Thursday, November 29, 2012

41 Weeks - Shaken and Stirred

Ever wonder what it looks like to be 41 weeks pregnant? This is all you need to know:

Cankles and sausages! Isn't it divine?
Every vein in my body is bursting with fluids. My fingers are constantly numb from carpal tunnel. I require a shoe horn and baby powder to get my feet into any shoes other than slippers. My wedding rings only come off after a long shower. No matter how much water I drink, it somehow never exits my body.

How do I feel?
I've been physically uncomfortable for the last 10 months of my life, so nothing new there.

Here's where you ask me when I'll be getting induced...

My doctor will be "out of town this weekend," so he suggested we get induced 2 days ago. I have a problem with this philosophy. Why is it we as a society no longer treat childbirth as a natural occurrence, but rather a medical procedure on a calendar?  Why are we no longer educated about what it truly means to give birth?

I know my body well enough to tell you that an induction at this point in my pregnancy will not go well. If I were induced it would be in the morning, and my contractions do not naturally start until the evening - I know this because it has been my contraction pattern for months. Meanwhile, our little baby has lost all the fluids that have kept him alive for the last 41 weeks, and my body will not produce any contractions to help him move down the birth canal. Medical intervention will be necessary in the form of drugs that cause intense, unnatural contractions that often result in further intervention to slow down the contractions. The baby becomes stressed, and further intervention is required. Also, all those drugs you're taking are being passed to your baby through the placenta. How does that make you feel?

I know there are plenty of women who have had successful inductions with beautiful babies. But I personally have had WAY too many medical procedures performed on me in my life (I have the scars and fake teeth to prove it), and I want to avoid any more for as long as possible. The fact of the matter is our baby is completely healthy. We have had 3 appointments this week to check his fluids, heartbeat, movement, and breathing. I am fine and baby is fine. What is not fine is that the doctor's office is getting annoyed with me taking up so much of their time. Well sorry folks, but I'll be around til the bitter end. And am I not paying you thousands of dollars to provide prenatal support?

I only shared this fact with a few individuals at first, but now I will share it with you all to give a sense of the kind of pressure I am under. I had a severe allergic reaction to the gel my doctor's office uses during my first internal exam a few weeks ago. Yes, this means I had terrible hives...They had to get special gel packets from the hospital for subsequent appointments, and yesterday they finally ran out. Here was the conversation that resulted:

Nurse: "Wow, we should probably pick up some more special gel for her before the next appointment."
Doctor: "What we need to do is get this baby out of her."

This dialogue happened during my second "stirring" of the week. So now let's talk about this little intervention. When the doctor strips/stirs the membrane, he/she is essentially inserting fingers into your uterus and aggressively detaching the amniotic sac from the uterine wall. The uterus: woman's most sacred, mysterious vessel, violated by the hands of man! Okay that's a little dramatic, but I did feel extremely violated afterwards, and I could barely walk. Also, I'm still pregnant so clearly it didn't work. However, the look of horror on Jeff's face after he witnessed the procedure was priceless. After the doctor left the room to let me put my pants back on he angrily whispered, "What the hell did he just do to you?"

At this point in time I am getting it from all sides. My mom agrees I shouldn't be induced but wants me to deliver before the weekend so she can take a day off work (who can blame her), my husband's boss wants me to never have the baby so he can work at Nordstrom during the holiday season (and who can blame him...also the commission would be nice), our cat hates everything and just wants us all to die (we feel the same way about you), the doctor wants me to hold onto the baby over the weekend so he can be back to deliver next week (we would like to have you there too, but unfortunately it's not that predictable). Even my husband is getting emotional about all this. He really doesn't want me to get induced either, but does that mean he'll be disappointed in me next week when I have to give in?

