Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Argh. . .

I think she has popped back up and is sideways again. How is this possible? I walked for HOURS yesterday. Shouldn't her head be lodged in my pelvis? The contractions have also slowed down. I had almost none today. . .just lots of hands and feet moving around in places where they shouldn't be for a baby who is head down. She always seems to turn while I am sleeping, but I can't seem to figure out how this happens or how I should sleep to prevent it from happening. My doctor said there's nothing I can do while I'm sleeping, but I never accept that for an answer!

I hope I am wrong about her being sideways again, but I don't think so.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Bit of Good News

After my utter freak out last night, today actually went well. We went in this morning for the manual version. To say that I was not looking forward to it would be an understatement. When we got to the hospital where we are delivering, they brought us to a nice delivery room--the one I hope we get when it's time, the one with the birthing pool.

Did you notice how I said we hope we get the room with the birthing pool when it's time? That's right, we are going for a natural delivery again. The doctor was able to turn her, and based on where her head moved to, she recommended that we NOT use prostaglandins and try to induce today, and that we take a long walk and wait to see how things go, instead!

The midwives who worked with us at the hospital were awesome about making me comfortable. They monitored the baby, who looked great, and then my doctor came in. I was expecting horrible pain and a long procedure. Instead, she covered me in ultrasound gel, there was some rather quick discomfort, and then she proclaimed that the baby was head down (this, from a pretty much straight up-and-down breech position, with the baby's head up and butt and legs down). She held the baby's head down for a few minutes, then the nurse hooked me to the baby monitors again for about a half hour. The doctor checked back in. I was having contractions regularly, but they didn't hurt and didn't go anywhere. The baby's heart rate looked good. So, the doctor wants me to walk a bunch today, and then wants to see me on Friday if I don't go into labor before then.

I would have been on the monitor for an even shorter time, but they brought me breakfast (tea and water and yummy toast with jam). A hospital with a menu that will deliver whatever you want! After I ate, the baby got hiccups, which raised her heart rate, and they wouldn't let me go until she calmed down again.

When we left, we ran into the husband half of a couple that we'd met during the hospital tour a month or so ago. They'd had their baby when we first arrived at the hospital. I'd heard the baby cry just after we got there. I thought that was an amazing coincidence. Then we left. The hospital is a couple of miles from our house, but there are a string of parks in between us, so T and I walked the whole way home through the parks. It was a long, slow walk, but a beautiful day for it, and everything has started to bloom. I came home, took a nap, and now we're going to the zoo. Hopefully, gravity will be my friend, the baby's head will be well engaged, and she won't move out of position again!

Updated to add: The zoo was completely awesome today. Some friends bought us year long memberships as a baby shower gift. Miss M ran from zoo animal to zoo animal, imitating the sound to the animals. She was adorable. She was talking to the lion and calling him "Alex" (we've been watching Madagascar quite a bit lately). She demanded to see the reptiles to see the "snakes and frogs." I love that she has no fear of them. When we went into the house with the zebras, she held her nose, which I've never seen her do before, and proclaimed that "zebras smell yucky." It was really fun to be out with her and see her so engaged. There was a statute of some gorillas in one part of the zoo, and one of the gorillas was holding a baby. She went over and patted the statute, then kissed the baby. It was priceless. We walked around the zoo for an hour and a half (this on top of our hour and a half or so stroll home through the park). We must have done at least 3 miles today, and probably more than 4. I'm pretty sore (my groin muscles in particular, oddly enough), but feel good. I'm having some contractions now that I'm home and sitting (and had some at the zoo today, too), but nothing painful. Hopefully it's all working together to keep her head down overnight. Fingers crossed.

Monday, February 27, 2012

38 Week Appointment

Well, it didn't go as well as I'd hoped at today's appointment. I was pretty sure the baby flipped again this weekend, and I was right. It's her head that's up against my ribs, and her bottom is over on my left. Her back is somewhat against my back, which is why I'm having lower back pain. Her feet are down by my hoo-ha. She is utterly breech in a vertical position, rather than just merely transverse. I am freaking out. We do have a plan, though, which I'll get to in a minute.

I know some people don't care about c-section, or think that it's a big deal. I'm not one of those people. I have terrible reactions to medication (severe vomiting and/or utter unconsciousness tend to be my two primary responses). I become utterly disconnected from the world. I am terrified of the spinal/epidural medication, terrified of being cut open, terrified of the recovery period, terrified of the pain relief drugs during the recovery period, terrified that I won't bond with my baby because of all of the aforementioned, and terrified that I am going to die and leave my two year old and new infant motherless. I am really, really afraid of that last bit. I know it is a reasonably safe surgery--but it's still major surgery. I wish I didn't know all of the bad results that are out there, but they are there, and I do know about them. I'm sure all of those people thought they'd be just fine, too. I am scared. Honestly, I'm sobbing as I type this. I sobbed as I put my two year old to bed tonight, because I am so afraid of what might happen to me tomorrow--I could't help but think the worst: that this could be the last time I put her to bed. I know it's a little crazy, but that's how deep my fear is of all of this.

