Friday, February 28, 2014

38 weeks

So, I made it to the point I was at last time where they first started really pushing for induction. I do feel relief that this topic has not come up in any real way yet. But today's appointment was a mixed bag.

Only trace protein in the urine - but high blood pressure - up to 137/96, which is not good at all. So, much to my consternation the midwife sent me to get an NST...which took half an hour, and then the NST nurse automatically scheduled me to come in twice a week from now on. Dammit!!!

I'm not proud of the fact that I was a total bitch during my entire 2 hour appointment - the midwife pointed out my *slightly* swollen ankles and as always demanded to know how many glasses of water I drink a day, and I snapped, "I feel like all I fucking do all day is fucking drink water and pee." Yes, I am that patient. Sorry.

But in my defense I was dragged out of bed for a hella early appointment that was made for me which nobody checked with me first about the time, I was stuck in horrible dead-standstill traffic all the way to the appointment because of this massive rainstorm we're having, making me 20 minutes late, and I was feeling very nauseated which pissed me off even more. So I was just in no mood. And then to be sent to the NST place...and now trapped in that loop...ugghhhh. So it's not as bad as being sent to L&D and not allowed to go home, but it's close.

The midwife had blood run today, and I already have the results. Thankfully everything is in the normal range (although many inching towards not normal, the results are better than my 38 week labs from last time). The midwife explained to me that she's doing all this - the NSTs, blood work - to use as evidence against my being induced early. Well, ok. Those NSTs sure are a pain in the ass, though. Bleh. Welcome to living at the effing hospital from now on.

As always I felt myself getting extremely angry and defensive about my health issues - the blood pressure, the swelling. And I know I'm not the only pregnant woman to feel this way, but talking to my sister reminded me of why this is such a trigger for me and why I get so angry - because I come from a religion that believed every problem, everything that happened to you, and certainly every health problem, was entirely your fault. So I was constantly blamed for everything - you stub your toe, it's because you thought something negative; you catch a cold, it's because you've been slacking on your religious studies; you have an upset stomach, it's because you did something bad. So when a midwife bemoans my high blood pressure, what I hear is, "well, what have you been doing that made you have high blood pressure?" And I get so angry I want to punch her in the throat. Issues much?

So I feel slightly bolstered by the decent test of midnight tonight I will have officially made it to having a March baby; I have made it to and past 38 weeks; and hooray, B's insurance kicks in 3/1 which has been a major source of anxiety for me being as unbeknownst to me he's pretty much been not covered for the past two months. 

I won't lie - I feel like absolute garbage. Yesterday we went to the mall play place and when we got back I nearly collapsed. It doesn't help that I've been pretty nauseated all week, which is just the cherry on top. I could cope a lot better without that. 

I have a lot of stuff going on this weekend - I am still debating how smart it is to do all this long distance driving around in the rain...but the thought of sitting here obsessing does not appeal to me. I think it's best to go about my business and get my mind off all this crap. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

High Anxiety

Had a bit of a freak out yesterday. Felt nauseated and "off" all day, plus had this persistent period-like cramping pain on the right side of my lower abdomen. Googling only showed these to be either a) symptoms of early labor, or b) not symptoms of early labor. I didn't bother to call any advice lines or go in anywhere because what I was experiencing could hardly be considered contractions - nothing time-able or rhythmic, just a dull annoying pain. However it did freak me out that that was exactly how I felt after the Cervidil used at the beginning of my induction last time. A dull, annoying pain, like period cramps. For hours.

In the end it felt better when I changed position (I find sitting in my glider extremely uncomfortable now, and almost impossible to get up from), and was so tired by 11 PM I told myself to just go to sleep because there was nothing to be done about it now anyway. 

And of course today I'm fine. But I have to admit last night I was freaked out. After all my harping on about wanting to experience spontaneous labor, I now wonder if I have the stomach for it! Be careful what you wish for, huh? The uncertainty is killing me. Now when people ask how much longer, as a man did in the supermarket today, I can honestly say "oh, any day now!" 

The thing that bugs me the most is possible false alarms - like last night - if it gets to the point of getting all set up with my doula ready to meet me, the sitter on her way from San Diego, my sister on a plane, some friend inconvenienced in the middle of the night to come sit with B, and me in Labor & Delivery being told, "yeah, go home. You're not in labor, you just have indigestion." Although the odds are this is a lot less likely with a second baby, it's still a possibility. Now that would suck. But I have zero experience with "real" labor so it may be a bit touchy. Unless my water breaks I really may not know what's happening. You cramp and hurt and feel weird all the time at this point. When is it for real?

