Saturday, December 14, 2013

Farewell and Hello

Dear Friends,
It's time, I'm moving on. I started this blog over 6 years ago to start documenting life as a newlywed. It slowly evolved into what it is today. I have so enjoyed sharing with the small audience who has listened. This blog has always been an awesome outlet for me but it's time to move onto new ventures.

In the past few months the Lord has put a burden on my heart to blog more faithfully and to take a different spin on things. After much discussion with the hubby and a lot of research, we decided the best thing to do would be to leave this blog and start afresh. So with that has come my new and very improved new blog, Motherhood in the Trenches.

I'm sad to see this one go, I'll still keep the old content up, at least for now, but I'm excited to move onto new things and follow the call that God is putting on my heart. I hope that you'll head over to Motherhood in the Trenches, check it out (you'll probably recognize some of the content so far because there are just a few posts from this blog I've transferred) and follow me there. I would love to get to know you all better and for you to journey on with me. Much love to you all!

Love,
Alicia

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Breastfeeding...Moooooo

Good news! Breastfeeding is totally "working" for us this time! (if you want to read about my journey through breastfeeding with Makenzie, here it is). Eisley latched on like a pro and hasn't let go since...I'm not joking...okay maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit, but seriously this kid would probably live on my breast if I let her. Some days I just feel like a cow.

Speaking of cows, while I may feel like a cow, we recently found out that I can have nothing made from a cow...that is, Eisley has a sensitivity to milk protein. Don't believe me? This is what most days look like at our house...

So I basically can't eat anything I love. No creamy pastas, no salads with ranch dressing (you know I eat a salad just so I can have fresh buttermilk ranch!), no yogurt, no milk chocolate, NO STARBUCKS PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES!!!! Seriously guys, I LOVE dairy, like A LOT. As a family we LOVE cheese, and that's probably the hardest thing for me to avoid. Whenever I make a recipe that calls for cheese, I add extra because we LOVE cheese. I have been craving a giant, extra cheesy pizza for a week now and I know I'll be craving it for at least a few more months.

At first I was skeptical about the whole milk protein sensitivity thing, then the other day I ate some blue cheese meatballs without thinking and the next day was insanity! Eisley was spitting up something fierce, she was crying ALL DAY LONG and was not sleeping at all. Last night I was about to give up because she was still so crabby, crying all day long and I just wanted a darn cheese pizza! But today she was a whole new baby. I am praying it wasn't just a fluke but she took a THREE hour morning nap...I actually ate breakfast AND lunch and did my devotions without a screaming baby in my arms. Then I did a project with Makenzie and cleaned a bunch. It was awesome! The rest of the day she cried off and on, but it was a normal baby cry, not her 0 to 60, "I'm gonna die!!!" cry. It was an awesome day and I'm so hoping for another and another and another...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pre-K 2013-2014


Last week Makenzie officially started "Pre-K!" We are homeschooling her this year and as of right now the plan is to continue to homeschool. 5 years ago I never would have thought that I'd be the homeschool mom. I have experience in public, private and homeschooling. I went to public elementary school, private junior high and was homeschooled for high school and I also worked in the public school system for 7 years both as an aide and a teacher. Through my college years, the hubby and I talked about how teaching was the perfect job because I could take our kids to work with me and have summers off. Slowly God changed our hearts, mine quicker than the hubby's, and God has totally prepared the way for me to stay home and brought people into my life that have helped inspire me to homeschool and have been there to bounce ideas off of.

So here we are, starting our first year of true, planned out homeschool. I really can't believe we're already here. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was posting about her birth?! My goodness...

I fully believe that Pre-K should be play based and full of lots of reading. We'll be doing a lot of that for sure but Makenzie keeps saying over and over that she wants to learn to read and write so we are using specific curriculum for those areas, along with math. Science, social studies, art, etc. will be play based. Then there is of course life skills which taught all day, this is my favorite part of homeschooling. Including Makenzie in household chores, making dinner, gardening and other household duties. She is such a good helper and I love watching her participate in duties around the house.

