Sunday, September 29, 2013

Costco Run

We always spend way more than we intend to when we go to Costco, and today it didn't help that we forgot we had to renew our membership. Oh well! Pantries are now completely stocked, tubs of mixed nuts are stashed under my night stand ready for midnight snacking while I'm up around the clock nursing, what little room was left in our freezer is now full of frozen organic fruits and berries for our smoothies.

I've been feeling more cervical twinges, and pre-labor symptoms, but no active labor yet! Tomorrow I will see the midwives, and get an internal exam to how much (if any) I am dilated, and how much further down she's dropped since last week. Its also my step brother's birthday tomorrow, Happy birthday Josh! Libras rule!

I train the new girl tomorrow as well, then after that I will play out the rest of the work week, full time as usual to continue to help with training, and then take it from there... Since Jocelyn's due date is on the new moon, its possible that regardless of all the mental preparation I've been doing to be okay with going against "The Plan" she might be completely right on plan after all. Haha, my mom said for us two girls we were both born on new moons, and my brother was born on the full moon. We'll see when Jocelyn decides its her time.

We also received a couple more last minute additions for our labor necklace, that I've tied on from Grammy Pam, and are now completely fully equipt, and ready to go into action. Birth bag is locked and loaded in our car, in her carseat. All pre-made foods are frozen and ready for Jason to grab to take with him to the birth center to eat while I labor, and then keep us easily fed after she's born and we are sleepless zombies.

Liz also called today which was so great to hear from her! She's so sweet, and said that she knows we're getting close, and asked if there was anything we needed. I told her we were all set with baby supplies, birth bag, frozen foods etc, and as soon as I started to tell her we don't need anything, I remembered the midwives in centering reminding us to accept all help that's offered after birth, that we will appreciate and really need it! So instead of the usual polite, "no you don't have to," that I'm accustomed to saying whenever anyone tries to help out or give me anything, I rewired my brain to accept her offer, and said, "The only thing I can think of needing help with is after she's born having enough food, since I know we will be hungry zombies." And of course, Liz is the best! She said she was thinking of making us a vegan casserole, and also thought about making us a bunch of individual smoothie packs with fruits/berries etc, since she remembered how into my daily smoothies I've been throughout pregnancy (and before for that matter). Its not instinctual for me to allow other people to help me do- pretty much, anything. Since I was super young, I've always just fell back on relying on myself and my own skills/hard work to do everything - from finding my own sense of happiness, to buying my first car, and I'm just now learning in my 30s, that if help is offered to welcome it! So I'm not only completely grateful to have friends like Liz offer her help, but also proud that I've letting myself open up enough to let others help out. So stoked for the Austin vegan community, and for the Austin Area Birth Center community to get involved with and meet awesome friends, and to give and receive support.

Really excited for tonight's series finale of Breaking Bad, and hoping to get a good night's sleep. Its been harder and harder to sleep much, but I know that my body needs to rest as much as possible before labor. 10-15 trips to pee in the middle of the night doesn't help, but I'm trying to think of all this interrupted sleep as the dress rehearsal to around the clock nursing. It will all be a lot easier when I'm not tied to a full work load outside of the house. I know that having a baby will be hard work, but honestly, this is the kind of hard work that is so completely fulfilling, satisfying, and truly work that is something to be genuinely proud of, in love with, and happy to build the best possible future for. Careers are great too, and I'm sure there will be more time in my future to work on that, but right now, I so looking forward to the rewards of all the hard work that goes into being a new mom. Are we there yet???

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Last Call

The final countdown is in full effect, I'm still going strong, and awaiting our lil pumpkin who has gone through so much with me over these last 9 months, growing and building strong bones, brains, a healthy heart, and hands and toes!

Today I went to Yoga, and it was so great to get to class and see everyone there. At this point heading to the classes on Tues/Thurs nights after work just seems like too much, and so last week when I wasn't at those night classes after work, a lot of my girls thought I had my baby! It made me realize how much I will miss all of them, and am so thankful for Saturday's class, as I still have enough energy to get there. Today's class felt so good. Such a loving, supportive community of women, I really feel so thankful to be a part of this experience at the birth center. I miss Sara the Thursday night instructor, but I am looking forward to heading to her post-natal yoga classes after baby is born, after I'm all healed up (6 weeks after labor). Cat today told me that she signed up to be called when I go into labor to assist, which is so awesome! I was hoping she would be there, her energy is so great, she's been such an amazing support, and source of strength and love throughout my pregnancy, I was hoping somehow she would be there with me, but didn't really know how to ask, and if she could- with her schedule. So awesome!  She also told me that I can come by class after baby's born (a couple weeks after healing) to share my lil one with the other mamas, since we've all become so close and that when I was out last Tuesday night (and then also on Thursday) everyone was asking about me. It makes me feel so loved, and supported to have these women around! And I would love to bring lil Jocelyn in to see everyone she's been stretching with, after she's on the outside with us.

After yoga, I got going with the tamales and made dozens of them that are all freezing up nicely in our freezer, along with another dozen burritos that I whipped out as well, with some of Jason's homemade pinto beans, and homemade spanish rice.



Feeling like everything on our list is checked off, and now we can just settle back and relax, and await her arrival. The only last thing that I have on my list of to dos, is to train the new girl at my office, who starts on Monday. I plan to continue to work full time all next week with her, to help train her, and to also finish out the work week for a full pay-period, but really at this point, Jocelyn arriving at any time between now and then feels like the right timing- if that's what she decides. For the last several months I had also been writing a full binder of all the processes of every aspect of my job, so even if I don't make it back to work on Monday, the new girl still has about 100 pages of instructions on everything I do haha, yes, I know I am completely ridiculous. My bosses didn't even ask or expect me to do any of that, but its just who I am. If I feel I have a responsibility I put my mind to it, and give 100%, 100% of the time. Which is why I am so excited for motherhood, and raising a healthy, confident, intelligent, caring, happy, strong, peaceful, and compassionate young child into the beautiful human being that I'm sure she will be - with the ability to make her own choices in life, and do what she loves and aspires to become.

Every night I've been dreaming of her birth and holding her in my arms, and last night I dreamed that when I gave birth to her, she came out of my mouth- haha. But she was totally perfect, dark hair, and I immediately knew when she asked me to feed her, just by looking at her eyes, and we nursed, and it was natural and perfect, and I realized that I am now a mom. It was such an intense, strong feeling of just being exactly where I need to be, the right time, the right place, like everything was just as it should be - that's the best way I can describe it.