Part of my problem is I've cleared most of my activities in anticipation of possible labor...which has left me bored, lonely, and obsessing. I am thinking I might load up my schedule even if I have to cancel everything just so I can keep busy and keep my mind off things. Of course it's set to start raining here tonight for several days, which in LA means don't leave the house because the roads are so dangerous. What the heck am I going to do cooped up with an active two-year-old for five days??? I'd better start making some plans pronto!

Here is a pic taken of B at the baby kennel last weekend for "Hispanic Awareness Day" - of the least Hispanic kid in the place, ha ha!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Doin' the Crab Walk

So, went to my appointment with the random OB today. My urine test came back...negative! So, from plus one to negative! I was thrilled. Maybe it wasn't a clean catch last time, or maybe it was the protein loading and (mostly) clean eating all week...? But anyway, what a relief.

The blood pressure wasn't so great - 132 over something. It's never that high at home. But still not enough on its own to mean anything. This OB mentioned that they "automatically induce" after 37 weeks for high blood pressure, even borderline cases like mine. Ugh! So glad I'm not under her care. I love the way people throw around inductions like it's no big deal. Unfortunately so many women are so "done" at this point that they welcome it, not knowing how fucking horrible inductions can be. And I'm sorry but you'll never convince me that a 37 weeker is "full term". No sir.

So as I have so often done in the past, I slowly crab walked out the door - "ok...thanks so much...byeeee!" before they changed their mind and kept me for some reason. Whew! I have now bought myself time until 38 weeks on Friday and my next appointment. If that one goes well I will buy time until 39 weeks. No blood tests ordered, no 24 hour urine catch, no freaking NSTs. Thank GOD.

I hate to have that antagonistic feeling about my health care providers again, but unfortunately this is kind of what happens at the end. For the longest time they want to keep that baby in you no matter what; then it all changes and they want to get that baby out of you no matter what before their liability starts to kick in, not caring that the baby is not ready to be born, your body is nowhere near ready to go into labor, and whatever issues you're having are borderline at best. And I hate that about our system. 

BUT for me the news is good for now, and I'm getting so close to being within my comfort zone for delivery. I got my taxes done over the weekend, so that huge hurdle is passed. Current goals?

Make it to book club Weds
Make it to memorial service and two gigs this weekend
Make it to due date

Almost there-!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Are you done?

Are you done? This is a question I get asked a lot these days. My honest answer right now is no! Although given the chance this will change to yes in a week or two, or three...given the chance. Not that I desire to continue being this pregnant. But I do desire to have a healthy full term baby. Yet another way as parents we happily sacrifice our comfort and convenience for the well being of our children, without a second thought. 

I often think about how great it'll be to be light and lean again - to be able to bound out of a chair, bed, or car without shooting pain, to be able to pick up B without worry, to go on long walks again, to get in the hot tub! Last night I took a minute to paint my toenails and nearly passed out. Shaving my legs produces similar issues. The women on my WTE app post constantly about how to keep their vajayjay groomed, when you can't even see it. Thankfully I have no one to impress so this area has long been happily neglected!

Today my cleaning lady comes (bless her) and then tomorrow B has a long stint at the kennel so I can attend my SMC meeting and then do my taxes. It's not what I would like but unfortunately my tax appointment was moved from today, so it leaves me with nothing at all to do today and way too much going on tomorrow. Oh well, it bought me some time not having to work on the taxes last night, which was a welcome break. 

I try to picture life now with the two boys, which is so close. How will it really feel to be a "mother of two"? I still think of that term and think it can't possibly apply to me. How will Bumpus be as a big brother? Will they be buddies or just annoy/ignore each other? What if they have nothing in common? What if Bumpus never quite adjusts? 

But those are all worst case scenarios. I know B will be fine, but I know enough to expect an adjustment period. I am setting myself up to be understanding, though, and (hopefully) not be angry, punishing mommy if he acts out. It's a huge thing about to happen to him and I want to make sure I lovingly guide him through it.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

37 weeks

Got a call at 8 AM that my midwife appointment had been canceled, so rescheduled for crazy early tomorrow morning. Then that appointment was canceled. Rescheduled for Monday with some random OB, so this week I'll be seen not at all and next week, twice. Better next week than this week, in my opinion! I can handle the shit hitting the fan once I hit 38 weeks. But not now.

I know my health is in no danger because my many blood pressure checks a day have always been normal. And I feel pretty ok, considering. As you know my fear is not our health being jeopardized but the medical community getting all overly cautious and trying to shame me into early induction. But again...hitting 38 weeks next week I feel slightly less panicked about this. Every day makes me feel just a little better, because it's another day I get to cook baby T a little longer. 

And the list of things to do diminishes every day, too. I hired a nice man who lost his grandson in a car crash to come over and move B's carseat and install his old one for Theo, so that's done. I cleaned up the upstairs for my sister's stay. I stocked up on food today just in case I'm not allowed to leave one of my appointments. Working on my taxes all week which will hopefully get done this weekend. Paying bills. Heck, I may even paint my toenails - if I can reach them!

