Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Things To Know Should You Go On Bedrest

-Eating while lying down is not too fun. I think I'll never want breakfast in bed ever again, quite frankly, because it will remind me of this SPECIAL SPECIAL time in my life. You spill everything, you're constantly lying in a pile of crumbs, and, if you're an obsessive cleaner, you'll think at least once a day about how much junk must be getting wedged under the sofa cushions and you will be positively twitching to get your hands on a dust buster as soon as you're allowed to do chores again.

-You are going to have permanent bedhead, and you just have to live with it.

-No matter how nice your legs may or may not be, I bet you'll begin to loathe the sight of them after staring down at them for four to six weeks. Ditto your feet, especially if they were sorely in need of a pedicure to begin with.

-If your baby is laying low in your pelvis, lying on your side (which is the ideal position when you're pregnant, in terms of blood flow) is going to grind your baby's shoulders against your hipbones. Laying on your back will make you worry about blood clots. Unless you're the kind of pregnant woman who doesn't worry about stuff. Which is to say, a total freak of nature, obviously.

-Your appetite will probably drop off significantly from what you've been used to the last few months. But you'll be bored, and chewing is at least something to DO, so you have to resist the urge to wear a feedbag of M n Ms and Cheetos.

-You'll probably become a lot more aware of your baby's movements when you're just laying around all day. This is partly nice and partly freaky, because around seven and eight months is when you start identifying specific limbs poking out of your skin and having to dislodge feet from your ribcage.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Gestating: Still Not Super Exciting

Nothing new here to report, really, just bored. I gotta tell you, I have read kind of an astonishing amount of fiction in the last nearly three weeks, and I would like to say that I am highly disappointed that I did NOT, as it turns out, take this opportunity to read all those great classics I always meant to get around to. It's always dismaying to be put in a character revealing type of situation and find out just what kind of person you really are. It turns out I'm the kind of person who has still never read Hamlet or A Tale of Two Cities or Moby Dick even when given literally sixteen hours a day of free time, but who HAS managed to read every single Anita Shreve book now, as well as the complete works of Elizabeth Berg. Great accomplishment there. I think I'd like that on my gravestone.

Well. What else. Stats from doctor's appointment Thursday are as follows: 2 cm. dilated, head in minus one station, cervix appeared longer on ultrasound than it had been two weeks ago, but upon examination the doctor pronounced it very thin and stretchy and said she wasn't really "buying" that it had gotten thicker. Baby looks good, though there was a week or so disparity in his abdominal measurements when compared to the head size and femur size. Which is supposedly something to keep an eye on? So they want me to have it rechecked in two weeks instead of four. But even the tech said his knees were so bunched on his chest that it was hard to get an accurate measurement, so I kind of think everything's probably fine and it was just a technical error of some kind.

Based on said (possibly incorrect) measurements, though, he weighs about four pounds, six ounces right now, which is right in the fiftieth percentile, so I'm happy about that. Though, I know weight estimates can often be wildly inaccurate by the third trimester, up to a pound off in either direction I think is what I was told.

Speaking of pounds, I ended up getting weighed twice, decided to slip off my sandals the second time, and discovered that my shoes alone weigh two pounds. Thrilling! Always take off your shoes when being weighed! Set down your purse! Remove all jewelry! These little things add up.

Oh, I also got my first progesterone shot yesterday, which hurt much less than I expected based on what I'd heard about it and on the formidable size of the needle itself. Luckily my um, FLANKS, let's call them, have plenty of padding, so I could probably be injected with something roughly the size of a knitting needle and barely feel it. The actual medicine did sting once it started entering my veins, though, but just briefly, and the bruising was very very minimal. So, no biggie. One less thing to dread. IV's are still far and away a worse experience, even if they don't involve mooning a nurse.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Today was especially productive. I wrote two thank you notes, mended a pair of Jim's pajama pants, repaired a rip in a throw pillow AND the torn leg of Eli's plush Spiderman, sorted and put in albums approximately a hundred photos, and finished up the first season of Mad Men.

Oh, and spent at least twenty minutes crying about how crappy this bedrest situation is for every single person involved, and how I feel like my lousy cervix has singlehandedly put strain upon my relationships with every single person I care about, and how I cannot believe that I'm not even halfway done yet with this whole bedridden gig.

