Thursday, June 30, 2005

I'm having difficulty telling the difference between having to pee because of a full bladder versus baby pressure on it. And some days it seems like I'm peeing constantly and it's quantity, like defrosting-Austin Powers lots. But that doesn't seem to be related to humidity, or swelling, or how much water I drink. My theory is that is must be due to the recycling of amniotic fluid.

I can't even imagine how much of a difference it'll make when this baby drops. Although it'll be fun to not have my ribcage be used as a weapon against me. And increased lung capacity will be nice.

By popular demand, here are a few recent pics.
Sleepy Mamma
"Mom To Be"
Ain't we cute

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Week 36

One more week and I'm officially full term. I find it strange that the range is 37-42 weeks. Well, not really that strange compared to all the rest of the weirdness this little pregnancy project has wrought. Mr. b says that right now if you stick a toothpick in the bun in the oven, you'll get moist crumbs. We need to wait for dry crumbs so the cooking continues.

My brief reprieve from sleeping troubles seems to have ended. Ah well, it was good while it lasted. Now I'm back to waking almost hourly, sometimes to pee and sometimes from sheer uncomfortableness.

I'm ending up with more back aches now, too. Teacher showed us a diagram illustrating how the uterus is anchored at the lower back and that's why so many women end up with sore lower backs. But for me, it's been more in the middle. I think part of the problem is that I can't stretch those muscles the way I used to; there's a baby in the way. And part of the problem is that I'm always bending and twisting in strange ways to try to get this baby out from under my right rib and that's straining my middle back. I was actually in tears yesterday when I got home from work. I couldn't get comfortable either sitting or laying on the couch, even using tons of pillows for extra support. Thankfully Mr. b had impeccable timing and got home just as I was at my breaking point. I felt so much better after a back massage.

Monday, June 27, 2005

We went to the lake yesterday and floating was every bit as wonderful as I was hoping it would be. Although Child Person sure did make some strange shapes with my stomach as I was floating. I don't know if it was because we were both weightless or because I was holding myself differently than upright fighting gravity or what. Of course I couldn't be as active and frolic like I normally do in the water. Reduced range of motion in my mid-section and all. All the young Mexican mothers gave me "right on sister" looks as I walked along the beach in my belly bearing bikini. And one black woman even announced, "Don't you look cute!"

That's something I've noticed in the last couple of weeks; black women talk to me constantly now. I must have crossed some invisible barrier. These ladies come up to me out of nothing at the grocery store, at work, on the street, at the post office, in the bathroom. They always want to find out how I'm doing, how far along I am, and share their own stories of pregnancy. Or provide "advice". Or just tell me how cute my belly looks. It's hilarious and charming.

I did a lot of nursery prep this weekend. We bought some Dreft and I washed and put away just about everything that will touch Baby's skin. Clothes, new and hand-me-down, sheets, towels, wash cloths, bibs. I still have to do the blankets. And burp cloths when we get some--they are one of the very few items we didn't get. I have to admit I was bowled over by the adorableness of these tiny clothes. I was never a fan of babies. Toddlers, sure. But I know I'm going to love at least this one baby. I still suspect I'll end up like Miranda in Sex in the City: all kids but my own suck. Well, I'll modify it. All kids but my own, and those whose parents I know, suck.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Picking out a new bikini when you're 8 months' pregnant is an interesting thing to do. But now I'm all set for some swimmin'! Just got to figure out where I want to go. Midwest summers are no good for pregnant ladies. Of course Mr. b asked, "What happens if your water breaks while you're in the water?" There's no way I'd notice! And now I'm vaguely paranoid because you're not supposed to be submersed after your water breaks if you're not in labor.

I want to get a belly portrait taken. I need to memorialize this bizarre body shape.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Week 35

Even more than the physical aspects of being preggers, I am sick and tired of being psycho. I was crying as I drove to my check-up yesterday. Mr. b had forgotten about it and scheduled himself to work. I was feeling so alone. Which is quite the trick when you're sharing your physical body with another being. I wiped off my tears when I parked, went in and gave my pee sample, and waited to see Doc. And there was Mr. b! He had pulled rank and left his shift early because he didn't want to miss an appointment. Of course seeing him there almost made me start bawling again. I can't wait until I have *some* control over my emotions again.

