Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This and That

32 Weeks. In some ways, I can't believe I've made it this far. It took so long to get pregnant, and then pregnancy just flew by in an instant. In other ways, I can't believe I still have 8 weeks left to go. I feel like I've been pregnant forever. I can't actually remember what it feels like to fully inflate my lungs. Or have zero pain when I sit, stand, walk, eat, or sleep.

I had my 32 week appointment today, and everything is still basically the same. Baby's heart rate is holding steady in the mid-150s, belly measuring 1 cm small (31), my blood pressure is still pretty low (102/78), and I'm up 18 pounds. Dr. G. now thinks that baby is head down. Hopefully it stays that way.

I'll probably try to go to the chiropractor again in the next couple weeks to keep my pelvis aligned. Except my chiropractor recently stopped accepting my insurance, so it got a lot more expensive. I'm told that a properly aligned pelvis and spine can speed up labor and delivery (and being improperly aligned can slow it down, and even prevent it from progressing), so I'm thinking it might be worth the extra cost. Plus, he has the magic pregnancy pillow so I can lie on my stomach there. Yes, at this point I'm willing to pay a guy $40 to let me lie on my stomach for half an hour.

I've seen a chiropractor for most of my athletic career for various injuries and mis-alignments, but I've only just started reading about it's affects on pregnant women. I went two weeks ago after my last OB appointment when Dr. G. said baby was still transverse, and the chiropractor did his Webster thing and some pushing on some ligaments and now baby is head down. Could be coincidence, could have worked. Baby also dropped a bit lower which has been a nice vacation from its constant drumming on my ribs.

Has anyone done the chiropractor thing? Think it helps with labor? Or baby's positioning?

My chiropractor is a bit on the crunchy side, as he gave me pamphlets on doulas and a copy of his wife's (natural) birth plan on my first visit while pregnant. He also gave me magnesium samples and encourages lots of herbs and teas. I do feel good about him though, because he is an MD, and he's the sports medicine doctor for our local minor league hockey team. So crunchy, but maybe not all the way granola. Plus Dr. G. is definitely a man of science, so it's sort of nice to hear some alternative options too.

I did have a good conversation with Dr. G. today about going a little more natural. I've never told him that I want to go completely natural - I'm not actually sure I do at this point - but I am keeping my options open. I know he suggests getting an epidural, but he said he's open to whatever I want. He just encourages his patients to be flexible - especially first-time moms. He said he's had several patients who were strong, tough women but totally fell apart as soon as labor started and couldn't handle it. And he's seen many who he was sure were pretty much wusses, but they were confident and calm and dealt with labor surprisingly well. So while he thinks I'm strong and confident and tough, there's really no way to know how things are going to go down. He just wants me to keep an open mind, listen to suggestions given by him and the nurses, and be willing to go with whatever will keep me and baby safest. I told him, "That right there is my birth plan."

My mom bought us a car seat/stroller and dropped it off this weekend, and my mother-in-law texted me last night to say she bought us a crib and mattress and it's currently shipping to our house. So we're starting to grow our baby collection. My shower is March 8, so we're sort of putting off buying anything else until after that. I'll be 35 weeks then, so hopefully this kid doesn't decide to show up too early!

I leave you with my 32 week bump photo (or at least an accurate representation of it):

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Letter to Me

**To be read at 3 a.m. in 10-12 weeks**

Dear Lilee,

You did it. You had a baby.

You still don't believe it, do you? Despite the fact that the sweet child with your blue eyes and Bobby's adorable, upturned nose is in your arms (screaming?) right now, you still can't believe it's happening. That's YOUR baby. You have the bleeding, torn up lady bits to prove it. I mean, of course you tore, right? Like a tenth degree tear. Worst the hospital has ever seen. You like to hold records like that, and you seem to be pretty good at it. Don't worry - you can use it against the kid when they're being a snotty 15-year-old..."After 90 hours of labor...do you even know what you did to my vagina!?"

Or maybe you're balancing the baby a bit precariously, trying to avoid putting pressure on your C-section incision. The C-section you fought so hard to avoid, but someone talked you into it because you weren't progressing fast enough. Or because even at 40+ weeks this kid refused to dislodge its head from your ribcage. I know you feel guilty that you didn't get to have a "natural" delivery. You don't even want to feel guilty, but you do anyway. Like your body failed you, once again. Like you just weren't strong enough. If you could have just pushed for another hour...If you'd gone to a chiropractor, or for acupuncture...If you had just taken the epidural earlier...If...If...If.... You can feel sad about it now - it's okay. You can feel guilty. You're allowed to feel however you want. On this cool, spring night, alone in the dark in this nursery with your baby, let yourself feel it all. Eventually these feelings will fade and you won't care at all how this baby came into the world. You don't look that good in a bikini anyway.

