Unwashed

Unwashed

I have decided to stop washing my hair. I have never liked the ingredients in regular shampoos, and have never liked the prices of organic varieties. I have wasted so much time in my life struggling with whether to do what is right for my body and the planet or what is better for my wallet. That issue is worse now that I have the same decisions to make for our children. It seems so minor, but it bothers me.

I wash my body with Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. Peppermint…oh yeah! I love it. I always have. I have tried using it on my hair and I just don’t like it after a couple of weeks.

So, I am going to “no-poo”. I am starting out with 1 tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in 8 ounces of warm water. I squirted that onto my scalp and rubbed it it, then rinsed as usual. Then I applied 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in 8 ounces of water. Then rinse that. My hair looks, feels, and smells great.

I guess that there is an adjustment period sometimes for hair that is accustomed to products. It may look dry or oil for a couple of weeks until the scalp adjusts. That is why I decided to wait until the weather was cooler to try this out.

So far, so good.

Babymooning

Babymooning

I am logged onto my computer for the first time in a long while and thought I would post a long overdue update. Where to start?

Tuesday, 8/9, Marshall, and I went to the midwives because I suspected that I was slowly leaking amniotic fluid since the previous morning. I really should have packed a bag and brought Adam, since they had me head directly to the birthing center. We called Adam and waited for him to come. He brought an old friend (temporarily here from Kuwait) to keep Marshall company until my in-laws arrived (they were away on vacation, but headed back).

The midwives started me on a slowly increasing drip of pitocin to induce labor, as I was not dilated, effaced, or ripened. Nothing. Just leaking, slowly. It was ok in the beginning, but became the most intense, utterly exhausting experience of my life. I was also monitored continously (with remote monitors, primarily) and was on antibiotics since they did not have the results of my group B strep test and the baby was premature, and my water had ruptered days before.

It was completely unlike my previous birth experience. I felt completely unprepared. Blind-sided. In the beginning, I tried to rest. Then when things picked up, I hummed, chanted, walked, rocked, bounced, hung out in the labor tub, showered, and clung to Adam. Toward the end, I could not cope with the back to back artificial contractions and feared losing consciousness a few times. After begging for help, I was given a small dose of Fentanyl to make me relax between the contractions. It was recommended since it wears off after 30 minutes and is not supposed to effect the baby the way others do. It was like being trapped in my own body for those 30 minutes; I was not able to actively work through the contractions.

After 30 hours of labor and two incredibly strong, whole body pushes on the birthing stool, Harper Hawke was born and in my arms! He rooted around, latched on and began nursing right away. Our placenta was beautifully heart-shaped. Although he was born at 36 weeks 4 days, he displayed no signs of prematurity except jaundice and being small at birth (7 lbs 1 oz, 18″). I had a sore tailbone, but was in great shape otherwise.

I longed to be home all through my labor. Missing Marshall was so horrible, I began campaigning for discharge as soon as possible. My in-laws stayed with DS1 at a nearby hotel the first night and he came and visited regularly. The attending pediatrician had been concerned about Harper’s “prematurity”, the length of time that my water had been broken, my unknown GBS status, and Harper’s weight, and bilirubin count.

We were finally discharged on Saturday, 8/13. We visited with our regular pediatrician on Monday and were admitted for phototherapy Monday and Tuesday. Then we pushed really hard to go home. We rented a bili-blanket and Harper had to wrap up in that at home Tuesady night-Thursday.

Once all that was behind us and we were all home together, unfettered by cords and lights, we really began enjoying our babymoon. Marshall is doing well with everything and is adjusting to sharing. We are never apart, so the almost week-long seperation was really hard on us. He wants to nurse whenever the baby does, and that is a real challenge. He is getting the hang of letting Harper nurse first then when he switches sides, Marshall slides in and holds the baby while they both nurse.

Harper is sweet and super snuggly. He loves to be close and tries to follow his big brother’s voice with his eyes. He is now almost a pound heavier than when he was born, and is losing his yellow hue. Seeing DH and DSs all sleeping next to me in the big bed is one of the most beautiful things I have ever beheld.

Adam was incredible during the birth of our sons. He is always strong and gentle. Tender and stable, he reminds me of what is real and important. I am more in love than ever before.

Peeking In

Peeking In

I asked my GP if I could have my quantitative hCG levels checked, last week. I wanted some reassurance that this pregnancy is progessing in a healthy way.

Tuesday’s hCG level was 71,000 mIU/ml. I had blood drawn again on Thursday. The levels did not double in a 48-hour period, as my GP wanted, so she scheduled an ultrasound for Friday. I was trying very hard not to be worried. I know that an ultrasound is a more reliable/accurate way to test pregnancy progress, but I had wanted to avoid any early ultrasounds.

I went to our little, local hospital to have the ultrasound. I really had to fight back fear and sadness, as I knew it was premature. The ultrasound tech measured the gestational sac and said that it measured at 5 weeks, 1 day. I know when this baby was conceived and that was off by a week and 2 days. My heart sank.

Then, she turned the screen toward me. She had detected a nice heartbeat at 133 bpm! That was so wonderful to see.

