Yep.

Still pregnant!  I’ve never been this impatient before.  The reason for this is because on Holy Thursday round ’bouts 5pm, I began having true, blue, time-able contractions. The kind that start in my back, wrap around to the front, radiate down my thighs and make me feel like imma puke.

After 2 hours of these puppies going on for a minute to a minute and a half long, every 4 minutes, I was like “Craig, don’t freak out but you better pack your bag.”
I took a nap at 7, and at 8pm, the contractions woke me up, more intense.  They lasted til 10pm and I was mentally prepping for the bigguns to catch fire.

We laid down with our boys, and I tried to doze  …and I noticed the contractions occurring further and further apart.
Next thing I know, it’s 3am and I’m up with a full bladder but no more contractions.

Good Friday the contractions puttered on and off, for a few hours they were time-able, but then they just fizzled out.

By the time Saturday rolled in, I reckoned to Craig that we should go mall-walking like an old couple because this was just stupid.   I further realized we better find some quick Easter garb for the boys because it was looking like we’d be going to Mass come Sunday.
Old Navy pulled through nicely.

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So did Godiva Vanilla Bean Soft serve ice cream. It’s the first time I’d had that stuff, and golly. Just golly.

Surely I’d go into labor on Saturday night.
Surely NOT.

So we made it to Mass for Easter Sunday. The boys all got A’s for their performance report, but still I was super crabby and during the SIGN OF PEACE, I turned around to shake hands with a lovely mama who gave me a pitying look and said, “Ooh! I hope it’s a girl this time?”

And I, full of my Easter joy gave her my most candid BRF and said, “Mm- IT’S NOT.”

Svellinger
While we’re on the subject, let’s just get this straight. Right?

Yeah. Point 2 seconds after turning around I felt like the biggest, whale-est, awfulest BRF person in life ever. And thank merciful, risen Jesus Christ, that lady and her family happened to not be one of the Judas Iscariot eat n’ leave early folk, and I took the first second after Mass had ended to turn around and tell her I shouldn’t be allowed to speak to people and I was so sorry for being rude.

She was so sweet to me and nodded in understanding as she introduced Craig and I to her 4 young children and husband who happens to be one of SIX BOYS.

OY VEY, MA. Six boys.

 

4 doesn’t feel too bad, now.

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This is the sole photo I have of any of us in our Easter getup. Lexington tore his clothes off as soon as we got home and threw himself in for a nap. We’ll gettum next time. Also: The ties didn’t fly.

 

But yeah… Craig and I decided a month or so back that we’d get an additional ultrasound and find out the gender because I discovered that as I purchased an adorable Etsy headband for the maybe-baby-girl in my womb, that IF we in fact did have a 4th boy, perhaps not having the few weeks to “mourn” the girl we both had prayed for might lead to postpartum depression.  Maybe not, but I’ve never liked surprises anyway.

I’m glad we found out we’re having another boy because I was allowed to feel the feminist-crazy-rage toward penises for a week or two and be done with it.  Really.
98% at total peace with it.

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We did catch some park time!

 

I’ve moved on to other things, like the fact that I was due yesterday, and we still DON’T HAVE A NAME for the child. We will, we always do.

Until we meet Mr. Mama’s Snuggly Bug, I just be like dis all day:

Young Frank

While my family watches me just like dat.

Do you know what your mama bear voice sounds like?

Watch one of your toddler family members get attacked by a dog and you’ll find out real quick.
Let us backtrack…

*****

Oh my gosh, yes Carolyn, you’re pregnant and due super soon. WE KNOW.

Okay but lest ye forget, I basically haven’t had the drive to do much but sit all day long for the last 30+ (+++) days and anything which falls to the ground I regard as dead to me because bending over is just– no. Nope.

But. I have children and they’re little so I have to do some stuff.  One of those things is visiting Aunt Kate and her three same-aged children because Lexington crafted in his wee head that as soon as Spring comes, we must bring a Costco cheese pizza to her house and eat it there and play outside. He’s reminded me of it daily since the first day of Spring.

