Tag Archive | Pregnancy

Managing Gestational Diabetes

I have had Gestational Diabetes for 3 of my 6 pregnancies. Always with the boys… strange huh! Diabetes runs in my family so I was already at a risk and I’ve always known I would face it at some point in my life. My first pregnancy it wasn’t too bad… that was 7 years ago. The second time around didn’t seem too bad either except my baby was almost 10 lbs! I quickly learned you can still gain a lot of weight eating healthy. I went into a mentality of overindulging on the things I could eat out of depression for all the things I couldn’t eat.

The third time was very challenging but very rewarding. I found out I had failed my glucose test when we were on our first road trip for the summer and I knew another 2 1/2 week long road trip was just a few weeks away. I did not want to travel and not be able to indulge and eat what I wanted! What was I going to do not being able to pig out on candy in the car and having to ask for salads every time we ate out instead of that delicious burger and fries! But God knew what He was doing and I only gained 1 lb while on vacation for 2 1/2 weeks! I am certain if I had eaten the way I wanted I would’ve gained at least 10 lbs indulging everywhere we went. I remember one night everyone came home from dinner and complained about how full they felt and not feeling too good, I could not relate! I actually felt good and light and it felt good to feel that way!

I felt like I finally got things in order with that pregnancy. I was forced to a little more than the previous two as my blood sugars continued to get higher the more pregnant I became. Eventually I ended up on Glyburide as my diabetes was no longer able to be controlled by diet and exercise and I needed a little external help. That was interesting as I really didn’t like the way Glyburide made me feel and I did suffer from some hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) episodes and found myself often having to eat just to keep my blood sugar up even though I wasn’t hungry. My body had gotten pretty used to smaller portions and low carb intake and when I started the Glyburide I was on the lowest dose possible but it still seemed like just a little too much I had to add more carbs back in than I was used to. It was all a balancing act. This baby was 6 lbs 12 oz … the smallest of all 5 babies and in all honesty my body felt better than the previous couple of pregnancies because of the exercise I had been faithful to do and the smaller amount of weight I gained and just the overall healthy eating choices I was making. However, it was so much work and in the midst of it I had a lot of moments of frustration and annoyance that I couldn’t just eat whatever I wanted and that I had to keep tracking my intake so closely and sometimes it seemed like no matter what I did it wasn’t working. The grass is always greener on the other side right ; )

I wanted to share some of the diet plans I followed and important things I learned for best managing the diabetes. I really and truly believe that a diabetic diet is the diet for EVERYONE! Don’t do any of this no carb, high protein, so many day cleanse, etc. diets. God made you to have a lifestyle… not a diet and He wants that lifestyle to be well rounded and healthy. Your body needs everything out there in moderation and with exercise to function normally… do not deprive your body of something because someone somewhere thought it might be a cool new fad.

I read through this book called Real Food for Gestational Diabetes by, Lily Nichols who also has a website. I really enjoyed her book and suggest it as a good reference book.

Here are some of the biggest tips I learned:

  • always pair carbs with proteins – proteins help your body to process the carbs so have some PB with your banana or some eggs with your toast
  • eat small portions and eat every 2-3 hours – this helps keep your blood sugar stabilized; it is not good to have 3 humongo meals every day then you go from low to high to low to high – this part gets very challenging, especially when you’re on the go because it can be hard to commit to eating every 2-3 hours but that’s when finding some smart snacks both for at home and on the go can be helpful
  • exercise! exercise will help your body process carbs as well and it just feels good
  • do not buy products claiming to be “sugar free” or “low carb” – it usually is a lie! It is most likely sweetened with some type of artificial sweetener that is not any better for you and can actually be worse especially when you’re pregnant; stick with eating whole foods as much as possible and avoid most prepackaged food; all it is really is a marketing scheme and you need to watch out! Sucralose and Aspartame find themselves snuck into the most unlikely things (i.e. multi-grain english muffins, certain brands of low carb tortillas – who would’ve known!) so just be careful and read labels

Parameters and Menu Ideas:

  • Pre-Breakfast Snack:
    • I typically wake up 1 -2 hrs before my kiddos do so I can have some Bible reading time and exercise before everyone wakes up and the demands start ; ) However, I wasn’t ready to have two breakfasts and I didn’t want to take Glyburide this early but I needed something so every morning I would drink decaf coffee with a hard boiled egg and babybel cheese… zero carbs but protein to get my day started and have energy to exercise
  • Breakfast: 15-30 G Carbs (Blood Glucose <130 1 hr after)
  • Snack: 15-30 G Carbs
    • Sliced sweet peppers w/string cheese
    • Apple w/PB
    • Banana w/PB
    • Graham cracker w/PB
    • Veggies w/ranch
  • Lunch: 45-60 G Carbs (Blood Glucose <130 1 hr after)
    • Dave’s thin slice bread sandwiches – these have almost half the carbs in one slice as any other regular loaf of bread (lunch meat, tuna salad, chicken salad, BLT, grilled cheese w/avocado and bacon and an over easy egg)
    • Salads w/some kind of protein (chicken, ham, beans) and one slice of toast
    • Low carb quesadilla made w/cheese and a veggie burger patty (find a low carb tortilla that is not artificially sweetened)
    • Sandwich Thins Pizzas (marinara sauce, mozz cheese and whatever toppings on top of a sandwich thin and broiled for a couple mins.)
    • Chicken sausage w/some sides (veggies, fruit, roll, piece of toast, etc.)
  • Snack: 15-30 G Carbs
    • I got hooked on La Croix! I joined the club! The afternoon time I would always want something sweet to drink and this helped me a lot. It also helped on that road trip I mentioned… instead of eating hard candies in the car I kept a cup of ice and refilled it with sparkling water to slowly sip as we drove along
    • Cottage cheese w/nut and seed crackers
    • Tuna w/crackers
    • Handful of nuts
    • Almond clusters or coconut clusters (sold at Sam’s)
    • Nature Valley Protein Bars
    • FiberOne Bars
    • Sargento Balanced Breaks
    • Tomato & Cucumber salad w/mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinaigrette dressing
    • Cheese & Beef Jerky Sticks
  • Dinner: 45-60 G Carbs (Blood Glucose <130 1 hr after)
    • No list here but basically anything I would normally cook but smaller portions and leaving out the roll on the side and the glass of milk. I learned to modify based on what we were eating. If it was a pasta dish I’d leave it out, if it was fish and veggies I could add it in.
  • Snack: 15-30 G Carbs
    • After dinner when the kiddos are in bed and the hubby and I are watching TV I am always so tempted to veg. The diabetic diet does suggest a “before bed” snack and I found these ones to help with my “vegging” cravings:
    • Oikos Greek Yogurt – this became my bowl of ice cream : ) strawberry, black cherry or blueberry and with no artificial flavoring and lots of protein!
    • Graham cracker w/chocolate almond butter and a slice of banana
    • FiberOne Dessert Bars
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These were a few of my favorite on the go snacks

