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Thursday, May 30, 2013

{finola's birth story} part 2 : the 'real deal'

(part 1)

The day Finola was born was a Sunday.
Since 3:42pm on Saturday I had been having consistent and much more uncomfortable Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Since they weren't stopping I kind of knew something was happening...but they also weren't getting any stronger so I wasn't about to rush to the hospital.  Paul kept asking, "Are you having contractions? Is it going to be today?"  All excited.  I could only clutch my gigantic uncomfortable rock of a tummy and respond, "Who knows?" as I had all the other times he had asked.

We went to church. I prayed for strength during labor and, honestly, strength during the next year of raising two little ones.  I knew I would need it!

Paul and I chatted afterward about the names - were we still 100%?  We wrote out the names, even tried out different spellings of each one.  But, in the end, both liked our original choices.  Boy or girl, we knew what the babe would be named.

When I put Cormac down for his nap that afternoon the BH contractions stopped, which had me puzzled.  Maybe today isn't the day after all, I mused.  Then I decided to take a nap, given my body had relaxed enough to do that.  Pretty amazing how your body knows you need to rest up for something, right?  It is as if it knew I needed the extra rest and energy for what was to soon come.  And I mean very soon.

Immediately after my nap the BH contractions began again.

At around 4pm, after Cormac was up, I bid Hubby and him goodbye and I headed out for my normal Sunday afternoon "me time" - when I get to go out by myself, shop or do whatever I'd like.  Hubby asked if it was really a good idea to do this since I was having the consistent yet mild contractions and I had responded, "Absolutely!  It might be my last chance in quite a while!"

So off I went.  First stop - Babies R Us.  I wandered around, talked on the phone, texted Hubby, picked out a bunch of cute baby girl outfits, and timed my contractions.  8-10 minutes apart.  Still very mild.

After filling my basket with sweet baby girl things I sighed and put them all back, deciding the baby would probably be a boy and I didn't know when I'd have time/energy to return all of it.

I left the store emptyhanded and headed next door to Michael's craft store.  I purchased Cormac a bunch of fun, cheap, outdoor toys and games as sort of a "big brother gift."  Things I knew he'd like and we could entertain ourselves with in the backyard.  I left the store feeling happy.  Oh, and slightly more uncomfortable.

Then I went to the next store in the strip - Half Price Books.  This is where things got real.  I had barely walked in when I felt my first real contraction.  I stopped short, gasped a little, and breathed through it.  I noted the time - 5:45pm exactly.   The contraction lasted about thirty seconds but was different than anything I had felt prior to.  I continued to shop, not wanting to jump the gun.  Six minutes later I felt it again.  Then six minutes later.  I began to get excited!  Consistency!  Actual pressure!  I remembered this particlar pain from last time.

Despite all the 'contraction distraction' I purchased a couple things and headed back to my car, continuing to track the increasingly painful and uncomfortable contractions.  They hurt but I would say were only about a 5 on the pain scale.  I could still drive and function.

Here are my texts with Hubby, for your enjoyment, and for me to marvel at how quickly things progressed.  As you can see, Hubby didn't really think it was "the day" - which he now says was reverse psychology....



I called my friend Melissa.  She would be the one coming to our house to watch Cormac when we went to the hospital until Paul's parents could come take over.  I excitedly told her that I thought it was the real deal...but I'd give it another twenty minutes of timing them and call her back to confirm.

The contractions continued as I drove home, and I called my doula.  She said to call her as soon as my friend got there to watch my son and we would meet at the hospital.  She did not think there was any time to labor at home.  (There went my birth "plan!")

My twenty minute drive home was a blur of contractions and phone calls.

I called Paul and told him it was time.  He was completely excited and said he would start loading up the car. I confirmed with Melissa that yes, I was in labor, and she should head over.

I called my midwives' office and left a message and Trish, who I mainly saw, was on call and got back to me within minutes.  I told her we would be on our way and reminded her I was at 6cm at my last check.

