Friday, March 27, 2009

checking in

Please bear with the bullets. My brain is a little mushy from lack of sleep and I'm still learning to type one-handed.

My thoughts on the last couple of weeks:
  • breastfeeding: Holy crap, this is challenging. I know it didn't help that we started out with a sick baby and a special care nursery full of medical professionals hovering and pushing formula, but I can see why people throw in the towel. E and I are both learning quickly, but I think we'll need to seek out some tech support for his latch. If his growth is any indication, he's getting plenty to eat. So what if my nipples feel like they are on fire 24/7, right?
  • can't live without 'em items: B.oppy, itzb.een timer and LOTS of receiving blankets. I knew these things were invaluable after our first few hours home and the days that have followed have only reinforced my initial assessment.
  • newborn clothes: Not actually made to fit newborns, it seems. My infant is not particularly small (75th percentile and up on all measures) and the only clothing he doesn't swim in are the couple of preemie things I bought to have on hand "just in case." We had to go out last weekend to buy more teeny onesies and sleepers to get us through these early days. We're already doing laundry several times a day and we couldn't keep up without getting a few more things into the rotation.
  • cloth diapers: Like the clothes, he just swims in the beautiful cloth diapers we have washed and waiting in his changing table. We could get some smaller ones but you can't just buy one or two. We'd need enough for a full couple of days for it to be worthwhile and it just doesn't make sense to buy that many when he'll most likely fit into what we already have in a week or so. So, it's disposables until then, despite the anguish this causes M who can't wait to stop assaulting the environment.
  • our son, the transformer: If I hadn't watched the changes take place before my very eyes, I'd have sworn they sent me home with the wrong baby. Elliot looks different to me every single day. His little features are changing so dramatically. He hardly resembles the baby they handed me two weeks ago.
  • c-section recovery: In a word, ouch. I know it's major surgery, but I'm discouraged by how much discomfort I am still experiencing. I ran out of the Good Pain Meds a few days ago and it didn't take long to see how Good they really were.
  • sleep: Oh god how I miss sleep.
  • the birth story: I'm not ready to write it just yet, but I'm getting there. It was hard and scary and I have some more of my own processing to do before documenting it.
I've been sick for the last few days - not sure if it is c-section related or just a bug - but it is a total drag. Luckily for me, Elliot is about a easy a baby as I've ever met. I don't know what I'd do if he was high needs. It's been taking every ounce of my limited stamina to keep the kid fed and in clothes that aren't soaked with spit-up. (Did I mention we're having a spit-up problem? We're having a spit-up problem. Poor kid regurgitates an alarming percentage of each meal. He also has hardcore, body-shaking hiccups several times a day. His pediatrician says not to worry about these things as long as he continues to gain weight, but my heart breaks for him. It can't be comfy and he's already gone through so much.) Anyway, I have an appointment with my OB today and I'm hoping she can help me figure out what's up so I can be on the road to recovery.

I'm horribly behind on blog reading/commenting - my apologies. Once we have some semblance of a baby routine around here, the normal life stuff can get added back in... I hope! :-)

Saturday, March 21, 2009


3/24/09: I wrote the following post on Saturday night but didn't publish it because I didn't have time to finish it to my satisfaction. I'm only just now returning to it. This mom gig is really time-consuming! 

It's still not anything special, but it was written during a special time, so here it is:

Briefly, on accounta the baby sleeping on my chest...

That's right, I said there's a baby sleeping on my chest. Bliss. :-)

Elliot has been home now for just over 24 hours and I couldn't capture those hours in words if I tried. Phrases like "sleep deprived" and "head over heels in love" and "overwhelmed" and "terrified" and "awestruck" simply don't seem adequate in this application.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Elliot 1 day old

Elliot 1 day old

change of plans

M here:

First of all, thank you all so much for your kind words and enthusiasm, it has been a joy to read your comments as they have come in and we truly appreciate it.

K is recovering well from her c-section. She is getting up and around some and I think is feeling more and more human every day. Looks like she will be discharged Wednesday. She has been so brave and I'm so proud of her.