My savior lately has been a park one of my mommy & me friends found - a gated toddler playground with tons of communal toys. We've gone there just about every day. It's just such a different vibe when the park is made specifically for toddlers and babies and there are tons of toys around that belong to no one - and you can actually sit on a bench in the shade and watch your kid push a plastic truck around for hours and relax for two seconds. Sooo much more enjoyable than the all ages parks with no gate where the big kids plough over the little kids, everyone fights over the toys, and your kid keeps running into the street  every five seconds. I may never go to another playground again! I think I'll call it Third Trimester Park.

And now to spend the night with a stack of receipts and a calculator. Blah.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The little things

A friend recently sent me an email using the phrase, "I'm sorry - I suck at life right now." This has been ringing in my mind because lately for me this has been kind of true, for obvious reasons. I feel like all I do is complain. And for that, gentle readers, I apologize. I'm really not as miserable as I sound. Believe it or not I still get out of bed with gusto each day, interact with my child whether I feel like it or not, and take decent care of myself even when it's a pain in the ass (I so often wish I could just not shower or take my iron or keep my teeth clean...but these things all have to happen, so I do them).

But here are some things that are getting super old:

Always feeling like I have a medicine ball made out of cement in my belly. I am just so heavy and uncomfortable all of the time. Sitting is agony, as is standing, lying down, walking, basically everything. How on earth do women with sciatica, back problems, etc, survive this??? Last time I remember a lot of tailbone pain and awful carpal tunnel pain in my wrists. None of that is happening this time - in fact other than an overall sense of "ugh" I don't have any pain per se. Which means I'm really getting off easy.

The constantly plugged up nose can go fuck itself. I blow my nose all day long, and then every night at about 9 PM my nose clogs up completely and I have to attempt to sleep breathing through my mouth, which is not only almost impossible for me but leaves me with a raw, dried out throat, mouth, and lips. This and, again, trying to sleep rotating around my medicine ball of a stomach which at this point only allows for direct side sleeping - no back, no stomach. Ah, good times.

I do believe the baby has now dropped, which brings the advantage of less heartburn (yay) and better ease of breathing...but also brings the unpleasantness of constantly, and I mean constantly, having to pee. It causes tremendous anxiety about being out of the house - I have had several full on accidents of the pee streaming down my legs variety, which makes me want to drink less, which causes all of these health issues - swelling, blood pressure (?), possibly the protein in urine, too. So it's imperative to drink mountains of water right now, but there's a real conflict there when that means constantly needing immediate access to a bathroom, which is difficult when your kid is playing somewhere, and you're always in places with no nearby bathrooms, or driving, or when you do get home you have to climb three flights of stairs and your kid takes a million years to do this and keeps sitting on each step wanting to play, also constantly stopping to fill your water bottle and drink isn't so convenient when in the two seconds it takes to do this your kid has turned on all the burners on the stove, pulled down all your curtain rods, emptied the garbage all over the floor that you now have to get on your hands and knees and pick up, all while simultaneously desperately needing to pee...yeah. This is why I'm none too keen on chugging gallons of water at this point even though I know I absolutely must unless I want to not be allowed to leave my next OB appointment. It's a conundrum.

I am attempting to drink a lot of water, protein load, and eat pretty clean this week in hopes of getting a better checkup on Thursday. It's kind of a science experiment. I didn't go to Krispy Kreme today as much as I so wanted to, which I consider a personal triumph. Sometimes you just have to take pride in the little things.

Monday, February 17, 2014

You can't always get what you want

This weekend I went to three birthday parties and had a gig Saturday night, so it meant seeing a lot of people I hadn't seen in a while and a lot of small talk about the pregnancy. Comments included, but were not limited to:

You definitely don't look nine months - more like seven! (they haven't seen me naked)

You look great! (Not true, but I appreciate the sentiment)

So, any day now, huh? (Not unless I have a horrible medical emergency)

And to the people I'm closer to, a recounting of my latest medical downturn. However I do feel a bit buoyed by a weekend full of normal blood pressure readings; I think even telling the doctors that I test myself all the time at home will at least make them feel like I'm taking this seriously and at least on some level being monitored. Maybe???

Anyway, I spent the day at birthday parties but then felt perfectly horrid that evening - really nauseated, tired and heavy, and like my belly was made out of cement. Oh, is this what's happening now - any amount of unusual activity and it sends me into a tailspin? I feel so incapacitated and shitty. Everything is such an effort now. All day I couldn't help but think this is how the elderly feel, those with chronic conditions - you just never feel well, and doing anything at all is a huge production. Thankfully at least some time from now this, for me, will end.

