Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ava's First Few Days.



So much to tell!

*Ava has been a fantastic nurser since birth. Things got a bit irritated on Tuesday, but picked up again that night and have been going strong again ever since. She likes to go a good four hours between feedings, so that's been a fantastic reprieve for my very sore girls. I'm starting to feel like my milk may be on it's way in, which is both exciting (because at that point she'll start gaining weight again and, also worth mentioning, I'll have a fantastic rack) and terrifying (engorgement = major pain initially). So far, though, so good.



*Maybe one of the most surprising things about parenthood so far is the fact that I really like breastfeeding. I mean, yeah, it's painful and all, but I love feeling that connection with her. Knowing that my body is fully capable of feeding my beautiful daughter makes up for the fact that it gave a disappointing labor performance.



*D is an amazing father, completely head over heels for his little girl. He snuggles her and kisses her and has gone from never holding a baby or changing a diaper to being a total pro! Part of that I'm sure is that he has had to do it all while I was confined to my bed initially, but I attribute it more to his inherent dad skills coming out. Either way, I've never loved him more.



*As far as sleep goes, it's few and far between. Ava is a fantastic sleeper and nurser, so what exactly is keeping me up? Pain from my c-section is the biggest culprit, combined with the new mom dear that something might happen to Ava while I'm sleeping. The first night, I slept about 45 minutes. Last night - maybe slightly under 3 hours? I think we're at a whopping total of 12 hours since Sunday morning. Ouch.



*While I was expecting the recovery to be long and painful, I am indeed surprised by how many different places it is painful. I feel like I have been in a major car accident. Part of this I'm sure was the insane shaking that I did due to shock and anesthesia, and also from relying solely on my arms to pull me up and help me move around, but wow. It's been hard.



*Ava is a really, really calm and content baby. I'm talking the kind of tranquility I still couldn't reach, even post-morphine. She's just the most pleasant person in the entire world.



*Just now am I finally starting to lose some of the swell from everything they had to give me pre- and post-op. My tummy immediately went WAY down, but my legs and calves and feet looked positively huge! I went from looking 9 (10) months pregnant to just having a really fat ass and thunderthighs, much to my chagrin. Luckily, I'm peeing it out now that I'm up and out of bed. Whew. Also, I can happily report that I have zero stretch marks. Thanks, little A :) You're the bestest!

Ok, barely keeping eyes open. More later.

Monday, December 28, 2009

She's Here!



Ava Elizabeth arrived 12/28/09 at 12:27PM via c-section (see explanation of complications in previous posts). She was 7lbs, 12ozs and 19inches long! She is absolutely gorgeous and we couldn't be more in love.



It's true what they say. No matter how you felt about your pregnancy, or how your labor went (in my case awful and excruciating), the second they slip that baby into your arms, you'd do it all again in a heartbeat. I simply adore her.





The c-section went as well as it could, considering I really wanted to deliver vaginally. I was terrified, but D was with me every step of the way. My spinal block didn't hurt nearly like I was expecting, and they inserted my catheter afterward so I didn't feel a thing. I was really dreading the so-called tugging and pressure I was told to expect, but didn't feel any of it. Just a slight pressure when they put weight on my belly to get her out, but even then it was barely anything. I have had the shakes horribly since and before, thanks to my nerves!

All in all, not the awful experience I was thinking it would be!

Either way, I'm so excited and grateful she is here safely!

Delayed.

Delayed until noon.

3 Hours!

I am extremely upset to be having to say this, but at 645, I'm being taken to the OR and by 7am, Baby B will be here.

The cervidil kickstarted my contractions to 1.5-3 minutes apart, hyperstimulating my very irritated uterus. Because of the risk of uterine rupture and resulting fetal trauma, we made the decision to have it removed and to perform a c-section. I am so 100% terrified and upset by this that I cannot even describe, but I was having 90-second contractions 90-180 seconds apart from beginning to beginning for FOUR hours, and I didn't progress whatsoever. Apparently I have a cervix of steel. Thank you, previous LEEP procedures. I would love to tell you that I am at least experiencing some relief since they removed the cervidil, but I am not. They gave me a shot of stadol for the pain, but instead of working and easing me to sleep, it couldn't even mask the pain, and now I've been awake all night long in the worst pain I've ever felt just from the cramps the cervidil caused. Unfortunately, it also made me very sick, and I threw up in excess of 15 times. Not the birth story of anyone's dreams, now, is it? Only now that I've slept in two five-minute bursts am I coherent to post, and only because I know that ill be laid up for quite some time in the hospital and probably won't feel like it again.

I don't mean to scare those left to deliver, but I was completely unprepared for how badly this could go and how excruciating it would really be.

Prep for surgery begins at 6am, and in 2.5 hours, ill meet my little girl. That's just about the only thing keeping me going right now.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ouch.

The cervidil was mildly uncomfortable, but moreso was the exam beforehand. Good God, was the man checking to see if my tonsils were in place?! Woman doctors are worthwhile if only for their small hands!

The insert was quick, though, and really no more uncomfortable than my less painful cervical exams. It is making me cramp like crazy, though, so this may be the last update for a while. I am really, really uncomfortable, especially in my back.

The doc was surprised by the frequency and intensity of my contractions, especially since I'm still stuck at a 1. Super lame. He said we'll do this insert, remove it at 5:30, and then start pitocin at 6:30am.

Ok, I'm signing off, because this is really starting to move from uncomfortable to painful. Perhaps the next post will have baby pics?

On a side note, a name announcement may be delayed. We still have it down to three, but I'm really torn.

At The Hospital.

Yep, I'm blogging on my phone because I'm that technilogically advanced (aka bored stiff already).

So, we're here. Since I know that several others are scheduled for inductions, ill give you a little play-by-play, since knowing what to expect is half the battle, right?

Check-in was surprisingly easy. I walked in with my laughable amount of bags (my bag, baby's bag, D's backpack, two pillows and my boppy), signed a paper authorizing care, and bam! I was admitted to Room 3 :)
Once inside, I changed into a hip little booty-bearing number (clearly I'm joking about the 'hip' part), and answered a series of questions about my allergies, prenatal history, breastfeeding preferences, etc. Pretty simple.

Next step: IV. Warning ladies: that thing HURT. I've had several IV's in the past - two others in 09 alone - but this was a large needle, and I'm still feeling it. No biggie, though. Definitely not worth losing sleep over, so fret not.

Now, I'm just waiting on my fluids to finish, and for Dr. R to get here to insert the cervidil. I see a lot of waiting in my future!

Ill update after it's inserted.

The good news is I'm having contractions! Not sure yet if they're causing any progress, though.

In Other Big News...

..I forgot to mention something rather awesome: We got a new car!

Yeah, yeah, I know that I got a new car back in July thanks to my massive wreck, but D has had a single cab truck for the past nine years, and needed to upgrade to a vehicle that was safe for Baby B. Here she is:







Isn't she pretty? And now at least one of us gets decent gas mileage :)

D went and bought her after my appointment on Tuesday, but since they gave him a 48-hour return option, and D hasn't bought a car since his senior year of high school, he kicked the option around until it expired, hence why I didn't mention it sooner. I love it, personally, and I think Baby B will also!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Long Day!

Today was a roaring success! First off, all three bathrooms in our house are spotless, as is every window and mirror. I managed to also get the floors downstairs vacuumed/swept/mopped, but after all that decided that tomorrow I'll tackle the upstairs and the laundry. Otherwise, this house is clean!

Also, her bassinet is set up in our room, complete with batteries installed in the vibrating/sound part, and diapers and wipes in the accessory tray. Now all it needs is a baby!



(On a side note, I'm seriously wondering how many times I'm going to run into this damn thing on the way to the bathroom and set off the sound, therefore waking up both baby and D. I've already set it off twice on accident while walking by. That should be fun to watch. Not.)