By the time Melissa got to our house we were packed and I was nearing a 7 on my pain tolerance scale.  I had to lean on something and brace through the pain, swaying, and completely silent.

I knew we had to hurry.  Baby was coming.  It was about 7:30pm.  I kissed Cormac about twenty times, knowing he didn't understand and probably thought I was crazy.  But I kissed him and hugged him tight and smelled his hair and finally let him go as he tried to wriggle out of my arms.

My last time seeing him as my only baby.

Then we rushed out the door.

Next up: 
part 3 - {the short, sweet, and painful labor}
g

Monday, May 27, 2013

the first week details - a sleeping baby!

Any mother who has just given birth realizes that the first week with a newborn is all about sleep.  Not necessarily you getting any sleep, but the baby sleeping a lot and you figuring out how to try to get some.

The very first night/day after birth you are tricked into thinking all your baby will do is sleep.   Because that is what they do!

My first night with Finola I got no sleep - maybe one or two hours.  Not because she was awake and keeping me up...but because I had just given birth and was SO EXCITED!  I think once the three of us got settled in our recovery suite {term used loosely} all I did all night was hold her, stare at her, and smile a ridiculously goofy smile, daydreaming about my new and unexpected life as a 'girl mama' and going over the details of the birth about a million times in my mind. 

She barely made a peep, except a few squeaks here and there {she squeaks a lot!}  I tried to wake her up to nurse every couple hours as was recommended to me by the nurses, but she was so zonked out from her trip down the birth canal that it was hard to get her all that interested in breastfeeding.  Unlike last time I wasn't too worried about this.  She would eat when she was ready.

she slept the entire first day
 I was totally okay getting zero sleep that night.  I was running high on adrenaline and happy 'birth hormones.' 

I just enjoyed the silence, and, like I said, smiled and stared at her.

The second night was a whole different story - entitled "cluster feeding."  This apparently is when your newly born babe wants to be at the breast ALL. THE. TIME.  So no sleep that night either for this mama.  She would scream every time she left the breast.  She was voracious, even though I didn't have any milk to give her yet and I was sure the colostrom had been gobbled up hours ago.  So I just kept chugging down the water in my "sippy cup" that the nurses kept refilling and putting her to breast.   I got sort of frustrated at one point just because I was feeling bad she wasn't being satisfied.  So after annoying the nurses for a while with my "is this normal?" question I then called in the lactation consultant on duty for more reassurance.  She, like everyone else, assured me that this was typical healthy newborn behavior and that Finola was simply doing her part to get my milk to come in and be of good supply.  That made me feel better.  Team effort.  Then I picked the lactation consultant's brain with any question I could think of.  Even some I knew the answer to but just wanted to hear it again.  I'm sure she loved me.

We went home after 36 hours in the hospital, anxious to get to the comforts of our own house and begin life with the new baby.
mommy's girl
dressed in her 'going home' outfit - and even an open eyelid!

ladies in pink - ready to head home!  felt a lot less scared during this 'wheelchair ride.'
And honestly, the first week has been great.  Newborns sleep a LOT at this point.  And after just having gone through this less than two years ago with Cormac I have been pretty confident and laid back about everything, instead of the bundle of anxiety and nerves and "am I doing this right???" craziness I was with him.

Finola is a very sweet baby so far.  She doesn't cry unless having her diaper changed.  My milk came in after three days and I feed her every 2-3 hours no matter what, so she barely has to cry for food.She eats, poops, and sleeps for hours at a time throughout the day and night.  Very typical newborn.  

She goes through a few hours in the late evening when she is awake for a stretch.  Dada is usually in charge then and he plays with her {um, as much as you can 'play' with a newborn...more like 'interact.'}When she is awake I can set her in the bouncy, or the carseat, or on her tummy time play mat and she might squawk and squeak but doesn't cry.  She is awesome in the car and slept through church like a champ.

She seems easier than Cormac was...but maybe we just know better how to handle things?

