Saturday, March 31, 2012

Breasteses

Got through a whole night exclusively breastfeeding last night, which I take as a personal triumph. Sometimes he would do good long feeds and then sleep; sometimes he just grazed and I couldn't keep great track (and apparently at this age it's all about keeping track of feedings and diapers - how the heck did people do this without smart phones?). I wish he would just latch on and eat solidly for 1/2 an hour or more, but it doesn't work like that - it can sometimes take an hour and a half just to get through one feeding because of all the distracting / diaper changing / burping that's required to keep him eating, and by then it's only an hour before I'm supposed to start the next feed!

As with many things in my pregnancy I'm kind of cheating - if he's fast asleep I don't wake him to feed (unless it's been just too long); I haven't been supplementing with the syringe as requested by the LC. She wants me to take him to get weighed tomorrow - pain in the butt! Still I'll do it because I want to make sure he's getting what he needs, although amount of diapers and his general demeanor tells me he is. Boy will I be glad when these early weeks are over and I can just let him eat what he wants when he wants! This all feels so artificial but apparently it's what you have to do at this stage. So, ok.

I am lining up a steady stream of visitors to keep the isolation at bay. It's really important, I think. I am also very much looking forward to brief social gatherings after next week or so. I am dying to be out in groups again even if it's just for short increments. A dance or two would be amazing, also.

My father has not responded to my e-mail about the birth; my mother and I had a brief and somewhat uncomfortable exchange about the labor experience and breastfeeding that made me not want to continue the conversation. SO glad she's far away and not in my life...things could definitely get very complicated with my being a mother now, too. So I'll send the both of them updates and pictures and they can do with it what they will.

For now here's what I had for dinner - black bean tostadas with a side of baby.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The password is "moo"

So today I had my lactation consult. It went very well. She interviewed me all about my pregnancy/birth circumstances, weighed him (he's only an ounce or two short of birth weight), and then we spent about an hour and a half getting him to nurse, trying different positions, busting out the nipple shield. And it worked! I had produced a buttload of milk via pumping the night before (and believe me, nothing made me happier than syringe feeding him my own milk last night instead of formula) so supply isn't an issue, just sitting down and doing the work to get him used to the breast. I made up a little nursing song for him called "It's time for lunch and some breasteses". Hopefully he will soon learn this little tune means it's time to get your latch on.

I am now on a strict schedule of feedings every 2-3 hours no matter what, which is complicated when you think of how many things need to be worked around this - grocery delivery guy showing up, visitors, dog walking, sleep, my own meals. Still I'm reminded it won't always be this way; this is just my job right now. Some day soon it will all be a little less stringent. And he tends to conk out in between which leaves me time for work, housework, showers, etc.

Today I learned the fine art of "letting him scream". It was the first time I had to do something when he wasn't calm - the LC was coming over and I just had to have a shower, and I wasn't supposed to feed him, and he was pissed. So I just had to put him in a bouncy seat and let him scream, which he did. And you know what? He didn't scream himself to death, nor do I think he's psychologically scarred because mom took a three minute shower rather than spend twenty minutes walking him around the house. There are just going to be those times when he's upset and I can't do shit for him. I figure this is the beginning of what will hopefully be a collaborative household - "you need to help mommy now".

No weird mopey thoughts at all today, which means I've either beaten this potential PPD thing by consistent effort or have just been too distracted today to get all moody. I hope it's the former. I have used all of the tools in my "anti-anxiety/depression" toolbox to combat this situation because I'll be damned if I'm going to have walked through the hell of that birth just to spend weeks or months of my son's early life all bummed out and disconnected. I mean, f that, seriously. I'd like to enjoy his presence now, and I really am.

Here's a pic of him in post-feed bliss:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

While you were sleeping


So I am being an insane over-achiever right now.  I have beans on the stove, a load of dishes in the washer, three loads of laundry on and just joined the Donor Sibling Registry (I appear to be the first for this donor). Why am I doing all this? Three reasons. RT is napping and I know to take advantage of every moment I can get to myself to keep the chaos at bay around here. I had to run out and rent a breast pump today to keep my supply from drying up, and I have to start using it every two hours, and I want to make sure I get everything done before I’m tied down to that the next 24 hours. And finally, I am still fighting hard to keep sad/angry/depressing thoughts away, and keeping busy has been doing wonders.

