Thursday, July 24, 2008

hanging up the horns

Two weeks ago, Liam hit a milestone. He was officially outside longer than he was inside. The past nine months have been amazing, crazy, and different from anything we had ever anticipated. As my brother-in-law likes to point out, "he's awesome."

At any rate, I've been breastfeeding Liam all along (though he's on plenty of solids now, too). Like most things, I took a "we'll try it and see how it goes" approach. I had no real expectations or lofty goals. I just figured, if it works, that's great. If not, that's okay too. We had a bit of a latching issue at the outset, which we got through with some formula supplementation (and feeding Liam with a medicine dropper). I got to know my breastpump quite well, as I was pumping every three hours day and night for a few weeks. Finally, after several lactation consultant visits and introducing a nipple shield, we figured it out, and all was well. I was able to put away the pump for awhile.

When I started back to work half-time the week of January 22nd, I was only in the office once a week. So pumping three times a day in the office wasn't too bad. I pumped at 8:30am, at 12:30pm, and again around 4pm. Fortunately I have my own office, with a door that I can lock. However, I do have a wall of windows that look out of a rooftop, where workmen show up frequently. So that made for some fun sessions. Through an intricate set-up of flattened cardboard boxes and the strategic placement of my computer monitor in sight-lines, I don't think I ever actually flashed anyone.

I started back in the office full-time on March 31st. Managing the three-times-a-day pumping schedule was difficult. The morning session was easy -- no one else was in the office that early. Lunch was a little trickier -- morning meetings that ran long could leave me in a bit of a painful situation, plus I was always eating lunch at my desk while hooked up. The late afternoon one was okay, but I sometimes found myself rushing at 4:45pm to get it done before leaving work. I'm proud to say that I managed that schedule for about two months (until Liam was 7 1/2 months).

At the beginning of June, prompted by pump-fatigue and an apparently diminishing milk supply, I decided to drop down to pumping twice a day (losing the early morning session) and sending a bottle of formula to daycare with Liam. (And, yes, I know full well that pumping less decreases supply.) I felt like crap about this, but it made the workday a bit easier.

Two weeks ago, I decided to drop to one pumping session a day (giving Liam two bottles of formula a day). I kept the lunch session. This was much easier than the first foray into formula.

Today, after pumping for ten minutes and getting one ounce, I decided to call it quits. I'm not going to pump at work anymore. I'm going to continue nursing him when he wakes up and when he goes to bed, but I'm done with the breastpump. It served me well, but I want my lunch back. I want to go out with other people. I want to socialize. I want flexibility. I want to wear things to work that I can't unbutton down the front easily. I'm hanging up the horns.

RIP Medela Pump in Style Advanced.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

breaking news

POOH-NAMI HITS NORTHERN RHODE ISLAND
2 are swept away by wave, Residents advised to close windows

PROVIDENCE, RI. A pooh wave of epic proportions hit unsuspecting citizens of Lincoln, Rhode Island at 3:08PM EST on Thursday. Eyewitnesses report that the wave emanated from the diaper of a five-month-old boy.

Two residents, who remain unidentified, were carried away by the golden tidal wave of excrement. A dog was also reported missing.

A 30-year-old Lincoln woman, who declined to give her name, was one of the first responders to the scene. "There was pooh everywhere," she said. "It blew out the left side of his diaper, both up and down. I've never seen anything like it."

Witnesses report an acidic, vinegar-like smell permeating the area. Residents are asked to remain inside with their windows closed until further notice.

"[The infant] had some stinky farts," recalled the woman, who neighbors identified as the boy's mother. "But he'd been farting like that for the last day or so. I didn't really think it was going to come out that quickly. Or smell that bad."

The haz-mat team is focusing their efforts on the boy and his clothes, all of which were covered with pooh. The infant was transported to the bathroom for a full examination and bathing. Laundry relief efforts are underway.

Seismographs had detected movement in the outer crust approximately 22 hours before the pooh-nami hit. Seismic activity increased in scale about a half hour before the event, but scientists failed to predict the scale of the disaster.

"We should have seen it coming," the woman said, shaking her head. "The boy hadn't pooped in two days."

Friday, January 04, 2008

is this about me? no? then I'm not interested.

Yes, we're in a baby-induced blogging dry spell. Liam's not so much into the blogging thing. But things are going well here in the trenches.




Friday, November 02, 2007

labor notes

I found my post-it that I used to jot down my contractions. Keep in mind that they tell you that you should wait to go to the hospital until you've been having contractions lasting a minute each, five minutes apart for an hour. I think this helps explain why I was at home as long as I was.

Here's what it says (note that the handwriting gets worse as the evening wears on):

9:21 1 min

9:26 1 m

9:34 1 m

9:45 20 sec

[They stopped for awhile, until I had my bloody show.]

10:28 1 m (back)

[Contractions from here on out were all in my lower back.]

10:35 1 m

10:45

10:51

10:55

11:04

11:07

11:11

11:21

[I then went to the bathroom again, and called the doctor.]

11:42

[Then we ran out the door.]

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Liam's birth story

Saturday, October 13th, was my first day of maternity leave. I had skipped out on the fundraising event the night before, saying my goodbyes and heading out around 5:30pm.

