He does have eyes in there! (pics)

Well, the “lil” boy sleeps a lot, but we catch glimpses of his blue-grey eyes every now and then:

Ava makes such a good mommy, nursing her baby with mama’s Boppy pillow:

Just the kiddos:

Proud Aunt Carrie:

And one more of the kiddos (Julian was yawning sooo big!). I think this is my favorite so far.:

One of these days I will get out my good camera and take some pics, but for now the point and shoot will have to do.
Oh, and it looks like we’ll be meeting up with the professional photographer (the one who was supposed to do our birth photos) early next week for some family and newborn pictures. Yay! πŸ™‚

Three days old – update (with pics)

Thank you all for the congratulations and heart-felt comments regarding Julian’s birth. You are all amazing and sure know how to make a mama feel special. We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives (both “real” and online) that care about us. πŸ™‚

Julian is three days old today and it already feels like he’s been a part of our family forever. πŸ™‚

My midwife stopped in today for our three-day check-up. Julian’s weight was the same today as the day he was born – 9 lbs., 8 oz. (amazing that he hasn’t lost any with all the pooping he’s been doing – just ask Jody!) and, when remeasured, he came out to 22 inches again. He’s just a big, long boy. πŸ™‚ She inked his foot and did a footprint on a pseudo-birth certificate for us that says “I Was Born At Home!” (we’ll get the real one from the county), and in his baby book as well. We also elected to have the newborn screening tests done, so she drew blood out of his itty bitty heel for that.

My milk came in this morning and, I must say, it’s nice to have cleavage again. πŸ˜‰ hehe. I think the lil guy is enjoying the good stuff too, and has been in a blissful “milk coma” pretty much all day. If he follows in his sister’s footsteps, it won’t be long before he starts packing on the serious poundage.

Speaking of the big sister, Ava has been amazing us at how well she’s doing with this life-changing event. She’s slipped into the big sister role with ease, and is so loving to Julian and is great with helping out. My sister has come over the past several days and taken Ava out for a few hours for some special time with Aunt Carrie and I think that’s helped her a lot. (Thank you, Carrie!) She’s had a few hard moments, but overall, she’s doing remarkably well. We couldn’t be prouder. πŸ™‚ As far as nursing goes, Ava has asked to nurse a few times over the past few days, but not nearly as often as I thought she might. And, who knows, she may ask to nurse more as we continue in this journey, but, for now, I am sticking with only nursing her before bedtime and then maybe once during the day – depending on if I feel like she really needs the mommy time or not. So far, it is going well which is such a relief! πŸ™‚

I’ve been thinking a lot about what a different experience this has been for me – birthing Ava in the hospital and having complications (HELLP syndrome) myself that lead to a 5-day stay vs. birthing Julian at home and not having any complications. I really feel like I missed out on the first few days of Ava’s life because I was bed-ridden on magnesium sulfate and so sick. Whereas I’ve felt comparatively great since Julian’s birth and have been able to just enjoy the little guy. (Like noticing that he has a dimple in his right cheek when he does those dreamy lil sleep grins.) It’s been like night and day and I’m so thankful that I stayed healthy throughout this pregnancy and birth.

I’ll be posting with updates, etc., when I can, but they will definitely not be as frequent as P.J. (pre-Julian). I’ve got a few other pressing things in my life to attend to. πŸ™‚

And now for a few pics from the past couple days. Click to enlarge.
He doesn’t look so big next to his proud big sister (11/25/06):

She’s so loving and sweet with him:

My midwife inking up Julian’s foot (11/26/06):

Looks good:

Our beautiful boy:

Julian Emerson is here!