So we did that this week.

There we were, having eaten pizza and fruit and juice, now doing the go-outside-and-play part, which involved Katie and I being the good observing parents from the lowest level of their beautiful porch/deck setup, sitting in chairs and enjoying a 65 degree temperature and sun bestowing it’s glorious shine.

Kate’s back yard is lovely. The perfect amount of trees lines the perimeter of the yard, which meets the fenceless, large, green back yards of her neighbors, and there’s a solid half acre+ for the children to run their little legs to exhaustion. Which I was super encouraging of because an exhausted toddler equals a quick fall-asleep come bedtime.

“Run! Run more! Show me how fast you can run!”

Wink.

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So Kate and I are sitting there, discussing the woes of getting older and how Kate has been recovering from a minor ankle injury, but is mere days away from running her first adult 5k (We were both track & field runners in high school: hurdlers, hold some school records, a healthy amount of gold, silver and bronze medals between the two of us, basically high school Olympians, no big deal –okay glory days, shut up.) –and a yellow shimmer catches my eye–

I look up and see my niece being pounced upon and pinned down by a 75lb+ black Lab, her sweet, golden Princess Belle dress flashing alarmingly in the reflection of the sun.
The dog doesn’t get up, but is hunched over her, head down, mouth obscured by the fabric of Sienna’s dress, pawing and pinning and moving in a jerking manner as if it were mauling her.

The next thing I know, Humpty Dumpty is running faster than I realize behind Kate, who’s booking it in her bright pink Nikes to the end of the yard.
Running.
Still running.

We couldn’t get there fast enough, and the fear of what we would find when we got close enough to see the dog’s face and mouth, and my niece’s slight little body was sucking the breath from my already struggling lungs.
Sienna was screaming.
I caught up to Kate right as she powerhouse kicked the dog’s butt, startling it to back off.

And Kate and I were screaming- screaming at the black lab who’d crossed its electric fence to pin down my niece.
The problem is that there were TWO black labs. Large ones.

The attacker now snarled at Kate as we continued to scream in Mama Bear man voices, hoping to frighten them off enough, maybe raise awareness from the neighbors.
Nothing. Nobody noticed.

My niece stood up, seemingly unharmed, and ran inside with the other 5 children. But Kate and I kept man-voice-mama-bear screaming at the animals who were now barking back at us. Bears vs. dogs.

I literally have no memory of actually forming a comprehensible word, but just going at it with a lot of “ARRRGH! HAYYYY! NAHHHH!!!!” but I did catch Katie man-hollering “YOU DA(RN) DOOOOOG!”  And there was mama bear arm flailing and spit flying, which I now envision looked more like something you’d see on Maury. Team Black Lab stood down.

After deciding it better to call the police than risk marching through the neighbor’s yard to man-yell more at the neighbor, we hurried inside to make sure Kate’s little girl was completely okay.

Praise God, she was not harmed nor bit nor even scratched, and that I’m able to share this story with some humor.

The dominating manner in which the dog had pinned her down (literally on top of Sienna, instead of a playful posture: standing to the side, perhaps licking her face like a playful dog might)  was not playful. That nightmarish image will never leave my mind.

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This photo is of Sienna last summer. What a sweet beauty.

Still shaken up while waiting for the police to arrive, yet relieved that Sienna was alright, Kate and I had a few moments of hysterical laugh-crying as we bewildered over hearing the deep man-voice bellow coming from each other’s vocal chords, and how on earth it took us so long to get to Sienna, or so it seemed. She was about 40 yards away but it felt like 200.

We further puzzled over why Katie, the un-pregnant and very much more fit runner, was merely 2 or three paces in front of the personified nursery rhyme character while en route to kick the crap out of that dog, almost more than how shocking it is that the dog never bit Sienna.