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Preparing for Baby and Multiple Siblings

Image result for crazy mom with lots of kids

photo credit

Nesting… I remember nesting with some of my first kiddos. It was fun to set up nursery areas, bassinets, setting out blankets, diapers, etc. and picturing the baby occupying all these places. Well, now we’re down to logistics. How in the world are we going to add a sixth baby to the family?!?! How are the other 5 going to be taken care of during the initial post-partum period? I’ve got some things nailed down now with it being the sixth but at the same time it doesn’t matter if it’s #2 or #6 it’s still a change to the family and an addition and all the other kiddos are at different stages and need different things. My primary focus in this last month of pregnancy as I “nest” and prepare for baby to come is how to help the other 5 kids become as independent as possible once baby comes : ) Meal planning, homeschool help, chore charts, etc. I must say these are some challenges I do enjoy battling as I learn from others and research ideas (thank you Pinterest!) on how to manage these areas. This post-partum period will also be different as my mom is not able to come for a couple of weeks to help out. This is a bummer as she usually cooks and cleans on top of entertaining the kiddos and she’s done it now enough they’ve all got a good feel for what it’s like when she comes. We will have my mother-in-law come stay with the kiddos while I stay in the hospital then it’ll be dada duty for 1 week, then sister-in-law duty for 5 days, then our favorite babysitter who moved away : ( duty for another 5 days then we’re on our own!!! So I’ve been planning and organizing to make it easier for them to manage the household while I’m resting and for my sanity when everyone leaves.

My first area to battle: MEAL PLANNING

I have been learning all about this new concept of meal prep and non-sandwich lunchbox ideas. I saw the idea awhile back with my favorite large family homeschool mom’s blog adopting the lunchbox idea and stating how much of a lifesaver it is to prepare lunches in advance so there is not as big of an interruption in their homeschool day. I had not adopted the idea but am planning to implement it now : ) So the gist is I purchased these “bento boxes” from Amazon and researched on Pinterest all of the pins about kids lunch box ideas and created my own list from their ideas as well as what we already like to eat. My list is broken up by: main dish, dairy, fruit, veggie, filler. Instead of matching them all up I just listed them out and then I will print it out and put it on my fridge for reference. I plan to start this next week with spending one night and setting up the boxes in the fridge so the next day or two we can just pull out the lunch box for lunch and it’s all set up and prepared. I will pick from the categories based on what I have on hand. If they’re a hot main dish then we can just scoop them out to reheat or reheat in the container if there’s not anything else in the small sections that need to stay cold. We’ve already started this week and so far it’s been going great!

IMG_5402Breakfast has been a slightly new thing and all I’m doing to prepare is moving cereal containers and bowls to a lower shelf and making sure my freezer is stocked with our normal stock of banana bread, zucchini muffins and baked oatmeal muffins among a few other breakfast recipes. I have added breakfast items to the lunch list I will print out and post on the fridge for our helpers to know what we have available for the kids to eat.

IMG_5403The other portion of meal planning has been breakfast and dinners. The dinners I’ve got down pat with a list of freezer meals I’ve used in the past as well as easy to cook dinners. I did want to mention in my research I learned not to take frozen chicken, unthaw it, cook it and refreeze it for your meals. If you’re going to use chicken to make in your freezer meals it should be fresh chicken.

  • Easy to cook dinners:
    • Spaghetti
    • Fish Stick Tacos
    • Shredded Chicken Quesadillas
  • Baked Chicken Taquitos
  • Broiled Chicken (I cut some up to add to my salads for a meal and kept some as breasts to eat on their own or add to something later on)
  • Crockpot Dump Recipes (I’ve never done these before but keep seeing them on my Pinterest feed and thought they looked perfect to try for welcoming this new baby):
  • Prepared Casseroles (this is my normal method for freezer cooking – when I make a loved casserole dish I double it and throw one in the freezer for a couple months down the road):
    • Tuscan Chicken Pasta (I used this website for help planning)
    • Macaroni and Cheese (my hubby likes the Noodles & Co. dish with BBQ sauce and shredded chicken so I plan on him just adding that to his portion of this casserole)
    • Baked Ziti
    • Baked Spaghetti
    • Mexican Cornbread Casserole
    • Enchiladas
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My to-do list for freezer cooking. This includes some breakfast, lunch and dinner items.