Doc re-confirmed that Owie Baby's head is down. But she said there's no way to tell if he's facing the right direction. Since I haven't really had any lower back issues, most likely he's anterior. I hope. She also cringed with remembered pain when she saw how he continues to pound at my liver and squirm upwards on and under my ribs on the right. Mr. b wondered if that meant he was big but Doc said he's average still (I gained another whopping 2 pounds so that puts me at 22 total). I guess he's just super wiggly. No surprise considering his father.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Another freak out in the middle of the night last night. I guess that brings me to 3 really big ones during this pregnancy. My defense mechanisms and wife-of-alcoholic coping skills have completely disintegrated. It's certainly not helping my already compromised ability to sleep and my increasing late-third-trimester exhaustion. I know that I can't push Mr. b to change anything about his drinking. I'm not a dumbass. And I'm not new to this game. But I have allowed all of my previous rules (like the Drunk Bed) to slowly fade away. That's my own fault. I knew that if I had waited until he was sober to get pregnant, it would never happen. Just like those people that claim they just need to get more financially sound. Right. Good luck with that. I just never wanted to raise the child of an alcoholic. We both are. Both of our dads are now long-time sober. And none of these men have ever been abusive or anything else stereotypical that you see on TV or read about in the histrionic memoirs that are all the rage these days. But it's still stressful to see my normally wonderful husband succumb to that addiction. The beer gives him the gout and the whiskey makes him selfish and thrash in his sleep. I need him all to myself right now. I can't share him with his mistress alcohol. Sure, if he's drunk when I go into labor there will probably be plenty of time at home still for him to sober up. But who's going to help me get through the contractions in the meantime?

Monday, June 20, 2005

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Thanks to the fantastic knitting skills of akg and the amazing organizational abilities of lis, the darling TWoP Trekkers sent me this beautiful sweater and hat. (thinga got one as well!) They rule. They also sent this fantastic card. I love you guys!

This weekend was the big Auntie G baby shower. Man can that girl do up a shindig. It was so much fun. Boys and kids were allowed and the food was fabulous. I am just constantly astounded at the sincerity and generosity of all my friends, in the world and online.

I did the big inventory and we're actually in pretty darn good shape. I think we need to get a stroller and a swing but a pack n play can wait (Christmas gift from Nana?!) for now. We're set on the nursery stuff, too, with the exception of a couple of minor things like changing pad covers. It feels so much more real just to have a car seat sitting in the house. I even had a dream last night that Baby was sitting in it on the floor next to me while I was doing something else. I looked over and he was so peaceful sleeping in there. I think I'm as ready as I'll ever be. Let's go dammit!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Teacher asked our birth class if any of us had noticed Braxton Hicks contractions yet. I was the only one that raised my hand. After I described the feeling--a general sort of tightness in my belly, like it wants to stay in sitting position even after I've stood up--she confirmed that that's definitely it. I'm chocking it up to more hyper awareness of my own body. Like how I could feel Child Person moving way earlier than is usual for a first timer and how I could feel uterus muscles changing even before that. So I'm guessing I'll be right on it when I go into real labor. I don't know if that'll make it seem even longer than it's already sure to be. I mean, if you're oblivious and don't notice right away, then there's potentially a big chunk of time you don't have to be fretting!

Then again, my general healthiness and awareness has certainly made this a relatively easy pregnancy. I haven't had the classic sore lower back issues because if I sense even the littlest bit of tension, I know how to stretch and get relief. And I've avoided the stereotypical clumsiness due to your changing center of gravity because of dancer's posture. I'm sure the intermittent leg/arm swelling I have been experiencing would be much worse if I wasn't stretching and moving to get the blood flowing again. And of course I drink tons water; that definitely helps keep the swelling at bay.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Week 34

The birth class really helped to assuage my fears. The instructor was a very cool broad and she said towards the beginning that she was going to gear it more for the "labor partners" than the women, since we had no choice at this point. I didn't know that the whole process was broken down into stages: 1) labor contractions/cervix dilation, 2) delivering the baby, 3) delivering the placenta. And that the first stage is subdivided into phases: 1) early labor (about to 5 cm, not too bad, can stay at home), 2) labor (about 5-7cm, should probably be at the hospital, they'll hurt), and 3) transition (about to 10cm, the really icky part where baby's head gets into position to go down the birth canal and your ability to swear like a sailor will be revealed). I was fascinated by the claims that actually pushing the baby out doesn't hurt but it does feel like you've got a bowling ball down there. That's quite a mind boggling statement of seeming contradictions.

Ultimately, both Mr. b and I realized that my instinctual plans (squat to deliver and remain on my feet and moving as much as possible during labor) were right on the money. And that both of us want me to try to do as much without pain medication as possible. The intervention options just make the whole process so much more medical-y. And in the case of an epidural (frankly the whole spine and needle thing squicks me out majorly) you can't move around, which I don't like at all.