So how do I feel about a possible induction after thinking about it for a few days? Still not great, but I have to admit it would solve several problems - getting my sister out here, getting the babysitter here, and getting to the hospital. I hate to think about never getting to experience a spontaneous labor - but as noted, there's no saying that would be so great anyway, and heck, most women never get the birth experience they want. I always think of my friend who had a miserable lengthy back labor with her son, was determined to do it better the second time and got all set up with natural birthing techniques and a birth center, only to end up with a scary emergency c section. You can't always get what you want.

So now it really is just a matter of days - making it from one appointment to the next, one day to the next. I am going to start bringing my hospital bag to each appointment in case they don't let me leave. On some level it is kind of exciting - this really is it, the end! No matter what, six weeks from now there is no physical way I can still be pregnant. I made it through all of my hurdles - I got pregnant to begin with, I didn't miscarry, we passed all the genetic tests, we made it this far before hitting a bump in the road. Now just to get through the birth and we're home free. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

36 weeks

I am nine months today. Although I have definitely slowed down in the last couple of weeks, I'm still pleased that I'm able to do all of the things I'm doing - hauled groceries up the stairs today, can still lift B, can still get the stroller out, can still get through the day. 

It's such a waiting game at this point - I keep saying I wish I could just make it to March, but March seems like an eternity away. When I say "make it to March" I don't mean hold off on going into labor - I mean not get pushed into inducing before then. I am very much afraid that at any of my upcoming appointments they will simply not let me leave. This terrifies me. This happens to women all the time - you think everything is ok (or not), and you go into your standard appointment and a team of people tell you you're having the baby right now. It's the stuff nightmares are made of. And it just might happen to me. 

I bought a very expensive blood pressure cuff today. Results have been mixed. When I first got home I busted it out and my numbers were alarmingly high - I immediately ran it again, and they were a lot lower, and a third time, and they were lower still. What does this mean? Was I using it wrong? Is my BP spiking all day long and I don't know it? The instructions say to sit quietly for five minutes before using it; when I did this later tonight a few times, my numbers were great. But when they take my BP at the doctor's office it's never when I've been sitting. It's always after I've just come from walking a couple of blocks and it's always hot as hell out (it was in the 90s today!). And there's no arguing the fact that all of these conditions existed before but I had normal readings. Which is all that matters. My blood pressure is ticking up and that's that. 

I think I need to accept that anything can happen at this point and I need to just put my big girl panties on and deal with it. I feel my dream of a better birth slipping through my fingers, and it saddens me. Although I feel it's way too early to have this baby, I can't be married to that - I need to accept if my body is shutting down again it's shutting down and I need to be logical and not emotional. Theo will be ok - he's cooked for a good long time. Now all the birth announcements on my WTE app include pictures of plump, healthy babies with no tubes and no NICU stays. 

Selfishly, I wish I could just:

Get through my singing gig tomorrow night
Get my taxes done next weekend
Go to my last book club
Go to my tabulator's memorial on the 1st
Make it past 38 weeks
Go into labor before any interventions start happening

I feel very helpless and out of control. It's not a good place to be.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Going private (insurance)

So today's MediCal meeting was sort of...inconclusive. The one conclusive part for me was that MediCal is a mess, is not at all as it presents itself (it is far from free!), and most importantly, is unreliable. The tired-looking worker said everything has been impossibly backed up for months, and will be for the foreseeable future. I asked what to do if B has an emergency or needs medical care right now. She said to go to a County ER and try to negotiate my bill. Um...what?

So she did accept my profit & loss statement, but only for now - I would have to re-qualify again in about three months, and said that then they would "really need" my full tax return so they could comb over all my deductions and decide for themselves what my income is (!). And this is a process I'd have to endure every year.

The sad fact is Healthy Families was awesome, but it's gone, and unless you're dirt poor (below poverty level) you're now going to have to meet this "share of costs" which as we now know can be your entire income!

So I left my case "open" but as I walked out made the decision to just pay out of pocket for a real insurance policy for the kids rather than rely on the inefficient, shady, and unreliable government. I just can't take the hassle, exposure to risk, and invasiveness. 

I don't know how I'm going to pay for two more insurance policies...but I will say this: had this happened two years ago, I'd be out $1000 a month for the three of us. With my policy being $200 cheaper, it means I'm really only going to be out another $100 than what I was paying last year (the boys' policies should come in at about $150/mo each, and they're pretty decent policies through Health Net). So it's not that calamitous. Not great, but not horrible. And it's really worth the peace of mind.

