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May 20, 2014 4:59 pm

Birth Story Extras

There were a few things that happened during and right after Thora was born that didn’t seem like they fit into the birth story, so here’s the down low on those things:

Double Placenta

At my 20 week ultrasound, the tech thought I had an accessory lobe on my placenta. Usually, accessory lobes are like an extra little “bloop” of placenta connected to the main one. After Thora was born and they took the placenta out, we discovered that the accessory lobe was essentially a whole placenta of its own, nearly as large as the main one! This is really unusual. Daniel had the presence of mind to take a photo for me and it’s disgusting and wonderful. I’d post the photo here, but it’s kind of gory? I mean it’s an internal organ in a plastic tub with some blood, basically. I texted it to a couple friends so we could marvel over the weirdness though!

During surgery, I overheard one of the doctors say something about “sending it to the lab” and “seeing what Pathology had to say about it” and at that point, I could probably have declined the testing, but I was also curious as to why I might have a double placenta. Like maybe I was supposed to have twins but one of them didn’t work out? I don’t know.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the pathology report was disappointingly normal. They essentially said it was a variation of normal and still classified it as an accessory lobe.

I had somebody lined up to encapsulate my placenta, so I was disappointed that I didn’t get to do that this time around, especially since the pathology report didn’t reveal any juicy information like an absorbed twin or anything. On the bright side, I’ve been doing really well emotionally and I didn’t lose very much blood during surgery, so I don’t feel like I desperately needed the placenta pills.

HELLP Syndrome

Upon my admission to the hospital, they took some blood for lab work. Oddly, despite having none of the obvious signs of preeclampsia like severe swelling, proteinuria, high blood pressure, headaches or visual disturbances, my liver function and kidney function tests came back with HORRIBLE numbers. My liver function test should have been somewhere in the 30s and it was 250+. Kidney function was also terrible, but I don’t know the exact numbers.

Because I had none of the other symptoms, they tentatively classified it as “Atypical HELLP Syndrome” and the OB on call, Dr. S, opted not to give me magnesium sulfate because my follow-up bloodwork showed my numbers were improving steadily. I am ENDLESSLY thankful to her for making that call. It was kind of a controversial one, given that the risk for skipping the mag was me having seizures – the OB I saw the next day said that had she been there and seen that first lab result, she would have put me on the mag straight away, no questions asked, even if the follow-up tests showed I was improving.

I really credit the lack of mag sulfate for my dramatically different recovery. I was able to get on and off my hospital bed earlier than I did after Wesley, with a minimum of pain and suffering, and I felt like my body was my own. With Wesley’s birth, I basically felt like I was wearing a fat suit and it was so hard to move.

The fact that I ended up with the “worse” version of preeclampsia is kind of scary to me. I assumed since I didn’t have any symptoms that I managed to make it through this pregnancy without any pre-e complications, but then I ended up with this weirdo version of HELLP.

Remember when my feet got really, really itchy a while back? We chalked it up to an estrogen spike, but knowing that my liver was basically toast at the end of my pregnancy makes me think that my liver was the cause of the itchy feet like the internet said it was.

It probably sounds really irresponsible, but I’m kind of thankful we didn’t investigate it further. Like, had I really pushed things, Denise could have done bloodwork and it probably would have showed poor liver function and then we would have had to make a decision about early induction, and I likely would have ended up with an emergency c-section and wouldn’t have gotten to labor at home at all. So! I’m kind of glad I didn’t follow up on that hunch.

I actually just got a call today saying my repeat bloodwork from my 2-week incision check was good – my numbers weren’t back to normal yet but they’re definitely trending that direction.

Surgery Differences

I touched on this in the actual birth story, but my two surgery experiences were so vastly different that I wanted to expand on this a bit more. With Wesley’s birth, I really felt it was something done to me instead of with me, and I was treated like a weird baby-carrying vessel that was entirely ignored during the procedure.

With Thora’s birth, the hospital staff definitely made both Daniel and I feel like we were part of the process. It’s actually hard for me to articulate how nice it felt to have somebody acknowledging me during the surgery and checking in to make sure I was comfortable. Even something as simple as where the anesthesiologist stood during the surgery! It’s such a small thing, but it made such a huge difference in my experience. JJ was right next to me where I could see him instead of standing behind my head, out of my view.