I'm really bearing up like a saint, I know. It just sucks hardcore, frankly, some days. Other days, like yesterday, are fine. Eli napped for three hours (cue the angels singing) and Addy went down the street to play with the neighbor girls all afternoon, while I watched Mad Men in peace and my sister kindly cleaned our whole house in preparation for our meeting with the doula that night. Someone from church brought over dinner, and well, the whole day seemed kind of perfect, for awhile. Except that Eli's nap was prefaced by yet another screaming fit; also, getting the kids to actually eat their dinner, then cleaning up from dinner, took all of Jim's time from the minute he walked in the door to the time the doula arrived. Then he got to discuss episiotomies and perineal massage for two hours! Lots of down time for him!

Anyways, this is just a grumpy rant. Overall, I am kind of getting used to bedrest again, rather than spending the entire day twitching in misery from the longing to get up and DO stuff. Certainly I'm getting a lot of books read (Kelsey sweetly sent me a bunch of Jennifer Weiner books which were really fun and quite well written. I thought I had read her before, but it must've been some other chic lit author, 'cause I liked these books a LOT more than the ones I was thinking of.) I am really, really enjoying Mad Men, and when that's done I plan to move on to How I Met Your Mother. I've been meaning to watch both of those shows for a long time, and there is no better way to watch a series, in my opinion, than in big obsessive gulps, as opposed to a little teasing sip each week.

Also, I don't miss doing dishes or laundry one little bit. Or even cooking, frankly. And helping wipe Eli's rear? Not pining for that just yet, either.

So those things are the upside of bedrest. But oh, it is killing me that I'm going to be laying on a stupid couch during Eli's third birthday party this weekend. That I haven't gotten to help Addy get dressed for her first soccer games this week, much less attend. That all day long I am forced to choose between asking my sister or husband for every. single. thing. I want/need (water, remote control, turn the fan on, new book, stamps for Eli's party invites) or cheat on my doctor's orders to get up and get it myself. That all I can do is listen while Addy and Eli squabble or act up or throw fits about eating. If I try to intervene from the couch, it just makes it worse. If I say nothing and leave the situation to whoever is supervising, I feel negligent and lazy, staring at the TV and thinking LA LA LA while someone else handles my kids.

My kids, who half the time are tearfully hugging all over me and saying they miss me (which literally, physically hurts me, like a Braxton Hicks in my freaking HEART) or are actively ignoring me as I try to reign them in from my couch, gleeful in the knowledge that there's nothing I can do to enforce myself. I feel for them a great, bewildering tangle of pity and irritation. Kind of like they feel towards me, I suppose. Arrgh.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Middle Child

So bedrest. Not an experience that grows sweeter for being repeated, that's for sure. With Addy, it was practically a vacation, boredom and back pain aside. And the fact that I was DYING from all the supressed nesting urges to scrub baseboards and refold baby clothes. With Eli, it was decidedly worse, requiring someone else to constantly be here to care for Addy. Addy, my nearly two year old who was quite thrown by her mother being suddenly incapacitated and didn't understand at all that a new baby was on the way. There was also that TEENSY issue of my getting an inner ear infection which manifested itself in the form of severe vertigo to the point of vomiting every time I had to move. There was a lot of crying and feeling of despair going on in those five weeks.

And this time its... Well, I'm not vomiting, so there's that. And at least both the kids understand about the upcoming baby, so they kinda-sorta understand why I have to suddenly live on the couch. We've attempted explanation a couple of times- the understanding Addy seems to have is that I'm laying down so that the baby doesn't literally fall out of me. Which I suppose in a general sense is exactly right. But saying that they understand in a mental way what's going on and saying that they ACCEPT what's going on are two very different statements, aren't they?

Addy vaccilates between being extremely solicitious and helpful, running around cleaning to the point of obsessive-compulsiveness (more on that later) and being kind of hostile towards me, though never outright. It's just a passive-aggressive vibe, things like ignoring me even when I've called her name five times and she's two feet away, or refusing to look at me when I'm trying to talk to her in a Serious Tone about behavior issues. Mostly I think she's ok, though, or will be ok as soon as I'm up and around again. I really think half of it is just that she is so tired of waiting for the baby to come, and subconsciously suspects that I'm keeping him hostage in my belly or something. She nods along when we explain that he isn't big enough to come out just yet, but it doesn't stop her from complaining daily, "It takes such a long TIME for babies!" and then glaring at me accusingly.