We also managed to sneak in some Tino's Greek Cafe (my favorite), get the baby's Santa present that we hadn't been able to find, install the batteries in her baby swing and the bouncer, and return my library books. On top of that, we got a little bath sponge for her to lay in for those first few baths, took down all Christmas decorations except the tree, and finished off the pre-baby grocery shopping, complete with soup, powerade and sprite (in case of c-section), and general 100-calorie snack packs for those late night feedings where I'm ravished. All in all, I'd say we're ready!



For tomorrow, all I have left is to clean the upstairs, do a quick load of laundry, and then toss my toiletries in our bag. Then it's off for a pedicure to relax and enjoy my last chance at silence and solitude for a bit...not that I'm complaining - I'm just a realist. Oh, and we need to install the car seat we just picked up from one of my best friends sisters. THANK YOU!!!

Oh, and I put up the decals to finish off her bathroom once and for all:





Holy cow. This time tomorrow, I'll either be in labor, or passed out in a hospital bed dreaming of being in labor. I'm hoping for the former!

39 Weeks!

My last weekly post! Hallelujah. There was going to be hell to pay if I had to make a 40-week (or even worse - beyond!) post!!!



How your baby's growing:

Your baby's waiting to greet the world! He continues to build a layer of fat to help control his body temperature after birth, but it's likely he already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds, a mini watermelon. (Boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls.) The outer layers of his skin are sloughing off as new skin forms underneath.

How your life's changing:
At each of your now-weekly visits, your caregiver will do an abdominal exam to check your baby's growth and position. She might also do an internal exam to see whether your cervix has started ripening: softening, effacing (thinning out), and dilating (opening). But even armed with this information, there's still no way for your caregiver to predict exactly when your baby is coming. If you go past your due date, your caregiver will schedule you for fetal testing (usually a sonogram) after 40 weeks to ensure that it's safe to continue the pregnancy. If you don't go into labor on your own, most practitioners will induce labor when you're between one and two weeks overdue — or sooner if there's an indication that the risk of waiting is greater than the risks of delivering your baby without further delay.

While you're waiting, it's important to continue to pay attention to your baby's movements and let your caregiver know right away if they seem to decrease. Your baby should remain active right up to delivery, and a noticeable slowdown in activity could be a sign of a problem. Also call if you think your water may have broken. Membranes rupture before the beginning of labor in about 8 percent of term pregnancies. Sometimes there's a big gush of fluid, but sometimes there's only a small gush or a slow leak. (Don't try to make the diagnosis yourself. Call even if you only suspect you have a leak.) If you rupture your membranes and don't start contractions on your own, you'll be induced.

To Do.

I am not certain that I understand how this happened (It could be that as of the past three days, I have been having a ton of intense contractions that have left me wondering several times if I'll even need to be induced). I have spent this entire pregnancy preparing for Baby B, down to the minute details of readying her baptism papers and so on, and yet I still have one killer to do list before we leave for the hospital in 31 hours. Here's a sneak peek:

*Hang stuffed animal hammock

*Set up pack & play/bassinet in our room (We haven't done this yet since we didn't want to take up space before we had to...)
*Finish packing (OK, this isn't my fault either, since all I need to add are things I'm going to be using before it's time to go, like makeup)
*Pack away clothes (some of the maternity clothes I borrowed that have been too big, and some of my normal clothes that aren't practical for a couple months when it warms up)
*Return library books
*Fully clean house (this I do constantly, but one last sweep pre-baby won't hurt!)
*Install car seat (we don't have one until tomorrow, since we're having to borrow one until we get the one that's being given to us when D goes back to work)
*Pedicure
*Pick up tabloids to read during labor
(these get outdated fast)

Upon looking at this list, I suppose I do see how this may have happened....some of these things really and truly had to be done last minute. Today I think I'll spend assembling her little bed for our room, since she'll sleep in that initially until I am sure I'll wake up to her cries and her room gets a bit warmer, and work on packing away my clothes and cleaning the house. Tomorrow I fully intend to take it easy, hence the pedicure. If I can have a totally relaxing pre-labor experience, that would be fantastic. Oh, the benefits of induction. I once worked for a mom that two months out, scheduled an elective c-section, and I really badmouthed her to my family when telling them about it. While I still don't think an elective c-section is worthwhile unless there are some serious reasons behind it, I now understand her a little bit better. I have really struggled in the past month (and throughout my pregnancy, to be honest) with the fact that this event, and my pregnancy itself, is something I have about zero control over. And being a major control freak, that's really difficult for me. I've been trying to roll with the punches on certain things to the best of my ability, since I know that will be an invaluable skill to have once the baby is here, but generally it's very difficult for me to relinquish control, and this has been a big factor here for me. That being said, knowing when I'm going to the hospital and being able to plan/clean/load the car with that in mind has made the past few days a trillion times easier. I've actually slept nearly eight hours per night (less a bathroom break or five) the past three nights. Heaven.

On another positive note, my net weight gain as of this morning was right at 28lbs. My doctor had said he wanted at least 30 due to my small-ish size pre-baby, and I had said that over my dead body would I top 30 pounds, so I am 100% okay with this. Especially since I am looking a bit swollen, and think that some of it may very well be water weight. It's shocking (and extremely exciting!) to me to think that this time next week, I'll be watching the scale go down (albeit it could go slowly). I could very well be sitting at 15lbs less this time next week with a little luck and a massive fluid flush of my system. Here's hoping!

Have a wonderful Saturday of post-Christmas shopping everyone! Santa forgot a little something for Baby B (who, now more than ever, still doesn't have a final name, sadly), and I got a certificate to my favorite book store, so besides cleaning and prepping for baby, I'll be doing a bit of shopping and then indulging in Greek food. Delish!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve Day!

That's a mouthful, isn't it? Maybe Merry early Christmas Eve works better?! I digress. Either way, here's hoping that everyone has a wonderful holiday!

I'm in a fantastic mood. Could it be that today is officially the first day I don't have to go to work? Perhaps. Or maybe it's that I slept seven hours, only waking up very, very briefly on two occasions to make the necessary bathroom runs? Either way, I feel great! I knew that as soon as the pressure to sleep was off and I didn't have an alarm clock to answer to, I'd stop having insomnia, and as irritating as it was at the time, it's good to be right. I do worry, though, about what that means for Sunday night, since by all accounts it'll be my last night of sleep before the baby is here/I'm in active labor! Yikes!

Also, I seemed to underestimate this cervidil substance. I was under the impression that I'd be checking into the hospital, getting it inserted, and then D and I could play blackjack/war/scrabble/insert dorky game we love here, and watch movies like The Hangover all night long, all the while enjoying 'room service' and sleeping like babies until pitocin started the next day. Guess again! Apparently it can occasionally be all that's needed to start labor, and causes both pain when inserted, and cramps/contractions if it works really well, so this wonderful dream of mine where the hospital Sunday is like a relaxing spa vacation...down the drain. I mean, technically it could happen that way, but technically I could be in a lot of pain and go into actual labor without the pitocin, in which case I may throw the board games and DVD's at D instead. We shall see. Plus, I really want it to work well, and avoid mass doses of pitocin, so technically I'm supposed to be praying for the latter...

Yesterday I had quite the scare when the doctor's office called. I was just about to dry my hair when I noticed Dr. R's name/number on the screen of my blackberry, and to be honest, I just about started to cry. I was CERTAIN they were going to cancel. Nope. Thank God. They just wanted to confirm. Wheewwwwwwww. Then, at the mall Christmas shopping (for each other, I might add...aren't we romantic?!), they called again. They just wanted to confirm that they sent my prenatal vitamin prescription through. Point of the story? I guess this is really happening, since their office is now officially closed until Monday morning, and they can't sit around pondering whether or not they're actually going to go through with this. SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEET! I'm SO freaking excited!

