Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Graduation Day

I've had some time to do some thinking - which is always quite dangerous - and I've decided it is time to close this chapter of my life and move on.

I've always played the role of infertile girl. Even when pregnant, she was still present. My fear was evident. I couldn't let her go.

But now I'm no longer that girl. I have what I've always dreamed of. I've crossed the finish line and graduated from IF hell. My fear manifests itself in a completely different way now. It only makes sense to shift my writing to reflect this change.

This blog began as a sort of diary. A place for me to vent about TTC and loss. It was a "preconception" journal after all. I had no idea I would meet the fabulous women who also shared my unfortunate shoes. I had no idea that I was a member of a community of women just like me. Women who inspire and support me in good times and bad. I had no idea exactly how important this would become to me.

I don't plan to delete this blog. I'll never forget what I went through to get where I am. And I don't ever want to forget. I'd like to think that my experiences could help educate or inspire others who are beginning their journey. Maybe it will be a source of hope. Or at the very least, another voice saying "you are not alone".

So, it's graduation day. I'm moving on to the next phase of my life. Motherhood. Who knows what else is in store.

And I hope you'll join me for chapter two.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Riding the Learning Curve

I can't believe Nate will be four weeks old on Saturday. If my pregnancy seemed to fly by, parenthood travels at the speed of light. I already look at him with a glimmer of tears for how much he has grown and changed in the short number of days I've known him. He continues to amaze me and make me feel things and realize things I never recognized or acknowledged before.

Every millisecond of my existence is monopolized by this tiny little guy. I'm not complaining. This is more of an explanation for my 2.5 week absence. And an honest admission that the responsibility to fulfill someone's each and every desire and need is well...a bit overwhelming at times. Nate has proven to be quite the clingy baby so I can rarely put him down without protest. Holding him and staring at him will never get old but I am also finding it hard to bathe, eat, pee or get much of anything else done - including my blog writing. A true Momma's Boy, he prefers to cuddle with me so DH can only handle him in short spurts. I wonder how on earth I will ever work from home with him (but we'll save that for another post). I feel so guilty letting him cry while I do things for myself. It breaks my heart to hear him wail. And I know happy mommy = happy baby. But it's hard to be happy when your baby is crying for you and you are "too busy" taking a shower or brushing your teeth to respond quickly.

Sadly, the "babymoon" period of my last post only lasted a short while and reality has long set in. I have to admit the past few weeks have been quite challenging. So challenging, in fact, that I have often thought to myself, "what have you done?". There have been numerous times I've felt like a failure at this whole mommy thing. An imposter. As if I'm desperately trying to be something I'm just...not cut out to be.

But then we survive. We make it through to the next day and I gain more confidence in what we can accomplish. I realize we are still getting to know one another. We've been thrust into living together and we have to adjust to each other's quirks and habits. We're still on that learning curve.

Without further ado, here are some nuggets of wisdom I've learned as a newbie mom:

1.) Witching Hour / Colic

Before I was a mom, I had no idea that it was both normal and common for newborns to receive a Bat Call to scream like a banshee for no apparent reason at the same time each night. Every night from 8pm to 11pm, Nate becomes inconsolable. He's been fed (sometimes overfed to the point of spitting up copious amounts of breastmilk), changed, swaddled, given Gripe Water, given a paci - if he'll take it, rocked, bounced, sung to, played with, held with all the lights turned low. You name it, we've tried it. With minimal success. The only thing that has worked consistently is carrying him in this until he passes out. I'm not sure if it is colic or if it is the witching hour that babies use to test their frazzled, sleep-deprived parents. Whatever it is, it certainly makes me feel useless. I always believed that mothers had this intuitive sense to be able to soothe their children. I am living proof that is not always true. I remain hopeful that this will improve in time.

2.) Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has been going fabulously overall. I can only say that after I learned a hard lesson about cluster feeding. Around 2 weeks, Nate went through a growth spurt where he was on the boob literally all night long from 7pm to midnight. Which just happened to fall during the witching hour. So we hit the jackpot of suck. If I took the boob away, pervasive screaming ensued - from Nate's mouth and my mind. I broke down and sobbed, wondering if my supply was low and debating whether I should supplement with those tempting formula samples the hospital provided. Sensing my frustration, Nate continued to fuss and scream to the point that his head resembled a beefsteak tomato. I could see the veins in his scalp pulsating. I was afraid he might burst a blood vessel in his face. I scoured the Internet for tips and came upon this site. What a lifesaver! I found out the problem didn't lay with me and the screaming fits were normal. It makes it a bit difficult to leave the rocking chair when he gets like this, but at least I don't have to question myself. This too shall pass. It's all about management. I have DH fix dinner in the evenings while I devote my body to Nate's will. It's our new routine.