That night I realized I must’ve run harder than I felt like I had.
Recounting the story to my mom, dad, and Craig, I remembered running with my legs flapping hilariously outward but I think what actually happened was I’d forgotten I was pregnant and tried to do what any mother bear: DESECRATE THE ENEMY.

And so, now I can barely walk.

And this morning my groin and legs were so sore that I have a limp and need to hold on to furniture to get through the house.
Kate texted me, she’s sore too.
Sienna’s doing great, praise the merciful Lord.
All my boys can talk about are the dogs (they witnessed the whole thing), and Collin is more petrified than ever of them– which is good, he’s allergic.

So there’s that for you.
OY VEY, MA.

******
Have a blessed Easter Triduum and a gloriously beautiful Easter!  Hopefully you won’t hear from me until the Noob has arrived.
Instagram will tell the tale.
Facebook won’t because I gave it up for Lent and forgot to tell you all …except Instagram does share some of my photos to Facebook, so whatever.  Oopsies.

Mama’s Little Helper: Things I’m convinced will save my life during and after labor.

…says the nesting-crazy 39 week pregnant woman. I get enough energy to launder and tidy –once– but the rest of my nesting is hoarding and stocking up on stuff like a hamster.

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Oh, good.  Another post from Carolyn about pregnancy/birth.  Just what I want to read this Holy Monday before Easter.

Maybe, maybe not. My due date is 7 days away and my brain is nesting with post ideas about birth and pregnancy, so I figured maybe someone would benefit from my bland suggestions? Sure.

Also “due date” should be in quotations because even though I charted like a mad scientist this time, all of my babies have been between 10-14 days “late”, and only Emmett was born precisely ON his due date.  That said, I’m probably looking at 14 days.  I’ve never been early for anything in my life, why would birthing my children be different?

Kay.

SO. What have I decided is going to save my life this time around? A bunch of stuff.

DISCLAIMER: Please read this post light-heartedly.  It’s semi-sarcasm, semi-serious as all get out, but truly tailored for my personality type (INTJ) and what I know might (MIGHT) work for me. Everyone is different, so these things might be awful suggestions for you.  For all I know, I’ll end up not using a single thing.  But feeling prepared is all that matters, right?

Roiiight.

************

Above all, before any knick-knack or snack, is LOCATION. 

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the toilet’s on the other side of the sink, if you’re wondering.

 

We can’t do a homebirth.  First, because we’re house hunting and living with my parents, and second, our Collin was born with a heart defect which runs in my blood, so knowing that there’s a possibility this baby may have an undetected issue (so far everything looks great!), it’s best for us to be close to doctors who can make sure.

I’m delivering at an accredited water birthing center, located inside of a hospital.  This will be my first water experience, and I’m convinced it will be a game changer for me.  …at least I hope and pray it will…

Please God, let this blessing relieve me from pushing out this child with a long-winded warrior cry of “MOTHER-FFFFFFFFFF!”
(I swear I don’t curse and I couldn’t believe it left my mouth. Which the whole word didn’t, but still, the fact that I’d formed the eff sound out loud was like… what am I? That’s natty birth for you, I guess.)

I’m a seriously interior person and no amount of coaching can break the wall I put between myself and the rest of the world when my inner peace is being attacked, so I’ve come to believe that I need to get myself into an environment that will help my introspect chill the heck out– and bright hospital lights and needles and hospital gowns that other people have died in, barfed on, and peed in are not conducive to that.

I heavily bragged wrote about where I’m giving birth right here, if you wanna know more about that.

Moving on to the knick-knacks:  Aside from the big, obvious natural labor tools like birthing ball, water tub, etc.
You’ll find the theme here is along the lines of: Snacks, smells, and heals.  Because these are things that work for me.

Olivia has an extremely helpful series on labor and delivery filled with tips and ideas that I keep coming back to for reference, and I’ve pulled from her ideas, hoping they’ll help me too. Her posts are better organized and much more helpful than this one is shaping up to be, so really, you could probably just stop right here and go read her things.  I’ll be here when/if you come back.

property of Carolyn Svellinger

 

-1-
Honey Straws.

