38 week appointment

Yesterday Hubby and I attended our 38 week appointment. We met yet another midwife in the clan o’midwives. There are 12 or so, and they all rotate on clinical duty and with being on call. I think so far I have met 4 of them during my 4 month tenure at the birth center. My regular appointment was moved from Friday AM to Wednesday PM, and the gal I was seeing on Friday mornings is now out on maternity leave. And then next week due to the holiday, we move to Tuesday and will likely meet yet another (a fifth) midwife. In a way I wish I didn’t meet them in advance, since any one of them could catch Elliott when he is born-depending on their on call rotation. Meeting them in advance has allowed me to form opinions about each one, and being as judgemental and opinionated as I am…. in my head I have already made my like and dislike list. Had I not met them, I wouldn’t have any pre-existing biases or preferences towards them.

The appointment was kinda odd, as this midwife offered unsolicited advice, and it was kinda out of left field. Luckily, I had a couple of questions based on random paranoia of my own for her.

  • I wanted to know if she could judge his size at this stage. I am starting to worry that he is going to be to big, and I am not going to be able to birth him. She said she could, but never told me and I forgot to ask, as I got caught up with the other questions.
  • I also wanted to know if he was going to keep on growing, as I don’t feel like I can get any bigger and still move around. She said yes, he would continue to grow…and yes, so would I. Damn it.
  • I have been getting sharp shooting pains in my breasts, and assumed that it was a sure fire sign that something was starting to brew. She confirmed that yes, that was likely a sign that my milk or pre-milk at this stage was beginning. And assured my all was well.
  • Lastly, I wanted to confirm that I had enough amniotic fluid. For some reason, I am all of a sudden paranoid about this. I think that it stems from several things. The first is that the birth class gives you all of these random things to look out for, and one of them is when you water breaks at the top, and just slowly trickles out. A lot of women don’t realize their bag of waters has broken…and infection, etc. can occur. They give you some acronym to check for…but I forgot what it was-COAT I think (color, odor, appearance and time…?) The second wave of paranoia is that I am excessively thirsty (I asked last week if this was common, and the midwife said yes) and don’t feel like I have to pee as much as I consume. So, I was all wrapped up in the idea that maybe I was so thirsty because I was loosing amniotic fluid, and needed all the liquid I was drinking to replace and replenish Elliott’s supply. The last reason I started to get worried is that when I move into certain positions, I can actually hear and feel the fluid displace in my upper torso. Imagine you are in the bath tub leaning back, and you go to move or sit up, and then water moves from the back side of you to the front. It kinda feels like that. Phew, after all of that worry-everything is fine there too. She prodded my belly, and squished him around and confirmed that he had plenty of fluid.

I asked what the next couple of weeks held as far as setting expectations for my appointments. I asked if I would be having any vaginal exams (I haven’t had one since I have been with the birth center-my only one was my initial exam at 9-10 weeks with my previous OB) or other tests. She said that they will continue with weekly appointments for the next 2 weeks, weight, BP, make sure the baby is head down and his heart rate is normal. Then on week 41 if I am still pregnant, they will want to see me 2 times a week to perform the non-stress tests. Then at 42 weeks, we can start discussing other options. She said that they do not perform any vaginal exams until after 41 weeks because they are invasive and unless there is worry-unnecessary. She also said that they are also uncomfortable for the mother, and tend to get a women’s hopes up with out being based on any definitive data. She said that regardless of how effaced or dilated you are-that at any time you can go into labor…so it instills a false sense of hope.

For me, all is well. The appointment was fine-BP is normal, a small bit of swelling but nothing major, Elliott’s HR is good, he is still head down and in position. I stopped looking at the scale, partly because I cant see it from my vantage point, partly because if there was an issue I am sure I would have heard about it, and mostly because it just serves to depress me (and why would I want to stress over my weight, when there will be plenty of time for scrutiny and self doubt after the delivery!). *Laugh*

Mobility is limited and energy levels are low. But, my attitude is good and I am 90% ready to have this baby. I still have a few more things to get settled (make sure my disability paperwork was completed and sent, finish packing my bag for the hospital, and do a final pass at cleaning the house), but if I went into labor right now, I would be happy.


