Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Welcome Baby Jax!

Jackson was born yesterday, happy healthy water baby! We are over the moon in love with this new little guy, and I will spend some time to write down all the details of his birth story while they are fresh in my mind hopefully in the next day or two.

His birth couldn't have gone any better or any more peaceful, I am so grateful to our birth center and all the support we have had throughout pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. We go back in tomorrow morning for a check up. I'll write more after that.

Born 2/27/2017, 9lbs 13oz, 23 1/2 inches long, 14 1/2 inch head. Double Pisces with a Capricorn rising, born on a new moon, after a solar eclipse (a "ring of fire") and johnny cash's birthday put me into labor (2/26) with his birthday at 41 weeks +1 day, exactly like his big sis.

So grateful, so full of love!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

40 +4

I have now eaten TWO raw, whole ghost peppers. The first one I ate on Tuesday didn't seem to have much affect, so I ate another one this morning. This boy apparently already has his Daddy's tolerance for spicy food. I've been walking every morning with my mom around my neighborhood. Eating pineapple every day. Eating bananas. Dancing, squatting, pumping, doing yoga, bouncing on the yoga ball, stretching. Visualizing birth, breathing, and meditating. I mowed our backyard, went to Costco, and am trying to move him on out! Come on Jax! Going with my official EDD I'm now at 40 +4, and if you go with my unofficial ultrasound dating, I'm at 41 +4. This means I have 10 more days to birth at the birth center (I have until 42 weeks). Jax WILL come this week, he will be a Pisces (yay!), but I'm hoping that I don't have to resort to caster oil to coax him out. Joss is being so great waiting, its hard to be so patient! I'm really proud of her, and she's already such a proud big sister. <3 <3

Finally letting go of some of my household and mom responsibilities and letting Jason and my mom take over helping so I can just concentrate inward, on myself, my body, and get into my lizard brain without thinking of, needing to, and prioritizing taking care of everyone else. Tuesday I thought that I was going into labor, but it was a false alarm (menstrual cramps like when I went into labor with Joss, some contractions 18 minutes apart, mild) and though he would be here by that night. He didn't come,  and by bedtimes the contractions stopped. In any case Jason took off of work and started his paternity leave, but we are still waiting. Luckily he gets 3 weeks, so this time off is good for us, and him to rest up to prepare for baby too and he's already replaced the 2nd fan in our living room that was broken, and helped with a lot of things around the house that he hasn't had time or energy for with so many long working hours. Hoping baby Jackson comes soon, but we continue to be patient, because that's all we can do.

Of course last night our washing machine finally died, its an older machine, the one that came with the house when we bought it 6 years ago and looks like its from the 80s or early 90s. Its worked up until now for the most part, but looks like we will be going on a field trip to home depot today (so I can walk as much as possible up and down the isles) to buy a new washing machine. Jason wants to replace the dryer too, so they are a matching/stackable set, but I only want to get a new washer to save money. We'll see what we end up with, either way a new front loading washer will be excellent! And perfect timing before we start back up with cloth diapering again.

Its supposed to get up to 90 degrees today. So much for winter this year or lack thereof. I don't know if I've already posted this, or just talked about it with friends and my family, but being pregnant in Texas winter isn't what I hoped for or imagined. I much prefer being pregnant in Texas summer. Basically being pregnant in winter here means you never cool off, and you don't get a winter at all. The coldest I was this year, was summer in Northern California (which I'm grateful for). Granted this year we have had an unusually mild/warm winter, but still with my increased body temperature there is just no cooling down part of the year, which I feel like is the only way that I can love to live in such a hot climate, the few months when we get a break. Plus at least in summer there is lots of swimming, and everyone is already hot and miserable so you just do what you do in Texas to enjoy the heat, drink topo chicos, eat spicy tacos, jump in barton springs, and sit in AC. If there is a third, I will try to plan to be pregnant in summer. There is a trade off though, this pregnancy has been much easier in a lot of ways, less discomforts, food aversions, nausea, but the time of year/weather has been the hardest part for me. Not really ready for 90 and 100 degree days again yet, but so it goes. Swimming with babies makes it all worth it.