My second area to battle: CHORE CHARTS

We have used the same chore charts for awhile now but I do tend to get a little lazy with the monitoring required and we end up backing off for awhile and then after I get a little overwhelmed with some things around the house I want to pick it up again. I also had started reading Managers of Their Chores and haven’t finished it yet but was wanting to implement some of their ideas. I found at this point I’m just going to stick with what we’ve got since it does work well when we’re on top of it and hope for the best. I don’t want to ask for too much change right before the baby comes. Our chore charts are a simple Word graph that has the day of the week on the left side and the chore on the top. We print it out each week and tape it to the fridge and the kiddos add stickers to each chore they complete for that day. I also use it as a reminder for some things that don’t get done if we don’t have school that day (i.e. practice Awana verses, read for 20 mins., etc.). At the end of the week we add up all the stickers and the kiddos get a penny per sticker for chore chart money. I have also added some 25 cent chores, some are required and some are extra help if they’re trying to save up for something. Some of these examples are empty dishwasher, empty shoe box, sweep, etc. I assigned the older kiddos a day to set the table and clean up from breakfast or lunch. I am hoping this will help when other people are here for the baby and I can just quickly remind the kids or they can remind them to do their morning chores or it’s their day to clean up from meals, etc. Our biggest challenge is going back to the charts and putting the stickers on so they can get their money at the end of the week. I started telling them when they’ve completed a chore to immediately go put their sticker on and by the end of the night they should finish their bedtime routine with going downstairs and putting their remaining stickers on and if this does not get done they won’t get the credit for that day. We’ll see how it goes!

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An example of one of our chore charts in the works…

My third area to battle: HOMESCHOOL

Now I can find an excuse every month it seems as to why we’re falling behind in homeschool. Which, what is falling behind really? Are the kids learning and growing in their knowledge appropriate to their age stages? Is it my to-do list I’ve created which usually is too lengthy for all the kids anyways that is not getting completed daily and that’s the dictator of falling behind? Either way since we just are coming off of a break for Christmas I am not wanting them to sit out for the next 3-6 weeks or however long it may be and not do school entirely. BUT, it would be challenging to ask my husband, MIL, SIL and nanny for the first 3 weeks to pick up where we left off and continue on our curriculum. So… I am trying to create a basic list much like some of the summer homeschool lists I’ve seen out there for the kids to work through each day with some assistance from whoever is around. Amelia, Josh and Lydia can easily have someone help them accomplish 1-2 pages from their math workbooks each day. In fact we have some Comprehensive Curriculum books laying around from last summer that never got completed and I have been working on tearing out the incompleted pages and moving them to a 3 prong notebook and flagging the different sections for each kiddo to do 1-2 pages of each day. That covers math, phonics, critical thinking and handwriting. Then someone (even myself for that matter) can sit and read with Amelia and Josh each day for 20 mins. to get some reading practice in. I always try to complicate things but have been praying for God to show me how to simplify and still get things accomplished.

That about sums it up! Those 3 areas have been my main focus of nesting as we prepare these next 3 weeks for the baby to come. I am so excited to meet this little one and I have high hopes that instead of just taking some weeks off and letting the kids run around the house wild with no direction that with this planning and preparation we can maintain a fairly new normal life and all be happy! We’ll see how it goes!

Joseph Robert’s Birth Story

So Baby Jo is now 6 months old but I decided it was time to write out his birth story : ) I love having record of his story and I hope some day in the future it will bless all of the kiddos to have their story written down of how they entered this world.

Joseph Robert was born 6 days late on January 8th. I was torn the whole week before because we were thinking we were going to have to induce since he was already so late but I really wanted a similar birth experience to Lydia’s and actually experience spontaneous labor. Our Dr. was willing to induce us from the first day past our due date but I kept waiting per the suggestion of our previous Dr. with being a VBAC and allowing your body to naturally go into labor as opposed to pushing it along with an induction. So we kept waiting. Every day past the due date seemed so long and left me doubting and questioning if we should call to schedule an induction. I also had a weird battle because Adam and my anniversary is the 7th and I really didn’t want our baby born on the same day. It seemed like until that child was out of the house it would be hard to celebrate our anniversary on the same day as that baby’s birthday (I still think it will be tricky but God has His own plans and reasons for doing things).

Well we finally reached the max amount of overdue days and schedule our induction for the morning of the 8th. I still kept hoping to go into labor that night but no such plan happened. I was also remembering our scheduled induction with Amelia and how we showed up to the hospital an hour before and they sent us home because they had no room! I really didn’t want that to happen again… well… it did! We called at 5 AM and they said they were full and they’d call back when they were ready for me. Now since Joseph was originally due on January 2nd he felt all along like a Christmas baby… being told there was no room in the inn made it even more real!! I tried calling again after their morning shift change to make sure I wasn’t getting left behind and the not so nice nurse told me they knew who I was and would call me when they were ready just like they told me at 5 AM. Ugh! Don’t tell an overdue woman that it’s going to be longer! Well we dilly dally’d at home for a few hours and they called at 9 AM saying they were ready!!

We headed out the door and got checked in and dressed and ready to go. They broke my water at 10:30 AM to see if anything would happen naturally from that. No such luck. About 11:30 they started me on Pitocin as nothing was really progressing. They came in every 30 mins. or so and increased the dose to help my contractions get stronger and closer together. Around 1:00 I started getting pretty uncomfortable and had an epidural in place by 1:15 : ) I started relaxing a bit and closed my eyes for a few mins. Right around 2:00 I started feeling some pressure like I needed to push. I was just turning around to hit my nurse call button to have her come see where I was at when the nurse walked in and said she was looking at my contractions on the monitor and wondered if I was starting to feel pressure! She checked me and we were ready to go! My Doc came in and everyone got ready. I started pushing at 2:15 and by 2:30 this giant boy was out!!! What a blessing! Another quick and easy VBAC delivery!

Baby Jo came in a whopping 9 lbs 6 oz and 21 1/2″ long!

VBAC # 2 and almost 10 lbs. !!!

Lydia Lynn’s Birth Story

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,

The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,

So are the children of one’s youth.

