Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mateo Parker Muslera

My blog has been on hold for several reason, but one of the main being that I really wanted to post my birth story and I could never really get through it. Here is what I started to type only 13 days after Mateo's birth:

It has been 13 days since the birth of our beautiful son and I know there is no way I'll be able to write his birth story without uncontrollably weeping as I write. My experience with birth was so incredibly beautiful and joyous that it will be difficult to describe with words...

I awoke around 4am, not really in pain, but simply uncomfortable and incredibly alert. There was no way I was going back to sleep and I had 'a feeling'. I came downstairs as not to disturb Javier, fired up my laptop and began to frantically take care of some Junior League work that I had been procrastinating. I also wanted to be sure to communicate to the Junior League girls .... "Hey, seems I'm going into labor so don't count on me for anything for the next few weeks." It's interesting how together my head was. I wasn't really having any contractions, but just this extreme intuition that the whole process would be starting soon. I also wrote an email to Anna, Alice and Laurel (the midwives) at 6:10am,

"Okay ladies - I think things are firing up over here! FINALLY, THANK GOD! If not, I'm going to be heartbroken. I woke up around 4am with what felt like some bad cramps (although I dont really know because I am not one to typically get cramps). I decided staying it bed was too uncomfortable and was moving too much. The contractions seem to be lasting about a minute or longer and are coming fairly inconsistently, but maybe like every 10 minutes ish. I'm not going to call yet ... not sure when to call... something like 4-1-1... but I've forgotten what that means ;-). I'm totally okay, but of course the contractions are kind of painful. Do you think I should cancel my breakfast plans or am I getting too hopeful? xoxo,Erin"

Laurel wrote back and suggested I go ahead with my breakfast plans. I got her email about an hour later after my contractions had begun to get slightly more intense. When I read her email I was thinking, "There is no way I'm going anywhere, I'm having this baby today!" and I was irritated at her response. Things were definitely progressing and even if they were not, I was not going to be able to sit in a car, eat breakfast and go walking. No way!

So that was as far as I got at the time.
And really those are just facts. I think that's why I decided not to post it. It's kind of boring. I really feel like my labor was relatively textbook (I guess, it's very difficult to remember). But here's goes. Time to finally complete this story....

Each midwife arrived one by one. The first being Laurel. I feel like her words to me shortly after she arrived at our home on December 4th (around 11am) helped me tremendously. I said to her, "Laurel, I just cannot seem to get comfortable." I said this because in all the classes and books they talk about massage techniques and ways to position yourself to be more comfortable. But she said to me, "Honey, you aren't going to be comfortable. You're in labor and you just have to go with it." I'm pretty good at taking instruction and with her telling me that, I feel like my mind just said, "Okay, got it. I'm going off to a different place. A place where I can just be in this and get to the other side."

The next thing I really recall is her and Javier working to fill up the birthing tub in our room. I felt like being in the tub would sincerely make a difference, and I was getting a little annoyed at how long it was taking them. The tub was nice and I stayed there for some time, but as soon as Laurel informed me that the tub was "slowing my progress" I was out of that thing in a flash. It was nice in the tub, but not worth slowing me down!

I do also remember the second midwife, Alice, arriving. It was interesting because the energy changed. Laurel is a soft-spoken California sweetie with three little girls of her own. Alice is a straight shooting New Yorker with two grown boys. When Alice was added to the mix (around 1pm) I tried to acknowledge and appreciate the shift in energy and immediately go back into my zone.

Flash forward to my next memory ... Laurel says to me, "You should try to go up and down the stairs. That will really help you progress." I left my zone for one moment to give her a look of dagger eyes. And I have no idea what I said to her, but what I was thinking was something like, "Are you F'ing CRAZY?" Really, the thought of walking down and back up the stairs seemed completely incomprehensible. But, as I said before, I do follow instruction well, so when this birthing goddess at my home recommended me walking down and up the stairs, I decided to put forth the massive effort to try it. I only recall doing it once, but Javier reported later that I did it several times, and I'm sure that has everything to do with them telling me it was helping me to progress. We have photos of this. I hope no one every sees them ;-)!

So that was pretty much what I remember of labor. I was ready to begin the pushing stage of childbirth by 6pm and this is when the third midwife arrived, Anna. Now, I had really armed myself with a lot of info before labor and I had read so many people talking about how much they enjoyed the pushing phase of labor. Well, I do not even have words for how hard the pushing stage was, but let's just say that I didn't enjoy it at all. It was a very difficult ordeal for me. Perhaps becuase he was so big? I don't know, but it was HARD and it was not my favorite and I find it crazy that it would be anyone favorite part!! But, when we finally got to meet him, WOW, that was special and as soon as he made his appearance I couldn't remember a thing that had happened before. I felt so happy to finally meet our beautiful little boy. It's a fascinating thing ... to be with someone every second of every day for nearly 10 months, but never to meet him. Words cannot describe what it felt like to finally meet him.

I was on a major high for the following days for sure. The human body is amazing and bringing forth a new life is otherworldly.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

photo - 40 wks and 4 days

Dec 1 - 41 weeks

I'm here again ;-)! And still no baby? I've been walking like mad and have completed 2 out of a 3 acupuncture sessions. He's getting lower and I think maybe I'm experiencing minor symptoms of the very beginning stages of my body prepping for labor, but I'm not really sure? I still feel pretty good, but at this point I'm definitely getting BIG. I've felt wonderful all along and I still do, but I just know he still needs to take the exit journey so I just don't want him getting too big ;-)! I've been trying VERY hard not to become anxious ridden about his tardiness, but it is strangely difficult. As a pregnant person I've been anticipating this "DUE DATE" for some time. Now the date has come and gone and people all over the place are asking and expecting that surely I have had the baby by now, but no, I have not. Also, this perfect home birth that I have dreamt about will become 'in danger' in another weeks time. That scares me too so there is a bit of anxiety by the nature of an overdue pregnancy. I will say, I've done a lot of research and until 15 or so years ago, there was never a big deal made about overdue pregnancies. Ultimately I must believe in my body and the baby and that he will arrive in his own perfect timing.

Tomorrow is a big day. Start out with a midday appointment with our midwife where she is going to be talking to us about how to "speed things along" with her midwifery skills ... dont know what these are yet, will keep you posted. Then we have to go for an ultrasound. I'm scared to go for the ultrasound because I fear the doctor will simply try to scare me, but I know there is no inherent danger for being overdue. Then I will have my 3rd acupuncture session.

Okay, breathe, stay calm and RELAX. He'll be here eventually ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nov 24 - 40 weeks

I'm still here and there are no signs of Baby Mus's impending arrival. Since today is my due date, I've decided to take it easy and to enjoy myself. I just took myself, my overly large belly and my dog, Queso, for a walk on the beach. It's an amazing day here in Santa Barbara. The sun and air are very warm and the beach was beautiful with a low tide and lots of birds hanging out. We walked for about 4 miles. I have lots of items on my 'to-do' list in my head, but I'm debating between getting a bunch of things accomplished and just resting ;-). I'll probably do a bit of both today before meeting up with friends for Thai food tonight.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love the fact that the only obligation is to get together and to eat. It's so simple yet so beautiful. No gifts, just hanging out over yummy food. LOVE IT! So I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving with the Latin crew this year. I'm going to be making green bean casserole and cornbread (the cornbread will unfortunately come from a mix, but that's just the way it goes). And then once Thanksgiving is over, I'm going to make Javier take me out to do lots of fun stuff over the weekend so I dont have time to sit around getting too anxious.

And just remember, a typical pregnancy lasts 41 weeks in France. If we lived in France, my due date would be Dec 1 ;-).