I especially wanted to do laundry because, being in trauma mode, knowing my bloody delivery/post delivery clothes, plus my checking in to be induced outfit were mocking me from the laundry basket, I felt a need to really cleanse that experience. It’s a way to move on. I made the mistake yesterday of using a foot pumice stone to try to remove all the tape marks all over my arms, legs, and back from all the IVs/medications/catheter/foley bulb/etc, and instead ended up hideously scarring myself. I look like I had a run in with a wild raccoon. So unfortunately I have that unpleasant visual reminder of my experience for weeks now until I heal.

So now I have a hospital grade breast pump at the ready and a lactation consultant coming over tomorrow to the tune of $250 combined.  Hey, you can’t say I’m not trying. Now my giant, hard breasts are covered with red blotches.  I can’t even imagine how painful pumping is going to be – oy. And I sure hope this lady doesn’t panic me and make me feel guilty about all this time wasted as my boy gets used to formula. She seemed to think we could make it happen, though, and said the only thing urgent is to make sure I don’t dry up.  Again, with a massive sigh of resignation I let learning to breastfeed take over my life for the next few weeks. And don’t worry, if it’s just not working I have no bad feelings about giving up. But I do feel I owe it to both of us to at least try, which I haven’t done yet. So I am bringing out the big guns and spending money I don’t have to at least try to be successful.

Today would have been my due date. My WTE app, which I have been watching count down for months, says “today’s the day!!!” And I find that extremely depressing. But I guess more depressing would be having the health issues I had and being still pregnant now, or a week from now, or two weeks, and having this giant baby and being worried sick (and getting sicker – I was kind of folding in on myself towards the end there, like a flan in a cupboard).

I have a hard time looking at the boxes of stuff I have around this house with pictures of happy babies on them. What’s that about…? Just trauma. I remember after a particularly difficult event in 2004 (my dance event for that year, I mean) I was totally freaked out and traumatized for the month after – everything, and I mean everything, depressed me. I can’t handle anything sentimental; last night I tried to watch the movie “Moonstruck” and had to turn it off because it was too full of feelings. I can’t listen to any music that isn’t silly and upbeat like disco or funk. I just can’t do it. Luckily I have no bad feelings about my boy – he’s just a little gem, so happy and cute and good natured. Last night he slept in four hour increments broken up by feedings and changings, so I got excellent sleep other than my boobs killing me. I have not started on my cloth diapers yet; one thing at a time, please. Let’s lick this breastfeeding thing (or not) and then enter that world. For now disposables are my best friend. It’s funny that he never seems to mind sitting around in a wet or dirty diaper – I just randomly check and change him; he never alerts me. Typical guy, huh?

Here is a picture of me from the hospital - one of the only decent pictures of the two of us together (one of the hazards of single parenthood - nobody to take pictures!)

 

5AM blogging - why not?

Got a lovely stretch of sleep, did a quick syringe formula feed, diaper change, and now am wired. Like every new mother, I worry when he's up all night (he's miserable, I'm not meeting his needs), and I worry when he sleeps (is he sleeping too much...?). Ah, well. This is where diaper tracking and basic instincts keep you afloat - he's peeing enough that I know he's getting what he needs, and his general demeanor tells me he's happy. I think we just had a rough go of it that first night as he adjusted to being out of the NICU.

I keep setting up the bassinet and then putting it away. The only way I can sleep is propped up on my side with my hand around him, not moving. I just can't bear to have him apart from me while I sleep yet. Just can't do it.

My Mom Guru friend came over tonight to give me some breastfeeding tips and remind me how to use my Moby and sling carriers. Tomorrow first thing I am going to call a lactation consultant to come over here and help me as I figure I have a tiny window to make this work - we tried out my second hand pump and sure enough it barely works, so that's out. I feel like I am in a race against time and am very panicky about it.

My friend and I talked about labor trauma and she made an excellent point. She asked, "what was the last thing you wanted to hear when you were a happy pregnant woman?" I said, "traumatizing birth stories." so we think this is why this issue tends to be so private - there's a lot of guilt and shame involved, and other than others who have been through it, nobody wants to hear your birth horror story because it freaks them out. I hope I haven't traumatized any pregnant women reading my blog! You have to remember I had an extraordinary set of circumstances. I think it's entirely possible to have a wonderful, empowering birth. One thing that saved me for sure was the willingness to be flexible, and to not be too married to things going a certain way. Had I expected the birth to be lovely and natural and peaceful I would have a much harder time adjusting right now. Nope, I knew it would suck, and it did. So I guess there's something to be said for low expectations!