Can you imagine if I was relying on MediCal for my maternity??? What a nightmare!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

One more thing

So today I saw a new OB at Kaiser, just a one time thing as a fill in so I would see somebody this week and not skip a week. He was a nice man. But I got the worst news I personally could get at this point. My blood pressure is ticking up, and I have +1 protein in my urine. Which now flags me as at risk for pre-eclampsia. Again.

I am so sad/disappointed/angry about this new development I just want to cry. So I make it all this way, healthy, only to have everything fall apart in the last month - but not even late enough that I don't have to worry about being pushed into something too early. This couldn't have happened two weeks from now? Well, at least I don't see anyone again until I'm 37 weeks. I'm sure the other midwife will order a 24 hour urine catch...and may start those twice weekly NSTs again. Maybe I can hold out another week after. But oh my God, facing all that fear mongering and bullying again...honestly, I can't take it. I just can't. Only to end up with a fucking induction again anyway.

Today's doctor didn't seem concerned - he only brought it up when I asked about it. He said it is normal to have an uptick in blood pressure at this point (no shit), and suggested for peace of mind to buy a blood pressure cuff and test myself at home, which I plan on doing. 

Who knows what the protein is about. Dehydration maybe? Too much sugar this week, not enough protein in my diet? I can certainly work on those things in hopes of a better reading next week. Maybe I'm overreacting; maybe it's not going to be as bad as I think. I just wish to God I was further along. I would be so much less worried if I didn't still have a whole month of gestational development ahead of me. 

And let's face it - going into labor naturally is no guarantee of a better experience. I hold on to that in hopes of not having a repeat of last time's horror show...but just because the midwife and the doula tell me it's going to go better this time doesn't mean dick, really. Nobody knows. I just know I do not love the idea of spending the next two to four weeks being worried out of my mind and bullied. But, here we go, right?

And I have my (probably futile) MediCal meet tomorrow AM, and a mountain of math and paperwork to do tonight to prepare, which has to be done perfectly. I am so not up to any of this. Can I just zip ahead two months to when the baby's here and all this shit is behind me? Please???

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


"Shyeah!" is the sound B makes when he sings along with his little boogie woogie piano thing and the singer on the tape says "yeah!" after each song. In fact he makes just about every sound these days - from cars honking to cats meowing to other kids calling for their mothers at play grounds. He says back most words I say to him. I'm not 100% sure he understands any of it and isn't just mimicking noises - but sometimes he surprises me. The other day I asked him where he'd put his toothbrush, not expecting anything from him, and he ran into the other room and got it for me. I didn't even think he knew the word toothbrush. Yet another example of me underestimating how much he knows/understands!

I got a very disturbing message from MediCal. I thought I was all set to go in there with my new profit & loss statement reflecting my lower income to try to get out of that crazy $2800 monthly deductible; then I get a message from the woman I'm actually meeting with saying I need to bring my complete tax return with my Schedule C so she can sit and go over my deductions one by one and decide which ones they accept and which they don't. So basically they expect me to endure a humiliating tax audit. This happened when I first tried to get Healthy Families back when B was born - some guy on the phone started going over my tax return line by line and telling me they don't accept my deductions. Can this process get any more invasive and awful??? Well, just for the record I have no intention of bringing my tax return. I'll bring what the first person I talked to told me to bring - my profit & loss statement, even my bank statements for the last few months showing my almost non-existent income. But it's pretty disheartening - I thought this would be an easy fix but now I'm worried there is no solution to our insurance woes - and I mean no solution. Here's the problem:

B and T can have free MediCal - but I have to meet nearly $3000 a month in costs before anything is covered.

I can't get B or T anything like my excellent policy. Apparently it only applies to me - under the ACA all low income kids are automatically shipped over to MediCal...and then stuck with this $2800 "share of costs" per month.

My broker sent me other policies I could buy out of pocket for B & T - and they are all terrible. Starting around $120 a month for the shittiest catastrophic plan possible, that covers nothing and has massive deductibles. So I could be out $300-$400 a month to cover the kids and still be stuck paying tens of thousands if there's a major illness, accident, etc. And this is affordable health care??? 

So I'm pretty distraught. If MediCal won't accept my claim of a lower income based on my P&L, I'm really, really stuck - I absolutely cannot afford two full price premiums for the kids, especially ones that leave me open to such enormous risk. I just don't know how I went from having this excellent policy for B that cost almost nothing and covered everything, to this pile of shit.

I am so terrified of this meeting Thursday. I'm so afraid the person I'm going to meet with is going to be some hard-on determined to prove I'm lying rather than try to figure out a solution. I'm afraid I'm going to lose it and start yelling or crying. I'm afraid when they ask me my yearly income I'm going to say the wrong number and completely screw myself, and then there's no going back. 

