Saturday, February 28, 2009

37 Week 6 Day Appointment.

We saw our MW again this morning for my almost 38-week appointment. All the regular stuff is going well (HB in 140s, measuring a week ahead again, baby lower than last week, no swelling to speak of, weight gain ok) and I'm finally at the point where my MW says things like, "We'll need to see you in a week, of baby doesn't come sooner." EEEEEeeeeeeeeeeek!

We talked about quite a few interesting things today. I asked her about my indigestion issues, which have been getting worse over the past month or so. She wanted to know if it was tied to eating spicy foods, and I explained it's tried to eating ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, including plain bagels and baby carrots. She advised me to stop eating 2 hours before bed, avoid spicy foods, and try papaya enzyme instead of Zantac (Zantac works fine, but I'd prefer something more natural). She also assured me that indigestion is actually a GOOD sign, since it means that my smoooth muscle tracts are softening, which we WANT to happen before I go into labor.

I also mentioned that I had purchased some Evening Primrose Oil, but I wanted to check with her before I started to use it since I didn't want to use it too early. Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) is a gelcap you can take orally 2-3 times per day, and at the end of pregnancy you can also...ahem...insert it to soften the cervix. I'll start taking it (orally, thanks for asking) this week. She assured me it's not going to throw me into labor before I am ready, but that it will help prepare my cervix for an easier time dilating.

We talked a bit about a birth plan, and whether we had any special requests or labor or delivery. Standard HBs usually include delayed cord clamping, as few interventions as possible, and a hands-off approach by the MW and her apprentice. She asked if I plan to catch my own baby, have Darrick do it, or have her do it, and I asked if we could play it by ear. I'm not sure once I'm in labor how I will feel about it. Darrick is open to the possibility of catching the baby, but we're not going to lock ourselves into one thing or another until the moment comes. We talked about who will announce baby's sex, and we're still undecided about whether it will be Darrick or me, or whether we want the MW to announce it so we find out at the same time. Darrick and I will decide that sometime before baby gets here. In my head, I always imagined him announcing it, but we'll see. We talked about a back-up plan if we need to transfer. We'll go to the hospital I had Luca at (it's less than a mile away) and use whoever is on call. I had always assumed that I would only transfer if there was an emergency and it would end in a c-section, but she said most of her transfers are first time moms who cannot handle the pain or get exhausted. I don't plan on transferring for those's hoping I am right!

Last, we talked about whether to do the eye ointment and Vitamin K injections at birth. Both are done standard in hospital births, though you can decline them. The ointment is an antibiotic intended to prevent mom from passing infections to baby as he/she is born. Since the infections it protects against (gonorrhea and chlamydia) are things I don't have, we are declining the ointment. Vitamin K is given to protect baby from birth-related traumas and some disorders that are not always known at birth but could be life-threatening. VitK helps with blood coagulation, bone metabolism, and vascular biology, and most babies will be fine without the injection but there is no way to predict whether or not a baby will have problems without the injection. We're playing it safe and getting the injection, since there's no way to predict for certain if baby will have a deficiency, and the outcomes if he/she does and we decline it at birth could be very bad.

My next appointment is this coming Friday, assuming I make it that far. :)

Friday, February 27, 2009

The end of the line.

The closer I get to my due date, the more I understand women who are ready to do most anything to get their baby OUT. I didn't have this feeling with Luca, but I also wasn't as big then as I am now, and Luca wasn't a big baby. Plus, I just think the second pregnancy is harder on the body in some ways. I'm not trying to complain, because I know other women have much rougher pregnancies than I, but the pressure on my pelvis and hipbones, indigestion caused by any and everything I eat (a bran muffin? a bagel? is this for real?) are getting really old.

I am taking comfort in the end being around the bend, though how close no one knows. The predictions are rolling in, with the soonest being March 1st (hello....that's in TWO DAYS!!!) and the furthest being March 18th. I'm thinking it'll fall somewhere in between - maybe a week early? Darrick is still convinced baby will be 'maybe a day early, if that', but what do men know about baby brewing anyhow?

I am getting more and more comments and questions from people everywhere, probably due to the...ehm...enormity of my belly. I hear lots of "How are you feeling?" from people and I always you want the truth? I think people fit into one of 2 categories...those who have never birthed a child and/or were only asking to be courteous, and therefore want the sugar-coated niceties. To this group, I usually answer something to the effect of, "Great! Huge, of course, but I'm doing great!" and insert a smile, choking back the acid shooting frozen daggers of torture across my chest and up the back of my throat. The other category is Moms. Moms don't want sugar-coated niceties. In fact, even if you are 'great, thanks!' they don't want to hear it. No one wants to listen to a glowing pregnant woman going on and on about the miracle of life and the joy of a full round belly while in the back of her own Mom (or pregnant) mind she's preparing a shopping list that includes items such as Tucks pads, Zantac, cranberry juice, Colace, and Proactive. No, this category wants to hear the gory and uncomfortable details. They WANT to know that you get indigestion from bran muffins, you cannot sleep at night, and you're pretty sure the baby in your belly is going to weigh 10 pounds based on the fact that it trampolines off your cervix 87 times a day, leaving you gasping in shock and pain.

I also get a lot of questions about whether we are having a boy or a girl. We genuinely don't know, though we both have the same guess. People (strangers, people I know through work, friends, family) love to guess, and usually I love to HEAR the guesses. But there are times I'd rather not hear their reasons. Examples of what I don't want to hear about WHY someone thinks I am carrying a certain way include, "Oh, it must be a girl. You're carrying wide in your hips." (Thanks, asshole, but actually my hips are the SAME EXACT SIZE as they were pre-pregnancy, fuckyouverymuch.) and "It's GOT to be a boy. You're HUGE out front." (Ok this one is true, but c'mon....NO woman needs to hear this, least of all one who's 945 months pregnant and hormonal as hell!). There is a special place in hell for people who comment on a pregnant woman's size in anything but flattering ways. I am not so naive as to believe all pregnant women look beautiful and glowing, but I am wise enough to realize that if a pregnant woman does NOT look like a maternity model, you need to LIE YOUR ASS off and say she does, or shut the hell up. And because I am a glutton for punishment, I am going to share a picture of me at 37 weeks, 1 day pregnant. BEHOLD the 'Orb of Life' (Darrick's nickname for the belly, which lucky for him I found endearing and cute rather than obnoxious and cruel):

Anyhow, I now have maybe 2 weeks left, my body feels like a science experiment, I am flattered people care enough to ask how I'm feeling but unsure how to answer them anymore, and I really am pretty sure this baby is going to be a giant. I've begun to toy with the idea of eating eggplant and popping Evening Primrose Oil, but we'll see what my MW says tomorrow before I try anything too drastic.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Things Toddlers Say

I'm warning you now, this is not for the squeamish about bodily functions. It involves a toddler funny, childbirth, and grossness you non-moms of the world would prefer to pretend doesn't really happen.

Warned? Prepared? Choosing to read on?


So, I've mentioned and shared photos of the birth pool before. Along with the birth pool there is other 'stuff' you have to have: something waterproof to cover the floor, a hose and adapter to fill it, a floating thermometer, a pump to inflate it, and a fish net. What's THAT, you say? A fish net? Now what in the world would you net....oh. Oh! A fish net. To skim the pool. To remove debris.

Still lost? This is not the post for you. Now is your chance to run!

Debris is waterbirth talk for poop. YES, friends...people DO poop in labor. On dry land, the poop is, er, scooped (?) by the nurses or midwife or whomever. But in requires a fish net and some skimming.

Our 'birth supplies' are all in one place, in the great room, where they can be found and accessed easily when I am in labor. When our MW came over, Darrick took several things out to get to the pool so he could show it to our MW. One of those things was the fish net, which of course Luca was drawn to. She played with it for a bit (don't's not USED!) and set it next to some of her toys and honestly, I forgot about it...until yesterday. Yesterday, when I saw her holding it, and I said, "Luca what color is that?" (we're working on our colors right now since everything is 'red' to her still). She turns to come over to me, holding it out flat, and says "Red." I correct her ("Green. It's green, Luca.") and she repeats after me. And then, she comes closer, and I see inside of the net, a small brown crayon.

Pointing, I say, "What is that?"

"Poo poooooo!"

(holding back a laugh) "I'm sorry. Did you say poo poo?"

