TTC & Pregnancy

The nitty-gritty of trying to conceive & being pregnant

3 months old

Brendan is 3 months old today, wow!

Life with two is fun🙂 I get to love on my squish and get crafty with my toddler. Most days run smooth, as long as naps are taken.

Brendan is such an easy baby. He’s completely predictable so far, so easy to read. Its obvious when he is hungry, tired, or bored. We understand each other. Best part is he has slept from 8 to 6 every single night since he was born. How I got so lucky I don’t know. Maybe the universe took pity on me after dealing with Declan haha.

As easy as it has been I still find myself having some mental challenges. In the mornings I wake up with this thought, “how am I going to survive another day with these two draining me?” And then I do. I make breakfast, change diapers, get them dressed, make a plan for the morning and go forth. During naps I recoup, whether I’m prepping dinner or tuning out watching mindless TV. Then its go time again and we are all over the place keeping busy.

That is what my life is. Staying busy keeping everyone happy.

In the evenings when everyone is asleep, I do a little exercise, lately it’s been a 30 day squat challenge. I binge watch whatever show I’m into and then I crash to start all over.

Its a good routine. Everyone knows what to expect so there’s less fighting

I have been trying to be more proactive and involved in Declans play so he feels like he is getting enough one on one time. So far we haven’t had any jealousy issues. He has actually told me he loves his baby Brendan. He likes to help me in any way he can, even fetching diapers or putting the blanket back on him while I’m cooking. Its awesome!

I’ve been feeling pretty good up until about a week ago. I think PPD may be creeping up on me… I find myself angry or irritated, especially with Dave, quite often. I honestly think part of it is us not spending any time together though. He usually has Declan with him alone or is off on his own doing something and I’m always with the baby or both kids. When we do have a moment alone, it’s always to talk about money or work or budgeting. Our conversations are so boring I wish I could just get up and leave.

We will get through it, it could be worse. I started taking my placenta pills again, 2 three times a day, hoping that will help. I’ve also started using essential oils and am using them as needed.

Tomorrow I am starting a 21 day fix from team beachbody. Its designed to portion meals and work out every day to lose up to 15 lbs in 3 weeks. I have 35 lbs to lose to get back to where I want to be! That would probably make a big difference in my attitude too, feeling good about myself. It would be nice to accomplish a goal too.

Happy Independence Day🙂





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Night alone

Ahhhh this is getting fun lol! Declan has become increasingly annoying/whiny this last week or so due to a chest cold we all have. So tonight Dave had class and its me and the two littles…

Dinner was a precooked rotisserie chicken and some boxed mashed potatoes. Takes only 6 minutes to throw together but between the two wailing and carrying on it felt like an hour! Declan of course doesn’t want any of it and I don’t get a second to eat mine because the baby is hungry and Declan has begun to throw his on the floor.

Then bath time. Baby was OK laying on a boppy so I got into the bath to shave my legs and scrub Declan. Luckily I shaved both legs before baby was crying again. Scrambled out of the tub and brought him into he bathroom to get Declan out before he tried to get himself out.

Hung out feeding him snacks for an hour before reading some books. Every other page the Binky would fall out of the baby’s mouth making me stop to put it back and end the screaming.

Then bed time… Oh my. I get baby set up in the automatic swing with his binky propped up by a burp cloth and the little music playing. Manage to read two books and sit for 10 minutes waiting for him to fall asleep. Then the music stops… And the binky falls out. Whaaaa! “Where mama?” Everyone needs me. I run out and grab the baby, come back and feed him while repeating “go to sleep” to declan. The baby is done eating and has begun ‘cranky time’ as I call it. The hours of 7:30-9:30 that he’s awake and wants nothing but to be held and walked around. Somehow I escape Declans room unnoticed and come back out to the livingroom. Where I am currently walking circles trying to keep the littlest one quiet. Whew!

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Wow he has feelings!

This may sound ridiculous to some, but today is the first time I’ve noticed my son has feelings. He was shoving my headphones at me, handing them to me simply because they were mine and I wasn’t holding them. I was frustrated with Dave for shoving a binky into the baby’s mouth at the slightest stir rather than trying to comfort him any other way first or recognizing hunger signs. Anyway, I took the headphones and threw them onto the couch, saying, “I don’t want the headphones!” At which point he began to WAIL. Full on crying big crocodile tears. I was shocked. I apologized and wiped his tears and rubbed his back. Sharing my blanket with him finally calmed him. I’ve never seen him really react to my reactions!

