Monday, September 27, 2010

About Last Night

Yesterday evening around nine, things started happening exactly how they happened the night I went into labor with Eli: I was bleeding; my legs felt shaky and my lower back was suddenly killing me; my hips were getting that suspicious, coming-apart feeling; the contractions were feeling a lot more intense; more pulling and pressure.... I was sure I was starting to have this baby, and instead of being excited, I freaked a little. Mentally I hadn't expected it to be that soon; I've been trying so hard not to get impatient this time, to just take every day at a time and to ignore all labor symptoms until they get un-ignorable. So instead of flying around the house trying to speed up the contractions, I was puttering around slowly, doing housework in a daze and trying to distract myself. Maybe if I just pick up toys and wipe counters like usual, the pain will go away!

It didn't, but after an hour or so (and after coming out of my denial and realizing I needed to choose some kind of mental framework for the evening) I decided that whether or not it was the real thing, the best decision would be to lay down and try to sleep. If it was false labor, I would relax eventually and it would go away. If it was real, I was going to need my rest, and laying down wasn't going to stop anything for very long anyways. This had been my biggest fear the night I started to have Eli: that if I laid down to rest at all, labor would halt permanently and I would have just wasted the whole night of work and excitement. Look at me, older and wiser now.

Anyways, I laid down and quickly felt very sleepy, but my hips and back were hurting so badly I couldn't get comfortable or relax. I was actually moaning every time I had a contraction, which is pretty weird for me that early in labor. Jim brought me a hot pack, and that plus some counter pressure behind me on the couch finally let me drift off to sleep. Whereupon the "labor" disappeared, more or less. When morning came, I mostly just felt relieved. It just hadn't seemed like it was time yet, even though if you had asked me around dinner time the day before I would have said, "Bring it on!"

Thinking I was maybe in labor totally sent that nesting instinct into overdrive, though. I was up at seven this morning assembling the swing, and then went crazy with housework and projects all day long: finally preregistering at the hospital, which I'd been putting off, since I wasn't sure until Saturday which one I'd be delivering at; making annoying medical bill phone calls; cleaning out the front closet for the coat drive at Addy's school and then delivering said coats; going through all the kids' clothes from this summer, sorting some to donate, some to save, and some to throw away (holy stains, Batman); washing and putting away all the fall clothes; doing general laundry; vacuuming the entire house; making a trip to Goodwill with all the "to donate" stuff; doing three different errands with Eli during preschool hours; washing the stroller cover and reassembling it (which requires SCREWS and SNAPS and oh my gosh why must be it so HARD to remove a stroller cover!?) and basically doing any and everything I could to take advantage of another day before the baby comes to get stuff done.

Now I am about dead with fatigue, but I feel very accomplished and a little more ready. The camera and video camera are both ready now (Jim took care of those while thinking I was maybe in labor!) and I do indeed even have a bag packed. I think the only baby thing left to do is get out the breast pump, which I don't even want to LOOK at, but I suppose I'd better have it ready since I'm sure to need it at some point.

Okay, time to sleep now... Let's hope Eli doesn't wake Jim and me up six times tonight like he did last night. Yep, no exaggeration. Peed the bed twice, peed on his shorts and the bathroom rug once, and yelled for his blankets/stuffed animals/the very molecules of AIR around his bed to be rearranged three other times in between. I'm not sure if a night of labor could really have been worse, actually.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thirty Seven Weeks

Let's hope this is the last update picture needed until the baby makes his arrival.
(Also, let's hope one of these days I learn to slap on at least a LITTLE bit of makeup before I decide to put a picture of my puffy pregnant face on teh internetz.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Still Pregnant, But Now With Pictoral Updates!

First off, I would just like to remind God or Nature or Global Warming or whomever is responsible for the mid-nineties temps we've been having the last few days that it is September twenty fourth. For the love of giant pregnant women everywhere, enough with the sweltering heat. Also, there's just something weird about seeing people raking leaves shirtless because summer and fall are still duking it out.

If anyone's reading this on my actual site and not through a reader, you'll notice that on my baby ticker up there, I am thirty six weeks and six days pregnant. I'm gonna make it, you guys! I'm gonna make it to term, and I'm gonna get my water tub, though whether I use it for actual delivery is still totally up in the air. But I can if I want to, and that's all I asked for, so I'm happy.