Friday, November 20, 2009

39+ week photo

39.5 weeks and going... and growing

So here we are, Nov 20th, 4 days away from my due date. I was so sure 'they' were wrong with my due date, but it sure doesn't seem like it ;-). And now all those people who have said to me, "First babies are usually late" are coming to mind. I am trying so so so hard to be okay with whatever his arrival date, but I am getting a bit anxious. I know it's best to be patient and all of that, but being 39 1/2 weeks pregnant gives me a different perspective. I really want to stop growing too! I've been very hungry and at this point have gained the recommended 35 pounds! NO MORE WEIGHT PLEASE ;-). But every day this little guy grows I know there is little I can do about it. It's kind of out of my hands at this point and that is a little how I feel ... as though someone else has complete control over my body. I am now often getting hip pains and strange other things that keep me from wanting to be out and about too much although I am still keeping relatively busy. Still walking every day, running errands and trying to catch up with friends. I've been to see some new babies this week as well, which only makes me more anxious for wanting my own here ;-). I am getting into the 'stride' of not working if you will. It's not difficult any longer. I'm now so thankful for the fact that I dont have to get my tired body up and and ready for work!!

We're at the point where people are calling and texting on a daily basis asking if there is any progress. It doesn't anger me because I understand the curiosity, but it does make me think ... 'when will our time be?!'

Thursday, November 12, 2009

38-wk photo

Baby AJ

38 weeks and a couple of days

Busy people get more done. I've heard it a million times, but can personally attest to it now. I've been off work for a little more than two weeks now and although I have definitely accomplished many things, it's to a very different degree and generally just feels different. I actually feel very unaccomplished although I know growing a baby is a big job ;-). I've tried to maintain some sort of routine/schedule whereby I still wake up earlyish (around 7am) to get my day going, but if I dont have a definite plan for the day time just gets away .... I dont know how it happens. I dont have a definite plan for today so figured I'd update the blog. Updating the blog for instance used to be a task that I would squeeze in quickly in the middle of my work day or towards the end of the evening. If I wanted to have it updated I had limited time and had to get on the computer, get it done quickly and move on. Today, I could potentially spend hours updating the blog - I'll spare you! LOL

Okay, so what's going on with the baby/me? My belly is getting quite big. We had an appointment with our midwife, Alice, on Monday and she said she didn't think he was too big of a baby yet and I was excited, but I swear I've grown a lot since Monday ;-)! Sunday night I had some random pains going on, but they went away when I sat down so that's a sign they were nothing too serious. I also get random pains in my hips. I guess they are stretching out or something ... not quite sure. I feel like I may have felt the Braxton-Hicks contractions a few times, but nothing consistent. I have a hospital bag packed (just in case) and have all the stuff together for the home birth so we're physically ready to go when things start to happen, but everything I've heard about the first stage of labor is that it can last for 12 hours + so I feel like I will still have time to be getting things together if necessary. More than anything I am excited about the process. I've read, heard and seen so much about it via DVDs, classes and books and now I just feel ready to see how my own experience unfolds. We pray every single day that it goes beautifully for us, for the baby and for the midwives attending the birth. I dont guess there is anyway to know when he will arrive and that's fine for me. I've sort of wondered if I will get a feeling or anything like that, but I guess he will pick his own perfect time for arrival and we'll just have to get on board. And I guess that is how life with a baby is ... you have to be ready for anything! At this point, though, my guess is that it will not happen before this Sunday. I'm predicting the 17th, but that's just sort of a date I've pulled out of nowhere so I dont think we can put much weight behind it ;-). But it will be fun to predict dates even if I'm wrong!

Okay, I'm off to create a list of things I'd like to accomplish today so I can see the progress made. Not working is lovely and very restful despite my complaints ;-). I feel very fortunate to be able to take this time to slow my pace down so that once our little prince arrives it will not such a shock to my system.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

37 weeks photo

37 weeks

Each week I find it harder to believe that I will get bigger ... Just looking at the 35-week photos and remember me thinking, "wow, surely I wont get much bigger than this," but it seems I most definitely have ;-).

At this point I have officially been off work for one week. It's been an absolute luxury to be off work and is definitely a major stress relief. Forget the stress induced by work, but the added stress of coming home and trying to figure out how I can squeeze everything I need into the short period of the evening before I must be in bed in order to feel rested for the next day. That weekly cycle can simply be so draining. I've definitely stayed just as busy and incredibly 'occupied', but it's much less stress to be doing the things I want to do :). It's lovely. And officially as of yesterday I feel like I've made some very wonderful progress on little Patito's room. It's coming along nicely. I wasn't too pleased with it in the beginning due to what felt to me like too many different colors going on in there, but I've done some painting on the trim of the room, door and a bookshelf and now it's coming together very well. This child already has so so so many clothes, and very stylish ones at that. It's hard for me to even believe that I every felt like I wouldn't have enough. Now, his drawers are overflowing! Now my biggest worry is ensuring I can put every one's adorable little outfits on him before he outgrows them!

We had our 37-week appointment with our midwife, Laurel, today. His heart sounds strong and great and everything is going well for me. I've gained 30 pounds!!!! Amazing, it really is. I honestly don't know how obese people do it. Simply carrying around 30 extra pounds is a LOT of work ... imagine if it were 100.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

35 week photos

Week 35

In the middle of the 35th week already. The time is quickly approaching. Still feeling like we have so much to do, but I dont guess I'll ever feel "ready". Today is Saturday and I've completed my final full week of work. That's crazy too. I'm kind of in denial about the fact that Monday is my last day. I have work duties scheduled all morning and other client issues to deal with, but I have yet to start to 'pack up' my desk. Plus, I need to leave work on Monday at 5pm in order to be at my Junior League Management Team meeting at 5:15pm. I'm not sure how I'm going to have time to truly complete all my tasks. But hopefully it will be my last such stressful day for a while. Baby Mus and I need some rest!

I'm getting to the point where my body hurts at the end of the day, well at like 6pm. My feet hurt like I've been standing up on them for 60 hours (always) and my upper back feels like I've gained 30 pounds ... which I have ;-)!! Even though I have slept for over 10 hours last night, I'm ready for a nap right now! But really I dont want to complain. Overall I feel good and lucky. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Photos - 34 weeks

34 weeks

I could seriously cry over how kind people are. Devon hosted my shower over the weekend and it was absolutely beautiful. The food was delicious and every detail was just perfectly special. Devon, her mom and some other friends worked so hard to make everything absolutely delightful and sweet. My mom and Vicki made the trek out all the way from Indiana to be here for me and my family and friends ensured that Baby Mus will be welcomed into the world with plenty of "stuff" - very useful stuff. I cannot help but feel simply humbled by what an advantage Baby Muslera will have coming into the world surrounded by such support and love. I have had my moments of panic ... feeling like "oh my gosh, we need so much stuff for a new baby.... this is so expensive .... " etc., but last night as I sat in his room to be surrounded by all the things we've been gifted with I just wanted to cry realizing how lucky we are. This little one is not only going to have everything he needs, he'll have stylish clothes, an organic boppy and infinite love! It reminds me that every kindness is important. It reminds me of times when perhaps I have felt as though something nice I did went unnoticed and I hope that no one feels that their kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity for Baby Muslera (and Javier and I by default) have gone unnoticed.

At 34 weeks and still feeling pretty good. I wonder how big he is and what he does all day. I guess he doesnt have a concept of "bored" yet ;-). Or perhaps it is infinitely entertaining sharing my feelings and listening to me all day - hahaha. At this point the updates on his development are not that exciting. He's pretty much developed and is just filling out at this point - "Not much changes from 34 weeks pregnant and on except your baby is adding valuable meat to his bones."

I'll post photos soon. Javier and I took a few this morning and of course there are several from the shower.

Only 6 more weeks to go ... give or take a few on either side ... it's really all up to him!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

33 weeks

Javier and I met with our "birth circle" for our fourth and final meeting this evening. The birth circle is held by our 3 midwives - Anna, Alice and Laurel - and has other couples with due dates around the same 3-4 month time frame as us. We have been attending every Wednesday and although we have both enjoyed the meetings and getting to know some of the other couples, we haven't found incredibly useful. I don't think it's supposed to be all that "useful", but more an opportunity for us to create a community with these other people who are going through the same thing as us and hopefully a community which we will stay closely connected to after the birth of our babies.

