Wednesday, January 28, 2009

this day brought to you by SNOW

I'm one of the millions who was off work today due to inclement weather. I wish I could say I was wildly productive, but I wasn't. I did stare at the to-do list for a while in hopes some of the tasks might crumble under the pressure of my fiery stare and do themselves. No luck. 

Sidenote: Has anyone else checked out the pregnancy checklist on The N.est? Is it just me or do they want things done super early? I'm a do-ahead kind of girl, but some of their suggestions seem a little over the top. Install the car seat and have it inspected this week? Pack my hospital bag? And my "overdue" tasks? Buy any items still needed for baby and cook/freeze meals for after delivery. Um, I still have every reason to believe I have 4-6 weeks left, right?

I wasn't quite as unproductive as I'm making myself sound. I did some laundry, including my first two loads of baby bedding and clothing. I wrote a handful of thank you notes for some gifts we've received. I researched newborn photographers and attorneys that handle same-sex family protections and I'm ready to pitch some options to M tomorrow night. I installed my new photoshop software (a Christmas present from M) and played around with some possible birth announcement layouts. I made a bottom-line-we-need-these-things-or-we'll-be-in-big-trouble shopping list for a field trip to the cloth diaper store in the next week or so. I called the pediatrician's office to schedule a consultation but they were off for a snow day of their own. I can't claim it was a full day's work, but it could have been worse. For dinner, I experimented with the "healthy" mac n' cheese recipe in this month's Real Sim.ple - I can't recommend it. In fact, I'm about to head in to the kitchen in search of a replacement. I'm bummed because it looked and sounded so good!

My parents are coming into town for a few days next week for a last pre-baby visit. I'm taking some precious vacation hours from work so I can hang out with them and run some errands. M's mom will be in town a couple of weeks later. I'm really grateful for the extra hands headed our way during these last few weeks. My parents will be out again for the birth and will stay a few weeks (in another house across town) to help out. We're having a tough time figuring out when they should come. If only this baby could let me know when it will arrive! I don't need a precise hour, but a date would be really helpful. :-)

The challenges of being far away from family are well-defined on our radar these days. We're in the process of planning an extended West Coast visit during my maternity leave so the baby can meet the biological and chosen family it has spread all the way from San Diego to Seattle. M doesn't have much paid leave so it's tough to plan something like this. If she comes along, we're limited as to how long we can stay. If she doesn't, the baby and I could stay as long as we need to in order to hit all the important stops, but we'll be away from her during a time new moms and babies shouldn't be apart. It's looking like we won't be able to cram it all into one visit, which sucks because we already have four weddings on our calendar for next year - all out of town and all before the baby will be 8 months old - and the holidays, at least one of which we'll surely need to travel for. We're going to be a well-oiled machine when it comes to air travel when it's all behind us. But back to the trip in question... the most important stops to hit on our first visit are probably the baby's two living great-grandparents. Both are over 90 and it's hard to say how many opportunities we have left for their paths to cross. Others may have to wait for visit #2, or drive a bit to see us, if we get close enough to their part of the world.

For me, this stage of pregnancy seems to be characterized by lots of mixed feelings. I feel alternately desperate to meet this new little person ASAP and panicked about how little time we have left before he or she arrives; alternately revved up to DO THIS little labor thing already and massively intimidated about the task ahead; alternately in awe of the miraculous transformation my body has made and totally fed up with the aches, the pains and the lousy sleep. On the flip side, I'm wholly and unconditionally in love with the kicks and punches and rolls I feel constantly. I will miss those sensations so much when this little one is on the outside.

Speaking of movements, I had a little scare on Monday when the baby slowed waaaay down. He or she was still well within the "10 kicks per 2 hours" standard, but as I suggested before, that was a major decrease for us. I had a prenatal massage that afternoon, then went to hyp.nobirthing class and practiced a bunch of techniques. In hindsight, I think the baby was just super-relaxed! I was freaked out that the massage might have released a bunch of toxins and made the baby sick, but by Tuesday morning, we were back to normal before I even had a chance to call the doctor.

