Tuesday, December 29, 2009


We have had so, so many reasons to be joyful this season. Most of all, for the reminder of God's incredible love for us. Our family is doing well, and both grandparents are out of the hospital. Recovery always takes time, but we are grateful that things are going so well.

Christmas was fun, particularly because we kept it pretty low-key. We did minimal presents and preparation, but with the nausea, tiredness and a cold I picked up, that was just as well. I think we all enjoyed it much more than if we had been stressed-out.

Carlos and I talked more about a home birth, and agreed to have this baby at home. I can't even begin to describe my emotions on that. I felt such a crushing weight every time I considered a hospital birth. Right now, my cup of joy is overflowing! There is such a relief at being able to trust God, my body, my husband and my midwife, and not feel as if I have to battle a hospital and all of its policies. I will probably have an uphill struggle with our insurance, and I don't know what they will contribute, if anything. Even so, I slept much better after the decision than in the previous weeks!

I wish you and your families fullness of joy throughout this coming year, and hope that you find peace and hope in every new day.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Matters of life and death

The last several days have had me thinking a lot about life and death.

The good news: my adorable nephew was born! His parents had been waiting over 10 years for a child, and we are all absolutely thrilled that he has joined our family. He was three weeks early because of pre-eclampsia, but he and his mami are doing very well and are at home. He is a small little guy, but the world can only hold so much cuteness. ;) I was thrilled that they were able to avoid a C-section. Being born a bit early has made for some extra work as far as breastfeeding goes, but they are doing beautifully.

I've been incredibly blessed to have three grandparents still living. Two of them have been having serious health issues lately. My grandpa (82) was hospitalized for severe hemorrahging. He had to have four units of blood, but was alert and talking, and is stable in ICU.

My grandmother (94) fell and broke her hip quite badly. Since then, she has had some other complications, and twice when they were trying to transfer her had to be rushed back to the hospital.

I hate that they are going through all of this. I ache for my parents, trying to make wise decisions for their care, and exhausted both physically and emotionally. I've also been thinking about quality of life issues. While selfishly we want to keep them alive as long as possible, I know that both of them would rather die peacefully than have an endless series of painful medical procedures that make their last days miserable and offer no true help. (I should clarify that at this point, it doesn't seem that death is imminent for either of them, although given their ages and overall health, any issue is serious).

I could try to tie up this post with a nice little bow of cliches, but I won't. I am grateful for my family, though. For the amazing spiritual legacy of my grandparents. Even though they are no more perfect than they rest of us, the good that they have accomplished far outweighs the bad. I have a rich heritage in the things that really matter. And I am full of joy for my sweet little nephew. I can't wait to see what God has in store for his life!

Friday, December 11, 2009

One step forward, one step back

I've been interested in home birth for quite awhile now. During the pregnancy with Elena while preparing for an unmedicated birth I learned a lot. The last week or two, I've been obsessed, er, extremely interested in it. I've also done a lot of praying and thinking.

I am one step forward from my previous post. I feel completely set on home birth now. There is a deep, peaceful, quiet inside me when I consider it. Intellectually, I've been doing my homework. Birth is not something that any mother should be uninformed about (and I shudder at how little I knew with my first two births!). But in all honesty, it isn't an intellectual decision for me. I feel so compelled to follow my heart in this that disregarding it would be unthinkable.

My Belovedest, however, is not there at all. Which makes things a little complicated. When he told me that he didn't see any advantage at all in a home birth and no disadvantages in a hospital birth I mentally shrieked, "Have you paid any attention at all to the things that I've shared with you or that we learned last time around?" I didn't scream aloud, because my sense of humor quickly reminded me of the hours that my dear husband has spent patiently educating me on the merits of certain electronic equipment or stuff about cars. Truthfully, I couldn't care less about the differences between a plasma TV and and LED? LCD? Anyway, whatever the other kind of screen is. As long as a car functions reliably, I remain in blissful ignorance of features like a cold-air intake system.