How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”

Psalm 127:3-5

 

 

We have been so blessed. We are so thankful for our 3 children and know that they all came from the hands of God. Through each of my pregnancies I have learned more and more how much childbearing is completely out of my control. I have zero control over how and when the Lord will choose to bless us with a child and zero control over the sex of the child and zero control over how and when they will choose to leave my womb and enter this world. All the control is in the Lord’s hands and I am so thankful for that because His plans are ALWAYS better than my plans. After all He is the Lord and our Creator and He loves each and every one of us more than we can even imagine. 

 God used this pregnancy with Lydia to help me feel His personal love towards me. As you may know we had to have a c-section with Joshua because of his breech presentation (butt first instead of head first). I was devastated and continued to struggle with emotional healing over this reality well into this pregnancy. We found out at the beginning of my third trimester with Lydia that she too was breech. All of my hopes and dreams of having a natural delivery after a c-section (VBAC) went down the drain. I was so devastated at this news and questioned what God was doing. After all we planned to temporarily live in Arizona so we could have a VBAC since no one in our area in Colorado would do one within a 4 hour drive. Why would God completely tear down our plans?

 The morning I was headed to the doctor to schedule an external version (when they manually try to flip the baby from outside my belly) God worked a miracle and completely blessed us. Lydia turned all by herself about an hour before the appt. I felt her moving differently and wondered what she was doing and it wasn’t till my Dr. told us she was head down that I realized what God had done that morning. He blessed us so greatly and not because of anything we had done or deserved but simply because He wanted to show me His love that morning and bless me like crazy! I am so thankful for this!

 We had about 1 month to go for her to stay head down and for us to anticipate another natural delivery (p.s. natural here does not mean pain medication free… I was asking for my epidural on the couch at our house before we even got to the hospital!).

 On Tuesday night April 30th (3 days overdue) I began having some sporadic contractions but when I was moving around they were fairly close together. Since I was induced with Amelia and c-section with Josh I still wasn’t quite sure if this was the real thing. I waited it out a few hours and they never subsided so Adam and I headed in. I was only 2 cm and 70% effaced… not enough to stay. They sent us home. I kept wondering how long I would have to survive these contractions if they weren’t even doing anything! All day Wednesday they pretty much subsided with a few here and there and they picked up again that evening but it didn’t feel much different from the night before so we continued to wait it out. In the meantime I tried to keep upright and walking as much as I could tolerate in the 100 degree weather out here!

 Then came Thursday (5 days overdue). We headed to a splash pad/marketplace area to walk around and we ate lunch at Paradise Bakery… I picked out my favorite that I haven’t had all pregnancy… Southwestern Chicken Cesear Salad : ) I was having the same contractions all day and they seemed like they were starting to pick up around lunchtime but we just kept on moving. We drove home and around 3 my mom and I decided to make a trip to Target to pick up some last minute things. I wanted to keep walking as my contractions were starting to get stronger and lasting longer and more frequent. By the time we checked out at Target at 4 my contractions were 2 mins. apart and lasting a good minute long. I decided to go home and lay down and see if they subsided. They did a little bit but not enough to convince me we’d be home all night. I got up after an hour and immediately they started coming every 2 mins. again. I called and described what was happening and they said to come in. 7 PM we were in the car headed to the hospital… little did we know only 4 1/2 hours later we’d be meeting our little Lydia : ) My contractions on the drive were so painful and I wondered how soon I could get my epidural : ) with a daunting thought of 7 PM… shift change. I knew what that meant!

 We got to the hospital and sure enough it took about 30 mins. for them to get the triage room and the staff ready for us… good thing Lydia wasn’t ready to come out then! We went to triage and I was 4 cm so they decided to admit us… yipee! We finally got into our delivery room and I got my epidural about 9 PM. I love love love epidurals! Aside from the fact that I started having a contraction right as the anesthesiologist placed the needle in my spine and I was forced to sit perfectly still through a contraction… but a few minutes later pure relief : ) We laid down, relaxed and watched the basketball game. About 10:15 PM they came in to break my water to help speed up labor since I had been contracting for 2 days and they wanted to help things along since I was a VBAC. About 10:45 PM I had this intense urge to push so I called the nurse and she checked me and said… “yep, let’s get ready for delivery, I’ll call the Dr.”. Adam and I were beaming… this was happening so much faster than Amelia!!! Dr. Donnelly came at 11:15 PM and set everything up. She got me ready and showed me that our baby’s head was right there… you could already see her hair… what??? I didn’t even do anything yet to get her there, this is so easy! We got ready to push and sure enough… 16 minutes later and she was out! I pushed for 1 1/2 hours with Amelia (granted she was face up which is a much bigger circumference to push out than the normal face down). I was so intent on pushing for a long time that our Dr. had to tell me to relax and breathe multiple times after her head was out so she could pull her out the rest of the way… I had no idea she was already out : ) Now remember we did not know what sex this baby was which was so much fun. After our Dr. got her shoulder out and the rest of her she laid her on my belly and I quickly asked “what are you???” and Adam said “a girl!”… and my response was “I knew it!” : ) Either way we were so thrilled to have a healthy baby and a wonderfully amazing and beautiful and quick and safe delivery!

 We feel so blessed and are so thankful to the Lord for His gift of our precious Lydia Lynn.

 So thankful to actually get to hold my beautiful baby and experience this… it definitely beats not being able to move on the operating table!

 

8 lbs 6 oz… biggest one yet! She was 5 days overdue : )

Daddy got to cut the umbilical cord : )

Proud daddy!

 

 Thank you Dr. Donnelly… Scottsdale VBAC Queen!

