Thursday, June 30, 2011

Post 124...Relaxed

After my rant this morning, I decided to try and relax a little. From what I've read, stress can actually prohibit labor from kicking in, so I thought it would be best for my health and the baby if I relaxed a little. To start, I took a nice warm bubble bath, complete with lavender scented bubbles and chocolates nearby to snack on. Afterwards, I did some prenatal yoga which helped me release a lot of tension in my body and mind. And now, when my husband gets home, I'll go for a nice walk in the sunshine.

I feel loads better after having a break from Facebook and all the other drama, taking some time to just relax and focus on me and the baby. After doing so, I feel like I can see everything with a clear mind, if just for the moment. Our friends and family, although dominating in their excitement, are just that: excited. They are all eager to celebrate Andy's arrival! And even my family, in all their business focusing on other realms of their life, are still very excited for Andy too. Why else would they have been checking in with me throughout this whole pregnancy, helping to throw us a baby shower, and even going so far as to buy us a new crib? They are excited in their own way. So what if they aren't calling me three times a day! If they did, then it would be just as annoying as all the others who are knocking down my door for updates. So perhaps I should appreciate my family's quiet involvement. I will still have my times of feeling emotionally sensitive and I know that some of the issues I have run deeper than just wanting their attention and approval. But I shouldn't question whether or not they are excited about Andy joining our family. Their involvement may be different, but it's involvement nonetheless.

These could be my famous last words but....ha ha! Andy wasn't born in June!!! Tomorrow is July 1st! So long as I don't deliver before midnight tonight, he will be a July baby! And our parents thought he was going to be born in June! Of course, they thought he was going to be a girl too. Either way, my first instincts were right! We're gonna have ourselves a July baby! Now to start doing exercises and stretches to get him to drop into position for labor...

Post 123...One step closer

It has been an interesting couple of days, to put it nicely. Some good, some bad. To start, after my last blog, I receive an unexpected package from my grandma. It was a wonderful gift of home-made crocheted clothes and a blanket. She even crocheted adorable little shoes! It was very touching. After all the silence from my side of the family, it was nice to see someone getting excited.

The following day was yet another boring day filled with cleaning, watching movies, and finding ways to kill time. But yesterday was luckily a little more active. In the morning we had our weekly Obgyn visit. It wasn't my usual Obgyns since both of them are out of town for the week. But she was still a nice woman. She checked for his heartbeat, like usual, and then performed a pelvic exam to see how my cervix was holding up. Much to my excitement, she told us that I was already 1cm dilated and about 75% effaced! Of course, that doesn't mean I'm going to go into labor any time soon, necessarily. But it does mean there is some progress! I spent the rest of the day joyously baking in the kitchen.

In my excitement, I made a post on Facebook telling everyone I was 1cm dilated and 75% effaced. I got lots of happy responses and, of course, more lectures on how I need to give birth right now. Well apparently, even though I told everyone that I was not going into labor and that I was just getting one step closer, some people took it as "I'm having the baby right now!" Today I had a message waiting for me from my aunt frantically asking if everything was okay and if the baby was here yet. And I noticed that she left the same message on my mom's facebook as well. Juuuust peachy! I haven't been able to get a hold of my parents yet to even tell them that I am slightly dilated, and now my aunt is leaving them messages, asking how my labor is going! I tried to call my parents again to make sure I could clarify that I am not actually going into labor at this very minute, but again, they didn't answer their phones. So now, not only do I have relatives thinking I'm going into labor, but I can't get a hold of my parents to tell them otherwise! Are they going to see my aunt's message and think I left them out of the loop? Do they even care? And it's beyond frustrating to see how hard it is to get a hold of my parents right now! What if I was going into labor? I wouldn't be able to let them know! I've got my mother-in-law who is going to the extreme and contacting me daily, sometimes multiple times a day, asking if I'm going into labor yet. And on the flip side, I can't even get through to either of my parents!

This whole thing is getting ridiculous! I want so badly to enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy and, instead, I find myself wanting to go into labor just so people would stop bugging me about it! But then I know they'll continue to bug me to see the baby. There's no winning here is there? It's starting to feel like my wedding all over again; everyone is making it about them and taking the joy away from my husband and I. Everyone wants the baby to be born on some day that is significant to them. They want me to contact them first before others when I go into labor. They want me to go into labor at their very demand. I "should" do this, and I'm "supposed" to do that. And with a single update on my condition, I'm met with extreme freak outs! At this point, I'm kind of afraid to even log on to Facebook, let alone post any updates. The only problem with that is; if I'm not actively updating everyone, I am hunted down through all forms of communication (cell phone, email, instant messaging, Facebook...) with frantic messages asking if I haven't said anything because I'm going into labor. As I said before: this whole thing is ridiculous!

