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The Neverending Poopstory

16 Weeks

A whole entry about my poop? Seriously?

Here, as promised, is an entire entry dedicated to poop. There will be no pictures of poop, however, just graphic descriptions.

When Lillian was around seven weeks I noticed some little specs of blood in her diaper. Of course, I freaked out and called the pediatrician who said it could be a reaction to cow’s milk and to maybe scale back on it a bit. Being the freakazoid I am, I decided to cut dairy out completely and I got every soy product I could get my hands on and ate them all weekend. Then it got really weird and icky. Mucusy, sort of seaweedy dark brown and stinky as hell. There were also occasional specs of blood, and other poop was really green. I called the pediatrician and asked what I should do. I mentioned that the week before I cut out dairy I had actually started subbing in soy milk for my cereal because I was worried I’d been overdoing it. So follow along  – I actually upped my soy intake right before this whole mess started. Then I upped it a lot more, and the poop got way worse. I asked the pediatrician if she thought it was possible that Lillian had issues with soy, but not dairy. She said it was possible, but told me to keep drinking soy milk and cut out all dairy.

Lillian was really fussy during this time so I decided that was crap advice and I was going to cut out both diary and soy – Lillian started feeling better pretty quickly. When we saw the pediatrician about a week later for her two month appointment, she recommended I take a probiotic called Florastor that was safe for people who were dairy intolerant, and she gave us 5 vials for collecting poop to have it tested. She claimed that mucusy, green poop was actually a sign of intestinal bleeding (rilly?) and I shouldn’t try to reintroduce dairy or soy until she had yellow poop again.

I’m generally not squeamish about changing the poopy diaper, but collecting it was no fun at all. The vials had liquid in them and the tops had these tiny spoons attached that you were supposed to use to scoop the poop. The vast amounts I had to get into each vial was totally incompatible with these teeny tiny spoons, so I just ended up trying to scrape it into the vial from the diaper. Much ickiness ensued. Bleah.

The tests came back negative, and the doctor told me to stay off everything with any soy or dairy additives and take the Florastor until things were normal again. I became a poopologist. I looked at every diaper, scanning it for blood, consistency, color, and smell. The state of Lillian’s poop became the barometer for my state of mind. Good poop – good day. Bad poop – bad, bad day. Depression. Anxiety. Fear.

The poop stayed green but stopped showing any blood (and mind you, the blood was always in such small amounts that David couldn’t even see it) until Mother’s Day when we went out for dinner. The pediatrician had said goat and sheep cheese should be safe, so I had me a goat’s cheese fest and a great dinner. 36 hours later Lillian’s poop got nasty again. I felt like a horrible mother. It took about 5 days to cycle back, and in the meantime I’d run out of Florastor so I was off it for a few days. Magically, we had yellow poop again for the first time in about six weeks! Hallelujah!

Then I went back on Florastor and it got weird again. So I went off. Florastor, it turns out, has lactose in it. The theory was that Lillian has an intolerance to either soy protein, dairy protein, or both. So lactose from cows shouldn’t have an effect. But then again, the doctor told me to avoid all dairy and soy additives, many of which don’t contain protein. Huh?

I called our local blended holistic-conventional pharmacy and asked a pharmacist about Florastor. She said as a probiotic it’s virtually useless because it only contains one bug. She suggested a broad spectrum, dairy and soy free probiotic and an enzyme to help with digestion.

Several things have happened since then. Lillian’s poop is much better overall. When something seems to disturb her digestion, she bounces back quickly. I think the supplements help, and I also think her system is getting better at processing stuff.

I’ve talked to other mothers about the situation, and come to the conclusion that we blew the whole thing way out of proportion, partly thanks to our pediatrician. She even had me worrying every time I could hear Lillian’s stomach grumbling. Yes, blood in the poop means something is bugging her intestines, but monitoring every single quality of her poop is crazy and crazy-making. It turns out lots of my friends have babies with green, mucusy, dark, light, yellow, brown, whatever poop. They’re all fine. Baby poop is not standard, and it’s no big deal when it changes. Even blood is not a big deal if you can isolate the cause and cut it out until they outgrow the intolerance.

It should be mentioned that Lillian has never seemed to have any discomfort since that first week. She’s perfectly happy, active, healthy, and has a good appetite. We rarely notice any discomfort that could be attributed to her digestion.

