Flowers and Cookies

Our house is filling up with flowers!  I got flowers from Big Dave’s cousin Dafydd from Wales on January 27, 2014 and then more flowers from Big Dave’s cousin Le Darv from Barcelona, Spain the next day.

Flowers from Le Darv from Spain

There must be lots of Dave the monkeys around the world!

I felt really nauseous on Monday, but still no puking so I do consider myself lucky.  Nobody likes puking especially me.. so I’m glad I haven’t been.

I met up with our midwife Kat for my first prenatal visit on January 28, 2014.  It’s great that she comes to your house for all your visits.  I had to pee in a cup to check my protein and sugar.  She made sure I was feeling alright.  I told her about my nausea and said that eating an egg helps right when I wake up and also eating small meals throughout the day should help.  She recommended the Dr. Brewer Pregnancy Diet.  She said I should print it out and laminate the pages.  Then, I can mark off what I’ve eaten each day.  I’m definitely not eating enough of the right foods.

Kat said my uterus is expanding, so that I might be feeling pressure which I have been feeling cramps.  She told me to lie down and we would see if we could hear the baby’s heartbeat.  Sometimes, you can this early.  She put a cold gel on me and put the doppler below my stomach and tried to find the heartbeat.  We couldn’t hear anything.  Maybe the baby is being cheeky and is hiding!

She gave me paperwork to get lab work down for Prenatal Panel (Complete blood count, ABO Group & RH Type, Antibody screen, Rubella Ab IgG, RPR, Hep B Surafe Ag) plus HIV I&II, UA and Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy.  We made an appointment to meet up next month.

I received a thank you card from the doula Briana Mager.  It thanked us for meeting with her and hoped that she could be a part of our journey and make our birth an enjoyable experience.  A very nice touch.

Today, we met up with a doula named Erica Delmore.  I saw her picture on DoulaMatch and it must have been a really old picture. She originally wanted to meet up at a cafe near our house.  But, we had a handyman coming by around the same time.  She came by the house early.  She was very nice.  She had a folder filled with information and pricing of her fees.  I think all midwives should have paperwork to give clients since it’s professional.  We asked her lots of questions.  We want to find a doula who knows hypnobirthing.  She didn’t know much about hypnobirthing except she knows the teachers who teach it in Las Vegas.  She’s only been to one of the hypnobirthing classes.  Meeting with Erica just made me think of Shannondoah the first doula we met with.  She’s super friendly and she knows hypnobirthing.

I was researching questions to ask doulas during consultations and it said you need to like the voice of your doula.  They will be talking to you a lot during your labor so it does make sense.

I asked my sister-in-law Kara to bake me her famous chocolate chip cookies.

Kara's famous chocolate chip cookies

She told me she would bake cookies for me anytime during my pregnancy.  She’s so sweet!  They are delicious!!

Ivan and I talked about it and decided to go with Shannondoah Dartsch.  I gave her a call and told her we were choosing her to be our doula and she was really excited.  We’re going to meet up to discuss packages further.  She will teach fear releasing as part of the package which will help me since I’m scared of the pain during labor.

I just received even more flowers this time from Doove from Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Flowers from Doove from Amsterdam

He wanted to send bananas, but he couldn’t find any online to send.. so he sent some beautiful flowers.  I think the flowers are getting better each time!


Yoga Brain

I went to check out Prenatal Yoga on January 22, 2014 at Belly Bliss which is at Desert Perinatal Spa.  I arrived a few minutes late, but it was okay since two other pregnant mums were late as well.  I brought my yoga mat, but there are free ones that anybody can use.  Pillows are available and it’s used during the class to sit on or to put under your knees.  

The Prenatal Yoga class consisted of 8 other mummies to be.  Most were a lot bigger than me.  The class was taught by a nice blonde woman.  The moves were easy to do.. some were challenging.  The class just flew by.  At the end you lie on your side and the teacher tells you to relax parts of your body.  I swear the girl next to me fell asleep since she was breathing really hard.  I will definitely be going back to Belly Bliss twice a week if possible.  The prices are reasonable at $8 per class or a package deal at 5 classes for $32.  I learned an old best friend of mine is also pregnant.  She’s 3 weeks ahead of me though.  She’s having her third baby.  I’m trying to convince her to join me sometime at the yoga classes.