 

 

36 Weeks: Baby Turned!!!!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,

according to his power that is at work within us,

to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,

for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20-21

Tuesday morning:

I went to the women’s bible study at the wonderful church here in Arizona we’ve joined up with during our short stay here. We are studying a book called A Deeper Kind of Calm by Linda Dillow. At the end of our time the leader asked if anyone wanted to share about a valley of weeping they are going through or have recently gone through. For the past 6 weeks I have wanted to share about the baby being breech and my battles with it but found myself so choked up by tears just thinking about opening my mouth to say something that I hesitated each time and resolved to share the next week. Being that I was going in the following day to schedule the version for this baby I decided to share my battle and all God has been teaching me through this process and ask for additional prayer request (and practical help) for the version the following week. Part of my prayer request was wisdom on if we should go through with the version as I began having hesitation worrying over complications that could occur since Adam would still be out of town and I would be by myself. I began wondering if this was an area of trust in God. Trusting Him to turn the baby if it was His will without intervention from the doctor. Again, this was a battle of my desire to control as I had a fear that if we didn’t do the version and came delivery the baby was still breech I would be left with this thought of … “if only we had done the version…”

Wednesday morning:

This was the morning of my dr. appt to schedule the version for the following week. During my quiet time that morning I focused my prayers on wisdom and clear direction on if we should go through with scheduling the version. I asked God to help me make this decision by making it extremely clear and to have that peace that surpasses understanding for whatever decision He wanted us to make. I resolved to want what He wanted… not what I wanted which was to control the situation. The appt wasn’t until 10 AM. About 8:30 AM I was packing up the kids and our stuff and cleaning up breakfast since we had to run a few errands before the appt and I felt my belly stretching and tightening so extensively. I was wondering what the baby was doing in there. All of a sudden I had to stop in the middle of going up the stairs because my belly hurt so bad. I thought it was going to burst. And then I felt this small round knob to the far left of my belly… an area I haven’t felt the baby move in before and a size of a knob I haven’t felt before. I honestly didn’t think much of it I just thought the baby was stretching intensively for whatever reason (we did have smoothies that morning for breakfast… maybe too much sugar?!?!). I remembered going through this with Josh where any time I felt the slightest difference I would hope he had turned only to find out he hadn’t which was such an emotional disappointment so I have in a sense hardened my emotions to hoping this baby would turn. My appt comes and I have my list of questions about the version and the impending c/s in a few weeks. My dr says let’s just check where we’re at and then we’ll get to the questions. I told her about the feelings this morning as she was feeling my belly and she interrupted me and said “HEAD DOWN!” I was in total shock! What?!?! Yup, here’s the butt right here, and there’s a foot right next to it, and way down here is the head! She smiled a victorious smile : ) What a blessing to have a dr advocating this for you too! I felt like I was finding out I was pregnant for the first time : )

Why would God do this for me? I know I still wasn’t where He wanted me to be with giving this over to Him in my heart. There was still a part of me fearing that I’d be angry with a c/s at the end of this pregnancy. I know I still didn’t have that peace and joy no matter what path of delivery. I felt like I still had a long way to go with this journey.

That is how much God loves me. Loves us. Loves you.

He knew I still wasn’t there. I wasn’t perfect. But He wanted to shower His blessings upon me. Not because I deserved it but simply because He loves me. I am His child. He wanted to surprise me with a special gift. An unexpected gift. He wanted me to feel His undeserved love and care with this specific circumstance.

It wasn’t because I joined a gym or went swimming every day or rested on my arms with my butt in the air or laid upside down on the couch every night that this baby turned. The baby turned while I was walking around doing what I do every single day. In fact I hadn’t done any of the above things for the previous 3 days. There is no reason other than the hand of God for why this baby turned and for that I am so thankful. To God be all the Glory!

Would God still love me and still be worthy of all the glory if He didn’t turn this baby? I am even more convinced that yes He would. Just from sharing this story with a few women in a bible study has done measures to encourage and uplift them and their walks with God and even to people beyond the bible study. God always has a plan that is different than mine for why He does what He does. I would’ve never thought this could be used as a testimony to encourage others to trust God and I’m certain if He didn’t want this baby turned then that path would be used for the same reason. He would have a greater reason for using another c/s in my life and breech baby to bring glory to Him.

I have not felt so loved by God like this in a long time and I am so thankful for it. As Psalm 51:12 says… God is restoring to me the joy of my salvation. How silly to think that He would use this path to do this but He did. That’s what I needed and because He knows me intimately He provided.

Thank you so much Lord for your love.

33 Weeks: Baby is Breech

“A man’s heart plans his way,

but the Lord directs his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9

I have been wanting to sit down and write out about this for 2 weeks now and am glad I have not yet but feel now is the time. We found out 2 weeks ago at 31 weeks that this baby is indeed breech. For any of you who have read some previous posts you will know that I have had my heart set on a VBAC.  They tell me there is still plenty of time for the baby to turn but I am hesitant to keep my hopes there as this is the exact week we found out Joshua was breech and he got himself in a nice comfy cozy position and that was the end of it. For the first week everytime I felt this baby’s head right under my ribs I had to fight back tears. I was devastated to find out that was what I was feeling and the thought of an impending repeat c-section just knocked me flat down. I can’t go through this again. What are you doing God? May I remind you that the only reason why my husband is separated from our family for the next 2 months and we are not with him is so we can stay in the location we are at to attempt a VBAC. If we knew we were just going to have another c-section then we would be with him and deliver out there. Didn’t you have that in mind when you allowed this baby’s head to find my ribs and decide that was comfy?

