Ramblings

I’m in that situation again where I’ve so much to cover and it’s just getting worse the longer I wait to write.
So, I’m going to try and skim over as much as I can and go on normally from there…

Easter was good. Saw both families. Clo was pretty good, but she wasn’t able to deal with all the people all day long. By the time we got home, she was super done and just wanted everyone to shut up and snuggle her.

We moved Chloé into her crib the weekend after Easter. It was not entirely without issue, although the issues were entirely my own. Even with the monitor, and her being literally next door to us, I was worried. I worried I wouldn’t hear her. I worried she’d not sleep as well in her crib as she had in her bassinet. I worried myself out of some really good sleep, since Clo stayed down for her typical 8-10 hours. We’ve had a few hiccups here and there, but in general she’s asleep in her crib by 9:30 and she’s up between 5 and 7.

LC visited from DC. It was awesome. She knows me so well, and my life and my family, that I talk about things and she just gets it all. It sucks that I don’t get to see her more, but I am so thankful for the time we get together. It was also kind of hilarious to see her with Chloé. LC is basically my polar opposite physically, and I think Clo really enjoyed the variety. The day after LC left, she sort of kept looking around me as if thinking, “Mom, where’s the tall blonde lady? She was fun, bring her back.” MFH always says this, but that doesn’t make it any less true: “Out of all the people we know [LC and her hubby], are the ones I wish could live closer.”

I’m no longer diabetic, so hooray for that. I knew it was 90-someodd percent likely that I would be free of it, but it was still nice to get the official outcome. I’m likely to get it again, if I’m ever pregnant again.

Clo can hear. I mean, I knew that, but Health Canada apparently likes to know as well. So officially, per Health Canada, she can hear.

I have New Mom Wrist. It’s annoying and actually hurts me periodically. I left it for a long time, because I kept thinking it would go away on its own. Now that I’ve been diagnosed, I’m trying to be super conscientious of how I’m holding Chloé. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I’m more concerned with just making her happy.

I can’t really wrap my head around being a Mom this Mother’s Day. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on it after the fact…

Wearing her curls this time 'round.

Wearing her curls this time ’round.

 

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On Hair Loss (and Other Surprisingly Awesome Things)

This week I’ve started to lose my hair again. If you followed me from the beginning, you’ll know that my hair remaining on my head was one of the symptoms that lead me to believe I was pregnant. (I was right.)

It took me about fifteen years to realize I had great hair. Mostly, I just had no idea how to manage it. It’s wavy. That means I can straighten it without too much of an issue, and it holds a curl without hair spray. In fact I never used hair spray unless I was in a play. Now that they make hairspray to handle frizzing (that I can’t feel while it’s in my head), I use it occasionally. Regardless, I finally figured out how my hair “worked.” I manipulated it and used it. Sometimes great hair got me the attention I needed to get hired. Weird, I know, but that’s showbiz.

But I hated my hair while I was pregnant.

I know a ton of women who LOVE the hair they get when pregnant. I am super happy for them. (Although it’s a bummer that they have to be pregnant in the exchange.) I was not a fan. I think it might be because I have the hair those women get when their pregnant when I’m not pregnant. (Don’t worry, I’ve got a ton of items in the “con” column to balance everything out.) When I’m pregnant…at least this time when I was pregnant…I had far too much of my far too thick hair coming out of my head. I didn’t know what to do with it, or how to make it do what I needed it to do. It was not good. When I was pregnant I had moments when I wanted to be extra pretty. I needed my hair, but there was nothing I could do to get it back.

Now it’s falling out again. It’s starting to fall like it used to. I feel, in possibly the weirdest way, like I’ve got a bit of myself back. I think this is how “normal” women feel when they are able to fit into their pre-pregnancy skinny jeans.

Chloé is almost 10 weeks old. She’s been sleeping through the night for about 5 weeks. That also does amazing things for me. (Although I guess I’m superficial enough to say I’m not sure whether I’m happier about the sleep or the normal hair. Then again, if I wasn’t getting sleep…well, maybe I can appreciate my hair because both of my eyes are all the way open. :p)

I’ve completely thrown out all external information about babies and sleep. I don’t even think about getting Clo ready for bed before 9. This is working for us. Clo feeds a couple times, gets bounced a bit, and falls asleep. It is a very rare night when she’s down later than 10:30p. There’s no real fighting. She rarely wakes before 6am. I get 8 hours, plus or minus, of straight sleep and we don’t fight any more.

This schedule also means that I have a different diaper for day and night. Pampers Swaddlers for day and Pampers Baby Dry for night. Why the two? Well, Baby Dry works so, so well at absorbing lots of nighttime wetness. What it doesn’t do well (IMHO) is dealing with non-wettness diaper issues. Lot’s of poops up the back doesn’t work for anyone. For me, it meant I went about three days before buying Swaddlers for the daytime. If your questioning why Pampers at all, that’s easy. They worked for me. I had free newborn Swaddlers and free newborn Huggies Little Snugglers. I’ll spare you the details, but I still have about 40 newborn Huggies hiding at the back of my change table.