I know this will change.  I know around three weeks she will cluster feed again and cry more and have her "witching hours" where nothing will please her and we will wonder what we are doing wrong.

But for now, I will enjoy my peaceful, quiet, squeaking, gassy baby.  


Dada seems to get a lot of sleep. 

The adoring older bro. 
 He has been great with her so far.  Poked her in the ear once...but other than that...


I love this one.  I was like, 
"Okay, everyone pretend to be sleeping!"  
Finola is the most convincing.

"Who is this guy?  He sleeps as much as I do!"  
{just kidding, babe}

This expression pretty much sums up what she thinks of being awake...

All that being said - while she sleeps a lot...I don't, not really.  I still have to wake up every 1-3 hours at night to feed her.  So I'll get about 5-6 hours of very interrupted sleep.  I will maybe sleep a little during Cormac's nap, and I try to at least sit down and take it easy a lot during the day.  Breastfeeding is good for that!

I am not complaining.  I  knew what I signed up for.  This ain't my first rodeo.  :)

The next six-eight weeks we will be in 'survival mode' while her sleep regularizes and hopefully between weeks six and eight she will start sleeping a longer period of time during the night, giving mama and dada some quality sleep.

Til then, I am gonna rock the dark-circles, zombie expression, new-mama look the best I can.

and keep reminding myself how precious this time is,

and how quickly it goes.
g

Friday, May 24, 2013

{finola's birth story} part 1 : the 'plan'

I guess you could say this birth story started weeks {months?} before the birth.  My body decided to start laboring rather early.  I began having Braxton-Hicks contractions at around thirty weeks.  This painless tightening of my uterus got progressively stronger and more frequent as I moved into my last month of pregnancy.  At 36 weeks my cervix was checked for the first time at my regular midwife appointment and I was expecting maybe 2 cm, since I had also had Braxton-Hicks early in my first pregnancy.

Wrong - 4 centimeters dilated. 

The midwife seemed pretty surprised but told me not to get too excited because it was not unheard of for someone dilated this much, this early to still go until their due date.  She didn't seem overly concerned.

At 37 weeks I was 5 centimeters dilated.  At 38 weeks I was 5-6.

Each week I got a similar warning from whichever midwife checked me: When you do go into labor get to the hospital - fast.

Of course, other people I shared this with had their own helpful versions of this, such as:  "Keep your legs crossed - that baby is going to fall out!"  and "Make sure your midwife is good at catching babies!" and "Don't sneeze!"

Naturally my mind was in a tailspin of worries revolving around not having someone able to come watch Cormac in time, the baby being born in the car, etc.  But I wasn't having any painful, "real" labor contractions and my 'plan' was to labor at home as long as possible, going to the hospital only when I thought the birth was close.

Oh, the 'plan.'  I'm not referring to my written birth plan, which was pretty succinct and typical of anyone desiring a natural birth.   In essence - no drugs, no time limit, desiring use of hydrotherapy and a calm, low-key birth environment.

No, I am talking about the daydream of birth that all mother's conjure up in their mind: they way they "want" things to go.

My daydream looked like this:

I was going into this with eyes wide open this time.  I envisioned another long labor. {Read here about my labor with Cormac.} I also fully expected another posterior-positioned baby, which would make the process even longer and more painful because of the back labor that typically goes along with that.  Because I thought things would go just like last time, long and painful and possibly stalling at 8cm because of the posterior positioning...we had hired an experienced doula for additional support through the process.

In my mind I saw us {she, myself and paul} going through most of the labor process at home, using the tub and shower for hydrotherapy.  I would listen to my birth music.  I would eat my protein-packed arsenal of  light snacks for added boosts of energy and drink water throughout.  I would power through those early contractions in a calm and loving home atmosphere, struggle heroically through the stronger ones, and then get to the hospital at just the right moment to finish off the transition stage of labor and push this little baby out!

