I’ve been pretty slow with updating this. But wanted to touch base on our lives as of late.
For Christmas Ben and I headed to California. My dad flew out and drove me and the dogs back. All three dogs. I haven’t introduced you to Lilah yet, but she was a big surprise and spur of the moment decision. That we do NOT regret, mind you, even though it’s been very hard having a puppy. I’ll get back to Lilah in a minute and tell you her story.
So Dad flew out on a Friday. Weather was playing it’s role in making things complicated so we ended up driving the entire route from Colorado to California in a day starting on early Monday morning. Surprisingly, it was not that bad. At all! I felt sore, but it wasn’t that bad! The dogs were very well behaved & we only hit a small amount of bad weather. Overall, we had a really good trip! Thanks Dad. I could not have done it alone… and we didn’t even argue about politics 🙂 We arrived into Sacramento just in time to pick up Ben from the airport (he flew in after work).
Being in California and seeing family was really great. Our aunt and uncle dedicated a table to our marriage at their house for Christmas Eve, and that was our first real celebration since we eloped in May of 2020. They got a cake and people brought gifts for us. It was very special and such a nice surprise ❤ Dad’s family had a Christmas celebration outside in Dad’s shop which they had turned into a Christmas wonderland with decorations, a big tree, lots of food! High ceilings, natural air flow, a heater – it was perfect. We also had a blast during the white elephant Christmas gift game & Ben and I walked away with a Polaroid type camera and new stainless steel pots! Such fun, I can’t wait for next year! We stayed with my mom and that was really stressful on us and the dogs, but it worked out & it’s always nice to spend time with mom. It was nice having a yard for Lilah to go outside in….. she was in full puppy mode waking up several times a night so we were absolutely exhausted the entire time we were in California- but, it was worth it for the week.
We drove back to Colorado and it was pure misery. It took so much longer than driving to California because we had to go the southern route through New Mexico for weather related reasons. We still ended up spending the last 3 ish hours of the drive in a bad snow storm. It took my body several days to recover from the drive. My poor pregnant belly was so cramped in the car which led to pain and exhaustion for days. I finally recovered, got back to work, and have been trying to get my energy up since then. I’ll be honest…. it’s been really hard. Stress is really taking its toll on me and that’s with me working less. I only work 1-2 days per week. I am so lucky to be able to say that, I know.
Lilah wasn’t our plan. In fact, not at all. After Zainey passed away I casually started browsing the various lab rescue websites in Colorado. Colorado is known for being super dog friendly and we have a TON of dog rescues here. Name your breed, we probably have a rescue for it! But labs and big, friendly, athletic dogs are a Colorado specialty because they are great trail partners. I had adopted Zainey from a lab rescue in 2015. She was 1 years old at the time. I wanted to adopt another adult lab in memory of Zain. So Ben and I talked about it and decided to submit an application because getting approved through a rescue is a lot harder than just going and buying a dog from a breeder or adopting a dog from an in-person shelter or from another person. They do house tours, they interview you, they call your references and your vet. It is not easy. If you’re selected as a person / family they’ll adopt to, they’ll keep your file open for 6 months. We submitted our application, did our virtual home walk through and finally had an interview. During the interview I learned that the rescue was overloaded with puppies and could hardly take in new fosters because of how many puppies they had. I said we’d keep the thought open. And then a few days later the lab rescue emailed us a picture of Lilah and said she was available to meet. That weekend. I was a ball of stress about meeting her and changed my mind about 7 times but we decided to anyway. Obviously you know what happened next…. our little black lab mix rescue.
So here we are today. Week 29 of pregnancy with a senior almost 14 year old dog who requires a lot of freakin’ work and a little puppy who is the sweetest thing but also requires so much. She’s 14 weeks old this week though and is very smart, very well behaved, and a very good dog. And then we have a 7 year old dog who has decided to regress completely and pee in the house a couple times a week. Totally behavioral, totally inappropriate. To say we are frustrated with her is an understatement. We are also very tired.