Now off to pull out frozen loaves of banana bread for tomorrow's Christmas breakfast, and wrap D's presents while he's sleeping (despite him knowing what they are). I'm very, very excited to spend Christmas just the two of us this year. I really like being in my own home generally, but moreso during the holidays, and especially at 39 weeks pregnant. We don't have any big plans - just the standard open presents, eat chocolate chip banana bread with cream cheese on top (Baby B loves this stuff!), and maybe see Sherlock Holmes - but I think low-key is a good idea, especially since low-key is about to become obsolete in my vocabulary.

Merry Christmas Eve Day everyone!!!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Last Day!

Today was my last day of work before I started my maternity leave. While it's a great feeling to know that I have nowhere to be tomorrow or anytime really until Sunday at 4pm, I was still completely unprepared for how saddened I would be to say goodbye to the D's, if even for only a few weeks. Looking at my backseat without a car seat and booster chair just looks wrong, and while I'd like to say I at least waited until I drove away before the tears started, I must admit that I put on a quite embarrassing show of emotion and cried before I even headed for the door. Luckily, so did they. It was also nice hearing that even though their previous nanny is going to fill in for me once they're back from Christmas vacation and while I'm still out, that I absolutely, 100% have no need to worry about my job security. "It's not her job to take, it's your job to come back to," they informed me. Awesome. I love them SO much.

It does make me feel vastly better, though, to know that I will actually be seeing them in the next 6 or 7 days, and when I do, I'll be showing off my newborn baby girl!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Drumroll, please!

You may not believe this, because I know I sure as hell still don't, but I'm scheduled to be admitted to the hospital to begin my induction at 4pm on Sunday evening! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

They're going to start with cervidil to soften and dilate my cervix, and then move on to pitocin if things are 'ripening' at 6am Monday morning. HECK. YEAH. If not, we'll make decisions from there, but he mentioned maybe a second round of cervidil. It could very well be Tuesday before we have a baby, but um, THAT'S A WEEK AWAY! Holy moly! In one week, I should 100% no longer be pregnant, and be holding our baby daughter.

I was so unprepared for him to say yes. He hadn't even checked me yet before he asked me, "How badly do you want to have this baby Monday?!" Um, is that even a question?! So there you have it. 4PM Sunday, and I'll be MIA (unless I take the laptop with the intention of blogging throughout labor - ha!), and when I arrive back on the blogosphere, I'll be a certified mommy.

Now to start feeling a bit nervous!

On a side note, I think it's very funny that of all the mommy blogs I follow, the three of us having girls for sure are all being induced on the very same day, despite our different due dates. Good luck, fellow mommies of girls!

Maternity Photos.

I am SO excited for these! I took them last Sunday, Dec. 13th, at 37w1d. I was actually just out to see The Nutcracker and completely unprepared to take any photos, so keep in mind that I realize that my hair could've used a good dealing-with and my makeup desperately needed touching up. Still, my dear friend managed to work his magic with the camera, and I love them! Enjoy!







There are more, but these are the ones I love the most, particularly the last two. And besides, it's nearly 3AM, and sleep is probably what I need most right now. I thought that in going to bed at 10:30 I'd be assured at least five hours of sleep prior to my bout of 3:30 insomnia, but instead I was up at 12:30, so to avoid the frustration of tossing and turning and listening to D snore, I figured I'd try to be productive and post pics and fold laundry.

Doctor's appointment in five hours! Updates to come on if he schedules my induction or not. I had some crazy contractions in the past 24 hours along with a lot of pressure, so keeping my fingers crossed for progress!!!

The Baby's Bathroom!

Yes, these pics are up a week late. Mainly because the finishing touches weren't finished until Sunday night, and only then could we reassemble everything :) Here are pics of the finished project, both before and after:

Before:







And after:







D decided to wait until earlier this evening to tell me he doesn't like the color and thought it was fine the way it was, but the more I look at the before pics and their super dull quality, the happier I am with the 'pizazz' that a little color adds. Plus, that's a room I'd like her to feel happy and awake in :)

What do you guys think?

(Editor's Note: I know these pics suck, but this bathroom is impossible to take pictures of due to it's small-ish size and odd door angles. Sorry!)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Quick Tip for GBS Positive Mommies Yet to Deliver...

...(that probably is just me, at this rate!)

Anyhow, I was left an extremely wise and helpful tip on my blog a week or so ago, and though I've meant to share it before now, things just haven't happened that way. Better late than never, I suppose!

To any of the GBS (Group B Strep) positive mommies...ask your doc about an antifungal beforehand, since the massive dose of antibiotics can give you or baby a kickin yeast infection. In case that wouldn't be bad enough, yeast is the cause of thrush, a very common and painful breastfeeding complication. Breastfeeding is difficult enough to master without painful complications, don't you think? Anyhow, a big thanks for the tip, CraezieLady! I have it on the list of many things to chat with my doctor about at my (hopefully!!!!) last doctor's appointment tomorrow :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Over the Weekend...

This weekend was absolutely nonstop. Saturday we ran a ton of errands, seeing as how I had finally been able to get eight (very interrupted) hours of sleep, and we wanted to capitalize on our last guaranteed Saturday pre-baby to get things done!

We started with my salon, since I wanted to get my highlights touched up. Hey, just because I'm about to be a new mom doesn't mean I have to look the part, right?! If you think I'm gonna take post-delivery pics with some trashy roots, you've got another thing coming :) While I was there, D was nice enough to go and get my oil changed (hooray), since my previous efforts had resulted only in a long, frustrating wait. After we wrapped that up, we went to lunch at Tino's Greek Cafe (man does this kid love Greek food!), and then went to look at an Acura that D has his eye on. Unfortunately it was sold, so the search continues :( We also needed to swing by Babies R Us to replace the breast pump tubing in the pump I bought, but that didn't work out either, since they don't carry the parts. Instead the referred me to Special Addition, a nursing (nazi) boutique downtown, and I'll have to swing by tomorrow. Wah. Our last stop was at Whole Foods for Evening Primrose Oil capsules and Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, both rumored not to bring on actual labor, but to help ready things a bit. It couldn't hurt, right?! I've actually been having contractions that were stronger and more regular today, so it may be working, it may be coincidence, but I'm feeling happy!

Today was another doozy of a day, starting off with Father Jeffrey's goodbye service. I should clear up that he is retiring as interim rector of my church, as opposed to having passed away. Although the way I cried at that service today, you would've thought the latter. While I have only been attending St. James Episcopal since May, I've grown to really love Father Jeffrey, and he has had a great impact on my life in the past seven months. In fact, he will be baptizing Baby B in January even though he is retired, as he blessed me and the baby both at 8 weeks (that I would have a blessed and continued pregnancy) and again today (that God watch over me, D, Baby B, and our hospital attendants during the birth and following), and I give him significant credit for being as fortunate during this pregnancy as I have been. After church there was a luncheon with an open mic, and as strongly as I shy away from public speaking, I actually got up and said a few words of thank you and to tell him how much he would be missed (all while crying, unfortunately) Oh well. I'm pregnant - I have a stereotype to perpetuate!

After that I had to run by a house to attend to some dogsitting duties, and now I am babysitting for the next couple of hours while the D's attend a Christmas party. What can I say - I just can't say no. Had you asked me if I'd still be picking up extra hours at 38 weeks pregnant back in May, I would've laughed in your face. Hell, I would've laughed in your face just weeks ago. But I like being able to do things like this to help the people in my life that I care about, and to help bring a little financial security to the table, and as shocking as it is to think about, I think I might miss these opportunities once I am no longer able to. Or maybe I'm just too emotional and sentimental for my own good during these final weeks of pregnancy?

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend, and I'm so excited to say that (tentatively and with a little hope and faith and major prayers!) this time next week, we'll be enjoying our last pre-baby night together and readying ourselves (and our hospital bags) for the delivery of our baby! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I'M SO EXCITED!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

38 Weeks!


How your baby's growing:
Your baby has really plumped up. She weighs about 6.8 pounds and she's over 19 1/2 inches long (like a leek). She has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold her hand for the first time! Her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb.