And, in his favor, we did succeed in a natural birth last time despite the hospital setting. I still don't want to go back. So, while we've got plenty of time off work the next few weeks, we'll both be praying and talking a lot. It is important to me that he be comfortable with the decision, too.

Our step back is that I will be calling my hospital-midwife soon and letting her know that we won't be continuing as her clients. I still get alarm bells screaming at me and I don't have clear reasons for why. I have nothing against her at all, but I have no doubt whatsoever that we need to go in a different direction, even if we were to wind up with a hospital birth.

The timing may be tricky, though. For one thing, we are changing insurance companies at the first of the year. For another, I want to be honest and not lead her on. At the same time, I don't want to have a big gap in prenatal care, either. So, we really need to make the decision by the end of this year. Which is easy for me to say, but I'm not sure about Carlos. Prayers are greatly appreciated, for both of us. I feel very confident right now, but if I'm wrong, I'd like to know. Have I mentioned how much I hate waffling? I want whatever we decide to be the best choice and for us to be in true unity and for it to happen quickly. Not too much to ask, is it? ;) At least it is the season for hope, peace and dreams coming true.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Contemplating homebirth

One of my favorite things about pregnancy is that the spiritual, intuitive side of me seems to become much stronger. I don't know if it is just a case of me listening more, or what, but especially after Elena's birth, I pay close attention to any impressions or feelings I get.

Lately, the feelings are an increasingly stronger pull towards homebirth. We have not yet made a firm decision, but it seems that each moment I feel more peaceful about giving birth at home and a tense, anxious feeling like alarm bells at the idea of giving birth in the hospital. So, of course, I will be processing a lot of those feelings here! Feedback is welcome, regardless of your views.

What appeals to me about a homebirth?

The safety. While mortality rates tend to be about the same in all of the major studies comparing hospital births with planned homebirths, the chances of injury/illness in the mother or baby are actually higher in hospitals. There are all the cascading interventions, hospital-acquired infections...the list is long and sobering.

The peaceful atmosphere. In both Ariana and Elena's births, I had people screaming unhelpfully and unnecessarily during the pushing phase. I know from experience that the calm, quiet voices of my husband and midwife are far, far more helpful.

Having birthed naturally, I know that my body knows what to do, and I don't want to have to fight people who would try to get me to be flat on my back and still when that is counter-productive to labor and delivery.

Then there are all the procedures after the birth that I don't want--eye drops, Hep B vax, scrubbing the baby. I can decline them (and would) but it is so nice to not have to argue with anyone at that time.

I hate leaving the kidlets for days with a hospital birth, and would feel much more relaxed knowing that they are nearby. Both Ariana and Joel have expressed interest in being present for the birth, and at home there is much more flexibility than at a hospital.

This will most likely be my last birth, and I would like for it to be a peaceful, gentle welcome into the world, and that is much more likely to happen at home.

There are more, but those are some of the reasons that have been resonating inside me.

The reasons for a hospital birth?


Carlos is more comfortable with that right now. And his feelings are important to me. On the other hand, my feelings are important to him, and if I am anxious and unhappy about a hospital birth, he isn't going to feel good, either.

Insurance. At the moment, our insurance covers hospital births really cheaply for us. However, I have an amazing midwife who has been incredibly generous. And really, if we wind up with interventions or a long hospital stay because of birthing in the hospital, would having insurance help be worth it?

Emergency situations. Sure, those can happen. I have total confidence in our midwife and her ability to recognize a rare situation in which we would need to transfer to a hospital. And, ironically, Elena's birth had a rare complication (prolapsed cord), and yet the outcome would have been exactly the same if she had been born at home. Had I had a different OB, chances are good that it would have been an emergency C-section, but she was out in about four pushes, despite me being flat on my back!

