Monday, October 12, 2015

Sixth Months

Jack turned 6 months old last Thursday. I don't even know how that happened. He's napping at the moment, and since I can pretty much set my watch by his exactly 30-minute naps, this is going to be quick.

Stats: 18 pounds, 3 ounces; 26.75 inches long

Teeth: None, not even started - though he's been drooling like crazy for the last 4 months. Maybe eventually?

Sleep: Next. I don't want to talk about this.

Milestones: Can roll both ways, sit up by himself for several minutes, get to hands and knees and rock back and forth, can scoot backwards and in a circle.

Likes: Food - baby oatmeal, sweet potatoes, bananas, pears. When I sit him on my stomach and do crunches. Playing with Daddy's beard. Sitting on the front porch swing. Wheels on the Bus.

Dislikes: Food - avocado, squash, peas. Being put into his car seat. Sleeping.

Nicknames: Spuds, Bobo, Big Fat Baby

That's about it.

Other things...I made it to 6 months breastfeeding!!! This shocks me almost as much as the fact that I've kept a baby alive for 6 whole months. I'd like to make it a year, and I have a pretty good freezer stash going, so it might actually happen. J is pretty distracted now during the day, so it can be hard to get a full feeding in him every few hours (which is probably part of the reason he's waking up so much at night...but I don't want to talk about sleep in this post. It will make me weep for the days when I used to sleep in til noon on the weekends).

Jack was also diagnosed with reflux, which sort of prompted our starting solids a little early. Those were a rough few weeks, but the combination of solids + Zantac seems to be helping, I guess. 

I'm still staying at home for now, minus coaching volleyball. My season will be done next weekend after our state tournament, and I have mixed feelings about it. It was really nice to have something that was just mine - a guaranteed few hours away from the house and baby things every day. But we've had a pretty disappointing season, and we really haven't played up to our potential at all. The girls I have this year aren't very competitive or driven, and that's hard for me to coach. They don't seem to mind losing to teams we should beat, or not playing our best. That bothers me a lot, so it's been a bit of a rough year.

Some day I plan to update this blog more regularly, even if no one reads anymore and it's just for me. I've been terrible about keeping Jack's baby book updated, so I'd like to record some of his life somewhere.

Bonus, some photos of the boy.

Trying to crawl away while I was in the bathroom.
We call this his Godfather face. Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.
Just hanging out at Target.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Prodigal Blogger

Well, friends. I'm back. Sort of. I can't promise posting here will be very regular or interesting, but I do have plans to do a better job. I've also been barely keeping up with reading all your blogs, but I'm trying! I'm mostly caught up - but I've been a terrible commenter. It's easier to read than comment with a flailing, distracted 4-month old (now almost 5-month old...that's how long it's taken me to write this post) monster attached to your boob.

About that 5-month old monster (since I know that's what you're really here for), he's amazing. He's cute, he's smiley, he has the chubbiest cheeks that just beg to be kissed. He loves his daddy. He sleeps through the night (ha! he did at the initial writing of this post. Now we're back to 2 wake ups. Hello, 4-month sleep regression). He's blown out every brand of diaper we've tried. He sometimes bites my nipple. After a 5:30 a.m. feeding, he'll often pull off, and look up at me with the biggest, happiest smile you've ever seen. And be so wide awake and want to play. I beg him to please just go back to sleep for another hour and then we can play. But he just keeps cooing and laughing and being so freaking adorable that even though I'm more exhausted than I ever thought possible, we play 17 rounds of peek-a-boo, sing "The Wheels on the Bus" (even though I totally just make things up that are on the bus and make weird sound effects cuz I can't remember the real words), play with his toes, try to keep him from licking ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING in sight (his arm, the sheets on the bed, my hair, my phone, etc.), and eventually he'll drift off to sleep next to me for a few more hours. He's a good kid. But he's also sometimes a turd.

J also recently graduated physical therapy! He had torticollis, which was causing plagiocephaly, and Dr. G. prescribed physical therapy at his 2-month appointment. We did the therapy in hopes of avoiding a helmet, and J did amazing! At his 4-month appointment, Dr. G. called his head "beautiful." It really is rounding out much better in the back, and he definitely has more mobility in his neck and can turn both ways now. I guess the torticollis is fairly common, especially with our combo of giant breech baby + short mom. He didn't love the stretches, and I hated doing them at home when he'd give me pouty faces and cry, but Bobby continually reminded me that this wasn't the last time we were going to do what's best for him, even if he hated it.

Jack now rolls back to tummy all. the. time (yeah, diaper changes and bath time have gotten really exciting), but he's now forgotten how to roll tummy to back, which he learned about 2 months ago. We had to stop swaddling, which is what I think destroyed his beautiful sleep, but we're working on it. He sleeps on his tummy now, in his crib, in his own room. We're thinking about starting him on solid food. Who is this big boy and where did my tiny baby go!?

Other things...breastfeeding is still going pretty well. I mean, I do have occasional breakdowns when I'm convinced my milk was drying up. J goes through crazy growth spurts because he will eat constantly and never seem satisfied. And then when I would pump, my output seems pretty low. But a few days of guzzling water, Gatorade, Mother's Milk tea, and oatmeal - plus nursing/pumping every hour for a day gets me back on track. It's hard, though. Harder than I ever thought. But I have to say I'm proud of myself for making it almost 5 months. We had a rough start - J losing 12% of his birthweight in the hospital, supplementing with formula in the hospital, pumping in the hospital, syringe feeding, SNS feeding, tongue tie, lip tie, bad latch, nipple shield, lazy eater, sore nipples, clogged ducts - we had it all. But I just kept telling myself I wasn't going to quit on my worst day. And then it started to get easier. And when my nipples couldn't take it anymore, I'd switch to exclusively pumping for a few days, then go back to nursing when they were healed. I wanted to make it a week. Then a month, then 6 weeks, then 3 months. Right now the goal is 6 months (with the ultimate goal of one year). We'll see how it goes. I won't quit on my worst day.

I'm also 3 weeks into to my volleyball season. I'm amazingly less tired this year (dare I say that having a baby is less exhausting than working full time plus being pregnant? it sure feels like it), and much less nauseous. And no longer terrified a stray ball is going to hit me in the stomach. But it's also more complicated, since I'm constantly worried about finding a babysitter, having enough milk pumped, wondering what the heck I'm going to do with a baby when we have a full weekend tournament in another state. So yeah, some things are much easier than last year, and somethings are much harder.

We recently returned from our Duluth vacation. We celebrated our 5-year anniversary in the same city where we honeymooned. The same city (and same hotel) where a year ago we conceived Jack. It was cathartic, I think, returning to a city we love so much with a child we longed for for so many years. Healing, you could call it.

I'll never forget those rough years of infertility, but looking at this kid every day makes it all worth it.