Our curriculum choices for the 2013-2014 school year are:


We will be doing a lot more activities, the above are just the set curricula we're using three days a week. Having an extra fussy infant and homeschooling has it's challenges but last week we were able to get all of our work in and had fun doing it, which at this point is most important to me. I'm hoping that I will be able to share our journey as we go along.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Sideline Mom

Before Eisley came, Makenzie and I did everything together. We were together all day and we were buds. I knew things would change when the baby came but I wasn't prepared for how affected I would be by it. I feel like Eisley is attached to me be pretty much 24/7 and while Makenzie has been such a trooper, she and Dirk have had a lot more bonding time than I've had with her. They are best buds now, which is so cute to see and makes me so happy, but it also bums me out a bit as I sit back feeding the baby for the umpteenth time that day.

One night Makenzie was just being crazy, Dirk was working early morning til late night and Eisley was super fussy. I was losing my patience with Makenzie and after I put her to bed I couldn't help but breakdown. I miss the one-on-one time I get with her. Lately I'm just her caretaker and disciplinarian. Dirk is the one who gets to play and do fun things with her. Even when we're at the beach, I'm sitting back feeding the baby, watching Makenzie and Dirk run around.

After breaking down, I decided I needed to do something about it. While I'm used to doing big art projects or taking trips to Jamba Juice and the splash pad, I decided that I can at least do small things with her, to make time with just she and I.

We made a grocery shopping trip a fun little date with a Pumpkin Spice Latte (our favorite) and I let her walk around the store with me. I loved answering all of her questions and hearing her silly stories.

While we can't have full baking days like we used to, we have made brownies, pumpkin muffins and pizza, all things that are super easy and quick to make if Eisley starts to have a melt down.


Even little things like buying sparkly stickers for her nails and painting them bring a smile to her face.


While I know that this time won't last forever and soon I will be able to do more with her again, I hope that she will have fond memories of me doing fun things with her and not just see me as "mom on the sidelines."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Using Evernote to Organize Recipes

When I first got married 6 years ago, blogs were just starting to become popular, Pinterest didn't exist and Facebook wasn't what it was today. If you wanted to find a recipe you either went to your cookbooks, a recipe site like foodnetwork.com or myrecipes.com or you emailed yourself a link to a blog. Now? It seems overwhelming at times. There are so many amazing food blogs and so many yummy recipes on Pinterest. How do you organize them and keep track of what you liked and what you changed?

I started using Evernote last October to catalog the recipes that I've made that we really like. It's so simple, it takes only minutes to record and it helps me plan when I'm feeling overwhelmed by the 786 pins I have on my "Mouth Watering" Pinterest board.

First you have to download Evernote on your computer. Once you get it all set up you make a new notebook called "dinners" or whatever you want to call it. Then you start adding new "notes." I always start by typing in the title and dragging a picture from the site I used (if there is one). I then copy and paste the recipe into my Evernote, with any changes I made and paste the link to the site I got it from. The best part is that you can add tags. You can see towards the top that I tagged this recipe "chicken" "greek" "favorite." This isn't a particularly easy recipe but if it's easy or quick I'll tag the recipe by those terms and can later search my own recipes for the tags "easy" and "chicken" and find recipes we like that meet that criteria. It's like your very own "site" for all of your favorite recipes.

Here's an example of an entry of one of my favorite dinners, Chicken Gyros from Annie's Eats.


You can see on the left-hand side that you get a thumbnail of all of your recipes you've input and the pics if you've added any. These are all pics taken from the sites so you shouldn't share them in this manner but you can use them for your own good. So far this has worked out great for us!

Do you have any recipe organizing tips?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This is the Day the Lord Has Made

I groggily walked down the stairs, fussy baby in arms and 3 year old bouncing down the stairs, talking non-stop. It had been a long night with the baby, who now decided that she was done sleeping at 6:15 and her older sister followed suit. I was exhausted and worn out. I put the baby in the swing and dragged myself over to the Keurig to make a cup of coffee and throw some bread in the toaster to feed Makenzie and I, all the while Eisley was starting to scream like she hadn't eaten in her whole life, despite the fact that she had been eating ALL.NIGHT.LONG.



Kenzie looked up at me with her adorable blue eyes and said, "Mom is this a bad day since you're really tired and Eisley keeps crying?" Conviction hit me like a ton of bricks. I smiled and said, "No, today is the day the Lord has made and we need to be glad in it." Preaching to myself, more than teaching her a lesson. I quickly turned my thoughts and attitude from, "I am exhausted and would like to sleep for a stretch longer than an hour and have just one moment to myself for once..." to "Lord, thank you for a new day. Thank you for my sweet girls who are healthy, thank you for my coffee pot which provides what I now refer to as liquid sleep, thank you for our home" and on and on.

