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Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Emmitt Charles' Home Birth Story

Although my official “guess date” was October 1st, we’d figured all along that this baby would show up several days late like his sister did. (In fact, I’d told most everyone that I expected him to arrive on October 4th, simply because we really wanted to see the season premier of Lost.) Apparently Emmitt had other plans though as he decided to show up a little bit early. That said, he managed to fulfill just about everyone’s wishes and requests for birth timing, so we’ll forgive him.

Wednesday evening after getting Elnora to bed and watching a few hours of TV out on the porch, I noticed that Greg had fallen asleep on the futon. He looked comfy enough, so I left him be, let the dog out and headed to bed. I crawled into bed about 11:30 and set my iPod to play through my Hypnobabies scripts like I do most nights, before too long, I was sound asleep.

Around 1:30 I woke up having to go to the bathroom. I went in and sat down and immediately noticed that my back was REALLY sore. I also felt a little crampy and I remember wondering if maybe I was going to end up with a bought of diarrhea to clear my system out before the birth. I played Tetris for about five minutes on the GameBoy then headed back to bed. I put my headphones back on and went back to sleep. About 2:00 I woke up and headed to the bathroom again, a little annoyed to be woken up by my bladder again that soon. Once again, as soon as I sat down on the toilet, I started getting really crampy. At this point I was getting a little frustrated since I just wanted to get it done with and go back to sleep. So, I headed back to bed again.

This went on with me waking up every 15-20 minutes having to head to the bathroom. By about 4:30am I noticed that within a few minutes of laying down, I’d start to feel pretty crampy and really had to pee. I spent about 30 minutes in the bathroom at that point wondering if maybe the back pain was back labor and if maybe this wasn’t just diarrhea, but was actually the start of early labor. I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of sleep anyway, so I grabbed my iPod and headed out to the porch to sit in the recliner. I listened to the Hypnobabies for about an hour but didn’t pay much attention as it was now 5am and I could feel contractions coming on long and strong. So, I spent an hour timing them. Turns out they were a good 45-60 seconds long and about 5 minutes apart. I timed them that way for about an hour and decided at 5:45 that I wasn’t going to be able to wait until 6am to call the midwife (I was trying to let her sleep).

Greg woke up just as I was picking up the phone (he was still asleep on the futon on the porch) and asked what was up. “Having contractions” I said…”time to call the midwife.” LOL…that woke him up. 

So, I talked to Becky and told her that I must have hit early labor around 1:30, but contractions didn’t get regular until about 5am. I let her know they were coming about 5 minutes apart and how long they were and that they felt pretty strong, but they didn’t hurt. (Just like waves of very light menstrual cramps at that point) Since she was about 45 minutes away, she said she’d head down shortly to check me out to see how things were going.

Greg decided at that point that it might be a good idea to start filling the pool, but wouldn’t you know it, we’d stripped the threads out on the hose adaptor when we did our test fill earlier in the week. Ugh! We debated having him head down to Meijer to buy another one, but I figured I’d just ask my friend Judy to stop on her way up instead since she was coming to keep an eye on Elnora. So, we putzed around for a bit, me listening to Hypnobabies on the iPod, Greg doing some dishes and straightening things up.

Becky arrived about 6:45 and carried her supplies in through the rain. (as an aside, I love rain, I even said to Greg on Wednesday that I’d love to have the baby on a rainy morning.) She asked how I was doing and I said that I was just getting to the point where the Hypnobabies scripts were annoying the crap out of me. She laughed and made some comment about me maybe not feeling like my cervix was a beautiful gold ring. ;) (That was the last of the Hypnobabies…never did pull the iPod out again, her voice just suddenly sounded so saccrine and annoying, I couldn’t take it.) She then asked if I wanted her to check me to see how I was progressing.

