7.29.2009

The Great Migration

The belly has officially moved northward. My pants are no longer tight across my lower abdomen, and my belly suddenly looks a whole lot closer (and bigger). (What's that saying? "Objects in Belly May be Closer than They Appear"?) Plus, I can lean over sinks and counters and stuff much more easily.

My recent weight plateau is over and I officially weigh more than ever before. So far, though, most of it’s baby and I’m hoping whatever’s not (i.e. “maternal fat stores”) will come off with the walking/running regimen I have safely tucked away for the postpartum period.

We’re no closer on a name for this nameless child. We had one name. A first name. But couldn’t come up with a middle name, and so the name kind of got abandoned and left behind a few weeks ago. I guess we’re hoping he’ll be born and tell us what his name is. In the meantime, if you’d like to help, you can go here.

“Stuff” is slowly getting done around our house. We went kayaking at the lake last weekend (which was fabulous!), so not much got done. But I have some major lists to be completed over the next few weeks. With all this work going on in August, I’m hoping to have a relaxing September and October. Then I suddenly remember we need to attend birthing classes and start interviewing for child care. Oh and install ceiling fans and spray in additional insulation over the nursery. Hmph. So much for having-nothing-to-do.

~Nichole

7.23.2009

Leapin’ Lizards

Apparently that free KFC Grilled Chicken Meal last night (courtesy of my mom) was not the best thing for me. The meal was good. The soda that late in the day was not. Ever since I all but cut soda out of my diet 2 years ago, I’ve noticed I’m very sensitive to its effects. Basically, if I have anything other than a few sips of caffeine after lunch time, I’m unable to get to sleep that night. (Surprising, given that I used to take Excedrin Migraine like it was Tic Tacs.)

Occasionally, though, I have a momentary lapse of reason and think “a little won’t hurt me”. How wrong I can be. I literally drank half of a medium Pepsi and could not sleep to save my poor, exhausted life last night. I think it wired the poor kid, too. He was leaping (and kicking) around all night. The thrusts of his kicks were angry. I imagined that he was saying “Stupid caffeine (kick)! Stupid uterus (kick)! Stupid bladder (kick)!” It’s what I would do if I couldn’t sleep because someone injected caffeine into my system. . .

In other news, my sciatic nerve has flared on the right again. No amount of stretching has seemed to help. I think I might have to ask M to rub my butt again.

I’ve been the same weight now for 2 weeks. I LOVE it! M keeps calling me to make sure I’m feeding the baby. (I am.) It’s just that he’s hit a growth plateau, which means I get to stay where I’m at for who knows how long. I haven’t yet broken past the “heaviest I’ve ever been mark”, but one more pound will do it – so I’m happy to stay where I’m at for a while.

I got a clean bill of health from my dentist yesterday. The hygienist said I don’t have gum disease (phew!), but want to make sure to floss to prevent it, since it is associated with pre-term delivery. So far, I’ve eaten candy and soda and not flossed once. But she did compliment me on the thoroughness of my brushing, so that’s something.

I’m still working on little projects around the house. The blankets we used for camping in May are finally washed and put away, clearing the crap room so that it’s looking more like a bedroom. It took a whole 9 months to wash them after last year’s trip, so I’m kind of proud of only a 2-month lapse. Next up: paint wooden pegs I’ve had sitting on the refrigerator for the last 6 years and put them up in baby’s room and drill holes in kitchen and bathroom cabinets to install knobs we bought a year ago. Oh, and clean the stupid dog’s ears, which I also haven’t done since we went camping. (Are you catching the drift that things tend to sit around my house and not get done. . . and yet, I’m always so busy. . . . )

~Nichole

7.21.2009

Nesting – Phase 1

I nearly killed myself cleaning my house last Saturday morning. OK. I exaggerate. But only a little!

Home Depot has been our friend lately. When we were there a couple of weeks ago for mulch and compost, I also grabbed a bunch of cleaning supplies – rags, buckets, Scrubbing Bubbles, Pine Sol, Old English, and Simple Green. I used the entire bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles on our two showers on Saturday. I also washed our shower curtains (much cheaper than replacing soap scummed vinyl shower linings), cleaned all the baseboards, wiped down all the door frames, doors, door jams, door knobs and light switches, wiped down all my kitchen cabinets, cleaned the top of the refrigerator, wiped a few walls and other surfaces, then – back killing me and abdominal ligament pain flaring – pronounced myself done for the day (but making it clear to no one in particular that this was only phase 1 and that there are two more phases to go). Then, I cleaned my sweaty self up and rushed off to L’s baby shower.