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I had a massage yesterday and the woman I see is incredible. Not only is she great at massage, but she’s great with her words. Before she started, she rested her hands on me and told me that this time was a good time to relax and think back on the birth experience I just had, bringing to the surface anything that isn’t sitting well with me. She said that bringing those thoughts to the front of my mind would be enough to acknowledge and release them so they don’t get stored in my body as unreleased tension and anxiety. She reminded me to come back to by breathing in between so my mind wouldn’t go on tangents.

I found myself thinking of quite a few things!

First, I can’t seem to help but still feel like a failure in my birth. The emotional side of mW says, you’re a whimp, you couldn’t stay at home, you transferred twice. The logical part of me says, you did it! A VBAC is truly what you wanted! And of course all the medical issues like the dystocia and meconium were reason to be glad to be in the hospital.

Second, I thought of things people said to me. Like the anesthesiologist who refused to turn down my epidural at the midwife’s request. He would only turn it off. She took him into the hall for a talk, and when they cane back he agreed to turn it down. But it rubs me the wrong way. Who is he to question her in front of a woman who’s been in labor for over 30 hours?!

And my midwife from the home birth said to me in the midst of the panic, “do you want your baby to be born hearing this?” Referring to me screaming at everyone that I WAS pushing when they were all yelling at me to push harder. No, I didn’t want him to be born listening to me screaming, but he was still listening to everyone else yelling at me!! Nothing was going as planned at that point, so it felt a little like guilt when she said that.

I read that saying in Ina May’s book… She’d say that to women shouting curse words while pushing. I found it amusing in the book. Not in real life.

Anyway, it was a very nice experience; the massage. She accidentally gave me an hour long one instead of half an hour, so it was extra nice!

Brendan is doing fantastic. He’s asleep next to me now. He’s been sleeping from 8-5:30 most nights, sometimes not waking once, other times he will wake for a diaper change and snack. Such an easy baby!!




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1 week old




Our little cutie is already over a week old! His clavicle fracture is healing nicely and is drastically less tender, which makes changing him so much easier!

His umbilical chord fell off a couple days ago and he’s nursing great. Dave and I have sorted out a sleeping arrangement that works for everyone… Dave in the guest bed in Declans room and Brendan and I in our room. Sleep has been really good so far cosleeping! We slept until 9 this morning!!

Declan seems to love his little brother, but struggles with being gentle still. We are working on it though🙂

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My changed perspective on birth

I’ve been thinking a lot about my two birth experiences now… and have been continuing to read others’ stories. I don’t know if I am just a total whimp and my pain threshold is a lot lower than I think, or if I just got the short end of the stick when it comes to labor. I read stories about moms who bake cakes and go grocery shopping while in the midst of labor, suddenly finding they are 6 cm dilated and within a few hours pushing their baby out in a pool of glorious water. All I can think is, what the hell??! Is this real?

Both of my labors were intense from the very first contraction. I couldn’t do ANYTHING. Moving from one room to another felt impossible, but I did it hoping to ease the pain or move things along.
So now, if I have any future children, I will not hesitate to walk into the hospital and ask for my epidural. I am now one of those. I will still labor at home as long as I can so I’m not at the hospital the whole time, but I’m not even going to try and pretend that I can handle the pain.

I just wish I could understand what is so different about my labors versus all these other women? I’ve always thought of myself as a strong, determined person! I know positioning has a lot to do with it, but come on… This baby was in prime position up to the very last day. So what does that say?

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Sleep and other things

Apparently men need at least twice the amount of sleep a woman does lol. Dave slept the entire first night we were home, on top of all the naps he had. Last night he slept well (definitely better than me!) And yet he is super cranky acting like he hasn’t slept in a week.

His dad has been staying with us and thinks a lot of the things he does is helpful. Like cooking a big breakfast this morning. I guess it is helpful, but I ate a croissant an hour ago (we usually have something by 7:30 because Declan wakes up hungry). He makes eggs and sausage and bacon and smells and smokes up the whole house. The smell of eggs AND bacon cooking make me so nauseous, not to mention I don’t want my baby who already has some breathing issues breathing in greasy bacon smoke😦

Anyway, I did say ok to him making breakfast so he isn’t to blame. But he is super annoyingly pushy when he makes something or buys something… He really really wants you to eat it and takes offense if you don’t. When I said I like sausage I thought, a piece of sausage sounds nice. He makes me a flippin “sausage croissant sandwich”. Did he ignore me eating a croissant just a while ago? I’m totally happy with a bowl of cereal.