I've been pretty sure my mucous plug is gradually coming out, and I've been having plenty of contractions. When I had my urine tested today, there was blood in my urine. My doctor thinks it's because I've lost my mucous plug, and based on my contractions and lower abdominal cramping, she thinks I am close to going into labor, so we basically needed to make some decisions today about what to do. She doesn't recommend an attempt at breech delivery (which she's willing to consider), for many reasons. I concur with that--I don't want to try a breech labor with the baby in the position she's in. There's too much of a danger that the cord will get trapped (it's attached to the top of my uterus) and the baby will be injured. She does think we should try to turn the baby (manual version or ECV), before we move to something like c-section. My three options were therefore to a) do nothing; wait and see what happens (knowing that if I don't want to attempt breech labor and she doesn't turn, labor may result in an emergency c-section); b) try to turn her manually; or c) elect to have a c-section. I don't want to wait and see, and I don't want to go right to c-section. The doctor wants to try to turn her tomorrow. Based on how optimistic she was about being able to turn the baby last week, when the baby was in a more favorable position and there was more room, and comparing that to her reaction this week, I don't think she is very optimistic this week about being able to turn her. She did say that the pocket of fluid deep in my pelvis should help (the baby isn't yet pressed down into pelvis toward the cervix), as well as a pocket near her head.

If she can turn her, we can either wait to see if I go into labor, or we can induce. She recommends induction, based on how much the baby has turned back and forth already, because she's afraid of her turning again even if she can get her turned. Even if she turns her, her head won't be engaged, and that's really the only thing that will keep her in place. Plus, she thinks that even if she can get her turned, the baby won't be in quite the right position, so it's unlikely to be as easy as my last birth, but possible to deliver vaginally. So, if she successfully turns the baby tomorrow, she's going to use a prostaglandin gel (inserted vaginally) to try to stimulate labor. They'll monitor me for a while, then send me outside for a walk. If it gets things moving, great. If not, she won't push it with Pitocin, etc., it sounds like. She'll have me go home and we'll see what happens from there.

The great thing is that the doctor is comfortable with natural birth, and willing to work with me. She even recommends all of these other steps, rather than going right to c-section. She also feels like if we've tried all of these things and it doesn't work, then perhaps there's a reason the baby won't come out vaginally. She's been really good to deal with on all of this.

I just tried the moxibustion sticks, but I can't do it myself (can't really reach), and couldn't get T. to take it seriously for long enough to make it worthwhile, so I gave up. I did an inversion, which I've done right before she turned the last few times. Maybe it will work.

Given where we are at, I'm comfortable with the plan. I don't like it, and I'm obviously really upset about it. But I feel like we are making the right choices out of the few that we have. Well, the right choices for us. I'm still really scared, though. I will do my best to stay calm tomorrow, and will go to sleep tonight with my guided imagery cd's. It's all really out of my hands now.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunny Sunday

It is a gloriously warm, sunny spring day here (even thought it's really not spring yet). My daffodils are up, and the camellia bushes are in bloom. It's one of those perfect days that's meant for long walks outside. . .if only I weren't trying to avoid going into labor in the next 24 hours.

I had my second truly uncomfortable night in a row last night. I don't know what position the baby has managed to get herself into now, but it's really not comfortable for me. It's the most uncomfortable I've been my entire pregnancy. There is some part (a head? a bum?) literally protruding over my ribs and almost touching my breast on the right side, then some other hard, round part diagonally opposite on the left, kind of directly across from my belly button. I don't think either are feet, though. I'm feeling lots of hand/feet movement down toward my hoo-ha, which is exactly the wrong place for feet to be at this point. And my lower back continues to ache.

I couldn't stand staying inside for one more minute, so I just walked around the corner to the pharmacy and veggie stand. I bought big bunches of daffodils. Such happy flowers. I swung through the bookstore, too, to give baby name books one more eyeball, but lower abdominal cramping sent me scurrying home. Now I'm sitting on the couch with contractions. I guess even a short walk was a bit more than I should have attempted. Hmmm. . .how I am going to make blueberry banana muffins and the casserole I just picked up ingredients for??!

Even though I was looking at baby name books (which were oddly positioned next to college selection books. . .um, really?), we really are set on names, I think. We have two names chosen for her first name, and we've decided we will name her once she's born. For her middle name, I really wanted to do the same thing we did for Miss M: my last name. T. was opposed to this for the longest time, but apparently he and my mother had some sort of conversation about it, and my mother (who never gets involved in things) somehow got him to agree! I hadn't even told my mother we were having that discussion (we keep names to ourselves until the baby is born), so I'm not sure how he ended up having that discussion, or what made him change his mind. I'm happy about that--now both girls will have a little piece of me in their names.

I really want to take Miss M to the park later. Friends sent us one of those tricycles with a push handle behind it, and it's pretty awesome. It has a seat belt and a basket where you can put stuff (like a ball to take to the park). The park is right around the corner, but I wonder if I should risk the walking. I probably will. It's such a nice day out. And it's really just like 18 more hours I have to make it before my doctor returns. In fact, I have an appointment scheduled with her for tomorrow morning. It's going to be interesting to see where this baby has moved to now.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

38 Weeks

I don't feel right. I woke up with lower back pain, at the base of my spine. It's a dull ache, really. I'm also having some light abdominal cramping. My legs feel heavy. I'm having plenty of painless but irregular contractions, too. I don't feel like the baby is in quite the right position, though. I feel. . .off.