I was SO sore on Saturday and Sunday that I began to rethink that whole 3 phases thing. My arms were fatigued from shoulder to wrist and my back was killing me. I seriously considered just leaving everything else or hiring a crew to come and finish the job. But every time I catch a glimpse at the whiteness that is suddenly my baseboards, I know I have to finish.

While I was at the shower, M went again to Home Depot to pick up another HyLoft and some stuff to mount the canoe in the garage. We finally got M’s 14 foot canoe out of our den. (Ladies, if you want something done, just order online whatever is needed to do it. If you have a husband like mine, he’ll be SO excited when it comes in the mail, he’ll not only praise your mad online shopping skills, but he’ll be driven to put it up – even though it’ll take him 8 hours - and a lot of sawdust and grunt work – to do it.) I helped him with getting the canoe into the straps, and then we stood there strategizing over storage.

I think neither of us is ceasing to be shocked with how much prep work is going into getting ready for this baby. In truth, we’re both nesting. M’s been asking me for days “when is my baby’s crib going to get here?” Well, it was delivered to the store today, so I called him and he’s happy as a lark to be picking it up right after work and assembling it in the den (where the canoe once was). We have no more room in the “nursery” because we have to do some clever rearranging of stuff – including the installation of another HyLoft in our garage – so that we can both have a place to put our crap and still have a place to park our cars. We’re big advocates of using the garage for the parking of cars rather than for the storing of crap. The result of this guiding garage philosophy is that we have used nearly every possible wall and ceiling space to hang our bikes, kayaks, canoes, camping gear, lawn equipment, Christmas decorations, etc. from.

So, in essence, Nesting Phase 1 for M was putting together the baby furniture. For me, it was cleaning the baseboards, etc. like a mad woman. Phase 2 for M is installing the canoe hoist and putting up the HyLoft (he’s half way done). Phase 2 for me will be finishing the baseboards in the kitchen, dusting every possible dusty surface in the house (high and low), steam cleaning our rug and living room furniture, and wiping the walls, baseboards and window sills behind where our dirty dogs lie. Phase 3 for both of us will be touching up and spot cleaning just before my shower (mental note: buy more Scrubbing Bubbles), moving the dogs outside temporarily and, for lucky M, will include cleaning our floors.

I tried making the thought of all this work better by enumerating the reasons it’s good we’re cleaning: 1) we haven’t cleaned deeply since we moved in (4 years ago); 2) baby needs a clean house; 3) baby’s shower will be at my house; and 4) my sister is house sitting for us the following week. All true, but I will be glad when it’s finished. Especially since the next time I get to clean like this again might just be in another 4 years.

~Nichole

7.15.2009

Growing and Going

I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had time to write! This pregnancy is now threatening to be the most undocumented known first pregnancy ever, I think. (I say “known” because of all those I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant type shows. Which are Dumb, btw.)

The Care Package has been hit or miss. I kept up with it until I had weird pains in my lower right abdomen on a Friday evening and freaked myself the freak out, dialing up L and T to find out what they thought could be going on. When I couldn’t reach them, I called my doc’s office and got the after hours number justincase and programmed my doc and both numbers into my phone and told M that I did – justincase. Turns out it was an abdominal strain from all the crunches. I haven’t done any since. My sleeping is whacked most days, so most mornings I don’t do more than stretching and squats. I need to do more, but even the squats have been sidelined by sciatic nerve pain (which I begged M to massage out for me – he obliged).

Meanwhile, my metabolism has skyrocketed. I’m always hungry. So I’m always eating, but I’m trying to make good choices – and I haven’t gained any weight in the past week. I’m feeling OK with my weight, even though I’ve officially hit the weight at which I was previously my heaviest – before I started all the water drinking, good food eating, and the running to lose it. I felt especially special after my visit to HR last week where all the girls there gushed over how small I’m looking and how good I’m looking, etc. etc. Let me tell you – that was comforting.

Even so, I feel the extra weight in my hips, back, and knees. I don’t feel much like myself. I don’t walk the way I used to. My gait is all off. I walk around my hips instead of from my hips. In short, I waddle. Most of this is from the sciatic nerve pain (stupid piriformis muscle!), but I still loathe it.

We finally finished M’s grad statistics class. A good two weeks of my life (if not longer) were wrapped up in trying to help him finish by his 7/8 deadline. Which means I had to put off all my baby sewing projects (nursing covers, crib skirt, changing pad, valence, diaper bag, binding a quilt). I’ve now resumed, but I’m sewing for L’s baby shower this Saturday (nursing cover and binding a quilt), after which I have got to get cracking on my sewing to do list for my baby.