Relaxing on vacation in Duluth

Ready for the first Vikings preseason game

Chilling in his pool

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2 Week Wait

Today was supposed to be my 40 week appointment. Instead it was changed to my 2 week incision check and J's 2 week well baby check up. It's crazy, since I was pretty sure I'd still be pregnant at 40 weeks, 1 day. Bobby's work had a pool guessing gender, weight, height, and birthdate. I laughed at anyone who had me going early. I told Bobby to guess April 24. Even that seemed ambitious. J was born April 8. I cannot believe I have had a baby for 2 weeks - or really that I have a baby at all. This was the fastest 2 week wait ever!
I'm working on a post about post partum necessities and things I've learned (and wished someone would have told me before), but it takes awhile to get things typed up since I'm now blogging almost exclusively from my phone during overnight feedings. Not the easiest way to get things written.
My incision is apparently healing amazingly well according to the PA I saw. I finally got up the courage to look at it when I got home and it does look pretty good. Just like a purple line drawn with a pencil. The stretch marks and little pooch above it are another story. However I'm only 7 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, so I'm not too upset. Except my official pre-pregnancy weight was about 10-20 pounds higher than my ideal weight, so I still have quite a bit of work to do.
My appointment was at 3, and Baby J's was as at 3:30, so the plan was for Bobby to get J's insurance info and registration figured out during my appointment, and I would be done in plenty of time to see Dr G with them. Except they got called back early, so by the time I was done, a nurse had to go find them and bring me to their room. She warned me that "He's had an eventful day."
I didn't know what that meant, but I walked in to see a frazzled looking Bobby holding a diapered J with a burp cloth over his belly, the contents of our diaper bag scattered on the floor.
Before I go on, I have to explain that J is such a good baby. He rarely cries or fusses, even when he's being passed around. And he's never spit up before.
However, apparently he'd vomited for the first time just seconds before he got called back for his appointment. And then again while Bobby was cleaning him up. As Bobby was undressing him, J's umbilical cord stump fell off and bled. Then he projectile pooped while being weighed (naked, of course). As Bobby and the nurse cleaned him up, he then peed all over both of them and his clothes. And vomited once more on Bobby, just for good measure.
I missed all of this while I was at my incision check. Poor Bobby felt like he was in a Hugh Grant movie, except he was much less charmingly befuddled.
J has had some issues already - he had to have a tongue tie clipped at 6 days, as he had lost 12% of his birth rate early on. It didn't help that my milk didn't come in for a full five days either. He also failed the hearing test in his right ear several times, so we have and audiologist appointment next month. Today Dr G also found an issue with his circumcision, so had to fix that (so painful looking, poor baby screamed so much!), and he has a bit of skin irritation around his neck that we have to have rechecked later this week.
Sometimes it feels like we can't catch a break, but I know that all in all we're really lucky. There are so many babies sicker and with much bigger problems than ours. We are so grateful for our little boy and how healthy and happy he is.
At least when he's not painting the doctor's office with his body fluids.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Baby Story

The story of Jack's birth starts with my 38 week appointment on Tuesday. When Dr G felt around my belly for his position, he noted that baby was really low in my pelvis - which was a good improvement from the week before. But then he frowned. Once again, my "good amount of ab definition" was having him second guess whether baby was really head down. This is still hilarious to me, because even not pregnant, I have roughly the ab definition of the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

However we moved on to the cervical check. Dr. G stuck pretty much his entire fist up to his elbow inside me and felt around. He couldn't get a good feeling on the skull line, but he wasn't sure he was feeling a butt either. So he sent me for an ultrasound.

The ultrasound quickly confirmed what I dreaded. Baby was breech.

We then met with the head of the OB department,  Dr R, to go over our options: basically attempt an ECV, schedule a c-section for 39.5 weeks, or wait to go into labor on my own and then get a c-section.

Well, none of these options were really what I was planning on my baby's birth to look like. I was pretty disappointed and totally unsure of what to do. I almost wrote a blog post about everything to get your thoughts, but I was still too shocked and unsure to put anything into words.

The ECV had risks and I knew it was painful. Plus I was positive it wouldn't work. Call it mother's intuition or my general pessimism around this pregnancy, but for whatever reason,  I was fairly confident baby was not going to move.

I had some qualms about scheduling a c-section. What if my dates were off and it made baby too early? What if it interfered with the hormones for bonding and breastfeeding? Babies are supposed to come when they're ready. As uncomfortable and sick of being pregnant as I was, I felt bad about forcing baby out - especially before its due date.

But waiting to go into labor had its own risks. Dr. G and Dr. R stressed I shouldn't let myself get too dilated or have too many contractions. They didn't want baby any lower in my pelvis. I was already dilated to 2 at my appointment and thinning out. But they both reminded me it could still be weeks until baby was ready.

We finally made it home Tuesday night with all this new information and big life-changing decisions to make. So naturally Bobby went to Fast and Furious 7 with some friends and I took a bubble bath and went to bed. Except the cervical check from hell was plaguing me with bad bleeding, tons of mucous discharge, and what felt like menstrual cramps.

In fact, I was up most of the night trying to clean up blood and mucous and wondering if this was what losing my mucous plug meant, or if Dr G had just really irritated things. The cramps weren't too painful, and I did wonder briefly if they were contractions, but it was pretty constant - not timeable - so I tried to ignore them and sleep. Plus, when I pooped the next morning, they seemed to subside. Glad I didn't spend all night trying to time my poop!

Bobby left for work Wednesday morning and I tried to sleep for a few hours. Eventually I got up, but I was feeling super lazy. I had to make some phone calls about our breast pump insurance coverage, my summer volleyball team sponsorship, and eventually I texted Dr G and asked him to call me so we could discuss my options. He texted back that he'd call soon, but he didn't get back to me til afternoon.

We went over the options again - ECV, scheduled c-section, or c-section after going into labor. Then I briefly brought up the mucous, bleeding, and cramping. He didn't like the cramping, so he suggested I call and go to labor and delivery just to get checked out. It was likely nothing, but he didn't want my cervix to change too much, since I was dilated some already. I told him I had a few things to do, but I'd go get checked out around 4 when Bobby got home.

I called L&D and they had already heard from Dr G and were expecting me. I told them I wasn't really having contractions, and I felt fine but I'd be there in a few hours. They seemed reluctant to let me wait that long, but I really wanted to wait for Bobby.

So I called him around 2, urged him to not panic but let him know we were going in for monitoring that night. I told him to finish up work - and maybe wrap things up for the week, just in case - but I also needed him to go pick up a check from my volleyball sponsor on his way home. No hurry.

I laid down, telling myself to relax and get some sleep if this was the real thing but I didn't think it was. This was way too easy to be labor. I figured we'd be sent home from monitoring, but I threw together a few overnight bags anyway.

Eventually Bobby came home around 4 pm. He kind of putzed around, but I think he was taking his cues from me. I assured him we'd be sent home that night.

Well...we got to the hospital and as I stepped down out of the truck, there was a huge gush. My water broke. Hollywood style. In the parking lot. Now my pants were soaked. And I sort of started to panic. This was really happening - and it was super uncomfortable walking with really wet pants.

Thankfully Bobby took over and got me to just keep walking. We went into the main entrance and basically everyone ignored us. I shuffled to the bathroom to try to contain the leaking, but it was useless. We finally made it up to labor and delivery where they buzzed us in.

Dr. R was on call, so he was sitting at the desk. They were talking about me. He told us he wasn't supposed to see us so soon. 

 "I think my water broke," I blurted out.

A nurse standing behind me smiled and said, "I think you're right."

They took us into a triage room and I changed into a gown. They began the check in process. I was dilated to 4 cm. This was definitely it. It was about 4:30 and Dr R came in to chat with us. He looked at the clock. "You guys should have a baby by 6:15."

The next hour went so fast and excruciatingly slow. I was having pretty strong contractions, which wouldn't have seemed so bad if I was actually laboring and working up to pushing. But knowing that they were all for nothing kind of sucked.

I met with the anesthesiologist team and a bunch of nurses. Dr. G came too, and I was so thankful. I didn't actually know if he'd be there, since Dr R was doing the c-section, but he was since he's the baby's doctor. He attended the whole thing, and sat with Bobby (who was extremely grateful for the calming presence) and then did all the baby after care.

Finally I was walked down to the OR. They helped me on the table, gave me heated blankets and the anesthesiologist did his thing on my spine. It wasn't too bad, mostly because I was ready to be done with contractions at that point. I laid down, they gave me oxygen and put up a sheet.