We have also decided on her middle name! Which, like her photos, we have decided to keep private. But its a great one, that we both like a lot and it took some time, but we found it, and its all her own. Speaking of photos, after skyping with my mom, she said, "But Ty, all your readers should at least get ONE pic of her after she's born!" Haha, and Jason and I have agreed that we are okay with having her picture taken and posted (on blogs/facebook/instagram) as long as her face isn't in the picture. So most likely a photo of her in my arms bundled up, a picture here and there of her perfect little fingers and toes, may appear from time to time, but we do want to keep her privacy as much as possible. That being said, we cannot wait to meet her, and for all our family and friends to meet her, so sooooooon. xoxox!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pregnancy and Birth Traditions Around the Globe

Last night it was so good to see Chenoh and Jason made us a super yummy chili dinner. I washed some baby carrots and grapes to snack on too, and showed our baby's god mama Joceyln's room, and my big belly. Chenoh brought over a perfect, tiny addition to add to my labor necklace, only this lil piece is for the baby to wear. Its a small white shell, that she told me to tie around her wrist after being born for good fortune and luck, which is a native american tradition she liked and wanted to share with us. So Jocelyn's lil shell has a beautiful piece of peacock blue thread that Chenoh tied through it, ready to tie around her new lil arm. It will most likely not stay on her too long, but I like that blessing from her goddess mama, so we will honor it for her, and welcome her new life with that blessing.

In thinking of this tradition I hadn't heard of, I was curious to learn more about other cultures traditions, blessing and rituals. Here are some cool traditions from around the world for pregnancy, birth and baby bonding time. I really find all of these super interesting, and it reminds me that we are all a part of this process and beautiful cycle, of birth, life, death, growth, renewal, and evolution - regardless of where in the world we live, are from, social status, and beliefs etc. And it all stems from the mama!

Taken from this site, Some really interesting ones:

Mommy-to-be taboos

Internationally, moms are bound by one unified desire: to have a safe, easy pregnancy. However, the list of precautions one follows varies significantly across borders.
Bali: You won’t catch any Balinese mommies- to-be eating octopus—doing so allegedly brings about difficult deliveries.
Bolivia: No hand-knit booties for Bolivian babies! Knitting while pregnant is believed to cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby’s neck.
China: For the duration of their pregnancies, Chinese women make a conscious effort to steer clear of evil spirits, funerals and sex.
Guatemala: Women in this country, particularly those of Mayan descent, may remain at home throughout their entire nine months because they fear any influential exposure to illness, evil spirits or even the ill will of others.
Inuit: Inflating balloons or blowing bubbles with gum is avoided during pregnancy to prevent premature rupturing of the membranes.
Mexico: Mexican women are urged to only bathe in warm water—water that is too hot is thought to lead to circulatory problems, and water that’s too cold could make the pelvis rigid and lead to a long, hard birth.

Dedication to incubation

Giving up sushi-and-sake date night may be a little tough for some American mamas, but rest assured that pregnant peers around the globe face gestational adjustments of their own.
In China, the personality and disposition of an unborn child is thought to be strongly influenced by the state of his mother’s mind and body while expecting. For this reason, Chinese women are strongly urged to control their thoughts and actions —meaning no gossiping, no temper tantrums and no hard physical labor while baby is incubating.
For a woman in Ethiopia, pregnancy is viewed as extremely natural. So much so, in fact, that she experiences little to no changes in her day-to-day life during the majority of her pregnancy.
Pregnant women in Polynesia are nurtured and pampered by the entire community throughout the duration of their joyous gestational period. In addition to their every whim being tended to, a midwife visits regularly to administer much-deserved massages.

The presence of presents

Baby showers are all the rage in the U.S., and for the most part, just about any gift goes. (Breast pads? Diaper rash cream? Bring ’em on!) However, other cultures have different ideas about what to give a new family and when to present it.
China: Gift-giving before birth is considered very unlucky in Chinese culture—not to mention you could be stepping on grandma’s toes! The mother-to-be’s own mother is typically responsible for the new baby’s entire layette. A month before birth, the maternal grandmother sends a gift of clothing for the newborn to hasten delivery, then three days after the baby arrives, she visits with the remainder of her grandchild’s wardrobe and gear.
Egypt: Seven days after baby arrives, Egyptian parents throw a sebou to celebrate the birth. During this event, the new baby receives his or her name, and religious gifts and jewelry are brought for the baby and new mom.
Greece: For Greek families, the birth of a child brings great joy to the entire community. Several days after birth, a newborn may receive customary gifts from her family and friends, including silver and gold coins or special stones to help ward off the “evil eye.”
Japan: Although very close family members may get to welcome a new baby at the oshichia—a naming ceremony that takes place seven days after birth—most family and friends have to wait a couple months to share their congratulations. Friends and family don’t meet the new addition or bestow gifts of money on the new parents until mom and baby have had ample time to bond and heal.
Tibet: Three to four days after birth, family members from near and far gather to celebrate the pang-sai, or cleansing of the baby, for his or her journey into life. Gifts of food and clothing are presented to signify wishes for an abundant life; the child is then given a name by the most respected person in attendance.

Pain management

Because epidurals haven’t always been—and still aren’t always—an option, foreign cultures have developed some seriously stunning ways for mamas to keep their calm during labor.
China: Since the ancient Chinese view childbearing as an age-old women’s vocation, custom dictates that fear and apprehension be abolished from the process. To help with this, women often drink a strong herbal potion to ease the pains of labor.
Guatemala: Guatemalan women believe speedy delivery can be induced by drinking a liquid created by boiling a purple onion in beer.
Korea: Stoic by tradition, Korean women often refuse pain management in favor of quietly making their way through labor and delivery.
Morocco: During birth, the gabla, or midwife, massages the pregnant woman’s stomach and vulva with olive oil to make the baby’s passage easier. She also prepares a variety of herbal infusions from mint, thyme, cloves and cinnamon to ease the pain of contractions.
Native America: Early American-Indians used a mixture of blue cohosh root and water to speed up delivery.
Niger: Muslim tradition allows only a woman’s husband to touch her genitals, so midwives in this African nation facilitate labor by offering the mom-to-be herbal drinks and sprinkling herbs over her abdomen.
Sri Lanka: This country is heavily influenced by Buddhism, which supports the idea that suffering during birth is linked to sins committed during previous lives; thus, it’s a source of pride for a woman to go through childbirth without expressing her pain.
Taiwan: It’s respectful to not cry out when bringing a baby into the world, so as not to disturb the other inhabitants of the village.
Togo: Keeping quiet during birth ensures you won’t attract the attention of any evil spirits.
Vietnam: For Vietnamese women, silence is golden. In fact, their emotions can be so bottled up that it’s not uncommon for the walls of the perineum to tear from stress during birth.

Rite of passage rituals

In many cultures, bringing a baby into the world is a sacred event—one that, when filled with certain actions and rituals, can help protect a new baby’s life. Unlike here in the U.S., where we generally dispose of the umbilical cord and placenta, many cultures believe these “leftovers” can influence a baby’s future.
Cambodia: After birth, the mother’s placenta is carefully wrapped in a banana tree leaf, placed beside the newborn for three days, then buried.
India: To symbolize the “openness” of the womb during birth, pregnant Indian women leave their hair down, remove any jewelry and leave all doors in the house open. After birth, the umbilical cord is gently placed around the child’s neck.
Japan: The umbilical cord is cleaned and placed in a kotobuki bako—a keepsake box that is made to protect the precious memento and ensure a positive mother-child relationship down the road.
Mali: The placenta is considered a very powerful force that can affect a new baby’s mood or make him ill. To avoid any negative repercussions, the placenta is washed, dried and placed in a basket to be buried by the father.
Mexico: During birth, all of the doors and windows are closed to protect mother and baby from evil forces that could make their way in during such an intimate, exposed process.
Morocco: Much like Indian women, Moroccan mamas steer clear of any restricting forces by leaving their heads uncovered, their hair down and their belts unfastened to provide a smooth, open passage for their wee ones.

