Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hard Day

another cell phone post because the internet is still down at moms house.

calliope took a long time to go to sleep last night. it seems like she gets overtired and the more tired she is. the harder it is for her to fall asleep. so last night we went to bed about 2 hours later than the last few days. i have been aiming to be in bed for 12 hours total each night knowing that i wont actually be asleep  that whole time but that that total plus a long afternoon nap might look something like the modified bed rest my midwives prescribed.

the night went pretty smoothly after that. until about 6 thirty in the morning. when my mom started tidying up downstairs comma emptying trash cans and the dishwasher. i was trying to fight full awakeness when my daughter suddenly and dramatically spewed a large quantity of undigested milk onto the bed between us. in case you havent experienced this it is a frightening sound. i sat bolt upright and snatched her up and that was the end of sleep for me. she of course passed out immediately afterwards  now that her belly was comfortable.

we had a couple hours nap in the late morning. and then she refused to go back to sleep. i was really hoping for another short walk and also maybe a trip to the local library. i knew this was ambitious because it entailed installing the car seat base in my sisters car on top of the more obvious preparations.

four hours later. still unshowered and only recently fed myself i gave up.

calliope doesnt seem to have any comfort mechanisms besides nursing. i know they say you cant overfeed a breastfed baby... but i dont believe that. if she is eating for reasons other than hunger. to my mind. thats not necessarily healthy. just like it wouldnt be healthy at any other age.

however i still let her nurse whenever she wants to... but when she cries and roots while the nipple is still in her mouth i feel frustrated and helpless.

finally when i was just completely done... she somehow fell asleep in the swing. glory be.

i left her swinging in the den. gathered my strength to journey upstairs. and cried in the shower.

really my first tears apart from a moment or two on the phone with midwives. and my mom came home not too long after which allowed me to go to the library alone. i am rereading anne lamotts book operating instructions a journal of my sons first year on my friend emilys advice. thanks emily.

im already feeling better but i think the fatigue of the last 15 plus days is hitting me. i wonder if it would be easier with a partner... i doubt it. but it would make it easier to go home to brooklyn. i wish there was a way to be there briefly to see the midwife the chiro the pediatrician and the np covering my clinic as well as a few friends... but if i couldnt make it to the library with her theres no way i can think about going home.

it feels very strange to be so disconnected from the world.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Surviving the Hurricane

Well, we survived the hurricane, which in Massachusetts looked like a long and ferocious rainstorm. There's some tree branches down in the neighborhood, but no real damage... and I know this because Calliope and I went for not one but TWO walks this afternoon! I felt the need for fresh air, and it felt GOOD to move my body, albeit slowly. This is the first time I've wanted to go for a walk. Hooray! The resting during the day seems to be paying off.






















The funny thing about that picture is that none of us were trying to look silly... it's just that my cousin isn't so great with the cell phone camera. The other children are Calliope's second cousins.

asleep (briefly) in the cradle my uncle built for my cousin's son






























Calliope and I had a rough night last night. She wanted to nurse for at least an hour straight during the night... with a bad latch. She has the ability to latch perfectly... but pulls back when the milk comes too fast. It felt like a bunch of fish were nibbling at my nipples. Not so much incredibly painful as deeply irritating. Finally I couldn't take it anymore. She was fussy after that until 5:30 am, when I gave up and brought her downstairs... when she nursed sitting in the chair with me, and finally fell asleep.

We're struggling with the lying down position. Or rather, we are struggling with overactive letdown, and lying down seems to exacerbate it. I feel really bad when I hear and see her gulping desperately. And last night, after doing this, she spit up a large quantity of undigested milk in my cousin's bed... the one night i forgot to put something under her. It figures, then, that I also bled on the sheets. What a mess I am!

Today I experimented with lying down to feed her, and draping her body over me. That seems to work a little better for her. I'm only nursing on one side per feeding, and indeed, today used only the left breast for three feedings in a row, in an effort to decrease my supply a bit which will also reduce the speed at which the milk is ejected. I'm a little worried that the left side is producing a lot more than the right side, but can't prioritize that right now. For now, I'm just hoping I won't drown my child today.

PS In case I didn't already say this... my 12 day old daughter has survived both a hurricane AND an earthquake in her short life.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Greetings from Massachusetts

another cell phone post. so forgive all spelling. capitalization and punctuation.

hello. mo commas. dont know why.

i made a mistake on yesterdays post. hematocrit was 29. hemoglobin was 9.8 i think. which isnt bad at all. but the midwife assured me is enough to feel symptomatic given that i was not anemic at the start of delivery.

she told me this because i was feeling like a big whiner for complaining with levels that good.

for sure i am feeling it. going up the stairs is tough. exclamation point.

anyway. mom and i made the drive yesterday. along with many other new yorkers fleeing the storm. it wasnt terrible at all considering. calliope was a good little traveler. i pumped once in the car and then we gave her her first bottle. not including a small dose of formula in the hospital during her second night. a lot faster than nursing exclamation point.

i was  exhusted by the time we arrived but i am glad to not be alone in nyc with a newborn during a hurricane. today i am at my cousin bonnies and have dutifully been resting in bed with calliope for 3 hours. boring. but it did help 2 days ago so i am doing it anyway.

ia

Friday, August 26, 2011

You Make Me Want to Cry

In a good way.

You have no idea how much your comments help.

And that plus postpartum hormones...

Like Ani, I'm a joyful, but also slightly tearful, girl.

Waiting for Results

Late night swaddling tutorial


























































The midwife texted me that my hematocrit is up to 9; my hemoglobin is pending, but that is presumably up as well. So why do I feel worse?

In other news, Her Royal Highness is officially getting more difficult to put to sleep. We pulled out Happiest Baby on the Block last night and discovered I've been swaddling her all wrong.

However, and I'm scared to jinx myself, we've had two great night's sleep, once she was asleep.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Feeling Worse

In the magical glider chair (bought used for $20!)
























I called the midwife, the one who works only at the hospital and is a professional acquaintance as well as an attendant at my labor, Elissa. Like yesterday, I started weeping as soon as I heard her voice.

She asked cautiously, "You know, this might be mood related? I mean, you are going through a lot of changes."

I burst out, "No, the only time I cry is when I talk to you!"

That made her laugh.

Sorry, Elissa. I meant that in the nicest way possible!

Talking to her I realized that there was no way I had the strength to go to MA. The idea of having to walk from the car to a rest stop bathroom was overwhelming. I felt like I'd need a wheelchair.

What is happening to me? Why am I getting weaker instead of stronger?

Elissa decided to call my midwife, who is vacationing in Canada. She later called me, and was especially solicitous. We talked about that this was probably anemia and also normal post-childbirth exhaustion, kicking in now that the adrenaline of birth has worn off a bit.

She told me that she didn't think a CBC (bloodwork) would be helpful, and that getting a transfusion would be complicated at this point -- I'd have to be admitted to the hospital, and thus, separated from the baby.

But then when I said that I definitely didn't want a transfusion, she counseled that it would certainly make a dramatic difference in how I felt, and that it might be useful to get the bloodwork done, just to see where I'm at.

At the end of our conversation, Catherine asked me to put my mom on the phone. She wanted to talk to her about helping me eat more frequently.

I said, "it's been a long time since anyone asked to speak to my mom!"

So my midwife had her covering midwife, Brooke, make a house call. That was heavenly, actually. It hadn't occured to me that that was a possibility. But Brooke was (is) one of those all-in-good-time folk, and she spent a long time with me, and was incredibly reassuring. She drew bloodwork, and will call tomorrow with the results.

And my mom agreed to stay for another couple of days... although now she's agitating to leave tomorrow instead. I don't blame her -- she's bored here, and was expecting to be home by now -- but I'm wondering if another day of bed rest (which I enjoyed today) would help me to get stronger for the trip?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beautiful, Messy, Challenging Newborn Days

(Mental picture for you, the reader: I'm sitting at the computer with My Brest Friend (nursing pillow) strapped around my waist. My shirt is off and the flaps on both sides of my nursing bra are open, the better to air my nipples. My tiny newborn lies stretched across the nursing pillow, her mouth working at my right breast as her bottom half lies naked and exposed on top of a clean diaper, the better to cure her diaper rash. A giant, mysterious wet spot dries on the couch. Turns out it was milk that leaked out around my breast pad during my brief nap...)

I am loving every minute with Calliope. I wondered if I would find the newborn period tedious, because my days with well babies in the NICU were boring. But I don't. I am deeply treasuring this time.

Calliope rarely cries (except for during today's photo shoot, when she was just miserable with fatigue). Yes, I know this pleasant personality might change! Hoping for the best. She is bright eyed and beautiful and nearly always content. I feel so lucky!

I was prepared for breastfeeding to be difficult, especially because my sister really struggled with it, not just with her first, but also with her second.

But Calliope latched on easily in the delivery room (assuming the dive-bomb position onto my breast) and has been going strong ever since. I had some nipple pain at first, and engorgement was plenty uncomfortable! But she knows what to do, and now my breasts have softened up considerably, and I see her cheeks growing rounder by the day, so I know she's doing well with nursing. I feel so fortunate! I've been shocked by the pain and difficulty that other women have endured in their attempts to breastfeed.

I also fully expected, or at least feared, postpartum depression. So far, so good on that front as well.

The only difficulty I'm having at this point is physical. I'm shocked by how bad I feel, physically. I don't know if it's influenced by how much blood I lost, or if this is normal, but it's certainly a big surprise to me, either way.

Today I called the midwife because I felt shaky and weaker than I've felt since the first twenty-four hours. It turns out that I was dehydrated, and drinking took the shakiness away. My energy was a little better at first, but our newborn photo shoot (and Calliope's unhappiness during it) left me entirely drained. I got dizzy just standing up with her in the Moby in my bedroom. Later in the afternoon, I was afraid to walk with her to the changing table. Luckily I had a friend with me while my mom went to a show... of course, if she hadn't been there, I might've napped, which would've helped.

My desire to eat continues to be less than it ought to be, and I know that is contributing to my fatigue and weakness as well. I'm wistful, watching Calliope's former home melt away, even while I'm enjoying my newly slender feet. Who knew I had such elegant foot bones???

And I'm sad that I've decided to go "home" with my mother. I want to be here in Brooklyn, getting started on my life together with Calliope, but after today, when I feared I was too weak to even ride in the car with someone else driving... it seems like I don't have a choice.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

























Last night I hit the wall.

We had a busy day, probably too busy. And little Calliope wasn't particularly unhappy, it's just that she hadn't slept for several hours, and kept rooting, and then would fuss with the nipple in her mouth. I figured she was tired, and at one point we went out for a very, very, very slow walk up our block and back (my first official walk!) with her in the Moby.

She sacked out immediately, which I was happy about... but woke up soon afterwards when I put her in the bassinet so I could eat dinner. Sleep issues were on my mind because my friend Catherine had just posted about her son not sleeping, and how she needs to remember to start putting him back to sleep after an hour of being awake.

I had gone to bed after midnight the night before, what with pumping my aching and rock hard breasts, then having, oops, just one more dirty diaper, and oh, hey mom, since we're up, how about one more feeding before bed? She only got up one more time during the night, at 3:30, before I had to get up at 6:30 am to get ready for the pediatrician visit. After the pediatrician, the trip to HR, the visit with the boss on the playground, the quick stop at the health food store, and then the incredibly intense visit from the doulas... it's probably not surprising that I was beyond exhausted. I haven't gotten a long night's sleep, even disturbed, since she was born. And this hemorrhaging thing is no joke.

I had texted my sister a photo of Calliope in the Moby, with the caption, "note the haggard face." I meant it as a joke, but she called me back, concerned, and I melted into tears on the phone with her. She gave me strict instructions to hand the baby to my mom and to get some rest, then repeated them to my mom, who was happy to comply.

It was hard to abandon my baby, but after an hour of diaper changes, pacifier attempts, and unsuccessful nursing, she was still wide awake. My mom very politely asked for permission to take her for a walk in the stroller. I showed her the glass bottle, the frozen breast milk, and gave about a million other instructions, then gratefully fell into bed, a little tearful and a lot grateful.

Five hours later, I woke up... with the apartment in darkness. My mom heard me stumbling around, and got up to explain that Calliope was still asleep in her car seat (which attaches to the stroller... but my mom had obediently removed the car seat from the stroller when they got back, because the angle of her head with the car seat in the stroller makes me nervous). We both went back to sleep, me somewhat nervously.

An hour later I woke up with aching breasts, and got out the breast pump and got about two ounces from each breast! Then Calliope started to open her eyes, so we nursed... practicing our lying down hold. It's a work in progress.... but pretty revolutionary, all things considered!

We had another feeding around 5:30, and then she slept until about 9 am.

I feel worlds better today. I mean, I'm not recovered or anything, and it was surprising to me how much trouble I had falling asleep after the first stretch -- I've already gotten used to so much less sleep, I guess, or else to the hypervigilance of motherhood? -- but it was great.

So now the question is... should I go back to MA with my mother?

The pros:

  • someone to feed me
  • someone to do my dishes and laundry, and otherwise clean up after me
  • someone who dotes on Calliope and thinks she is fabulous in every respect
  • someone who is incredibly patient and generous with me, also!
  • not being home alone
  • someone who will take the baby and let me sleep
  • not needing to run my own errands

The cons:

  • being in someone else's home (*** my mother's house)
  • maternal commentary (my favorite being, "now you just need to work on getting rid of that belly" -- THREE days after I gave birth!)
  • not getting to see my friends and be a part of our world here in Brooklyn
  • being far away, and needing to be back here in a week to go into work for two days (which I committed to, but can always back out of if need be... but wouldn't be ideal)... and thus, most likely needing to make the four and a half hour trip back by myself with the baby in my sister's car (which my mom says rattles around a bit more than she is comfortable with)

thoughts?

And also, THANK YOU all so much for the commentary on yesterday's post. You have no idea how much it has helped me. I don't know how to respond to each comment in a way in which you will see that I responded... but please know, they were enormously helpful! So keep on sharing, if you have more thoughts.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Mixed Emotions

Car ride to the pediatrician, curled up so impossibly small.


















Calliope was a half an ounce above her birth weight this morning when we went to see the pediatrician. I could tell that her face was filling out, but it was nice to have it confirmed that all is going well.


Is it strange that even though I'm glad she's doing so well, I'm a bit wistful about her growing? She's so sweet and tiny right now. I'm sad that changes come so fast. I want to -- and indeed I do -- revel in each day. I don't want them to rush by in a blur. Even if I do have another baby eventually, I will never again get to marvel  at the daily miracles each day brings.


She also had an umbilical granuloma, which is when a little piece of the umbilical cord doesn't die off, but keeps growing (happens in 1 in 500 babies). It oozes in a not so pleasant way. It's funny to me that with everything else I've been worrying about, I didn't focus on that. The pediatrician put a little silver nitrate on it and I expect she will be as good as new.

Mom, Calliope, and I did several quick errands after that, with my mom doing all the walking and most of the shopping. I sat in a playground outside the hospital and nursed Calliope and chatted with my medical director, who met us outside. I thought I was doing a good job of nursing nonchalantly and casually... but it was funny to realize afterwards that I had a giant wet spot on the front of my shirt.

After we got back, I politely kicked my mom out and my doula (Chloe) plus her backup (Tymaree), the one that was actually at my delivery, came by for our postpartum visit.

What an intense two hour visit we had. I started to cry as soon as I saw Tymaree.

I have such mixed emotions about my birth. I feel bad that I haven't sat down to write out my birth story yet... I'm scared that it is fading by the day. Indeed, because of the medications I took, lots of details are already so very blurry. Long chunks of time are just sort of missing from the memory vault. And yet what I do remember is so charged.

Let me be clear: I adore my daughter. Already. And I feel like I barely know her. I can't even imagine what it will be like as more facets of her personality emerge.

But let me also be clear about this: I hated labor. And that surprised me. I guess it disappoints me, also.

I thought that since I am strong (or so I thought?), and disciplined, and did my homework (in the form of practicing my Hypnobabies every day), that the birth experience would be tough, and challenging, but manageable.

But it was not. Not by a long shot. And I have all sorts of anger and frustration and sadness and disappointment and guilt about that.

And I don't know where to put all those emotions, because this crazy experience brought me this gorgeous baby, this person who will revolutionize my life (this is the reason for the guilt). And yet... it was a damaging experience, too. At least in the moment. I think that that is changing, and will continue to change with time... but is that a factor of healing, or of simple forgetting?

I feel a need to put things right, somehow, to heal up in this nice and clean way... but I haven't a clue how to do that.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Home

This is just a super quick email because I'm trying to keep my mom from knowing about this blog, and in a one bedroom apartment, it's hard to keep secrets!

We came home Thursday. What a long adventure! Just getting the car seat buckled into the car (which my mom did while I watched) was exhausting.

But I am very, very glad to be home. We are both settling in nicely.

Sometimes it's a bit of a rude shock to realize the enormity of my responsibility (mainly when I'm exhausted in the middle of the night and she wakes me up to eat again), but I've only felt that a couple of times.

Mostly I am just filled with joy. She's so tiny and sweet and I can't get over the fact that she is all mine. At least until she becomes her own person.

Breastfeeding is going well, except that despite a great latch, she's been slow to pee. In the hospital, the neonatologist made a big deal of this, and threatened to admit her to the NICU for an IV because she hadn't peed in her first 24 hours, unless I agreed to supplement with formula. All the other staff seemed to think this was crazy, but he was top dog. Then my blessed nurse actually dug through the trash in my room and found a diaper with urine in it. Phew! My friend had been on diaper duty and just hadn't seen it (it's easy to miss, especially when there is meconium everywhere!)

I ended up giving her about 2/3 of an ounce of formula during the night anyway that night, after she nursed for two hours and was still rooting. My nipples just hurt so much at that point. But then her diapers stank horribly for the next 24 hours. So I am hoping not to have to do that again.

And now I don't think I will have to, as my milk came in yesterday. I went from a D or DD (originally a DD in early pregnancy, but my bra seemed big by the end) to a G yesterday! Holy moly!!!

So my mom carted Calliope and I over to the nursing bra store yesterday to get me fitted. It was a good first errand as the woman who owns the store is a lactation consultant, and had a place for me to sit and nurse, complete with a breastfeeding pillow. Then we went for lunch with an SMC friend who is in town from Cambodia for just a few days. I was exhausted by the end, but it was good to get out.

I want to write out my birth story as soon as I can, but at the same time, it's a little intimidating to face it. So emotionally intense and also, there are a lot of bits and pieces that I don't remember until people remind me.

But the big thing that's affecting me right now is the fact that I hemorrhaged after she was born. My hemoglobin was 13.1 when I was admitted, and dropped to 7.5 by 36 hours after her birth. So I am on very strict orders to rest, despite feeling not too bad.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blessed

calliope sage was born tuesday august 16 at 7 26 pm.

6 pounds 10 ounces. 20 inches long.

she is my miracle.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Forty-One Weeks, Two Days: Cervadil

greeting from my hospital bed.

im pretty proud of myself for figuring out how to blog from my hospital bed. but its not the easiest interface. for example. capitalization and punctuation: not so much. i havent figured h out how to capitalize or add commas or exclamation points.

and im scared to try to edit.

so this will be rough.

i cant remember what i wrote abousdt cerv
adil. and its too much work to go back (excuse the its a

grrr. sorrym no editing. like i said.

the castor oil. it caused painful contractions every

8 to 10 minutes for a while but then died down.


i had a few painful contractions during the night that intensified for a while witht the cervadil but then died down.

oh. i got admitted first.

now im in the hospital. its weird to be here and not feel sick. my friend a has been great but  i finally sent her home to get some sleep for the big day tomorrow. my midwife is coming tonight to check me and probably give me another cervadil. then the plan is tentatively to start pitocin 12 hours later.

im not sure what i feel. a little apprehensive but not too bad. the idea that i am going to have a baby out of this is totally surreal.

thinking of shannon and finn again tonight... grateful the news is better than she feared, but still worried and sad for then.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Castor Oil Update

About three hours after I took the castor oil, the effects kicked in. I spent a goodly amount of time in the bathroom.

But all in all, not nearly as bad as I had feared.

After that phase, I had about ?40 minutes of contractions about three minutes apart.

Alas, they have seemed to died down.

Now I am having twinges of contractions, and it's hard to bend over even a tiny bit... but that's about it.

Bummer.

Forty-One Weeks, One Day: Castor Oil and Scrubbing Grout

Last belly shot?



Well, I had my [presumably] last prenatal visit this morning. 

All is well with the baby and me.

Weight is unchanged, BP is 100/60, baby's heart rate is in the 150's.

And her position seems a bit improved! The midwife thinks her spine has moved enough that I won't have back labor!

The baby also moved down a little bit, and my cervix seems a tiny bit dilated -- a fingertip. (Of course, the midwife said I was a fingertip dilated two weeks ago also, but when I reminded her of that, she said it is definitely better today.)

She offered me the chance to wait a bit longer... but was also totally supportive of me going ahead with the induction. 

If she really felt strongly that I should wait, I suppose I would consider it. The truth is, I'm not suffering by any stretch. On the other hand, the thought of waiting longer isn't all that appealing. 

She recommended that I try castor oil today.

With some trepidation, I agreed. 


But her recipe isn't bad at all! I really couldn't taste it. Ice cream makes all the difference! (Note to moms out there: ice cream is much better at masking bad tastes, for example childrens' medicines, than sweet things like honey or juice.) 

Ingredients:
1 cup OJ (I substituted mango juice because I hate OJ)
2 oz castor oil
1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
1 shot vodka (I substituted coconut rum because I hate vodka... lent the whole thing a taste reminiscent of egg nog)

Blend well and swill down.

I'm feeling fine so far, about one hour post castor oil administration. Perhaps more Braxton-Hicks contractions than usual, but no stomach cramps. I didn't quite finish the contents of the blender, because it didn't fit in my glass, so of course I am now worried that I left all the castor oil behind. But that seems unlikely -- the blender generally does a good job of mixing things up. 

Right?

After I finished, I went and scrubbed the grout. 



The cocktail



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Castor Oil

After texting my midwife to ask if she confirmed that her back-up OB will be on Tuesday (which she wants in case I need to progress from Pitocin to C-section), she texted me back that she wants to see me tomorrow morning, early. And that she may want me to try castor oil tomorrow.

I'm suddenly nervous. Excited, but nervous.

This wasn't in the plan.

I was ready to do all my laboring in the hospital. I know it's not an ideal plan... but it was the one I had transitioned to.

My friend A is going to keep me company, and another friend lent me stupid movies to watch between episodes of presumably violent diarrhea.

But I guess it will be good to try, to make sure I can't go into labor at least semi-naturally.

A big part of why I was hoping for natural labor was for the oxytocin boost right after birth. Which I'm pretty sure won't happen if I have artificial oxytocin (ie Pitocin).

So I guess this is worth a try.

Although I think I was also not really convinced that I was ever going to have this baby, and tomorrow... is really, really soon.

Forty One Weeks!

Here I am, friends. Still pregnant. I never imagined this.

But I'm doing very well. I feel tons better than I did a week ago. My energy is much better, my feet don't hurt, I'm sleeping great... no cause to complain, really.

It's sort of impossible to believe, in other words, that I'm going to have a baby in the next few days. It all feels a lot further away than it did.

Yesterday, after days of deliberation, I finally asked my mother if she wanted to join me at the birth. With my sister gone, I thought it would be nice to have that feeling of roots, if that makes any sense? My friend A will be there, but she's been in my life only a few years... and of course, my mom will have a connection to my child as well as to me. And finally, I thought I would be offering my mom a precious gift, to be there when her darling grandchild enters the world.

My mom turned me down.

I'm simultaneously incredulous and amused.

My mom has ADHD. She doesn't like changes in plans. And her plan was to be in MA this week. She is looking forward to seeing my (uncommunicative, bookwormish) almost thirteen year old niece (just to contrast her with all those extremely communicative thirteen year old girls out there!) after she gets to MA from summer camp and before they move to Florida two days later. Then, too, my mother feels like she can only take a week off from work (she owns her own law firm, but has two other attorneys working for her), and she would be more use to me when I am ready to come home from the hospital. Especially if I have a C-section -- she would "just be sitting around NYC with nothing to do."

I am quite sure that she could help me, even in the hospital, if I had a C-section. And I am pretty sure that I could convince her that taking more than a week off of work might make sense in this situation. And that skipping this is missing out on the experience of a lifetime.

But I'm not going to argue with her. This is her call. And it's too important to me to try and convince her.

I shared this story with Scott (my 59 year old best friend with the prostate cancer -- you remember, right?) and he immediately offered to be there.

The original plan, a while back, had been for him to be there, but then I had stricken him from the roster because I felt like he wasn't excited to be there. And I didn't want anyone there who wasn't 110% enthused (like my mom, see above). But now he seems more excited about being there -- excited to be there to support me, at least, if less enthusiastic about witnessing the miracle of life (it's not that he's against the miracle of life... it's just not as exciting to him as it is to me... even when I'm not the one giving birth).  

And while he may not have the relationship with my child that my mother will, he is my family, too. In some ways, more my family than anyone blood related to me.

So I'm pleased with how it all worked out. It will be great (hopefully) to have my mother here when I'm ready to come home from the hospital. And it will be, I think, magical to have Scott there. Going through this prostate cancer situation together has brought us even closer together. This will be one more thing to cement our bond.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Stunned

I just read Shannon's shocking news from her "Chasing Rainbows" blog -- see the link at the right.

Please send all good wishes, prayers, etc to her and her little son Finn,

Forty Weeks, Six Days: Not Annoyed

I posted an update yesterday on Facebook, letting folks not that my NST/BPP were fine, girlie is just way too comfortable in there to come out of her own accord.

A couple different people responded, "wow, that must be annoying."

Which made me realize, despite my fatigue (bad luck with sleeping last night... I don't want to name names, but SOMEONE was kicking me in my ribs in a painful way during the night), that I'm not annoyed.

This has gone beyond annoyance... to amusement. This has all, so far, played out so differently than I imagined.

Because of my experience in the NICU, I was convinced I was going to give birth early. Pretty much from 34 weeks on, I thought each and every day... okay, today could be the day. I was even worrying quite consistently from 24 weeks.

But it never occurred to me that I would go late.

And here I am.

But girlie and I are both disgusting healthy -- BP is holding steady at 100/70, I dropped a pound (presumably of fluid) from my three pound gain last week, heart beat is perfect at around 150, and She scored an 8/8 on the BPP.

And most nights, I sleep at least eight hours, with only one brief trip to the bathroom (sorry to brag about that!).

And sooner or later, I will have a baby. Next Tuesday sounds nice, but Sunday is the absolute latest.

I'm so far past when I hoped to deliver (between 39 and 40 weeks) that I've sort of given up caring about the details of when she actually arrives.

So, I feel like I can't complain.

Not that I don't reserve the right to do so... as I have already done, especially last week... in the future.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Forty Weeks, Five Days: Ha! You Thought I Went Into Labor!

But no, it was just a busy day, so while technically I am now 40w6d, because it's past midnight, I'm counting this as the previous day, since I haven't gone to bed yet. Which is not a good thing, but I digress. Anyway, my friend says my sleep schedule is about to be subsumed by a tyrant, so not to worry about it.

I had my next BPP/NST today, and everything was fine. As I suspected. Even though it took a while to locate her heartbeat, Lentil was busy enjoying her latest installment of Baby Kickboxing, so I wasn't worried.

I forgot to ask the ultrasound technician, but I'm pretty positive she is still posterior.

I've declared tomorrow, Friday, to be my last day of chiropractor and acupuncture. If six sessions of chiro isn't going to do it, nothing is.

My sister asked for my permission to go home tonight instead of tomorrow, since she hasn't been sleeping well, and labor looks like it's going to wait for an induction. Which I cheerfully granted. Last night she assembled the jogging stroller, including the adaptor bar for the infant car seat. She finally scrubbed the tub (sort of) and today she helped me to do laundry and make up my bed with clean sheets, and even put clean sheets on the pullout couch for the next guest.

I have to admit, as nice as it was to have her here, not having to worry about going into labor on my own... I'm ready to be alone again. Perhaps it's partly that I don't think I'm going to go into labor spontaneously, and perhaps it's partly that I feel more ready to do so, if it should happen. But it's good to be alone again.

I don't know if it's being back to exercise or what (currently two days on, one day off the elliptical), but I've also just been feeling better, physically and emotionally these last few days. I walked a substantial distance yesterday, perhaps a mile, without getting tired. It was thrilling! Because some days when I'm so tired, it's hard to imagine that these changes aren't permanent.

However, now that I have a semi-set delivery date in my head, I'm getting a little more nervous. Nervous about labor -- particularly going into spontaneous labor at home, now that I've "decided" that it's all going to be in the hospital -- but also about what my body will endure, what it will be like to meet my child, what it will be like to be a mother and to have this new, terribly inconsiderate roommate. What if I get as sick of her as I do of other human beings?

Don't get me wrong; I'm terribly excited. It's just... now it's all feeling very... inevitable. Perhaps especially because I'm feeling more like my happy self, and less completely-sick-of-pregnancy-and-willing-to-do-almost-anything-to-have-it-over. And so I'm realizing that hey, maybe pregnancy isn't so bad, after all? And since I don't know what motherhood will be like.... maybe changing roles isn't such a good idea after all?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Forty Weeks, Four Days: Postscript

I talked to my friend and very nervously, haltingly said, "I think last night's conversation got hard for me because, uh, there was alcohol involved. We should make sure, uh, if there's alcohol going on when I go into labor, you know, spontaneously (ha ha)... you should tell me."

She laughed and said, "of course!"

So that was a non-issue.

Why can't I just do a better job of protecting my boundaries before they feel trampled???

I'm sure that you all are much nicer people than me... but just in case you ever have evil moments... I'd like to share with you a song that I was introduced to while nursing 180 Jewish adolescent campers through a swine flu (remember that? high fevers, funky cough) epidemic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pNCR3xubgU

Forty Weeks, Four Days: In Which I Discover I am Really Not a Very Nice Person, Part One

You know how with journals, you never want to go back and read them, because you realize that you only write in them when you are depressed or at least pensive in a downwardly sort of direction?

I feel like blogging has the opposite sort of tendency. People may, on rare occasions, write when they are less than pleased-as-punch with the way that life is treating them... but if they do, they tend to gloss over the rough stuff.

I need a compromise. Without feeling like a completely terrible person. Which I sort of did, the last time I really vented on here.

I'll start with the easy one. My friend A, who is planning to be at the birth with me... but who still tells me that I can kick her out at any point. Which I sincerely appreciate.

I called her last night to discuss the birth... namely, whether if I should invite my mother to be present as well. I tried to tell her, "I know you can't advise me; I just want to bounce some things off you."

She started bringing up points, a few of which were valid, but many of which were not. She wanted me to listen to a long list of them before I was allowed to respond, which was frustrating in itself, because yo, I'm 40+ weeks pregnant... how many points do you realistically think I can hold in my head? Plus, then it stops feeling like a conversation and more like a lecture. And then, after I said, "okay, I think I want to say to my mother than I'm not sure how I want things to go," my friend said,

"Yes, do that. Do that for me."

And that makes me feel like I can't breathe. It was my suggestion, and I'm doing it for me. I know this sounds like a non-issue. I can't explain it. But she said various permutations, summarizing what I had said I was going to do, which was frustrating in itself. Telling me how I do things for others so much, and how this has to be for me. Which is great, and true, but hearing it, seriously, more than ten times, repeated with great emphasis... it was like she felt like I was hard of hearing.

I finally said, "I need to stop this conversation. I feel like my boundaries are getting crossed." She was fine with that -- I give her tons of credit for never being overly sensitive -- and we got off the phone, after 90 minutes.

I'm pretty sure she was drinking during our conversation. When she drinks (nightly), she gets very, very emphatic. And loving. Which sounds like it should be great, but as a non-drinker, the ever-increasing emotional pitch starts to make me very claustrophobic.

Also as a non-drinker, I tend to forget that she drinks every night, and that I shouldn't have serious conversations with her at night. Of course, we both typically work during the day, so it would only be on weekend days that we would be able to talk.

So question for you readers: should I tell my friend, "darling, we shouldn't have serious conversations when you are drinking? And I need you to tell me when you are drinking, because it's not always clear to me."

Is this fair?

Because right now, the feeling after that conversation, is that I don't even want her at my birth, because I felt like she was so tone deaf in our conversation to my attempts to my retreat, until the final one, when I just said I had to get off the phone.

It's hard because at the end of the day, I don't feel like we are truly kindred spirits (yes, I read Anne of Green Gables, about a million times... what of it?). But she loves me dearly, and is deeply committed to me.

What would you do?



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Forty Weeks, Three Days: Appointment With the Midwife

Luckily, watching a movie last night seems to have stabilized my emotions (The Killing Fields... a real "feel good" movie about the Khmer Rouge massacre in Cambodia... who knows what's up with me these days???).

Because, not surprisingly, not much has changed.

The baby's head has still not dropped into my pelvis. Catherine says the baby is coming into my pelvis at a weird angle, and maybe that's why she's not dropping? She wants me to talk to the chiropractor and acupuncturist about focusing on that, getting her to drop.

Catherine said she is willing to induce next Monday (that will be 41 weeks, 2 days) if nothing has changed. If, however, things have progressed, she might want to wait a little longer to see if I go into labor on my own. Which puts me in the curious position of sort of hoping that things don't progress. Ironic.

The tentative schedule is for me to go see Catherine next Monday to get checked. After my appointment with her, I go to Methodist Hospital (not the hospital where I am delivering, but where I had my most recent biophysical profile (BPP) and non-stress test (NST) because they actually answer their phone! unlike the ultrasound place at my hospital) to get another BPP/NST done. After the BPP/NST, I go over to my hospital to get admitted and to have Cervadil, a prostoglandin suppository, applied to my cervix to help prepare it for induction. Catherine may decide to do two Cervadils, I'm guessing 12 hours apart?, if my cervix hasn't progressed from this week.

Then she would start me on Pitocin Tuesday morning.

The only possible wrinkle is that she wants to make sure her back-up OB is on for whenever she starts the Pitocin, in case I end up needing a C-section. So I guess if that doctor isn't on on Tuesday, that will delay things. Also I am not sure how needing two Cervadils would affect the timing.

So that's the scoop. I'm grateful that I am feeling remarkably resilient at the moment. Fingers crossed that it lasts.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Scared

My friend Emily just told me that inductions carry a 50% chance of C-sections.

I'm not scared of a C-section at this point.

I'm scared that this means my midwife won't induce me.

I recognize that I have gone off my rocker at this point. That waiting just a bit longer shouldn't be a big deal.

But I'm so tired of being so tired, and feeling so completely boring and cranky all the time.

All my desires to have a natural childbirth... well, they are still there, sort of. In that I would be happy to have one if it could start tonight.

Otherwise, drug me up, please! Let's try some Pitocin, and probably an epidural to boot. Elective C-section? Sure!

I know that being a brand new mom does not mean that I will be my old self again.

I will be some new self, probably pretty nutty even if I don't have postpartum depression... and I think I have a decent chance at that, too. (For the record, what will be, will be, regardless of the timing of the birth.)

But I just want out of this me. Now. I don't even recognize myself anymore.

Please.

Before and After Photos


front hallway, before





front hallway, after 
note: art postcards, copious diapering supplies,
star nightlight and new black dresser... thanks Ik.ea!



left wall of bedroom, before
left wall of bedroom, after 
note new rug (for sound reduction) and hand-me-down crib & new dresser 
as well as totally awesome wall decal from Etsy
plus space to stash car seat 


Bed, before (though coat tree has already been moved in
from front hall... still not sure if it's a keeper or not)

Bed, after (bassinet pulled close, new black dresser
in evidence, no other dramatic changes shown... 
photo over bed removed since this photo was taken, 
to be replaced at some point by maternity photos)



right wall of bedroom, before






right wall of bedroom, after 



Please forgive the crazy alignment... I don't know why Blogger
is such a hater tonight. 














Forty Weeks, Two Days

Still here.

Still pregnant.

<sigh>

I went to the chiropractor this morning (but not acupuncture... since it doesn't seem to be triggering labor all that well... though it did help my mood). He said, sure enough, my pelvis was back out of alignment, presumably because of two workouts on the elliptical. He also observed that my mood was better than it had been at our last visit, and commented that it was probably worth the trade-off. Luckily, I've been loosened up enough by his work thus far that it wasn't hard to get my pelvis back into alignment.

I have another appointment with my midwife tomorrow. My plan was to ask her about her protocol for women who go post-dates... mainly, at what point does she induce? I was assuming it wouldn't be until 42 weeks, but a new mom I know, who used the same midwife, said that she was given the option of induction at 41 weeks.

What a thrill it was to learn that.

Then I wondered if maybe Catherine would induce a couple of days shy of 41 weeks, so that my sister would at least have a chance of being with me for the birth.

My [albeit hypothetical] countdown was getting shorter and shorter!

And then, last night, my sister had the brilliant idea: why not go see Catherine tomorrow (as scheduled) and just ask for an induction... tomorrow? (My sister actually actually said, "Go in there and say you won't leave without an induction!" but that seems a little more... demanding... than I want to be.)

This idea, though I'm not sure of its merits, filled me with energy. Because that means that I suddenly have only one day to finish everything on my to do list!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Forty Weeks, One Day

























My prevailing emotion?

Fatigue.

Lord, I'm tired.

My sister called from Times Square a couple of hours ago. She was at the TKTS Booth, and wanted to know if I wanted a half-price ticket to the Cirque du So.leil show for tonight.

It killed me to decline. I love going to shows!

But just the idea of getting to downtown Manhattan sounded exhausting. (This conversation was as I was trudging, oh so incredibly slowly, one and a half (long) blocks home from Emily's house.)

I'm tired of being so tired.

On the plus side, I spent twenty minutes on the elliptical both yesterday morning and today. First thing in the morning, I might add. That's the only time I have the energy.

This is not because I'm trying to maintain fitness. This is only as a survival strategy, to try and maintain some semblance of sanity.

My attitude adjustment is going pretty well, perhaps as a result. I'm not thinking about being "late" or "overdue." I'm [fairly] cheerfully looking forward to August 20th.

It was fun to be at a party yesterday, and to have people ask when I was due, and to answer airily, "oh, today" and then have them gasp in... either admiration (at my fortitude) or horror (they seemed to think my water might break, say, on their shoes.)


I say that would've made for a memorable party experience.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Due Date

I'm not really excited (note the lack of exclamation point in the title of this blog post), because I've decided that this baby is not coming before 42 weeks, August 20th. However, I will be pleasantly (overwhelmingly) pleased if she decides to come earlier. (Please, please!)

What's crazy to me, though, is that my belly will just keep on getting bigger, my back will get more sore (apparently), my ankles will keep getting fatter. This doesn't at all stop, just because she's supposed to be fully cooked. Strange.

I really get it now about why very pregnant women don't like it when lots of folks get in touch to ask if they are still pregnant, have any news, popped yet, etc. I feel like I should at least be touched that they are thinking of me. But I'm not. Because I am forty weeks pregnant and hot and cranky and uncomfortable, dammit.

A friend gave me permission to not answer phone calls and voice mails for the duration, which I gratefully accepted.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day One: Time For an Attitude Adjustment

One day out from my due date, with no signs of my Lentil making her way to the outside world anytime soon.

Which is hard.

I went to the local new and expectant moms' group group yesterday, and I was the only one there without a baby. I felt like I was being forced to repeat first grade while all my classmates had been promoted. I didn't stay too long -- too hard trying to chat brightly with all these new and exceedingly cheerful mothers as they patted tiny diapered bottoms -- and then went to visit my SMC friend Catherine (not to be confused with Catherine the midwife), which was helpful... Her darling two week old son was born fifteen days after her due date (Cervadil was started at forty-two weeks)! I felt badly complaining to her, after her very long wait, but it turned out great, because despite her having a great game face while enduring the long wait, she had all the same, terribly negative thoughts I've had. Phew!

And truly, what I am enduring cannot fairly be called suffering. It's annoying, and frustrating, but I'm generally not in pain (yesterday I pulled a muscle while walking/having a Braxton-Hicks contraction/sneezing simultaneously... that hurt... but after lying down for an hour, it went away), and I'm still sleeping very well, which I know is both lucky and unusual.

So I'm trying to get my head to a better place, despite whatever my body is doing, or rather, not doing. If I was working with an OB, I would've begged for an induction by now, but ?alas, I'm working with a midwife. I called her in tears yesterday, when I finally waddled all the way home, holding the side of my stomach because the pulled muscle was so uncomfortable... she was kind, and suggested swimming, or a massage. She did not suggest an induction. And I'm pretty positive she won't.

I had acupuncture and chiro today, which were both nice, but no noticeable changes in my uterus or its contents. I'll go back to the chiro on Monday, and am going to take a break from acupuncture for a little bit. I also am going to try to start working out again, with the chiro's blessing -- I think I need that endorphin boost, if I can just muster up the energy.

I just hope the baby in the BabyTicker doesn't disappear tomorrow. That would be depressing.

So here I go, with my brand new, more positive attitude.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day Two: Coming Out of My Skin

I woke up early this morning (8 am, which was less than eight hours of sleep... very antsy last night, too!) and feel like I am ready to crawl out of my skin. I am so damn antsy! I may have to start exercising again. I reckon this may be related to that.

Long and arduous labor be damned, I am hooked up to the breast pump anyway. I need this baby to come NOW. (please)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day Three: Feeling Better

Thanks, everyone, for the kind and sympathetic posts. I really, really appreciate them. It's so great to feel like I have a team of folks supporting me! A special shout out to Obernon for her offer for me to come stay with her and her newborn!

My sister and I had a good talk this morning. I was trying to give her permission to go back to MA for a few days, because that seemed like the best use of resources and the best way to meet the most people's needs, if not, perhaps, my own. But after discussing, she decided to stay! She said she wanted to prioritize my needs, and that it sounded to her like I really needed her to stay.

I was surprised to hear her decision... and also surprised to see how very relieved I felt! I didn't know if I was negative about the idea of her leaving because I was just hormonal and also disappointed to hear from the midwife that I wasn't progressing more rapidly... and instead discovered that I was in a much better mood today, hearing this news. I guess I really was worried about going into labor with her a four and a half hour drive away.

So I'm grateful. And trying to give her space (she's hanging out in my bedroom with the better air conditioner while I catch up on email in the living room) and be as thoughtful as I can, given my pregnant state, my sometimes limited energy, and my one bedroom apartment. So, for example, when we walked in the door a few minutes ago, I practiced considerable restraint and didn't immediately try to schedule the time that we would put the decal up on the wall above the crib. Aren't I, like, a rockin' little sister?

(Yes, we, or mostly she, put up the crib yesterday! It looks sweet. Even if my bedroom looks a bit like a juvenile furniture showroom at the moment. I currently have four, count them four, specially-designed places to rest the kiddo in my bedroom alone: car seat, gliding bouncer-seat, crib, and bassinet. I am very excited to put up the decal so I can share my before-and-after photos with you all!) 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day Four: Discouraged

I had more acupuncture today, again with the electric current attached to the needles. The baby moved a ton, and I've been feeling lots of pressure on my bladder, so I was hopeful.

However, I saw the midwife after acupuncture... and was told I am "only a fingertip" dilated.

She says my cervix feels softer, and originally thought the baby's head was lower, because my fundal height went from 39 cm last week to 37 cm this week... but.... nope. It seems she's maybe just more scrunched up.

At least it does feel to her that the baby is moving a little bit less posterior... though definitely not anterior yet.

I gained three pounds, which is surprising, given that I've been gaining one pound every two weeks at most, but whatever. Some of that is certainly in my ankles.

My midwife does not feel like birth is imminent. She does not want me to use the breast pump to stimulate labor, as she fears that if I did go into labor with the baby's head so high, it would be a very long, arduous labor.

I nearly dissolved in tears in her office, but managed to hold it together by just getting very, very quiet. I'm tired of this. Tired of being tired. Tired of worrying if my sister will be here for the birth. Tired of being so damn hot. Tired of being so ineffective.

I understand now why Shannon said that she was worried she would be pregnant forever. I now wonder if I really am going to have a baby, or if my bedroom is now set up as a juvenile furniture showroom just for kicks?

Gah.

My sister is worried about her seven year old daughter, alone with cousins in another state. My cousin who is watching her vented (via email) to me about how hectic it is for her with another child in the mix, and that I needed to send a gift to my niece to thank her for her sacrifice (which I had already done, earlier this morning)... and so my sister wants to go back to MA for a bit. At first she was saying just for a night, then it was for 24 hours, then 24-48 hours, now it sounds like Wednesday-Saturday.

It makes me sad because it was feeling so good to feel chauffeured around and catered to. To be the star of someone else's show.To feel like I didn't have to worry if I went into labor because someone is here. And now, after having her here for two nights, to already be facing having her leave... it's tough.

Yet she is leaving the decision up to me. But is it really right to ask her to stay if she could do so much more good in MA? How do I weigh my perhaps frivolous wants with her missing her daughter (presumably), my niece missing her mother, my cousin feeling stressed by hosting my niece (though tonight she denied this feeling to my sister on the phone). Is this the lot of the SMC, and I've just been lying to myself?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Five Days: Biophysical Profile, Non-Stress Test, and Contractions

Last night I woke up at about 2 am feeling uncomfortable. My stomach felt sort of crampy, and so did my back.

It felt a little too ironic to consider labor on my sister's very first night in Brooklyn, but I wandered out to the living room to discuss it with her. (She was still up reading, so I didn't feel guilty... though it does feel odd to barge in on someone who thinks they are alone, without a way to knock and warn them.) She encouraged me to go back to bed, wisely pointing out that even if it was early labor, the best thing I could do was get some sleep.

I dutifully went back to bed... and couldn't sleep. Of course. Because I was too busy monitoring the cramping in my stomach and back, wondering how far apart they were (variable, 3-10 minutes apart, how long they were lasting (hard to tell), and how painful they were (not too bad at all). Then I started wondering if I should text the doula, and also my friend the labor coach, you know, just in case it went on to become "real" labor. Eventually I decided that I would never go back to sleep if I kept thinking about it, so I turned the light back on and read for a while. I stopped noticing them while I was reading... a good sign that it wasn't true labor. I went back to sleep about 4 am.

This morning I drove myself, courtesy of my sister's car (I am incredibly grateful to be done with the subway... I just don't have the energy for it anymore) to the office of the chiropractor and acupuncturist. The chiropractor seemed to think I was making good progress -- it was much easier for him to align me today. And after the manipulation, he said that I no longer had a leg length discrepancy! Amazing. He suspects that he may have bruised me a bit last time, pressing too hard (easy to do with pregnant women, apparently -- all that relaxin hormone), which led to the soreness. And gave me permission to not worry about cat/cow poses and my posture!

Then I saw the acupuncturist, my friend Anne. She decided to get aggressive, and put needles in my toes, legs, and sacrum. Then she attached some of the needles to the TENS machine, to provide electrical stimulation to the needles. Yikes. It felt a little like being tapped and a little like being stung by a bee... over and over and over again. I practiced my Hypnobabies techniques and that helped pretty well... but it definitely wasn't an experience I would describe as enjoyable. But not terrible, either. I go back to her tomorrow, and to both of them the following day.

After that, I met my sister for lunch before going to the Biophysical Profile and Non-Stress Test. The BPP was uneventful -- 15 minutes of being attached to a fetal heart rate monitor and monitor for contractions. After a long wait, I saw the ultrasonographer. She said my fluid pockets were a 13, which is well within the range of normal. She said the baby's head is LOW! Hallelujah! And estimated her weight to be 7 pounds, 3 ounces.

This sounds like an excellent birth weight. I am hereby serving eviction notices.

After dinner out (sushi) and a visit to Emily, who got a job today!, we returned home so I could hook my exhausted self up to the breast pump. I will try anything (that isn't too unpleasant) at this point. Not quite ready to commit to castor oil, never mind Pitocin.
























Belly Dancing

video