Dr G and Bobby came in and sat by my head. The delivery team made small talk, and Dr G told me it was because everything had to be timed, plus they wanted me to feel calm. I was pretty out of it - between the rush in, the drugs, and the oxygen. They all made guesses about the gender. Only Bobby and one other nurse said boy.

The c-section itself felt weird. I could feel my belly being manipulated and my organs moved around, but no sharp pain. Though it was pretty uncomfortable. And it took longer than I expected. I just wanted baby out!

Finally, I heard Dr. R say he could see baby's head. More tugging, and then he announced, "Dad and nurse Tara were right. We have a boy."

They held him briefly by my face, and then Dr. G took him to a little station to assess him. He was really purple, but crying. They assured me it was a good cry. They worked on him at the station, and it was close to my head so I could see everything and Bobby was right there too. I thought they'd take him away and I'd be alone, since everything happened so fast, we didn't have anyone else at the hospital. Thankfully they were just a few feet away while the team finished sewing me up. It took awhile to finish my surgery part, but they wrapped baby up and Bobby held him while sitting on the stool by my head. Jack was so chill and good. And of course Bobby is a baby whisperer, so he did great. I could see them both and I was so happy.

The big shock was when they weighed Jack. Dr G had been telling me he was pretty sure baby would be around 6 pounds at birth, due to my height/weight and my belly consistently measuring small. So it was surprising to everyone in the room when he weighed in 8 pounds, 5 ounces. 2 weeks early! Dr. G later told me that I likely would have ended up with a c-section even if he wasn't breech, since he didn't think a baby that big would have fit through my pelvis. And that would have been after many hours of hard labor. So I am thankful things worked out the way they did.

We had three nights in the hospital - it was a whirlwind trying to call our parents and families that night after the mandatory recovery time. It was about 10 pm then, and no one knew we were even at the hospital. It just happened too fast.

We're home now and mostly doing well. Jack is such a calm kid, even when we've had big groups visit and pass him around. He does have his days and nights mixed up, so he's really chill all day and then won't go to sleep at night unless he's being held.

Breastfeeding has been an adventure. It's tough - my nipple are raw and I had to use a nipple shield and start pumping in the hospital. We had to supplement with a bit of formula too, since I don't think I was producing anything for a few days and Jack dropped close to a pound pretty quickly. Hopefully my milk will come in soon.

Healing from the c-section has been hard. The incision looks great (according to all doctors/nurses/Bobby/my mom - I can't actually see it, and I'm a little scared to look), and Dr. R even said I'd be a good candidate for a VBAC in the future if I wanted. It's painful to get around, and my back is sore from compensating for not using my abs, but I'm getting there.

Oh and sleep is a million times more comfortable now than being 9 months pregnant - so those of you who are still getting there, it does get better!

And it's totally worth it.

The One Where I Had A Baby

Yep.
That happened.
Blog world, meet Jack.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fat Feet

37 week appointment went well. Dr. G. again told me that today is not my day, and I'm not allowed to deliver over the weekend because it's Easter and he has family plans. Fair enough.

The cervical check hurt INFINITELY less this time. He said my cervix is tilted more favorably (?) and softer, but no dilation yet. I have been taking Evening Primrose Oil this week - not sure if it actually did anything, but it may have helped some with the softening since last week.

I mentioned to Dr. G. that I've noticed some pretty bad swelling in my feet, hands, and face over the last week or so. He looked at my chart, and then noted that I'm up six pounds from last week. He said that it was all fluid, since my belly is still measuring small and my bump hasn't grown significantly. He's not worried since my blood pressure is still low (although it was 120/90, which is the highest it's ever been in my life, except I think it may have been the nurse's first day who did my vitals. She struggled with the blood pressure cuff and then pretty much squeezed the life out my arm while taking it. My bp may have been high because I was nervous about the real possibility of her amputating my arm). I don't know if there's anything I can do about the swelling, but I doubt it's going to get better. Dr. G noticed it even more when he put my feet in the stirrups, but he just, "Oh, your poor feet. Try to drink water and put them up when you can."

I'm grateful I live in a cool climate, and that it's a really good temperature right now. I remember one of my friends who had a baby a few years ago in July when it was close to 90* every day and how swollen and miserable she was at the end. So at least it's not that bad.

This is my last week of work, and I couldn't be happier. I'm only sleeping a few hours a night because I'm so uncomfortable, and that's definitely making it harder to focus. I'm also really uncomfortable sitting in a chair all day at my computer. I try to get up and walk around, but when I do, I look like a hobbled old lady from sitting too long. Plus, no one has given me any projects since I'm leaving soon, so I've done pretty much nothing the last few weeks. It's nice to not be stressed, but it's also pretty boring. I'm tired of cleaning out my desk and organizing files. I'm ready to be home - finish up some projects for the nursery, finish shopping for things like nipple cream and breast pads that I was not about to put on my registry, and finish up our bathroom remodel. I also have big plans to make some freezer meals (or at least grocery shop) and go on lots of walks. We'll see if I actually accomplish any of this, or if I just binge watch HGTV and Netflix all day.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

B is for Butthole

I had my 36 week appointment this morning, and according to Dr. G. I'm not having a baby today. And probably not this week either. He didn't give me any numbers after the cervical check, but he couldn't feel the head and had to reach waaaaay up there. That was...unpleasant.

It's okay, I could probably use a few more weeks to get ready, and baby can use a few more weeks to get stronger and fatter - although it's seriously tight quarters in there already. I'm not sure there's any more room to be had if this baby grows.

I also had the Group B Strep test today. Let's talk about that for a little bit, shall we? Why did not a single one of you bloggers with babies or those farther along in your pregnancies not think to mention that the Group B Strep Test is a swab of your butthole!?! You didn't think I would like to have that information beforehand?

I'll admit, it was probably a lack of research on my own part, but still. Help a sister out! Everything I've read - even the pregnancy books (including the ones my clinic gave me to read) failed to mention this. Dr. G. told me several weeks ago that I would be tested at 36 weeks. All the books, all of you guys, and even Dr. G. just called it a "swab." And then informed me that if I tested positive, I would need to make sure I get to the hospital early enough in labor for two rounds of antibiotics. Sure. Good. Done. Sounds easy enough.

Hello...when you tell me Strep Test, I'm gonna assume a NORMAL Strep Test. I've had strep. We've all had strep. You know, lots of coughing, sore throat, lose your voice. No fun. And you know how they test for it? With a THROAT culture. You stick out your tongue and say "Ahhhh." They look for spots on your throat. The only "swab" they take is from your MOUTH. The worst part is if they whack your hangy ball with the tongue depressor.

Do you know what they DON'T do to test for strep throat? Stick a q-tip up your ass. I would think that *someone* at some point in this pregnancy could have told me that the "B" in Group B Strep stands for butthole.

I'm feeling a little betrayed by all of you right now. But let's move on.

We're marginally ready for this baby. I still have a week and half of work left, we're about 90% finished with our downstairs bathroom remodel, and I'm officially sleeping on the recliner part of our couch. There are a few miscellaneous baby items I need to pick up. I'm putting it off until I'm done working, mostly so I have something to do, and don't spend the entire two weeks on the couch watching a bunch of shows that I'm not really that interested in, but I'm DVRing anyway so I have something to watch when I can't sleep. I figure if I have errands to run and things to buy I won't become a totally lazy blob. Or at least not lazier or blobbier than I already am.

I'm getting to the point where I know I'll be able to sleep better after the baby comes. And that's sort of scary. My friends with toddlers laugh at me when I say this, but my friends with newborns understand. They still remember just how uncomfortable these last weeks are. One friend with a newborn shared recently that even though she's only sleeping for an hour or two at a time, it's the best sleep she's had in five months since she's finally able to get comfortable. I can't actually remember what comfortable feels like. No feet in my ribs? No head butting in my pelvis? My hips don't ache? My obliques can actually support the weight of my stomach without strain? I know I was really lucky that I slept really well until about 32 weeks, but I'm making up for it now.

And after three weeks of beautiful weather and complete snow melt (which meant slip-on flats and no socks!), it decided to snow eight inches yesterday and I had to drag out my boots again. I just can't catch a break! Although after a surprise butthole swab, I'm not sure anything should shock me.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Great Debate

I'm going to broach a controversial topic that I am aware has started and fueled all kinds of Mommy Wars. Let's talk Stay At Home Moms vs. Working Moms. I don't really want to be controversial or start a war here, what I want to know is how you made the decision (or are working on making the decision) about what the best option is for you and your family.

Well, to be entire truthful, what I really want to know is what the best option is for me and my family.

I know that many families don't actually have much of a choice. It's purely a financial decision about whether they can afford child care or if they can afford to feed their family on a single income. I do recognize how lucky I am that, for at least right now, I do have a choice. But that doesn't mean it's easy.

We are in a good place financially. That can happen when you have a Double Income No Kids lifestyle for nearly five years. When Bobby and I first got married, we were poor. I was just out of college, unemployed, and Bobby was making $9.00 an hour. We lived in a tiny basement apartment and ate A LOT of Mac n Cheese. Luckily I had a few thousand dollars in savings, or we would have been in big trouble. But eventually I got a job, Bobby kept getting promotions and raises, and with a year or so, we were doing much better. Plus, we both had supplemental income from coaching. (Ha!) Okay, that's kind of a joke. Coaching takes up waaaaay more time than the stipend makes up for. I think I make like $.0003 an hour coaching. But back then, what I had was time, and no money, so it seemed like a reasonable tradeoff.

After we bought our house, we set a certain goal amount for how much savings we thought we should have before expanding our family. After a year or so, we hit our goal and started trying for a baby. Since it took us an extra two years after that to even get pregnant (and no fertility treatments) - and we were still socking away savings - we're at a pretty comfortable place right now. Call it an unexpected blessing of infertility.

I've been at my current job for a little over four years, and I have become increasingly unhappy with it for the last year or so. If I hadn't gotten pregnant last summer, I would have been job searching for something new anyway and quit as soon as I found something. I needed to get out. I needed a change. Obviously pregnancy isn't the ideal time to job search, but it does make an excellent way to leave a job you're unhappy with, without burning any bridges. Everyone is extremely happy for me to be able to stay home with my baby - I have a feeling there would be much harder feelings had I just left for something better.

My last day is April 3, the end of my 37th week of pregnancy. It's pretty awesome to know that I can take my time and not worry too much about official "maternity leave." I know that if I were staying at my job, I would be pressured into working up until my due date to maximize my time off, plus checking in, working from home, and getting things done much sooner than I would be ready. It'll be nice to not have to care if things are falling apart without me. I'll officially be a stay at home mom.

But I'm not sure I want to be.

I'm about to say some things, and I know how they're going to sound. It's going to sound like I think I'm too good/smart/etc. to be a stay at home mom. And that's not the way I want it to sound. These are all confusing feelings, and the only reason I'm writing them is to attempt to sort them out.

Here's the thing: I went to school for four years. I paid a huge sum for my education. I did all that because I want to be working in my field, and I want to be making a difference and contributing to society. Is it all just a huge waste if I stay home and never use my education again? How do I justify that? I really don't know if I could be "fulfilled" in the same way by being a stay at home mom as I am when I'm writing and designing and creating. I'm sure many moms are. I know some consider it the most meaningful job they'll ever do. I don't think I'm that kind of person though. I think I would feel like I'm being lazy. And cheating myself out of my dreams.

On the other side, should I even be having a baby if I'm so selfish? What's the point of having a kid if you're going to give it to someone else for the majority of their lives to raise? Plus, child care in our town is expensive and really hard to get into - especially for newborns. It makes very little sense for us to put a newborn in day care that would eat up nearly my entire paycheck. I'm lucky that my parents are local and my dad is retired, so we do have the option of some short-term care, but I know he wouldn't be interested in doing 40 hours a week of day care, and I would never ask/expect him to.

I'm also lucky that my field (writing/graphic design) has the possibility for freelance work. I could work from home on some projects, but starting a business, building clients, etc. is really time consuming if I plan to make any decent money from it. I would also have the added expense of upgrading my home computer and software to be able to do it.

I've been asked about tutoring, which would be great, but then I would need a babysitter or to work in the evenings once Bobby's home - and that would cut into my ability to coach, at least in the fall. But it's a possibility.

I've also been asked about subbing, which I don't have my teaching license, but our school district is considered "high need" and can use subs without teaching licenses, as long as they have degrees in the subject. It's a possibility, but I've never actually taught a class, only tutored one-on-one and in smaller groups. It's a bit scary. Plus I would need a babysitter on days that I subbed.

So all of these things are jumbled up in my head, and I'm wondering what the heck I'm supposed to do with my life. I feel like I'm 18 again. Or 22.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WANT TO BE WHEN I GROW UP!

I'm sort of thinking about not doing anything until my volleyball season is over next October - but if I want to get into something in the schools, that might be too late. Should I be thinking about giving up coaching for awhile? I have discussed this with Bobby, but he's not much help. He tells me he wants me to do whatever makes me happy. Ugh. The nerve of the guy, right? So difficult.

Are any of you career counselors? Tell me what I should do, please! Or at least share your stories about how you made/are making your decision about what to do.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It's Getting Real

Right now, I'm currently alternating between two panicked worries. 1) That I won't know when I'm in labor and 2) That I'll think false labor is real labor and won't be able to handle the pain of either one.

Let's talk about the first one. Every time I have this worry, I think it's ridiculous. This is supposedly the most painful event in a person's life. And I'm worried I'm just going to sleep through it? No - I don't think I'm going to be one of those women who's baby just gushes out while she's on the toilet or in the shower. I'm not that lucky. I fully expect to spend a good 9,000 hours in labor - at least 12 of them solid pushing. My body has done nothing to convince me that it's going to be kind to me and give me one of those births that leaves me saying, Would you look at that! A baby just fell out of my vagina. How effortless and convenient.

No, what I'm worried about is that I'm really good at ignoring pain. There have been a few nights where I've had really terrible cramping (don't worry, it turned out to just be poop) and I've thought...I wonder if I should be more concerned? I haven't had any trips to labor and delivery for pain or suspicious activity. I haven't even called the nurse line. Every single mom friend I've talked to said they did these things multiple times. Most of them went in at one point for Braxton Hicks contractions or for not feeling enough movement or for pain that turned out to be RLP, or for cramping that was just constipation. Whenever I wonder if something is wrong, I just ignore it instead. Maybe do some light Googling.

Maybe it's because I had pretty terrible menstrual cramps growing up. I tend to be able to ignore stomach pain pretty well. I once had a UTI that I let go long enough that it turned into a kidney infection. I let that go for a good 24 hours until I was in so much pain I was throwing up and barely lucid. When I finally got checked by a doctor, they couldn't believe I had driven myself and was still walking. After passing a few kidney stones, part of me thinks that pushing out a baby is going to be easy. According to a pain-rating chart I saw recently, most women do put kidney infections/stones higher on the pain scale than even natural child birth.

I'm not worried I'm going to "miss" labor and end up delivering at home, but I am worried I'm not going to know if something is wrong soon enough to do something about it. I'm worried that I should be better at knowing my body and not ignoring when things are painful. I'm worried that I'm going to be too stubborn about not wanting to get to the hospital too early that I get there too late and it negatively affects my baby.

Which leads me to the second point. My goal is to not go to the hospital until I'm around 5-7 cm dilated. I want to labor at home before that, so that I'm comfortable, able to eat, and manage pain in my own way. When I'm in pain, I like to be left alone and deal with it (ignore it)- see kidney infection story above. I'm afraid that in a hospital, I'm not going to get that option.

I'm afraid that labor's going to start, I'm going to wait it out a few hours and finally think I'm in so much pain I must be close to transition. So I'll pack up and go to the hospital--and find out I haven't even started dilating. Or I'm 1-2cm. That my pain tolerance isn't even close to what I thought it was. They'll send me home and I'll spend the next 8,500 hours in absolute agony before my body even starts laboring for real.

So - how do you balance these two things? How do you "manage" early labor on your own and know the exact right time to go to the hospital? How will I know if something's wrong if everything is so painful anyway? I get waiting for contractions 3-5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, for 1 hour - but how do I know my body isn't just going to stall at some point during those, or after, or once I get to the hospital? Do most people just not worry about this sort of thing and trust their "mother's intuition?" Because I sure don't.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tiny Mittens

Yesterday afternoon, I sat in the rocking chair in our nursery brimming with new things for our baby, writing thank you notes to all of the wonderful people who came to my shower. I'd pause, look around me, and wonder who's life I was living. Certainly not my own. Someone else must own these cloud-soft blankets and tiny mittens that barely cover my thumb. When Bobby pulled them out of the gift bag and held them up for the first time, he nearly fainted. "You've got to be kidding me! These are not for real people!" I told him they were to keep baby from scratching its face. "I know that, but no one's hands are this tiny. This is ridiculous."

Of course Bobby and all his brothers were over 10 pounds (one was nearly 12!) at birth, so it's true that his hands were probably never that small. Dr. G. thinks I'll have closer to a 6.5 or maybe a small 7-pound baby - which sounds much better to me (and my vagina) than pushing out a 10-pound toddler. But still, as I fold these newborn onesies and socks and hats, I can't help gawking at just how tiny everything is. Which is scary, because to me, tiny = breakable.

My 34-week appointment today was uneventful. We talked a bit about what I should be looking out for, and Dr. G said for the next week if I have any contractions, leak fluid, or have decreased fetal movement I need to go to labor and delivery. After next week, I wait until my contractions are 3-5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute for an hour. I should call labor and delivery when they start to give them a heads up, but after 35 weeks they don't try to stop labor. Um...yikes. I could have a baby next week. While I'm super uncomfortable and feeling like baby is totally running out of room, I'm not ready yet. Thankfully I haven't had any sort of contractions other than Braxton Hicks, and as far as I can tell, baby is still pretty content. It's head down, but not super low. My last day of work is April 3, and I was kind of counting on having a few weeks at home after that before baby comes - so let's hope it stays put for at least another 3 weeks! I did feel my first instances of "lightening crotch" last night, which I'm guessing means baby is head-butting my cervix. I'm not impressed by this new trick.

Baby kept kicking Dr. G's doppler around today, so he remarked, "Well, I'm not worried about fetal distress or decreased movement, but your kid may have a bit of an attitude problem." When I texted Bobby after my appointment to tell him this, his only response was: Boy. Of course, I texted back, Or an active, athletic girl...

We really have no idea, and Bobby had a panicked moment about it when we were in the car on Saturday. He kind of freaked out saying, "What were we thinking not finding out!? We literally have no idea if what's inside of you is a boy or a girl!"

I tried to ask why it mattered at this point...what would we really be doing differently? He didn't know, but it made him really nervous all of a sudden. Maybe because we haven't come to any sort of decision on a name. Or because he panicked that we'd have to pay for a wedding if its a girl (I promised we'd have a few years to save). Or because there's so many other uncertainties (labor, delivery, hospital stay, visitors, etc.) that he's feeling powerless - and knowing if we're coming home with a boy or a girl would help him regain some sense of control over the process. He's since calmed down, but it's sort of adorable when he gets worked up about this kid. I know it's just because he loves it so much and wants to do everything right.

Which starts with more tiny laundry tonight and putting away more itty bitty mittens.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

33 Week Ramblings

We have a crib! Of course, we have no bedding for it, but I feel like it's a step in the right direction. My aunt also let us have one of the rocking chairs from her house (she had nine - we were allowed to "shop" and choose whichever we wanted), so our nursery is actually starting to fill up.

I also spent last Friday priming and putting two coats of paint in our new bathroom downstairs. That was a HUGE mistake. I was sore for days. I still am. My back may never recover. I'm going to the chiropractor again tomorrow, and hopefully he can help me. I have been miserable, and I'm seriously wondering if I can make it four and a half more weeks at work. Sitting is the worst. Second only to standing/walking/lying down. I do not know how people work right up until delivery. I thought I would be one of those women. I am not. I am a worthless blob. Yes, I'm currently super fun to be around. I'm trying not to complain or be difficult, but chronic pain is no joke. I have sooo much more empathy for people who deal with pain like this all the time.

My shower is coming up on Sunday. I'm not really a shower girl. I don't like going to them, I don't like having them held in my honor. Bridal, baby, whatever - they're always uncomfortable. I'm grateful that I have friends who want to do this, and so many people who are willing to gift us stuff, but the whole concept is just strange to me. And I keep hearing how annoyed people are that we don't know the gender, because apparently it makes buying gifts difficult. Um...sorry to inconvenience you?

I'm starting to get antsy. At 33 weeks, it feels like I'm in the home stretch, but not yet in a "any day now" way. Like I know I probably still have at least 7 weeks, likely even more. So I'm feeling big and unwieldy, but I know it's still going to get worse. And the end is not yet in sight. I am trying to enjoy these last few weeks and cherish this time, but I am ready to be done. I haven't loved pregnancy, and I didn't really expect to. I was not someone who had dreamed her whole life of being pregnant. Of course I want kids - and I really, really want this one - but pregnancy is a means to an end for me. I would want this kid just as badly if someone else had carried it for me.

I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to be pregnant, but I'm going to be sooooo happy to not be pregnant. Believe me, I have all the motivation in the world to lose the weight every single time I have to put on my boots. Or drop something on the floor (which is ALL.THE.TIME. I am the so clumsy lately! I don't even know who I am anymore!). Or by the end of every day when I sit on the couch with my shirt pulled up and belly exposed because even the thinnest piece of fabric feels like it's restricting my stomach. I think I burned 500 calories this morning while putting on my pants. I don't even want to talk about Satan's minions that are socks.

It's also strange that it's the beginning of March and I'm not in the midst of tryouts. I miss it, but I'm also very happy with where I am right now. What a difference a year makes!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This and That

32 Weeks. In some ways, I can't believe I've made it this far. It took so long to get pregnant, and then pregnancy just flew by in an instant. In other ways, I can't believe I still have 8 weeks left to go. I feel like I've been pregnant forever. I can't actually remember what it feels like to fully inflate my lungs. Or have zero pain when I sit, stand, walk, eat, or sleep.

I had my 32 week appointment today, and everything is still basically the same. Baby's heart rate is holding steady in the mid-150s, belly measuring 1 cm small (31), my blood pressure is still pretty low (102/78), and I'm up 18 pounds. Dr. G. now thinks that baby is head down. Hopefully it stays that way.

I'll probably try to go to the chiropractor again in the next couple weeks to keep my pelvis aligned. Except my chiropractor recently stopped accepting my insurance, so it got a lot more expensive. I'm told that a properly aligned pelvis and spine can speed up labor and delivery (and being improperly aligned can slow it down, and even prevent it from progressing), so I'm thinking it might be worth the extra cost. Plus, he has the magic pregnancy pillow so I can lie on my stomach there. Yes, at this point I'm willing to pay a guy $40 to let me lie on my stomach for half an hour.

I've seen a chiropractor for most of my athletic career for various injuries and mis-alignments, but I've only just started reading about it's affects on pregnant women. I went two weeks ago after my last OB appointment when Dr. G. said baby was still transverse, and the chiropractor did his Webster thing and some pushing on some ligaments and now baby is head down. Could be coincidence, could have worked. Baby also dropped a bit lower which has been a nice vacation from its constant drumming on my ribs.

Has anyone done the chiropractor thing? Think it helps with labor? Or baby's positioning?

My chiropractor is a bit on the crunchy side, as he gave me pamphlets on doulas and a copy of his wife's (natural) birth plan on my first visit while pregnant. He also gave me magnesium samples and encourages lots of herbs and teas. I do feel good about him though, because he is an MD, and he's the sports medicine doctor for our local minor league hockey team. So crunchy, but maybe not all the way granola. Plus Dr. G. is definitely a man of science, so it's sort of nice to hear some alternative options too.

I did have a good conversation with Dr. G. today about going a little more natural. I've never told him that I want to go completely natural - I'm not actually sure I do at this point - but I am keeping my options open. I know he suggests getting an epidural, but he said he's open to whatever I want. He just encourages his patients to be flexible - especially first-time moms. He said he's had several patients who were strong, tough women but totally fell apart as soon as labor started and couldn't handle it. And he's seen many who he was sure were pretty much wusses, but they were confident and calm and dealt with labor surprisingly well. So while he thinks I'm strong and confident and tough, there's really no way to know how things are going to go down. He just wants me to keep an open mind, listen to suggestions given by him and the nurses, and be willing to go with whatever will keep me and baby safest. I told him, "That right there is my birth plan."

My mom bought us a car seat/stroller and dropped it off this weekend, and my mother-in-law texted me last night to say she bought us a crib and mattress and it's currently shipping to our house. So we're starting to grow our baby collection. My shower is March 8, so we're sort of putting off buying anything else until after that. I'll be 35 weeks then, so hopefully this kid doesn't decide to show up too early!

I leave you with my 32 week bump photo (or at least an accurate representation of it):

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Letter to Me

**To be read at 3 a.m. in 10-12 weeks**

Dear Lilee,

You did it. You had a baby.

You still don't believe it, do you? Despite the fact that the sweet child with your blue eyes and Bobby's adorable, upturned nose is in your arms (screaming?) right now, you still can't believe it's happening. That's YOUR baby. You have the bleeding, torn up lady bits to prove it. I mean, of course you tore, right? Like a tenth degree tear. Worst the hospital has ever seen. You like to hold records like that, and you seem to be pretty good at it. Don't worry - you can use it against the kid when they're being a snotty 15-year-old..."After 90 hours of labor...do you even know what you did to my vagina!?"

Or maybe you're balancing the baby a bit precariously, trying to avoid putting pressure on your C-section incision. The C-section you fought so hard to avoid, but someone talked you into it because you weren't progressing fast enough. Or because even at 40+ weeks this kid refused to dislodge its head from your ribcage. I know you feel guilty that you didn't get to have a "natural" delivery. You don't even want to feel guilty, but you do anyway. Like your body failed you, once again. Like you just weren't strong enough. If you could have just pushed for another hour...If you'd gone to a chiropractor, or for acupuncture...If you had just taken the epidural earlier...If...If...If.... You can feel sad about it now - it's okay. You can feel guilty. You're allowed to feel however you want. On this cool, spring night, alone in the dark in this nursery with your baby, let yourself feel it all. Eventually these feelings will fade and you won't care at all how this baby came into the world. You don't look that good in a bikini anyway.

I know you're tired. You're sick of breastfeeding already. Maybe baby isn't latching so well, or your nipples feel engulfed in molten lava...or maybe you even gave it up all together after only two days. Don't worry about it. I guarantee the kid is getting enough to eat. Bobby and mom and everyone else are not going to let it starve. You did your best. Before you try to refute that and start on the "if" game again, just stop. I know you. You don't half-ass anything. I know you dove into breastfeeding face first and gave it all you had. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't. But you tried. Whatever delivery system you're using to get this kid milk is still letting you bond. Look at that sleepy, happy face. You'll bond over your love of reading or Bon Iver or hockey. When was the last time you bonded with mom over your love of eating from her boobs? Gross, right? The kid will get over it.

I'm going to say something hard here, something you're pretending you don't feel, but I know you do. You're wondering if you've made the biggest mistake of your life. You're hiding it; you're throwing yourself into motherhood--all in, because that's what you do--but you have doubts. Sometimes you miss the nights on the couch watching the Wild with Bobby. You curled under his arm, face resting on his chest. You miss your chaotic morning "routine" that was really anything but a routine. You miss eating out on a whim, going for frozen yogurt at midnight, and sleeping til noon on Saturdays.

You know your life isn't over. You know you'll do those things again - despite what other parents tried to scare you with when you're pregnant.

But still, you have those feelings. They creep in like the morning light through the crack in the blinds.

Sometimes you wish you weren't a mom.

And the instant you have that inkling of a thought, you hate yourself. You hate yourself because it took you so damn long to become a mom. That for two straight years it was the only thing you hoped for, wished for, thought about. You hate yourself because of your infertile friends, and how they would do absolutely anything to be in your place right now, holding this tiny baby. They would have taken pregnancy in stride, instead of complaining about it like you did. They would have signed up for the prenatal classes. They would have been better at giving birth. They could have breastfed their baby...

Remember what grandma told you all those years ago about grief and sadness? That for just a little bit - a few minutes, maybe an hour - let yourself feel it all. Feel every painful inch of that grief. Don't keep pushing down that bit of gnawing - face it: experience it. Jump in the shower where no one can hear or see you. Cry. Scream. Say bad words. Hate everyone and everything. And then, you let it all wash down the drain. You let it go. You're done. You get out of the shower and you deal with life.

So do it. Put the baby down tomorrow morning. Even if it cries and screams for a while - it'll be okay. Put it in that chair thing. Or the swing. Ten minutes of crying is not going to damage it for life - it might save yours.

No, your life is not over. You will still see your friends. You will play volleyball again. You will have a meaningful job. You will sleep in til noon. Don't let people scare you when they tell you you'll never do anything for yourself again. That's not you, and you're going to do this mom thing your own way.

One thing is true: your life will never be the same. The old, comfortable days are gone. Those were really great times, and you were blessed to have five years of them - just you and Bobby. But these will be good times too.

Just look at that baby. Sure, it resembles Wallace Shawn more than either you or Bobby. But this is it. Don't miss out on this moment. Don't worry about taking a photo or writing something in the baby book you haven't even removed from the cellophane. Just be here. Be present. And be here again in two hours. And again after that.

You can do this, Lilee. You have a baby.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Final Countdown

I'm 30 weeks pregnant and my baby is the size of a fruit. Probably. I don't know, I never read those fruit update things. They're weird and confusing. The bump under my shirt is roughly the size of a volleyball, if that helps.

At my appointment yesterday, I was up a total of 16 pounds. It was the first week Dr. G. didn't say anything about my weight. He may have just forgotten or didn't look. Or maybe he realized it was my birthday last week, so I obviously overindulged in cake. And ice cream. And breakfast food. And more cake. Baby's heartbeat is still in the 150s, and my belly measured 29 cm (so 1 cm small). He was sure this time the baby was transverse still, so I guess my "too much ab definition" didn't last long.

