It's been awhile since I have done a Q&A Session. Do you have any burning questions for me? I am an open book. Ask away!
Beth asked if I was considering a VBAC. I know this is a really controversial area, so I post this here asking that you not judge me too harshly for our decision. There are several reasons why M and I are at this point considering a scheduled c-section (reserving the right to change our minds, of course):
1) Convenience. Yes, I know, this one will probably get me some negative comments. But with a toddler at home that we have to arrange care for, neither of our families in town, and dogs we will have to board, there is a lot to be said for knowing when to arrange everything. My sister has graciously offered to come and stay with Will for the entire time we are at the hospital and is taking time off from her job to do so. She has to request a week's vacation to do this, so knowing when is kind of necessary. Please do not think I am putting the well-being of our baby beneath convenience, but my OB has also assured me that while there are benefits to a baby being born vaginally, there are also benefits to a baby of being born via c-section (less exposure to medications overall if you are using an epidural, less stress for baby if heart decels lead to a c-section last time, etc.).
2) Recovery. I actually feel as if I recovered fairly well from Will's birth. People kept telling me to take it easy, but I felt great within a week post-surgery. When I discussed concerns with my recovery with my OB, he also mentioned how well I recovered, and that I will recover even faster from another c-section, since I won't have to recover from labor and attempted delivery. The nurses on the c-section floor winced when they changed my ice pads, saying that it looked as if I had pushed a baby out, even though I hadn't (lots of swelling from hours of pushing) and that it was almost as if I had double recovery to do.
3) Fear of failure. The hardest thing that I had to deal with during my post-section recovery was my emotional recovery. I felt like a colossal failure for not being able to push Will out on my own. Even to this day, I wish that I had pushed longer, tried harder, etc. And this is with my OB putting his hand on my shoulder, stooping to look me directly in the eye, and telling me that he wouldn't have come out on his own. For whatever reason, the combination of my small pelvis, his presentation, etc., he would never have come out, even if I had pushed for days. He was too high up for a forceps or vacuum-assisted delivery, even after hours of pushing. Of course, I always worry that it was ineffective pushing on my part that led to this development, but my OB assures me it was not. The notes from the doctor that attended my delivery said that I was pushing effectively, but the baby would not turn (even after multiple attempts at physically turning him - explaining part of the reason I was so swollen) or descend. After pushing so long, his head was causing me to swell even more, making delivery even less likely. While I do think I would love the feeling of accomplishment from a VBAC, I fear the emotional effects if I were to fail again.
So that, my friends, is why we are considering a scheduled c-section. As I said, I know this is a tricky area filled with a lot of emotions for a lot of people. I am not 100% sure of our decision at this point, and while I will welcome any advice, please try to be gentle with it!
Beth and Danifred both asked if we will find out Sweetpea's gender and yes, we will be having our anatomy scan on February 22. If it's possible, we would like to know the gender. I don't know if I have a gut feeling or not. Sometimes, I will feel a certain way and it reminds me exactly of how I felt when I carried Will and I will think "BOY." Then, other times, I will feel completely differently and think "GIRL."
Beth asked what I am most looking forward to and worried about having two small children. Well. . . I am most looking forward to having that much more love and laughter in our house. It might sound cheesy, but Will has brought so much of both to us, and I know another child will only bring more. I am most worried about Will's transition and just general lack of time in those hazy, crazy newborn days. I know it must be possible, people do it every day, but I do wonder where the energy and time will come from.
Danifred asked where I would move if we could live anywhere, and I have to say some place with more sun. It wouldn't even have to be tropical, but the gloomy winters get to me here after awhile. I know people always think of RAIN when they think Seattle, but to be honest, it isn't the rain that gets to me. It's the constant gray and the fact that are seasons are less distinct. We don't get a lot of snow, our summers are usually fairly mild (although I do enjoy that), and fall, winter, and spring just kind of blend together into one gray mess. I love the beach, I love the sun, so really anywhere along those lines would be nice. And someplace with a lower cost of living would be a bonus, too. It is irritating how much houses cost here.
And this is going to sound incredibly cheesy. but Danifred also asked what my dream job would be, and I have to say that being a Stay At Home Mom is my dream job. Being with Will every day, getting to see everything he does, the privilege of helping to shape the little person he is becoming, it is the most difficult yet rewarding job I could ever imagine. There are challenges that I never would have anticipated and yet there is nothing that I would rather be doing right now. I had what most people would have considered a "dream job" before I had Will and while there were many great things about my career, there were a lot of downsides, too. That being said, I do plan to return to the full-time workforce eventually, and I would love to get into recruiting. I used to do a lot of that as I was in the management development program at my company and I just came alive when I was working job fairs, sitting on career panels, and interviewing potential candidates. The recruiters used to comment on how natural I was at all of it, both representing the company and also being able to ferret out the best potential candidates.
Ms. J asked if there was a magic time that I felt "safe" in my pregnancies. I honestly don't know that there was a week that I started to get confident with Will. I always worried, even at the end. I knew too many horror stories and I don't know if I really believed we would come home with our very own RLB* until he was placed in my arms. But there was a time when I starting thinking that it could happen. I believe I was about 30 weeks pregnant with Will when I realized, "Huh, we might want to start on a nursery pretty soon." With this pregnancy, I am still very scared. I do believe the anatomy scan (seeing that everything is where and as it should be) will help and this time I am determined to have the nursery done way more in advance. I left a lot until the last minute with Will, because I didn't want to have to dismantle a nursery should the worst happen, but it ended up causing a lot of unnecessary stress and work in those final weeks when I was really too tired. This time, I would like to have the nursery completed by the end of the second trimester so that I can (she says laughingly) try to relax more at the end.
Speaking of relaxing, Ms. J also asked what I want to do differently this time around during the newborn days, and I have to say that's it. I was very stressed when Will was a newborn. I tended to think in terms of every. single. decision. I made being life or death. If I let Will nap in his swing, I was creating life time sleep issues. Same thing if I fell asleep with him or if I didn't do CIO when he was six weeks old. This time, I am going to try and relax. I know it's going to be stressful enough in those first few newborn months, and where the baby sleeps is going to be something that I try not to worry about. Will learned to sleep on his own and I believe this child will, too, and me stressing about it isn't going to make a darn bit of difference. I also just want to try and squeeze the enjoyment out of the early days. Again, I was very stressed last time, wanting to be the "perfect" mom (no such thing), and I spent a lot of time worrying when I should have been enjoying. I will count on you, my trusted readers, to keep me on track with this initiative.
Jen asked what my favorite thing is to make from scratch and it's tied between my dad's super secret hot fudge recipe (because it's so simple and yet people literally have offered to marry me over this fudge sauce) and my mom's recipe for white brownies. These again are simple (I have the recipe memorized - it's five ingredients) and people are usually quite suspicious of them ("They're brownies? But they are white?") until they try them and then they are in love. These little gems are so moist and delicious. . . sigh. I am going to have to go and make some now.
I wish that I was more adventurous (or at least try using it once) with yeast. I would like to make my own rolls and breads from scratch. Oh, and pie crusts! I adore pie and my grandmother made the. very. best blueberry pie in the world. I made a pie once and it actually tasted pretty decent, but it wasn't my grandma's, and it was a. lot. of work. But I think it's one of those things that I could get better at. And now I want pie. These Q&A thing might get dangerous! :)
Jen also asked what my favorite thing is about my house and that's also tied. I love my kitchen. It is a good size, with lots of cupboard and counter space and an island. I wish I didn't have tile countertops, because they are a beast to keep clean, but it is pretty when it is clean. I also love my master five piece bath with a soaking tub in the corner with two windows.
Red asked me if I breastfed Will and if I plan to breastfeed Sweetpea. I did and loved it and I hope to again very much! Breastfeeding was the first thing that I felt my body did right when it came to the whole procreation thing, so it was very gratifying and healing for me.
Now, don't get me wrong. I had my moments of doubt (every single nursing session for the first six weeks - latching hurts like a son of a gun! YES, even when you are doing it right), but I had my mom-hero Amy rooting me on. She tandem nursed twins and pretty much was my guide to everything motherhood, especially in those precarious newborn days. I highly recommend finding a mom-friend or two who you respect and "fit" with her parenting style prior to giving birth. I had two of these special girlfriends that I could call with any questions or panic attacks that I had (one doesn't blog or I would link to her in a heartbeat). Both answered the phone at any and all hours of the day or night. I called Amy sobbing from my bathroom the first time I pumped at three days postpartum. I had only pumped out 1 oz. of milk from each breast (which didn't really matter as I was dumping the milk and we were feeding Will formula to help him clear breastfed-induced jaundice). In her Classic Amy style she said, "Dude, take another percocet and chill. You'll produce more milk that way. And how freakish is it that your nipples are that huge in that pump?"
Anyway, kind of a side track there, but I loved nursing once I got past that initial phase where it does hurt. A lot. It's not for everyone and I know that for some people it just isn't convenient, healthy, or ideal. I feel fortunate that it worked for us and I have no guarantee it will work again (though I plan to try). We had to do some pumping and formula feeding for Will when he faced jaundice, and we did supplemental (formula) bottles often in the first weeks and months just to give me a break and fill his tummy. I nursed a lot in public, but I also had a fantastic nursing cover and I think the crunchy granola environment of the Pacific Northwest helped a bit. I really never felt uncomfortable. I was also extremely fortunate to have a very supportive husband and family. I also did not have to return to work, so my situation was ideal for nursing.
Beth asked if I have any belly pictures of me and Sweetpea. Sadly, I haven't taken any yet. I am juuuuuust starting to look more pregnant than fat (or probably just telling myself that). I figure I will be ready to take a few shots in the coming days and I will post them here.
Keep 'em coming (though I might have to start a second post, this one is getting long!).