As for baby news – lots of new developments, I feel like. I have been trying to read a bunch of different books on pregnancy, childbirth, post-partum, vaccines… my doula came over recently and brought her “library” with lots of books, print outs on vaccines, chiropractor stuff, etc. She is so helpful. We have our first official Doula prenatal visit next Tuesday and I’m really looking forward to it. Having a doula here has been very reassuring for me. If you’re not familiar with the role of a doula & are wondering why we hired one, I highly suggest looking it up. Here is a good link: https://www.mamanatural.com/birth-doula/#:~:text=Doulas%20are%20trained%20professionals%20who,support%20of%20other%20experienced%20women.
Moving along…. Last night Ben and I had an in person tour of a local birth center. It was the first time we actually got to see a potential birthing location in person, thanks to Covid and not being allowed to tour the hospital birthing suite or the birth center we met with last week (which was all virtual). I have been having a lot of doubts about delivering in a hospital with an OBGYN and these doubts were just quadrupled last week when my OB, who I was already having serious questions about, made a comment to me about the birth that I just can’t get out of my mind. She said “Well, you’re most likely going to have a c-section anyway, right?” Um, WHAT? Where did that come from? She said this because 1. I have a small fibroid 2. Baby is breech as of week 28 (totally changeable- baby moves around A LOT RIGHT NOW) 3. Baby is measuring in the 82nd percentile meaning she’s bigger (but anyone who has carried a baby knows that you cannot accurately tell how big the baby is while baby is in utero. They will say a baby is in the 90th percentile and it will come out in the 60th. Likewise, they’ll say 30th and baby will come out 90th).
My goal, God willing, is to have a 100% natural birth with my Doula and Ben at my side through it all. Ideally it will be unmedicated. All of it. My ONE complicating factor is that I have a small fibroid near my cervix (but NOT in it) 😦 That fibroid likely developed during the hormone surge of the first trimester. Throughout this pregnancy it has actually gotten smaller, not larger, but it’s still there at 4.9cm. Basically, that’s a 1.9 inch nodule chillin’ in my uterus that could potentially block the baby’s ability to move down into the birth canal. Butttt I have faith in God that whatever is going to happen during my labor will happen. Natural birth or forced c-section – this baby is a blessing and we’re ready to take on birth however it may come. I just want the opportunity to labor first and then should any severe complications arise, go from there.
There is so much to think about now a days with all of the vast amounts of information that is available out there… For example: Did you know the average c-section rate in the USA in a hospital is a whopping 32%? At a birth center, this rate is about 6% on average. Less than 2% of women need to be urgently transferred from a birth center to a hospital. There is a reason why hospitals have a c-section rate of 32%. Because doctors are literally trained to find medical problems and treat them. But birth is a natural process. A woman is meant to give birth vaginally. That’s how God created us and intended it to be. Gotta love modern medicine for stepping in and throwing crap into the mix…
Alternatively, I know some c-sections are life saving. But many aren’t. Times have changed. Many of us know now not to entirely trust our MD’s just because he/she is an MD. I especially know this from working beside doctors for so many years. Women are getting back to the basics of delivering vaginally without intervention. There will always be the emergency situations. Always. And I’ll have one if I need one. Anything for baby! But c-sections should not be the standard. Literally. They shouldn’t. They are highly dangerous.)
Anyway, so we had our tour of the birth center in Boulder and we sat with one of their founding women and we asked questions and we had our questions answered truthfully. They were very open about why women transfer out to a higher level of care during or after birth. And I felt so at peace. From the moment we walked in I felt a peace come over me and knew that is where I wanted to give birth. I love that they treat birth as the natural process that it is, but that they are four minutes from the hospital and prepared with the medications needed to take care of a woman in an emergent situation. The birth center has about a 3.5% transfer to c-section rate. That means of the hundreds of healthy, low risk pregnant women who have opt to give birth there, about 3.5% of them end up transferring and getting a c-section. Remember, a hospital c-section rate is about 32% in the United States. In Colorado it’s about 24% on average (we have a high standard of care here in this state).
100% of the women at the birth center labor in the bathtub. About 50% of babies are born in the bathtub. Here is a picture of one of the birthing rooms where myself, Ben and my doula may be along with the birth center midwife (midwives, once baby is imminent). I don’t know what the rest of my pregnancy holds. I could risk out of a birth center and be right back at a hospital, who knows. But while the power is mine to make this decision– this is the decision I have made. And I truly hope and pray this will be where our little girl is born.