3.) Acid Reflux

Nate also seems to have acid reflux, which is another common ailment in newborns. I thought breastfed babies didn't spit up as much as formula-fed babies but Nate seems to defy the odds. Poor thing spits up after almost every feed. I've tried offering just one breast at a feed (but thereby feeding more often) and keeping him upright for 30 minutes after every feed but he still seems to spit up regardless. My new body fragrance is sour milk. But, he doesn't seem to be bothered too much by it so I take it in stride. He's what they call a "happy spitter" for the most part. The pediatrician assures us that as his esophageal sphincter matures, the reflux will fade. I am hoping to avoid medication but still keep him comfy.

4.) Hiccups

And I thought he got them a lot in the womb! He gets a bout of hiccups at least 2-3 times per day. Nothing to worry about but if he gets them after a feed, it seems to trigger the reflux. The Gripe Water really seems to help with any discomfort he does have as a result.

5.) Nakedness

You know those commercials where the baby is naked and smiling and cooing while a model mom rubs baby oil on its bottom? Yeah, well...not in this house. Nate can't stand to have his diaper changed or to be bathed. I've tried to make it more enjoyable for him by singing or talking him through it but he'll have none of it. Ever since his stump fell off at 10 days old, we've tried to make bathtime a fun experience. He would rather sit in his mustardy, seedy poop than have a wipe or washcloth placed on his buttcheek. Guess its a boy thing.

6.) Mom's Physical Recovery

Physically, I'm doing much better down there. But it was a struggle to get here. The recovery from the tears was worse than I thought it would be. It was 2.5 weeks postpartum before I felt somewhat normal again and could finally pee without the Dermoplast. And pooping? Well, let's just say that if I go once a week, it's reason to celebrate. I know part of it is hormones but Colace and Milk of Magnesia can't even make a dent in it.

On a good note, I've lost 30 lbs. of my total 48 lb. weight gain. So, I only have 18 to go. I've started taking Nate on daily jaunts in the park with the stroller and the Ergo so I'm hoping that will help me shed the rest of the flab.

7.) Mom's Emotional Recovery

Emotionally, I'm doing okay. I find that I'm wishy-washy for lack of a better word. I have shed many a tear, missing my pregnancy. Missing feeling him move inside of me. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the excitement of my growing bump, the showers, the anticipation of his arrival. I look at my belly, just a small pooch, and see the linea negra that serves as the only reminder of how large I once was. I rub it and feel sad that it is no longer taut and round. I spent so much of my pregnancy worrying about loss and I regret not being more carefree and cherishing that time. But yet, I love him so much and I am so thankful to have him here safe and sound. I cry just looking at him, knowing he is mine. Perhaps I have a touch of the baby blues. But I'm sure it is another thing to blame on the damn hormones.

Yes, being a Mommy is a tough job. Maybe harder than I initially believed. But without these struggles, I wouldn't have the vast reward of having my baby stare back at me or watching him laugh and smile in his sleep. I find new reasons to fall in love all over again.

No question. He was definitely worth the wait.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Birth Story

As promised, here is the long awaited birth story of our baby Nate. I'm sorry it took so long but I wanted to leave no detail uncovered. So, here goes:

I guess it all started on Thursday night. Rob and I went to Walmart to get an exercise ball for me to roll around on while we watch TV. We thought it would help with some of the back pain I was having and since I was still having breathing trouble from a little 7 lb. butt in my rib cage, we thought it might also help move our baby boy down a bit more into my pelvis. I rocked on the ball for about 20 minutes on Thursday night and had some BH contractions afterward. Painless but consistently 8 minutes apart, then 15 minutes apart, until they petered out. During the night, I had a few contractions that were painful enough to wake me from sleeping. But those also went away, leaving me with a sore tummy and zombie-like appearance.

I went to work on Friday - business as usual. I felt okay aside from a few BH. Near the end of the work day, around 4pm, I noticed I had lost my mucus plug. I had lost some tiny pieces over the past few weeks but this time, there was no mistaking that it was the real thing. I got pretty excited, and thought that maybe labor would be coming in the next week or so. Little did I know it would start just an hour later!

