Saturday, January 30, 2010

What Happened?

Up until three nights ago, we had a nice little nighttime routine in our house. Miss M. was delightfully cooperative, and she would eat, have her diaper changed, then fall asleep for a nice 2.5 to 4 hour chunk of time. This was no light sleep, either, but a deliciously deep slumber that even allowed us to vacuum next to her without causing her to stir. She'd awaken somewhere around 11, 2, and 5, and I would end up reasonably refreshed from the chunks of sleep I got. Happily, she also took at least one nap during the day of equal quality and duration, allowing me to nap, too.

But then...

It all came crashing down. For the last three nights (and days), she has been sleeping for no more than 45 minutes at a time. After that, she becomes fussy and whines and fidgets in her bassinet. She is not quite awake when she does this, but it's impossible for us to sleep through. The only thing that makes her stop is picking her up. She no longer seems to fall into that nice, heavy sleep we used to so enjoy, even after we picj her up. And if we don't pick her up, her fussy whining becomes a full-blown meltdown of epic proportions.

I have no idea what happened. But, Ikd like to sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time, and I can't keep picking her up and holding her, as -'m getting so tired that I'm afraid I'll fall asleep while holding her (our bed, due to the mattress and bedding, isn't the ideal environment for a baby). I know it's been a full moon, and I'm hoping maybe that's the problem. But, any other suggestions out there?

Monday, January 25, 2010

2 Week Appointment: A Very Helpful Suggestion

Miss M. had her two week appointment today. At the appointment, the nurse practictioner gave us a bunch of handouts, including a handout on possible ways to reduce SIDS. Two of the very helpful suggestions are noted below. I found the second one particularly humorous not only in light of how long we tried for Miss M., but also because ANYONE getting it as a recommendation from their pediatrician at their two week visit is getting it a little late in the game:

2 Week Appointment: The Details

With breastfeeding, you never know exactly how much food the baby is getting, so I've been worried about whether she is gaining a proper amount of weight (or, any weight at all, since I'm crazy neurotic like that). The newborn-sized diapers seem like they're getting a bit snug in the legs, so we've been feeling optimistic. Just this morning, T. said that he guessed that she weighed 7 lbs 4 ounces. At her last visit a few days after she was born, she weighed 6 lbs 7.5 ounces (she was 7 lbs even at birth). Would you believe that when he put her on the scale at the doctor's office, she weighed exactly 7 lbs 4 ounces? I'm going to have him select lottery numbers tonight.

The visit went terrific. In addition to the concern about her weight, I went in with a list of other new mother neuroses (lots of eye gunk: normal; got instructions to massage her tear ducts to help them pop open. . .lots of snot: normal; just the body excreting mucus related to birth. . .weird pad thing that pops up on her lip after nursing: normal; helps babies suck), and they made me feel better about all of them. They thought she looked great.

We also had to take her for an ultrasound of her hip today, because they thought it seemed a little loose when she was born. The doctor had told us that worst case scenario, she might need to be in a sling of some sort, but that it was probably just due to the position she was in while she was inside me. We had expected that it would probably tighten up over the last few weeks, and that would mean it was a nonissue. The last three medical folks who have looked at it (ie, the nurse practictioners and the doctor) have said they thought it had tightened up, but the ultrasound was the real test. The tech said she thought it looked good, although the radiologist obviously has the final say. I think we're in the clear, though.

After a little lunch, our doula also stopped by the house to say hello. She is really fabulous. We chatted for a long while about the birth and how we're doing, and it was nice to have the company. Miss M. slept through the whole visit. She is just oblivious to noise, which I love. T. vacuumed around her the other day, and she didn't wake. I expect our house will always be chaotic, so I hope she remains a good sleeper like this.

And, I'm still working on the birth story. It's hard to find a spare few minutes!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Pants and Other Things

I'm still working on the story of Miss M's birth. It is turning into a really long post, but I want to get it down in as much detail as possible, because I want to remember every bit of it. I am still so totally blissed out about what an amazing experience it was, and that it was everything I wanted.

The baby is just awesome. It has been fabulous to learn her patterns and personality, and every day gets better. That's not to say there haven't been hard parts-the middle-of-the-night feedings when she gets all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed are a little tough. But I know these days are fleeting, so I try not to stress and just take the tough bits one minute at a time.