Yesterday when we went to lunch (at Bouldin Creek! yummmm!) we already started to see some blue bonnets on our drive through Zilker on the side of the road. Since its been unusually warm, they are already starting to show up. Spring is springing! I think this means that before Grandma Jill leaves we will need to have a blue bonnets family portrait with the four of us, and some with Grandma too. I love this time of year in Texas, so beautiful, all the leaves on the trees are starting to come back, and our pomegranate trees are getting ready to bloom again. In a couple months my mom's group will be heading back out to Inks Lake for our annual camping trip with kiddos, i'm so looking forward to it, will be a new adventure with both baby Jax and with Joss, but I'm excited to go and know it will be a blast and lots of wonderful memories.

Time to get dressed, and go for a walk before it gets too hot out. Then wake up Jason and go to home depot to find a new washing machine. More dancing this afternoon, spicy food, and I also read that I should be eating dates and drinking red raspberry leaf tea.

Monday, February 20, 2017

40 Weeks +1

Yesterday was my due date, and I went in for a checkup today with Jason, who's off work today. I made some progress since my last checkup last week at 39 weeks, and am now at 60% effaced (from 50% last Tuesday), and 3cm dilated (from 2cm last Tuesday). The midwife said that means I'm done with pre-labor! Woo-hoo! Such a different experience this time around.

Baby is happy and healthy, strong heart beat, and movements, my blood pressure and weight are great, everything is going just fine. We talked about what I need to be extra aware of now that I've passed my due date, just like what we went over with Joss at this point. I need to make sure he continues to move as usual, and if there is any decrease in movement to count movements within an hour (lay down, see how long it takes to get to 10 movements, if it takes longer than an hour call).

Last night we had a very strong thunder storm, and Jackson must have felt the change in pressure, or heard the loud cracks because he was doing jumping jacks all night. It was very sleepless for both of us, with all the thunder, lightning flashes, discomforts of being 9 months pregnant, and a LOT of weird dreams with ghosts. After dropping Joss at school was able to get back into bed and take a little bit of a nap before my appointment which helped.

Today I'm looking for dream catchers, for both me and for Jocelyn's rooms (she's had a lot of weird dreams lately too), and I need to smudge the house, especially upstairs bedrooms. Clear the air. All of the waiting, and anxiety must be stirring up the house ghosts. So I need to calm all that energy down, and remind the spirits that this is my house, and hopefully get some more peaceful rest again.

At my appointment today we also went over all the next steps for following appointments, which was all familiar since I did the same with Joss who was born at 41 weeks. They offered to strip my membranes today, but I declined, and prefer to let nature do its magic in due time, since I still have 2 weeks before I need to be sure he's born (to stay at the birth center). My next appointment is for next Monday, and they will hook me up to a monitor that spits out tape monitoring his heart beat and movements. I did this with Joss and remember it from last time. Its 30 minutes laying down on my side hooked up to the monitor, then 30 minutes of my usual check up with the midwife. If after 41 weeks still no baby, at 41 +5 days they will start me on a breast pump and give me some herbs, and if at 41 +6 days still not in labor they will resort to caster oil. Ann, my midwife today said that I will not be waiting another 2 weeks to have baby, since prelabor is already done. Again, SO different from last time!

In the meantime, I'm continuing to rest, and walk as much as I can, eating spicy food (went to Taco deli for brunch today with Jason before my appointment, YUM!), and drinking/eating pineapple. Squats, and yoga. Also, at this point we can officially say that we are having a PISCES! Which is super cool, in that our family of four represents the four elements EARTH (me), FIRE (Jason), AIR (Joss), and WATER (Jax). I have a Pisces rising, so already feel connected to Jackson on a level that is pretty cool regardless of how the rest of his star chart turns out when he's born. Yay water baby! Visualizing another water birth, and kissing those big Fosse Meeler baby cheeks. Soon enough, and I'm continuing to be patient. Emotional, tired, sleepless, restless, A.D.D., sensitive, and as best as I can be patient. I feel good though in my body, I feel strong, and prepared, healthy and beautiful with my big belly. I will miss feeling him when he's out, so appreciating all of these last moments while they are still here with me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

4 days Until 40

Yesterday I went into the birth center for my 39 week check up. All my stats and baby Jax are still right on track, looking good and healthy. Surprisingly I am already 2cm dilated, and 50% effaced. This means my body is already preparing for birth, but it could still be another week until my contractions start up. Such a contrast from my first, with Jocelyn, I labored 24 hours total, 12 being the pre-labor, and those first 12 hours that were hard work at home took me up to 4cm and 50% effaced. This time, all I had to do was get up out of bed, after a more uncomfortable than usual sleepless night. Still no regular contractions, though some continued Braxton hicks that are still scattered and not regular.

