12.28.2009

Bulk Info

I don't have the time to post the snippets as they occur in my head - like it used to be around here, so bulk updates will have to do - even though I should technically be sleeping.

I cannot believe my baby is already 7 weeks old (today).

For his Christmas present, since I don't scrapbook, I'm putting together a photo album of my pregnancy, his birth, and his first few months of life. I'll write cliff notes in the margins. That's my version of a scrapbook.

I moved up my postpartum check up. It was scheduled for today (for some reason) but I didn't want to wait an "extra" week, so I called and moved it to a week ago. I love my doctor. I'll miss seeing him regularly. Everything looks fine. He warned me that Miss V probably won't be back to normal for up to 6 months after I stop breastfeeding.

He asked how breastfeeding is going and I told him about the LC at the hospital telling me I would be pumping. He responded "yeah. you have interesting anatomy." I really don't know exactly what that means and since the sentences he started after that one never got finished ("For some babies you might be perfect but. . . " "Your areolas are. . . "). He did say I'm lucky that I'm producing well given that I'm pumping exclusively. He said some women have problems with that.

Then we talked about birth control. Then he launched into his version of Marriage Relationships 101: men need to be praised for every little thing and women need to be chased and wooed for their entire lives. Some people might find such advice annoying, but such conversations with my doc are really part of his charm and the reason I find him so funny.

I'm starting to get anxious about going back to work and I'm really really trying not to think about it. Except that we have to get serious about finding childcare, which kind of forces the issue.

I've had a couple of days (OK, one) where I've been really bored and thought "how on earth do SAHMs do it!?" but for the most part, it's been OK. Mostly I just think "how will I ever get a baby and myself ready and be out the door before 2 in the afternoon?" I've only been able to accomplish that a couple of times and it means sacrificing my sleep during C's first morning nap. Which pretty much stinks. Especially since I tend to stay up late to pump. And, occasionally, to post.

Alright. Gotta go pump, finish packing M's lunch, and get myself to bed. Baby'll be up soon to eat and I need some sleep!

~Nichole

12.11.2009

Blue Jeans and Wedding Rings

Toward the end, when I was pretty much swollen and very uncomfortable, I yearned for normal feet and daydreamed about some future day when I might be able to wear something other than flip flops.

Then, I would take it a step further and allow myself the luxury of imagining some future day when I would be able to wear jeans again.

Then, I would really tempt myself and think of the day when I might even be able to wear my wedding ring again.

I am glad to say that I can wear all my shoes again, which is good since flip flops and 40 degree weather don't go so well together.

Also, I'm sort of almost there with the jeans thing. Sort of, in that I can fit into my "fat girl" jeans - size 32 with 2% spandex. My "skinny" jeans are still waiting for me to lose the other 20 pounds.

As for the wedding ring. . . I can only wear my replacement ring - the one M and I picked up way back in 1995 at a street vendor near Pier 41 in San Francisco.

The one with the diamonds that he bought me 4 years later is still shelved. I can technically get it on. Having been this weight before, I know this. (Plus, I tried it on the other day.) But, I also know that in order to get it off after wearing it for any length of time I'll have to twist it round and round like I'm unscrewing a nut from a chubby, swollen bolt. And when that doesn't work, I have to resort to tactics involving soap and water.

In short, it's time to start walking, drinking more water, and eating more fruits and veg. . . and to fight off my carb cravings like my life depends on it!

~Nichole

12.10.2009

Baby Cries, Momma Cries

It's 3:15 in the morning. I just spent the last hour feeding and rocking the baby back to sleep. Now I'm pumping.

A mom's work is never done.

But, his deliciousness is neverending. In fact, it's increasing by the day. (I love him!)

When I was cooking dinner, he was snoozing on the couch, tucked comfortably into his boppy. Then, allofthesudden, he was crying. 0 to 60. By the time I got to him a couple of minutes later, he was crying so hard he was barely able to breathe. He was going from angry red to breathless purple.

I looked at him and it scared me. He was very very angry. He didn't look like my boy at all.

I put on my soothing voice, picked him up and laid him on my chest. He quieted immediately, exhausted from the effort of crying so hard.

Then, while my dinner was burning on the stove, chili charring itself into the bottom of my saucepan, I started to cry even as the baby calmed.

"I don't want him to have to cry like that in childcare, where he might not get picked up and soothed as quickly," I mumbled to myself, tears streaming down my face as I looked down into his.

I recovered. Then, I blamed it on the hormones.

~Nichole

12.01.2009

Reflections

The baby was sleeping Sunday and I found myself doing laundry, cleaning the leftovers out of the fridge, faxing insurance paperwork and claims, preparing thank you cards, and starting his Baby's First Year calendar.

All of which must mean I'm feeling more human. Oh, and that M took the early morning feeding Sunday morning, which means I got more sleep. (Then the poor man got up and went to his meetings at church while I rested with the baby at home. He's awesome!)

I can't believe it's taken 3 weeks to get to this point. I mean, officially, I'm exhausted by about 5 every evening. Like, really really crazy tired. But it seems to be the only time of day that we can manage to get out of the house for some reason.

Saturday night we went on a sort of date night. We went out to eat and then walked around the mall and got a ice cream cone at DQ. Then we made out like we were teenagers again. . . doctor's orders about de minimis use of the downstairs area, you know.

I'm still in awe that I had a baby. That we have a baby. That he was incubating inside me and now he's out.

It's crazy that I'm still healing. My ab muscles are sore in weird areas. My tailbone still hurts and I swear I bruised it during labor. My groin muscles are still tight and sore. I'm still "leaking". Crazy!

My baby is already changing. His cord stump finally fell off right around Thanksgiving. He's been out of the house almost daily, but not really around people (other than family). We're waiting until he's at least a month old. He's getting longer. He has baby acne. His eye infection is finally clearing up. He's very kissable, especially his cheeks and neck. He's a grunter, mostly when he's waking up or really hungry. He's a good baby and we love him to pieces.

I send M at least 1 picture/text message every day because M misses the baby so badly while he's at work. He's offered to be be a stay at home dad, work part time and finish up school quicker. We're looking into that option.

I'm going to cut my hair off on Thursday. I'm so excited! It hasn't been this long in 10 years, but it's up so much that it's not worth it to me any more, especially when I'm finding strands of hair in the laundry and on my baby. Not cool.

I'm hoping to start walking/preparing to transition to Couch to 5k this week. My weight is down to what was my pre-pregnancy heaviest - the weight at which I began losing weight in 2007 simply by cutting back on soda, drinking more water, and making healthier eating choices. I'm cooking more at home again, so the eating better should be easier. The comforting thing is that I've been this weight before and got down, so I know I can do it again.

I did go out to grab some food a couple of nights ago. It's the first time I've been away from the baby since I got pregnant and watched every minute of that 15 minutes. It was nice and strange at the same time. It does not make me excited for having to go back to work.

I've been to Babies R Us twice in two days - picking up stuff like more clothes, pacifiers, quilted play yard sheets. . . and L and I spent over an hour looking at bottles today. I never in a million years would have guessed that I would one day spend that much time obsessing over which bottle "system" would be the best (and not leak all over the place), but there it is. That's my badge of motherhood for the day.

Let's see. . . what else?

I think that's enough for now.

~Nichole

11.23.2009

Zombieland

I've officially survived the last 2 weeks! So has the baby. So has the daddy.

Last night found me pumping (you know "pumping" because I can't get this baby to breastfeed) and crying into a receiving blanket because my husband was going back to work today and I was going to miss him but didn't want to cry in front of him and make him feel sadder than he already was. Then, it made me worried whether this episode meant I was kicking over into the realm of postpartum depression. I decided I was just sad and a little anxious.

On the list of things people don't tell you about life with a newborn: how fiercely you can miss your husband of 10 years because both of you are walking around in a zombiefied stupor for the last 2 weeks.

Also on that list: taking care of a newborn is a lot of work. OK. Maybe I did know that one. It's just that no amount of knowing can truly prepare you for it.

After pregnancy and childbirth, I was all "that wasn't so bad! I could do that at least one or two more times". These last two weeks has whittled that down to only one more time. Seriously. I just started feeling human. . . oh, Saturday night (when I cuddled next to my husband on the couch after putting the baby to bed). Then, 5 minutes later, I was exhausted again and ready for bed myself.

Baby's already getting bigger. In exchange, according to the natural order of things, I am getting smaller. I'm losing water and weight, which is fabulous.

We're starting to settle into some sort of (dare I say?) routine, in so far as the baby sleeps 3-4 hour stretches at night and we can at least get some decent sleep in between feedings.

Today was my first day all alone with the baby, which meant he cried more than he's used to, but we survived. But we're both secretly glad this is a short work week for dad! Another thing to be thankful for!

~Nichole

11.05.2009

When You Wish. . .