I love how the Lord uses our children to speak volumes to us. I've yet to master this, and I'm sure I never will, but when those times come when I want to slip into a state of self-pity and fustration, I start thanking the Lord for all He has given me, and all He has done for me. Immediately I realize that all of this is just for a moment and I need to cherish even the times Eisley is screaming because soon I will miss that newborn cry and smell and everything about her tiny self. She's already growing so fast and in this trying and joyful time, I can rejoice in the Lord and do my best to cherish EVERY moment, even the seemingly less than enjoyable times.

That baby has my heart and despite the sleep deprivation, I look at her and can't believe how much I love her and how she's grown so much already in the short 4 weeks we've had with her. I don't even remember what life was like before her, it's like she's been here all along.

And looking at Makenzie, who no longer needs her booster seat and who brushes her own teeth and gets her own snacks from the refrigerator and who is slowly needing me for so much less, this time is flying by and I just want to be right here right now, even if everything else around me is falling apart.

I'm learning to rejoice when I feel like complaining, laugh when I feel like crying and be okay with whatever chores get done around the house, which these days isn't much. I'm now making a conscious effort to choose to enjoy this season, no matter how chaotic it may be.

Monday, August 26, 2013

So this happened...

While I've been away, we welcomed our sweet Eisley Grace into the world. 



It took me awhile to write out my birth story, there were a lot of details I wanted to share, but wanted to make it as short as possible. Although it's still stinking long...here it is for those of you who are interested. :)



Eisley Grace - A Birth Story of God’s Providence and Grace

Eisley’s birth story really starts from the moment we found out we were pregnant. My previous birth was a little traumatic, nothing extreme but enough that it left me nervous about birth and wanting to do something about it. During this pregnancy, I stayed with a less than mediocre doctor for 23 LONG weeks while I was trying to fight with insurance to get them to cover the care of a midwife. I was feeling so frustrated and so helpless. All I wanted was an environment conducive to delivering my baby naturally and peacefully, without intervention. That’s when I remembered that a friend of mine had said how much she loved Redlands Community Hospital and a certain doctor there. I emailed her and after looking into it, our insurance covered the switch. Yay! It wouldn’t be a home birth, or a birth center birth, but we would be able to birth in a hospital that supported natural birth and we’d get a private room which was another GIANT big deal for me. Makenzie screamed the whole first night in the hospital and the thought of being in a room with another person just sent my anxiety through the roof! 

So we had a new doctor and a new hospital and I was feeling so good about my care. I was finally mentally free to plan for baby and anticipate her arrival.

The next hiccup came on July 21st when my estimated due date came and went. My doctor wasn’t pressuring me to be induced, YET, but he said that if I hadn’t had the baby by the following Monday, July 29th, we’d have to discuss induction. My heart sank. I had done so much to create the best possible birth scenario, and now I had 7 days before we had to make a decision that I didn’t want to make. I was almost in tears on the way home.  

For a few days I did everything I could. I walked like crazy, I did extra squats, I even went to a chiropractor to make sure everything was aligned. After going to the chiropractor, I had steady, strong contractions for two hours, but they were only 30 seconds long and finally dissipated. During my chiropractic appointment the chiropractor had said a few negative things about my birth and my doctor that had really frustrated me, which I later found out was not at all true. After this I was even more discouraged. 

This was a time when the Lord really humbled me. Throughout this whole pregnancy I had been fretting about aspects of my birth. It was at this point that I finally realized that this whole time I was trying to create a birth I was proud of and empowered by, a birth that I felt was done “the right way.” I had often repeated Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I “know” this but I realized that I wasn’t truly leaving it all in God’s hands, I was trying to take things in my own hands. God gave us this child in my womb and He would give her to us at the perfect time and in the perfect way. I struggled not to worry or to be anxious, but I was now constantly laying it down at God’s feet, praying for HIM to be glorified in this birth of HIS child. I knew that if I was to be induced it was what God had planned and all I really wanted was to have a healthy baby in my arms. 

The weekend came and went and I was so bummed that I was going to have to face my doctor in the morning and make decisions that I really didn’t want to have to make. We decided our first step was going to be for the doctor to strip my membranes, which sent me quickly into labor with Makenzie. If that didn’t work then I guess we’d plan an induction date. I went to bed on Sunday night bummed but at peace about our appointment in the morning. 