The atmosphere in the OR was also sort of jovial and friendly. It was probably technically an “emergency” c-section because it was unplanned, but it didn’t feel crazy or rushed like Wesley’s did. My mom works at the hospital, so I think a lot of people involved in the surgery knew I was her daughter. It didn’t get me VIP treatment or anything, but it did make the surgery less scary knowing that those people knew me (and I knew some of them). I could hear the doctors talking and everybody seemed cheerful, which helped it feel like a happy occasion versus the kind of dour atmosphere everybody had during Wesley’s birth.

I did know several of the OB nurses I had over the next few days, which was kind of fun. My mom was actually my night nurse the second evening we were there!

Birth Partner

This birth story wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention how amazing Daniel was throughout my labor and the subsequent hospital transfer and delivery. With Wesley’s birth, neither one of us had any idea what we were doing and we both felt panicky and unsure of ourselves. With Thora’s birth, we took Bradley birth classes that made us both way more confident in the labor process and what to expect.

Daniel spent basically eleven or twelve hours squeezing my hips with his hands to help me through contractions. It took a lot of effort and I am so appreciative – he didn’t complain about it at all. I’m not the sort of person that needs a lot of verbal cheerleading – it usually feels really artificial and silly to me. Daniel did a great job of recognizing when I needed supportive things said to me, and for the most part simply provided a comforting presence and the ever-important hip squeezes.

I obviously have no idea what it’s like watching your partner experience something as crazy as labor, but when we’re talking with people about the labor process, he’s quick to jump in and say how awesome I did. I haven’t really talked with him much about his experience specifically, but I get the impression that he is proud of the effort I put in and he obviously knows how important trying for a VBAC was to me so I know he’s glad I got to experience labor and pushing even if it didn’t end how we expected it to.

ALSO: I have to mention his expert hospital bag packing – we were seriously out of the house in about five minutes after we made the decision to transfer, and he managed to grab me a totally acceptable going-home outfit of yoga pants and two shirt options. Really the only things we missed were our phone chargers and a going-home outfit for the baby, which wasn’t even a big deal given that we live about a minute and a half from the hospital anyway so he could just go home to get stuff we forgot.

Long story short, he was the exact kind of labor support I needed and I love him to pieces.

Mastitis

On Monday, I got off the couch to use the bathroom and as soon as I made it in there I got full-body chills. My boobs were huge and hot, which is normal after your milk comes in and you get engorged, but I knew that the fever chills were a sign of mastitis, so I took my temperature: 99.5. I drank some water and took a nap, but when I woke up an hour later and took my temperature, it was 101.6, and I was already on ibuprofen and oxycodone + acetaminophen which should have done something about the fever.

Mastitis is a breast infection and the symptoms make you feel like you have the flu. I felt awful.

I got a doctor’s appointment for the next day. I did feel better that morning and my temperature was 98.2, but when I went in for the appointment the doctor was like, yep, I can see exactly where the infection is! She prescribed me some antibiotics to take for a week. I was nervous about getting thrush, but we seem to have avoided that for now (knock on wood).

Mastitis is absolutely no fun. Now I just have to hope I’m not one of the unlucky people that gets recurring mastitis! Gah.

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May 20, 2014 10:02 am

Thora’s Birth Story

I woke up at 8am on Saturday the 3rd having infrequent contractions. They didn’t seem worth timing, but they also didn’t go away after several hours. Right at about 1pm, I decided to time them to see if there was any kind of pattern.

Timing revealed they were about five minutes apart and were lasting for roughly a minute. Since that’s more or less the rule of thumb for calling your providers saying you’re in labor, I decided to make sure things were actually happening so I waited it out — for the next SEVEN HOURS.

The contractions seemed to start spacing out a bit around 8pm, so I called my midwife, Denise, to let her know what had happened that day. The waves never got closer together or any more intense, so I correctly assumed they were prodromal labor and not actual labor and Denise basically confirmed this. Still! It felt like progress.

The next morning, I barely had any contractions at all; certainly nothing worth timing. However, I did start losing my mucus plug (gross, sorry) which continued throughout the day.

Monday was pretty similar. I knew things were barely getting going and I was okay just letting events unfold – I wasn’t getting my hopes up that this was “real labor” or anything.