I find myself overwhelmed when I think of how much work trying to learn to breastfeed is going to be in the weeks to come - but then I have to remind myself, "um...and what exactly are you doing in the next couple of months other than being the full time mother of a newborn?" Oh yeah, that's right. This is kind of my priority right now. Duh!

I have started to reach out to friends for visits. I need the company desperately. The crazy sad post-partum thoughts are always at the door; so far I've been very successful at just shutting them out. I know too well what happens when you indulge in depressive, non-productive thoughts; it's a real short trip down that rabbit hole, let me tell you. So much like during pregnancy my mantra is "this is a happy time and we're only thinking happy thoughts."

Well, the babe is blissfully asleep, so I think I'll join him. With my hand at his side to make sure he's still breathing, of course.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A day of firsts

We had another long night of what I guess is called "cluster feeding" and endless poopy diapers; however as the morning progressed RT seemed to need a long snooze, so for once I was able to join him and sleep for a few hours without shocking myself awake every five minutes to make sure he's still breathing. For the time being this appears to be his schedule - up all night, sleep all day. Since this is pretty much my schedule as well (and was certainly my pregnancy sleep schedule) I can live with it. As long as I get those few hours in the AM, I'm good.

Sleep lead me to make some small inroads. I decided to take my first car trip to pick up the dog. It felt great returning to normal life - driving, talk radio, putting on clothes and makeup. Robert slept during the entire exercise. And the dog, as suspected, gave him an exploratory sniff and then lost interest. I don't know how she'll do after the night I'm sure we have ahead of us, but I think the worst that could happen is she'll start peeing on things in protest. Considering how much spit up, spilled formula, poop and pee is already all over this place, I say the more the merrier!

So after our first car trip I decided to bust out the first baby carrier experience to walk the dog. I used the Beco carrier, and after I gave an exploratory walk around the house, Robert calmed enough that I felt I could brave a real walk around the block (putting down the little hood helped so he wouldn't be overwhelmed).

Walking the dog is always interesting because it's a quiet time with no radio or phone or TV, just me and my thoughts. I flashed back to the nine months pregnant me walking the dog a week ago today and crying the whole way thinking about the induction the next day; I thought about the 2nd trimester me picturing myself with a baby in a carrier some day; I pictured the 1st trimester me last summer dragging my ass around the block while trying not to puke; I pictured walking the dog as I was miscarrying, walking the dog sad about my first BFN last April, walking the dog planning TTC in my head before I told anyone. So much has happened, and yet my son isn't even a week old. Already he's bigger and plumper every day - people don't kid you when they say it goes so quickly!

One amazing fact about today - I went into labor at about 168 pounds. I weighed myself the night I got home and was 159. I weighed myself today and I am 150. Huh...? I am utterly delighted that I am now only 10 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight of 140. Awesome!

So um...my milk appears to have come in. And by milk I mean huge, painful, hot boobs. I am still not nursing and am scared I have sabotaged any possible breastfeeding opportunities by caving to formula all this time. Ugh. Lots more to say about this breastfeeding thing but that's a whole other story for another time.

Talked tonight to a relative who had her only daughter back in the 60s. It was amazing the similar language she used to describe her experience as I did - traumatizing, PTSD, never again, etc. I'm beginning to think this experience is a lot more common than we're lead to believe!

Tomorrow I am going to focus on the boobs - get the pump set up, get some help. This is going to be a real challenge, I can tell.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day One

Today was my first full day alone with the baby. The night was rough - he only slept in occasional 45 minute bouts and fed about every hour; it was a long night of learning his language and convincing myself it's best to be led by him at this phase rather than try to enforce a schedule or amount of formula to be taken at one time, etc. My sister left early this morning and it was very emotional for both of us. I can't even really think about that right now.

My Mom Guru friend kindly agreed to take me to my Kaiser appointment today because after the night we had I was worried I wouldn't be able to drive over there. Everything went well - despite the horror of that heel prick blood test they give babies, the results were good (not much jaundice) and everything else looked good as well. A lactation consultant came in and confused me, but did give me tips on the syringe feed method and gave me bigger syringes, so at least for now he'll be well fed. At least so far, the boy is thriving.