Wondering what color your baby's eyes will be? You may not be able to tell right away. If she's born with brown eyes, they'll likely stay brown. If she's born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time she's 9 months old. That's because a child's irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after she's born, but they usually won't get "lighter" or more blue. (Green, hazel, and brown eyes have more pigment than gray or blue eyes.)

How your life's changing:
For many women, the next couple of weeks are a waiting game. Use this time to prepare your baby's nursery or to take care of necessary tasks you may not get around to for a while after your baby's born. Take naps, catch up on your reading, and spend uninterrupted time with your partner while you can.

Some swelling in your feet and ankles is normal during these last weeks, but call your practitioner without delay if you notice excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, more than slight swelling of your hands, any swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, or have a sudden weight gain. Also let her know immediately if have severe or persistent headaches; visual changes (such as double or blurred vision, seeing spots or flashing lights, light sensitivity, or a temporary loss of vision), intense upper abdominal pain or tenderness, or nausea and vomiting. These are symptoms of a serious condition called preeclampsia.

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's Friday!

Two reasons why this is fantastic news:

1.) The obvious - who doesn't love Friday, and the weekend it welcomes? Me, especially, since again, I slept from midnight to 3AM, and have been awake ever since. Seven combined hours of sleep in the past two days? Not my idea of fun.

2.) I got my Belly Bandit today! Yay! I'm not sure if it'll work or not, but it's 100% worth trying out, especially with the science behind it and the great reviews I've heard from women I know that have used it. Flat stomach returning sooner than later? I think so.

Happy Friday everyone! I'm hoping to be home and passed out for the entire weekend, so unless anything exciting happens (I've given up hope on that front), it may be Monday before I find time/energy to post again. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Awww!

Yes, I'm still awake, and yes, still not home, but my day just turned around. I felt a very strong pain in my rib cage, right underneath my bottom right rib, and when I touched it, I definitely, for the first time ever, felt what was 100% a foot. I always read about these mothers that know when they're touching a hand or foot or other body part, and I always feel like crap because to me, it's all a big mass causing discomfort, other than what is obviously either her bottom or head (what I now know is her bottom, since she's head down). But I just felt what is absolutely, 100%, my baby's foot. And despite my insane jealousy at all the celebs and other mommy bloggers and just generally everyone having their babies before me, I must say that I am pretty content being pregnant right now since I can still make out my baby's foot inside me, and of all the things about pregnancy I hate, I can honestly say that I'll miss her movements. And her hiccups.

So. Cute.

Another Bad Day.

Last night was another rough night at our house (partially because I do indeed have strep and a double ear infection), with me waking up at 3AM and being unable to go back to sleep until 6:45. What does one do for four hours in the middle of the night, you ask? Ponder whether or not their doctor is likely to go through with the induction we've been planning since June, of course. And then, panicking that he won't, check my finances repeatedly to figure out how to make a few thousand dollars not matter. And plotting ways to kill D in his sleep while he snores obliviously inches away. Must be nice. If that wasn't bad enough, the 45 minutes I snagged before the alarm went off at 7:30 were riddled with sleep deprivation-induced nightmares, all centering about the baby being forcefully yanked from my abdomen. Apparently this prospective c-section is really stressing me out.

I managed to only have two hysterical crying fits before 8AM despite my completely exhausted state, but two is enough, so I called the doctor to say, "Look here - something isn't right. I shouldn't be awake all night, all the time, crying about 50% of my waking hours. Please do something." They wanted me to come in, but seeing as how I am with S from 8:30am-midnight today (thank you holiday parties! NOT), he agreed to call something in for me, and see me Tuesday morning at my appointment. Hmm...not the solution I had in mind. If my continuously elevating hormones due to my pregnancy are the reason for my depression, which they clearly are, isn't taking the baby out a better idea than prescribing me medication I am opposed to taking while pregnant, and that likely will take two weeks to help at all anyhow?! If she's not out in two weeks, it's going to take a lot more than medication to calm me down. I'm just saying. So that was how my morning went....

As much as I'd like to forge ahead with all the reasons I'm upset with the world and the circumstances of the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I'm going to choose to go a different route, and remind myself why I'm very fortunate, and all the things I have to be grateful for. In case I lose sight of these things over the next few days, it'll be nice to have them written down to remind me of how things are generally wonderful, despite the rough patch I'm currently experiencing. Here goes:

1.) I am fortunate enough to be able to conceive and carry my own child, which I have seen so many families have to fight for. It's a privilege and an honor to know that this child is the product of my love for D.

2.) It's a beautiful, healthy little girl. Had you asked me twenty years ago what I wanted more than anything in the world, I would've responded that I wanted to be a mother and have a daughter. Same goes for ten years ago. Now, more than ever, I feel fulfilled knowing that I have a daughter, and I am a mother. And also, I will never feel compelled to have to try for a second child just to have a chance at a girl...I got what I wanted the first time :)

3.) We have a beautiful home that we own to bring the baby home to, and she has a beautiful, meaningful nursery.

4.) There are so many people anxiously awaiting her arrival, who already love her and us so much.

5.) D is a wonderful, supportive boyfriend, and will be an amazing father, even if he doesn't know it yet. I am so blessed to not have to do this alone.

6.) So many people have given us things to help offset the expense of a newborn, such as changing tables, strollers, car seats, clothing and bottles. We've been so fortunate in this regard, and I am so thankful to all of you/them :)

7.) I had fifth disease early on in my pregnancy, which could've had devastating effects on Baby B's development, possibly causing either a miscarriage or the need for a serious transfusion to save her life. The survival rate of the procedure is only 20%. She has suffered no ill effects, and is perfectly healthy the best they can tell.

8.) I have had a relatively uncomplicated pregnancy until late, and even now, my problems seem to be merely emotional. I am very blessed in this regard, as I've seen women go through a range of pregnancy complications, all of which are terrifying.

9.) IT'S ALMOST OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hmm...I really do feel better now :) Baby B, I cannot wait to meet you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Since Monday...

...no progress, at least as far as labor goes! I have made some progress, however, at our house, and finally (drumroll please!) PAINTED THE BATHROOM! AHHH!

Monday night I was feeling quite stressed out, so I went home and let loose on Baby B's bathroom. If you've never seen a woman nine months pregnant standing on a revolving desk chair inside a shower painting above the marble, you're missing out. And yeah, yeah, probably not the smartest move, but D was playing poker and I really prefer to do house projects while home alone, so I did what I had to do to get the job done. I must say, it looks pretty fantastic. Or at least it was on track to, until 2/3 of the way through I ran out of paint. Not to worry, though. We picked up another can yesterday, and I finished the bathroom this morning. Pics to come once all the tape and drapings are removed and all the touch-ups made. Yay me! My first solo paint project :) I am strongly convinced that Baby B is being a little sweetie and holding off on her arrival until all our ducks are in a row, so I've made a list, checked it twice, and will be done with all pre-baby everything by Friday so that she can come into the world already!

In not-so-great news, I am about 95% certain I have strep. My throat was starting to hurt yesterday while driving home, and within two hours both my ears were killing me and I had lost the ability to swallowing without whimpering. Cue the cough drops, tylenol PM and the resulting twelve hours of sleep, and yet I still woke up feeling terrible. I couldn't get into the doc until 4:15, and even that was only because I dropped the "I'm nearly 38 weeks pregnant!" bomb. I absolutely despise paying doctor co-pays, but I also realize that if it is strep like I think, it won't go away on it's own. Wah.

Hmm...I feel like something else is new, but can't remember for the life of me what it is thanks to my prego brain having turned to mush. Hopefully Baby B will make her appearance soon and I can go back to being a sane, reliable woman with the ability to remember things!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

W.T.F.