So after making myself nuts for two months, I decided that was enough. No more obsessing about every change in Lillian’s poop. We would start reintroducing soy and dairy separately and determine if either or both was the culprit, and any poop that didn’t have significant blood was good poop as far as we were concerned.

The pediatrician quizzed us about it at Lillian’s four-month appointment last week and we gave her the basic story. I asked her about the Florastor and she claimed it was perfectly safe. Again, her party line without any real consideration for my observations, or my individual kid. So. Fired.

It’s way more fun to not be obsessive. And now we know she is actually quite sensitive to soy. I tried some stuff that had soy additives and lo and behold, she had a clear, but short-lived reaction. Hopefully she’ll outgrow it, but I’m not going to try again until she’s six months old. I’ll try a small amount of dairy in a week or so and see what happens. I suspect with dairy it may be a threshold thing and if I enjoy it in moderation she’ll be just fine. Either way we’ll know before we start solids, so we’ll know what to avoid. In the meantime, I’m turning in my poopologist badge and just going back to being Mama.

And that’s the poopstory. I’m going to get in so much trouble for this when she’s a teenager.

More stories from the rabbit hole

Four months!

Four months old!

I am actually feeling a lot better these days. I know the hormones are starting to subside because I don’t break into a sweat every time I get stressed out. I still get kind of hot at night, but nothing like it was. And oh yeah, I don’t have a mental breakdown every day or so. That part is key. I still get grouchy, and defensive, and worried, and exhausted, (just ask David!) but I don’t hit the red zone nearly as easily.

So now I can reflect on some of the madness that has been the last 4 months and think about writing more about it. Here’s a tale of self-inflicted crazy from the crazy archives.

When Lillian was about 4 weeks old, I had the really bad idea to weigh her on the bathroom scale. And the scale said she was only 7 lbs, way too low for where she should be. To rewind – she had come in at the 10th percentile for weight and her doctor had warned us it couldn’t go below that, so I was paranoid. She had also lost too much weight when she came home from the hospital, and that was really scary. Also, breast feeding is hard in that respect because you really have no idea how much food your kid is getting. And a friend of mine had had supply problems and her baby was having a hard time gaining weight. Another friend’s newborn had ended up in NICU because she had issues relating to low birth weight. How does all this apply to this situation? Er, it doesn’t really, I was just paranoid.

Anyhoo, I freaked the hell out. Freaked. Out. I was convinced that Lillian was dangerously underweight, dehydrated, sickly, and on the brink of being taken from me and stuck in NICU. (At this point I was seriously sleep-deprived as well.) David didn’t want me taking her to the doctor or calling the lactation consultant and further indulging my panic – he was sure she was just fine. But I got so wigged I did end up calling the lactation consultant. She came later in the week, weighed Lillian, and determined that she was in fact 7lbs 12oz, a very respectable weight gain since her previous appointment. Doh.

The freaky thing was I managed to convince myself so completely that something was seriously wrong when it wasn’t. A freakier thing was how my fear of Lillian not gaining weight and somehow getting “in trouble” for it was really an inversion of my own feelings about my body. I’ve always hated the scale, and while my self-esteem is usually pretty good these days, as is my fitness, I’ve still avoided the doctor because I don’t want a supposed authority figure to tell me I’m wrong or defective in some way. But since I had the baby I haven’t really given a crap about that so much. So here we have a perfect example of how my own issues can be passed on to my kid unconsciously if I’m not careful. Do I want Lillian to worry about weighing too much or too little as she gets older? Nooooooo. I just want her to feel as comfortable and happy in her body as possible. Is it her job to take on my feelings about my body? Oh Jesus no.

Sometimes I still worry. Lillian is smaller than most of the babies in our play group and I have a tendency to compare a bit too much. But I just look at my anxiety and say, “Well, that’s just my old friend Anxiety in another costume, and it doesn’t have any more to do with reality (or with Lillian) than last time when I was fixated on something else.”  It eventually works when paired with some fresh air, or meditation, or a good nights’ sleep. And Lillian is awesome; she’s active and happy and I love her chubby thighs and cheeks. I may be a worrier, but I make good, well-thought out decisions for myself and her.  I have no intention of letting my own crap influence those decisions or how Lillian perceives herself as she becomes more self-aware.