The tech consulted the radiologist and came back to us. She had mismeasured the embryo. We did the ultrasound over again, and the baby measured exactly as expected; 6 weeks, 4 days!

In The Family Way

In The Family Way

I am five weeks pregnant. The estimated due date, based on date of conception is September 5, 2011. Labor Day! Joy shines bright within me most of the time with trepidation wafting through, a bitter haze.

I have all of the reassuring pregnancy symptoms including extreme fatigue, nausea (if I allow myself to go too long without food), a strong attraction to all things sour, and breast tenderness when nursing Marshall. I do not mind these discomforts when they occur during the course of a natural, healthy pregnancy.

I have eliminated all forms of caffeine. Boy did I miss my cuppa for the first few days. I never miss chocolate or alcohol. But, tea and coffee are really hard to give up at first.

I am really focusing on enjoying pregnancy today. I cannot change the course of things by worrying or imagining what could go wrong. I want this baby. I need this baby.

Cooking

Cooking

One thing that I have never really blogged about is cooking. I guess that is because there are so many great food blogs out there, I never really felt the need. But, I really do love to cook and find the challenges of cooking for a toddler, and a husband with a “highly selective palate” to be unique.

I plan meals carefully, two weeks at a time. That way I can avoid the grocery store as much as possible and ensure that there is little food waste. Adam and I share a google calendar that includes all dinners and special preparation (starting dough, soaking beans, etc…), so that he know ahead of time what to expect.

I was a vegetarian for years and found that to be a great way to expand my cooking experience. I began eating some meat again while I was pregnant with Marshall. So, I am omnivorous now. I try to incorporate vegetables and whole grains into each meal. Meat is so expensive that it does not play a real leading roll in our diet, although it is a regular part of it. I have been known to get sneaky  creative with vegetables, more for Adam’s sake than Marshall’s, honestly.

Marshall has maintained a varied diet since he began eating. I cannot think of anything that he will not try. He has favorites and likes and dislikes that I try to respect. I think that his longest standing favorite is cream cheese (“wappy up team tease” or wrap it up with cream cheese). Eggs are an absolute necessity for him. Marshall’s days all start with an egg of some kind.

We make our bread at home, either by hand or with my trusty old breadmaker. The quality of bread is so far superior to anything that we can buy, the cost is ridiculously low, and my god…the way it make with house smell when it is cooking…brings me right back to my mountaintop childhood. Adam has been trying his hand at it, too and we are currently working our way through a fabulous loaf of his bread.

So, I will begin to include regular food-related posts to this blog.

Coping

Coping

Keeping my hands busy these last two days has seemed so critical. Perhaps if I am up to my elbows in suds cleaning something or if my fingers are covered in flour from making a pie crust, they won’t remember what else they held so recently.

I talked with our midwife, today. She wanted to check in and see how I was feeling. And, I said honestly that I did not know. She recommended taking a couple of months “off” to heal and think.

Numb

Numb

I’ve lost, again.

Thank you, my ephemeral firefly, for growing within me. Thank you for allowing me to have hope live within me again. Thank you for sparking my imagination.

I saw you in my mind and with my heart, laughing and playing with your big brother, your little rolls soft in the sunlight. I could almost smell your soft skin. I will see you in my dreams, again.

It is times like these that I envy the faithful. Those that can say that it is all planned, that a spirit lives on somewhere.

This evening, I miscarried at 6 weeks 1 day.

Bleeding

Bleeding

Damn it. I am bleeding. I am trying very hard to remain optimistic and calm. But, the reality is that I am scared.

I had some minor spotting on Saturday then red blood on Sunday. No bleeding on Monday or Tuesday. I am bleeding again today.

I had an ultrasound on Monday. We saw a gestational sac in my uterus that measured at 4/5 weeks (right on track). There were no abnormalities observed. So, an ectopic prenancy was ruled out. One cool thing was that the tech showed us that my left ovary was responsible to releasing the egg that was fertilized.

I had blood drawn for beta HCG quant testing. On Monday the level was 3682 mIU/mL and today it was 7,066 mIU/mL. Those numbers are right in the healthy range and the rate of increase was ideal.

So, I have to take it easy. No heavy lifting or acrobatics. That is not a simple task when you are the caretaker and playmate of a wild and curious Marshall-boy. I will retest blood on Friday and have another ultrasound on Monday.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” Baruch Spinoza

Full of Joy

Full of Joy

A little seed of joy is growing within me. I am envisioning this little life in a very unscientific way. Instead of an embryo embedded in my uterus, I see a sparkle. A glimmering orb. Like the fireflies of my childhood dreams. The glow pulsates; a tiny heartbeat.

I send prayers and wishes that this little life grows stronger and stronger within me. That I will be able to hold within me this sweet one. That we will not have to seperate until we can look eye to eye and breath the same air.

Our loss earlier this summer taught me many, many things. One thing that I learned was that joy is never too “new” or “young” to share. It was and is a strage experience to mourn the loss of a little person that virtually noone else even knew existed. I decided that if I ever had the honor of holding life within me again, I would not hoard the treasure.

So, here it is:

I am pregnant! I am 4 weeks pregnant. I am ecstatic.