A few Fridays ago we attended a one-night intensive childbirth education class, which I found amazing. It was conducted at the teacher's home and she gave the men TONS of techniques for being a great birth partner. We also watched two births which just melted my heart. I feel like every time I see a baby being born, it is just the most amazing miracle ever.
Also, since the last time I have written I ordered and received our crib, changing table and glider. Thanks to Mom and Dad for your help with these items :)! Javier was a star and had everything put together in a matter of hours after it was received. Seriously, it was amazing. We are very pleased with the crib and changing table. We made a bold, modern choice to go with a two-tone selection and now I'm having a bit of a dilemma with the glider. It's not the right color and I just don't love the comfort level. The price of the glider was definitely right, but we're considering returning the purchase and maybe splurging a bit more to get a really comfy and cozy chair that we'll really want to have around for year. Sorry Mom!! I just think it might be a better investment to have a great rocking chair around....

The weekend of September 26th, a few of our friends threw an informal and casual co-ed baby shower for us and another couple having a baby soon. It was a "Baby Celebration" and it was a lot of fun. Our friend, Mandy, was in town from Hawaii and she helped organize the celebration that was held at Lars and Melissa's home. I was touched by the gesture and we were shocked to receive the car seat from our registry :)!!! The whole thing was a bit of conundrum for me as Devon had already planned a shower for me and sent out invites so many of the attendees at the baby celebration had already received an invite for Devon's shower which is coming up THIS SATURDAY! Anyway, I was really worried that people would think I expected them to get me two gifts, but was so flattered, happy and surprised with the car seat. It's really touching to have your friends and family pitching in in all sorts of helpful ways.

My mom and her friend Vicki arrive tomorrow night. They are coming in for the shower and generally to help me prepare. I'm really looking forward to having them here and also to my 4-day weekend - woo hoo!

I would like to extend a big formal thank you to my dad and Chris for putting together a great care package full of blankets and the like of baby necessities!! And also a BIG THANKS to Mariellen for the hand-made blanket. We were very excited to receive the package!
Here are some photos taken this morning with our brand new camera - yep, we're throwing out all the stops for Bebe Muslera!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

31 weeks

I am amazed at how big I am. I dont feel this big.... well, most of the time...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Photo - 30 weeks

Javier went walking with me last Thursday and shot this lovely photo. This is the walk Baby Mus, Queso and I do several days of the week at our local More Mesa beach.

30-31 weeks

I'll turn 31 weeks pregnant tomorrow! Only nine more to go. CRAZY!

Nothing much going on with the pregnancy actually. It's business as usual with Baby Mus - the MOVER and SHAKER! He is very active in the womb, but then again, I'm still pretty active. He's probably pretty used to be moved around and rocked and perhaps finds it comforting. Last night we had dinner at a friends house and she has recently returned from Europe with some YUMMY and strong chocolate (85% cocoa). Of course I couldnt resist, but I think it made him do flips. I was in bed around 10pm, but didnt fall asleep until he finally settled down probably around 11:30ish. I still find it absolutely wild that there is a little person moving all around inside of me. What a fascinating miracle!

This weekend was a success on one big front. Javier cleaned the garage!!! He worked long and hard on his Sunday and I'm so appreciative! I started to clean out the office ... it's a work in progress, but I'm close! I find "papers" and office stuff the most difficult to organize. I feel like once things are filed I just forget about them. So my normal protocol is to simply leave papers out. BAD...very BAD. I'm improving though.

Javier and I had an appointment with one of our midwives, Laurel, on Thursday. She was at our home for a couple of hours and it was great to hear his heart beat and start a bit of the mental preparation/counseling that is certainly critical for us to hear in this time before our lives change dramatically. Today we meet with our back-up doctor, Dr. Ramos, so it looks like we'll get to hear his heart again -woohoo! I believe we will only have one more appointment with Dr. Ramos and the purpose is simply to establish rapport in case we end up having to deliver the baby at the hospital. I really like her too so we'll see how things go, but I'm working hard to mentally prepare for both scenarios as I don't want to feel disappointed with myself if things dont turn out as planned. But so far, all is going well so we're not anticipating any issues.

This week is big -- I'm planning to order the big ticket items i.e. crib, changing table and glider. Thanks again to my mom and dad for helping out with these items. It will be fun to see his room coming together.

Mentally I feel great and fairly relaxed right now. I'm sure it has a lot to do with Javier being home and taking good care of me. It makes such a big difference! He only has one more very short trip before the birth. Hopefully I dont fall into my panic state!

Weight gain as of today: 23 pounds

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week 29 photos

Week 29 ... almost over

Although week 30 will commence tomorrow, I figured I need a Week 29 update. It was so so nice having Javier home last week. He only leaves one more time (I think) before the baby's arrival and I think it's only for a couple of days in early October. I hope so anyway. It was really rough for me this last time he was gone and I think that was difficult for him to understand.

Thankfully, last week, we started our "Birth Circle" with our midwives and some of the other couples due around the same time as us. Since me telling Javier that I need him around didn't seem to be enough, the reiteration by the midwives about this physical need was super great! I was not too sure what to expect from the Birth Circle and had therefore held off from registering for a childbirth education class. But after our first meeting, I have promptly enrolled us for a childbirth education class. The midwives are really wonderful and for them it's very important that we feel a sense of community with other new families, which I totally appreciate, BUT I still feel like I need some more hardcore information. The first Birth Circle was more like a potluck with a light discussion. Maybe this week will be more information intensive ... I hope!

No progress on our "nursery" yet, but it's at least an empty room with new windows, newly cleaned carpet and a fine color paint :)! My mom offered to buy us a glider and my dad offered to buy the crib - WONDERFUL! It truly does take a village ... Anyway, I'm excited to see things coming together, at least in my head and dont feel the amount of worry that I did in the previous weeks.

I've got new photos, but need to upload them to the computer. They are a reminder to even me of my size. I forget how big I am until I see the photos or pass a mirror from the side! ;-)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Week 28

I'm feeling much better this week. I finally got some registries together, Devon got the shower invites out the door and my mom and Vicki got their airplane tickets to come out for the shower. Also, I ordered some crib bedding. It's probably the least useful thing I could have ordered, but it's crib bedding I've been eyeing for some time and it's currently out of stock and therefore back-ordered and for whatever reason it just made me feel better to hit the "order now" button on something. I feel like I've done so much research online for all sorts of products, but haven't made any purchases yet.

Javier is once again out of town and this is a struggle. Not only do all the responsibilities of our home and the dog fall on my shoulders, but I don't have him around to talk through my concerns,worries, stresses, etc. I really need him around. I wish he felt this were as important as I do.

I was supposed to meet with my midwife today, but she is at a labor so we'll be meeting tomorrow. I always love to hear the baby's heartbeat and I look forward to it so much ... TOMORROW! He's been moving around a lot for sure so that's always reassuring.

I'm reading my friend Mandy's "Bradley Method" (a style of natural birthing) book and last night I got to the page that showed what the actual size of 10cm looks like (this is how far your cervix needs to be dilated in order to begin pushing the baby out). For the first time, I got pretty freaked out about birth. 10cm is HUGE!!!!!!!!