Elliot is also doing very well but has indeed developed pneumonia (it was a possibility after his delivery, we were hoping he would fight it off) and needs to stay in the special care unit for 7 days to receive antibiotics. We are pretty crushed that we won't be able to get him home before this weekend. He is improving so much though, the respirators have been removed and has even been doing very well breastfeeding. We understand though, that really we are really lucky, 7 days is peanuts to what some Moms have to endure before getting their babies home.

I just can't wait for the day that our family is home together and have all this behind us.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's a boy!

Elliot Arthur made his way into the world early Saturday morning. He and I are both recovering from some effects of a difficult labor and delivery but we're doing well. He is such a fighter and M is wearing a path in the carpet between our separate hospital floors.

He was 8lbs, 4oz and 20.5 inches. I tried to post a picture but I can't get it to work on M's phone. I'll get one up when I can, along with more details about the last couple of days.

I haven't been able to spend much time with him yet but I've had long enough to know I'm head over heels in love.

Friday, March 13, 2009

even quicker update

This is M writing, (popped home to walk dog and grab forgotten items) K asked me to write a post for her.

No baby yet, but soon we think/hope.

So far not much has gone according to those hopes. K's contractions became overwhelming and ended up exhausting her last night, so to the hospital we went.  Medical interventions are the name of the game there and we succumbed  to the necessity of the situation.  We are hoping still for a vaginal birth but understand that we might not even get that.  On that note, here are some positives to end on.

--K is doing awesome, she worked though 32 hours of horrendous contractions all by herself and was really brave, I'm quite proud of her.  
--Our doula (a good friend) has been great, sitting in front of the door to stop nurses coming in and poking and prodding and overall just being a great support to me.
-- Looks like we'll have a baby by the end of the day one way or another.

Its been a little heartbreaking to see our birth plan slowly chipped away at.  I know that a birth plan is inherently not a plan and just hopes and wishes but its still tough to let those go.

I'll post with news when I can, seems my iPhone doesn't love posting to this site, but I'll keep at it.

ps... I haven't slept so if this is all wonky and nonsensical, please forgive.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

even quicker update

Contractions have been about 10 minutes apart for the past two hours and, strangely enough, more manageable. I think being on the even cycle is regulating my hormone levels or something. So on that note, I'm going to try to get a little bit of rest. The current plan is to re-evaluate things in a few hours, or sooner if we fail at sleeping! We may head over to the hospital at that point - not to be checked but to take advantage of their 24-hour, climate-controlled, well-lit environment for some walking. And if things happen to escalate there or my water breaks, well then we'll be in the right place.

Edited to add: No sooner did I hit the post button on that "more manageable" bit above than I got hit with a whopper of a contraction. Argh!! I think my hopes of sleep may not be exactly realistic after all.

quick update

Contractions have been going strong since last night, as in ALL night, so no sleep for me except for some mini-snoozes in between the pain. Unfortunately, they never stick to a clear pattern for more than an hour or so, and the closest ones are still 10 minutes apart. They were most regular from about 3-7am and also getting closer together during that time (started out about 18 minutes apart and made it down to 10). At that point, I was pretty sure today was going to be the day but now it looks unlikely. In the last few hours, I've had some that were 10 minutes apart and some that were over 30, so... not looking like much of anything right now.

M is being a super-star. Many of the contractions are testing the limits of my pain threshold and there's no way I'd be making it through without her.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the p word*

I'm not going to jinx myself by using a certain term, but I will share the following:

1. Internal exam today at my doctor's appointment. I am "a good 2 cm dilated" and "thinning." I made my next appointment for Monday but she said she truly didn't expect us to make it that long and her guess would actually be that we'll have a baby by the weekend.

2. Spotting and signs of losing my MP (I'm sorry, I just can't use that term either) this morning, both of which increased after today's internal.

3. I had about an hour of very strong, very regular contractions (every 8 minutes) during the night last night, but they gradually tapered off into the early morning and were nearly gone altogether by my appointment today. As of this afternoon and evening, the strong ones seem to be back in town. I haven't had a chance to time them yet but my sense is that they are currently about 10-15 minutes apart. I hope I'm able to get some sleep tonight.

And that's all. As I said, trying not to jinx myself here. I'll post more as soon as there is more to post. In the meantime, thank you SO much for all of your comments. Knowing all of you are out there cheering us along helps a lot, cheesy though that sounds.

