Thursday, April 28, 2011

I know the baby's gender!

I'm going to be so mean right now. I'm sorry in advance! But I can't tell you baby's gender yet. We're sharing with Daniel's family on Sunday and then I'll let you all in on the secret. I WILL share pictures from the sonogram though (well except for the shot of their privates)! That ought to cheer you up!

First off I am not impressed with the sonogram technology at this particular place but it served its purpose. We got to see baby and got to see "the goods". But my pictures stink. We could not get a good profile because baby was face-down with their face buried into the uterus. The sonographer (who was a dude! I've never had a male sono tech before) had to practically jab the device into the side of my belly just for the shot we did get.

They had their hands up by their face almost the whole time. Cute little fists!

And they had their legs stretched out and ankles crossed when we first peeked in on them, just chilling out. Adorable! They started moving and kicking a lot toward the end.

Most importantly baby is healthy and measuring perfectly (just one day ahead by measurements)!

I found out my placenta is anterior and high. Had that with my girls, too! Though I think this time it is higher than it was with them because I definitely feel flutters down low and a lot sooner and more noticeably than I did with them. I'm hoping the placenta continues to go north as my uterus grows so I can feel movements more clearly (the placenta tends to muffle them when it is in the front like this).

Baby likes to lay on my left side I've noticed. I feel most of the flutters over there.

We've always gotten 3D sonograms when pregnant with our girls so I'm debating getting one this time. I can get it for under $100 so that's cool but we'll have to see. It's kind of become tradition.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


So I've been sick all day. Now that evening is upon me I cannot sleep and am feeling better. Had horrible stomach pains and just felt ill and "off". My first midwife appointment at the birth center is tomorrow (Wed)! I'm so excited. We should get our sonogram date (could be this week, could be next), make sure all is well with little Gummy Bear and find out if they're a boy or girl (please oh please cooperate, Baby)!

I think I willed myself to feel better because I'm not missing my appointment!

I'm getting anxious to see baby, too. I have to remind myself it's still early to feel consistent flutters and movements. Things have been very quiet in there for several days and with an upset tummy it's been hard to distinguish bowel rumblings from baby flutters. The Internet is a blessing... and a curse. I know too many sad stories to not think the worst of the worst. Praying that all is well and baby is doing great!

Well I'm off to bed. I better get SOME sleep (even though I've been laying down all day). This is like Christmas Eve, sheesh!

Oh but before I go some pictures from our Easter (we do baskets on Saturday since Sunday is too busy):

Ahhh...... waiting for eggs to dye...

We dare all done dying eggs! Zoë went on to smash a few, LOL!

At Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpas' house on Sunday.

Saturday morning Easter basket treats! I think Zoë likes it. The big girls got the movie Tangled.

Resurrection Sunday - we always arrive an hour or more before service since Daddy works at church so that is why the seats behind them are all empty, ha ha! 

I have more pictures of the girls, especially the big girls who would actually pose for me, but they're taking too long to upload. I bid you adieu and sweet dreams!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Christian Childbirth Blogs (Edited)

I just came across two Christian blogs on childbirth and wanted to share since many of you are pregnant and/or trying and/or a Believer. Since it is harder to find more Scripture-based information on childbirth and solace from that I wanted to share these two blogs with you:

Made to Birth

Scriptures for Childbirth

I deleted everything I wrote earlier because it just was NOT sufficient or as well said as this post here at The Doula House titled If We Don't Tell Them About Natural Childbirth Then They'll Never Know which she actually got from by April. Oh my goodness! LOVE IT! Probably one of the best articles I've read on natural childbirth. We're not in it for a gold star or to rub anyone's face in our accomplishments. We promote natural birth because we care and love women and their babies!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Put your votes to good use!

I decided it would be fun to offer a giveaway for those who vote for the correct gender. You can win one of my mustard seed necklaces (from a collection of currently created and available pieces; no customizations) if you live in the USA/Canada and vote for the correct gender!