At this point I've gained about 20 pounds and according to my iPregnancy iPhone application, 11 weeks and 5 days remain until my due date, but the baby will be "full tern" on November 3rd (coming right up!). He probably weighs between 2 lbs 9ozs and 3lbs 11ozs. The surface of his brain is beginning to show the twists and grooves seen in older children (it was all smooth before). Also, it is thought that babies begin to dream during the 3rd trimester. How cool - Baby Mus is dreaming!! DREAM BIG, Little One!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Some photos

I tried to send Javier's mother an email with these photos, but it got rejected. I can never send her photos so I'm posting them here:

Wyoming - Week 25

Javier and I at the famed Lotus Land of Montecito - Week 26

Week 28

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Week 27

So over the past week I've been pretty emotional. Javier left on Sunday for Denmark and I felt like I slid into a slight nervous breakdown. I had been to a baby shower on Saturday for a girl who is due one day after me. This was her third baby shower (her family is all in town) and she is "all set". Uh, if you walked into our home you would find VERY little evidence that we are due to have a baby in 13 weeks! You'd see some books and that's about it. No nursery, no baby gear, nothing. On Sunday I was simply feeling so unprepared! And it's also overwhelming. I know I know everyone says, "don't worry, you don't need much," but the reality is I DO NEED stuff. Such as a car seat, a stroller, a place for the baby to sleep, blankets, clothes ... just STUFF that will make me feel more READY. It's important. When one begins to look at the cost of all these items things get overwhelming again. Everything is outrageously expensive and you know it will only be used for a short period of time. Shop used, you might say ... well turns out that takes a lot more time and energy for an already super busy person than just buying new ;-).

Thank goodness for my good friend, Devon! She is the mother of a 20-month old and an infinite source of resources and wisdom for me. She has passed down so many maternity clothes to me for which I am immensely grateful. I have purchased near nothing. She is throwing me a baby shower on Oct 11th. AND on Tuesday night she helped me create a baby registry (and made me a birthday dinner).

Even though I have a lot of fabulous friends here, I still feel a little lonely. This is really a time when you need your family around I think. I'm realizing how BIG this really is, having a baby, that is.

I remember feeling so accomplished once I decided on the midwives and on having a home birth ... but now there are MILLIONS of other things to do and to buy.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Week 26 - I've entered the 3rd trimester!!

Time is flying by! We had new windows installed and the work was complete today - YEAH! It went pretty smoothly, but since we had a couple of windows resized we now have a little trim and paint work to do ourselves along with getting new window coverings. I'm super happy with the windows though. They really look great and should provide us with much better insulation. This was kind of the first step to getting Baby Muslera's room together as well. Now we'll repaint and move forward with baby room prep.

Our trip to Wyoming/Yellowstone was fabulous. We both really enjoyed the location of the wedding, which was about 1.5 hours outside of Yellowstone. And we also really enjoyed Jackson Hole and the Grand Teton National Park as well. Yellowstone is pretty, but it's much too touristy. But we did have a nice opportunity to relax and enjoy nature for a week. It was great.
Javier turned 35 on Saturday! Unfortunately we didnt get to celebrate like I'm sure he would have liked, but our house was a construction zone from the window guys and we had just returned from Wyoming so we couldnt plan too much. We had dinner out and were joined by several friends later at Blue Agave. It was fun!

Here are some photos from the night of his bday. I'll get all the Wyoming photos together soon. Lots of belly shots!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Off to Yellowstone

I'm 24 weeks pregnant, it's 1am and I'm almost fully packed for our Wyoming/Yellowstone/Mandy & Jeff wedding adventure. I'm so horrible at packing that I cannot even imagine getting myself and a little one together for a trip. And it's always like this ... I'm never fully packed and ready to go, rather it drags on and on into the night.

I've gained a solid 20 pounds at this point and I have to go to the bathroom about every 30 minutes so this trip could be interesting ;-). I'm also in this nesting phase where all I want to do is be home getting ready for the baby so this big logistical adventure has seemed somewhat overwhelming. I'm sure it's going to be fun, but for me prepping for a trip can just bring so much stress. I'll turn 25 weeks this Sunday and by the time I get back and post again I'll be 26 weeks ... into the 7th month! I feel like we still have so much to do in regards to the preparation. Of course, I want everthing to be perfect for his arrival.

Off to bed. Tomorrow we fly SBA --> San Jose --> Denver --> Jackson Hole. It will be an all day thing. We'll spend the night in Jackson Hole and Liz and Brent will pick us up on Friday in their rented Mustang Convertible heehee for our drive through Yellowstone and to Hunter Peak Ranch, about an hour outside Cody, Wyoming. We'll be there and around there for the weekend of festivities and then hope to enjoy the area before returning home on Thursday.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week 23

Today is the beginning of Week 23. According to my readings, Bebe Mus weighs about 1 pound now, his eyelids and eyebrows are well developed and the pancreas is developing. I've been feeling pretty good. I feel kind of mellowed out by the pregnancy hormones I guess and generally very happy. I still get pretty tired by about 9:30pm though. I'm still sleeping very well thank goodness. It feels really good to have decided on home birth for sure with Alice and Anna. Now, we've begun to try to figure out other things ... we got rid of the bed in the spare room and have begun working on redesigning the closet for his room. We're starting to think about cribs, strollers, carseats and stuff like that. I am thinking about paint colors and crib bedding, but of course that doesn't concern Mr. Muslera much.
Oh, according to my book I should have only gained 12 - 15 pounds by this time and I've gained more like 16. It feels so strange to grow by the day...

Saturday, July 18, 2009


On Wednesday, Javier and I met together with Alice Levine, who is another midwife in town and she works together with Anna Bunting. I had previously met with Anna alone and she and I hit it off, but I was interested in meeting her partner and also wanted Javier to meet them both so we could ensure our team chemistry would be good. We both LOVED Alice. Anna happened to be under the weather and unable to join us for the meeting so Javier has not had an opportunity to meet with her yet. It was such a great relied to meet Alice and just feel like everything is finally in place. I'm looking forward to working with them both and the decision to do a home birth! At this point, we are their only birth scheduled for late November. That's comforting for me as I wouldnt want to have to compete for them with another laboring woman ;-)

So it seems everything is in place. Anna and Alice are both Certified Nurse Midwives with YEARS of experience and wisdom. They also work with Laurel Phillips, who is the person putting together the Santa Barbara Birth Center which is scheduled to be complete by November, but as the way most projects go, I'm counting on that happening later.

At this point I've gained about 15 - 17 pounds. Right on track for being a little more than halfway through the pregnancy. And I dont know if I mentioned this yet, but pregnancy is 10 months ... it is not NINE! According to one book I am reading the months look like this:

21 - 25 weeks: 6 months (I'm here, 22 wks tomorrow)
26 - 29 weeks: 7 months
30 - 33 weeks: 8 months
34 - 40 weeks: 9 months (notice, this is 7 weeks!!!)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

21 Weeks - Oh, and it's a BOY!!

At this point, time is beginning to feel like it is starting to fly. In the beginning, it felt like it passed so slowly ... waiting to be 12/13 weeks and to be "safe" from the risk of miscarriage. Now, as I look at my expanding figure and the photos from the 19 week ultrasound on July 1st, I'm amazed at how quickly this little one is growing! It is such a miracle. He weighed only 10 ounces at the ultrasound, yet he is very well formed. He even has a really nice six-pack already ;-). The ultrasound was amazing. Even though I walk around daily with the belly and I read religiously about his development, nothing could have prepared me for what it would be like to see him on the 40" LCD monitor. It was incredibly reassuring to see his well formed and strong spine, he beating heart and his beautiful brain. I don't believe that his face is well formed yet, but it's getting there. We'll wait for his arrival to really see what/who he looks like. I can't wait. That will be so fun! He is moving around a lot too. He likes to swim all around and is really fond of the fluttering kicks. I think he's getting a lot of exercise already.

Javier and I were recently home for a 4th of July visit to Hanover/Madison. We had a lovely time visiting with family. It was wonderful to spend time with my mom, Dennis, Trevor, my Dad and Chris. It was also very fun to see my cousins (Holly and Kelley) and my stepbrother (Jason) and their families as well. There are a lot of little boys in the family right now. In fact, out of the 6 kiddies, 5 are boys and there are 2 more boys on the way and one of unknown gender on the way (Holly's 4th!). It seems that all the cousins are having more kids than their/our parents did. I'm seeing this trend amongst my friends as well. It's interesting.