That left me wondering and I told her that my concern was that we’d find I was hardly dialated at all. That was my experience with my first birth and it was pretty demoralizing. Basically, I said if I was 2cm, I didn’t want to know, but if I was a 5 or something, that’d be great. “Well then I’ll lie!” she responded and we laughed. So, off we went to check with me hoping that a cervical check wouldn’t be as painful as it was the last time.

It was.

Good gravy, I will stand by my prior birth experience of saying that for me, a cervical check is like letting someone drive a truck through my vagina. I think it really tops the list of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced, up there with breaking bones and such.

When she finished checking, I asked if I wanted to hear the results and she laughed. “You’re about an 8 or a 9 and your bag of waters is totally bulging. If I’d break it, this baby would be here in a flash.”

“8 or 9?! You’re lying to me, aren’t you?”

“No, seriously, you really are an 8 or a 9.”

I was floored. Suddenly Hypnobabies was back on my “wow, that rocks” list. There’s not a doubt in my mind that all that prep work really did get my brain and body ready to roll and that had me experiencing what I *thought* was early labor when in reality, I was rocketing my way to complete.

At this point, I made some quick calls to my best friend (labor support), my friend Judy (Elnora support) and my in-laws (who I’d said could come up for the birth, though they were an hour away.) Everyone said they’d head out shortly…it was about 7:30am.

Feeling pretty darn confident at this point, I headed back in the kitchen to find Greg trying to setup a siphon system out of the kitchen sink to fill the pool. Becky laughed and said “I don’t know if you’re gonna have time to get it filled.” I told her I had a feeling it was still going to be a little while because I knew I hadn’t hit transition yet and we both figured if it kept Greg happy to try and solve the pool problem then it was fine with us. Besides, I figured I could always crawl in afterwards to relax. ;) I hadn’t eaten yet, so I had a bowl of Life cereal, knowing that it would probably revisit me a bit later…

Since I was close to complete, but my cervix was still very high and tilted backwards, Becky suggested that I try to spend my contractions with one leg up on a chair, leaning my weight over onto my leg. She said this often helps turn the cervix and move the baby down. So I spent about an hour doing that during contractions and we chatted and laughed in between. I remember commenting on how surreal it was to be that far in labor and to be feeling that fantastic.

By 8:30, Judy and Rachel had shown up and both were shocked to find out I was as far along as I was. (Especially Rachel who remembered me never making it past 5 in the hospital.) We put the plastic sheet on the futon, then found another old sheet to cover it with, got towels ready to go in the oven and generally organized things for the birth. Not long after, Greg had managed to get enough water into the pool that Becky suggested I try climbing in. Contractions were starting to move closer together (every 2 minutes or so) at that point and were now strong enough that I really had to concentrate through them, though they still weren’t painful.

I climbed in and immediately felt a TON of relief. That pool was just heaven! No wonder all you women love them!  For the next hour, I spent time sitting in the pool, leaning back against the side while Becky and Rachel rubbed my shoulders during contractions. At one point, I got on all fours and leaned over the side of the tub. I asked Rachel to snag me a trash can and she did. I was pretty nauseated, but the puke just wouldn’t come. I asked Becky if it would be “wrong of me” to make myself hurl and she laughed and said “no, go for it.” A finger down my throat later and bam, back came the Life cereal and then some. I puked my guts out for about five minutes, but immediately felt much better. Totally worth it. ;)

By that point it was a little after ten and I really felt like I should get out of the pool. Becky had suggested that I give a gentle push with the last few contractions in the pool to see how they felt and it seemed to “fit” so I got out, dried off and moved to the futon. Immediately upon getting there I realized that I was exhausted, so I pretty much collapsed into a side lying position and thought I’d try pushing that way so that I could “sleep” between pushes. The contractions were REALLY rough lying down, to the point of hurting for the first time since I went into labor. During one of them, Becky tried lifting my leg up to set it on her shoulder and I yelled that it hurt like crazy and to let go. I honestly think I would have kicked her if she hadn’t. She told me she needed to check me on the next contraction to make sure I was complete and I said “whatever” then about cried in pain when she did check. I was complete and she said again that she could break my water if I wanted her to. I was pretty worried that it would quickly move to being horribly painful if I let her, so I said no, hoping they’d break on their own.

