Wednesday, July 25, 2012

39 weeks


I had to fight the urge to forgo posting that second picture, because I look like a hot, sweaty mess.  But really, that's probably what I look like all of the time, so I might as well be authentic, and MJ is looking awfully sweet.  The belly is a full fledged seat these days.

I had my 39 week appointment today.  Pretty much zero progress.  I know these things supposedly mean nothing, but the scientist in me wants every data point possible.  I can't help feeling that if we actually plotted all of this data on effacement, dilation and eventual delivery, there really would be something useful there.  But Google Scholar showed me nothing useful on the subject.  It's almost like OB's want to study useful things like how to prevent pre-term labor and when induction is appropriate.  My impatient curiosity doesn't seem to be significant enough.

A woman in Target the other day informed me that I have dropped.  She says she used to be a labor and delivery nurse.  I've had a few people telling me this for weeks, but I actually agree with this woman.  The pelvic pressure has been much more severe the past few days.  Apparently I'm -1 station, which I think is what I was last week, but this week I feel it more.

In general, I've done a better job this week of just letting it be.  Embracing our time as a family of three.  I think this was helped by some random contractions about a week ago that were quite painful.  And all of a sudden I remembered, oh yeah, this is kind of going to suck.  In general, if I know something is going to suck I just want to be done with it.  But at that moment I decided it can wait a little longer.

I'm trying not to wish the summer away.  Between the intense heat and just wanting to be done, I'm having a hard time.  I had plans to take MJ to the pool so much this summer.  So far?  Not once.  That sounds super lame.  I'm still working to get the nursery ready, making curtains and sewing a banner.  I love how it's coming along.  Will post pictures soon.  I suspect I will keep working on it until the baby comes, just because I can, and then will call it done whenever she arrives.

My most awkward pregnancy moment of the week.  In the locker room after swim lessons, standing there in my maternity swimsuit with MJ, waiting for the one shower.  A VERY obese woman walks by, looks at me and says "Oy!  I wouldn't want to be you, you look so uncomfortable!"  I smile and say something innocuous, meanwhile thinking "You look way more uncomfortable than I feel."  But then, as the woman waddles away, MJ yells out "Why is she walking like that?  What's wrong with her?"  Thankfully the woman responded by turning around and saying "I have bad knees" because I had not a clue what to say to her at that instant.

I'm not sure what else I have to say.  I'm tired of all the commentary.  I know people are trying to be nice and friendly, but it just gets so old.  I dread the elevator ride, because I always get bombarded.  I'm tired of work, even though the alternative would be staying at home in a hot house.  I'm tired of getting so fatigued by a short walk.  I have to remind myself I'm dragging around an extra 44 lbs of weight, of course that's tiring (and thankfully my weight has plateaued these last weeks.)  Also, thankfully, I got a surge of energy about a week and a half ago.  Nesting, possibly?  Though I don't remember having it with MJ.  But I don't feel nearly as fatigued as I did, and I enjoy having the energy to cook and get stuff done again.  I'm tired of none of my clothes fitting.

I'm tired of the unknown.  DH doesn't understand why I'm making myself so crazy.  The best analogy I can think of is that I've just taken a very long hike, and on top of that I know I need to run a marathon, it's going to start soon, I just don't know when.  But I have to keep hiking until the marathon starts.  So the longer it goes, the more tired I'll be.  Get it?  Probably no.  But that's what I've got.

And then there was my freakout trip to labor and delivery last week.  Because she had decreased dramatically in movement.  And I woke up in the middle of the night, couldn't get her to move, and drove myself to L&D.  Pretty hysterical.  Panicking, probably.  She was totally fine, and she's back to her old level of movement, but that's apparently what late pregnancy does to me.  It's hard for me to accept that a baby who only moves five times in an hour is doing fine, when she generally moves that often in a five minute span. 

So there you have it.  I'm still loving Spacefem's statistics, which tells me I have about a 3% chance of delivering today, which will climb to ~6% per day at the end of the week.  That being said, I have only about a 30% chance of delivering by the end of the week.  But about a 75% chance of delivering in the next two weeks (all of these are non-induced numbers).  The last two weeks has pretty much flown by, so perhaps the next two will as well.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Working? (aka full term)

I had my performance review yesterday.  It was mediocre.  I have been mediocre.  It was also a probationary review, because I started here just over 6 months ago and that's how long my probationary period lasts.  After that I'm fully unionized and, you know, unions.  Love them or hate them, it is true that it's harder to fire a union employee.  So they make sure they like you before it's too hard to fire you.  

So, despite the fact that I’m mediocre and very pregnant and about to leave for several months, they are keeping me.  There was a small part of me that almost wanted them to let me go so that I have an excuse to not be here.  This is probably part of what makes me mediocre.  Also, I’m only here 75% of the time, so I simply don’t get as much done as other folks.  And I’m just not that excited about this job.  It’s good but not great.  I still see the potential for it to get a lot better, and part of the reason it hasn’t been great is just circumstances beyond anyone’s control.  Projects that haven’t gone as planned.  What is great is the hours.  And the flexibility.  It fits in so well with our family.  I feel like I still get to see my daughter a ton, and yet it keeps me sane and keeps my skills up.  Even though I don’t love it, I never dread it, so that’s something.  And, like I said, I keep hoping it will get better. 

It is a new thing to me, though, to be mediocre and be 100% fine with that.  While I’ve been okay with not being the best, I like to do good work and earn awards and accolades.  Now?  I just don’t care.  Does that do a disservice to women in the workplace?  I don’t really know, but it’s something I think about.  I hate to fit the stereotype, but here I am, fitting the stereotype.  Does that bother anyone else?

The other reason I’m mediocre right now, is that I’m just very pregnant.  I’m uncomfortable.  I’m distracted.  I don’t want to start new projects.  I hope that each day at the office will be my last for a long while. 

Things are starting to feel very close.  As I may have mentioned, I have it firmly lodged in my head that I will go early.  I wish I didn’t have this in my head, because I may still have a month (or a little more!) left.  This is, I think, the hardest part of pregnancy.  The discomfort isn’t great, but it doesn’t mess with my head.  The waiting messes with my head.  Each day could be like any other, or could be completely life changing.  If you walked out of your house in the morning and had a 0.5% chance (my current odds of going into labor on any given day) of your life changing in a dramatic, important and permanent way, wouldn’t that be hard to live with?  And what about when it becomes a 5% chance, the odds once I get closer to 40 weeks?  It’s not enough of a chance to plan for, and not enough of a chance to ignore.  That’s where my head’s at. 

I recently found this awesome website:

If you are as obsessed with labor statistics as I am at this moment, check it out.  This woman has a simple survey to compile statistics, and currently has over 2300 respondents.  Although there are some statistical issues with this method, there are with any method, and as her number of respondents goes up I think it becomes a more and more powerful tool.  Among the more interesting parts is her finding that second time moms actually go into labor, on average, later than they did with their first.  This means I would go into labor close to 41 weeks, not early. 

I pulled out my birth books the other day.  I read through MJ’s birth story.  That’s the first time I’ve read it in a long, long time and I came away feeling a lot more upbeat about the whole thing.  I forgot how low her heartrate got.  I forgot how much distress she was in.  One thing I have decided is that puking was the worst part of labor, not pain.  I avoided anti-nausea medications last time, because I didn’t want meds, and this time I’ve decided I’ll do whatever I can to avoid the nausea, because that’s what put me over the edge. 

I’ve also started to become a bit nervous about my water breaking unexpectedly.  It’s fairly rare (~10%) for your water to break before labor begins, but that’s what actually started my labor last time.  It may have been a random occurrence, or it may be how I labor.  I won’t know until it happens, and I’m hoping it won’t happen in public.  In addition, once my water broke, my labor was on.  So I’m nervous that I’ll get stuck somewhere, with hubs working an hour away in the middle of a long shift he can’t just leave, me with MJ and in so much pain I can’t drive.  These are the things I fret about. 

My mom visited for the past week and left yesterday.  It was so nice to have her here.  The help and the distraction were much appreciated.  We got the nursery ~85% complete; I’m excited to post pictures but want to wait until it’s done.  So you may have to wait for some finishing touches. 

And now that my Mom has left MJ must just deal with me.  I’m just a lump these days, and I feel bad for her.  Yesterday I tried to take MJ and Vito for a walk.  I seriously made it two blocks and nearly cried in pain.  Round ligament pain, I think.  I had to sit down on some random guy’s lawn to collect myself, then hobbled back home with dog and toddler, barely containing myself.  I’m sure that most people who saw me thought I was having contractions, because I am that pregnant and was clearly in that much pain.  But what kind of crazy person would take their toddler and dog for a walk while having contractions?  So my abilities are severely limited right now.  My legs feel restless from lack of activity, but the rest of my body just can’t handle it. 

