Sunday, June 27, 2010

Amazing Lamaze


So we spent ALL DAY yesterday in Lamaze class.  We arrived at about 8:45 am and left at about 5:30 pm.  Looooong day.  But very well worth it.  The class was held in a trainer's home.  Her whole basement was dedicated to the teaching of the class.  In one room we set up our mats and pillows for breathing practice and in the other there were chairs and couches for the classroom portion where we watched a power point presentation and she lectured, with a birthing film at the very end. 

I'm SO GLAD we went.  When she first started, it became very clear that she was going to cover the entire child birth process beginning to end.  I started wondering if the birthing class at the hospital is going to be redundant, but now I figure another perspective won't be bad and also that they will speak specifically to our experience at our hospital.

In a nutshell, Lamaze is NOT breathing like a crazy person.  I thought it was.  I thought we'd feel ridiculous and I wondered if I'd be too embarrassed to actually do the techniques during labor.  In reality, it's much closer to the breathing and relaxation that I do in yoga and meditation.  It was so ME.  Very, very simple breathing techniques geared toward relaxing the mind and body so that we are not focusing on the pain.  The instructor created a most peaceful environment and the day was full of practicing how we're going to manage when the time comes.  Russ practiced rubbing my back (um, yeah, it was FULL of massage for me all day - bonus!) and we talked about what I liked and what I didn't. It was very bonding.  We practiced getting know my signals so that he knows when to do what.  We tried different laboring positions - some of which look like he's trying to keep me up when I'm drunk!

Surprisingly, most of the people there planned to have an epidural but wanted some tools to use during early labor.  While the instructor definitely led us to believe that an unmedicated birth is very, very doable, she never ever made anyone feel judged about their choices.  She went into great detail about how an unmedicated birth could potentially be.  She then explained the narcotic option (I had no idea that one was used so often!) and epidurals.  I left feeling that whatever option we choose, our baby will alright.  I definitely left feeling like I can totally do it all without anything, but I am worried about it going on for 20+ hours and how well I'll hang in there.  I can't say enough about how she made us feel that the experience can be a calm and beautiful one and nothing like the crazy scenes we see in movies and on TV. 

One thing she advised which I hadn't thought about is having 2 different bags.  One for labor and delivery and one for postpartum.  I obviously knew about the one bag with my robe and baby clothes in it, but it hadn't occurred to me to have one for all the things we'll need during labor.  One thing I'm going to bring is a little, cheap hand-held fan.  I hate being hot and sweaty and I think it'll help me feel good.  Also , I need to find out if I can have dim lights and candles (maybe battery operated ones if real ones aren't allowed?).  Pillows from home are a big one too.  My mind is full of possibility and I'm glad she got me thinking.

All day, I kept thinking that I couldn't believe we were actually sitting there learning about all this stuff.  I don't know when reality is going to set in, but to think that we could safely go into labor in a few weeks is more than I can wrap my mind around.  And then she'll be here!!!  Keeping my eye on the prize is the thing that I know will get me through any amount of pain and unease.  Bring it on.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Doctors and Diabetes


I hit the 30 week mark YAY!!!  There's something about being in the 30s that makes me all at once excited and scared.  This baby is coming and she's coming fast.  Whoa.  Am I ready?  Sure I am. 

Monday was a day of doctors.  I started at the pediatric cardiologist where they were finally able to tell me that Sofia's heart look normal, so no worries there.  I then went up to the endocrinologist where I learned that I would have to start insulin shots 3 times a day!!! Not what I expected at all. 