I'll select a winner at random from the correct guesses in the coming weeks. So come on over and put your votes to good use! Click on the hyperlink below to go to the giveaway blog and enter to win. Additional entries available but the mandatory entry is to just vote BOY or GIRL.

Joy Belle Giveaway

PS As a secret additional entry leave me a comment here letting me know you voted on the poll at the top left sidebar of When Does Daddy Come Home?! Gotta give my personal followers a leg up and extra chance to win, LOL!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I don't want bruises!

My sweet, sensitive Elaina girl gets particularly upset if her hair isn't done just right or if her clothes don't look or fit well. If she's especially over-tired while getting ready for her day it can result in meltdowns if she doesn't have things her way. And I'm all about self-expression but minus the whining. I've never told her or expressed to her that she can't wear her hair or clothes a certain way unless it is improper and even then I'm gentle.

Well tonight she just started freaking out. I think she was tired on top of it but she had a meltdown about the oh-so-normal bruises on her shins from being a kid and playing hard at school. She kept rubbing her legs and bawling, telling me she didn't want bruises on her legs!

Ladies I had NO idea what to do. I just smiled and told her all kids get bruises on their legs from playing and crawling around and just from being kids. I told her I get bruises when I run into things. I played it lightly but her vanity is starting to concern me. Is this normal for an almost-6-year-old?! I try to tell my girls how much they are worth without resorting to physical attributes all the time unless I know they struggle with a particular attribute (like Abigail hating having her hair brushed - I tell her how beautiful and shiny it is when Mommy brushes it). I constantly build them up because I know how hard it is to be a girl and struggle with self-doubt and insecurity. I was an outcast as a kid but Elaina is Miss Popular. It shows me that even a child who does have many friends has insecurities; maybe even more than an outcast because they're in the limelight and under scrutiny.

Well in the end when I ran out of things to say in trying to encourage her that bruises on her shins are a normal part of childhood I told her that as it warms up and her friends break out their shorts and skirts to check out their legs. I told her I bet they'll have bruises on their legs too! Elaina is the only Caucasian girl in her class, the rest are all Hispanic so I think it also just shows up more prominently on Elaina. I also pulled Zoë's legs out of her sleeper and showed Elaina how her baby sister, who is a wild thing and gets into everything, has bruises on her legs from climbing, crawling and just being a toddler! It didn't help.

I think I'm going to write her teacher a note so she can help me in encouraging Elaina that it is normal and perhaps they can have a class discussion. I feel so inadequate sometimes. God gave me three daughters and I need to learn quick how to help them with a strong sense of self-esteem and self-worth. I'm considering getting the book Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson. Any other recommendations? Any blogs out there that are specific to raising girls in God's ways?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Our Siblings (for gender question)

Olive Oil asked me about the siblings on Daniel's side and my side in deciding on how she'd like to vote (gender poll on left sidebar). Daniel has two brothers and one sister (so three boys and one girl). I have three brothers and one sister (three boys, two girls).

Chelsea asked if breakouts were more common in pregnancy with boys - the answer is actually no. The old wives' tale is that when you're pregnant with a girl she will "steal your beauty" (breakouts, horrible hair, etc.). Of course I don't really believe in old wives' tales and had great, glowing skin when having my princesses.

Hope that also helps others in your voting!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gender Scan

Daniel and I might keep our upcoming sonogram date a secret. We don't actually have a date for it yet but when we know we may keep it hush-hush from everyone so that we can just jump out and surprise y'all when we want. So I'm 17-weeks which means it is coming up soon! I'm super excited. I think we're having a boy but I keep envisioning the sonogram showing us girly parts because that's all I have known so we'll see!

Put up a poll on the sidebar - what do you think we're having?