Labor began about 5pm Friday, while driving home from work. I was timing the contractions to be about 15 minutes apart and manageable. By 6pm, they were up to 7-10 minutes apart and were getting a bit more uncomfortable. Rob called me on his way home from work and we were able to hold a conversation through the contractions, so we decided to keep timing them and see if they got any closer together or more painful before calling the doctor. They progressed to 5 minutes apart by 9-10pm and I had to now breathe through them. It was hard to focus on anything else when they hit. We called the OB and he said to wait until they were 3 minutes apart and call back. At 11pm, they were 4 minutes apart and I was really struggling. Some of the contractions made me cry because they hurt so badly. After another call to the OB, we finally got the green light to head to the hospital. On the way, the contractions creeped up to 3 minutes apart and Rob had to hold my hand through the majority of them. I questioned whether this was false labor and told him if it was, there was no way I could handle the real thing. We arrived at triage a little after midnight. They performed an internal and I was already at 6cm! So...definitely not false labor as I foolishly suspected! I couldn't believe I had made it that far all on my own at home. They ordered my epidural and admitted me to L&D. We were having a baby and SOON!

I was wheeled into L&D for my IV and labwork. The IV was quite tricky and I had to get stuck 3 or 4 times before finding a good vein. Just when we thought it was in, I started swelling in my arm. The IV had infiltrated, so I had to get stuck yet again. Fun times. In the meantime, my bloodwork showed my platelets were low (72), so they told me an epidural was not an option. My platelets had to be at least 80. I just about had a breakdown. I had only a few hours of sleep in the last 48 hours and was afraid I wouldn't have the energy to push at all, much less au naturale. Even though I said I didn't want it in my birth plan, I asked for Stadol to take the edge off. At this point, contractions were back to back and while I was getting through without screaming or moaning, it was very very hard. I had my mom and Rob breathe with me and I visualized my son moving down the birth canal with each contraction. I got the Stadol around 230am and was able to get a half hour or so of sleep. The anxiety and anticipation were just too much. Although I could still feel the pain of the contractions, it did make me loopy enough to pass out in small intervals. They performed another lab on me to determine my clotting time, which I passed, so they allowed me to get the epidural around 4am. Heaven! I could feel the contractions but they weren't painful at all. I just felt pressure. At the time of the epidural, I was 8cm. The doc told me we'd have our baby boy sometime that morning but to get some sleep in the meantime.

Around 7am, they came in to check me again and I was fully dilated and ready to push. My contractions slowed to every 3-4 minutes but were lasting for about 1.5-2 minutes each. We decided to give it a try without Pitocin and take advantage of resting in between the pushes. After pushing for nearly 2 hours and a nasty 2nd degree tear, Nathaniel Robert was born at 8:58am on July 26, 2008 at 38 weeks, 2 days gestation. He was 7 lbs. 11 ounces (!) and 19 inches long. I was surprised he was so big this early, since Rob was 6 lbs. 5 ounces at birth and I was 7 lbs. 5 ounces at birth. But, he was perfectly healthy. He scored 9 & 9 on his Apgars and was working on securing his horror movie acting career by showcasing his strong lungs. I will never forget the sound of his first cry. I just broke down in tears. I had never heard a more beautiful sound in the world. And when they placed him on my chest, all bloody and mucousy, I just stared in awe. I couldn't believe that Rob and I created this little life. There were just so many emotions floating around in the air. I delivered the placenta and got stitched up while family got to meet him for the first time. It was so surreal that I had just given birth. To my son. And it still feels that way, 8 days later.

I wasn't sure how Rob would handle the delivery but he was a pro. He was the greatest coach - pushed me when I was losing motivation but at the same time, comforted me in all of my angst, anxiety and excitement. He was "all up in my bidness" through the entire pushing process and now says he has a whole new respect for me and for women in general. He says it was an experience he will never forget and not for a second does he wish he didn't have the front row seat. He even got me a card in the hospital telling me how proud and amazed he is at how well I handled myself during the birth of our son. He has been a doting husband and father and I think I've fallen in love with him all over again. I'm not sure if it is a babymoon phase or what but we've taken to parenting like ducks to water. We love our new life of poop, pee, breastmilk, spit up and crying. Not that it is easy, don't get me wrong. I'm more exhausted than I've ever been in my entire life. I can't remember the last time I shaved my legs or blow-dried my hair. Time seems to vaporize these days. It's just that we've always been up for the challenge and now that it is here, we welcome it with open arms. How could I complain?

I am still sore from the tear (I tore up near my urethra as well as down into the perineum a bit - thank goodness for Dermoplast!) and I'm pretty sure my rectum resembles the Rockies right about now but it is totally worth it when I look at my baby boy. We had troubles trying to breastfeed in the hospital but since we've been home, it is a million times better. My nipples were pretty cracked and were bleeding but that has faded over time - I guess they just had to adjust to their new purpose. The pediatrician said he has a frenulum and recommended that it be clipped to get a better latch or prevent speech problems as he grows. However, our lactation consultant said that if breastfeeding is not terribly painful and he is gaining weight, she didn't see the need to have it clipped. At the time of discharge (Sunday), Nate was 7 lbs., 7 ounces. On Tuesday, he was down to 7 lbs., 3 ounces. My milk came in with a vengeance on Tuesday night, complete with engorgement (porn star boobage and all!). And as of Friday, he was up to 7 lbs., 8 ounces. So, I think we are going to avoid a trip to the oral surgeon for now.