That said, I was super uncomfortable and cranky all day long. I went to my chiropractic appointment at 10am and couldn’t get comfortable on the table. I was coming down with yet another cold (I think the grand total over the pregnancy was seven) and I just wanted to lay down and relax but I couldn’t figure out how because no positions felt relaxing in the slightest.

I went to my prenatal appointment at 2pm and declined a cervical check. I just hate them so much and I also didn’t want to know a number and have it discourage me. It would only be a measurement of where I was right then, not where I might be once labor kicked in or even a guess as to when labor would kick in.

Much later that evening (Monday the 5th), I noticed I was having a pattern of contractions. They weren’t severe, but they were definitely much more difficult to get through than the ones from Saturday. Daniel was tired and I told him it was fine to go to bed – I was watching TV and working through the waves.

After several hours of working through the waves by relaxing, I noticed that I wanted to vocalize to get through contractions. I felt like an idiot doing it, but I made a little noise with each and that seemed to help get through them. They were still about ten minutes apart, but they felt really intense.

Finally, around 2:30am, I tried to get comfortable enough to rest just in case labor actually kicked in and I was in it for the long haul. I propped some pillows up on the couch and reclined a bit. It wasn’t the greatest, but it did allow me to fall asleep.

At 4am, I woke up because of a weird sensation in my nether regions and I thought, “that felt like it could have been my water breaking.” But I was so outrageously tired that I drifted back to sleep for a split second and then momentarily became convinced I dreamed the whole thing. Then I came to my senses and realized that if I thought my water had broken, even if I was wrong, I should get off the couch and into the bathroom.

The second I stood up, I knew it was my water. I soaked my underpants and leggings just with the few steps to the bathroom, and I stood there for a minute trying to decide what to do. I wasn’t having contractions right then, but maybe I should call somebody? Or not? Aaah! This was turning into the real thing!

I decided to put on some Depends underwear so I didn’t sog any furniture and I laid back down and tried to get some rest. I managed to wait until 6:30am to wake up Daniel and tell him my water broke.

At about 7am, I requested to switch him spots so I could have the bedroom and he could use the living room to entertain Wesley for a bit. I called Denise to tell her my water broke at 4am but contractions were still about 10 minutes apart.

However, at about 7:30am, contractions really started to kick in and they quickly became more difficult to work through. I received a text from my friend Meagan saying she saw my tweet about my water breaking and if I needed her to take Wesley for the day, she’d be happy to do so. I let Daniel know that she offered and that things were picking up to the point where I felt like I needed him, so could he please go drop Wesley off? He got everything together and left to walk Wesley to her house.

Once he left, contractions were about 3.5 minutes apart and I had a really weird crying jag. The contractions weren’t unbearable by any means, but I just felt like I needed to cry, I guess? It happened a couple more times over the course of the day and I found myself saying “I’m okay, I don’t even know why I’m crying.” Once Daniel got back, I let him know he should probably call the midwives to tell them that things were really kicking in.

(more…)

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May 7, 2014 1:06 pm

Thora Pauline

Thora Pauline was born at 7:49pm on May 6th, weighing 8lbs 2oz and measuring 20 inches long. She’s lovely.

Baby Thora

I didn’t get my VBAC, but it sure wasn’t for lack of trying! I labored at home for nearly twelve hours and made it all the way to the pushing stage, but baby’s heart rate reacted really badly to pushing, so we transferred to the hospital right at the end and I ended up with a repeat c-section. Birth story coming soon! (It’s a bit of a novel.)

She’s a dream and Wesley just loves her.

Wesley and Thora.

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April 22, 2014 5:21 pm

37 Weeks

Aaaah! This is the most pregnant I have ever been! I’m 37w3d and Wesley was born at 37w0d so this is all uncharted territory for me.

I had a prenatal today and things are still looking good: BP was 126/78, baby’s position is LOT, and I was given some “Dr. Christopher’s Birth Prep” capsules to take. They also recommended Evening Primrose Oil capsules, but I’m still doing some research on whether or not I want to try those. They did my GBS test today too.

