Thursday, August 31, 2006

One of THOSE days

Let's see, just to recount the excitement, Eloise is the only one who was changed out of her pajamas at all day, and that's because she was covered with breast milk from the night time. Iris ate pirate's booty, half a cookie and her special "coffee" for breakfast. I had a Luna bar. None of us got outside until 7:00 tonight, and that's only because Matt came and took Iris to the park.

Yeah, it was a good day.

Oh, and I should add that Iris had green boogers that past few days so now I've caught her cold. Luckily it's not bad (yet) and so I've been taking tons of emergen-c and echinacea and Sambucol. Hopefully it will help. I just don't want Eloise to get sick, so I'm hoping that she's getting tons of immunity through breast milk.

I am so frustrated with the recovery from this birth! Here I was all thrilled that my homebirth equalled easy recovery. Um, no, not so much. Yes, my initial recovery was fantastic (didn't need to wait for the damn epidural to wear off!) but ever since, it's been much, much harder. By two weeks post-partum with Iris I was all over the place, going to the zoo, the public market, etc etc. With Eloise? Well, I haven't been out of the house since my trip to the ER. Every time I move I start bleeding more (sorry for those of you squeamish by those things!). I suppose the difference is that I rested more initially with Iris, and this time I was up and about immediately, therby forcing my body to let me know that wasn't cool. I'll be glad when I'm back to normal. Just one more thing I will have to remember to add to the reasons why I will never carry and birth another child.

In the past couple of days I've found myself practically ecstatic at Matt's arrival to come and help out with the girls and with chores. If you're following the story, you can probably venture a guess at the emotional and physical state I'm in in order to be feeling that way towards his presence. He has offered to take Iris over night if I need him to. He is staying with a family that I know, they have small children, so I feel pretty safe about it. It's so funny that I am even contemplating taking him up on the offer when even two weeks ago I would have said hell, no, absolutely not! Now I can start to see how the exhaustion of single mamas necessitates over night visits with dad.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Starting fresh

During a conversation with my dad last night I found out that my brother is interested in getting back in touch with me. We haven't seen each other in two years, and therefor haven't been in each other's children's lives in that long, as well. He is eight years older than me and lives in NYC with his girlfriend and their two daughters. The last time I saw him was when Iris was nine weeks old and I brought her back to WI for my family to meet her. My brother just acted like an ass to me (whether that is imagined or real, who knows, he was just being an ass). After that I just sort of lost interest in trying to keep in touch with him, and for whatever reason, he lost interest in trying to keep in touch with me. We hadn't been super close before that, but after that trip our communication was limited to major holidays and other important occassions.

I talked to my brother the day after Eloise was born to give him the good news. It was fun to talk with him about it because he has been a part of both of his daughter's births, both of which were natural births. To my suprise he was the first (and so far only!) family member to send a gift for the baby, which I thought was super sweet. So, last night I was chatting with dad about my brother's family's recent trip to WI. My dad made a point of telling me that my brother said he wanted to make an effort to be more in touch with me. It almost made me start crying because this, to me, is a HUGE deal. I told my dad that I would make more of an effort to stay in touch with him, as well.

Not sure what will actually come of all of this, but it's a start. Lately it feels like lots of things are making a fresh start. Instead of feeling scary it's starting to feel good to me. I am refusing to believe my options are as limited as I, and so many other people, have thought that they were. I just can't stand being in this limbo-land where I can't really do anything to move on with my life. I want to just relax and be here for my baby girl but at the same time I feel a strong need to get my butt moving and do something. It's probably a good thing my body has given me such a loud and clear message of where my attention belongs, otherwise my head just might have taken over.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pictures!!!!

I thought this picture was so cute! I took it myself while wearing Eloise in the sling. Doesn't she look so cozy? I like wrapping her in a fleece blanket before popping her in so she doesn't get too lost. This is the first time I've used a pouch and I think I'm really starting to get the hang of wearing her in it!


Iris drinking her "coffee". She has just recently gotten obsessed with coffee (fitting, since we live in Seattle!). I make hers with a little sugar, a bit of decaf coffee and a bunch of milk.


Eloise sleeping with the blanket my grandmother made for her. It's so pretty. And pink! Eloise has been decked out in pink pretty much every day. I don't think anyone (including me!) could have guessed how much I love pink on my daughters. If all they wore was pink I would be pretty happy!


Eloise's first bath. As you can tell by her face, she wasn't very happy. We tried again yesterday but this time I put the tub in the bathtub and was able to crank the heater in the bathroom. She was MUCH happier and didn't cry at all!


Eloise resting on my chest.


A little self-portrait of Eloise and I.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Just got home from the emergency room

Well, not the most fun day I've ever had. This morning Matt and his sister came to get Iris to do something fun with her. I thought I would take the opportunity to run some errands with Eloise. Our first stop was the dispensary at the natural health clinic I used to work at to pick up some supplements for Iris. As I was standing at the cash register I felt a gush of blood. I thought, hmmm, that's interesting. Then immediately another gush of blood, and it kept coming until my pants were soaked and it was running down my legs and pooling on the floor. I freaked out and said to the girl working "oh my god, I'm bleeding all over the place, I don't know what's going on!". Someone took Eloise for me and I said I had to go to the bathroom (like that was going to help at that point!) and so I walked to the bathroom and some people came in to help me. They had me lay on the floor and a doctor came in as well as the girl who was holding Eloise. Then the paramedics arrived and started doing all their stuff. They loaded me on to a gurney and put me in an ambulance and took me to the hospital. The girl who was holding Eloise drove to the hospital in my car, and someone called Melissa and Matt to tell them what happened. They met me there shortly after I got there. Melissa stayed, but Matt took Iris back to my place for her nap.

After spending many hours in the hospital, basically, I'm fine. I'm guessing I should have written that first, for anyone who was worried! Having Melissa there was wonderful and luckily Eloise slept for the whole time except for waking up twice to nurse. They did an exam and an ultrasound and found nothing terribly suspicious. So now I'm supposed to take it easy. I spoke to the midwife on the phone during the car ride home (my friend Julia picked me up) and she said "you know that sign you were waiting for from your body saying you were doing too much? Well, you just got it."

This just sucks. Really, really sucks. I didn't think I was over-doing it but apparently I was. I don't really know how NOT to over-do it. How does a single mama take it easy? I wish I could afford a live-in housekeeper or something.