What’s in a name?

Naming a baby isn’t always about thumbing through a book and picking the most pleasant-sounding moniker. For some, the process is highly complex and filled with social and religious rules and taboos.
Africa: Different areas of Africa use different techniques, but all tribes take great pride in naming their newest additions. The Zulu choose names that are relevant at the time of a child’s birth, so the name may reflect the social circumstances and time frame in which the baby was born. The Yoruba in Nigeria choose names that, in the future, will lend information about a child’s background.
China: Chinese babies receive their official names after birth—and many times, they’ll be given up to four more throughout their lives: one for childhood, one for school, one for adulthood and another upon death.
Greece: Greek names are often chosen to honor earlier generations. Customarily, a child’s first name is after his or her grandparents, while the middle name is borrowed directly from the parents.
Hawaii: Hawaiian names are unique for each new child, and have very deep family meanings that are thought to be extraordinarily powerful. Most of these symbolic names are unisex, as well as somewhat complex so as to avoid attracting evil forces.
Native America: The Inyana tribe so respects their elders that the maternal grandmother chooses a newborn’s first name and the paternal grandmother offers the middle.
Philippines: Children are rarely named at birth for fear that an elder or ancestor will take them into the next life. Children are given generic or unattractive nicknames until they are healthy and can be given proper names. They may receive up to 10 names during a lifetime.
Saudi Arabia: In accordance with Muslim tradition, Saudi babies are given their names seven days after birth in an aqiqah ceremony. Relatives and friends gather and watch as the infant’s head is shaved and his hair placed on a scale with silver or gold that is then given to the poor.
Switzerland: In this country, it’s considered unlucky to share your child’s chosen name before he or she arrives.

Postnatal practices

From postbirth healing and baby bonding to maternity (and paternity!) leave, the world works on different timelines.
Bali: The first few months after birth are dedicated to healing—and holding. Babies in Bali don’t touch the floor for the first 105 days after birth, but instead are held continuously by their mothers and other close family members.
Bulgaria: Bulgarian mamas are, by far, the most pampered ladies on the leave scale; not only do employed moms-to-be receive 45 days of fully paid leave before their babies arrive, they receive two full years of paid leave once they’ve given birth. Oh, and they also have the option of tacking on an additional year of unpaid leave before they return to their jobs—which will patiently await their return for 3+ years!
Canada: In addition to 15 weeks of maternity leave for a new mom, there are another 35 weeks of paid leave to be divided between mom and dad so that both have plenty of time for bonding with baby.
China: During a ritual referred to as “sitting the month,” new moms take an entire month off from their duties to simply stay in bed, heal and connect with their newborns.
Cuba: Cuban mommies get six months of maternity leave to take care of themselves and their wee ones before returning to their daily duties.
Guatemala: As a part of la cuarantena, family members and close friends take over household duties while a new mama goes through 40 days of healing and mother-infant bonding.
United Kingdom: On the other side of the pond, British mums receive 39 weeks of maternity leave paid in full, and an additional 12 weeks with partial pay.

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Here's some more after birth traditions for mama and baby from this site:
Puerto Rico  
Growing up in a Puerto Rican family, I always saw newborn babies wearing a bracelet with a black charm in the shape of a fist. I later learned it is called mano de azabache and is meant to ward off evil and bring good luck to the baby. Many people provide new parents with this bracelet for their baby.
Trinidad and Tobago
I asked around to learn about some of the baby traditions in Trinidad, where my husband and his family are from.@SammyTAlexander mentioned that when people visit newborn babies, they usually put money into the baby’s hand. I immediately remembered that my mother-in-law had actually done this when she first met our baby boy! Apparently, it is meant to bring prosperity and good blessings to the newborn. Another custom I  learned about from @bytesdog is that some parents do not allow people to come in their house after 6 pm, since the evening dew will make baby sick.
Mexico
Silvia Martinez of Mamá Latina Tips shared that in many families in Mexico, the women of the family – grandmothers, aunts, sisters – nurture and take care of the new mom for 40 days after the birth of a baby. These women help with the cleaning, cooking and older kids. The new mom’s only job is taking care of the new baby.
The Bahamas
“An old time tradition here in The Bahamas is burying the navel string of the newborn in the yard,” said Michelle G. Roper of Sapphire Ridge Chronicles. “It is believed that you will always find your way back home no matter how far you may travel. Another tradition is to tie a black ribbon on the wrist of the newborn for several weeks to ward off evil spirits.”
Brazil  
“In Brazil, a typical tradition is that the expectant mother prepares a basket with souvenirs that are given to each person that comes to the hospital to visit when the baby is born. These souvenirs usually match the chosen theme that has been picked for the baby’s nursery. Some of the most often used souvenirs are refrigerator magnets, customized notepads, sachets and even tiny bottles of perfume. Most of the time there’s a tiny message saying the baby’s name is thanking them for visiting. They are much like favors that are prepared for baby showers, only they are given to those who visit at the hospital,” shared Eren Mckay of Embracing Home.
Muslim Families
Faiqa Khan of Native Born provided some insight into customs of Muslim families: “Soon after their birth, the heads of newborns born into Muslim families are shaved within their first month. The hair that has been removed is then weighed and the equivalent of the weight in silver is given to charity. For families, this tradition is extremely important as it signifies the inclusion of the child into the community as well as a reminder to always keep those in need in mind. Because Muslims live in all parts of the world, this is a custom practiced everywhere from Pakistan to France and in the U.S., as well.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Calendar Agenda is Getting Exciting!

I can't forget to buy Dog Food tonight (with Jason to lift the bag) and pick up the final little items for our birth bag at Target after work. Then Dinner at our house with Goddess Mama Chenoh! Getting Excited!!

Animal Family and Last Day of Summer

So we only got a sneak peak of the fall months to come, today the weather is back up to 98, and for the next couple days. Yesterday was really hot again as well. This weekend its forecast that we might get some more rain, and head back towards the 80s, so really hoping for that!

I was going through my spreadsheet of "TO DO FOR BABY" (yes, nerd alert), and realized that for our dogs, we need to have ready instructions on how to take care of them if we are gone for more than 12 hours. I typed up a sheet, going over Holden's medication schedule - Tramadol and Gabapentin, Holden and Zombie's food portions, Zombie's food aggression and dog aggression issues (always feed Holden in his crate, never leave their dishes out after they finish eating etc). Also to be sure to lock our sliding door after letting them out into our backyard, and back inside, and that our cats are indoor only (if the door isn't locked Holden will open it again later letting our cats out and mosquitoes in!). Also where all the water dishes are, cat food dispensers, and litter boxes (cat though probably will be just fine for a day on their own).