And now, it's time for totally shallow and vapid. Toward the end of my pregnancy, one of my friends mentioned that I shouldn't stress about the jelly belly that replaces the baby. Truthfully, I hadn't reador even thought about what the tummy looks like post-baby, and I'm glad she warned me. I would've been freaked out otherwise, because it's really not pretty. But I have to say, as big and flabby and scary as it was in the days after Miss M's birth, I have been pleasantly surprised by how quickly it has gone down. Oh, it's still far from what it looked like pre-pregnancy, but I thought it would take a lot longer to get anywhere near this point. Today, for the first time in many, many months, I am wearing real pants! My very own pants! I also found the scale, and dared step on it. Would you believe I'm only 9 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight? Yeah, me neither. But I'm wearing my own pants, so it must be right. That means I've lost almost 25 pounds in two weeks. It's really shocking, particularly given how many cookies I've been eating. It's got to be all of the breastfeeding. Now if there was just a shortcut to firm and toned ab's. . .

Monday, January 18, 2010

Birth Story

It is sort of like we won the lottery. Not only did we end up with Miss M who is quite magnificent, but I also got the birth that I wanted.

We are absolutely enchanted by the baby, and it's hard to imagine that she's only been with us a few weeks. But before I talk about the last few weeks in any more detail, I want to write about her birth, because it was amazing, and I don't want to forget it.

I was sound asleep on Saturday morning, January 9, when something woke me and made me leap from the bed. I suspect I felt a trickle of something, and my subconscious knew enough to get me out of bed just in time. The second my feet hit the floor, there was a huge gush of fluid that soaked my new $9 pajamas that I'd bought while doing my walking a few days earlier. "T," I said to my still sleeping husband, "I either just peed myself, or my water just broke." T. immediately jumped out of bed, awake but not particularly coherent. "What should I do?" The look on his face was priceless--a combination of excitement and utter confusion.

I admit, I wasn't so coherent, either, and I told him to go and get some paper towels so I didn't leak all over our brand new floors. It cracks me up now that this was my response. He got the paper towels and mopped up around where I was standing, and I made my way into the bathroom, where it became clear that in fact my water had broken. I wasn't having any contractions, however. I was remarkably calm and at peace that it was all starting.

Since it was so early on a Saturday morning, I waited a bit before I called the doula. Around 7am, I called her and let her know that my water had broken. I told her that I didn't want her to come right away, though, since nothing much was going on. We agreed that I would call her when I was ready for her, and that I'd keep her posted in the meantime.

During an earlier appointment with my OB, she had said that if my water broke, they would want to see me immediately at the hospital to monitor me. Knowing that I wasn't having any contractions, I wasn't eager to get to the hospital, so T. and I showered, ate breakfast, and slowly prepared to head to the hospital. After learning of my doctor's policy on being in the hospital if your water broke, I had talked with the doula about possibly waiting it out and not notifying the doctor until I was actually in active labor if my water broke. But, that day I just didn't feel comfortable waiting too long. After we had showered, pulled our hospital stuff together, and eaten breakfast, there was nothing left to do, and I started feeling antsy. Just sitting there was making me anxious, so we finally called the doctor's office at around 8:30 and left a message with the answering service.

The on-call doctor was one that I thought I liked, but when she called me back she seemed irritated that we hadn't called sooner. She said they worried about the cord moving when the water breaks, and she wanted me at the hospital immeidately for monitoring. (This should have been my first clue that we were not going to love her during this process.) I wasn't worried about the baby, because I could feel her moving. So, we headed for the hospital with just a quick stop at Starbucks so that T. could pick up a large coffee for the road.

Once at the hospital, they brought us to Labor Room 3. We had a very nice nurse named Barbara assigned to us. I changed my clothes, and she hooked me up to the fetal monitor and the contraction monitor for about 20 minutes. I had been planning to labor in my own clothes, but for some reason, the johnny and bathrobe at the hospital felt more comfortable. The fetal monitor showed the baby was in good shape, but as expected, the contraction monitor showed I wasn't having any contractions. The nurse told me that she would want to monitor the baby every half an hour, but that until then, I was free to roam around, although they preferred that I didn't leave the maternity ward. There was a nice long hallway in the ward, so T. and I walked up and down the hall for the next half hour in an effort to get things moving along. Actually, I was walking so fast that T. couldn't keep up, so he sort of stood in the middle, near the kitchen, and talked to me as I walked past him. I eventually caught him eating a bagel, and I scarfed down half of it (the kitchen was stocked with snacks for patients and families).