Oh, and the one funny thing is that Melissa was wheeling me out of the hospital in a wheel chair while I held Eloise. The people we passed sort of looked at us like "oh! the new baby!" I kept wanting to say "she was born at home! Ten days ago!" haha.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Still sleeping . . .

Miss Eloise is being far too easy on me. So easy, in fact, that I'm getting a bit nervous about the day she decides that sleeping is her nemesis and refuses to ever do it again. I know that newborns are sleepy, but Iris never was, so I just compare all these experiences to her.

This morning a mama from our pre-school co-op took Iris to the park for a couple of hours. I mostly spent the time cleaning, as I had company over this afternoon. It's been so wonderful to get these breaks! Two friends from my yoga class came by and so we all chatted about birth and motherhood and met all the babies. They are both first time mamas and it was fun for me to remember what that felt like. Tonight Matt's sister came by to make me dinner. I took her up on the offer even though I actually had dinner delivered to me tonight by another co-op mama. Hell, I figure I will take all the food I can get! One thing is for sure, I'm eating ten times better in this post-partum period than I did last time. It's probably going a long way towards keeping my energy up.

Last night I was reading my recent issue of Mothering magazine. There was an article in it about lying-in, which is about a mother's experience of spending the first fifteen days of her children's life literally in bed with him bonding. It made me cry. Although I couldn't imagine having more amazing friends who have gone so far out of their way to help me, the support is still a far cry from being able to spend fifteen days in bed with my new baby. 24 hours after Eloise was born I was home alone with a newborn and a toddler. Am I doing a kick ass job raising my girls? Absolutely. Do I wish every day that things were different? Yes. I know I can form a strong bond with my newborn even without an initial intense bonding experience of spending 15 days in bed with her, but damn if I don't wish I at least had the opportunity.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

One week update

Eloise and I just back from her (and my) one week post-partum check up. Everything is looking really great! She is already up to 8 lbs 10 oz-- her birth weight was 8 lbs 2 oz, and they wouldn't even expect a newborn to get back up to his/her birth weight until two weeks after birth! Hooray for healthy baby! She has a touch of yellow in her eyes and her skin, I guess this is just "breastfeeding jaundice" and not of concern. It just looks wierd. They also did her second PKU :( It wasn't even the heel prick that upset her, it was that they had to hold her foot down to get all those stupid drops on the paper. She screamed and screamed! Poor Eloise was also a wreck on the beginning of the car ride home. Iris was always hit or miss (mostly miss) in the car and it was so rough. I pulled over in a parking lot and nursed her for quite a while, effectively knocking her out for the rest of the drive. I remember having to pull over all overthe place to nurse Iris when she was tiny. It made it impossible to really go, or get, anywhere. I hope Eloise is a little more laid back than her big sister.

Miss Iris is visiting her dad for the afternoon. At first I thought my heart would break as she went off for visits, but now I'm realizing that it's a little life saver for single parents! I just got home, Eloise is sleeping, so I'm relaxing. RELAXING! Can you believe it? I had started to forget what this felt like. I could get use to this!

OMG, I am SOOO in love!

Everyone with more than one child will tell you that there is more than enough love to go around to all of your children. Even though it felt like your heart would often explode with love over a first born child, the rumors really are true-- there is somehow, amazingly, enough love. I don't know if my heart just expanded or something, but now that Eloise is here, I feel like if I even think a little too much about loving these girls, it might just burst in to a million pieces.

Even as I write this, Iris is sitting on the couch saying "I love you mama!" over and over.

KABOOM!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Introspection and some firsts!

Obviously, every day is full of firsts for Eloise. Of note, she had her first bath yesterday as well her very first trip to Target (which of course she slept through, therby missing the excitement). Already she feels so big to me, already growing too fast. This newborn stage is amazingly precious. It's like every moment you have to drink it in and slather it all over yourself because in a blink, it's gone. I swore on my life there would be no more children, and unless I find myself a decent man (and I know they exist! I've seen them with my own eyes!) it's out of the question, but there is nothing like a newborn to kick start those breeding hormones. Sigh. She is just so unbelievably tiny and beautiful. It literally makes me cry sometimes when I look at her.

Of course, I cry more than usual these days. Sometimes over the amazing love I have for my two little girls and how could I possibly be so blessed as to be their mama, sometimes over my anger at their father and how he could care so little about his family. It's incredibly naive of me, I know, but every time he sees his daughters I have this feeling like this time it will sink in with him. This time he will finally think to himself "holy shit, what am I doing throwing this all away?". I honestly expect that to happen. I really do. I'm such a sucker.

Every day it sinks in a little more that I'm stronger than I ever thought I was. Through the end of the pregnancy, then the birth, and now raising these two girls, I couldn't imagine the strength it would require, but amazingly, it's inside of me. I work really hard to not let outside stresses not interfere with the relationship I have with my girls. I couldn't imagine a more stressful time to be nuturing a newborn, but honestly, it's going beautifully. Yes, the laundry is a bit backed up, and yes, the dog was only let out twice the whole day yesterday, but my little babe couldn't be more loved. My older daughter has had lots of time to play and enjoy her new sister and nurse and snuggle. I think co-sleeping has really helped make sure I stay close, physically and otherwise, with both of them. At night I wedge myself in between my sprawled out toddler and my sweet smelling bundle of baby and just lie there feeling like there is no where else in the world I would rather be.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Starting to figure out how this works

Well, every day I'm getting a little better at being the single mama of a newborn and a toddler. Luckily, the peanut sleeps a TON-- in my estimates she's been asleep about 68 of the last 72 hours. I won't complain. Well, other than my painful and annoying engorgement, and the need to rouse Eloise from her slumber every two hours to get her to nurse and give here mama a little relief!

Several people have brought us dinners already, which is so incredibly wonderful. The other day I was talking to Julia on the phone and she asked if I need any clothes for the girls as she was getting a bunch of stuff from a friend who was moving out of town. She showed up with a huge box of really great clothes for Iris and will be bringing by baby stuff later this week. She also brought me a rocking chair! I love it and can't believe Julia just happened to have one that needed a new home. What luck!

I'm working at leveling out my emotions. Starting to recognize what sorts of things are triggers for me has helped alot. Also just being able to talk to friends and get out of the house has done wonders for my head. I brought the ladies down to Melissa's yesterday and we stayed for several hours. Iris had tons of fun playing and I enjoyed just hanging out with Melissa and feeling somewhat normal. I think the fact that I'm still sleeping relatively well has helped alot. Even the other night when Eloise was awake from 2:30-4:00 am she was just quiet and alert, so it was actually really nice to be awake with her and getting to know her in the stillness of the apartment.