Denise did a cervical check (SO UNPLEASANT, UGH) and said I was about 1cm dilated and the tissues were soft, which is a good sign my body is getting ready. I know cervical checks really do not mean very much in terms of predicting when labor will happen, but in some respects it’s nice to know that I’m not totally unfavorable at this point like I was with Wesley. Denise also said I have a “nice big pelvis” and then later described it as “roomy” so that’s funny, but it’s a good sign too. She said the baby is really easy to engage in my pelvis if she applies pressure to the top of my belly, so it looks like there shouldn’t be any engagement problems.

I finally purchased the last few things for my birth kit, so that’s basically ready to go. I still need to pick up some towels from my mother-in-law who has a bunch of extras that she doesn’t mind me using (ours are all white and we have, like, four. I’m supposed to have around ten) and she also has some bendy straws, which I think is the last thing I’m missing.

Then I get to go grocery shopping for labor food! I wasn’t allowed to eat during labor with Wesley so I have no idea what I might like this time. I’m thinking popsicles, Gatorade, and maybe fruit snacks? We always have stuff like Greek yogurt and fruit on hand but I could see something like fruit popsicles being helpful and we never have that kind of stuff on hand normally.

I’m down to four more days of work left – this Thursday and Friday, and then next Tuesday and Wednesday. My job is not strenuous by any means but gosh, I am kind of ready to be done.

Next Monday is our home visit, where the midwives come do my prenatal appointment at our apartment and determine where they’ll set up their stuff and highlight any cleanliness or safety issues they see. This means I have to, like, really REALLY clean up and make it presentable in here. We should probably shampoo the carpets but I can’t even think about moving all our living room furniture to do it so it may not happen. Ack.

Mostly I don’t know what to do with stuff like our wooden drying rack for clothes, which we use but not consistently, so it lives awkwardly in our kitchen because there’s really nowhere else to put it. Or Wesley’s outside toys – we don’t have a porch or a backyard and I don’t feel comfortable just leaving them outside all the time, so they live in the kitchen and the living room and generally take up a lot of space. Hmm. Renting a less-than-optimal living space kind of sucks in this regard.

In terms of labor and baby updates, my plan is to keep my Twitter updated as long as I can manage. I might assign somebody to post updates if I become unable to do so, but that’ll probably be the best place to get baby notifications if you’re interested.

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April 3, 2014 12:04 pm

34 Weeks – Relief

THE BABY TURNED!!!

Well, more accurately, I went in for a baby positioning check on Monday and we tried to turn the baby again. This time instead of pushing her head to my right, Denise pushed it to my left, and I guess once we got the baby sideways/transverse, she slipped right into vertex position.

We confirmed it with a quick ultrasound and I was sent home with their extra doppler to check heart tones periodically. They got up to the 160s when we were pushing her around but they dropped back down to the 140s before I left the appointment, so that was a great sign. Basically, you don’t want to see “decels” – decelerations – in the heart rate and we didn’t see any at all. Baby seemed to tolerate the ECV really well.

That description makes it sound a lot less uncomfortable than it actually was – parts of it were definitely painful and it kind of felt like all my internal organs were being rearranged, but it truly was a small price to pay for a vertex baby. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Baby movement feels really different now – before there was just a big round head up top, and now it’s all knees and feet and buns and the baby kind of feels like a squid.

I’m a little nervous that she’ll get a wild hair and decide to turn again before she’s born, but I’m doing what I can to get her head engaged in my pelvis and I think now that she’s head-down she’ll probably stay that way. (I hope.)

This breech thing has felt like a huge anvil hanging over my head for weeks. Once I realized that turning the baby was successful, I was so relieved I can’t even tell you. I’m so much less stressed out, and I feel like I’m able to continue planning for and visualizing my ideal birth as opposed to being torn between futilely hoping for a VBAC but trying to plan for a c-section.

Also, I joined the VBAC Facts Community on Facebook, which is a private group full of supportive people, lots of knowledge, and great birth stories. It’s improved my FB experience exponentially – there’s always something great coming up about VBACs on my feed!

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March 25, 2014 2:24 pm

33 Weeks – Mini-ECV

Today at my prenatal appointment, my midwives tried to do a mini external cephalic version turn the baby into a more favorable position. It was weird and uncomfortable (and, yes, parts of it were painful at times) but we got the baby into a horizontal/transverse position before we decided to stop. Baby’s heart tones were good throughout, though she was obviously wondering what the heck we were doing to her. It just got to a point where she kind of needed to turn toward my spine which would have been hard to do and we didn’t want to over-stress her.