Pat made a big breakfast - pumpkin-pecan pancakes, eggs with tofu, and sausage. He did some yardwork, and I watched tv and bummed around the house.

Late in the afternoon, we decided to run a few errands. We went to Target and Homegoods, bought a few necessities, some new sheets, placemats, and a tablecloth, before heading home around 6pm. We had salmon burgers for dinner, and I took my usual place on the comfy chair in the living room. I hadn't been getting around so well, and the chair was much easier to get up from than the couch.

Around 8:30pm, I had some Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie. And around 8:45, I went to lie down in bed and watch tv ("Carrie" was on, and then I started watching "Witness"). Pat went upstairs to watch the Red Sox game and play on the new computer.

About 15 minutes later, I started feeling what I thought was some gastrointestinal discomfort. My system hadn't been regular in a few days, so I figured it was just sorting itself out and throwing ice cream down there (even with a Lactaid) probably hadn't helped. I got up to go to the bathroom - nothing. Ten minutes later, I was up again. Still nothing.

I started feeling what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions -- my belly was tightening up -- it wasn't painful, but they did seem to be repeating more frequently. I grabbed a post-it and a pencil and started timing them. They were 5 minutes apart, 8 minutes apart, 9 minutes ... They didn't seem to be getting stronger or closer together. And they didn't hurt.

Every 15-20 minutes or so, I was getting up to go to the bathroom. And any passing notion that I might be in labor was far outweighed by the "I'm sure it's just a stomach problem" feeling. Meanwhile, Pat was still upstairs. I didn't think it was worth announcing my intestinal distress.

Around 10pm, I went to the bathroom yet again, and noticed a few streaks of blood. Hmm. This would seem to be the "bloody show", but as with all things in late pregnancy, this just meant I was getting closer to labor (i.e., it could still be two weeks). After that, I started having some dull lower back pain, and by 10:30 the contractions had clearly moved to my back.

I kept timing, and the contractions kept being irregular (7 minutes, 10 minutes, 6 minutes). I kept going to the bathroom, and there still was nothing.

At 11:20, after a 10-minute stint in the bathroom, my contractions seemed to be in the 6-minute apart range and I had been having the same kind for about an hour. I figured it was probably time to call and check in with the doctor. As I was grabbing the phone, Pat came downstairs.

"What's going on?"

"I'm calling the doctor. I think I might be in labor."

Of course, this led to the question of why I hadn't told him that this was going on. And I explained that the contractions weren't regular, they didn't hurt, and I thought it was a combination of Braxton Hicks and Ben & Jerry's. I didn't want to show up at the hospital and have them send me home with Maalox.

So at 11:25, I called the doctor's answering service, and he called me back about 3 minutes later, sounding very sleepy. I think I woke him up. I told him what had been going on, and he said, "Well, since you were 4cm dilated on Tuesday, why don't you go to the hospital and get checked out. I'll meet you there."

Right after that, the contractions sped up. I got off the phone, and Pat asked me if I wanted to take a shower.

"No. We need to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW."

Fortunately, our bags were already in the car, so Pat ran to take the dog out, and to leave a note on our next-door neighbor's car asking him to take her out in the morning. He was a bit frantic, as I had given him about 5 minutes' notice to get out the door.

I got dressed and loaded myself into the Highlander, and rapidly realized that with back labor, sitting down is probably one of the most uncomfortable positions you can be in.

We pulled out of the driveway at 11:47, and got to the hospital at 12:05. Fortunately, there were no lane closures on 95 that night (if you're not from here, you can't get ANYWHERE in this state without using 95 and it's been under some serious construction). By that point, my contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart, and I couldn't walk or talk through them. He pulled up the car, and I walked into triage. The triage nurse was helping another woman ahead of me. I leaned on the counter and huffed and puffed through my contractions. The security guy made Pat go park the car somewhere else. Meanwhile, the girls who do the paperwork had me sit down and go through the admission process.

A few minutes later, the triage nurse brought me into the back room and had me sit in one of those blood-drawing chairs, where I writhed around as she checked my blood pressure and asked me several of the same questions the admissions girl had. Pat came back in at this point carrying everything we brought with us (not just the labor bags); I could see him through the door.

A few minutes after that, they had a room in triage ready for me. Pat came in and he and the nurse walked me in there. They had me undress and put on a johnny. Somehow I managed to get up on the gurney. The resident OB came in and did an internal exam. She said I was 8cm dilated and had a "bulging bag" (amniotic sack -- my water hadn't broken yet). They started an IV, and asked if I wanted an epidural. I said, "yes!" They said they might not have time to do it; I asked if I could have any other pain medications, and they said no. I was too far along.

Meanwhile the contractions were coming strong and fast, and it was insanely uncomfortable lying on my back, so I rolled onto my right side and clung to the side of the bed, while trying to do my breathing (which was still helping at that point). At some point, I started groaning, which built to guttural howling through the contractions. They told me that we'd be going upstairs (to Labor and Delivery) shortly, and left me and Pat alone. I made him go track down the doctor a few minutes later, when it felt like the baby was going to come any second.

They wheeled me down the hall to the elevator. As I was yelling, I looked down the hall and saw the pregnant girl who had been admitted right before me, and imagined how I must have looked to her. I must have been scary.