Also this week I went to see OB-R about family planning. I’d more or less decided on an IUD, but I wanted her opinions (both on the option itself and the differences between IUD options themselves). Given my history and the possible future situation of having another little one, we went with the hormonal IUD. I had the typical side-effects of cramping (although those waited until I was about a block away from her office before starting) and spotting. There’s a 99.9% chance that I will not get pregnant. Unless I take it out. Then my changes of getting pregnant go back to normal. OB-R specifically asked me to “tell all [my] friends” about IUDs and their easy/awesomeness. And now I have. 🙂

Last but not least, we’ve started using a pacifier. I didn’t even want to start, but she was having fits of inconsolable crying for over a week. I had a sample of a silicone NUK, so I tried. She had it in her mouth for two minutes, and for the next four hours she was happy and content. It also makes outings and car rides super easy. I don’t know if she’s teething (or pre-teething) or what, but during the day, while it helps her I’ll use it. (She’s still sleeping fine without it.) As my grandmother said, “You can control it. And if it helps, it helps.”

So there we are. I’m about to put Clo in her Easter finery while we go off to our families’ gathering. I’ll tell you all about it later.

Chloé @ 9 weeks

Finally smiling after days of crankering.

 

 

 

 

 

Breastfeeding Sucks (aka Adventures in Jaundice)

I doubt it would surprise anyone that I planned to breastfeed 100% of the time. I wanted a pump so that at some point we could bottle feed breast milk (and I could leave the house for more than an hour at a time), but that was about the extent of my deviation from the standard plan.

Chloé was a champion feeder from the start. She opened her mouth super wide, latched well, and has a completely unencumbered tongue. Everyone from M2 to the TEGH nurses all commented on how well we both were doing with breastfeeding. By the time we got home, I felt like I was a true novice, but that I was well on my way to being comfortable with breastfeeding.

Then day 3 happened.

At about 2 am Chloé started refusing the breast. She was upset, crying at me. I kept trying to feed her and she kept refusing. This went on until 10 am. I noticed her lips were dry and chapped looking, and she was exhausted.

M2 came over and quickly determined two things: 1. Chloé had lost more than 10% of her body weight; and 2. Chloé was Jaundice. My milk hadn’t come in, and Chloé wasn’t getting enough in the way of food. Thankfully I had formula in the house from random samples I’d received. (And here I’m going to jump on a soap box for a second. To all you mothers who condemn women for even thinking about keeping formula in the house, my baby was literally starving. We didn’t have a car at the time, so we couldn’t just “drive out and get some” when we actually needed it. Having in the house did not “tempt” me to use it, it just meant it was there when my healthcare provider determined it was necessary to use. Okay, done, moving on…)

We learned how to cup feed and how to use the tube feeding to supplement with formula. It was stressful. Made more so by the need to go and get the level of Chloé’s jaundice tested. And all of that was made worse by the dreaded day 3 hormone drop. Anytime anyone said anything nice to me, I burst into tears. Literally had a wet face from about 2pm that day until about 6pm that night.

While we waited for her results, I went to TEGH’s breastfeeding clinic. I was shown a different way of expressing and sure enough, my milk had come in. Chloé feed well while there. Further, her jaundice blood work came back low enough that she didn’t need UV treatment, but they wanted us back in the morning to test again. I was told to continue supplementing to help pull her weight back up, and we were sent home.

Because Chloé is no dummy, she became super annoyed with breastfeeding. The cup and/or tube was faster and got food to her without any delay. My letdown of milk just wasn’t quick enough and she got impatient fast. Because I was terrified of starving her, I allowed her to eat her preferred way without pressing the breast issue.

The next day I went to the clinic again while waiting for her jaundice results. We talked about other methods of getting her feeding better, and they recommended I rent a pump until I got my own. Both to keep up and increase my supply, and to try and encourage a faster letdown. The lactation nurse also encouraged MFH to finger feed the extra supplement while I pumped after feeding. We found out that her jaundice was clearing, and her weight was up almost 2 oz since the day before.

The finger feeding caused more issues. Chloé loved to finger feed. She loved it so much she would cry if we tried anything else. I was pumping enough to feed her exclusively with breast milk, but she was barely feeding at all at the breast.

M2 came to check on us and we discussed the problem. She gave us time to get through the night doing what we were doing, but then set up a game plan to get her back to breastfeeding. We made a contingency plan to go to bottle feeding breast milk as a worst case scenario. To be honest, over the next 24 hours I was fairly certain that was how things were going to go.

But, armed with a night of relative ease, I spent the day fighting my daughter. The tube got put away. No more finger feeding. She got the option of breastfeeding or the cup. Neither were her preference. There was a lot of crying, from both of us. Then, almost like magic, she got tired of fighting me and fed like we’d never had any hiccups at all.

Even though things were going well, I was panicked that I wasn’t making enough food and her body weight would go back to being too low. It’s such a devastating feeling, to literally feel like you’re failing as a mother. It made me so sympathetic to every woman who’s ever decided–whether personal preference or because she had no choice–to feed formula or bottle feed breast milk rather than breastfeed.

Thankfully, though, at our next home visit M2 determined that Chloé was almost back to her birth weight. We celebrated the success and talked about the book she wants to write (called Breastfeeding Sucks). It would basically be about all the A-type moms who come to find out that breastfeeding is a lot harder then they were expecting, for any number of reasons.

As my preggo friend AB texted so eloquently, “Breastfeeding is hard!”

And even though it wasn’t actually hard for Chloé and me, it certainly wasn’t smooth sailing. I thought I might be done with it entirely several times. And while I am glad that we worked things out in the end, I have zero doubt in my mind that I would have happily gone to exclusively pumping and bottle feeding had it not. And I’m super glad that I had formula in my house when I needed it.

Happy Chloé

My happy, well-fed baby.

Term

Just to update everyone, my NST, blood pressure, and blood work was awesome today. I felt so guilty, laying there joking with MFH while two other women were admitted for actual labor. I do sort of feel like Spawn got ideas from their babies, though. I’ve been getting a lot more downward cervix pressure since being released. (MFH kept joking that Spawn had been given the advice to try down as an escape route. And Spawn’s all, “DOWN! I hadn’t thought of down! Thanks guys!”)

So unless Spawn figures out the escape hatch…until my appointment on Tuesday, I’m still just resting and waiting for more information…

In other news, I’m term. (Depending on who you ask, I’m either full term or early term. Either way, everyone can agree on the “term” part, so that’s what I’m using.)

Back when I did the midpoint roundup at 20 weeks, I thought it might be fun to check in again with some of the same points. So, without further ado, here we go…

37 Weeks Preggo

21 days left until Estimated Delivery Date, but Spawn will likely be induced a few weeks before

Spawn is approximately 20 inches from head to toes and weighs about 6.5 lbs. 

Symptoms: So much tiredness. Between having to pee all the time, and just the logistically difficulty of rolling over in bed, sleep is not as good as it used to be. I suppose not having to get up for work will improve things. Heaviness in the pelvic girdle makes everything vaguely uncomfortable. Full on stretchmarks, but only on my stomach.

Cravings: Nothing new.

Food Aversions: It’s not really a food, but I cannot stand standing/sitting/being next to someone who smokes. The smell completely puts me off. I have to move. It’s never been my favorite smell or anything, but now it’s extreme.

Maternity or Regular Clothes: Still both. Most of the regular clothes are pants that I can just roll the waistband down (or up in some foldover styles). Shoes are still pre-preggo size. Everything else pretty much has to be maternity.

Stretch Marks: As I mentioned, they have come and come well, but only on the stomach, generally centered around and below my belly button.

Belly Button Status: It’s massively stretched, but the scar tissue from my gall bladder surgery seems to be holding. (I have small “smile line” stretch marks on either side of my belly button from the expansion.) I doubt I’ll “pop out” in the end. Not going to lie, it looks a little bit like an anus. 😛

Names: TBA after birth…

Rings: Just this week, I’ve swelled up (Thanks GH). All rings are off.

Best Moment so Far: Having Spawn start to feel and move like a infant, rather than some sort of alien parasite.

Looking Forward to: Meeting Spawn on the outside.

So that’s the roundup. I’ll update soon. We shall see how it all goes…

The Game Plan

So…

I’m having the worst sleep of my entire pregnancy, which explains why I’m up at five a.m. typing here rather than…you know, sleeping.

I guess it’s pretty indicative of my feelings. I have a lot of last minute things to deal with, and my brain is making me repeat them over and over again, rather than letting me just get some sleep.

I met with OB-R yesterday. My blood pressure was still high, so I’ve been diagnosed with Gestational Hypertension. She’s taking over my primary care, which I’m actually pretty okay with all around. I donno if it’s because I’m “hers” now or just because of the situation, but working with OB-R yesterday was so much better than the speed-daemon appointments from before.

I got some more blood work done (seriously, at this point, I should just have a hep-lock put in). Urine as well. I also had a surprise ultrasound to check on Spawn. Apparently the high blood pressure can hinder growth. Not Spawn though. As usual that kid is “perfect” and measuring in the 60th percentile. Oh, and Spawn has a ton of hair, apparently, as well. Now I keep wondering what colour it’s going to be…

Anyways, the real point of all this is that some big decisions were made.

The first of which is that I have been medically ordered off work. This is the hard one for me. It’s the reason I’m up right now. I didn’t finish my projects at work, because I had no idea when I left on Wednesday that it would be my last day there. So now I have a running list of things I have to delegate off to my assistants and hope they get done close to the time I originally scheduled them for.

Please understand that I recognize that fixating about this stuff isn’t helping on the path to lowering my blood pressure. Unfortunately, it’s in my nature. I’ve managed to convince myself that I can handle the coordination of all this via phone and email…but even that took awhile to convince myself. (I really just want to go into work one more day…)

But, according to OB-R, I am to be the laziest couch potato ever. She encouraged me to marathon Netflix. At least it’s not full bed rest.

Part two of the game plan is constant monitoring. I have an at home blood pressure machine now. I also have to have a medical professional check me out every two days or so. (Sunday I go in for another NST and blood work; Tuesday I’m back in OB-R’s office.) I have a list of signs and symptoms that mean I need to whisk myself off to the hospital. If those various things happen, obviously the timetable on the rest moves up.

As you may have guessed at this point, the last part of the game plan is an induction. 37 to 38 weeks was bandied about early on, but I think we’re aiming for 38 weeks. (After all, I’m 37 weeks on Sunday.) The GD and GH together is a placental issue. Basically, my placenta is working so hard to insure that Spawn gets all the oxygen and sugar rich blood it can, that it’s making me sick doing so. Once I deliver the placenta, poof, all of this disappears. So the idea is to find the point in which Spawn has gotten everything from me, while also making sure I don’t get a severe drop in my own health.

Literally we’re looking for when “better out then in” hits.

An induction was never going to be my ideal situation. I know the risks and the procedures and what the numbers say. Somehow, though, I’m content with it all. I suspected Spawn would come early. I just thought it would be on our terms. The fact that it will now be determined by a doctor isn’t so bad, though. As I said last time, there is a bigger picture to this than me wanting my birth my way. There is a baby that will soon be another member of the human race. A brand new person to learn and grow and be launched into this life of endless possibilities.

And more and more, I’m coming to the conclusion that birth is just the start of all that. If the induction works perfectly and starts natural labor, awesome. If it doesn’t and I need pitocin, I’ll deal with that as well. And if it all goes wonky and it comes down to a c-section, then that will be okay again.

Because at the end of birth? I want a baby. A live, screaming baby. And everything else? At this point, who really cares?

Wild

The past couple days have been so crazy and all over the place. I’m really still not quite sure which way’s up, and feel like I need a day or two to just rest and recover.

Saturday, MFH and I had Christmas with my father and MBJ. It was a lovely day, but as always when my father is involved, it was a bit chaotic as well. (He’s literally the only person I know who can leave shoes behind at someone else’s house and not realize it until you tell him.)

Sunday, MFH and I had planned on cooking meals for freezing (and eating postpartum), but MFH was in the mood for more, so he invited some friends over to tryout some new boardgames. The night went overlong, and we both got to bed far later than we should have.

I’d noticed a bit of swelling in my feet on Sunday, with the right being noticeably more than the left. I let my GD team know about it, and they looked me over with a sympathetic, “This is 9 months pregnant swelling. Nothing to worry about.” My handling of GD was also nothing to worry about, apparently. I’ve basically been released, with the caveat that I need to get retested three months postpartum to confirm I am free of diabetes then. One thing of note was that my blood pressure was “elevated.” As my appointment with my midwife was the next day, my endocrinologist just told me to mention it.

So yesterday I had my midwife appointment and my blood pressure was still elevated. I’d invited Dad to the appointment so he could hear the heartbeat, but looking back it wasn’t the greatest situation for him to be involved with. Much like Stan Smith, my father is not his best in crisis mode. He’s high-strung at the best of times, so having M1 suggest I go to the hospital for a NST and toxicity bloodwork was a bit like pressing the “launch nukes” button for him.

Luckily (for me), Dad had to be dropped off to get his car and come back to the hospital. So instead of him sitting there, vibrating with panic next to me, I got to hang out with M2 (and later M1) in a calm corner of the hospital. I was trying to explain to various parties yesterday why I was never scared. Even when M2 mentioned that, “Worse case, you’ll be breastfeeding in 3 hours,” I was fine. I realized then that I trust my midwives 100%. In the face of my literal worst case scenario (barring a stillbirth), I felt completely calm. C-section? Welp, if you say I have to have one, then I know I have to have one. It was a really wonderful feeling of calm and control even in the face of a possible emergency.

In the end, we’re all fine. Spawn’s NST was “perfect” (seriously, I’m starting to wonder about this kid). My bloodwork was mostly normal. The one number that was slightly elevated was so close to normal that the on-call OB theorized it could literally just be my normal.

Still, the initial problem of the elevated blood pressure remains a concern. As M2 said, “this type of thing generally doesn’t get better until you deliver the placenta.” M1 bandied about various options, all of which involve more monitoring, but nothing was decided. I was tired and everyone was happy to release me to go sleep in my own bed.

Today, hopefully, I find out the game plan. I may be transferred fully back into OB-R’s care. I find that a bit hysterical after I just got completely put back into the care of my midwives, but I’m less concerned about then I expected to be. (Again, my trust in my midwives is without compare.) Alternatives to that would be twice a week appointments or weekly blood and NSTs.

When I got home one of my preggo friends, AB, messaged me about getting together one last time before we all gave birth. I responded with info about my day, and how I wanted to hear from the midwives before I made any plans. She called me shortly after and shared her own “change of plans” story. AB’s baby is small, breach, and her amniotic fluid is low. So, even though she was due a few days after me, she’s now got a c-section scheduled for the 12th.

We basically just yammered about our petty disappointments lessening with the realization that these little guys (or girls) are going to be here sooner rather than later. Funny how that works.

I was so pleased she called me to share her own story. We really barely know one another, but it was surprising how much the conversation really showcased how important it is to have someone in the same situation in your life. (It doesn’t hurt that she’s a really fun girl that I genuinely like. Also–and this one is mostly for LC–she says “I KNOW!” like AP-Stats class. :p)

There are two major things that came out of this whole experience. First of all, as I mentioned when I started, I’m exhausted. I need a break. Seriously considering taking tomorrow off work if I don’t end up having appointments or what not on Friday. If that doesn’t help, I may have to reconsider this whole work until the very last second idea of mine. If I’m going to twice a week appointments or weekly appointments plus hospital visits for tests, that only leaves me with three full work days a week. Since the midwives, hospital, and OB-R’s office are all within walking distance of my house and more like 40 mins from work, I’m wondering if a work-from home situation just makes more sense for everyone. Still, not going to talk to the owners until I actually know what the game plan is.

And the other issue? Being at the hospital with my midwives yesterday really hammered home to me that there is nothing “bad” about birthing at the hospital. The choice will be taken away from me entirely if I am completely transferred into the care of OB-R.  So, before that even becomes a possibility, I decided to chose the hospital over the birth centre.

It’s not what I thought I wanted, but as a wise man once said, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well you just might find…You get what you need.”

35 Week Musings

First and foremost, I have to share the (I feel) good news.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, I will no longer be seeing OB-R. She was super impressed with the responses of my GD team, and feels like there’s no point in me doubling up on care at this level of progress. She did, however, tell me I can’t have a homebirth. This is amusing to me, mostly because M1 flatly stated that I could still have a homebirth if that was my choice.

OB-R had a student midwife in who did my basic exam. There was a bit of an odd moment when the student measured my fundal height at 3 cm higher than I was last week. The student “double-checked” and I clocked in only 1 cm higher the second and third time. It’s crazy how that little bit of abnormality can make you instantly worried. Still, it was fine in the end.

Spawn’s head has at least partially engaged, which I’d suspected due to all the new weight on my pelvis. I don’t know that this actually means anything regarding the birth or the likelihood of it happening earlier or later than my due date. Still, my instincts that this one may make an appearance before the EDD are at least possible.

The best part of the whole appointment (besides being released from OB-R’s care) was the fact that my brother (MBJ) was able to hear Spawn’s heartbeat. MBJ has just moved up to Toronto from Houston, and he hasn’t had the opportunity to be much involved with me and this pregnancy besides finding out the gender. Spawn gave him a few good kicks on the weekend, but I think the heartbeat was really cool for him to hear.

So, to sum up, at this point I’m back to seeing only my midwives and my GD team. I have one more appointment with the GD team and then I will likely be released from their care as well. Things it will be like it was before, with my midwives handling all my care. The only difference being I’m self-checking my blood sugar 3-4 times a day.

I gotta say, I’m looking forward to it being just me and the Midwives again. As weird as it sounds, they know me. They know my past and my present and they’re doing as much as they can for my future. How could that not be comforting?

Speaking of…I’m going to talk more with M1 about the Birth Centre vs Hospital thing and see what her feedback is. I feel like I’m about 70% confident on my decision there, but I do want the feedback first. Then, I think a good chat with MFH will solidify the deal.

I’m getting to the point in this pregnancy that I can actually feel Spawn’s body from the outside. I occasionally find myself idly running my hand up and down Spawn’s back, thinking about what that will be like when there isn’t a layer of flesh between us. I’m not sure that I’m quite to the “get this thing out of me” point, but I’m starting to really look forward to life after birth. I can see how late-pregnancy symptoms will only get worse, and how at some point I will reach DEFCON 1 (‘cept for baby, not nuclear war).

Every day I cross more off my to-do lists, and feel more and more prepared. Of course, the thing about being a new parent is anything could happen. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not as prepared as I can be. It doesn’t innately mean I have no idea what I’m getting myself into.