Not even five minutes after we were through, she was already head-up again. Stubborn!

Baby’s butt is still kind of off to the side a bit so A) apparently that is just how I grow babies, and B) it’s still totally possible for her to turn. (FINGERS CROSSED.)

I was given some arnica liquid to help with any post-ECV soreness. Denise says I’m doing all the right things, and she suggested I could try acupressure on my pinky toes too.

I continue to have no proteinuria and my BP was 108/68. I’m measuring exactly on target. I’ve gained 27lbs so far, which is more than I wanted to gain but it’s still less than half of what I gained with Wesley. Everything looks fantastic, save for the breech presentation.

I have a drop-in appointment to check baby’s position next Monday, and then my next prenatal is the following Tuesday.

TURN, BABY, TURN!

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March 21, 2014 3:26 pm

Still Breech but Less Panicked

On the advice of a friend (thanks Meag!), I called my midwives today to have them talk me down a bit and see if they would be able to confirm baby’s position before the weekend. That way, if I was wrong and baby was head-up, I didn’t have to spend the weekend upside down. However, if I was right, maybe we could try to do something about it.

They both palpated the baby and had different guesses, so they confirmed it with a super quick ultrasound. I was right, unfortunately – baby is breech for sure.

Denise says I have a lot of room and adequate fluid for the baby to turn, and there’s still a lot of time. She’d be more concerned if I was a first-time mom, but this is my second baby and the baby’s butt isn’t engaged in my pelvis, so that’s a good sign that she’ll still turn. She was also able to move the baby into a transverse position for a bit, so that’s a good sign too.

Denise recommended I keep doing all the stuff I’ve been doing, and indicated we could try to turn the baby around at my next appointment if I’d like.

I’m disappointed that I was right, but I’m glad I know for sure and I’m feeling a little less panicked.

——

I cried after I made the phone call asking to come in. (And by “after” I mean I was getting choked up on the phone when trying to describe how I was feeling and I’m glad the office manager told me she’d have Denise call me back to talk.)

For some stupid reason, I guess I see it as a sign of strength to not need to call for help? I never once came in “unscheduled” like that when I was pregnant with Wesley – not even the time I fell down – and I think I was a bit little proud of that. People make fun of pregnant women for freaking out about every little twinge – I’ve heard of hospitals calling them “frequent flyers” for coming in to be checked so often – and I liked that I wasn’t one of the people that call in for stupid stuff. It’s hard to get past that and be okay with saying “I know this might not seem like a big deal to you but I need help processing this.”

I’m supposed to be collecting stuff for my birth kit, but now it all feels really horrible and jinxy. Like, “why buy [homebirth thing / postpartum thing], I’m not even going to need it anyway.” And I hate that I keep thinking those thoughts! They’re awful. I want to NOT be thinking those things.

I don’t know. It’s difficult to articulate to somebody who hasn’t had a negative birth experience why having the chance at a positive or empowering birth experience would be important to me. I’m sure it sounds dumb.

Obviously, I recognize that having a c-section isn’t the end of the world – I have a lovely little boy who was born that way. But birth matters. Having a “healthy baby and a healthy mama” is super important but it is also not the only thing that’s important – mama’s experience matters too.

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March 20, 2014 5:33 pm

32 Weeks – Breech

I’ll just go ahead and start off this entry by saying I AM FREAKING OUT.

At my last appointment (31 weeks), the baby was out of transverse position and into a tidy up-and-down position, but the midwives weren’t quite sure if she was head up or head down. I was kind of guessing head up based on where I felt kicks, and in the days since then, I am becoming more and more convinced this baby is breech.

AAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

It’s my other big fear come true! Outside of getting preeclampsia again, my next big fear (which I touched on in my last entry) was being auto-c-sectioned for something and not even getting a trial of labor. Nobody around here does breech births. I don’t even know if I want to try to find somebody that will do a breech VBAC on someone without a previous vaginal birth.

It’s just so unbelievably stressful. If the baby doesn’t turn, there’s no chance I’ll get my homebirth, no chance I’ll have a VBAC, and just a slim chance I’ll even get a trial of labor. All of those things make me so, SO sad.