I told the doc today was supposed to be the end of the line, but it looks like we’ll be laying down some track. Then, doc uttered the words I longed to hear: “You’re measuring 39 ½, which is right where you should be. You’re a ‘wiggly’ 1 ½ cms dilated (he put 1.5-2 in my chart). You’re 70% thinned. What do you want to do? We can wait for you to go on your own, which I think will happen in the next 3 to 7 days, or we can schedule you for an induction and make it happen.” I told him I’d like to wait another week, at least.

Even as I said them, I couldn’t believe the words were coming out of my mouth - but with my recent progress, and his positive 3-7 day guesstimate, I figured “what the heck?” Just in case, we scheduled me for induction next Wednesday evening, but doc says he doesn’t think I’ll make it that far.

He said whether or not I keep working is up to me. I told him I’m going to go for it. Worst case scenario is that it’s only 4 more days, since I work for the government and Wednesday is a holiday. Surely, I can do 4 more days and not go postal from being fatigued, swollen, and waddling everywhere I go.

In the meantime, I’ve really got to get some groceries (tonight), have a date night with my husband (Friday night), and finish packing that darned hospital bag (Saturday morning/while in early labor??)!

Ever since this afternoon, I've been losing little bits of my mucus plug. Then, about 20 minutes ago, a big clump. . .

Let's get this party started!

~Nichole

11.04.2009

Talk (Progress) to Me

Today’s the day I have been aiming at getting to “intact” for several weeks now. Now, with my replacement(s) fully trained at work and M’s semester fully behind him (save the report of his final grade and the filing of leave of absence paperwork for school), I can say we’re truly ready. While everyone is free to float their predictions – so far the clear leader is “sometime this weekend” – I’m ready any time now. Whether Body and Baby agree is an entirely different matter.

So, in that vein, these are the some of the words I would LOVE to hear my doc to say to me tomorrow:

“You’re _____% effaced!” (50 would be nice)
“You’re ____cms dilated!” (1 ½ would be nice)
“Baby’s head is engaged! You’re at __ station!” (-1 or 0 would be nice)
“I think it’ll be ‘sometime this weekend’! Want me to strip your membranes while I'm down here?”

~Nichole

11.03.2009

Lists. . . oh and Spectator Sports

I think my "to do lists" are about as done as they are going to get. Well, that is, I still technically need to finish packing hospital bag(s). And I haven't hung pictures in the nursery yet. And I should walk to try and get this baby out. And my house is a mess. And I need to get groceries. And I should really air up my exercise/"birth" ball. And I'm exhausted, so I should probably sleep sometime in there.

But, things are wrapping up nicely at work. In fact, after tomorrow, there's almost not a need for me to be there. (Almost.) And the school work is now done for a couple of months thanks to my husband's AWEsome wife who helped him finish (i.e. basically did for him) his last project. And if M can get through 4 hours of work tomorrow (I'm sure he can), he'll officially be eligible for FMLA.

So. . .the photo albums? Not getting done anytime soon (unless I skip out on work and take leave "early").

The childcare issue? Will have to wait until the baby's here and we have some time off to go and tour a couple of places.

L&D convo with doc? Is SO happening on Thursday.

If he tells me I've still made no progress, I might or might not cry. Because the daily questions about "when" I'm going into labor are bordering on harassment. I'm as much of a spectator here as anyone else. . . watching, waiting. . .

And, no, there's not a "pool" yet on when the blessed event will actually take place. At least not to my knowledge.

~Nichole

10.31.2009

Lessons from Nemo

This baby's been moving nearly non-stop for over an hour and a half.


Memo to Baby:
SWIM DOWN!!

~Nichole

10.30.2009

Ding!

This baby is good and cooked. Apparently, I’m the only one who thinks so, since I’ve essentially made no progress cervix-wise since last week. Nope. All my doc’s other patients went into labor the night before my appointment, “and not one of them was due yet”. (Why does he torture me with such tales?) Me? Still under 1cm dilated and still working on the softening part. I think M is secretly praying I hold out until next Wednesday, which is when he’ll be eligible for FMLA and will be able to take a nice two or three week break with me and the baby.

The doc asked me about fetal movement, which I had been a little freaked about on the way to his office. I hadn’t felt this baby move ever since I was up in the wee hours of the morning (not sleeping well at all). He hadn’t moved all throughout my morning routine and I had all sorts of scary imaginings of “fetal demise” (stupid baby shows) on the way in to the office, but figured that maybe the baby was tired from being up with me all night. Sure enough, I felt him while in the waiting room and brushed it off. My doc did no such thing. He hooked me up to the electronic fetal monitor and did a non-stress test. When all looked OK, I was released and told to do kick counts everyday from here on out, and to call if I notice anything out of the ordinary.

In the meantime, every one is waiting with baited breath. I can’t miss work without being asked if I’ve begun mat leave, and every time I call someone, they wonder if it’ll be me announcing “I’m in labor”. I’m not complaining. It’s just that I’m just watching and waiting along with the rest of you. Kind of like when everyone is watching and waiting for a person to appear and that person walks up behind them and says “whatcha lookin’ at?” Yup. That’s how it feels.

In the meantime, I ordered and received my Moby wrap! Last night I practiced tying it onto M (while he pretended to be a bible character because of all the drapey fabric must have made him feel like Moses or something) and gave him a tour of how the baby goes in, then later I practiced tying it onto myself – which doesn’t work so well with a big, pregnant belly. Still, it’s the piece of baby “equipment” that I’m the most excited to use. I can’t exactly explain why. I think it’s because I can “wear” the baby and be hands-free. It intrigues me. Inexplicably so.

Now if I can just get him here. . .

~Nichole

10.25.2009

Remembering

Remember last Christmas? When I made a Christmas wish and asked Heavenly Father for a baby by this Christmas? No?

I thought I wrote about that. . . .

Anyway. It was Christmas Eve. We went to the temple to see the program and look at the lights. I stood there listening to the music and, with tears in my eyes and hope in my heart, I prayed silently and asked Heavenly Father for a baby by next Christmas. I promised that if I could have that wish, I would bring that baby to the temple lights next year.

Fast forward (almost) a year.

Remember how I waited until I was good & pregnant (like 2 months ago) to confess that plot to M? We laugh about it now, and it’s been adding fuel to our growing bonfire of anticipation.

With the holidays approaching, we’re getting all sorts of excited about having this baby and taking him to chop down a tree and going to the temple lights again – basically reliving last year, but this time we’ll be parents!

~Nichole

10.23.2009

The Waiting

As I pointed out, I’m in the middle of another – albeit on the entirely opposite end of the spectrum – two week wait. They’re kind of parallel, though, if you think about it – the wait to find out if you’re body has received all the data and messages and has succeeded in getting pregnant and the wait to see if your body will get all the messages and signals and do what it needs to bring this child forth.

In the meantime, I put together the pack n play/bassinet last night. I also called the pediatrician to see about how I go about officially selecting her as the baby's doctor. I also called the childcare provider we're most interested in - and she doesn't have any current or future openings for an infant. (Looks like I'll be holding off and checking back often. And if that doesn't work, we'll resort to begging. . . ) Oh, and my health insurance doesn't cover the purchase or rental of breast pumps - had to at least give it a shot. Still need to get the car seat installed. You know - among other things.

~Nichole

10.22.2009

Fast Track or Slow Coach (Another Two Week Wait)

The official post-week-38-visit report is this: cervix is dilated but not much past 1 cm, is still not very soft and baby's still a little high. In short, I've "got a ways to go". Doc also thinks that baby will be at least 8 and a half pounds.

Neither of us is running headlong towards induction. Doc won't even talk with me about induction until I'm past due (phew!) and says birthing a baby the size of mine may go much easier if my body goes into labor on its own. (Right now, for instance, my induction failure rate would be like 70% - meaning a c-section. Not cool.)

2 more weeks will give me plenty of time to get things done at work, help M finish up at school, and finish all the other prep stuff yet to do. Plus, by then M will be eligible for FMLA and can take a little more time off than 1 week, which will be nice for all of us.

I'm excited but not in much of a hurry, so we'll see what happens.

~Nichole

10.20.2009

Full Up and Worn Out

Yesterday we saw our boy, kind of mushed and squished into his tight quarters, too much body to fit on a single ultrasound screen anymore. We have another picture of his foot (I’m starting to wonder what is it with u/s techs and baby feet) and a couple of his profile: head, eyes, nose, lips. I’m full to the brim with baby. They guesstimate that he’s about 7.5 pounds by now, with a 1 pound margin of error. And he’s definitely a boy. I made them check. (No more surprises!) My due date was moved up 2 days to November 3 – 2 weeks from today.

And then. . .

This morning I woke up around 4:15 needing to use the bathroom. I lay there too long, waking all the way up (which I usually try to avoid unless I’m in a sleepy, stubborn stupor and try to convince myself I can go back to sleep without peeing – it never works, I tell you) because I was remembering the dream I had just awoken from. Lately, I’ve had the sense that my dreams have been incredibly vivid, but the images flit and flee from before my consciousness and I can never remember them. Until this morning. . .