Then I had my OB appt.  My dr was hoping that I hadn't experienced any more painful contractions but I had to tell that I had.  She was very close to putting me on bed rest but I told her that I only had a week or so more of work, so I'm off that hook.  She just said I can't walk around and I need to take it "very easy".  I'm supposed to call/go in any time I feel at all concerned.  Her exact words were to have a "low threshold for contacting" them.  I'm so glad they don't think I'm crazy.  I've read that Braxton Hicks can sometimes feel crampy, but it's definitely not the norm.  I haven't had them too badly this week, so I hope they're gone for good.  I'm trying my best to stay hydrated so I hope that's helping.  Also, I was concerned because it seems I haven't gained weight in about a month but they weren't concerned at all.  I have some "reserve" as they say, so it's all good. Baby girl is growing quite nicely and that's what matters.  I'm stuck here at about a 19 pound weight gain and I'm fine with that!

Today I had a 3 hour class about how to eat with GD.  It was only me and the dietitian and it still took forever!!  I learned a lot, but am overwhelmed by how regimented I have to be!  I have to eat at exact times and have very specific food groupings at each meal.  I'm glad I went because I learned a lot, mostly that this could really be impacted baby girl which is motivation enough to be strict about it.  I'm just not used to having to force feed myself.  NOT that I'm not's just that I usually eat small snacks all day long and now I have to eat 3 small meals and 3 snacks which sounds fine until I put it into practice.  Once I'm done with a meal or snack, I can't have anything until the next one and that's going to be a challenge.  Also I have to have milk or yogurt 4 times a day!!  That's so much!  And getting in my protein might be tough too.  But I can do it!

Russ has put the nursery back together and I can't believe how much STUFF we have!!  And I still another shower!  I had to add more things to our registry because it was becoming depleted.  And it's like Christmas everyday with all of the gifts coming in the mail.  This part is FUN.

Saturday is our Lamaze class!!  It should be interesting to say the's all day from 9-5, how am I supposed to do that without a nap???  Yikes.  Next month we have the birthing class at the hospital but we wanted to learn this method specifically, so I'm excited but a little weary as the class is at some lady's house and I just hope it's a comfortable environment.  And I hope I don't feel silly about all that practice breathing!!  I'll let you all know...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day


Our big shower was last night and was sooo amazing!!  (Can't find my camera so no pics yet, hopefully it will turn up soon...)

I was mostly overwhelmed and overjoyed by the outpouring of love that our friends showed us.  My close friends got there early, set up the entire room while my mom was upstairs working on the food.  I was on the couch having more painful contractions like the ones I had earlier in the week.  I was a little stressed about not being available but it was a good lesson in letting go of control.  When I walked down to the party room, everything was perfect!!!  We received so many wonderful things and afterward (close to midnight!) my friends were like troops who all picked everything up from gifts to food trays and carried it up to our condo.  I swear if they weren't there, we would still be making trips up and down today!  I'm so grateful for these wonderful people in my life.  Can't wait to share the pics!!

So it's Father's Day.  I gave Russ a card and I loved the words.  It spoke to all the hard work he puts in for our family and after he read he said "I'm not a father yet..." and I had to disagree.  He is already the best dad there could be.

I've been reading magazine articles lately and chapters in some baby books that talk about how to deal with getting dad acclimated to his new role.  I find these articles so condescending!  Like men are clueless, bumbling idiots who might kill the baby if not properly supervised.  I realize that there are many men who are not as naturally skilled at the whole fatherhood thing as others might be, but in my opinion if we treat men like idiots (or anyone for that matter), that's exactly how they'll behave. 

I feel so fortunate to have a husband who is not only already co-parenting (in terms of making decisions and taking on responsibilities) but in many cases, he plans to be the lead.  Isn't that how it should be?  I guess that not everyone is so fortunate, so I need to be grateful for him every second of every day.  Happy Father's to Russ and all the other dads out there who are equal parents to their babies and babies to be!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

One shower down, two to go...


First of all, happy 29 weeks to us!  Next week will be 30 and that is just too darn close to 37 (full term) that it's starting to me anxious. Not my normal what-if-somethings-wrong-with-the-baby anxious, but a more holy-crap-we're-having-a-baby(!) anxious. It's very exciting.