We have sooooo very much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving day, namely the birth of our healthy, beautiful baby boy – Julian Emerson – who was born at 2:14 p.m. at our home, after a very fast and intense labor. (Congrats to Vivacious Vegan for guessing his name correctly!) We were very lucky that our midwife was already here (to draw my blood to make sure I was not showing signs of HELLP syndrome – something we never had time or the need to do – and check in on me). I started having contractions in the middle of the night, but nothing I couldn’t breathe through until around 12:30 this afternoon. Then I went from having some really intense contractions (that I had to vocalize through) to having the urge to push to my water breaking all in a matter of minutes. It’s amazing how fast it all happened!

Needless to say, because it all progressed so quickly, the professional photographer we hired to document the birth didn’t make it. Hell, we didn’t even have time to call her until I was already pushing. I think we may have her do some newborn and family pictures in a week or two instead.

In fact, my sister barely got here before he was born!

As for the “lil” (ha!) guy’s birth stats, he weighed in at a hefty 9 lbs., 8 oz., was 22 inches long (though they will remeasure tomorrow because that seems awfully long), and had a 15 cm head! Big boy.

Julian is doing great and is nursing well. I am feeling pretty good myself and had only minor tearing (requiring 4 stitches).

It is certainly a Thanksgiving Day we will never forget and we will always be thankful for the little boy we received today. Jody, Ava and I are all in love with him. πŸ™‚ There were some unexpected bumps and turns along the way (thank God for my awesome midwife and her partner), but it all worked out perfectly in the end. What an amazing ride this has been. πŸ™‚

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the new member of our family:

Daddy and Ava cutting the cord:

Scorpio vs. Sagittarius and Thanksgiving plans

Apparently my little guy is holding out because he doesn’t want to be a Scorpio. Today, according to some astrological charts I’ve seen, is the last day in the Scorpio Zodiac sign and tomorrow (11/23) starts Sagittarius. I guess I’m cool with that (what choice do I have, right??) because from what I’ve heard about Scorpios and some of the ones I’ve known (I dated a Scorpio) are such strong personalities. (Nothing personal against any Scorpios out there.)

It’s kind of funny because Ava was born on the cusp too (that is, if baby boy follows suite and isn’t born within the next 13 hours). Her birthday is June 22, which is the start of Cancer sign. My kids are just stubborn like their bull-headed (Taurus) mom. That shouldn’t surprise me one bit.

So in this extra time baby boy has given us, we’ve decided to change the middle name we had picked out for him (not the first name though – that one is staying). Neither Jody nor I were really in love with the name we originally chosen so we started poking around the Internet (with my sister’s very eager help), looking for something that appealed to us more. We found something that we are happy with now, and unless he decides to stay in another week, we will probably stick with it. πŸ˜‰ Then again, if he decides to stay in another week, we might just skip the whole “J.E.” initials thing and just call him “Stubborn.” :oP


Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I honestly thought I would have a baby in my arms by now. In fact, I was so convinced that I wouldn’t be able to prepare a nice Thanksgiving meal (because I’d be in bed or on the couch with my wee one) that we decided to treat ourselves to a nearly full meal courtesy of Whole Foods. I did make a pumpkin pie last week (which I need to pull out of the freezer to thaw) and I bought a couple turkey breasts, but we ordered all of our side dishes from WF – Creamy Mashed Potatoes Ò€’ Orange Mashed Yams Ò€’ Green Beans Amandine Ò€’ Traditional Herb Stuffing Ò€’ Fresh Cranberry Sauce with Orange Ò€’ Turkey Gravy. Jody is picking them up after work today and all we’ll need to do tomorrow is reheat everything. It will be a nice treat for all of us, regardless of if the baby is here or not. And it will leave more time for us to just hang out and be together as a family (me, Jody, Ava and my sister) and, of course, obsess over when baby boy is going to be born.


Jody said the hot topic in his office today is when will our baby get here. It seems that two women we know who were due in December have already had their babies. Gah. Anyway, I told Jody to start taking bets and agree to split the pool with the winner 50/50. Might as well make some money while we wait. LOL – j/k ;oP

Seriously though, Jody, Ava and I each had a little pep talk with the baby last night and told him how excited we are to meet him and he can come out whenever he’s ready, so we’ve done our part. πŸ˜‰ It’s all up to him now.

