I'll start at the beginning (this may be a long post). Last fall I got the pull from another little spirit that was ready to come to our family. I had the usual initial resistance. Being pregnant is extremely difficult for me and willingly choosing to be in this state takes a lot of soul-searching, confirmation from my Father in Heaven, and then leaping in faith and courage. I bargained and justified that if we waited an extra year, our two girls would be older and easier while I was sick, and that we could spend another year as a family of four, just focusing on Liv and Berlin. After prayer, fasting, and a priesthood blessing from Jack, I knew it wasn't the right thing to put it off and that we should start trying for another baby right away. I didn't want a big gap between siblings and it just felt right to have it sooner. I got my IUD out in November and we started timing things in December. With Olivia and Berlin I was blessed to conceive the second month of trying, and the plan this time was to be sick at the beginning of the year, so that by summer I could participate in activities again, not have to be sick in the heat, and throw a birthday party for our girls, be laid up again in the third trimester with back and pelvis pain and such when summer was winding down, and then bring home a newborn with some leeway before sick season moved in.
Things didn't go according to plan. We didn't get pregnant in December, January, or February, and then we suddenly felt the push to start house hunting! We had tentitively planned on starting the process this year, but thought we wouldn't until late in the year. However, our rental lease was coming up in summer and our (really great) landlords told us they would like to put our house on the market to sell. The house finding and buying process (not to mention all that is involved with moving) was stressful and hard, to say the least. When we coupled it with cycle after cycle of no baby, tensions (and tears on my side) were running high. We were so lucky to find a great neighborhood in Eagle Mountain with a new build that fit our specifications perfectly and the family who commissioned it were no longer able to buy it. We were able to make all of the customizations on the house and, with many of the hiccups and frustrations that go along with building a new house, closed in mid-April. We decided to take April off from the baby-making business. I wanted to be able to help with getting settled in and honestly was just tired. We went to a family reunion that week we closed and then moved in the week after. The day after we moved into our new house I realized I should have started my period. I let two more days go by and then took a pregnancy test. Jack and I stood in our new kitchen and started, open-mouthed at a positive. I don't think we said anything for a full three minutes. Five months of trying and timing and then on the month we didn't, I got pregnant. In all honesty, I must have ovulated more than a week outside of my set cycle for this to have happened. It had nothing to do with cycles or my own timing though and everything to do with God and his mindfulness of me and needs and heart. Looking back, there was no way I could have been sick while trying to find a house and moving our family over. I had to do so much with packing and getting the old house ready while Jack was still working and packing and doing tons for the new house. Our new baby was coming right when he/she was supposed to. I also needed to experience those few months of disappointment to really understand how important having a baby was. I needed to WANT it, and not just be resigned to being pregnant. To feel blessed instead of burdened. I know that what I went through is pathetic compared to those who really do struggle with infertility and who try and are disappointed month after month for years, but it really gave me great empathy.
4 days after the positive test, the nausea set in. The first trimester I have been less sick than I had been with Olivia and Berlin, but still a very difficult trial. I couldn't just take the time off while we were finishing our yard, getting our fence up, finishing and painting our basement, putting together the playhouse, and furnishing our house. Jack has been so wonderful and takes on so much to give me as much down time as possible, but it has still been so hard. I think it's okay to acknowledge that. Our family is such a blessing, but there are so many women who have hard pregnancies and it's okay to admit that sometimes you just don't want to do it. This pregnancy also had two other difficulties. First, I wasn't able to take Zofran (an anti-nausea pill that I had taken with the other two) because it gave me migraines this time around. Those first three days living with the extreme nausea and a bad migraine were three of the worst I've ever had. The second difficulty was that my hormones have been different and there have been days I've gotten pretty depressed. Being sick brings it's own emotional difficulties, I always struggle with extreme guilt at how little I can help Jack, how little I can play with my kid(s) and how much screen time, and few home-cooked meals, they get. The guilt, with the illness, and not being able to enjoy our new house or have real birthdays with my girls all really got to me and I've had some really low days.