Other things like being so loud at night, peeing multiple times and clomping down the hall in his stupid “inside shoes” turning on lights, grunting, and just being him. He already bugs me. Just having him around all the time and watching him get stressed about our toddler playing with his toys gets to me.

I got maybe three hours of sleep last night. Brendan was very active… Eat, burp, poop, eat, gas, poop, eat. No breaks! I couldn’t get into a spot where we were both comfy enough to sleep.

I’m nervous today too because the plan was to cancel the two day pediatrician appointment because he hasn’t lost much weight and he had zero jaundice. But now dave is concerned about his fast breathing, which I think is totally normal. So I feel like we are risking him catching something taking him out into the rainy cold day into a doctors office. And I feel like I have no say. I’ve said multiple times how I feel about it and he isn’t listening.

I just want to lay quiet in bed with my new baby. No father in law. No toddler. Husband here to give me a break, not freak out because I’m freaking out or cranky because he didn’t sleep or bitching because he didn’t hold the baby enough. Every time I hand him to him he, he can’t just sit still. He moves and touches him disturbing him making him cry. Then wonders why he only cries when he holds him. So I try to explain what I do and he gets defensive.

Its like we are new parents all over again lol. Except our toddler is an added stress. Ugh, I just remembered dave has class tonight……. I’m so annoyed with him taking this class. Just seems so selfish to me and horrible timing. Anyway, it’s 5 hours a night once a week. Which means me, two kids, and my *delightful* father in law. I seriously cried in my room because I can’t even stand the way he reads a book to my son. He can’t just read it… He has to point out who the author is and where its written and make some comment about the author and just DRAG it out. The book is long enough for heavens sake! The point is repetition, not stuffing useless information into his brain. I’m such a hormonal mess.

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Home and so emotional

I thought I missed Declan, but holy cow. When I saw him and how well he said, “new baby come out” and all these other sentences, it was like he literally grew up in the couple days we were gone! I burst into tears, and am now laying here listening to Dave taking him outside to play in the rain and can’t help but cry again because I don’t want to miss out on anything… With either of them! How do parents do this?? I’m a wreck!

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Brendan Greene Murray’s birth story

Our baby is here, and he’s a boy!

The night of my 41 week appointment, Thursday April 2nd 10pm I began feeling contractions. I was putting Declan back to sleep and moaning through one!

I thought it was possible that I was having gas from the refried beans we made that night, and Dave was gassy too, but after breathing through about four and being in quite a bit of pain we concluded it was real. I spent time in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in the living room. Tried timing them but my phone died and the places I could plug it in weren’t comfortable to labor in!

We asked the doula to come around 2:30am to help manage the pain and give us some ideas of positioning. She suggested trying the shower and that worked wonders for as long as the hot water lasted.

The midwives came closer to 6am and found I was at 3cm. It became a waiting game of unknown endings for me. Try this position, that position, this movement, maybe baby needs to turn and this position will help. Contraction after contraction, some with excruciating back pain.

Some of the positions they wanted me in were to continue the contractions and turn baby, like a side laying one with my bottom leg straight and my top leg bent. These brought on some really strong ones that were difficult for me. I was doing well with my deep breathing and moaning, but I was getting really tired. Physically and mentally. And after finding that I was still 3cm at 11:15 when my water sprung a high leak I couldn’t help but feel discouraged.

The midwives reminded me that a lot was happening besides dilation, and that dilation was kind of the last of the process. This was also the longest of the laboring too… I knew all of this, but still hated not knowing just how far each one was taking me, if anywhere. I laid down in the side position again to rest in between and the midwives went to another appointment leaving us with the doula. After 30 minutes or so I woke with a HUGE contraction and screamed for Dave to come help me through it.

Suddenly this fear kicked in. I began to panic. I was afraid to move from the bed, afraid to even move an inch. I felt like if I moved i would bring on more pain and I didn’t want any more pain! I begged and cried for them to fill the pool thinking maybe if it were filling my mind would let things move forward enough to get in. I later found out I wouldnt have been let in until I was ready to push….. Yikes.