When I returned to my room for the next monitoring session, the baby still looked fine, but there were no contractions. The doctor had arrived by this point, and came in to talk to me. Although it had only been a little over three hours since my water had broken, she proposed starting pitocin. I told her that I didn't want to use pitocin at that point, and I wanted to see how things went. She said that she thought that if things were going to start naturally, they would have already, and then proposed using cervidil to soften my cervix. It's interesting, because she didn't try to explain what either drug was. I knew what they were, and didn't need to ask. It only struck me recently, long after Miss M's birth, that we didn't have any discussion about what pitocin and cervidil were, and the risks/benefits to using them. She mentioned them, I said I wasn't interested, and it went from there.

After I told the OB that I really didn't want cervidil or pitocin, she began to lecture me about how when labors drag on like mine was (yeah, right), as time passes it increases the likelihood of needing antibiotics, which increase the likelihood of other interventions. She also said that at night, there are fewer people around, and the hospital isn't staffed as well. I was incredibly annoyed, because what I heard was that she didn't want to be at the hospital at all hours of the night, and I didn't appreciate the scare tactic of "there are less people around the hospital at night." She chose the wrong mama to mess with! I stood firm, and we agreed that we'd talk in two hours about pitocin/cervidil (although I had no intention of giving in in two hours even if my contractions hadn't started). She then disappeared, and I actually didn't see her again for hours.

Per my reading, there doesn't seem to be a medical need for antibiotics until 18-24 hours after your water breaks. And, I don't think any reputable medical professional has any business trying to use scare tactics on a patient who doesn't want medications when there is no need for them. It had been a mere three and a half hours since my water had broken, and she made NO suggestions for alternative ways to induce labor. I was very put off by this, and I can only imagine what other, less-informed or more easily frightened women would have chosen to do when faced with the lecturing, somewhat hostile doctor. Luckily, I had my doula.

As soon as the doctor left the room and we had some privacy, I called my doula. Actually, the nurse walked in shortly after that, and I had to hang up just as someone answered the phone. Luckily, my doula totally got it--she left me a voicemail back saying she'd either just missed my call, or perhaps someone had come in the room as I was trying to call. Now THERE's a smart woman!

Once the nurse left, I called the doula again, and told her what the doctor had said. She was, of course, horrified. She made a bunch of suggestions for trying to kick my labor into gear, which included nipple stimulation and bouncing on the birthing ball, among other things (I can't remember the other recommendations right now). She made me promise that if I tried nipple stimulation, I would let the medical team know that I was doing it. She offererd to make her way to the hospital, but once again, I told her that since nothing was going on, it didn't yet make sense for her to be there. There wasn't really any point in the three of us sitting around and staring at one another!

I decided to try the birthing ball. The doula had said that the theory is that the bouncing causes the baby's head to press on the cervix, which releases hormones that get the contractions going. I have to say, she was right on with this suggestion. Within a very short time, my contractions had not only kicked in, but they'd kicked into high gear. They became regular, and somewhat painful. Within the hour, I had T. call the doula back and ask her to head for the hospital. This happened around 11 am.

I continued to bounce on the ball, while T. watched television. Nurse Barbara would come in periodically to monitor me. Thankfully, after the initial session of monitoring, she didn't make me hook up to both monitors, and she didn't do the monitoring for long periods of time. She simply would set the fetal monitor on my belly for a minute or so, and I would stop bouncing while she did it. Miss M was a champ--her heart rate stayed right around 150 the entire time I was in labor, and never waivered.

After a bit of bouncing on the ball, I asked T. for my iPod and went into my own zone. I had loaded all sorts of things onto my iPod, unsure of what I'd be in the mood to listen to while I was in labor. At first, I tried a little Coldplay, but it just didn't seem right. I moved on to one of the guided imagery for pregnancy and labor cd's I'd bought a few weeks earlier. The one that felt right was by a woman named Bellaruth Naparstek, called Medidations to Support a Healthy Pregnancy and Successful Childbirth. I didn't really have a chance to listen to the pregnancy cd, but I'd been using the successful childbirth cd for several weeks, and really liked it. The childbirth cd essentially had two parts, one with her speaking, and one that was just music. Initially, I listed to the part with her speaking, over and over again. As my labor intensified, I switched to just listening to the music. I listened to the music throughout my entire labor, until it was time to push. It was so relaxing, and kept me in the zone. I had read about laboring women going into the zone, and didn't really understand what it would be like until I was in it, but I really was in my own little world. I had the iPod loud enough that I couldn't hear anyone who was talking in the room. I was completely oblivious to time. It was just me and the baby and my iPod, taking it one contraction at a time.