I have been in a constant struggle these past 2 weeks of surrendering control and desires over to the Lord. Thankfully God is good. He is teaching me some things that are far deeper then just having contentment with a repeat c-section. I am currently in the middle of a bible study through some psalms (A 30 Day Walk With God Through the Psalms by Nancy Leigh DeMoss) and God is showing me some incredible things. When David prayed in his psalms for deliverance and for God to provide and remove his circumstances from him He always ended with “so you may be glorified” or “for your name’s sake”. Nancy asks the question in the bible study: Are you more concerned about getting relief from your problems or about God being magnified through your problems? And she inserts a quote from John Macarthur: A truly godly person wants God’s glory to be exhibited more than he wants his own personal problems to be solved (pgs. 66-67 of the bible study book). This really brought great conviction to my heart. Instead of being on my knees praying for this baby’s head to turn I want to be on my knees praying for God to be glorified in this circumstance. I want my hearts longing to be for His name to be proclaimed, not for my circumstances to turn out the way I want.

I have also been convicted with the thought of do I trust the Lord even when things do not turn out the way I want? This has been a question on my heart for more than just this application and it seems God just keeps bringing me to situations where this is the question. I know God is good, I know He worked all things for good to those who believe in Him, I know He loves me and has a plan for good in my life, I know He is sovereign, I know He does not punish us and is mean to us. I know all of these things so now that I’m down to the nitty gritty do I believe and trust it unwaveringly? I want to be there so bad. I want to have a joy and a peace if we have another c-section knowing that I’m trusting the Lord and He has a great plan for it and He has a purpose for His name to be glorified more through this route than a VBAC.

And probably the most convicting aspect of this situation has been my battle with why I can’t just be thankful for having healthy babies. That sounds weird to even type out. The reality is I have been immensely and undeservedly blessed. God has blessed us so much with our 2 healthy babies and healthy deliveries and thus far our third pregnancy has been perfect. I know many women who are struggling with infertility and miscarriages and other extremely devastating challenges. And this is my challenge… a potential repeat c-section. There are women who would give anything to be able to carry a baby in their womb and would care less if that baby was delivered via c-section. Talk about perspective! There are millions of women worldwide who CHOOSE to have this operation (why I still don’t understand but nonetheless we are not facing something that someone has not willingly chosen to have as part of their life story). I felt extremely guilty and mad at myself for not snapping out of it and just being thankful for what we have. God has been good to me in this area and bringing different convictions and stories across my path to help me keep my perspective appropriate. The bottom line is that I AM so thankful for these pregnancies and if this baby is delivered c-section then that will not change my thankfulness. God has really blessed us and I do not want to lose that perspective and take it for granted.

So while I still advocate for a VBAC and think it’s the best option when it is an option and while I am still struggling with disappointment that this baby is breech and while I am still struggling with getting my hopes up for the baby to turn I am continually working and praying on trusting God for His plan, desiring God to be glorified more than my circumstances to change and remembering to keep my perspective in order and not forget how thankful and blessed we truly are.

Why I Am Opting for a VBAC – Part One

3%

I have never fallen into a minority group before. At least not to my knowledge. But 3%. That is the percentage of babies who are breech come delivery. 3%! The first time my doctor told me my second baby was breech my heart just sunk into me. My first pregnancy was textbook easy. So easy I joked to my husband I wouldn’t mind becoming a surrogate mother. My son was a different story. Bulging varicose veins, gestational diabetes and now… breech! We had about 6 weeks to go. Each week that passed and my doctor checked and the baby was still breech I would leave in tears. I never thought in my life I would have a c-section. It was just never in my plan for my life. Me? No. No. I don’t have c-sections. Each week my doctor would reassure me there was still time but every moment I touched my upper right rib and new I was feeling my son’s head I just battled back the tears.

It was mid-October in Arizona… still somewhat warm but not swimming weather but I got myself into the water every day trying to relieve the pull of gravity and convince my son to flip around. I even tried the upside down position. Then we scheduled the External Cephalic Version (this is where 2 doctors try to manually turn the baby from outside your belly)… 58% of the time this is successful. Again I fell into the minority. We went into the version knowing whether he turned or not we would deliver on that day. My son was not happy about the version. His heart rate dropped quickly and significantly during the procedure. My doctor had a 3 strikes and we’re done scenario… she stopped after 2 tries because of his intolerance to the procedure. The OR began to prepare to cut my body open. Everyone left me and all I had were my tears. I began to ball. My doctor came back apologetically saying she wished there was some other way.

I look back now and wonder if I could’ve delivered him breech. It was never even discussed. What if I would have done more research? What if I had a doula or midwife there to suggest it? What if I knew some friends in this same position who had delivered breech babies? What if we had tried the version earlier? What did women do for thousands of years before c-sections were even practiced… they delivered breech. But what if is such a place of spiritual darkness. I can’t live in the what if. God had a reason why He allowed my body to be cut open. I am convinced I will never know the reason until I get to heaven. But that is not what God needs from me. He just needs my trust that He knew and knows what He is doing and that He will work together all things for good to those who believe in Him (Romans 8:28).

Less than an hour later my son was born. It was a joyous and heartbreaking time. They didn’t have mirrors but they situated one of the lights so I could see the procedure through the metal reflection (this is the nurse in me wanting to watch the operation). I saw my son being pulled out of my body while I laid there lifeless. They cut the cord, wrapped him quick, handed him to my husband to bring over to me. I wanted to reach out and pull him to my chest but I couldn’t move my arms. My husband had to pick up my arm and put it on him so I could pretend I could feel the life in his body but I still couldn’t feel anything. I had a hard time smiling because my mind and face were stuck in a cloud of medications. And the whole 1 or 2 minutes he was there ended just like that and they took him away. I didn’t get to see him cry as they did his newborn tests and bath or watch them get his footprints or weigh and measure him. That whole first hour of his life I have no memory of. It was about an hour before they brought him to me in the recovery room. My son was so sweet to me as if he knew the pain I was going through from not having delivered him and he nursed instantly and easily and our bond began.