Also, lots of cramping this week, but no real contractions.  At my midwife appointment yesterday I was 4-5 cm dilated at the outside and 1-2 on the inside (so essentially 1-2 cm).  It’s nice to know that all this pain is at least getting me somewhere and accomplishing something.  Up 43 pounds.  Down a lot of sleep.  It happened suddenly, but starting about 5 days ago sleep got really, really crappy.  I have discovered, though, that since the weather cooled down I can deal with this pregnancy thing a lot better.  Just trying to take it one day at a time.  One week at a time.  One midwife appointment at a time.  Trying very hard not to wish this time away, because I know full well how precious it is.  Like I said, it’s just the not knowing.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate this time, but the suspense is sometimes too much.  Coupled with the discomfort. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

36 weeks.

I should start this post by saying that I won't be offended if you want to step away from my blog for the next few weeks.  I know I'm being whiny.  I know deep down that I'm lucky and my discomforts are minor and temporary.  But this is my blog, and therefore this is where I whine.

Today's appointment was an odd one, mostly because it was the first one I've taken MJ to.  And because I had an internal exam that I forgot about.  I always try to shower for those.  Oops.

The appointment started with me peeing in a cup.  I find it odd that my midwife practice makes me do this at every appointment.  Is this normal for other folks?  During MJ's pregnancy (in a completely different office) I remember maybe once or twice being checked for protein.  I can't help but think this is just a ratcheting up of health care costs with unnecessary tests.

MJ was pretty fascinated by the concept of peeing in a cup.  She was only willing to go potty afterwards if I promised her that she did not have to pee in a cup.

The exam was fine, and thankfully MJ listened and sat in the chair (next to my head) for the actual exam.  I'm not too worried about traumatizing her, but I'm certain she would share whatever she learned with anyone who will listen at the 4th of July party, thus traumatizing me.  Mostly she just liked that it was an actual doctor's office, with an examining table, stethoscope, etc., just like in her books.

I'm up 41.5 pounds, which is half a pound in the last two weeks.  A much more respectable weight gain than the rest of my pregnancy, thankfully.  Furthermore, I'm 75% effaced and "baby is really low".  The midwife didn't use any words like engaged, etc., but kept reiterating that she was really low, asking if I felt like she was low.  I have been wondering this, given the random (and crippling) shooting pains in my pelvis.  It doesn't really feel like she dropped, because my belly seems to be in the same place.  But hearing this makes me at least feel like I'm not crazy for feeling like I'm so close.  I realize that these numbers don't really mean anything, I could still deliver at 42 weeks, but that's progress I don't have to worry about making later.

I am entering the bitching stage of pregnancy (I may have been in it for a while).  I am not a glowing pregnant lady.  Until recently I've at least been a happy pregnant lady, but I'm past that, too.  I've been whining a lot.  And grumbling a lot.  About the heat.  About pelvic pain.  About peeing ALLTHETIME.  About round ligament pain, which is much worse than last time around.  Probably because I had so much back and hip pain I was largely immobile (in that I simply didn't move) and didn't have the opportunity for the weight of my belly to be a problem.

I know this is nature's way of making us glad for the approaching discomfort that is labor and having a newborn.  When labor was done last time, I recall thinking how much better that was than pregnancy.  Having a newborn seemed so much more pleasant than being pregnant.  But labor and newbornhood is tough, so late pregnancy HAS to suck this much or we wouldn't feel this way.

I've discussed this theory of mine with other women.  I don't think most of them agree.

In other news, our mice are back.  Aren't they supposed to be living outside in the Minnesota summer while they can?  Also, our dining room lights no longer work and our third floor shower leaks into my daughter's bedroom.  I love having a 109 year old house.

Monday, July 2, 2012

(almost) 96 degrees and (almost) 36 weeks

Top ten things about being really pregnant when it's really hot.
1) swollen feet can only fit in flip flops anyway.
2) ice cream. All the time.
3) not only do I not have the energy to cook, but it's simply too hot. Two birds, one stone.
4) knowing that strapping a newborn to my chest would probably be even hotter. Enjoy it while it lasts.
5) swimming cools you off and makes you feel weightless. Bird, stone.
6) ice cream. All the time.
7) toddlers are usually willing to pick up everything off the floor that I can no longer reach. (not relevant but whatevs)
8) I'm having a really hard time thinking of ten things.
9) you'd be peeing a lot from all the water you have to ingest anyway? Bird, stone.
10) no need to wear pants. Ever.
This and two and six are really the only ones that count.