I dreamed that I was in someone’s bathroom – all green, glossy tile with retro-ish circular patterns – and I stood up from the toilet and felt something weird. I wiped down there and saw lots of pink. Then. . . my water broke. So I climbed into the bathtub, took off my socks and shoes (you know I’ve taken to wearing flip flops exclusively, right?) and my khaki shorts (?) and piled them up next to the tub. I ran some hot water and turned on the jets (jetted tub – fabulous) figuring that what my doc doesn’t know (i.e. water broken and sitting in what amounts to a hot tub) won’t hurt me.

Then I woke up. And couldn’t go back to sleep for several hours. My back was aching, and occasionally my abdomen too. Period-like cramping sensations, coming and going. I thought to myself how I should really pack up a “just in case my water breaks” bag – with garbage bags, a towel, a change of underwear and pants, a pad or two – and stick it in my car . . . Then . . .finally . . . back to sleep.

I was so tempted to stay in bed today. Instead, I’m wondering how imminent labor might be at this point. I mean, besides the obvious that it’s going to happen eventually. So, I looked up some of the “signs” I’m having and came across this:

Possible Signs Labor May Begin Soon:

·Backache: a persistent dull ache that makes you restless and irritable. (Check!)
·Cramps. abdominal cramping that is mild to moderate in discomfort. (Check!)
·PMS symptoms: crabby, irritable. (and wanting to cry. . . Check!)
·Nesting Urge. (in the form of cooking – who knew? – and helping with homework. . . Check!)
·Frequent, soft bowel movements. (tmi, but Check!)
·Flu-like symptoms. (feeling totally rundown. . . Check!)

Only time will tell, I guess. In the meantime, I can’t wait to take a nap. . .

~Nichole

10.19.2009

Carriers, Wraps, Slings, Packs. . .

M’s daddy shower yielded the coolest gift he could ever have received – a slightly used Kelty Kids frame backpack. The giver/co-worker must have known M’s been talking about taking this kid hiking since before he was conceived.

Then, while doing our huge baby shopping last weekend, we made a surprise decision: we opted not to buy the BabyBjorn that had graced our registry list for the previous 25 or so weeks. Our collective thought had been that we’d use it “all the time, especially when he’s small and we want to keep him away from germy people in the height of flu season”.

The clincher that broke the proverbial daddy’s back was the sheer amount of effort it took to get him strapped into that thing, and that there didn’t seem to be any easy exit strategy for either a sleeping baby or a tall daddy. Well, that and the guy who said he has one and helped us figure it out and told us that with 2 kids he’s only used it about 20 times total. So, BabyBjorn stayed at Babies R Us and we saved 80 bucks.

Two of my new mommy friends both have slings they swear by, but I remain largely unconvinced, though I still want something to keep baby near me so that unwashed/unsanitized wandering hands will be less inclined to venture near his face (I’m counting on the proximity of his head to my breasts and body to help me out there). For one, slings tend to put tremendous pressure/strain on one side of the body. Second, I don’t need any additional tightness in either of my shoulders, thanksverymuch.

So – what we’ve kind of-almost-maybe decided on is a Moby Wrap. It looks easy and versatile enough to be just what we’re looking for. Plus, it will fit both a tall daddy and a short mommy. Plus, it just looks warm and cozy. I kind of wish someone would carry me around in a Moby for a day. (Danielle, I know you totally have one – so you have to dish on whether or not you like it. . . )

I’ll let you know what we decide. . .

~Nichole

10.16.2009

37 Weeks and Mending

We’re getting better from this dumb cold. Sort of. It’s a slow, circular process. Added to the don’t-dare-make-me-move fatigue I’m already feeling, this sickness has totally sapped the better of my superhero tendencies – what was left of them, anyway.

I try to push through nonetheless. Sort of. I mean, I climbed up stairs last night just to spite those who said I should take the elevator. And I felt particularly tired the other night while helping M with his paper, so I took a break and snapped our stroller frame together. Then, I went back to the paper and added another page or two. I’m kind of defiant that way, I guess. I refuse to slow down. (If this kid’s anything like me, I’ll never sleep again – I swear.)

But even in my refusal, Things are not getting done. Things like doing the dishes, cooking freezer meals, dusting and vacuuming my house, bathing the dogs, packing a hospital bag (!), top-stitching the last seam on both of my nursing covers and sewing peepee teepees. These are the Things I fantasize I’ll get done should I decide to take leave from work before I go into labor. (The hot question of the week: “so are you going to work through your due date?” Seriously – what does that even mean?) Quitting early is not likely to happen, though (see above about refusing to slow down – plus I’m SO afraid of being bored out of my mind), so I’m given to squeezing these things in at other times. You know, around helping with homework and cooking a half-hearted dinner once a week and the utter fatigue. Which is why Things aren’t getting done.

Meanwhile, at 37 weeks, the clock is officially ticking down. Doc said yesterday – after a good chuckle over a Freudian slip from my tired brain (something about shots and his nurse “doing me in the bottom” on several occasions) – that I’m “softening, but not really opening. Which is good because it’ll give the (H1N1) flu shot time to take effect” before I deliver. It makes sense that I’m not dilating yet, because other than occasional period-like crampyness in my low back, I’m not having much of anything happen. No Braxton-Hicks. Nada. (And we all remember when I was all freaked out about my cervix opening too early? UmmmHmmmmm…..)

On Monday, we’ll get to see this boy one more time – and make sure he’s a boy – before he’s born. They’re supposed to let us know how big he is (or isn’t) and whether my due date is still correct.

We’re getting more excited. At this point, M is more effusive with his excitement than I. He’s always like “I can’t wait to hold him. I can’t wait to see him. I can’t wait to kiss him. . . ” (which makes me can’t wait to see them together). . . and I’m starting to “can’t wait” all those things too – it’s just that when I’m not exhausted, I’m trying not to think about the elephant in the room (ahem: labor?) and when I do think about it, I try to talk myself through it. So, I’m always like “Yes, it’s going to be hard. That’s why they call it labor. Yes, you’re going to hit a wall. But, it’s just one day of your life. You can do this. . .”

~Nichole

10.13.2009

Sick and Sicker

We managed to have a huge baby prep weekend before collapsing into illness today. M's worse than me. . . thank goodness for frozen homemade chicken noodle soup that we unthawed with the hopes of feeling better.

Saturday we went shopping and bought the stroller frame, changing pad, diaper pail, sleep sack, crib sheets, waterproof pads, sheets for the pack n play, etc. etc. With all the gift cards we received, we paid only $1.58 out of pocket at Babies R Us. (Woo hoo! Thanks friends and family!

I used Target gift cards online to get the second car seat base (for which I paid 40 cents out of pocket). Then, since I was off thanks to Columbus, I visited Target again yesterday. I exchanged a nursing bra I had ordered online, and bought some stuff for the hospital bag and pads for postpartum. . . but they didn't have the Bumbo seat color I wanted, so I'll have to go back. Plus, their selection of baby socks is just sad, so I picked some up at Waldemart.

Other than that, I think we're pretty darn prepared. Except I have to use the mass groceries I purchased yesterday to make several freezer meals and desserts.

But first we have to kick this sickness!

~Nichole

10.12.2009

Pregnant Love

Twice this week I have heard women say “I loved being pregnant!” To which I responded “Really!??” before I could stop myself. I have never understood this. Ever. And being pregnant with an uncomplicated pregnancy that has been pretty good to me and relatively uneventful, I can’t say I understand it any better.

For me, it’s always been a means to an end: “I want a baby, so I have to get and stay pregnant to get that. . . OK, let’s do this.”

I love only (exactly) two things about being pregnant: feeling the baby move and wiggle, and that M has exceeded my expectations as an expecting daddy and has been so good at it. Oh, and I love the wonderful benefits to my hair, nails and skin. . .

But also, I don’t have much to complain about. When people ask how I’m doing, with a hint of concern in their voice, I’m able to answer genuinely “I’m doing good!”. And I honestly am – my minor complaints of heartburn, sleeplessness, swollenness and heaviness aside.

~Nichole

10.09.2009

Month 9 To Do List

36 weeks makes it officially 9 months. . . . Here's the to do list this month:

Finish Month 8 List
Talk turkey (i.e. L&D specifics) with the doc
Assemble nursing stool
Finish all baby-related sewing projects in progress (i.e. nursing covers) and don't start any new ones
Train my replacements at work
Install car seat in car
Wash 1 or 2 outfits and a blanket or two
Pack hospital bag

to be continued . . .

~Nichole

10.08.2009

Churnin’ & Burnin’, Poppin’ & Droppin’ – Times They Are A-Changin’

The heartburn that felt like a radiator bubbling over in my chest, which even Tums could not assuage, leading to much sabotaged sleep, has finally, thankfully, eased up. Every night for a couple of weeks, anything I put into my body would churn and burn and keep me up. It was awful. Thank goodness that’s no longer an issue.

About a month or so ago, all of the sudden people were coming up to me saying “wow! You’ve really popped!” For the last week, I’ve been getting “wow! You’ve really dropped.” Hence the relief from heartburn symptoms. Now I really feel like my bladder is teeny tiny, but at least he’s dropping like a good baby should during the last few weeks.

My feet on the other hand? SWOLLEN. To the point of pain. Last week I had to tape my left foot and put ice on it at work because it was so swollen it felt like a strain in the top of my foot. This morning I woke up and could not walk on my right foot because it felt strained across the bottom. For whatever reason, soaking in warm water relieves the strained feeling and helps me be able to, um, actually walk. Which is kind of essential.

The massage therapist two weeks ago said I’m in good shape – a little tightness in my left knee and in both of my hips – but doing good for being so pregnant. Today, however, I’m feeling the weight. My knee hurts, my feet are tender, swollen and sore. I want the 40 pounds I’ve gained to be OFF – like, yesterday. Given that I still have 4 more weeks, I’m trying really hard not to think about it.

I’m 36 weeks today and saw the doc today. He said my cervix is closed, cultures from last week came back negative (good thing), and even though my feet are swollen, my blood pressure is normal and urine is normal. He gave me the short list of things to call him or go to the hospital about: any bleeding, decreased fetal movement, water breaks, or contractions at 5 minutes apart for an hour.

We talked very briefly about L&D – specifically about whether I’ll need a full IV when I’m admitted to the hospital or if I can just get a hep-lock. He strongly recommends letting them give me IV fluids (to combat dehydration), but unless I know I’m getting pain meds, I only really need a hep-lock. He warned that any epidural has to be preceded by saline being pumped into my system (to combat fetal distress after administration of the drugs).

He wants me to have an ultrasound in 2 weeks to check the baby’s size. I felt less like a ticking time bomb when I left his office today – less like “it could happen any moment” and more like “I still have some time to prepare”.

Which is a good thing. We got the infant seat via UPS last night (I love shopping online!) and I’m so glad we switched from black and green to brown and green. I like it so much better. I also received the nursing bras and pajamas I ordered from Target (with free shipping. . . I SO love online shopping!) After my work shower this past Monday, M’s work shower today, and doing some shopping and exchanges on Saturday, I think we’ll be pretty darn set. Pretty soon, we’ll have nothing to do but wait for him to come. (sha right!)

~Nichole

10.02.2009

See That?

See that? Up there at the top? It says I have less DAYS than I am WEEKS along.

Way to freak me out, calendar thingy.

Way to freak me out.

~Nichole

10.01.2009

Maternity Motifs

The Great Outdoors - I've tried to remain as active as possible and continue activities I love to do, like hiking and kayaking. This means I've also found myself in the position of peeing outside more often than anytime since I was about 12 years old.

Aye Carumba - Starting from the very beginning, I've eaten more Mexican food than anything else (especially if Taco Hell can be classified as "Mexican food"). Just in the last week, we've had Mexican food 4 times!

There's Always Paradise - When Mexican food isn't the food of choice, Paradise Bakery usually is. It's been a close runner up, for sure.

Ice Ice Baby - I've taken to drinking large glasses of water with lots of ice. I really just add the water to soften the ice. Crunching ice has become a bad pregnancy habit that I'm really hoping (for the sake of some baby teeth still hanging out in my mouth) I can break. Recently M said "I'm really worried about what all that ice might be doing to your teeth. . . ."

Name Game - The "boy" thing really threw us for a loop. We've spent the last 17 or so weeks trying to come up with a first and middle name for this boy and still. . . no dice.

~Nichole

9.29.2009

Evolution of Excitement

Sometimes excitement can be like a meandering roller coaster, with a big drop at the end.

Witness:

9/10-9/13/09 - L has her baby. I'm all wonder and awe. People say knowingly "you're next" (because I can't stay pregnant forever, duh) and all I can muster to say about my own rapidly approaching D-day is "I hope he has hair". . . . Whaaaa?

9/14/09 - Normal life resumes and I get busy helping with homework and planning an anniversary trip and working and being tired.

9/24/09 - A total stranger approaches me from the rear, gets to my front, and exclaims in surprise "Wow! You're ready to pop any time now!" very loudly in the middle of the Bashas in Sedona. I've never had anyone say that to me ever. On the one hand, it means I don't look pregnant from behind. On the other, I seethe in silence until I get to the car and tell M about it.

9/27/09 - I'm 34 weeks along and decide to look in What to Expect to see if pelvic pain/pressure is normal, since I've been having it for a number of weeks now. I end up reading about labor, delivery, and postpartum. There is a disturbing amount written about lochia and other fluids. In the style of Carol from the show Friends, every fiber of my being shouts "I am NOT doing that!!"

9/28/09 - A coworker comments that it's "not long now" and although, technically, she's right, I've got too much going on to thing about it (to wit: helping M finish this semester AND trying to get a temporary replacement at work before the Big Deadline). She asks if I'm excited. I tell her "not really" which makes her do this big guffaw and stare at me open-mouthed while I try to explain myself in terms of something like "I'm having a hard time accepting that a baby is actually going to come out of all this and I'm going to have to take care of it." My explanation doesn't help matters one bit. (And I imagine that she secretly wonders if they're making a mistake throwing me a shower next week, since I'm destined to become a bad mom because I'm not excited enough.)

9/29/09 - Wake up feeling like a truck hit me, despite having gone to bed early and getting pretty decent sleep. In addition to feeling uber-tired, also feel uber-heavy and cumbersome in my own skin. For the first time in 8.75 months, I feel like I want my own body back. In true "I'll show you" fashion, decide that this is at least a reason to be excited, should my coworker from yesterday need to be alerted to such a development. Stress overlong about my replacement at work and try in vain to convince my boss Iamreallycomingback! Have lunch with new mommies C and L and their 4 month old and 3 week old babies. Again with the "it's not long now" and "it's your turn next" - but this time it's coming from friends who've recently been there and it's so nice to be able to talk about all the ins and outs of the experience with them. My feet swell horribly while grocery shopping. Like, really really badly. I watch Deliver Me on the DVR and something about seeing those new babies stirs up a deeply hidden ember of excitement somewhere inside of me and I finally begin to wonder what this little boy will look like when he joins us.

~Nichole

9.28.2009

D-Day Denial

We're fresh off our weekend getaway. That doesn't mean I was more rested. In fact, I left church after the first meeting on Sunday and came home and crashed for 2 hours. Then I took a 3 hour nap later that afternoon, and slept for a full night. I'm tired all over again.

If ever I'm rich, I'm going to hire a personal chef and a private massage therapist. Our breakfasts by the private chef at the place we stayed were amazing! And after my prenatal massage, my feet and ankles looked more normal than I've seen them look in months and months:

But I'll settle for a husband offering to "split the list" and get some of the groceries on his lunch hour so that I don't have to be on my feet as much and can rest more. . .

I'll also settle for take out as much as possible. . .

Yep. I'm feeling it. All 35 pounds and 8.5 months of it. Even so, we hiked up to "The Arch" and busted hump back down because we thought we were late for our massage appointments. At the very moment my entire lower belly was cramped and I thought I was going to fall over on the trail trying to get back to the car, I realized what a dummy I am to think I am so invincible and strong. . . when the reality is I could really put myself into early labor.

Thankfully, the cramps were muscular, not uterine - but still.

Someone at work today asked if I'm getting excited. I was kind of. . .ambivalent in my answer, which apparently is not the PC thing to be at this stage. Sorry, but reading about labor and delivery and postpartum in What to Expect last night, along with how much I still have to do at work and at home to prepare, and how fast it's all happening - all of it together has me a little gun shy.

I might be in a little bit of denial.

Maybe.

Just a little.

But I'm also anxious to have it all done with.

Is that bad?

No, don't answer that.

~Nichole

9.23.2009

Pre-show Jitters

More often than not, I find myself a little anxious about the approaching Due Date. I’m excited, sure. Somewhere deep down there, yeah. But mostly, I think to myself, “Omg! We’re going to have a baby! An actual baby! What are we going to do with a baby!?”

Then, I put my head between my knees and take a few deep, cleansing breaths until the lightheaded sensation passes. OK, not really. But you get the idea, no?

In the meantime, we’re putting off panicking and heading northward to spend a few days in the red rocks to celebrate our 10th anniversary and enjoy each other’s undivided attentions and company. And I’ll be getting a prenatal massage to boot! I see much sleeping in my immediate future (especially since I’m operating on only 5 hours at the moment).

~Nichole

Planning the Birth - Mad Lib Style

Thanks to a linky I found at finslippy, I now have a birth plan format I can work with.

Click to enlarge and try not to pee your pants. . .

P.S. Why, yes, in case you were wondering. . . I am posting at quarter past one in the morning - because my stupid legs decided to be itchy and my exhausted body decided to not be sleepy. So I'm up.

~Nichole

9.21.2009

Upside Down, Round and Round

I’m antagonizing my baby. And laughing about it. See? Already a bad mom!

I got curious as to whether this baby is head down or butt down. So, doing what I always do when I’m curious, I Googled it. I read that if you can feel hiccups down low (check!), the baby’s probably head down. I also read somewhere in those Googled results that if you feel a firm rounded part of your baby at the top of the belly, push on it to see whether the whole baby moves or not. Apparently, if the baby is head up (butt down), nothing will move. If the baby is butt up (head down), the whole body will move.

So, I’m sitting here feeling some rounded body part hit the top of my belly and decided to try it out. I think his whole body moved. Either way, it made him mad and he flailed a bit (either his arms or his legs struck out toward my innards).

I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s both head down and face down. Both good for a perfect vaginal delivery. Of course, we’ll see if my hunch is right at my next appointment. In the meantime, I’m totally messing with him. Just kidding. I’ll stop now.


~Nichole

9.18.2009

Circumcision Decision

We've come to the decision that this boy baby will be circumcised.

Here's how we came to that decision:

I said to M, "You decide. You have one, so you decide."

He said, "We're getting it done. It's more sanitary and he'll look like everyone else in the locker room."

And that, my friends, is just how easy some decisions are.

A rarity for us, for sure, but yea for one less thing to have to decide!

~Nichole

9.17.2009

Pregnant Insomniac

I went to the doc today. He checked the heartbeat, which sounds good. I think the baby’s finally head down now, which is good, but they’ll check his position when I go again in 2 weeks just to make sure. They’ll also check my cervix and have me pee in a cup. And just when I thought it was a run of the mill appointment, they had me schedule all my remaining visits. I go in 2 weeks, then every week thereafter. I can’t believe it’s so close already!

The “end” is coming soon and it’s very weird. After L had her baby a week ago, it hit me that an actual baby is going to come from all this, which snapped be out of my pregnant reverie a little bit. I think I had settled into the rhythm of being pregnant (finally!) and now I’m hit with the realization that I won’t be pregnant forever and soon enough life as I know it will change forever.

I’m still not sleeping well at night, but doc said there’s not much to be done about it and it’ll probably get worse before it gets better. He said I can take 1 mg of sublingual (under the tongue) melatonin. Apart from that, I can take the occasional Tylenol PM or Unisom, but I pretty much have to grin & bear it. Today’s the first day I’ve been in to work before 10 a.m. and that’s only because I came directly from my doc appt.

In order to try and get to sleep a little sooner last night – so I could be up for the appointment – I relegated myself to the other bedroom instead of trying to tough it out in our bed. It nearly killed me to do that. I’m not used to going to bed at separate times than M, much less in separate places. It worked only in the sense that I got to sleep sooner, probably because I didn’t have to worry about keeping M up with all my thrashing. But I still itched and was restless, which negates my theory that it’s our bed or something in our bedroom (ahem - high speed fan) causing the problem when I try to get to sleep. It seems I’ll have problems no matter where I try to sleep. Of course, watching Destination Truth about possessed baby dolls on some island in Mexico probably didn’t help matters much.

I’ve taken to laying down at lunch, which, in a way strangely reminiscent of the first trimester, thwarts most of my Super Woman powers. I’m used to getting a lot done during my lunch hours. Now all I do is eat and sleep.

While I could “technically” only have to endure this get to enjoy the more difficult side effects of pregnancy for another 4 weeks, I could also “technically” go for another 9 weeks with nary a contraction in sight. All I’ve got to say about that is – what’s with the 5 week window?!? Doesn’t medical science give any better guesstimate than that?

~Nichole

9.16.2009

Wiggle Wiggle Heartburn Giggle

I have a wiggly fetus. Whom I believe is now be either head or butt down, on account of his newfound wigglyness and my newfound crazy wicked heartburn.

Before pregnancy, I had never taken Tums or anything like it.

But during the acid episodes that were the first and second trimesters, I was forced to experiment occasionally. One would usually do the job.

But now - during the height of my third trimester glory (and especially yesterday) - Tums aren't cutting it, even though I'm tempted to pop them like Pez. Heartburn is radiating my chest like a winter fire.

Which is probably why I don't eat much.

Which is probably why I haven't gained a pound in nearly 3 weeks.

In which case: Go Heartburn!

~Nichole

Midnight Picture Show

I'm having trouble sleeping for the 3rd night in a row.

Lucky you.

It means you get to see pictures.

Like this one from the Human Reproduction exhibit at the Museum of Man in Balboa Park:


And this one of M, me, and the belly:
And just in case that belly shot doesn't do it for you, here's a great one (not!):

The sheer girth of that belly probably explains both why I'm up right now with heartburn (more on that later) and why my bladder feels the size of:
And if right about now you're thinking I look chubby (I am), just know that I climbed down and back up this canyon
TWICE while 7 months pregnant.

So there.

Seacrest out.

~Nichole

9.14.2009

Wish I May, Wish I Might. . .

. . . have the wish I wish in the middle of the freakin' early morning hours when I can't sleep!

(I'm wishing for sleep, in case you didn't guess.)

I think a full bladder, my long afternoon nap, and stupid itchy legs are combining against me. It's 2:30 a.m. and I should SO be sleeping right now!

Monday morning should be a fun one. . . my poor boss has to deal with a sleepless 3rd trimester trainwreck of an employee on a weekly basis. . . But I generally get better by Friday . . .

~Nichole

9.11.2009

Wild and Precious Life

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver

L had baby S yesterday. She is beautiful, with a perfect little face and lips and lots of dark hair. It was quite the ordeal from what I understand, but once L got going (at around 1:00 yesterday afternoon), there was no stopping her. S was born at 5:30 and she’s really quite amazing! I couldn’t stop staring at her and she’s not even mine! The reality of her arrival has made our impending arrival seem more real and more imminent. In fact, that’s the first thing M said to baby S: “I’m so excited to have one of you!” I’m also getting more and more excited as the days pass.

Today, I find myself laughing at my baby. He’s kicking and jabbing his way to a new position and it’s hilarious to feel. OK, sometimes not so hilarious – like yesterday when I was on the phone and involuntarily exclaimed “Ouch!” when one of his jabs caught me by surprise.

I’ve changed up my morning routine (more resting between tasks, less for breakfast, more water earlier) to try and avoid feeling faint and/or passing out and it seems to be working today. I’m just perpetually tired (in fact I woke up to pee around 5:45 this morning and was on my back, which rarely happens, even when non-pregnant. Apparently, that’s how tired I was). I think that may just be the way of things this last trimester, though.

Yea for Friday! Where last weekend was filled with a few last pre-baby hurrahs with Baby S’s parents, this weekend will be filled with picking up the house, tending to the dogs, and maybe working on a few sewing projects. . . Then, I’ll be looking forward to going kayaking next weekend (before it gets too cold on the rim lakes), and to our 10th anniversary getaway the weekend after that. Today it occurred to me that there aren’t too many more weekends to go before we’re officially parents, so we’re trying to make good and do as much as possible.

~Nichole

9.09.2009

Tumble Dry; Remove Promptly.

This kid is tumbling around my belly, exploring areas I've never felt him in before. Last week we were at a restaurant and as I stood up to leave, I gasped and leaned over my belly as I had the worst pain in my groin. I think he was bouncing up and down on my cervix. Hopefully all the movement means he’s trying to find a new locale that puts him head down. That would be nice.

I’m at 33 pounds of gain and holding. I’d like to hold that number indefinitely. Or at least until my next appointment. The walking has been not so regular. I’ve been getting it in here and there, but I’m trying to pay attention to my body – which has been painful in the groin area.

After a bout of restless leggies (and feet and arms) on Monday night, followed by only about 4 hours of sleep, and despite a full night’s sleep last night (which only happened after a hot shower, the start of twitchy legs, a teary cry of “I just want to sleep!”, and stretching of the legs) I am utterly exhausted. My arms feel limp and heavy, my head feels ready to drop at any time, my spine no longer wants to hold my body up. I need some serious sleep.

Which is probably why I passed out at work today. It was awful - with the sweating, and the dizziness, and the nausea, and the losing your vision and hearing and thinking you are surely going to die. . . Once I recovered, I asked a co-worker to drive me home. I slept until mid afternoon and got up and ate some protein and drank some water. M stopped on the way home and bought some steak, since I read somewhere that red meat has more iron. Protein, iron and water. I hope that's recipe enough to not pass out again. . .

Meanwhile, L is getting induced at the hospital. I haven't heard from her since this morning, so I'm thinking she's in full-on labor. I think it would be so cool to have her baby be born on 9/9/09!

~Nichole

9.08.2009

Month 8: Pre-Baby To Do List

Register for childbirth class
Pre-register with the hospital
Call insurance to make sure they know I have no other insurance and stop denying all my claims
Get a flu shot (and lots of hand sanitizer)
Upload photos from our recent trip (and post some so you can see the belly)
Plan a 10th anniversary getaway
Print 2007 and 2008 photos (and 8x10s of our Europe trip)
Organize photo albums
Assemble pack n play (or supervise assembly by M)
Go to childbirth classes (and remember all the pillows)
Attend shower thrown by my co-workers
Attend "new daddy party" thrown by M's co-workers
Get any other "stuff" we need (i.e. car seat)
Help M finish this blasted last semester before he takes time off "for the baby"
Interview pediatricians (or outsource this to someone else, because. . . ugh!)
Interview childcare providers (no getting around this one)
CHOOSE A NAME
Talk to doc about labor/delivery
Fill out FMLA paperwork at work
Convince my boss I'm really coming back from FMLA
Try and fenagle information about how large this baby is really going to be (and whether any newborn clothes/diapers will actually fit him)
Get my flexible spending account at work to pay for everything
Sleep, because this list alone is enough to make me tired

~Nichole

9.07.2009

New Not-so-Fave Thing(s)

1. Wicked bad heartburn that wakes me up almost as much as my full bladder does.

2. Swollen feet and sausage toes

3. Strange pelvic pain

~Nichole

9.06.2009

New Fave Thing

I don’t know exactly how it happened, but the other day I came across this book on the internet:

The Rookie Mom's Handbook: 250 Activities to Do with (and Without!) Your Baby

Intrigued, I added it to my Amazon book list.

Then, in a moment of trying to help L find something to do besides drive herself nuts while being freshly on mat leave and anxiously awaiting signs of the impending arrival of Baby S, I googled “rookie moms” and found their website/blog.

It’s my new favorite thing.

Enjoy.


~Nichole

9.04.2009

The Bestest Ever

I have the bestest husband/baby-daddy ever!

Witness:
~Exhibit 1: loves my pregnant belly/body and tells me how good I look and how he thinks I'm doing a good job providing a place for our baby to develop.
~Exhibit 2: brags to people how I'm still hiking canyons and kayaking at 7 1/2 months pregnant (making me sound like some sort of pregnant rock star despite my not feeling much like one).
~Exhibit 3: is consistently concerned with how the baby is doing/moving.
~Exhibit 4: is very in tune with the pregnancy, how I'm feeling, etc. (and is very much the anti-"checked out" husband).
~Exhibit 5: talks to (and kisses) my belly and says prayers of thanks for the baby.
~Exhibit 6: reads daddy-to-be books dutifully.
~Exhibit 7: lets me lament about my weight but doesn't bring it up when I eat ice cream.
~Exhibit 8: is excited about childbirth classes so he can support me during labor.
~Exhibit 9: goes for walks with me, even though we don’t go far or fast.
~Exhibit 10: when I tell him doc says our baby is chubby, he sends me an email saying “Thanks for the great news that you shared earlier. All that I think of is the word “Chunky”. That’s awesome!!!”

See?

The bestest EVER!

~Nichole

9.03.2009

Chunky Monkey

Today: 31 weeks and a doctor’s visit.

I did not have a sit-down with my doc about labor and delivery today. It’s early days yet and I don’t want to do a do-over if something changes. He delivers at my hospital of choice and I’m comfortable enough that the hospital’s philosophy and my doc’s philosophy will mesh well together.

Besides, this boy continues to lie transverse across the bottom of my belly like he’s chillin’ in a hammock or something. Doc says he should turn head or butt down by my next visit, but if he doesn’t, we’ll wait until about 36 weeks before trying to evict him from his comfy position. Basically, I told my doc that I’d like to do things “as naturally as possible” but that I know this baby’s been transverse since the beginning, so I’m leaving it up to the baby and whether or not he can/will need to be turned.

My glucose test was normal (phew!) and my placenta is not low-lying (double phew!), but apparently I’m carrying a “chubby baby”, which makes me feel only slightly better about hitting the 33 pound mark already and a lot better about not gaining anything this past week or so. They’ll recheck his weight at around 38 weeks and see what’s what. Not that I know what that really means – I suspect something about induction and delivering early – but there it is.

I see the doc every 2 weeks from now until 36 weeks, when I’ll see him every week and “we’ll talk about labor and delivery and options, etc.” at every visit.

I did have the shock of learning I owe about $400 for my 10% portion of the bill, plus my deductible. Then, toward the end of my visit I remembered this is exactly why I got a medical savings plan at work. . . yea!

A small victory, for sure! Another: went on a walk last night and did squats this morning. Woo hoo!

~Nichole

9.02.2009

Tradition!

(I hope that the title of this blog post has made an image of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof pop into your head - and if not that the mention of it here has done the job!)

Out of respect for time-honored pregnancy traditions in my family (or just because of the inevitability of it all):

- I am apparently starting to look more and more like my mother.

- Our firstborn will be a boy, just like all of my siblings' firstborns.

- My feet are swollen, making my legs look pretty much like "cankles". (Why is it that the left is worse than the right today?)

- This baby will likely have a family name worked in somehow, just like all my siblings' kids.

- I can't think of any others right now because I need a nap!

~Nichole

9.01.2009

Big Bigger Biggest

I’m back from a week-long vacation in sunny (and hot and humid) San Diego. We went there expecting the mild temps of high 70s/low 80s we’ve become accustomed to, but unfortunately the infamous Heat Wave of the southwest did not pass over our beloved vacation city and we dealt with high 80s/low 90s and sticky humidity.

No matter, though. We didn’t let it bother us (too much) and stayed characteristically active. In fact, at one point I proclaimed myself winner of the Pregnant Woman of the Year award for having hiked down and back up a canyon to get to/from Black Beach. Then, we turned around and did it all over again, with gear this time, a couple of days later. I played in the ocean and wondered if the crashing waves sounded loud to the baby. We also walked A LOT. Like all over Balboa Park and all over downtown Oceanside and down the OB Pier. . . It felt good to walk. And since my hips (prone to bouts of stiffness whenever I sit too long) and legs (looking ever more chunky as I lose my ankles) are taking a beating, I figure walking should be my best friend right about now. Not to mention I’m hoping that keeping up with walking will help me transition to a walking program and eventually another C25k program pretty quickly post-partum. (Hey, a girl can hope!)

I slept so much better on vacation, and have been able to keep that up (for the most part) since we got back. I am increasingly tired and am just trying to go with it. Yesterday at lunch I lay down for a few minutes and took a nap. I’m already tired this morning and am thinking I might do the same thing today.

All week I’ve had what I’ve come to call the “post-breakfast blahs”. I’m carrying this kid so high that there doesn’t seem to be room for both my stomach and the food I put in it, so every day for a few hours after eating breakfast I basically feel like I can’t get enough air and like I’m going to fall over and/or pass out. All I want to do is sit and moan, but walking seems to help, as does water – both of which seem, according to the belching that ensues, to redistribute the food so that my lungs can keep functioning. Except this morning, when I felt blah and dizzy and lightheaded and like I just wanted to lie down and go to sleep. In fact, I have my fan on at work (a new staple) and had to put my head down for a few minutes. I also tried to remind myself to sit as straight as I comfortably can, since slouching just compresses all my major organs. Mornings like this are not my favorite, despite the fact that I felt good about trying to battle the chunk gathering on my hips with some squats as I put on my makeup.

Yesterday I read that this baby is about 16 inches long and weighs about 3 pounds. No wonder I can feel him all the time now! My belly sometimes seems normal size to me (when clothed) and sometimes seems huge (when bare). I can no longer see my feet over it and it’s tight all over and my skin is starting to feel stretched. So far, I’ve had no stretch marks (thanks to good genes and Aveeno moisturizing lotion, I think) and no linea negra – just a bare, white and kind of pretty pregnant belly. I’m trying to enjoy it while I can, because I know pretty soon it’ll protrude beyond what I would wish. And before long we’ll be playing “Guess that Body Part” and this baby’s bits and pieces will make disappearing trails under my taut skin. . . .

In the meantime, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for my poor friend L. They really shouldn’t tell you at 37 weeks that “you could go any time now”. . . Especially when you’re pregnant and ready to pop during record high temps that fall just before your due date! She’s trying to wait patiently, but she’s been physically and mentally done for 3 weeks now and her due date isn’t until this Saturday. She’s got a light at the end of the tunnel (or a ticking time bomb, depending on how you look at it) since they’ve given her an induction date of only 4 days (!) after her due date. We’re all hoping her baby girl decides to make her grand entrance on her own before then.

And I’m secretly hoping that I don’t become as uncomfortable as I’m fearing I might as I approach these last few weeks! (Cooler temps, hurry up and come already, wouldya?)

~Nichole

8.19.2009

My Own Private Picture Show

On Monday I went in to have the fourth ultrasound of this pregnancy (one at 8 weeks, one at about 12, one at 19, and now at 28). This one was to check “placental position” – to see if my placenta is low-lying (i.e. whether or not I have placenta previa).

The thing about women’s health ultrasound techs, especially those working with a pregnant woman, is that they only like to focus on the good. The tech showed me the scans of my baby doing the breathing reflex, yawning, kicking, moving, and generally causing a ruckus in my uterus. She said, almost more to herself than me, “he’s big” and showed me his chubby cheeks and printed out some pictures of him. But as she checked on what she was supposed to be checking on, she said not a word about whether things looked good, bad, or indifferent. My guess is she’s leaving that up to the radiology doc and my doc to interpret amongst themselves and let me know.

So, naturally, I did what any good (albeit mildly crazy) pregnant lady would do: I Googled radiographic images of placenta previa to determine if any of them looked like what I saw on the screen. I drove myself a bit nuts for a while, and then decided it was all in vain and I’ll just wait to hear from my doc’s office or see him at my next visit.

In the meantime, I’m exhausted. My stupid legs keep me up at night. Every night. For reals. It’s hard to get to sleep, harder to stay asleep – especially if I have to get up to pee. The first time I got up last night, I went back to sleep without too many problems, but the second time – at 4 a.m. – I was still up when M’s alarm went off at 5 a.m. and finally drifted back to sleep sometime around 5:30 or so. If I wasn’t going on vacation next week, I’d probably have stayed home from work and rested today. But as it is, I’m trying to push through. I figure I can sleep on vacation – but you didn’t hear it from me. I would never say anything like that! (Unless I’m pregnant and exhausted, apparently.)

Being in the “home stretch” (29 weeks tomorrow!) I finally feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief. Mostly. There are still the worries about pre-term delivery, etc. but for the most part, I’m feeling like I can relax and start to be excited. I use the term “relax” loosely, since the list of things to do this last trimester keeps growing: take childbirth classes, interview childcare providers, interview pediatricians, interview doulas, talk to my doc about labor and delivery. . . not to mention everything else that’s non-baby related.

I think my nesting phase is finally over, though. I think my house is clean enough. We’ll see if I’m right once the dust starts piling up again. . .

The baby’s starting to feel heavy. I feel where he moves to and where he lays (mostly toward the bottom of my belly, on one side or the other, and sometimes across). I’m starting to wonder just how icky I’ll start to feel these next few months. L, who I’ve rarely heard complain (at least in public), said last Sunday that she’s ready any time now. Which is pregnant lady code for “get this baby out of me”.

I’m content to let this kid keep cooking for at least another 8 weeks. . . . then I’ll be ready. Even as I say that, though, I’ve been thinking the last few days how strange it will be when he’s no longer physically connected to me – when we’re separated and he’s no longer with me 24/7. 8 weeks from now will be 37 weeks for those keeping track, and although I know I said “better late than early – to give me more time,” turns out I lied. Although the thought of having a newborn in roughly 8 weeks makes me severely freaked out, I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll be ready to have him out and here. Weird to think that if this baby is born at 37 weeks, he’ll be a Libra; if he’s born at 38 weeks, he’ll be a Scorpio on the very cusp of Libra; if he’s born after that he’ll be a Scorpio baby all the way!

Hopefully, we can use some of our road trip time (6 hours each way) to devise a good name for this kid. I think he’d like that.

~Nichole

8.16.2009

Intentional Means "On Purpose", Right?

Remember when I won a free birth consultation in a give away held by Jenn at Baby Makin(g) Machine? Well, this past Tuesday I had my free consultation with Karen at Intentional Birth.

It was great to talk with her because it helped me realize that my greatest fear about labor is that I’ll hit the wall and have a full mental collapse the way I did when I was training for the half marathon. (Though, admittedly, I’ll hardly be able to decide that I never really had the proper motivation and that I just don’t want to do it anymore, and then sit on a street corner and cry it out.) I just don’t want to make decisions driven by pain and discomfort or from the fear of pain and discomfort. Karen was able to talk with me and help me see that it doesn’t have to be that way. Proper preparation – and having the right support (even if that means just M and no one else) – can go a long way toward helping me avoid that scenario.

A couple of things that stood out from what Karen and I talked about:

-It’s OK to be open minded about how labor and delivery will play out. But it’s also good to have a plan. (Especially since I tend to be more about the big picture and not dwell on the specifics – at least when it comes to plans, that is.) Before talking with Karen, I wasn’t going to draft up a birth plan for fear that it would leave me rigid and inflexible if circumstances suddenly change. I am now going to have a birth plan, but know that it is a guideline rather than a rule book.

-I’m going to ask my doc if fetal monitoring can be done by Doppler instead of with the belts – which will make it so that I can have more time free to move around as I desire instead of having to be stationary 15 minutes of every hour.

-If my doctor answers any question about labor and delivery with a “let’s wait and see” type answer, a great way to get an answer out of him is to ask “what circumstances would have to exist for xyz to be possible?”

-Someone on my support team – M or a doula or someone – should be my advocate with the nurses so that if a decision needs to be made that does not fit into the birth plan, that person will ask the nurse (or even the doctor) for a few minutes to discuss it in private.

-Depending on how M and I feel after childbirth classes, I may or may not be hiring a doula. I’ve ordered the Father to Be Handbook Karen suggested and if M feels like he can be both my labor coach and my support system – someone who will remind me what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, someone who will understand how to talk me through the current pain and get me from the peak to the valley so that I can make decisions with as clear a head as possible, someone who will talk me down from panic and doubt – then we’re going to run with that. If not, we’ll be interviewing doulas in the next month or so. I don’t want to try and convert my husband into something he’s not. While I want strong support, I want M to be able to be himself and not feel like he has to be more for me than who he already is.

Karen offered to continue her consultations with me over the next 12 weeks. I’m seriously considering taking her up on her offer. M has some hesitation and I told him he should listen to the recording of our consult and take a look at her website and let me know what he thinks. Hopefully we’ll have a decision in the next few days. I’ll keep you posted.

~Nichole

8.15.2009

In Which I Get Totally Showered

The surreality of shower day continued into today. I was up late with last minute preparations, so I slept in late and puttered around doing more last minute things this morning. As I was doing all the puttering (sweeping off the porch, wiping sundry surfaces, tidying up) it kind of hit me: today is your one (and probably only) baby shower! Whoa!

Still, it almost felt like I was getting things ready for someone else's bash, but without the sense of utter panic and anxiety over whether everything's going to go well. (My sister T shouldered that burden very well . . . )

I took full advantage of having my two sisters at my house and asked T to braid my hair. (Now, if I could only find a way to have her come every day until I get a haircut . . . )

I was so tired by the time the action was getting started that I kind of fumbled and mumbled my way through it. Greeting people takes a lot out of ya, don't you know? My favorite part was just seeing everyone.

Second favorite part? The gifts. Seriously. Who doesn't love the part with the gifts. And with baby showers, everything is so cute that everyone wins, really. It's fun times all around! And the great thing is that the gifts went straight from being opened into the nursery - no additional transport necessary. Awesome, yes?

I feel like it went by in a blur. Thank goodness for pictures! I'm exhausted, but look forward to dragging M into the nursery to "ooh" and "ahh" over all of it again while we're sorting and putting things away.

Thanks SO much to everyone for the parts you played in making this day special! The food was great, the games were fun, and the day was fabulous!!

A special thanks to my sister T for the hard work (and hard cash) she put into coordinating everything (and for enduring "swack" all day to pull it off), and my sister M for helping, for bringing cookies and taking pictures and giving me leftover bean dip, and friend B for all the cupcakes and for her help and work!

~Nichole

8.14.2009

Surreality Continued . . .

I don’t know what it is that I’m just not understanding about me and caffeine, but I did it again on Saturday night. The baby and I were up until 4 a.m. as a result. Instead of trying to force sleep, I realized it was better to just wait until I was properly tired and then try to sleep. So I watched Lars and the Real Girl before finally falling asleep on the couch.

The couch became my frenemy on Monday and Tuesday nights, too. I went to bed at normal times and lay in bed trying to get to sleep for 2 hours only to find my efforts fruitless, and so, piled my 4 pillows and settled myself on the couch. On Tuesday night I was up every ½ hour or so to pee until about 3:30 a.m., transferred back to the bed at 5:00 a.m. and was awakened by M at 6:30 and by my alarm at 7:00. So much for trying to get to work early this week! I was out of work for a day and a half because of not being able to sleep!