I had been feeling a new sensation that I brought up with my midwife, a central, isolated sharp pain right about my belly button in a small circle. She asked if I had any blurred vision, and I said yes that I get ocular migraines and this past week have had several, and 3 in just the last couple days alone. I told her that I've always dealt with these migraines so its not different inside or outside of pregnancy for me, but triggered by additional stress. She ran some tests on my urine to make sure that it was a sign of preeclampsia, which it wasn't (no protein in my urine, and normal/low blood pressure). She did say that I was dehydrated and to drink more water (which I already do a lot, but its Texas so I pretty much have to constantly be drinking water). Also I haven't had any spotting or bleeding, so she didn't think that it could be my placenta detaching in that area.  She said that most likely its part of Jackson's position and early labor, with my effacement and dilation already starting. My pre-labor sensations were so different with Jocelyn, so I'm continuing to keep my mind, body, senses, and feelings open to what's to come as brand new and open to the experience which so far has already been so much different in a lot of ways.

The good news is that everything looks good, I'm healthy, his heart, my heart all perfect in tune and rhythm, and we have nothing to worry about. I just need to drink more water and continue to wait patiently. Honestly I'm not in a rush, these last few days with Jocelyn as my only child (on the outside) as so valuable to us as a family, and to her transition as a big sister, so we are soaking it all in, and ready for Jackson when he is ready to come to us and join our wild Texas bunch.

2 more of my moms from centering gave birth to their babies! At least the ones that I am sure of, that so far I believe puts us up to 4 out of 10 of us moms. A few of the other moms who started in our group had to leave for various other family reasons, but at our last centering meetings we had 2 of our core 10 with babies. I'm not sure who has the latest due date, but we'll see who's next... So looking forward to having our mini reunion with all of our little ones together.

In the meantime, I have my freezer stocked with Lasagna, Tamales, and frozen burritos that I made with lots of love for my family and the postpartum weeks to come. My labor bag is packed, I just need to bring my diffuser, oils, and speaker for music on my iphone. I also am going to work on a few playlists today (though last time we didn't really use music like we thought we would, it was just sort of there in the background - bob marley, and beach house). Everything is ready and feeling good and set for Jax, my sweet friend Crystal set up our mealtrain, and so this time around will be easier than last as far as keeping us all fed.

We took some family maternity pics this past weekend too, with my mom helping take some of the photos, and though we keep our kids pics private (our family pics are super cute with Joss, but they won't be posted online), here are some of me and my belly with Jax. Jocelyn had a lot of fun painting and decorating my belly in celebration of her little brother. I'm wearing my beautiful birthing necklace, with all of the charms, tokens, beads and love that were contributed to help me along in my journey through labor and delivery.

Here's the labor/birthing necklace on its own, with love from all corners of the country. I feel so much support, love and strength. Each piece is so special and sentimental in its own way, and Jackson will love having this piece of his history when he is older, just as his big sister cherished hers and her her own birth story. Thank you fam!

Since my 39 week check up had some progress, Jason's work allowed him to work from home for the rest of the time before he starts his 3 week paternity leave. It is such a breath of fresh air, such a relief, and so amazing to have him work for a company that respects his family time and our needs as much as they do. I know part of it is also working for such a larger company where so much weight isn't balanced on Jason's plate alone (which had been the trend of both of our careers to work for small businesses over the last decades). There are parts of working in a small growth-focused start up that has given us both as parents and providers strong senses of ownership, authority, and work ethics, but goddamn, having more help when we need it, with a strong team that he can manage is such a blessing. He's worked so hard to get here, and I'm so grateful for my hard-working partner, and proud papa.