After all the excitement I made the executive decision that once we got home rather than trying to force formula down his throat when he didn't want it (little pursed lips are a sign of this, apparently) that instead we should spend some naked time just getting to know each other. So we had a lovely afternoon of skin on skin time, kisses, touching, napping, and communicating in whatever way we could. I think it did miles to undo the odd start we had, and I don't regret it. Accordingly he's been eating like a champ since. I think he eats when he wants and as long as he's doing well I need to go with that.

I've been motivated to clean and organize as a way to feel some peace and control, things that have been very absent the last few days. I am definitely having odd post partum feelings - nothing scary, just feeling very nostalgic and weepy. Trying not to indulge these thoughts too much because I don't want to spend the first weeks of my son's life in despair over irrational thoughts.

For example last night I unpacked the outfit I had worn to the induction and lost it. I just had this image of this innocent pregnant woman about to face all that hell - my former self - and it just killed me inside. I feel like I have a little PTSD from the labor experience, honestly. I think more people do than care to admit it. I keep thinking of myself in my pregnancy and getting really sad; I guess I kind of miss the pregnancy, feel sad it's likely the only one, scared of what's ahead - you know, all that stuff. So for me the best way to manage it is to get organized, keep things clean, and really focus on this amazing little boy.

And reach out to friends, apparently. I had thought I didn't want any contact but now I am craving it. I've been calling and texting people all day and it's made a huge difference. I've been on Facebook all day reading the lovely comments on my birth announcement (and my fellow bloggers' as well - thanks for that!) and it's made me feel a lot less alone. Facebook may be the single girl's worst enemy but it is for sure the new mom's best friend.

The Good, The Bad, and the Unbearably Cute

Right now I am at last in bed at home with my baby son asleep on my lap. It is our first night together and I expect it to be a long "getting to know you" session. But I'm very much looking forward to it. As he sleeps I thought now might be a good time to recount my birth story. So pull up a chair, it's a long one!

The Good - I'd like to start with the positive. First - baby alive, me alive. This was pretty much the extent of my birth plan and I have achieved that. But as a bonus I got this unbelievably cute, special, awesome baby. He didn't come out looking like Ross Perot or have flippers. He looks like me, like my family, like US. The coolest moment of the birth was for sure when they were stitching me up and he was off on the tray getting his Apgar scores done and I for the first time saw that little face and instantly knew he was mine - I knew we were connected, that he was part of my genetic pool. I can't say I "fell in love" or that suddenly all the pain of labor was forgotten or didn't matter, because it does matter. But the good news is he matters more, and I guess that's all you can ask for really!

My Doula friend and my sister being right at my side for the whole thing was enormously important, more than I ever would have imagined. I highly recommend NOT doing this alone or with people that stress you out. They knew just when to let me work on my own and when to hold my hand, and, as I'd hoped, when to be my advocates (there were MANY times when we had to get tough with the people in charge, and it worked).

I didn't end up with an emergency c section; I was able to push him out. So one thing went the way I'd hoped. The baby was a trooper the whole time - never in distress, never caused any of us the least amount of concern. For this and everything else I am VERY grateful. I can't imagine the torment of laboring with a baby that was in trouble. Knowing he was always ok was a huge comfort to me.

The Bad - I hate to tell you, ladies, but you know I wouldn't bullshit you: this birth experience was the worst experience of my life. It was exactly as bad as I'd feared - a torment of pain and misery, coupled with maddening hospital procedures that (as I'd feared) kept me on my back in bed with no liquids or food, unable to walk around or (hardly) change position to help myself. I think a natural birth without all the chemicals and interventions would have been a totally different experience - painful, yes, but empowering and awesome. But you know, it just wasn't in the cards for me. Having to be induced due to pre-e ain't pretty, and it came with every complication and drug and mishap I could have imagined (again, other than the c-section part, so hooray for that).

Here's a quick blow by blow:

Admitted at noon on Thursday. Still no dilation to speak of. I was examined, then stuck sitting around for nearly five miserable hours until I was administered cervadil to get the ball rolling. Was administered IV by trainee who butchered me, then had to remove it and try again on the other hand. Doctors couldn't agree on whether the name of the drug I should take was cytotex or some other thing, nor the possible side effects or effectiveness. NOT confidence inspiring.