And guess what? If I decide to shell out the big $$ and buy new policies for B & T, I have to do it in one day since the window to apply closes on Friday, the day after my meeting. I'm in hell.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Best of the Maternity Shoot

Here are some favorites from Saturday's maternity shoot. I'm so glad I did this - sometimes professional shoots seem like such an extravagance (like now, for example), but when you're capturing pregnancy and/or kids, there's really no price you can put on it - they change so fast, and pregnancy is so fleeting, that it's really nice to capture these moments with something slightly more exciting than an Iphone camera.

Of course the best part is how these idyllic photos mask the reality. The reality of this day was: B being super clingy and miserable and not wanting to take his hands out of his mouth or let me put him down for even two seconds; a screaming hissy fit as I tried to put his cute vintage outfit on in the car that resulted in a big red lipstick smear down one of his sleeves; my feet so swollen they could barely fit into my 1940's shoes, and my too tight nude fishnets making me feel like a whale (manatee?) caught in a net; mud everywhere and too cold for what we were wearing; me worrying about driving back down to OC hours later for a memorial service and then picking up B too late from the BK; me feeling generally lousy and tired; me worrying about insurance. But all these pictures show is a glowing new mother with her adorable toddler enjoying a day in the country. And that's how I'm going to choose to remember it.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Over the last few days, I have decided to reconcile myself to two things. 

One is that despite being healthy and just about a month shy of my due date, that I should expect to have the medical world more, not less, up in my business now. I don't know why I thought that I would just sail through at this point - this is (often) where things "start happening", so I need to be prepared that at each of my appointments from now on they're going to want to test things, check things, prescribe things, etc. It's annoying but I can handle it if I go in expecting it. 

The other thing I am bracing for is B's possible negative reaction to the baby, either now or in the future. Just like I handle his hitting/kicking a lot better when I remind myself that he's doing it thinking we're playing, I have to remember if he acts out after the baby comes that a) it's normal and b) it will pass, also deserves understanding, not punishment. I'm not sure how that will play out exactly - but again I think it's important to be realistic and ready to handle anything that may come up.

Tonight I finally got off my butt and put together my hospital bag and put out a spare key and keys to the car. In my hospital bag I put:

Dark sweatpants
Dark underwear
Pumping bra
Nursing bras
Nipple shields
Silicone nipple protectors
Phone charger
Basic toiletries
Baby clothes - caps, socks, onesies, pants

I also updated my emergency pick up list at the Baby Kennel. When I went to L&D last weekend I realized with horror that all of the people on the list were out of town, so if I was kept overnight I'd be completely screwed as far as someone being authorized to pick him up for me. So I took off my ex-friend (!), and added my baby sitter and various people I know who have offered to help and happen to have car seats. 

I also had my final visit with the doula today. It's too weird to think that the next time I see her I will most likely be in labor. The visit consisted almost entirely of watching birth videos - which normally would make me sick to my stomach, but I think I've gotten over a lot of that now, and I promised myself to have an open mind. They were actually pretty interesting - especially the one of a family having an unassisted home birth of twins(!). Have you ever seen a second twin's foot sticking out of his mother's hoo-hah? Well, now I have!

I did my maternity shoot this Saturday. B was super cranky and clingy and was not  having it. Thankfully this photographer has three small children and so completely got it - and we got some really lovely shots, which I'll download tomorrow. Here is a preview:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Insurance battles

I've spent a significant amount of time on the phone this week trying to sort out the mess that has become B's health care. Fortunately mine is a-ok...but B's...not so much.

It's been such a long and winding road, with literally hours spent (driving of course) talking to countless agencies, getting a different story from everyone. Even the awesome broker who was so helpful in getting me my policy can do nothing when it comes to MediCal. His only advice was to try to make an appointment to see someone in person. 

So I called back and did make an appointment for next Thursday. But as I had feared, all of this stems from that cryptic letter I got last December about B's health care now including a $2800 "share of costs" - yes, I am now required to come up with $2800 every month before the government will kick in anything towards B's coverage. And this is supposed to be healthcare for low income people? Huh?

So basically I have to go to the office next week and battle my case - say my income has dropped significantly (it has), and hope they take my word for it (I will draw up a new profit & loss statement and bring my last few bank statements, which show almost no income at all). 

My only other alternative is accepting this huge share of costs, which is like having a $36,000 yearly deductible, or paying out of pocket for really lousy policies for both B & T which would run me about $400 a month and hardly cover anything, with huge deductibles, co-pays, etc - basically leaving me extremely vulnerable in case of either of them having an emergency or illness (and what are the odds of two little boys having an illness or accident? Pretty damned good!). 

So, my plea to MediCal simply has to work. It just has to. I mean, for Christ's sake, if that program isn't for broke single mothers of two or more kids then who the hell is it for??