I also have started wearing Eloise in the sling, thanks to some suggestions from the mamas on the MDC board. Right now she's in my slingling, which is a pouch. I have never used a pouch before, so after a few tries I think I have a good cradle hold down. Even though Eloise is sleeping most of the time, I hate just setting her down and going about my day. Being able to carry her in the sling is really wonderful, and it keeps her up and away from curious fingers.

It's been interesting to be tandem nursing, as well. I get really excited when people ask me questions about it, because it gives me a chance to talk about the experiece. Mostly people want to know how the milk changes to accomodate two children. I don't think many people realize that even though you're nursing a toddler, your milk still changes to colostrum in anticipation of the new baby, and then your new milk will still come in (ouch!) Well, I'm learning this as I go, actually. I didn't think I would be as uncomfortable as I am. I'm trying to nurse Eloise enough, and get Iris to nurse to take off some of the pressure, as well as pump a bit. I wish I had more time to put ice packs on them or do something to relieve the pain. Hopefully things level out in the next few days.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Whew.

I don't know if things are just really different this time or what, but I feel like I'm on this insane emotional roller coaster this time around. I know it's hormones, partially, but it's also just, well, life.

Eloise was born so much earlier than I anticipated, it feels so wierd still that I'm not pregnant. It is strange to me that all the planning and anticipating and wondering and worrying-- poof! It's all in the past. I look around my bedroom and obviously vividly remember the night she was born, but feel sad that those amazing moments already are getting stuffed in to the past. The tub is long gone, the room is well cleaned, life is back to normal. My body is in that big poofy tummy phase. All of a sudden, the huge belly was gone. I don't remember the last time I took notice of my pregnant belly. Eloise is so beautiful and amazing. I love her to pieces. Already, though, she's just a family member and is just fitting right in to the craziness of our lives. Hell, she's just a few days old and already got to witness her father treat me like a piece of crap (of course, she was privvy to much more in the womb). Yep, welcome to the world, baby girl!

My heart is breaking because the whole event, the birth, this time after the birth, it's supposed to be, it SHOULD be, this really magical, beautiful time of revelling in our new family. I feel so robbed of this precious time, and I feel that Eloise and Iris are robbed, too. I've had so much amazing support from my friends, but it's still not the same as having a tight little family of love to sink in to.

It's amazing how physically I've been feeling after the birth, as well. I fully anticipated that nursing Eloise would be super easy simply because I was still nursing Iris. Not really. Now, she nurses like a champ, but I wasn't prepared for my nipples to hurt, for the engorgement, for the gigantic cantaloupes. It sucks. My nether regions are still sore. I'm tired and thirsty.

I'm just far too emotional, too. One second I'm crying because of all the bullshit, the next I'm so overjoyed with happiness at the love I feel for this new little being.

Here's the pictures

Moments after birth. The woman on the right is my midwife, on the left is one of the students.


The first weighing with the curious big sister looking on. I always thought these scales were so darn cool, I made a point of having someone take a picture of this moment!


Nursing for the first time.


Our family! This picture was the morning after the birth. Please excuse the disheveled mama with the delerious smile! Iris thought it would be funny to wear Eloise's baby hat.


My little sweetie. I can't believe how in love I am with her. It was so hard for me to imagine loving another human being as much as I love Iris, but alas, it actually is possible!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The birth story of Eloise

Eloise Pearl
born August 17, 2006
10:17 pm
21 3/4"
8 lb 2 oz

The story begins on Wednesday the 16th. I started having contractions at 11:00 pm that evening, but since I was about two weeks away from my due date, I assumed I was having false labor. They were sort of strong, not really close together, but keeping me awake. I was home alone with Iris, it was the middle of the night, and after a while I was starting to feel a little worried about what was going on. After much internal deliberation, I decided to get up and call my midwife at about 2:30 am. I grabbed my cell phone and sat down in the living room. Bizarrely, my phone was working really erratically and wouldn't let me make any calls out. I finally got a call through to the answering service who would page my midwife. I didn't hear back from her for almost half an hour, so I called again. Apparently she had been trying to call me, but my phone wasn't ringing. I was starting to freak out, as this was my only phone and it was the middle of the night. I tried calling my friend Melissa and got through after several attempts. I also finally heard back from my midwife by about 3:30. She told me to take a bath, relax, and that the contractions would likely go away. I laid in the bath tub for about half an hour and they did get easier, but as soon as I got out they came back. Still not really strong, long OR close together, but they were there! I talked to Melissa again in the early morning and she said she would come over to stay with me for the day and bring her phone over for me to use, since mine was still acting so wierd. I also tried paging my doula several times, with no response.

Melissa was at my house by 10:00 am with her son and the little girl she nanny's for in tow. She brought some toys and fun things for the kids to do so I could get some rest. I spoke to my midwife again just after 10:00 and she told me to try my best to get some sleep. I laid down at about 11:30 and slept in half hour chunks, waking up to contractions, for almost two hours. I got up and nothing was really different. The rest of the afternoon was pretty stressful. I felt like crap, the kids were all acting crazy from being cooped up inside and my apartment was totally trashed. Every time I got up from my chair I had a contraction, so I tried to stay put to avoid them. I still didn't know if I should do something to encourage the contractions or get them to stay away as long as possible. After a while I thought they were sort of coming at a regular frequency, so I called and let her know. She said to call back when they were consistently five minutes apart and consistently strong. She also said that, if I wanted to, I could call the folks about getting the birth tub delivered. At 5:00 Melissa's husband came and picked up her son and the girl she nanny's for and brought them both home. She and I then cleaned up the apartment, which felt good to me since I feel much better in a less-cluttered environment, but it also gave me a few contractions. I decided to have Melissa call and find out about getting the tub brought over. We found out that between the delivery, set up and filling of the tub it would be at least 2-2 1/2 hours before I could get in it anyways, so I had her tell them to bring the tub over. While we waited we walked down the block and back. I didn't really have contractions, but rather I felt I was having one long mild contraction the whole time. It was really, really annoying. The tub was delivered and the woman instructed Melissa how to finish filling it. Right after the tub came I called my midwife and had a little breakdown. I said that I was just freaking out because the labor was going really erratically, just like it had with Iris, and I was exhausted and scared and didn't know what was going on. She said she would get the two students together and come on over to be with me. Melissa and I had paged my doula over a dozen times throughout the day without a response. I later found out that she was out of town for two days, but she hadn't told me. My midwife wanted to bring the extra student to act as a doula for me. I also had another friend, Julie, come over to help out with the tub. She got there at about 7:00, I think, and during this time my contractions seemed a bit stronger. The two students arrived pretty close together, and the contractions increased in strength a bit more. My midwife arrived at about 8:00. I totally broke down crying when I saw her, so relieved she was there. Almost immediately my contractions started coming on like crazy, almost one on top of the other. The midwife and students were setting up their gear, getting out all the baby stuff, etc. I remember watching them thinking "wow, I wonder why they are even bothering getting set up! It might be forever before this baby comes!" My midwife checked my dilation at that point and had some amazingly good news-- I was 7 cm dilated and fully effaced and the baby was right there.