After about ten minutes of “pushing” while laying sidways I tried all fours. That felt better, but pushing hurt…a LOT. It was sort of like hitting late transition and was the first time I started saying “I cannot do this, I’m done…no way…etc.” After ten minutes of pushing that way, I collapsed back onto my side again saying that I needed a break. Once again, Becky tried to lift my leg up and I kicked at her and shouted no. I made it halfway through a contraction on my side and SPRANG up onto all fours in what felt like about 1/10th of a second. Suddenly pushing that way felt effective.

I told Becky that if she thought it would make baby come quickly, she could break my water because I was feeling pretty exhausted and I was HATING pushing. With the next contraction, she reached in and pinched the bag and BAM…absolutely flooded the bed. I remember feeling more than an inch of warm water pooling around each of my knees. I looked down to make sure it was clear and it was. When the next contraction hit, I suddenly realized what women meant when they said they couldn’t NOT push. It felt like my body was trying to crawl forward out of my skin, though oddly, I felt all the pushing pressure in my rear. It really did feel like I was trying to squeeze out a bowling ball.

By this point, I’d been pushing for about 30 minutes and I was quite literally shaking so hard I thought I was going to vibrate the futon to pieces. I also was having trouble holding myself up. So, Greg crawled onto the futon and got on all fours in front of me so that I could rest my head and arms on his back. The next ten minutes I sort of went along for the ride as my body just did it’s thing…with lots of me thinking “holy crap, this hurts/this is hard/why am I doing this” in between contractions. Basically, I held on for dear life and hoped I wouldn’t break Greg. Finally, I felt the baby start to really move down and on the next push, I tucked in my hips, raised my shoulders so I was more upright and pushed for all I was worth. That got Emmitt down far enough that I could reach back and feel his squishy head. I felt the ring of fire and started blowing and panting and sort of tried to push from the top of my head (think exhaling through your nose instead of your mouth) instead of from my gut.

The midwife commented that he was almost there and I honestly thought she meant he’d crowned. Then she paused and said something about me moving positions and I thought “oh crap! His shoulders are stuck!!” I knew I couldn’t possibly move so I shouted “give me one more push” and went to town on the next contraction. Apparently, he had only been out to his nose when I said that, but I shot the rest of him out in one big gush on the next contraction.

Never in my life have I felt the “relief” that comes from feeling all of baby actually shoot out. Even with my first, since I had the epi, there was no comparison. It was like the biggest sigh in the entire world left my body. There wasn’t any sound at all and I remember saying “what is it?! What is it?! Greg, what is it!?” (He was looking between my legs at this point since he was still acting as my headrest, lol…) “It’s a boy!” he said. Just then, he let out a tiny little cry. Becky and Rachel got him wrapped in warm towels in a flash and I rolled over to a side that wasn’t all yucky and lay down with him on my chest. Just breathing him in and praising God that it was all done.

Absolutely beautiful, the most amazing thing I’ve ever done in my life.

About five minutes after he was born I called my mom to let her know she had a grandson, then Emmitt and I just kinda curled up for a bit while Greg went in to tell his parents. After about 20 minutes, the cord finally stopped pulsing, so Greg came to cut it and then he took Emmitt to show everyone while I sat up and took some deep breaths. Another 5 or ten minutes went by and I gave a tiny push to deliver the placenta. Becky showed us all the parts and how they examine it and how it works. (pretty cool!)

Since the pool was still warm and I hadn’t given birth in it, Becky went ahead and added her herbal bath mixture to the water and I climbed in there to relax for another 15 minutes or so. It felt fantastic, plus it helped wash away some birth gunk. ;) I climbed out, put on some old PJs and headed over to the recliner where I nursed Emmitt for the first time.