I was in labor from about 10:30 or 11:00 am until Miss M. arrived at 10:49 pm. During that time, my contractions gradually intensified and became closer together. I never did get to the point where the contractions were one on top of the other, as I had read would happen. I always had a few minutes between them. The pain was never more than I could handle. I never even considered an epidural or other pain relief--it didn't even occur to me. I would say that at their worst, the contractions were no more painful than the worst stomach cramps I've ever had with a bad case of stomach/intestinal upset. In between contractions, I felt great, for the most part. In fact, I was so relaxed by the music on the childbirth cd that I almost fell asleep in between contractions at a few points. I thought it was crazy when I read such things before my own labor, but it really did happen. My doula even noticed it, and later commented on it.

At some point, Nurse Barbara went to lunch, and another nurse took her place monitoring me. Unfortunately, this nurse was very "by the book," and insisted that I get into the bed and that she put both monitors on me and monitor me for 20 minutes every time I needed monitoring. Needless to say, this was uncomfortable, and it completely interrupted my labor and slowed down my contractions when she did it. My contractions had been regular for a while, but them became irregular every time she would monitor me. Nurse Barbara stuck her head in and tried to prevent the other nurse from doing this, but the nurse insisted on following "protocol". As noted above, Nurse Barbara had been terrific, and was completely unintrusive and got where I was coming from. Fortunately, the nursing staff was terrific--they didn't send the other nurse in again. When Nurse Barbara came back, I told her less monitoring was better than more monitoring, and she seemed to get it. She only made me use the baby monitor on my belly for a minute or so from that point forward.

As the contractions intensified, I did throw up after some of the worst ones. I probably threw up 3-4 times. I would get really nauseous at the end of a bad contraction. They wouldn't let me have any food once I was in labor, so the last thing I had to eat was at 11:15. After that, it was just juice and ice chips, which I ate copious amounts of. T. would be there in between contractions with ice chips, water, juice, and cherry Chapstick, which I also needed to reapply frequently. He was so amazing--calm, and ready with whatever I said I needed. The doula would have the plastic bucket at the ready for when I said I was nauseous, and would bring me a cool cloth for my neck each time I got sick, and then my toothbrush.

My back bothered me a bit toward the end, although I didn't have back labor. I had brought an old fashioned hot water bottle with me--the one I'd picked up from the drugstore during the bout of sciatica weeks earlier in my pregnancy--and we filled that with hot water and put it on my back. After a long time on the birthing ball, I switched to the rocking chair that was in the room, and I spent a very long time rocking away in the chair. The hot water bottle fit perfectly between my back and the rungs of the chair.

The doula and T. chatted in the background about things, with the doula providing T. with reassurance and guidance. I have no idea what they were saying, though, as I couldn't hear them over my music. I do know that T. told me later that he went out at one point and asked them not to send the other nurse back into my room.

Lucky for me, but unfortunate for some other woman, my doctor had to go and perform a c-section at some point during my labor, so I went a very long time without her checking in with me. At initial check, I had been 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. At the second check, I think I was 4 or 6 cm dilated and 80% effaced. When the doctor returned from the c-section, I was almost to the finish line. Nurse Barbara's shift ultimately ended, and another nurse named Sheri came and replaced her. I had actually met Sheri at my doctor's office the week before. She apparently works there part time, too, and had done the monitoring on me while I was there. At the doctor's office, she had joked that maybe she would see me in L&D that week, and later told me that she didn't really think that I was that close to delivery. I was vaguely aware of Nurse Sheri and the OB floating in and out of my room and watching me labor, but no one bothered me. Sheri ultimately suggested that I try other labor positions, because I wasn't quite fully dilated. I tried getting down on all fours, and it was so horribly painful that I had to get out of the position. I walked around for a bit, leaning on the bed when the contractions came. I also tried sitting on the bed for some of the contractions. Truthfully, all of these things made my contractions more painful. Perhaps this made them more effective, but it was far less comfortable than I had been in the rocking chair.

After a bit more labor, they began asking me if I felt the urge to push. Truthfully, I felt only a slight urge to push during my contractions and felt no urge to push in between contractions, and I told them that. My doula said that I should feel like pushing the entire time when it got to be "time" to push, and that seemed consistent with what I had read. However, the OB and the nurse wanted me to try pushing at that point, regardless.