Then came the recovery. We spent the full 3 days in the hospital and I was dreading leaving because of not being able to sleep in a hospital bed anymore. I never imagined the type of pain that is associated with a c-section. I never thought of it as MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY… but it most certainly is. And here I was… a nurse who worked with patients recovering from major abdominal surgeries. I suddenly understood something about them that I never understood in the last 3 years I worked with my recovering patients. I had a newfound immediate respect for those patients who just pop out of bed and get going and a new understanding of those who ask for just another minute before they logroll out of bed because of the pain. Just like each woman’s vaginal delivery is completely different by means of recovery, it is the same for a c-section. I don’t know why but mine was a very difficult recovery. Maybe it was from the version where the doctors push so hard to turn the baby they sometimes bruise you internally. All I know is I found myself on my recliner chair 24 hrs a day for about a week. It took about 10 minutes to get out of the chair, walk to the bathroom, sit myself down, go to the bathroom and push through the bladder pain (during a c-section they cut away your bladder and reattach it after), stand back up and walk back to my chair. I could not lay down in a flat position because it stretched out my scar and my insides too much. I walked like a hunchback for the same reason. I couldn’t wear anything but my nightgown and special loose underwear because too much pressure on my incision was very uncomfortable. When friends came over to visit or bring meals I waved to them from my chair. I felt helpless. I cried everyday because I felt sorry for myself. I constantly wondered why anyone would willingly choose this path. An elective c-section… sounds like an oxymoron to me. As with all things, each day did get better and eventually I found some sort of normalcy and healing to my life both physically and emotionally but I will never forget the pain and difficulty of my recovery period.

I struggled and still struggle with a lot of guilt over my anger at having a c-section. I know there are thousands of women who are unable to become pregnant who would give anything for the opportunity to have a c-section knowing it would mean they were with child. How dare I be so picky to wish for a perfect delivery. While this position does not take away my anger and the pain it does help me keep things in perspective and remain utterly grateful for the incredible blessing of bearing a child. My son was healthy. There were no problems with him and thankfully no problems from the c-section. We truly are blessed.

A few months after his birth we moved to small town Colorado. A few months after living in small town Colorado we tested positive for our third baby! My son was only 9 months old! I would’ve never dreamed of having a third blessing and so close to our second. Psalm 127:3 says “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” God was certainly blessing us and with a unique timing to say the least. I quickly learned the only option for a VBAC was a small clinic 1 1/2 hours away who were hesitant to accept me because of the small amount of time between my deliveries, or I could do a home VBAC which didn’t seem a good option since we were living in a dinky rental apt. and the nearest hospital was a 30 min. drive or the next best option was a 4 hr drive away. Once we realized this and also realized we would need to relocate to find work for the wintertime we decided to head back to Phoenix where my old OB and my other two babies were delivered. We would be in the city with a lot of options for a VBAC. How perfectly God’s timing is considering we are due the end of April which is about the amount of time we thought we would need to be out here for work anyways.

I write all of these things not yet being able to say I have had a VBAC but advocating and pushing for this. My mentality has changed thanks to my research and I agree with some authors in hopes that the term VBAC will eventually disappear and I can be treated like any other normally laboring woman… since statistics show that is all I will be doing. This is part one of all I want to share with you. The next segment will include some of the statistics and history of a cesarean section and anything relevant to showing why a VBAC is safer than an elective repeat c-section. Stay tuned!

Book Review: Birth After Cesarean – The Medical Facts

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I ordered this book after reading Natural Childbirth After Cesarean just to read another book about the topic. We just entered our third trimester with baby #3 (Our first birth was a vaginal one and our second was c-section because of my son being breech). I thought this book was really great. He has it broken down by questions so it can be used almost like a reference book. The only thing that I didn’t think about prior to ordering the book was the fact that this book was published in 1990 and all of his statistics and research are from studies done in the 80’s and even earlier. Back then they barely even had ultrasounds going on a regular basis and a lot has changed in the healthcare field and especially in the surgical arena in the past 20-30 years. This was my only disappointment and I had hoped he had already written an updated version of the book with newer statistics but he did not.

Either way the bottom line is still there. VBAC is a much safer option than a repeat c-section. Statistics whether from the 80’s, 90’s or today (and even statistics from the 50’s and 60’s he had included in this book) will continue to validate this. I am currently in the process of doing some research with more current statistics and plan to write a blog post about why I am such a strong advocate for VBAC as opposed to a repeat c-section and will add a link to this book review once that post is up.

In the meantime I would still recommend this book as it is fascinating to see how back in the day when surgery wasn’t considered as commonplace and safe as it is today and the fear of a VBAC was a lot greater than it is today yet time after time after time VBAC was proven safer. Think about how risky it was for the people back then to even consider a VBAC with all the stigma around it. I would’ve felt much like a guinea pig personally. Now we’ve got 30 years of statistics showing us the safety of a VBAC and the reality that a repeat major abdominal surgery actually puts the mother at greater risks than a VBAC and should not be the normal chosen route when considering further deliveries.

I also enjoyed the sections on the history of cesarean section as I really did not realize any part of that. If you’re interested you should read the book!