 So pups and kitties are taken care of, should we be gone during their meal times, or long enough to need them to be let outside. I was thinking about this upcoming October month, and started to feel nostalgic for all our pumpkin parties, and already am missing having people over to carve some jackolanterns. There's a small part of me that wants to go ahead and still throw our usual weekend before Halloween carving party, so we can also have pumpkins ready for our trick or treaters, but like my mom said, most likely I will not want a house full of guests that soon after birth. Maybe I can invite people to stop by with a carved pumpkin for our trick or treaters, and if they want to (possibly) catch me at a good time to meet baby. As long as they know that I may or may not be up for visitors, but pumpkins (and vegan food) always welcome! HAHA. Its just such an annual tradition for us, I feel like I need to put something together. We'll see how I feel in a couple weeks. In a couple weeks, chances are I will be already holding my baby!!! OMG.

Single Digits

Last night I was too tired after work to make it over to Yoga, and instead of dropping all my work bags on our kitchen counter, rushing to let the dogs out, change my clothes and head back out the door to get to the 7pm class, I dropped all my work bags on our kitchen counter, rushed to let the dogs out, changed my clothes, and then kissed my husband (who was doing the dishes!), and said, "You know what? I'm just too tired, and don't really want to leave the house." And I went to the couch and sat in a yoga pose, closed my eyes and breathed. Jason came over and sat by me and said, "You know you're really getting up there, and you should listen to your body and not over do it." I love my yoga classes, but last night my practice involved napping on the couch and resting up at home, especially after not sleeping at all the night before.

I slept really well last night. And had dreams about the new season of American Horror Story (COVEN) all night. To most people that would probably mean a restless night full of nightmares, but to me, it was awesome. Witches and creepy voodoo adventures in a huge New Orleans Mansion. So excited for the series to start back up again, and will have to figure out a way around this whole self-imposed, NO TV AFTER BABY ARRIVES rule I've put on myself. I don't want her to be around all the horror and gore we like to watch, but of course she has to be born into the best horror month and season of the year! She's definitely one of us. At least Modern Family is coming back on, so watching that isn't something that would be as bad to have in the background while nursing. Or you know, just stop watching TV (haha not going to happen, but my intentions are good!) And as soon as she starts looking at stuff, I'll be sure not to have it on. I loved the Dexter finale (it really bothered Jason though, I can see why!), and am so looking forward to the Breaking Bad finale this Sunday. Walking Dead is starting up again soon too, and there are a couple new series we are also looking forward to. Looks like I'll need to resurrect my, "Destroy Your TV," blog after baby's born (since this blog will have its own glorious finale!). We'll see...

So my colostrum is in full effect! Getting excited, body is ready and waiting... Nine more days, as of today... but could be tonight, or two weeks from now... Tomorrow I'm getting my eyelashes tinted on my lunch break, using the rest of my birthday gift certificate from Jamie and Colleen. That way when I will be too tired for makeup these next couple months I will at least have dark, mascara-like lashes for all the pics for our family albums. Haha, its the small things in life.

Also in reading back through my previous entries, I've noticed that these later posts have gotten more and more scatter-brained and rambling, I've also repeated myself a lot haha I guess that's all the effect of baby brain and getting more and more tired and excited! To any of my regular readers, sorry if my posts haven't been as entertaining lately, at this point I feel happy to leave the house with both my shoes on. Love to all you beautiful readers! Thank you for joining me on this journey xoxo

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Swollen Hands, Sleepy Face, and a Return to Saturn.

My knuckles feel so weird, and sore. And my hands are swollen, not my feet, just my hands. This is all normal according to my midwives, and has to do with all the hormones my body is producing, I'm just glad that I didn't swell for the vast majority of my pregnancy, just am getting some now at the very end. I still use my hands so much at work all day at the keyboard, and so they are pretty sore. I also have been having strong pressure/sensations in my inner thighs, which can either by part of my Braxton Hicks (and later might be part of my laboring sensations), or she's hitting some nerve endings in there with her head. The midwife I saw yesterday told me to pick up some homeopathics, "Gelsemium Sempervirens," to help with that thigh discomfort, so I've started taking those today... We'll see if it helps, she said it sometimes can, and isn't harmful in anyway, so might as well try.

She has also started to make her decent which is really exciting! Every week she had been growing in fundal height by 1cm a week (they use a tape measure to measure from my pubic bone to the top of my uterus). This week, as per her usual growth pattern she would have gone from last week's 37, to 38 fundal height, but was now only 36! Since I've continued to gain weight (yesterday I weighed 174, which is almost a 45lb weight gain- for me, this is okay and normal, since my beginning BMI was so low, and its all kale-and vegan powered weight - not crappy fast food, etc, but generally this is a lot of weight to gain, haha and it still impresses me when I jump on the scale to see those numbers). Anyway, since she's still growing as per my weight, this means, that her head is no longer at the top of my pubic bone, but she is starting to drop down into my pelvis to get ready to make her big appearance, as my uterus is now also dropping and putting less pressure on my lungs (I still feel winded all the time though, haha and looking forward to eating super spicy foods again without all my insides pressed so high up towards my chest causing heart burn!). This process of her completely dropping can take any where from a day or so, to a week or so... so we still don't really have an indication of when exactly she's coming, but we do know that things are moving smoothly in the right direction :) Hoping she holds out for at least until her New Moon due date.

I opted out for the internal exam, and will do it next Monday, if she is still in my belly by then! After the birth in a nutshell class, basically what the midwife there told us, was that these internal exams towards the end are really just a bunch of arbitrary numbers, since everyone's body takes different amounts of time to fully go into labor. She also said for me and another gal (we were the furthest along in the class), that its more than likely that we are already walking around 2cm or so dilated, which is great, and just means there will be less work for our bodies to do when we go into active labor. The internal exam she also said can be quite painful at this stage, and may even cause some bleeding, which is totally normal. But the only trigger that she said that is a surefire sign of going into active labor, is if you have "bloody show" which is some blood tinged discharge. This means that the cervix is opening (or "ripening" as they call it), and that things are getting close. So if I can avoid to have an uncomfortable exam, that may cause me to bleed and have false excitement for labor, I will avoid it. Luckily the midwives are awesome and totally agree with whatever I am comfortable with. They did say that it is a good idea, to just get an idea of change, and progress... so next week I will get it done, but by next week I will be more eager to probably know my dilation anyway. She also said its not always painful, but it sometimes can be, and not to be scared about it.

Tonight I'm looking forward to yoga, but am also really tired. I had insomnia all last night, and took myself on a walk through my entire life from as early as I could remember, through grade school, middle school, high school, college, England, San Francisco, Austin, and now today, thinking of the future. I kept trying to go to sleep but my mind was really interested in processing all of my life's experiences leading up to this point in my life. The friends I've made from early on, the ones I've grown apart from, and the friends I've stayed in touch with and seem to always stay connected to, the friends who've passed away, and the friends who have taught me how to be more of the person I want to be and am today. The cities I've lived in, traveled to, and the people I've met in those places. The various jobs I've had, skills I've gained, and direction my life has taken because of all of these people, places, experiences and things. I guess this is what happens when you have a return to Saturn. At 30 generally Saturn returns to where it was when you were born, as it takes 30 years for it to revolve around the sun. This can bring on a lot of dramatic life changes in most people... whether or not they subscribe to astrological and planetary advice, and with me its bringing a baby, and a lot of reflection on my life so far. Saturn is also my ruling planet, so perhaps I feel even more at a crossroads, and a new beginning of something big and great in this new chapter ahead.