Since then, it’s pretty much been nurse Emmitt, try to eat some food and occasionally catch a few Zzzzs. I’ve only slept maybe 3 or 4 hours total, but I can’t even believe how awesome I feel. I have no hemorrhoids, no tears (just a TINY skidmark) and basically, feel absolutely fantastic. By this morning, I’d gotten up, taken a shower, washed my hair and feel like a normal person again. Emmitt nurses like a champ and I’m realizing what women mean when they say they do nothing but nurse, nurse, nurse. If he keeps at this when my milk comes in, he’ll outweigh Elnora in a month! (At 9 pounds, 7 oz, he already weighs half of what she does and she’s nearly 2)

Overall, with the exception of pushing being harder than anything I imagined (and really, pretty much sucking royally) I couldn’t have scripted a better birth. Baby came on Rachel’s day off, while it was raining, so FIL didn’t have to be in the fields farming, and when Greg was in between projects at work. I’m still floored that I basically made it to 8cm without even thinking I was in “real” labor.

I really did get the birth of my dreams. I have no complains, no regrets and I’m so thankful that we found an amazing midwife and that I had the support of so many people in taking this route. Greg and Rachel both commented after the fact that they couldn’t even believe how different (and better) this birth was than my hospital birth. The two can’t even compare.

So, one more shot of Emmitt and I taken this morning after I managed to snag a shower. ;)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

It's a boy!

No name yet...but born this morning at 11am after a pretty easy six hour labor.

9 pounds, 7 ounces, 20.5 inches.

Birth story to come.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Stories on Nursing in Public

The Tacoma News Tribune has a great set of reader letters on the issue of nursing in public. They are overwhelmingly positive and it's kind of fun to read about different moms (or dads) telling about their experience nursing in public. It's worth taking some time to read.

I've been thinking about the issue lately because as with nursing in general, it's not something I ever ended up doing. Since I exclusively pumped, I always fed Elnora by bottle. Thus, it seems odd to think that with my second child, I'm going to have that FTM experience of nursing in public.

To that end, my Hotslings arrived this week. I ordered two off of ebay...partly so that I could carry new baby in it while shopping and can still put Elnora in the cart, but also partly to use for nursing in public. They seem like they'd be fantastic for helping position baby and they can easily be used as a "cover-up" without actually covering baby up like you would with a blanket. I'm pretty pumped to try them out.

Also went ahead and ordered some Lactivist shirts. Since I put the site up right as I was weaning Elnora, I never really had reason to wear them (apart from the milk banking shirts) so I never ordered many. Since I've got at least a year of milk production ahead of me again, I had to order some for the whole family.

Thus, I got "That's my baby's lunch you're staring at," and a "they make milk too!" shirt for myself. Greg (husband) wanted "I play with my baby's food" which I also ordered for him as a hat...and of course I can't leave out baby.

So, I ordered "bon appetit" and "nip/suck" for the little one. If it ends up being a boy, I'm going to go back and order "boob man" as well.

And no, baby isn't here yet. ;) Still another week or so to go I'd guess...

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Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Totally Comfy!

Wow...just finished inflating the kiddie pool that I ordered to use for a labor tub. Took me all of about twenty minutes and that was with a hand pump. My arms aren't even tired! I thought we'd have to use the air compressor and a few tanks of air to do it...

Once I got it inflated, I just had to climb in and sit down to see how it felt. (It's got an inflatable floor...) TOTALLY comfy! Geeze, even without water I liked being in there. I can sit up against one wall with my legs straight out in front of me. Add in the fact that the side walls are the PERFECT height for me to rest my arms on and to lean my head back against.

I can only imagine how nice it's going to be when we actually fill it with water.

Planning a test run of filling it this evening. Giving serious thought to pulling out my swim suit and hopping in there for a bit just because. ;)

Anyone looking for a good birthing pool...this one seems to qualify so far!