Ivan and I had a consultation with the midwife Kathya Del Aguila last week.  She is so friendly and very passionate about being a midwife.  She talks fast since she’s from New York.  We knew after our consultation that we wanted to hire her to be the midwife to deliver my baby.  I called her recently and she was so excited that we picked her.  We have set up a first prenatal visit for Tuesday and she’ll set up an appointment for lab work at the visit.

A few people have asked if I’ve had any weird cravings.  Nothing too funky yet.  I have been craving pasta and nachos lately.

We met with doula Briana Mager on Saturday.  She was very professional and informative.  Ivan thought she was like a strict teacher.  We didn’t click with her.  She was nice, but not super friendly.  The search for a doula still goes on.  I have three more doulas that I want to consult with.  Hopefully, we’ll get to meet up with all of them this week.

Ivan and I have still been searching for insurance.  Kat (Kathya) recommended we talk to her lady who does her insurance paperwork.  I talked to her, but she didn’t really know much.  She said that Anthem Blue Cross PPO would cover Kat.  Things have changed with Obamacare and Anthem Blue Cross don’t have PPOs anymore.  I talked to an insurance broker and she said that as long as my midwife Kat was state insured, I could use Assurant Health.  Ivan has found two other PPOs.  Since it’s the weekend, we’ll have to wait to Monday to find out which insurance to buy.

I have been lucky since I have nausea, but I haven’t been puking.  I tried the Sea Band which are supposed to help with morning sickness.  You put two bands on your pressure points.

sea band to help morning sickness

I find the bands to be really tight.  I think it makes it worse.  I’ve only tried it twice, but usually I take the bands off since I still feel sick or the bands are hurting me.  Sucking on peppermint seems to work.  I only burned a candle with peppermint oil once.  I do like the smell of it.  I will have to test that one further to see if helps with the nausea.

The flowers just keep coming.  Ivan bought me flowers last week with a really sweet note.


Then, I got some from our monkeys The Daves (Big Dave, Lil Dave and Swedish Dave).  Today, I got some from Big Dave’s cousin Le Dave from France.  I’m still not sure how many Dave the monkeys are out there.  Must be a lot.. because they keep popping up!  I love the flowers.. it’s nice to have fresh, beautiful flowers on the table.  Hope there’s more Daves to send me flowers.

My mum brought me some chicken and pork adobo.  She must be trying to get me to eat more meat so I get my protein!  She brought Ivan salmon and tuna.  I love mum’s home cooking and adobo is my favorite Filipino dish.  Mums are awesome.

I’ve been getting pregnancy brain.  You tend to forget things when you’re pregnant.  I had a headache, so I grabbed my water, took a sip and took a Tylenol.  I put the water back in my purse, but I forgot to put the cap back on.  It spilled ALL OVER my purse.  Good thing I remembered to put eye drops in my eyes, otherwise I wouldn’t have found the water until later.  But, I ended up spilling water on a present that I had for a friend’s birthday.  It turned out alright though in the end, since it didn’t ruin the gift.  I also forgot that I bid on something on eBay and then ordered the same item on Amazon.  Now, I have two DSLR cleaning kits.  I’ll probably give one to my Dad.  I guess paying attention more and writing things down might help pregnancy brain out.

Last week we started taking pictures of my belly everyday to show the progress.  Here’s a picture of me at one day from 8 weeks along.

Jen almost at 8 weeks along

I’m sure Ivan will make a video at the end for everybody to see.  We’ve also been writing down my weight everyday.

I’ve been reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who are Parents, Too! (Wheew that’s a mouthful!).  The books both answer questions that you probably didn’t even think about like How much caffeine can I have a day?, Are paint fumes harmful? or What’s the best way to treat a cold?  I love to find out the growth of the baby during my current week and knowing how big the baby is.  It recommends that mums should do 30 minute of exercise a day.  I’m going to start walking more near the house.  I walked with my cool neighbor Carrie.  The time flies by since she talks about her home birth and she’s so friendly and easy to talk to.  It’s great to hear what she recommends.  It’s great to find out about books or products that would help out.  The more I learn the less scared I get about being pregnant.