Lessons-day 5

I am going to use Friday as a lesson that all good things come to those who work for them. Saturday started out a bit rocky but turned out great. Sunday was awesome too. I felt great both days. I think that my ‘cleanse’ made some room in my stomach for Elliott, and he has finally begun his slow decent into my pelvis. He is dropping!!! There is a noticeable visual difference in the shape of my tummy. I can breathe easier, move around easier and best yet…i think I might be able to sleep lying down in the bed again (for those of you unaware, I have been sleeping propped up on ladybug pillow in Elliott’s room).

The lightening has left me feeling a bit apprehensive about the inevitable of course, but what can you do! Just wait…

We meet with a prospective nanny yesterday. She has been nannying for a close friend of ours for 1.5 years, and they love her. However, they are going to need her less after the fall, and that is perfect timing for us to pick up her hours. After a bit of a rocky start, we finally arranged to meet with her for an interview yesterday. She doesn’t have any experience with newborns, and it seems that our friend has taught her most of what she knows about kids (aside from some classes in school and family obligations as it relates to watching kids). But, she seems very loving and willing to raise and handle the upbringing of our son however we direct her to. She realizes that we are the parents, and looks at herself as more of a helper than anything. The hours would work out for everyone, and she is in our price range (although at the very top). All of this assumes that I will be able to take a day off a week when I return to work after maternity leave. Hubby will be taking a day and half off from work to be at home with Elliott as well.

I crossed a couple of things off of the to-do list over the past few days.

  • Instead of buying a new bathrobe, I sewed belt loops onto my existing one
  • I printed out the pictures for Elliott’s baby book
  • I bought a nursing tank top for the hospital (since I have no idea what size bra I currently am or will be after my milk comes in)

I love checking things off of the to-do list!

Day 3 (aka the worst day of my life)

OK, that may be a slight exaggeration. But, only a very slight one. Yesterday I felt like I was dying. After my horrible ‘cleanse’, I proceeded to vomit several times. I must admit that after that I felt better. I had to cancel my lunch date, and after vomiting walked to 7-11 for a Slurpee (I was craving something sweet and fruity). I managed to keep that down, but couldn’t bring myself to eat until 8pm last night. My stomach felt like I was on the master cleanse x’s 100, and my pelvis and lower back were throbbing unbearably. I kept thinking that if this is what labor feels like…I want a c-section…forget the epidural. I want to go under the knife and forget about any semblance of pain (until after the surgery of course).

Hubby luckily saved me from my self destruction. We walked to the ice cream place in our neighborhood and I got a delicious honeydew sorbet-can you say YUM!

Then he put me in the bath tub, and when I say put (I mean he had to both help me in and out). He set up candles and my bath pillow. That helped with both the pain and to relax me. I don’t know what happened yesterday accept that my system went crazy either from purging or it just didn’t know what to do with itself.

But, I awoke today feeling great. Full of energy, and with little to no pain. I had a sewing date, but I cancelled just in case I had a relapse. The pelvic pressure is manageable and I suspect here to stay until Elliott’s arrival. But, overall a massive improvement over yesterday. I was even inspired by the sorbet from last night that I decided to give it whirl on my own, except I am making watermelon. I will let you know how it turns out.

Day 1

Today was my first day off from work. I have to report that not working is relaxing. However, I do feel a bit frustrated by my lack of ability to complete tasks due either to the basic lack of energy, mobility or both.

Last night was spent with a friend of a friend. Hubby’s best friend was in the peace corp. for 3 years, and in the process met his wife and some cool peeps. One of them was the chap we had dinner with last night.

He lives in Texas, but was out on SD for a work related conference. He sent us notification that he would be in town, and asked if we wanted to get together for drinks and or dinner, which we happily accepted.

We picked him up at the convention center, took a leisurely drive around town, and then decided on a fancy Mexican joint in Old Town (hubby picked the place, in spite of my resistance). The meal was nice, the company enjoyable and the weather was wonderful. We all came back to the house, and I checked email and played on the computer, while the boys built a fire in the backyard and chatted over a 6 pack of beer.

I dropped him off this AM, as hubby had an early work day this AM. I got a few chores done, and then went to Target to purchase a few necessities (Tums, Milk of Magnesia, x-large maxi pads for my hospital bag post-delivery) and return some unwanted items.