This past Saturday, we spent the larger (hotter) portion of the day at IKEA negotiating over furniture. I had my heart set on colored (red and yellow) furniture. Turns out he hated the colors and preferred white. The negotiations came down to whether we’d repaint the lavender colored walls. My color scheme is bright and I wasn’t sure the lavender would cut it, even with all white furniture. So we settled on “we’ll see” with me conceding to maybe give up the red crib sheets I was hoping for against a yellow palette of walls.

Once we got home and cooled off, the papa got to work putting the dresser and storage bench together, while I ordered the crib online and commenced constructing wooden frames for my wall hangings. I decided the fabric panel (that is the central nursery theme) would be much easier to incorporate as a wall hanging if it was stretched over a wooden frame or two than if I had to sew a wall quilt. Turns out I was right. When the furniture was constructed, we moved it into the room against the walls (because the rest of the room is filled with our camping/kayaking/fishing gear and other miscellaneous crap. Oh, and a “guest” bed that’s only seen about 3 guests in 4 years.) He also put together a matching side table we bought to go beside the recliner that’s going into that room.

With the white in the room, I held the fabric wall hangings against the wall. I think it’s going to work just fine. M is very relieved that his hard work of painting that room will not have been in vain (I’ll never live down the “oops” paint fiasco of 2.5 years ago), and that he gets to keep his “but it’s soothing!” lavender colored walls. I figure I have enough to worry about in the coming months, and simply switched the color palette in my head (which consisted mostly of coordinating crib sheets). It’ll work.

M’s already a good dad. He’s recently been around a guy with a 9 month old who got chicken pox and was worried about being exposed to an active virus and bringing it home to me and the baby. Yesterday he e-mailed me asking about the risk to the baby. I Googled it and we both learned that as long as I’ve had chicken pox, I’m not susceptible to it, so there’s no risk to the baby. And he teared up a little while we were watching Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire because when Cedric Diggory dies his dad yells "That's my son! My boy!" because it made him sad to think about.

On Monday, we went and toured The Hospital. V&L went too, and the hospital smell (which I thought was very mild) made the guys feel ill. Secretly I’m convinced it was a psychosomatic reaction to the thought of having their wives go through those doors – the point of no return – and their lives never being the same again. (Too late now, boys!) Meanwhile, we chicks were sizing up all the other pregnant ladies (“I wonder how far along she is” “She looks about the same as me – wouldn’t it be awful if she’s 2 months ahead of me instead?”)

The hospital was nice. I really liked that words like exploring different labor positions, walking around and laboring naturally came up at the very beginning of the tour. They showed us each stage of a typical L&D visit: registration, triage, the labor/delivery rooms (totally nice, btw), the postpartum recovery rooms, plus the bonus features like a Japanese soaking tub, an OB “garden”, a special care nursery. I couldn’t believe more people weren’t asking questions. I asked several and was told by M that I was being sized up for it. Whatever.

I asked about being able to go in the soaking tub after your membranes were ruptured (it’s up to your doc), about whether fetal monitoring is continuous given that they encourage different positions and walking (it’s intermittent), about whether eating or drinking is permitted during labor (nope - ice chips or IV only, which is why I’ll try to labor at home for as long as is possible/safe) and whether the father can immediately accompany a baby who may need to go to the special care nursery or if he has to wait (he can immediately go with). I wanted to ask more – like how long does the wellness check take after the baby is born (“give me mah baby!”) and whether an IV is mandatory (no extraneous needles, please). One other girl asked a few questions and I found out that they have nurses on staff trained in natural childbirthing methods, but they do not have doulas on staff.

I left there with my head spinning, and that’s with having a knowledge of what the crap the woman was talking about. I can’t imagine what M must be thinking. I already warned him on Sunday that if he’s going to be The Man and be my labor coach, he’d better start reading up. Regardless, last night I gave him the Reader's Digest version of labor and delivery. All he had to say is "I'm sorry you have to go through that."

I am now armed with a list of questions for my doc and I’m sure we’ll have a conversation about all this in the near future. Regardless, I’m determined to maintain my “wait and see” attitude because there’s no sense getting myself all worked up or planning details over which I have little or no control. I have a general idea of how I would like things to go, but it’s very flexible depending on how things play out over the next few months and even in early labor.

Meanwhile, my belly continues to burgeon and the kicking and moving gets stronger and stronger. One night last week, we both watched in awe as my belly was punched outward with the thrust of this kid’s kicking. Shortly after that, I felt kicking feet in my pelvis, felt a full body flip against my left hand resting on my belly, then the feet were up above my navel. And last night as we were pillow talking, I grabbed M’s hand and put it on my belly. Neither of us have ever felt him be so active before and he was kicking like crazy. It’s funny because when I would talk, he would stop kicking, but when I was quiet he’d kick in rapid succession. What’s even funnier is when M says “he shouldn’t be kicking at this time of night! He should be sleeping!” Uh, yeah. Good luck with that.