I was sure the full moon last night would inspire something. Although those four contractions were nice while they lasted, it wasn't enough. So when my alarm went off at 5:45am and I mourned the fact that my water hadn't broken in my sleep, I jumped in the shower and thought about the newborn baby I saw at church last week. His mother was nursing him during the sermon and I thought to myself, "That will be me soon!" Tears of frustration came as I shaved my legs and armpits "one more time" (I've told myself this so many times!) to prepare for my trip to the hospital in the near (?) future.

And yes, I've tired everything from acupuncture to Eggplant Parmesan. Jeff even rubbed my ankles for an hour last night. Baby is cozy, Mom and Dad are still enjoying our time alone. So get off my back.

Weight gain?

Food cravings?
Fruit smoothies.

Food aversions?

Doing pretty well with this.

Projected Game Day?
November 22, 2012/Thanksgiving Day/1 week ago

Baby's movement slows down quite a bit at the end of pregnancy. I'm still getting little kicks and punches, but they are not nearly as violent as they were a couple weeks ago. 

Stretch marks?
Only on my psyche. 

Painful. Innie. 


What have I learned?
Educate yourself on different birth options and know what you want your experience to be. If you enjoy being in the hospital, maybe you won't mind getting induced before your body is ready. But I would prefer to spend early labor in the comfort of my home, playing nerdy games with my best friend Jeff, and watching Gossip Girl until it's time for the real show to start.

On that note, educate yourself about what really happens during birth. Just because you start having regular contractions does not mean you need to rush to the hospital - you will just end up sitting around in a hospital gown for hours waiting for things to pick up, or you will get put on the medication fast-track to get you out of the doctor's hair sooner. And of course you also want to educate yourself to know when the baby is coming so fast that there is no time for Gossip Girl.

As fun as blissful ignorance is, serious consequences can result.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'Twas the Night of Our Due Date

It was declared by all who were present: this Thanksgiving was the best EVER! Some even claimed it to be one of the best days of their lives. And here's why we were hoping our baby would come late:

Boy brings girl from Mexico to Spokane so she can experience her first American Thanksgiving.

Boy proposes to girl on Thanksgiving Day.

Boy takes girl to restaurant to celebrate with a glass of wine.

Girl's family traveled from Mexico and is waiting for her at restaurant, as is boy's family and some of his best friends.


A most delicious Thanksgiving meal is served to all who are present.

Partying until the wee hours of morning.

Congratulations to Joe and Sofi! We are so blessed to have such a wonderful, beautiful woman join our family.

Our families had been planning this day for months. Jeff and I were hoping and praying we would get to experience the glorious festivities. Although we would have been tickled pink to have our baby on his due date, we were glad to partake in this magical day. Always remember to be thankful for what you have!

Catered by Stella's of Spokane. Best. Food. Ever.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Jeopardy Theme Song - 40 Weeks

So here we are at our due date and we are...waiting, waiting, waiting. And I don't mind the wait! As long as I get a Thanksgiving dinner with my family, I will be content with being a few days overdue.

At this week's appointment, the doctor asked if I was interested in "getting things started" by "stirring things up a bit" during a physical checkup. This would essentially require him to ram his hand inside me and perform violent actions on my cervix. As pleasant as this sounded, I politely declined. However, I did get a lecture on my progress - or lack thereof. Even though I am 80% effaced and starting to dilate, Dr. may insist on "stirring" things at my appointment next Monday if I have not made any further progress. Although I am more for doing things au naturale, the monitoring of Baby if I go past 41 weeks will be far more invasive than getting my cervix stirred by Dr. McDreamy. So come Monday, stirred I shall be...unless a baby head stirs me instead.