I cannot have this baby this weekend. Did I mention that my doctor is out of town? The woman works insane hours and never goes away. I cannot possibly go into labor the one weekend she is away.

My weight is an impressive 148.6. How I gained 3 pounds this week, I have no idea. It seems impossible, but there it is.

More TMI: more stringy, mucous-y, possibly plug whitish stuff today when I use the bathroom.

And I am cranky. I just want to be left alone. Except for Miss M, who is snuggled up next to me and keeps giving me kisses, which is exactly what I need.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

And The Verdict Is. . .

The acupuncture might have actually worked! I also did an inversion before I went to bed, then slept on my left side all night. When I woke up this morning, I was pretty sure she was head down. After walking around at work all day, I'm fairly confident she is! My figure is even different today. Who knows what might have done it, but if she is indeed head down, I am incredibly happy.

As fair warning, this next bit might be TMI. I've been having some uncomfortable/painful contractions this afternoon. At first, I ignored them. But then I went to the bathroom, and there was something mucousy that may or may not have been mucous plug related. It was clear/white, but thick and stringy. It looked like my mucous plug with Miss M, only that one was tinged pink. This wasn't at all. But I'm feeling kind of crampy, too, with lower abdominal cramps, and I'm having whole belly contractions. Nothing regular, nothing super painful, nothing involving my back. . .but, something.

My doctor is away this weekend, and I have never met the person she has covering for her, although she says that the woman is very much like her in terms of perspective. I really hope I am not going into labor this weekend, as I really like my doctor, and would rather she is there for the delivery.

My due date is two weeks from tomorrow. I still have time, right? This baby won't come this weekend, right?

Okay, good. That's what I thought.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Great Acupuncture Experiment

It was an interesting appointment today. By "interesting," I mean equal parts promising and weird.

I had picked the clinic based on its location (an area known for its expensive private speciality medical clinics--ie, the high rent district), and it's highly detailed and professional looking website. There were pictures of the practitioners, with detailed and impressive biographies. There was detailed treatment info, price lists, articles. When I called to make my appointment, a professional-sounding receptionist answered the phone with the clinic's name, asked what I wanted done, and scheduled my appointment. It seemed like the kind of place that you'd want to have acupuncture done.

And then I got there. First, there was no sign on the building. I rang the bell, but no one answered. Sure i had written the street number down wrong, I googled the clinic on my smartphone and called the number listed. But instead of answering with the clinic's name, the woman answered by saying the building address. She told me to push the door and come in. I entered into an oversized foyer, and made my way to what appeared to be reception. It was a large spare front room that reminded me of Dickens, with a large table in the middle covered in standard waiting room magazines. In one corner sat an old woman at a wooden desk. When I said I'd been standing out there and no one had answered the bell, she gestured toward a door release button and muttered something about having to run around the big place and not being near the door buzzer all of the time.

She gave me a form to fill out. It was on the clinic's stationary, and looked like a standard medical questionnaire. As I filled it out, though, a woman came in for her appointment. She said, though, that she was there for a "scan." The strange old woman behind the desk said "ah yes, for your visa," and sent her downstairs. When I brought my form back to the woman, she ignored me and kept chatting away with someone who appeared to work in the building. Although I knew the acupuncturist was waiting for me (he'd called), she left me sitting for a bit, and then he finally came out.

When we went into his office, it was a large room that looked much like any doctor's office. There was an examination table, which he kept referring to as a "couch", a desk and a few chairs. However, there were no certifications or identifying information whatsoever on the walls. Given the sharing arrangements even physicians have here, it wasn't entirely weird, but weird enough. It occurred to me that he could be absolutely anyone--the clinic had no signage, he had no documentation, and the office was entirely odd. Nevertheless, I hung in there.

He was a nice enough guy, and seemed knowledgeable about acupuncture. His wife co-edited a book about the use of acupuncture in pregnancy. He'd performed acupuncture on her in advance of her two births, and she had a 5 hour first labor and a 2 hour second labor. I had gone in for moxibustion, but he wanted to talk about acupuncture, in general, to consider me "holistically," as opposed to just in terms of turning the baby. As it turned out, the building doesn't allow the burning of the moxibustion materials, so he was only able to instruct me on how to use the moxibustion sticks and give me instructions. (Note: In coming days, I hope to post all of the aforementioned instructions on line, to save anyone interested the $100 "treatment" fee!). He did propose some acupuncture to help relax me and speed up labor. Since I was there anyway, I figured i might as well give it a go.

I sat in a chair, and he placed a needle in between my thumb and first finger, next to my pinkie toe, in between my big toe and second toe, and on the outside of my leg, just below the knee. The needles inserted next to my pinkie toes, while tiny, hurt going in, and one started to bleed. The ones in my hands felt like they'd gone in to the meat of my thumb, and were a bit uncomfortable after a while. Otherwise, I felt relaxed, but that could have been just from sitting in a quiet room alone for a bit. He left me alone for a while, periodically checking back to make sure I was okay.

A while later, he came back and removed the needles, saying that since it was my first acupuncture session, he didn't want to leave them for too long. I noticed that one of the ones next to my big toe had started to bleed. He threw the needles in a sharps container, and that was that. He recommended that I come back once a week until I deliver, gave me the moxibustion sticks and some instructions, and we were done. I paid the odd old woman at reception in cash, but got a (handwritten) receipt.

It was all very strange. But, I'm open to it working. We'll see what happens. I can't see myself going back there, but maybe it helped to do it today.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


In an attempt to turn the girl around, I scheduled a moxibustion appointment for tomorrow afternoon. There are studies that say it works, so why not, I thought?

As it turns out, my mother has some ideas on why not. Specifically, she is worried that the cord is wrapped around the baby's neck, and the baby won't turn because of this. To be fair, both my maternal grandmother and my mother's oldest sister lost full-term babies to cord issues, so my mother is particularly sensitive to this issue. On the other hand, um, thanks, mom. I really needed one more thing to worry about. I pointed out to her that the baby has already been head down once before, so this is likely NOT the problem. But you know mothers. . .they get inside your head. Of course, this same mother of mine has also suggested that a vaginal delivery of a transverse baby sounds dangerous to her. . .after I explained that c-sections are the only option for transverse babies. Argh. I know she means to be helpful, but this particular string of emails wasn't very helpful.

I have no idea how to judge a "good" acupuncture clinic from a bad one. Although I think there's something to it, possibly, I'm not way into alternative medicine. Given the time constraints, I didn't exactly have time to do a lot of research, either. My due date is 17 days from today! And I went 4 days early with Miss M! I called one place (the woman is also a doula, so I felt good about her), and the woman is out of town. I called a second place (a place with a fancy address and a pile of staff who have very impressive pedigrees), and they had someone available tomorrow afternoon. So, I went with that one. The guy who will be doing it graduated from a 5 year Chinese medical program and has written actual research papers on using so-called Eastern medicine to complement western medicine. Hopefully, that makes him qualified to burn some herbs near my toes.

Given that I am prone to paranoia, I am partially afraid that doing this will make me go into labor instantly. I know, I am crazy. I don't even believe in it entirely, yet I'm afraid at the same time it will have unintended consequences.

I laid on my left side for most of the night last night, until I could not longer stand the discomfort in my bones, and then switched to the right a few times. She appears to still be in the same place, though. Oh, and I did an inversion, but had a hard time getting a good stretch going. I'm definitely out of space. This is stressing me out.

Among other things, of course (ie, work, and all of the crap that is going on there--it is seriously driving me crazy). The end of my first pregnancy was decidedly placid compared to all I have going on right now. Given that I was living at my MIL's house back then, 1.5 hours from my doctor and hospital, and in the middle of renovating my house at that point, that's really saying something.

Monday, February 20, 2012

37 Week Appointment

Well, now I know why I'm so uncomfortable. That baby is transverse again.

When the doctor saw me, she said that she thought my stomach looked a lot bigger than before, and casually wondered aloud whether the baby had in her words "popped up again." I didn't give it a thought, despite my tremendous discomfort lately, because I just was sure that once she went head down, she would stay there. The doctor is right, though--my bump is huge. I haven't gained any more weight than with my first pregnancy, but my even my biggest maternity clothes are tight or don't fit at all (and these are the ones I wore until I delivered Miss M!). Then the doctor felt my stomach, and said she thought the baby was sideways again. I continued to hold out hope that perhaps the baby's head was just really low and engaged (ha!). Then she pulled out the ultrasound machine, and indeed, I couldn't deny it any more: bum on one side, head on the other, nothing down below. The good news, I guess, is that my cervix was in clear view and looks great--long and closed. Which means, hopefully, that there is still time for this baby to behave and turn herself around into the right position. The doctor messed around with my belly a bit, pressing on it and seeing what happened. I was afraid she was going to attempt a version right then and there, and what she was doing was pretty uncomfortable as it was, but I think she was just trying to see how much play there was.

I was doing okay with this turn of events until the doctor started talking about how this could change things. She said that if I feel like I'm in labor, or my water breaks, I will need to come in much sooner than we had last talked about, so that they could assess things. She said that the earlier I come in, the more they can do to try to manually move the baby into a head-down position, if she is not head down at that point. When she got to the part where she said that she would do her best, and thought she could move the baby, but that if all failed the only option would be a c-section, I confess that I lost it and burst into tears. I know--I'm totally pathetic. I know it's true that c-section is the only option with a transverse baby who had failed to turn, and I knew the caveat was coming, but the reality just isn't one I want to face. I managed to gain control fairly quickly, and the doctor is reasonably sure she can make the baby turn. She doesn't think my risks of having a c-section are any worse than anyone else's going into labor, even given that my baby is transverse right now. All of that was really positive and helpful to hear. But I'm really, really bummed, nevertheless.

I guess the c-section is my last great birth fear that I haven't yet overcome. When I got pregnant with Miss M, there were so many things I was afraid of, but I was able to work through them. I was certain that with my doula and all the work I'd done pre-delivery, my delivery with Miss M would go well, and I would not need a c-section. I didn't even worry about it. That's not where I find myself right now. I am terrified of both having someone cut me open, and the medications that they give (I have just awful reactions to many medications--and because of my relatively small size, they always overmedicate me, which only makes things worse). And then the c-section recovery period. And the scar. I don't want any of it. It all sounds horrible.

My doctor was very kind and said there was nothing I can do at this point but see what happens, and that it was not my fault that this had happened. Of course, she obviously doesn't know who she's talking to! I have never in my life taken advice that there is "nothing I can do." I refuse to accept that as a possibility with pretty much everything in life! I had already found someone to do moxibustion a few weeks ago, when she was still transverse before turning head down the first time. I'm going to give that a go later this week. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't, but it's worth a shot. I'm also going to (carefully) try inversions. I had done one right before the baby turned head down last time, so maybe it helped, and maybe it will again. I'm also going to try to just sleep on my left side. I've been switching off at night to stay comfortable, but I'm going to try not to. The way she's positioned, the pressure needs to be on the left side, so perhaps that will help. And of course, I will be scouring the internet for things that sound safe that I can also do.

If all goes well and the baby cooperates, and I'm able to have a normal delivery, she'll let me labor in whatever position I want, including pushing. In fact, she said she didn't want me on my back! It's a far cry from the standard American practice. She also said as long as everything is well with the baby (ie, no meconium, etc.), I can have her on my chest for skin to skin contact right after birth for as long as I want. That was all very positive. Oh, and my blood pressure looks great, and my weight is up less than a pound from two weeks ago, according to her scale. And, I'm negative for Strep B, which means no need for antibiotics, which is also good news. Now she just needs to turn!

T and I did a bit of baby shopping after that. I was hoping to find a baby sling of some sort that I like better than the three I already own, but I didn't find anything. I'm also wondering where women buy their pumping supplies in this damn country, because I can't find the last few things I need, and don't feel like ordering them online (which I'm now going to be forced to do). We went to lunch after that, which was really nice. We don't get out much, and my sister had offered to babysit so we could go to our appointment without Miss M. It was her naptime, anyway, so it all worked out well. It was nice to sit and chat with T. without any interruptions, and have a real grownup conversation. Plus, the food was great!

So hopefully, I've got two more weeks or so until I deliver, and this baby will turn head down in the meantime.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

37 Weeks

I am cranky.

It's everything and it's nothing. It's just 37-weeks-pregnant crankiness, but really everything and everyone is bothering me. Over the last few days, the only time I feel really great is when I first wake up in the morning. I don't remember things hurting this much with Miss M's pregnancy. On the other hand, I'm two years older, and I have to do a lot of walking just to get to work in this city. After I have the baby, I'm sure I'll be happy that I'm in such good shape. But for now, it's been taking its toll for the last few days.

So, enough of my whining. I am at 145.8, which means I've lost a little weight, but since I gained two pounds last week, I'm considering myself on track. My belly is enormous. Still no stretch marks, but there are some spidery looking veins underneath my belly. It's not so pretty. I also have a very faint linea negra now, after not having one for almost the entire pregnancy. Weird.

I had a friend who was due the day before me, and she had her baby on Monday. She's had trouble during all of her pregnancies (and lost one baby at 8 months), so I knew she'd go early. But psychologically, hearing that she had her baby has me ready to be there. I still have plenty of time to go, though.

Wow, am I cranky.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

After thinking about all of our company in the early weeks after the birth of Numero Dos, I decided that we just need to put our (collective) foot down, and T concurs. We will have company the first few weeks, but it's going to be on my terms. If I need to disappear into my room with my baby, I'm going to. If I need to ask people to do stuff, I'm going to. I keep thinking about the time I had with Miss M, and the big things I needed (but didn't have) were people to hold the baby while I slept, and casseroles. Otherwise, I happily coccooned away those early days, and it was wonderful bonding time. I'm already worried about having sufficient bonding time with this baby, given that we have another child to take into account this time around. How does one balance the new baby vs. making sure firstborn feels secure and has her needs met?

We're going to tell MIL that she should come after my maternity leave is over. She couldn't come until the end of my maternity leave anyway, and we (I!) just can't handle another guest during that time. We're going to tell my stepsister that her friend can visit--for a week--after my maternity leave is over, and during a different week than MIL. Hopefully, that will be that.

One of the other big decisions we had to make was what to do about a car. We had a chance to buy a car here at substantial savings, but it just didn't feel right to me for various reasons (the expense being one of them). We're going to wait until we get back to the U.S., and buy something right after we return. It will be a bit of a hassle, but if we have the financing ready to go and prearrange some of the details (ie, maybe settle on a model/work out price with dealership), we should be able to drive a new car off the lot within a few days of returning home. I think this is the middle option--not as expensive as buying a car here, not as cheap as a used car, but with peace of mind knowing that a car is new and doesn't have unknown problems (probably). I feel like this is the right decision for us. I think T. is so tired of talking about it (he doesn't analyze things to death the way I do) that he would be happy with ANY decision at this point, just to head off further discussion.

On the doula, I've given up. I would love a good doula, but I can't expend any more energy in finding the right one. It hasn't happened to date, and I need to just give up on the idea that I can make it happen in the time I have left. I need to focus my energy on things I can actually accomplish.

And on the big girl bed, we decided to transition Miss M by having her take naps in her own room in her "big girl bed" starting this week, and we'll go from there. She'll still sleep in our room in her crib at night for now, but we hope to take it slow and have the transition complete before the baby gets here.

So, decisions made! Oh, and the contractions have lightened somewhat, too. I'm still having them, but not as many as on Friday/Saturday.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


A better title for this post might be "the post in which I vent about people who mean well." I have just 10 weeks of maternity leave planned, so this venting session is set against the backdrop of knowing that I have just a limited amount of time home with my new baby and to transition my toddler to new family dynamics.

My mother is very excited about the baby and desperate to play with Miss M (she hasn't seen Miss M in person since September, although we Skype often). I think she waited about 5 minutes after we announced Numero Dos before she booked her plane tickets to come visit. She's due to arrive a week after my due date, and she's coming with my aunt. They're staying for a week. I am completely fine with this, because they will actually play with Miss M to exhaustion and generally be helpful. Plus, if they are bugging me, I can totally tell them, and they will get it and not be offended. My mom is generally not one of those intrusive people who foists her opinion on other people, for the most part, which makes her pretty easy to deal with. My aunt doesn't really do that either (and doesn't have kids, so she doesn't push her experiences on anyone as the be-all, end-all parenting advice). I'm excited that they are coming to visit, and totally fine with the timing of their visit. (Plus, I think this baby is coming early, and their visit is scheduled for a week after my due date.)

My MIL also wants to come visit, but she has plans until mid-April. She is physically quite limited (overweight; bad knees; limited movement), and won't really be helpful in the days and weeks post-birth, so this plan is preferable to her coming shortly after the birth. It will be more work to have her here than to not have her here, if you know what I mean. Plus, she IS one of those people who foists her opinions on other people. When T. went home this summer, it was an endless stream of parenting tips, which kind of bugged me. He'd been a parent for a year an a half at that point, all by himself in Europe with only me for support, and doing a great job. Really, he didn't need meddling, however well-intentioned it might have been. Not to totally get distracted by a rant, but she also says unfortunate things ALL THE TIME. She means well, but things just come out of her mouth. . .like the other day when she told me that she believes that Numero Dos is going to be a "fat" baby. What's up with that? You don't tell a woman who's about to give birth that she's about to have a "fat" baby. You don't tell a parent that her baby is "fat." But anyway. . .MIL wants to come later this spring. She suggested at some point that she not come until after I go back to work from my maternity leave. I took this to mean she'd rather come when I won't be around, but whatever. The only dates that really work are late May, as I don't want her here as we first transition from me being at home to me going back to work. I think that will be a rough period for both T and Miss M to get used to, and we don't need anything added to that equation. So late May. . .but I'm still trying to weigh whether it will be too much work for T to manage a new baby, a toddler, AND taking care of his mother (she will expect to be waited on, as that is what he always has done for her--which was fine until we had kids). But still, we can make this work if I put my foot down and say she has to come in late May, as opposed to any other time.

We have friends who live in Africa, and due to a medical issue, they will be coming through Europe in early April. They have a toddler that is Miss M's age and the two of them are great pals. Our house is a natural stopover point for them when they come and go from Africa, and we offered for them to stay with us a long time ago. We are more than happy to have them, they are no trouble whatsoever (indeed, having an in-house playmate for Miss M is worth gold), and we can't wait to see them. Plus, they get it.

So, if you are playing along so far, my due date is March 9, I have guests arriving a week later and staying until almost the end of March, then I have guests in early April, and then in late May.

My stepsister is living with us right now. We offered to let her live with us for free so she could study in Europe. We are delighted to have her with us, and Miss M loves her. She occasionally babysits for us, but I try not to use her too much, because I really want her time here to be about getting out and enjoying life and expanding her horizons. (Contrast this to a work colleague of mine who has her brother living with her for free, in exchange for him nannying three days a week for her!). I truly enjoy the girl, but she is often utterly oblivious. She grew up in a very laid back household, so I don't think that it even occurs to her sometimes that her behavior might bother us. Like, I just went into her bathroom (which she will have to share with my houseguests in a few weeks), and it's FILTHY. Like, teenage boy filthy. I won't even describe the grossness, but it is super gross. Someone is going to have to scrub it before my mother comes, and I kind of think it should be her, and not T, but that's not really a conversation I relish. At Christmastime, she wanted a friend from home to stay with us, which we consented to. However, we didn't think to ask how long the friend was staying (every guest we have had since she's been here has stayed no longer than a week), and learned just before the friend arrived that she was staying TWO WEEKS! It never occurred to me that she would think that such a long visit was just okay, without specifically asking. Who invites someone to someone else's house for TWO WEEKS without specifically mentioning it? So anyway, she has just asked if another friend can come visit. . .during the last two weeks of my maternity leave. We are thinking about trying to take the kids somewhere warm during that timeframe, and if we do that, it's less of an issue. But if we are here, I don't want a stranger in my house for the last two weeks of my maternity leave. I just don't. That's my time with my family, and it may be selfish of me, but I don't want anyone here. We are clearly going to have to have another conversation that I also do not relish.