I could tell that my doctor was getting antsy again, and although I felt great, I was also ready to meet my daughter. I knew I was close, and I was just ready to finish. I wasn't tired and I wasn't in terrible pain, so I'm not sure what made me "ready." I just was. I got into the bed, and the doctor checked me again. She said there was still a small lip of cervix left, but she thought she could manually push it back during a contraction, so that's what she did. It was somewhat uncomfortable, but not horribly so.

Then came the pushing. T. held one of my legs back and the nurse held the other. This wasn't a position I had thought I would want to labor in, since I had read it actually makes labor harder (gravity isn't working with you) and makes a tear more likely. However, I just went with it. I started pushing with each contraction, three pushes to a contraction. A baby nurse joined us a short time later, and there might have been one or two other nurses in the room, too. People were cheering me on and commenting on how amazed they were at how much control I seemed to have. I didn't think much of it at the time, as I was so focused on pushing.

I have to say, the pushing didn't hurt at all. I had thought it would, but it did not. I felt a very tiny amount of burning when she crowned, but that wasn't even very uncomfortable. It really must be true that your body produces hormones that block the pain. I remember telling everyone in the room while I was pushing that it actually did not hurt. I was just amazed at that. They asked me if I wanted the baby on my chest right away, and of course I said I did.

The doctor was clearly getting nervous. She was really experienced, but she seemed very uncomfortable toward the end of my labor. She expressed concern over the baby's heart rate, although the nurses all said it was staying consistent and just fine. The doula also later told me that baby's heart rate never waivered during my labor, including during pushing. The doula also later told me that she thought that perhaps the doctor had done so few natural deliveries that she was uncomfortable with mine, and that's why the OB seemed so nervous. In any case, the doula noticed the OB's discomfort, as well. The OB said at one point that if I would let her make just "one small snip," the baby would come right out. Needless to say, I knew she meant an episiotomy, and I declined. She also said, a short time later, that they might not be able to put the baby on my chest right away, because they might need to work on her. I wasn't concerned though, and felt like she was being a Nervous Nellie, so I told her to do what they needed to do with the baby. I knew she'd be fine.

I probably pushed through 7-10 contractions. They kept saying I was almost there, but I didn't believe them (sort of like working with a personal trainer who says "just 10 more situps," only to make you do 50 more). But, all of a sudden, she just shot out of me in one big slippery mess. I had expected that her head would slowly come out, and then I'd slowly push her body out, but she sort of just came out in one big gush. The doctor said she had a really short cord. She apparently asked T. if he wanted to cut the cord, and he said that she obviously had much more experience (which he thought was funny, but she did not). Then, they put her on my chest.

It was just amazing. She was still completely covered in vernix, which reminded me of zinc oxide. It was thick and kind of sticky, but I didn't care. I just loved having her there. T. was right by my side, and we'd given the camera to the doula, who started taking a million pictures. It was a few days before I got a chance to look at them, and I have to say, the pictures alone made the money spent on the doula worthwhile! T. and I are absolutely beaming in every photo, and there are all kinds of candid shots of not only us and the baby, but also the medical staff doing their thing with Miss M. I had a small superficial tear, and the doctor was working on stitching me up, but I barely even noticed, I was so entranced. After a few minutes with us, they had to take her away to work some mucus out of her chest. They brought her back a few minutes later, and she nursed a little bit, and held my finger with her little hand. I had thought T. and I would get really emotional and tear up, but we were just so absolutely joyous. It was truly magical.

I am so proud of Miss M. and I that we got the birth I wanted. I'm proud of myself that I did it. I am so thrilled that it was everything I hoped it would be. And of course, it is so wonderful to have her here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nobody Warned Me About Cluster Feeding

I have had the baby latched on to me for the better part of the last three hours. I'm enjoying the bonding, but wow.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

She's Here!

Shortly after I last posted, after walking the halls of the hospital and bouncing on the birthing ball, my contractions finally kicked in. It was exactly the birth that I wanted-no med's, no interventions. I was in labor for about 12 hours, and had her just before 11pm last night, after an hour or so of pushing. We are completely smitten, and I got NO sleep last night, because I just laid there and stared at her. Birth story to follow...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

And She's Taking Her Sweet Time!

The contractions are still sporadic and don't really hurt. The nurses have been great, but the doctor came in and wanted to do Pitocin or Cervidil (I'm still only 80% effaced and 2cm dilated). I said we could chat in a couple more hours about it, but made clear I want neither. Then the dr. Started talking about there being fewer people around the hospital at night...I'm guessing the pit is all about her schedule. Luckily, I'm tough enough to ignore the hard sell! They're monitoring the baby regularly, and she's fine, so I'm not in a hurry to turn to the drugs.