*In case you can't figure out where I'm going here, the word starts with a p and rhymes with shmogress and I'm refusing to claim it because I'm tired of prematurely declaring things underway. :-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

due date eve ramblings

My due date is less than one hour away. What a trip. Sometimes it still blows my mind that I have a due date at all, let alone that it has been mere weeks, days, hours, and is now minutes away. There were so many times I thought I'd never even get pregnant. It's truly shocking to be where we are tonight, and still feels a little surreal.

Speaking of thinking things will never happen... I'm totally in that place that dreams wrote about in her comment of a couple of days ago: I'm pretty sure I'm going to be pregnant forever. It's not a length of time thing. I'm well aware that the majority of first time moms go past their due date and I'm only just on the eve of mine. It has two distinct parts, actually: 

The first is that I simply can't conceive of labor actually happening. When we were ttc, I could understand on an intellectual level that it was very likely we'd get pregnant someday, somehow, but I couldn't imagine it in any kind of visceral way. I'm having a similar experience now. M tells me at least once a day that "there has never been a case of a baby staying in forever," and I can obviously wrap my head around that reality. But then there is the (totally separate) concept of ME giving birth to an actual BABY, and that is something that seems so bizarre and foreign and impossible that I simply can't imagine it. I had a dream about a week ago where I had given birth and didn't have a single memory of it. I kept telling M and our doula how easy it had been and how I was stunned that it had all gone so smoothly. They just kept looking at each other with traumatized looks on their faces, then back at me in confusion, as if they were trying to decide if I really believed that. Finally, they gently started asking me about whether I really didn't remember specific incidents (i.e. me screaming hysterically and neither of them being able to talk me down or the doctor sternly instructing me not to push because it was too soon and me completely disregarding her instructions, as I had every other instruction anyone gave me during the marathon ordeal), and I really didn't. It was a terrible dream and I woke up completely shaken by it. The thing is, that's kind of how the birth actually is in my head: A big, blank space of nothingness. I realize that actual, ordinary women have babies everyday, I just can't imagine or believe that I'm about to be one of them.

The second part is that all of the contractions and false labor I've been experiencing has really messed with my head. I was SO SURE I was in labor last week and I went through all of the mental and emotional steps one goes through on the brink of something like that. And then nothing happened. And then nothing happened for another day, and then another. Now I feel like a part of me just thinks, "Well, I guess that isn't going to happen after all." There isn't any angst there or anything, it's just resolved in my head somehow: I was ready, it didn't happen, so I guess that's that.

I say I have no angst about that part, but don't let that fool you into thinking everything is peachy around here. My hormones and emotions are out of control. I was so frustrated and disappointed to wake up this morning with no signs of impending labor. I am in awe of people that go a week or more past their due dates and manage to maintain any semblance of mental health. These last couple of days have been among the hardest parts in this journey - perhaps even on par with some of my most trying ttc days - and that is something I never anticipated. I'm doing my best to keep my spirits up, but I'm tired of being big and uncomfortable and sitting around waiting for this enormously life-altering and totally unpredictable thing to happen. It's just harder work than I thought it would be, that's all.

Monday, March 9, 2009

not to be picky, but...

We're in the week o' minefields for birth dates. I've known about this since the day we learned our due date but I didn't think we'd actually make it this far. Nothing significant, of course, but if I got to choose I'd prefer not to have the baby born on the 10th, 12th or 13th. That would be Tuesday, Thursday or Friday of this week! The 10th and 12th are birthdays of people I don't want our child sharing a birthday with and the 13th is Friday the 13th. I'm not even superstitious, but it still seems like a good day to avoid being in a hospital if you can help it. Of the shared birthdays, the greater potential disaster of the two is tomorrow as it belongs to an awful ex-girlfriend of mine. My dad and M have both declared tomorrow will be the baby's birthday - my dad because he's exhausted and doesn't want to get a call from us in a couple of hours to head to the hospital and M because she knows about the date conflict and wouldn't that just be the way it works out! They're probably right. Oh well, maybe it's the positive event I need to reclaim the date.

Oh, who am I kidding? I want to have this baby the second he or she is ready to come out, whatever day that may be. I don't think I've ever been more anxious to meet someone.