So yeah, as of tomorrow I am good to go. I've met with our doula twice, got the birth plan okayed by the doctor, and set up the cosleeper. The adorable newborn dress up outfits and the cloth cover for the swing are currently in the washer, and the carseat is all cleaned and ready to go. We haven't installed it yet though because it will require moving Addy all the way to the back of the van and I'm reluctant to do it until we HAVE to, as she still isn't able to buckle herself in despite repeated tutorials. I've done all kinds of random cleaning projects that have absolutely nothing to do with the baby but which I felt compelled to get done before his arrival, like purchase new doormats, sweep the front porch, wash the front door, shower off all the houseplants, and dust the door frames. There are other, more practical things I still haven't done, like dig out the breast pump and pack a bag for the hospital, but I have to leave something to do in case I'm still pregnant for weeks, right? Plus the bag packing is way overrated, I think. All you really need is toiletries, one outfit for you and baby, and maybe your slippers. Anything else someone can go get you later.

The things we really should be getting ready and haven't yet are the camera and video camera. Must get to that this weekend. Though again, this is totally something that could be done by Jim while I'm pacing around timing contractions early on, but just in case we have some kind of emergent, water breaking and sudden baby head crowning situation, I suppose that stuff should be done ahead of time.

Speaking of baby head crowning, did I mention I'm four centimeters now? Yeps. And contracting just constantly, whenever I'm on my feet. It's ever so slightly uncomfortable. Also, anytime I go anywhere, I know people think I'm actually IN early labor and walking around to get things moving, because of how I shuffle painfully and then pause every five minutes or so. I guess technically I am in early labor, except that mine may last for weeks yet. I have determinedly resisted timing anything, and the doula and I agreed, based on my last labor, that barring water breakage or the sudden need to push or whatever, I should assume it's all false labor until things really start to hurt. Regular contractions don't necessarily mean anything, as long as I can still breathe through them and talk a little.

(This was actually taken about seven weeks ago- just thought I'd throw it up for comparison's sake and then tomorrow I'll post one of the current Bellah.)

My left foot is still being a pain, and gets a lot more swollen than the right one by the end of the day. Also I've given up wearing my ring, since I always have to take it off by dinnertime. This puffiness is weird for me. The other times it was always just my face that swelled up. Again, thanks for the heat and humidity, Stubbornly Lingering Summer!

Addy's finished her second full week of preschool, and so far I think it's been wonderful for everyone. She is always excited to go, and I've been doing at least one little errand or shopping trip or ice cream date with Eli every day during those hours. It's so nice to be out with just one kid, and I think it's important for him to get in some alone time with mama before the baby comes. He's been behaving himself MUCH better since I've been off bedrest, and I am so glad we've had these days to get back to normal before baby arrives. Obviously, I can't plan on shopping every preschool day, but it is a good chance to break up annoying errands and get them done a little at a time when I actually have a chance to enjoy one kid instead of, you know, corraling the herd.

As for the girl herself, we hear mostly about snack time and the playground, of course, but she's bringing home lots of correctly filled in worksheets, so that's nice to see. She also came home the other day with a bracelet, which I mistakenly assumed to have been a craft project, but which, as it turns out, one of the little boys had made for her at home- in pink, because it's her favorite! "He just likes me," she shrugged when I asked her about it. Well, and who wouldn't.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

La La La

Whew, it's been a busy week! To start with, Wednesday was my first official day off of bed rest, and I spent it happily cleaning my kitchen. Oh, it was glorious. I think I spent twenty minutes just on the sink. Not that it was THAT awful, don't get me wrong, I was just in my element and kind of couldn't make myself stop scrubbing even when it was, in fact, technically probably clean. The rest of the day was spent puttering around putting things where they belonged, and then, that evening, I actually got to attend my first of Addy's soccer games. It was just awesome to get to watch how she literally skips and frolics around the whole time. Is she the team's secret weapon in terms of defense or scoring? Not exactly. But she is without doubt enjoying herself utterly, and it was pure pleasure to watch.

Thursday was my birthday (twenty sixth if anyone's counting- oh and I am! I'm now closer to thirty than twenty.) I took myself shopping, somehow injured my left foot while walking around, came home and had a nap, and then Jim and I had a great dinner out and did some more shopping, this time for Adelay's upcoming birthday. It would have been a fantastic birthday start to finish if not for the foot thing, which honestly sucked a lot and continues to suck. If I'm on it for more than an hour or so I literally can't stand to put weight on it anymore. All the sudden puffiness from being up and around again isn't helping it, I imagine. Practically overnight, my legs went from being generally stocky to being total bratwursts about to explode out of their casings. Also, I can't tell anymore if my feet have bones in them. They just look like... pads of flesh with chubby little toes stuck at the end. Gag. And also, ouch.

But anyways! Physical miseries aside I am in such a good mood the last few days, and have been way too busy enjoying my real life again to feel like blogging. Sorry. I've been to every store in town, I think, just for the fun of it, and also to stock up on last minute baby stuff! Squee! I got a prenatal massage on Friday which was heavenly, and did a lot to help my messed up spine and hips after all the laying around. The therapist informed me that my sacrum was completely open and that she'd "be surprised" if I didn't give birth within days. I just laughed and told her, "I've heard that before."

And then you know what I did Saturday? I went to a fall festival/art fair thingie with my mom and sister, had lunch out, and then got a pedicure! And you know what happened while I was doing all that fun stuff? My house was being cleaned top to bottom by someone who was not me, i.e. someone who didn't have a thirty pound watermelon in front of her and who had enough energy to do more than ten minutes of housework before needing a nap! She did a great job and the house felt so weirdly clean I almost didn't want to let anyone back into it for fear of wrecking the perfection. (Addy, when she entered the house: "What is that nice smell?" Me: "That's clean, honey.")

So anyways, I have had a great first week back in the real world; everyone was so thoughtful (thank you again!) in making sure all my wishes came true- a giant steak dinner, a German chocolate cake, A CLEAN HOUSE, etc. I feel very spoiled and also very relieved, and I feel more or less ready now for the baby to make his arrival whenever. Though I'd still really like him to hold out until Saturday so I have the option of water birth. But, I stopped the contraction meds today and have since been having pretty regular balling up and pressure, so, he may have other plans. Got another delightful cervix check tomorrow, so we'll see if all that discomfort did anything! Or, you know, he may follow in big brother's footsteps and just tease me for two weeks with false labor. That would be adorable.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why Giselle Bundchen Needs To Hush Up

Every time I've been pregnant I get kind of panicky at the end. Have I enjoyed it enough? Did I savor the experience properly, in case it was the last time? Did I bond with the baby as best I could? Did I eat well enough, did I yell too much, stress out too much, eat too few veggies, did I listen to music that would enrich his little brain? Should I have stayed off my cell phone, like that recent article in some PregnancyGuilt magazine suggested, in case the emissions are harmful? Did I doom my child to a low IQ because I slacked off on taking my omega-3 capsules? Did I do it right, basically?

In a culture in which most women are only pregnant two or three times in their childbearing years (as opposed to upwards of ten pregnancies, like in the good old days,) I think there is a lot of pressure to enjoy the perfect pregnancy. To wear cute maternity clothes, to keep up your fitness routine, to eat just right for baby, to bond with your baby, to not allow pregnancy to in any way diminish your marriage or sex life, to read all the books, to take birthing and breastfeeding and baby care classes, and of COURSE to prepare a detailed birth plan and then "achieve" exactly the birth you envision for yourself and your baby. I am no exception to this trend. I am the consummate consumer of the idea that there IS such a thing as the ideal pregnancy and birth and babyhood, much as my common sense and experience strives to tell me otherwise. It's a lovely fairy tale that I just keep coming back to.

The other day, to try to combat this mindset of Panic! that I had once failed to realize a blissful pregnancy experience, I started composing a little mental list of things that just plain suck about childbearing, no matter how "right" you try to do it. Here's my list: feel free to add your own contribution in the comment section!

Overall Inconveniences/Pain:

-Morning sickness (a lucky few skip this one; mine has gotten worse each time)

-First trimester fatigue, i.e., Why Do I Feel Like I've Been Run Over By A Bus All The Time?

-Back/hip/sciatic nerve pain (again, doesn't apply to everyone, and certainly varies in severity, but most women are complaining of this by the last trimester)

-Needing to pee constantly (up to and including the utter indignity of needing to WEAR A PAD to handle sudden leaks every time you cough and sneeze due to all the weight of your baby's giant head on your bladder. Um, not that I would know about that at all. Not that I am exceedingly bitter about that at all.)

-Weird skin changes (example: I have had a heat rash this entire pregnancy.)

-Moodiness/irritability (I hear some people don't experience this, or even feel extra peaceful and calm while pregnant. I also hear pigs fly, but you know, it could happen, I guess.)

-Water retention, i.e. Sudden Appearance of Double Chins and Disappearance of Ankles

-Balance/clumsiness issues, eventually leading to the dreaded Pregnant Waddle

-Headaches (not everyone, just a select lucky few)

-Blood pressure and/or diabetes issues (same as above)

-Heartburn (and, uh, RELATED gastro-intestinal issues. Like, everything listed on the side of a Pepto Bismal bottle, basically.)

-Random strangers thinking they can touch your belly, give you advice, tell you what to eat, etc.

-Blood draws, glucose tests and endless, sometimes seemingly pointless doctors' visits, including irritating weigh-ins

-Shaving becomes a real feat, especially in Certain Areas

-Insomnia (I hear SOME PEOPLE end up kicking their husbands out of bed due to their need for four enormous pillows in order to support their back, knees and belly, as well as their need to change position approprimately forty times throughout the night. Or maybe the husbands fled in self defense- the details are a little sketchy.)

-Baby kicks that go from amazing flutters to karate chops on your internal organs that can make you gasp in pain (and also keep you awake at 2Am every night because your baby has deemed it Aerobics Hour.)

-General loss of dignity by the end due to repeated pelvic exams and public weigh ins.

-The constant worrying, no matter how hard you work to suppress it (again, I HEAR this doesn't affect everyone, but I've so far met only one woman who personally attested to it.)

-Stretch marks, which are totally indiscriminate little suckers and can show up on tiny-bellied women while completely bypassing the giant watermelon tummies. It's all up to fate, and Bio-Oil is just an exercise in delusion.

-Last but not least, birth. I don't care if you get an epidural upon admission to the hospital, there is SOME pain involved in getting a baby out of you, either before or after, and it is simply part of the deal. You can't get something the size of a house cat out of any bodily orifice or man made incision without suffering some residual effects, you know?

Next post I'll do the cool aspects of pregnancy, just to keep things fair and balanced, but today is all about reminding myself that many parts of pregnancy do in fact suck, and not just for me but for every pregnant woman, no matter how blissful she may look on the cover of a magazine. Now, what was YOUR least favorite part of being with child? Or your biggest fear about it, if you haven't done it yet?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Don't Expect Smooth Segues Today

For the last week or so I've enjoyed some kind of seasonal allergy crap which is giving me this nasty sinus drainage cough and I swear, some days I think I am going to COUGH this baby right out of me. Other than that, nothing new to report from the couch, really, other than the discoveries that so far, Mucinex and Claritin, taken individually and in conjunction, do just about nothing to help.

Baby was five pounds three ounces as of Tuesday... which is what Addy weighed when she was born. Sobering. This is a child that could be BORN soon. I still don't feel ready! I thought for sure I'd be eager to be done with pregnancy by now, but I find I am not, and am in fact downright terrified about coming off of bedrest next week, even though obviously I am overall WAY EXCITED about the prospect. But I just don't want to have the baby quite yet! Maybe I won't though. Maybe I'll just walk around four centimeters dilated and contracting constantly for weeks on end... Hmm, on the other hand, screw it. Let's get him out of there.

Adelay started preschool yesterday. I cheated JUST a tidge and actually took her to the open house myself on Wednesday- it's just five minutes away, and I sat the whole time, and we left after half an hour. It was very well behaved cheating. Her teachers seem nice (though they wore matching outfits, which seems like trying too hard to me, but whatevs) and the other seventeen kids seemed, you know, like normal five year olds. Friendly enough. Mutual interest in sliding and pretending to be mermaids, that kind of things. And Addy seemed not at all nervous or upset about the whole school thing. She sat quietly at the open house, observing, until the kids were freed to play outside together, when she promptly found a nice little friend to start gently bossing around the playground. So about par for the course, I'd say.

I did find that the liliputian dimensions of the classroom made me distinctly uncomfortable after about five minutes, however. All those tiny tables and chairs, and literally nothing designed for an adult in the whole room. I felt like a bumbling giant, especially with my enormous tummy floating in front of me; I was sure I was going to break the tiny chair. I don't think I'm cut out to be a preschool teacher, that's for sure. I felt very eager to escape the Cheerful! and Colorful! and Miniature! confines of the classroom and get out onto the playground, where there was, at least, a bench made for grown ups.

I keep meaning to get someone to scan ultrasound photos for the blog, or at least post some pictures. However, I can't find any of the recent downloaded photos on this computer. That's the problem with having three computers and an external hard drive. I know I downloaded all the recent pictures, but I can't seem to remember where. I promise I'll post a picture again one of these days.

In the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions for good music to put on a Labor/Delivery playlist? Assuming I happen to feel like listening to music, and am not too busy changing my mind about the soothing benefits of water and screaming for drugs, I figure I should probably have my ipod on hand.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Welp, nearly four weeks down, two to go. September eighteenth, people! Though, I have to make it to thirty seven weeks, which would be September twenty fifth, in order to be allowed a water birth, so that's my REAL goal. Either way, though, two weeks, three- that's not a lotta time until this baby comes. Gulp. Or could be even sooner, realistically....

Because yes, I am yet another centimeter dilated (three now, if anyone's counting) and I was having contractions on the monitor during my non stress test on Thursday, so guess who won herself another trip to the hospital? Including yet another "clean" urine sample which must be obtained by catheterization, my least favorite medical process EVER. The last time I got one, back at thirty weeks, the lady literally made me cry. This nurse was much better, like, AN ANGEL OF MERCY in comparison, but it still sucks, as does the IV.

Fortunately they let me go by six PM that night, so I was only there about eight hours total, but of course the torture device of a bed, meant to be broken down for delivery, wrecked my back for the night so that I might as well have been sleeping in the hospital for all the actual rest I got. However, the nurse I had, besides being very skilled with the catheterization procedure, was also very funny to talk to. (Though it may partly have been the doubled dose of contraction meds, which made me very light headed for awhile.) She was telling me about how they used to deal with preterm labor before the discovery that drugs like Brethine and Procardia (which are actually for asthma and blood pressure, respectively) suppress contractions in many people.

Apparently, the old solution used to be getting the moms drunk. Seriously. She said they'd just run their IVs with a ten percent alcohol solution until their mussels were relaxed enough to stop the cramping, but that by that point, most of them were totally wasted, sometimes to the point of throwing up, cussing at people, groping their husbands, etc. Then before they could go back home, they'd have a wicked hangover to deal with. Ah, the good old days...

She also reminisced at length about all the old methods of natural delivery that were in vogue before epidural use became widespread. Lamaze, Bradley, Le Boyer, I got the rundown on all of them. THEN she sniffed and said, "And then that was that birth tub fad for a little while. Glad we stopped doing that!" (Clarification: the hospital I was in does not currently offer water birth, but it is still my preferred hospital in general, so until I'm far enough to be allowed a water birth, that's the one I've been chosing to go to.)

So I couldn't resist, of course, and mentioned that if I get to term, I actually plan on trying water birth myself at the competing hospital. She shrugged and said, "Well, I know a lot of people like it for pain relief. But honey- you should know that that water is not exactly sparkling clean once you have a baby in it. And how clean can they really get those tubs between each woman?!"

Well. I do get this point of view, and the idea of birth matter and amniotic fluid and, um, OTHER STUFF in the tub with me does freak me out a little, I have to admit. I'm still not sure I want to actually deliver the baby and the placenta in the water, even if everything works out that the option is available to me. So yes: undeniably, it's a messy concept. But the worry about how clean they get the tubs between births? Well I don't know, lady, it's a HOSPITAL, so I'd like to think they know how to sanitize things! They do have access to cleaning supplies and bleach and vinegar and disinfectants, yes? And it's not like women with STD outbreaks or HIV are allowed to use the tub anyway; that's one of their main rules about water birth. So I guess worrying about, like, catching something from another woman hadn't really occured to me. So far I'd just thought about the actual ickiness of being in water that, as she said, "isn't exactly sparkling clean." Is the germ thing something that would worry any of you guys?