I would run this marathon of a birth like a champ.  At least that was my hope.

But, as usual, God had his own 'birth plan' in the works...

{Spoiler: His was way better than mine.}

up next...
part 2 : the 'real deal'
g

Monday, May 20, 2013

{it's a - !}

Happily introducing
 our little baby girl...
Finola Wilder Ford
Born May 19 at 9:12pm
7lbs 7oz
19 inches
If you have been following my pregnancy, you know that a 'girl' came as a surprise to this mama.  
But, let's face it, this whole pregnancy has been a surprise!
A very lovely surprise.
She is absolutely beautiful...






Both mama and babe are healthy and thankful.
More photos to come.
And a birth story.
So excited to share!
g

Friday, May 17, 2013

mama confessions : labor can wait

Your last few weeks of pregnancy are definitely the most irritating.  
in the nursery. it is mostly done.  my belly feels like a giant rock.
I remember last pregnancy I just wanted the baby to come.  I, like every first time mom, kept lamenting how I was SO ready to meet my baby boy, and begin this new chapter of life.

But you are never really ready.  I was NOT ready.  I think this "readiness feeling" is our mind/body playing a fun trick on us new mamas...to help us at least "feel" prepared for labor.  Funny how after labor your hormones make you feel all crazy, like 'life will never be the same!' and you may cry randomly over everything, including the loss of your former baby-free life.

(Just keep telling yourself, "It is only the hormones.  I will feel normal again!")

Yes, the "new chapter" is amazing...but mamas...please enjoy those last few weeks sans kiddos!  Go on those fun, unexpected movie dates.  Hang out with your girlfriends by the pool and chat.  Or go to restaurants as often as possible.  You have NO idea what is coming.

Movie dates will soon be a luxury that rarely happen, especially if you are breastfeeding.  Girlfriend dates to the pool will involve your post-baby belly, and a tot that may not really want to hang out at the pool at all.  And may scream.  And WILL poop.  PS: wet swimmie diaps are super fun to change in a soggy pool bathroom.  Just sayin'.

And restaurants?  Ha.  Hope you are ready for your beautiful babe to cry, need to be fed, interrupt every conversation you have, and throw things.  Yes, they will throw things.  A lot.  Try having a meaningful conversation with your spoon being chucked to the ground or rice puffs being flung at your face.

Don't get me wrong - motherhood is beautiful.  I love it, quite honestly.  But it sure ain't easy, by any stretch.

This time around, my second pregnancy, the last few weeks are still irritating...but for different reasons. I am not hoping to go into labor anytime soon.  I would gladly accept an appearance on or even a few days after my due date.

But I'm 5cm dilated...and not in labor (well, the "real deal" kind.)  I have contractions every once in a while (besides the Braxton-Hicks) but they go away after an hour of consistency and me praying that I'm really not yet in labor.

Why am I dreading labor?  It's not really the pain.  More the knowing how much harder life is going to get.  Juggling two babies.  One who is not yet two and teething and has been throwing tantrums like a rock star lately.  One who we tried to transition to a big boy bed, then realized after three weeks of him waking up super early and zombie-walking around until he found us, being cranky from his self-induced tiredness, and thereby making us zombie-walking parents.  We realized he was definitely NOT ready for a big, unconfined bed...so we chucked out the cash for another crib.  Life has been lovely for all since.  Lesson learned.

Also, it is the fear that each sweet, private moment with my son is my last. 

Every morning, when I get to go into his room to scoop him up and sing my 'good morning song,' I am grateful.  Grateful for another day of just him and me, before things get a lot more crazy.

Every night when I put Cormac to bed I wonder if I really will "see {him} in the morning light" as I always tell him while gently pushing the blonde hair off his forehead.   Or, rather, will I be at the hospital, and he will wake up with someone else there to take care of him, his world about to be rocked with a brand new sibling?