Here are some things about my pregnancy:

-My belly looks more like a basketball than a watermelon
-I did have a few breakouts, not very good complexion many days (did not have this with my girls; had a prettier complexion with them for the most part)
-Not craving chocolate like I did with my girls
-Loving ice cream (usually don't really care for it)
-I could eat chicken all the livelong day and I'm not usually carnivorous
-More nauseous this time than other pregnancies (started earlier and is lasting longer)
-Breasts more tender this time than other pregnancies

-Daniel has two brothers and one sister. I have three brothers and one sister. So boys are dominant.

I can't think of anything else but feel free to ask specific questions if you're still unsure of how you want to vote!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I've got feet on the brain!

Back in August '10 I was jumping around and dancing in my family room with my daughters, having a grand old time. I was also doing a workout, really hardcore, trying to lose weight. But I was doing all of this barefoot on my hardwood floors and I've been suffering serious repercussions since. I woke up the next day with the most horrible foot pain ever and I have had it all day, everyday, since then.

I finally went to a podiatrist today, 8 months after this started. I had been doing the exercises that the Internet Doc recommends, icing it, massaging, using shoe inserts, etc., etc. But after 8 months with nada changing I finally felt it was time to go in. Especially after seeing Kahla's surgery (she had the same thing!) and realizing if I didn't get something going now I might be in the O.R. soon to correct mine as well.

So I have Plantar Fasciitis - the plantar fascia ligament is inflamed and torn and causes intense, stabbing pain in your heel when you walk, especially if you've been sitting for awhile and get up. I am limping. I am walking on the balls of my feet on my left foot. In the morning when I first wake up it was the worst and I literally hobble and/or drag my leg behind me to get up to use the restroom. Trying to walk down the stairs while holding Zoë is a joke. When I'm out in public it is not as noticeable because I am wearing my shoes with inserts and I am not typically sitting for prolonged periods of time. And again I walk on the ball of my left foot trying to mask how much pain I am in.

Dr. Foot (name changed) today prescribed me a good old walking boot. It is a big black boot I strap to my foot. I honestly didn't know how this would help but it was exactly what I wanted to try because I wanted to go down the road of least intervention (other ideas included cortisone steroid injections into my foot which he didn't want to do as I'm pregnant or corrective surgery which is a last resort).

My new friend though mine is not this tall; mine goes up half-calf. And yes, it pumps with air with that blue button! So cool!

After day one of wearing the boot I can say it has helped a lot. I took it off a little while ago and already felt so much better when walking without it. However one part of the boot is digging into my calf and now causing pain there. *SIGH* Can I win? Please? Just this once! I'll call the guy I bought it from at the hospital to see what he suggests. I may just have to wear a Baby Legs on that one leg for extra padding or something.

I do have to mention that --- I FORGOT TO SHAVE before my appointment! My leg wasn't horrible but it was noticeable and I was so embarrassed. The doctor came in, shook my hand, smiled at my chest (yes, yes he did) and once he lifted up my pant leg to check out my foot (why, Doc, why did you pull my pant leg up to my knee?!) I was just mortified. Luckily he was in there like 2 minutes, suggested the walking cast thing and follow-up is in a week. And yes I'll be shaving for round 2 of visiting Dr. Foot. Not because I am out to impress anyone but for my own self-esteem darn it. And because it's just yucky! I don't want to be The Hairy Patient, ya know what I mean? I have a rep to protect. ;-Þ

P.S. My hair cut came out really cute, speaking of cutting hairs.But because I don't have a cute picture of it (hard to take a pic of your cut yourself with your arm lifted up) I leave you with a super cute picture of Zoë tonight. I told her to show me her teeth to get her to smile because she wouldn't put her cup down. She's so stinking cute... and so stinking ornery!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Carrington Necklace

First of all if you are not following Carrington's Courage I highly encourage you to get on over there. Carrington was adopted from Eastern Europe recently. When she arrived in America she went straight to the hospital because at 3-years-old she only weighed 11 lbs! That is half of what my 18-month-old weighs to give you an idea though if you click on the link to the blog you'll see for yourself. Carrington was literally on the brink of death.