We attended a breastfeeding class this weekend. We were the only same-sex couple there, of course. One excrutiating segment aside (involving the passing around of a nursing bra and the anticipated but still cringe-producing, juvenile comments from the male partners), it was better than I expected. I felt pretty knowledgeable going in but still left armed with a few good tips I'd never heard before and a bunch of local resources I can call for help when I'm ready to pull my hair out.

Still no word on the ultrasound. I called the doctor's office when I hadn't heard anything at the end of last week and they told me it would take at least a week just to schedule the appointment! They have to fax over my insurance information and the genetics lab has to get the service pre-approved then fax something back to my OB for further processing, or some three-ring circus like that. Darn insurance hurdles. My next regular appointment is on Monday so hopefully they'll have something to tell me by then. As M said the other night, they can just check the baby on its way out at this rate!

Well, I have certainly rambled on long enough. I'll let you get back to your evening. As for me, I'm headed back to the kitchen to scrounge up round 2 of dinner. To those of you in snowy places, keep warm!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

33 weeks and musings on goin' natural... or not

Here’s the latest and greatest from my OB appointment on Monday:

  • No more excuses or procrastination. I HAVE to find a freaking pediatrician already. It’s the one thing hanging out on my to-do list making me feel like an unfit mother-to-be.
  • Baby is head down and in a perfect position. Of course that could all change over the next few weeks, but we’re on track today and that’s a good thing.
  • Unless my water breaks, my OB supports my decision to labor at home for as long as possible. Her recommendation is that we try to postpone coming in until I’m in transition. (!!!) I love her laid-back approach. If my water does break, she said I have to come in and get checked for cord prolapse or other issues, but if everything looks good, I don’t have to be admitted right away and I can do my own thing as long as I stay close for frequent check-ins.
  • All of my readings (weight, blood pressure, uterine measurement, etc.) are normal.
  • She doesn’t recommend formal kick counts but explained the general “10 movements in 2 hours” rule, which is kind of funny to me. It seems our norm is more like 10 movements in 2 minutes! She just asked that I call if I notice decreased movement relative to whatever I’m used to.
  • And the biggest news, we get to have another ultrasound! (Hear that positive spin? Go me.) It turns out there was an abnormality with the baby’s kidneys at our 20-week scan – renal pelvic di.lation or something like that. My OB said it’s very common and nothing to worry about as it usually resolves on its own prior to delivery. She also pointed out that if it was a serious concern, they wouldn’t have waited until now to send me back in. I realize this must have been sitting in my chart since the last ultrasound report came back and I’m appreciative that she didn’t tell me about it until now. I think I would have had a hard time not worrying about it for the last 13 weeks. As it is, I’m feeling pretty calm and optimistic - appropriately so, I hope. I haven’t been given a date for the ultrasound yet but I’ll keep you all posted.

I’m on day 3 of a particularly uncomfortable growth spurt that is rendering me nearly unable to walk. My hips are so sore! A couple of people have told me I look further out in front than I did before, so maybe things really are shifting around. It certainly feels that way. I think it’s starting to get better. I certainly slept better last night than I did the previous two.

We’re more than halfway done with our hyp.nobirthing classes and I’m starting to feel a lot more confident in my ability to use the techniques. I also went to see Org.asmic Birth this weekend and it was awesome. I highly recommend it if anyone is considering trying for a natural birth. It made the whole thing seem a lot more do-able. All along, my sound byte regarding our decision to try natural childbirth has been that I have no idea if I CAN do it – I’ve never given birth before and don’t know what to expect – but I think it’s just as much of a mistake to automatically assume that I CAN’T do it. I just want to try my hardest and see what happens – maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t. Now, with the preparation we’ve done and plan to do, I’m feeling much more motivated to give it my all and to push myself as much as possible. Of course I don’t know for sure that I can do it, and I don’t want to feel like a failure if I end up needing an epidural. I’m starting to worry about those feelings more and more as I repeatedly defend our plans to the bazillion people who tell me how delusional and na├»ve they think we are. All I know is that I really, really don’t want an epidural and I’m going to try to avoid getting one. Beyond that, I make no promises. Hopefully people will know better (or at least have better manners) than to say “I told you so” if our plans take a detour, but I doubt it. I’ve been pretty shocked by how unsupportive so many people have been already. I think I’m just going to start declining to comment when people ask us about our plans, or I’ll say “I don’t know, we’ll see what happens” and leave it at that. That’s the truth when it really comes down to it anyway.