Thursday, February 6, 2014

35 weeks

Well, I think we survived the "spotting scare". Nothing at all today, and I had my midwife appointment in which she reiterated that in subsequent pregnancies it's not unusual for the cervix to get "irritated". So even my body parts are all snippy now? I thought it was just me.

Anyway, a couple of interesting things happened at this appointment. One was the midwife says it's normal protocol to take the (miserable) 3 hour gestational diabetes test again at this point, which I have never heard of. I said, "No way. There's no way in hell I'm doing that." Then she said she had to tell me that I should start pricking my finger four times a day from now on. It was all I could do to not give her the finger. (I mentioned being snippy, right?). Luckily she changed the subject at this point. She measured my belly and said I was measuring big - 37 weeks and not 35. Apparently this means nothing, but I am concerned. Does this mean I have a giant baby? Does it mean I'm going to go early? Something tells me I have some googling cut out for me tonight! She said she only gets concerned when babies measure small, that I shouldn't worry. Let's hope I'm not looking at a nine pounder!

Kaiser also has a new system in which they do your admittance paperwork early. So I did that, also paid a $500 down payment (gulp). I guess that will save me the annoyance of a call while I'm in labor asking me for my credit card number. 

I thought I'd go every week after my 37 week appointment - but apparently it's every week from now on. I am not thrilled by this, but hey - this time last time I was there twice a week for NSTs and my regular appointments, so I really can't complain. I have to say I'm going to be thrilled when all this medical shit is behind me, though. I'm just getting a little sick of it. I just want the baby here, healthy, and for us all to get on with our lives.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sunrise, sunset

Yet another of our older dance community died today. A very special 90-year-old lady died in Jan, and now a guy who was just in his 60s but caught some sort of respiratory infection died today. This guy also worked for me as my tabulator for years - tabulator being the person who calculates your judges' scores when you run dance contests to get the results. I'm trying not to worry about who to get to replace him - it's not going to be easy - but it's a bit early to start thinking of that. We're all in shock in the dance community because he was such a healthy, athletic guy. 

I have to admit one thing, though - I find it a lot easier to cope with death now that I have children. It's not that it doesn't still sting - Lord knows I mourned my dog for quite a while - but it just feels different. I guess it's that old basic sense of mortality; of course it's going to bite a bit harder when you feel your own time running out. With kids the edge gets taken off a little because they carry on the living for you when your time is up. Which for me is one of the major reasons to have kids, as it has been since the dawn of time.

I still had some spotting this morning, which didn't thrill me, but didn't completely freak me out, either. It's hard not to think back on my chemical pregnancy experience in which I bled one day all of a sudden, then nothing for two days, then it started up again, then I went to get checked out and they said my cervix was closed and they saw no active bleeding...only to completely miscarry over the next few days. But I do recognize this is an entirely different situation; there's a real live baby this time who even now could live very happily on the outside, and a few pinhead-sized blood spots (all I've had the past couple of days) does not a tragedy make. Again I have my midwife appointment Thursday so I'll tell her what's been going on and see if she has any opinions/advice. 

One positive thing came out of my trip to L&D this weekend. I always wondered what it would be like to be back in that place - the hospital smells and the whole feeling of it, that place where the most traumatic event of my life occurred. And you know what? It was really ok. It actually felt sort of sunny and positive. It's the place my next and last baby will be born. It's a happy place! When I was there I was just wishing I could zoom forward a few weeks and be there for real - Bumpus safe and cared for at home, a bag by my side, my doula there looking out for me, about to meet baby Theo. I may not get to have that exact experience - for all I know tonight I'll be rushed to an emergency room - but I'm just going to hold the good thought that I will actually make it to March and everything will just be ok. From before I even got pregnant I told myself I had a feeling this was all just going to work out, and I'm going to stick with that.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Feels like the first tri

Anxiety? Check. Fear of my health and the baby's health? Check. Sleeplessness? Check. Obsessive wiping? Check. You would think all of these things would be confined to the first few weeks of pregnancy. Unfortunately I have experienced all of this in the last two days, just shy of 35 weeks.

Got through the night with nothing horrendous happening, only to wake up to more spotting much of the early part of the day. I say "wake up" but I'm not really sure I ever slept. So I felt like crap all day - exhausted, legs like lead, slightly nauseated; symptoms of something happening or just a result of being almost nine months pregnant and being full of anxiety? Who knows?

It didn't help that we had no plans so I just drove around aimlessly hoping B would nap (he didn't), then decided to spend the afternoon in bed. Of course obsessively getting up to pee and wipe - sometimes finding blood, sometimes not. Every minute debating on whether I should just get my butt back to L&D since nothing seemed to have changed. I called the doula. Of course nobody can tell you what to do in a case like this - the only proper answer is always, "well, go get checked out if you want peace of mind." She did say that this is fairly common and she's never had a case of spotting at this point meaning anything - especially with no dilation, no placenta issues, etc. 

