Tuesday, April 29, 2008

As Promised

Here are some pictures. I apologize for the smudge in some of them. It was on the lens, and we didn't notice until later.

Here she is first born.
A shot of the little one.
Daddy and Elisheva
The whole family all together. Lydia loves Elisheva. She really seemed to grasp that Elisheva was coming and loves her baby sister. She doesn't always know quite what to do with her, but she loves talking about her and touching her (which is hard, because two year olds don't always grasp the concept of fragile).

We are all home now and accepting phone calls, visits (ha!), bags of money, etc. Thank you all for you love and support.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Baby!

Well we have a baby. She's cute, too. She was born 9:17 Greenwich Time on April 28th. She weighs 7 pounds 3 ounces and is wonderful. Mother and baby are doing fine. Father is very tired, and is going to bed, but wanted to inform everyone first. If you're real nice, we might post pictures.

A Baby

Well, not yet...

But Thora's water broke at 5 AM GMT (around 13 hours ago) and so we are in the hospital--mostly just waiting around, but there will be a baby. Thora isn't induced yet, and noone has suggested it, and so we are hoping to ride it out.

Pray for Thora.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pregnancy, Pregnancy

Another pregnancy post. Not that I even have any news, or stories or anything, but mainly because it's my main topic of thought nowadays. Although the end is in sight; I'm due in three weeks as of today (May 8th). So that's only 21 days. Mmm, it sounds long done that way. And I know that due dates are not absolute at all, but rather the opposite, to the point that the official term is Estimated Due Date. In fact, only 5 % of women even deliver on their due date.

That's fine, that's fine, because maybe I'll go...early! Yeah, that's my latest obsession. How to get this baby to come out early in a completely natural/healthy manner. Of course, some of the things that are supposed to start labor are absolutely unacceptable, like cod liver oil. Yuck. My mom used this to go into labor with my younger brother, and she said (in my memory at least) that it wasn't worth it. Or blue or black cohosh, which sounds like an illegal drug combination, although it isn't.

Mainly I just wish that I'll wake up in the middle of the night and I'll be in labor, and everything will be great. Well, great meaning that I'll be having painful contractions every couple minutes, but I guess you can't have everything. We found out in my midwife appointment this last week that I'm basically going to need antibiotics intravenously during the labor, because I have Group B Strep. It's nothing to worry about on its own; around 25% of women carry it at all times without any symptoms, but it could potential harm and even kill little Elisheva, so they administer antibiotics during labor to prevent this.

Which means that I would now have to have a hospital birth anyway. I'm glad in a way that I medically need one; it makes me feel better about the fact that I was denied a homebirth anyway; kind of like sour grapes I suppose. And according to my midwife (who, by the way, is Irish, and is from Limerick. Isn't that cool?) I won't have to be continuously monitored or hooked up to an IV machine or anything; they can administer the antibiotics in about ten minutes, and they only need to do this every four hours. And even when I am on them, I don't have to lie in bed like a stranded turtle or bug (which is what I feel like flat on my back nowadays).

Which reminds me; I have everything worked out about what to do with Lydia/rides, etc. The very night last Thursday when I found out that I had to go to hospital, I had a baby shower in the ward. Well, I simply brought up the situation, mainly because it was on my mind, and I had two women volunteer to watch Lydia and give me a ride to the hospital. The first one is my Bishop's wife, Sister Yvonne Dick, who is always absolutely beaming, and a lovely woman to be around (and she adores Lydia; she's in nursery with her). And when she comes to get Lydia she's just going to drop Avram and I off at the hospital, so we have everything worked out. And I have two backups, one the second sister to volunteer, and another one the primary president, who has a daughter about Lydia's age in nursery.

We went over to the Dick's house on Sunday for lunch, but also for the main purpose of Sister Dick working with me on "active labour" a term they use in Britain for a method of laboring naturally. Yvonne is a trained doula, plus having had five children, three of them at home, all using this method, so she has a lot of experience with it. Basically it encourages moving throughout labor, even the contractions, in optimal positions so that the uterus can work at its upmost potential. I had Avram come and sit in on this conversation, since he's going to be with me during the labor (he jokes that he's a doulos, the male form of a doula. In modern day usage a doula is someone who accompanies you through labor, and is your labor couch/partner/on your side, etc. In Greek it actually means slave, and so Avram has decided that it's very accurate for him; he gets to be mine and Lydia's slave in life, especially at the end of my pregnancy and delivery).