At this point I got in to the tub and the runaway freight train took off. I was having the most intense contractions right on top of one another and I could barely hold on and just was pissed off for most of it, being really sassy (so I was told by my friends) with the midwife and students. I then started to feel the urge to push. I had heard alot of times that the pushing stage is better, because it gives you something to do during the contractions, so I thought "okay, I get to push!". Um, NO. The pushing was the most horrendous thing I've ever felt, ever. I just screamed and screamed and freaked out until my midwife explained that I needed to focus that energy on bearing down, not on screaming. I wasn't going to be able to scream the baby out, unfortunately! I am not sure exactly how many contractions I had in the tub, but I wasn't able to push the baby down as fast as my midwife thought I should be able to (I just wasn't pushing very effectively), so she got me out of the tub and sat me on the birth stool. This was the last thing I wanted to do, but she knew it would get my baby out the quickest. She was right. In one contraction and a couple of strong pushes, Eloise was born, just two short (but felt like LONG) hours after my midwife had arrived and none of us even sure I was in active labor! She asked if I wanted to catch my baby, but I said no, I just wanted her out!, so the midwife caught her and handed her to me. I couldn't believe it. At that point Julie was in the room and Melissa was also there holding Iris, so they all got to witness the birth. Iris was calm and observant, and pretty tired.

After birthing the placenta, Eloise and I moved to the bed and the midwives checked me over, I didn't even need any stitches, Yay! The newborn exams were perfect and Eloise latched on pretty quickly for nursing. Iris was so awesome, just sort of hanging out being curious, not getting in the way TOO much.

All in all, not an experience I would ever want to repeat, but I am SO glad I got my homebirth. I felt so triumphant that I did it! Unfortunately I didn't get to use any of my hypnosis skills. In the beginning the contractions were so erratic that I didn't really feel like I needed the hypnosis, and by the time I got in the tub everything was moving so fast I couldn't even think straight and it felt too late to try and use my skills. I am still grateful that I learned the skills, because they helped me amazingly while I practiced, and I learned skills that will be helpful in other areas of my life. Had the labor progressed more predictably, I think the hypnosis would have fit in beautifully. I also am unbelievably grateful for Melissa and her support through the whole thing. She was there for 24 hours and worked her booty off to do everything for me. I don't think she knew exactly what she was in store for (as I effectively scared her off of ever having a natural child birth!) but anything and everything I needed, she was immediately there for me. It was exactly the support I needed through the labor, birth and afterwards.

(p.s. as I think about the labor and birth more I may come back and edit this, but here's the long-winded rough draft!)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Eloise is here!

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to let you know that baby Eloise was born at home last night at 10:17. She's 8 lbs 2 oz and almost 22" long. We are all doing well and Iris is a great big sister!

I don't have pictures on the computer, yet, but will try to send some soon. When I get a chance, will post the long, sordid tale of the labor/birth, as well.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My last night of prenatal yoga

Oh, I'm so sad :( Tonight was my last night of prenatal yoga and, interestingly, it was my teacher's last night of teaching prenatal yoga. It was sort of a wierd class because I'm not feeling that great and all of the friends I've made in class weren't there tonight-- two of them recently gave birth, but it was still really sad for me, anyways. Doing prenatal yoga has been probably the single most positive thing I've done for myself this pregnancy. Not just for my body, but for my head, too. When I left I gave my teacher a big hug and thanked her. I told her I wanted to try and keep coming to yoga classes, but I wasn't sure how I could do postnatal (which you can bring your baby to) because I didn't know what I would do about childcare for my older daughter. Amazingly, she recommended a child care facility that is drop-in only, Montessori based, and charges $5.50 an hour. I almost died. That's like a serious dream come true for someone like me who will really, really need the time with only one baby, can't afford to pay regular rates for baby-sitting and will have very little time (or energy) for child care trades with my friends once the babe is born.

Sigh. I do hope I get to do postnatal yoga. I hope I can continue to do yoga for quite a while. I hope that once I'm no longer pregnant I will have the will to practice yoga at home, as well. I guess I'll be more busy and stressed, but I always just had a mental block about doing yoga at home while pregnant.

I also need to remember some of the tips I learned for coping with this damn false labor and early real labor. I forgot about the flowing cat-cow pose, specifically, and how much the teacher has been recommending it.

This afternoon I felt a strong urge to get the rest of my bedroom set up for the birth. Little things, like I set up where the candles would go, and cleaned up a bit. I decided I will post some birth affirmation cards on the walls, as well. I am sure in labor it will be hard to remember the affirmations I've been learning through the hypnosis, and reading them plus having my birth attendants be able to see them and repeat them to me will be nice.

#%!& false labor!

Grrrr. This didn't happen when I went in to labor with Iris. I actually didn't have a single contraction my whole pregnancy until I went in to labor. Granted, she wasn't born for almost 48 hours after the contractions started, but still, it progressed somewhere. Now I get to be stuck in this "am I? aren't I?" place until labor decides to officially start. You'd think my body wouldn't need false labor the second time around! I've been here before! I've done this!

Of course, I did over do it yesterday. I really, really exhausted myself walking maybe, I don't know, five blocks? Yeah, it's pretty sad these days. Poor Iris is going to be spending the rest of my pregnancy sitting on the darn couch. I really didn't want to go in to actual labor last night because I was just too exhausted from my day. I would like to be more well-rested. We hardly got much sleep last night, anyways. I think I am on to something with Iris's sleeping habits being related to seeing her dad. He was here to visit her last night and so she went to bed much later than normal. She slept like crap, at one point was wide awake in the early morning asking to come out in the living room. Grrr. And then there I was, having contractions every so often, especially when I moved around, which I had to constantly do for a while to try and settle her again. This morning I freaked that I had no cat littler or dog food so I dragged Iris to a couple of stores and also quickly picked out a bunch of stuff for before/during/after delivery.