What's going on with my birth plan? Well, I have officially changed doctors. Javier and I met with Dr. Susanne Ramos yesterday. We really liked her. She took time with us and let us listen to the heartbeat for some time, which is always incredibly exciting and fun. She mentioned he is moving around a lot too! I told Dr. Ramos that we will more than likely be doing a home birth and she was very supportive. Very different from the response I got from my previous doctor. I explained to her that it is important for me to have a rapport with a doctor as well in the event that something does happen that prevents us from doing a home birth. I'm trying VERY hard not to have expectations about this "perfect birth" that I have envisioned for myself. I know that anything can happen so I want to be realistic, but I will say that I feel completely capable and even excited about giving birth at this point!

Stay tuned for photos. I'm getting BIG :).

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

19 weeks

Over the weekend Javier and I were lucky enough to attend a lecture by Ina May Gaskin (according to Wikipedia - Ina May Gaskin is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), who has been described as "the mother of authentic midwifery.") She is well-known throughout the world and is author to two well-known books: "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" and "Spiritual Midwifery". She's kind of the ultimate hippie. In 1971 she and her husband founded a famous international community know as "The Farm" in Summertown, Tennessee. There, she and the midwives of the Farm created one of the first out-of-hospital birth centers in the United States. The Farm is still birthing babies and their statistics for successful and beautiful births are incredible (

I'm currently reading "Ina May's Guide to Childbrith" and the entire first half of the book is birth story after birth story told by various mothers who went to the Farm to have their babies. I believe the purpose of reading these stories is to hear the emotions and the feelings of all these women and to read/see that all births are different. Some are fast, some are slow and there is everything in between. It's also fascinating to read about how different women handle the "rushes" and all the techniques used to get the labor going. I've learned a lot just from reading the various stories and I also feel empowered. I know I can do this too!

Hearing Ina May in person was great for many reasons, one of which is that she had the best analogies! She asked how many women in the room had had a baby before and several raised their hands. Then she asked them how it feels when the babies head is about to come down, and there was a collective murmur in the room, "it feels like you're pooping." So then she asked all the men in the room, "Men, if you were about to poop the biggest turd of your life (approx 7 - 10 pounds) and you had to do it in a brightly lit room with a bunch of strange men looking at your crotch, do you think you could be successful?" I thought it was hilarious, but the point is that women are not set up for success at the hospital. She talked a lot about how other mammals give birth and most all mammals go away into privacy to have their little ones, and that women need this same type of privacy and security to have the optimal chance of success. It makes a lot of sense to me, but I find myself still battling with people who dont understand my point of view. Birthing is a NORMAL process and women are designed for it and most of us can do it! But drugging us up and using one intervention technique after another generally makes things worse not better.

I came into work on Monday to hear a close coworker friend of mine tell me about her daughter's delivery of her grandson that occurred over the weekend. Her daughter has had a beautiful pregnancy, no problems at all. She is a young 22 year old and she went into labor early Saturday morning and they headed straight to the hospital. There she walked all around the hospital to help speed up the labor. Okay, this is where she wanted to be, but not me! I want to be walking around by the beach or on nearby preservation land. I dont think walking around a hospital is going to make me feel good or positive in any way. Once she got herself dialated to about 9 centimeters they gave her the epidural and put her feet in stirrups. Well, after hours of labor she was unable to get the baby down .... But what could one expect since she was numb, in stirrups and unable to move the lower half of her body. Many times with big babies women need to be able to move all around into various positions to widen the pelvic area. After 22 hours of labor she ended up with a Cesarean Section and feeling like a failure. The story was heartbreaking for me. This was the last type of story I wanted to hear as I'd been closely following the girl's pregnancy. It was right after hearing this story on Monday and coming from the Ina May Gaskin lecture over the weekend that I have made a final decision to have a home birth if possible. I do not want to be in that situation. I hope to receive support from my family because this is a decision that I have made with a TON of research, FACTs and statistics. It's also important for everyone to know that the midwives are wise and not in a position to set themselves up for an emergency. They do not let you give birth at home if you are in some sort of danger. I'm hoping for a water birth so that me and the baby will be cozy and comfortable!

Tomorrow we find out the sex. I'm ecstatic and although I really should not say this, I have strong feelings there is a little boy living in my belly so if they tell me it is a girl I will be shocked. I'm so happy to be having a baby that it truly doesnt matter if it is a boy or a girl, but I need to document that I have strong feelings that it is a baby boy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

18 weeks

Hum, what happened to my 17-week photos? Can anyone else see them? I think I'm getting to the point where I should take weekly photos anyhow. I certainly feel like I am growing by the day!

Javier and I had a regular scheduled doctor's appointment yesterday. When we have the Sansum appointments we rotate around so that we can meet all the doctors because you have no idea who will be there to deliver. Yesterday we met a young doctor, Karen Craig. Dr. Craig has recently moved to Santa Barbara from Nebraska. It was interesting to hear her perspective. I had mentioned to her that I am interested in touring the hospital soon so that I can see the birthing rooms in order to make a decision about a home birth vs. hospital birth. She said very matter of factly that the rooms here are out of date and especially compared to Nebraska. She mentioned that in Nebraska all rooms have big laboring tubs and at Cottage there is only a shower. In general Santa Barbara just doesnt have the money they have in the midwest, she reported. It was interesting to hear her perspective.

But the good news is the appointment went well. I've gained 6.5 pounds and we heard the babies strong heartbeat, which is always so reassuring! We find out the sex of the little one on July 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Week 17

Javier and I met with Dr. Green yesterday. It was definitely different being in a "private practice" office vs. the public clinic approach I have with Sansum. The wait was much longer, all the ladies in the office were so much nicer and happier so I didnt mind. I was kind of afraid about Dr. Green being so old (he's 73), but when we met him he has a much younger appearance and he is really with it. It was pretty much a consult visit and he definitely spent the time just answering our questions. I found him to be EXTREMELY helpful. He gave us a lot of insight into the hospital birth process. No matter which doctor we choose (if we choose a doctor over a homebirth midwife) we will deliver at the only hospital in Santa Barbara where babies are delivered, Cottage. So he was very insightful. We learned that once you check in there they assign one nurse to you personally. This is a good thing, but you still have to think about them changing as they will on their shifts. If we go with Green or Ramos (private practice doctors) they will more than likely attend the birth whereas if we stay with Sansum we will be subject to the doctor who is on call at the time we're ready to push. But Dr. Green says that the nursing staff at Cottage has learned a great deal in the very recent years about approaching childbirth as a more natural process. Historically Cottage is where the high-risk deliveries were and there was another hospital/birthing center in town where the normal prenancies went. That birthing center has since closed down so the nurses who were there are now at Cottage which has been a fantastic thing according to Green.

I need to post some new photos soon. I'm blowing up ;-)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

16 weeks

I rescheduled the appointment with Dr. Green. I was supposed to meet with him on Monday, but on top of a busy schedule Monday, figured it would be better to wait for Javier's return. I did, however, meet with another midwife, Anna Bunting, on Tuesday. I went to her house and I really enjoyed her. I liked her energy a lot and she excited me again about the thought and possibility of a home birth. Now the question is is it worth dropping my current doctors if I plan to do the home birth? They would only be in place as back up so maybe it's not worth the switch? Oh, and the midwife thinks I am a week further along than the doctors think I am. So according to her I'm 17 weeks ... I'll just try to be ready a few weeks early!

I really do just want to make a decision and move forward! But I need to make and informed and intentional decision. The fact that "most" people do hospital births does make it a little more comfortable, but I would be on top of the world if we had our baby at home. What an accomplishment and what an amazing entrance for Baby Muslera.

The Art of Joyful Living workshop was great! I got all kinds of tools to help get out of negative thought patterns. The idea is that we really can manipulate our reality by our thinking and our energy. Really cool stuff and a lot of fun! Totally California ;-).

