Tuesday, April 29, 2008


First, yes, I am still gestating. I didn't get "checked" at my last appointment because I just didn't want to know- if he had said no change, I would have started sobbing and if he had said there was progress it would just get my hopes up. I have come to the conclusion that while this pregnancy was much easier overall, late pregnancy with a toddler is just bound to be unpleasant. My husband keeps being very concerned about me as he comes in and I'm in tears or moaning and groaning my way (not in a good way) through the night but I've told him that the general consensus seems to think this is par for the course. She's dropped (I'm pretty sure- the OB could feel her head at the exit so I'm thinking that's solid evidence) but I think she's started to stretch out some so the heartburn and what not is back. I asked if they ever changed their minds and went back up but the OB assured me that didn't generally happen. The plug has been wandering out in dribs and drabs for a couple of weeks now. There have been many twinges but they apparently aren't doing much productive. And, as far as I can tell (the pelvic pressure sort of makes it tricky) there has been very little in the way of contractions. It's actually better, in terms of logistics if she stays put for a bit longer but it's getting harder and harder for me to remember that.

Anyway, this brings me to my jealousy. I am so jealous of working moms right now. Admittedly, it's a select segment of working moms. I'm specifically jealous of those with office jobs involving cushioned chairs and peeing whenever they need to. I'm also jealous of those that are going ahead and starting their maternity leave a week or so early but keeping their children that were considerate enough to leave the womb in a timely manner in daycare. My husband has been wonderful. He is staying home later in the mornings and coming home early in the evenings. He is giving me more hands on support than some fathers do by a long shot but still... Today I really thought that I would throw up from the pelvic pressure if I didn't sit for just a few minutes but it was the middle of lunch and bringing in the groceries and Charlie was screaming for applesauce and the milk was out and I really had to shovel something in my mouth and I couldn't help but think of how nice it would be to let someone else have him for 6 hours a day. I very much sympathize with the plight of the working mother and it's not really something I would want to do but right this moment, nothing sounds better.

In addition, it recently occurred to me that the longest my "maternity leave" would last is 2 weeks. I spend a great deal of time being appalled at the US concept of appropriate maternity leave, especially when you pair it with the health initiative to dramatically increase breast feeding rates by 2010 but even the meanest leave is 6 weeks. I actually feel quite lucky that I will likely have my husband's help for 2 weeks and I am so glad I won't have to watch my newborn being cared for by others but there is a part of me that fervently wishes I had Charlie in day care and a maternity leave of 6 weeks coming up.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Of Corks and Coconuts

I am beginning to suspect that this baby will be here sooner rather than later and, at any rate, she is sure to be here in a little over a month. So, I've been reviewing my childbirth books. I'm hoping to go unmedicated. It's not for any particularly "crunchy" reason, I don't think I will be birthing myself as a woman or anything like that. I'm not looking for a feeling of empowerment. But, it does seem to be that you have 3 options about the pain of childbirth. You can frontload it with an unmedicated birth and while the labor and delivery process itself will be more intense you are also less likely to tear, more likely to use your muscles efficiently, and the whole thing is likely to be done faster- including the recovery afterwards. You can spread things out a bit with an epidural but you are likely to have a longer labor and may have more tearing and hemorrhoids and that sort of thing and that may cause the recovery to be somewhat longer. Finally, you can go the c-section route and the actual delivery is a breeze but, for me at least, it took a couple of weeks to really be up and about and much longer than that for my abdominal and back muscles to get back up to functional snuff. Of course, there are those poor souls with back labor, stalled labor, unmedicated for 30 hours and then a c-section labor and for you I offer up a toast and my deepest sympathies. Since I have Charlie to consider, I would really like to make this recovery as quick as possible so, I'm hoping for the unmedicated birth with the quick recovery. But, I also know I'm a bit of a wimp so, if an epidural or c-section are called for, so be it. At the end of the day, I would really like a baby. The rest is mere semantics as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, the popular way of dealing with contractions or, as some books called them, "expansions" (I refuse to even entertain the whole "life surges" terminology) is to visualize being a cork on a wave. While I appreciate the imagery in theory, every time I read it, I wince. It makes me think of rotting corks, corks mangled by corkscrews, cork floors with strong warnings about exposure to wetness, and an ancient pair of cork sole shoes I found that were scuffed and disintegrating. In addition, corks are little and ocean waves are huge. Corks can get lost, pummeled, buffeted, and broken. Charlie could easily break a cork into bits for heavens sake! I have come to the conclusion that I would much rather be a coconut. Coconuts want to wander around on the water. They look at the intense waves and say "Bring it on! I would like to go forth and multiply! I have an entire ocean of island to colonize!" Coconuts are strong and hardy- how many of us have stared at the whole coconut at the store and been tempted to buy but didn't because, for pete's sake, how will you get the thing open? I have no wish to be a wimpy, rotting, bobbing cork, I am much more the firm, stubborn coconut, waiting for the perfect beach.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Staying the Course

I had my first internal today. All is well although it looked a little dicey for a bit. I've been having quite a bit of contraction action today- just the sort of reassuring activity you want the day before your husband crosses the Atlantic. But, the OB did a fetal fibronectin test, which I had thought about requesting but was under the impression it wasn't a useful tool after 34 weeks, and it came back negative. Apparently, it can still give you the basic information about the likelihood of labor but there isn't a ton they do differently if it indicates that labor is likely so it's generally a moot point. However, in my case it was useful since we just really needed to know if my husband should get on a plane or not. The negative result means that while my uterus can contract away and my cervix can twinge to it's heart's content, there is almost no chance that there will be a delivery any time in the next one-two weeks. Plus, I'm only about 1 cm dilated so it looks like a frantic round of pack and clean won't be needed for a bit yet.