I have begun thinking about those women who have super fast labors. There's a mama on the message board I read that had her baby this morning in two hours start to finish. Hearing stories like that make me terrified to even leave the house in my condition! What if I started having contractions that strong in the middle of traffic or something? Yikes.

Barney is my new best friend and at the same time, I want to kill the tv every time the show is on. What is wrong with the children on this show? They are far too happy about balls, brushing teeth and cleaning up. It's a little scary. I find the actual Barney character far less annoying than the children he interacts with. Of course, Iris is in a Barney phase so we've watched the same four on-demand episodes about a million times in the last three days.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Terrible mama

Okay, so I am blogging like mad today. So many things going on!

I have a beautiful dog named Lily. She lived with my mom for the first seven years of her life, then came to Seattle to live with me for the last just over three years. At first I loved being a dog owner. I had tons of time for her, she was my world. Then I got pregnant and everything changed. I was a single mama at that time and had little energy to deal with Lily while I was pregnant. I had to move, which is always hard with a dog because not many people want to rent to dog owners, at least not the decent apartments. But, I managed. Then Iris was born and I had a dog walker who helped out once in a while until the day he forgot my dog at the dog park and a stranger called me to tell me what was going on. It has been pretty hard to be a dog owner ever since Iris came in to my life. The past few months Matt took on alot of the responsibility of the pets, which has been awesome. Lily slept with him and he took her out to go potty most of the time. I barely did anything. I haven't had the energy. Now that he's moved out I'm already feeling the strain of taking care of her. She is never properly groomed, hasn't been in for a check up in forever and the last time she went to the vet for a never-identified itching problem the vet bills put us right over the edge. She hardly ever gets walks and I am constantly mad at her for being under foot. Obviously, she's stir crazy and needs more exercise. We live on the second floor of an apartment building with very, very little yard, so taking her outside is a full-fledged event.

Okay, so blah blah blah. I have struggled for quite a while. I finally broke down and asked my mom if I could find a new home for Lily. She is a special pure-bred dog, used to be a show dog, actually, and I thought someone would want her in a heart beat. She's a very, very sweet dog and SOOOO good with Iris. I felt like the biggest ass EVER writing the email to my mom about Lily. She just wrote me back saying that she would take Lily back to WI with her after she came out to visit in the fall. Ugh. My heart is going to break. I can't stand the dog and yet I love her to pieces. I also feel like, for Iris, losing Lily, on top of her dad moving out, a new sister being born and fairly soon having to move out of the only home she's ever known, well, I'm just going to put her right over the edge.

I feel like a terrible, terrible mama to my dog. I also feel like I'm going to do a terrible thing to my daughter by giving the dog back to my mom. At least the dog is going to a much, much better home and not to some shelter. Actually, I wouldn't let her go if she was not going to somewhere infinitely better.

Sigh.

MUCH better!

I re-scheduled my last few appointments with the midwives for earlier in the day, and on Tuesdays instead of Thursdays. I must say, getting there in 20 minutes with no traffic is a heck of a lot better than getting there (and back!) in an hour with bumper-to-bumper traffic the whole way. It was much more relaxing. I should have just scheduled all my darn appointments that way. Oh, well!

The last few times I've gone I've seen the same midwife. I've obviously grown even closer to her over these last few weeks because of it. We've also talked on the phone a few times. Now, of course, I'm leaning towards wanting her at the birth. This is also the same midwife who has a greater probability of being there based on the dates she's on-call. The good news is that my GBS test is negative, yay! Something I won't have to worry about. She also didn't make any speculations on the babe's size, but we are fairly certain she'll be as big as her sister was, which was almost 10 lbs (doesn't that sound more dramatic that saying 9 lbs 14 oz?!). My midwife really thought I'd have this baby pretty soon. Well, that I'd have her "early", at least. Once I hit my due date we might start talking about some gentle, natural ways to move things along. I am absolutely not wanting to go in to labor at all costs, but knowing how big Iris was, and she was two days early!, I really don't want to go too late and end up with some record-setting sized babe who can't be born at home.

Measurements were good, her heart sounded good, she's still head down and right where she's been the last few weeks (with her back along the left side of my tummy). I am feeling more comfortable having a student I hardly know participating in my care. Mostly because having one less support person at my birth will probably make the student even more indispensable. The student I just met at my last appointment does seem perfectly nice, so I am sure it will be fine.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Some recent pictures

The outfit Iris put together all by herself! Doesn't she look like she's modeling? I told her to pose for the camera and this is what she came up with.


Working on the whole bowl of Doritos at the baby party.


Vaseline in her hair.


Melissa doing my belly cast.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Observations

So today Iris was playing with her Word Whammer. She had it on the setting where it tells you a three letter word to spell and, theoretically, the child spells it. Well, Iris doesn't spell yet, but you get the idea. The word it was telling her to spell? WAR. I just thought, is that necessary? Yes, it's technically a three letter word, but this game is directed at small children. On a funny side note my dad was entering different letters in it to try and get it to recognize the words. Apparently it doesn't know KEG, but it knows WAR.

I also have an issue with children's music that mentions violence of any kind. Call me old fashioned, but I don't think it's appropriate to sing about guns or killing on a recording directly aimed at children. Case in point our recent purchase of the Dan Zanes' cd Catch That Train! called Grey Goose (side note to Zanes: this is also the name of a popular vodka) and they talk about killing and eating a goose. I have also heard at least two other children's cds recently that talked about guns, killing or war. Granted, the songs seem completely harmless, but once you listen closely, it's just not right!

I am currently entertained by the things Iris says in her sleep. The other night she started singing "Happy Birthday" in the middle of the night. Last night, when I was coming back to bed from a trip to the bathroom I accidentally leaned on her arm. She mumbled "Sorry" and rolled over. A couple of mornings ago, pretty early, a fire truck could be heard going down a nearby street. Iris said "They're good. Help people. Fire trucks are good." Which is what I have been trying to drill in to her head to keep her from being scared of their noise. We have been hearing an insane amount of fire trucks and police cars lately. Many a day. Of course, for the ease of identification, we say all the sirens are coming from fire trucks. You know, I don't even know the difference :)

Updates

I hadn't had a chance yet to write about my last hypnosis for birth appointment. I really, really like my hypnotherapist. She feels like one of those people who was sent in to my life for a reason. Working with her has been amazing and I'm truly sad my appointments are over. Due to all the turmoil in my life I have had a hard time practicing my hypnosis. Well, I should say effectively practice. The therapist went through some practice with me in the session and reassured me that I was more than ready for the birth, that I was doing fine. She also talked to me quite a bit about what was going on with me and took me through some exercises to help me heal and protect myself during these hard times. I left feeling a great deal stronger and more relaxed than I had in a long time.

