of course was very disappointing to me, because I know a more experienced midwife would have had a calmer manner and more accurate information and experience to share with us.

There are other factors as well that are making it hard for me to really express why this is so important to me.  Most of the time when asked why a woman wants a home birth, her response is so that she can avoid medical intervention.  In my VBAC hospital experience, we arrived and had no issues with doctors or medical staff trying to intervene.  It all went really well.  So my husband might argue that there is nothing to try and avoid, we can have the same birth at the hospital that we could have had at home.  On the other hand, we would be giving birth in an entirely different hospital this time around, so there is no guarantees that I wouldn't still fall prey to a cascade of intervention.  I will admit though, that this is not a concern of mine.  Already having had one fully natural VBAC, I would be confident enough to say that interference from the medical staff or unwanted suggestions of intervention is not one of my concerns.

Our midwife did make a very interesting point though and that is the hospital in this town (unlike the hospitals in the city where we had our other children) is only a class 3 hospital (or was it class 1? I can't remember the order they go in), meaning that obstetricians and anaesthesiologists are not always on the premises, rather they are on call.  So the time it would take to assemble the team in the event of an emergency would be about the same whether I was at home or in the hospital.  Of course my husband's argument to this would be that nevertheless, there would still be staff on hand to get the ball rolling, if let's say I needed blood asap or something along those lines.  I think what he fails to realize is that midwives are professionals equipped to deal with all sorts of emergencies, including hemorrhages, and they carry all the necessary equipment and medications in such an event.  He also fails to realize that incidents of maternal hemorrhaging are actually higher in hospital settings.  All information I plan on relaying to him, in good time.

And of course, there is the little factor of HBAC that I have to contend with.  Perhaps persuading him to go for a home birth would be easier if it weren't for that one little thing - having had a previous cesarean section does put me at a higher risk for complications.  This risk is really so minimal though, and I have information on the safety of VBAC to back it up as well.  Not to mention the fact that I have already had one VBAC already, which significantly increases my chances of another successful one. 

But putting all this information together to support my case is not as easy as it sounds.  I KNOW all this in my head already, I have read it, researched it, and fully believe it.  Getting it across to him is not so easy, as I don't have much of a way with words (or arguments) and really I just come off as a blubbering mess whenever the topic has been brought up.  Which is why it is important he reads it for himself.  Unfortunately he doesn't want to be an active participant in the pregnancy or birth planning process, which makes it hard (and also wants to make me say "Hey, if you don't care to be involved, you have NO say in this matter and I'm giving birth where I want to!").  He is not interested in reading any information or doing his own homework.  It is all up to me.  But don't worry, I have lots for him to read, I'm just waiting for the timing to be right.

We will be attending a home birth information session at the midwives practice in April.  The baby is due in July so there is still time to read and discuss further this matter.

So WHY do I want to give birth at home?  Well, my last birth happened so smoothly, that I look back and think, "Why didn't I just stay home?".  I mean, I could have.  I spent almost my entire labour by myself at home, and not even the slightest bit uncomfortable.  Why would I want to move on to a setting that might change the outcome?  Even while my hospital birth was a positive one, I still can't help but feel I'd be better off at home.  I remember when I got to the hospital, at 9cm and almost ready to push, there was just this feeling of being 'there', and wanting to get on with it.  All I could think was, "Get me on that bed and let me push this baby out".  It's like my mind switched over, and I just stayed there.  I pushed and gave birth on my back, resulting in horrible tearing.  It's almost like from the moment I got there, I gave up my 'natural birth' and succumbed to the 'get on your back and push' mentality.  I feel as though staying at home will help keep me focused, and help me want to stay upright and stay moving, and birth this baby without having to be cut or tear really badly. 

I would also like to consider the possibility of a water birth, something that is not an option in a hospital setting.  Again, maybe the feeling of the water will help me avoid giving in and giving up during that last gruelling stage, so that I can have a less traumatic and more peaceful birth.

And really, who wouldn't want to be in the comfort of their own home?  To avoid having to pack a bag that is usually overpacked because you didn't know what you'd need.  To not have to sit in a car while in the throes of labour, in pain as you go over every bump in the road.  To avoid arriving at the hospital, moaning in pain, and being wheeled to L&D while people watch.  To not have to check out and go home again.  To be able to get up and go take a shower in your own bath tub, and sleep in your own bed.  It's really too appealing to pass up.