Yesterday after work, I picked up all the ingredients I need to make tamales, so I will try to get a bunch of those made either wed. after work, or Friday, if not the weekend. The Burritos I froze last weekend are a good start, but knowing Jason's appetite, and how much I've heard how starving new breastfeeding mamas can be, I don't think they will last us more than a week. I'm so thankful my mom will be flying in to cook for us, clean for us, and do our laundry (Mom I love you!). That will help, but if we can get as much stock piling as possible done before baby, the better. I also bought stuff for lasagna to make and freeze, but for that it will be a little bit more difficult to separate out single servings, to thaw per meal. Might just have to freeze the whole thing and then thaw and eat the whole thing in a couple days. I might try to put together a website like, "Take them a Meal," as Quinn suggested, but since we don't have any family here, and not too many friends who cook, let along cook vegan food... so we don't really have anyone to rely on to follow through to help out, but our freezing food plan I think will be awesome! Maybe my mom can help freeze some more burritos when she's here, to be sure we stay stocked for at least the first month or so as we adjust.

Everything else is good, my main question still remains, what color hair will she have? I was an auburny/dark red headed baby, and now am blond. Jason was a blond and now his hair is pretty much black. So  who knows, we might have a blond, a redhead, or a brunette baby... Jason's voting blondie, but I have no idea... getting excited to find out... so soooooooooooon.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Autumn Equinox!

38 Weeks



 We so looking forward to meeting our lil pumpkin, its so hard to believe that we can almost countdown her due date in single digits (we will be able to in just a couple more days). This weekend, after I got home from yoga, we took our last birthing class together, at the birth center (again totally free - included with our birth center fees, SO awesome to have these resources available!). It was the "Birth in a Nutshell," class, that I thought was 1-4pm, but turns out it was 1-5:45pm. So we were there for most of our day yesterday, but did go through some partner massage and relaxation techniques during labor that will surely be helpful (during labor or any time really), and also went over some of the Bradley method basics (The Bradley Method is sort of what's replaced "Lamaze" classes for anyone who isn't familiar). We also went into depth of all the stages of labor, to help us "prepare" or well, haha sort of. Mainly the take away message is that you can't really prepare for your birth, since every birth story is totally different, every body is and every baby is different and there are always exceptions. But knowing what a lot of others have experienced, and what some have experienced, helps us learn more about what is possible, and what might be helpful. For me, all through pregnancy what's helped me is just being as open minded and accepting about all of the experiences, and embracing them all with love and meditating that this is a small piece of time in my life, its my experience, and I am perfectly capable to get through all the challenges, and for that, to take the great (and the challenging) moments, and stay as peaceful and accepting as I can be with all that comes- to remember to stay in the present.

After our class yesterday though, Jason summed it up really well as we were leaving, he told me, "So basically we took a 5 hour class that told me what I already know- that all I can do is be there to support you, and be sure you're comfortable, and as relaxed as possible, and that we don't really know anything [Don't know when she's coming, when you're going into active labor, or what to expect]."Pretty much, haha. I will say though, that for me, taking advantage of these classes, meeting and talking to other first time, and experienced parents, the experienced doulas and midwives who teach and facilitate, makes me feel more like a part of a community, and more confident in my own upcoming birth. I know also that my family makes fun of me, for going to a Breastfeeding class, a Cloth Diapering Class, all the Centering classes, and everything else I do to prepare myself for parenthood- But I would like to remind them that since I never thought I would have kids pretty much for the first 3 decades of my life! I never put any thought into any of it before. Also being the youngest sibling, I never had to change a baby's diaper. EVER. I still to THIS DAY, have NEVER changed a diaper. I was never around babies, never held them, never really baby sat. So if there is a free class to go to, a book to read, I will be there!  That's just who I am, and I want to be the best that I can be at this mothering thing, and put myself out there to meet other people and make friends who are also having babies, so I don't feel completely isolated as I shift from being a workaholic to a stay at home mom for the first year or so, especially with both sides of Jocelyn's extended family so far away. I will say though, that knowing how some of the moms that are going to these classes with me, have parents that also make fun of them, but not in the (I'd like to think) loving way my family does, but because their families and parents come from conservative Texas backgrounds that are just not open at all to midwifery care, natural birth, water births, formula-free babies, and eco-friendly diapering at all. Those women who are in these classes with me, are so empowering to be around. I so completely admire their strengths in that they are actively choosing their own birth story and experience, and doing what's best for their own bodies, minds, souls, and new families. Nothing but love and support for you sisters and mothers! <3 <3

SO, after Jason was struggling to figure out the carseat in the backseat of our car, and unsuccessfully calling Amazon to try to do a return/exchange before baby arrives (which in reality could be any day now), we had a "make it work" moment, and were able to fit the seat into the back of our car by this mama's shear will power and determination. Its a really tight fit, and she's not in the center of the backseat, but is behind the passenger seat- but we got it to work. We also were even able to still have room for someone fit in the front seat (which is pushed so far forward to accommodate the HUGE carseat we have, but still it works). So that's taken care of! No last minute exchange and panic freakout anymore! Her seat is buckled into the car, and ready for her. Thank goodness. I also put away the rest of her clothes, and cleared off her changing table that had tons of books on it, so we can actually use the table to change her. We also installed her co-sleeper to our mattress, so that's all set for her to sleep in with us, and be right by mama all night for around the clock nursing. Jason cooked a big batch of chili re-"fried"-beans (not actually fried), and I'm going to assemble 3 dozen burritos tonight for us to freeze and have ready for easy lunch and dinners after she's born. I also wanted to make a bunch of tamales this weekend, but with yesterday's class running so long, I just didn't end up with enough time. If she decides to keep holding out on putting her mama into labor, I'm hoping I can make tamales next weekend. We shall see! My mama will be here soon enough too, and help us with some of the meals so we will be set! At least for the first month or so.

I also made a new batch of post birth frozen pad ice-packs, this time without any water on them, I just put a little bit of witch hazel on each, wrapped them back up into their wrappers, and put them in the freezer, so they shouldn't all come out as one HUGE ice block haha. I also put the tucks pads in the fridge, and also the rest of the bottle of witch hazel to have ready to use, and be cool and soothing. Some mom's choose to use depends after their births, as they will bleed heavily and have other post-birth leakage, but I think that my 1950s, huge, over-sized pads will be enough, in team with the "puppy pads" that I'll sleep on for the first week or so. Basically its a large plastic sheet, with super absorbent, disposable "cloth" on top... used to help potty train puppies... Sleeping on those will help those first few days/weeks and be sure to keep my sheets and mattress pad/mattress protected. I'm not worried about post-birth recovery, but I think it is important to talk about and be open about - especially on a blog that is dedicated to a first time mom figuring out a first time pregnancy and birth experience. Its all about reducing that stigma, and hopefully to help other new moms by sharing what I've learned. I don't think that I would be comfortable in a depends, so I'm just going to use the huge pads, but since I had never heard that before, I think its good to share, and who knows, maybe witch hazel soaked, frozen depends will be my favorite post-baby thing EVER... haha I'm open to it! Whatever works to help regain that sense of comfort, and healing. No shame in the game.