Last night I got very little sleep. Usually when I wake up to pee or roll over or check on Iris I can get back to sleep fairly quickly. Last night I just kept thinking about the man I knew who was killed in the accident yesterday. My mind couldn't turn it off and for several hours I was consumed in thoughts surrounding the accident, how these things can possibly happen, and where his family is going to go from here.

I'm anxiously awaiting the end of the week. I feel like I will finally be able to start relaxing. I know the babe won't come out until it's safe for her to be here, so the sooner I make that safe place happen, then the sooner she can start thinking about "making like a baby and head out!" Hee hee. I also talked to one of my midwives yesterday, bringing her up to speed on my situation. I ended the phone call feeling really positive and excited about the birth. It's going to be lovely, I just really, in my heart, know that it will work out beautifully. My team of friends is assembled and all on alert as to when I'm going to need them to come in and help out. It's amazing how when you start reaching out for help how many people will be there for you. All in all, I am very blessed and not at all alone.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Putting things in perspective

I was just getting ready to write about all the trivial aspects of my day when I got a call from my sister. Her husband's best friend was killed in a car accident this afternoon. He was stopped at a stop sign when a drunk driver made an illegal turn, ran over the median and broadsided his car. I watched a news clip of it and the hit car was totaled. Totaled. It didn't even look like a car. Of course that car that hit him looked basically fine. And the driver that hit him? Well, he's now recovering nicely in the hospital. The man who died had a wife and a son who had just turned one.

My brother-in-law had been best friends with this man his whole life, and they are both almost 40. My heart is just breaking. You hear about these stories on the news. All the time, actually. It just becomes another story. When it happens to someone you know, and you actually start to realize how so many people lives are devastated by the actions of one horrible person-- ugh. It makes me so sad and sick.

I'm not usually a praying woman, but tonight I'll be sending out as many prayers as I can to the man's wife and son. I hope you'll do the same.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Yesterday

Yesterday I ended up having a pretty good day. Iris and I went down to visit Melissa and her family and we spent a bit of time together before I went to my counseling appointment. It felt validating to speak to the counselor-- he knows Matt and I both very well, so I knew he'd have some solid advice for me. He sent me home with a few referrals to agencies I should contact and quite the reality check. Not that I didn't understand the seriousness of the situation, but hearing him tell me that some of the things Matt has done in front of Iris are very, very close to being a valid reason for him (the counselor) to contact CPS really caught me off guard. He said he wouldn't be, as he doesn't think it's warranted in this situation (thank goodness) but that I needed to know that was how serious it was. On a funny side note, he didn't charge me for the appointment. I asked why and he said, well, you're 37 weeks pregnant, and I mostly just provided you with lots of referrals, blah blah blah. I had to laugh because you KNOW you're in rough shape when your counselor feels bad enough for you to give you a free appointment!

I was glad that I felt so confident leaving the appointment because my mom, bless her soul, was less the supportive on the phone when I called to tell her how it went. She is more of the frame of mind that leaving (and therefor screwing myself over financially) is worse than trying to "work it out". I understand her concern about where I will go from here. I started to have some flashbacks to my childhood, and things that used to go on between my own parents. I don't know exactly what happened between them, but there are some very eery similarities between my mother and father and Matt and I. My dad used to pull some of the same shit Matt has. So much for being in a relationship with someone just like your father! Don't get me wrong, I love my dad to death. I think he's a wonderful man, he's just had a rough relationship. I am desperately hoping that if nothing else, I am setting strong examples for my daughters. I know that if either of them were in a relationship like I am I would just be so sad.

Anyways, after I got back to Melissa's she fed me a yummy dinner of jambalaya and then was so kind as to help me do the belly cast. It was fun, and very messy. Iris was rubbing her hands on my greased up belly (I had to slather myself with vaseline before the strips went on) and proceeded to rub her hands over her face and through her hair. She looked SOOO funny. Melissa's husband took some pictures for me, I'll be sure to post them soon.

I really, really enjoy spending time with Melissa's family. I just adore them all and they are truly the nicest people I have ever met. They also are, even in their own imperfect-ness, a great reminder to me of what normal, healthy relationships should be. Melissa calls her husband "baby" and it melts my heart every time she does it :)

It's my anniversary!!!!

In the midst of all the b.s. I totally forgot it's my one year blogging anniversary! I started on August 7, 2005. Wow. I have really, really enjoyed writing in my blog, reading other mama's blogs and just having this outlet as my crazy world has been unfolding.

It's been interesting that I went through some long periods where life was so un-eventful that I barely posted once a week and then there are other times where I feel like I could post about three times a day to get it all out of my head and on to something.

When I was younger I used to journal alot. I started around the summer after my sophomore year of high school. Writing really crappy poetry (okay, some of it was decent!) and scribbling my angst in a journal. My journals proved to be a tremendous savior as I struggled through moving away from my friends, the suicide of someone I was very close to and the drowning of another friend--all before I was 17 years old. I continued to journal throughout most of my adult life, tapering off here and there. I don't know what I would have done without my journals. I don't know what I would do without my blog! I just have the personality that needs to get things written down. Having a blog that is public is pretty interesting. At first it freaked me out, but I've got nothing but positive feedback and support from what I write, so that makes it pretty easy to keep it public. I've really enjoyed "meeting" new mamas through the comments I receive here.

Since I put the counter on my blog in December I've gotten almost 4,000 hits, I think. That's insane! I have no idea who is reading that much. It's pretty cool, too. It definitely satisfies the tiny, tiny part of me that is intrigued with my private life being on something of a stage.

Being a mama, as you all know, leaves little alone time. Blogging is my alone time. Even when Iris is standing at my feet whining for me to play with her, I calmly ask her to finish watching her show so mama can "do her work". I regard writing in my blog as something important enough to plop her in front of the television for so I can write. Heck, we haven't even had breakfast yet today! I'm starving my family for the love of my blog. If that isn't dedication, I don't know what is!