Nausea, Doulas & Midwives

I’ve been drinking a lot more water which is good, but now the bathroom has been my second new home.

I have been feeling more nauseous lately.  The first time it happened was when Ivan was driving after a big meal.  Hoping that I don’t get sick more often with Ivan’s driving.  I know at one point I won’t be able to drive myself around.

My family is all so very excited.  My brother, sister-in-law, sister and brother-in-law have been talking about stories of their kids and giving advice.

My brother Arsenio talked about poo blowouts when you don’t put the diaper on right and the poo goes everywhere.  My brother-in-law had sympathy pains where he vomited.  My sister-in-law Kara said she’d bake me her tasty chocolate chip cookies anytime I wanted which sounds good to me.  My sister Maricar recommended carrying a cup with me at all times in case you have to puke.  Once, she puked into her shirt pocket.  She also thought it’s good to have crackers with me.

My siblings were talking about the baby seat.  Since the baby seat faces backwards when they’re young, one of the parents would always sit with the baby.  My brother-in-law Art felt like he was a chauffeur.

Pregnancy books

We got four books from Amazon yesterday including one for Ivan called The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be by Armin A. Brott and Jennifer Ash.  I hope these books will help out since we’re both pretty clueless as what to expect.

Yesterday, Ivan and I met with Shannondoah who’s a doula.  Ivan met her during hypnosis class a few years ago.  She’s very sweet. She recommended eating peppermint or smelling peppermint oil in a candle (put the oil in the base of the candle wick) for nausea.  She also does hynomassages and teaches hypnobirthing.  I am definitely interested in hypnobirthing since I’m very easy to hypnotize.  I can even hypnotize myself.  Plus, Ivan is a hypnotist so I’m sure that will be helpful.  She wasn’t as professional since she didn’t have paperwork with her prices.

Shannondoah also recommended taking a prenatal pill with DHA and folic acid.  My prenatal pill doesn’t seem to have folic acid, so we bought some today.  Shannondoah did say I should eat saltine crackers and she lived off them when she was pregnant since they soothe your stomach.  She also thought sea bands were good for nausea, too.

Shanndondoah also talked about Placenta Encapsulation.  This is where the placenta is dehydrated and then ground up and placed in a pill.  If the new mummy feels depressed, she would pop one of the pills.  It’s supposed to have many health benefits.  UNLV is doing a study in Las Vegas to find out if it actually does work.  The study will pay you $80 that would go toward the placenta encapsulation service and then you would be given a pill which could be a placebo or not.

I will be looking more into this.  It just sounds a bit crazy to me.  Ivan thinks that it sounds cool and probably wouldn’t do any harm.

I did tell my parents about having a home birth.  As I knew, they weren’t too keen on the idea.  They think my first baby should be born in a hospital.  I know whatever I do they will support my decision.  I asked my mum if she wanted to be at the birth and she said No, because she doesn’t want to hear me scream.

Today, Ivan and I went to see the midwife Sherry Hopkins at Well Rounded Momma.  Well Rounded Momma provides pregnancy, birth and postpartum support in the Las Vegas area. They provide various workshops, classes and seminars that support holistic pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding and parenting.

Currently, it’s located in a home.  Sherry was really nice and professional.  She told us about that Blue Cross Blue Shield covers her services and informed us that she refers mums to an outside place for ultrasounds.  She gave us paperwork that showed us what she does and the price.

Well Rounded Momma is moving in a month to a storefront.  Hopefully, the new place will have the great homey feel that they have right now.

Ivan thought we should look into consulting with more doulas.  I went in search of more and found a great resource called Doula Match.  You put in your zip code and it searches for doulas in your town or city.  They were only a handful listed there, but I liked that it had Testimonials.  I found a doula who had lots of good testimonials and she’s also does hynobirthing and is a HCHD (Hypnobabies Certified Hypnosis Doula).  So, I filled out a form on her site and hope to set up a consultation with her tomorrow.

