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.