(nodding): "Poo poo! Mama poo poo!" (here she dissolved into laughter)

Now, my dear sweet husband swears that he has not ONCE told her the fish net's purpose in life involves poop skimming. But how else would she know this? And how did the girl who calls EVERYTHING red figure out to put a brown crayon in the net?

Nothing is sacred with a toddler in the house.

Several Updates.

I've been a lazy blogger, so this will be several updates all at once.

Update 1: 37 weeks pregnant? Yes. 37 weeks pregnant.

I had my 37 week appointment this past Saturday, and this was our home visit. Our midwife comes to our house for a few reasons. First and foremost, she has to be sure it's a safe dwelling for delivering a baby, which really means a roof over the head and reasonably clean. Darrick and I spent quite a bit of time over the past few weeks cleaning our house and getting ready to welcome a baby into it, and I'll openly admit I wanted it to look nice for her visit. No one wants their house to be a mess the first time someone sees it, right? Well...not always right. See, at our LAST appointment, Darrick asked MW why she does the home visit, and she told us the story of the ONE home she visited that was not suitable for a birth. Apparently, it involved 20 cats, 5 men and 1 woman, dirty underwear on the floor, and filth everywhere. Amazingly, hearing this story took some pressure off my need to have a perfectly clean home for her visit, as she assured me that as long as the bongs were stashed away out of site and the dog poop was relegated to ONE room, we'd be fine. :::phew:::

So anyhow, the other main reason our MW makes a home visit is to be sure she knows where we live. Picture going into labor at 3 a.m. and your midwife not being able to find your house. NOT something I want to have happen to me. She also wanted to check to be sure we had all the supplies we need (see previous post...and we do now, thanks to my mom who donated paper bags and old beach towels to 'The Cause'). Of course, the appointment included most of the standard appointment procedures as well (heartrate is in 150s, my belly measured at 36 weeks, baby is head down with back to my left in ideal positioning). I also pointed out my ankle swelling to her (apparently Andre dropped this past week, as it appeared on Thursday when I'd had NONE before) and she giggled at me. Her response was something to the effect of 'You call THAT swelling? That is NOT swelling!', but anyone who's familiar with the Barbie-like proportions of my ankles (too bad the REST of me did not follow suit) will realize that swelling to ME is different than it is to the rest of the civilized world. We talked a little about my labor fear (I won't go into too much detail, but let's just say when I read birth stories involving the word 'bulge' they make my skin crawl), as well as when in labor we need to contact her. All in all, a good if relatively uneventful appointment. I declined having a check done for progress (again, if you don't know what I am referring to, you should probably just consider yourself lucky) because I consider it a lose-lose prospect. I figure if I'm not dilating yet, I'll be sad that means these pains I've been having are for naught. And if I AM dilating, I'll spend from now till labor worrying when it's going to happen and if my water will break in public and and and and....

Our next appointment is this coming Saturday, assuming I make it that far. I'm feeling like baby will be here sometime after March 1st but before my expected due date of March 14th. Darrick is convinced Andre is making a timely arrival like his/her older sister did. I call that wishful thinking on his part, and I love him for his optimism.


Update 2: Sausage?

I'm sort of embarassed to admit this, because I tend to shun fast food in general, and overall I'm a fairly healthy eater, assuming that when one says 'overall' one is allowing some leeway for excess desserts consumed in pregnancy.

That being said, Darrick has created this 'routine' of sorts on the weekend. He takes Luca to Mc Donald's, where they share a Sausage Egg McMuffin (well, and Darrick gets another just for him, but the point is Lu can't eat the whole thing, so their routine is sharing one). While I tried to appreciate the cute Daddy-Daughterness of this little weekend routine (and it really is their routine, because although I sometimes go with, they WILL go without me if I opt out), I knew we had created a monster when, a few weeks ago on our way to the zoo, we pulled into the McD's parking lot, and Luca's eyes lit up. Her little hand shot into the air, pointing at the golden arches, and she exclaimed, "SAUSAGE!!!".



Update 3:'ll come later. I am suddenly bored with blogging for now.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Prepping for a Homebirth

I get a lot of questions from friends about our homebirth, and I make an effort to address at least some of them here. If nothing else, for posterity's sake. Several of my friends have asked me questions about what we buy and what our midwife provides us to prep for the homebirth. So I'm going to address that here, after I give a little rundown off our last appointment.

I'm 35 weeks now, and yesterday we met with my MW and her apprentice again. The normal stuff (blood pressure, weight gain, baby's heartrate, pee strip) was checked and just fine. She measured me and I am about 1-2 cm ahead again, which has been consistent all pregnancy. She felt baby's body, and little (big?) Andre is head down. She said Andre does not feel exceptionally big, but again she won't be surprised if he/she is a long baby.

We talked about circumcision should Andre be a boy, and she discussed some of the pros and cons, and provided us with a referral to a Mohel. We decided that if we do have a boy AND we do circumcize, we will go this route as we're more comfortable having the procedure done by someone who specializes in it than by a pediatrician who may or may not be so skilled.

We also discussed the placenta. A lot of people have asked me what we will do with it. Many homebirthers consume their placenta (placentas are packed with nutrients and believed to be the #1 most effective means of preventing post partum depression), but this is not in the cards for me. I mean, crap, I won't even eat steak so can you see me eating my own placenta? Lots of homebirthers also have their placenta freeze-dried and made into a powder, which can then go into a capsule to be taken after birth. We don't plan on doing that either. She suggested either burying it under a plant in our yard (or, perhaps, the yards of one of the grandparents) or providing a gallon storage bag to put it in, and she will dispose of it. For those wondering...yes...this means it goes in the big black dumpster on the curb for trash pick up day.

I have the option (just as any pregnant woman in AZ does, though many errantly believe they don't have a choice) to decide whether we get the Vitamin K shot for baby after he/she is born (my MW also suggests looking into the all natural VitK drops, since the synthetic shot may or may not be best for us) as well as whether to get the antibiotic eye ointment. If you're a pregnant woman who wants more info on these 'standard' procedures (as they still are in most of the USA anyhow), I'd suggest you talk to your OB or MW about them, and do some independent research to decide what's best for your baby and your family.

She talked about our home visit, which happens next time, at 37 weeks. She does this visit in part so she can be sure she's able to find our house when it's labor time. She also does it so she can check the conditions of the house and be sure it's a safe place to birth. We joked we'd hide our AK47s and porn for her visit. (And, silently, I started wondering if it's possible I only have 2 weeks left to get this house clean enough that I'm ready for her to come see it AND for me to birth here). So the countdown's on and I'm going to have to spend some time getting this place in order and ready over the next 2 weeks. Anyone have a good housecleaner? ;)

Last, she provided us with our birth kit. This much anticipated kit has many of the items we'll need for the labor and delivery. In addition to it, we have a list of items we're responsible for providing. Chief among the things we had to provide is the birthing tub. We actually bought this off some friends who'd planned to use it for their birth and ended up not doing so. Just to test it out, Darrick opened the box and set it up the other day. As you can see, Luca thinks it's pretty cool.

We also need to provide things like sheets and towels (we'll probably get some cheap ones so we don't mind throwing them away if they get ruined), food and drinks for us, clothes for baby and me (I found a fabulous soft robe for $3.74 at Target, which should be wonderful for when I get out of the tub), bowls for water, washcloths, receiving blankets, and a few other miscellaneous items.

The kit she provided us with contains the other essentials, which I took some pictures of to show here (you're welcome, Elizabeth and Sarah).

First, an herbal tea which is steeped and used in a post-partum bath to relax mom and help her heal:

That can also be added to every new mom's BFF, the peri bottle. If you've never seen or used a peri bottle, it's simply a bottle used by a new mom to keep herself clean when she is recovering from birth. If you need to ask WHERE the water goes, consider yourself lucky that you don't know and consult Google. Also shown in this picture is a pair of oh-so-sexy mesh undies (I realize they look like a square of fabric, not undies, but trust me here). Every woman who's pregnant with her first is all, "Ew. Mesh? Undies? You're kidding, right?", and every woman who's ever been on the other side and enjoyed the miracle that IS mesh undies is all, "Oooooooh! Mesh undies!! Can I wear them ALL the time?":

For mom during labor, there are bendy drinking straws included. I hear these are like slices of heaven, since homebirth moms are encouraged to drink to thirst (Gatorade was on my list of to-purchase items), and having a staw can make that easier.