I'm so head over heels for this little guy. In 8 days, my whole life has changed and I couldn't imagine it any other way.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Rob and Kris, Plus Nate

Nathaniel Robert

Born July 26, 2008


7 lbs., 11 ounces
19 inches long

Birth story to follow shortly! I'm still in the process of documenting everything that happened from the blur of the last few days, being that I've gotten a cumulative 4-5 hours of sleep in that time frame.

I feel like the Grinch. My heart has grown at least 3 sizes since I laid eyes on him. I never knew I could love another human being so much.

Friday, July 25, 2008

So Long 'Ole Pal

Bye bye mucus plug.

I'm convinced that is what I just scraped out of my undies. The total accumulation was quite impressive - similar in width and height to a stack of 3-4 quarters. Gummy in consistency. Almost resembling EWCM but more amber. No bloody show yet though. I'd been having small stringy pieces on my pantiliner for days now but this was definitely more quantity and...should I say...quality?

I was also up all last night with wicked contractions. After rolling around on my exercise ball for a bit, I began to get BH but didn't think much of it. They were inconsistent and painless. Some coming every 8 minutes and then every 13 minutes until they petered out. Overnight, I got some painful ones I had to breathe through. Felt like bad AF cramps that radiated to my back. However, those were also inconsistent and faded over time. They just left me in a sleepless, cranky daze with a sore crotch and belly.

Not sure if any of this means anything but at least there is action to keep me on my toes. We're in wait and see mode.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Matter of When, Not If

*OB appointment alert*

Had my 38 week appointment this morning. And...

I'm 3.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced. That silence? That is me as my eyes bug out of their sockets and my mouth could catch flies.

The OB said that Sunshine's head is "very low" and at this point, we are just waiting on him to decide on his birthday. My body is actually trying to coerce him out. To tell you the truth, I'm afraid to squat and use the bathroom for fear he may plop into the toilet. Do you think I could just walk into the hospital and ask for an epidural now?

She casually mentioned that she is on call this weekend should I go into labor. But the thought of it happening so quickly is surreal. I mean, we are ready. The nursery is finished - aside from a few tiny, random things that haven't arrived yet. We have all the necessary items to take care of a newborn and more. The anticipation is killing me softly. But I'm still in shock whenever I hear I make progress.

She said that with said progress, it is likely I will have a fairly short labor, whenever it does happen. Less than half a day. So it's a good thing those bags are packed. Now, if I can just load them all into the Jeep tonight, we'll be in business. After all, they won't do any good sitting at home on the floor if my water breaks while I'm in BRU finishing up the last of my registry shopping.

I hope that my next update is the one we've all been waiting for. Until then, I wait earnestly and enjoy these last weeks being the closest I'll ever be to my baby boy. As uncomfortable as it is to have a 7 lb. baby using my ribs as a chair or an ottoman, I never want to forget the sensation. I don't want to forget any of it. I wish I could bottle it up somehow so I will always remember this time. I want to meet him so badly but it is hard to think of letting it go and entering the next phase. Will I be a good mom? Will I know what to do to fulfill his needs? It's all just so new and I know these worries are common at this point. I just want to do right by him and give him the life he deserves. I worried so much of this pregnancy away. Now, I want these memories to stay with me and not to ever fade. I want to enjoy it while it lasts.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Two Words

*P-word and related topics below*

Full term. 37 weeks. However, you want to say it, it's music to my ears.

I had my 37 week appointment yesterday, a day early. I didn't have to suffer through another internal, which was actually a relief. I really don't miss the cramping and slight spotting from the one just last week. So, I can deal with the suspense of waiting another week to see if I've dilated or effaced more. I did find out my GBS swab was negative so no IV antibiotics for me. Woot! Sunshine is still being a good boy and seems comfortable in his head down position. The OB estimated his birth weight to be in the "high 7's". DH was 6 lbs. 5 oz. at birth and I was 7 lbs. 5 oz. so it appears he is following in Mommy's footsteps. I realize this is an arbitrary number but he seems to be average all over. Perfectly average - and I couldn't ask for or possibly want more.