~Nichole

7.06.2009

Best Laid Plans

It might come as a shock because I'm such a "planner", but when it comes to the whole labor thing, I've worked hard to keep all doors open in my mind and not try to pin myself down to one thing. I've seen it happen too many times when a woman sets herself up for one type of birth and walks out with the exact opposite of what she planned. Oh, also, I hate pain.


So, I've looked at labor much like this: I'll labor at home as much as I can and try to do it as naturally as I can, but if it gets too hard to bear, I'll start with Door Number 1. Door Number 1 is the epidural. Since it can slow labor, makes an IV mandatory, and will keep me bedridden, I'd like not to have to go with Door Number 1. But, again, me and pain are not good bedfellows.


I don't quite know what the intermediary Door Number 2 is yet, which is nicht so gut, but Door Number 3 is a C-section.


Frankly, one thing watching all "those shows" lately has done for me is illustrate very vividly the differences between a medically managed birth and a natural one. The major difference between them is what happens immediately after the birth. In all the medically managed ones (i.e. epidurals and cesareans), the babies had to go to NICU and mom had to go to recovery - meaning mom missed out on the first 45 minutes when her newborn is most alert after birth.


In the natural scenario, mom had an excellent coach of a husband and despite having an episiotomy, got to pull her baby up onto her stomach and put him skin to skin just moments after his birth. Baby never left the room.


We tour the hospital in a few weeks and little does M know that I'll be asking him to think about questions he might have for the staff there. Like "if the baby has to go to NICU, can I go with him?" and stuff like that. Just in case.

But really, I'm thinking I might just hire a doula who can be with me to labor at home and can consult with me on when to go to the hospital and who can help me when I think I can't do it anymore.


Then again, my friend C planned the same route, was overdue and had a failed induction and ended up with a beautiful babe born via cesarean.

Obviously I need to "get thee to a library" and read up on all my options. Not only so I can have a Door Number 2 plan, but also so I can make some informed choices when the time comes.

Update: I've been to the library and started reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and Our Bodies, Ourselves. On one hand, Ina May freaked me out just a little. But on the other, both books have me starting to seriously think about my body and what it's capable of. Yes, I don't like pain. But I also know I am strong and I believe my body will ultimately figure this whole birth thing out.

Pregnancy is a biological process that is set in place in spite of me or my fears. Genetic material has artfully collided and issued its "run program" order, orchestrating the artful, astronomic and wondrous process of growing a whole new human being. My body has received its own requisite message, setting in motion its own growth process, increasing blood volume, increasing uterus size, creating a placenta seemingly out of thin air, preparing breasts to fulfill the purpose for which they were created. . .

It's truly an amazing process and it's not even complete yet. Labor and delivery complete the journey. Knowing what my body has already achieved, I'm becoming more and more convinced of its ability to maintain course and finish what it's started - naturally.

I'm still leaving doors open in the event that this baby ends up being breech or transverse or some other thing and chooses to be born some other way.

BUT if all proceeds well, my intent is to labor at home until I'm in active labor, go to the hospital and move around as much as possible to work through the pain until baby, biology and body come into sync, aligning together to bring this new being forth.

Due to the generosity of Future Mama at Baby Makin(g) Machine and her giveaways, I've won a consult with birth coach Karen of Intentional Birth. I'm very excited to talk with her!

~Nichole

7.05.2009

En Utero

Feeling this baby move comprises the best parts of my day. Add to that my vivid imagination and I come up with some very interesting scenarios.

Like last week when I was lying on my back in bed and felt this light thudding low in my pelvis and imagined that this kid was trapped way down there and tapping out an SOS. "Help! I can't breathe. Move woman, move!"

Other times when he seems to be everywhere at once, I picture him lying on his side, shoulder pressed firmly against placenta, feet walking him around in circles. Or that he's doing loop-de-loos in his watery abyss, complete with a "wooooo" as he swimmingly completes each flip. Or that he's jumping rope or hopping back and forth over the cord. "Step on a crack, break your mother's back."

As my uterus continues its upward ascent, I now feel him in the vicinity of my navel, and know he'll soon be up in my ribs and stomach.

L bought two little outfits from Babies R Us yesterday. She said she couldn't resist because they were cute, plus they were on sale. There are now 3 little outfits hanging the doorknob of what will be the nursery door. The one on top is a little sleeper with safari animals and bears on the feet. As I was in my bathroom this morning, my eye caught that sleeper and I got a little teary and weepy thinking about how in a few months I'll have a little someone who will be wearing that sleeper.

For now, he's still cooking. And kicking.

~Nichole

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