I’ve also talked to a lot more parents since the early days and realized that the milestone/percentage tracking thing is a bunch of bullshit. My kid is not a demographic. She’s an individual and she may be smaller or bigger at any given time depending on her activity level, growth spurts, sleep, eating schedule, and basic genetic makeup. I understand that tracking her growth over time can show trends and give us an idea if there are problems, but it seems just ludicrous how much attention is paid to this stuff in the first few months. Her doctor warned us that she had to stay in the same percentile (or go up) at her first appointment. What the hell? She’s going to be smaller sometimes and bigger sometimes. What about when she starts solids and her calorie intake drops for a while? What if her growth slows down for a little while? Should we really have to look at all this stuff with a magnifying glass before it can ever indicate anything? It turns out I know a lot of people whose kids were in low percentiles (myself included) and turned out just fine. And anyone who sees Lillian can tell she’s thriving, so the growth charts (and our pediatrician who I’m about to fire anyway – story coming soon) can just suck it.

Post Partum Part the First: The Hospital

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Hospital beds: not as comfy as they look

The 48 hours ish we spent in post-partum at the hospital were not great fun. People come in and wake you up all the freaking time. Nurses, doctors, other random people. They just knock and walk in. Even if I had wanted to sleep I was so wired up from the birth that I only slept about an hour at a time, even with drugs. I had a couple of nice nurses, and several annoying, incompetent, or belittling nurses. Sometimes all in one!

I’m not sure where some of these ladies got their make-you-feel-like-a-stupid-asshole skillz, but they must have learned from the best. I had one night nurse both nights who did everything she could to show me how little I knew about anything baby. She’d spout of statistics or numbers after a checkup with exactly no explanation of what they meant, and smile at me ingratiatingly. Her nursing technique sucked and involved squeezing my breast painfully without authorization. That was a recurring theme. Nothing in there yet ladies, thanks. Our final nurse who checked us out was totally lame. Lackadaisical doesn’t begin to cover it. She forgot to stop at the pharmacy for my meds, didn’t feel like answering questions, and would disappear for long periods when we were trying to get out of the room and get home.

I still had a port in my hand for the first 24 hours, and I had to get 4 more doses of antibiotic through it. This was supposed to take about 20 minutes, but sometimes it stretched out to 1.5 hours, because apparently nobody had taught the nurses how to administer a fucking IV. They’d flush out the port with saline, which hurt like hell, and then start the drug. And invariably fuck it up – it wouldn’t pump, or the line would be jammed. The bitch nurse fucked the last one up really badly at like 1am and acted as if I was just being whiny. It took like 2 hours to finish it. Did I mention how much that shit hurt? I did however talk to the charge nurse about it. Go me. I also called the charge nurse to ask for feedback forms on all my nurses and guess what? She never showed. The OD consultant in me was not impressed.

Trying to learn to breast feed, which is wicked hard anyway, was impossible with the awful hospital pillows. Plus I didn’t seem to be producing anything which was stressful. I had one day nurse who was great and I at least got an idea of what a good latch felt like. Lillian was all about the boob, but she chewed with her surprisingly strong gums and it hurt like hell. I guess I lucked out with the latch, but OW.

David was in a world of pain from the horrible bed in L&D, and the one in the recovery room was far worse. Fortunately, that nice nurse got him a cot which was a bit better. It royally sucks that you can’t sleep with your husband when you need snuggles incredibly badly.

The food was really pretty good. Who knew? They had a killer veggie burger, and decent breakfast tacos. Of course, I would have eaten a tire happily at that point, but it really wasn’t bad.

Yeah, so I couldn’t wind down. This did not bode well for when we got home. There was serious boding. We wanted to get home so badly, but at the same time, how were we going to take care of this tiny being without anyone qualified around to help? How are we allowed to take her home without a medical degree? Does not compute.

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Biological Imperative Win

The other thing that happened while we were there was we both fell madly in love. People don’t always bond with babies right away. For us, it was like one of those cartoon 10 ton weights dropped on our heads. It helps that she’s so dang cute.

Not much of a narrative, I know, but hold on to your hats. Next up, postpartum depression/anxiety/craziness and extra extra sleep deprivation!