An old friend of mine is in town from Atlanta. She was over for dinner last night and insisted we do the "ring test" to find out if I'm having a boy or girl. This test, which we completed twice, says we will be having a girl. Controversy is heating up - acupuncture test says boy, ring test says girl ;-)! We'll find out on July 1!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Lots going on

So at this point I've been on pursuit. Pursuit of knowledge of all types (pregnancy, nutrition, baby soothing techniques, birthing, yoga, chanting, you name it!) and also to sort out in my head and my gut exactly what type of care I am seeking throughout my first pregnancy. It's a little difficult for me to even write about at this point because it's been in my head and such a topic of late that I'm a bit sick of it. BUT the great news is next week I have an appointment with a new doctor, Dr. Green, on Monday. Here is an article from the Santa Barbara Independent which features him as a local hero:

Dr. Ralph Green has blessed Santa Barbara women and families with personalized childbirth experiences for the last 39 years. With the skills of an obstetrician but the inclusive philosophy of a midwife, Dr. Green has eased thousands of Santa Barbara babies into the world since 1967 (he lost count at 5,000 births 10 years ago). Many women who feel dissatisfied with traditional prenatal care are recommended to Dr. Green — who, in turn, recommend him to others. At 70, he works at least 60 hours a week, sometimes sleeping at the hospital to ensure he doesn’t miss a birth.
Dr. Green’s loving smile and calm manner set his patients at ease, even throughout the most trying birth experiences. In order to be responsive to what “the individual desires out of birth,” Dr. Green aims to forge connections with his patients early on in the pregnancy, which helps him intuit potential problems and plan accordingly. Dr. Green also encourages his patients to have a doula — a woman experienced in childbirth who cares for the mother-to-be — present during the birth so that they are not “at the mercy of an attendant they have never met before.”
According to midwife Mary Jackson, Dr. Green is one of the few OBs who “view childbirth from the perspective of trusting in the process.” Part of this trust plays out in Dr. Green’s refusal to do routine episiotomies or to rush births. In an age where immediacy and anonymity seem valued over experience, Santa Barbara is fortunate to have a doctor who welcomes new life into the world at its own pace and in its own way.

Our meeting with Mary Jackson at home actually kind of made me feel like that perhaps we're not ready for a home birth at this point. It's absolutely the more complicated way to go, even though it is meant to be the simplest. It's complicated with insurance and can be complicated by the myriad of potential, although unlikely, possible scenarios that might occur during a pregnancy. Just a lot to think about. Again, ideally I'd be in a birthing center, but here in Santa Barbara that is not possible yet, so for the time being I'm looking forward to meeting with Dr. Green on Monday. If I like him, I'll make the switch over to his care and will hopefully be able to relax. For a little more insight on my current thoughts ... I'm seeing a doctor who is part of a "group". I have to meet all of the various doctors in the group because I have no idea who will be on call at the time of my labor. Basically I feel like I'm just in this system. It's not really personalized at all, and I just want a little more.

In other goings-on: I'm busy all day tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday with a retreat, The Art of Joyful Living. It is being conducted by an esteemed life coach team, Roger and Kim Vincent. What lead me here? I want to figure out how to maximize joy and my life purpose. Right now with work, the radio, volunteering to the Junior League, juggling marriage and a social life as well, I am often exhausted and not left with much to give. As I will become a mother soon, I figure I'll need a bit of a paradigm shift in my life. I always love to learn about myself and others and am constantly seeking ways to improve so this is right up my alley. I'm looking forward to it, but it won't leave me with much relaxation time this weekend ;-).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

photos 15 weeks

These photos are kind of cheating because they were taken super late at night on Sunday night after a huge dinner ;-)

15 weeks

So here we are. We've reached 15 weeks. I feel good, really good. I feel happy and finally have some of my standard energy back - YEAH - and also to have a relatively normal appetite. There is definitely a difference in how I feel now that I've reached the "second trimester". Also, I think the reality is setting in more and it just continues to feel more exciting. We're still far enough away to not have that super reality feeling (like OH CRAP), but we're far enough into it to be super excited.

We met with Mary Jackson yesterday. She came to our home for a 30 minute visit. She used the time to tell us about her, her training, her philosophy, the risks and the reality of home birth. I enjoyed hearing all of this and her story is definitely amazing. I have no doubt that she has more experience than any doctor here in SB with births, but I have to say when she left I just wasn't 100% convinced that this is the way we should go. I'm still exploring options. I would prefer to take a tour of the hospital soon too, to determine how I like the birthing rooms they have. The good news is that Javier's insurance covers 70% of the midwife's fees. That's really good considering my insurance would cover zip for the midwife. We're definitely not decided on anything yet and will still keep open minds and listen to our (well, my) gut!

I'm really enjoying the prenatal yoga with Siddhi. She's great and the exercises are wonderful too. They're pretty challenging and they are not things that I have done before for the most part. I'm still running a bit and am trying to plan more walks with friends. Santa Barbara is a lovely place for being outside... even in gloomy June, which I personally LOVE.

I've got a new trick and with it today I am using some of the jeans I haven't been able to wear in some time. It's a hair band trick and it's working today, and maybe for the next month, but I don't see that it is going to last too much longer! I'm popping out. We took a couple of photos on Sunday evening which I will post very soon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Prenatal Yoga with Siddhi

Fortunately I feel as though really wonderful people are coming into my life as my pregnancy progresses. In this case, I guess you could say that I brought myself into this person's life. I started prenatal yoga on Saturday. The teacher is this angelic, wonderful, wise woman - Siddhi. We did yoga in a circle and Siddhi empasized the importance of us mothers connecting. Throughout the class she had all sorts of tidbits of wisdom for us as we stretched and did exercises to prepare ourselves for birth, but also for being mothers. We sang to the babies and did protection chants and I think for the first time it really sank in for me, the reality, as I was nearly in tears. It was so sweet and so special and so much fun. I went again on Tuesday and had an equally lovely experience. The Tuesday class was in a different studio. The women were more quiet and the class was smaller, but I really enjoy the pregnancy appropriate exercises and Siddhi's general way of being and advising. She has all this great music too, which of course I completely appreciate. Before we close every class we sing a song about the sun shining brightly for our child. It's so sweet!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mary Jackson

So upon researching I had decided to call a few midwives. I got a call back on Thursday at 5pm from Mary Jackson, a little angel. The conversation started a little slow as it's a little hard to know where to begin, but once we started talking everything flowed so naturally and the more I felt so compelled by her lovely energy and spirit. A midwife has an entire different approach from that of an ob/gyn doctor. Shortly into our phone call it dawned on me that I knew her name ... My friend, Michael Chiacos, is very proud of the fact that he was born at home. And so was his brother. In fact, it was one of the first things I learned about Michael. He feels very connected to his birth experience. One of his best friends that he met when he was 5 was also born at home with the help of Mary Jackson and they have bonded for life over this. The reason I bring this up is because it's clear that this birthing experience means a great deal to Michael and I can bet that when the time comes for him to have a baby that he will want his wife to do it at home with a midwife. But I digress. Mary Jackson, it is obvious to me, takes the time to connect with her mothers and their partners. It's a very organic and spiritual approach. She spent a great deal of time talking to me about how the baby is learning from me right now. How it is important for me sleep when I feel tired as the baby will learn to sleep when he/she is tired once born. She encouraged me to spend time doing things that I love, to breathe deeply, to spend time bonding with my partner and talking to the baby. She explained the process of home birth to me which honestly sounded like heaven. We would be here with Javier, our dog, Mary Jackson, her assistants and everyone would be encouraging me and empowering me and helping the baby to have a beautiful entrance into the world. I wouldn't have to be in a room wondering what they were going to do to me next like I would at the hospital. I am interested in a water birth which I think would be more comfortable for all parties involved. For anyone reading this and thinking I'm crazy, I would encourage you to watch the film "The Business of Being Born" (you can rent this online I saw this film some time ago and it changed my prospective about child birth significantly. This is a monumental time in a woman's life and I want my experience to be positive and beautiful. In general I am the type of person who needs a lot of attention so I'm sure I would enjoy the care of a midwife!

