Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'll Take It

I had another exam today. Baby looked "sleepy, but happy," according to my MW. He just barely passed the NST. We also found out that I tested positive for Group B Strep, which really just means I may need some extra antibiotics come delivery time. Toward the end of the appointment, she hadn't done an internal and I asked if she planned to. I felt sort of stupid, as if I was asking, "Are you sure you don't want to stick your fingers up my vag today?" But, I'm really trying to beat the clock here and go into labor spontaneously prior to December 14th, otherwise I'll have to be induced.

Knowing my dilation/effacement really doesn't change the course of the future, but it really does make me feel better just to know if my body's gearing up to do this on its own. So, she said she'd check me if I wanted her to and I did. Last week, I was 1 cm/60% effaced and today I am 2 cm/70% effaced. Woohoo!

I know, I know, women can walk around like this for weeks and weeks without labor actually starting. However, it's more encouraging than being 0 cm/0% effaced. I've spent the afternoon researching whether there's any correlation between being dilated and actually starting active labor. I haven't found much, but I have to believe that there is at least some correlation.

I also feel like it shows my MW that my body's on track to do this on its own. I feel like she'll be less likely to recommend induction at 40 weeks if my body has been showing consistent progress up to that point.

She also said that if my cervix is favorable next week, she can strip my membranes. I asked her what "favorable" meant because I thought you just had to be dilated enough to get a finger in there. She said that since membrane stripping can be painful, she'll only do it if she's pretty sure it'll jumpstart labor, which will depend on my cervix. I'm off to spend the next week walking and having sex (not at the same time) in hopes of at least getting some more progress next week.

Also, I'm wondering if the MW last week either accidentally or intentionally stripped my membranes during my internal. I had one internal around 24 weeks after my spotting scare and didn't have any bleeding after that. I also haven't had any cramping or bleeding after today's internal. But, after last week's internal I had some pretty significant bleeding right afterwards and passed a few large clots/mucous clumps. I think it's a little weird that there would be one internal with lots of cramping and spotting and two with none at all.

Monday, November 23, 2009

37 Weeks and Counting

As of this past Saturday, I am lugging around a full-term baby. I'm so excited that he'll be here soon, but I'm so anxious because I want him here now. Aside from some pretty intense spotting after last week's internal (and we're talking enough spotting that I wonder if it wasn't part of my mucus plug) and some low, menstrual-like cramps, the wait continues. I spent yesterday afternoon walking, a half hour last night rocking and bouncing on an exercise ball, and forced my husband to have sex with me last night (ok, maybe not forced, as he really took no convincing).

I feel torn between being patient and letting Cashew show up on his own schedule and forcing things along to avoid an induction. We're still three weeks away from the likely induction date, so he still has plenty of time to decide to come out on his own.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pregnancy Etiquette 101

As I close in on the end of my first pregnancy, I've been contemplating the do's and don'ts of interacting with pregnant women. Here we go...


1. Tell a pregnant woman that she's "glowing." Yeah, it may not be true and we may even be fully aware that it's not true, but we're also vulnerable enough to believe anything anyone tells us, especially if it makes us feel like we're part of some miraculous process rather than victims of an unfortunate illness.

2. Make comments about the bump looking like a basketball. One of the best things I've been told is that I'm carrying the baby all out front like a basketball. I've seen the stretch marks on my hips and thighs, so I know that this baby weight is dispersed over a much wider swath than just my belly, but please lie to me anyway.

3. Offer me your seat/hold the door/pick things up that I drop on the floor. I'm not a big fan of playing the pregnancy card, but the truth is that it's very touching when friends, family members, and even random strangers offer to help out.

4. Touch my belly. This is totally personal preference, but it really doesn't bug me when people touch my belly, especially because I've found that almost everyone asks first. I'm excited and proud to be pregnant and people touching my belly simply lets me know that they're excited about it too.

5. Tell me about your pregnancy, labor, delivery, and kids. I've been amazed at how animated so many women become when they are talking about their own experiences with pregnancy and the early days of motherhood. It's really touching to see seemingly hard-ass women melt when talking about their kids. I'm also all in favor of receiving as much advice as people want to give me. It's completely free, makes people feel like they are helping, gives me some ideas, and it's totally up to me to follow it or not.

Don't (many of these are courtesy my mother-in-law):

1. Ask a pregnant woman how much weight she's gained. I would think this would go without saying, but apparently not. There's pretty much no way in hell that I want anyone to know the exact number of pounds I've gained. I am hardly willing to tally it up myself.