The doctor was with us the whole time, which was good, as I was convinced the baby was going to be born in the elevator.

We got to L&D and they made me move myself from the gurney to the bed (not fun) in the few seconds I had between contractions. The Red Sox game was on in extra innings on the tv. The doctor asked if I wanted it turned off. I told her they could leave it on, as long as it was on mute. I figured it might be a good distraction for Pat.

I didn't notice when I came in (I had my eyes tightly shut during contractions), but the anesthesiologist was there prepping an epidural. The L&D nurse said that they could give it to me, if I was able to sit up and sit still through the contractions. I decided to try for it, and the nurse helped me into position. (Remember, sitting = more pain.) Pat tells me that they were about 30 seconds from administering the epidural when my water broke, well, burst really, during a contraction. It was like someone had lobbed a water balloon at my crotch. Right after that, I felt this intense shudder through my body and told the nurse that I needed to push. My body had taken over.

I think they told me I had to wait. I told them I couldn't.

They had me lie down again and scoot down to the end of the bed. They put an oxygen mask on me, which helped muffle the screams (I sounded possessed -- I really had no idea I could make noises like that). They started coaching me through breathing and pushing, and wanted me to hold my own legs back, and I just didn't have the strength. Pat ended up grabbing my left leg, and the L&D nurse was on my right. I couldn't enough air to sustain a second push through the contractions and ended up doing all of my breathing through my mouth (instead of in through the nose and out through the mouth).

I think I pushed through about 10 contractions, which was probably over the course of 15 minutes or so. During delivery, Liam's heart rate dropped -- his umbilical cord was around his neck - so the doctor called for the vacuum. (I remember being slightly concerned by this, but I was a little distracted.) Positioning the vacuum hurt -- it was a different pain from what I was already having, so it stood out for me. She didn't have to do much before Liam's head was out, and then it was one or two more pushes for the rest of him.

Liam's official time of birth was 12:59am. 54 minutes after arriving at the hospital.

The medical staff cut the cord and whisked him out of the room. I barely saw him before he went. The doctor asked Pat if he wanted to cut the remaining cord, which he did. Then he went into the other room to watch them run tests on Liam and clean him up. (Liam scored an 8 on his first Apgar test, and a 9 on the second one 10 minutes later.)

The doctor asked what his name was. We told her: Liam Patrick. She said she had just had her baby, also Liam, 9 weeks ago.

The doctor delivered my placenta, which I asked to see. It was much bluer than I had expected. And, as she was preparing to stitch me up (I had ripped), my OB came in (it was probably about 1:05am now -- about 90 minutes after I had talked to him). He offered to take over; but the resident said she was fine, so he sat next to me and chatted with us. I did get a shot of lidocaine to numb the area being stitched. I'm not convinced that it took, but it didn't hurt too much.

The L&D nurse periodically "massaged" my belly to stimulate contractions. There's nothing massage-like about this. Basically she pushed down really hard on my belly - enough to wind me. I groaned. The resident smiled and reminded me that she wasn't the one causing the pain. It was the nurse's fault.

They offered me morphine, which I readily accepted, because really, how often do you get to have morphine? It didn't really do anything for the pain, but it did relax my muscles -- I felt my shoulders melt.

I forget who brought them out (Pat, maybe), but I saw Liam's footprints before I got to really see him. And after what seemed like forever, but was probably only 20 minutes or so, they brought him back into the room and put him in my arms.

His hands were bluish. His hair was blond, and looked wavy from being wet. He was awake - his eyes looked gray (they were murky). Under his little hat, he had a bit of a conehead from the vacuum. And he had a blister on his left hand from having sucked on it in the womb.

We hung out in L&D for a long time. We stared at the little guy, took pictures, and tried to process everything. Pat snuck off to make a few phone calls. It was probably 3:15am when we finally left. They had me get up and get into a wheelchair, which was not a whole lot of fun, as it involved both standing (albeit briefly) and sitting on my now very swollen girl parts.

After getting situated in our recovery room (thankfully private), the nurses came to take Liam to the nursery for more tests. They thought they'd have him back to us around 6:30 or 7am. So I took some tylenol with codeine, and Pat pulled out the most uncomfortable chair/bed ever, and we proceeded to get a few hours of non-sleep. Liam didn't come back until about 8am.

We stayed in the hospital until Tuesday morning, recuperating and figuring out our new roles as parents.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

he's here!

Liam Patrick was born on Sunday, October 14th at 12:59am, 54 minutes after we arrived at the hospital.

He was 6lbs, 9oz and 19 inches long.

We were a little in shock at how quickly everything went, but everyone's fine. We've been home since Tuesday afternoon, and are having fun getting to know each other.

More stories to come.

Friday, October 12, 2007

quack quack

It's my last day at work. I've tied up about as many loose ends as I possibly can. And since I'm not going to be at tonight's fundraising event, I'm sitting in a very quiet office while my colleagues are out running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Do I feel guilty? Yes. But I'm far more comfortable relaxing in my office and am glad, at this point, to be a lame duck.

Since my doctor's appointment Tuesday, I've been rather paranoid about being dilated. I know I could stay like this for weeks, but the fact that I had no idea I had gone this far (i.e., no painful contractions) made me start wondering whether by the time I started feeling painful contractions, it'd be too late for -- well, some of the regular painkilling options, for one. And more importantly, getting to the hospital. So I've been fixated on how I'm feeling, whether the baby's squirming on a regular basis, are those Braxton-Hicks contractions, is my water breaking or is that normal discharge, was that my mucous plug, are my bowels misbehaving because I'm going into labor or because I had greasy pizza for dinner, etc., etc. It makes ya a little crazy.

So after a few days of feeling like the baby's going to just drop out from between my legs at any moment, I'm feeling a bit more physically stable today. Not sure why. But I like the change. Don't get me wrong, I'm still walking like a duck. A very, very slow duck. But it's nice to not feel compelled to keep my knees together in public.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

the final countdown

So we had our regularly scheduled doctor's appointment today. Despite the unholy amount of Halloween candy I've been eating, I managed to not gain any weight in the past week. Blood pressure was 110 over 72.

The doctor also checked my cervix. After explaining again (see last week) that being dilated doesn't mean anything about when you're going to deliver, he changed his tune when he discovered I was 3-4 centimeters dilated. (For those unversed in the ways of pregnancy, your cervix dilates to 10 centimeters before pushing. Sometimes women show up in labor at the hospital and aren't as dilated as I am.)

"Have you had any contractions?"

"Um, no. Just some Braxton Hicks, but nothing painful."

The good news is that I'm partly there already, which (hopefully) means that my labor will be quick. The bad news is my labor could be quick. Like, "oh, crap, get to the hospital NOW" quick.

Then Pat and I felt our heads explode as he said, "If you don't have the baby in the next several days, we could schedule you for induction next week."

We're thinking about it.

And I'm moving up my last day at work to this Friday. Hopefully I'll at least make it to the weekend, and -- fingers-crossed -- sometime next week.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

37 1/2 weeks

Here's today's belly shot:
And the Jenzilla angle:
All has been well this week. Other than I tweaked my knee on Thursday, so that's been hurting on and off. (I can't even remember exactly how I did it, which means it's totally weight-related.) And the compulsive-cleaning portion of my nesting instincts decided to kick in this morning, at 7. I'd rather be sleeping, but I guess a clean kitchen is a fair trade off.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

the OB report

Had a doctor's appointment yesterday afternoon. I'm 168lbs. Blood pressure was 120 over 68.

How did I gain three pounds in a week? Volume, volume, volume. Yeah, I'm back to my old ways of jamming my face full of food. My face is reaching Campbell's Soup proportions.

Belly checked out fine. Measurements and heartbeat were all good. Had the Strep B test, which took like two seconds and was not intrusive at all.

We're due for an internal exam next week, so the doc will check my cervix then. It won't really give us any information about when I'll deliver, because even if I am effaced or dilated, who knows how long it'll take to progress. But it does give them a baseline reading, so when I do show up at the hospital in labor, they'll know how far I've come.

This week, I finally broke down and started taking the elevator to my office (which is on the third floor). I still walk down the stairs, though. I'm getting around pretty good, all things considered.

Work has been somewhat insane. Besides all of the normal craziness, my pregnant coworker is now on two weeks' medical leave for vertigo, and there's not really a solid plan for covering my work while I'm completely out of commission (on full leave) for three months. While this doesn't make me feel particularly good about being away, there's only so much I can do at this point. They've got me for nine more days.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

36 1/2 weeks

How does it keep getting bigger?I'm definitely feeling the effects of all of the extra fluid circulating through my body. Nothing too severe, but I've had tingly fingers (mmm... carpal tunnely) and last night I had to keep flopping from side to side because my whichever shoulder I was on kept making my arm fall asleep. I can't wait to sleep on my back again.

I was off on Friday, taking a use-it-or-lose-it vacation day before the end of the month. It was a fun-filled day of laundry and shelf-hanging in the nursery (so lots of stairs and squatting, 'cause I don't bend at the waist anymore). Friday night I was feeling pretty good. Saturday, my hamstrings were not pleased and my waddle got more penguin-like. Today I'm feeling fine and I'm back to my cowboy swagger. Yee ha.

Monday, September 24, 2007

dropping anchor

Had a doctor's appointment this morning. Just a quick belly check. I'm at 165lbs. Blood pressure was 122 over 72. Belly measured well, and the heartbeat sounded good.

I told the doc that I thought I might have dropped over the weekend. He said it's about the right time for that to happen, so I probably did. But it doesn't mean anything as far as timeframe for delivery -- "some women drop a few weeks out, some women don't drop until they're in labor." What it does mean is that the baby fits in my pelvis, which is a good sign in general.

I'm on the weekly appointment plan now, so next Tuesday I'll have my Strep B test. Since this'll be my first internal exam in several months, he'll probably also take a look at my cervix and see what it's doing. (Hopefully nothing, for now.)

We finished up our last prenatal class yesterday. "Caring for You and Your Infant" We had a good instructor (who was 9 weeks pregnant with twins, and looked about the same size as me at 9 weeks) who was entertaining and kept things moving quickly through the 4-hour class. There were about 15 pregnant ladies, most with their partners. No one too interesting. The boys prevailed in the gender breakdown of the babies -- though there were more "we're waiting to find out" couples than we've had in other classes. So who knows.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

35 1/2 weeks

When I got up this morning, I was convinced my belly had dropped. It looked lower, and felt lower. But looking at the photo now, I'm not sure.
What do you think?

Extra bonus photo, in case you haven't gotten the full scope of the belly lately. Jenzilla's destroying the city!
Those are legs poking through at the top.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

35 weeks

Photo from this morning. (Belly was too busy over the weekend to pose.)
The belly's definitely more solid than it's ever been (there's bones in there). And, while still active, the baby's slowed down a bit (more squirming than kicking). There's been plenty of hiccups, though, mostly when I'm trying to fall asleep.

I discovered the amazing disappearing/reappearing belly button trick this week. My belly button is pretty much flattened out -- most of the time. When I pee, it goes in about a quarter of an inch. And then when I stand up, it's gone again. (Kind of gives you an idea of where my bladder is living these days.) Weird, but fascinating.

Muscles around the belly have been sore at the end of the day. Body pillow is keeping the belly from painfully pulling on my sides and back when I lie down in bed. I can still climb three flights of stairs with no problems, but I do like sitting down, a lot. I feel more tired more often, and am eating a bit less. I'm still functioning pretty well at work; though, I have plenty of pregnant-brain moments.

Maternity leave is almost settled. I need to make a few minor adjustments to our agreement, but we're just about there. (Good thing I started negotiating at the end of June...) Basically, I'm off for three months, and then come back part-time for two and a half, before returning full-time. Assuming the baby lets me work until a week before my due date, that means I'm back at work full-time by April.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

shower

We had a nice baby shower up in Massachusetts yesterday morning (thanks, Nancy!).

We got a lot of really nice things, and Pat was reunited with his beloved "Soft Brown Dog".
Soft Brown Dog will find a home on a high shelf in the nursery, where he can keep an eye on things. He's a little fragile around the seams (has Velveteen Rabbit thing going for him).

More photos from the shower can be seen here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

pants pants revolution

I only have a few pairs of pants (and shorts and skirts) left that still fit. So, on a whim the other day, I decided to see if maybe I could squeeze into one of Pat's larger pairs of shorts. I pulled them up (under the belly, mind you) and the button and the buttonhole were about 8 inches apart.

This prompted me to wonder what my measurements had actually grown to. So I whipped out the measuring tape and took them. And re-took them. And took them again. Because I didn't think it was physically possible, given how I look, that my measurements are 38-43-42. (Keep in mind that's measuring around the widest parts.)

How, when my belly is this big, are my belly and hips/butt measuring almost the same?

I asked Pat, who reminded me that my back has curved in significantly. I suppose I'm also a bit wider from side to side at the hips than I am at mid-belly. Still, it feels like I'm in one of those optical illusion puzzles. (The "surprise, the distance from Point A to Point B is the same in both pictures!" one.)

Monday, September 10, 2007

belly check

Had a doctor's appointment this morning. I'm 162lbs (up 2lbs from a week and a half ago). Blood pressure was 100 over 58. The belly is measuring right on. Baby's heartbeat was 130bpm (well within the proper range). The head is down, and, based on where the doc picked up the heartbeat, the baby's facing my left side (which is where all of the activity is, so that makes sense).

Awhile back, I had done some poking into the details of our insurance policy and discovered that they would cover breast pumps (as durable medical equipment), as long as I have a prescription for one and obtain it through one of their approved suppliers. I asked my doctor whether he'd write me a prescription for one, and he will, so that's most excellent. Of course, now I've got my fingers crossed that the suppliers will have a slightly wider selection than the giant tacklebox hospital-grade kind, because I'll be using it mostly when I go back to work. But, hey, if it's free, I really can't complain.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

33 1/2 weeks

The newly educated belly:


We had our Labor and Delivery class today. It was long (9am-3pm), but good. I was a little worried when we walked in and saw the ditzy nurse from the first aid class, but it turns out she was teaching Infant Care down the hall (we've got our fingers crossed that she's not leading our class, which we have in two weeks). Our teacher was a college English professor who moonlights as a childbirth educator and doula.

There were 12 pregnant ladies and their coaches in the class. Most of the coaches were spouses; there was one fiance, two young baby daddies, and a cousin who was a nurse. Most pregnant was the girl who was due ON THURSDAY. I think the least pregnant one there was due in the first week of November. Most interesting was the girl who's due date got changed to a month earlier than her first due date. Um, yeah. Okay. And then there was the weird backwoods girl who had very strange ideas about labor -- when asked about her due date, she only said that she was "already in labor" (the educator figured out that she was likely talking about having Braxton-Hicks contractions); I caught a later interchange between her and the educator, and she's actually due sometime in October.

Oh, and the vast majority of the class was having girls. Like 10 out of 12. It sort of balanced out the mostly-boy first aid class.

We watched three videos: a vaginal delivery with half-dose meds; a vaginal delivery with epidural; and a cesarean section. I was kind of surprised by how tame they were. I've seen more graphic deliveries on those Learning Channel shows (like "Birth Day"). All of the videos were circa 1989, so there were some big glasses, feathered hair, and short gym shorts and mustaches on the guys.

The first video (featuring strong Boston accents) showed a lot of the active phase of labor. The mom was moving around a lot, changing position, and, at one point is feeling nauseous. Her husband says, "well, maybe you shouldn't have had that steak and cheese sub." (Pat and I started giggling uncontrollably at this.) Then, she decides to labor in the shower, and the husband is holding the sprayer for her, when he BREAKS OUT INTO SONG. What song, you ask, might he be inspired to sing at this moment? "She'll be Comin' 'Round the Mountain"

That guy was wicked awesome.

We had lunch in the hospital cafeteria. Food options were pretty decent, if not entirely healthy. They had a grill section (hotdogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, grilled cheese, french fries); the entree area (meat-lovers pizza, and some sort of chicken thing); a make-your-own sandwich station; soups; salad bar; and pre-packaged snacks. They also carry Green Mountain coffee, so Pat was excited about that.

I went into the class with pretty good attitude about the whole birthing process. I started losing some confidence during the c-section video; while I'm okay with the concept of delivering that way, the idea of major surgery (and recovering from it) doesn't appeal to me. And the diagrams of the epidural just make me nervous in general about the procedure: a needle/catheter in the spine doesn't seem particularly comfortable. That said, by the end of class, I was pretty much back to my "I can do this" mindset. I'm still planning on going in with an open mind. We'll do what we need to do to get the baby out safely, and we'll see how I handle the pain. If I need something, I'll be asking for it.

Next doctor's appointment is tomorrow morning.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

mid-week update

We had a good class on Tuesday night. There were about 20 people there (maybe 12 pregnant ladies and some husbands and sisters). I was the second least pregnant one there; though, you wouldn't have been able to tell by looking at us. But, oh my god, there was a girl sitting across the aisle from me who I thought was carrying twins (Pat said she looked 14 months pregnant); and when we went around the room for introductions, she said she was due with one -- ten days before me. She had a barrel belly that went all the way up to her chest. Holy crap, it was big.

Anyway, this class was far better than the first aid class. The instructor had a very dry sense of humor, and seemed to know her stuff. She had fun debunking some of the breastfeeding myths that we may have heard -- like "you should toughen up your nipples with Brillo pads". EEEEE! Who thought that was a good idea? I hadn't heard that one before, and I think Pat nearly fell out of his chair squirming.

We had fun playing with our plastic babies (though it's hard to hold them in the right place around a pregnant belly) and watching her demonstrate what to do with the stuffed breast toy that she had, but it was a long evening. Class started at 6:30 and ran until 8:55pm. I was ready to pass out when I got home.

Yesterday and today I've had some lower belly muscle pain. I don't think this means anything other than my belly's big -- the muscle that supports the weight of the protruding belly is sore when I stand up from a seated position. If they didn't seem so ridiculous, I might look into getting one of those supportive belly belts.

We're meeting the pediatrician tonight. At 7:30. The practice hosts a prospective parent night once a month, so we'll be going to check things out. (By the way, who schedules these late evening things for women in their third trimester. Really, folks. I'm usually done waddling around by that point in the evening.)

Monday, September 03, 2007

almost 33 weeks

Taken this afternoon:As you might expect, it's getting more and more difficult to get out of bed. I'm up going to the bathroom about three or four times a night now. And between tossing the body pillow out of the way, and actually getting myself out of bed, it's turning into a bit of a production. I'm still sleeping relatively soundly between trips, so that's good.

By late afternoon, my lower back hurts. Coupled with that foot jammed in my ribcage about 30% of the time, finding a comfortable position to sit can be tricky. I've been favoring the comfy chair over the couch (I'm happier when upright), and have the ottoman stacked with pillows, so I can elevate my feet. I haven't had any noticeable ankle swelling, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Oh, my appetite came back this week. I don't know if it's because the baby's dropping lower and making room for my stomach, but I'm definitely eating more. It's not quite on par with the first trimester eating, but it's getting there. I'm starting to wonder whether my appetite will go back to normal after I deliver. I'm sure it'll tone down a bit, but if I stay anywhere near this pace, I could develop the largest Christmas cookie butt ever.

I haven't been totally unproductive while sitting around lately. I've been knitting -- I'm almost done with my second baby sweater. The first one was a hooded poncho. This one's a cardigan (no buttons, just open in front). We'll see if I get around to making a matching hat.

This is a busy baby-prep week. We've got two classes: Breastfeeding tomorrow night, and then everyone's favorite "All Day Labor and Delivery" on Sunday. (Woo! 6 1/2 hours in the hospital basement!) We're also meeting with our (likely) pediatrician and checking out their group practice Thursday night.

I'm glad it's a short work week.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

moving in the right direction

I had a doctor's appointment this morning. Weighed in at 160 (up 3lbs from three weeks ago). Blood pressure was 112 over 68. I had some sugar in my urine, but the doc wasn't concerned, as my glucose test results a few weeks ago were fine. (It may have had something to do with the enormous glass of orange juice I had with breakfast.)

Still measuring well. Doc says the baby's head is down, so that's good. Even though I watched (and felt him) determine this, I still can't find the baby's head myself. He said there's still a chance the baby can flip, but things are getting tight in there.

I've had a few dizzy spells (lightheadedness, usually when I've been walking around a lot, like at the mall on Saturday). He said those were likely caused by a combination of dehydration and my low blood pressure. Told me to keep drinking lots of water. I've been really good about doing that during the week; I just have to be more vigilant on the weekends, I guess.

I also asked about Braxton-Hicks contractions. I think I've had a few in the past couple of days, but I wasn't sure. I've been sitting at my desk when I've noticed that my belly's gotten hard for 30 seconds or so. It's not painful or particularly uncomfortable. It's just been a "hmph, that's odd" thing. He said that's likely what I felt, and that they can centralize in different parts of the belly too. If I feel more than 4-5 in an hour, I should call him.

The baby's heartbeat was particularly loud this morning, probably because of the Alien-chest-burster-esque movements that preceded the doppler reading. Between that and the "let's tickle mommy in the side of her ribs" game that we like to play, we're having an awful lot of fun in there lately.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

let the nesting continue...

Last night, we picked up our changing table from Target. The box was enormous. Like almost as big as the crib box was. (It's times like these when the Highlander comes in handy.) Thankfully there were helpful Target employees around to cart this sucker around on the flat-bed and bring it out to our car.
It's the Bassettbaby Winsor Dressing Table with Drawer. The wood is slightly darker in person, so it matches our crib pretty well. I would have gone with more of a dresser-type changing table, but the nursery has nine full-size drawers built into the knee-wall already, so we're all set on drawer space.

I also found some cute art for the walls over at Etsy. Meet "The Artful Raccoon" and "The Sensible Owl":













There are a bunch more in the series. Depending on how these look in person, I may get another. Like "The Crooked Fox" or "The Hirsute Hedgehog".

Sunday, August 26, 2007

31 1/2 weeks

Well, it's definitely bigger this week.I'm getting the third trimester sluggishness. I've almost given up on picking things up off the floor; I'm probably only stooping over to pick them up about 20% of the time (Pat's been kind enough to handle the rest). Getting up from a seated position requires a good deal of effort. I don't need a forklift yet, but I'm thinking about it.

In decorating news, we've got our crib bedding (Baby Gap's "Forest Friends") washed and on the crib. Of course I don't have real pictures of it yet ('cause I'm lazy), but here are a few to give you an idea:We've got the quilt, bumper and skirt (not the sheet). Somehow, I couldn't pass up the bedding set that had a skunk on it...

This morning, we hit the local unfinished furniture store and picked out a rocking chair. We spent about 20 minutes test-driving all of the options, and decided on a beech English rocker (which looks like this). The seat's a good size and height, the arm rests are well positioned, and the back is high enough to rest your head (which will come in handy in the middle of the night). We opted to have them finish it for us in an "antique cherry" stain; I think it will be close to the color of our crib. Normally, I'd be all about staining it ourselves, but we have a few things going on and getting up to my elbows in oil-based stain probably isn't such a good idea.

We had toyed with the idea of getting a glider, but figured that it wouldn't stay in the baby's room forever, and we'd probably get more use out of a plain old rocking chair.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

riblets

Attention Baby: my ribs are not stretchy. Stop trying to push through them.

Over the last several weeks, I've had some pain in on the upper right side of my ribcage, about an inch below the bra line. It's either a head or a foot; I'm not sure. Until now, it was only a problem after I ate.

In the past couple of days, it's been near-constant. And sometimes it tingles. It makes sitting in any position other than extremely upright uncomfortable. (And the size of the belly has taken its toll on my ability to stand for long periods without incurring the wrath of my lower back. I mean, have you seen the size of this thing?)

Rubbing the area kind of helps, as does stretching my arms over my head, but only temporarily. Let's hope this baby shifts soon.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

30 1/2 weeks

Belly photo from this morning...
This afternoon's adventure was building the crib. It got off to a rough start when we couldn't find the instructions in the orange bag marked "hardware and instructions enclosed". After tearing up the packaging looking for assembly instructions, and sending nasty emails to the manufacturer (who doesn't have the instructions available on their website), and harassing Babies R Us employees, we finally found the instructions for the crib. In the skinny box with the springy part. In another orange bag marked "hardware and instructions enclosed" (there was no hardware). Ugh.

Anyway, once we knew what to do, we were fine. (We've built plenty of IKEA furniture, so we're very handy with an Allen wrench.) It took both of us just under an hour to get it together.The final product (with side down).

last week's vacation round-up

We packed up the belly and headed to Upstate New York two Wednesdays ago. Our first stop was Canandaigua, where we stayed overnight.


Thursday morning, we took a boat tour on the lake before heading out to Buffalo.

On Friday, we went to the Erie County Fair, where we learned how to wash chickens and got some amusing photos. Much greasy food was consumed - mostly by Pat, who tried his first corn dog.

Saturday morning we had a really lovely baby shower (thanks Molly and mom!).The cake was very cute and tasty, too.

Monday morning, we drove to Skaneateles for an overnight stay.

And Tuesday afternoon we were back in Rhode Island, where we picked up the sleepiest dog ever.