My girlfriend (who is out of work currently) came over, and we broke out my sewing machine. Gave it an inspection (this will be her maiden voyage), and set a date for tomorrow to purchase some fabric for what I hope is a very simple purse. If anyone is interested in a sewing date-we have one tentatively scheduled for Saturday during the day. BYOSM (bring your own sewing machine).

37 week check-up

I am officially full term in my pregnancy (as of yesterday). While it would be better for Elliott to bake a little while longer and gather some additional fat stores (which if he is like his Mommy-that shouldn’t be ANY problem)…if I did have him today he would be developmentally fine!

I went to the Midwife for my now weekly visit and all is well. My TB test was negative, my Group Beta Strep test was negative (yeah, no antibiotics post delivery), I (for once) didn’t gain any weight, my belly is measuring at 38.5 inches, and Elliott’s heart rate is a steady 130. Only light swelling, and my BP is normal. I am a model citizen! Apparently week 37 is when they talk to you about post-pregnancy contraception. She basically said-no matter if you are breast feeding full time or not, that if we don’t want to worry about a subsequent pregnancy after Elliott is born, to use protection every time we have sex. I told her about the great experience I had being on Depo Provera for 4 plus years and she suggested an IUD (with hormones), so I need to look into that.

Today, is also my last day of work. It was a busy day with 4 plus hours of training and therefore very little time for regret or reflection. Everyone keeps referring to my maternity leave as a vacation. Which, I keep reminding them is not really correct. Since, part of the reason I am not working is because of the overwhelming amount of discomfort I am in. I am trying not to be resentful at the inference.

I also have a long ‘to do’ list of things I need to get done while I am out on leave:

  • Pack my hospital bag
  • pack Elliott’s diaper bag
  • pick an outfit for him to wear on his journey home
  • finish organizing his dresser and room
  • get my car seat tested at the fire dept. or wherever they do that
  • file my disability paperwork
  • print out the pictures I want to include in his baby book
  • write a letter to him to include in his baby book
  • Buy a couple of nursing bra’s
  • buy a new bathrobe (for the hospital)
  • depending on my energy level-go to the dinner studio and prepare some meals to help after the baby is here
  • finish reading the birth books that are on my list
  • sterilize my breast pump and accessories
  • figure out how the Diaper Genie works (how can it be so complicated…?)
  • make sure i have the paperwork ready to sign Elliott up on my insurance (there is a 30 day window)
  • interview the pediatrician
  • decide on a birth control method
  • look into WW for after the baby arrives, and find out the protocol for nursing mom’s
  • Check on the classes offered at the hospital, enroll if any sound beneficial
  • Get paperwork, insurance docs, medical file, etc. ready for the hospital bag
  • get email/phone list prepared for when I go into Labor

I think that is it for now. I will add more items to the list as needed!

A waivering thought….

This morning, when I went into work I felt great. I began to question my decision to go out on maternity leave, wondering if I wasn’t going out too soon. Maybe I was a wimp, and just not giving it my all. My day was busy (which I realized was one of the things that has been lacking in my work days lately-I needed more stimuli).

I had to leave early today, because my doctor forgot to order and administer a required TB test, and I needed to get it done before my 37th week (tomorrow). So, I hustled out of my office today at 3pm and to the doctors office, had the TB test placed, made my way up stairs to the clinic and turned in my SDI paperwork for them to finish up, and mail in. Then made my way back home. By the time I was home, I was exhausted. I barely made my way up the front stairs with out a large sign and grunt.

Hubby was able to get home a bit early too. So, after some negotiation, we decide to take the dog for a walk. Usually we walk to the dog park and then do a loop around the park. But, I cant walk that far any more, and am very aware of my limitations. So, we drove to the park, and walked the loop. But, by the end of the less than 1 mile circle-I was exhausted, achy and sweaty. Kinda crabby too, I might add.

So, I have a renewed sense that, yes, I am ready to be out on leave. And, yes, I have thought thoroughly about my decision. And, no, I am not a wimp. And lastly, yes, I deserve this small break before Elliott’s arrival. My work will survive without me (sadly for me and my XL ego).

Summer begins

Summer officially begins on Thursday, and so does my maternity leave!

I went to see the Midwife for my 36 week appointment on Friday and asked when I could go out on leave, and she said any time I felt ready. I said, yup, I am ready and she wrote me out! I emailed (I was too chicken to tell him over the phone) my boss on Friday afternoon telling him the great news (he of course, wont find this great news), and letting him know I wanted to work through Wednesday since we have a new client on the calendar for Mon-Wed, and then start my leave on Thursday. He hasn’t responded yet. I left him a voice mail to be sure he wasn’t in cardiac arrest.

A side note about my boss…a nice enough guy. A real charming guy actually. We get along very well, and our work relationship is awesome. But, on a personal level…we are very different kinds of people. He is religious, conservative, and a bit of a sexist. He doesn’t like gays, and thinks that everyone is California is immoral and loose. We both have a strong work ethic and respect one another, so our personal feelings rarely collide. But, dealing with him as it relates to my leave has been a bit of a challenge in interpersonal skills and diplomacy on my part.

I offered to work from home if need be, and sit in on the new gals mock/practice training sessions. I doubt he will take me up on my offer, but I want him to know that I am team player and willing to assist him, even from home until Elliott arrives.

With perfect timing, my co-workers threw a baby shower for me on Friday, which was very nice! They had the cutest little shirts made with our company logo silk screened on them, and on the back it says my mommy loves her company. They also gave me a fat gift certificate for BabiesRUs. It was very nice and extremely thoughtful. I was flattered by the sentiment.

Tuesday I will be 37 weeks along, and I am ready to be on leave. I admire those women who work till the very end. But, either I am not one of them by nature, or this pregnancy is challenging for my body. Either way, I have worked through all of my guilt and feel ready to relax and accept the next few weeks as they come. I want to ensure that I am rested, and ready to accept the inevitable. I have been reading a great book that has helped me see that I need to be relaxed and willing in order to have a strong and positive birth experience. It says you don’t want to harbor feelings of stress or resentment as these may slow your labor down and cause you undo harm.

As for what I will do to fill my days, I don’t know. But, I suspect they might go something like this.

  • Get up and walk to the coffee shop for a half caff vanilla latte
  • walk a few blocks with the dog
  • eat some breakfast
  • do a few chores
  • read
  • call my aunt or some friends to see how everyone is doing
  • blog, read blogs, play on the www
  • eat lunch
  • take a nap
  • do some other chores
  • wash, and re-fold some of Elliott’s clothes
  • wait for hubby to come home
  • prepare dinner

Doesn’t that sound wonderful! On a few days, I may venture out of the house, and to the mall. Maybe to a friends house to lounge by the pool, or meet up with some other gals for a play date. It is an interesting time, because while its the first time I will have had soooo much time off with nothing scheduled, it is also a time where I have very little energy and my discomfort level is so high that leaving the house is sometimes more work than it is worth.

I am certain, that all things considered, being home will be much nicer and more enjoyable than sitting at work all day. Congrats to me! And a peaceful wish for Elliott’s eminent arrival.

9 months

I think I figured it out. I got a great night sleep last night, and feel really good today. But, I am just tired. I think I only have a set amount of energy these days, and work is zapping all of it. That is leaving me feeling drained and empty when I get home. Which leaves me resentful and stressed out knowing all of the other things I still have to get done.

So, Friday at my next Midwife appointment (where I will be almost 37 weeks)-I am going to ask her to write me out. If she wont write me out, I am going to ask her to write me out part-time and then ask her again next Friday to write me out for the remainder.

I don’t feel guilty anymore. I just feel tired, and that is totally justified.

I am ready for maternity leave

I am currently struggling with myself and my abilities. I am at home today, and not at work where i should be (or should i?). Therein lies my dilemma. If I feel like I am ready for maternity leave, will I be letting my boss, employer, husband or self down? Am I being weak, and a whiner?

Today marks my 36th week of being pregnant, and starting about half way through last week- I started to feel pretty run down. I don’t mean like I am getting a cold, or something like that. I mean-I am starting to really feel this pregnancy. My boss starting asking me last week, on daily basis when I thought I would be going out of leave (as if i can just set the date and go-I tried that and he shot that idea down). He is obviously worried about the transition, who will train our clients while I am out, and the like. But, inversely-he has known about my pregnancy almost as long as I have-and has had plenty of time to prepare.

Let me list of some of my complaints, hopefully it will make me feel better, and in my attempt to feel better through venting, perhaps win you over to my side.