I am sure over the next weeks and months the content of my blog will go in some crazy places. Almost simultaneously becoming a single mama and having another baby will certainly present enough blogging fodder for many posts to come. I hope everyone sticks with me, goodness knows I'll need the support.

Many, many hugs!

mamamilkers

Monday, August 07, 2006

So the struggle starts immediately, huh?

Okay, back to our regularily scheduled blog posts about parenting. Sort of. Boyfriend is physically leaving by the end of the week and will be moving out for good in September. Wait! This is really is a parenting thing, stay with me. Now I have to figure out to explain, to a TWO year old, what the hell is going on. It's so hard because, obviously, she is pretty intelligent, but there is only so much you can say to a toddler. She already asks me all day long where dada is, knowing full well he's at work. So when he's gone and she says "where's dada?" I get to say "sleeping on so-and-so's couch" or "he doesn't live here anymore". Hmmm. Yeah. Doesn't feel quite right.

My absolute number one fear, as I think is most mamas in these situations, is that my children are going to suffer from this. There is an amazing amount of guilt that comes from looking at a toddler who adores her family and knowing that you're going to be taking that away from her. Everyone, everyone, says it's for the best. I'm doing the right thing. I'm not sure Iris would necessarily agree. It's almost nicer that she is young, and babe #2 isn't even born yet, so hopefully the transition will be smooth. Who knows. Iris might not even be able to look back and remember the drama of her family.

I'm going to meet with my counselor today and ask him this very question. How do I talk to Iris about what's happening to her family. Isn't there an episode of Blue's Clues I can put on that deals with this?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sooooo tired

I am glad this day is over. It was supposed to be super fun and lovely to have everyone here to celebrate the new baby coming. Let's see, so the morning started with boyfriend screaming at me, telling me I don't deserve to have a party and that he would ruin it. Awesome. So I asked him to either leave so I can have the party or if he stays I will call it off. So, he thankfully leaves. Let me tell you, in hindsight, I would have rather called it off. It's more than a little uncomfortable when your boyfriend's family and friends show up and ask where he is. I didn't want to get in to it. I said I didn't know, because I didn't, and that it was a long story.

Thank goodness for Melissa today. She calmed me down when I called her hysterically crying this morning, picked up the stuff I needed at the store since I didn't have a car all day, and was by my side throughout the party. I just stayed put talking to the people I knew the best and tried to be a decent hostess. We were supposed to do a belly cast today, but it didn't really work out. Being the only person here hosting so many people, it didn't feel right to just leave the room for so long. Plus, Melissa had to leave early since her son was falling apart after a really long day. I didn't want to do it without her. Hopefully we will find time to do it later this week. At least before the baby comes! I was joking that we'd be quickly laying the cast strips on my belly while I went through contractions :)

I finally decided to call my mom tonight and be honest with her about what was going on. Maybe my whole new direction will be being honest and not all smiley about what I'm going through. She was a bit taken aback, as I've put on a good face for her for a long time. I had just gotten back from a walk I was suckered in to basically so I could be screamed at and berated on the sidewalk in front of all my neighbors. It was super awesome. I asked boyfriend to move out. Believe me, I would be gone in a second if I could. Being so pregnant and vulnerable is so incredibly hard for me. I wish I had family close by. My mom said just say the word and they will be out here to pack me up and drive me and Iris back home. I could just imagine going in to labor somewhere in the middle of Montana during the drive! Ha ha. I am lucky that she's on my butt now about having me get help and get out of here. I was scared she would take a more hands-off approach, when what I was calling for was help, but she was as wonderful as I hoped she could be.

I'm just so tired. So, so, so, tired. I have repeatedly asked boyfriend to just stop, just leave me alone, until the baby comes. He refuses. I don't understand what the necessity of being so hideous to a pregnant woman three weeks before her due date is. Okay, off to bed.

Friday, August 04, 2006

"I WANT that!"

Uh oh. I think my "payback" is starting. My mother likes to share gruesome stories of trying to take me grocery shopping while I just screamed bloody murder about all the things I wanted in the store. She would have to drag me out of the store and wrestle me in to the car, sometimes leaving one of my older siblings inside to pay for the groceries. Well, my lovely, beautiful, intelligent daughter is starting to (eek!) exhibit some of these behaviors. We walk down the isles of the grocery store while she screams "I WANT that!" and points to anything, ANYTHING!, and screams until she is distracted by something else. I'm such a push over, too. Today Iris got a hula hoop, stickers, cookies and popsicles. Now, mind you I denied her about umpteen million other things, and the items I did purchase were basically bribes. Yes, I know. It's probably mostly my fault. I'd like to be cut a bit of slack for being hugely pregnant, tired, sore and just of short temper. I decided that giving her cookies in the store is infinitely easier than wrestling her to the ground. Of course, I'm feeding the habit (so to speak) and I'm sure it won't get any easier at this point.

Oh, and while I'm at it, you know what I absolutely can't stand? Those horribly awful carts at the store that are a plastic race car with a grocery cart attached to the front. Ugh! Could they be any harder to steer or any more irrestible to children? Iris saw one when we walked in to the store and threw herself in a heap on the floor sobbing because I wouldn't let her ride in it. I can't even push the damn things when I am this big and tired. Seriously. This is where the cookie bribe came in to play.

In addition, my dear sweet daughter has become so incredibly demanding at home. She'll just stand there and scream "want more!" and EVERY time I just kind of look at her and wait to see if she'll change her tone. Then, as the screaming escalates I say "You know, I would be more than happy to help you if you use your nice voice" and then she immediately gets all sweet and quiet and says "please more!" to which I respond, "Oh, that's a nice voice! I would love to get you some more!". One would think after going through this scenario perhaps hundreds of times it would have sunk in already that she would immediately get what she needs if only she stopped screaming at me. But, alas, no. Sigh.

I just don't know what to do. It feels like I'm beating a dead horse when I say the same things to her over and over and over "please use your nice voice" or "if you throw that on the floor it's all gone".