Monday, January 12, 2009

preparations abound

Yesterday, M and I went to a workshop about preparing your pets for a new baby. We left feeling confident that everything is going to be okay. Our dog is pretty laid back. If we didn't know that going in, we realized it quickly while listening to the questions other people were asking about the neuroses their pets either already had or developed in response to their pregnancies. The funniest part of the whole experience was at the very end: As soon as the one-hour workshop was over, all of the moms-to-be headed straight for the bathroom. I was fifth in line and there were at least that many women behind me. When I came out, there was M standing against the wall... along with all of the men from our class, waiting for their bladder-capacity-challenged other halves. :-)

From there, we went out for a yummy lunch then tried to go to the cloth diaper store but it was closed when we got there. Foiled! We're doing pretty well on the great diaper stock-up, but we need to start buying some of the extras - wipes, pail, totes, etc. Since they were closed, we went to a couple other stores trying to get curtains for the nursery but we were unsuccessful in that venture as well.

We started an online baby pool. My mom predicted the baby will be almost a week late and weigh 9 lbs. 4 oz. Traitor! I'm just kidding. I actually agree with her, on the weight at least. I'm so flipping huge. M says it's not that the baby is big, it's that I am small (read: short), but I suspect it's at least a little of both.

I'm starting to wrap things up at work. I probably have a full two months left there, but the big thing on my to-do list is putting coverage in place for my clients and I don't want to save that for the last minute in case something comes up and I have to go on leave earlier than planned. I've started taking co-workers along on home visits to introduce them to my clients and writing service authorizations in advance so that unless there is a status change, my colleagues only have to fax them while I'm gone. It's definitely making all of this feel a lot more real, and close!

I'm feeling a need to soak up these last few weeks of pregnancy. We spent so long trying to get here. Up to this point, I've been so nervous that something was going to go wrong, but we're in the safe zone now. It's likely that if the baby was born today, he or she would be just fine after a relatively short stay in the nicu. Granted, I'm peeing a thousand times a day, sleeping like crap, and a day of errand running (such as yesterday) completely wipes me out but I have so little time left in this magical state and I don't want to take any of it for granted.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

quick update

M has become a little addicted to feeling the baby move over the past few days and I kind of love it.  I'm still fascinated with all the movement myself and it's fun sharing it with someone who is as excited as I am. She's felt the baby before, of course, but it's gotten so strong lately and it's movements are so constant and noticeable - I'm sure it feels much more dramatic from the outside than it did a few weeks ago. These days, it seems that if I'm not actively walking around, the baby is moving. I don't know when he or she sleeps!

I also forgot to add to my last update that the stretch marks have arrived, and they are oh-so-lovely. The baby definitely has a preferred side of my belly to hang out on, and I only have stretch marks on that one side, so apparently my skin has noticed the trend! I can only imagine how things are going to look 10 weeks from now.

Thank you all for the supportive comments about my last post. We spent New Year's Eve with them - just the four of us - and it helped me focus on all the fun and exciting things about sharing this territory with them. Not that I wasn't aware of those things before, but they were muddied by emotion and the difference of just 24 hours really helped clear that out a bit.

One more thing before I go. M and I are presently sitting on the couch and she just took this picture with her phone and emailed it to me, so I am going to share it with all of you. Ah, technology.