Had a long, miserable night of contractions until I just couldn't take it anymore; only pain med available at this stage was morphine, and I went for it out of sheer desperation. It was a horrifying experience. My body got hot flashes all over and I thought I was having a bad reaction - it terrified me. However, it did take away the excruciating pain temporarily.

At 6:00 AM Friday although I was only about 1 cm dilated it was enough for the foley bulb to help dilate me more, so that was put in. The person who did it made a mistake and jabbed me so hard inside with a piece of metal that I nearly jumped off of the table. I believe this may have caused some of the problems I had later.

Fortunately the bulb did its work. By 3:30 Friday the bulb came out as I went to pee - I was dilated to 4cm. Pitocin was then started. Three hours later the pain was so intense I went for the epidural, which was painless and brought some relief. Unfortunately both of these events - the pitocin and epidural, meant no more moving around, eating, or drinking. I was catheterized, had so many IVs going we could barely keep track, and couldn't move. At this point I had been in the whole induced labor experience for about 24 hours.

As Friday night wore into Saturday morning, the epidural ceased to be terribly effective, I was in a torrent of pain, and started shaking uncontrollably and developed a high fever, which the 85th series of doctors who'd come to see me told me meant that now my son would be in the NICU for days after birth to make sure my fever hadn't affected him (great thing to hear at that moment). Was put on antibiotics.

Some time during Friday night I finally had my "lose it" moment. I was having awful continuous contractions with no respite, cervical checks were showing no progress, and nobody could come up with a plan for what to do next other than have me suffer more and see what happens. My sister finally stepped up and demanded someone make a plan because I couldn't go on (I was inches away from demanding a c-section).

Luckily that hour's doctor did make a plan - we'd try breaking my water and see if that would speed things along. They did, and it did! Although Friday night into Saturday morning was the most unbelievable pain I could have ever imagined, there was nothing to do but get through it. I comforted myself making animal sounds and feeling the sides of the hospital bed (echoes of the small piece of cardboard that comforted me during those long nights of my morning sickness).

At last it was time to push, but I have to admit I had nothing left at this point - no sleep, food, or water for days, and worn out by days of excruciating pain as well. While pushing even I knew I was faking it half the time. The nurse picked up on this and kindly let me rest and work on it on my own, which I did. I was at last able to turn on my side and, grasping the hospital bed controls, my body pushed for me. A friend once told me your body takes over and pushes for you, which I didn't realize happened; I thought you had to make it push. But not in this case. Every minute or so I would just be wracked by this intense process of shoving this little person down the birth canal. Somehow my brain drifted out to Sunset Blvd and I pictured the big bright Mexican Restaurant out there, and wondered who owned it, and why the owner had taken over my body and was making me push. I did mention I had a high fever, right...?

So upon positioning me again the nurse was delighted with my progress and the whole team came bustling in. I asked to continue to push on my side and they let me, so with Doula on one leg and sister at the other, I pushed his little blonde head out. Doula said, "oh my God, his eyes are open!" and "he's out!" and my sister said, "he's out!" and somewhere in my stupor still wondering why that restaurant owner was being so mean to me I echoed, "he's out!!" and literally two to three pushes later he really was out in his entirety, and rushed off for testing while I was stitched up. And all I could think was thank God it's over. It's over and he's alive and I'm alive. And no more pain. They let him rest on me for a few minutes before being taken to the NICU. I told him I'd heard so much about him. He had a crazy cone head but otherwise was perfect and alert and just checking everything out.

So he was born at 9:54 AM Saturday. The remaining days have been all about visiting baby in the NICU, failing utterly at breastfeeding, being intruded upon day and night by an army of doctors and nurses filling me with antibiotics, bleeding, peeing myself, and watching bad TV while waiting to find out when we could go home.

Thank God I didn't have to worry about him - everything about his being in the NICU was purely about being precautionary because of my fever. I felt guilty having this healthy nearly 8 lb baby there when the other babies were so tiny and troubled. I knew he was in good hands and honestly reveled in the recovery time - although it's totally screwed up breastfeeding and probably some bonding, honestly I was in so much recovery pain and so generally out of it from lack of sleep that I couldn't have done much for him.