But really the only thing that's made me feel better is the fact that there's been no more new blood in several hours. That's all I want. I just want it to stop so I can get back to my life, get back to work, and get back to believing I'm having a normal, healthy pregnancy. I just want it to go away and not come back.

At one point during my lengthy afternoon lie down, B climbed up next to me and, you guessed it, slapped me so hard on the face that I saw stars. It fucking hurt. I said no hitting, don't do that, it hurts, etc etc. And he just laughed and tried to hit me again. And you know what I did? I burst into tears. Just the shock of being hit so hard like that after all this pent up fear and anxiety and I just couldn't handle it. I've heard sometimes crying and making a big deal out of being hurt can actually be the right thing to do with kids this age since otherwise they don't get it. He did start crying, too, and followed me into the bathroom where I of course went to wipe. I can't say he got it that he hurt me...but I'm not sorry I cried. All of this is just a little too much. 

So, I have now had I believe three major sobbing meltdowns during this pregnancy - the Pink Floyd-fueled car sob when I was so afraid of giving birth again; the recent please don't let me hit this child breakdown, and now this one. Well, I give myself permission. Pregnant women cry about all sorts of things. I think crying over a very real fear that something is going wrong with your late term pregnancy is just as valid as crying because your husband made you "ugly" tuna fish sandwiches, no?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Our trip to L&D

Had a real fright today when I went to drop B at the Baby Kennel, decided to use the bathroom before I left to see a movie and then go to a Superbowl party...and found a quarter-sized blotch of red blood in my underwear. I called the advice nurse and of course they told me to go to Labor & Delivery. So I did. 

They hooked me up to a monitor, then after twenty minutes of making sure the baby was ok, did an ultrasound to rule out placental abruption, and then an internal exam to check my cervix, which was closed and not actively bleeding. Urine sample was fine, blood pressure fine, although my pulse was high for obvious reasons-!

So, what was it? We don't really know. My cervix looked red and irritated apparently; they asked when the last time was that I had sex, and I laughed heartily and said it had been several years. And trust me - nothing else has been up there, either! So it could have been a burst blood vessel, just from the pressure and my general lack of rest looking after a toddler (although I've instituted Lay Down Afternoons the last few days in which I lie in bed and Bumpus plays around me in the hours between lunch and dinner, which have been lovely). I was told to come back if I have real contractions or continuous bleeding; I could always come back every time I spot like this, but that could make for a lot of visits. I have had little pin spots of blood the rest of the night. 

So I am on pins and needles. So afraid of waking up in the middle of the night with some kind of problem - that's kind of my worst nightmare. At least today it couldn't have been better timing with B just dropped off at the care place for several hours; although of course in the drive over to the hospital I imagined all kinds of scenarios - one of which of course being that today is Theo's birthday; the least of which being what ended up happening, which is that this was all a big nothing. 

It did make me realize how unprepared I am - I need to get a bag packed, put out spare keys, and have several people on notice from now on, since for the first time I have a real reason to believe I may not make it to my due date. Or not - who the hell knows? I definitely didn't feel comfortable today - rock hard belly and non-stop Braxton Hicks; still going on, actually. Going to bed now in hopes of getting some much needed rest. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that this baby cooks a little longer! We're not ready to meet him yet!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Opening Night

...went well. I sold out my first pricing tier. When I looked at my PayPal balance, it didn't seem like a whole lot of money - but in checking last year's bank statement for February, it looks like I deposited the exact same amount on Feb 1. So I officially have enough money now to make it just past March 1st. If the money keeps coming in this month as it did last year, I should just scrape by until summer. If not - well, we'll just have to figure something out, won't we!

The most important thing is everything worked. After enduring years of weird glitches, having to rely on other people who don't do things on time, server crashes, coding issues, etc, it is such a frigging relief to hit the "save and close" button on my website and then just sit with my heart pounding, watching the notification emails pile in. It's quite an exciting night.

This also means my event is officially "on", which means I now have to answer my phone, respond to emails right away, spend a lot more time on my computer...aka, work. Right now when work is the last thing on my mind, and will be for several months. Oh well, that's why I plan things this way - opening night and tax work before the baby; event when the baby is six months old and in a good place (hopefully). 

I couldn't help but experience a little  schadenfreude watching the drama unfolding around one of my rival event's opening night on Facebook last night; first they accidentally opened an hour early and had to shut down out of fairness; then when they opened at the right time the server crashed and everyone freaked out; then people couldn't find the link and registered for another similar-titled event by mistake; then were overcharged $10 and all had to be issued refunds. What a nightmare! Been there, done that!

So, now to pay all of my lingering January bills and exhale a little.