πŸ™‚ Happy Thanksgiving to you all. πŸ™‚
And happy birthday to my Dad today!

P.S. My cold is mostly better and I got a really good night’s sleep last night. That was lovely. πŸ™‚ My big complaint, aside from wanting to meet my son and having to wait, is that I’m seriously running out of maternity clothes that fit at this point! I have one pair of yoga pants that I practically live in and a few shirts, but I need to have this baby just so I can have some clothes to wear again. πŸ˜‰

P.P.S. I was able to get a last-minute appointment in the acupuncture clinic tonight. Maybe that will get the ball rolling! **crossing fingers**

No real news to speak of

Thank you for all the well wishes in my post below about being sick. I am doing a lot better. My energy level is still down and I’m dealing with phlegm and stuff, but my condition has greatly improved over what it was on Saturday. Such a relief!

This whole sickness experience has made me appreciate even more how amazing our bodies are. My body knew it was too sick to deal with birthing a baby and the lil guy has stayed in without a fuss. πŸ™‚ My midwife said today that she’s only known of one ocassion where a mama was really sick and still went into labor, but generally speaking, the body knows how much it can handle and will put off labor until the mama is well enough. πŸ™‚

So yes, I did see my midwife today and there’s really not much to report. I’m still pregnant. πŸ˜‰ She did do an internal exam and there have been some changes to my cervix since my appointment last week, but not much. Basically, my cervix is soft (ripe) and I’m dilated to nearly 1 cm – but that’s it. That doesn’t mean I won’t have the baby tomorrow, it’s just where I am today. But all is going well. Other than the cold, I’m still feeling good (full of baby, but good). Everything is checking out just fine with both me and the baby too.

We did talk a bit about our options for the next two weeks (things that could get labor started and natural induction methods). If baby boy isn’t born by Friday (11/24), I will see her again and she will sweep my membranes using a castor oil lubricant and I can use a belly balm (containing blue and black cohosh) a few times that evening. If he’s not here by Monday (11/27), then we can try other things (castor oil cocktail – *gag*). Then we would move on to a biophysical profile (to check baby and the placenta) by mid-week, etc. But she doesn’t think it will come to that and neither do I. I think things are going to start happening some time this week, it’s just a question of when. πŸ˜‰

My dad’s birthday is Wednesday (11/22) and while it’d be cool for them to share a birthday, I’d really like the lil guy to have a day of his very own. Then, of course, Thanksgiving is Thursday and I’d hate for the midwives to have to spend the holiday here. And then there’s the fact that my sister is really trying to get back to MI this week to spend some time with her boyfriend while she’s on fall break from school, but yet patiently awaiting her nephew’s birth so that she can help out with Ava while I’m in labor. All of this to say that it will happen when the time is right and it’s totally out of our hands.

In the meantime, now that I’m feeling like I’m over the worst of this cold, I will resume activities to help get labor going – i.e. eating spicy foods (Jody bought some “Rooster sauce” tonight to put on our Vietnamese food), walking and (TMI) having sex. Although, I just found this online. Hmmm.

Well, after using the title “No real news to speak of,” I sure did manage to type a whole lot. :oP All of it to say, no baby … yet.

Lastly, for those of you who’ve been following the recent case of breastfeeding in the news, I thought you may be interested in this…
“Nursing mothers and their supporters will be gathering for a call to action nurse-in on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 10 AM, local time, at Delta airport counters across the country to protest Delta’s actions against Emily Gillette and her family and to demand rights for breastfeeding mothers and children.”

Read more about nurse-in locations and an exclusive interview with Emily Gillette here.

Healthy thoughts, please?