Remember a while back when I posted about all the celebs that were pregnant and due around the same time as me, some even on the same day? Well...

Now that Kourtney Kardashian has popped, it's official: THEY'VE ALL HAD THEIR BABIES. And I am stuck in pregnant limbo hell. I am really beginning to believe that in three years, I'm going to be toting around a toddler in my body.

AHHHHHHHHHHH!

I could just scream. And not the happy, excited kind. The are you freaking kidding me?!? kind.

Doctor's appointment went both good and bad. While it feels overwhelmingly bad, the good news is that my incessant water-drinking did in fact help me to shed 4 of the 6 lbs I gained last week, bringing my net gain to 2lbs over the past two weeks...ding ding ding. Back on track. That's a relief. I'm now at 26lbs. Whatever, I'll take it.

On another positive note(?), my abdominal ultrasound did not show gallstones. The negative there is that I experienced another bout of pain on Saturday night (though not as bad) and now we have no idea why....super duper. Maybe it'll just naturally go away as my internal organs return to their previous locations? Let's hope.

Also, I reclaimed my centimeter! I am dilated to 1cm, and still 80% effaced. Obnoxious. Better than nothing, but when I said, "So we can still have this baby in two weeks, right?!" I was met with a big, FAT maybe. Make up your damn mind, doc. Which is it? Do you just need me to come completely unglued in front of you all over again? Because considering I start most every appointment lately with an I will not cry at this appointment mantra, I'm pretty certain it can be arranged. Either way, D will be going to my visit next week with me for support.

What really gets me is that he seems totally willing to schedule a c-section, but is weary of the induction. Um, isn't that kind of backwards? Isn't a doctor weary of inductions due to their ability to lead increasingly to c-sections? And if so, shouldn't we at least try the induction route first?!?! I mean, I'm not the doctor here, but it doesn't take advanced medical training to see how that's not logical. And as any sane first-time mother would feel, I don't WANT to have a c-section. It's actually a total nightmare, and much more difficult recovery. But I feel like my options are these:

A.) Schedule an elective c-section so baby arrives on 12/28 and I won't spend my one week of paid maternity leave sitting around trying to will her out, and then have to return to work when she is two weeks old after having taken the two weeks off I can afford to unpaid, OR
B.) Spend my one week of paid leave (I can't change the dates because the D's are going on a trip and that coincides with my paid time off - already tried that) still pregnant, praying baby at least comes by her due date, and returning to work when baby is two weeks old, with D going back to work on her due date (his leave coincides with University leave due to Christmas break) aka while I'm in labor/delivery/recovering at first, and being out several thousand dollars in 2010 insurance expenses.

Can you see why I'm at my wits end?

Why can't this be an option:

C.) Attempt an induction on 12/28, wait it out and if absolutely necessary, then opt for a c-section, giving me an additional week of recovery time and bonding time with Baby B before I return to work, and giving D an entire week to adjust to our new family of three before he returns to work.

Isn't that clearly the best option?!?! Especially given that my doctor mentioned that women that have had cervical surgery frequently can't dilate on their own....which, to me, means I'll need to be induced anyhow?!?! WTF. I'm super pissed.

Not to mention, the first three exams I had weren't bad by any means, but today's hurt like hell, and at the risk of TMI, I'm bleeding pretty significantly from it.

I HATE BEING PREGNANT.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Welcome to Full-Term, Baby B!

The day has finally come! I can do anything and everything I want to try to induce labor, despite none of them really being 'proven', and no one can give me shit about it. It's about time. (And while there is bound to be that woman out there that wants to chime in, "Well, your due date can be off by a couple weeks, blah blah blah," let me assure you that I am well aware of Baby B's real due date since I know when she was conceived. So there. Take that.)

Anyhow, on a similar note, I started eating fresh pineapple like crazy last night. I figure with that one, even if it does absolutely nothing, I love fresh fruit, so what could it hurt? Oh, it hurt. It brought on (or it could be purely coincidence) some contractions, ones that were painful enough that I woke up a few times last night from the pain, each time thinking, So that's what real contractions feel like! Sadly, nothing came of them, and I was so ridiculously drowsy from this past week that I continuously fell asleep. Unfortunately D was also feeling quite sleepy, since when I woke him up the second time saying, "Um, ouch!", he said something akin to, "That's nice, dear" and passed back out. Hopefully I'll go into actual labor during the day...preferably first thing in the morning after a full night's rest. Hmm...perhaps today?! Doubtful. I've given up my hope and premonitions that Baby B will come early at this point :(

It's been pretty cold here, which has put a damper on my ability to walk...not to mention, Baby B is pretty 'engaged', and walking can get uncomfortable really fast. I'm going to try to maybe get some walking done indoors this weekend at the mall or something...wow, didn't think I'd be saying that for another forty years!

Also, in the 'best news ever' category, I've lost 4.5 lbs since Tuesday...apparently the gallon of water a day I've been drinking has done it's job, as I'm currently retaining far less. I am looking a bit swollen though...I guess it's unavoidable at this point. Either way, I'm going to continue to chug that H2O until my appointment Monday, as to avoid another rapid increase at the doctor's office!

That is all for now. I'm watching a lot of you fellow bloggers like a hawk, since your babies are all due any day now. As jealous as I am that you'll most likely get to meet your wee ones before I do, I'm pretty dang excited to see pics/hear names/get stats and, most of all, hear real birth stories that aren't being told just for shock value. Please do share :)

Ok, off to go get ready for the day. We're going to see The Blind Side today because a.) we live in Texas and football is life here, and b.) if there is one consistent piece of advice moms give me, it's go to the movies while you still can. So date day it is!

Happy Saturday everyone!

37 Weeks!

Yay! We made it to full-term, Baby B! Now kindly pack your things and move it on out! Love, your impatient, uncomfortable, increasingly large mother :)


How your baby's growing:
Congratulations — your baby is full term! This means that if your baby arrives now, his lungs should be fully mature and ready to adjust to life outside the womb, even though your due date is still three weeks away.

Your baby weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel (like a stalk of Swiss chard). Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long. But don't be surprised if your baby's hair isn't the same color as yours. Dark-haired couples are sometimes thrown for a loop when their children come out as blonds or redheads, and fair-haired couples have been surprised by Elvis look-alikes. And then, of course, some babies sport only peach fuzz.

How your life's changing:
Braxton Hicks contractions may be coming more frequently now and may last longer and be more uncomfortable. You might also notice an increase in vaginal discharge. If you see some "bloody show" (mucus tinged with a tiny amount of blood) in the toilet or in your undies, labor is probably a few days away — or less. (If you have heavier spotting or bleeding, call your caregiver immediately.) Also be sure to ask your caregiver about the results of your Group B strep culture. That way, if the result isn't yet on your chart when you get to the hospital or birth center, you'll be able to give the staff there a timely heads-up if you need antibiotics.

It may be harder than ever to get comfortable enough to sleep well at night. If you can, take it easy through the day — this may be your last chance to do so for quite a while. Keep monitoring your baby's movements, too, and let your caregiver know immediately if you notice a decrease. Though her quarters are getting cozy, she should still be as active as before.

While you're sleeping, you're likely to have some intense dreams. Anxiety both about labor and about becoming a parent can fuel a lot of strange flights of unconscious fancy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

FREE Udder Covers...Again!

It's that time of year again! Yep, the time of year where all that online shopping you've been doing in your lethargic state pays off, and you're emailed special offers from vendors and chain stores alike! Yay!

I've posted about this before, back in August or so (??), but here I am again to tell you how to get a free nursing cover. Just click here, choose your nursing cover, enter the code "Christmas" at checkout, and watch as $32.00 (the price of the nursing cover) is subtracted from your total! You just pay the $8.95 shipping and handling. I got mine in the Elsa pattern, but am considering getting a second. Another huge bonus is that you can use the code as many times as you want (separate orders though, so you'll pay additional s&h fees), so go ahead and grab one for the other pregos and nursing mommy friends in your life!