Yvonne wasn't awkward about anything, so there she is, describing the perineum, and descent of the baby and such while doing hand motions to show what she means, and then she had her and I get on the floor on hands and knees and practice breathing and moving through imaginary contractions, all while Avram was a captive audience. He did say afterwards we looked rather silly, as I suppose any real laboring woman does, but at the time he didn't joke at all, but was just attentive and serious. I think I would have almost been embarrassed (it's the small Victorian in me), except Yvonne made it all so natural, which of course childbirth is. After we had finished the active part of the training, the Bishop joined us too, and we discussed child-birthing for a bit; a somewhat different role than I'm used to seeing him in, but I think it's good to remember and see that ones priesthood leaders are dynamic people with full and well-rounded lives, and not just two-dimensional cutouts on a stand.

In the hopes that I'll go into labor soon (one reason I'm so focused on this now, is that at 37 weeks I'm now considered full term, and so if I did go into labor they wouldn't try to stop it, and also the baby should have fully developed lungs, and so wouldn't need any help breathing and such), I've packed Lydia's bag, and as much as my hospital bag as I can right now. They want you to bring everything for the birth yourself here, from Diapers for the new baby to your own bath towel for showers/baths after she's born. When I had Lydia in America, I don't think I brought anything; I even had to have my Mom fetch clothing to bring me home in. Not only that, but they gave us two diaper bags (made from two big formula makers trying to convince you from the very beginning to use them), diapers, a onesie that said, "I was born in the Mt. Timpanogos Hospital," a thermometer that we've used up until coming to England, lanolin to prevent soreness from nursing, a small plastic bathing tub thingy, and a neat-o baby sponge, not to mention a ton of samples of wipes, lotion, soap, etc.

I guess that's the difference between socialized medicine and not. Also, just because the hospital gives it to you, doesn't mean it comes free. It probably shows up on the hospital bill as: one neat-o sponge, $20, or something like that.

Also, in another unrelated pregnancy/birth thought, I think I want Elisheva to come now because I'm worried about "what-ifs," which are never helpful to think of, so the sooner I have her, the less I'll think of them. There are so many things that can go wrong with a birth, to the point that I wish I had never looked into any of them. A baby can be perfectly healthy inside the womb, and would also be perfectly healthy outside of it, but birth itself is such a liminal time, full of excitement, but also full of danger. I just hope that I'm too distracted by the process itself to be thinking these thoughts while I'm actually in labor.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More Stupid Tests

blog readability test

Movie Reviews

This means all of the many junior high lurkers out there can't understand me, mwahahaha! Err, yeah. Also, I checked on some other blogs, and someone in my link list writes at a genius level. Pretty impressive friends I have, huh?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Statutory Rights are Violated

Today I was informed that the higher up powers-that-be in Yarnton Manor have decided they don't want me having a home birth after all. Since we're renting from them this basically means that now I'm stuck with a hospital birth. I think it's because the bursar (the one I would have to appeal to) thinks that it wouldn't be safe, and then if an ambulance had to be called, and couldn't arrive in time, bad things would happen. Although statistically, if you have a healthy pregnancy, a home birth is as safe as a hospital one. And yet, like Mr. Bennett, they are unmoved.

After being told this (I was called into the offices this morning), I came home and cried. I'm just grateful that I didn't cry in front of the registrar, although she was very sympathetic. She was the one who gave me permission in the first place, and she still thinks there's no problems with having a home birth. And after my endless extra ultra-sounds, the last one occurring today, I'm set to have a healthy birth, too. Elisheva is right on track for size; in fact, her stomach was even a little fat, compared to her head. And she has hair; the ultra-sound technician commented on it (I must admit, I just thought they were shadows, but then ultra-sounds are almost unintelligible to me; especially when at this size you can only look at one small piece of her at a time, like the femur, or the top of her head).

On all the food boxes here, along with other areas, they're always prating on about protecting your rights, and all food companies have care lines you can call and talk to about your rights (and how their food interacts with them, I presume). Avram and I both feel like our rights are being violated, but who has a care line for people against their landlords? And I'm not the kind of person to like making fusses over things, either. This isn't the first time we haven't seen eye to eye with them, either. First, we wanted to take down the baby gate at the top of our stairs, because Lydia was becoming so good at climbing up and down them that it didn't serve its purpose anymore. They didn't want us to do this, but we forged ahead anyway (although I was the one in the first place who asked for it, so to me if I want it off, it's my business). Then when my parents were coming to visit, they didn't want them to stay in our apartment with us, because they were worried that it was too many people for a one bedroom apartment, and if there was a fire or something while they were here....