My father and his wife (my stepsister's mother) were also talking about coming to visit. My father was on the fence about visiting, so I knew he might not come, and my stepmother talked about coming with various other people, including a friend of hers that we know well. We were fine with that. However, she's waffled on dates for months. She finally told us (without checking first) that she'd taken off a week at the end of April and planned to come then. I told her it was fine, but it also fell during the time we may travel, so she agreed to change her dates. This weekend, without checking with me, I got an email from her saying that she'd changed her dates again and booked her tickets. . .without talking with us first. She's now arriving the day after my mother leaves. Also, my father isn't coming, and she's bringing a friend with her, which I only learned from a meme that the friend happened to send around which noted she was going to Europe! She's staying for a little over a week. I'm happy to have her come visit, and I know the point of her visit is really to see her daughter and not my children. I have to say, though, that I thought it was pretty rude that she'd book tickets without talking to use first. I know she didn't mean to be rude (she's not a rude person. . .like her daughter, she's just super laid back, and it simply doesn't occur to her to do things that the rest of the world would do to be polite).

If you have bothered to read this far and have at all been able to follow the story, you will recognize that this means that I will have guests essentially from a week after my baby is born (if she arrives near her due date) until she is about a month old. Then I will have a week or two without guests, and then have guests again for a few weeks. Unless I put my foot down, which I am obviously going to have to do. Thank goodness European airfares tend to spike in the summer. June-August will be blissfully quiet on the visitor front!

I know people mean well. I know they love us, and they want to see the kids. But I think everyone has also forgotten that this is our family time, too, and it's feeling a little overwhelming. I'm sure it will all work out, once I push back on my MIL and my stepsister's friend. But I really needed to vent about it, because right now, as I try to wrap up work projects and wash baby clothes and transition my toddler to a big girl bed and order the remaining things that I need for this baby and apply to preschool and schedule our move for next fall and buy a new car, it's all feeling like a bit much.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Weekend Update--36 Weeks

So, I've been having loads of contractions--maybe 5-6 an hour. They don't hurt, there's no pattern, they're all in my belly, and there is nothing else going on anywhere else. But I've never had this many (it's been going on for a couple of days), and it's kind of freaky. I talked to the doctor yesterday, and absent any other symptoms, she's not worried, although she did tell me to take it easy this weekend. I've been a good girl and have been sitting on my couch all morning.

The couch time has allowed me to finish researching preschools and make some decisions, as Miss M ran around the living room creating utter chaos with her (many, many) toys. Spanish immersion is definitely out. I just couldn't find an option that would work. My first choice school is either a 2 or 3 day half-day program at a cooperative. The price is reasonable (for a big Northeastern city) at about $400 a month for the 3 day, and slightly less for the two day. My second choice is a Montessori that has a four half-day program. It's a big jump up in price at $700 a month, but that's much more in line with preschool costs in the city we're moving to (gulp!). My third choice is also a Montessori, which has a 5 day a week half day program. It's about $800 a month. Overall, I feel like two or three days are sufficient, given that we have two more years of preschool after this one. I could only find one program in the neighborhood we'll be living in. I didn't want a religious preschool, and I didn't want a daycare, so that knocked out a lot of programs. I also didn't want full time, so that knocked out other programs.

I was pretty set on just applying to the one program that offers 2 or 3 half-days and seeing what happens, but a friend made the point that Miss M will likely thrive in a 4 or 5 half day setting. I'm still not entirely convinced, but given the waitlist situation (ie, all preschools have waitlists already for next fall), I decided that we might as well apply to the three schools that fit my criteria, and then see what happens. If she gets into none of them, we'll be fine with that. If she gets into any one of them, we can inspect them and go from there.

So anyway, long story short, we have a preschool plan. I mailed one application yesterday, and will be wading through the application process for the other two in coming days. It is something of a relief to have a plan.

Next up, I need to figure out the car situation. It's amazing how much easier it is to move forward with decisions once you have one sorted out. I struggled over preschool so much, but now that we have a decision, I feel like it's freed me up to move forward on more complicated decisions.

If only I didn't keep having these contractions. . .

Edited to Add: My weight is 146.6. That's a little over two pounds this last week. I guess I can cut back a bit on the extra snacks (healthy ones!) I've been eating to try to gain weight!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

35 Week appointment

I am technically 36 weeks on Saturday, but on Tuesday I had my 35 week appointment. The great news is that she's head down and in the right position! I was so relieved to hear that. Everything else was normal. I opted to do the Strep B screen (it's optional here), and should have results in a few days.