Things Are Moving!

I woke up this morning at about 6am to the feeling of a slight trickle. I leaped out of bed just in time. A big gush of fluid followed. I woke T. Up and let him know that I'd either just peed myself, or my water broke. It quickly became clear that it was my water breaking. No real contractions to speak of yet, but I can feel them brewing. The doctor, of course, wants to see us at the hospital to meausre the baby's heartbeat. It's not my regular OB, but one of her partners who is on call this weekend. Luckily, it's one that we like. We're in the car on our way to the hospital now.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hmmm. . .What to Do Now

I skipped school again yesterday. Actually, I told them I wasn't going to be in to work the rest of the week. Although I AM doing some work, I'm also trying to get a few last things done before the baby gets here.

Yesterday, I did a bit more walking/shopping, and went back and reorganized my hospital bags. Walking brings on intense pressure in my lower belly, so by the end of the day, I am ready to crawl into bed. It was all I could do to sort my hospital bags, but I've been adding to them for a few weeks, and wanted to go through them one last time and get them REALLY organized. There is more than one, because I didn't have one bag that was big enough. Actually, there are five: one has a giant collection of snacks and juices for T. (I don't want him to leave me, and I'm sure he'll get bored and want to eat--not that he ever would leave me, even if he got hungry, because he's good like that); one has clothes and a blanket for the baby; one has stuff I might want during labor (ie, aromatherapy rice packs that can be heated; hot water bottle; vibrating massager; ipod; camera; lavender bath oil; etc.); one with my clothes to go home in; and one with toiletries and medications that T. might want while I'm in the hospital (ie, Tylenol, Tums, Maalox, etc.--which the doula suggested. She pointed out that the hospital won't give him anything, because he's not a patient. Good thought!).

I slept okay last night, but kept waking up in pain from the positioning of my belly. Sometimes if it's not supported right, depending on the baby's position, it gets hurty. I also woke this morning to a lot more contractions, although they were not painful. They were different from my usual B-H contractions, because they involved more of my belly (ie, the whole thing, as opposed to just a part of it). Unfortunately, they seem to have slowed down. I should've gotten up and moved around a ton while they were active, but I'm kind of sleepy, and have been lazing about in my bed all day. Hey, I won't have many more days like this.

My big afternoon plan is to try to make it to the bank and the post office, and then see if I can somehow manage to dig out some of the baby things from where they are stored in the garage. When I last looked, they were still inaccessible due to the fact that there are so many boxes stacked in front of the boxes that have the baby stuff packed in them, but I think T. has moved some things around since I was last out there. It's so frustrating to be unable to do physical stuff, like moving a jillion boxes to reach what I wanted, as I normally would when faced with this situation! I am not usually someone who would let a few boxes stop me.

But, it's so warm and toasty in my bed, and big fat snowflakes are falling softly outside my window, making it hard to motivate myself. It is only the thought of being active and perhaps stimulating labor that may get me going!

Oh! I just had such a breathtaking thought: I'm going to be able to share all of my favorite childhood books with my daughter. This baby has been such a long time coming that sometimes the reality of her catches me sideways.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Testing Out The Pic-On-Blog-Via-Phone Option

A test post to see if I can figure out how to post pic's from my phone. And my cat, on bookshelves in the baby's room mid-construction.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Just Hanging Out Waiting

I didn't go to work today. I woke up feeling kind of crampy and off. I thought I'd feel better once I showered and ate breakfast, but I didn't. Since my office is an hour from my house (and my hospital), I thought I'd better stick around here. But, there's nothing going on with this baby, other than the fact that she's still fairly quiet. I know she'll be here soon, but I guess today is not the day.

Since the painter was here finishing the nursery (which now looks fabulous, and may actually be finished!), I went shopping and walked around a ton, hoping that might get things going. I ended up with sporadic lower abdominal contractions, but nothing regular or "real."

I also ended up with:

New comfy socks. . .$5
New comfy pajamas. . .$9
New comfy sweater. . .$12 (just LOVE the after-Christmas sales!)
New laundry detergent. . .$12 (why the hell is Dreft so expensive???)