Okay, time to wrap some Burritos! And then watch Dexter and Breaking Bad!!! Excited for my weekly midwife check up tomorrow, things are happening so sooooooon! xoxoxo



Friday, September 20, 2013

Why We Choose to Have No Photos of Our Baby Online

This is a really good article that goes into the philosophy why its a good idea NOT to post pics (or personal information) about your baby/kids online, like on facebook, instagram, twitter, or even blogs, etc... Jason and I have made the active choice not to post pics of our ultrasounds, and do not plan to post any baby pics. Yes this may be a challenge, knowing how cute she is going to be! And how much time we will be with her, but we prefer to keep her anonymous to the world wide web, until she is old enough to decide for herself.

This article explains part of our reasoning here, though I really don't think its necessary to name her based on domain availability and then create her online identity and keep it locked up to give her when "she's old enough." I just think it should be her right to choose her own content, and baby's do not have that capability yet. It sort of goes along the same lines that we love horror film and tv, but we are not going to have her watch it with us until she's able to decide for herself, and distinguish reality from what's not real - like monsters, and facebook pages. In the age of technology where she will grow up playing with our ipads instead of catalogs, iphones instead of rotaries, and have the ability to fast forward through commercials, her childhood is already so far detached from what we knew growing up, and maybe a bit detached from innocence itself (at least how we grew up knowing it)- and that's all without plastering her photos and personal info for all of eternity before she can consent. Kind of odd that us tech geeks would make this choice, but perhaps its because we are tech geeks that we see how it can unintentionally affect her too.

This doesn't mean we think that parents who do post their babies and kids pics are doing something "bad" or "wrong" necessarily, its just not our choice.  We will however email pics to our close friends and family (who live far across state lines), but we request that if we do send you pics of her, please do not repost them on social media. They are private, and we would like to keep her privacy. So I'm sorry for any of the let downs to any of my readers who are eagerly awaiting to see baby pics show up here on the blog, you will just have to wait to meet her in person! We are just old fashioned like that. Getting close!!

Full Moon, and Rain

Last night I reluctantly skipped yoga. One of our car's headlights burnt out, so when I got home from work I scooped up Jason and went to O'Reily's to pick up new lights. He changed them out, but it was more of a labor intensive chore than he expected, and by no means was I going to take his motorcycle to yoga instead of the car. But headlights are back in working order! I love my man, the best!

Last night was also raining all kinds, which was awesome. Its been raining this morning and today as well, making it really feel like fall. The thermometer in my car ride to work this morning was only 78! 20 degrees less than what its been (at least) for the past few months, so is a really welcome change.

 It was also a full moon last night, so not only were we somewhat expecting me to go into labor (I didn't! but did have some more intense Braxton Hicks that I've had so far)... I also felt super emotional. Excited, nervous, happy, scared (will i know what to do?), and totally in love. Hormones, or the moon, I think this is just what it feels like to be a mom and love someone so much (even before meeting her face to face).

I did the dishes, and tried to relax and just be happy to almost be done with another work week. So, I am almost at the end of my pregnancy and haven't really experienced any foot swelling, but just recently my hands and knuckles have been super achy, and have swollen some. I had to put my wedding ring on my necklace, and swap my right hand ring finger rings over to my left so I don't feel naked without something on that finger (did you know your dominant hand is slightly bigger than your less dominant hand?). Anyway, still have my wedding diamonds on my person, just not the usual spot.

We will take and post some pics this weekend, its been a few weeks! So happy for the weekend, yoga tomorrow and then our Birth in a Nutshell class. Skype with my mom (and Bella!) on Sunday, and going to try to make some new ice pack pads this time that don't end up as one large ice cube. HAHA. Also need to clean the car (now that its not 100 degrees in our garage), and install the car seat. Also need to prepare some frozen foods! So excited to have my mom out here to help with our housework and cooking, mom you are the best! So looking forward to seeing you soon, its been too long since our last visit, and this one will be even more special. Happy Friday Y'all!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

This last Tuesday's yoga class was awesome! Cat really worked us, it was super tough and felt super rewarding to finish that session, tired and energized all at once. I love it when she throws in some hard-balls for us, most of her classes are challenging, but this one made my muscles shake more than not. Thank you Cat! Strong mamas in the making! Looking forward to tonight's class with Sara, me and my big belly love all the stretch and strengthening. Feeling good!

Last night after work I gave Jason a haircut in our home office, since its been too hot to cut his hair outside on the weekends, and he told me he wants to be sure to look good in all the upcoming Daddy and baby pics. <3 That really just melts my heart. So sweet, I love you J! And since he has now traded his usual shift of 10-7 at the office, for the 8-4 shift, he's been getting home earlier than me and been having dinner ready by the time I get home just before 7. I've been super impressed, because if anyone knows my husband, they know anytime before noon is WAY too early to be awake for him haha. He's really rocking at this new schedule, so he can be ready to be home earlier to help with baby. I love him. SO MUCH!

This weekend we need to figure out how to install our car seat in our car. We still haven't gotten around to that part. And we also need to get a Burrito Factory going (assembly line style of dozens of burritos to freeze and keep for later - easy meals after baby). We also should do a big batch of tamales. They also freeze well, and I love my vegan tamales, so yummy. Can't wait for my stomach to move back down where it should be so I can eat super spicy food again without acid re-flux. (Spicy food and breastfeeding are A-O-K by the way, midwives confirmed! Happy dance).

I also need to take a belly pic this weekend, tomorrow I am at 38 weeks, and so basically I could have the baby any day now. We're hoping she holds out until October, I want to keep working as much as I can, so the more paychecks the better... but at this point, she's the one you has the control! Getting close now... I love the photos of big belly mamas and then the after pic with the big belly replaced with the baby outside of the belly being held. Maybe Jason and I can find a nice area in our overgrown backyard to do something artsy like that. Just in case she comes before her due date.

The only discomforts I've had, aside from the Braxton hicks, which are still coming, and her feet nestling up into under my ribs, is she's been I'm assuming pushing her head down on some of my nerve endings that shoot sensations and pressure down my inner thighs. Its like she's moving her head one way, "Is this the way out?" (pressure shooting down my right thigh) then the other way, "What about this way?" (pressure shooting down my left thigh) and its like, "no baby! Its just straight down, through those intimidating bones - but I promise they will stretch for you!" Also, "I'm glad you haven't gotten the hang of it yet, wait a couple more weeks in your kale powered, uterus utopia!" Haha. I've had a fear that I will go into labor during a yoga class, which I mentioned and joked about last Tuesday, but after saying it out loud, surrounded by all the other mamas, and Cat, who is also a postnatal caregiver, and midwife assistant, I realized and said aloud, "This actually wouldn't be the worst place to go into labor! haha" Not to mention its right next door to the birthing rooms, with all the other supportive, loving yoga mamas there with me.