Then at 2:20am I woke up with some crazy strong contractions. I started timing them and they were about 10 minutes apart, lasting for a minute. I didn’t get my hopes up because I had been there before, but they suddenly started to get closer, 7 minutes then 5. I woke up Dirk and told him that I was going to shower to see if the contractions would stop, they didn’t. So I told him it was time to get ready. He thought I was waking him up to get ready for our doctor’s appointment, when he looked at the clock he said, “Babe, it’s really early!” I laughed and told him that the baby wasn’t going to wait. It finally set in that my labor had started and he kinda went into panic mode. I was totally chill and decided that I would do my makeup and freshen up my hair. Gotta look decent for those birth photos, haha. 

We got ready, let my parents know that they should get ready to head to the hospital and waited for my brother and sister-in-law to get to our house to stay with Kenzie.  My contractions were 3 - 4 minutes apart and seeing as we live about 30 minutes from the hospital, I was starting to get a little worried. As soon as my brother and sis-in-law got to the house I was ready to go but Dirk insisted that the dishes needed to put away. He is such a level headed guy, I think the only other time I’ve seen him so scattered and nervous was when I was in labor with Makenzie. 

So we were finally on the road, I was in labor only hours before my doctor’s appointment where we’d set an induction date. Thank you Lord! The contractions weren’t horrible but I couldn’t talk through them and needed to close my eyes to concentrate. Dirk got us to the hospital in 18 minutes, I won’t say how he did it but the important thing is that we arrived safely, crazy man. With as close as my contractions were, I thought for sure I was at LEAST 4 cm dilated. We headed to the Labor & Delivery floor and checked in.

The nurses were great from the start, another answer to prayer. The nurse checked me around 5:30 am and said that I was 3 cm. I was disappointed but the nurse was totally encouraging. They got us transferred into our labor room and we got settled in. My parents were there, Dirk turned on my birth playlist and I immediately got on the birth ball. Unlike my previous birth where I laid in bed the whole time and threw EVERYTHING I had planned out the window, my goal was to stay upright, change position, use the restroom frequently, chomp on ice chips, etc. 

My doctor came in around 7 am. It was so nice to see a familiar face. During my previous labor, I had to have the doctor on call which did not go well for us. To see my doctor walk in and call me by name was so reassuring. And then...not only was it my doctor but with him he brought a midwife. What?! A midwife?! I didn’t know there were midwives at this hospital! My doctor explained that the midwife would be there to assist him and would do perineal massage before pushing to help the perineum stretch. What?! I immediately was reminded AGAIN that God is in control and while I wanted a midwife all along and had given up hope, God had not forgotten. Another answer to prayer! My doctor pretty much just asked how I was doing and said, “Well it looks like you guys have everything under control in here. If you need anything just let us know, otherwise we’ll just let you do your thing.” Thank you! And again thank you Lord!!!

I had felt nauseous off and on through the labor but suddenly the nausea got so unbearable and I started vomiting. I HATE to vomit! I mean really who really likes to vomit but I loathe it. When I’m sick I do everything I can to keep myself from vomiting. Having crazy strong contractions and throwing up at the same time was miserable. Luckily I just vomited a few times and felt better. The midwife came in around 8 am to check on me and I asked when she could break my waters. She checked me, I was 6 cm but she said that I had to wait until I got the second bag of antibiotics at 10 am (I was positive for Strep B). When the midwife left, my mom said that I wasn’t going to make it until 10 am, but I wasn’t so sure. The contractions were intense. This whole laboring on your feet thing was crazy but the bed didn’t make it any better and I knew that staying upright would get this baby out sooner. I was so wishing I was in a birthing tub but I quickly shoved that thought out of my mind and refocused my thoughts. 

As the contractions got stronger, I started really leaning on Dirk, literally. We raised the bed as high as it could go, I leaned on it, swaying. As a contraction came I threw my arms around Dirk and swayed. Then I started to feel like I was about to pass out, I’m pretty sure I was one contraction away from blacking out (how does one labor while passed out? maybe I should have just let myself black out nature’s anesthesia right? heh). The nurse told me to take shorter breaths and that helped. My mom and Dirk were trying to tell me that I was in transition but just like last time, I told them it was too soon and didn’t believe them. Dirk immediately replied, “Yep, self-doubt, you’re definitely in transition.” Love that man. 