Here is my update:
  • I still have cramping, but very few contractions. The contractions I do have are not painful, just uncomfortable.
  • I am still receiving unsolicited comments from everyone and their mother about how terrible and scary labor is going to be.
  • All the usual pregnancy symptoms are still present: swelling/cankles, heartburn, round ligament pain, cramping, pelvic floor pressure, headaches, fatigue, creaking and cracking hips (my pelvic bone started cracking too), etc.
  • Jeff was approved for paternity leave!
  • Gossip Girl is still keeping me entertained.
  • The most exciting part of my week was when a new pair of slip-on shoes came in the mail. I know I'm technically due tomorrow, but this new addition to my wardrobe shaved about 10 minutes off my time getting ready this morning. And they're perfect for after pregnancy, as my cankles stretched out my other slip-ons. 
  • I wore my new slip-ons to see Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2

How do I feel?
Hanging in there. I am glad this is a short work week because I don't know if I'll be able to manage this for much longer.

Also, I have an exciting new pregnancy symptom: carpal tunnel syndrome. Yay! Turns out all that swelling is starting to cause problems. Jeff has to wrap my arm every night to prevent numbness in my wrist and fingers the next day. I am quite the unfortunate sight with my arm in a huge wrap, my oversize pajamas, and a heating pad on my pelvis.

Weight gain?

Food cravings?
Gimmee some orange juice! I can't get enough of this stuff. I bought a gallon of OJ two days ago, and am already more than halfway through with it. Nothing sounds better than this sweet elixir of the sun.

Food aversions?

I have a new sleep routine! Please read on.

By 10:00pm - fall asleep on left side
1:00am - wake up with severe cramps; attempt to get out of bed and fail
1:45am -  try to get out of bed again and succeed; might as well use bathroom
2:30pm - fall back asleep on right side since being on left side now causes cramping
3:00am - wake myself (and Jeff) with congestion
3:05am - try to blow nose but nothing comes out
3:06am to 4:59am - sniffle, snooze, snore
5:00am - blow nose, which then causes whistling in nostrils; attempt to sleep again
5:45am - alarm goes off; begin process of getting out of bed
6:12am - finally manage to get out of bed; successfully blow nose

Projected Game Day?
November 22, 2012/Thanksgiving Day/Today? - Dr. says it is pretty likely I'll get through the next couple days without going into labor.

It's getting pretty crammed in there.

Stretch marks?
None to be found. Are you wanting to know my secret yet?

Painful. Innie. 

Package. I know technically I should be using the term "Sex" in this section, but my Catholic upbringing makes me bashful and hesitant to mention THAT taboo! Not really. I guess talking about getting your cervix stirred is worse than referring to your baby's sex. But it's 40 weeks, and if I could go back in time to change the past, this probably wouldn't be on the top of my list of things to change.

What have I learned?
It is important to be positive and active during these last few days. Although I feel like sitting on the couch and avoiding any sort of activity, being out and about makes me feel so much better. And I find that once I sit down, it is incredibly difficult to get back up.

I am very excited to get my body back. Not in the sense that I get to put on my old skinny jeans, but rather I am looking forward to not having heartburn, being able to turn over in the night, and walking without having intense pressure on my ligaments.

And ya'll, THERE'S A BABY COMING SOON. This is still a concept that is hard for my brain to comprehend.

40 weeks

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

To everyone who tells me my baby has "dropped": my ribs disagree, and thanks for noticing that I got fatter since you last saw me.

Things you shouldn't say to someone who is 39 weeks pregnant:

"Wow! How many weeks overdue are you?"
My response: "Oh, I still have a few days left. I'm actually hoping I go over my due date."
What I wanted to say: "Bitch I just zipped up this coat and it's a size small."

"Are you sure you want to do this?" 
My response: Awkward laughter.
What I wanted to say: "If it's so terrible, why are you talking about how much you want another one?"

"Oh you're due soon? My cousin just had her baby. She called me last night in tears saying, 'What was I thinking?'" 
My response: "Oh poor thing!"
What I wanted to say: "Your cousin should see a doctor about postpartum depression."

"What are you reading? Happiest Baby on the Block? Yeah, good luck with THAT!"
My response: "Yeah a couple people recommended the book."
What I wanted to say: "I WILL have the happiest baby on the block because he will be the ONLY baby on the block. If we were grading on the bell curve, my baby would beat your suburb baby. So yeah, beat that. I win."