It's Eli I'm a little worried about. He was doing so well about tantrumming for awhile there. We've seen a drastic improvement in his verbal skills from age two to now, and subsequently a drastic reduction in the frequency and severity of his little screaming fits. But literally since the day things kind of fell apart in the doctor's office, he has been screaming and throwing himself on the floor about every little thing that disappoints or frustrates him. He also keeps wanting to sleep in the crib, to take naps (something he'd given up months ago,) to pretend he's a baby, and other very obvious signals of insecurity about losing his status as the family baby. He's always crawling up onto me to suck his thumb and cuddle, and I try my best to accomodate him while protecting my belly from his jabbing knees and elbows. I'll stroke his hair and whisper, "Are you my Eli boy?" Usually he would nod happily and say yes, but the past week he always shakes his head solemnly and corrects, "No, I your BABY."

I'm trying really hard to maintain perspective and to believe that all of us will come out of the next few weeks ultimately unscathed. To know that children are amazingly resilient and to remind myself that at least I'm still here with them, even if I can't take care of them right now. But it just keeps killing me, every time he says it. I'm getting all teary now, writing about it, even though he is currently fine and running around with his dad and sister. I feel like I am grieving for him, because the fact that he understands about a new baby was initially great and exciting and sweet. And now it's just kind of excruciating to watch. I feel like we're about to break his heart, just a little, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

PSA: Stations of the Cervix... The More You Know

I had a great doctor's visit today- well, as great as any invasive personal exam can be, anyways. (My favorite part is how they always have to say, "LITTLE pressure, now," right before they touch you, in the same way that phlebotomists have to say every single time, "LITTLE pinch, here," right before they shove an iv needle into the bone of your hand.) I'm still just one centimeter, and the baby's head has gone way back up, to minus three station. Yeah, apparently "minus" means HIGHER in the pelvis than zero station, not lower, which is what I had thought. So at the doctor's office last Tuesday, when the baby's head was at zero and she said he was engaged, I knew that was bad, and then I got really worried the next day at the hospital when she said it had moved to minus one station. I thought he had gotten lower, but yeah... guess I still don't know everything about birthin' babies even after almost three of them. Whoops.

Now I know, though! Minus three is good! Still low for only thirty one weeks of pregnancy, but much better than zero station, so it seems the bedrest is actually accomplishing something, and man does that make me feel good. When you're literally doing nothing productive and people keep saying, "Your job is to cook that baby!" it makes you feel pretty productive after all when the lying around has in fact caused some progress in the situation. I'm feeling vastly better about my odds of having a term or very nearly term baby after all. In the hospital I was feeling very sad and scared about delivering seriously early and having a baby in the NICU and everything that would entail for our whole family. I know it still would've probably been fine in the end, but obviously it's not what you HOPE for, and I'm so happy that things are looking more encouraging in terms of my making it to at least thirty six weeks. In classic pregnant mood swing fashion, I've gone from always-on-the-verge-of-tears to super-perky! just from the relief of that doctor's visit.

So! Now that my brain has silenced it's constant monologue of, "OMG you're going to have a preemie and he's going to have problems and be sick and it's going to be YOUR FAULT because of your pitiful lazy cervix and because of the fact that you chose to have two d and c's and weaken it even further and...." ETC, well, now I'm free to think of ways to entertain myself for the next five weeks! In the last six days I've already read East of Eden (finally; I've tried and stopped like four different times now,) and The Help, so now I need fresh fodder. I'm not really a big TV person, unfortunately, but I do enjoy watching series, so I'd love for you all to tell me what YOU would be reading and watching if you had a whole month to do nothing else!

Friday, August 13, 2010


Well, here I am. On the couch. For the next six weeks...

Yes, bedrest time has come again, kicked off by an overnight stay at the hospital. I went in for my thirty week appointment on Tuesday and, after ultrasound and exam revealed an extremely short, thinned, one cm. dilated cervix and a baby who has already wiggled his head into a minus one station (yes, that means he's like in the birth canal already) I was sent to the labor and delivery floor for fluids and observation. I had almost no contractions at all once I was lying down, so that plus a negative fetal fibronectin test convinced them that home bedrest should be sufficient to keep him in there at least a little longer. I'm also on Procardia now, which gives me bad headaches but otherwise has no side effects. Much better than brethine, which they were going to start until I BEGGED my doctor to let me see how I did with just Procardia first.

BTW, sorry if there are any typos or spelling issues in this post- I'm using the computer that we have hooked up to our TV in the den, but it's kind of far away from the couch, so I can BARELY see what I'm typing.