Friday, August 17, 2007

all is well

Had a quickie doctor's appointment this morning. The results of my glucose test and blood count from last time were fine. (Phew. I celebrated with an apple turnover. Oink.)

I weighed in at 157lbs (up 2lbs from last time, which was 3 weeks ago). I seem to be sticking to the 5lbs-a-month program.

Blood pressure was 120 over 68.

I asked the doctor whether he could tell which end is up right now. Based on the amount of activity (kicking?) in my lower left quadrant, I'm guessing that's the butt and the head is up near the right side of my ribcage. He said it could be that way or the opposite (head down and butt up); he couldn't tell yet. The belly's measuring right on, heartbeat sounded good, and the baby's probably 3.5 to 4lbs now (normal). So we're still on track.

I asked under what circumstances he would schedule a c-section. (I'm not looking for one; I was just curious.) He said that in most cases he wouldn't, but if the baby was breach, undersized or oversized, it would be a consideration.

Pat asked about my flakiness, which has gotten worse in the past week or so. I'm blatantly saying "left" when I mean "right". I'm thinking the right thing, but then the wrong word comes out (very confidently, I might add). I don't remember things. I've come to accept this ridiculousness and chalk it up to pregnant brain. The doctor agreed (said that the extra progesterone in my system can cause mental cloudiness) and assured Pat that unless I forget my name, I'm fine.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

no tacos

The belly was sad when there were no tacos in Jen's bag.
(photo taken Friday, August 10th -- 29 1/2 weeks)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

28 1/2 weeks

I finally got fed up with the hair. It's been really hot, I hadn't had a haircut since March, and my hair was about halfway down my back. (Thanks, crazy pregnancy vitamins!) So I waddled across the street and told them to cut it all off this afternoon.

Here are the results. (Daisy wanted in on this week's photos.)

Much better.

I was looking back at earlier posts this week. I almost don't recognize myself in the early photos (like this one from 6 1/2 weeks). Who is that skinny thing?

Friday, August 03, 2007

quit your belly-achin'

I don't know if it's the hot weather or the fact that I started my third trimester this week (perhaps it's this enormous baby that's pushing out my stomach....), but I've been having some aches and pains. Nothing too constant, but besides the dull achy lower back stuff, my hip has been acting up again (in the back, near my spine), my tailbone's been sore, and I had a real "ow" moment yesterday when the muscle that crosses my pelvis got angry that I stood up too fast.

I know this is probably just the beginning, and it's entirely expected given where I am in my pregnancy, but it's still surprising to be reading about "what happens in your 28th week" and then have it actually happen on schedule. (Note to baby: Dont' t let that comment deter you, I do appreciate punctuality.)

Let's see. What else has been going on with me?

For the most part I'm sticking to the up-twice-a-night-to-pee routine, but otherwise am sleeping well (and am quite comatose in the morning).

My hair is crazy thick (though I'm beginning to worry that half of it will fall out after I have the baby).

My nails are strong and growing fast.

My sinuses are less productive than they've been.

Not too much heartburn as of late. I'm eating less than before (still more than before I was pregnant). My digestive system seems to have straightened itself out.

I'm getting pimples again (not appreciating that).

I've had some stretch marks go away already; others are just darker on some days and lighter on others. All are reddish purple. Pretty. They look especially nice with all of the blue veins.

I'm pretty much only wearing skirts or dresses (thereby avoiding any thigh-binding issues, a.k.a. "oh my god, my pants won't fit over my thighs") and sandals or flip-flops. I've also grown out of several maternity tops (mostly size smalls). I'm not sure how I'll be handling the wardrobe transition when the weather cools off. I'm also using Dr. Bronner's in the shower and dousing myself with Gold Bond when I get out. More mentholation, please.

We're doing our big cross-New York State drive next week. Hopefully we won't have to stop at every rest stop on the way. But at least I know how far apart they are. You know, just in case.

Monday, July 30, 2007

is this leftover from the Christmas party?

Had my doctor's appointment and glucose challenge test today.

To test for gestational diabetes, they make you drink a sugary beverage, sit around for an hour, and then draw a blood sample to see how your body's processing the sugar. So I had a styrofoam cup filled with what looked and tasted like flat RC Cola this morning at 8:15. Yum-may.

In the meantime, I sat around and had my quickie check-up. I'm now 155lbs (up 4lbs from three weeks ago). Blood pressure was 120 over 58. Belly measurements and baby heartbeat were all good. I asked the doctor whether the "glucose drink" was actually just flat generic cola. He said no, it was a special brew. Sometimes it's orange or Sprite flavored; depends on what's available in the catalog. But it is supposed to have a little fizz to it.

Then, we made our next few appointments (we're on the every two weeks plan now) and I got my blood drawn, which was fine. Until I got out to the car and realized that my band-aid was completely soaked through. When I started bleeding through the Dunkin Donuts napkin that I added for absorbency, I headed back in to the doctor's office.

"Um, hi. This won't stop bleeding."

They sent me back into the examination room, where I sat with my arm up over my head for about 5 minutes. Doctor came in, looked at the hole in my arm, declared it okay (she must have nicked a blood vessel), and put a new band-aid on.

It was a very exciting morning. (Not really.) Hopefully the test results will come back all clear, because I'm really getting into Oreos again.