"Newborn babies are sort of disgusting and ugly."
My response: "Some of them do resemble aliens after they're born."
What I wanted to say: "Your kid is three years old. What's your excuse for having such an ugly child?"

People, if you know what's best for you, don't say things like this to a pregnant woman. EVER. If you say things like this to me, I'll quote you on this blog and people will judge you.

So in conclusion, I am well aware my life is about to change, and that my body will go through intense physical changes during childbirth, but please know I am only accepting positive advice and comments from this day forward. Please and thank you.

And another one for good measure:
"Cute shirt! Is that new?"
What I actually said: "No, I've had this for a while. You might recognize this shirt as a dress I used to wear."
The wardrobe situation is getting a little iffy.  

How do I feel?
Physically, I feel pretty good. I basically sit at a desk all day, and only have to muster up enough energy to get from work to the couch. I don't know what I would do if I had to work on my feet.

Emotionally, I am incredibly nervous about all this. I was sitting on the couch the other night in my Pacific Northwest-themed nightgown, sweats, and slippers (eating Rosauers cookies) when it dawned on me that there could be a baby sitting next to me in DAYS!!! What am I going to do with a baby?! I'm not responsible enough to be in charge of another human being!

I've been riding the relaxin hormone train for the last 9 months, and I'm thinking my body stopped producing this for me last week. For those who aren't familiar with pregnancy or science, relaxin is that wonderful, blissful hormone that makes your chronic backache disappear during pregnancy, and helps your mind to relax when you discover you are pregnant (so as to prevent unnecessary panic attacks). This hormone is also what causes the stomach muscles to relax/dissipate in early pregnancy to accommodate a growing uterus (I lost my abs by the time I was 8 weeks pregnant).

Thanks to relaxin, my attitude about pregnancy thus far has been, "Everything will work out just fine." (Relaxin can also block logical thinking.) Nowadays, I'm saying to myself, "NOOOOO!"

On the bright side, I finally feel like my brain is reverting back to its normal state.  I lost something the other day, then I remembered where I put it. Nice!

Weight gain?

Food cravings?
Food sounds pretty disgusting most of the time (except Rosauers cookies). Where could I possibly put any food? Although I am really excited for Thanksgiving dinner.** My brother and his girlfriend will be in town from Mexico, and I can't wait to spend time with them.

Food aversions?
Not anything in particular.  

Been doing a lot of this. Jeff came home from work every night last week to me sleeping on the couch. Random cramps will wake me up in the middle of the night, or during my naps. These cramps have been devastatingly painful, so I'm hoping I don't suffer from them on top of contractions when Game Time comes.

Projected Game Day?
**November 22, 2012/Thanksgiving Day

Yup, that was a vital organ you just punched...

Stretch marks?
I performed a pretty thorough inspection, and have concluded there are no stretch marks yet.

It hurts so bad! Still a stressed out innie. 

Man parts.

What have I learned?
Sometimes you just need to cry it out. I feel much better when I get the opportunity to express my emotions physically, so never deny yourself of this outlet. 

I could not have gotten through the last 9 months without the love and support I have received from family and friends. I would especially like to take this time to thank my mom, who spent almost every weekend with me putting together the nursery, scrubbing the house, taking trips to Babies R Us, etc. I couldn't have done it without you!

 This is one of my favorite prints by Nikki McClure

Thursday, November 8, 2012

38 Weeks & Feeling Fantastic!

Well...maybe fantastic isn't exactly the best way to describe it. In no way do I feel normal.

Yoga class has been embarrassing these days. My stomach gets in the way of the poses, and I frequently need to pick up my legs and move them because my ligaments will not allow any further stretching to get me into the proper pose. It is pretty hysterical how off balance I am compared to just a few weeks earlier.