Trying now to relax as much as I can, and caught up on some reading for my parenting book club. My mom's wrist/arm is feeling better all the time, and we have another physical therapy session today before we pick up Jocelyn that I will take her to. We really found a great facility to help with her therapy, and hopefully we can continue to keep taking her even after baby comes to keep her healing (now 10 weeks after her broken wrist). Even with a healing broken arm, its been so great to have Grandma here to help with Joss, and help with little things around the house, dishes and laundry, letting out Zombie, and helping us with grocery shopping. Such a relief to know that we can be ready at any time to deliver Jax, because Grandma is here to watch Joss... so grateful.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

38 Weeks and Counting

I had my 38 week check up yesterday at the birth center and so far no signs of early pre labor. Everything is right on track where it should be with fundal height, my weight, his heart beat, and my blood pressure. I love the birth center, the midwives and the care that is given there with all the caring, warmth, support, compassion, and love that feels more like family than care providers. Since my mom was there with me this time, Ann the midwife doing the exam invited us back to the ultrasound room for a quick look inside for my mom, which was so nice of them to do that for us since usually we don't do any more ultrasounds from here on out.

Jackson has moved, from being on my left side like he had been for several weeks, over to my right side. He is still in a perfect position to labor without being breech, but I need to continue to point my belly button down towards the ground when I sit, so make sure he continues to line up in the optimal position when time comes to labor.

I did a lot of prepping for postpartum yesterday. Bought the new coconut oil for my birth bag, trader joe's now has all these tiny little individual packets of oil that are perfect for diaper bag and birth center bag! So I got those and threw them in. I also made his labor necklace, and Jocelyn loved looking at all of his beads and wore the necklace around to sing a few songs after blessing it herself. Such an awesome big sister!

Thank you to everyone who contributed! <3 I love how Jocelyn and Jackson's necklaces are each unique in their own ways, and both are so full of love and support.

I also made a couple rice socks yesterday, with some cute socks I found at Target. A mom friend asked if I would put lavender in them, which I didn't but think that's a great idea that I might need to add. These were awesome to use to prop up Jocelyn when she was a new born for late night side-laying nursing, and also after being in the freezer felt soothing for healing, or with heat in the microwave for my sore neck and shoulder after all the nursing.

Aside from that, I also made Jocelyn a night time clock, to hopefully help her get more into the rhythm of bedtime. She's bee stalling more and more lately, which is common in her age, but also common for a bigger sibling getting ready for a new baby. Regression is normal, and we are trying to help her through the transition with all the changes as much as possible. My parenting bookclub suggested using a clock like this, as a physical, tangible, visual to show her how much time is left for books and songs. If she stalls she will miss out on those things as a consequence, but if she participates then there might even be some extra time for extra books or songs in our bedtime routine. Last night was the first night trying it, hoping it will get better the more we get used to it.

A friend from my crunchy mama's group asked if she could set up a vegan meal train for us, so I'm so looking forward to having that much more mom support this time around with our second. It will make things a little bit easier to have some food and also nice to have some visitors during those early weeks. We haven't done a whole lot of meal prepping yet, I'm planning to get on that some more next week with some tamales, some enchiladas, and maybe a lasagna and my mom can help make some double baked potatoes... I need to buy some little plastic tubs from the dollar store to help organize our free-standing freezer with all the frozen food prep. Right now I just have a bunch of the burritos in there I made in the very bottom of the freezer.

And other than that, now I rest, and try to take it as easy as possible until baby arrives. I pretty much feel like aside from the food I have it all ready for him, and for me to go to the birth center. Tomorrow I take my mom back to the physical therapist for her wrist, Jason found a place after she arrived, so I called first thing on Monday and got her in for some treatments. She goes back again tomorrow, and I'll keep taking her to appointments until baby arrives. She said there are some things she can do at home after the putty she ordered arrives (should be here today). We'll bring that with us and the therapist will show her how to use it at home for continued strength and healing.

Everything else is going fine, we've had a couple of hot days in the mid 80s lately, and I'm hoping we get some more cold ones back. So much for being pregnant in winter. Granted this is a good 30 degrees cooler than summer, so I shouldn't really complain. Time to shower and have a friend come over to help her with some of her Quickbooks issues and questions, and then take a shower and maybe get outside for a maternity photo shoot with my mom's help taking pictures. Jason took some great ones with me towards the end of pregnancy with Joss, but with his work schedule we haven't been able to do it together yet. Maybe this weekend if my mom's hand isn't able to shoot yet. We'll see...

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

18 days and counting...