That is why, for now, labor can wait.  Gonna enjoy every sweet moment as a mama-of-one that I get.
g

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

sweet somethings : mama's day

Thought I might take a moment to muse on my Mother's Day.
My second one, and just as beautiful as the first.  This day has now surpassed Valentine's Day in my mind, as it is not just celebrating the love my Hubby and I  have for each other, but it is that, as well as the mutual love between myself and my baby {soon to be babies.}  And that which I have for my own mother.  And I get to see the love and respect my husband has for his mother.  All these things are awesome in my book.

Plus, the weather is usually warmer on Mother's Day compared to V-Day.  Added bonus!
mama's day quote...and my new entryway bench!
Quick recap of the weekend: Carnival on Saturday evening (after a day of cleaning and house projects) with the boy and Hubby, where they rode the kiddo rides and I ate funnel cake and took photos like a good mamarazzi would.  Church on Sunday...but a later service than usual, since Cormac blessed us with an extra hour of sleep - yay!  The church was packed with beautiful mamas clutching carnations given out, wearing pretty dresses and getting their photos taken with their children.  Was a lovely service and a lovely scene to behold.  After church the three of us went to the local downtown farmer's market and had brunch and walked around, buying a few yummy things along the way.  Went home for kiddo's nap, and did some final prep for our soon-arriving guests.  Then we met Hubby's mama and a whole crew of his other relatives over at a shopping/dining area a block from our house.  Entertained Cormac at an arcade since sadly our boat ride plan fell through, then had a lovely German feast at our favorite nearby restaurant.

Ended the day with gift opening, desserts and coffee back at our place.

I did not go into labor on Mother's Day as I had predicted.  But had some lovely, uncomfortable contractions as we walked around,  just to get everyone excited.  :D
I made fudge brownie batter cupcakes and mini fruit pizzas for our mother's day guests to eat back at our place
from hubby to two of the mamas in his life
flowers from the hubby...love hydrangeas
flowers for hubby's mama...also gorg!

since I am super preggo I couldn't ride any rides at little carnie on saturday night...but I loved watching my two guys enjoy themselves!  oh, and I did eat a giant funnel cake. 
um, both hands on the wheel, son!
that's my kiddo - totally in love with him!
Grandma BB driving a Hummer at the arcade...priceless!
I think I told little Cormac about a thousand times that day, quietly in his ear or looking into his blue eyes, how happy I am to be his mama.  I know I make mistakes.  I feel like a failure on a regular basis.  I am completely petrified I won't be too great at handling two little ones.  But...I also know God put me in this role and with these specific kiddos for a reason, and although I am not perfect {no mama is} I am so thankful for each moment I have with the title 'mama.'

Such a sweet and special weekend!  
Much love to all you mamas out there...
you are doing a GREAT job!!!!!
g

Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Out!!!!"

This post is dedicated to all the new words my 22-month-old is saying.  At 18 months I shared that he hardly said five whole words and even those were sketchy to qualify as actual words.  Now it is as though he has unleashed a whole new toddler vocabulary.  To go with his early "terrible two" attitude.  Don't get me wrong - I love this stage of development...much more than the immobile, non-verbal infant stage.  He is a lot of fun!  A frustrating, somewhat annoying handful at times - but also really fun!
preppy style...and in major need of a haircut!

each time he sees one of these weeping holes in the stone walls around our 'hood, he shouts, "IN!" 

love, love, love this boy

not-so-happy face

"give!"
"Baby - OUT!"
"num nums"
My favorite currently is the title of this post - "Out!" which he most often says while pointing at my ginormous pregnant belly.  Second most often is when he sees his,or any, bed...because he can get "out!" of it.  And does.  Way too early.

Other fun new words include...