In addition, most of my walking has been in the form of running errands, but at this week's doctor appointment I was feeling adventurous and took the stairs. After climbing to the top of the building, I realized I went too far and was so exhausted (FYI the building is only 4 stories high) I had to take the elevator down to the correct floor. Laughing at both my pregnancy brain for not remembering how to count, as well as my lack of stamina, I calmed my breathing as much as possible, wiped the sweat from my forehead, and went to my appointment with a smile on my face.

My swim gear has gone from a modest one piece suit to a wrestling singlet. My belly is covered properly, but the top half of my torso is less than appropriate. No more swimming for me! 

I guess I'm feeling fantastic because I can appreciate this time I have, fleeting as it may be. Even though I'm not all that mobile, I've been extremely productive (all things considered), and the nursery being put together has put my mind at ease. I am beginning to feel like all the loose ends are tied up, so now I can focus on what is really important: watching Gossip Girl on Netflix.

How do I feel?
Great! Here are a few unexpected pregnancy symptoms that should be noted to go with the other more common side effects:

  • Skin Tags - So gross, and so normal for pregnant women. I've been cutting them off with nail clippers when they appear...don't tell my dermatologist.
  • Bloody Nose - I started using the humidifier, have been putting Vaseline in my nose, and use saline drops. Maybe at least one of these treatments is working.
  • Blurred Vision - Not sure if it's safe for me to drive at night any more.
  • Pregnancy Brain! - So bad! Last night I left my purse in Jeff's car (when I made him take me to get ice cream), causing me to spend 20 minutes of my morning driving around a parking garage looking for his car and my purse. 
  • Intense Itching - I promise I haven't ingested any illegal substances, but I have had severe itching on my back that sometimes drives me crazy. It's the kind of itch that scratching cannot satisfy. It feels like something is bubbling under my skin, and NOTHING can make it go away. A coworker told me she had the same thing happen during her pregnancy, and she says it's likely just a hormonal thing.
  • Nesting - I have been sanitizing, deodorzing, and organizing like crazy.
  • Ripping Seams - You know you are ready to burst when you hear a slight ripping in the seams of your maternity clothes. This morning I walked out of my office and my coworker said, "Pull your pants up." My belly was hanging out the bottom of my maternity shirt. Classy is my middle name.

Weight gain?

Food cravings?
Anything containing calcium: cheese, whole milk, ice cream, eggnog (which I usually hate, but love right now), and so forth. I read an article at the doctor's office yesterday (while I was waiting for him to deliver a baby - how do these OBs function with so much to do in a day?) that explained this phenomenon. Apparently, later in pregnancy babies are taking in more calcium from the mother to help with bone growth. Often, this means they steal calcium from the mother's bones if there is not enough in her diet to aid in this process. My craving dairy products makes a lot of sense given these facts. My body is asking for calcium rich foods to protect my bones, and to help baby grow stronger.

Food aversions?
Spicy foods cause intense heartburn, but it just means I can eat ice cream to ease the pain.  

I'm still waking up at 3:00 every morning, but now it's because I'm having hot flashes. I'm so sweaty when I wake up that I have to kick off the covers, roll myself out of bed, and sit in our cold, drafty bathroom for about 5 minutes before I can go back to bed. I'm getting about 5-7 hours of sleep though, so no complaints here.

Sometimes he kicks so hard I'm worried a foot will tear through my stomach.

Stretch marks?
Not that I can see. But if they're coming it will be soon. I don't know how much bigger I can get.

My bellybutton is stressed out. It's still an innie, but it is definitely sore from all the pressure being put on it.

Keeping all that blue stuff!

What have I learned?
After my unfortunate visit to the doctor at 36 weeks, I felt prepared for my next physical exam. This time didn't go so bad since I knew what to expect. I am 75% effaced, with a "small dimple of dilation." All signs are pointing to no baby in the next few days, which is good because my doctor will be out of town next week.