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Toys R Us, But Breastfeeding Apparently Isn’t…

Just last week, a 29-year old mom from Brooklyn discovered that the Toys R Us in Times Square in New York isn’t exactly the child friendly utopia that it claims to be. According to the New York Daily News, Chelsi Meyerson was approached by a store employee when she began nursing her seven month old and was told that she must either relocate to the basement or leave the store.

When Meyerson responded that it was her legal right to nurse her child, the store employee recruited several other store employees who proceeded to “harass” her while security was called.

She contends they ordered her to go to a basement room and threatened to call security - a charge the store denies.

"I was harassed, hassled and embarrassed. It was very humiliating," Meyerson told the Daily News last night. "It was a big deal for me. They treated me like a criminal."
Meyerson said she and her family were wrapping up her 3-year-old daughter Olivia's birthday weekend with a trip to the store when the incident occurred.

When Mason started getting cranky, Meyerson sat down and started feeding him, which is permitted by state law. She said she has breast-fed her child in public numerous times without raising an eyebrow.

Unfortunately, this story is turning into another he said, she said issue where I wish I really knew more about what happened… According to the same news story…

But Toys R Us insisted that store workers only asked Meyerson if she would be more comfortable breast-feeding in a private room.

They said she was never asked to leave or threatened, and was allowed to continue feeding without interference.

"We take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to nursing moms," said Bob Friedland, a manager at the store.

Normally, I’d tend to side with the mother on this thinking there’s really not much reason to make up any type of exaggeration about what might have happened, but the New York Civil Liberties Union has taken on the case and is asking for not only a public apology but also for ‘appropriate compensation.” That last bit makes me wonder…that said, every news article and blog post that I can find lends plenty of credibility to Meyerson. In fact, I’m willing to bet that it’s the NYCLU that has threatened to sue and not Meyerson.

The lack of public response from Toys R Us is also deafeningly silent…which leads me to believe that Meyerson’s story is probably pretty darn accurate.

I did find a copy of the NYCLU letter to Toys R Us which gives quite a bit more detail on Meyerson’s side of the story. It claims that as soon as she sat down to nurse she was approached and told that she was “not allowed” to nurse there and would have to move to a private room in the basement. When she refused, four additional saleswomen approached her and told her that it was “inappropriate” because there were “children around.” At that time, the first saleswoman stated that she had called security to “deal with” Meyerson. When Meyerson finished nursing her child she demanded to speak with the store manager and was refused. (She did speak with a floor manager.) She was also denied access to a manager when she called Toys R Us’s corporate headquarters to file a complaint.

Neither the Toys R Us corporate web site nor the Toys R Us Time Square web site feature any press releases or news releases addressing the issue. With that in mind, I’d very much like to see a public apology and some news letting us know that Toys R Us is going to do some training of their staff to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Until then, I think I’ll be heading to Target for supplies instead of Babies R Us.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New Breastfeeding Blog Worth Checking Out

Spotted a new breastfeeding blog this week when the author showed up here and left some comments. ;) It's pretty new, but it looks like it's probably worth checking out.

Mama Knows Breast (cute title!) is the blog of Andi Silverman, mom of two that's working on a book about breastfeeding. Andi is a former lawyer and journalist and actually used to be an on-air reporter for the CBS and FOX affiliates in Boston.

Her blog will, like this one, covering breastfeeding news and information with a splash of her own personal life and experiences thrown in. Since she's still nursing an infant and chasing around a toddler, I imagine we'll both be sharing stories of boobs flying out in public while trying to feed one kid without allowing the other to jump over a bridge.


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Hypnobabies...Magical or a Big Old Hoax?

So I'm a skeptic...a big time skeptic. I don't believe that DiDi7 is going to magically lift every stain from my wardrobe, nor do I believe that after a one hour seminar I can go home and start buying investment properties with no money down. ;) In general, I live by the adage "if it's too good to be true, it probably is."

That's why it took me a good couple of months after I first heard about Hypnobabies to go from "yeah, uh huh, pain free, whatever" to "well, it certainly couldn't hurt!"