Enjoy :)

Abdominal Ultrasound.

Actually, this would be more aptly named back, side and rib cage ultrasound, since those are the locations where my internal organs are currently residing...sigh.

Anyhow, it went well, though I was a bit tired from not getting the best sleep and definitely very hungry after last night's rice, broccoli and strawberries for dinner and nothing past midnight until nearly noon today! He did say he thought that it was likely gallstones, but that the images would be sent to the radiologist to be sure, who would then send them off to my doctor and Dr. R would follow-up with me on Monday...

...in the meantime, I'll be resuming my meat, dairy and fat eating, but only slightly. Definitely not wanting to suffer through another attack!

On a side note, I've been contracting more frequently after not having much in the way of b/h lately, so that's a positive thing! Hopefully I'll have made some progress on Monday :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Decorations.





What A Difference...

...24 hours (and 11 hours of Tylenol PM-induced sleep!) makes! I feel a lot better today, even though I am unfortunately still pregnant. I've vowed to drink 16 glasses of water a day (the gallon they recommend...ha) everyday until my next appointment on Monday, so the constant peeing is throwing a bit of a kink in things, but otherwise, today has gone well.

I am also nesting like CRAZY. I woke up, feeling happy and excited to have gotten some decent rest, and got to work. The first things on my list were to fold the laundry that had been sitting in my dryer since Sunday morning, and then to tackle unloading the dishwasher since the dishes had also been sitting inside since Sunday...oops. Once that was done, I needed to add the additional red garland we had purchased for the tree to the bottom and finish decorating. Pics to come when it's all lit up tonight. Having tackled the obvious things, I started looking for dirt...and unfortunately, thanks to my exhausted state as of late, found it just about everywhere. I cleaned out our laundry room, refolded all the towels and then swept and mopped the laundry room floor. Then I wiped down the upstairs coffee table before moving on to the bathrooms. Oh, the bathrooms. While they weren't dirty per most normal people's standards, I am a total neat freak, and like things to be spotless. An hour and a half and three bathrooms later, you could eat off any surface in any of our bathrooms. I actually cleaned our shower while showering, since that was the only way to get it clean enough (and I needed a shower after all this cleaning).

Hopefully this is a sign of something other than my rampant OCD rearing it's ugly head :)

In other news, I have canceled my meeting with the doula this afternoon. If there is one thing I learned at L&D Sunday, it's how grateful I was every time D and I were left alone. I definitely feel certain now that it's more our style to go through this on our own, and feel confident that if there is anything we/he needs, the nurses can handle it!

Also on the calendar for today: fasting. Well, ok, the fasting part isn't until midnight, but starting at 5pm, I have to cut out ALL meat, ALL dairy, and, most challenging of all, ALL fat. Yep, you read that right. I have to eat a completely fat-free, dairy-free, meat-free diet until after my abdominal ultrasound tomorrow. And while that is entirely doable, depending on the results, I may have to keep it up throughout the rest of my pregnancy. Please, dear readers, fill me in on what the hell I can eat that doesn't have any of those three things? All I've been able to come up with for dinner tonight is rice, fruits and vegetables. Luckily I'm a pretty big fan of produce, but I can tell you how old it's going to get very, very quickly. I can tell you with certainty that if I have to adopt this diet the remainder of my pregnancy, my attitude has zero chance of showing improvement.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

One More Thing..

...and on a more positive note, though I'm not dilating yet, I'm 80% effaced. Whatever. I'll take anything and cling to it as a sign Baby B is getting my "get out!" vibes!

37-Week Appt.

First off, this day started off as hell on Earth, due to the FOUR straight hours I was awake last night. And as we all know, I tend to cry a lot when I'm overtired...so keep that in mind as you read on. Also, just to warn you, I'm too tired and fed up to even try to be positive right now, so this is going to be one long, massive rant, and I'm not even going to apologize for it. Consider yourself forewarned...

I woke up not feeling so hot, having slept a total of 3.5 hours, and was in no mood to go to the doc. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was nervous about my doctor not taking my gallstones seriously and so I may have gone in with a bit of a defeated attitude, just feeling like I wasn't getting the help/care I need. Besides being tired and upset, I was also quite hungry, seeing as how I'm terrified to eat anything for fear of another gallbladder 'attack', so that wasn't helping anything, since hunger + overtired + anxious = one bitchy, weepy B.

Anyhow, I get to the office, and am informed that they have made a mistake, and I should've been paying copayments this entire time, despite them telling me otherwise at 28 weeks, and so I may be getting a bill for $30/visit, and have to pay it starting today from here on out. While this isn't earth-shattering news, between my L&D visit Sunday and finding out last night I'll only be paid for ONE week of maternity leave, and that's Christmas leave I would've had off anyways, I'm feeling very stressed about finances and immediately freaked out. Super-effing-duper.

Next, I was weighed. And while this sounds absolutely impossible to EVERYONE, even my doctor who gave me a strange, disbelieving look when I brought it up to him while sobbing my eyes out (further proof that I doubt he looks at my chart at all before coming into the room), I GAINED SIX LBS IN SIX DAYS. Yep, you read that right. Which, as any pregnant woman should know, is a big red flag. But since my BP wasn't through the roof, he just said, "Well you do look puffier, and your weight gain has been so low so far that it's hardly problematic." I just sat there, wide-eyed, sobbing uncontrollably, and finally, after many visits of keeping my mouth shut as to be a good patient, let him have it. I told him how awful I've been feeling, how I never, ever sleep, how little I've been eating the past few days for fear of another gallstone attack and how I lie awake at night fairly certain I'm losing my mind as I plot ways to get the baby to come out for fear I'm going to lose it entirely and test my surgical skills myself. And finally, finally, I got a reaction. My normally laidback doctor finally abandoned his laissez faire attitude to realize that for whatever reason, I am not cut out for this experience, and said that if I am not making progress that would make for a favorable induction on the 28th, and I want an elective c-section, that he will not make me go past the 28th, if I can hang on that long. Frankly, I think he thinks I'm losing my mind. And because of my fear of postpartum depression and psychosis, and my family history of it, his fears are probably warranted. While I know that most women at the end of their pregnancy feel at the end of their rope, I think I may be feeling things that are a bit more serious and desolate than that. While I don't exactly want him to think I'm a nutcase, especially since he wasn't my doctor before I was pregnant and doesn't realize that I'm actually a pretty sane, reasonable, emotionally stable individual, I am happy to have him taking things seriously for a change.

His nurse also scheduled the abdominal ultrasound for me, though it did require me to say, "Even if you don't think it's critical right now, I do, so just do it." And so they did.

In other shitty news, I'm Group B Strep positive. While that means something as silly as just needing antibiotics, it was earth-shattering news to hear in the midst of my mental collapse at his office. Oh, and he forgot to tell me. I overheard the nurse telling the other nurse to notate it in my chart. Good thing I'm a good listener.

Abdominal ultrasound is scheduled for Thursday morning. Until then, I can't eat any meat, dairy, or fat. That's right. Fat free meals beforehand, and fasting after midnight tomorrow. As if I have any appetite at all after gaining a pound a day. He wanted to see me back on Friday, but seeing as how I now have to pay a $30 copay per visit, I just scheduled it for Monday to combine that follow-up with next week's visit.

I am so frustrated and overtired. I'm just praying that the next 20 days flies by, or that my body decides I've had enough beforehand.

Insomnia.

I cannot sleep. Mainly, I'm itching from head to toe, an affliction that I was trying to communicate with my doctor at the hospital on Sunday, but ended up just sounding like a jumbled mess of misinformation. The itching alone wouldn't be that bad, but as soon as it started, I started to think how it's probably not the best sign from what I've read, and how I hate that I feel my doctor's office doesn't take my seriously. If I were a massive hypochondriac, or was unjustly running to the doctor's office or ER every five seconds thinking I was in labor or something along those lines, their nonchalance would make more sense, but I really feel like my doctor doesn't take things all that seriously, and it's starting to drive my crazy. Well, that, or the fact that I've been awake for nearly three straight hours at this point.