The last two nights have, thankfully, been better. I came in to work yesterday feeling better, only to nearly pass out on my desk 30 minutes after arriving. That was very scary and not fun and has made me question whether I hate throwing up or passing out more. Since I’ve passed out more in recent history than I’ve thrown up, I’m currently voting for hating passing out more. Throwing up is awful, but at least I don’t feel like I’m going to die. Seriously, as I get all sweaty and my vision starts to darken at the edges and my hearing starts to fade, I always wonder if my body’s going to reboot on its own or not. Anyway, as I was laying on my desk in a full sweat, fanning myself with a folder and trying to revive rather than faint, the baby was kicking and moving all over, so it’s very clear who was getting all the blood and oxygen. My doc’s office said it could have been a “rush of hormones” which, apparently, happens sometimes – but cautioned me to be drinking lots of fluids (already doing 2-3 liters every day) and to eat every 2 hours and not skimp on the protein (this I need to work on). I borrowed a fan from a co-worker and it turned out to be a lifesaver for the rest of the day, keeping the air in my office cool and circulating.

Even more strange than that is the fact that tomorrow is my baby shower. My baby shower! It’s almost too surreal to be thinking about. I’ve never been a big fan of baby showers until this year, and even then . . . But mine is tomorrow and I just don’t know what to say about that. Sure I’m excited, but more because everyone’s coming over to my house and I get to visit with friends and family than any other reason. That, and my house is super clean!

Causing me a little bit of stress is the fact that just today MSNBC reported on “new pregnancy weight gain guidelines”. I watched it online and decided they can kiss my right butt cheek! That last line that “pregnant women should be watching what they eat” is a recipe for disaster, make no mistake. Now, me? With my weight very steadily climbing – having gained 3 pounds in the last week and with my total weight gain so far about to tip over into the 30s (when I should technically only have gained about 22-ish pounds by now) – I’m freaking out a little. I’m thinking I might have to climb the stairs at work a couple of times a day and start walking around the block each night. But I will not start restricting my food intake and obsessing about each pound gained. The baby alone will be gaining about 5 pounds (if not more) in the next few months, for crying out loud! M says he thinks the baby probably weighs more than the 2-ish pounds they say is average for 28 weeks and will “be a big baby”. I don’t know whether to hope that he’s right (thus attributing the weight gain to the baby and not me) or to hope that he’s wrong (and holding out hope that I won’t have a 8-10 pounder).

Everything about this stage of pregnancy is still feeling very bizarre and dreamlike. Last night, I was walking with a friend through the baby section at Walmart and it didn’t feel real that it was me we were there for, that I’m really 28 weeks along and going to have a newborn in less that 3 months. That, and L is due in a few weeks and is already less than a cm dilated and is 50% effaced. Once she has her baby, I think it might finally hit me full force that I’m only a few weeks behind her!

~Nichole

8.10.2009

The Curious Case of the Disappearing Button


A few weeks ago while we were in IKEA all 4 of us - M, me and two of our friends - stared unabashedly at a very pregnant woman who had a turkey timer belly button. At that time, my friend asked me if I thought that's what I'd look like before this is all over and from the safety of my little baby bump I assured both him and myself that, no way, my belly button is way too deep for that to happen.

I've always liked my belly button. It's a deep innie that, long before I gained mission and marriage weight, was almond shaped. With weight gain (and loss), it was a little more rounded, but still very deep. We're talking dry it out with q-tips, people.

Now, it is disappearing before my very eyes. I can still stick the tip of my index finger in it. But as my belly grows like that of Poppin' Fresh, I fear my button will soon go the way of Jennie O.

~Nichole

8.07.2009

Rounding Third

This morning, for some odd reason, finds me supremely uncomfortable. After a horrid night’s sleep the night before last – precipitated by a day in which it was so hard to hold myself up, I had to go home early and sleep the afternoon away – I slept well again last night. That is, as well as you can sleep when you’re up every few hours to pee. Since I’m trying to make it in to work before the 9:30 or 9:45 I’ve been averaging, I now only allow myself to hit the snooze once before forcing my tired self out of bed. Which means I’m rolling into work around 8:45 or 9:00 and I’m dog tired, despite going to bed earlier. That afternoon nap, which later served only to thwart sleep, was the only time this week I’ve woken up feeling truly rested.

This morning was no exception. Despite being so tired, I convinced myself to start trying to do squats again and became so breathless I had to lean on the bathroom counter until I semi-recovered. After I blow dried my hair in the breeze of the fan, I got half dressed and sat on the stool in my closet staring at my clothes. Breathless from the half-dressing, I asked out loud “Ok. What am I going to wear today? Anyone? Anyone?” before relenting, picking something out, and deciding that I officially hate clothes.

I’m trying not to get all psychosomatic about it, but it’s either the dawn of the 3rd trimester hitting me, or my body’s never quite recovered from the glucose shock of my diabetes test earlier this week (and the subsequent mass amounts of sugar I’ve dosed myself with – the marshmallows, the Starburst, the brownies, oh my! – because I’ve been so tired and weak feeling ever since). All week I’ve felt like I did the time I was training for a half marathon and tried Gu.

I’m really hoping it’s all the freakin’ sugar. Because, seriously, folks, if this is a preview of the 3rd trimester, I’m officially freaked out. I’ve tried to be a trooper. I’ve tried to roll with it and not complain too much when I’ve been uncomfortable, but it’s been a tough week physically. I feel like a foreigner in my own body. I’m outgrowing clothes by the day. I can’t stand for long periods without getting winded. I can’t talk for long periods without feeling breathless and passy-outy. And after breakfast this morning, I feel like my food is still sitting in my esophagus in some impromptu waiting line to be let into my stomach as soon as there’s room. All of which makes it harder to breathe. I’m trying to help it along with cold water and belching and sitting as straight as possible. I’m back to being up at least twice at night to pee and when I try and reenter sleepy town, I can feel my heart beating with such force (no matter which side I lay on), I’m sure it equals bad juju either for me or for my passenger. I’m thinking I’ve got to cut out the sugar, increase the water, and maybe start walking in the evenings. Here’s praying that approach helps. . .

The heat really mucks things up, though. I’ve taken to parking in the HOV parking here at work because it’s closer. But for August in Arizona, it’s never quite close enough. Here’s hoping the cool, salty sea air of my beloved San Diego in a few weeks will help. (You know it’s bad when you fantasize about vacation because it means you get to sleep whenever and as long as you like!)

On the good side of news, my back and sciatic nerve pain is feeling much better and I'm walking faster, mostly due to the lack of necessary waddling. So, yea!

~Nichole

8.04.2009

The Land of Surreality

The crib is no longer sitting unassembled in our den. Thanks to my husband, who is officially The Man, it is now fully assembled in what feels very strange to call “the nursery” so we just call it “the baby’s room”. All the major parts are now there (except the baby), though still in disarray while we get everything arranged to its final resting spot.

As I stood there looking at that crib taking center stage on the south wall of that room, I got a little freaked out. I walked into the living room and said “oh my gosh! There’s a crib in that room! That’s SO weird!”

Sometimes I wonder what he thinks when I say such things. One night last week, admittedly a bad sleep week due to sciatic pain, I had a moment of anxiety as I was falling asleep. I thought to myself “what on earth am I doing!? We are fine, just the two of us! We’re happy, we’re great! And now, we’ll have a kid!” (I tried to talk myself out of that by telling myself that we wouldn’t really have been “fine” being childless forever – and reminded myself that this is the same argument I used against M when he suggested such things prior to trying to get pregnant.) A few days later I was sitting in my kitchen and looking at the clutter magneted to my fridge when my eyes scanned over the white card on which is recorded the date of my last Rhogam shot. I thought to myself “Wow! I can’t believe I’ve made it this far in this pregnancy! Pretty soon I’ll be getting a Rhogam shot because I’m 27 weeks along, instead of because my pregnancy’s failing.”

The dichotomy of such thoughts really stuns me sometimes. And in true Me fashion, I divulged these polar thoughts to my husband, who takes them in and lets them spin around his being for a while. I imagine to myself that he’s relieved when I make my little confessions because maybe he secretly feels the same way sometimes, which is the very reason why I confess to him, hoping we’ll both find safety in numbers. (Well, that and the fact that I can’t keep anything from him. I tell him almost everything.) In return, he divulges that he’s sorry I’ll have to be in such pain during labor – to which I respond that it’s (hopefully) only one day out of my life.

So, while I was at the doctor drinking a syrupy sweet fruit punch flavored concoction and waiting to be prodded and poked for both the token gestational diabetes test and my Rhogam shot, M was home putting the crib together in thoughtful silence, praying to know our son’s name. And for extra Super Duper Hero Dad effect, he also washed and folded 3 loads of laundry in one day. That’s quite a feat in my book, even though I did technically help with the folding and 1 load was our bedsheets. . .

In the meantime, M and I are both marveling at the girth of my belly and last night I held my hand out about 3 inches from it and said by the end, I’ll probably be out to about here. His mouth dropped and I kept to myself the fact that it’ll probably be more than that.

This boy’s movements are becoming more distinct – to the point where it no longer feels similar to how gas or hunger or nervousness feels, but like there’s a tiny person in there. It’s the reality breaking through the surreality. Thank goodness all 3 of us have 3 more months to get ready for each other!

~Nichole

"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury