Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday

Yesterday, Charlie and I slept in and then we:

Got dressed (biggest accomplishment of most days)
Left the House (Yay us!)
Went to the gas station
Tried to deposit a check at the bank (the ATM said no. Boooo!)
Got a latte for me at the drive thru Starbucks (not having to get baby out of the car to get hot coffee … priceless)
Put baby in bjorn to go to Trader.Joe’s.
Bought enough groceries for three weeks it seems

Got home and put sleeping baby in swing (God’s gift to parents who like to eat or pee or shower)
Tried to put away groceries
Got grossed out by disgusting fridge.
Cleaned fridge (gross)
Broke almost new jar of strawberry jam (darn it!)
Put away groceries in clean fridge.
Sterilized pacifiers and pump parts.
Swept/vacuumed floor (thank you Dad for the crazy genius swiffer vacuum), even under the sofas (omg it was gross under there!).

All before noon. Go me! LOL.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

three months


IMG_8107.JPG
Originally uploaded by sarahewk

My dear boy, today you are three months old. You are such a joy. At the beginning of the month you decided that you wanted to go to bed at 9 pm every night. You were sleeping until 3 am (almost on the nose!) and then waking up at 5 or 6 to feed again. You kept up this wonderful habit for two weeks, until we took you on a road trip to meet and visit your dad’s family in southern CA. The trip got you off your game and we came home and you had thrush. I didn’t know it right away but in retrospect, the symptoms did show up the day after we got home. Since then you’ve been a little bit cranky but otherwise you are doing great! You are gaining weight and growing like a weed! I think you are in a growth spurt now – just in the last few days you’ve resumed eating every hour instead of every few hours.

This month you also started standing with very little help for longer periods of time, and sitting up almost by yourself! If we prop you up, you’ll happily sit there for several minutes. Until of course you get fascinated by your hands (which you discovered in the last two weeks) and get caught up trying to get them in your mouth, which leads to you falling over. ☺ You’ve also rolled from your back to your side a few times and just this morning you rolled from your side to your tummy. At first you were confused but once you figured out where you were (your dreaded tummy!) you started wailing. I gave you a minute to figure out how to turn back over and then did it for you to stop the suffering. In the last few days you have also started holding onto objects and finally tolerate being laid in your activity gym.

Your smile lights up our world. You also babble in such a sweet way – we swear you say Hey and wow a lot. ☺ We have yet to get a full smile on film though because you don’t seem to like the camera.

You love your changing table these days. Anytime we lay you down on it for a diaper change you light up in huge smiles!
IMG_8004.JPGYou also decided that your bath is not a torture device and have started to explore the water – stretching out your body so that your feet touch the edge to help prop you up. It cracks me up every time – seeing your little tiny toes grip the edge of the tub as you push up your tummy so it sticks out of the water.

Our neighbors gave us their baby swing and you love it. Or we love it. Anyway, when it is time for us to eat dinner and all you want is to be rocked, we put you in it and let you watch the lights and listen to the music while we eat dinner. It’s allowed me to eat a hot meal every night and for that I am grateful!

Your dad got your crib all situated and we put you in it for the first time last weekend. You really seemed to like it – you stared up at the mobile for a long time, just kicking your legs and sucking on your hands. You might like to sleep in it but I’m not ready to have you so far away in your own room quite yet. You still fit in the cosleeeper so that is where you’ll sleep.

This week we decided it was time to carry you facing out of the baby bjorn and to seat you facing out to see the world in your stroller too. It has made a huge difference! You are so curious and love to watch the world go by.

It’s so much fun to watch you develop and change before our eyes. Some days I beg you to slow down, just to let us enjoy you a little longer before you get up and walk away from us and out into the big wide world. We waited for these days for so long and they pass by so quickly. We cherish them and you.

With love,
Your mama

Friday, September 5, 2008

Thursday

Thursday was a great day. Our dear boy pooped without an assist from mom (yay for no prune juice!) AND took two long naps during the day! For the last several weeks he has refused to nap during the day and has had issues pooping (oh my goodness) and it was such a revelation to have a day that seemed normal. I hope he keeps it up!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ah, Sleep

Monday night, dear sweet Charlie went to sleep at 9 pm and woke up at 1 am to feed. He went back to sleep by 2 am and didn't wake up until 6 am to eat. It was the first night he only woke up once to eat and it was the best night of sleep I've had since before he was born. Ah sleep!

Last night we had dinner with my brother, SIL, their kids and my mom. Charlie ate at dinner time (7 pm) and took 2 oz of pumped milk on the way home. He slept through a diaper and clothes change at 10 pm and didn't wake up until 3 am for his middle of the night feed. I was soaked in milk (straight through the extra absorbent breast pads and my tank top) but it was well worth it for sleep, ah glorious sleep! After he ate for 15 minutes I was still able to pump 3 oz.

So excited to see how long he sleeps now!

And I wonder if this makes up for not sleeping at all during the day. That boy hates a nap and fights it more than any tiny baby I've ever met. But maybe he makes up for it at night???

This whole mothering thing is complicated.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Eight Weeks



I can’t believe how fast time flies. And how little else I get done in a day other than feeding and caring for my child. I rarely sit down at the computer these days with more than one hand free. I don’t shower regularly, and my house looks like a dust bunny colony.

But the boy, oh my. He’s a joy and one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever had. Being his mother is everything I hoped it would be and sometimes the most natural thing in the world. It is absolutely who I was meant to be and for that I will be eternally grateful.

Some nights when I pick him up to feed him in the dark, I can feel that his body is heavier than when I laid him down three or four hours before. It is then that I wish I could stop time and just love the little boy that he is. He is so his own person already – with distinct likes (being held in an upright position, being with mommy at all times, hanging out in the circle of my maternity boppy, clean pants at all times, sucking on his hands, snuggled up in the moby wrap) and dislikes (dirty diapers, bathing, his car seat, having clothes put over his head, waiting to eat, having his nose cleaned, spitting up and sometimes pooping). His smiles light up my world and his cries break me. He can hold his head up and look around at the world around him and it’s so fun to try to figure out what has caught his attention.

He is a breastfeeding champ and I’m thrilled we are still at it despite a few hiccups (I had a fever and the beginnings of mastitis). He mostly sleeps in his bassinet now that I know he will sleep almost anywhere if he can smell me. So every night we tuck my day’s t=shirt into his co-sleeper and out he goes. The trick from the leader of my mom’s group also works when I desperately need a shower!

He enjoys being out and about as long as he gets to eat whenever he wants and gets clean diapers whenever he needs them. This allows us to take him with us as we go about our life – trips to Target and out to eat. I even nursed him while shopping at Target – the boy was safely wrapped in the Moby, with boobs and all out of view of anyone who might catch a glimpse of us. I was so proud of myself that day!

Sunday we all needed a break for our house and the heat so we took a trip to the beach and put his tiny toes in the ocean for the first time. What a thrill for me – he didn’t cry and was just amused by it all. Afterwards he napped for almost an hour in the baby.bjorn as we walked along the coast. Bliss!

I just realized I still haven’t finished my birth story. I must get that down on “paper” before the details are lost to me forever. Soon. Until then, more pictures of our sweet boy.

Monday, July 21, 2008

So far so good


what are you looking at?
Originally uploaded by sarahewk
After a rough week last week (hubby's first week back at work), today things are so far, improved. I showered before hubby left for work (means getting up early but Charlie needed to eat anyway), had breakfast, did some paperwork and am now getting ready to leave the house for the first time alone with the baby. I have a grand plan of going to the post office. And maybe the bank. I'm so ambitious! LOL.

For now, as I run around the house getting ready, Charlie sleeps in a sling I made for us. He's cozy and I have hand free. Must take a picture to share. For now, here he is all dressed up for a stroller ride on Sunday.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Home (Almost) Alone

Today is hubby’s first day back at work and two hours in, nothing bad has happened. I woke up Charlie to change his diaper and feed him just after hubby left at 7 and he’s been sleeping since. I actually brushed my teeth, made the bed, got dressed and made breakfast. I had leftover strata and coffee out on our deck while Charlie napped in his bouncy seat. Makes me feel very fancy. Next up is folding all the laundry I did while I was up feeding him overnight.

The last few days have been so hectic! The chaos goes all the way back to Thursday. Hubby and I had chiropractic appointments at 11 am and it was a challenge to get us all dressed and out of the house but it was well worth it – I needed an adjustment so badly after spending 8 night sleeping in a hospital bed and then 10 days nursing.

After that we came home and napped. Hubby wasn’t feeling well and it was starting to freak me out. The night before Charlie was born, he felt funny and had a nurse check his BP. It was 150/110. It remained high throughout our stay in the hospital. On Thursday he added chest pain, nausea, and fatigue (well that one maybe doesn’t count) to his list of woes. I forced him to call his doctor and get in to see her ASAP. We went that evening and his pulse was 130. Bp was still high. The doc went over his situation and recommended mood stabilizers to help him deal with the anxiety of our new life but he already takes one to prevent his migraines. I pushed to treat the BP now and let the anxiety work itself out as we get settled in as a family. The doc agreed and that night hubby had his first restful night of sleep in 12 days. Since then, his whole body seems better – less tense and more rested. What a relief!

Friday we had a well baby visit and it went really well. After one visit to a non-HMO pedi we went back to what was familiar and are so glad we did. The HMO we use is huge and bureaucratic but they also have great systems in place. Their newborn clinic is all nurse practitioners and you can come in whenever you want to check on your baby. The nurses did a feed and weigh session and were totally proud of us when it showed that he was getting one ounce on each side in a ten minute feeding session. Woohoo!

Yesterday was unexpectedly good. I invited my family to come up for brunch at our house with my ILs and my mom and younger brother took us up on the offer. After a hectic Saturday, it had disaster written all over it. But I nipped it in the bud. At 7 am I fed the baby and convinced hubby to get out the stroller so I could walk to the grocery store for supplies for our favorite egg strata. He didn’t want us to go alone, so even though he was still half asleep, he came with us. It was a lovely 10 minute walk in the cool morning air to the store, and we loaded all the groceries in the basket of his stroller for the walk back. The best baby ever slept the whole time! I can’t wait to do it again!

Once we put the groceries away, we gave Charlie his second bath. He disliked it just as much as the first, but at least his hair got clean and he smelled good. I dressed him up and put him in his bouncy seat while I made my casserole. Once that was ready for the oven, I fed him before hopping in the shower. Our parents arrived and we sat down to a really lovely breakfast – fruit, pastries, the strata, coffee, Oj. All very yummy. A few hours later, my brother and his family showed up for the second shift bearing all the fixings for a yummy lunch. Our neice Maddie got to meet Charlie and she was just so good with him – she sat and held his hand for ten minutes while her daddy cradled him. And then she did this piggy went to market on his toes with my mom. All so lovely!

We ended up spending the whole day with our families, taking a million pictures and just loving on our boy.

After our company left, hubby and I took a nap before tackling the filthy house. He did dishes while I did laundry, swept and mopped the floors. The house looks better than it has in months!

I feel fantastic and am so excited that this is how our lives have turned out. I could get used to the bliss.

**Before I could post this, baby went a little nutty. He cried and nursed and cried some more for almost two hours before falling asleep. I got desperate and stripped us both down and did skin to skin and just let him suckle until he fell asleep. Oh sweet sleep.

I suppose the honeymoon had to end sometime, right?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

One week old


sweet boy
Originally uploaded by sarahewk
I can't believe how fast that last seven days have gone. He is a dream come true. His umbilical cord stump fell off today and it seemed like a good time to take a few pictures of him on the blanket I knit while we waited for him to arrive. He is more beautiful than we ever imagined. Tomorrow he'll get his first bath.

Someday soon I'll write about the induction, the eventual cesarean and the recovery in the hospital. It's eight days we spent living in a time warp of the hospital to digest so it may take a while. And he's so fascinating, taking the time away from him to document it seems silly. But I don't ever want to forget what we went through to get him here and give him a good start.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Home

Today was our first full day home and it was wonderful. Charlie ate like a champ. He slept when he wasn't eating or peeing or pooping. Hubby went out this morning and brought me a yummy breakfast and coffee. My mom came to visit and watched me feed him and changed his diapers as soon as he stopped suckling long enough to breathe. Hubby went out and got us groceries and fresh fruit. I got to nap. We made dinner together while hubby held him in his sling.

The lion cub is more beautiful than I imagined. I feel like I've known him forever. He is my boy and I am his mother and despite a lot of other issues (jaundice requiring a night under lights in the nursery, high bp for me requiring more meds, and leg swelling so bad it makes it tough to walk), these days are among the happiest of my life.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The lion cub has arrived.


sweet boy
Originally uploaded by sarahewk
He's finally here! Charles Everett Alden Kingsley arrived at 9:22 am on Tuesday, July 1st via cesarean birth, weighing 8 lbs. and 3 oz. and measuring 20” long. We are absolutely thrilled and in love already.

Mama and baby are doing well despite an exhausting 3.5 day long attempted induction and should be going home on Saturday.

It was a long road to get here but he is absolutely worth it.

I will post the long, absolutely crazy birth story once we get home. For now, here he is. He has his father's nose and eyes, my chin and a full head of dark wavy hair.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Update and Questions

Today's appointment went well and we walked out really excited. The lion cub's fluid is good, he is moving well, his NST was good and my bp is holding steady. Our regular OB is back and we are thrilled to have him. We went over all the stuff that happened while he was gone and he was thankful that we held out until he returned. He decided that it was time to set a plan and a date! So unless we go into labor on our own this week, I will be induced early next week, at around 38.5 weeks. He checked my cervix and it is soft and about 1/2cm dilated which was great news to me. I was scared that he would check and it would have no changes and that would suck given the 36 hour contraction filled saga of last week. I wasn't expecting much and I know it doesn't mean much but I wanted some change to show for all the hard work. So in 7 days or less we'll meet our boy. Thank God.

Cecily tagged all of her readers to do this little exercise and it seemed fun and I need things to keep me occupied while we wait for this little boy to come. So here are the five most character-defining things that have happened to me in my life:

1. My parents divorce. I’m not sure when my parents marriage started failing, I just know that it did. I remember the years of fighting and manipulation and lying. I remember how often my dad found things to do outside our home so that he wouldn’t have to deal with my mother. I remember her doing things she knew would upset him, just because she could. I know that when he sat us down and told us he was moving out, I was relieved. The years after it were tough – money was even tighter and became part of their ongoing tug of war. It sucked. And like Cecily, I had some serious daddy issues when it came time to date. Thankfully I dealt with them early (by the time I was 21), and my relationship with my dad recovered. But those years completely shaped who I would become.
2. Developing a chronic illness while in high school. I got sick in the middle of my freshman year of high school and struggled for almost a year without a proper diagnosis. By December of my sophomore year I was so sick I missed two weeks of school. That finally got the attention of my family and my aunt clued my dad in to what it was (she had it too) and I was finally diagnosed and got the treatment I needed. It was a scary time. Ulcerative Colitis is no walk in the park. The thing that is still so surprising to me, even almost 20 years later, is how uninvolved my parents were in my care. I went to all my appointments alone. They never became involved in my care, even when I was a minor living at home. It was totally up to me to take care of my health and stay on top of my disease. When my brother developed the same disease just over a year ago, my whole family was involved and wanted to know what was going on and how he was doing on a daily basis. He certainly was sicker than I ever have been but by the time he got sick he was almost 30 and married with a child. The contrast reminds me how far my family has come since the years just after my parents divorced (when they were both so self involved).
3. Moving to DC to do an internship and staying for five years. After my sophomore year of college I took an internship 3,000 miles from home for the summer. I knew two people in DC – both of whom were my bosses – and I had no money and no real plans on where I would live. I was so na├»ve that I wasn’t even scared. That first job changed the whole course of my life, introducing me to people and places that would have been to far out of my world for me to even imagine. That first job led to all of the rest of the ones I’ve had in the 13 years since. After the internship, I got a volunteer gig on a campaign. My manager there got me my second job, and the boss from that job introduced me to my current boss. One little internship has kept me gainfully employed for a long time in a field I enjoy.
4. My husband. Meeting my husband, getting to know him, loving him, it has been a dream come true. He is everything I hoped to find in a mate and his love makes me a better person. I’m lucky that no one else saw him for the gem that he is before I did.
5. My desire to be a mother. I always knew I wanted to be a mother. I made choices in my life based on that desire. I took jobs that were less stressful so that when the time came I would have time to be at home with my kids. I moved back to CA so that when I had kids they would be near my family. When it was time for hubby and I to TTC, I worked at it from the very beginning. It was a long road, longer than I hoped or imagined, but there was never a day when I doubted that it was what I wanted and what I was meant to be.

Monday, June 23, 2008

37w2d


Day at the beach 37w2d
Originally uploaded by sarahewk
I'm still pregnant. The oh so promising contractions of Thursday petered out by Friday. I really thought he would be here by now, but he is still kicking it on the inside.

It's been hot here for days and days and by Sunday, hubby and I just couldn't take it any more. I couldn't even decide what I wanted to do, I just wanted out. We had already been to two movies in 48 hours and had nothing left on our to do list. I was about to cry when hubby suggested a road trip to the city to deliver a baby gift to a dear friend who is due with their first two days after us.

Thankfully they were home and up for a short visit! It saved my sanity! While we were there we visited the beach where we had our engagement pics taken and did a little photo shoot with our new camera and a tripod. I love my giant baby belly (stretch marks and all) and wanted to make sure it was documented in all it's glory.

Not much else new -- just heartburn and a creaky pelvis -- while we wait not so patiently to meet our little guy.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Still going

We had a nice long conversation last night with our doula and she suggested warm milk or a half a glass of wine and sleep. So that's what I did. I slept until about 4 am and then was up for a few hours, contracting some with bathroom breaks in between. The super fun frequent bowel movements were the tip that this might in fact be the real thing. Contractions have been continuous but not regular since this morning. They've changed some too -- more radiating than focused like they were last night and less defined which I'm not so happy about. The baby continues to move and shift as if he is trying to get into position which cracks me up. And I swear I can feel my cervix changing and my pelvis opening. Even if it is my imagination I'm holding onto it until proven otherwise.

This morning the goal is fluids, rest, protein, and more rest. We had a prearranged appointment with the doula at 5 pm so we'll get a better sense of where we are then.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The beginning?

I’ve been having contractions since 4:40 pm this afternoon. The first one lasted for about 4 minutes and was followed about 10 minutes later by another that lasted about 90 seconds. Things quieted down for a bit and have been off and on for about 4 hours. Alternating between long contractions and short 30 second ones. Some about 10 minutes apart, others about 35 minutes apart.

We’ll see where this goes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where did the time go?

I’ve been at home on disability for six weeks. When it started I was terrified. I wasn’t ready for him to come and he certainly needed more time in the womb. I made a list then of all the things we still had to do and gave myself little milestones (get to my shower pregnant, make it to 34 weeks, still be pregnant when my doc gets back from vacation) and had plans for all sorts of outcomes. I’m so thankful that I’m sill sitting here pregnant and I realized this weekend how much we managed to accomplish even with my limited activity and stamina.

• I had my shower and was well enough to sort through all the generous gifts, return the duplicates and get the rest of the stuff we really needed.
• I washed at least a half dozen loads of baby clothes, sheets, blankets, towels, and burp cloths.
• I knit him a four hats and a blanket.
• I finished all my thank you cards.
• We organized his room and got it all ready for his arrival.
• We had his car seat installed and inspected.
• I set up all our bills and finances so that I don’t have to think about it for a few more months.
• I sorted through our medical bills and submitted claims for reimbursements.
• We packed (and unpacked and repacked) our bags for the hospital.
• I read three books on baby care, breast feeding and how to have the happiest baby on the block.
• I gave myself a mani/pedi (which was an incredible feat!)
• I made hubby and I pouch style slings to wear the lion cub when he comes home.

I’m amazed every day at the physical changes my body continues to go through. Up until last week I was feeling good – sitting, standing, walking, laying down were all still done with ease and no pain. My belly is large and my boobs larger but otherwise I was feeling great. I even remarked at about 35 weeks that I was surprised I still felt so good. Of course the very next week, all sorts of late pregnancy things hit with a vengeance. I can’t sleep for more than an hour at a time even though I’m exhausted. My hips and back ache all the time. I have killer heartburn. My ribs ache. I’m counting down the days until he is an outside baby and my body can start the long slow road back to normal. I’m ready to meet him and be his mommy.

Today’s appointment was good. My group B strep test was normal, baby passed his NST and his AFI was still near 7. The OB decided that we are good to go whenever labor comes. Yay! She wants me to get to a hospital quickly if and when my water breaks and she also said that we can go to our preferred hospital whenever the time comes. Otherwise it is two weeks or so of appointments and then an induction on the 4th of July. We are amazed daily that it is almost time to meet our child. He’ll be here soon, very soon. And we will finally be a family.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Still Pregnant

Cliff notes version: Lion cub’s AFI was above 7 all week and his growth scan showed he is right on track. Hoping this week brings more of the same and that we hold out until my OB is back from vacay on the 23rd. Thirty-six weeks and counting….

Last week was rough. I developed a nasty nasty cold on Sunday just as it got hot again here. Highs in the 90s is no fun on any day but is definitely worse when you can barely breathe. Tuesday’s check-up was fine – he was lazy for the first 30 minutes on the NST and had to repeat it to pass but pass he did. His AFI was still up over 7, which is great (it hovered under 7 for 4 weeks and then dropped one day to 4.9 before rebounding). My BP was fine and I’ve managed to avoid all other signs of Pre-e. Yay! We did the swab for the group B strep and went on our merry way.

That night we met with our back-up doula. She is sweet and it was nice to get a chance to chat with her before I’m in labor and half naked. We will only use her if our regular doula, who is back from vacation but has a few other births lined up this month, is unavailable when the time comes.

On Thursday, my bestest friend brought me lunch at home which was one of the nicest things anyone has done for me since I’ve been mostly homebound. There is a reason we’ve been friends for more than 20 years! Holy crap that makes me feel old! LOL.

On Friday, Hubby had the day off so we treated ourselves to breakfast out before our big outing to the big hospital. I wasn’t feeling very good and soon discovered my BP was not good. It had crept up to 140/90. I took a second dose of my bp meds per doc’s orders and I was amazed at how much better I felt after it kicked in. I’m learning how important a good BP is to feeling well – when it’s too low, I feel like crap and when it is too high I feel like crap. Now as soon as I don’t feel right, I take it just to see where I am and it is usually the culprit.

Friday’s appointment went well. We had another growth ultrasound to make sure he is growing well as the high BP can cause intrauterine growth restriction. The techs estimate that he is 6 lbs 4 oz. at 36 weeks, which puts him right on target. His fluid was still above 7 (woohooo) and he passed his NST on the first try! The folks there were so nice – they were all so proud of me for making it this far – it’s been almost six weeks since we got the first signs of a problem and he is doing really well. What a relief!

To celebrate another week of successful gestating I made rice crispy treats, our new favorite snack. I thought they would be tough to make but ever since we discovered the secret (fresh marshmallows) a few weeks ago, we’ve been making them every few days. Thankfully, it hasn’t affected my weight gain!

Yesterday we had a quiet day at home so this morning we decided it would be nice to get out and have a nice breakfast together. We love the Cheesecake.Factory. Love it. Go there all the time for dinner. Today was our first time going for breakfast and it was lovely. Normally there are long lines to get a table but this morning, there was no wait (even on Father’s Day!) and we had a nice table outside in the shade. I really enjoy the quiet times with Hubby right now. Especially since we both know the days of quiet mornings for two are limited. We are anxious to meet our little man and are so looking forward to sharing our lives with him, but I do get the sense that this is the calm before the storm.

Monday, June 9, 2008

No Induction on Sunday!

We went to big university hospital yesterday for the scheduled NST and AFI and were thrilled that the lion cub passed both tests! Yay! The NST was a little tricky – the machine ran out of paper just before he had a great series of variations that would have given him a green light and then he went quiet for a while. He ended up passing when I moved to a new position and had a few contractions (real contractions!).

His AFI was up quite a bit and I was totally shocked! I kept telling myself that it might hold stable or vary by a few decimal points but that once it went down it wasn’t going to go back up. I was wrong. On Friday it was 4.9 and on Sunday it was almost 7! I was thrilled and so was our nurse. Our doc had them send us home for more bedrest and fluids and we see her on Tuesday morning.

I have a nasty cold and just did not want to labor in this condition – I’m miserable without added physical discomfort thank you very much. But we were prepared to do whatever needed to be done. The car was packed with all the stuff we thought we might need for labor and a few days in the hospital – clothes for DH and the baby, snacks, toiletries, cameras, laptop, etc. Four bags worth of stuff! It will be going with us to each appointment from here on out just in case.

When I called my mom to tell her that we were being sent home, she was disappointed. She’s not handling the tension well. I don’t know how to deal with her anxiety – we are doing everything we can right now to keep an eye on him and every day that he gets to stay inside is a good day for him right now, and if it is good for him, it is good for us. She isn’t seeing that in her anxiety to meet him I guess. I wish she could.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Today is a better day

Thank goodness for new days. I woke up this morning still upset about the situation we find ourselves in (doc on vacation, doula on vacation, hospital I don't like). I was stewing while DH slept and then I realized that this might be our last lazy morning before we become parents. That knocked me out of my funk. I cuddled up to DH. Hours later when it was time to get up for breakfast, all seemed right with the world again. The lion cub was moving well, DH and I were in sync and had decided it was all going to be okay.

The lion cub has kept up his movements today -- meeting his kick counts and throwing in lots of little nudges for good measure. I feel like he knows that it is what I need today.

I found out from a friend that our first choice doula is actually back in town on Monday afternoon. That sounds much more doable than Wednesday for some reason.

I also worked out an arrangement with a back-up doula who has agreed to help us even if we need to be induced on Sunday. We have never met her but she came highly recommended. Just knowing that someone who knows the birth process and knows the hospital will be by our side for the duration calms me. I feel confident that having her with us will help us have a better birth.

Given how well the baby has moved today and how good I feel, I think tomorrow will not be the day. I think they'll test us and send us home and we'll test again on Tuesday. Our bags are still packed but I really think we'll be home tomorrow afternoon and I'll still be pregnant. I hope I'm right!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Scared

I had the second of my twice weekly non-stress tests and amniotic fluid index checks today at the big university hospital. Neither went all that well. He flunked the NST until they gave him a buzz to the head. After that he woke up and passed but until today he had never needed the prodding to pass. His movement has definitely slowed the last few days and I was already worried. That did nothing for my nerves.

After that, they did his AFI and he basically flunked. His number has held steady at about 6.5 since May 6th (when we discovered it was low and I went on disability). Today it was 4.9. Big university hospital usually induces for anything 5.0 and under. My doc's partner decided to wait until Sunday, and have L&D check me again before deciding what to do.

I am nervous. Nervous that waiting isn't the right thing to do. I'm absolutely terrified something bad will happen to him between now (when I know he is alive) and Sunday. I have a call in to my doctor to discuss it but for now I'm just petrified.

And I'm sad. My regular OB is out on vacation until 6/23 which means his partner, who is lovely, will be managing our birth. And because it is so early, they want me to deliver at big university hospital instead of the quieter, calmer, more family friendly hospital where we planned to deliver. I switched docs 3 months ago to avoid delivering at big university hospital and I'm so not excited about it. I know they have a world class NICU but I hate it and their whole philosophy of care.

AND our doula is out until Wednesday.

Please send us some good vibes that he makes it okay to Sunday and beyond. And that it all goes well.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Blanket is done


blanket for baby
Originally uploaded by sarahewk
I finished knitting the blanket for the lion cub today. It feels so good to finish it and I love how it turned out.

In other news, Tuesday's appointment was good. His fluid was up supposedly (from 6.5 or so to 9) but I'm not sure I believe it. He did just okay on his NST -- he didn't want to stay on the monitors but what we did see was good. My bp was good and I still have no other signs of pre-e . Yay!

I'll be 35 week tomorrow and have my next appointment at the big university hospital tomorrow. Another AFI and NST as well as dopplers of his umbilical cord. I hope he does well. I have to stop by my office and pick up some forms to enroll the baby in our health plan.

Other than the blanket, this week was mildly productive. I got my disability started, found a back-up doula and a pediatrician.

Not much else new. Just hoping to hang out for another 2.5 weeks or so before we meet our little one.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hair

The u/s tech also mentioned yesterday that he has hair. And that hair is floating in his amniotic fluid. I could see the fine fuzz on his head. I wonder whether it is a soft light brown like my own baby fuzz or if it will be dark like Scott's. Or even fair like my mom and Scott's dad...

She also confirmed that he is indeed all boy. A few online friends have had surprises lately and it made me second guess whether he was really a boy. I'm so attached to him as is that it would be tough to find out later that he isn't what I think he is. And all the boy clothes? Already washed and too cute to return.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Real Bedrest

For the last 3.5 weeks I’ve been off of work and on “rest.” My bp was up, my babies amniotic fluid was low and I was supposed to rest most of the day and drink a lot of fluids. I did as directed for the most part. I drank a lot of fluids, I rested a lot. But I also made trips outside the house other than to my doctor’s office – I was given permission to attend my shower and have meals out occasionally and I relished that. I’ve been doing a few things around the house – nothing heavy, just a few loads of little tiny clothes, putting away baby gear (again, all small). As soon as I feel the slightest bit weary, I rest.

Apparently that isn’t enough. I had the second of my twice weekly NST and AFI checks today. The baby kicked butt on the NST – meeting the goal (a variation of 15 in his heart rate twice in 20 minutes) in half the time. He moved well and sounded great. His AFI was just okay – to my untrained eye, it looks the same as it has looked at all of his checks for the last three weeks with small pockets of fluid scattered about his cramped quarters. But it had dropped by .2 points and my OBs partner she didn’t like the downward trend so no more activity. The technician relayed that if I didn’t stay in bed, I’d be having this baby soon. And boy did that get my attention.

So no more projects other than the blanket since I can knit while lying down. No more random trips to Target or out for dinner. Certainly no bathroom renovation. Even though I wasn’t going to do the work myself, we can’t give up the only bath/shower now since I can’t travel anywhere to bathe, even for a few days.

I really really want to make it to 37 weeks, full term. I really really want just three more weeks. He needs it. I need it. So 21 more days.

I woke up at my usual 4 am this morning and laid awaking thinking about how unprepared we are for a real baby. Sure we have most of the stuff, all washed and folded and put away even. But we had absolutely no books on child rearing, child care, etc. We had done no reading on immunizations or other issues that need decisions before the baby comes. So DH got me a bunch of books today on the way home. At least I can read in bed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Big day today **Updated with pics**

Today was a big day. I had one of my now twice-weekly NST/AFI checks at my OBs office. The lion cub did well – he actually stayed on the monitors well this time! And his fluid is still about the same – 6.5. The doc from the big hospital recommended I get steroid shots for his lungs and my OB decided that since there is no harm in doing it he would have it administered today. He said he’d held off before now because babies of mom’s with pregnancy-induced hypertension (aka gestational hypertenstion or PIH) tend to mature faster than babies of mother’s who don’t have it. And given that the baby has been coping well under these conditions for three weeks now, he thought it wasn’t necessary. But since it doesn’t hurt anything we went for it. I have another NST/AFI on Friday afternoon, after our appointment for our car seat installation.

We had our hospital tour tonight. I learned some great things – each room has wireless telemetry so even though I have to be on bp and baby heart rate monitors while laboring, I’ll still be able to get up and be mobile to work through labor. Woohoo! I’ve been concerned about it since I learned we’d most likely be induced a bit early and even if I’m not they will want me to labor in the hospital instead of at home anyway. The hospital has a bunch of birth balls in all sizes for laboring moms. The beds are transformers and allow mom’s to labor in just about any position they want. All the delivery and recovery rooms are private. The rooms for vaginal birth are awesome. The recovery rooms for c-section moms, not so much (way way “cozier”). There is wireless internet access in the lobby but not on the maternity ward. So we can bring the laptop and I’ll be able to write posts and then Dh will have to take the laptop downstairs to post and send emails. It’s not ideal but it is totally doable.

In preparing-for-baby news, I was able to return dupes to both Target (with original receipts) and BRU and get $300 in cash and credits to use to get things we actually need (instead of the 2nd tub, 2nd mobile, 5 extra fuzzy blankets, etc). I did most of my shopping last week and got the last few items yesterday (breast pump parts, basket for dirty clothes, bottles, bath towels, cloth diapers for burp rags). It feels so good to be done shopping! Now I just have to finish organizing.

Part of the shopping involved upgrading our photo and video equipment. Our brand new digital SLR arrived today. Woohoo! It’s so great – I can’t wait to play with it tomorrow. We already had compatible lenses (including a telephoto lens) from our old non-digital SLRs. And we had the right size memory card since we bought one for my brother’s similar camera when we borrowed it for our trip to Paris in October. I’m so excited to have a camera that can handle low light and the need for a fast flash. We regularly miss pictures of the nieces and nephews due to low light and it makes me nutty. I’d go crazy if that happened with our own child.

Last weekend we also got a new video camera. I read about it in the NY.Times and it sounded perfect – pocket sized, no memory cards, disks or tapes and it does really well in low light. It is so small and so easy to use I can’t imagine getting anything else. And it was cheap! We used it at my dad’s 60th bday party last weekend and I was impressed. It has 2g of memory built in, enough for 60 minutes of video and when you are done, you plug it into your computer via the built-in USB. Love it!

I’m also keeping myself occupied with knitting and sewing – for our baby and the babies of my two friends and two SILs who are due at the same time as we are. I’ve cut out two knit blankets and just need to sew them up. And I’m working on embellishing the cloth diapers to make them a bit more fun.

hat for the lion cub
Last week I started and finished a knit cap for our lion cub – I’ve made the same hat at least a dozen times for the kids of our friends and it felt so good to make one we get to keep. But I finished it so fast (waiting for just two appointments), that I had to find a new project to keep me busy while waiting. This came across my blog reader and it is just perfect. But I can’t afford $120 for yarn to make it and none of my local yarn shops carried anything as vibrant in a yarn that was machine washable and dryable (a must for a blanket for a baby I think), so I went to Michael’s and was surprised to find just what I needed.
beginnings of baby blanketI bought six skeins of Lion.Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick (pumpkin, butterscotch, grass, sky blue, fisherman, and taupe), needles and still spent half the cost of the original yarn. I started it tonight and it is knitting up quick and easy – perfect for waiting for appointments twice a week.

Since things are still looking okay three weeks after I started leave, I’m hoping I can make it four more weeks at least. Partly because my OB is on vacation for two weeks in mid-June and partly because I still have so many little things to make and do before he gets here. And I really want him to be a Cancer (like his dad) so he can wear the super cute onsie we got him at the Gap when we found out he was a boy. I’m greedy like that.

Friday, May 23, 2008

33 weeks

This week has been hectic, especially considering I’m not working. Tuesday I had a weekly NST and AFI check and all was well with the lion cub. The NST was a little tough – he didn’t want to stay on the monitor and it took us a long time to get what we needed.

On Wednesday, the lion cub was a little sluggish but met his twice daily kick count quotas. At 3:30 am on Thursday I woke up to pee and had vertigo so badly I couldn’t sit up, much less stand up or walk to the bathroom. It continued until about 6 am. The baby normally wakes me up at 4 am with lots of movement but he was quiet. Which does nothing to calm a nervous mama. DH got me orange juice at 6:30 and he obliged with his required 10 kicks.

DH and I were still nervous so we called my doc and they wanted me to come in at 2:45. We did another NST and it was much better than the one on Tuesday. The docs were both running late – they were doing a c-section (boy girl twins that were a result of IF treatment) – so Dh and I took a break and got some ice cream and ended up finding the BornFree bottles we wanted at Whole Foods.

Anyway, the docs discovered that my bp had responded too well to treatment and was now too low. The lower BP was apparently lowering what he was getting through the umbilical cord, which was thought to be causing his decreased movement. We worked out a treatment plan to find a happy medium – test BP three times a day. If it dips to 100/70 or below, skip mythldopa for the day. If it is 140/90 twice, six hours apart, take the second dose. Otherwise I am to stick with one dose each day.

Today I was back on the Penninsula for a growth scan. The kind folks at the fetal diagnostics center said he looks good – all measurements where in line with his gestational age and now weighs almost 5 lbs now. Yay! His fluid is the same as it has been for over two weeks, 6.7. His umbilical cord pressure also looks good. The doc there decided they would like me to come see them once a week for AFI/NSTs in addition to the one a week visits and AFI/NSTs at my Obs office. So from here on out we’ll be getting twice weekly scheduled checks. All the driving (25 miles each way to each appointment) is a drag but the peace of mind is worth it. The hospital OB also thinks I should get steroid shots soon – like at my next appointment. I guess we’ll see about that on Tuesday.

My ILs are coming for a visit tomorrow. I had to let them know I’m not up to my usual amount of activity or hosting capabilities but it will be nice to see them anyway.

So, we are hanging in there. And he’ll be here before we know it. It still feels like a fantasy. Even though I get to see him at least twice a week.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Showered with love


shower mosaic
Originally uploaded by sarahewk
And lots of tiny…stuff. Our baby shower was yesterday and it was lovely. Hot but lovely. I was extra cranky – I spent most of Saturday nauseous and dry heaving* which is um, not good for the old blood pressure – and was really hoping that the festivities would be held inside at my brother’s house. We got there and it was all lovingly set up outside on their patio in 85 degree heat. With misters (which my brother spent all day Saturday installing), but I don’t like getting wet. So yeah I wasn’t the most gracious guest of honor ever but we got past it thankfully!

It was an intimate family affair – about 15 people in all, including Scotty’s sisters, who flew up Friday night from southern California for the festivities and my mom’s sister, who came from Colorado.

My mom did a great job decorating with our little lion cub in mind. The decorations were all so cute – our stuffed lion collection graced the tables, the plates and napkins all had lions on them with cute little sayings, and the cake had a lion and a banner welcoming baby Kingsley. It was all just adorable.

The pile of gifts? Crazy! Two baby bathtubs, a diaper bag, a diaper caddy, two crib mobiles, butt paste galore, burp clothes, receiving blankets, almost 1000 wipes (seriously, it was a LOT of wipes), little tiny diapers, a few sweet little toys, a hand made blanket (from my mother) and just enough clothes (miraculously not all in the same size!) to get a little boy started. And Scott gave me a HUGE surprise – a digital SLR that I’ve been eying for a long time. We really wanted something that took great pictures without fail so we wouldn’t miss any great shots of our little guy. We only need a few more small things and we’ll be all set.

I sat on the floor of his room last night sorting through all the stuff. It is so amazing to me that it is our turn. Our turn to prepare as best as we know how for his arrival. Our turn to welcome a little tiny person into our home. It truly is a gift. The biggest, best gift I’ve ever been given.

*I know this can be a sign of pre-e so I checked in with my doc on Saturday night. He reviewed my symptoms and decided to take a watch and wait approach. If it was accompanied by any other symptoms or got worse I would have gone to L&D on Sunday. Thankfully when the heat broke on Sunday, it got better and my bp started coming down a bit. Our doc rocks – after our first call, he called back two hours later (at 11 pm Saturday night!) to check on me. Switching to him has been a revelation.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Testing, Testing

Yesterday was the day of tests. I dropped off my 24-hour urine collection at the lab and got another stick for my trouble. Then Scott and I made the trek to the BFH for fetal monitoring. The wonderful Susan did a amniotic fluid index (AFI) and found basically what my doc found last week -- fluid is at about 6.8. She said normal is 8-18 so we are definitely low. She also did a doppler of his umbilical cord. It was frightening to listen to -- it had a lot of breaks and flat lines that freaked me out. But once she got into the right spot it sounded fine according to her.

I was slated to come back in three weeks but she decided she wanted to advise my doc to have me come in once a week. She also wanted to do a NST on him since I hadn't felt him move much that morning. We waited while she called the doc and then called us back in to do the NST. Ah, what a sweet sound that is. I could listen to his little heart beating all day long! And as soon as the monitors are strapped on he goes wild, kicking and nudging as best he can. It never ceases to amaze me. I love his so much already. I laid there for almost 30 minutes listen to him and feeling him move and holding Scott's hand while tears ran down my face.

Today I have an appointment with my OB. We were scheduled for another NST and AFI but I think it may get skipped since we just did them yesterday. But I have questions. Loads of questions. Like, what can we expect from here on out? Can we expect a full term (even 37 weeks) vaginal delivery? Or should I be preparing for something earlier? And does his low fluid mean we need to do a c-section? Mom's coming with me so this should be interesting.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Done

Done with work that is. Ahhh. I finally finished the last three lingering work things. I’ve been out of work for almost a week and those three things were driving.me.crazy. But now they are done. Pfew.

Things on the pregnant front appear mostly okay. Last Thursday evening I had a bit of spotting and we made our inaugural trip to labor and delivery at the urging of my OB. I had a cervical check (still hard, closed, tight) and the lion cub did okay on the monitors. As soon as they were strapped on, he put on quite a show – moving all over the place.

Since then, things have been blessedly quiet. My bp has been fine, I’m exhausted and sleeping a lot, but otherwise okay. Our first check of the lion cub at the big fancy hospital is this afternoon. I’m nervous and scared so DH is going to come with me. We should get another peak at him while they measure his amniotic fluid and then they’ll check the status of his umbilical cord. I desperately hope all is well.

Coming up tomorrow is a non-stress test (NST) and results of my 24 hour urine test. Oh what fun!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Maternity leave begins now

So, I’m on maternity leave. My doc’s partner decided today that I am done with work. My bp has been rising since my 29 week appointment last week and today it hit their limit.

I guess I should back up. My bp hit their limit at home this morning and I called to find out what to do next. I was only able to get in to see them at the end of the day. Before I could get there I had some spotting and freaked out and demanded to get in right away. DH met me there and we waited for over an hour. I would have lost my mind if the lion cub hadn’t been putting on a show the whole time. I could feel that he was fine.

Anyway, there is no protein in my urine and I have no other signs of pre-e (no swelling, headache, etc). Ob decided that the rise in bp means that I need more rest than I am able to get while working so working is out. As of now. She checked my cervix and it is closed and hard and measuring fine (I forgot to ask what it was). She couldn’t find a source for the spotting. The baby is now head down and still active. My placenta is anterior lateral on my right side. She checked his fluid and it was hard to find. Uh oh. The total was 6.7 and she was looking for 10. She said it was borderline and that we could keep an eye on it weekly from here on out. If it drops to 5, that changes things. I was too preoccupied to ask how.

She has ordered a Doppler of his umbilical cord every 3 weeks to make sure it is functioning properly. I have weekly appointments for non-stress tests and fluid checks. She added a blood pressure drug to my current low dose of nefedipine after consultation with my regular OB. Normally you wouldn’t take them together but one is a very low dose so they decided it would be okay. I am to take it easy (preferably lying on my side), drink lots of water, and rest up. She said that I can attend my shower on the 18th but I am to act queen like and let people wait on me.

So, no more work. I filled out my disability paperwork and sent my last emails. My bosses are great and more worried about me and baby than any work I didn’t finish.

It isn’t what I expected today to be like but I will do whatever I need to do to take care of my boy.

Monday, May 5, 2008

sewing for me and the baby


sewing for me and the baby
Originally uploaded by sarahewk
On a lighter topic, you may have noticed that this blog is called Sarah Sews. Even though I haven't written about sewing in a long time, I really do sew. Lately it's been all about maternity clothes -- making cute tops that actually fit and don't cost a fortune and hemming too long pants.

The blue top was my first foray into altering a pattern to fit my pregnant belly. I made a top from that pattern before and decided to make it again but to add length and width to the front. Unfortunately, the day of the photo (which sucks) was about the only time it fit properly.

The striped T was my next effort and much easier I think. I used a pattern that was already suitable to an expanding belly and sewed it up in a very stretchy knit just in case. When I made it in February, it was a bit too big for even a pg belly. But almost three months later it works like a charm.

The floral top was also altered -- again I added length and width to the front piece to accommodate the belly. I also made a self tie belt to keep from looking like I was wearing a tent.

The last photo is the first of many sewing projects for the nursery. The crib skirt has been on my list since we bought the crib in January. I am storing a few boxes of extra linens under there and I just got tired of looking at them. The pattern called for a pleat that I skipped and I added 5.5" to the length so that it would reach to the floor and really hide the mysteries that lurk beneath. When it is time to lower the mattress, I'll hem it to fit. I was lucky enough to have both of the materials I used for it in my stash and I got the pattern at a Hancock's $1 pattern sale months ago.

The nursery is coming along. Luckily, we painted the room over a year ago and had most of the furniture already. On the top portion of the chair rail We used Behr's Bird of Paradise (a bright sunset orange) and on the bottom is Behr's Toasted Almond. All we really needed was a crib, a glider and accessories. The crib is Bratt Decor's Dick crib in white. The crib sheet is from Baby Gap's new line of organic mix and match bedding. I was thrilled when I saw the brown safari prints -- perfect for our khaki and orange safari nursery. I also got the sheet in brown dots. I love the way both look with the crib skirt like a spendy custom set only cheap cheap cheap for this frugal mama-to-be.

The crib is currently filled with piles of tiny little clothes, all sorted out by size waiting for the baskets that will go in the credenza/changing table.

Next up, putting something on the walls, and making a new roman shade to go with the fun brown accessories.

There are more photos on my flickr page.

Mama-to-be blues

The closer I get to meeting the lion cub, the more anxious I get.

This dream is too good to be true. And I am not lucky enough to live it. Luck this good* comes to other people.

Every hour of every day I wait for the other shoe to drop. I wonder how it will happen. How will the dream get snatched away from me? When will it happen?

I wait and wait and wait.

While I’m waiting, I wash and fold his tiny tiny clothes. And I wonder if he’ll ever really wear them. Hubby and I practice our labor coping skills, and I wonder if I’ll ever get a chance to use them.

This dream is too good to be true.

* Conceiving your dream baby, after 3 long years of fruitless TTC, on the eve of your anniversary while on your dream vacation? That is some seriously good fortune.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tiny babies


DSCN9725.JPG
Originally uploaded by sarahewk
We were celebrating my mom's bday this weekend with my brothers, their wives and their kids (4 between them). The oldest nephew wanted to play jumpy on the couch with me. I told him I couldn't and when asked why, his mom asked him what was in the tummies of Aunt Sarah and Aunt Katie. He said, "Babies." When asked what kind, he said, "Tiny babies." It was so true and so sweet and I keep playing it over and over again in my head.

I'm now 28w4d and feeling the lion cub kicking up a storm most days. Last Wednesday, I had a sinus infection and was feeling terrible when he had a really big episode of furious jabs and DH finally got to feel him move again after weeks of waiting. The jabs were so big it freaked DH out! and he asked if the baby was okay. Yup, the giant jabs are proof of that. LOL.

Tonight while watching our beloved Sharks win game 7 in the first round, the little one was active all evening, giving big kicks after each goal and lots of rolling movement. It is such a joy I almost can't imagine giving it up to meet him.

But meet him we will, in 80 days or so. My list of things to do before the baby comes is long and daunting but I have to keep my head up and hope that it will all just get done. Maybe a load of baby onsies will make me feel more prepared. :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Happy Happy Happy

**cliff notes version: all is well at 26w4d, baby meets his movement quota easily so far and I feel great.

I’m sitting outside in the sun, eating my yummy BLT on toasted wheat, playing with my brand spanking new macbook laptop. I’m loving life and loving living in CA. It’s a gorgeous sunny day without a cloud in the bright blue sky.

The lion cub is doing well. Dr. Wonderful suggested I start doing daily kick counts, a few weeks earlier than the norm but he felt like it would give me some peace of mind and he wanted to know if his movement decreased at all. I’ve been doing them for about a week and so far he meets his daily quota easily. Yay!

My monthly appointment last week was uneventful. The doc said my weight gain was good (about 15 lbs so far), my bp was good (122/70), my urine was good, and my fundal height was right on track (I have no idea what the actual measurement was). He said I’m healthy and doing well and I loved every minute of it. He rocks.

I finished up our registries last week and it felt so good to pick out the last few things for our sweet little boy. I can’t believe I get to do it. Being pregnant thrills me everyday and makes me a little giddy.

My mom is ready to send out the baby shower invites any day and we learned last week that my husband’s two sisters, including the SIL who is due 3 days before me, will be making the trip up from southern CA to celebrate with us. I am so touched that they are both making time to celebrate with us. The shower itself will be crazy – including me there will be four very pg women there – three due within a week of each other. I can’t wait to get pictures of us together.

On the home front, things are progressing nicely. We picked out all the stuff we need for the bathroom redo and got a schedule for our contractor/father of my SIL. End of May it is. I can hardly contain my excitement.

Dh and I spent last Saturday in the backyard rototilling it into some semblance of a level yard of dirt rather than a few mounds of rock hard clay. This weekend we have big plans to mark off beds and install the rock borders. If I am lucky I might get a few tomatoes in the ground. Woohoo! It’s our last free weekend until the baby arrives and I am hoping to wring every last bit of productivity from it as I can.

Next weekend we start birthing classes. Holy crap, that means birth is soon, doesn’t it??? Can’t I just stay pregnant for a lot longer? I’m loving it and as much as I want to meet our little guy, I could totally stay in this lovely place for six more months. LOL. As if. And I’m sure come June I’ll be begging for relief. But for now I’m milking it for all it’s worth.

Oh and the boy started getting hiccups last weekend! At least that is what I think they are – he just starts vibrating for a while, 20 minutes or so and then goes back to his peaceful little self. A few times a day now I notice it and it cracks me up. I can just picture his little body bouncing all over.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Nesting

I’m waiting (not at all patiently) for a loan check to arrive so that I can finally finish the home renovations we started three years ago when we bought our house. I was an idiot then and left the only full bath for last. When it was time to move in, not only had we still not started it, but we were out of money. It has sat in all it’s 1970s glory for the last three years mocking me. But for most of those years, I was more obsessed with making a baby, and how much that was going to cost, that I ignored it to the best of my ability.

Until I realized this winter that I would be spending the next 5 years bathing my child in that disgusting tub with the cracked tile. And that just will not do. It makes me want to cry when I think about it.

Of course my dear sweet hubby and I don’t exactly have any spare cash lying around since he barely escaped a lay off at his company in December. We are lucky he has a paycheck, even if it has been reduced in size.

I spent months wondering how the heck I was going to get a new bathroom without pushing us to the brink when I realized that my lovely hefty 401K fit the bill. I took a loan at a great reduced interest rate and the check should be here by now (hence the not waiting patiently).

When it arrives I plan to do like apparently other pg women do. I’m so happy I’m not the only pregnant woman contemplating tearing apart my house just before I have a baby. After we signed the papers I realized that 15 weeks isn’t that long. Most home renovation projects take longer. But that’s all the time I have left. So it must do.