I don't know how to deal with this. I'm very concerned that at my 37-week appointment in...five hours...he's not going to bother following up with the gallbladder ultrasound he suggested Sunday, and that he'll dismiss my further concerns about the possibility of another attack. I hate to sound like a major wimp, but NO WAY can I experience that ever, ever again. Give me natural childbirth, but DO NOT let me have another gallstone attack PLEASE GOD. Everytime my stomach so much as rumbles I whimper in fear that the pain is going to return, and I think I'm justified in wanting him to take proactive steps to prevent this, am I not?!

What's really pathetic is for all I know I'm going to go in tomorrow and he'll 100% take me seriously and I would've been up all night stressed out and worried for no reason, but I just don't see it happening that way. I love that he's laidback, since I'm fairly laidback when it comes to medical stuff, but it's definitely gotten to a point where it's more of a problem than anything else. He gave me no instructions about changing my diet, even playing down that it may help when I asked him about it in my drug-induced haze, and while I don't like a doc that breathes unwarranted advice down my neck, a little medical guidance to prevent a recurrence of severe abdominal pain would be welcome. I also thought that knowing this was going on would be great motivation to confirm my induction and potentially move it up, but he's just in no hurry, which bugs the CRAP out of me for obvious reasons. Ugh. Ok, rant over. Off to *try* to sleep :(

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Trial Run to L&D.

First things first, I'm hoping to go private by this evening. Just an FYI. Anyone wanting to be added to the reading list that hasn't yet let me know, send me your email to unexpectedlyexpectingbaby@gmail.com, or just leave me a comment :)

Ok, now that that's out of the way, I can tell you about how I got to spend most of yesterday late afternoon/early evening in L&D. Did I think I was in labor? Absolutely not. I wasn't having any strong, regular contractions or leaking of fluid or bleeding. Instead, the culprit was severe, intense, paralyzing stabbing pains above my belly button and radiating around to my back and up between my shoulder blades. While I really want to avoid all dramatics with regards to my doctor and the hospital I'll be delivering at, since I was so badly to ensure they'll take me seriously when the time comes, I was in so much pain I couldn't even take a deep breath, let alone move from the seated, leaning forward position I was stuck in, so off we went after calling L&D to ask what we should do.

D and I were both VERY alarmed when instead of taking us into the triage room we were told about during our hospital tour, they skipped a step and threw me into a real L&D room, complete with hospital gown, non-stress test and contraction monitoring. Apparently when you go into L&D completely unable to walk (yes, I had to be wheeled - how mortifying) and fighting back both tears and yelps, they don't believe you're not in labor. After taking my vitals and finding my blood pressure had shot from it's normal 100/65 to 130/90 and my pulse was up over 120, they took a urine sample and a couple vials of blood, and were off to confer with my doc via telephone. Nothing quite like medical care through a conference call...

While I was hooked up to the monitor I started to contract a bit, though not regularly, which almost gave D a heart attack.

"Um, are you going into labor?!?! Cause we could still call this whole thing off.." he assured me, as I alternated between tears and damn near screaming. Even he was starting to not believe me at this point. And for good reason. You know what is as painful, if not moreso, than labor?! GALLSTONES. Yep. I was having an acute gallbladder attack..super fun. Equally fun is the fact that because of the size of my uterus and the risks of surgery, there is absolutely nothing they can do until the baby is born, and if they continue to get worse, she may need to be delivered via c-section so they can remove the stones at the same time. Fan-freaking-tastic. In the meantime, I've been prescribed the strongest pain pills I've ever taken, though I'm only planning to use them in case I have another attack, not for pain management. I'm not sensitive to pain meds at all, but by the time my doctor got to the hospital last night, I was completely incoherent. I accidentally told him I had a fever of 102 that morning rather than 100.2. Oops.

The upside (You know how I prefer happy news...)? I am more effaced than I was Wednesday, though still haven't reclaimed my centimeter. Oh, and I have absolutely no fears about labor anymore. Every nurse I talked to said that the pain of gallstones can be significantly worse than labor, and I totally believe it. Wishful thinking? Maybe. But considering I practically slept through my exam by the doc yesterday, I'm pretty sure my pain tolerance has just greatly increased. On top of that, I now know which nurses I prefer (not the one that asked me when I last made pee-pee. No joke!), and can tell you firsthand that those hospital rooms are AMAZING! A-MAY-ZING! I have never felt so calm and relaxed, though that could have something to do with the pill they slipped me :)

The downside is that I can no longer eat dairy or fried foods according to most things I've read, though my doc took his usual, "Eh, whatever," stance when I asked him about it. That means I can't eat fried or greasy foods, red meat from before, much sugar or dairy. What the hell does that leave? Luckily apples are my absolute favorite food, so I'm going to try to exist solely on fruit and grilled chicken. Maybe I won't be gaining anymore pregnancy weight after all...

Hope everyone else had a better weekend than that! Although ours was otherwise lovely, with us getting some errands done, finishing up my pre-baby car maintenance (inspection, registration, oil change and brake check), and putting up our Christmas decorations. Pics to come when I can take the stairs without shuddering!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Belly Shots: 36 Weeks! & Other News (SNOW!)

First things first, here's my belly as of five seconds ago :) It's all covered in burnt orange in anticipation of the Big 12 Championship game this evening vs. Nebraska. Hook 'em!





I'm seriously starting to wonder how much this kiddo weighs...

Now that we got that out of the way, here's some other big news...look what we woke up to:






Laugh all you want, Northerners, but I guarantee you there'll be an entire page in my scrapbook dedicated to us getting a bit of 'snow', and I'll be telling Baby B about it for years to come :P D, having a sense of humor that's similar to mine and being as shocked as I was that I had slept nearly eight straight hours only waking up once, took one look outside and said, "So I guess hell froze over?" I love that guy.

Now if I can just coax little (perhaps not so little?!) Baby B out, this day will be fantastic. Although if I had to choose between her coming this weekend, or Texas taking the Big 12 title and advancing to the National Championship, sorry Baby B but you're stuck in there until at least Monday! How fantastic would it be for Baby B to be born during a national championship year? What a great omen for our future longhorn, not to mention that she has longhorn EVERYTHING, so she'll be perfectly attired for the big game from her hat to her bib to her booties :)

36 Weeks!


How your baby's growing:
Your baby is still packing on the pounds — at the rate of about an ounce a day. She now weighs almost 6 pounds (like a crenshaw melon) and is more than 18 1/2 inches long. She's shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered her body as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that covered and protected her skin during her nine-month amniotic bath. Your baby swallows both of these substances, along with other secretions, resulting in a blackish mixture, called meconium, will form the contents of her first bowel movement.

At the end of this week, your baby will be considered full-term. (Full-term is 37 to 42 weeks; babies born before 37 weeks are pre-term and those born after 42 are post-term.) Most likely she's in a head-down position. But if she isn't, your practitioner may suggest scheduling an "external cephalic version," which is a fancy way of saying she'll try to coax your baby into a head-down position by manipulating her from the outside of your belly.

How your life's changing:
Now that your baby is taking up so much room, you may have trouble eating a normal-size meal. Smaller, more frequent meals are often easier to handle at this point. On the other hand, you may have less heartburn and have an easier time breathing when your baby starts to "drop" down into your pelvis. This process — called lightening — often happens a few weeks before labor if this is your first baby. (If you've given birth before, it probably won't happen before labor starts.) If your baby drops, you may also feel increased pressure in your lower abdomen, which may make walking increasingly uncomfortable, and you'll probably find that you have to pee even more frequently. If your baby is very low, you may feel lots of vaginal pressure and discomfort as well. Some women say it feels as though they're carrying a bowling ball between their legs!