I'm definitely feeling big. And pretty blah. I can't imagine that my skin is going to stretch much more or that my back can handle anymore front weight. There's no way this kid is going to DOUBLE in size in the next few weeks. But it's what they tell me. And by "they" I mean the people that think your baby goes from the size of a pomegranate to the size of a banana in a week. Those aren't even comparable! What kind of shape-shifter do they think is inside of me right now?!

Remember when I said I hoped to have everything done by 30 weeks? Nursery finished, baby stuff purchased, bags packed, etc.? Yeah...none of that has happened. We still have nothing. Instead, we've been spending all our time and money putting in a bathroom downstairs. So...I hope you like your cardboard box bed, kid! Mama's getting a rain shower!

My husband is officially freaked out by my belly button. It's technically still "in," but it's pretty flat. Another big meal or two and it'll pop. Bobby thinks it looks like a cat's butthole, and he doesn't like to look at it. I can't actually see it unless I pull on the skin, which makes him even more uncomfortable. I try to warn him that this is not the worst thing he's going to see my body do during this pregnancy...

We did take a tour of our hospital birth center yesterday after my appointment. It was really weird because they literally had zero patients. Like, I expected us to be interrupting their day, but they had no babies in the nursery, no one delivering, no one recovering. So it was nice that we got to see everything and we didn't feel like huge nuisances. But it was so quiet, and we really didn't have any questions (probably should have--but I was kind of unprepared. Shocked? I know, me too).

Dr. G. keeps telling me I'm too easy of a patient because I never come with a long list of questions. I guess I don't have many. I have all of you! Plus this pregnancy has been fairly straightforward. He asked me what I want to know about labor, but honestly, what I want to know, he can't really tell me. I want to know if I'm going to freak out or handle it well. I want to know if I can do it unmedicated. I want to know how bad it hurts. I want to know if my baby is going to be breech. I want to know if I'm going to have to have a C-section.

He did tell me I'll get an IV right away when I check in, which doesn't make me too happy, but it sounds like it's non-negotiable. He's also super pro-epidural. I wouldn't say I'm anti-epidural, I just know I don't want it the moment I walk in. I hate the idea of being stuck to the bed and being numb. I hate the idea of a needle in my back. I have so many back problems already, I'm a little protective of doing painful things to it!

Once I figured out the difference between Braxton-Hicks contractions and normal baby movement, I realized I was having BHs a lot. Mostly when I work out or do a lot of walking, but also anytime during the day. Dr. G. asked if I'd had any contractions, and when I told him just the BH, he said "Good to know, but you don't get any credit for those." I guess he's not worried.

So Bobby and I have reached a good compromise about his reading all the baby books I want him to. Since I can't do much to help with the bathroom, in the evenings while he's working on it, I sit and read the books to him. Apparently he didn't know there was a "third stage" of labor, and that I had to deliver the placenta. ("Wait...after you cut the cord, where does it go? Isn't it just hanging out of you?") After I read him the rest and he learned this new information, I tried to kindly remind him that this was why I wanted him to read the books in the first place. So he would know what needed to happen.

Of course, he likes to be snarky sometimes, so he said, "Yeah, it's a good thing that I'm going to be the one that knows what's going on. I'm sure the doctor and nurses will all turn to leave after the baby's out, and then I'll be like, 'Hey wait guys, we need to deliver the placenta!' And they'll be so grateful that I'm here to remind them what to do."

I pulled up my shirt and showed him my ugly belly button.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Other Side of Sad News

A co-worker approached me this morning at my desk, and asked if she could speak with me - obviously indicating in private, away from others who share my cube space.

I followed her to the work room where she told me she was planning on sending out an email about her son and daughter-in-law's baby, who was stillborn last night. The baby was born at 32 weeks - 2 lbs, 4 ounces, but didn't make it.

My co-worker had tears in her eyes as she shared this with me, saying she wanted to let the rest of the staff know, but she didn't want me to see an email and panic. That was so sweet and thoughtful of her, and really not necessary. I could tell it wasn't easy for her to share this in person with me, as she obviously wasn't ready to talk about it. I just repeated dumb things like, "Oh that's too bad" and "I'm so sorry."

She had announced this pregnancy and excitement over a new grandchild many weeks ago during our staff meeting, likely when her DIL was about 12 weeks along. I didn't announce my own pregnancy until 20 weeks, but I was only three weeks behind this girl, so I was well aware of my own pregnancy during the announcement.

I thanked her for telling me first, hugged her, and felt an overwhelming sadness for this couple I'd never met. It wasn't until I returned to my desk that I really thought about what this meant. Even though I've been feeling pretty good sitting here at nearly 30 weeks, nothing is guaranteed. I've read a lot of success stories of babies born in the early-30-week-range that made it, but I'll admit, I've purposely avoided all the stories of early babies that didn't. Until this one landed right in front of me.

Part of me feels really horrible for still being pregnant. This co-worker is going to have to watch me keep getting bigger and eventually (hopefully) have a baby. She's going to know that she should have a granddaughter three weeks older. I know what it feels like to be on that side too - and it's not a good feeling.

Some of our good friends that we hang out with all the time have a precious two-year-old girl that just adores Bobby. We had started trying right around the same time they did - although she's their second child. Every time we're at their house, I can't help but think that we should have a little one running around with her, playing dress up, making messes, and begging Bobby to spin them in circles over his head. Being pregnant lessens the sting a bit, I guess, but it definitely doesn't erase it.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Birthday Girl

Today is my birthday. I'm 27.

If you're a long-time reader, you may remember that I should be in Hawaii right now.

I'm definitely not in Hawaii right now, as the temperature on my phone is telling me it's 9* out, with a wind chill of -3*. More importantly, I'm not in Hawaii because I'm 29 weeks pregnant. 29 weeks. Holy balls.

On Friday, I passed my 3-hour glucose test. To celebrate, I spent the weekend eating my weight in birthday cake, Super Bowl snacks, and frozen yogurt. If I wasn't before, I'm surely on my way to diabetes now! Or at least a huge lecture from Dr. G. on my excessive weight gain at my 30-week appointment.

I also handed in my official resignation at work today. My last day is April 3, the end of my 37th week of pregnancy. It feels simultaneously just around the corner and a lifetime away.

This is a short post. I think I have something really long and ranty coming (work related) maybe later this week, but it's my birthday, and I don't want to write about something so stressful today.

I'm having Bobby take me out to a local diner tonight because I have a craving for breakfast food that is absolutely insatiable. I'm hoping to at least put a dent in it tonight.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Of Course I Failed

To the shock of absolutely no one, I failed my glucose test this morning. I mean, why not? Getting pregnant was hard. Being pregnant is hard. Why not add another dimension of making my life difficult in this area?

Yes, I'm unnecessarily bitter about this. My doctor is convinced I'll pass the three-hour test with no problem...although he put off my one-hour test until 28 weeks because I had no symptoms or risk factors for diabetes, and he was convinced I'd pass no problem. I'm definitely all about defying the odds and being that one in a huge number statistic.

Honestly, when Dr. G. called with my results, I wanted to cry. I was at work, surrounded by co-workers in neighboring cubicles, so I couldn't, but I wanted to. I just wanted to quit. Everything. 148 with a cutoff of 140. 8 points. Un-freaking-believable.

I had much more to write about--good things--but I'm too annoyed to remember everything. So here's the rundown of the rest of my appointment today.

Heart rate in the 140s. Belly measuring 1 cm small. I'm up a total of 16 pounds. Blood pressure 90/55.