Great news is that Carrington is up 3 lbs in just one month and is scheduled to have some necessary surgeries this Thursday! Please be praying for her. She has to have all of her teeth pulled (except two in order to keep her jaw from collapsing) and she will also be having some other surgeries that I believe are intestinal. I also have to mention that her personality is budding and she really appears to love books! She has come from ORPHAN to PRINCESS with people all over the world lavishing love upon this little girl who was once abandoned.

I am the creator at Joy Belle where I make hand-stamped jewelry. I recently created a piece called The Carrington in honor of this sweet girl. Right now I'm giving her family $15 of each necklace purchased to help with groceries, gasoline or medical bills that I know are piling up.

 *You can choose for yours to say "from orphan to prince" with green, blue and clear crystals instead if you have adopted or are adopting a son. That is the only customization available for The Carrington.*

IF YOU ORDERED ONE - please note that I'm working on getting them out as fast as I can. I have around 40 orders right now; I have to hand-stamp each pendant, polish it, buff it, dome it, polish it again, wire wrap every crystal and piece everything together and polish it one last time before packaging up and printing off shipping labels, etc. So it is work and I'm a one-woman show. Right now I'm out of pink jump rings and when they arrive within the next few days I'll be able to complete orders and ship them out ASAP.

IF YOU WANT TO ORDER ONE - the lovely woman that I order my absolutely amazing jump rings from has sent me double what I ordered because of this charity piece so new orders should get out much faster. If you want to order The Carrington there are two prices available and $15 of each order, irregardless if you purchase a chain or not, will go to the family until June 30th, 2011. After that date proceeds will benefit another family at Reece's Rainbow! The two prices are:

$23 - Pendant only (no chain) 
$28 - Pendant with chain 

S/H in the USA is a discount rate of $2.00 compared to my normal $2.50 rate because they are not gift-ready and I'm not charging handling fees. They will simply arrive in a plastic baggy with a business card that includes care instructions. 

International shipping is quite high so if you want a quote for shipping to your country please message me on Etsy with your country and specific region. International shipping charges go directly to shipping costs; I do not keep any of it. Links with proof of cost will be sent to you if you message me. Canadian shipping is already available at Priority pricing in the shop.

HERE IS MY SHOP - if you notice The Carrington pieces are out-of-stock (as in you don't see it near the top of items available to purchase) please message me on Etsy to let me know what you're wanting to order and I'll message you back as soon as I can with a direct link to newly available necklaces for immediate purchase.  

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Almost 17 weeks

I have been so busy that I forget that I am pregnant until I finally lay down for the night and feel a few flutters. It always makes me smile! At 17 weeks my little Gummy Bear is about 5 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 5 ounces. I've got a list of baby names going but Daniel has been hush about it for the most part. I think we'll start to narrow things down once we know if we're having a "him" or a "her"!

Daniel and I went out on a date this past weekend. We went to Abuelo's and had some Mexican food. It was one of those things I really wanted and then once I got it I was like, "Ehhhhhhh... okay!" I avoided milk like the plague in my first trimester and now I'm guzzling it. I'm a chocoholic normally but I've not wanted it much this pregnancy. Every now and again I get a hankering for some but a few bites and I'm fine. Hope that habit sticks after baby comes; might help me lose weight faster!

Been doing a lot of decorating! Will post pictures of the girls' rooms soon. They're coming out so great and I'm excited to have the big girls move to the new rooms. Then it's a matter of moving Zoë into their old room and by that time we'll know the baby's gender (2.5 weeks!) and I can pick out paint for their room. I may co-sleep for a few months but I still like having the nursery set up. Daniel thinks I'm crazy but I don't think he understands. The momma bird needs to build her nest!