Mom arrives in 2 days! Woo hoo! So excited. My last centering session was yesterday, and it was so great to have BOTH Jenny and Annie bring their babies to see everyone and tell us their birth stories. So powerful, and beautiful, woman-supported, natural birth center births make my heart sing. So much strength and love, and gentle caring for mom and baby. Jenny also brought a big bag of postpartum supplies that she didn't end up using to give to the group, and not many people wanted to take anything, so I ended up taking a bunch of supplies home that I'm sure I will use (Sitz bath sachets, bed liner pads, some witch hazel pads, postpartum healing spray, and I think a couple other items were in there). Yay free stuff, and mom community! I'm so looking forward to our reunion when all of us have had our babies and we can line them all up together on the couch for their cute pictures. This time around since its a bigger group than the first time I did centering, we don't set the date ahead of time, but we wait until the last baby is born, then schedule a couple weeks out. I really hope we all stay connected and continue to get together with our babies. So much love out to all the upcoming birth stories to the February mamas!

So far aside from just being big and hard to sleep comfortably, I feel pretty great in my body. This pregnancy overall I think has been easier than my first. No real food aversions (unlike EVERYTHING with Joss, including white rice and sautéed onions), morning sickness only lasted the first 3 months (rather than 8 like with Joss), and even though I've cut back to only getting in for yoga once a week on the weekends, I have little to no back pains (unlike with Joss when I needed that 3x a week dose of yoga to stay comfortable). Its amazing the difference it makes when I am home, versus working 50 hour work weeks in a job I really didn't like up to my due date. I think that must have a lot to do with it. Yes, there is still the stress of the life of being a mom to a 'threenager,' and taking care of the house and cooking, but its what I love to do, and I have more support and finally a community that I can call my own who is living the family life as well this time around. So it feels good, and I'm less stressed. Less isolated and ultimately I think Joss makes things easier. Not to overlook how incredible of a partner Jason continues to be, he's taken on the role of provider with a lot of pride and strength, and I'm so so grateful. Having Joss though, I think brings me the light that is at the end of the birth tunnel, reminding me of all the joys to come, even through tears and tantrums, that this is what its all about - FAMILY. You don't really know how much your world will change as a first time mom, until it does... and I still don't know how much my world will change as a second time mom, but I feel like having Joss here to share my pregnancy with makes everything feel better.

February 1st! Rabbit, Rabbit, here's to hoping for a less chaotic month, and more love and compassion to come. Making concerted efforts to ensure that there is an abundance of love in my home, and my communities, brining peace to my world and those within it. I feel like for the sake of my mental health, and for the love of my son, I need to delete facebook from my phone, and only login when I'm at my laptop. There is so much in my feed that constantly wears me down, and though I feel its my civic duty as an American to stay informed - especially now, I need to draw a line, and remind myself that I can watch the news, and read online at my computer -  not 24/7 on my phone... at the very least, for these next few weeks when I need to concentrate on baby, and baby's new life. I also realize that makes me privileged, to be able to unplug, and I actively acknowledge, and continue to learn how to acknowledge my privilege daily. Last night was the first meeting of a new bookclub that was put together by a woman I contacted through my birth center community. We collectively chose to read, Between the World and Me, which was a hard read, but an important one that I recommend everyone read. Our discussion was difficult, but important, and I'm really glad to have these new women in my life to read together and have sometimes hard, and sometimes escapist (our next book will be fiction) discussions with- particularly during these times of political uncertainty.

My other bookclub meets this weekend, and will be at my daughter's school lead by the Montessori School's Director, Lisa. I've enjoyed being a part of the bookclub with Lisa since Joss started going to school there, and am happy to have the community of parents that attend to discuss parenting together.

In the meantime, I have all of the ingredients prepared to start assembling our post-birth burrito factory. Homemade black beans, and Jason's homemade Spanish rice, tortillas and vegan cheese. Just need to assemble, wrap in foil, and freeze. I took the car in for the re-inspection, and renewed registration, so that is all good, just waiting for the sticker to come in the mail now in a week or so. I've been doing a lot of running around this week, so today I'm going to try and just relax and Netflix and chill as much as possible, fold some laundry, do some dishes, and hang with my animals. I also started watching the Netflix Documentary series, Making a Murderer, since I've been on a documentary kick lately, and after watching episode 1, I'm looking forward to episode 2.