I also know is a long process, and only 10% of women have their water break BEFORE labor/contractions (Hollywood again, not to be trusted haha), so I will not be in that situation, most likely. This weekend Jason and I have our last class at the birth center to prepare us for parenthood, "Birth in a Nutshell." Which is three hours long and I'm guessing will go over everything we covered in our Centering sessions, but as a consolidated review. My witch hazel and tucks pads arrived yesterday, so pretty much all is wrapped up and ready for her arrival. Still have lots of her washed clothes to put away, and we really should get her a dresser, but for now everything is hanging in her closet which I'm sure will just end up in a pile on a chair after the first post baby wash haha. We mailed our check to Diaper squad, so now we just have to call them when we start using the diapers! I've taken home all of my own office supplies, and birthday plant that was at my desk, so the only thing I have left to collect at work is my desk fan (which I cannot live without running on high everyday while I'm here).

This final frontier of being child free feels like we are in warp speed now towards becoming parents. Stars are rushing past us, like illuminated streaks of love and light. Getting more and more ready!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Only time will tell...

I've started several blog posts over the past week, and hadn't had time or umph enough to finish and post any of them so I will recap with this quick and easy one:

we are getting so excited!!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

(posted later, wrote over this past weekend)

Everything makes me really tired these days. Yesterday we took a real day off and didn't do much besides rest, read, play video games and watch movies and it felt so good. I've felt that there has been so much to do before she gets here, that I haven't had many do nothing days, and I tried not to feel too guilty about it. I even slept in until 10am this morning (I usually am wide awake at 7, and 8 at the latest), and only woke up at 10 because the dogs were irritated I was messing up their routine. "We should have had breakfast two hours ago mom!" I guess I needed the extra rest. And for my upcoming labor, I really should be resting as much as possible. I need to remember to listen to my body, and quit trying to power through... especially during these last couple of weeks. Its hard for me though...

Today we have been cleaning house, catching up on dishes, laundry, vacuuming (there is always endless dog hair to clean with our husky Zombie girl), Jason took care of our cat boxes, and I watered all our indoor plants (I'm pretty excited that I've been able to keep almost a dozen alive in our house for a year plus, so maybe my plans to start gardening once i'm home more isn't completely far fetched! I'm notoriously bad at keeping plants). I even had the energy to get myself into the shower, which also felt like hard work. I did manage to shave my legs (hadn't done that in a month), wash my hair (haven't done that in a week) and even put on a face mask and scrubbed my rough feet with pumice. It feels good to be in a clean house again, and be fresh out of the shower (before covering myself in sweat since its STILL summer in Texas, and with our AC on we keep our house at 82 on the weekends (and 85 during the week while we're at work). SO looking forward to next month, for so many reasons. Trying to appreciate the clean house, and shower fresh feeling while it lasts, because I know both of these things will be harder and harder to do after birth- at least for a while.

Today we are also finishing up packing our birth bag, since it is now less than 20 days away from my due date. Seeing a number on my baby countdown app in the teens is really making this real. Really real. I put the end clasp on my labor necklace, and had Jason add his extra change of clothes, swim trunks (to jump in the tub with me and/or the shower to support me while I labor). I ordered some Tucks pads and witch hazel online today, so those should arrive next week, for my post-delivery recovery and healing. Also, as per the birth center, they recommend to have several ice packs to help me heal after birth. They also suggest to make my own by soaking some large maxi pads in water, and then put them in a ziplock and freeze them. I made some of those today, and hope that I didn't put too much water in them, also don't know if they are supposed to be in their own bags or not? But I put them in one bag together and hope they don't all just freeze and stick together. HAHA if so i'm sure I will not be above putting that whole zip lock down my pants. Either way, its a really smart idea (to make your own underpants icepacks) and I'm sure will be a necessity for my healing process.

Speaking of, I've been more and more frustrated with the general lack of acknowledgment of the healing and recovery that happens for the mother after birth. There was an article I think someone shared, or maybe I reshared on facebook (maybe also here), about how women are taken such good care of all throughout pregnancy, with so much attention to their health and wellness, but then as soon as baby is born the mother is almost completely ignored. All of the doctor's visits, family visits, immediately turn to the health and wellness of the baby (as the baby should get all the attention needed), but the lack of care for the mother is really ridiculous in our culture. She is expected to greet visitors, let everyone hold her baby at her home (keeping things tidy, and beautiful), and she has to not mention the bleeding, the bruising, the depression, or the lack of general hygiene, but jump back into being attractive, and dropping all her baby weight.

This is another reason why I've chosen to go the birth center, midwife-assisted birth route. The philosophy behind midwifery care for the birthing mother doesn't stop when baby is born, and the idea is to nurture the whole experience, rather than use the process as a business transaction that ends when the baby meets the fresh air. Midwifery care, and my experience with the birth center have been so phenomenal- to have caregivers (that's right, not someone with just a bunch of letters before and after their name, but caregivers) who understand that the mother just went through a major physical event that makes us bleed, bruise, tear, on the inside and outside physically, but also emotionally. When I was looking for the witch hazel, and tucks pads on amazon, and for the perineal bottles to wash and soothe, yes I am a person who will need to heal and recover after birth- which is natural, and nothing to feel the need to cover up with make up- I was adding "Post natal care" into my search criteria, and almost all of the results were products to tummy tuck, lose weight, and focus on the appearance of the mom- as if she should immediately get back into her size 2 skinny jeans, rather then focus on true healing or physical recovery.

Enough of a rant for now, but I think it deserves to be acknowledged. To be the best mom we can be, we too will need the nurturing, and the support, so we can nurture and support our tiny gem, and the amazing, mind-blowing creation of making a new person. That's not to say that there isn't so much excited for baby, and that love and excitement will not out weigh some of the challenges, of birth, and well pregnancy, because so far they completely have. I am so looking forward to my labor experience, my birth, and to meeting our baby. And I am also thankful for the loving support of my husband, and understanding of our other friends and family for respecting our space during my healing time, and our bonding time during these first few moments we will share as a new family of humans.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Wait Another Month Please!

Wouldn't it be awesome if you could [naturally] control when your baby would be born? Know exactly when your last paycheck would be, when you will stop having regular (or what you've become accustomed to as being "regular") sleep, and how much more time you have to get everything done that needs to happen before she arrives? By no means is a hospital birth, induced labor, C-Section and/or epidural any part of my ideal birthing vocabulary, but I can now somewhat understand (though personally feel its totally unnatural to try to control, well, nature), how some healthy, perfectly capable women choose to plan their birth this way. With a scheduled birth they can say, "I have until THIS DATE to cook all my pre-made meals to freeze for the weeks/months after baby's born to keep our house fed. I have until THIS DATE to learn everything I can about babies, baby care, and postnatal recovery. I have until THIS DATE to get the rest of my life all sorted and ready to be put pretty much on the back burner for, well, several years (and/or decades) to come." Not knowing how many days I have left before she's here is such a huge question mark, and I'm just trying to breathe and be patient.