I'd studied the Bradley method for my first birth, though only at home with a few books. We weren't able to find any Bradley classes in our area. (Ended up taking some pretty useless Lamaze classes, though it did reinforce much of what I'd told my husband about the intervention side of things...) The Bradley methods were mostly useless to me as I simply was not able to lie down at all during my labor. That said, the educational aspect of the glasses was invaluable. This time around, I already knew pretty much whatever I needed to in regards to interventions and the process itself, plus I'm having a home birth, so I don't need to worry about much of that.

Thus, it was the actual process of dealing with labor itself that I figured made Hypnobabies worth trying.

Now, to note, I never really experienced any pain in my first labor. I had back labor for about 18 or 19 hours before I eventually ended up with pitocin and an epidural, but I'd never describe my labor as painful. It was simply hard work. Kind of like pushing yourself through that "I'm gonna die" spot when you're working out. Nonetheless, I also never made it past 5cm dialation, so who knows if I ever really hit "real" labor that time.

So I ordered the home study course of Hypnobabies when I was around 20 weeks pregnant and started it at 24 weeks pregnant. Went through the course by 30 weeks, including all my practicing and everything. Then I sort of slacked off. ;) At around 33 weeks, I picked it back up again though I'm far from doing it as I'm supposed to. Basically, I burned all the scripts to my iPod and I fall asleep every night listening to them. I might remember to practice my "finger drop technique" once a week or so...and my husband has never practiced the partner scripts with me.

That means I'm hardly the test case for "will it work."

I will say that I have, on many occasions, used it to create anethesia for my heartburn and it did work amazingly well. I also find that I have an amazing peace about this birth and absolute zero fear about how it will go. I credit that to the Hypnobabies suggestions.

I bought an FM transmitter for my iPod so that I'll be able to listen to it through the stereo without having to change CDs all the time. I figure I'll give it a go and we'll see what happens. In reality, if I have a pain free birth, that's going to absolutely rock. If I don't, I'm certainly not going to be any worse off than I would have been if I didn't take the class. ;)


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Getting Prepped for the Birth

No, I didn't have the baby yet. ;)

Just busy getting things ready...

Work...have to schedule the people that are filling in for me during my maternity leave...it takes time to get 8 people scheduled. Yep...that's right, it takes 8 people to fill my shoes! (Ok, ok, so they are each filling in for one week for a total of 8 weeks leave...)

Home...my mom's headed this way on Thursday to help me actually setup a nursery, pull out baby clothes, etc... Hopefully by this weekend the baby will stand a chance at having more than just a dresser drawer and a bag of diapers to greet it.

Birth stuff...gathering up my supplies for the home birth. Planning a test run of filling up the labor pool this weekend so that we can see how long it takes, whether we can actually get the water hot and so on. I've got a fawcett adaptor, but I still need to track down a hose that I can use. Also stopped and picked up things like a fitted waterproof sheet for the futon and some waterproof pillow cases. Add in the package of Serenity pads that I bought in case my water breaks at the onset of labor again and I'm sure the checkout clerk was feeling really bad for the poor pregnant woman that must wet her bed a lot these days...

I am seeing a bit of nesting coming into play...actually cleaned today and I never do that. I just have this feeling like I have to get the bathroom and kitchen clean by early next week. The idea of birthing in a house that has a messy kitchen and bathroom just icks me out. Also had a burst of energy that led me to bake a peach pie and a peach crumble with the 1/2 peck of fresh peaches that I picked up at the farmer's market this weekend.

Having contractions pretty much all the time these days. Never had that with my first, so I'm seeing what all the "fun" is when people complain about prodomal labor or really strong Braxton-Hicks. The good news is that Hypnobabies may be working because they don't hurt in the slightest. In fact, sometimes they feel kinda good. (Like when you go over a hill and your stomach "drops" only lasting for 40 seconds or so...)

Anyway, I'm still here, just not having time to stay on top of the news. Figured I'd better post though or folks like K were going to start wondering where I was and if the baby had shown up already. ;)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments: