Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pregnancy Journal: Almost 12 Weeks

Tiny Grayse Dawn: Baby #9

Last night I was pondering on the very real possibility that this is my last pregnancy, last birth, last baby. And I thought about how my eldest daughter is eighteen and may have marriage in the not-too-distant future.

So I asked myself these questions:

  • "What would my daughters want to know about pregnancy, birth, and babies?"
  • "What can I share with them to make their pregnancies and births easier?"
  • "What little things can I share about my pregnancies that will give my girls a better idea of what to expect?"
My mind immediately turned to this blog. I write here for our families who are far away, but also as a personal journal and family record that I hope to pass on to my children and future generations. What better place to keep a record of all the little intricacies of my entire natal experience?

Today's Cravings

As of this day, I am eleven weeks and six days pregnant. My nausea is beginning to calm down a bit, and I've moved into almost constant heartburn.

With each pregnancy I usually have a consistent food craving. The last four little girls, it has been spicy Mexican all the way, and I've got that going on now, as well. 

But I've also had a constant craving for HOMEMADE macaroni and cheese this pregnancy. (None of that boxed yicky stuff. Bleh!) Sunday, I found a recipe on Pinterest and my husband coaxed me into doing something about my craving. It was really good and reminded me of the lovely homemade mac and cheese we used to be served in elementary school, back in the days when the lunch ladies were the little grandmas in the neighborhood who came over and cooked us lunches from scratch. 

Little Things

When I'm pregnant and the weather warms up, I always get swollen elephant ankles. Here in the desert, it gets hot pretty quickly, and the temperature keeps going up, up, up! This week, we've had weather in the eighties. Spring has arrived in the desert! So far, my ankles have not swollen much, which I'm grateful for! I know this summer, they'll expand and my skin will itch like crazy. But I can handle it-- been there done that almost a dozen times! 

When I get past the first ten weeks or so, my belly immediately just starts to pop out. I think it's just because my body says to itself, "Oh, yeah. It's this again! Time to show the world what's coming." It could also just be the fact that this body has not repaired the old stomach muscles in over a decade. Why bother when they'll just get stretched out again? Oh, and stretch marks? Uh, I'll keep those details to myself. I just want my daughters to know that they'll most likely have them-- and that they're no big deal. I've never been a bikini kind of girl, anyway. (And they aren't, either!)

The best, best, BEST way I've found to stay healthy and happy while pregnant is to follow Dr. Brewer's pregnancy diet. He originally designed it to prevent pre-eclampsia, but it has been a real blessing for me in my healthy pregnancies for over a decade. 

I also try to drink at least one cup of a pregnancy herbal tea every day. Red raspberry leaf tea works, too, but I prefer the taste and all the extra good ingredients in the Pregnancy Tea blend. (I use the Traditional Medicinals brand.) I do take a prenatal vitamin, but I get those at a health food store. The brands I have found at Wal-Mart and other retail places are icky; their taste and smell make me nauseous.

Water is very important to drink during pregnancy-- and I'm still pretty lousy at it. I don't like to drink a lot of water, so I have to force it down, on most occasions. And that translates to never enough. *sigh* I'm going to try to do better this pregnancy!

Birth History

For history's sake, I want to record a little bit about each of my baby's pregnancies and births. I hope I remember everything. I'm sure it's not as accurate as it should be-- I do have a few to remember! Be forewarned: the birth stories below are a complete retelling of the entire experiences. If you don't really want to know all the details, I don't recommend you read them! ;-)

Morganne: Born at 38 weeks. Hospital birth with an OB. No drugs or epidural. My water was broken and I was induced with pitocin. I tried to start my labor by taking castor oil. YUCK! I will never do that again! She weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces.

Brennan: Born at 42 and 1/2 weeks. Hospital birth with a nurse-midwife. No epidural, some painkiller in pill form that didn't help labor pains, but made baby born groggy and grumpy. I walked for days, and took blue kohosh for weeks trying to get my labor started. (There was huge pressure for me to go into labor since our families were coming for the baby blessing before school started. I think that anxiety kept baby inside.) My water was broken, and eventually pitocin was administered. He weighed 8 pounds, 2 ounces.

Lliam: Born at 41 1/2 weeks. Hospital birth with an OB. I had my first epidural and scheduled induction. Easy birth, about 5 hours of labor. He weighed 8 pounds, 2 1/2 ounces.

Bonny: Born on her due date. Hospital birth with a nurse-midwife. When I was about 32 weeks pregnant, I started having painful, constant labor pains. They turned out to be false labor. But they continued to the end of the pregnancy. I lost my original caregiver at 36 weeks, because she had to close her private practice  for money issues, and had to get a new nurse-midwife. I spent the last few weeks in constant labor that died at the end of the day. I begged to be induced on her due-date. I was given a cervical suppository, and went into labor quickly after receiving an epidural, without pitocin. She weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces.

Gavin: Born at 39 weeks. Hospital birth with an OB. We needed to move to another state for my husband's new job the week of this baby's due date, so we decided I should be induced a week early. Even though I was promised that a cervical suppository would be used instead of pitocin, the doctor ignored our wishes, and I was pumped full of pitocin. The baby's heartbeat went way up, and a C-Section was mentioned. (I had already received an epidural.) We asked instead for the pitocin to be turned off and then turned back on once the baby's heartbeat went down. It worked and he was born after a few hours.  My wonderful mother-in-law, a newly licensed nurse, was there for the birth, and even helped suction him out. He was born with a strange rash, that was looked at by a pediatrician and specialized dermatologist. Their only guess was chicken pox (in an unexposed newborn???). I think it had something to do with all the pitocin in my system. We'll never know for sure, and the rash was gone by his original due date. He weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces.

Dierdre: Born two days after her due date, one day after Thanksgiving. Hospital birth with an OB. We insisted on the cervical suppository and refused all pitocin. (My husband threatened to leave the hospital if the doctor ignored our wishes. My hero!) I went into labor quickly, once I got an epidural, and had an easy birth. She weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and was a big surprise for me, because I was sure she was a boy! (But Pa Williams knew that she was a girl all along!)

Ronan: Born at almost 41 weeks. My first home birth. With all my other births, I was convinced that I could never go into labor on my own, which was confirmed by all my previous caregivers, given my birth history. But when the Spirit told my husband and I to home birth this baby on our own, we responded with all the faith we could muster. (Which didn't seem like much, some days!) At the time of his birth, my mom was visiting to help with the kids, our car had broken down, and my oldest son was baptized the day before. At the last minute, our beloved across-the-street neighbor, who was very sensitive to the Spirit, gave us the name and number of her sister, a retired midwife who agreed to delivery our baby at no charge. I labored on my own through the night while hubby slept, woke the next morning, called the midwife, and delivered the baby around 7:30am. It was a HUGE victory for me! He weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces. His birth story is here

MacKenna: Born at 40 weeks. My second home birth, and first water birth-- which was AMAZING-- midwife assisted. I loved my midwife and her assistant. The entire labor lasted only about 8 hours, and I went grocery shopping in the middle of the day, even though I was really progressing in my labor. (That was pretty funny!) She weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce. Her birth story is here

Grayse: Born at 40 weeks. A midwife-assisted, home and water birth. For reasons I don't yet understand I cried and grieved through the entire third trimester of her pregnancy. I felt sure that something was wrong, and I had no idea what. I felt lead to my new midwife, and she felt called to be my midwife, as well. She was LDS and in my ward, living only a block or two away from us. She and I both prayed, studied, and I believe she fasted, for guidance and help for this baby and birth. 

One night, a few weeks before the birth, my husband arose just after we'd gone to bed, with the strong impression that the baby needed a priesthood blessing immediately. He placed his hands on my belly and gave us a powerful, urgent blessing. We went to bed with peace and the pregnancy continued on. A few days after my due date, I went into labor. 

After she was born, perfectly healthy and beautiful, the midwife and her assistant were very occupied with the placenta delivery. This puzzled me, and I kept asking if the baby was okay. (She didn't cry at all.) They assured me she was fine, but found that there was something wrong with the placenta. It looked as if part of it had pulled away from the uterine wall and had died. We all looked at each other in amazement, knowing that we were part of a pretty big miracle. We may never know what exactly went on, and why we needed to exercise so much faith throughout my prenatal care, but we all received a witness that our faith, prayers, and trust in the Lord had been desperately needed to get our baby here, safe and sound. She weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces.

Avalon: Born at 41 weeks. Hospital birth with an OB. (To learn more about why I made the decision to go back to the hospital for her birth, see this post. It was the right thing to do, because the Lord knew what I needed for that birth.)  I was induced with a cervical suppository and had an epidural. Due to a cervical lip, and the fact that I could not squat or move because of the epidural, I was measuring at 8cm for hours! Finally, my doctor came in and assisted me in getting the baby out. She weighed 9 pounds, 5 ounces.

Eryn: Born at 41 and 1/2 weeks. A midwife-assisted, home and water birth. I won't go into too many more details, as everything is pretty much in my post about her birth. (See below.) She weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces. Her birth story is here.

Whew! Sorry for the long post! But I think I got all my children covered, birth-history-wise.

Hopefully I'll have more to report on this pregnancy after a midwife visit. I am looking forward to Baby Number Twelve! 


  1. I am so excited for you! We are getting ready to conceive #8 and a post like this is such a great idea! You truly are inspirational!

  2. Thanks, Tamra! It's so fun to have you here reading my blog. :-)

    And I pray all the best for you and your family in bringing #8 into the world!


    P.S.-- See you at the Forum???

  3. I read the whole thing. I like birth stories. It was very interesting. thanks for sharing.

  4. Um, link to the macaroni and cheese, please?!!

    This was fun to read all about your deliveries and experiences. Hope everything continues to go well for #12.

  5. Whoops! Of course! :-D

    Here's the homemade mac n'cheese recipe:


    (It requires lots of stirring, but it's GOOD.)

  6. Just had a thought to share about the water. I don't like drinking water that is he wrong temperature, not cold enough or too cold and I find that I don't drink enough. My last pregnancy I kept a 64oz bottle in the fridge and would guzzle from it throughout the day. I was really diligent about during my pregnancy, I have to admit that I have gotten lazy now that the baby is here, I really need to get back to the habit since I am nursing.

  7. How exciting for you to be expecting again! I'm totally jealous of you and your big family. ( : It was interesting to read through your birth stories.

    I was really glad to read that you are truly doing your best to follow the spirit with each pregnancy and delivery. I had my first in the hospital, second at home and third back in the hospital. I'm really concerned with how many women are embracing homebirth as an ideal without actually praying about it for each birth. My homebirth was horrible. I hated water birth and would never recommend it to anyone and I'd never recommend my midwife and my body was quite damaged by the experience. I felt very strongly like I should have my 3rd at the hospital with an OB and it was incredible. Perfect actually! I'm very interested in homebirth vs. hospital birth and have read and thought about it a great deal. I finally came to the conclusion that homebirth "can" be safe but it's something that a woman should be led to by the spirit for every single birth. I've read so very, very many sad stories of homebirth gone wrong from women who were caught up in the ideals but not listening to the spirit or their heart.

    I also have to say that it's all what we make of it. Some women have a hospital birth with epidural and are totally fine with it and think it's a beautiful experience until they learn about all the natural childbirth and homebirth stuff, then suddenly they recall that their hospital birth was "horrible" and that the mean nurses "took the baby away to be cleaned!"

    I've found that whether it's a highly medicalized c-section or a quiet, peaceful birth at home, we can have an incredible spiritual experience- and most importantly- have a healthy baby and mom in the end. My last hospital birth was seriously amazing and my doctor really used his great skill to get the baby here without the horrible tearing I'd had at my homebirth. Everyone was very respectful of me and my wishes. It's all what we make of it!
    Anyway, sorry to comment so long. Thanks for sharing your stories and being a great example of following the spirit.

  8. Thanks for all the great comments!

    I appreciate the tip about water, Jenni. I'll have to try it! :-)

    And Holly, I guess it's a good thing that we each have a choice to do what's best for us-- each pregnancy, and each birth. Thank goodness! :-)

  9. I hope my comment didn't come across wrong Rachel. I think you're pretty amazing and I wasn't trying to say anything negative about you or your birth experiences.

  10. Oh, no, Holly! I really appreciate your comments and your thoughts on birth. :-)



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