Halfway full, we decided shower might be a good idea. So I somehow got out of my safe haven bed and into my luke warm shower for 10 minutes or so. The midwives came back and continued to encourage me, but my fear was building. What if something was wrong again? The pain was in my back, this baby was not in optimal position. I couldn’t pee again, just like my last labor. My mind was going crazy, “$4000 we paid for this home birth, I can’t just walk away from that! But this doesn’t feel right! I don’t feel safe, I hurt, I’m scared.” It took some tears and convincing myself, but I finally looked at Dave and told him, “you’re my only hesitation on going to the hospital… I don’t want you to be mad at me.” Of course that was a silly thing to tell him, how could he be mad?! We had been doing this for 16 hours and all he wanted was a healthy baby and mom, no matter how it happened! And he reassured me of this. They ALL did. They were so kind and supportive and loving.


I was crying and feeling ashamed and guilty and like a failure and they kept reminding me this was my birth and my choice and that I would be right where I need to be. That I could do it if I wanted to at home, that I was strong enough. But that it was beyond okay to choose another way. And so we loaded up at about 2pm.

I texted my mom from the car and Dave called his dad to get him on his way to our place to take over for the doula watching Declan. The midwives followed us down. She told me, “think 5” and that another mom she had transfer a couple weeks ago fully dilated because of the car ride! My goal in my mind was “DO NOT HAVE THIS BABY IN THE CAR” lol. I sat sideways with no seatbelt holding on to the open window and the arm rest trying to lift my body so it didn’t feel the bumps.

We got in and the nurse at the counter was on the phone having what seemed like a humorous conversation while I was contracting waiting for her. I felt like every second wasted was a second longer of waiting for what I came for… Pain relief!

Once we got a room things picked up. Every single person we worked with was wonderful and attentive and kind. The first nurse, Susan, took my request for the epidural seriously and did her absolute best to get me relief as soon as she could. Overall it took about an hour to get one. How I survived that hour I don’t know. It was SO HARD.

Once the epidural was in, my perspective was completely changed. I was back in the game, relaxed, and ready to still rock my VBAC. I was a 5 when she checked me (yahoo! All by myself!!) and we began discussing options for keeping things going. Labor stalled once my epidural was working and I napped a little.

Baby’s heart rate was looking low when they first checked him, and the midwives admitted they were thinking of transferring because of that themselves. Once my IV kicked in and the pain was relieved his heart rate was totally normal though and remained so the rest of the labor.

Anyway, they began pushing to use pitocin, but I really wanted to avoid that if I could so I messaged my friend who works in labor and delivery (who had her son at home🙂 ) and she gave us some alternatives including nipple stimulation. We asked Dave’s brother to bring my pump to the hospital and the nurse, who also is a friend of mine, brought me some new flanges. Two minutes of pumping I brought on regular contractions 2-3 minutes apart and they lasted about an hour and half like that before I got tired and napped again.

Next check I was at 7 cm, the pump had done its magic and those contractions were what I needed to dilate. They convinced me at that point to allow a tiny dose of pitocin to pick the contractions up even more so the pressure would move baby further down and out of my hip, where he’d been stuck for a while giving me a little pain to work through despite the epidural.

I had a forebag of water still hanging on despite my water breaking officially earlier. They noticed a light meconium in the break, but when they used the hook for the last bit the meconium was much darker and we were warned this could mean breathing troubles and changes to our birth plan. We were happy to know in advance.

With more positioning changes and the pitocin, I was able to sleep through to 8cm and then just wait until baby moved and we were 10!

Then began the pushing. At this point it was 5:30am on Saturday April 4th. They set up a mirror for me to watch as I pushed, but I found staring at my belly button popping out when I pushed to be a better motivation, as nothing seemed to be happening down there. I say now, there’s a difference between “pushing” and “PUSHING”.

It’s strange. You can push really hard, feel the pressure of the baby moving down, but when you really give it your all and go into this second zone where things get quiet and you feel like your eyes are going to pop out of your head, that’s where the work gets done.

Anyway, 3 hours of pushing or so and the head was out. We slowed down for the head to avoid tearing. But, his shoulder got stuck in my pelvis. Suddenly everyone was screaming at me, “push! Push Michelle!!!” I was getting angry, what the hell did they think I was doing?! They put me down flat, and its so much harder to push that way, especially with an epidural slightly blocking the feeling.  Dave was screaming with them to push and i screamed back, “shut up, i am pushing!” He continued to scream at me so i punched him in the chest i was so angry and confused. they were yelling, “15, 30 seconds, 45, 1 minute!”. The room was full of people suddenly and a doctor was on my stomach pushing him from that direction. Her hand was in me twisting the baby this way and that trying anything and everything she could to dislodge him.