You might also notice that your Braxton Hicks contractions are more frequent now. Be sure to review the signs of labor with your practitioner and find out when she wants to hear from you. As a general rule, if you're full-term, your pregnancy is uncomplicated, and your water hasn't broken, she'll probably have you wait to come in until you've been having contractions that last for about a minute each, coming every five minutes for an hour. Of course, you'll want to call right away if you notice a decrease in your baby's activity or think you're leaking amniotic fluid, or if you have any vaginal bleeding, fever, a severe or persistent headache, constant abdominal pain, or vision changes.

Even if you're enjoying an uncomplicated pregnancy, it's best to avoid flying (or any travel far from home) during your final month because you can go into labor at any time. In fact, some airlines won't let women on board who are due to deliver within 30 days of the flight.

Friday, December 4, 2009

So. Tired.

I am so ridiculously tired, it's a miracle I can even type. I haven't been sleeping well, to say the least. In fact, I've been sleeping so poorly that I frequently wake up for an hour or two at a time, and have to cry myself back to sleep, because much like Baby B will when she emerges, I cry when I'm overtired. It's absolutely crazy-making.

The main reason is that I can't get comfortable. This will come as no shock, seeing as how I'm now 24 pounds fatter than I used to be, Baby B weighs in at at least six of those and moves like an acrobat ALL NIGHT LONG, and I'm a stomach sleeper by nature. Add to that what feels suspiciously like restless leg syndrome, the 100 times a night I have to pee now that Baby B is engaged, and the Braxton-Hicks I tend to experience all night long, and it's just a recipe for disaster. I've also been having awful stomach cramps five to six times a day since Wednesday night, which isn't making things any easier. I'm not sure what that's all about, but last night I actually was trying to time my stomach cramps to make sure that they weren't actually uterine contractions. It's surprisingly difficult to tell the difference, as stupid as that sounds.

Also nagging at me last night was my sore left arm, seeing as how I finally found a thimerosal-free seasonal flu shot! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got the second to last dose in the county. If you're a fellow Austinite and need one still, email me at unexpectedlyexpectingbaby@gmail.com, and I'll pass along the info on where to get it!

As for today, it's COLD outside. And not just Texas cold, but the general definition of cold, with a 60% chance of snow showers and temperatures falling into the teens tonight. WTF?! Here's hoping the weather change will kickstart me into labor, seeing as how Baby B is applying enough pressure that I couldn't possibly dream of walking more than a half mile at a time!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

To Doula or Not To Doula.

Recently, the Austin Pregnancy & New Moms Group sent around an email from a woman that is interested in providing doula services FREE OF CHARGE in order to get training/credit hours in. Did I mention that her services are free?

For those of you who aren't well versed in labor speak, a doula is...um, well, I'm not sure on the specifics. I always have associated them with being in a type of supporting role in a natural birth, etc., but turns out that when I contacted her explaining that I would be induced most likely and hooked up to an epidural as soon as humanly possible, she was still interested in meeting with us. She can be there to support the mom AND help out dad, be another set of hands for massage, communicate with the doctors and nurses, etc. Hmm...I'm a bit interested, to be honest. The only thing about it is that I really want as few people there as possible, and for it to be a private, personal thing for me and D, so I'm wondering if she'll ruin that vibe for me, or if she might be a welcome female face in a sea full of men?

Anyone using a doula or have experience with doulas they'd like to share? I still need to broach the issue with D, but depending on his feedback, we'll likely meet with her early next week to see if it's a good match.

Baby Blanket!

This past Monday we received the absolute greatest Christmas gift for Baby B in the mail: a homemade baby blanket!!!

Here it is, in all it's glory:


I LOVE IT! Thank you so much to one of Baby B's great-grandmothers, Granny Wendy! It's gorgeous and perfect and oh-so-fitting!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

36-Week Appointment!

My sights have been set on today for a whiiiiiile. My every hope of having this baby before Christmas was resting on this appointment. Sound like a recipe for an enormous letdown to anyone else?!

First off, let me say that there are some horror stories out there about the pain of cervical exams. God knows at my first I was shaking in my boots (not proverbial boots, either, people. It's freakin' cold here!) Let me assure you: THEY ARE NOT THAT BAD. Nothing to lose sleep over, that's for sure. There was maybe a good five seconds where I wanted to say, "Excuse me, but could you please remove your hand immediately?!" Then, it was over. The best part of my appointment today was definitely when I asked my charming, handsome 35-year-old doctor if it was going to hurt, only to have him reply, "Seeing as I'm the only one in the room without a vagina, I can't tell you for sure, but it may get uncomfortable." And then he winked at me. If that's why I was so relaxed during the exam, so be it :)

There was also a low point, though. When asking if he needed me to undress for the exam he turned back around and said, "How far along are you?" Um, I'm not a doctor or anything, but shouldn't you know that, or at least have consulted my chart for a second before coming into the room?!? Maybe he's just a jokester...I hope. It doesn't exactly inspire confidence in me when he can't remember what week I'm in...at my 36-week visit.

Ok - so down to the nitty gritty. Miracle of miracles, I did NOT gain excessive weight due to Thanksgiving...just 2 lbs. since 2 weeks ago. I was worried that all the chocolate chip banana bread I'd been scarfing morning, noon and night would put on this visit's two pounds and the prior visit's two pounds as well, but I somehow got to escape those two without any penalty...cha-ching! I'm officially at 24 lbs. gained for my pregnancy. With three and a half weeks to go, that should bring me to a total of 27-28 lbs. I can live with that!!!

As for the exam, here's the depressing part. I am not dilated. That 1cm I claimed four weeks ago? She's gone. Zilch. Zip. Nada. I am, however, 50% effaced, which he assured me was more important. On top of that, my cervix has moved from facing the back of my body (posterior), to neutral-anterior, which means it's rapidly approaching it's final position to let out Baby B. AND Baby B is engaged, with her head being not just in the birth canal, but putting quite a bit of pressure on it. Dr. R said sometimes he can feel the baby's head but they'll still spring back up a bit, but that Baby B was set in her final position. That's great news, since if she hadn't budged, they were going to have to try to manually move her....ouch. My risk of having a c-section (unless she spazzes out completely and finds herself transverse again) has just tanked, at least until the actual day of...good news!

After typing the above paragraph, I've drawn two conclusions. First of all, TMI. Sorry folks, I'm sure you're not dying to hear about my cervix, but pregnancy and childbirth aren't for the faint of heart, so if you're weirded out, rest assured that I am too, and we can be weirded out together while I update you on my progress :) Second: I left the doctor's office practically in tears, and did what any reasonable, disappointed, sick-of-being-pregnant woman would do. I took to my BlackBerry and went searching for information. And from what I've read and discussed with family, it seems like in first-time mommies effacement is a.) more important, and b.) a more reliable sign of progress, especially when coupled with an anterior cervix and engagement. Baby B seems to be setting up shop to lay on the pressure and get things going. I'm totally fine with that now.

My 37-week appt. will be Tuesday since my doc is heading out of the office for the remainder of the week after that. I'll only be 36w3d, but I'm hoping for either more effacement or a centimeter of dilation...any suggestions on how to make this happen?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just a Notice...

After an extremely creepy comment was posted to my last belly shot, I've decided to go private with the blog. Anyone who wants to continue to follow just shoot me an email at unexpectedlyexpectingbaby@gmail.com, and I'll happily give you the passcode - I'm just trying to keep out creepy weirdos and baby snatchers, and this way I'll be able to post pictures without feeling nervous about it! This should be happening by the end of the weekend, just FYI.

I hope you all will keep reading and commenting - I love to hear from you guys :)

Plus, you know you eventually want to know her name (and perhaps even mine?!) and see some pictures of what I'm certain will be the world's cutest baby! Except for all of yours of course. They'll be tied for cuteness ;)
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