37 (almost) week update

So 37 weeks is considered full term. I saw my OB today and everything is pretty much the same as it was last time. Belly is a little bigger, I may be about 1cm dialated, and 60% or so effaced. I’m officially in the “could happen any time” zone and the doc is still predicting I won’t go the full 40 weeks. Collective fingers crossed on that one, please.

I’m still having the same list of complaints, but everything is marginally worse. My fingers are more numb, hands are more swollen (feet are a little better), sleeping is getting more and more difficult, more hip pain at night, more heartburn, and mostly more exhaustion. I wear out fast. Being awake makes me tired. Some days are better than others, though, and I have some latent nesting instinct that’s making me organize my closet. So that’s good, I guess. Also, most nights I have some Braxton-Hicks contractions and let me just say, do not eat a large meal if you’re having those. Not. Good.

The glider arrived this weekend so the nursery is pretty much complete. I also got a cool floor lamp. Pictures when it’s all cleaned up and pretty. David’s work threw us a shower on Monday and they got us this wicked cool baby food maker that I’m excited to try out as soon as she’s able to start on solids.

The other thing I’ve been dealing with is having high blood pressure at the doctor’s office. But since my doc asked me to take my BP at home every other day and it’s been pretty much normal, she’s refrained from diagnosing me with preeclampsia. This is a good thing. I tried drinking tea and meditating before my appointment today but to no avail, it was still a good bit higher than at home. But I think I’ve found the cure for all stress-related problems. Let me know if it works for you.

Countdown

Today was my 35/36 week checkup. It looks like things are progressing, possibly a little faster than expected. I’m 60-70% effaced and my doctor thinks I may deliver in 3 weeks or so (at 38 weeks). Also, the baby has grown a bit since last time, my doctor thought she’d be over 7 lbs if I delivered in  three weeks or so, where at my ultrasound they though she’d be under 7 lbs. I’m getting big, I’m gaining a bit of weight now (though it’s probably mostly baby and water from swelling) but damn is my belly big.

This is all exciting, and also a little scary. I certainly am on board with being a couple of weeks early, if she’s ready to go.  But damn, that’s soon! Still, I’m less and less mobile every day. I have to adapt stuff more in yoga class, and I sleep a lot during the day (but not as much as I want to at night, I’m usually up by 4am). The blood flow issues seem to come and go – some days are really hard, others are almost normal. Generally my feet and ankles are really swollen, and the fingers in my right hand are numb a lot. I’m having trouble gripping with my right hand too. She’s kicking and moving a lot, and since she seems to have dropped a bit it can be way uncomfortable. All of this is well within the norm, but it’s not a lot of fun. Still, I seem to have gotten an extra dose of mellowing pregnancy hormones so I’m not stressing out too much.

The weather in Austin is turning coldish again, not my favorite, but it will probably help a bit with the swelling.

David and I are taking our childcare class on Saturday. Not a moment too soon. Our childbirth class isn’t for a couple weeks, hopefully it won’t be too late!

33 Weeks

Last week’s ultrasound was followed by my regular prenatal visit this week. Everything was fine except my blood pressure, which was a little higher than normal. So I didn’t stress. NOT. Preeclampsia is some ugly shit, and I Do Not Want. And you know what’s good for high blood pressure? Stressing out! Also who likes to get weighed after lunch? Me me! My weight was up a bit, but today it’s the same as last week. But I guess my doctor would have been worried if it hadn’t gone up some. My OB told me to take my blood pressure every two days and keep track of it if it got to 140/90 or higher. So this morning David took it and it was 128/70. Seems I’m back in the normal range. Phew. I think maybe I was just more stressed out than usual. I had my doula with me at the appointment instead of David, and David is kind of a human form of Xanax for me. He’s so coming with next time. (He’s also hiding the blood pressure cuff so I don’t take it obsessively every 2 hours.)

TMQ has been seriously wiggly the last few days. Not sure what is going on in there, but she’s really rocking out. I’m still dealing with some swelling in my hands and feet, but it varies. The biggest pain about it is some carpal tunnel in my right hand. If I sleep with wrist braces on it’s way better, but man are they ugly. The lower back gets more tired more easily, but as long as I’m dragging myself to yoga everything seems to be manageable. That support rig thingy I got is good for walking around, but as usual Miss Q doesn’t like any compression and kicks the crap out of me if I wear it for very long. I have serious doubts that this kid is going to take to swaddling.