For after the baby's born, we have glamorous post-partum pads (9 months of no period HAS to be made up for sometime), an umbilical clamp, and a t-shirt and hat (oh my GOSH how tiny and cute and perfect and utterly drooooolable is that hat?!?!?!). I folded the shirt so you can't see the name of my MW's practice, just because I didn't ask her ok to include it here.

The kit also comes with a tape measure, regular chux pads and one large chux pad (again, if you don't know, consider yourself lucky), lots and lots of gloves for the midwife, a gauze pad, some alcohol swabs, a surgical scrub brush for the MW to use to clean her hands and arms, a nasal aspirator bulb, and giant post-partum pads. I didn't include pictures of those items as they aren't really that interesting. But suffice it to say if anyone was planning on bleeding to death at my house anytime in the next 5 or so weeks, I've got enough pads and soakers to prevent a hemmorage.

And speaking of hemmorages, I do get questions sometimes about what emergency supplies my MW brings to the birth. Chief among them, she provides oxygen, pitocin (in case the uterus is not contracting enough on its own post-baby and needs some help doing so...this helps get the placenta out and prevents excessive bleeding), a first aid kit, and many many years of training. We're about 2 minutes from the hospital (I don't exaggerate) should an emergency arise.

And lest anyone think this is some sort of underground, backwoods secret transaction my MW and I are completing, she is required to keep documentation of the labor, delivery, and post-partum recovery just like an OB or a hospital-based midwife would be. Included in the kit was paperwork for my records, information on newborn screenings, a certificate to get baby's footprints, and a form to get baby's birth certificate and social security card.

Oh, and last but not least, since one friend of mine is VERY curious about disposing of things that might be a biohazard in 'the black dumpster at the curb', this bag was in the birth kit, so any biohazards can be properly disposed of.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hap Birday Mama!

Last week was my birthday, and birthdays aren't exactly something toddlers really grasp. We went to my in-laws' house for a birthday dinner on Saturday, and then stayed to watch the UFC fights. My mother in law made a cake for dessert, so while we were watching Georges St. Pierre's punching skills...she and Luca were decorating the cake with icing and too many candles to be mentioned here.

Apparently, my mother in law kept telling Luca it was my birthday cake, and to wish me a 'Happy Birthday, Mama'. Luca would mimic this phrase when she heard Grandma say it, but she seemed to forget it a moment later. Still, endearing, right?

Fast forward to Monday. I'm sitting on the recliner working, and Luca's playing with her Legos ("Pay Yego?" she says over and over, and then, "Pay Yego, Mama. Yuca Pay Yego.") on the floor in front of me.

Suddenly, she comes up and hands me a Lego creation she put together all by herself:

She was grinning ear to ear as she handed it to me and said, clear as day, "Hap Birday, Mama!"

This, of course, caused my pregnant, hormonal self to break out in tears. To which she puffed out her lower lip, cocked her head to the side, put her hand on my cheek and said, "No crying, Mama. No crying."

(If you guessed this made me cry more, you are a wise person or possibly pregnant yourself and thus very empathetic to my situation.)

Turns out 'Lego Cake made by Luca' is now the best birthday present I have ever been given.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

It should be noted.

We are not really so white trash as to let our child run around all willy-nilly with no pants on, as suggested by the pictures in the 'Luca and her girls' post below. The problem is...well, not problem so much as situation...she's getting more and more interested in potty training. She's not THERE yet, but we're on the road. So her latest obsession on the road to big girl potty is taking off her pants. We can put them back on a zillion times, and she removes them a zillion and one.

So, yeah. As I see it, there are two things we should look at on the BRIGHT side here. 1) She's getting close to potty training. 2) She's learned how to say, "Take off pants." which I believe is her first complete sentence, though I'm not sure whether to put that in her baby book or not.

Please name my baby?

We are lost when it comes to names. We have a short list I won't be sharing on here because I am a brat like that. BUT we haven't found what I consider to be THE name yet. We're open to suggestions, under the following (obnoxiously specific) set of parameters:

1. No top 10 names on the Social Security List. In fact, preferably not even anything in the top 100.

2. No K or hard C names (don't work with our last name).

3. Must sound ok next to Luca.

By the way, we've already nixed the suggestion of just using the gender-neutral 'Baby' as the name. Dirty Dancing gave that a decidedly 'girl' feeling for me. ;)



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