The OB also suspects that the baby might be breach but there's still a little wiggle room left so she could swing around. He also wasn't totally sure if he was feeling head or tail so, she might not even need to flip. I actually think he might be mistaken based on the movements I've been feeling but, eh, we'll see what comes of it.

In other news, I have managed to produce a sarcastic toddler. Charlie delights in saying "No!" and then grinning and doing whatever it was you just asked him about. For instance, you might ask him if he would like to turn out the light (a favorite of his) and he'll say "no" and then give you a big grin and start reaching for the switch. While part of me suspects this advanced humor combined with the fact that he still doesn't sleep through the night is sure to indicate that he must be gifted beyond belief (bad sleepers are gifted, you know) there is also a large part of me that wonders what sort of behavioral nightmare I have inadvertently incubated. Luckily, he still gives really good hugs.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

First Internal

I have my 1st internal exam tomorrow. It's a little earlier than usual (36 weeks) because of my husband's trip. I'm really of two minds about the whole thing. I've definitely reached the stage of pregnancy where I'm mostly ready to just be done. The stretches and kicks are starting to be quite painful and having a little head burrow itself into my bladder on a semi-regular basis is starting to be less than thrilling. I feel a bit adrift compared to the other "experienced" mommies since I'm carrying so differently this time. It's impossible for me to compare the experiences and get any real clue beyond the most basic observations. I know my weight stabilized for about 2 weeks before I had Charlie but it had several stabilization prior to that as well. My babies seem to grow in fits and starts which is rather alarming until you get used to your weight suddenly going up by 2-4 pounds after no gaining at all for a couple of weeks. Penny started stealing my underwear shortly before I gave birth but I don't really want to use that as the definitive measure either. Other than that, there's really not much to go on. I know I feel like I'm just about stretched to capacity. I don't know what I would have done with a twin pregnancy! I haven't had the sensation of walking with a bowling ball between my legs but I have often felt that I needed to walk cautiously because my lower abdomen felt it was about to burst. It reminded me a lot of the walk you do once you are past the pee pee dance, past the shifting of the weight, when you desperately need to get to the bathroom but you know if there is ANY jostling at all, it will all be over.

At the same time that I am rather ready for the doctor to say that I am at 2-3 centimeters and it may be sometime in the next week or so (I highly doubt), this would be a most inconvenient time. My husband is still in the middle of teaching, our college student babysitters are gearing up for finals and all that the end of the semester brings and, while the vital tasks are mostly done there is still plenty left for me to finish up- not to mention the trip my husband plans to leave for on Tuesday...

It will be interesting no matter what the OB finds, though and I'll be sure to report back here. My mother keeps asking when the baby will be here. One would think that she of the 3 week late baby (my brother- I was delivered promptly on my due date) would understand better than most that babies come when they will come. I am tempted to give her my OB's number, sign a consent and let him hash it out with her the next time she asks.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Still Gestating...

So, I know posts have been scarce on the ground. The reasons numerous. My arms are getting too short to easily reach the keyboard when I hold my laptop on my lap which makes posting anything significant a bit of a pain. I'm spending a lot of my evening time in the tub and I have yet to actually try to use my computer while bathing. While this pregnancy feels significantly better in general due to all my physical therapy there is still a lot of discomfort involved as I near the end. This baby likes to hang out on my pelvic floor so floating her off is nice. And, my body seems to be objecting to the whole 20 pounds of pregnancy and 25 pounds of toddler I often am lugging around. I have high hopes for the wonders of my abs when all is said and done though. I also have the memory of our very dim dog Shirley at the moment. The other day, I went to the store with a grocery list and forgot that I had it half way through the trip- as in, I had been referencing it and everything for the first 15 minutes and then it just slipped my mind. I think at one point I even started to wish I had a list... I seem to remember this happened with Charlie as well. I can only hope that some day my memory will bounce back. So, anyway, I'll sit down to type and entry and then "oh, shiny!" and all hope is lost.

Charlie is starting to show some movement towards getting within spitting distance of sleeping through the night and taking a semi-reliable nap. I had rather assumed we would be father along the sleep journey by the time this new one got here but, alas.

Charlie does continue to be adorable if exceedingly inquisitive and busy. We went to toddler story time and as the rest of the babies sat hesitantly on their mother's laps, Charlie stole the hand puppet off the librarian's chair and then danced around the back of the room.

I'm rather nervous. My husband is traveling to Ireland next week for 5 days. He will return just as I turn to 35 weeks. We have babysitters lined up from 4-7 so I can get a break from toddler care. I am debating if we should see if we could get some coverage in the mornings as well. I think we'll be fine with the evenings if Charlie sleeps well and I can avoid carrying him too terribly much. He can walk (and run) quite well, the issue is getting him to go where you want him to. I have an OB appointment scheduled for the day before he leaves and he will cancel his trip if anything "exciting" is happening. I don't really expect the baby to be making an appearance in the next 2 weeks but the idea that there is any possibility that she will and my husband will be in Ireland at the time is terrifying. There is also just general concern about the variable which is Charlie. If he gets sick, clingy, his sleep routine gets thrown out of wack, ugh...

I have my baby announcements designed and supplies to do what can be done before the baby is born as well as supplies to make candy favors for the nursing staff at the hospital and staff at the OB's office (always be nice to those who make the appointments and hand out the drugs...) and hope to work on those during my Charlie free time next week. I'll post pictures when I've managed to accomplish anything of significance.