I am glad that people are excited for us. And I really am happy that everyone is so anxious to welcome Andy into the world. But it is getting a little overwhelming too. I'm just not sure how to handle it all. As much as I love getting attention for my accomplishments (a music performance, an awesome new recipe I've mastered, etc.), I really don't like having all eyes on me, watching to see if I'm going to go into labor at any second. I've never liked being treated delicately for any reason. But now, I can't even so much as sneeze without several people looking anxiously at me as if my water was going to break because of it! I know, given my history with pregnancy, that a lot of people expected me to go into labor sooner than later. But at this point, after having the cerclage removed, I'm like every other pregnant woman out there. And for once, I'd like to be treated as such. Most women end up waiting until closer to their due date or even later, so why is it such a big deal if my pregnancy is the same?

Well, this is turning into another bitch-blog. I really don't mean to complain so much. I just want so desperately to enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy while I can. If the attitudes were different, not so demanding, I think it would be easier to get excited. I don't know why it's so hard for me to look past the demands and just see the excitement. I should be happy that so many people want to be a part of Andy's life. I just wish they wouldn't try to force it and just let it happen naturally. Their impatience is starting to borderline hostile! I wonder if many other moms-to-be feel the same way as I do. Or am I the only crazy one who gets uncomfortable from all the constant attention?

At any rate, I am personally excited to hear that my body is making progress towards delivery. I was hoping, with our Obgyn appointment, that they would tell us we're getting closer but not yet ready for delivery. I didn't want to go into labor that day, but I liked hearing that we're at least inching our way there. It makes for an exciting wait! I would've been bummed if we didn't have some sort of progress. So I'm glad we're at least one step closer.

For now, I'm going to hide from Facebook for the day and try to enjoy the wonderful experience of carrying my son inside me while I can. Even though we will soon have the joy of him being here with us, I'm going to miss feeling his little kicks inside me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Post 122...Now What?

It is the question that has been on my mind all morning: now what? Originally after the cerclage removal, I thought we were going to have a quiet, uneventful weekend. But, for the first time ever, I am actually really happy that it was so busy. It was a fun kind of busy with lots of last minute get-togethers with close friends, and even a relaxing Sunday picnic in the park with the Eastside Mommy's group. It was delightfully social and most importantly, distracting.

Since the cerclage removal last Thursday, of course the one thing in the back of everyone's mind is: when is the baby coming. And unfortunately it has put an unwelcome focus on me that leaves me squirming like a bug under a microscope. So far I have been getting daily phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, and more from my very eager mother-in-law. Plus, now when I post my weekly belly picture online for friends to see, I am getting playful lectures from friends demanding that I deliver the baby this very instant. "Tell him he needs to come now!" "Why are you still pregnant?! Deliver that baby already!" And although it's all in good nature, when it comes from every angle, it gets old fast. Before the cerclage was taken out, it seemed like people had gotten used to me being pregnant. Friends would occasionally ask to touch my tummy, but for the most part, everyone was pretty mellow about it. But now, without even so much as a hello, people are publicly lecturing my tummy, demanding Andy come out that very instant! With the slightest expression I make, or twinge I get from him kicking me, all eyes are suddenly on me followed up by a game of 20 questions. "Are you okay?" "Was that a contraction?" "Do you need anything?"

The funny thing is, out of all the awkward attention and fussing, my family has remained absent. I got a couple of texts from my parents asking how the cerclage removal went, followed up with several pictures of my nephew that my mom sent me ( and I'm not sure why she sent them to me right after my cerclage removal except that, perhaps she was just associating her excitement for a new grandson with the love she has for her only grandson). But otherwise, I haven't heard a thing. I know that right now they are adjusting to a new work schedule since my dad just took on some new jobs, so I figure that's why I haven't heard anything. But I have to admit, sometimes it feels like they are often very busy with their only grandson to be too excited for another. Given the situation, my parents have practically taken on my nephew as their son, more so than a grandson, so I realize that they have a very close and active relationship with him. In the case of my son, he won't be living part time with my parents the way that my nephew does, simply because our family situation is different. My husband and I are still happily married and we are working hard at giving me the opportunity to stay at home with the baby. I sometimes wonder if my parents will be disappointed or happy at how different their relationship will be with my son. Of course I want them to be a part of his life, but only as grandparents, not as second parents. Will they be upset that he's not over there as much? Or will they be happy that they don't have to take on another child? It's really hard to say. And even then, I find myself asking: if they are happy that they don't have to take care of my son as their own child, is that because they want a break from being second parents, or is it because they wouldn't enjoy taking care of Andy as much as they like to take care of my nephew? I know my parents like to be needed. That's partly why they are often trying to help others and share the load. But it confuses me when I hear them longing to have a simple grandparent relationship with my nephew, and yet they seem so excited to be in the role that they are in as second parents. They brag about him like parents. They proudly teach him things like parents. They care for him like parents. Why else would they continue to chose to be in that role unless they really did like it? So how am I supposed to take it if they seem so relieved no to have that kind of relationship with my son? Andy won't need them in the same way my nephew does, so will that make Andy less important to them?

At any rate, it seems their attention must go to where they are needed (work, my brother and helping his kid, church...) and so I've grown accustom to flying solo from my family when it comes to the way I live. It's always been that way. But I guess now it stands out more than ever. It just makes me wonder how that will affect the relationship they will have with my son.

Anyway, that was a long-winded way of saying that I'm getting a ton of attention from everyone except for the people that I crave the most attention from: my family. I guess some childhood needs for parental approval never really go away do they? Oh well. Soon enough I will be too distracted by a newborn to worry about such trivial things. As for now, I'm drawn back to my original dilemma: what do I do now? I can't exactly do anything to speed up the approach of labor. I've done some research and found claims that staying active (going on walks, doing squats, etc) will help get the baby in position for labor. But there really isn't anything I can do to make my water break or start up contractions, not without a doctor's help anyway. So I'm stuck waiting. And honestly, it's not hard waiting to go into labor. Since both my Obgyns are out this week, I'm not exactly in a hurry to go into labor until they are back. Mostly I'm having a hard time just figuring out what to do with myself. After having so many sweets this weekend, I do not want to do any baking for once! I've cleaned the house several times over so there isn't really much more I can do about that. I've already got everything ready and waiting for the baby....there just isn't anything left for me to do to prepare for the baby. Everything is done. So now I'm stuck trying to kill time. I've had project after project for the past several months just getting ready for Andy. Now that I'm done, I've got nothing else to do but watch movies, read, and take naps. And as fun as that is, I can only do it for so long before I get stir crazy!

I'm going on 38 weeks this Wednesday, I have no idea if the baby has even dropped, I've got nothing to do that interests me at the moment, and I'm getting lectured daily by friends and family to "get a move on" with delivering the baby. Can't I just enjoy the last few weeks of peace and quiet? Can't I savor the ability to sleep through the night? What's wrong with enjoying the time I have left being just my husband and me? I've already been struggling with mixed emotions about no longer being just the two of us. I love the relationship my husband and I have. It's fool proof! And now that we're about to have a baby, I find myself wondering "why did I go and mess with such a good thing?" But then I feel guilty for even thinking that because I am still beyond excited to have Andy here with us. Augh! So many emotions! This is why I can't be left with nothing to do. [As a side bar to my husband: no I don't want to play video games to pass the time.]

Is it wrong that I seem to be the only person who isn't in a rush to get Andy here? Of course I'm excited to meet him, but I don't see why there is the rush. He'll get here when he gets here. But as a new mom, and especially after all we've been through to hold on to our pregnancy, shouldn't I be more exhilarated? Why do I seem so apathetic about it? I thought after the cerclage removal that I would be driving myself nuts with anticipation. But, in stead, I find the whole cerclage removal to be a bit anti-climactic. Everyone seemed to think we were going to instantly have the baby, despite what we and the doctors were saying. It's like no one really wants to listen unless I'm saying "the baby is coming." And I have to admit, I was in some ways hoping the baby would come that day too. But honestly, I've thought from the beginning that he would be a July baby. I didn't expect him to be really early so I guess that's why I'm okay with the wait. But I did so much to be ready for the earliest time possible that now I'm stuck feeling kind of bored.

Like so many times before, I'm stuck waiting for life to happen, wondering what to do with myself before my whole world is turned upside down yet again. Maybe my doctor's visit this week will give me some kind of news that I can use to beat back the hundred and one questions I'm getting from everyone. They don't seem to be too satisfied when I tell them that my cervix is still holding together so we'll just have to wait. In the mean time, I guess I'll go watch some Netflix in attempts to drown out my thoughts....

Friday, June 24, 2011

Post 121...Cerclage Removal

Well, it has been done. The cerclage has been taken out! For the first time in months, I'm going al naturale. It was a fairly quick procedure. We were in and out of the clinic in roughly 45 minutes, and the majority of that time was spent waiting for the doctor to get set up. The actual cerclage removal took maybe all of 15 minutes itself. But oh my God was it the most painful 15 minutes ever! For you ladies out there, imagine the worst menstrual cramps you've ever had and multiply it by 10. Then imagine feeling someone stabbing you deep inside your whoowhoo during an annual exam. Yup...that's about how it felt. Like being stabbed in my whoowhoo while having terrible cramps. In all reality, the doctor was being very gentle and even allowed me to have a moment to breath before he continued with the removal. But since the cerclage had been in there for so long, it seemed my cervix didn't want to let go of it. As the doctor tried his best to remove the cerclage as quickly and painlessly as he could, I just focused on the twinkling lights they had in the ceiling that looked like stars as I squeezed my poor husband's hand to death. At one point, he showed me his hand, bright red, with white impressions of my fingers still glowing on his skin.