We were at last released tonight and I am feeding him formula with a syringe every three hours because it's honestly the only way to keep him from starving at the moment. Tomorrow I go back in early in the morning for some remaining tests he needs, then we're on our own! I am terrified of this, but can only think of one thing at a time, so for now it's just making it through tonight. Tomorrow is another day.

So, why do I recount the horrors of my birth experience? Why do I want to remember all the bad parts? Because I believe pain is real, and legitimate, and needs to be honored before you can let it go. Yes, my labor experience totally sucked. And it has made me never, ever, ever want to do this again. I believe my son will be an only child, and I'm ok with that. Was it worth it? Well, of course! As I took a nice long shower tonight I thanked my body. I thanked it for being pregnant, for nurturing a healthy, awesome baby who was and is such a trooper, and for being in labor and getting me through it. We survived. I don't have to forget the pain but I can just say yes, it happened, and now we're moving on to the next thing. Which looks something like this:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

He's here!

Robert Townley Alexandre, born this morning in Hollywood, CA. Story to follow!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Worst possible outcome


So today pretty much was the worst it could possibly be, short of there being anything wrong with the baby.  My first blood pressure reading was sky high, so after monitoring me for about 45 minutes they sent me for blood work and then to L&D. Then they also monitored me, my blood pressure, pulse, and went over my results. For hours. And all that happened was several doctors in a row came in and told me that my condition is escalating and they strongly recommend I induce RIGHT NOW. They did a cervical check. Not dilated AT ALL. It was excruciatingly painful as expected. And confirmed for me my suspicions that my body is nowhere near ready to go into labor. But as I had feared, I kind of don’t have a leg to stand on anymore. I am going to be forced to induce this baby out against my will and there’s nothing I can do about it.

I had to sign a paper that I don’t hold them responsible if my baby dies just to be let out of the building. They said if the baby had showed any signs of distress that they wouldn’t have let me go at all, and are still strongly advising against it. The last of three doctors who tried to bully me into staying was ironically the one that came down to the emergency room when I had the miscarriage. I’m glad he didn’t remember me.

I have an appointment with the midwife tomorrow. Of course I’ll go over this with her, but I don’t know what she’s going to be able to tell me except just go through with it, that there’s no point in dragging this out and taking such a risk. So, what am I going to do? I don’t know. I can’t make that decision right now. I’ve asked my sister to fly out tomorrow, I’m dropping the dog at the kennel, and making plans to be stuck at the hospital for an appalling 5-7 days (apparently that’s how long inductions can take – news to me). I’m pretty much preparing mentally to be induced in the next couple of days and pretty much tortured. That’s what my birth experience is going to be. Torture.

I wish I could get a positive attitude about it but right now I just can’t. I hate to be one of those people that is stubborn and won’t just “go with the flow” – I had promised myself I’d just take it as it comes and not get married to an on-time natural labor – but this is just so far left of what I ever wanted that right now I am just miserable. The idea of being artificially induced into labor prematurely, then laboring for THREE DAYS or more in absolute torment with all kinds of chemicals making my body do unnatural things, being strapped into a bed and not able to eat or move around or do anything but suffer, and then probably end up with an emergency c-section anyway, is honestly my worst nightmare. And there’s no getting around it – that’s exactly what it’s going to be like. Am I going to luck out and dilate really quickly when I’m currently at 0 and have a fast, non-horribly painful labor under these conditions?  No, I’m not. At least, the odds are heavily against me that this is going to be anything but horrible.

I have been sobbing all day and am absolutely beside myself. I so wish this could go differently, but it can’t. I’m glad he’s doing well – this would of course be 100% worse if he were in trouble – but the fact that he’s ok also makes me that much more want to “hold out” even though everyone thinks I’m nuts at this point, and I’m starting to agree with them based on cold, hard facts. I’m 39 weeks tomorrow – a day or two past that is of course safe for him; it’s not as outrageous a thought as it was last week. They say he’s measuring well at about 7 lbs, my fluids are good, and he’s moving around happily, oblivious to mom’s misery.

This is going to sound profoundly selfish but I’m going to say it anyway.  Please remember the mental state I’m in and try to give me a break. I’m just so pissed I’m going to be robbed of a normal birth experience.  I’ll never get to see a mucus plug fall out or my water break and realize “this is it!”, I’ll never get to feel a normal contraction, I won’t get to have a nice healthy birth with my body doing what it wants and needs to do. I’ll never get to make that 4 AM call to my sister or my doula and tell them at last it’s time. I won’t have that excited scramble to the hospital. I was robbed of a normal conception experience and now I’m going to be robbed of a normal birth experience. All along it’s going to be all medical – chemicals, medications, things stuck in my arms, forcing my body to do things.  And I fucking hate it.

So, this is my shit attitude going into my son’s birth.  Good times, huh?  Well, the one good thing in all of this is I do get to plan a little – make sure the dog is safely ensconced at the kennel, get my sister here in time, stop my mail, get the chickens fed, etc. That puts my mind at ease a little. But the idea of what I’m going to have to endure over the next few days makes me so angry and terrified that really I just want to take a long walk off a short pier right now.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Entity


When I was in the “thinking” process I read my friend Lisa’s book (see right) and was always fascinated by the cover.  “Does your belly really get that big? Can you really barely see your feet?” And right now I can say yes, and yes.  I officially have a shelf. I call it The Entity.

The Entity can be quite handy.  It’s a good place to rest the TV remote, plates, and cups.  From time to time the dog rests her chin there, and she has stopped sitting on my lap because The Entity has taken that spot. I also can no longer put my laptop there for said reason.

However The Entity comes with its inconveniences.  It does draw a lot of attention to itself and makes random people on the street yell things at me like, “it’s a girl!” It makes people want to touch it with its animal magnetism. But mainly it makes it tough for mom to do anything. Now when I drop things (and I drop things a lot), I see the thing falling in slow motion (keys, toothpaste cap, measuring spoon, vitamin, etc) and hear a voice in my head saying, “nooooooo….!”  Because picking up the thing in the presence of The Entity is a lengthy and complex process.  Don’t even talk to me about picking up after the dog who blithely poops her way through her entire walk, not understanding that The Entity makes it very difficult for mommy to stop and squat every few feet.

Just two days shy of 39 weeks, The Entity is making its presence known in other ways, such as making every possible position uncomfortable. Sitting, standing, walking, and lying down all suck.  Lying on my back is a torment as it makes me feel like I’m suffocating. Lying on my stomach is a long lost memory. Leaving…nothing.  Actually, that’s not true.  If I could spend the entire day on my hands and knees with The Entity hanging free, that would be awesome. But a) my wrists and hands hurt too much from pregnancy carpal tunnel for this to be possible, and b) it’s not terribly practical.

Fortunately I’ve had no back pain, and again am amazed by the lack of stretch marks and/or popping belly buttons considering that The Entity is as hard as a basketball and may or may not get even bigger in the days to come. Still I seem to look like most women at this phase look – just big. Amazingly I’ve gained no weight for weeks, which means the baby must be taking the calories he needs, and he’s welcome to them. But I’m so wiped out all of the time now that I worry that I’ll even have the energy to labor – if someone told me right now I had to go into labor and work really hard for the next 24-36 hours, harder than I’ve ever pushed myself physically in my life, I’d probably burst into tears.  I can hardly put a clean garbage bag in the bin much less push a person out of my body.

For this reason I fear tomorrow’s NST.  Oh, I intend to stick to my guns (I still say 39 weeks is too early), but I’m afraid they’re going to work on my fear/uncomfortableness/exhaustion to try to push me into something I don’t want and don’t think is right. And who knows, maybe I will have an escalation of symptoms and not be able to argue my cause anymore.  Last night I seriously tweaked my neck resulting in a headache and was all paranoid about this being a sign of pre-e; then googled if it was ok to take Tylenol and Dr. Google said yes, and immediately on taking it the pain went away and I was able to sleep, so I don’t think I had a “pre-e headache”, just a reaction to the neck pain (I’m having it again now – probably time for another Tylenol). You can bet I will NOT be telling them this at my appointment tomorrow, however. I’m ready for anything – and I intend to speak softly and carry a big stick. I’m glad I’ve managed to not snap at anyone yet; I think I’d feel bad later (and really bad if it turned out they were right all along).  I’ve only snapped a few times in my life; once I told a boss he was a fucking asshole as I quit.  He totally deserved it, though, and I still look back on that moment with pride.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Home delivery


No, not birthing – grocery delivery!  I just signed up for this service because I believe I am now no longer in the position to haul five-seven heavy grocery bags up three flights of stairs to my house.  I could do it (slowly), I just don’t want to.  Since my schedule is flexible it appears I can have my groceries delivered for only about $4 (plus a tip for the delivery guy of course).  I don’t think I’ll do this forever – but for late term pregnancy/newborn time I think (I hope) this will be a huge help to me.  Yesterday just thinking about all the giant, heavy things I needed to get was stressing me out.  Now I no longer have to buy by weight! (something I used to do when I lived in five storey walk-ups in NYC and never really got out of the habit of).