Here I sit, in front of my computer at 6 a.m. on a Saturday, because I am so congested I can’t sleep. Yep, I got Jody and Ava’s cold. πŸ™

I’m drinking a virgin hot toddy (honey, lemon and hot water), hoping it will help with my sore throat and let me breathe a little more easily so I can catch some more winks. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I had a feeling I might catch this cold from the rest of the fam’, but, for obvious reasons, I was really hoping it would pass me by this one time. So now my desires regarding this birth have shifted. Instead of wanting the lil guy to come out ASAP, I’m hoping he will stay in just until mommy feels a little bit better, rested and healthy enough to have a good labor and birth. I feel confident it will all work out as it should. It’s just this in-between sickliness and waiting part that puts a damper on the excitement of what’s to come.

In the meantime, I’m getting lots of Vitamin C – eating Clementine oranges (love those tiny, li’l things), drinking Emergen-C, making strawberry/OJ/yogurt smoothies – drinking lots of tea, and trying to stay rested. Other suggestions, as well as healthy thoughts, vibes, prayers welcome. Thanks, all. πŸ™‚ I’m off to try that sleepin’ thing again.

Quick post – no baby

I know there are quite a few of you regularly checking in, so this is just a quick post to say no baby. πŸ˜‰
I did get a lot done today though and am feeling good. Ava and I baked oatmeal/chocolate chip cookies and a pumpkin pie (to freeze) for Thanksgiving. I did some laundry and cleaned a bathroom. And then my sister watched Ava for a bit so I could go get my haircut. πŸ™‚ I hadn’t had it cut since July – eep! – and it was definitely in need. It’s nothing fancy – a chin-length bob – but it feels good to have it “cleaned up” before baby boy gets here.
Oh, in other news, Ava has a cold now. Not good timing, but what can ya do? Hopefully she’ll be well before the boy is born (and I won’t catch it!).

Happy due date to me tomorrow. πŸ™‚

While I wait…

Things I’ve found to do while waiting for baby:

1. Paint my toenails. It had the added bonus of being like a little workout with all of that stretching trying to work around my big belly. πŸ˜‰

2. Cook, bake and then cook some more. I’ve never had so many frozen casseroles in my freezer in my life.

3. Clean. I keep wondering how many times I’m going to have to clean the bathrooms, sweep the kitchen and vacuum the livingroom before the birth.

4. Enlist Jody’s help in cleaning out the closets. He managed to fill a large garbage bag full of his clothes to donate. Yay! That was long overdue!

5. Read positive, uplifting, amazing birth stories from women on the “Due Date Clubs” on Mothering.com.

6. Drive 20 miles to go out for a healthy dinner at Whole Foods. Yes, I know I said I have been doing lots of cooking, but that’s all getting frozen and then I don’t feel like cooking come dinner time. *shaking head*

7. Spend one-on-one time with my girl.

8. Relish the feelings of having a little one growing and moving inside of me.

9. Retail therapy. Jody got some new jeans (which were desperately needed) and baby boy got a few more “sleep ‘n play” outfits.

10. Walk laps at the mall or go for walks.

11. Go to play groups.

12. Examine my belly for new stretchmarks. (Haven’t gotten any with this pregnancy – knock wood!)

13. Do laundry.

14. Come up with new things to add to my list. πŸ˜‰

The crazy thing is that I won’t even be 40 weeks until Thursday (11/16) and I’m already antsy about having this baby. It could still be a few more weeks! This pregnancy has flown by until the past few days. Now it seems like each day takes forever! I need to just relax and let it happen when it happens, but it’s easier said than done. **deep breaths**

By the way, Ava just said, “I want baby brother to sit in my lap.” Apparently someone needs to tell her to have some patience too. πŸ˜‰

We are getting close!

Every time I head out to the grocery stores (Safeway or Vitamin Cottage) the past few weeks, I wonder if it’s going to be my last trip before baby. And because I’m in major nesting mode, I end up stocking up on more and more things each trip. If I end up going to 42 weeks before having this child, our house is going to be seriously bursting with food!