We talked a lot at this appointment about labor and delivery, and I was a bit surprised at just how liberal my doctor is. Since I want a natural delivery, she will essentially allow me to labor at home for most of the time, assuming that nothing raises any red flags. Because I only live a couple of miles from the hospital (albeit in city traffic), if all goes well, she's let me go as long as to the point where I'm three minutes or so between contractions. She said she'll talk to me periodically during the time I'm at home to assess me over the phone. However, she also said that if I'm at all uncomfortable laboring at home, and want to be in the hospital, I can do that, too. We'll see. I have to take a cab to the hospital, and contractions in the car seem so unpleasant to me, especially with all of the speed bumps in the neighborhoods between here and the hospital. I think that's my biggest hangup about laboring at home.

I've been having a ton of (painless) contractions today. I've sort of ignored them for most of the day, but I've been having them for the last two hours sort of regularly. I just timed them for the last hour, and they are not regular at all--some are 10 minutes apart, some are six, etc. I'm not overly worried yet, but it is a little weird. I've tried drinking water and laying down, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. Hopefully they will go away soon.

I got up early this morning to catch an early train out of town for work. I am exhausted now. It's going to be an early night for me! Miss M seems to have enough energy for both of us, though. Thankfully daddy is here to pick up the slack.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Name Game

In mulling over baby names last night, I did what any highly obsessive, excessively Type A personality who is sick of poring over baby name lists would do: I started putting together a family tree. I've been meaning to do it for months, and had some preliminary information from my grandmother and my mother, so it was surprisingly easy. I made it back five generations in a few hours. In the course of doing so, I think I found the perfect middle name. It's a name that we both like, but think it's too popular to use as a first name. I've been wanting to give our daughter a middle name that had some history to it, that was a piece of me, and I think this one is perfect. It's the same letter as my (very old-fashioned and not very pretty) middle name. But, it's much prettier. The best part? It belongs to several different great-great-great grandmothers, so it has that historic connection. It just really feels right to me.

It was funny, because there is another name that we like as a first name. We were just talking about it yesterday, in fact. T was pretty high on it, even, until he discovered that its origins are from a country that he doesn't like (I know, the ridiculous discussions we have over names!). While researching the family tree, I discovered that this name was my great-great grandmother's first name! I thought that was pretty cool. I don't think I'll be able to persuade him to use it though, so the first name search still continues.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

35 Weeks

In the last week, I seem to have made up for the weight I haven't been gaining, all in one fell swoop. My weight this morning is 144.2 pounds. That's a little over five pounds in one week! I suspect the fine Belgian chocolates and the 3 rounds of snacks I've been stuffing in my purse every morning have helped enormously. My face looks a little puffy this morning, but none of the rest of me is. I have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday, and if I'm still puffy then, I'll raise it. It's more likely that it's puffy from waking every hour to pee/roll over, than anything dodgy. I am like a giant turtle on its back--I have to actually get out of bed to turn over, because my belly is so huge that it's too uncomfortable to manage, otherwise.

We are still stuck on names. We had come up with a name that I loved for her first name, and for most of this pregnancy, I was sure that would be her name. I still love it, but it's more of a surname than a first name (although now being used as a first name). All of a sudden, that bothers me. Miss M's name is very old-fashioned and has a whole history to it. The name that I love for this baby doesn't have that sense of history. I know that is such a weird thing to be hung up on, but there it is. I want a name that is classic yet obscure, with a strong historical sense behind it. I don't know why. I just do. So, the search continues.

Similarly, we are exactly nowhere on a middle name. We gave Miss M my last name as a middle name, since T and I have different last names. I wanted to do the same thing again, so that both girls had a piece of me in their names. T doesn't want to do that again, though. I'd like a name that has significance for the middle name. Unfortunately, neither my first or middle name has a variant that I like, and I don't want to give her either of my actual names (my middle name, in particular, is VERY old-fashioned, and not really in a good way). Argh.

Time is flying by, and I still have so many things to do before the baby comes. I'd better hurry up! I made no progress last weekend in getting out, sorting and washing baby things. I'm hoping to get some of that done today, as well as some reorganizing of Miss M's things. T is no help at all in that regard, and shoves things everywhere. It drives me crazy that he's so disorganized and messy!

As for the baby, she seems to be doing well. I am thinking (hoping, praying. . .) that she has finally turned head-down. I feel her kicks up near my ribs, and I was extremely uncomfortable yesterday with something pressing on my cervix/bladder/etc. I feel hands down low in my abdomen, as well, toward my back. I really, really hope she is in the right position, and stays there for the next five weeks.

I've been thinking about her birth, and reading some of the books I read before Miss M was born. It's funny--I never noticed that most of the books I bought before were geared to first time mothers, but sure enough, now that I reread them, I can see that about them. I want things to go as perfectly as they did with Miss M's birth, but I do wonder whether it's possible to have things go so well twice in a row. I wonder the same thing about babyhood. Miss M was a really easy baby, in hindsight. Can we have that twice in a row? I hope so, but I also know that every child is different. It freaks me out a little, actually. I feel like I'm almost asking for too much to have two amazing births, two amazing children.

T has just taken Miss M to the park. Although I haven't been tired at all during this pregnancy, I am tired today. All of the night waking is taking its toll on me. I think I might take a nap.