Dr. G. noted in my chart that he's "90% sure" baby is now head down, but I still have too much ab definition for him to be 100% sure. Yeah...that's never been an issue for me before EVER, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to add "too much ab definition" to my resume.

That's the only good thing to come out of my appointment today.

So...what are the secrets to cheating the 3-hour glucose test? Anyone fail their 1-hour and then pass the 3-hour? Should I be cutting out sugar this week, or eating more so the glucose isn't a shock to my system that morning? Dr. G. told me to walk a lot the day before - any other special tricks? I walked all over the hospital today between the end of my appointment and waiting for the hour to be up for my blood draw, mostly because I was bored and I didn't want to sit with all the sick people at the lab. Clearly it helped a lot.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Groundhog

My birthday is February 2. And as all of you Bill Murray fans know, that is also Groundhog's Day. So it's safe to say that I've felt some kinship with groundhogs all of my life.

Right now, specifically this groundhog:
This, my friends, is my spirit animal.
I feel ya, buddy. The look in his eyes, the not-actually-sure-if-I-can-move defeat written all over his face. I have that. The decision to keep lying on the couch in the exact same position for three hours, even though I'm starving, even though I'm about to pee my pants, even though my back is killing me, still seems easier than making the effort to lift my own body weight. 

I think it's safe to say I've become pretty lazy in recent weeks.

And here's the kicker. I'm not even that big. Most people are shocked to find out I'm six and a half months pregnant. I'm still wearing my normal shirts about half the time. My belly is round and I would say I'm noticeably pregnant, but I'm not huge. In fact, I still forget I'm pregnant quite often--until I stand up, knock things off the grocery store shelf with my belly, or try to fit between the back of my car and the garbage can in our garage...and can't. A group of my friends has been playing volleyball pretty regularly on Friday or Saturday nights this winter and I've been so tempted to join in. I suppose I probably could, except that I'm really slow, incredibly out of shape, I can't jump, and no one would want me on their team. I would also be worried about my shifting center of gravity, as my balance has not been good recently. Since I've always been more on the athletic side, I'll admit that this is a little new to me. I never went through a gangly puberty stage where I was all limbs as many of my friends did. But I'm going through that now, and I do feel a bit like a stranger in my own body. I'm clumsier and my hand-eye coordination is much worse. It's very strange.

My best friend Emma came up for a few days around New Year's and we spent a few nights together, which was great. I know I was so jealous when she was pregnant and pretty terrible friend to her, but she was perfect. She asked about things, but I loved how careful she was in sharing her experience. Even when I would ask her questions, she was always so careful to word her answers in a way that didn't make her sound like an expert. She'd always be quick to add, "it didn't work for me, but you might be much better at it" or "this is what I did, but it's definitely not the only way to do it." I know she was trying to not make me feel like she knows everything and I know nothing, or belittle my experience even though I'm a year late--and I appreciated it. She also mentioned that she thought I looked great, like "one of those really athletic pregnant women." I'm pretty sure I laughed out loud at that. About the last thing I'm feeling right now is athletic--see above groundhog photo.

Overall, I'm feeling pretty blah. I haven't reached the point where I'm super uncomfortable, but I'm not really nesting or itching to get things done. I'd rather lie on my couch and watch hours of Call the Midwife (this is so far away from the kind of TV I normally watch, but I'm hooked. Emma recommended it to me and I can't stop watching. I hate Downton Abby, but I've become entranced by these 1950s British midwife nuns. It's my pickles and ice cream, I guess).

A few friends have stated they're throwing me a shower, even though I adamantly insisted on not having one (I also adamantly insisted on not having a bridal shower - I had three). There's a whole post coming on that eventually. The ladies at work have also begun telling me they want to throw a shower. Maybe I'll call in sick that day.

Not much else is new. My mom keeps buying me maternity pants, even though I've told her I'm pretty set. I borrowed everything from a friend, bought a few shirts, and plan to move on to Bobby's clothes once I reach beached whale state. I'm already stealing his flannel shirts. They're comfy and warm, and I can wear them with leggings and call them a dress--though to be fair, I stole his flannels long before I got pregnant (I know what you're thinking, why isn't this a fashion blog!? I could call it Below Zero Chic). We're right in the middle of putting a bathroom in our basement. Since I can't be around all the glues and the sealants in such an enclosed space, and my dad and Bobby are both overprotective and won't let me even help carry things downstairs (Bobby thinks the laundry hamper is too heavy for me), I'm getting out of doing pretty much any work. Which in my current lazy state, I'm okay with. More time for Call the Midwife!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Seeking Your Pity: Weather Edition

I'd like you all to feel bad for me, so I'm just going to post this photo of the weather forecast around here:


You see that bright spot on Thursday? Where it's a whole 19 degrees (that's Fahrenheit, Aramis) ABOVE ZERO? I've already promised myself I will get outside and go for a walk. I could use the fresh air. And let me tell you, at 19 degrees with a 20% chance of snow, the air is pretty freaking fresh. And yes, you are correct. That little red box in the corner DOES say there's a windchill warning (FYI it's currently sitting at 35 to 45 degrees BELOW ZERO). Which means it's actually unsafe for your skin to be out in the air uncovered for even a very short amount of time. Why do I live somewhere that the air is so cold it's actually dangerous? I don't have any idea. I don't even snowmobile! Or ice fish. Or even ski very well. I need to move. Or at least take a vacation to somewhere you can't throw a pot of boiling water out the back door and have it freeze mid-air (yes, it works. Welcome to fifth grade science class in Minnesota.)

There's not much else going on around here--I mean, how much else can you really do when you have to put effort in to surviving your air. I'm feeling big and lazy. I'm washing my hands a million times a day to try to keep from getting sick. And I'm putting on hand lotion two million times a day so my hands stay all in one piece and avoid cracking and bleeding. The rest of the time I'm trying to work up to the motivation to do anything other than lie on my couch watching Netflix from the time I walk in the door after work until I go to bed at 9:00 p.m. I need a hobby. Or to join a gym. At least a few days a week, I drag my butt downstairs to half-heartedly jog (playing fast and loose with that word) on the treadmill for two episodes of 30 Rock. I know, I know, I'm practically a fitness goddess at this point. I mean, I'm not quite Jane with her half marathon and record-setting swim times (while pregnant), but I'm pretty freaking close. Notice I did say TWO episodes of 30 Rock.

I've still avoided getting stretch marks on my belly, but they are starting to show up on my boobs. Bobby's not complaining though, because my boobs have at least doubled in size. And since I haven't actually bought any bras to accommodate their enormous new mass, I'm just going for the Sofia Vergara look--if she were short, white, and chubby instead of hot and Colombian.

We also finally decided we should do something about the nursery. So we moved around some shelves in the closet and bought two cube storage shelves and some fabric box organizers. So still nothing for baby to wear, sleep in, or poop in. Or, you know, anything to put it in the car to bring home from the hospital. My mom dug out my old sock monkey and it looks really adorable sitting on top of the cube shelves. So there's that.

I had this kind of crazy idea that it would be really nice if we had everything in the nursery done and ready when I was 30 weeks in case something happened and I went early. And I wouldn't be so big that I could actually help put together a crib, or bend over far enough to get stuff out of the washer (this is getting tough already--having a big belly and short arms are just a terrible combination). I guess it could still happen, but given our lack of motivation this far, I'm thinking not.

Bobby had a bit of panic attack when I mentioned I'll be full term in 12 weeks. He began freaking out about everything we still need to do and get and learn. I mean, it was actually kind of funny, because that's where I was about 12 weeks ago. He actually read a chapter of a baby book that night.

Someday soon we'll get on the same page, buckle down, and get stuff done. But probably not tomorrow though. I don't want the air to freeze off my face.