The doctor, nurses, and my husband all spoke words of comfort and encouragement to help me through the process, but it was still hard to ignore the pain. I wished desperately that I could've been numbed up for the procedure but since it's such a quick and "easy" removal, the doctors don't typically drug up the patient for a cerclage removal. The nurse at one point asked me to try and relax my legs. I hadn't even noticed through all the pain that I had been flexing my legs the whole time.

The time came when the doctor told me he had just one last pull to do to remove the cerclage and then it would be all over. So I took a deep breath and braced for impact. I had thought the rest of the procedure was painful. I had no idea what I was in for. The last "little" part of the removal was the most painful yet. As he pulled the stitching out, I began to yell out, arching my back in absolute pain. The doctor sat up with a smile and showed me the cerclage. "That's it! We're all done!" he declared. I laid there for a few minutes trying to regain my breath, holding on to my stomach, and waiting for the cramping to subside. It was amazing to see this tiny little cerclage that looked more like a twisty-tie than anything else, realizing that this little stitch was the difference between life and death for my child. How amazing it is that I live in a day and age where this kind of procedure is available. If it was another time in life, I may not have been able to ever have children.

From what the doctor said, my cervix was still in fantastic shape, even after the cerclage removal. He said that he wasn't even sure if I really needed a cerclage this whole time. But obviously, as we both agreed, we're not about to test out the alternative. It's weird to think that there is a possibility that I don't even have an incompetent cervix. Perhaps the miscarriage last time was due to a combination of things that simulated the symptoms of an incompetent cervix. We will never really know. But no matter what the reasoning, I am just happy that things worked out so well this time. I couldn't take another heartache like the last time. Anyway, since my cervix still appeared to be in good shape, the doctor speculated that it will still be awhile before Andy makes his big debut.

When we got home, my husband was all over my tummy! He was talking to Andy all day, smiling from ear to ear with every kick and wiggle from Andy. Now that the cerclage is out and Andy could be here any day, my husband confessed, he is extremely excited and eager for Andy to come. I have to admit, it is weird to think that the baby can come at any time now. I am anxious to go into labor and bring little Andy home. But after feeling the pain of the cerclage removal, I'm not exactly anxious to go through labor pains any time soon. At least then I can opt for an epidural, which I thoroughly plan on using!

For now, I'm keeping active to see if that helps encourage the baby to come. And I'm keeping an eye out for any symptoms of labor. I'm not the type to run to the hospital with the slightest bit of cramping. I'll wait until I have regular contractions and or have my water break. But otherwise I'm trying to look out for any signs that labor is on it's way, such as the loss of the mucus plug or the bloody show. Although, earlier today I had some discharge that could've been the bloody show, but it's hard to say. Since I just had the cerclage removed yesterday, I've had some bleeding and cramping from that. But the cramping and bleeding had both stopped a few hours after the procedure. By the time I went to bed last night, I didn't even have a hit of pink. This morning I had a little pink, which I'm guessing was just from me moving around in my sleep. But a couple hours later, I had (and this is total TMI so don't read if you don't want to know) more of a mucusy brown discharge like old blood. I've read that this could be the bloody show, but I'm guessing it could also be just old blood that had been around the stitches from when they were originally put in. At this point, I've pretty much stopped having any kind of bloody discharge so I don't know what really caused it. But since I'm not having any contractions, cramping, or water leakage, I'm not really worried about it. Maybe it's a sign that labor is coming, maybe it's not. At this point, I'm not too worried either way. Right now, it's all up to Andy and my body when I'll go into labor. I have no control over it and, in some ways, that's kind of exciting. It's all a surprise from here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Post 120...Waiting for tomorrow

Well, tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow we get the cerclage removed. I keep flipping between being really excited and absolutely scared! I want Andy to be here so badly but I'm also really scared to go into labor too. I don't feel ready. But at the same time, I'm really nervous that something else will go wrong before I get the chance to deliver him. Of course, it doesn't help that I was watching a tv show today and in the episode a couple lost their baby just weeks before giving birth. It brought back so many painful memories and has left me feeling on edge all day. I really should have just turned the show off but I was fixated on it, in a trance, silent tears running down my face. Hours later, I have done all I can to keep my focus on the positive but I can't say it has worked completely. After watching a happier show, reading, dancing and singing, and cooking, I am still left with a pit of worry in my heart. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I'm getting my safety net out tomorrow and it leaves me with the unknown. Up to this point, everything has been mapped out and carefully monitored. Suddenly being left alone to wait and wonder; it is a scary thought.