The planner in me (which makes up about 97% of who I am), is really putting all that planning energy into preparing to, well NOT plan. To let go and, practice being present, here, now, with no focus on the past or future... but taking each and every moment as an opportunity (to still be pregnant before baby's arrival) to learn as much as possible, clean as much as I am able, earn as much money as possible to pay off as many debts as possible before splitting our income in half, and to take care of my present body, mind and consciousness. Yoga rules in this department for helping me on this journey, and today's class was awesome, love! (And Cat's back teaching too, yay!).

That being said, though I know I have no control over her due date, I will say that I've been meditating on her arrival being a month out, rather than tomorrow (since she is now considered full term, so even if she was born today we would no longer be considered premature). I am visualizing her being a 13 baby like me, October 13, October 13! But we'll see how long she actually waits. Though I know everything will change, and my life will become her life, I also am still holding onto some of my own personal goals, to continue towards my CPA requirements, so I can once again continue earning and contribute to our income by the time she's in preschool (that is if I don't end up getting pregnant again around that time!). I want to start a home garden and write more after I'm not tied to working for a company at a desk 45-50 hours out of my week. Write another book, get this one published (even if only independently). These goals are all still alive and well within me, but I am getting ready to let them go into hibernation, if only for the first year or so of her life and learning to be okay with that. Its a balancing act, of self and baby, and I'm ready to put most of my energy into baby when she needs me the most these first year(s).

I've heard some of our family members tell us how "lucky" we are, and how surprised they are to see that everything has gone as we have planned, and been talking about for the last decade of our lives together. And though I appreciate all of life's goodness, I really think that seeing life in a way to accept not just the good times, but also the hard times as opportunities to learn, grow and appreciate them for that reason is what has made us strong as a family, and generally happy individuals. It has taken us a decade to get here! Haha, though we understand plans can change, I think where we are strong is that we are able to shift our plans when things change and stay working together, moving forward and appreciate all of the moments in between, the "good" and the "not the greatest" (I'm not saying, "bad" because there really are no "bad" times when you have the right perspective - honestly, thing about it). We did not expect to be handed anything, pretty much at any point in either of our lives, and we have taken the time, patience and love needed to build our own lives, individually, and together, and now as a family (especially from the tools we manifested being from broken homes ourselves) to create the kind of childhood we want for our next generation. And we are here, now, creating that! Its really amazing. And also a conscious choice. I think that's why planning gives me so much comfort, strength and happiness, because when you can't control the world around you, when things happen that you do not want to happen, all you can do is control your attitude, your self, and your priorities, your own perspective. Which is also true in birth, treating every moment as an experience all its own, and appreciate it for all the wisdom it brings, and opportunities to learn and grown.

With all our family a 2-3 days drive in either direction of the country, we have stood on our own feet and are so excited to create our own family together on the foundation that we have built for ourselves. All while also feeling so much love generate from the hearts of our mothers and fathers and brothers, sisters, and aunts and uncles, by blood and by choice. I will say how we are "lucky" to have all of these wonderful people in our lives, and no matter how near or far we are, we also choose to feel that love, across time zones and state lines and across all differences, and choose to give that loving energy back as much as possible, exponentially. Again sometimes its not easy, but its a choice, and we are choosing to love, and build, and learn and grow. Again, and though its not all easy (I never expected any of it to be), its been so completely rewarding in ways that I am still realizing, its been a super empowering road and exploration of self so far - life and marriage, and now pregnancy, and through all the tough times, sleepless nights (with many, many more to come), and hard work we've made this house our home for our family.

So, haha, that being said, this was just going to be a quick post showing the photos of my cloth diapering skills (so easy!), and all of Jocelyn's stylish wardrobe (only half of which is put away, going to hang the rest this weekend), and my soon to be favorite place in the house (her rocking chair with stacks of books). Can you tell today's yoga class focused on hips and hip-openers (where us women hold a lot of emotion)? Haha, so much reflection I think also comes with nearing the end of such a long journey of pregnancy. Its amazing how at the beginning I just wanted nothing more but to rush to the finish line, and now that I'm so close to the end, I want nothing more but to stretch out the time as much as possible.

So, without more emotional, diary-entry-like rambling, here are the pics that I meant to just post:

Prefold and snappi So easy to do! Then you just put a waterproof cloth shell over it, and she's diapered! (And note the beautiful baby blanky Great Aunty Jone made us, thank you Aunty!~). 

This stuff was included in my Diaper Squad delivery, you spray in the dirty/wet prefold before putting it into the pail to help remove odors between weekly washes, curious to see how this will work

Great Aunt June's beautiful baby blanket on Jocelyn's rocking chair, awaiting bundling up for story time, and her awesome pack n play (thanks Aunty Marci!)

Her collection of super soft and snuggly new and handmedown blankets in her pack n' play (with the infant adjustment), and tons more baby clothes to still put away

Her closet has clothes to keep her stylin' for the next two years, thank you so much friends and family for all the sweet outfits and handmedowns! So many cute clothes, I can't wait to put her in these.

And since they have been working so hard with all of their new Bringing Home Baby rules and commands here are the hard working pups, being as cute as usual. I love them so much, my other babies.

Holden

Zombie

Breast Feeding and Cloth Diapers

Our last centering meeting already came and went! Time is really flying by at this point, but luckily with all the help, love, support, and community at the Birth Center I feel totally prepared for this baby (as best prepared as I can be for a first time mommy). The last meeting was all about breastfeeding, a lot of which I had already read up on, but I learned a lot too. We watched videos, got a bunch of handouts, and had some great discussions, Q&A with our awesome midwives' assistant Michelle. The main thing I learned is that when breastfeeding, you want to point your nipple towards your baby's nose, to get them to have their mouth open as big as possible for the best latch. Jason was right there with me, and such a good supportive papa already, then again, it was a class all about BOOBS so of course he would want to be there with me :) haha. Honestly though, so excited to have this baby, with this daddy.

Last night after work I headed to a diapering class (again, at the birth center so all of these classes I'm taking by the way are totally covered by my enrollment at the birth center - so virtually FREE. SO awesome, I can't praise the birth center enough). The cloth diapering class went over all the various different kinds of cloth diapers, prefolds and shells (which is what I'm doing), pocket diapers, all in ones, and also all the different kinds of shells and materials used for the inserts, prefolds, and shells and their benefits (organic cotton, bamboo, and even cashmere haha - we all laughed at that one, but they do exist). We also went over how to launder them, what soaps to use and avoid, line drying, cloth wipes, and got a bunch of hand outs as well for where to shop locally for new and used, and also 3-pages of home made wipe solution recipes. SO freaking awesome.

And now its time for me to head to Saturday's yoga class. To breathe, stretch, strengthen and center. Here's to the weekend! xo