I'm still waiting for that time when mothers say they just want to get the baby OUT. However, I feel good right now. I hope I start feeling terrible soon so I will be prepared for the birth (never thought I'd say that).

Good news: my acupuncturist said she would help induce labor if need be. Good to have a backup plan!

38 weeks! I'm obviously the Egg Monster.

They're Back...

So remember those Breastfeeding Nazis who were assaulting me earlier in my pregnancy? Well, it turns out they are also concerned about the well-being of my son's penis. Beware the Circumcision Nazis!

Actual thread on my facebook newsfeed.

You can only imagine how conversations go when people ask me about our plans for this procedure. There are hateful opinions from each side of the spectrum (well, honestly more from one side than the other). And believe me, we understand the benefits and risks of circumcision vs. non-circumcision, but also understand why the procedure should not be taken lightly. Here are the medical/psychological facts:

  • Circumcision can prevent infections (from something as harmless as a UTI to HIV and cancer).
  • Circumcision is mostly cosmetic these days, since we as a society bathe regularly and aren't in war trenches for days at a time.
  • Circumcision can cause extreme pain for your child, especially if it is not performed correctly.
  • Circumcision can cause infection. 
  • Circumcision may affect sexual pleasure.
  • Cleaning an uncircumcised penis is not as hard as your grandmother would have you believe.
  • A doctor who performs adult circumcisions has a very full schedule.
  • Circumcision is best done when the child is a newborn.
  • You will get judged if you circumcise your child.
  • You will get judged if you do not circumcise your child.
  • Your child will get judged by his peers either way.
  • If the rapture happens, those with circumcised penises will be left behind.

So there you have it! Clearly it is a big decision for any family, and one that should not be taken lightly. As for anyone wanting to know whether or not we are circumcising our child, my response is, "Why are you asking me about my son's penis, you pervert?" If I want your opinion, I will ask for it. For now, know we are determined to research the topic as thoroughly as possible, and will make a decision we find is best for our family.

See, look how responsible we are with our research!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"W" is for Wirth...and Whale

After receiving a ton of loot at the incredible baby shower my family threw for me, it became clear we should probably get the nursery together.  Drum roll please...a small preview!

I apologize for the terrible lighting. This room gets a lot of natural sunlight, but daylight savings + rainy weather does not equal ideal picture-taking conditions.

Bedding from Pottery Barn Kids, stuffed whale handcrafted by my best friend, crib from a garage sale updated with Valspar Gray Silt paint, curtains from World Market, dresser/changing table from Shopko, diapers from (we have Grovia, Rumparooz, and bumGenius for testing...I think I already know which ones I like best), whale quilt pictured on chair handcrafted by my other best friend, chair from my old 8th grade teacher (random and awkward, also not ideal), star lantern from a random kiosk in the mall, framed pictures handcrafted by yours truly. 

So why the whale? It all started out with this guy:

I took a Japanese class in high school, and was inspired by the character Totoro. Soon after we started dating, I made Jeff watch the movie with me, and since then our lives have been changed for the better. Then, we found this guy at a grocery store and purchased it immediately:

You can see the resemblance to Totoro, mostly in the mouth area. This whale has traveled the world with us. You can find him displayed proudly on our dashboard during a road trip, or lounging about in our living room. You might even catch him in France.

Inside whale jokes continued when we found this on the beach. I would like to say it lived a long and happy life after this.

Last year, Jeff bought me the Dogeared whale necklace for my birthday. I wear it every day, and it happens to symbolize both the strength of family bonds, as well as the phrase "It's a Boy!" He got this for me before we knew I was pregnant.

By now I think you get the point that whales have been an important symbol of our long, happy, quirky relationship. You can only imagine our joy when we discovered there is a whale themed nursery in existence. And to be honest, we probably would have made the baby's room whale themed even without the help of Pottery Barn.

So there you have it! Also, don't be mad...we ate whale while we were in Iceland.

Also, I'm officially huge.

37 weeks

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