I'm off to my first prenatal yoga class today. I'm looking forward to meeting more expectant mothers and doing some great stretching!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Since publicizing the pregnancy news, I've been sent into a strange frenzy of "oh, this is for real ... I need to start doing prenatal yoga ... need to start learning about the birth process ... need to start eating better, etc." I decided to start opening up the conversation about birth to women that I know and women who have been through the process somewhat recently. My cousin, Holly, has given birth to 3 children, 2 in the hospital and one at home, so she is a wealth of information. Starting these conversations has begun to introduce me to an entire vocabulary of which I was completely ignorant of 1 week ago: episiotomy, Braxton-Hicks, oligohydramnios. I am the type of person who likes to be informed. In fact, I cannot get enough information. I currently have no less than 20 pregnancy books at my bedside, but I think it's time to get some birthing books as well! I do not want to be afraid of the birthing process, but at this point in my life I've heard a LOT of stories/realities rather. I'm probably the most afraid of the downward spiral that seems to be somewhat typical with Western births: first they induce with Pitosin ... and since they've induced you're in a ton of pain so you need an epidural ... since the epidural is so strong you cannot push because your numb ... since you cannot push the baby doesnt come ... you need a c-section. Okay, so I could be being a tad extreme, but I just have my trepedations about using a hospital to give birth. I'm the type of person who would prefer to see and acupuncturist and take herbs if I am sick, rather than take antibiotics. In fact it's been years since I've taken and antibiotics. I don't even take Advil or Tylenol and tend to deal with the problem rather than the symptom of the problem if possible. Western medicine simply isnt like this. I don't want to fault it ... it's just not my style most of the time. I'm no fool, sometimes Western medicine is absolutely necessary, but I believe it's more rare than most would think. So here I go looking for midwives and doulas in the area! In my "ideal birthing world" I would give birth at a beautiful birthing center here in Santa Barbara in a room with dim lights, nice music, a big tub and knowledgable midwives, doulas and nurses. Things would progress quickly, but not so quickly that I get "torn" (oh my, yes I must write about this). Anyway, at the present time no such place exists. It appears that my choices are at home or in the hospital with a doula. I'm calling around and will start the interviewing process asap. I found a prenatal yoga class on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays which will work with my schedule =). I'm full speed ahead in thinking about having the type of birth and delivery that I want, but I've know full well that I could possibly cave (this is my disclaimer so I don't catch a lot of crap if I do - heehee).

According to my pregnancy book Patito is currently the size of a peach. My current weight gain - 5 pounds.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

13 weeks

Another week has quickly passed by. This was a big week for me. I announced the pregnancy to my boss and my director. They seemed happy for me. My director, Dave, asked, "Do you know how this happened?" haha. It was a relief to tell them because that opened up the possibility for me to start sharing the news with my workmates and friends at Yardi. I shared the news with management on Thursday and with everyone else on Friday. It was a big day and since I work with mostly men (and mostly young men) the reactions were really funny. Men don't really scream with excitement. They say funny things. But I'm seriously very relieved to have the word out so that now I don't have to worry so much about the way my clothes look ("can you tell in this shirt?"). At this point my waist has grown 3 inches and I am up about 4 - 5 pounds. It dawned on me that instead of reading all these books about pregnancy perhaps I should start reading books about babies! I just ordered a couple. Javier's friend, Diego from Spain, was staying with us this weekend and he is certain I am having a girl. I love to get people's feelings about this. Diego, Javier and I talked a bit about names. Hilarious. Diego and Javier both really like the name "Igor" - seriously. hahahahaha. And for a girl they both like the name that their mutual friends, Jorge and Sarah, picked for their daughter, Lucia. That is a nice name, but they don't get the unspoken protocol that you don't steal your friends' names ;-).

Okay, I'm going to attempt to post some photos...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Week 12

We're now in week 12, the time when most believe the risk of miscarriage significantly decreases. I still feel a little afraid though. I've just heard far too many stories/realities that definitely keep me aware that you can just never be too sure. Also, in the beginning I 'felt' like I was growing a lot, but now I don't really feel like I'm growing. I've gained about 4 pounds and have stayed steady for a few weeks. I'm a little less tired, although I still need my sleep. And thankfully I'm not dealing with as much nausea although it does still exist. The most frustrating thing right now is when I get hungry, I am hungry for very specific foods. If those foods are not available nothing else really tastes that great. On the menu at the Muslera's this weeks has been creamy rice, mac-n-cheese, and mashed potatoes.... LOADS of creamy CARBS!

I had a dream last night about the baby. This time it was very clear that it was my baby and he was a tiny baby boy. He was all wet, maybe sweaty, but I was very worried that he was uncomfortable. In my dream we had not yet come up with a name, but I heard another woman call him something. I asked her what she had called him. She replied, "Peterson Anderson, that's his name." I was quick to tell her that we had not come up with a name yet, to which she replied, "Javier told me that was his name." I was so upset because he had never even brought that name up to me. How funny! So this baby now has a few names: Patito, Tito, and Peterson Anderson!

I spoke with Javier's mom on Thursday of last week. Keep in mind that when we speak, we speak in Spanish on the telephone so you can imagine how the telephone conversations go! Anyway, I *think* she was professing to me once again about the certainty that she feels we are having a boy. At this point I'm starting to worry that if we find out we're having a girl that she'll be disappointed so I tried to communicate that to her on the phone. I'm sure either way she will be happy, but I just wanted to try to prepare her. I have to be honest though, at this point I feel that it is a boy as well.... It's very strange that you can get a feeling like this from a little human that is currently the size of a lime.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jesusita Fire roars

The current fire in Santa Barbara is pretty crazy. It's the closest to downtown that I've seen yet: Due to fire, many many of our friends have been evacuated from their homes. People take evacuations pretty seriously around here simply because homes do burn. It happens quite frequently here. In fact, I believe this is our 3rd big fire in a year. We have friends who have evacuated to our home, Andy, Alison and their 5-month old Emerson. It seems that babies are all around me these days. It's funny because I used to (before I was pregnant) completely embrace being around kids always, but now I feel a bit skiddish. Emerson is delightful. She's super cute, quiet and totally squeezable (she's a 95th percentile baby), but I haven't been rushing to hold her or play with her like I probably would have before I became pregnant. It's strange. It's almost like I want to make sure I don't get all babied out before my own comes along. How silly. I wonder if this is normal?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Week 11

Back from Oahu and trying to settle into the work groove. I still want to be hanging out on the North Shore though! I had, quite possibly, one of the worst flights of my life on the way over. I forgot my Bose Noise Cancelling headphones and sat right in front of two young boys and a mother with zero control/discipline. Yes, I realize it is ironic that I am choosing to judge her. That could be me soon, but I honestly don't think it ever would be. How can you let your children be so bad?!?!?! They were not babies, mind you. They are old enough to understand, "sit down and be quiet, now." ;-)

Hawaii was interesting on another level as well. I was there to visit with friends (Mandy & Jeff) who have a 3-month old little boy, Pierce. Pierce is adorable and wonderful, but I got to see first hand that he is also a full-time job. I kind of freaked out .... you really do not get a break when you have baby!! OH MY GOSH I HOPE I'M READY FOR THIS!

It was wonderful visiting with friends and we really had a great time in Hawaii. It was too short actually! One of the highlights for me was definitely the North Shore. For Javier, I'm certain it was the surf lessons at Waikiki. I returned yesterday to yet another fire in Santa Barbara. It's always so devastating. I hope this one is maintained quickly, but it's not looking good due to the heat and the wind.

In other news, I'm up to 115 lbs, often hungry and able to wear even fewer of my "normal" clothes.

Friday, May 1, 2009

No swine flu

The girl who sits next to me at works claims that I better get the word out soon because my belly is getting obvious. I don't expect that my superiors will share my joy ... I guess that's why I'm not looking forward to sharing the news. I imagine the first thing that will go through their minds is, "great, she's going to have to be out for a while." Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised. I was planning to tell them at 12 weeks, which will be May 11.

Today I depart for Hawaii. I have to be honest, I am a bit afraid of this swine flu. I try not to buy into this fear mongering that is so prevalent in this country, but apparently when you're pregnant your immunity is very low. If it were just me I wouldn't feel the same way at all, but suddenly it's all about Patito and making sure he/she is always okay and comfy.