I spent some time working on a labor playlist this morning. I've had a basic one on my ipod for a week or so but I had some free time this morning so I added a bunch of songs to it. It's kind of a tough project because I have no idea what I'll be in the mood to listen to during labor. Will I want songs I like that feel familiar and comforting? Or is it better to load it up with new music picked just for this occassion (and never to be listened to again) because I'm going to have negative associations with all of those songs from here on out? I'd hate to ruin some of my favorite tunes by having permament memories of contractions attached to them. I ended up doing a mix and I figured I'll just skip over anything that doesn't sound perfect in that moment. It'll probably be a moot point because I'll get there and not feel like listening to music at all. Oh well, prepare for every possibility, right?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

another day down

I was mostly useless today. M, on the other hand, cleaned our house to within an inch of its life. It looks like a showplace; the perfect environment to bring a baby home to. (You hear that baby? We're so ready for you! You can come out!)

I guess I wasn't completely useless. I did make brownies, but they were from a box. This afternoon, we took the dog to the park and walked and walked and walked. Lots of contractions but nothing particularly noteworthy. I'm going to call my acupuncturist tomorrow to find out how soon she'll start trying to coax this little one out of me. She may make me wait for my due date but I hope not.

I went on a pregnancy calculator earlier today and figured out how pregnant I'd be now if our first insemination had been successful. Ready for it? 126 weeks and 2 days. We have waited so long for this sweet little person to come into our lives. It's completely surreal to think the time left before we meet can be counted in days. Many days, perhaps, but days nonetheless.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

just checking in for roll call

I really don't have anything interesting to say, other than the fact I'm still here, I guess. I did a lot of walking today hoping that would get things started but no luck... yet.

I've noticed it getting significantly harder to get around over just the past couple of days. I didn't think it was possible for the baby to drop any further but I think he or she has. It's actually kind of hard to sit down at this point. My belly is practically on the chair between my legs.

The baby has been crazy active tonight. No energy conservation going on around here.

Yeah, like I said - nothing interesting to say. I'll try to think of something more exciting to post tomorrow.

Friday, March 6, 2009

long day

No baby today, just lots of running around.

I am really tired and uncomfortable.

I think that's all for now.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

low rider

I'm officially pulling out of the labor identification business on accounta I'm really terrible at it. I'm still here and, at the moment, getting no indication that will change any time soon. Oh well.

I had a couple of hours of pretty intense (and not at all ambiguous) contractions from about 4-6am this morning. My whole back hurt with each one and I was having a tough time relaxing through them. The breathing was going fine, the coping was going fine, but I was really having to work hard to get my muscles to relax. M and I both thought it was the real deal but we also both coaxed ourselves back to sleep because we figured we had a long day ahead of us. When I woke up again around 7:30am, nothing was happening. Bummer!

I totally get how people race into the hospital during false labor. If our birth plan involved heading to the hospital once we thought things were legitimately underway, I totally would have been in the car at 5am this morning... and they would have sent us home. So, I quit. No more predictions or declarations until we are 110% sure of what is going on!

I had my 39 week appointment today - nothing exciting to report. Amazingly, I lost half a pound since last week's appointment which I'm pretty sure is all about what I was wearing and the time of day rather than my actual body weight because I swear I've been eating about a billion calories a day lately. We went over the birth preferences M and I wrote out and I think she's totally on board with our goals. Next appointment will be on my due date but my OB said she hoped to see me sooner. :-)

So about that low rider business... this is what having "dropped" looks like around these parts:

My arms and hands kind of mess with the perspective so just trust me, I am loooow. My mom just about fell over when she saw me yesterday. I can find a public bathroom like nobody's business. Yup, that's my stupid human trick du jour.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

not much to report

No significant change today. The contractions are coming at about the same (irregular) intervals. I think they're a little stronger, but definitely no more frequent. If I were to try to put my finger on the difference it would be that the contractions I have today make me feel not so good - queasiness, achiness, etc. - as opposed to the ones I had last night that were just pressure with no extra bells or whistles.