Yesterday my work threw me a phenomenal shower!!! Lots of beautiful decorations, great food, and wonderful people! The prettiest cupcakes I've ever seen and super yummy too.  And they got Chik-fil-a chicken just for me cause it's my favorite.  Russ was a little uncomfortable at first because while he's met many of my co-workers (and is even good friends with a lot), there were a lot of strangers and it's just a little weird to be accepting gifts from strangers.

We got so many nice things!!! Our little place is filling up very quickly with stuff and it's only the beginning.  Gifts keep arriving in the mail and our next shower is Saturday so there will be even more stuff!  I have no pictures yet because the picture person hasn't gotten them to me, but soon!  I promise!

I've started checking my blood sugar 4TIMES A DAY!  I'll tell you what - this is the best way to lose weight ever!  Not that I'm trying, but I know I will.  I actually have to force myself to eat at the times I need to and once I eat, a 2 hour countdown begins and I can't have anything else until I check my sugar. So for instance, I just ate a frozen lean cuisine and while I can't say I'm full, I can't think of what else to eat so I'm done for now.  Normally I would have had the dinner, then maybe in a half hour or hour had something else like some popcorn or cereal but now I can't have anything until my bedtime snack.  I'm certain that I'm eating enough for the baby, so I'm not worried about that. So far I'm really enjoying seeing where my blood sugar is and trying to get it in the right range. I go back Monday to check in and I'm pretty sure they'll give me insulin shots to take because my morning numbers are pretty high, but that's OK.  I need to eat a low-carb high protein breakfast and I'm just not sure what to eat! Suggestions?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Eventful Day


What a day!! Long story short, everything is fine BUT I spent my morning in the Labor and Delivery ward.  Allow me to explain.

I woke up at midnight with a sharp pain in my lower uterus. I thought that maybe I needed to use the bathroom and that I was just going to have a big 'ol bowel movement, but that wasn't the case. It went away and I went back to sleep only to be awoken again an hour later. It felt like the worst menstrual cramps ever, but nothing that I had ever actually felt before. And in addition to the abdominal pain, there was radiating pain down my legs (which I sometimes get with my period) and radiating back pain.  The pain came in a wave that lasted maybe a minute and then was gone.  It came back an hour later and then 4 more times, about 60-90 minutes apart and it was pretty clear that they were contractions.

So I called my OB as soon as the office opened and they wanted to see me ASAP.  At this point I hadn't had any pain for almost 3 hours and was relieved but as I was walking into the hospital (where my OB is), it came again and then lingered. I felt like I had my period - mildly crampy and just icky in general. They checked me out and my cervix was perfectly tight.  They did that test (can't remember what it's called) where they check your level to see if you are going into labor anytime soon - it's just a vaginal culture. 

THEN she says she wants to send me to labor and delivery just to be sure! I have to say that I was a little freaked out.  I was alone and this is the first time Russ didn't come with me to an appt.  I was so sure that it was nothing...  So I'm walking through the hospital trying to find where I need to go and I'm trying not to cry. And then I get there and realize they basically have to admit me! I get a wristband and a room and have to wear a gown and everything! They could tell I was anxious and were really good at calming me down.

They hooked me up to monitors for baby's heart and contractions.  I sat there for a a couple hours and they let me go. The test came back negative which means there's a 99% chance that I WON'T go into labor in the next 2 weeks (thank goodness!). Russ was on the way into the hospital when they released me so he didn't get to see the whole thing, but I have to say I am impressed with the rooms and the nurses and am glad I'm delivering there.

So basically I'm fine and they chalked it up to maybe I was dehydrated or maybe it was for no good reason at all.  I'm supposed to "take it easy" for the next few days.  I wonder if that means host a shower for 75 people? =)

What did I learn? Well.......if the pain I felt last night is anything like labor pain, my whole unmedicated birth plan might be out the window. I have to remember thought that when I'm really in labor, the pain will be purposeful and I won't be scared like I was last night so maybe I can make it through.  We shall see.