He'll ask me "But what if something goes wrong, how could you live with yourself?".  Well, first of all you have to inform yourself and weigh the risks.  Birth is not without risk, where ever you are.  Heck, life is not without risk.  And if you do your homework, you will know the risks are there, but they're small, and the midwives are equipped to handle almost anything that could happen.  Of course I can't say that I'm 100% sure nothing would go wrong, but I am sure enough.

So as promised, before I go on any further with my own dribble, some information I dug up pertaining to home birth and VBAC/HBAC (I've included info that is strictly VBAC because it helps when deciding whether or not to go for HBAC).  This is essentially the same list of links I have saved to send my husband, when I am ready to bring it up again.  (I have more links to news articles about the studies on VBAC safety but have omitted them since I have included the link to the very study that all info in the articles refers too).

Midwifery Today - Home Birth After Cesarean
CMAJ Research on the Safety of Home Birth ***well documented and acknowledged Canadian study on the safety of home birth with midwives vs hospital birth with midwives vs hospital birth with doctors that provides accurate numbers supporting the safety of home birth***note: if you read the whole thing, it does state that once the VBAC subgroup was removed the outcomes were not significantly different
I'm sure this is just the tip of the ice berg.  I'm sure I could find even more compelling information to support home birth.  And I'm also sure than someone who is anti-home birth could find equally as much information supporting the dangers of home birth.  Such is how these things usually are.  Another fantastic resource that I have mentioned, and I will mention it time and time again, is Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.  Her statistics are undeniable proof that home birth under the proper care is safer than hospital birth.  And I would also recommend the documentary, The Business of Being Born (which I was able to get hubby to watch with me, so I'm hoping that has opened his eyes somewhat).

Now, as it is time to get the kiddos up from naps, that will be all from me today (didn't I think this was going to be a quickie just to post some links?).  Maybe someone else might find the information I've dug up helpful as well.

Monday, 23 January 2012

A Birth Story to Share

I'm certain that every woman who has given birth will no doubt agree that it is an experience like no other, no matter how it happens.  There are many words a woman may use to describe giving birth - powerful, spiritual, life-changing, amazing, terrifying, the list could go on.  For all women, there is no denying the feelings they have surrounding their birthing experiences, but many of us don't know how to put it into words.  Some women have a gift with words and can share what we all feel so beautifully.  I'd like to share a birth story with you that I read today that was powerful, moving, inspiring, and close to my heart as it was a VBAC.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did!

Hello Judah - A Birth Story by Adriel Booker from The Mommyhood Memos

Monday, 16 January 2012

Support Midwifery!

I had a little bit of a 'crazy lady' moment as I was certain I had already posted here about my support for midwives and their cause to bring birth centres to Ontario, but I looked and couldn't find that post.  Turns out I had posted it on my other blog, Life on the Bay.  No worries, because I am back to post about it again and show my support!

I have posted before about how with my first pregnancy I started out with OB care but soon wised up and switched to midwifery care at 29wks, and have never looked back since.  NOT that I don't believe obstetricians aren't important, in fact in many cases they are absolutely necessary, but for my uncomplicated pregnancies and births, using midwives was the better choice for better care.  Even during my planned cesarean with my first son, our midwife was present to take care of the baby after he was born, and midwives attended to our postpartum care.  I have had nothing but positive experiences with our midwives so far (from 3 different practices in Ontario) and consider them an invaluable resource which is too often taken for granted.

Obstetricians are experts in complicated birth situations, but the midwives are the experts in birth.  Choosing a midwife for your uncomplicated pregnancy and birth means you are making the best possible choice in prenatal and post partum care, for you and your baby.

In many parts of the world, especially in Europe, midwives take care of most of the births that happen in those countries.  In fact it is quite the opposite of how it is here in Canada.  Here when you are pregnant, you get referred to a doctor and have to seek out midwifery care.  In many other countries outside of North America, you start with a midwife and are only referred to a doctor if the need arises.  Countries who use midwives for all uncomplicated births often show lower statistics for medical interventions, surgical births, and even maternal and baby deaths.