  • Elliott’s favorite place in my womb is tucked nicely under my rib cage. I don’t mean just a foot either. I mean him whole body is nestled in there. This of course, means that I can not look over my shoulder when driving, I cant sit up straight or lean forward, nor can I breathe or eat with ease. It is also triggering painful BH. This position is especially comfortable for my son when I try to sleep lying down (like in bed). I have been sleeping on the couch, sitting up for the last few nights( which also helps with my chronic acid reflux and heartburn-a bonus).
  • The lack of sleep hasn’t affected me too much up until this point. I didn’t have any energy loss during the first 2 trimesters, and always managed to get enough rest and not feel too tired. Well, apparently those days (and nights) are over. I am now fatigued just as a matter of daily practice. So fatigue along with lack of sleep is a double whammy for me. And it is starting to grade on my patience and my nerves, as well as my energy levels.
  • Since my lack of restful nights, I am having increasing trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I rack my brain thinking about all of the lies and ways I can get out of going to work. But, do I really need to burden myself with this? I am ‘sick’ and am entitled to time off if I don’t feel well, for whatever reason, right?
  • I cant go to the bathroom (number 2). I have taken all of the midwives advise-eat a bowl of oatmeal with prunes every day. Take a DHA supplement, take a magnesium supplement. Walk or get exercise. Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day (what pregnant person who works full time can actually do this, although god knows I try). In addition to this daily regimen, I also eat a high fiber diet loaded with fruits and veggies. As a last ditch effort, I take a Colace or two every few days….but nothing seems to help.
  • Which brings me to my next problem that is triggered in part by the previous one…hemorrhoids. Yup, I have them. And from what I hear, they will only get worse with a vaginal birth. Yippee! Sitting for 8 plus hours a day at work doesn’t make them feel any better either.
  • Now this one is more superficial than anything…but, I have gained 40 odd pounds since the day I conceived (feelings regarding this is a post all on its own-which I will spare you). And even maternity clothes are uncomfortable. Is it OK for me to wear sweat pants everywhere? And when do I draw the line between comfort and just plain trashy.
  • Of course, there is my waddle. Now, I know that this happens to most pregnant women. It is inevitable, or so I hear. But, it is also unsightly and quite uncomfortable. I am grateful my body is releasing chemicals to aide and help in childbirth, trust me I am. But, try to get out of bed from a dead sleep, with an extremely full bladder, trying not to grunt and wake your husband-and make it to the bathroom before your sleep inertia wears off and you up for the next 1-2 hours. I look like a sumo wrestler when I first stand up, legs with a wide stance, trying not to put pressure on my back and throw that out of alignment. Then the wide leg walk/waddle to the RR starts. My legs, hips and lower back are so unstable I feel like I just ran a marathon.
  • Swelling on my left foot and ankle is a new thing. Although the more appropriate term would be cankle. And my plantar fasciitis is acting up (with the increased weight, lack of good shoes that fit, and swelling-no doubt).

I don’t want to complain too much, and scare any prospective parents to be off. I also realize that the 9th and final month is the last push, before the real pushing begins. So, I also want to mention some of the things I am grateful about, and feel joyous not to have-

Backaches, I only get them occasionally. I have a very supportive, loving and helpful husband. Sick days-I have a few saved up. A comfortable couch. I don’t have to work right now, since we managed to put a few bucks in the bank to prepare for this event. I got my first official stretchmark only yesterday (although my sister said she could see it in a photo from 2 weeks ago…but, she also told me I was fat-so I ignored most of what she said after that).

So, after all of that-here is my problem. I don’t want to be at work anymore. I am too tired, and when I am there I don’t have any strength left to do my household chores at home. But, I feel guilty about mentioning all of these reasons to my midwife, and asking her to write me out. But, I am 9 months pregnant, and working full time, and tired.

I feel silly complaining about this to you, my midwife, my husband, my boss, and my friends. But, I need to take my health and feelings seriously and not let my own inner guilt and drive push me beyond what I comfortable with. But, I also don’t want to be perceived as wimpy and weak. On the inverse, my Doula said that I should take this time to rest, and that if stress from work is causing me worry -to go on leave. She said that women who worry and don’t relax are more prone to late babies because you haven’t given their bodies a chance to relax and prepare for the birth.

I have my next appointment on Friday, and have a busy schedule at work this week. So, I have a few days to decide how to proceed (and by then I will be 37 weeks). Any suggestions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated and carefully considered prior to Friday.