I'm feeling pretty down about all of it, to be honest, though now that I'm not up and around anymore I'm definitely realizing just how uncomfortable and tight my belly really was most of the time these last few weeks. So physically I suppose I feel some relief, despite the headaches and the hip and back pain from lying around 24/7. I'm going to get bedsore pretty soon, I think!

I just feel guilty that maybe if I had just taken it a little MORE easy he wouldn't be trying to escape my uterus already! And then partly I just feel jealous of people who can maintain a normal routine and their normal activities right up until delivery. Women whose cervixes actually do their jobs. 'Cause I know bedrest might sound sort of nice and relaxing and like every eight months' pregnant woman's dream, but let me tell you, the novelty wears off very quickly. Especially with two kids running around and climbing all over you and crying because you can't take them to the playground.

But, overall I'm very grateful. This is one of those (many many) times when it is infinitely helpful to live so near both of our families. From the morning I got sent from my doctor's office to the hospital, I've never had to worry about who was going to take care of the kids. We've not had to scramble to find a babysitter or a daycare that could take them, or a home health aid to stop in and bring me my meals and medicines. So, you know, this situation could certainly be a lot worse, and I want to thank everybody- especially Laura- for all the food and books and flowers and visits and babysitting! I hope you guys all know how much we appreciate you.

As for Baby Boy, well, I have another appointment on Monday, so we're just going to go from there. If I'm any further dilated or his head has somehow dropped even LOWER (seriously, how has he not just fallen out at this point?!) then I'll start the steroid shots for his lungs and we'll begin to brace ourselves for a delivery at least a few weeks earlier than planned. Though, you know, nothing's for sure! Let's remember those weeks of contractions and dilation with Eli that didn't really do anything until thirty nine weeks along!

Friday, August 06, 2010


Oh yeah! The name. I was surprised none of my lurking family members guessed it, since I thought we had discussed it a lot when contemplating a name for Eli. I guess we actually haven't brought it up at all this time to other people, but between us we were frequently using it as the middle name when we were trying things out on each other. (Um, trying NAMES out on each other. Gah.) As in, "How about Isaac Jameson?"

My reasons for not wanting to use it as a first name were two fold: first, James is Jim's given name, though he almost never goes by it. When we discussed it last time around, it was as a namesake thing without actually making the kid James Junior. A nod to the name, if you will. James Son. Using it on a second son just seems kind of... weird, though. Like maybe the first kid wasn't quite up to snuff so you hung on to it and hoped you'd have another boy? I don't know. But then I got to thinking about Eli's whole naming story and how he came to be called Elias and realized that he probably would totally understand why we passed on it with him once we told him the tale of throwing our name list completely out the window on the whim of his Percocet-addled mother an hour after his birth. (BTW, that link is the whole birth story, so if you just want the name part skip waaaay to the bottom.) But what do you guys think?

My other, not quite as important reason, was that in general I'm kind of opposed to last-names-as-first-names. It's just super trendy lately, and for the same reason we're avoiding the Aiden/Hayden/Jaden/Braden/Kaden sound, we had agreed to try to avoid surnames. HOWEVER, this particular surname wouldn't just be chosen randomly because we think it sounds cool, it would be because it actually means something. Also, I really like all the nicknames for it, which matters a lot to me.

But back to the naming a second son in honor of his father thing: is it weird, or am I being weird and over thinking it?

EDIT: It would be pronounced Jame-is-son, not, like, "James' Son," just to clarify.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Things I am good at: attempting to do fun stuff with the kids.
Things I am bad at: fully thinking through all that will be involved when doing said fun stuff with kids.

Example One: Addy loves painting, so every month or so I've been getting fabric painting crafts for her, which she LOVES. So far we've done pillowcases, aprons, t-shirts, and a bib and a couple of newborn hats for the baby. So, you know, it's been several times here, that I've gone through the process of setting up for this craft. And yet I haven't once remembered that I need to procure CARDBOARD to keep the paint off the table, and that fabric paint actually STAINS so I need to have her wear grubby clothes or no shirt at all. Also: I need to buy something fabric paint appropriate to put the paint on, since it has stained and ruined two of our plastic kid plates already. Other people might have learned the lesson that fabric paint works differently than acrylic and get the proper supplies. Other people will just repeatedly wander around their house trying to find any scrap of cardboard they can to cobble together a disposable paint palette.