Midwifery in Ontario is growing and gaining support.  From a sheet I received from my current midwives, produced by the College of Midwives of Ontario, "The number of births attended by midwives in Ontario has been increasing each year since regulation.  Last year approximately 10% of all births in the province were attended by midwives.  Approximately 20% of midwife attended births take place at home."  As you can see midwifery in this province is gaining momentum, and good thing too!  You can check out their website linked above and on the side of my blog for more information.

I feel so fortunate to live in a province where midwifery is funded, supported, and easily accessible, and where women are given choices in how they would like to birth.  Many woman in other parts of the world do not have easy access to midwives and often have to pay and fight for a normal birth or else be under the mercy of harsh hospital and doctor policies, and heavily overused medical intervention.

Ontario Midwives are currently working to try and bring birth centres to Ontario.  I think this would be an absolutely amazing thing if it were to happen.  I would no doubt choose to give birth in a birth centre if it were an option.  To help bring awareness for the need for birth centres in Ontario, the midwives have made this lovely video which you can view here.  To create this video they asked women who have given birth in Ontario to submit pictures of them during pregnancy, and/or pictures of them with their midwives.  I was happy to participate and sent in two photos.  You can see a photo of me during my second pregnancy at 17 seconds into the video, and one of me and our wonderful midwife Marlene Sagada from Riverdale Midwives in Toronto, the same day I gave birth to our second son at 1 minute and 10 seconds in.

Read more about how you can help support midwives and bring birth centres to Ontario here.

I doubt I will ever get the chance to give birth in a birth centre unless there will be one built before July!  But I hope that more women in the future will choose midwives for their care, and will have the opportunity to birth in a birth centre here in Ontario.

More compelling information about how mothers in any country can benefit from a midwifery model of care can be found in Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, which I have already mentioned before.  If you are interested in learning more about how midwives are good for birth, please read that book, and if you'd like to learn more about midwifery care in Ontario and how you can support it, please check out any of the links I've posted above.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

I want to see my baby!

So I have passed the first trimester, and moving into the 'honeymoon' stage of this pregnancy.  I feel great, I'm starting to get a little baby bump so it won't be long now until I actually look pregnant and not just fat.  Now I am telling everyone openly and it's so nice to just announce to people in conversations and talk about the pregnancy and how excited we are.

And now, I just can't wait to meet my baby!  It's so hard to be patient.  The other day I took went to a prenatal fitness class which was actually a postnatal class but the schedule was mixed up (I was able to stay and participate anyway), and there were two other moms there with their little babies.  Seeing them made me want to see mine even more. 

The baby stage with my second child was such a blur, and due to the circumstances was not particularly enjoyable.  I found it hard to enjoy him as a baby, and of course I'm really sad for that now.  I wish things had been a bit better and I could have enjoyed him more.  I feel like those days flew past so quickly and I hardly remember him as a tiny baby.  I am so looking forward to doing it all again, even the hard parts.

I'm still feeling great, and even better now that we have started back into our routine and I've been back to exercising again.  I'm getting a bit of a belly, and while sometimes I think I am huge in reality I haven't really gained any weight, and I'm not that big at all considering this is my third baby.  I can still fit into my regular jeans, though I prefer to wear my maternity ones simply because they are so comfortable!  I need to start taking pictures of my belly as the weeks go by.  With our first pregnancy we were pretty good at taking pictures every week or two from the second trimester onwards.  We didn't take as many with the last pregnancy, and we'll probably forget most of the time with this one but I hope we manage to catch a couple!

A few weeks ago I finally stopped breastfeeding my younger son, just before he turned 20mos.  I'm thrilled that I was able to breastfeed him as long as we did.  I didn't have any specific time frame for how long I was going to breastfeed him, and wasn't sure if it was something I would let him decide or whether or not I would start the weaning process.  With my first son I found that by the time I was 2mos pregnant I really didn't have much milk to offer, so we stopped and he was fine.  It was similar this time around, where I didn't have much milk left, but this time my son was reluctant to stop as he did seem to enjoy it more than my first did.  I had mixed feelings about it.  While I still loved the cuddle time I had with him in the evenings before bed when I breastfed him, I was getting very tired and breastfeeding was getting more uncomfortable as there was nothing there.   I also knew that I didn't want to continue for the whole pregnancy or do tandem nursing as I wanted a bit of a break between babies.  So after the holidays I initiated the wean, and while initially he was taken a bit aback, it went very smoothly without issue.  We still have our cuddle time with a story, and I think he enjoys that just as much.  I look forward to another successful breastfeeding career with this next baby, but I'm also looking forward to giving myself a little break for a few months.  Afterall, I have been either pregnant and/or breastfeeding for 4yrs now so I have to pace myself!