We certainly needed the excuse to really talk frankly about our fears. Mr. b is scared of me. Scared of me hurting him verbally/emotionally/physically. And I'm scared of him taking it personally if I do and him going on the defensive, which is his natural position even when unnecessary. I will need him there for me. Teacher said that having your labor partner with you is equal to a shot of Demerol. I believe it. Mr. b is also scared of watching me be in pain and not being able to do anything about it. That's just so loving.

I've realized that a lot of my tears while reading the preggo lit (and watching the videos during the class) about labor and delivery have been less about my fear of the unknown and almost more of anticipatory love. I love this baby so much already. I had no idea how desperately I wanted to meet him and hold him and kiss him. And my love for Mr. b has exponentially increased, too. How can I possibly contain this much emotion for another month and a half?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I'm sick. This sucks. I stayed home yesterday and was miserable. Today I'm slightly less miserable. But does that equal better? I called the clinic yesterday to find out what kind of drugs I was able to take. Nurse said Robitussin. It makes me loopy.

I felt the sore throat coming on Saturday night. But I didn't know if it was just from talking loudly over the noise at the wedding reception. Or maybe the temperature extremes from being outside and humid then inside and air conditioned. Or maybe I picked up a bug while touring the maternity ward at the hospital during birth class earlier that day. I didn't really give it much thought. And then when I felt super crappy at birth class the next morning, I thought it was just constipation and swollen legs. (Despite all the good leg massaging I got from one of the Astronaut Wives at the reception.)

It's really sucky being sick while preggers. I'm already having trouble getting comfortable laying down. My stomach is all squished and tiny and so leaks acid when I'm laying down. I was sort of freaked out about taking Zantac on top of the 'Tussin, despite the fact that both have been authorized. About 1 o'clock last night I gave in and was able to sort of sleep through the rest of the night.

At least I was able to avoid getting sick earlier in the pregnancy. Anecdotally, once you get a preggers cold, it never really fully goes away while you're still knocked up. I sure hope that one's just an Old Wife's Tale.

Friday, June 10, 2005

I've been pushing back at Little Owie Baby's foot so often that now my muscles are sore on the right side of my back. I guess because of the angle and the wrap around tugging effect. Or something. Yesterday I tried to just ignore him and not try to move him away if at all possible. Yeah. It didn't work.

I think I might be having those practice contractions. It's hard to say since I don't have anything to compare to. The preggo lit tells me it'll feel like my uterus getting hard. I have noticed that sometimes my lower belly gets really tight and then will go back to normal. It doesn't really hurt usually. Thought sometimes I'll feel a fairly sharp pain somewhere in the baby factory. I can't tell if it's just him hitting me on some internal organ or what though.

Then again, I didn't know what his hiccups felt like until he got them during a check-up a couple of weeks ago. Doc was listening to his heartbeat, pointed out he was hiccupping, and then I knew what that strange, rhythmic, faint throbbing was I usually feel at the bottom on the left side. The hiccups at least haven't worn out their welcome. I still find those cute and charming. Probably because they don't hurt me. That makes a big difference.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I started reading the baby manual we got as a shower present. It was given to us from a real live pediatrician! I learned that babies are totally alert and super aware for the first hour or so after they're born. Huh.

I find myself making mental plans for minor surgical procedures after Child Person arrives. I figure I can handle anything once I have gone through labor and delivery. So the crooked wisdom tooth I've been putting off getting pulled? That'll be gone. And the moles that bug the hell out of Mr. b? They're outta here. Actually, Doc said she can just remove the moles herself. I have 4 that are of the stickie-outie variety. Mr. b has noticed they're darker and I've noticed they're kind of tender. That's yet another preggo-hormone thing apparently. Doc confirmed that it's nothing to worry about and then said she fancies herself a bit of an amateur plastic surgeon so I don't even need to see a dermatologist. Nice!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Week 33

Doc says that the baby child is definitely head down already. And since I'm told that babies come out facing your butthole, that means the offending foot that is giving me the liver bruise is his right foot. Same foot of Mr. b's that won't stay still. Mr. b says, "Good boy." Hrmph.

I've gained back 1 and a half pounds. But I haven't decided if that's actual weight gain or just more natural fluctuation. Really, I'm beyond caring. I'm clearly not going to be one of those women that balloons up 80 pounds. I remember joking to a friend long before I even went off the pill that my plan was to gain 12 pounds total--7 for the baby and 5 for the other junk. Little did I know how close that would be!