I am very excited though that, today, we are officially full term! With the help of the cerclage, several amazing doctors, our family and friends, and of course my wonderful husband, I have been able to carry successfully to full term! I wish I could say I wasn't going to be a paranoid mother who just replaces one worry with the next, but it seems like I'm already doing so. But I guess that's just part of being a parent: worrying all the time about the safety of your child. At any rate, tonight, my husband and I are going to celebrate that we have made it to this point. I'm not sure yet how we'll celebrate but it just feels like something that should be honored.

So first thing tomorrow morning, I'm off to the doctor's to finally have the stitch removed! Wish me good luck!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Post 119...A bundle of joy brings a bundle of nerves

It's finally here! The week I get my cerclage out! Nearly 24 weeks later since it was first put in, the time has come to remove the cerclage and let nature do its work. I can hardly believe that we have made it full term! I have been waiting for this day since we first got pregnant, the day that I no longer have to worry about going into premature labor. It feels like such an amazing accomplishment to know that I can have a baby! There was a time I was so scared, worried that I would never be able to carry full term. But here I am! This busted body of mine did it! With a little help from the doctor and one simple little stitch, we're finally going to have a baby.

I'm still nervous as all hell to get the cerclage out though. With it looming over the later half of the week, just a couple days away, I am finding myself desperately searching for some kind of distraction. But unfortunately, as I sit here at home alone, it's all too easy for my nervous energy to find its way back into the forefront of my mind. I keep looking around the house at the little bits of clutter here and there, mapping out the route to cleanliness before I go into labor. Although the chances of me going into labor this Thursday after the cerclage is removed is extremely unlikely; I want to make sure our home is ready for anything. If I do go into labor this week, I'd hate to come home to a messy apartment. With a newborn around, the last thing I want to worry about is picking up any mess before family and friends come filing in to see the baby. So today, in hopes that it will keep me at least somewhat distracted, I will power through all the household chores. Already I've got laundry going and the living room straightened up. Next up: dishes!

For now, we have our hospital bag already packed and in the car just in case. So here we go. Ready or not, here it comes! I'm hoping and praying the cerclage removal is quick and easy with as little pain as possible.

Anxiously waiting for his arrival...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Post 118...Things I Will Miss

Things that I miss:
  • Seeing my toes
  • Being able to bend over
  • Being able to eat rare meat, sushi, soft cheeses...
  • Going weeks without any heartburn at all
  • Flopping face down onto the bed
  • Going on long walks without getting winded once
  • Having the occasional glass of wine
  • Sleeping through the night without a single bathroom trip
  • Making love with my husband
  • Never having to worry about my feet swelling if I wear shoes
Things that I will miss:
  • Watching my tummy grow, knowing the baby is getting bigger
  • Feeling Andy kick, making my whole tummy jump
  • Watching Andy and my husband play "tag" when my husband rubs my tummy with lotion
  • Having people look at me like I'm the most adorable thing on Earth with my prego bump
  • Feeling Andy get the hiccups
  • Sleeping through the night, other than the occasional bathroom trip
  • Watching Andy move around on the ultrasound
  • Feeling Andy wiggle when I sing
  • Being able to get up and go whenever we want without the need for a babysitter
  • Quiet, uninterrupted evenings
  • Putting my hand on my tummy and knowing that Andy is right there, safe
  • Always having Andy with me wherever I go
There are so many things I will miss about being pregnant, and so many things I will not miss. It's weird to consider how much our lives will change once Andy is here. Just the physical differences alone are going to be so weird for me. After being pregnant for so long, I've grown accustom to having him here inside me. Once he is out, I imagine it will be both relieving and lonely all at once. But then, instead of a wiggly bump that kicks when I sing or eat ice cream, there will be this wonderful little guy in our lives that we will get to know and watch grow over the years. I wonder what he will look like. I hope he looks a lot like my husband.

The doctor said that the baby is head down, but she doesn't think he's dropped yet. She said my cervix is still pretty high and there doesn't seem to be any stress on it at all. So I guess my suspicions of him dropping were not really accurate. I'll just have to wait and see what happens. For now, I am nervously awaiting the cerclage removal next week. Honestly, I am terrified! Not because the baby could come right then, I seriously doubt he'll come right away, but because it sounds like the cerclage removal will be really painful! The doctor even gave me fair warning that it will hurt. In my experience, doctors normally try to sugar coat things a bit. So if they say "you will feel some discomfort" that usually translates into: this is gonna hurt a bit. But if a doctor says "this will be pretty painful"'s gonna hurt like a son-of-a-b****! From what the doctor told me, there won't really be a need for any numbing when he removes the stitch. But because there is a chance that the skin has grown around the stitches, causing some scar tissue, it might be difficult to remove the stitch without a little stretching and ripping.

....okay....deep breath!....

Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to it. I am expecting to be one sore mamma after all is said and done. But the nice part is, my husband will be taking the day off to be with me and help me through it, so at least I don't have to go through it alone. Once again, my wonderful husband saves the day with his never-ending loving support. After the stitch is out, assuming I don't go into labor right then and there, we'll just come home and take it easy.

At the moment, I've actually put myself on temporary bed rest for the evening. I went on a walk this morning with the Eastside Mommys group. And even though I took it easy on the walk, making sure not to push myself, I came home and noticed a little hint of spotting when I went to the bathroom. It was no more than a slight hint of pink, so I'm not really worried about it. But since I really want to make it to 37 weeks (just so I can prove to myself that I can carry officially to full term), I'm going to take it easy for now so I don't bring on early labor. Not that I think I'm going into labor at all. I don't even feel any contractions at the moment. Mostly I just want to play it safe.

As for the Eastside Mommy's group; I have been loving it! I don't remember if I mentioned them much before in my blog. The creator of the group is actually a woman who went to the same birthing class we took weeks ago. It is a fantastic group of moms who live in the east side areas (Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond) who all get together regularly to have fun and support each other through pregnancy and motherhood. For the past several weeks, on Fridays, I have gone on the weekly walk with them (it's really funny to see several pregnant women waddling around in a group together). And last week we all went to a big consignment sale that had nothing but baby/toddler/maternity items for sale. It was so much fun! I got Andy a Bumbo seat, a Raiders onsie (since my husband is a Raiders fan), a dishwasher basket for binkis and nipples (so they don't fall down and melt in the dishwasher), some toys, and a changing pad plus two covers all for less than $50! It has been so wonderful being part of a community of moms that I can connect with and learn from. And hopefully, soon enough, I can set up playdates for Andy! The fun part is, the creator of the group is also a first time mom-to-be and we are almost at the exact same gestational age with our pregnancies. She is due July 11th, I'm due July 15th! So it has been really great to have someone on the same time frame that I can connect with so I don't feel so alone in what I'm going through.

Anyway, for now I'm rooted on the couch, keeping an eye out for any more spotting if it comes up. Oh, and as a side note: I'm happy to report that the bacteria test I took last week came back negative so I don't have to worry about any antibiotics before going into labor! And then this weekend, we will be celebrating Father's day by going to the Pomegranate for brunch on Sunday. Who knows. Maybe my husband will get to flex his fathering skills sooner than later....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Post 117...Nesting

I'm really beginning to wonder if I am showing signs of approaching labor. I'm not saying I'm going into labor right at this moment. It's just that I've been noticing some differences in my body and behavior that are pointing towards the possibility that labor is on its way to pay me a visit. So in my curiosity, I started to look up signs and symptoms of approaching labor (again, not signs of labor but signs that its on its way in the coming week or so). I was surprised and a little scared at how many apply to me. Here's what I found:

Increased vaginal discharge: Usually clear mucous, but sometimes streaked or tinged with brown or pink. This is sometimes referred to as "bloody show". This discharge may appear at the same time that contractions begin or a few days before. Your mucus plug, which has blocked the cervix throughout the pregnancy to protect your baby from infection, may loosen and be expelled. Any amount of vaginal bleeding should be reported to our doctors and nurses at once.

Engagement: The baby's movement into your pelvis in preparation for birth (also called "lightening" or "the baby dropping"). It can happen anywhere from a few weeks to a few hours before labor begins. You will find that it will be easier to breathe and heartburn may be lessened. But the additional pressure of your baby's head on your bladder may make you need to urinate more frequently.

Weight Loss: As a result of changes in your hormone levels, you may lose 1 to 3 pounds in the week before labor begins. This is mostly a loss of fluid that has been held in your tissues.

Backache: Dull, lower backache that may come and go.

Diarrhea, Indigestion, Nausea and Vomiting: You may experience one or more of these conditions before or at the beginning of labor, often accompanied by cramping. This is just your body's way of responding to the labor process.

Rupture of the Amniotic Membranes: The breaking of your "bag of water." This may happen several hours before labor begins, but in most cases, the fluid-filled sac that surrounds your baby during pregnancy doesn't rupture until later in the labor process. Discharge may be a continuous trickle or a gush of watery fluid from your vagina. If you are not already in the hospital when you rupture your membranes, notify your provider immediately to describe the time of rupture, the color and amount of fluid.

Contractions: The most obvious sign of labor, but often confusing because irregular cramps of false labor pains occur. You may have experienced these "Braxton Hicks" or "practice" contractions throughout your pregnancy, but you will notice an increase in frequency and intensity in these last weeks before delivery. Your abdomen may feel like it is tightening or hardening. Some women have compared it to strong menstrual or intestinal cramps.

So far I am having all of these symptoms except for my water breaking and having regular contractions. And I'm not entirely sure if the baby has dropped yet or not. I've had my sneaking suspicion the past week that he has dropped only because the way I'm carrying feels different. It's hard to describe. I don't feel a huge difference, but I'm not sure if I would feel a big difference since I've been carrying low to begin with. But lately I've been feeling more bladder and pelvic pressure, my heartburn has decreased a lot (although it still flares up when I lay down), and I feel like I can take a deep breath without any restriction (but again, I never had too much of a problem with that since I've been carrying low this whole time).
Anyway; as for the other symptoms, I have been feeling them for sure. I have had more discharge lately. I've already dropped a couple pounds in my last few doctor's appointments. I've been getting random backaches, especially when I try to walk around. TMI but I have been having more loose...ahem...movements in the past week. I've been having some more menstrual like cramping at random times, although they aren't terribly strong, just noticeable. And my braxton hicks contractions seem to be getting a bit stronger and happen more often when my husband and I go for our evening walk. In fact, it's come to a point where I will feel my whole stomach go hard as we're walking and I have to stop for a moment until it calms down. Again, any cramping or contractions I have felt have NOT been coming at regular intervals. They just happen randomly from time to time and some days, I don't get them at all. But all of this has me wondering if I'm getting closer to labor than I realize. Maybe there is a good chance I'll go into labor right after the cerclage is removed!
The only other thing that has me a little worried is that, out of nowhere, I was hit with a major nesting urge today! I had set out with the intent on just taking care of the dishes. But instead, I ended up scrubbing down the kitchen from top to bottom! I scrubbed down the counters, including everything on the counters. I cleaned the microwave inside and out. I washed down the stove and even lined the burners with tinfoil to make it look shinier and easier to clean out later. I wiped down the walls and cabinets. And I even got on my hands and knees and scrubbed down the floor! After all that, I moved to the next room, cleaning up the nursery and making sure everything was washed and ready. For some reason, I even felt the need to wash off the window blinds in the baby's room. And all the while I kept thinking "I can't put him into a room with dirty blinds! What kind of example would that set if his room was dirty in any way?"....I know. It's ridiculous! Not only will he not notice because HE'S A BABY, but he's gonna spit up and poop all over it anyway. But nevertheless, I still felt the urge to clean it all. After straightening up the living room and dining room, I finally had to call it quits. I still have a list of things I want to continue to clean, but my energy has been completely zapped from me so the rest will have to wait for another day. But still...nesting?....Isn't that supposed to happen a week or so before a woman goes into labor?! Maybe I'm just feeling it because I know I'm getting my cerclage out next week. So perhaps, in some way, knowing that I could potentially go into labor next week has kick started the nesting urge in me. For all I know, it could still be nearly a month before Andy is actually here. But for now, I keep planning on the earliest day possible. Maybe that's why I have this sense of urgency to get everything ready.
The hardest part is, all I can do is wait. I have no way of knowing when he'll actually be here. So in spite of all my excitement and all my nervousness, I have to wait and see what happens. Although, even if I did know the exact day he would come, I don't think it would help me feel any more or less prepared.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Post 116...Romance

Since we could be having the baby as early as next week, tonight I have decided to set up a romantic dinner for my husband. He's not home from work yet, but I've got dinner ready and waiting. I've been wanting to have a romantic Italian dinner just the two of us but since I also don't want to spend a lot of money eating out, I decided to make a home cooked Italian dinner complete with candlelight and romantic Italian music (I still have a copy of the CD we used to play at an Italian restaurant I waitressed years ago). Tonight, we will be dining on stuffed mushrooms, garlic bread, salad, and shrimp and pasta in a garlic marinara sauce. And I have the wine glasses out so I can have some cranberry juice in it just to feel like I'm having the real deal. As much as I can, I want to enjoy the time I have with my husband before we have the baby. Don't get me wrong, I'm beyond excited to be a family with little Andy. But right now, I want to celebrate the relationship I have with my wonderful husband. It's been just the two of us for nearly 5 years now. So I want to have at least one more romantic night before Andy is here. For all I know, we might still have about a month before Andy is actually here. But just in case he decides to come at the earliest time possible, we can at least have one last romantic dinner before it requires a babysitter.