Physically, I'm noticing even more changes than my super swelling belly. I've been growing skin tags all over my belly and boobs. A new one seems to sprout up everyday. They are tiny and flesh-colored but so annoying. They itch and sometimes, it is hard to tell them apart from a clogged pore. I find myself scratching them and they bleed. I'm hoping they go away after birth but we'll see. I might just have to put up with these new, uninvited moochers.

The first trimester fatigue is now resurging again. I'm napping more after work and going to bed earlier. I'm sure it has to do with the fact that my sleep each night is interrupted between urinating 200 times, hip or back pain and heartburn. Again, nature's way of preparing me for waking up with a newborn to feed every hour or two. My body seems to have its own internal alarm clock now. I have the waddling down pat and I know I stick out like a sore thumb, being penguins don't live in 90 degree habitats. But, I'm taking it all in stride. It won't be too much longer and all of these changes are necessary to make it to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

As for material progress, the hospital bag is 95% packed (just need chargers for the electronics and an extra outfit for DH, which seems to be very difficult for him to choose. C'mon! It's not Sex and the City for pete's sake!). The diaper bag is also packed and ready to go. The only things left on the to-do list are:

Get the car seat base inspected
Pick up nursery end table from Ikea
Purchase final registry items (swing, PNP sheets and other random things)
Write out thank you cards for most recent shower
Clean the apartment as much as my nesting instinct and body will allow

To think that he could literally come at any moment now is just...undescribable. We've purchased all the essentials so if he does decide to join us early, we are prepared. I'm so ready to meet him. And yet I'm not. I always feel there is more to be done that could make things just a little bit more perfect. I guess I will feel that way for the rest of my life. Nothing will ever be clean enough or organized enough. But 'tis life. I'm actually relaxing a bit from the nesting urge. My body is quickly reaching its limitations. I can't bend over like I used to and I can't just keep going like the Energizer bunny as I used to. I have to slow down and just do what I can do. The rest will have to wait. Interesting how nature takes care of this mental vs. physical debate for you.

I look at the bags waiting by the door in bewilderment. A symbol of change to come. Someday soon, we will be grabbing them and rushing to put them in the car. We will be driving off to the hospital to meet our son. And when we come back to the apartment, we will be different people. With a tiny addition.

I stare at the Pack 'n Play that is now set up in our bedroom, imagining what it will be like to fill the bassinet with a baby. Our baby.

I hold up his little newborn diapers in amazement. Quite possibly the cutest pair of underwear I've ever seen. So small. And yet one day soon my son will poop or pee in them. And even that is undeniably cute.

I do a lot of daydreaming recently, as you can see. Even at work, I find myself drifting off. August 1st is my tentative last day of work and it can't come soon enough. I have a sneaky suspicion this little guy will come on August 2nd, just because I'm not cut out for R&R.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Power of 1

Had my 36 week appointment this morning, which means I got my first internal. Officially 1cm dialated and about 75% effaced. I suspected the AF-type cramps and pressure I'd been feeling was doing something.

The internal itself was not pleasant. It HURT. I guess because my cervix is pretty thinned out, it was far up inside. It felt like the OB had his whole hand shoved up there. I was expecting it to feel more like a pap but this was definitely more...invasive. It doesn't help that I haven't DTD in months so I haven't been accustomed to things going IN the vag. But enough whining. It's not going to get any better with labor and delivery so it will be something I need to get used to - and fast.

I also had my GBS swab and will get the results next Wednesday at my next appointment. Hopefully, it is negative but I'm not stressing over it. If it is positive, it just means I need to get to the hospital quickly so I can have an IV bag of antibiotics. Certainly doable. But it would be nice not to have to worry about it at all.

It's a relief to know that my body is doing what it should be doing at this point. After dealing with a pair of lazy, incompetent ovaries and a cranky uterus for years, it is a nice change of pace to have my cervix behaving - despite having a LEEP 4 years ago.

I am well aware that I could sit here at 1cm for a long time and I "shouldn't get too excited" but I can't help but smile when I think that I am that much closer to the big day. Something is better than nothing.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Love Lost and Love Gained

One year ago today, I had just learned that our Snowflake had passed.

I still think about her and it brings tears to my eyes. I miss her so much. I remember the pain so vividly. And yet, I can't help but recognize how my life is so different now.

A year later, I now have a baby boy inside of me that I love so dearly. And if I had my Snowflake, I never would have had my Sunshine. I can't picture my life any differently. It's so funny (well, not so funny actually) how life hands you these twists and turns. Last year, on this very day, I was wondering if I'd ever have a living child and here I am with an imminent arrival. He sure works in mysterious ways.

So, today, I reflect on the love I lost. I will never forget my second sweet angel and can't wait to hold her in my arms one day when I leave this earth. But it also makes me appreciate each day - each moment - with the love I've gained. Grateful just isn't a strong enough word to capture how I feel.

Monday, July 07, 2008

30 Days

*For the sensitive: pregnancy mentioned*

We're on the official countdown now - 30 days and some odd hours to go. On one hand, the thought of meeting my son in just a month is so exciting that I can hardly wrap my brain around it. I imagined getting this far along as a SIG (sad infertile girl) but never really believed it would happen. I guess I was too scared to think it was more than a fantasy. Yet I now have a little guy who loves to wake me up with his rolls every morning - not the freshly baked ones but I'll prefer these any day of the week. On the other hand, as the days tick by, I am threatened by the real possibility that he could arrive at anytime and I am not yet completely prepared. We have 99% of the necessities but as a first time mom-to-be, I just want everything to be perfect. I really need to let go of this newfound Type A-ness that has been dominant lately. Repeat to self - we will get there eventually. It. will. be. okay.

I had my third and final baby shower yesterday. Don't worry - pics will be coming as soon as my mom figures out how to utilize technology. We are now on our own as far as baby supplies goes. Our family and friends have been so generous that we only have several "larger" purchases to make prior to Sunshine's arrival - breastpump, nightstand, swing, etc. I can't believe how lucky our little guy is. I look around his nursery at the overflowing bags of goodies and the beautiful furniture and am in awe of how much he is loved and he is not even here yet.

Speaking of breastpumps: if you are in the market for one, please visit this site. I have their price list and they have the best prices out there that I've seen. Plus free shipping and no tax (unless you live in NJ). You can email me for the list and I will forward it to you if you are interested.

Week 35 has been one of change. Up to this point, I have had it relatively easy. Feeling great. No complaints, really. That is beginning to shift now that I am entering my 9th month. The uncomfortableness is setting in. No, I'm not intending to whine. I'm just noticing how my body is changing and how I have to adapt and manage these new, not-so-fun p-word side effects.

First, the swelling has set in. Several weeks ago, I had to take off my wedding rings. They were starting to get a tad tight and I didn't want to risk getting them stuck or having to get them cut off. So, I voluntarily removed them, vowing to put them on again as soon as I was able. I've disliked walking around without them. I feel naked. Not to mention that I feel self-conscious, as if I'm a single mom. But it is a necessary evil in these final weeks.

On July 4th, we went out on a friend's boat for a short cruise. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate. And neither did my feet. At the end of the ride, my toes looked like little Vienna sausages. I could hardly move them. It was not a pretty sight. I kept them as elevated as much as possible and pumped so much water into my body that I thought my stomach might explode. That seemed to do the trick so I chalked it up to too many salty appetizers.

Sleep is pretty much nonexistent at this point. I wake up every two hours to a pulsating bladder. A bladder that when emptied, is quite disappointing with regard to quantity. How can it feel like I have a gallon of urine to get rid of and yet only a few trickles actually exit? I get wicked heartburn regardless of when I last ate, so the Tums raid has become a nightly ritual. Also, the hip/nerve pain has gradually become excruciating. Laying on my back is a no-no but laying on my side gives me sciatica. So, I'm forced to pretty much sleep in an upright position. My cumulative sleep is probably about 3-4 hours on a "good" night. I don't know how I get my job done as a walking zombie but I somehow find a way. I consider this good practice for when we're in the company of a newborn. But you better believe I'm waiting anxiously for maternity leave to begin.

All of these signs are a blessing in disguise. While I may think of it as misery sometimes, I know deep down inside that it all means I am getting closer to that ultimate moment. Mother Nature can dish out as much of it as she wants if it means I'll be holding my baby boy one month from now.

Monday, June 30, 2008

In Which More Time Passes

It's been a week again. My bad. Time just keeps passing me by. I almost wish it would slow down a little so I could catch my breath. Can you believe it will be July tomorrow? JULY! Where did June go?

First of all, I have to comment on the BFP bonanza going on in the blogworld. Between my girls Alison, Mel and JJ, I'm about to go into preterm labor over here. Give them lots of love while they anxiously wait for glimpses of their little uterine inhabitants.

ETA: Forgive my preggo brain, but don't forget to stop by and congratulate Samantha! She has been through hell and back on her IVF journey and could use some hugs right now as well.

*P-word and baby talk below*

My 34 week appointment went well last week. Fundal height was right where it should be. Heart rate showed a "happy and healthy baby boy". Doctor's words - not mine, I swear. BP was nice and low. Weight is okay (+36 lbs.). I was hoping to gain less than 40 overall but whatever. I eat when I'm hungry, which just so happens to be about every 2 hours, and I've passed the point of freaking out over weight gain. I just want to get through the next several weeks and if that means stuffing my face with milkshakes, Jello, and Italian Ice - so be it. A pregnant woman has to subsist in this heat and so far, that is my only means of survival.