I like honey. I picked these up while in Seattle with Craig at Pike Place Market.  They can be found on Amazon too, though.  One of the biggest pieces of LARD I believe that hospitals toss at a mother in labor is that she’s “not allowed” to eat. I understand the reasons, but for a mother trying to labor sans medication– LARD, I tell you. And that’s as far as I’m going on that subject.  I’m bringing them as an option for a quick spark of sugar/energy during a lull in my contractions.  This is something Craig can quickly hold up to my mouth and administer without fuss.

-2-
Tea.

I’m taking this knowing that heat and my favorite tea are two things that always work wonders for my stress levels.  A few weeks ago, after a full day of flying home with Craig from his business trip to the West Coast (I was so uncomfortable I cried) and then driving an hour to get home to our boys, I was wound up right tightly in stress. After drinking a cup of tea, I was literally falling asleep at the kitchen table, I had relaxed so much.
I think having a cup of tea available may be useful to me. May.

-3-
Essential Oils + Diffuser.

Olivia wrote a big daddy post on which essential oils helped during her labor.  These past 9 months, I’ve slowly built up my collection based off of her suggestions and I’m super excited to have them on hand.
I can say it right now, I know I won’t use every single oil because I think juggling which ones to use at the proper time could distract me/Craig, but the big players which ALWAYS bring me the whoo-sah are Frankincense, Peppermint, and Patchouli.

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It’s true. I sell for Young Living, but LOVE DoTerra’s Frank much better, and Balance, too.

 

Craig’s job as soon as we get to our room will be to set up the diffuser with Frankie.  That stuff is my grounding gold.
Peppermint will help me through nausea (it has these last 9 months), and boost me with freshness and energy when I hit my wall of misery.  And I will.
Frankincense will also be rubbed, diluted with a little olive oil, onto our little one’s crown as soon as he’s born.
Myrrh will be applied to help heal his umbilical cord site.
I’m thinking a combo of Thieves + Lavender will be diffused after birth for purifying the air and because Craig and I love how cozy it smells.
Basically, if I like it, and it’s safe for baby and mama, that’s what I will remember to use.

-4-
Dried Pineapple.

Olivia suggests this in her post, and it sounded so good I picked some up at Trader Joes.  Okay… I picked up 2 bags, and have already broken into one of them and I discovered they relieve nausea, give me a boost of energy, and are full of pineapple-y flavor. And they’re really chewy. Yes, this will be good, too.

See? Why are you still here?  Olivia’s already got together.  That’s why she’s such a favorite :)

-5-
Herbal Sitz bath.

This one is for postpartum.  I never knew about this stuff until recently.  In each sachet (the lady I ordered through makes 6 in each package) is a mixture of healing herbs that can be boiled to make a tea, then I can dip a few maxi pads into the tea, freeze them, and voila: a healing, soothing, cooling compress for the after party.
These can also be used as a sitz bath, or hung under a tub faucet for a healing bath soak.  I’m super excited for these puppies.

-6-
Fruit bars.

I guess it’s all about snack options this time.  I know that at a certain point in my labor, I couldn’t even think about anything coming near my mouth, but that at other times, I would have welcomed something small, fruity, and fresh.  I found these at Trader Joes (much cheaper than the Starbucks version, same ingredients) and all it is, is smashed fruit.  That’s it.  Chewy, mashed fruit.  I’ve been keeping them in my purse for a quick snack and found they also relieve nausea.  My boys love them too.

Hmm, other things?

-7-
Birthing Gown + After Birthing Gown

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Somewhere a few months ago, I wrote about finding a garment to wear while I birth.   I suppose I’m some form of a prude and even while giving birth, my stubborn cranium can’t fathom doing it sans vêtements, or even with a sports bra.  I cannot be comfortable unless I’m covered, and since that’s the name of the natural birthing game, I won’t ignore it.