Looking forward to surprising Mandy with the news! Back on Tuesday!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Visit with the midwife


I just returned from an appointment with the Sansum midwife, who I loved by the way. I had thought my appointment with her was supposed to be my opportunity to ask any questions, etc. so I was very pleasantly surprised when she said we could "try" to hear the heart beat. She said that sometimes it is not possible to hear the heartbeat until 12 weeks, but that there was a chance we might hear it. As she poked around looking for the heartbeat, at first she found nothing. It's funny because based on the ultrasound and also on how I physically feel I think I know where the baby is so I told her to try there and sure enough we heard it. It was so loud and so strong -- this WOOSH WOOSH WOOSH. It was so cool that it made me want to laugh and cry at the same time, but every time I would laugh I would mess up the whole set-up. I'm bummed Javier missed the heartbeat. He would have loved it. At the moment I was experiencing our baby's heartbeat, he was on a bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto. We were texting.

Yesterday was not such a great day. I felt so crappy and tired. I basically fell asleep at my desk, but didn't realize it until someone came up to talk to me and she started laughing her head off. I wanted to leave early so badly, but my work ethic got the best of me so I stayed. Once I arrived home for the day, I got Queso out for a walk and then promptly got into my PJs. I laid immobile on the couch for hours. I didn't feel like talking to anyone, eating anything or even getting up to pee. It was strange. I even caught American Idol (my mom's favorite show that she is always trying to talk to me about) for the first time. Simon is a jerk, no? After an early and full night of rest I was feeling back to normal today and even started out the morning with a short run with Queso. I'm tired again now though and have so much work to do before Hawaii!!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Counter Intuition

To set the record straight, my mom believes that I will be having a girl. She has professed that she is "usually right, but if it is a boy, that's okay." Thanks, Mom! My friend, Luly, also feels strongly as though I will be having a girl. So the trick that my acupuncturist used was to feel the pulse in each of my wrists. Apparently if the pulse is stronger on the left hand, then the woman will be having a boy. If the pulse is stronger on the right hand, that signifies a girl. I did the trick on another girl I know who is pregnant and felt that her left was stronger as well. The good thing about this trick ... we will for sure be able to test it's accuracy.

In other news, I continue to feel pretty good. Less nauseous, but more tired. I tried to get a little more exercise this weekend as I know it is important for me and Patito. It's tough to exercise during the week because my regular days exhaust me so much. But there definitely seems to be a direct correlation between the exercise and me feeling better.

I have an appointment with the Sansum midwife tomorrow. I'm very excited about this. After seeing "The Business of Being Born" I had figured I'd be as anti-hospital birth as possible, but now that I'm here at this time in my life, I feel like I do not have the time use an "alternate route" if you will. I told my doctor about my concerns and she assurred me that they will do their best to ensure my delivery is as I want it (yes, because this is the way it always goes, huh?). But the point is I'm excited that my OB/GYN department has a midwife. It will be nice to meet with her.

Javier left for Japan today. He's quite concerned about me catching the Swine Flu. He went out yesterday and purchased masks and hand sanitizers and really wants me to use this stuff. Cute. I'm pretty stubborn though and confident about my health and my strong immune system. He and I will see each other again this Saturday in Hawaii, where I will be visiting with Mandy. She just gave birth to a new son on February 1st and I have not shared my news with her yet. I think she's going to be pretty excited so that will be fun!

I seem to have leveled out at this new bloated size. I found another pair of jeans I can wear - big excitement at the Muslera house!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


So, shortly after announcing I was pregnant, Momita Irma said she dreamed we were having a boy. I also had a dream in that same week that we had a beautiful baby boy, but it was a confusing dream because I will soon be visiting a friend of mine in Hawaii who recently had a baby boy so I had wondered if perhaps my dream were actually about her new son. Dreams can be confusing, you know. Also last week when we sat to dinner with a few friends and had one extra chair, we set Patito's ultrasound photo in the chair (does that sound strange? It was all in good fun) and I continually referred to Patito as "him". Last night, I ran into my acupuncturist, the great John Ebadi. I shared the good news with him and the first thing he said was, "show me your tongue." He examined my tongue, which tells a great deal about one's health, and grabbed my wrists and held onto them for about a minute feeling the pulse of each wrist. He said, "you're having a boy."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Week 10

On March 19 Javier and I found out we're pregnant. It was a happy surprise. We've been open to it for some time, but simply weren't one of those couples who just got pregnant looking at each other. It took some time (16 months to be exact), but through the process what I learned about myself was that I could be at peace with whatever the outcome. Being a big believer in fate, I had a feeling it would happen exactly when it was supposed to at some point and that if it didn't happen, well life is a beautiful experience and one that usually has a way of playing itself out in a way that makes sense later. Perhaps the world would not be able to handle a mini Erin&Javier ;-).

After the initial shock and excitement the first thing I did was set out to learn. I was on the Internet figuring out at what time of the year this new little one could be expected, what type of development was going on inside me at that moment and of course, "what am I not supposed to do?" In fact, we found out on a Thursday, and we're headed out for a ski trip on Friday. And not some relaxing ski retreat, rather that weekend warrior type trip of which I've become all too familiar. The kind where we pack up the car on Friday afternoon (after working), drive 6+ hours to Mammoth, ski all day Saturday and all day Sunday and then hop in the car on Sunday after a full day of intense skiing to drive home. I digress, but anyway, I started to wonder if our crazy lifestyle could be dangerous. I was at the very beginning stages. Far too early to share the news, but also too early to begin panicking I figured and tried to relax and enjoy myself.

Around week 6 we took off for New York City. Mostly in the very beginning I just remember being hungry, hungry with the type of appetite of which I am not too accustomed. Big appetite? - No problem in NYC! We enjoyed our trip and I did my best to appear that I was drinking when out with our friends. The bigger concern was how was my belly already looking slightly more round? It was WAY too early. I still don't know why I have popped out so easily - the extra calories, the pregnancy bloat? Who knows, but at this rate I may become HUGE ;-).

At week 8 (April 14) we had our first appointment with Dr. Terbell. At this time we got a big stack of paperwork and bits of information that I would not too many moments later be saying, "What was it she said about this?" Also at this appointment we had an ultrasound. The first thing I said when I saw the little thing on the monitor was, "It looks like a duck!" At week 8 it's pretty difficult to distinguish because of the way the baby is developed at this point. But hence, the moniker "Patito" was born. We now mostly refer to the growing baby as Patito (little duck in Spanish).

Soon after this point I got my hands on some books! And everything I read suggested keeping a journal which is why I decided to start this blog. Typing is way easier than writing and this way I can share the fun with anyone who is interested or needs a "take 5" from work, etc.

We are currently in week 10 of the pregnancy and for about the past two weeks I have been unable to wear the majority of my jeans. Last weekend I had to buy this "belly belt" thing which allows one to wear pants without fastening them - GENIUS! Also very handy, a pair of jeans that have been too big for over 5 years that I had hung on to for some reason (this is big for me because I have serious clothing purging issue). We've started to share the news with close friends and family, which I find so much fun. Reactions are quite varied, but of course I love the screamers. Then there were those people, you know who you are, who called me out straight away when I didn't have any wine at the Latin BBQs ;-). Momita Irma claimed she had a dream we were pregnant so she was very excited to learn that her keen intuition was dead on as usual. My mom exclaimed that she had given up on being a grandparent at this point so the news came as big surprising excitement to her for sure.

Symptoms at this point:
MUST GET ENOUGH SLEEP. Not getting enough sleep is not an option.
The couch is one of my new best friends, as well as "Millionaire Matchmaker"
Prepping veggies also makes me ill

Some helpful information for this blog:
A typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, but 37 to 42 weeks is accepted as being within normal medical limits.
My due date according to the professionals: November 24, 2009
My pre-pregnancy weight: 111 lbs
Current weight as of today: 114 lbs