Time to go light the candles and pour the juice!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Post 115...Stocked & Ready

I'm beginning to realize how tricky it's going to be to keep up with my blog once the baby is around. He's not even here yet and already, in just preparing for his arrival, I'm finding it hard to motivate myself to blog. But why stop writing when we're this close to the end of the pregnancy? I've been doing it this long. What's a few more weeks?

So far, everything has been pretty mellow as far as the pregnancy is concerned. The doctors say my cervix is still holding up great. It's still nice and long with no signs of effacement. We've been having weekly visits with the doctor since we're so close to being full term and, for the most part, they're fairly uneventful. Mostly they just check my cervix, check Andy's heartbeat, and then send us on our way. In my last appointment, they did do a swab test for a type of bacteria that can be easily passed to the baby during delivery if it's there. Apparently the doctors do a routine check for signs of the bacteria when a woman is this close to full term. That way, if the bacteria is present, they can treat it before delivery so it won't be passed to the baby. From what the doctor said, the bacteria doesn't usually cause any symptoms to the mom if she has it, and it can be easily treated with antibiotics. So far, I'm still waiting to hear the results of the test. Otherwise, that's about all there is to say about the Obgyn check-ups.

Other than our Obgyn appointments, we've been using our free time to make sure everything is ready for Andy. Last weekend my husband installed the car seat and we packed our bag for the hospital. Since we don't know if I'll go into labor as soon as my cerclage is removed, we want to be ready for the earliest time possible. Also, on the front door, we posted a list of things to grab before we leave for the hospital, things we couldn't pack ahead of time. On that same list, we also made sure to have the number for Labor & Delivery on there so we can call them on our way to the hospital. We have the same number for Labor & Delivery in each of our wallets too in case we're not home when things start to happen. It's weird having the bag packed already. In some ways it makes me feel more calm and prepared. But in a way, it also makes me feel more impatient, like a kid who is ready and waiting to go to Disneyland. My bags are packed. I'm ready to go! But unfortunately, I have to wait a little longer.

Aside from installing the car seat and having everything packed for the hospital, we've also been getting all of Andy's stuff ready for him. I've been washing all his clothes and blankets and making sure everything is set up in his room. We also bought baby wipes yesterday along with a bunch of easy-make meals and snacks when we went grocery shopping yesterday just so we can have more time with Andy and less time fussing about in the kitchen. We've started reading the What to Expect in the First Year book, we've been reviewing the information we got from the birthing class, and yesterday we took a breastfeeding class that gave us a lot of good information as well. And yet, even with all of our preparing for Andy, I still don't feel like I'm 100% ready. I'm certainly excited and anxious to have him here. I'm more than ready to have my body back. But do I feel ready to go through labor and suddenly bring a baby home?....not entirely.

I am ready for him to stop kicking my ribs though! He's kicking me right now and my God it hurts! He's getting so big and strong. Those once cute little kicks are really starting to hurt these days. Yesterday it even brought me to tears!

Tomorrow we will be interviewing a family practitioner who will be Andy's primary care physician after he's born. This last week I had one hell of a time trying to find a pediatrician/family practitioner who would accept medicaid. I was on the phone for hours trying to find someone who would accept it. By the time I had finally found someone who would accept our insurance, my cell phone battery was dead and it had overheated to the point where it wouldn't let me charge it until it had cooled down! It was frustrating to have so many physicians slam their door in my face because I am on state insurance. It was humiliating to feel like I was being treated like I was some low-class gutter trash just because I'm on medicaid. My husband made the joke that I had become Mother Mary running from Inn to Inn, begging for someone to please spare a room for me and my baby. Luckily, after hours of searching, I found two options for family practitioners who have great online reviews and were very courteous on the phone. So this week, we will be interviewing them so we can hopefully have a doctor for Andy before he's already here.

On a more fun note, we had our maternity pictures done a couple weeks back and we got the pictures just this week. They turned out great! I couldn't be happier with them! It's so fun to look through the pictures and see my prego bump. In a way, I'm going to miss it. But I can't wait to have Andy's newborn pictures done once he's here! Something tells me I'm going to be one of those moms who post new pictures of her baby on Facebook nearly every day.

I can hardly believe I'm already 35 weeks along! In less than two weeks I will be considered full term and getting my cerclage removed! It'll be weird not having my safety net. I have worked so hard this entire pregnancy to keep Andy safely inside me. Getting to a point where it won't matter if he comes out right then is just bizarre. It really is hard for me to feel comfortable with the idea of going into labor. Mostly just because I've been trying to prevent it for the last 8 months. But I have to admit, it feels good to know I can carry full term. It makes me feel better about myself knowing that I can have a baby safely. It gives me a sense of pride and closure.

Well, in as early as two weeks, we could have a baby here with us! After years of planning, trying, grieving, celebrating, preparing, and enduring, we will finally have a little baby to join our family!