The produce selections were pretty piss-poor so I may keep my produce buying to the farmer’s market in the future.  I’m none too keen on someone else selecting my tomatoes and bananas.  I sure hope this works out.  My last attempt at avoiding trips and long waits on lines, having my post office pick up my packages, was a complete disaster.  I shelled out big $$ online for priority shipping packages which I wouldn’t have used otherwise, got about thirty packages of fliers put together to be picked up by the post office, only to have them come pick them up and then drop them back on my porch six hours later with a note on each package saying they were overweight and due to security concerns had to be taken to the post office.  So I haul this giant box to the post office (with a friend’s help) thinking we can just jump the line and drop them since they were all pre-paid – nope.  Had to stand on line and then wait as they processed and labeled each of the thirty packages with a barcode sticker and a stamp that said $0.  What a pain in the ass! So let’s just hope the grocery delivery works out better, shall we?

I intended to have a lazy day yesterday, but it was not to be.  A woman making a documentary about swing dancing had wanted to come over and interview me, so we had set up a time and I naively thought it would take about an hour or two (I just did this with someone else a couple of weeks ago and that’s how long it took). So I had to do my hair, wear a cute outfit, put on full makeup, and make the house somewhat presentable (I’m really glad I gave the bathroom a quick go-over before she got here).  The house ended up being full of giant lights and camera equipment (I was completely paranoid the whole day that we’d blow my electricity) and the interview took FIVE HOURS.  Now for the record I was happy to do it (lord knows I love to pontificate) and I’m glad I did since everyone has been in this doc and it would be weird if I weren’t. But I was pretty shocked when I checked my watch at the end and found it to be 7 PM. Then just as I was settling down to my first meal of the day my tax lady called and I had to walk her through my entire tax return for two hours – she just could not grasp the concept that I have been in the habit of including my entire income in the number I give her; I don’t subtract the 1099 amounts I get (and PayPal is now 1099-ing everyone which is causing a lot of confusion, since that’s where most of my income comes from).  So we had to go over subtracting those amounts over and over to get to my actual income. At least this, and a few other minor tweaks, brought my outrageous tax bill down from $5000 to about $2500.  Still almost twice what I’ve ever paid, but I do have to remember I spent a lot less this year.  And $2500 to me seems reasonable.  Oh, I still can’t pay it – I will have to borrow the money – but it’s better than $5000.  All I want is for the damned return to be correct and accurate; one of these days I’m going to be audited and I don’t want any dumb mistakes. Why do I trust this lady who can’t figure out how to calculate my actual income?  Right now I’m kind of wondering.

I had a paranoia I was going to go into labor this weekend after the word “induction” was thrown my way (apparently this happens a lot), but so far so good.  I often wonder when I say to myself and others that “he’s not ready” what I’m really saying is “I’m not ready”. Because I’m really not.  I think I’m just so married to that due date – March 29 – that I can’t really accept it could happen at any other time, especially not early. Technically everything is in place so I am “set up” in that sense, which does feel good. It’s just a weird mental thing; I tend to get very anal retentive about dates and times and I know I need to just let that go. Also it sure would be a relief to be done with these NSTs and people bullying me; the thought of getting to my due date, and then passing it, and then getting to that time when you really can’t argue against induction anymore, scares me a lot. Right now I can still say with certainty that it’s too early to induce; in just a week or so that justification will evaporate. Phew. Not looking forward to that at all.

Well, me and the babe had a little discussion last night.  I told him he doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to do and he can come out whenever he feels like it. And if he wants to come out right now and meet everyone I’m ok with that, and if he wants to hang out and grow some more that I’m ok with that, too, that it’s his birth and he only gets one and he gets to call the shots. So, we’ll see what he decides and I’ll just be along for the ride!