While I find I am feeling good overall, I have been having persistent headaches for about 2wks now which are driving me nuts.  I've never had such a long run of headaches and I figure they are probably pregnancy related.  I have been drinking lots of water and trying to take care of myself, and yet I am still getting them.  I really hope they let up soon.

I'm also not sleeping all that well.  It's not too bad, but I am waking several times a night which is getting annoying.  Most of the time it is to go to the bathroom, but often there are other reasons (like a headache or sore back), or sometimes there is no reason at all and I just wake up.  I'm also having very strange and vivid dreams which also disrupt my sleep.  Luckily though I'm still getting enough sleep overall, as annoying as it is, so I am feeling energetic throughout the day.

Pregnancy hormones are rampant and I find myself likely to tear up at silly little things, especially if they are either sad or heartwarming.  I tend to watch a lot of TLC baby shows like A Baby Story, and while a lot of the labour practices actually make me upset to watch, I also find the heartwarming aspects of the show make me all emotional.  I almost just bawled my eyes out at an episode where a couple was having twins using the mother's sister as as surrogate, as she herself had battled breast cancer and was unable to carry children at that time.  Because of how easily I get teary, I try to avoid reading or watching any sad stories, or else I would be crying my eyes out all the time.

So that is how things are going so far.  I know I have promised a homebirth post, and I have not forgotten, I have just been avoiding having to sit and put more thought into it.  It will be here soon I'm sure.  Right now I'm just enjoying being pregnant and trying not to wish it away, as much as I want to meet my little baby now!

Friday, 6 January 2012

This Pregnancy

I was debating whether or not to write about my pregnancy on this blog or on my Life on the Bay blog.  Either would have worked but I figured this would be the better place since the whole blog is focused on pregnancy and childbirth anyway.  So maybe it's going to become more of a journal for this pregnancy, but I think that's fine too. 

Last night I was reading some of the posts I had about my previous pregnancies and birth.  Reliving them never gets old for me.  As time goes by I often wonder how much I will remember, so it's good that I've written some of it down somewhere.  My memory is not that good, and while I'm sure some women remember the times they gave birth as clear as day, I am not one of those women.  I remember many of the details, but there is often a lot of fog and I find it hard to put myself back in that place.  Writing it down allows me go back and experience it all again, at least as much as I can based on what I've remembered to write!

I kept a pregnancy journal with my first pregnancy, and when I re-read it several months back I was shocked at all the little things that I had not remembered about it, that had been glossed over.  It was quite interesting and was what prompted me to start writing again.  I didn't keep any type of journal with my second pregnancy unfortunately, though I did write a lot on message boards online so actually I think if I ever wanted I could go back and find a lot of the day to day stuff somewhere.  This time around I hope I can record more of it as it happens.

This was very much a planned and wanted pregnancy.  I always knew I wanted another child, and while my husband was not always sold on the idea, I think he always knew as well that we would have one.  The question as to when got tossed around quite a bit over the past year, usually with me making some comments about it being soon and him saying he didn't want to consider it until our youngest was a bit older.  But once things started to settle and we were feeling more comfortable in our life, it started to look like sooner rather than later was going to happen.  To me, I just wanted to have the baby next year to keep even spacing between the 3.  I know they say you shouldn't put to much emphasis or thought on the age gap between your children, as it happens when it happens, but I really did want another fairly close age gap.  I also wanted to keep up the momentum while the baby stage was still in our minds, without getting too far away from it and then having to go back.  I have to admit that there was a part of me that wondering why we would want to go through it again.  I always found that things became so much more grounded and easier after my kids were over a year, and the thought of going back to square one again was quite scary.  But I also knew that no matter how much I tried to reason with myself, I would never ever get over the feelings of wanting to have another and do it all again, and grow our family.  So for me it was a no brainer, I was just waiting for the hubby to come around.

Which he did, and so quickly that it caught me by surprise.  In just a few short months he went from "I will consider another one in a few years" to "Maybe I'll be ready to start next year" to "I'm ready now"! 