A day to myself, doing whatever I wanted, sans input from irritating people: Priceless.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Think It's Time to Circle the Wagons

Over the last few weeks, I feel like people (and by "people," I mean "relatives") have been doing their best to suck the life out of me. As much as they ask about the baby and I, it's never really about the baby. The conversation always moves on to their issues, and what they want/need/demand from me. I kept thinking that if I just dealt with whatever the issue was that they placed in front of me, we would move past it, and I could focus on what I need to focus on: the imminent arrival of our first child. Oh, how naive I was! It's just dragging on and on, with multiple people who have their own needs and wants, who are just selfish and oblivious.

I'm just so tired of the pettyness and the smallness. I'm tired of it sucking on my soul. I'm tired of trying to balance wrapping up work, the house chaos, and the baby preparations, and then having to deal with family issues on top of it. It's not fair to me or my baby, and I'm done with it.

The only question I have now is whether I should bother confronting the offenders, or just let it go. I think it will fester if I don't confront and get it out there. Argh. Either way, once I do that, I'm really done. I'm just going to stop answering the phone, pull the covers up over my head, and focus on my new little family.

On a happier note, one fact I forgot to mention yesterday: the ultrasound estimates the baby as being at 7 pounds 13 ounces--much bigger than I had expected! And, and the true spirit of TMI, I think I might've lost my mucous plug. I'm not sure exactly what it should look like, but if it is kind of clumpy and pinkish and mucous-y, then I saw it in the toilet tonight. We are really getting close!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Week 39 Doctor's Appointment

We don't officially hit 39 weeks until Wednesday, but we had our appointment today. According to the doctor's scale, I'm up 31.5 pounds from my prepregnancy weight. Since I'm only a week from my due date, I'm going to declare my weight gain a success. I was so worried about not eating properly or gaining enough, but I was careful and made sure I didn't skip meals like I am normally prone to doing, and it worked out. I am proud of what good care I've taken of myself this pregnancy.

I also had my first internal exam in months. I am 1-2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. The doctor encouraged me to "keep walking.". I laughed and told her that I HAVEN'T been walking,because it gives me more contractions, and I don't want to deliver right now (just need a few more days...). I'll bet she doesn't hear that much from full term women. She told me I really need to wrap up what I'm doing, because I don't have much time left. And, she said I need to get walking, because she doesn't want to induce. I reminded her I still have a week!

The baby has also descended into my pelvis, past the bony inlet, I think she called it. She says this is a good sign the baby will fit fine during delivery, not that I was concerned about it. I can tell the baby has descended even more, because the pressure on my bladder over the last few days has been insane.

I happened to mention that the baby has also slowed way down over the last three days, although I still feel periodic movement and wasn't concerned. I assumed it was just the baby gearing up for labor. But, as in the past, my doctor was VERY conservative, and ordered a NST and a BPP ultrasound. Both were totally fine. During the NST, I was having contractions every 2-5 minute, although they were just Braxton-Hicks. It was cool to watch the printouts, though.

So, everything is progressing. The nursery, too-it just needs paint now! The woodwork was completed today. Weirdly, the painter left his pants in the middle of the floor. He must've changed to paint. I thought that was just so odd that someone working in my house would leave their pants!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Home Again!

Despite the fact that there is still much to be done to finish the house, we slept in our own bed last night. It is such a relief to be home. Our bedroom is done, and I no longer felt comfortable being so far from the hospital, particularly given the snowy weather we've been having, so we've moved back in despite ongoing construction chaos.

The house is going to be beautiful. My bedroom is gorgeous. I couldn't figure out what was taking T. so long to finish the bedroom until I saw it. It's really amazing-gorgeous woodwork all over and a beautiful light coffee color on the upper part of the walls (white woodwork below) and new light fixtures, and the refinished floor looks terrific. MIL gave us a very generous gift certificate to a local bedding store, and we splurged on an outrageously expensive designer bedding set. I feel a little guilty about having spent the money with a baby arriving imminently and the house still under way, but it looks perfect in the room, and I've done little for myself lately. We also replaced the windows in the entire house, and the new window on one side of the bedroom now perfectly frames the birch trees in our back yard, which are currently covered with the powdery snow that is lightly falling. It is so nice to lay in my bed in this beautiful new room and watch the snow falling on the trees. It's so peaceful.