Went to my sister-in-law's house Saturday for a Ladies' Night. I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow and seeing the movie Jane Eyre on Wednesday. I don't normally go out as much as this and it's nice! Mommas need to get out when and if they can from time-to-time.

After my hair cut I'm picking up an order I placed on since it is on the way there and we'll probably hang out at the mall for a bit just to get out and be out of the house and especially as we don't normally go out toward that side of town.

Can't upload the picture of the haircut I'm having done so that is strange. I better get to bed so I'm not a zombie in the morning.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thump, thump, thump!

Somebody is IN there! I know because I felt them bump my fingers around midnight as I was falling to sleep (Saturday into Sunday). It startled me awake. Ever since I have this feeling that is hard to explain - a feeling of awareness of their being, an awareness that they're moving even if I cannot feel it from the outside. In the most basic English I feel flutterings.

Oh this is the best part! I don't know how but I have forgotten how amazing and magical this first contact with your unborn feels like. I still cannot believe I'll have a newborn at the end of this year. My master bedroom has a smaller room in it that I use for my jewelry studio and it has been overrun by baby stuff that I dragged down from our third story - bouncers, Boppy, swing and bassinet. I can't hardly get in there anymore and it is such a mess. I go through phases of the day where I'm grouchy or feeling ill so I haven't gotten around to figuring out what to do with it. Our house is Post-Victorian and they didn't know what closets were, ha ha! In all seriousness I have no closets to put this stuff in. That's why it was all laying around our third story.

Speaking of bedrooms I've painted the big girls' rooms already (except for the trim work; waiting for new windows to be put in first which should happen in about a month; consultation and measurements for windows happening this Tuesday).

Elaina's room looks exactly like the color of Pepto. We're going WILD on her side of the room. She is going to have zebra stripe accents, including a zebra stripe comforter. So I think the bright pink with black and white is going to be absolutely fabulous. Zebras are her favorite animal. I am really excited because this is going to be so fun and NEW!

Abigail's paint I actually found in the Mis-tint section for only $5 and it looks like purple orchids. Her side is going to be more whimsical with princesses and unicorns (though the latter is REALLY hard to find without it being really weird or for older people).

I love going upstairs to just look at their rooms. The purple and pink go well together (it is a loft-style so the rooms are open to each other). PICTURES TO COME when I get all the rest of my stored items out of the way.

Zoë is moving into what is currently the big girls' room on our second story. It is pink with brown trim so all I had to do was find her some sheets and a quilt (scored two sheet sets AND a quilt on sale for around $36 and shipped-to-store so no shipping charges at last night so head over there if you're in the market). She'll be moving to a twin bed and I definitely needed more sheets. I think I got the sheet sets for only $12 apiece (one set in pink gingham and the other in girly green gingham). The quilt was around $15. The rest of my costs were tax. Her room will remain shabby chic. Click the links to see what I got!e

Baby #4 will have the fourth room which is currently Zoë's room. If we're having a boy I'm painting the room green and doing an elephant theme. But if it is a girl.............. I'm ALL OUT of ideas. I've done the butterflies and flowers and everything else in-between it seems. I guess we'll cross that bridge if we even come to it. Maybe something yellow and cheerful. But again, we'll see what baby is first before I stress myself out trying to come up with ideas.

Are you doing any spring cleaning or painting? Love to hear decorating so if you blog about it leave me a comment to come check it out!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Birth Center Tour

Oh my I am so behind! Well I'm in my 15th week but I look like I'm about 5-6 months pregnant. I just tell people I'm just so short the belly has nowhere to go but out! I got down on the floor to pet my Beckett boy (my cat) and I was on my belly; it felt like I had a balloon in there! Love it!

Well anyway on Wednesday we toured the birth center that I've been debating switching to. I already see midwives but they deliver at a hospital. I was really hoping for a home birth but I can't afford to pay a midwife out-of-pocket (insurance won't pay them) when I already pay for my primary insurance. Midwives truly are not expensive compared to the hospital bill you receive if you give birth at the hospital but if you don't have the money you just don't have the money. My insurances will pay for the whole kit-n-caboodle if I see midwives at a hospital or birth center. Unassisted birth is not an option for us.

That being said the next best option for us is a birth center. A birth center is a compromise between home birth and hospital birth. It is a place specifically created for the intimacy of birthing babies. It is also for low-risk women and they offer no interventions which means emergencies are very, very rare. All medical equipment is hiding and the rooms typically look like a regular bedroom with a regular bed.

Anyway back to our tour.......... the birth center we visited was located in an old seminary campus in a very old building (so cool!). It is a Christian birth center and their belief statement lines up with our beliefs. The grounds are absolutely beautiful at the birth center and I can totally see myself walking around under the trees to help labor along. Or in one of their beautiful labor tubs! They have four birth suites in total, two of which have birth tubs.

Here is the Moroccan Suite (and YES that bed is for the laboring mom!):

Here are some positive points to the birth center:

-Elaina and Abigail would be free to be there for the birth. Zoë could be there but I don't think it would be a good idea because of her very strong attachment to me. Daniel tickles me and she screams in terror that he's hurting me, for example. So I can't see her being there for the birth.

-There's a sitting room outside each birth suite if Daddy or one of the girls need to step out.

-Daniel can bring his guitar and sing for me, which is something I've always wanted but of course a hospital wouldn't allow that. How beautiful to bring our baby into the world with Daddy's worship!

-There is a little kitchenette in each birth suite with a little fridge filled with energy foods for laboring momma. Our tour guide told us one laboring couple went to the store down the street, while in labor, to get some items to cook in their little kitchenette for during labor and after delivery. FREEDOM! Love it!

-They bake you a birthday cake after baby is born; so sweet!

-No IV, no drugs, no EFM... basically no interventions! They won't even break your water here. This is a place for natural birth of low-risk women. 

-Baby rooms in and doesn't leave Momma; breastfeeding is highly encouraged and supported.

-You can be discharged 6 hours after the birth; this might make some people incredulous but it makes me excited! There's no reason to be there; freedom to go home and be in our own environment is great.

-Two words: WATER BIRTH

-Free to labor and birth in a position you need to be in.

-Prenatal visits are at the birth center.

-You get to know every single staff member (two midwives and a few nurses) so there's no SURPRISE when you go into labor and get Dr. You-Don't-Know-Me. Very family-friendly atmosphere where you feel like you're visiting friends who just happen to be birth professionals. ;-)

So it seems like a no-brainer but Daniel hates change so he's needing time to consider. I am fine with waiting but only for a few days. If we're going to make the switch I want to get that ball rolling this week so I can get all the paperwork transferred. I have an important sonogram coming up so switching soon is high on my list of priorities!

MORE INFO ON BIRTH CENTERS (I'm speaking of free-standing centers, NOT centers connected directly to a hospital):

Birth centers create an atmosphere that is conducive to labor and delivery. You're free to eat foods that increase energy, you're free to drink fluids by mouth, there are no IVs, no bands around your belly (they use a doppler for intermittent monitoring as external fetal monitoring has been proven to not be beneficial to women in labor on multiple levels), free to move as you need... there is so much more freedom to labor and allow your body to intuitively do what it needs to do. There are no epidurals at birth centers; only a few birth centers have other narcotics such as Stadol or Demerol so most women going to a birth center have med-free births for a goal.

In the event of the rare emergency at a birth center there is a clear transportation plan and backup hospitals. Most transfers are actually due to maternal fatigue for labors that last over about 2 days or so. Because birth centers are no-intervention (they won't even break your water at the one I visited!) the risks you would otherwise face at a hospital with high-intervention are very, very rare. Midwives are highly trained to catch any possible risks to mother or baby and respond accordingly.