-Ambulance {which is every white large vehicle}
-Alarm {learned when I set off all the smoke alarms a few weeks ago}
- Elbow {no clue}
- Aminal {animal, but close enough}
- Ipad {this was one of his first, which delighted the Mac technician I dealt with after spilling water on my computer}
- In
- Tractor
- Mac {his name. he won't say Cormac}
- Baby
- Hot {he declares every food to be 'hot'}
- Done {this one is my least favorite, as it is highly overused, and he will say it even when he is not, in fact, done.}
- Boom
- Ap Goose {apple juice}
- Book
- UP!
- Ohhhhm {home}
- Garage {referring to anything that large items can be fit into}

And that is all I can think of at 6am without a full cup of coffee in my system.  Time to go rescue Hubby, who has corralled the little guy back in his bed to give me a few more moments of coffee/blog time.
g

(Did I mention I am now dilated to FIVE centimeters????)  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

{36 week bumpdate}

The past four weeks I have been in full-on nesting mode. No, not the crazy kind that happens the day you go into labor, where you become obsessed with cleaning the grout between all the tile in your house.  But, it feels like my main goal in life recently has been to get the house ready for this baby.  I have sorted and washed all the newborn-3month baby clothes and anything gender neutral is in the nursery ready to adorn the little one, whether "it" be a he or a she.  I have washed/sanitized every bottle, breast pump item, and pacifier (that my kid will probably reject anyway.)  My bag, baby's bag, Cormac's bag and even the dog's bag are packed and by the door.  Every day I try to deep-clean a particular area in the house.  Oh, and I've been gardening like a madwoman because I know once this baby arrives most things outside will get neglected.
Also, I am now, in reality {not just in my head} huge.  This fact is confirmed daily by complete strangers who literally will gawk at me and say, "She is huge!"  I am sure they mean well.  I also get "Are you going to be okay???" a lot.  Mostly from people who are managing stores I am shopping at or restaurants I am dining at.  They are probably concerned I will go into labor while in their establishment and wondering how the heck to handle that. 
Rants {the crappy stuff}:
  • Transitioning Cormac to his toddler/big boy bed has been a challenge.  It only took about three weeks but I think we finally have a system down that keeps him in his bed, falling asleep by himself, and sleeping the normal duration.  Almost.
  • Bowel distress.  This is a sign that labor is to come soon.  Yikes.  Or that I ate something distressful.  Yep, I know.  Thank you for sharing.
  • Cormac has become rather possessive.  When we are over in the future 'kiddo/guest bathroom' and I ask him if he and his baby brother/sister are going to take baths in there together, he shakes his head.  In fact, if I suggest anything is "the baby's" he is strongly opposed. 
  • Some swelling in my ankles, I think.  Or I just have cankles.
  • Shooting pains in my inner thigh area accompanying strong Braxton Hicks contractions???  Anyone else remember experiencing this?  Didn't happen last time for me.
  • Sleeping continues to be really hard.  I maybe get 6 hours on a good night. Thus...
  • Crazy emotional mood swings.
  • Heartburn at night.
Raves {the happy stuff}: 
  • The nursery is done!  Well, except for a few finishing touches that will happen once we know the gender. The hardwood floors are installed and stained and looking beautiful over on the "kiddo side" of the upstairs.  I sort of want to cry tears of joy every time I look at them, which is often.  All the furniture is in place and most of the decorating done.
  • Weather has been beautiful and warm, so I've been able to get outside a lot, gardening and taking Cormac to the park.  Such a mood lifter! 
  • I am 4, yes FOUR, centimeters dilated and 50% effaced.  I think that is good progress.  Even the midwife seemed a little shocked, and although it doesn't mean necessarily that I will go earlier than my due date, it could mean labor will be faster.  We shall see.  I am going to try not to sneeze.  
Weight gain: 32 pounds.  Exactly the same as last pregnancy at this point.  I find this funny because I worked out this pregnancy a TON and hardly at all last pregnancy and my body just kind of decided to gain the same amount.  Cruel nature!  Or smart.  I guess your body just knows how much weight it needs to grow a healthy baby?  I'm hoping at least I will be more toned than last time after I give birth.  Or I just eat a lot more.  That is probably it.