A huge help in this department has come from work. We’ve hired my covers for Matt Leave. (I’m not going to lie, it’s flattering that they needed to find two people to replace me while I’m gone.) I’m still hoping I can come back in a work-from-home capacity this summer, but that’s all going to be played by ear. (See the paragraph prior regarding “anything could happen.”)

And in keeping with that “anything could happen” aspect, I packed my labor bag last night.  Part of it was a comment by a fellow blogger, who went in for a regular weekly checkup and ended up in the hospital. (Her attitude towards all the changes and interventions to her birth plan really inspired me to truly be zen about whatever happens. You can read her awesome birth story here.) Another part of it is just feeling like things are changing/moving towards labor as it is. Now, I haven’t packed the full-on “hospital bag,” but rather the things I’ll specifically want at labor. Worse case scenario, it’s ready even if I don’t have a change of clothes for the hospital stay…

All in all the pieces seem to be falling into place. Even though I’m feeling more and more heavy, and tired of feeling like I can’t go or do anything for longer than 20 minutes without having to pee, I really am pretty happy. Spawn is healthy, I’m strong, MFH is awesome and supportive. It seems petty to complain about some weight in my hips with the wealth of gifts around me.

We’re nearing the end–or rather, the start of a new beginning, Folks. All I can do is take it one day at a time…

Weighing My Options

I met up with M2 Wednesday, as well as the Student Midwife I shall call M3 for simplicity. M2 and I realized that we hadn’t seen each other for a loooong time. It was all the way back when I took my first GD screening test.

Anyways, we caught up and chatted a bunch after M3 checked me out. I was told my iron levels, blood pressure, and fundal height were all “really good.” It’s amazing how not being anorexic means I’m also not anemic. Shocking, that. 😛

I was also told–although I knew this one already–that Spawn is head down, back to my belly, hanging out on my right side. While there’s still a few weeks left for Spawn to change that up, it’s nice to think that (besides the right-side preference) Spawn’s in the preferred launch position.

About that, though…

Even though Spawn’s been head-down for a few weeks now, it wasn’t until the end of last week that I really noticed a change in the way I felt. Namely, like an approximately five pound bowling ball is hanging out in my pelvis. The feeling is so odd…almost like the pressure you feel when you need to pee, but radiating from pubic bone to hips and around my back all at once. I feel this bizarre need to hold up the bottom of my belly somehow. (Tried a support belt. Worked ok for walking around, but notsomuch for sitting.)

It’s really the first actual pregnancy symptom I’ve had (tiredness, boob pain, and GD notwithstanding). I remember women talking about having this feeling early on, and I feel terrible for them, wondering what it’s like now that there’s actual weight on their babies.

In theory, Spawn still has another 3 pounds or so to go before birth, so I feel like this weird pressure is just going to get worse. Hooray. :/

Something else we talked about was the Birth Centre vs. Hospital thing. As I’ve mentioned several times, the Birth Centre is my ideal. (Oh, and their website is finally up and running!) I can basically have my low-intervention, vaguely crunchy labor in beautiful surroundings and well rehearsed transfers to hospital for medical necessity.

But here’s the thing…

The Birthing Centre, as I’ve mentioned, has only three rooms. These three are shared with every midwifery in Toronto. Best case scenario, I go into labor, work my way into active labor, my midwife calls, they have a room, and we go. Awesome.

But I’m starting to wonder how I’m going to feel if I’m at home, working through active labor with MFH and my midwife and she calls and there is no room for me….and I completely lose my shit. Do I really want to take that chance?

The other point, and one that I am taking into consideration, is that M2 flat out said that the quality of care she can provide me is now better at the hospital then the Birth Centre/Home. Part of this is the GD, part of it is monitoring Spawn and making sure all’s good there. Now M1 was pretty adamant about there being no real difference. But when I went over the why of my hospital hesitation, M2 did bring up a really good point. I live 5 minutes away from TEGH. I can literally labor at home til the last moment and still get there in time.

One thing that both LC and Mom said, was that I could go into the whole thing with the idea in mind that I’m going to the hospital. Still have my midwife call about the centre, and if I get in it’s a happy surprise. I like it, I’m just not 100% confident that I can get my brain to think about it that way.

So, do I just throw in the towel on the Birth Centre all together? Or do I hold out and try to get a spot on the day? I can’t decide if just making the darn decision will take a load off my mind or if that’s just an excuse I’m giving myself.

We shall see…

In true Ms.I fashion, I have created a spreadsheet (well, several) for Spawn and Labor. One of the sheets is for my birth bag. I have everything I plan to bring on there…organized by if I have it already, have bought it and am waiting for it to come in, or need to get it. You’d think it would be enough to just put everything into a darn bag, but no, it is not. Not for me, at least. Part of it is that it’s difficult to actually pack stuff I’m currently using. Some of it is also just difficult to pack. I’m not going to be able to pack my snack bags of fruits and veggies until the day. But, it’s still good to know that I want to bring it.

Lists: an obsessive compulsive’s best friend. 🙂

33 Week Musings

So this week has been quite eventful already.

Monday I met with OB-R and my GD team again. Best news ever: No insulin for me! I’m also only being seen once more, right about 36 weeks. It’s such a relief to have this managed and, while things could change, I’m doing my best to think that they won’t.

The OB-R is still holding onto me for the moment. I’m really hoping after my next appointment, I’ll be done with her. Look, it’s not like she’s evil or anything. (She’s actually really quite lovely.) I just really don’t get why I’m going there. I wait 30-45 mins in the waiting room, get weighed/measured, she confirms everything my midwife has already told me (baby head-down, weight and fundal height normal), and I leave within ten minutes. That’s an hour out of my day for me to get nothing above what I’m already getting from my midwives. If I was on insulin or was drastically measuring off, then yes, I’d understand. I just find the whole thing really a waste of everyone’s time.

It’s also got me wondering if this is why a lot of women hate pregnancy. If you’re getting only ten minutes of support every few weeks, is that going to put a negative slant on how you feel about yourself? I feel like it probably would for me. Having my midwives greet me like a friend and talk to me about my life and how I look great, etc is part of what makes it easy to be happy in all of this. I’m never feeling like a number that needs to get in and out of the door.

Well, we’ll just see how it all goes.

Wednesday at our prenatal class, we discussed interventions. It was a super helpful class, because we went over the good, bad, and everything in between of various interventions. The overall idea was/is that if you know the cost/benefit now, you have a better idea of what you are or aren’t okay with. As opposed to having to figure it out while dealing with quickly spaced contractions.

I will say that seeing all the accoutrements that go along with an epidural (catheter, anyone?) made me even less inclined to get one. Seeing that needle certainly didn’t help, but it was more the “if you get an epidural then you also have to get/have this, this, and this,” that concerned me. All that stuff definitely has a place in my mind (hello clinical exhaustion!), I would just like to avoid it if at all possible.

Every class seems to be more and more helpful to both MFH and myself. It initiates conversations and clarifies our positions/preferences. Also, as I’ve said in the past, it’s just nice to get together with a bunch of others that are all basically going through it all with us.

Yesterday we took the hospital tour. It was maybe not as helpful/informative as I would have hoped for. MFH said he was happy we went, if only for the purely simple reason of knowing the basics where and what stuff is. Again, the idea being that perhaps the throes of labor is not the moment to try and figure out you’d really rather have a private postpartum room. (I would like to say that it’s awesome that our government covers 100% of your labor and hospital stay. For someone who doesn’t have health insurance through work or simply can’t afford anything else simply having a bed surrounded by professional caregivers is amazing. For me and MFH, who both have insurance through work, sharing that bed with three others in the same room is a last resort.)

The laboring rooms themselves were nicer than I expected. You can totally tell the designers were like, “Okay how do we make this look less like scene out of ER and more like a hotel room?” Everything super “medical” is hidden behind cabinetry. It still may not be my number one choice of locations, but touring the area at least helped me to completely make peace with the idea of birthing there. That alone I realize was worth the effort of going in for the tour. 

All of my weekly preggo emails have advised me that I’m probably starting to feel much less movement nowadays because Spawn is bigger and there’s less room to maneuver. Spawn clearly thinks this is hilarious, and spends much of the day showing off how easy it is to kick or punch through that lack of space to give yourself more room. I seriously have moments where I’m shocked that I have no bruising. Not necessarily because it hurts (although I’d be lying if I said it was totally comfortable), but more because it’s such a strong, powerful feeling. MFH has gotten in the habit of muttering, “Simmer down Spawn,” when the particularly strong movements cross from my belly onto him.

Last night Spawn decided to do some full-on restructuring of my stomach. When I looked down my whole belly skewed completely to the right side. I didn’t quite look non-preggo on the left side, but it was drastic enough that I was disconcerted. I kept rubbing the right-side popup asking what the heck Spawn was up to. Oddly enough, Spawn declined to answer. 😛

The only other thing I want to get out before wrapping up, is to once again say how lucky/blessed I am.

When I talked to CR about the probability of me just not having a shower, she immediately offered to throw one if I needed one. I declined, saying that I was talking to her about it more because I was trying to figure out what I still needed to buy (and that several people had started to ask me when it was going to be…). She then proceeded to buy Spawn’s mattress and Pack ‘n’ Play for us. As weird as it may sound, having that mattress in place makes me feel like we have an actual place to put Spawn down for sleeping, as opposed to just having an oddly shaped piece of furniture in our second bedroom.

And then this week my MIL and her sisters got together and told me that they were going to have a shower for me. It was completely unexpected. Not that it was something out of character for them or anything, but simply because with the holidays and just the general business with life and birthdays and what not, this time of year isn’t super convenient for anyone. It feels almost like a surprise party, and I’m so excited to get the two sides of my family together so we can all figure out how to make the world a better place for when Spawn comes into it.

MFH commented to me last night before drifting off to sleep that this whole thing has gone by surprisingly quickly. I agreed, and added that I think life tends to move at a clip when you’re happy. With only a few weeks left, I don’t see any slowdown in sight. And honestly, I’m perfectly, 100% okay with that. Happily along we go…

Holiday Cheermeister

Normally, I’m a pretty holiday-friendly person. I’ve never groaned at seeing Christmas or Chanukah themed items in stores as early as October. Even really terrible fake-bearded Santas make me smile. I go nuts for reindeer.

This year, though was super different. I felt the holidays coming sooner and harder than I ever remember feeling in my adult life. I looked back at my old posts and saw that I first commented on how much I was looking forward to the holidays in mid-September. That gives you a fairly good idea of how much my Christmas spirit was amped up early.

The Grinch

[© Universal Pictures]

Neither my GD diagnosis nor Toronto’s insane ice storm were able to down my excitement. Yes, we lost power, but MFH and I were with MFH’s family just outside of Barrie for it, so we really didn’t have to deal with it. (Although you know what’s super fun? Finding ice chips in your toothpaste a day after the power’s come back on. I don’t know that it’s a first-world problem, but man it was bizarre.) Our Christmas plans didn’t really change, even as the locations of each event got drastically altered.

On the 23rd I met my diabetes team. I have a Diabetes Specialist RN, my dietitian (that I’ve mentioned before), and now my diabetes doctor. Three women all working together to help me and baby stay healthy. I’d lost 2 and a half pounds since my visit last week, so everyone listened a lot closer to my concerns about low-carb eating and weight loss. I was told to eat more in between meals, and to add a complex starch to every meal. All my actual numbers were good, with the exception of my early morning fast. I assumed because I was in the fives I was okay, but they want me below 5.2 mmo/L if I’m not going to get on insulin at bedtime. (Basically my body isn’t getting that I don’t need to eat when I’m sleeping. It’s freaking out, thinking I’m starving, and making too much sugar.)

My three caregivers asked if I’m wanting to stay off insulin in order to keep my primary care with my midwives. When I said yes, they all said the same thing, “Okay, let’s do everything we can to correct this with food and keep you off insulin.” After four days of following their advice (eating more all day, eating right before bed, etc.) I managed a 5.1 mmo/L this morning. I cannot tell you how excited I was to see that number on my reader. I was thisclose to jumping on my poor sleeping husband and screaming incoherently at him.

Spawn’s totally down with all the extra food. The movement has really become strong. Whether kicks, stretches or rolling over, you can now pretty much see all movement from the outside. Sometimes I find it quite uncomfortable. Especially as now it’s typical to feel it in two or three places at once. MFH and I were seriously considering the possibility of us having an extremely active child yesterday. Maybe Spawn’s just claustrophobic?

As always Christmas was full of family, friends, and far too much in the way of generosity. Even Spawn cleaned up; gaining clothing, Canadian Olympic mittens, a few receiving blankets, a book, and an unbelievable rocking horse that whinnies and moves (and that I spent far too much time cuddling considering I’m a full-grown adult.).

Rocking Horse

Spawn’s First Pony

I felt everyone’s excitement for Spawn, and compassion for me dealing with the GD and still up in the air about my care. I’ve always felt like family, even with MFH’s extended family, but this Christmas everything deepened. I felt how this new tiny human was going to take on the traditions of mine and MFH’s family, not just the traditions we make as a new family of three.

People can talk all they want about how hard it is to raise children or, alternatively, how easy it is to do it alone, but I cannot imagine doing our thing any other way. Spawn has a village of grandparents, great-grandparents, first and great aunts and uncles, and a ton of second cousins excitedly waiting for the birth day. We are not alone in this. It may not be easy, but having the wealth of love certainly isn’t a downfall.

And that’s the most important part of all of this for me, I think. I have so many people helping me with my health and my happiness. I think without a single gift I would have felt just as blessed this Christmas. I love my family, both those I was born with and those I married in to. Spawn is going to be so lucky to have all of these people to call family from birth.

Maybe some part of me knew this was coming, and that was why I was so looking forward to Christmas 2013. And with years ahead of me with Spawn learning about Christmas and what it actually means (both to the world and to our friends and families), I really don’t see an end in sight.

I may drive people crazy being the Holiday Cheermeister, but I’m okay with that. I’ll calm down and stop singing The FairyTale of New York everywhere I go soon.

Until then…

Sing it with me?