Example Two: I always forget to pack food for us when we go to playgrounds! This is more just a general failure, but today's example is particularly spectacular. This morning we went to a spray park with the kids' cousins. We didn't get there until almost eleven, so it seems it would've been obvious to anyone else who has kid experience that a lunch or at least a snack would be a required thing to pack, right up there with water, sunscreen and towels. But I didn't even think of it. Luckily Jim had gone home for lunch, and stopped by the park to bring us deli meat, cheese and crackers so I wouldn't pass out dead from hunger. The kids of course were so busy playing they hadn't even mentioned food, but I was beginning to shake and sweat from low blood sugar. Apparently I need to make a sign on the door that I will have to look at every time I walk out of it: DEAR DIMWIT, PREGNANT LADIES AND LITTLE KIDS NEED TO EAT FREQUENTLY. DO YOU HAVE A SNACK WITH YOU?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

I've been finding myself noticing a lot of little happy things lately, but then falling into long periods of GRUMP in between, mainly because of the heat and the fact that my belly is now so big and hard that things like trimming my toenails or shaving my legs have become arduous tasks requiring painful contortion and muscle cramps. But overall, I know (in mah head!) that things are good right now, so I thought I'd just document that here. So I can refer to it the next time I get huffy and exasperated because my belly button has popped out and every time the baby's limbs move over my navel area it hurts in the weirdest, most irritating way but that's not exactly something that elicits the same sympathy that, say, back pain or contractions would. Um, anyways! On to the happy things list!

-My mom found a set of five really nice deck chairs, all fully reclining, plus two footrests and a glass-topped table, for twenty five dollars at a yard sale! That's twenty five dollars for the whole set, you guys! And she GAVE IT TO US! So now our deck has something on it besides an eye-gouging assortment of plastic toys! And I have somewhere to lay in the sun with my feet up!

-My mom also bought me, as an early baby gift, the Arm's Reach mini cosleeper that I have been eyeballing ever since Eli was born. (Sorry no link- for some reason I couldn't get their website to come up.) I am so, so pleased about this thing, you guys. It is such a nice neutral color and will look so... unobtrusive, I guess is the word, in whatever room it happens to be used in. Not to mention it's so COMPACT and PRACTICAL and also so unfussy. What is it with most bassinets being so dang frilly? I mean, I like me some fanciness and am hardly a modern decor type person, but even I have a problem with most of the bassinets I see.

-My heartburn, which was bothering me on a daily basis for months, has only been popping up occasionally the last few weeks. Unfortunately this is probably because the baby seems to have "dropped" already, which is obviously not on the happy list, but it's still nice not to be in pain after every meal.

-My hips have also been remarkably painless and cooperative lately. I DID throw my back out today lifting Eli into a shopping cart, but it still hurts way less than the hip/sciatic thing does.

-Our enormous backyard has a sizable portion that was fenced off in a big square, but the fence was kind of rickety and unstained and we have never really done anything with the inside of it other than to store firewood, except one year when we halfheartedly tended a veggie garden in part of it. This summer it's been TOTALLY ignored and was basically an overgrown weed garden until last week, when Jim ripped all the weeds out by hand and then began taking the fence itself down. All that's left now is the posts, which will certainly be a pain to dig out but oh my gosh, I am so excited for how much it's opening up the yard! There's still some clearing out of brush-type stuff to be done, and then some grass seed planting of course, so it won't really look nice until next year. But I'm just excited to have something being done with it, since we obviously didn't need to have that area fenced off. We kept thinking we were going to do all this elaborate stuff (gardening, fountains, kids' play area, etc.) but the facts are: 1. The kids already have tons of play area with the deck and the yard, and 2. We are not elaborate landscape/gardening type of people. All we really want is a big yard to play ball in. So more grassy area and less maintenance is better for us.

-I recently found a really cool piece of art for our living room. I'd been wanting something a little more colorful and lot less ornate on this particular wall for awhile, but I couldn't find anything at all I liked that wouldn't require completely redecorating the rest of the room. Which I DID NOT want to do. So I bought it as an early birthday present... for myself, and changed a couple of other little things. Voila! More color, less formality. But not drastically different or requiring new furniture or paint color or anything crazy. Success!

-I think we may have hit upon a name for the baby that we both feel solid about. At least I do, more than I did about any of the other ideas. It's actually a name we talked about a lot for Eli, and it's always been a probable candidate as a middle name for this current boy. Can anyone guess what it is, and why I originally felt iffy about using it as a first name for this baby?