Thanks for all the input you all gave on last night's post. Your comments were super helpful and gave me good things to think about. I tried to make some headway on the to-do list today. It's tough because a lot of things need to wait until the last minute (i.e. dropping the dog off, throwing my cell phone charger and other can't-be-packed-in-advance items into the hospital bag, etc.) but not all of them. I took care of several last night and today, I wrapped everything up at work so I am now officially on maternity leave! Now that I'm off tomorrow, I should have plenty of time to knock off the rest of my tasks: Doing a load of laundry, sending a few thank you notes, putting some more relaxing music on my ipod, and running out to BRU for a couple of last minute purchases. My parents got into town today which was the last big thing we hoped would happen before the baby arrived. 

And now we wait!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

a different kind of ab workout

OK, I am TOTALLY NOT calling this labor, but I'm having a heck of a lot of contractions. I'm trying to time them just to make sure I'm not missing something and so far they are completely irregular - ranging from about 6-11 minutes between each one. I think I'm going to go lay down for a while to see if that makes them disappear.
I'm having a hard time distinguishing where they start and end - another sign they're probably not the real thing. This is something I worry about though. I know everyone says I'll know when It's Happening and I promise I don't have some illusion that a baby is going to fall out of me without me realizing I'm in labor. That said, I'm nervous that I'll miss the early stages and end up with little warning before things get intense. The baby feels so big that sometimes I can't tell if what I'm feeling is a contraction or just the baby pressing out from the inside. Also, I've been having contractions here and there for weeks and I've used each one as an opportunity to practice the hypno.birthing techniques to the point that they really don't feel that dramatic or painful to me anymore. Again, I get it: Real labor contractions will likely be a hundred thousand times more intense than what I'm feeling now and I'll laugh at myself for ever thinking there could be ambiguity there. Be patient with me. This is my first time around the track and I don't know what to expect. All of our hypno.birthing materials emphasize that contractions aren't inherently painful if you aren't afraid of them. What if they're right?

I'm well aware that this "problem" I'm describing above is most people's best case scenario (not realizing you're in labor until you're halfway done), and it's mine too in many ways. On the flip side, I have a short to-do list for early labor and I'd like as much notice to start in on it as possible. Also, if there are any warning signs that we will be in actual labor tomorrow or the next day, I'd just like to have the benefit of noticing them, you know?

Anyway, please consider this a no-news post. I'm just rambling because I said I'd post every day and this is what's going on in my world at the moment. I'll let you know when It's Happening, which will be totally unmistakable and different than the irrelevant little muscle cramps I'm experiencing now. ;-)

Monday, March 2, 2009

quickie update

This is M's mom's last night in town so I'm going to keep this brief.

All is well. Legal documents are signed. Chiro appointment this evening was especially painful which probably means it was needed and produced results. She said the baby is WAY low and my lower back is all out of whack as a result. My plan was to work through Friday but I talked to my boss today and we decided that I should just start my leave whenever my to-do list is complete. No point coming in just to watch the hours tick by. So, I'm now shooting for finishing everything up by Wednesday or Thursday to give myself a couple extra days of sleeping in and nesting. Other than that, I'm just hanging out enjoying the hot flashes and swollen feet and ankles. Ah, this final stage of pregnancy is so sexy!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

as good as it gets

I hope I'm not counting unhatched chickens but I think I'm feeling a little bit better today. Hopefully tomorrow will be another step in the right direction.

I rested for the first half of the day and then went out for a manicure and pedicure. My feet feel soooo good. I hadn't intended on getting anything fancy but I totally crumbled under the nail tech's (admittedly gentle) pressure and ended up with the top-of-the-line, paraffin-wax, extended-massage model. I figured it might be a while until I have time for such self-indulgence again! I was quite the celebrity in the nail salon, as I am most places I go these days. I got one "100% girl" vote, one "100% boy" vote, and one "100% twins" vote. Ummm.... I guess it could have been worse. She could have asked if it was quads.

In the afternoon, M and I took her mom to the symphony. The program was fantastic and the baby seemed to like it quite a bit. There's been a decrease in movement lately (presumably correlated to the lack of uterine real estate) but it rocked out during the concert. We stopped on the way home for Pad Thai and gelato. Mmmmm.

It's now just after 8pm and I'm already in my PJs, holding down the couch with the dog and waiting for M to light a fire for us to sit in front of. I'm going to go ahead and call this an Awesome Day. It stinks that I have to go back to work tomorrow, but it's my last Monday at work until June 1st so I can't complain too much about that either!