I found a knee-length non-maternity gown from GAP which is made of modal, and super stretchy and super light weight. I got two. A dark one for the tub.  Dark so that I can wash and wear it postpartum and not worry about stains.
Then I got a light colored one to change into afterward.  It will be easy to nurse the newbie, and easy knee-length for the wonderful nurses to do their check-up thing that they do.
I also got a robe– because I needed a new one anyway, and because it’s kind of like a cozy prize I can’t wait to be able to wear after all the gnashing of teeth.  Seriously, I’m looking forward to getting the birth done with so that I can wrap up in this robe and snuggle a little beebee.

That’s it for now! I hope someone found some mild amusement and slightly helpful ideas.
Otherwise, keep me and many of my bloggy sisters in Christ who are also preggo in your prayers (and her, and her, AND her tooand her!)- and have a beautiful Holy Week!
Signing off for now,
Big Mama.
WOOF.
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The After Birth Party

Oh, you know, I’m just over here obsessing about giving birth as all big pregnant ladies do near THE END.  I got into comparing the birth “after party” photos following each of our children’s births and the blatant theme I noticed is knowledge. …or lack thereof.

Chuckle heartily with me, if you will:

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BAM.
Insert meme caption: PARENT’D.
Alternative caption: CHOLASMA’D
“HOSPITAL’D” also comes to mind.
I have no idea where newborn Lexington is, probably getting poked by multiple nurses. But that’s first time parenting/birthing for you.  Moving on…

 

HOSPITAL’D, to the rescue.  This was my first attempted non-medicated birth.  -Ended up with a misplaced epidural, blacking out, almost barfing, an I.V. which sent searing pain down my arm the entire time but the nurses wouldn’t listen to me, being loaded up on other drugs I don’t know what they were, being numb from my neck to my belly button, and not to my birth canal, the OB cutting Emmett’s head repeatedly in attempts to break my water, and partially feeling the whole birth.  Serious HOSPITAL’D.

And then…

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The triumphant natural birth. But don’t let this photograph fool you, I was a rabid, foaming mess.  I couldn’t get comfortable, the OB kept pestering me to do vaginal checks, they wouldn’t let me stay in the bathroom, and the birthing bed transformed into a huge stepladder monster with a really intimidating birthing bar attached and I locked up and lost my mind.  But!  The job got done. …and I had no voice for the next 24 hours.

And this time?

I changed OBs, changed hospitals, and found a hospital with a Birthing Center attached, and while I have the benefit of an assigned OB (and all hospital tech/medicine) in case of emergency, it’s midwife and nurse/doula run.  As it turns out, I’ve been told there are only 3 birthing centers in all the USA which are located within a hospital, which are certified for water births.  This hospital is apparently the Mothership.

I walked in for my orientation and the nurses are all talking about Essential oils, diffusers, dim lighting, low intervention, floating in a big ol’ LED lit birthing tub woosah –all dat crazy, hippy dippy baloney and I’m like THESE ARE MY PEOPLE.

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hello, living room for mothers to come out and nurse their babies and visit with family.

 

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Hello, kitchen for mama and fam’s personal use.

 

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HELLO, CRUSHED HOSPITAL ICE.

And la pièce de résistance:

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Hello, gorgeous un-hospitalesque birthing room. I love you.

One more of the bathroom, because you know ladies and their bathrooms:

The plan? Well first, to give birth in one of these rooms.  There are only 3 rooms available in the birthing center here.  And we get the vibe that there are a lot of lady preggers due the first week of April.  So I might end up down the hall in a regular hospital room.  With my fortune, that’s probably what will happen.  The happy news about that is that the nurses there have inflatable tubs available and will adhere to the birthing center natural birth (and my birth plan’s) standards.  But still. I want in this tub.

My question to me is HOW did it take me until the 4th child to find this hospital?!  Dunno.  Probably because I’m a stubborn mule and don’t listen to people who have probably suggested this place to me in the past.

Oh well.  Anyone have hilarious After Birth Party photos they want to share with me?  Tag me up on the Gram!