My day ended at the endocrinologist (same building as my OB/hospital) where I got my glucose monitoring kit so I get to start poking tomorrow.  Fun, wow.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Exciting Week Ahead


I'm so excited about this week, I had to stop myself from crying on the way to work today.

On Wednesday, my work family is throwing me a shower.  It will be right after school (you know I work in a middle school, right?) and Russ will come and lots of people will be there. In fact I can't believe how many people!  I think it's close to 50 (and, yes, it could be because everyone loves free cake, but I like believing it's for me!). 

At work, I was very, very (sometimes too) open about my IF journey. My department and teachers always knew why I was out at appts and home on bed rest.  Their prayers and support were probably the most important thing to me during that time. They understood when I couldn't fulfill commitments and never (not once!) made me feel guilty about any of it. They jumped to help cover my responsibilities, asking for nothing in return.  They truly are a family and I'm so thankful that I have them. How could I have gone through 5 cycles without this amazingly generous support system?  I swear I want to throw them a party to say thank you.

On Saturday we're having our big shower bash!  My parents will be in town for it and we're expecting 50-60 people Saturday night.  There has been much planning and I'm so thankful to the friends who have helped me out (Shelley, Katie, Cheryl, and Emily ROCK!).  The fun begins at 7:30 and we have our bartenders booked til midnight so I hope everyone stays and has a great time.  I wish everyone reading this could come!!!

Bottom line is that I can't believe I'm having a shower.  A BABY shower.  Me.

There was a time this past fall when I came to terms with the realistic possibility that we'd never have a child.  Maybe we would adopt, but where on earth would we get the $$ for that?  I'm not saying I was OK with it, but I was processing my reality and choosing to accept what I couldn't change.  I know I've reminded you of this before, but remember that cycle 5 was a bonus for us.  Insurance approved it, so we went for it knowing that the statistics were not in our favor. My Dr. said "I've had it happen once or twice before, but by the 5th try your chances are minimal..."  So we went for it because we could and we were determined to exhaust our resources. I truly never thought it would work. And as you know, I HATE the fact that once I gave into it and (dare I say?) relaxed about it all, we hit the jackpot (mind you I LOVE that we hit the jackpot, but just hate that I proved so many people right who gave me annoying advice along the way).

And now baby Sofia is in there.  She's growing and kicking and tumbling and getting ready to make her appearance in this world. And I get to celebrate her all week long!!!  To anyone reading this who happens to be attending one of these events, I just need to warn you to expect many joyful tears. I am going to be one hot mess!  ...but in a good way. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Party's Over


It's official.  I have gestational diabetes.  BOO!

Bright side is I now have to eat well (though I wasn't eating too terribly before...).  I had already made an appt with the endocrinologist in anticipation of the news, so I'll see her on Tuesday.  I think they'll send me to a class to learn how to manage this over the next 2+ months.  This really means that I need to plan my meals much better.  I do far too much eating on the run which most often leads to eating poorly (I am a fan of the drive-thru window).  Luckily I'll be done with work in a couple weeks so I won't be as tempted to eat badly since I eat less in the summer (cause I'm not up at the crack of dawn!) and I'm home more and I don't keep bad food in the house.  It'll be good, but I was really was hoping to have dodged this bullet.

So here's the weird thing.  On Monday, my test results from last week come back (they had done a throat culture to see if I had strep or not because I was so sick all week).  Turns out that it was positive, but I'm positive for Group B Strep.  If you google that, you'll see that all of the information about it is written in terms of how group B strep impacts delivery and the infant.  If the baby contracts it during delivery, there can be dire consequences.  It says that many (most?) women are given a screening around 3 weeks to check. The screening is via vaginal swab since that's one of the main ways it's carried. 