I think it was about then that I also told Dirk I just wanted a needle in my back. He knew I didn’t really mean it, although I wasn’t so sure. Lord have mercy, laboring on your feet is intense! (did I already say that?) I could feel the baby drop down and go back up with every contraction. Then I started feeling a ton of pressure and then it came...the urge to push. My bag of water didn’t break but started to trickle. I asked the nurse if I could push and she said that I could push as I felt the need and she rushed to get the doctor. Well it just so happens that the lady next to me also needed to push and she was also my doctor’s patient. It got kinda hectic in the room for a minute as the doctor was called to come back to the hospital and the midwife was going from one room to another. I stayed on my feet for another contraction or two and just pushed as I felt the urge. Then I got on the bed. The urge to push came and as I did my water burst. I know that they usually say that your water “broke” but no, mine burst, like spewed across the room, at least 10 feet almost hitting my mom, who quickly ran out of the chair she was sitting in, managing only to get a bit on her shoe...so gross. Even though I was in pain, I couldn’t help but giggle. It was a mess, everywhere. It was like a water balloon popped, we were all stunned and laughing.

Dirk heard the midwife and my doctor talking in the hallway. They were going to choose which baby to deliver. The midwife chose us and I’m so glad she did. I love my doctor and I’m sure he would’ve been awesome but I just loved the midwife! She immediately got to business, “Okay, how would you like to push? You can push on hands and knees, using the birth bar, whatever you’re feeling.” Seriously?! I love you midwife! I had initially planned to use the birth bar to push but I was exhausted and just decided to push sitting up. The perineal massage was not comfortable at all, especially as I was pushing. In my head I was yelling, "Get your fingers out of there woman!” but in the end I only had a slight first degree tear which I was rejoicing over! 

As I was getting ready to really start pushing, the lady next to me was screaming SO loud. Dirk turned up my playlist but I could still hear her. I tried to focus elsewhere and not let it psych me out. Come to find out she had an epidural, I’m sure it’s still a ton of work to push when you have an epidural but the way she was yelling...WITH an epidural...lady come on! She sounded like she was being stabbed to death. Pushing went great. I’m not sure how long I pushed but it didn’t feel very long. There was some meconium, so the NICU team was called in. 

Eisley was born (without a middle name) at 9:18 am on July 29th, my dad’s 51st birthday! Her apgar scores were great! The midwife stitched me up while the NICU team checked Eisley. My placenta was taking forever to deliver, I guess it was comfy in there but the midwife worked around the placenta, waiting for it to deliver. Finally I was all stitched up and could finally hold my sweet baby. She was pretty much immediately hungry and started breastfeeding like a champ. Thank you Lord! 

The birth was better than imagined. The midwife was awesome. The nurses were great. The hospital is amazing. The midwife went out of her way to stop by several times to check on me, even when she wasn’t working at the hospital. The nurse that checked us in up in the labor & delivery area, came down to our recovery room the following day to see how we were doing. Everyone seemed to genuinely care about us. I HATE staying at the hospital, it is miserable, BUT it was as great as it could be. 

I am so thankful that the Lord orchestrated everything for us. I look back at all of the times I doubted and I was anxious and think, “Why do I doubt you Lord?” 

It's been 4 weeks since we had her and things are going really well. There are definitely challenges to managing two little ones, and my house, well it's seen better days but mentally and physically I'm doing SO much better than I was after having Makenzie. The transition from one to two kids has actually been easier for me than the transition to having my first. I've yet to run errands with both kids, I always take one or the other but I know that day is coming soon. We're just taking one moment at a time and enjoying our girls. 

Makenzie is transitioning so well. There hasn't been much jealousy to deal with at all. If anything, our biggest challenge is that she wants to touch her and hold her and talk to her, all day long. Which isn't conducive to a sleeping baby and she isn't always the most gentle with her. Life with two girls is awesome and I'm so thankful for them.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tips for Toddlers: Memorizing Bible Verses

I should have started teaching Makenzie memory verses long ago. It was one of those things that I kept meaning to do but never did. I finally did some research and figured out how we were going to approach it. I found the Seeds Family Worship and totally fell in love with all the albums. The songs are the verses word by word and they're not cheesy like the others I've heard. I really love them.