Mr. b was very cute in the doctor's office. He busted out with a litany of status updates--that I'm hot all the time and he's always having to put on a sweatshirt and that my legs get swollen and I get tired and I'm overly emotional and get sad and upset easily. Doc just grinned at me and said, "Everything's normal then. You're perfect!"

To hammer home the overly emotional point I then had a total melt down in the middle of the night. I was convinced that Mr. b was dead in a ditch somewhere when he didn't get home from band practice until much later than I anticipated. I was in tears, not able to go back to sleep, wandering around looking out the window, willing him to get home.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I've begun talking to the baby child. "Ow! C'mon Baby, stop it." "Damn it, Little Baby you're hurting me." That kind of thing. I swear I already have a sense of his personality. He's a hyper little scamp, very rowdy. We're definitely going to have to keep an eye on him. "Two eyes," says Gandalf.

I had another uber creepy baby dream last night. He was moving around so much and I looked down and could actually make out the perfect outline of his facial profile stretching out of my stomach skin. I showed that bit of freakiness to my sister. Then suddenly I was holding him in the palm of my hand. He wasn't actually born, and he was tiny, but he was fully developed and still technically attached to me somehow, and yet outside of the womb. Just visiting I guess. He was crying and I kept trying to give him my finger to calm him down. Then he became much larger, probably closer to his actual current size. But he also became *aware*. Like abomination aware. (I swear I haven't gone through any Reverend Mother rituals while preggers.) And his head swelled up and his eyes spread apart and he spoke in some language I didn't understand. I was desperate to get him back in my belly where he belonged. But the only way to do it was to open my jaw like a snake and very carefully let him back in through my mouth. I felt like Cronus.

Monday, June 06, 2005

My SIL held an infant CPR refresher course at her community pool on Friday. It was scary to think about having to use it but good to know it.

She's already showing at 14 weeks. Was I already showing that soon? I can't even remember. Then again, people of all ages are still saying that I look quite small for how far along I am. Really? Because I can't see my feet anymore when I look down.

I've officially switched into the Hot Phase. Granted it's been a pretty mild summer so far. But this weekend I just about died. We hadn't transitioned from open-windows-for-the-breeze to closed-windows-and-air-conditioning yet and I was melting. My legs felt all swollen from trips up and down the stairs. Sweet Mr. b gave me a leg massage that really helped a lot. But I'm definitely already preferring temperatures that make other folks feel chilled. I'm looking forward to July 24th for relief. This baby better not be late!

Friday, June 03, 2005

It just figures that as soon as I try to find a pattern in Child Person's movements he would change it all up. He's been most active in the afternoons and evenings. So naturally he started in on me at 6:00 this morning and has been pounding away off and on all day long. I have no idea how I'm going to get through two more months. (Mr. b always says that like Norm in Fargo.) He was hurting me so much this morning, and I was being vocal about it, that a co-worker actually inquired if I was alright. Diablo and I were discussing it earlier this week. The movement has moved way beyond charming. There is no trace of weirdness left. It is now fully annoying and often painful.

Mr. b says that I didn't have to go to Carousel on Tuesday since I'm pregnant. But apparently the cat is a Sandman in disguise so I still can't try to Run.

Then again, Mr. b also says that I'm now shaped like an ostrich. When he does his impression of me walking it's like one of R. Crumb's African women.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Week 32

I still haven't gotten the massively swollen ankles or feet. Thank god. But I definitely noticed they were a bit puffy after spending all afternoon playing mini-golf and walking around the zoo. I have been feeling a slow degradation of my leg circulation however. It's not everyday, or even all the time. Like right now my left leg just doesn't feel right. I get up and stretch and do some ballet and it'll help for a bit but it still feels off when I sit back down. And I'm noticing my hips getting sore more frequently and not just when I sleep too long on one side without flipping over.

Speaking of flipping over, I think this baby may be starting his voyage. I don't know how you're supposed to tell though. But he seems to be diagonal in me lately. I can feel him continuing to poke at my liver on the right side of my stomach, but I'll also feel him way, way down at the bottom on my left side. It is extremely annoying. Apparently at this stage they have distinct patterns of wiggly sleep, quiet sleep, wiggly awake, and quiet awake. And anecdotally, the kid will follow the same pattern once out in the world. So I'm trying to catalogue the movements and see if I can discern what kind of a schedule Mr. b and I will be keeping in a couple of months.