The only problem was, for them to stay in another room in the house that isn't part of our apartment it would be 45 pounds a night, versus 20 pounds a night, which is what they had planned on paying. For this occasion I had Avram come in with me, and we were very emphatic, well, as much as I can be when confronting people, which is not very at all, and told them point blank that that was too much money for my parents to pay, and that if they could stay in the other room for only 20 pounds a night that was fine, but otherwise they needed to stay with us. We won that one, although I did feel like a cheap American doing it. Partly it bothered Avram and I that they had to pay at all to stay with us; granted the manor provided fold up beds for them to sleep in and bedding, but otherwise it's our apartment; do you have to ask to have people stay with you, where you're already living? You do here. It's like living in dorms sometimes.

I'm sure that they're not used to married couples as much, and so for the rest of everyone it really is like dorm life, with the accompanying more rules and regulations, but for Avram and I it can seem very constrictive sometimes. I don't know if this is general British attitude about renting, but I suspect it's much more just an attitude about renting to college studies, since we live in on-campus housing, essentially. On the plus sides, we do have our maids come every week; a perk not usually associated with even single dorm living in America. I would gladly trade cleaning my own toilet for having more say in what happens in my own home, though.

At first I contemplated appealing to the powers higher up (the bursar), but then as I've thought about it more, I've decided not to, partly because the registrar didn't think it would do any good to, and partly because I know that I'm not forceful enough to demand my rights, or privileges or whatever. I'm not even sure what rights these are; after all our housing contract never mentioned allowing or disallowing home births in general, so there isn't an outline for this situation anywhere.

Okay, I've decided to be done ranting now. At least about the permission side of things. Now we have to find a way to get to the hospital; the suggestion made by Yarnton Manor was to call an ambulance once I'm in labor (but wait, wasn't having an ambulance come the whole reason they didn't want me to have a home birth? Whatever.). I know that here Ambulances function almost like specialized taxis to the hospital, but in America you don't call an ambulance unless someone is basically dying, or already dead (which reminds me, who do you call when someone dies? The Undertaker? The Ambulance? I've never known.), so the thought of calling one when I'm simply labouring seems ridiculous to me. Also, now we need to find someone to watch Lydia; before we were going to keep her at home. The midwife didn't mind that at all, and in fact said that there would be two midwives there, and one of them could watch her so that Avram could still be with me in labor (poor Avram; he was hoping to get childcare duty to avoid being involved in the labor).

And I re-wrote my birth plan, from a nice friendly talk about how I want to labor, to a strict list of don't do this, don't do that, I won't allow anything against my birth plan without my husband first agreeing to it, etc, so that the hospital can just leave me alone and let me labor without interventions. Not that I minded going to a hospital in America, not at all in fact. I had a wonderful and supportive experience in Orem at Mt. Timpanogos hospital with Lydia; they respected my birth plan, never once mentioned pain relief like an Epidural, and let me stay when I came in although I was only 2 cm dilated (because I was actively in labor), which is a good thing, because Lydia was born only 2 1/2 hours after that, and if they had sent me home she probably would have been an unplanned home birth. Here, perhaps because of the socialized medicine that doesn't go in for frills that American medicine does, since people are willing to pay for it.

Frills like personal rooms, or visitors whenever, or husband being able to spend the night. Avram can visit from nine in the morning to nine at night, and other guests can visit from three pm to nine pm. Lydia can visit during the latter times, but only my children are allowed to visit; no other children allowed. Also, only three visitors at a time. Hmmph. I plan on leaving the hospital as soon after birth as possible, so hopefully this doesn't even become an issue.

Okay, now I'm really going to be done kvetching. On the positive side (for me at least) Avram will still be allowed in with me. And England only has a 16% c-section rate, as apposed to America's 30% rate. That really is a positive thing. And the sisters of the ward are holding a baby shower for me tonight; especially positive because since this is my second girl I didn't expect a shower at all, not to mention I'm new here. I love this ward, though. And I know that I'll be able to find someone to watch Lydia in the ward, and even a list of people we can call to go to the hospital; I'm just grateful that we do have this Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) to depend on; otherwise it really would be an ambulance as my ride to the hospital. And Lydia would be coming too, I guess.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My Body

Hmm, just enough to pay for the burial...