So here’s my 33 week girth:

Miss Persephone looks on. Sorry for the blurry.

I remember when this shirt hung to my knees.

32 Weeks

Tiny Miss Quimby at 32 Weeks - that's a profile!

Today Tiny Miss Quimby is 32 weeks and 1 day old (though we reset the counter when she decides to come out). We went for our final ultrasound yesterday and everything seems to be good. She’s on the smaller side of average, which makes her mama very happy. The Quimbys make big babies, and luckily it looks like she’s taking after Oster babies which are smaller. Her heartbeat and all other indicators were good. It was fun to see her wiggling around, though it’s pretty hard not to notice her presence these days – she’s very active.

I’m continuing to be a yoga junkie. I go to at least 4 classes a week. It’s nice to be with other pregnant ladies and share some of the discomforts and fears that it seems like everyday people don’t want to know about. Or want to exaggerate, depending.

Remember when I blogged about a terrible song one of my favorite yoga teachers played during final meditation? So she’s back from maternity leave and I’ve been going to her classes. But she still plays that godawful thing at the end of class. And now that I’m in my 3rd trimester, as predicted, it makes me want to cry. Except I still hate it so I end up fighting back the tears while thinking evil thoughts about the artist and her lack of musical and verbal talent. It’s interesting to be me.

While I’m getting more of some of the annoying 3rd trimester symptoms (swollen hands and feet, occasional heartburn, difficulty sleeping) I actually feel better than I have in a while. The round ligament pain gave me hell last week, but seems to be lessening this week. I think I have some pubic symphesis pain (look it up, it’s fun!) but it’s not that bad right now. I ordered yet another belly support apparatus and when the weather stops being truly horrible I should be able to take some walks.

Work on the baby’s room is progressing well. I’m going to wait until it’s doneish to post more pictures. I still have to do a bunch of decorative work on that dresser that took me forever to paint, but it’s going to look really cool when it’s finished. The only bummer is the glider that the grandmas ordered probably won’t get here till mid February, which kind of blows. Apparently Dutalier shuts down operations for half of December. Oh, to be an employee in France. I want my chair!

Digging In

The nursery is well underway now. The painting is done, and the carpet has been pulled up. Once the carpet is installed, we can start moving furniture back in, which means I can start putting away clothes and organizing stuff. Yay!

The child is more and more active. She had taken a break from kicking my bladder until yesterday. Ow ow ow. Let’s just say she’s much stronger now. She also likes to kick anything that’s touching my stomach. David, my hands, the dogs. Round ligament pain comes and goes, often in the same day. Yoga keeps me going – I go at least 3 times a week now, more if I can fit it in. It keeps my back from shutting down and helps me relax (and strengthen the muscles I’m going to need for labor, yikes).  It’s not as intense as Vinyasa, say, but it’s still a decent way to exercise. My hands and feet are more swollen. Some of my shoes are tight, and I may have to temporarily say goodbye to my wedding ring :( I’ve been sleeping more, though EVERYONE likes to tell me that will end soon. Luckily I’m an insomniac by nature (so is David), so army napping is normal for me. I feel bad for new parents who are used to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Speaking of weddings, our 2nd anniversary is on Weds. We’re keeping it pretty low key this year. Paying for medical bills, dental work, a room re-do, and a new fridge does not leave much room for extravagant gifts. I’m actually enjoying the idea of a low-key holiday season as we will probably not have another one of those for a looooong time.

I forgot to mention one other stressor in my list of stressors from the last post – I failed my initial glucose screen and had to go back for the 3 hour test. So far I’ve had a decent experience with the doctors and nurses at ADC but the administrative staff and the lab kind of suck. Getting stuck 4 times in three hours and drinking a bottle of sugar syrup at 7am on an empty stomach is no fun to begin with. But nurses who can’t be bothered to keep track of when you’re supposed to get tested, and a bathroom that looked like it belonged in a gas station did not enhance my mood. On the plus side, I passed with flying colors. Yay! A word to the wise – if your doctor says you only need to fast for 4 hours before your initial screen, fast for at least 8. I turned out to be only slightly over the cut off point on my initial screen. If I’d fasted over night I probably would have been fine.

I can’t believe I’m going to be 28 weeks on Thursday. This means I could easily only have 10 weeks left. Yikes!