Nausea:  If I eat too much I feel like vomiting.  I guess that is acid-reflux/heartburn related.  It really doesn't stop me from eating, though. 
Skin:  Jury still out on the stretch marks, even though midwife still claims they are non-existent.  No other new/major issues.
Boobs:  Bras do not fit, since I failed to chuck out the cash for any new ones.  Also, I unpacked my nursing bras from last time and they look tiny.  How can this be?!?!?
Cravings:  Still sugary stuff.  All things sugary.  Made Hubby walk to get me Coldstone the other night.  {Coffee Lover's Only, no nuts, extra Heath} I also may have consumed a whole package of Zebra Cakes over the course of two days.
Aversions:  Nope!
Exercise: Same thing as usual - 5 days a week, 45 minutes of elliptical and then my own special mix of squats, lunges, free weights, pilates and yoga.   I get super winded now when I walk up stairs too fast.
Dreams: No baby dreams.  Sigh.
Clothing:  Excited to have busted out the dresses!  Yay for mu-mus!  Although it is hard to garden or work out in dresses, so I wear a lot of large black sweatpants with generous waist band and maternity tank tops, also.
Heartbeat: 152 at 34 weeks.  146 at 36 weeks
Baby movement: Tons.  Midwife thought baby was head down, so that is good.  I guess I am lucky because none of baby's movements hurt me at all.  I have never gotten a kick to the ribs with either pregnancy, or anything else causing pain.  The bladder jabs are slightly uncomfortable, but they are few and far between, and not so bad that I have to high-tail it to the bathroom.  In fact, I still go most nights not having to get up to pee.  I wake up about 4-5 times a night, though, from noises I hear or Hubby moving around.  Lots of hiccups from the babe recently. 
Gender speculation: I think the midwife slipped and told me it is a boy...even though she claims her chart says "gender unknown." Pshhyeah.  Likely story.   Then she said to Cormac, who was prodding my tummy during my exam, "Is that your br- er - baby in there?"  Nice, lady.  Can't fool this mama.  It's all good, since my gut has been saying "boy" for quite a while now.  Sorry, Mom.  
had a little too much fun on picmonkey trying the new editing tools this week :o)
Baby names: Same story - both boy and girl are 100% decided.  Same middle name whether a boy or girl.  We aren't telling anyone until baby pops out.   My guess is most folks will dislike the names, or give me the same confused look I get when I tell them my son's name is Cormac.  "Cor-MACK?  Huh?  McCormick?  Like the spice???"   Yes, like the spice.  I just really like spices.
Hubby feels: Just plain happy to be growing our family.  Strongly believes it is a boy.  When asked why, he replied, "Because a seer once told me I would have many sons."  Which made me laugh.  If you do not religiously watch the show Vikings on the History channel, then that will make no sense to you.  I then responded with "By 'many' I hope they meant 'two.'" 
Bump progress: 

SUPER excited and extremely petrified at the same time to go into labor.  As I have shared, I strongly desire a natural birth.  My labor with Cormac did not go exactly as I desired.  I feel like I know so much more about the actual labor process this time, and can be much more realistic.  I know various mental and physical things that can stall labor for me and potential ways to avoid these pitfalls.  I know I can labor much longer and more comfortably at home as long as things are progressing normally - no need to rush to the hospital earlier than necessary this time!  

(I personally did not enjoy being at the hospital during labor.)

I know more what I do and do NOT want from the experience.  I know what I can both request and refuse {and am grateful I will have a strong-willed and experienced doula there to back me up, and midwives delivering my baby that know my doula well and respect her.}  

I am a LOT more confident I can make it through naturally.
*fingers crossed*
I also know that even if I have to have an epidural or a c-section, there will still be parts that are so amazing {feeling those first 'real' contractions, watching Hubby's excitement throughout the process, seeing baby for the first time ever, holding baby immediately skin-to-skin and feeding him/her the first time.}
Excited for those parts - no matter what happens.

Praying for normal, healthy labor.
g