So I get all that and understand that if one is a carrier of group B strep, they give you antibiotics during delivery and it significantly cuts down risks for baby.  What confuses me is that I had it in my throat and there's nothing that says "when found in the throat, it can cause the following symptoms..."  I'm not questioning whether or not they actually found it, but I do question whether or not it's what made me sick.  Regardless, I'm on antibiotics and life is good because I'm feeling a zillion times better. 

Lastly, they have me starting kick counts.  I knew this was going to be a major source of anxiety for me and so far it has been on and and off.  Yesterday for instance, she was so active all day that I didn't worry at all.  The day before, however, I was nervous because although she definitely kicked enough, I felt the quality of her kicks weren't up to par.  Really?  Now I'm evaluating her kick quality????  I AM CRAZY.  I feel like her weak kicks are signs that she's, well....weak.  I need to stop over analyzing it all.  I know.  Just one more thing to worry about...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Brown sugar


The changing table is ready to go which mean all nursery furniture is up and ready to be placed in its final destination.

That chair.

That chair we got is just so BIG.

The idea was to get a chair and a half so that we could be the adorable family sitting together in a chair.  Also, to have one that could be suitable for sleeping in as that's inevitable. (please recall that rockers/gliders make me motion sick, no good for anyone) But it's BIG and takes up a lot of space.  Some nursery fantasies might have to take a back seat, but it'll be alright. I'm sure we can figure it out. If I can get pregnant, certainly there's a solution for this, right?  Can't wait until it's all done!!

So I failed my glucose tolerance test MISERABLY.  Yeah, my level went to 179.  I've read that if it's 180, you have to get treated right away (whatever that means).  So now I get to go tomorrow and do the 3 hour test.  I know that failing the one-hour doesn't necessarily mean that I have gestational diabetes, but with that super high number, I sort of assume the worst.  Bright side is that at least it will force me to eat well.  Sitting there for 3 hours (they won't let me leave the office for any reason! And then they take blood once per hour) is going to suck. And it means another day off work.  Every day I take off, I think about how it's one less day I'll have with Sofia in the fall and that's depressing.  I only worked on half-day last week because I was so sick.  And now I'm missing tomorrow because of this test and my appt with the thyroid doc.  It'll all work out, right? 

Russ is trying to figure out his leave for the fall.  He originally wanted to take 3-4 weeks when she first comes, but now is thinking that maybe he'll take more time off on the back end when I have to go back to work so that we can delay her day care (not that we have any yet) as much as possible).  His boss (who is also a dear friend, more like family) offered to give him some of his sick time so he could be gone longer.  Is that the sweetest thing ever?  We're blessed. 

I hate that it all comes down to money and I find myself seriously praying that we win the lottery.  I know there are more important things to pray for (like my mantra "healthy baby girl Sofia" which I repeat to myself day and night), but I'm not saying I want to be crazy rich.  I just don't want to have to worry about her care.  All I'm asking for is enough so that I can take all of next year off and then when she's 1, she can go someplace for day care.   Who am I kidding?  If we win the lottery, it'd be great if I could be home the first few years, I know.  It's just a dream though.  And for people who think we could do it if we really sacrificed?  No way.  We need my income just as much as his. 

Lastly, I went back to brunette yesterday.  If you only know me from here, you're probably thinking that I've always been brunette because my profile pic is one of me with dark hair.  While I am a natural brunette, I've been on and off blond for about 15 years.  Up until yesterday afternoon, I was pretty gosh darn blond.  But now I'm back to my roots and really like it.  The choice was made because once she's here, I really can't afford my highlights (see?  I am sacrificing!), at least not ones that I'll be happy with.  As it is, I've been cutting corners and walking around looking in ways that I'd never thought I'd allow myself to be seen.  No more of those half-ass dye jobs. 