2. Make any comments suggesting that she/the baby is big. This would include saying things like, "Wow, you're only 7 months along! I thought you were further along than that." or "Does your doctor tell you that he's going to be a big baby?" or "I can't believe you're only X weeks more pregnant than Jane, she looks so much littler than you." I am of the belief that pregnancy should be a nine month hiatus from feeling self-conscious about your body.

3. Insist that she take your chair/let you carry something, etc. I am always happy when people offer to help me out, but I get truly annoyed when they insist on something. As an example, at one of my showers, my aunt offered me her chair (nice). I said thanks, but that I was more comfortable standing. She made a huge fuss over it and wouldn't shut up until I took her chair. The problem is that I was truly more comfortable standing. At that time, I had a baby's butt stuck in my rib cage and standing was the only thing that gave him the space he needed to disengage his tush from my ribs.

4. Give me advice that I've already chosen not to follow. Yes, I understand that you may feel like a minivan is the only possible mode of transportation for a family, but please don't tell me this repeatedly right after I show you our new SUV. At that point, it's not advice, since I've clearly already made a decision. Instead, it's just a passive guilt trip.

5. Tell me my birth plan is stupid. The way in which women give birth is a highly personal and individualized decision and I totally respect that fact. We are planning for a natural birth, but I wouldn't consider judging someone who opts for a medicated birth or even a planned C-section. Different strokes for different folks. What bugs me is when I tell people that we are taking Bradley classes and planning for a natural birth and they reply, "Good luck with that. That'll change as soon as you feel a contraction." I just find it such a cynical response. Even if you are completely right and I cave the instance my cervix starts dilating, please be polite enough to say, "That's great. I really hope it goes how you want it to." All the doubting comments from friends, family, and strangers are actually giving me more motivation to go natural. I'm starting to dread the thought of telling some of these naysayers that I got an epidural.

6. Ask me what we're naming it. I've made this mistake myself in the past before being pregnant. It really puts people on the spot and creates an awkward situation when I have to explain that we aren't sharing names in advance. Instead, I like it when people simply say, "Are you sharing the name in advance?" This gives me the clear option of saying, "No" and conveys that the person understands that many people don't want to share the name until the birthday rolls around.

I've been mulling these over all day and hope that I have the memory capacity to follow them the rest of my life. When you aren't pregnant, it's sort of easy to forget how some seemingly meaningless comments can sting.

In other news, we had a day full of doctor's appointments on Tuesday. My GD is well-controlled by adjustments to my diet, so I've been given the go-ahead to check my blood sugar 4x per day rather than 7. We also did a growth ultrasound on Tuesday to make sure the baby's not too big since that's the risk with GD babies. Luckily, he's in the 53rd percentile, weighting 6.5 pounds right now and on track to be about 8 pounds at 40 weeks. I also got my first internal and am 1 cm dilated and 60% effaced. At 36.5 weeks, it doesn't mean much, but I'm still encouraged to know my body's headed in the right direction. If I haven't gone into labor on my own by 40 weeks, I'll have to be induced, which I'm trying to avoid because it's harder to go natural since medically induced contractions are supposedly stronger and more painful. Being dilated at all is great because it gives my midwife the space she'll need to strip my membranes at 38.5 weeks if I haven't gone into labor yet.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Baby Party

Here's a video of Cashew playing in my belly this afternoon.

Work Shower

My coworkers had a shower for me this past Thursday.  It was so touching that they all thought of me.  I figured they'd all pitch in for a big gift or a gift certificate, but each and every person brought their own gift for Cashew.  We got lots of stuff, including some super cute clothes, a sleep positioner, and lots of diapers.  Between the work shower gifts and gift cards, we officially have everything we need for the baby.

I'll be 36 weeks tomorrow and am really crossing my fingers that he'll come early.  My husband is out of town this weekend going to a basketball and football game at our alma mater.  I'm trying not to begrudge him his fun, but it does kind of stink knowing that he's out drinking and hanging with the guys while I'm here eating crappy low-carb food and washing the baby's new clothes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Almost Finished Nursery

Now that we have just about a month to go, it's crunch time.  We're about 98% ready for this baby, meaning the hospital bag is packed, the baby clothes are washed, the freezer is filled with extra meals, and even the Christmas presents are purchased and wrapped.

Here are some pics of the nursery that will be Cashew's...

This rocking chair is the same one my mom rocked me in.  My friend custom made the seat cushion and "Rock-A-Bye Baby" pillow.  The fabric matches the curtains in the room.

Cashew already has quite the library started.  The shelf above the library is filled with A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh books.

Brett and I painted the wall stripes.  The toy trucks on the top of the changing table were Brett's dad's when he was a kid.

Here you can see lots of Classic Pooh stuff.  Once he's born, we'll be adding his initials to the H to make a monogram. 

These are the curtains Gina made.  I love this paper lantern over the rocking chair.  I think it'll be a soothing spot for middle of the night feedings.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Great Debate

As if I don't have enough to worry about, my mother decided to take a stand this weekend and forcefully voice her opinion that we need to baptize the baby. Her first choice would be that we baptize him in the Catholic church, but I am no longer a practicing Catholic and Brett never was, so I don't want to baptize the baby in the Catholic church.

Since moving here, we've been looking for a christian church that we are both comfortable with and I think we've finally found one. I told my mom that we would probably get the baby baptized there. While she's not happy that it's not a Catholic church, her newest "requirement" is that we have a big party to celebrate the baptism. My problem is that neither Brett nor I care particularly much about whether the baby's baptized or not. We are doing it, at least partially, for my mom. It just seems disingenuous to have a party to celebrate something that we aren't really that into.

I also don't want the stress of planning and hosting a party for the baptism. Furthermore, I don't want our friends and family members to feel like it's one more thing they have to bring us a present for. They've already done so much for us.

The party is apparently super important to my mom, as is the Catholic baptism thing. She has said that the first time she is alone with the baby, she plans to baptize him herself. This just feels like a huge intrusion.

Part of me wants to take the path of least resistance and give her everything she wants just to shut her up. But, part of me recognizes that this is a decision that needs to be made by my husband and I and that her opinion really doesn't matter. I feel like she is oftentimes inserting herself into my marriage in really unproductive ways. It's like she has no respect for the fact that Brett and I need to make some decisions on our own and she needs to learn to respect those decisions.

I'm frustrated that she's bringing it up now because I have a lot to deal with anyway. Between finishing up my last weeks of work, managing the GD, worrying about the health of this baby, and finishing up odds 'n' ends before his arrival, the last thing I need is another huge religious showdown with my mother.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Since I'm Whining

I'll just continue. We had our 10th birthing class last night. This instructor has been a major annoyance to me. I'm fine with her instructing us on the Bradley birth method, but she's also been quite opinionated about non-birth things like vaccinations, circumcision, even the H1N1 vaccine. Given that she's not a trained medical professional and only has training in the Bradley birthing method, I feel like she has no credibility on other issues.

She's been advising us against the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines, at one point claiming that they aren't recommended for pregnant women, which is completely false. She's a total hippie and claimed that you'll only get sick if you allow yourself to think you'll get sick. She believes that thoughts become things and negative thinking about illness will make you sick. I think this is BS and have gotten both the H1N1 and seasonal flu shots.

Anyhow, we show up for class last night and she is coughing, sneezing, and totally hoarse. She says, "I'm sick, but don't worry I don't have a fever." I think it's totally irresponsible to invite 7 pregnant women into your home when you are sick. At the very least, she should have emailed us all to let us know her symptoms so we could make the decision about whether we were comfortable being exposed to her. Once we got there, I felt like it would be too rude to turn around and leave since she was sick.

As we left last night, my husband quipped, "I guess she thought herself sick."

Why Yes, I'd Love for You to Watch My Child

Tuesday night I visited one more in-home child care provider. I'd like to share with you three red flags that should always warn you not to allow someone to watch your child 40+ hours per week...

1) When asked why she's registered than licensed, she said, "Well, if you are registered, the state allows you to self-police and if you are licensed, they police you. Besides, it's extra paperwork, which I'm not a fan of." That's right, she pretty much said that she didn't want anyone coming into check on the safety and cleanliness of her care.

2) I asked to see which part of her home infants sleep in. She led me to her living room, pointed at it through a doorway (we couldn't go in because there was a babygate up), and didn't even turn the lights on so I could see the room clearly. If there are sections of their home that they won't let you walk through or even see, that's a problem.

3) I asked whether she thought she'd have any openings in March 2010. She said that she has an open slot right now. I, of course, said that I assumed she'd fill that slot prior to March 2010. She said that if I gave her a one-week deposit, she'd save the slot for me. That's right, she has so little faith in her ability to attract one more child that she'll take $200 to reserve a slot four months in advance.

Now, my personal pet peeve is that she had some derogatory political cartoons on her fridge. I'm generally pretty liberal and I know that not everyone is, but I don't want my child to be watched by someone who is going to push their political views on him, particularly if I disagree with their politics. In addition to the political cartoons, she started talking about health reform and how Obama's trying to turn us into Canada. Big. Mistake. I just so happen to work in health care and have a masters degree in health policy. I also happen to be very supportive of health reform. Again, I don't think everyone has to agree with my politics, but I think it would be a wise business strategy to not push your politics on parents.

So, the end result is that she absolutely doesn't have our business.