Ivan is always great at finding things that are good for me during my pregnancy.  He found tea that helps with minor upset stomachs called Yogi Tea Mother To Be Organic Tea.

Yogi Woman's Mother To Be organic tea

I tried it today and it tastes good.  Ivan was feeling tired and his stomach hurt – maybe he’s having sympathy pains.  He felt good after some food and the tea.

My dad said I need to start eating meat since I’m pregnant.  Everybody thinks that meat = protein.  I think that’s silly.  I am pescetarian most of the year.  Sometimes I do have cravings for meat, but for health reasons I try not to eat it.  Ivan has me eating a handful of almonds a day and making sure I eat foods high in protein like dried figs and boiled eggs.

Ivan and I will be meeting up with another midwife Kathya tomorrow.

Natural results

It took awhile to sleep last night.  I kept wondering what was going to happen at the doctor’s office.  I still knew that I was pregnant, but confirming it would come when I take the pregnancy test at the doctor’s office.

Ivan and I had more waiting to do – this time in the doctor’s office.  A few minutes after my 2 pm appointment, we were taken in.  I got weighed and I had to pee in a cup while Ivan waited in room 13.

Yellow cup of pee

It’s funny how there’s a little silver box that opens up to a hole in the wall – you place your cup of pee there after you’re done.  I was hoping nobody would go in there and steal my pee.  I’m not sure why anybody would want to do this.. but you never know.

I went to room 13 and sat on the high examining table.  The doctor’s assistant was named Mary.  She asked a few questions.  She was 37 and was glad that I was the same age and that I’m pregnant.  I told her there’s still time.  She said she would have to find a nice guy in Vegas first.  I said That can be hard.

She handed us a paper which has different tests that I might want to take to find out if our child has Down Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis.  She said the doctor would talk to us about it.

I started reading it and thought Great, more stuff to worry about!

Later, we were taken to another room.  Mary said that we would have to wait since the doctor was with another patient.

Dr. Brill came in and wanted to shake my hand, but he was sick.  He told me that I was pregnant.  Based on my last start date of my last period which was December 1st, he said I was 6 weeks and 4 days along.  The baby’s due date was September 7.

The doctor said I should drink one gallon of water a day.  If I needed anything for pain relief, I could use Tylenol.  He recommended not taking Pepto Bismol, but Tums or Rolaids were fine.

He also recommended taking prenatal pills.  He said he would write me a prescription or I could buy over-the-counter prenatal pills since he thought vitamins were vitamins.

He doesn’t really think that women over 35 are high risk.  He answered a few of my questions without me asking.

I asked him about exercising.  He said it was fine to do.  If I exercised 60 minutes in one day, I should only do it 5 times a week.  He didn’t think I should ride a bike or run on a treadmill since I might fall.  I thought that’s common sense.  I knew I wouldn’t be doing either one anytime soon.

The doctor suggested that I get blood work done to check my health like testing for HIV and diabetes.  He wanted to have an ultrasound done in 2 weeks and then see him in a month.

It turns out that all the tests would be $610.  Since we don’t have insurance, I went to talk to Ivan.  He asked about the Obamacare to see how long insurance would come into effect if we signed up.  I declined on the tests for now while we look up our options for insurance.  The visit cost $100 which seemed a bit expensive for a pregnancy test and some advice.

We drove back home and later looked up information on insurance.  I signed up for the Obamacare and no plans were found for me.  WTF?!

I called my parents and they were thrilled.  My dad has been especially pushing for us to have kids.  My dad said he had a dream the other day that I was pregnant.  I called my sister and my brother too.  It seems more real now telling people that I’m pregnant.  My sister wants a girl.  My sister-in-law thinks it’s a boy and it will be born September 3 like Ivan and my brother.

Ivan has been thinking I should have a natural home birth and do hypnobirthing.  Ivan is a trained hypnotist.  He’s hypnotized me before and I can actually hypnotize myself.

He remembered a movie called The Business of Being Born that was recommended by our neighbor Carrie.  She gave birth almost two years ago with a home birth and she did hypnobirthing as well.