Er...does it seem that I am talking myself into a homebirth more and more?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Mommy Monster, Mexican food, and special PJs

Our holidays have been wonderful, and I hope that yours were, as well. I am still nauseated 24/7, and tired, but it was much worse in the previous pregnancy, so I'm trying to keep that in mind.

For about three weeks, Elena was waking every hour and screaming non-stop until she stopped from sheer exhaustion. We took her to the doc and found nothing physical causing it. I think it may have been a combination of several things, including teething and frustration at my diminishing milk supply. Whatever, it was, it was awful! My views on letting babies cry it out have been well-publicized here, but it was tempting. Ultimately, I couldn't get past the fact that God has never let me cry by myself. He is always with me and comforting me with His love. Carlos was amazingly patient and when I was exhausted would take her in to the living room and let her dance to Santana, the only thing that ever seemed to help. :)

The night before my birthday, she only woke once, and then went right back to sleep without crying. Talk about the perfect gift! Unfortunately, Joelito had a nightmare and was up most of the rest of the night. He kept calling for Carlos and asking if he had left for work yet. I didn't think much of it, because all of our kidlets are extremely attached to their dad. In the morning, he still seemed a little frightened by the dream, though.

I had to work, but I celebrated with the little ones by going out to Starbucks. Ariana said it was even better than cake! What can I say? She adores Starbuzz as much as her mami. On the way, Joel kept asking me to make scary faces. He had never requested that before, but I complied with lots of silly faces and the occasional angry face. He shrieked with mingled delight and fear like a kid on a roller-coaster and kept begging for more.

Carlos and I swapped cars as I went to work, and he called me a few minutes later asking if I knew details of Joel's nightmare. He hadn't shared them with me. Pobrecito--he had dreamed that bad guys turned me into a monster with red eyes that tried to eat him. Ay, ay, ay. Poor little guy. He had been afraid of me all morning, watching my eyes and waiting for me to transform!

We straightened things out there--good reminder for me about how blurry the line of reality is for little ones that age! Then, my Beloved and I went out *just us* for Mexican food! Now, lest that seem not-quite-earth-shattering, let me explain. I loooooooove Mexican food. It is a non-negotiable part of my theology that at the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven, there will be tons of Mexican food served. However, with kidlets who are allergic to corn, beans, rice, pork and possibly cilantro or chiles, going out to a Mexican restaurant as a family just doesn't happen. My kids understand that there are a lot of things that they cannot eat, and usually don't have a problem with others eating things they can't have in front of them. However, telling a three-year-old who adores chips and salsa that he can't have any is just cruel, in my opinion.

Anyway, it has been over a year and a half since Carlos and I had eaten Mexican food at a restaurant. Oh my! I don't have words in either language to express how good it was! I was practically moaning with pleasure at every bite. It was equally delightful having time with just my Beloved and being able to talk and enjoy the meal without a single interruption.

We did a little shopping on the way home, and Carlos bought me the plushest, softest and loveliest set of fleece jammies! They are soooooo comfy. Joel loves them, too. This morning he said, "Mami, just hold me in your arms. It is like a blanky over me, a shield keeping me warm and protected," with a blissful little sigh. My little poet! :D

(I wasn't going to confess this, but since I strive for transparency, I will share a total lazy-mommy-moment. The morning sickness was really bad this morning, and I found out that while we were gone, the stew meat that I had planned for today had gotten left out overnight. We haven't been grocery shopping in over a week, so there was nothing in the house. I loaded up the kids and went through a drive-thru *in my jammies!*. Yes, that is right. I didn't even get dressed. It is cold and drizzling, and nothing feels comfortable right now except my jammies. The guy in the drive through looked at me incredulously and asked if I was wearing a robe. I smiled proudly and said that they were the perfect outfit for this weather. He was just jealous that he didn't have nice jammies on.)

Regardless of the weather, I wish you a warm cozy day with great coffee and chocolate pastries, a good book and a special set of fleecy jammies!