Dreams of a sparkly new bathroom to bathe our sweet little boy will keep me going. Right?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

No more bedrest

I spent 5 days alternating between the couch and bed and returned to work on Tuesday. I saw my OB yesterday afternoon and he said everything looks stable -- baby is okay, his fluid is good, cervix is tight, long and closed. I am to continue the nifedipine for two more weeks and see him in then. If everything still looks good then, I can discontinue the meds. He said working was fine but that I am not to overdo it. So no more bedrest for now! Yay!

He also mentioned that the boy is breech for now (he should turn soon). I’ve decided that his vigorous kicking is the reason for the pressure and pain low in my pelvis. I’ll put up with it for an active, healthy baby.

The appointment today made me so thankful that I switched OBs. He asks all the right questions and listens to my answers. And he’s funny. When he did the u/s to check on the baby’s fluid, he said, and I quote, “And there’s his wee wee.” I just about rolled off the table laughing.

I’m so relieved that things look good. I worked myself into a fit last week thinking about the baby coming early and the negative consequences that would surely result at this stage. And I wasn’t just scared about what might happen to him, I was sad for myself. Sad that the pregnancy I dreamed about might be over so soon. Before last week, I had been feeling great and really enjoyed being pregnant. I love my big belly and my crazy big pornstar boobs. I’m not ready to give up how great this feels and he just is not ready to come yet. I’m really thankful that I don’t have to deal with giving up pregnancy yet or about our baby being way too early.

The only other baby news is that the carseat was delivered while I was out of the office. I ordered it when I realized last week that the pattern was being discontinued. Rather than wait for our shower and miss getting the one we really want because it is no longer available, I found a great close out deal and ordered it now. DH spent over an hour last night reading the whole manual and checking out all the safety features. He was engrossed in all things safety. He’s going to be a great dad.

Friday, March 14, 2008

23 weeks

Today I am 23 weeks pregnant. Our little boy is growing and squirming and jabs me throughout the day. It is magic and I cherish it. Sometimes it tickles and sometimes it’s a little painful, but each time it reminds me that he is alive and well, just where he is supposed to be.

Two days of bedrest and I’m feeling much better. The pressure in my pelvis (the reason this whole scary episode started in the first place) has subsided a great deal. I no longer feel like there’s something bulging in my vagina and I am no longer conscious of my pelvis 24/7. My abdomen is still more sore than I would like but I haven’t had a sharp shooting pain since Thursday and that feels like some improvement.

On Wednesday, when I made the mad dash to my OB’s, my dear hubby had been at home all day with a terrible cold. I went home to get him and made him drive me 30 miles back to the OB’s office (which is near my work). Thursday he was still too sick to work and really too sick to take care of me, even if I needed it. So I called in reinforcements. We are so lucky that my family lives nearby! My mom brought us a stockpile of chicken noodle soup, crackers, and a beautiful pot of spring flowers to brighten up our dreary house. She did dishes and made us lunch before leaving us to nap.

Thankfully hubby was much better today and braved going back to work. Unfortunately, we need him to work more than I needed him at home. He doesn’t have a giant stockpile of vacation days like I do and what he does have we need to save for July, when hopefully the baby will arrive right on time.

I heard from my OB today and he feels that this episode is not uncommon and that it rarely results in anything “bad.” He thinks I need to lay low, rest up, and that we’ll keep a close eye on any changes if they occur. I have a follow-up appointment with him on Tuesday to check on my cervix and make sure they baby is still doing okay. If there are any worrisome changes before then, I am to go to an ER. If we discover any at Tuesday’s appointment, we will pursue further testing and explore other options. Until then, I am to relax, drink a lot of water, and stay off my feet.

Once DH got home from work tonight, I took a shower and feel so much better. Being clean and putting on clean clothes does wonders. How sad that that is the highlight of my day! I made a list and am sending him out to the grocery store and hoping he can pick up a few DVDs on the way home since I have watched every thing on our Tivo and I can only read so many books about pregnancy and labor a day.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Damn ** UPDATED

So um crap. I've been feeling a lot of pressure in my pelvis since last Thursday. At first it was in short bursts, but it got more frequent and intense until I got totally freaked out and called my doc today. They had me come in this afternoon. They checked my cervix and it is hard and closed, but they were concerned about what I thought was general abdominal tenderness, but which is really freaking early contractions, not of the braxton hicks type. Damn damn damn.

She checked the baby and his hb was fine and his fluid was good. He kicked me all afternoon so I felt pretty good that he was doing well even if my damn uterus is trying to mess with him.

The doc ordered two days of bedrest to start (I thought DH was going to faint when he heard her say that) plus nifedepine to stop the contractions. I'm supposed to check in on Monday to report back.

Please send us some good vibes. It is much too early for our little lion cub to even be thinking of making an appearance.

For now, I'm feet up on the couch with my water and my laptop, hoping to keep occupied...

**Updated to add that now that I've had time to think about it some more, I feel like an idiot. I was worried two months ago that two health issues (asthma and inflamatory bowel disease) put me at risk for preterm labor and that my old doc wasn't watching me closely enough. It turns out I wasn't watching me closely enough. I'm going to email my doc today to see what else I need to know and what comes next. I need to do everything I can to protect our little boy and make sure he gets the best start possible. I don't want to fail him.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Great Day!

For weeks I’ve been feeling the baby move in my belly. It is as wonderous and magical as I imagined it would be. Every night as DH and I watch TV I tell him to put his hand on my tummy, hoping he’ll be able to feel it too. Up until now, he just gets the feeling of my pulse.

All afternoon at work I felt pressure in my pelvis and was a little worried something might be amiss. Then I realized that the baby is deep in my pelvis. And he’s moving. Pushing and jabbing and making himself comfy. I’ll deal with discomfort if it means he’s active. On the drive home I put my hand on my lower abdomen and felt him move. From the outside! As soon as I got home I rushed inside and sat down and make DH put his hand there and sure enough, he felt it. His eyes lit up and he was so excited. He immediately started talking to the belly, saying hello. LOL.

Feels like a big milestone for us. One I’m thrilled we had a chance to reach.

The pregnancy is more than half over now. I’ll be 22w on Friday, which completely amazes me.

Other great things from this week:
• I switched to a new, kinder, gentler OB this week and am so relieved to have that all worked out. He delivers at a hospital with birthing suites that allow mom, dad and baby to room in for the duration of the stay (versus shared rooms at most other area hospitals). He delivers all his own patients (totally unheard of locally). He also dealt personally with infertility. I feel like I finally had a doctor who would understand all the emotional things that come with having a child after IF and is patient enough to help me work through them.
• My dad ordered our stroller. ☺ It’s the gift he gives to his kids on the birth of their first child apparently (he did it for both my brothers). I can’t wait to see it in person.
• We are closer to deciding what to do about childcare and DH and I are excited about our compromise.
• I figured out our taxes and instead of owing thousands as we have for the past three years (I suck at estimating our deductions), we are getting money back! Woohoo!
• We have plans to fix up the backyard so the lion cub and I can enjoy it this summer. Yea!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's a boy

We had our big u/s today and found out that we are having a boy. We are thrilled and so excited to meet him this summer.

I heard all about how great the big u/s is supposed to be and ours was so not that. The u/s itself was a little less than thrilling -- the tech wasn't allowed to tell us what was going on and it was not set up so I could see (no screen for me) but she did let me use a makeup mirror to take peeks at the screen. She was allowed to show us the full gender shot and it seemed obvious to all of us (DH and my mom were there too). She printed a few picutres but most of them are fuzzy. Oh well, at least we got to take a sneak peak and find out that we are expecting a son.

Regardless of how the actual u/s went, I was relieved that he seemed to be doing well and that I could count all his parts and watch him move a little. It feels incredible to have made it this far.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I’m scared

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is our anatomical u/s and all I can think about is how awful it would be if things didn’t look good. Hubby is absolutely giddy at the thought of finally knowing the sex of our child but all I can think about is how awful it will be if something isn’t right. I have no reason to think anything is wrong – other than some early bleeding, the pregnancy has been great with the baby measuring just right at every stage. The closer I get to the appointment the more scared I get.

I wish the fear would ease up at some point, but I know too much about all that can go wrong to ever really relax. Too many terrible things have happened to my friends IRL and in the IF community for me to believe that a healthy child is ever a sure thing.

Friday, February 8, 2008

If this is a dream, please don’t wake me

Where did January go? All month long I meant to post an update, any update, on our progress and I just couldn’t do it. I was nervous, and busy, and totally preoccupied. I wanted to share all of my concerns and joys with my fellow stirrup queens and just couldn’t get it together. I’m sorry.

I spent all of January in a haze. Thrilled one minute at the wonder of a real live pregnancy and totally terrified the next that it was really a very elaborate, life-like dream that was about to end quite abruptly as soon as the alarm went off. There were a million waking moments were my own life seemed too good to be true. How else to explain that after three years of heartbreak we finally conceived a child that seems to be doing well? And conceived on the eve of our 4th anniversary while in Paris no less! It’s definitely too good to be real life.