The Business of Being Born poster

The Business of Being Born talks about how hospitals are in a rush to get you out of the hospital.  Most pregnancies in hospitals use an epidural and caesarian sections are quite common.  It was scary to see that so many drugs are being used.  It talked about giving mums pitocin to induce the labor.  This gives longer and more intense contractions.  The doctor will then give an epidural and sometimes another epidural.  It looked like this was really bad for the baby.  It just seems that the hospitals are trying to have short births in order to make money.  It doesn’t seem natural at all.

One of the midwives thought that the baby should be born on their own time.

This movie showed 3 home births.  I’ve never seen a birth before.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  There’s always horror stories of seeing a woman give birth and it’s the scariest thing ever.

It does seem amazing to have a home birth, I’m just scared of the pain and if anything could go wrong.  If we did have a home birth, we do have a hospital just 3 minutes away from our house.

I bought a few books including The Essential Homebirth Guide: For Families Planning or Considering Birthing at Home and What to Expect When You’re Expecting.  Hope these will help me out with what to expect.

Tomorrow, I’m going to call a couple midwives and see if they’re covered by insurance and to see if they do ultrasounds.

Credits: The Business of Being Born picture

Bad skin, Sore boobs and Protein

I wanted to talk about the symptoms I’ve been having that make me think I am, in fact, pregnant.

I have been getting bad acne… my skin has not been looking good.  I do get pimples on my chin, but it has been coming two at a time and more frequently.

My back is sore.  My boobs have been real sore and I feel like they’re getting bigger.  Also, my clothes seem to be tighter.  My jacket seems to be too small now.  I’m almost sure that my stomach has gotten bigger.  I feel bloated and bigger.

A few weeks ago, I felt nauseous.. but thankfully, no puking.  I wonder if I will get morning sickness.  Of course, we’re still not sure I am pregnant since the test at the doctor is tomorrow.  I am positive that I am since my period still hasn’t come.

I told my husband Ivan that I am putting him in charge of me getting enough protein during my pregnancy.  Since we’re pescetarians, this will involve foods like tofu, nuts and edamame.  Lately, he’s been on a kick of making salads.  Here’s a tasty kale salad with nutrional yeast (which makes it cheesy) and dried cranberries that I had the other day.

Kale salad with dried cranberries

I’m glad that I’ll be seeing the doctor tomorrow.  I better start writing some questions that I have for him.

Am I?

I was 4 days late on my period.  Our friends The Aussies, Tim & Gabbie, were staying with us.  Gabbie thought that I should take a pregnancy test for peace of mind.  I bought a two pack EPT pregnancy test on Jan. 6, 2014. 

Everybody wanted me to take the test to find out if I was actually pregnant.  I peed in a cup and then we waited for 2 minutes.  Those 2 minutes always seem to take F-O-R-E-V-E-R!!

It looked positive. 

1st EPT test

These tests can be so faded when it shows the plus sign that I wasn’t too sure.  I decided to take another one.  This time, I peed on it and maybe I didn’t pee on it long enough.  The test looked positive again kind of – wasn’t sure since it was even more faded than the first test.

Ivan thought that we should buy another digital pregnancy test and this would be more accurate. 

I wasn’t sure what to think.  I knew there was a slight possibility that I could be pregnant.  I was scared since I have been scared to have kids since I’m not sure if I’ll be a good Mum.

The Clearblue digital pregnancy tests arrived on January 8, 2014 (Thank goodness for Amazon Prime!).  This test also predicts how many weeks that you’re pregnant.

I decided to pee in a cup this time and held it for 20 seconds as it says on the directions.  This time I had to wait a WHOLE 3 minutes this time.  The test was positive again. 


The 2-3 means that I’m pregnant and may be 2 and up to 3 weeks since ovulation.  This predicts that I could be 4-5 weeks along.

Ivan still doesn’t believe it, so he suggested taking another test first thing in the morning.

Guess what? It was positive again.  Ivan still doesn’t believe it.  I can’t believe it’s true, but I am almost positive that I am indeed pregnant since I’ve been feeling nauseous and I’ve been getting lots of pimples on my face.

I looked around on the internet and found a OB/GYN close to our house.  I made an appointment for a week from today.  Here goes the waiting game again.