The rest of the house, however, remains a work in progress. The baby's room still needs more woodwork and a ton of paint. The downstairs bathroom needs one more coat of paint. The living room needs a ton of paint. The kitchen is nowhere near finished. Sigh. I know it will all get done, and soon, but nothing is moving quickly enough for me. I really would like to have things more settled before the baby arrives. I have the bassinet ready to go and the bare minimum of baby clothes and blankets ready, but the bulk of things are still packed safely away until the priming/sanding/painting is complete. (I prefer my newborn clothes minus sheetrock/putty dust, and I'm pretty sure the American Academy of Pediatrics would agree).

As if I wasn't stressed enough about this, my mother just called to see if I have all the baby stuff done-i.e., the baby clothes all washed, everything all unpacked. She knows that I JUST got back home. When I pointed out that everything is still packed away and I can't reach any of it, and that I have nowhere to put anything, anyway, she started giving me a hard time, telling me that it will be easier to do stuff now than when the baby comes. Well, duh. She got off the phone when I told her I wasn't finding it helpful for her to tell me that. As I said, like I'm not stressed enough...and I think she actually thought she was being HELPFUL in telling me it will be easier now than when the baby arrives, as though I don't realize that! Someone asked T. The other day if I was "nesting," and I asked whether he'd told them I have no nest!

My mother is sort of bothering me a bit lately, although it's just over old issues that I've mostly resigned myself to. We've long had a dynamic where I feel more like I am her parent than she mine. Whatever she does, I always seem to be the one to forgive, understand, make it easy for her, etc. Consequently, I get the short end of the stick quite routinely. She generally puts me last, I think because she thinks I'll understand and make it easy for her no matter what (and I do). There is no way to even discuss this with her-she completely shuts down.

I thought maybe things were going to be different with the baby coming, because she was much more excited than I thought she'd be. We've actually gotten on quite well in recent months. But then came the issue of the baby's arrival, and her impending visit, and the visit has become an ISSUE. It's not about the baby at all, her first grandchild.

The problem is that my mother always stays with one of her sisters when she's in town (it's a long and ridiculous story as to why she wouldn't stay with me even before we turned the guest room into a nursery). I cannot be sure of whether it is my mother who is to blame, or this particular sister of hers (my aunt), but someone has for whatever reason painted it as a "competition" between my aunt and I, and so my mother can never visit without there being strife. As in, my mother doesn't get to see much of me when she's here, because she feels obligated to spend time with my aunt, who generally refuses to include T. and I in their plans. It has gotten so bad that there were times in the last year when my mother was in town (a day's drive from her house), and she didn't even tell me she was coming (but saw my aunt). It's nonsensical. She's MY MOTHER, and it sort of seems like maybe she should get to see me. But my mother sucks at conflict, so if there's even a perceived issue with my aunt, she will obediently do whatever my aunt wants, including cutting us out of the loop during a visit.

Now, to make matters worse in my opinion, my aunt and her husband don't even make special plans if they know my mom is coming-sometimes they aren't even there, or make other plans for themselves while my mom is visiting! But, my mom is supposed to still hang around their house? It's nuts.

So my Christmas gift to my mom was three nights at a local inn, for her to stay when the baby is born. I thought it would be a nice little vacation for her and her husband, they could come and go as they please, etc. Nice place, good meals, etc. Nope. She doesn't want it-she wants to stay with my aunt. Not only does she not want the gift, but she actually acted a little offended. I just can't win. I had really hoped that this visit, everyone could put aside the usual bullshit, and it could just be about the baby. Obviously, that's not going to be the case.

I just don't get it (or maybe I get it all too well, but it's so ridiculous I have a hard time making sense of it!). On the one hand, she is super excited about the baby. She is hoping that I get the new job, because we would be living much closer to them and could spend holidays with them. She has said this. On the other hand, when it comes to coming here and visiting me, things get all weird. It has a lot to do with her own issues and her own baggage relating to this place where I live and people she knows here, and goes back to her divorce from my father more than a decade ago. Let's just say that she didn't handle things well, and that has made it awkward for her to return here and face certain people now that she's remarried. But that's not my issue, or my baby's issue, and it really bugs me that she can't set aside her own drama for just once. Of course, she thinks there's no drama, and no issues, and no problems with my aunt. I guess that's what really bothers me-for her, there aren't any problems, because she's so focused on herself that she can't see how she impacts anyone else.

Breathe in, breathe out. Okay, rant over. I really just needed to get that off my chest. I truly did long ago accept that I can't change her, or anyone else, for that matter. I have a great, happy life, and I am finally expanding my own family, where relationship dynamics and everything else are different. That is more than enough to fill my cup, and I'm not going to let anything diminish this time for me.