With Olivia the all-day sickness (cause really, "morning sickness" is a fallacy) lasted until 18 weeks. With Berlin it was 16 weeks. Now, at 13 weeks I'm having a lot of days where I feel almost normal! I'm only throwing up about once every other day, instead of 5 times a day, and I've been able to gain weight this first trimester instead of losing. This is the first time I've been pregnant in the middle of summer, so the heat has been much more...noticed :) but I'm so relieved to be past those hard 3 months.
This time around Jack and I have decided to go with a midwife and to have the baby in a birthing center! I love staying in the hospital, but here are our our reasons for switching things up:
1. Poor experience with our OB. I know there are tons of great doctors our there, and honestly I really like ours as a person and in the prenatal appointments, but I think he started to take on too many patients and at every appointment I had to sit in a sheet on the table for half an hour while he was at a birth, sometimes I had to just go on home and reschedule. Also, he wasn't there for either birth. I feel like when you pay for a doctor and you expect to have him through the entire experience, he should make every effort to come through. With Olivia he was out of town, and with Berlin he was in town but I was told he wasn't on call and that, after calling him, it was decided that another doctor from his practice would assist. Between my two girls, I've had every colleague from his practice at the births except him. At my postnatal appt after Berlin, he didn't ask about the birth or discuss his absence or my experience, and didn't ask to see Berlin, who was in the room in her carseat.
2. A chance at a new experience. I know I wouldn't be getting the epidural anyway because I really liked the recovery after having Berlin without it, and being able to sit up to labor (which enlisted gravity to help Bay move down and helped me feel when to push), instead of being immobile on my back and now I know now that I'm capable of going without it, so I'm excited to try this new, more personal and unassisted approach to having a baby. I'm not interested in a home birth, I don't think it's right for me and the birthing center feels like a good environment with super caring midwives and receptionists. Also, it's close to our hospital in case anything goes wrong.
3. The cost. Since we are small business owners our insurance is not great. My maternity coverage and deductible is completely separate from other coverage and the deductible is $10,000. Which means for a doctor and 24-hour hospital stay with no complications, we would be paying at least $8,000 out of pocket (and that is with the 40% discount the hospital gives us for paying it in full-up front). A midwife, from appointments to labor in their facility (minus lab work, which is the one thing our insurance partially covers) is $2,500.
It will be fun to post about this experience! We had our first midwife appointment last week and I was pleased to walk in and and the receptionist greet me enthusiastically by name (the name I go by and gave her at the tour, and not my first name that is listed on my paperwork). At the birthing center at every visit you take your own blood pressure, test your own urine, and weigh yourself and record it all. They have you take responsibility for your own body and pregnancy. I even filled out a paper recording what I've been eating and we went over different supplements and diet. Our midwife was a labor and delivery nurse for 8 years before becoming certified as a CNM and was great with the needle, since she and so much experience. My due date is Jan 4, but my babies grow fast and both Olivia and Berlin came on their own at 37 weeks, healthy as can be, so the midwife suggested we plan on an early Christmas present (I'm predicting the 18th-20th?) Jack and I were able to hear our little one's heartbeat for the first time with the doppler. I loved seeing the excitement on Jack's face. He has honestly been just over the moon about this baby. More so than even the others! I think he knows more what to expect and how much he loves and has fun with our girls and that makes him look forward to another even more. He confessed to me the other day that he is leaning toward wanting another girl! I was so surprised! He said he would, of course, love to have a little boy and is only 51% for preferring a girl, but that he just has a blast with our girls and would be stoked to have another. He's such a good dad to girls. I myself really don't have a preference. It would be so fun to see what our boy would look like and switch gears in that regard, but at the same time to have three girls who are friends and share clothes and toys would be really great too. I've already gotten thick in the middle and have busted out the maternity shirts, mostly because they are more comfortable. Olivia is pretty excited to have a new baby and keeps telling me it's her baby brother, so we will see!