Today I decided to pick up an organic cake and frosting mix (never tried one of those before) to make while I’m in labor so we have a birthday cake for baby boy. Ava immediately told me that she will have a piece of it. πŸ˜‰ I think it will be something fun for us to do together in the early stages of labor and will be a nice way to celebrate the little one’s arrival. πŸ™‚ I wanted to get chocolate cake AND chocolate frosting, but settled on a marble cake mix with choco frosting, because I know not everyone (*ahem* – Jody) likes chocolate as much as Ava and me.

I also bought some things for our Thanksgiving dinner today, including stuffing mix, ingredients to make a pumpkin pie, and cool whip. I’m not exactly sure who’s going to be making our Thanksgiving dinner because my sister may well be flying back to MI to spend it with her boyfriend (provided that baby boy has made his grand entrance) and my parents will probably not be in town yet – so I’m thinking Jody it is (with me yelling instructions from the bed or couch – hee, hee). I plan on making the pie this weekend and freezing it and may end up making some side dishes that can be frozen if I have time next week.

My estimated due date is Nov. 16 – less than a week away. After today is done, I feel like I am OK to have this baby. The photographer who’s coming to photograph the birth had a wedding to shoot today, but after that her calendar can be easily freed up. So I think baby boy and I will have a talk tonight so that he knows that any time he’s ready to come now, we are ready to meet him. πŸ™‚

I went for another acupuncture appointment on Wednesday. All is going well and the supervisor of the clinic I go to was very encouraged by my recent lab results. She mixed up a special blend of Chinese herbs for me (in addition to my usual “pregnancy” herbs) to be cooked up while I’m in labor and drank right after the baby is born to help prevent hemorrhaging (which was an issue with Ava because my platelet levels were so low). She also said to call her if I do have any bleeding and she will come to my house with other herbs that will help my recovery. So nice of her! But anyway, the way everything with this pregnancy has been so different (for the better) from my pregnancy with Ava, I feel like while it’s great that we have courses of action for “just in case” scenarios, everything is going to go so well with this birth that we won’t need any of it. πŸ™‚

My midwife STRONGLY recommends that I take it very easy for the first two weeks after the birth, which will help significantly with my recovery. (She suggests this with all of her clients, I’m no exception.) In fact, for the first three days after he’s born, she wants me laying in bed with the baby, sleeping as much as possible (even though I may feel great). I have to admit, that part is rather appealing to me. Sure, I know I will have a baby pretty much attached to my breast the whole time, but just chillin’ with the little guy will be nice. After day 3, I can venture downstairs, but still need to stay off my feet and am NOT to do any cooking, laundry, picking up toddlers, etc. I think after a week I can start spending a little time on my feet (no more than 10 minutes at a time), but still should not be cooking or doing household chores. (Do you see why I’m not fighting this? *wink, wink*) Although I am sure that I will start getting a little stir crazy and will want to be getting back into the swing of things, which she says is fine by the time I am 2 weeks postpartum. So we’ll see how it goes. I think having the house well-stocked with food, organic fruits and veggies delivered to the house each Monday, as well as having our milk delivered, it should help Jody out a lot. Thankfully, he has two weeks paternity time off work to be here with us, and has some additional vacation time he may take later. After he goes back to work, my parents plan on coming from MI to help out with Ava for another week or so. I am sure all of this assistance will be very much welcome as we adjust to our new life.

So now, the waiting game begins. πŸ™‚

By the way, the picture of the book above, “Welcome With Love,” is a wonderful children’s book about natural childbirth. In the book, Jack, his family and the midwife await the homebirth of his baby brother. There are beautiful pictures depicting the midwife preparing for the birth, mom in labor, the birth itself, the baby after he is born with the umbilical cord attached, and many lovely images of the family. Ava has greatly enjoyed reading this book in the last few months and I think it well prepares any child for the natural birth of a sibling, whether it be a homebirth or hospital birth.