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Our Life

This morning we woke up to two inches of snow. It's the second time it has snowed (as apposed to snow flurries), and the first time was two weeks ago on Easter Sunday. Maybe it's a Sunday thing. We were especially surprised because it wasn't even raining last night when we went to bed late. This weekend also Lydia has been battling a cold which Avram then caught (this after her stomach bug on Thursday). She threw up several times on Saturday, just because she doesn't know how to cough up phlegm, and so would throw it up instead. Because she'd spent all of Thursday losing her guts, she had understandably developed a paranoia of throwing up, and so spent a lot of time working herself into a tizzy over it, and getting upset when a towel was near her (that's what she threw up into), but at the same time if she thought she might throw up soon, had to have a towel near her.

All in all I'm just glad we're now in the diarrhea stage (and I never thought I would write that previous statement). Somehow in considering motherhood and planning for it, I never thought that so much time and effort and thought would be involved in bodily functions of my children. I should have known, I suppose. It really makes me think about how much of my parent's time similarly was spent on me as a baby; rather a humbling thought.

On another note, conference has been nice so far. It feels a little odd to have watched Saturday afternoon session Sunday morning, but it was exciting to participate in a Solemn Assembly; the first one that I ever recall. Also I really loved President Eyring's testimony in his talk; I love to hear general authorities testify of the prophet, and that he is a living prophet who receives revelation.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Birthdays and Half-Birthdays

Today is my most official half birthday; that's right, folks, I'm 25 1/2 today. When I was a kid we would get to pick out a cereal that we wanted on the week of our half birthday. This means a lot more when you realize that I was mainly raised on hot cereals, like Cream of Wheat, Cracked Wheat, Tapioca (betcha didn't know that could be a hot cereal even. It's delicious.), Rice Pudding (yet another surprise hot cereal. My mother has a broad imagination when it comes to hot cereals. And yet, I absolutely love this breakfast; I've never learned to make it though, I far prefer having her come and make it for me), and of course the old standard, Oatmeal.

So getting cereal at all was a big deal; I remember one Christmas, when I was in first grade, finding a box of Honeycomb under the Christmas tree. We were so excited for it, and of course immediately ate it for our Christmas breakfast. This memory stands out even more because it's the only thing that I do remember getting for Christmas that year. That's right, an entire Christmas morning was eclipsed by cold cereal. I could practically try out for Mary and Laura Ingalls, who when they got little cakes made completely with white sugar and flour for Christmas on the Prairie were speechless.

Of course, as we grew older my mom grew less diligent, and cold cereal crept into my life. But for much of my childhood getting to pick my own cereal was very exciting. The funny this is I can't actually remember any cereal that I did pick out for my half birthday. I do remember my older sister Camilla picking puffed rice, the kind that came in the big off brand bags for her cereal. This would have been when she was 10 or 11. I think the logic was how much cereal she could get, and also she had never tried it before. It turned out to be a flop for a cereal, but we did end up using it for months and months in our games when we played house, or whatnot.

This year I forgot about getting the cereal, and I didn't go grocery shopping with Avram because Lydia had a stomach bug yesterday, and so threw up everything she ate, so I stayed home with her while he went for us. So I didn't even get reminded. Avram did bring home a nice box of basic Cornflakes, which we've eaten most weeks since we've been here (to be fair, we haven't really followed this tradition since we've been married, and so it's not like he forgot to get me "my" cereal).

(Lydia had a blessing last night, and in it she was promised she would stop throwing up, and she did, even though it hadn't been 24 hours yet since she started being sick. I love the Priesthood. Today she's back to her old self).

Other than that I don't have a particular method of celebrating half-birthdays. In fact, my own birthday is pretty far from my mind; mainly I'm thinking of the soon-to-be-but-not-nearly-soon-enough birthday of little Elisheva. I'm thirty-five weeks along now, and I just want her out. I told Avram this this morning, and he suggested that we go to the hospital and tell them that, and they can just take her out. Ha, ha, if only they would. But then I'd have a C-section, which of course I don't want.

I've been spending way too much time reading homebirth stories in the UK, and although it helps me feel confident and prepared for labor and a home birth, at the same time it just really makes me want Elisheva out here with me, and not inside getting bigger. I'm driving poor Avram crazy, too. For one thing, his capacity of talking about the details of labor and birth is about five minutes (a little longer if I don't require a response from him). Mine at this point in my pregnancy is basically endless. It's rather pathetic, really. I'd like to think that I'm not a woman that gets so caught up in childbearing and raising that she can't talk about anything else, but at this stage in a pregnancy it's almost like being possessed by an alien; your body's not your own, and so it's natural that your thoughts aren't your own either. But this too shall pass; in five or six weeks (around May 8th) she'll come, and then I can return to obsessing about other areas of my life. Like what cold cereal to eat.