She also is the kind of girl that has to do everything herself. This is a blessing and a curse. It comes in handy when I can't get her to do something she needs to do, like get in to the car. After asking, very nicely, once or twice, I'll say "okay, mama will help you" and she will say "NO! Icey do!" and the most of the time will immediately do it herself. I suppose the threat of mama's help is enough to make her do it? I hate "threatening" her, but in so many instances, it's the only thing that helps. Like telling her I will do it if she doesn't, or that we're going to leave the store if she keeps screaming, or I'll take her dinner away if she throws her dishes or utensils on the floor. I hate being a mama who does this. It's really tiring and only occasionally works.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Another visit with the midwife

I really dread appointment day. This actually doesn't have anything to do with the appointment itself, which are always wonderful, but rather the time involved going to and from. It takes almost an hour each way to get to the birth center. I get so frazzled in traffic! Seattle has the worst traffic. We have a huge lake that seperates the city from all the suburbs on the eastside and only two bridges to get across the lake. Not suprisingly, traffic ALWAYS is terrible.

But, I digress. Today was another great appointment. Mostly because I am 36 1/2 weeks and am almost considered full term and then can safely have my babe any time (you hear that, baby?!?!). My midwife and I talked about my last labor and how things went. It was a crazy roller-coaster of a labor. We went over the notes from my chart and talked about why things might have happened how they did. For instance, at one point in my labor my dilation was checked and I was almost 10 cm dilated. About 4 or so hours later I was checked again and this time was only 7-8 cm. That was when I said, yeah, um, take me to the damn hospital cause I'm NOT doing this anymore! It was pretty discouraging. Well, it seems like I might have had an erratic labor pattern because of Iris's presentation. She ended up coming out with her head slightly crooked (and I know this because of the positioning of the giant bruise the vacuum caused when pulling her out!) Everyone I talk about the birth with seems to go back to that probably being the cause for the rough labor. Anyways, it's all in the past and hopefully this labor/birth will be nothing like the last one.

I also found out what the midwives on-call schedule is so I can have an idea who might be delivering the baby. I have a slightly better chance of getting the same midwife this time that I had last time. This is totally fine with me-- actually, I would love to have either midwife here, so it's not a problem. I also met a new student midwife today. Ugh. She was super, super nice and really great with Iris, but I just didn't like meeting someone new in the 11th hour. It turns out there is a good chance that student will be at the birth, as well. The student was helping to distract Iris for me while I talked to the midwife. She was showing her some of the tools they use to check mama's tummies, like the tape measure and this wooden tube thing that is flared on each end that they use to listen to the baby's heart beat. Iris was using it on a Care Bear and it was SOOOO cute! When the midwife was feeling my tummy for the babe's position Iris was pressing all around it, as well, and she also had to do the check with the tape measure right after the midwife did. I wish I had brought a camera! It made me feel good that it all was so interesting to Iris, hopefully that's a sign that when I'm in labor and they are needing to listen to heart tones, etc, that Iris will be cool with it instead of freaked out.

In other news, when we woke up this morning Iris said "Go away! Go away mama!" to which I said "Where did you learn that?!?!" Yikers. She's growing up fast! On the way home from the midwives we passed a motorcycle that was purple and black. Thinking she would pick up on the purple I said "Did you see the purple motorcycle?" and she said "mama, it's black". Well, then!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What's new today?

Setting: kitchen
Me: frustratingly banging a containter of honey on the counter to get some to come out
Iris: "no banging mama, that's VERY sassy!"
Me: "hahahahahaha!"

I feel like I'm constantly trying to keep Iris from banging things on our kitchen table. Here I thought all this time my warnings and threats were going in one ear and out the other. I guess not!

This morning, in my never-ending quest to remove everything from the ever-growing to-do list, I got out all of Iris's fall/winter clothes and washed them. Hooray! She of course is now walking around the house in a pair of fleece polka-dotted pants (which she calls "circle pants") and a cordoroy jumper. VERY stunning! I also took apart her bed because it was taking up the space in my bedroom where the birth tub is going to go. She never sleeps in it. I can't even remember the last time she tried. Sigh. At least the entire thing fit under my bed after it was broken down. Now there is a big lovely open space just waiting for the tub. So exciting! Everything is really coming together. Now I just need the baby!

I also realized last night that Pearl might have to come right back off the tops of my name list. It doesn't go nearly as well with my last name as Eloise does. You'll just have to take my word for it if you don't already know my last name :) I was also thinking that I am more likely to call Eloise "Elle" for short than Ellie or Ella. Right now I call Iris "Ice" for short, which is short for her self-given nickname of Icey. Even though Elle is a very close nickname to Ellie or Ella, it's still different, and therefor just fine in my book. So, I feel that overnight I am now almost 100% set on Eloise Pearl (plus a second middle name and then her last name).

I got a tip from MDC to join the Hypnobabies Yahoo! message group. So far I am really glad that I found it. Even though I am not practicing Hypnobabies, I am still very much enjoying being a part of the community of mamas using hypnosis for childbirth. It seems like the mamas who are using Hypnobabies are doing a program much more complicated than what I am. Basically what my program boils down to is relaxing, visualizing whatever I like that relaxes me and listening to whatever music I like. I won't be listening to any kind of affirmations or anything during labor, although maybe that would help! My doula was here visiting with Iris and I yesterday and told me she just attended her first hypnosis birth (as a student midwife). Apprently the mama had a cd going of music and affirmations. I said, well, I won't have that, but any affirmations you remember and want to throw my way, feel free! LOL

I'm really excited about my doula. She's going to be amazing. Heck, I'm just excited about the birth all around. Come on baby!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Waffling on the babe's name

Grrrr! Am I putting too much thought in to this? So, as I said in this previous post I still have reservations about the name Eloise for the baby. I really, really love the name. I just am not sure it's right for this babe. My new favorite name is Pearl. Of course, Eloise Pearl was my number one choice for her name, but now if it is switched to Pearl as the first name, I wouldn't know what to do about the middle name. Oh, and I do still like Beatrice, but I think it's moved to third place. Or maybe not. Who knows!

Not that this really matters, but every person I've told about the name Eloise very much likes it. What if I switched it to Pearl and all those people then thought "hmmmm, what happened to the better name?" I get the same reaction to it that I get when I tell people Iris's name. They just say something "oh, that's so lovely!" and light up. Really, it doesn't matter. But in reality, it's such a nice reaction to get from people. How nice will it be for these girls to grow up and have names that get such warm responses to their names?

I am thinking of just waiting until I meet her to decide on the final name-- Eloise or Pearl-- but on the other hand, I think it would be SO beneficial to know her name before her birth. I want to start talking to Iris about her name. I would love to incorporate an actual name in to my hypnosis practice and when I am in labor. Okay, I know, trivial reasons, right? But right now, it's all I can think about. Pearl! Eloise! Eloise! Pearl! Arrrrggghhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe I need to start meditating on it for a few nights to see what comes to me.