Our first pregnancy was planned so I was not a stranger to the whole trying to conceive game, though this time I did feel more knowledgeable on the subject.  I felt more anxious this time.  I'm not sure why, because it's not like I wanted it any more than I did the first time we started trying, but the thought of going through month after month unsuccessfully and seeing all those negative tests made me feel awful.  I was just hoping things went smoothly.  Because our second pregnancy was a surprise I got to bypass all the stress that time around, which really was a blessing in disguise.

Lucky for me we got pregnant this time on the first try!

When I was waiting for the time to come to take a test, I do remember feeling very anxious and afraid of not being pregnant that month.  I didn't enjoy the waiting time.  My cycles were luckily very regular so that made it fairly easy for me to know when the right times to conceive were, but still in this game there are no guarantees.  Several days before my period was due, about 5, I had a few symptoms which could have either meant I was pregnant, or that my period was on it's way.  The suspense was killing me.  I know that many sensitive pregnancy tests claim they can detect pregnancy 5 days before your expected period, and I also knew that it wasn't necessarily wise to test that early because it could be negative even if I was pregnant.  I was so certain I was going to hold out as long as possible.  I was also telling myself that this time I would tell my husband before I tested so that he could wait with me for the results, instead of doing it on my own and then telling him after.

Well of course my impatience got the better of me.  I bought the test on the Tuesday before my period was due (on the Saturday) with the intention of waiting a few more days.  But when I got up early on Wednesday morning I felt compelled to take it, so I did.  There is nothing quite like waiting for the results of a HPT.  Your heart wants it to be + but your head is telling you it is likely -.

When the double line appeared, all that kept running through my head over and over was, "A line is a line!  A line is a line!  A line is a line!".  It was faint, but it was a line!

That was on Wednesday, October 26th.  I didn't tell the hubby right away.  Instead I went and bought two more tests.  Now I can't remember if it was the Thursday or the Friday that I took another, but when I did I waited for him to come home and then had my oldest son give him the test.  I expected more of a surprised response, but he wasn't surprised at all.  Rather, he said "I KNEW we'd get pregnant right away!"

After my period was confirmed late, I took the other test to make sure.  I really hate those early days and weeks, where there is just no way of knowing things are moving along.  Especially for me, because I didn't get sick or even that tired, I was always feeling uneasy about whether or not I was actually pregnant.  I am not a fan of the first trimester, it's just a whole lot of waiting and worry!  However, I can't complain because I did feel fine, and not just fine I felt great.  Life went on as normal and that horrid pregnancy fatigue that normally slows a woman down in the first trimester never hit.  I was tired at times, but actually no more than any tired mom of two.  I managed to keep up with all my daily activities without issue.  I would be quite tired by the end of the day and would go to bed early, but getting through the day was not a chore.  I remember with my second pregnancy feeling so tired that I couldn't move from the couch.  None of that this time around!

Some things I did experience during my first trimester were mostly sleep disruptions.  I was having to get up what seemed like a million times to pee at night (it was anywhere between 2-5 times), and I just was not sleeping well, tossing and turning all night long.  I remember experiencing that with my second pregnancy as well.  After a few weeks though these things did subside, and while I have always had to get up to use the bathroom at least once, I have at least been sleeping much better for the most part.

At 10wks we had our first midwife appointment at the Midwives Nottawasaga.  My husband came with me (though I think he would have been just as happy to not be there and in all honestly I kind of wish he wasn't either), and we met with our first midwife named Natalie.  I had midwives from two different practices for my other pregnancies, but these would be totally new ones for us.  I learned that they work on teams of 3, and that our care would be shared by the 3 and one of them would attend the birth. 

That first appointment did go well as we covered all my past history and whatnot.  At 10wks Natalie could not yet pick up the heartbeat, but I did know that was likely to happen though I was kind of hoping we'd be able to hear it.  I think though it was a bit of a disappointing appointment simply because of my husband being there and us having different views and opinions on how we want this birth to go.  I had many questions about homebirth for the midwife, and my husband is not supportive of homebirth.  Unfortunately while Natalie is obviously very supportive of homebirth, I think her inexperience was apparent and she didn't come off as very confident, which completely put the hubby off.  This birth will be my second VBAC, and I have done enough researching to know that it is very safe and my chances of being successful again are very high.  My husband is not comfortable with the idea of a homebirth to begin with, but the added VBAC factor made him completely against it.

Needless to say we have not yet seen eye to eye on this issue and have yet to discuss it further.  However it is not something I am ready to toss aside, regardless of how stubborn he is at the moment.  Right now all I would like from him is to read as much information about VBAC and homebirth as I have, so that he is not putting his foot down without knowing the facts.  He is welcome to bring to the table research against homebirth if he can find it, but I think he will realize that the information that I am gathering for him which supports the safety of homebirth is overwhelming and hard to ignore.

In a few months time we will be able to attend a homebirth information night at the midwives practice, which I hope will ease some of his concerns and answer some of his questions.  He agreed to watch The Business of Being Born with me which I think helped him understand birth a little better as well.  There is still lots of time, but I am still hoping that homebirth is something we can consider, but I know it will be safe and that I will feel comfortable here.

When I think back to how my labour unfolded with my second pregnancy, how I was able to labour on my own at home and it was a great experience, and how I got to the hospital just in time to push, it makes sense to me to be able to stay in the comfort of my own home.  While my second birth (which was my first labour and vaginal birth) went smoothly and well overall, I think there are things that could have been avoided with more planning and possibly staying home.  When I had gotten to the hospital I was almost fully dilated and ready to push, and being in that setting made me just want to get on the bed and stay there.  I pushed and gave birth on my back, in the least ideal position for childbirth, and as a result had an episiotomy and tore very badly which was the most horrible part of the whole experience.  I really believe being able to stay home and move around here will help avoid that situation this time.  I would also like to consider a water birth, which I know could only be accomplished at home.

The hard part of my argument is that, most women plan for homebirths to avoid unnecessary hospital intervention.  In my case I wasn't faced with any intervention at the hospital, it was actually a good experience, so it's hard for me to say that I want to avoid the hospital for that reason.  I have also heard as well that the hospital here is good for not getting too involved unless necessary.  Still, I just want to be able to stay home if possible.

I actually plan to do a post about homebirth (including HBAC or home birth after cesarean), which will include all the great info that I have come across in my research, so I probably don't need to get into in too much detail here.

Last week I finally got to have my first ultrasound.  We have decided this time not to go ahead with any of the prenatal screening tests offered, even though we did with our previous pregnancies.  We just found that it caused added stress and we have already decided that we would not terminate the pregnancy regardless.  As a result there was no need for a 12wk ultrasound as there had been in the past.  The midwife did offer one for dating purposes, and even though I was sure of my dates already I accepted anyway because I couldn't help wanting just a little peek to know that the baby was so far growing and doing well.  So last week at almost 13wks I went in for my ultrasound. 

Seeing your little baby on that screen never gets old, I couldn't stop smiling while watching it jump around.  It was hopping all over the place and waving at me.  Such an amazing sight to see.

Imagine my surprise though when the ultrasound tech told me that I was a week ahead of my dates, and instead of being due around July 8/9th like I had thought, he gave me a new date of July 2nd.  At first I was flabbergasted, and in a way happy because I wanted to be even further ahead.  But the more I thought about, the more I figured he must have been off because I was certain of my cycles.  So I've decided, for myself, to stick with my original due date.  I know that due dates are estimates anyway and it's not good to get hung up on one, and that's not what I want to know it for.  But, if they say my due date is July 2nd and I go over, there is always the chance I will be pressured into induction which I don't believe in.  I believe this baby will come right on time, and it will be according to my cycles and not this scan.

So I am sticking with a guess date of around July 8th, give or take a week.

Now I am officially in my second trimester and still feeling great.  Except this past week I have had a lot of headaches, but otherwise am feeling good.  I'm a bit sluggish these days and still trying to recover from the holiday chaos.  Over the holidays I haven't been exercising as much and I can feel that I have less energy as a result.  I look forward to getting back into our routine next week once my older son goes back to school.

Before I got pregnant this time I started exercising more to get into shape, and have been able to continue my exercise routine since becoming pregnant.  I was not terribly active through my last two pregnancies and I hope that this one will be different.  I would like to stay active and stay in shape, so that hopefully I can have a smooth labour again, and also so that I can snap back in to shape quickly after the baby is born.

Well, I could go on, but that is all the time I have for today and I have two little monkey to wake up from their naps, so I'll have to continue more on this pregnancy some other time.  More info on homebirth coming soon!