25 Weeks

I had my prenatal appointment this morning and everything is looking good. Strong heartbeat, right sized belly, doctor is happy with the minimal weight gain. I had my glucose screening as well. Bleah. I hope I don’t have to take the 3 hour test because yuck. I had to go upstairs to get my blood drawn in another clinic. Even though I told them it was a timed test, they fubared it and I had to wander into the back to find someone to stick me. Then she failed to find a vein (which has never happened on me before) and chose to dig around in my arm rather than withdrawing the needle and trying again. I’m predicting a large, ugly bruise.

Here’s the progress in the belly department:


Sorry for the overexposed. Shining a flash in the mirror has unpredictable effects.

People keep saying I don’t look all that big yet, but man do I feel huge. TMQ is very active at times, and pummels various bits of me repeatedly. Not quite so much pummeling to the bladder this week, though it still happens.

Yoga continues to be a back-saver, along with my new shall-not-be-named pregnancy support pillow. Where has that thing been all my life? Sleep is a beautiful thing. I’ve definitely also hit the weepy phase. I melt down a lot for very lame reasons.

We’re headed to California next week for a family Thanksgiving and a baby shower. Looking forward to good company and good grub!

Fun with Interviews

1748131297_c092ca44d9I’ve been a slacker blogger lately. I think it might be a good day to get out and snap some photos of fall foliage or something. Maybe if the fog hangs around this morning.

We’ve almost finished painting one piece of furniture for the baby’s room (a bookcase). Who knew that painting furniture is such a pain in the ass? Still, it saves us cash and it looks really pretty. I’ll be ordering carpet next week and then hopefully things will start coming together. We have one more piece of furniture to paint and the walls of the room.

I haven’t registered for much in the way of toys. I don’t know what we’ll get as hand me downs, and my impression is kids cycle through stuff really quickly. It’s a small room and we’re already packing a lot of furniture in it. We’ll see how it plays out.

The last week or so has been better as far as my back and sinuses are concerned. Yoga helps EVERYTHING. I’m going back tonight. David can attest that I’m not in any way moody or hormonal. Really. Just ask him. Contributing to my lack of moodiness is my increasingly unwieldy body, and pretty much constant pressure on the bladder, especially when I’m standing up. Owie.

I have to take my glucose test next week. About 30% of women fail it, even though only 5-10% are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Annoying. I really don’t want to have to take the 3 hour test. So I’m trying to ramp up the exercise this week in the hopes that if I’m on the edge it will tip the balance in my favor.

I’ve interviewed two doulas so far. I’m leaning towards the first one, just trying to decide if I should interview a third before I make a decision. The first one was very straightforward and not interested in pushing her personal beliefs on me. Her rates were reasonable, and it was all very simple and easy to understand.

The second one had way more stuff she offers (yoga, massage) but won’t give you an estimate until you’ve gone through extensive Q&A. She sent me about 10 pages of info – way too much to parse through for an initial interview – and tons of detailed hourly pricing. When I got to the interview she asked if I’d read all that crap and I said yes, but it left me unclear on what the price range was. So she called in her “manager” (husband?) who equivocated and hemmed and hawed and showed me a detailed spread sheet. This is when my entrepreneur/consultant self kicked in and I told him that since you can’t predict how long labor would take, an hourly rate makes it very hard to plan financially. I told him I was a consultant, too, and was familiar with spreadsheets and estimates, and it would be a lot easier to make an initial evaluation if I had some idea of a typical price range. He got defensive and told me this was his “business model” (twice).  Meaning my puny feminine concerns and needs should bow in the presence of the all mighty penis spread sheet. And by the way (you TOOL), a spread sheet IS NOT a business model. You clearly don’t have a one of those.

I  am so using this in an article.

Goddess save us from inept male entrepreneurs. Anyway, I kicked him out at that point and just told the doula (who was very nice) that she should consider posting a typical price range and the price of her recommended package. Then we talked about stuff like labor and birth. Realistically, I could probably trade her for business consulting. She’s actually done a good job marketing herself, she just needs to pry her husband’s sticky hands off the money part because I bet he’s losing her business. He certainly clinched my decision.

So I’ll probably be settling on a doula soon. The second trimester is rolling along. I’ll be officially in my third trimester in about 4 weeks. Yikes!