I chose John 3:16 as our first verse because I felt that it's a verse that every person should know and is the basis of our faith. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

video


Every day we listened to the "Eternal Life" song which is on the "Seeds of Faith" album. You can buy these on iTunes or Amazon OR you can listen for free on Spotify (which is what we're doing right now). I also wrote the verse out on poster board and we went over it every day at the start of our "school" lessons. We went over the verse several nights before bed and whenever else I thought of it throughout the day. We also often talked about what the verse means and why it's important.

video


The song really helped her and after about two weeks she had the verse fully memorized. We are doing one verse per week but we went on vacation in between this time and didn't faithfully practice during that time. I highly recommend the Seeds Family Worship songs, even if it's just used for background music and not for learning verses.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An Uphill, Losing Battle

My first act of true "sacrificial" motherhood started just minutes before Makenzie took her first breath.
I remember only bits and pieces of my labor but one thing I remember very clearly is the doctor yelling, "Someone get the kiwi!" and me yelling back at him, "What's a kiwi?" I remember the doctor telling me he was going to suction my baby out and I remember telling him, "You are NOT suctioning my baby out!" He told me I had a few more pushes and if the baby wasn't out he was going to suction her out. I remember a flood of determination and a surge of energy coming over me and pushing with all my might, and thanks to all those kegels and God answering the prayers I was shooting up to Him, I pushed that baby girl out and tore myself in two. That was the start to a nightmare that I will never forget. That picture above? I look like that because, well first of all I just delivered a baby, but really because I'm trying to be happy that we have our daughter here and she's healthy, but what you don't see is the rookie doctor at the foot of the bed attempting to sew me up for TWO hours, while my baby girl screamed and was passed from her daddy, to her poppy and her grammy, I was in excruciating pain because they were sewing me up and I could feel EVERY.SINGLE.STITCH. That was the start of a horrible breastfeeding relationship that then led me to exclusively pump for nine, long months.

I also remember when they finally let me take a shower, how I hobbled over to the bathroom, feeling like my insides were going to fall out of my body, every single inch of my body throbbing, and swollen. I had the hardest time getting out of bed and even watched from afar as Dirk give Makenzie her first bath because moving HURT.

I remember looking in the mirror in the bathroom and saying to myself, "What just happened to me?" I didn't have an overcoming sense of joy, I just wanted to go home and take a shower in my own bathroom, lay in my own bed, cuddling my new baby and pretend that everything that had just occurred, never happened.

So now, as this birth gets closer I am anxious. I am anxious about the fact that the two hospitals we are looking at make you share a room with another post-partum mom. I'm anxious about the fact that I don't have a doctor that I can trust. I'm anxious that I'm going to be stuck at the hospital for longer than I want to, when really I just want to be home with my hubby and my two girls, getting adjusted to our new life.

So, in my ideal world, we have a home birth, but the cost is way more than I'm willing to pay, especially when we are blessed with amazing insurance that fully insures a hospital birth.There are a few people who have said to me, "You should have the perfect birth at all costs, don't let money hold you back." Really? That might be what God has pressed upon their hearts,
and that is perfectly amazing, seriously!, but for me, I cannot justify putting my family's finances in jeopardy because I wanted to be comfy in my own bed. In the end, Makenzie is healthy as can be, I'm totally healthy and this pregnancy is going great. We are not scarred with the exception of a few bad memories and Makenzie doesn't remember a single second of it.

I am still looking into the midwife option but it is an uphill, losing battle. I went to my primary care physician's office yesterday to get them to send in a request and as soon as I said, "midwife" some guy in scrubs (who knows what his job was) next to the receptionist, laughed out loud. Seriously, laughed out loud. I guess the idea is that there are hospitals and doctors totally qualified to help you and, in our case, for no cost out of our pocket, why would you be looking elsewhere? Seriously nobody knows what's up and I can't get a straight answer from anybody. It's like chasing after the wind. Nobody knows who to refer me to or where we should go. And after spending hours researching ALL southern California birthing centers, it sounds like you won't know what you're insurance will pay until AFTER you have the baby. I'm not taking that risk. I would rather be in the same situation, pumping every two hours, than stressing over how we're going to pay thousands of dollars to a midwife. We are currently looking into a new doctor and new hospital, both of which have come highly recommended, it sounds like that might be our best bet. I know I have a lot of people praying for us and I know that God has a perfect place for this baby to be born...now we just have to wait and see what He has in store.