The bigger picture reason is because when I learned we'd be having a baby girl, I decided that it meant I had to go back to brown.  As you know (if you've been paying attention), baby girl Sofia is biracial.  I have no idea what her hair texture will be like, but am quite certain that it won't be straight and silky.  As hard as I'll try to prevent it, she'll likely have negative feelings about her hair and will wish it were more like mine. (I, on the other hand, will likely be envious of her hair - you know how that goes...)  So, the least I can do is make it darker so that it will resemble her's at least a little.  I've also considered getting a perm, but I don't think that's going to happen.  I know it might sound ridiculous, but having many black and mixed friends/family, I know this is a probable issue and it's the least i can do to try and remedy it.  I'm not naive enough to think it will solve the problem, but it's a little step that I can take now.  She needs to learn that her hair (and hair color) is beautiful and I plan to do everything I can to help her know that.  Her hair is perfect, her skin is perfect, her mind is perfect.

(Incidentally, even if i had married a white dude, I still know that this little girl will define beauty in terms of what I look like, so I would still want my hair to be close to hers, asssuming she'd inherit my natural brown hair.  None of this is to say that if baby girl comes out with unlikely red or blond hair, I'd dye it to match, it's just that I'm trying to send the message that whatever she comes out with is beautiful and doesn't that start with modeling that myself?)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm seeing spots (more like polka dots)


It's been a weird weekend...Friday started with my emotional breakdown...things in that area didn't really improve until yesterday.  Sunday was an adventure.  Allow me to explain...

My friend came over and we lay by the pool for a little bit, with my shower coming up in a few weeks, I need some sun to go with my dress!!  So after, we cooked out and sat at the picnic tables on the condo property where I live.  The benches are coated metal that have holes cut out of them.  The holes are about the size of a dime.  Can you picture what I mean here?  I should taken a photo.  Well, I sat pretty much bare-butt on the bench for an hour or so (bare because I had on my little skirt from the pool, but not like naked coochie bare or anything!). 

I had been feeling kinda icky (more on that later) so i take a nap after.  I'm laying on my side when Russ comes into the bedroom and asks "what's that?".  He doesn't seem too alarmed, but just takes my phone and takes a picture of my butt (which was sticking out from under my shirt).  It looks like someone had taken a dark purple bingo stamper and stamped dots all over my ass!!  It was quite disturbing looking and NO, I am not posting the picture! 

It seemed pretty obvious that it was marks from the bench I was sitting on earlier because the purple marks were not only the same size as the holes in the bench, but they were exactly where my lower butt/upper thighs would have been sitting. 


These "bruises" showed up only 45 minutes after I got up off the bench.  Weird.  Google helped me see that there's another pregnant woman someplace that this happened to and her doc told her it was the larger amount of blood in her system pooling.  Eek.  Another post said it could be lack of iron.  Another said it could be a blood clotting issue (now it's looking more scary) and another said it could be a preeclampsia-like condition (super scary).  So i call mom and she thinks I need to call the dr. so I do.

The dr is like "ugh...that's weird."  She doesn't seem too alarmed but does want me to call first thing Tues morning (love having issues over the holiday weekend, right?) to come in.  So today I did and they think it was just the pressure of my fat ass on the bench breaking capillaries and pooling blood and no one's worried.  OK.  If they say so.  Incidentally, the marks have totally faded and you can barely see them today.

Sorry if that story was a bit anti-climatic for you.  But i had to document that one!

So at least I got to see the dr a couple days early (my regular 4 week appt was supposed to be Thurs).  I did my glucose test so we'll see about that.  I had stayed home from work today because I am fighting a terrible cold, but she wasn't too concerned about that.  Baby girl seems to be perfectly fine.  Starting next week, she wants me to count kicks, but that doesn't sound as stress inducing as I thought it would be.

In other baby news....
Yesterday, Russ put the crib together!!  There's going to be a baby in there!  Whoa.
My first shower, the one at work, is in 3 weeks!  Followed by the big one here 3 days later, followed by the Buffalo one in July.  All invitations have officially gone out.  Between you and me, I'm having fun checking out my registry and seeing what people have bought.  Is that tacky?  A little, right?  It's so exciting though!!!