But then I feel movement. Little tiny flutters or a sharp thump and even I can’t deny that that must be real.

I spent most of January fretting about things that I have little control over – studies saying I’m at increased risk of adverse pregnancy and delivery outcomes because I have ulcerative colitis. Fears of gestational diabetes. Frustration that the hospital at which my doctor delivers is not known for mom or family friendly birth experiences. When we couldn’t conceive, I thought that I wouldn’t care about any of it, that nothing would matter if I had a healthy baby at the end of it. I was wrong. A healthy live baby is still the most important thing, but as I get farther along (18 weeks today!), the other stuff matters too. I want this experience to be as positive as possible. As I commented on Mel’s post about baby showers, if this is the only chance I get to do this, I want it to be good. I want to feel good and be as happy as I can be. I don’t want to be disappointed when it’s all over and look back with regret.

To help me feel good and embrace this amazing thing, I started whole birth prenatal yoga last month. It’s led by a doula/prenatal massage/lacation consultant who is also a yogi. She is a riot and I love the class. We spend an hour talking about pregnancy, usually with a topic of conversation, and then spend an hour doing yoga, focused on helping the body prepare for labor and motherhood. My fellow classmates have really helped me focus on the things I can do to make this experience all I want it to be, and let go of the rest. They are the best fertile friends an IF girl could have.

I know lots of other women who struggled with IF that refuse to prepare for a baby who might not be, and I expected I would be one of them. I’m not. DH and I spent the week after Christmas window shopping at every baby store within a 20 mile radius. We picked out a stroller, researched cribs, looked for a glider for the nursery and had a blast dreaming about our baby to be. A few weeks ago a crib I loved (but couldn’t afford) at super posh local baby boutique was dramatically marked down in their closing sale and we bought it and brought it home. And a few weeks after that we found the perfect glider at Costco and brought it home too (our family mantra is if you see it once at Costco and don’t buy then it will be gone next week). So instead of waiting until we are “safely” in the third trimester, we went whole hog and finished furnishing the nursery as soon as I was in the second. Sometimes I find DH in there stroking the soft velvet of the chair or staring longingly over the rail of the crib and it just breaks my heart.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Holiday catch-up

Things have been a little crazy around here. Scott and I take turns looking at each other every couple of days and asking if it is really real. Neither of us can believe that we actually managed to get pregnant, much less on our own, while on our dream vacation. Sure, I miscarried weeks before and that sucked (its suckiness hits me sometimes when I see women who are as pregnant as I'd be if that one little thing had stuck around). For all we knew it would take us another 18 months or IVF to get pregnant for good. How fabulously wrong we were -- for the better.

So around 10 weeks I started feeling better. It didn't last long! I had a great week though -- DH and I did some shopping and mailed off our Xmas cards and the gifts to his families. I made a great superman cape for our nephew. After that, I lost a lot of steam, seemingly overnight!

My family holidays have a special craziness. My older brother's bday is the 20th, my younger brother's bday is the 22nd and of course mine is the 27th. We were raised in a very Catholic household and Christmas was a special time all its own. But our family took it (and still takes it) to a whole other level. Growing up, we only had cake in December. And we fought to have separate parties. These days we all just hope to get calls on our big day and are happy to have a little private peace to our selves.

On the 22nd, we met up with my brother and his wife for a little hockey game. My SIL ordered my brother a box of chicago love -- chicago dogs and pizza and cheesecake. It was crazy -- everything (mustard and all!) was packed on dry ice. We all pigged out before the game and Joe and I were totally sick through the first two periods. I ended up throwing up at an intermission and then felt better. But a word to the wise -- chicago dogs are NOT good on the way back out. Those peppers burn! LOL. Our team lost but we had fun anyway -- we were also celebrating their new pregnancy. :) They have a 17 month old daughter and really wanted another child for a long time and were really worried about whether it would happen, given my brother's poor health this year and his scary prognosis. And we are all thrilled that we'll get to share this new thing together. My SIL and I are the only girls in our families and have been close since she started dating my brother 10 years ago, despite a 7 year age gap. They are so supportive of us and I'm so glad we are in a place were we can be supportive right back.

On the eve of Xmas eve I did a little more sewing and then took a nap before dinner with my dad and his wife. It was the only time we could find for us to get together and it turned out to be a really nice chance to just sit and talk with them instead of trying to talk in between seeing tons of other relatives. My dad already has 4 grandchildren but is very cautiously excited for us. He's more cautious than I would have expected considering that he's a big optimist, but I think seeing us so sad and scared for so long had an effect on him too and he doesn't want to get his hopes up too high. He prays for us and in our darkest hours was a real comfort to both of us with his trademark phrase -- God is good, God is great.

After dinner with my dad, I stayed up late sewing more capes for two more adorable nephews -- this time personalized with their own super hero emblems. :)

Christmas eve I was exhausted and a little stressed. We had a lot to do to get the house ready for a party for 10 adults and 4 kids. The living room had to be totally rearranged and I wasn't in the best shape to help. Poor hubby! We stayed up until 1:30 sewing and wrapping gifts and getting set up.

We slept in Christmas morning and had TJ's chocolate croissants for breakfast while opening our stockings. We decided months ago not to exchange gifts and it sounded great in theory but was tough to do in practice so we compromised and exchanged stocking stuffers. It was fun to think of sweet little things he would like. :) It turned out great and we both felt a nice sense of abundance even without any big gifts.

I made the mistake of making a regular weekend breakfast after that. So not a good idea. I spent the hours I was supposed to be getting food ready throwing up in our kitchen sink. Yuck! My lightbulb moment hit just as I was supposed to get dressed -- too much food, even two bites too many, means throwing up. So STOP eating!

The family thing was fun. My mom and G'ma came and brought my uncle and his longtime gf. They'd never been to our house so it was a treat to show off all our hard work. My brother's both were here with their four kids (six weeks to almost 3). The oldest napped through half the party and had to be bribed with presents to wake up. ;) The middle two are 4 months apart and are funny without even talking. They would walk up to the buffet, and reach up over their head to grab whatever food might be in reach. They ate everything they could get their little tiny hands on and left powdered sugar hand prints all over everything as proof! Baby Ali, just six weeks old, was a darling in her Christmas dress and sweetly slept through the party too. Opening gifts was a sight to behold -- paper everywhere -- but everyone seemed happy with their gifts. We even got one for Baby K -- a pair of tiny pink shoes with lions on them. We have no idea if it will be a girl, but we love lions and pink lions things are rare so my SIL snapped them up.

After everyone left we checked our mail and I was surprised to discover that I'd gotten my annual benefits letter from work and it included news of a raise, a promotion and a bonus. What a great gift! I work for a non-profit and never in a million years expected a bonus. I'm really thankful though as it will come in handy for all the things we need now that we didn't think we'd ever have to buy.

After everything calmed down we called to check in with the ILs and got another surprise. My SIL, the one with the 2 year old who came to visit in October, is also pg and is due 3 days before me. I wish I could say I handled the news well but I didn't. Instead of a feeling my own pregnant zen, I was a bitter pissed of IFer again. It really freaking stung. She's 40 and got pg both times without much effort. That alone kicks my ass. I know it shouldn't. But it does. I started trying when I was 31. And it took us 15 cycles to get pg, only to miscarry. Then 18 more to get pg again, only to miscarry badly. Sure I'm pg now but damn did that road suck. And hearing the ease with which other's conceive still kicks my ass apparently. I'm also a bit bitter than our child will have to share so much from the very beginning. SIL lives near the ILs, several hundred miles away from us. I can't imagine that they'll make the trip to see our little one when their daughter has one a few minutes away.

I spent the days after Christmas in a haze. I napped a lot and dreamed about our baby. At twelve weeks it really started to feel real. As the year drew to a close and a new year started, a year when we'd finally be parents, all I could think about was: This new year is the year we get our dream come true. Don't get me wrong, I still have moments, and heck days, when I get terrified that things will all go fantastically wrong, a larger part of me believes that this is finally our turn for things to go fantastically right. And I want to enjoy it, for all its wonder.

And my last bit of update: I had my 12 week check up today. All bloodwork and tests were fine, I lost a pound (thanks to a lingering cold) which is fine since I am overweight to begin with, bp is fine, all looks good. And we finally got to hear the hb, at a wondrous 150 bpm. Doc is happy with my progress and shares our wonder at our happy situation. She confirmed that at this point as long as all screening comes back fine, we are on cruise control for now, with good things on the horizon. NT scan is Monday and we'll get our results then.

I hope the new year brings peace and good things to all my fellow stirrup queens.