Favorite Diaper Bag for Cloth Diapers & 3 Kiddos

I have been looking around online for recommendations and ideas for diaper bags in anticipation of baby #3 coming in a few months. Here were some of my requirements:

  • backpack preferred – it is much more comfortable and I don’t feel bad asking Adam to carry it around and it comes in handy when paired with an umbrella stroller because you hardly know you’re carrying it as opposed to the shoulder bags that are always falling off in my experience and they’re great carry-ons for airplane trips
  • compartments – I HATE fishing around a big empty hole for something so compartments to me is an absolute must and BIG compartments is what I particularly was looking for this time
  • cup holders – I find these so convenient I almost just went for the backpack I used at nursing school because it had so many compartments and cup holders and just seemed wonderful for a diaper bag but it is currently my husband’s work bag so it would be hard to take it from him : ) I hate digging around for waterbottles in my bag so it’s nice to just have them right there on the sides

Those were my only 3 requirements and this is what I found:

The Baby Sherpa! It actually looks similar to my college backpack but has a few amazing new excitements designed specifically for diaper bag usages. You can sort of see the 2 cup holders that are actually detachable. The one on the right is thermal for a bottle if needed and on the left is mesh. Above the cup holders are smaller compartments where I put my video camera and then Amelia’s rubberbands and comb. Then it has that stretchy band so when you’re really stretched you can slip in jackets or a blanket or something there and it’ll hold it in place. You can also slide things in where the mesh part is at the front of the backpack. I didn’t take a picture of the back of it but there’s a slit where you can slide in your changing pad which is nice since you don’t have to open the backpack to access it.

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There are essentially 2 large compartments and then compartments within the compartments (finally speaking my language!). There is this top compartment that opens from a zip flap at the top. This is so convenient! I throw it in my double stroller basket (need a recommendation for a double stroller? I am in love with my Chicco Cortina Together Double Stroller… I think there’ll be a future blog post for that one too!) so when I need my diapers or wipes I can just unzip and pull them out instead of lugging the whole thing out of the stroller and digging around.

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This is what that top compartment looks like. There is a zipper compartment where I stash my other lifesaving product the Timeless Wristlet from ThirtyOne : ) so my money/credit card is protected in the zipper. Then there’s a compartment in front of that where I put my emergency/medicine kit and my wipes and a few disposables just in case. Then there’s a larger compartment in front of that where I put my little personal bag of chapstick, lotion, gum, etc. and this is where I throw my wet/dry bag for my cloth diapers… it doesn’t look that big from the picture but I stash 3 prefolds and 2 covers in my wet bag (maybe more if it’s a long day or overnighter) and it fits nicely. I think I won’t have a problem with adding more cloth diapers when the new baby comes as there is still lots of room in these compartments. Then you see the mesh compartment where I put our “eating out” necessities of bibs, table covers and my kid size plastic fork/spoon set from the dollar tree that comes in a hard plastic container.

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Here’s my wet/dry bag in place.

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And the second compartment is this nifty little thermal compartment! I use this for our lunch when we go to the zoo and this is so nice. Instead of carrying a million different bags I have it all in one! It held about 3 medium sized plastic containers and 2 small plastic containers plus 2 ice packs! It was great! The other nice thing is if I’m going somewhere different and need an extra change of clothes for the kiddos or I anticipate when the new baby comes this compartment may be dedicated just for them to put a receiving blanket, burp cloths, nursing wrap, change of clothes, etc. here and then I’ll just carry my lunch box separate… just because it’s thermal does not mean it needs to be used for a cooler! There’s also a little roof mesh pocket where I have sunscreen and Amelia’s sunglasses so they’re protected in there. The only thing I’m really bad about is bringing toys around with me but you can attach them with clips to the outside or add them to any of the various wonderful compartments : ) And when we’re just out for the day and need snacks I put them in the thermal compartment so they’re separated from the rest of the stuff.

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Now while I absolutely love this backpack I am still a little self-conscious that it looks like I’m going on a hike everytime I leave the house with the kiddos. It doesn’t look that big when you’re wearing it but sometimes when I’m just headed to the dr. or something quick I don’t want to take this big thing with me so I pulled out my old bag I used to take to my nursing job. This beautiful Vera Bradley bag! I love this bag too! It definitely isn’t quite fit for a long day trip but I’m combining it to use alongside the backpack for shorter trips.

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It’s one big compartment so all I do is I keep wipes in there at all times so I just throw in my wet/dry bag and my emergency/medicine kit from the Baby Sherpa and I’m good to go! Not much transition at all. There are 3 open pockets against the inside of this bag so I usually throw in my snack bags and my Timeless Wristlet and I’m set with plenty of room for whatever else we collect on that short trip (toys, etc.). It also has the required 2 cupholders : ) which makes me happy too. And it sits nicely in the front seat next to me for a quick car clean up before we unload.

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I am so thoroughly happy with both of these bags and highly recommend the Baby Sherpa if you are okay foregoing the pretty looking diaper bags and going for an extremely functional and amazing bag! The Baby Sherpa runs between $60-$80 and we got ours off Amazon with free shipping.

Reading List 2013

I have been so excited to get this list out. I actually made it in November and have been anxious to get started but have had to wait due to holiday travel and moving. I feel so blessed to have each one of these books (except the fiction) in hand. God really provided over the past year with thrift store and used book store and cheap amazon sales. I had been developing this list as I read book recommendations from my favorite blogs or books that were recommended at the end of some of the books I read last year and I would literally walk into a thrift store and browse the shelf and one of them would be sitting there for a buck or two! I really spent pennies on this collection and while there were a few books I wanted to add or replace with one on the list here I feel confident that God gave me these books to add to my library over this past year to be the ones for me to read currently. I don’t need to spend a penny this next year on books. Praise God for His provisions! Here goes!

Fiction:

  • The Sword by Bryan Litfin
  • The Gift by Bryan Litfin
  • The Kingdom by Bryan Litfin – These 3 books are called the Chiveis Trilogy. Adam and I happened upon them by fluke as I quickly ran into the library before our last drive from AZ back to CO and back to AZ the next week. We wanted something to listen to during the boring NM stretches. This was on the new release shelf for audio cd’s and I read the back and was so interested. I didn’t even realize it was the third book of a trilogy and that it was a Christian author and publisher! We listened to a little less than half during the drive (kiddos didn’t sleep much!) so now I want to start from the beginning and read them. They are very interesting! Similar to a LOTR type sci-fi book with a wonderful Christian undertone.

Marriage:

Parenting:

Christian Discipleship:

Other: