Friday, January 30, 2015

Thirty Two Weeks

32 weeks. Up a total of 10.5 pounds (regained most of last week's loss) but feeling pretty big.
32 weeks outtake. Because my expression looks so funny.
But I think this one more accurately captures how big my belly is.
This thing is going to grow for how many more weeks???

I am relieved and thrilled to share that the new reflux medication my primary care doctor prescribed has been... life changing. Proton.ix plus means I can eat again. I don't have heartburn. I don't have frequent stomach cramps and mad dashes to the bathroom six times a day and occasional nausea and bloating after every meal and the desire to stop eating just to avoid that feeling of overwhelming fullness All Night Long after even a small dinner. I feel... normal.

I mean, I still get full quickly. But I don't feel sick.

Tomorrow I start attempting to wean off the My doctor said that if necessary, I can take it at night but to try not to take it in the morning with the Proton.ix.

... Edited to add, "tomorrow," that it didn't go so well. My stomach felt fine but I felt really short of breath. Even sitting at my desk and answering my phone left me panting. I called the doctor and on his advice, added the Zan.tac back in. If that didn't help in an hour, I was to go to the ER. I still feel a little short of breath, but I'm definitely better. So no ER trip, phew....

In the meantime, I haven't gone for my abdominal ultrasound or dealt with the stool testing kit because I feel so very normal and healthy. I feel like I've consumed quite enough health care resources without going for any more tests and appointments. Not to mention that I feel guilty calling on my support network for help with Calliope for all these appointments when I'm feeling fine. If I were sick, that would be another story.

But Amy, who shares the nanny with us, is forty-one weeks pregnant tomorrow. And while her mother in law is here to help with Eleanor, I still would rather not ask for more favors than I need.

Speaking of which... I'm just the teensiest bit envious of Amy right now. She's got a husband and four living, healthy, vibrant, energetic grandparents for her daughter. All of whom adore Eleanor. The sort of adoration that includes watching Eleanor so that her parents can go on adult vacations.

Meanwhile, I tried to talk to Susie, our nanny, tonight about extra help after the baby is born, if needed. It was an awkward conversation. I so strive to not put pressure on her, to just ask if she would be interested, for example, in staying over occasionally. Not to work the whole night, just to maybe take the early shift so that I could go to bed when Calliope does and sleep until midnight, say, then take over. I would pay her extra, of course. She got kind of hedgy and weird. And I totally understand that it's a lot, what with working the next day. But I kind of wish I could at least ask without it being weird. Even if she said no. But I think she hates to say no, so just kind of winces and raises her eyebrows and then I feel so damn awkward.

And then I feel pissed off that I have to ask. That I have to have a million back up plans, because I don't know if I will have another postpartum hemorrhage. I have a postpartum doula lined up for 20 hours so far, and I can ask her for more hours, if needed, but I can't reserve more hours without paying her. And I'm loathe to do that when I might be perfectly fine. I'm inclined to think that I will be fine. Taking care of a newborn just isn't that hard... unless something goes wrong. Or I get a difficult newborn. Apart from a week of spring break (starting nine days after my due date), I have fifty hours of child care per week for Calliope, as usual. Unfortunately, Eleanor and her parents (and infant brother, assuming he decides to arrive sometime soon!) will be away for about half of that spring break.

... Tomorrow again. I was feeling so damn cranky about this that I called Amy for advice. And on her suggestion, I emailed the doula and asked to reserve an additional 20 hours of postpartum help. I will view it as a gift from my late mother, since she can't be here to help me herself. And Calliope's playschool teacher mentioned that she's available the week of spring break, when the nanny is off, so I have already asked her to reserve some hours for us. And I clarified with my friend about her offers of help, and she said she can stay with me for a week, if necessary. I think it's more likely I might ask for an occasional overnight but it's good to have the option of more, just in case I need it.

Phew. So that anxiety has been dealt with, at least.

I must admit that my mood has taken a downturn for the last week or so. Usually I'm in a great mood while pregnant, so I'm not sure what's up. I've also had less motivation for adventures and leaving the house, so maybe the two are related. (Though I'm also finding myself more impatient with Calliope than usual. Suddenly I start to wonder if I even like kids, and if maybe I should have gotten a dog instead of getting pregnant.)

But meanwhile I'm panicking about my to do list. Like, I am just about done with Calliope's baby book -- I finished all of it except I decided I wanted to add a few more photos, just six more, so I ordered them and hope to pick them up today. But I also decided that I kind of hate her baby book, and that I really need to also do a photobook of her first year. But photos are saved all over the place, so I have to download some from one photo website, save them to my computer, then upload them to the new photo website. You know, the one that I have a coupon for.


I'm also panicking because I'm having a "sprinkle" next weekend, a very small shower for family and my very closest of friends, no gifts. And the apartment isn't ready. The crib isn't set up and photos aren't framed and hung and baby clothes aren't sorted and folded and put away. And suddenly I just have this giant need to have everything perfect and done.

I believe the technical term for this is nesting. And it may be perfectly normal but it's still annoying.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thirty One Weeks

I've lost two pounds, so up a total of nine. The belly seems to be growing steadily, though.

Tree Leaf is definitely getting more active. A couple nights ago at bedtime she danced for ages... on my cervix. It was the most vigorous movement I've felt. I love feeling her, and will miss it, but it's certainly a strange sensation.

I went to my family doctor yesterday and got an EKG -- normal. He's switching me to a new reflux medicine, but wants me to take it for a week before I stop the current one. Hoping for better relief!

And he's having me stop the iron supplements, even the herbal one, and the Metformin (which I take for PCOS). And wants me to cut out dairy for a week. All to see if I get some relief. I'm very nervous about not treating my (borderline, by pregnancy standards) anemia, since I lost so much blood last time. But I can see that I need some relief from my GI symptoms NOW, so I will see if it helps.

In other news, Calliope's new latex mattress arrived yesterday! She's been sleeping in her new Big Girl Bed (I don't actually call it that, lest I cause a rebellion against growing up, what with the new baby coming) since last weekend, but with the crib mattress on top. So last night we got the new bed all set, with new fuzzy flannel sheets -- just like Mommy's! -- and her new soft mattress -- just like Mommy's! -- and her new purple quilt that she picked herself. Plus the ugly bed railing that we will use for at least a few days, until she's feeling more sure of herself in this tall bed.

She was very excited. Though it took ages for her to fall asleep.

And without my ever having said anything (except accidentally calling it a crib mattress in front of her), she said excitedly, "Now I can give my old mattress to my baby sister!"

Be still my beating heart.

I know that this really means nothing about how she will react to an actual sister, but still, I can't help but me optimistic.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thirty Weeks

Up eleven pounds. Belly measuring 32 weeks.

This past week was HARD.

Friday night I got depressed, thinking how could I possibly be sick for ten or even twelve more weeks? It was just unthinkable.

I was struggling with what felt like yet another stomach bug, my fifth since the week before Thanksgiving. And terrible reflux. Monday I came to work 90 minutes late. I called in sick Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday I came to work but had to take a break to lie down. And Friday, I worked for two hours and then went to the ER. Because on top of my GI symptoms, I was dizzy and occasionally short of breath.

Luckily my midwife was able to be with me at the hospital. Apart from my urine showing dehydration, all the tests came back normal. Well, I was still anemic.

So I got some IV fluids and felt a bit better and went home. I think with my stomach hurting so frequently, it's hard to eat or drink, and then I was having diarrhea, which meant I was losing more fluids. I felt like I had drunk a ton before I went to the ER but apparently not enough.

Saturday was another day of feeling bad. Just tons of stomach cramps.

But Sunday, hallelujah, I felt better! I actually slept in my own bed! Not propped up on the couch! And Monday was good, too. I mean, both days I had much less energy than I'm used to. And I barely left the apartment, which is exceedingly rare for me. But I organized Calliope's room -- which was strangely exhausting -- with her new bed and new shelves. So that was satisfying.

Unfortunately, I didn't eat smart on Monday night. My midwife had recently made an offhand comment about, "at some point you need to be able to eat some vegetables." And I was home for the day, so I made big trays of roasted cauliflower and roasted brussel sprouts. And I had generous servings of each, as least by my new standards of not being able to eat much. And, oh Nellie! What a terrible night I had. Searingly painful reflux despite trying every kind of medication under the sun. Eventually I had to take Zofran.

Tuesday was spent in recovery mode at work. Not able to eat much again. And today, Wednesday, I feel more distended than ever and like I am eating less. Sigh.

But at least I don't feel sick like I did last week. It's more reflex and distention making me feel sick now, as opposed to cramps and shortness of breath. So I guess I should be grateful.

I'm taking medications by the fistful, which feels very strange since I rarely take medicine when I'm not pregnant. And of course one hopes to avoid taking medication at all while pregnant. And I had acupuncture today and will go to the chiropractor on Friday, in hopes that both will help my reflux symptoms. Or whatever else ails me.

My midwife is sending me for a EKG, to make sure my heart isn't making me dizzy. I'm confident it's not, but I'm willing to get the test done if it isn't too inconvenient. And I'm supposed to get a stool analysis, to make sure I'm not carrying around a gut infection. The logistics of this, though, are leaving me stymied. I won't say more about that.

Mostly, I'm just tired of thinking about my digestion all the blessed time. And feeling bad every time I eat.

And now, it's time to rest at my desk... feeling sick once again.

Wearing a sundress, pulled down to her waist to make it into a "down skirt" -- she's obssessed
with skirts that come down to her ankles, strangely hard to find for the three year old crowd.
And all bundled up... except for a winter coat, which she refused.
Our compromise: she's cheerfully carrying it in a backpack on her back. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Twenty-Nine Weeks -- Feeling Better!

Losing the separation between breast and belly? 
Long and lean girl with suddenly very long hair riding the bump

I'm thrilled to report that I think I've turned the corner on the reflux front! It finally occurred to me to try as a preventative med (one hour before meals instead of after eating, for relief of symptoms). Two days ago I did this in the morning and felt great... until I ate dinner. And then felt wretched all evening. And had to sleep on the couch, head propped up high while leaning on my left side to keep baby parts from pressing on my very sore right ribs.

And yesterday I remembered to take preventatively both morning and night and... I'm a new woman! I ate more food than I had in weeks! Which is not to say huge portions, but big in comparison. It felt amazing to actually get a little bit full!

And then to spend the whole night in my deliciously soft and cozy bed... ahh!!! (Except for when Calliope's diaper leaked, which NEVER happens, so I had to get up and change her sheets... naturally I was finally falling back to sleep when the alarm went off this morning.)

I also went to acupuncture twice this week and to the chiropractor once -- all on my lunch breaks -- to help with the reflux as well. The treatments were none too comfortable but I definitely felt better afterwards.

And I went bra shopping to a wonderful shop where the owner personally fits each woman. I probably tried on thirty different bras. And now I have a new bra that doesn't hurt my sore rib. Sitting in my office, wearing my too-big nursing bra with the hooks unfastened, just didn't feel as professional as I would hope for. So my new, surprisingly sexy (but not revealing) and comfortable bra is just the thing.

I'm feeling very, very grateful.

I'm definitely feeling bigger and a little less cute. I think I'm losing the distinction between breast and belly as they appear to meld together into one giant beach ball. My weight is up three pounds in three days (up to 11 total), and I definitely don't think I've actually gained that fast, but still, the belly is growing fast. My midwife said that I was measuring 31 cm this week at 28.5 weeks, but she thinks that's mostly positional -- the baby is in a partially transverse lie. Still, there's no doubt that Tree Leaf is growing, no matter how well or poorly I eat.

Once again, I'm just loving my midwife. I went in with lots of fears about my many BH (or real?) contractions and she put my mind at ease, and again urged me to call (her cell phone) whenever I am worried. She said, "that's why you chose to come to me!" I have this fear of being "that patient" but she really put my mind at ease. She also made me feel so much better about my guilt in taking so many medications. Although they are all Pregnancy Category B, I still have nameless fears about exposing my vulnerable fetus to them. She urged me to remember that first and foremost, I have to function.

God bless her.

I still have tons of BH contractions -- sometimes it feels like every time I stand up -- but they are a lot less worrisome to me now.

I'm feeling like the final eleven weeks of pregnancy are a lot less daunting now that I'm finally feeling better. For the time being, anyway. Hallelujah.

In the meantime, I suddenly panicked in mid December about how quickly time was flying by, and realized that waiting until my February break from work to do all my pre-baby preparation was not such a great idea. After all, by 35 weeks I might very well not have energy to be rushing around doing projects.

So I've swung into high gear. Though my work amuses me because last time around, it was all about the baby. And this time, I've yet to do a thing for the baby. It's all for my big girl.

So I ordered her a fabulous organic latex mattress -- telling her she's "big enough for a soft and cozy mattress like Mommy's" but carefully NOT calling it a Big Girl Mattress because apparently that can be threatening with a new baby getting all the attention -- and a "storage bed" with six drawers underneath, so I can use the dresser for the baby's clothes and not have to buy a new one. This week we picked out a fancy purple quilt for her new bed, and I ordered fuzzy white flannel sheets -- just like Mommy's! -- to go underneath. I moved her toys to her new, much larger, set of shelves, and took photos of all the toys. I ordered prints of those photos last night, and will use the prints to label the bins so she can find her things more easily. I also ordered, at last, some large photos to frame from our two recent photo shoots (in Prospect Park and in Cancun).

So I'm on a roll. Feeling better really helps. But getting things done is also very satisfying. Having a deadline is helpful that way. Just a few weeks until my "sprinkle" -- hoping to have the apartment mostly done and ready by then. But if not, my sister can help me do some organizing then. She will bring Calliope's baby clothes from her basement then, and also all her kids' outgrown 4T clothing, because my current child has sprouted up and it seems at less than three and a half that her age will no longer match her size. So there will be lots of clothing sorting to do but luckily that's not too strenuous.

Now we are on Baby Watch for Calliope's best friend Eleanor, whose mom is 38 weeks today! Eleanor will come to us when her mom goes into labor, and in exchange, Eleanor's parents will take Calliope when I go into labor. Amy's first labor was very quick, about six hours, so I think it will be a very quick hand off when the day arrives! Her hospital is easily an hour away so I've (somewhat but not entirely jokingly) offered to catch the baby (and my midwife offered to be phone support!) if things are moving too quickly. Hopefully it won't come to that!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mexico Photos --

I didn't take many photos. Mostly, I preferred to just be present in the moment.

But here's a few for the memory book.

So in love with her cousins.
Mommy and Calliope at Tulum. Sitting high above the bump!
Beach baby. What's better than water, sun, and sand???

Family at the Mayan ruins of Tulum.
Calliope didn't find the ruins all that interesting but she tolerated the brief tour (and hot sun) with good grace.
The "official" family photo of our vacation. (The photographer made me face the opposite direction to make my belly show --
I think I look so funny!) 

This girl loves to climb and explore -- she escaped the photo session to check out this rock.
Thrilled to be holding a starfish with her much-idolized cousin at the Cancun aquarium

Spontaneous shot of the two of us on the dock by my sister.
C wouldn't drop the sand "cookie" she had painstakingly crafted with her cousins.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Weeks Twenty-Seven and Twenty-Eight

Weeks twenty-seven and twenty-eight have been a very mixed experience.

On the plus side, I was off of work for a week and a half. Ahh.

And we traveled to Cancun with my sister and her family! And that was amazing.

We've never done anything like that before. Back in my previous life, pre-child, I loved going to off the beaten path destinations in Central America. I speak Spanish decently, and Central America is so close and affordable (relative, to, say Europe) and rich in culture (mostly) and has fabulous weather and the people are generally welcoming to visitors.

But off-the-beaten-path with a three year old and a pregnant belly didn't seem like just the thing. I needed convenience and access to medical facilities, just in case. And the absence of fear about food poisoning with every bite of food we took. And there are lots of direct flights to Cancun, and lots of all-inclusive resorts there, and beautiful beaches. So an all inclusive in Cancun it was.

It worked out great. Having meals readily available, just steps away, was tremendously convenient. There were two nice pools, but we quickly found the beach was even more fun -- crystal blue waters PLUS sand to play in -- what could be better? Calliope was happy to play there as often as I would let her.

We also made some trips off property -- to the city acquarium (by local bus! so proud of our adventurous selves), to Isla Mujeres (by city ferry), and to the Mayan ruins of Tulum and then the "natural water park" of Xelha (by pre-arranged private tour bus).

A restaurant right on the beach of Isla Mujeres might have been my favorite spot. Though I hope to get back to Xelha when we have more time to explore, so I can snorkel and see the fabulous fish there. Still, floating down the lazy river in inner tubes was wonderfully relaxing.

Calliope was a fabulous traveler and skipped naps when necessary but otherwise slept well. She adapted happily to the buffet meals and adopted a pasta/Fruit Loops/pizza/chocolate milk diet that I decided to ignore while we were there. Luckily I brought a bag of prunes along.

My sister's two girls, ages 10 and 16, were a delight to Calliope, especially the younger one. She followed her around like a moonstruck lover, frequently throwing her little arms around her idol's waist. Her cousin bore it with good grace.

My sister isn't as chatty or as likely to share stories as I am, but it was nice to relax with her and my brother in law over meals and on the beach. They were great with helping out with Calliope, especially on the longer excursion when Calliope got worn out. I didn't bring a stroller so they would carry her at times... sometimes even when Calliope was perfectly willing to walk. I think they both enjoyed having a "baby" to tote for a few minutes. I was gratified to find that Calliope's shyness with them mostly went away, though she's still a devoted Mommy follower. But by the end of the week she would often stay at the table with them while I went to get more food... progress!

And when we came back, we had several days at home to recover before my return to work.

They were busy days. We went to Ikea the first day. I was quite a sight, pushing Calliope in a shopping cart filled with plastic bins while dragging a flatbed cart behind me with two heavy boxes on it, pregnant belly jutting in front of me. I felt like quite the quintessential single mother. The effort led to quite a few uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions while waiting to pay and then waiting to order food in the Ikea cafeteria. Luckily another mother noticed me swaying and rubbing my belly and waved me to the front of the line.

I was completely exhausted by the time we got home. That, despite paying for home delivery, since it was immediately apparent there was no way I could get those heavy boxes upstairs by myself.

On Saturday we had a lovely brunch with some SMC friends to ring in the New Year somewhat belatedly.

And Sunday, two camp friends came over with the small children and assembled the two sets of Ikea shelves for me. Last night I moved Calliope's toys from her small set of shelves with little bins to this much larger set.

It's funny my "new baby to do list" last time was all about car seats and swings and cribs and this time around is all about things for my three year old.

So despite all the hard work, I'm thrilled to be getting some things done at home. And so grateful for our trip to celebrate my fortieth birthday plus babymoon plus surviving 2014, what with the terrifying early days of my pregnancy plus, of course, losing my mom.

On the downside, I'm really not feeling well an awful lot of the time. Mostly at night. (Though there are certainly bad moments during the day too.) Lying down leaves me feeling wretched. But I don't sleep well sitting up.

So I'm spending at least part of each night on the couch. And still not sleeping well. I'm not sure if it's reflux or just the "delayed gastic emptying" that my midwife mentions, or some combination of the two. Or something else. My friend mentioned gall bladder issues?

I've been eating a lot less as a result. Because feeling full so often leads to feeling wretched... but not at the time I eat. No, it happens later, so it's very hard to predict. And leads me to be very, very cautious, indeed, when eating.

27 weeks
I was shocked to discover that I've lost two pounds in the last two weeks, despite enjoying tortilla chips and guacamole in Mexico. My midwife also informs me that I'm still anemic, even by pregnancy standards (measuring 9.8/29 as of 12/23/14), despite taking iron supplements. I'm also taking tons of medications, by my standards -- alternating two different antacids, plus Tums, plus the occasional Zofran (for nausea) as needed.

I wouldn't mind the weight loss but I just read a great book about pregnancy that warned that gaining too little can cause real problems for the fetus, post-birth. And unfortunately, I think I will gain the weight back very quickly once I give birth.

But mostly, I'm very very anxious at the prospect of sleeping badly and feeling sick to my stomach every night for the next twelve week. I start to get a little weepy at the thought. Feeling sick so much is hard. And until first trimester nausea, I fear I have a very long way to go for relief.

28 weeks