I know you're tired. You're sick of breastfeeding already. Maybe baby isn't latching so well, or your nipples feel engulfed in molten lava...or maybe you even gave it up all together after only two days. Don't worry about it. I guarantee the kid is getting enough to eat. Bobby and mom and everyone else are not going to let it starve. You did your best. Before you try to refute that and start on the "if" game again, just stop. I know you. You don't half-ass anything. I know you dove into breastfeeding face first and gave it all you had. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't. But you tried. Whatever delivery system you're using to get this kid milk is still letting you bond. Look at that sleepy, happy face. You'll bond over your love of reading or Bon Iver or hockey. When was the last time you bonded with mom over your love of eating from her boobs? Gross, right? The kid will get over it.

I'm going to say something hard here, something you're pretending you don't feel, but I know you do. You're wondering if you've made the biggest mistake of your life. You're hiding it; you're throwing yourself into motherhood--all in, because that's what you do--but you have doubts. Sometimes you miss the nights on the couch watching the Wild with Bobby. You curled under his arm, face resting on his chest. You miss your chaotic morning "routine" that was really anything but a routine. You miss eating out on a whim, going for frozen yogurt at midnight, and sleeping til noon on Saturdays.

You know your life isn't over. You know you'll do those things again - despite what other parents tried to scare you with when you're pregnant.

But still, you have those feelings. They creep in like the morning light through the crack in the blinds.

Sometimes you wish you weren't a mom.

And the instant you have that inkling of a thought, you hate yourself. You hate yourself because it took you so damn long to become a mom. That for two straight years it was the only thing you hoped for, wished for, thought about. You hate yourself because of your infertile friends, and how they would do absolutely anything to be in your place right now, holding this tiny baby. They would have taken pregnancy in stride, instead of complaining about it like you did. They would have signed up for the prenatal classes. They would have been better at giving birth. They could have breastfed their baby...

Remember what grandma told you all those years ago about grief and sadness? That for just a little bit - a few minutes, maybe an hour - let yourself feel it all. Feel every painful inch of that grief. Don't keep pushing down that bit of gnawing - face it: experience it. Jump in the shower where no one can hear or see you. Cry. Scream. Say bad words. Hate everyone and everything. And then, you let it all wash down the drain. You let it go. You're done. You get out of the shower and you deal with life.

So do it. Put the baby down tomorrow morning. Even if it cries and screams for a while - it'll be okay. Put it in that chair thing. Or the swing. Ten minutes of crying is not going to damage it for life - it might save yours.

No, your life is not over. You will still see your friends. You will play volleyball again. You will have a meaningful job. You will sleep in til noon. Don't let people scare you when they tell you you'll never do anything for yourself again. That's not you, and you're going to do this mom thing your own way.

One thing is true: your life will never be the same. The old, comfortable days are gone. Those were really great times, and you were blessed to have five years of them - just you and Bobby. But these will be good times too.

Just look at that baby. Sure, it resembles Wallace Shawn more than either you or Bobby. But this is it. Don't miss out on this moment. Don't worry about taking a photo or writing something in the baby book you haven't even removed from the cellophane. Just be here. Be present. And be here again in two hours. And again after that.

You can do this, Lilee. You have a baby.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Final Countdown

I'm 30 weeks pregnant and my baby is the size of a fruit. Probably. I don't know, I never read those fruit update things. They're weird and confusing. The bump under my shirt is roughly the size of a volleyball, if that helps.

At my appointment yesterday, I was up a total of 16 pounds. It was the first week Dr. G. didn't say anything about my weight. He may have just forgotten or didn't look. Or maybe he realized it was my birthday last week, so I obviously overindulged in cake. And ice cream. And breakfast food. And more cake. Baby's heartbeat is still in the 150s, and my belly measured 29 cm (so 1 cm small). He was sure this time the baby was transverse still, so I guess my "too much ab definition" didn't last long.

I'm definitely feeling big. And pretty blah. I can't imagine that my skin is going to stretch much more or that my back can handle anymore front weight. There's no way this kid is going to DOUBLE in size in the next few weeks. But it's what they tell me. And by "they" I mean the people that think your baby goes from the size of a pomegranate to the size of a banana in a week. Those aren't even comparable! What kind of shape-shifter do they think is inside of me right now?!

Remember when I said I hoped to have everything done by 30 weeks? Nursery finished, baby stuff purchased, bags packed, etc.? Yeah...none of that has happened. We still have nothing. Instead, we've been spending all our time and money putting in a bathroom downstairs. So...I hope you like your cardboard box bed, kid! Mama's getting a rain shower!

My husband is officially freaked out by my belly button. It's technically still "in," but it's pretty flat. Another big meal or two and it'll pop. Bobby thinks it looks like a cat's butthole, and he doesn't like to look at it. I can't actually see it unless I pull on the skin, which makes him even more uncomfortable. I try to warn him that this is not the worst thing he's going to see my body do during this pregnancy...

We did take a tour of our hospital birth center yesterday after my appointment. It was really weird because they literally had zero patients. Like, I expected us to be interrupting their day, but they had no babies in the nursery, no one delivering, no one recovering. So it was nice that we got to see everything and we didn't feel like huge nuisances. But it was so quiet, and we really didn't have any questions (probably should have--but I was kind of unprepared. Shocked? I know, me too).

Dr. G. keeps telling me I'm too easy of a patient because I never come with a long list of questions. I guess I don't have many. I have all of you! Plus this pregnancy has been fairly straightforward. He asked me what I want to know about labor, but honestly, what I want to know, he can't really tell me. I want to know if I'm going to freak out or handle it well. I want to know if I can do it unmedicated. I want to know how bad it hurts. I want to know if my baby is going to be breech. I want to know if I'm going to have to have a C-section.

He did tell me I'll get an IV right away when I check in, which doesn't make me too happy, but it sounds like it's non-negotiable. He's also super pro-epidural. I wouldn't say I'm anti-epidural, I just know I don't want it the moment I walk in. I hate the idea of being stuck to the bed and being numb. I hate the idea of a needle in my back. I have so many back problems already, I'm a little protective of doing painful things to it!

Once I figured out the difference between Braxton-Hicks contractions and normal baby movement, I realized I was having BHs a lot. Mostly when I work out or do a lot of walking, but also anytime during the day. Dr. G. asked if I'd had any contractions, and when I told him just the BH, he said "Good to know, but you don't get any credit for those." I guess he's not worried.

So Bobby and I have reached a good compromise about his reading all the baby books I want him to. Since I can't do much to help with the bathroom, in the evenings while he's working on it, I sit and read the books to him. Apparently he didn't know there was a "third stage" of labor, and that I had to deliver the placenta. ("Wait...after you cut the cord, where does it go? Isn't it just hanging out of you?") After I read him the rest and he learned this new information, I tried to kindly remind him that this was why I wanted him to read the books in the first place. So he would know what needed to happen.

Of course, he likes to be snarky sometimes, so he said, "Yeah, it's a good thing that I'm going to be the one that knows what's going on. I'm sure the doctor and nurses will all turn to leave after the baby's out, and then I'll be like, 'Hey wait guys, we need to deliver the placenta!' And they'll be so grateful that I'm here to remind them what to do."

I pulled up my shirt and showed him my ugly belly button.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Other Side of Sad News

A co-worker approached me this morning at my desk, and asked if she could speak with me - obviously indicating in private, away from others who share my cube space.

I followed her to the work room where she told me she was planning on sending out an email about her son and daughter-in-law's baby, who was stillborn last night. The baby was born at 32 weeks - 2 lbs, 4 ounces, but didn't make it.

My co-worker had tears in her eyes as she shared this with me, saying she wanted to let the rest of the staff know, but she didn't want me to see an email and panic. That was so sweet and thoughtful of her, and really not necessary. I could tell it wasn't easy for her to share this in person with me, as she obviously wasn't ready to talk about it. I just repeated dumb things like, "Oh that's too bad" and "I'm so sorry."

She had announced this pregnancy and excitement over a new grandchild many weeks ago during our staff meeting, likely when her DIL was about 12 weeks along. I didn't announce my own pregnancy until 20 weeks, but I was only three weeks behind this girl, so I was well aware of my own pregnancy during the announcement.

I thanked her for telling me first, hugged her, and felt an overwhelming sadness for this couple I'd never met. It wasn't until I returned to my desk that I really thought about what this meant. Even though I've been feeling pretty good sitting here at nearly 30 weeks, nothing is guaranteed. I've read a lot of success stories of babies born in the early-30-week-range that made it, but I'll admit, I've purposely avoided all the stories of early babies that didn't. Until this one landed right in front of me.

Part of me feels really horrible for still being pregnant. This co-worker is going to have to watch me keep getting bigger and eventually (hopefully) have a baby. She's going to know that she should have a granddaughter three weeks older. I know what it feels like to be on that side too - and it's not a good feeling.

Some of our good friends that we hang out with all the time have a precious two-year-old girl that just adores Bobby. We had started trying right around the same time they did - although she's their second child. Every time we're at their house, I can't help but think that we should have a little one running around with her, playing dress up, making messes, and begging Bobby to spin them in circles over his head. Being pregnant lessens the sting a bit, I guess, but it definitely doesn't erase it.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Birthday Girl

Today is my birthday. I'm 27.

If you're a long-time reader, you may remember that I should be in Hawaii right now.

I'm definitely not in Hawaii right now, as the temperature on my phone is telling me it's 9* out, with a wind chill of -3*. More importantly, I'm not in Hawaii because I'm 29 weeks pregnant. 29 weeks. Holy balls.

On Friday, I passed my 3-hour glucose test. To celebrate, I spent the weekend eating my weight in birthday cake, Super Bowl snacks, and frozen yogurt. If I wasn't before, I'm surely on my way to diabetes now! Or at least a huge lecture from Dr. G. on my excessive weight gain at my 30-week appointment.

I also handed in my official resignation at work today. My last day is April 3, the end of my 37th week of pregnancy. It feels simultaneously just around the corner and a lifetime away.

This is a short post. I think I have something really long and ranty coming (work related) maybe later this week, but it's my birthday, and I don't want to write about something so stressful today.

I'm having Bobby take me out to a local diner tonight because I have a craving for breakfast food that is absolutely insatiable. I'm hoping to at least put a dent in it tonight.