My next appointment at 36 weeks will entail a Group B Strep (GBS) swab and my first cervical check. I was really starting to like not having to drop my panties at my appointments and now we're back to everyone and their brother viewing my most private areas. Guess I better get accustomed to it now since L&D will be the ultimate display in Cooch-E-Vision.

We are still making progress towards preparing for our Sunshine. We interviewed a pediatrician last Wednesday and we felt comfortable enough to decide to give her a try. It is a multi-group practice about 5 miles from our apartment and they have evening and weekend hours for acute care. All of the doctors have their own cell phones and we were encouraged to call at anytime if we had any questions. Being first time parents, I have no doubt we will overreact and need extra reassurance so this was a big deal to us. They also have 2 lactation consultants on staff to assist with breastfeeding. Again, a big plus for me being a first timer. We discussed the vaccine controversy and they are very flexible. Although they recommend following the American Academy of Pediatrics timeline, they will allow the parents to modify if that is their choice. While I will most likely stick to the standard schedule, I like having the option to split up the shots so too many aren't given at one time or to delay a shot if it makes me feel more at ease.

There were only 2 minor issues. Our pediatrician will be on vacation right around our due date. Not a huge deal - we will just have to meet with another doctor in the practice for the first couple of visits. I'm okay with that. The other issue is that this particular practice does not have rights at the hospital where I will deliver so I will have to use a house pediatrician to assess the baby right after birth. Again, not a big deal but something to keep in mind for the future.

Overall, I feel good to have crossed that off the master list.

The nursery is still coming along. I bought a closet shelf organizer this weekend to maximize space. However, we are in a holding pattern until our glider and changing table arrive, which should be sometime in the next week. Then, I'll have more pics to share with all of you.

I think our apartment is the cleanest it has ever been thanks to my nesting. Those rumors are totally true. I woke up yesterday at 630am with an INTENSE urge to clean. I Swiffered the floors, washed the dishes, wiped the counters down with Lysol wipes, cleaned the toilets, vacuumed, did some laundry. We're talking on my hands and knees at some points, vacuuming and scrubbing in crevices I never knew existed. I was just "in the zone" and nothing was going to stop me. It had to get done at that exact moment or I was going to hurt someone. It was THAT bad. My back was terribly sore after working so hard but man does it feel good to sit back and enjoy a clean living space. Now, if I could just stop DH from making a mess of it again, I'll be in business.

Next on the OCD to-do list:

Pack hospital bag, preferably before 36 weeks

Buy nursing bras/tanks and granny panties for hospital bag
Clean out vehicles, as DH uses them as trash recepticles
Have carseats inspected before 37 weeks

And, as if two showers weren't enough, I am about to have my third and final baby shower this Sunday (I know, I know, I'm walking funny because I have a horseshoe up my butt). The first shower was for work and the second was friends and family. However, we have a lot of 0ut-of-state family flying in for a reunion of sorts and they want to have a shower for me while they are in town. I can't wait to see everyone, as I haven't seen many of them since our wedding. It makes me giddy that everyone is so excited over our impending arrival. If he only knew how much he was already loved, he would certainly decide to stick around, right? I want nothing more in this world.

Monday, June 23, 2008


*Pregnancy talk and pictures below*

33 weeks, 4 days. Approximately 6-7 weeks to go - or to be more exact, 45 days until D-Day. When it's broken down that way, it seems so close. Dang.

Last weekend, my dear friend Holly threw me a surprise baby shower! I was expecting lunch with her at this cute little new restaurant but instead, I had friends and family waiting there for me to celebrate. It was truly one of the happiest times of my life. I am so indebted to her for the time and effort she put in to make this day so special for me. Between the cake, the games, the was just too much. The shock took days to wear off. Everyone was so incredibly generous. We got tons of loot - clothes (our son will never be naked!), wipes, a diaper bag, our bedding set, blankets, an exersaucer. The list goes on and on.

If anyone wants to see a slideshow of pictures from the shower, click here.

The nesting instinct that has been lingering for over a month has now officially manifested itself inside me. I have an intense desire to clean the house and finish the nursery, even if I have several weeks in which to get it all together. I've ordered the changing table/dresser combo and the glider, both of which should be arriving in early July. Mainly, I wanted an excuse to wash all of his clothes and fold them 197 times. And a place to sit and dream about holding my baby. We've painted the wall letters and most of the wall decor. Just in need of some wall putty to hang them up. I've set up an appointment for a meet 'n greet with a pediatrician on Wednesday night. I've made a list of what I need to pack in my hospital bag. And I've made sure our carseat fit in both of our vehicles. Amazingly, the Graco SafeSeat fit in DH's 2-door Civic. It took a little maneuvering but we made it work. We're making progress.

The proof is in the pudding and I have evidence that I haven't really been slacking:

The "Before"

The "After"

Now with the bedding

Loads of loot, just waiting on baby

Our "stand-in"

Friday, June 13, 2008

Boobs and Bottles and Bras...Oh My!

Happy Friday the 13th to all my readers!

*P-word alert*

32 weeks as of yesterday. For some reason, this mini-milestone is a big accomplishment to me. I know my little brownie is still a bit gooey inside and needs to continue baking but it somehow makes me feel safe to know that if he absolutely had to arrive, at this very moment, odds are he would have no long-term complications. I still find it hard to trust this finicky uterus of mine so I like having a sort of warranty in case she decides to act a fool. Each day we get closer, I feel more at ease. Much more optimistic. This is really going to happen.

Our 32 week appointment was happily uneventful. After measuring 2 weeks ahead at my last appointment and scaring me into believing I was growing a football player in my belly, he measured right on this time. Maybe it was his position? BP is a steady 100/70. Weight is about +33 lbs. All is consistent and all is good.

We had our breastfeeding class on Wednesday night. Let me start by saying that breastfeeding is one of those issues I feel extremely uneasy about. Maybe even more so than labor and delivery. While considered "natural" by society, it seems that many of the moms I know have had terrible experiences, or bailed out because it was harder than they thought. Let's face it: when I hear about cracked, bleeding nipples, it doesn't sound so appealing to me - or to anyone for that matter. So, I feel like I'm facing Mt. Everest by deciding to breastfeed. While I'm not opposed to formula feeding - I was a formula-fed baby after all and I like to think I turned out just fine - I feel like the benefits of breastfeeding are just too good to pass up. Knowing ahead of time how all-consuming it can be and how much pressure there is, I am even more determined to make it work. Call me a stubborn ass but I'm going to do everything in my power to do this. I think the scary part is that breastfeeding is a partnership between my body and my baby. Both parties have to work together to be successful. So, there comes the whole trust thing again. How do I know my body will hold up its end of the deal? What if the baby just "doesn't get the hang of it"? So many unknowns = lack of control = stressed out Kristen. That's my Type A revealing its ugly self...

Anyway, back to the class. I was pretty clueless going in, aside from some advice I've picked up along the way, so I felt like I got my money's worth from it. The LC was not a bottle nazi, which I appreciated. I had myself stressed over whether I should choose standard neck or wide neck bottles, and she clarified that it doesn't matter which one you use, as long as the baby wraps his/her lips around the wide portion of the nipple and not just the short, elongated portion. I received some references as to breastmilk storage (for pumping), diet, safe meds, nursing bras, etc. I also learned 3 holding positions (cradle, reverse cradle and football) that were really helpful. We even got to practice on little baby dolls. My little boy looked as though he was going to feast on my nipple (he had itty bitty teeth) but thankfully, we avoided a live version of Child's Play and I made it through the session unscathed. For the record, I think reverse cradle is my favorite.

All in all, I think we have a plan. Of course, it is flexible - it needs to be - but it helps me to map out my goals. Writing it out gives me something to strive for. I will exclusively breastfeed for the first 4 weeks. I will also be pumping to save up a supply for returning to work. If all is going smoothly, after 4 weeks, DH will introduce a bottle. Hopefully, there will be no nipple confusion at this point. From there, we will alternate boob and bottle and hope for the best. At around 6 months, I will introduce solids and start to wean off the boob. I may continue to pump until 1 year but my initial goal is 6 months. We'll see how it goes. All I can do is give it a try and adjust as needed.

DH and I are also in the process of choosing a pediatrician. My OB has given me a deadline of 34 weeks so I don't have much time. I think I may have found one but I need to set up a time to interview the doc and make sure that we see eye to eye on things. Like vaccines. I'd like to pretty much stay on the recommended schedule but maybe delay the MMR until 18 months or 2 years. I haven't fully decided but it would be nice to bounce some ideas off of a professional and see how flexible they are. I think there should be a balance between physician recommendation and patient-led care, especially when it comes to my child.

On a more fun note, we finally put up the crib. Our spare room is slowly becoming a nursery. I walk by and see the empty crib and the feelings of anticipation build up. We still have alot to do but I can't wait for it all to come together.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Guess Who in labor right now as I type? No, not me, silly.

Go show her some love! Mini Vann will be here in no time!