Finally, a minute and a half later he was out. “Dad, tell us what it is!” Dave says emotionally, “its a boy!” And he was on my chest, then whisked quickly to the warming bed where they began suctioning out meconium from his stomach and lungs. He was grunting, never giving a good strong cry. It was terrifying!

I looked down to see why Dave wasn’t standing there with him and I said, “go see your baby!” He responded on his knees wiping away tears, “I… I can’t move…” He was beside himself. Watching all of that happening just took him to some other world of emotion that he still can’t quite describe to me. It was AMAZING. That reaction was what I always wanted to see when Declan was born. It was breathtaking, seeing my husband brought to tears.

Brendan was being well taken care of, despite my wanting so desperately to calm him. My midwives were reminding me to be patient, that it was all necessary and not to hurt me. It was still really hard emotionally to once again not be holding my baby in my arms right after.

The midwife who “caught” him began stitching me up. So much for slowing down at the head… I had a two degree tear from her hand and a 3rd degree in my rectum with a torn muscle. Probably at least 30 minutes of stitching me up. It was a crazy, crazy delivery.

And after all was said and done, I can say I am beyond happy with my decision to transfer. I got my VBAC, I got my pain relief, I got my support, and my baby who needed help in so many ways was so well taken care of.

I am just so overwhelmingly grateful for the amazing staff here at the hospital. We are planning to head home this afternoon and let Declan meet his new baby brother. I miss that little man so much!!!!




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41 weeks

Just got home from the midwife appointment! Everything is still looking good. Blood pressure was 130/79 which is higher than my normal, but not a concern. Baby is in LOT position, which I thought didn’t sound good, but they assured me that its the best position baby could be in. Although the T stands for transverse, the back of the baby is along my left and the baby is still in a head down position. Feet are poking me on the right🙂

We discussed options for natural induction and what will happen as we approach 42 weeks. Legally home birth is not allowed to happen after exactly 42 weeks. She has a loophole though. She knows of and works with a certified nurse midwife who basically, for a fee, will allow the midwife to transfer my care to her. She has to be present for the birth in conjunction with my midwife, although she tends to just sit quietly on the sidelines.

All this being said, I’m feeling very good about letting baby take its time and do its thing. The options we agreed on, if I choose to try and induce, are breast pump (nipple stimulation) 5 minutes per side three times a day and a cotton root tincture that is know for causing good contractions. The breast pump apparently can cause crazy “titanic” contractions… one on top of another so I’m supposed to stop at the sign of a big one.

I’m going to wait until at least Sunday to see how things go on their own first. I’m really hesitant to try and get things going instead of leaving them be as long as I can.
In other news, a very good friend of mine was just given some devastating news that has me in and out of tears for her and her family. At her 20 ultrasound, they discovered her baby boy had an omphalocele. With further ultrasounds, they found it went way beyond that. Baby boy was found to have several cysts on its brain, clenched fists (neurological problems), a clubbed foot, a rounded bottom foot, known heart defects and some umbilical cord problems. In other words, trisomy 18. I can’t even IMAGINE the pain she is feeling and how incredibly hard it is to make the decision on how to go forward. Either a genetic abortion in which she gives birth to a dead baby, or she continues the pregnancy knowing her baby will die within the first year and probably will be in pain and in and out of surgeries.

It just breaks my heart… She’s such a sweet, loving person who wanted nothing more than another child. I’m planning on sending her a blanket I’ve been crocheting for the last six months. I know it won’t help much, but its the only thing I can think of that would show her I love her. Its just so, so sad.

Its especially hard for me to feel like I can celebrate this baby publicly without feeling like I’m in such a different place than her. Its hard to know if the happiness of a new baby would hurt or help her. I’m thinking one single picture after the birth announcing it and leaving it at that.

I don’t know how I would feel if it were me. I know Dave and I discussed it a long time ago and we would make the hard decision to abort. But I don’t know how I would be emotionally. Would I hate everyone and hide in my room? Would I long for company to take my mind off of things? I have no idea. I wish no one ever had to go through such a difficult situation.

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