Typically, all but 5% of babies turn by 33 weeks. I’ve got four more days to turn this baby before I fall into that 5%, and I am spending every day doing breech tilts and hands-and-knees position and elephant walks and inversions and hypnotherapy and homeopathy and NONE OF IT SEEMS TO BE HELPING YET.

I’m looking into acupuncture. I’m following suggestions in this video. The closest chiropractors that do the Webster technique are an hour away but I’ve got their phone numbers just in case.

I feel like I am trying everything and I keep getting more and more freaked out as the days go by and I still feel (what seems like) that hard little head up at the top of my uterus instead of chubby buns.

I am just so jealous of people who have pregnancies without stupid complications. I was so excited about not getting preeclampsia so far that it didn’t even occur to me that I might have something else go wrong. This has totally taken all the wind out of my sails and I don’t know how to deal with it.

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February 25, 2014 3:15 pm

29 Weeks

Oblique (Again!)

I had a really nice prenatal appointment today! Baby is currently diagonal-ish with her head up in my ribs and her butt over by my hip. Denise (midwife) wasn’t concerned; she said there’s lots of time for baby to move around and I have a lot of fluid so it’s not an issue yet at all. Wesley was oblique like that for a looong time, except I think he was head-down with his butt in my ribs.

Even though Denise isn’t concerned, I’ll still probably hit up spinningbabies.com for some exercises to help baby get into a favorable position! One of my big fears with this pregnancy is getting “auto-risked out” of trying for my VBAC. Something like a breech baby or a placental abruption or anything that will necessitate an automatic c-section versus being able to let me labor.

Physical Stuff

I’m up about 20lbs so far, which was more than I was expecting based on my numbers last month. That said, it makes sense considering I have been eating a fair amount of sandwiches and English muffins. Argh! They are so delicious but so bad for me. I’m going to try to be better about non-carby snacks and not eating super-huge lunches at work.

Pink and teal.

Blood pressure was 124/72, which the midwives were happy with. No protein in my urine, and no swelling so far! I had my glucose test today and passed. My iron level is at 11.5 and they like to see it around 12 or more, but she said this is actually a good sign re: preeclampsia and not getting it again. Something about blood volume and a drop in the iron level at this point can actually mean I have adequate blood volume this time – I’m trying to remember how exactly she explained it. Anyway, it’s a sign that I’m still doing well on the pre-e front.

Mental Stuff

We talked a bit about whether or not to have a doula at the birth. Not having a doula was what I consider my biggest “failure” with Wesley’s birth – I could really have used the continual support and knowledge last time as I felt very alone and scared. Because of this, I’ve said for a LONG time that I’d insist on having a doula if we had another child. However, I’m kind of reconsidering that stance. I feel like Denise and Krysta are much more hands-on and doula-like than the midwives I had with Wesley, and as such, I’m not really feeling the great need for a doula this time. If I knew I was going to have a hospital birth, BY ALL MEANS I’d hire a doula. I think, though, since this birth (ideally) will be at home with both Denise and Krysta and Daniel there, I feel pretty well supported.

Other Stuff

I also received my supplies list! I am sort of over the intense nesting phase I had last month, but I’m excited to gather all the supplies I’ll need for my birth. Makes it seem more real, I guess? And then I paid the midwifery fee in full (ACK) and choked a bit, but we saved $150 by paying in full before 32 weeks so I decided to go ahead with it. Then I recommitted myself to finishing up our taxes so we can get a bit of money back to make up for it.

I had a massage last Thursday and I think it cured my sciatica pain for the time being. So that’s great. I really didn’t have any physical complaints at this appointment, but they did encourage me to use my chiropractic appointments for sure.

My next appointment is in two weeks! I can’t believe I’m already at the every-two-weeks stage of appointments.

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February 6, 2014 3:19 pm

26 Weeks

Prenatal

I had a prenatal appointment on Monday, and no news is good news! My blood pressure was good at 118/68, baby’s heart rate was around 148-158, and weight gain is still totally under control, somewhere between 10 and 13lbs depending on the scale. Next appointment is in three weeks, and then I think they’ll be every two weeks? Probably depends on how that appointment goes.

I’ll do my glucose test at my next appointment, but they don’t do the gross drink – they just have you eat some extra carbs 2 hours before your appointment and then they do a finger-prick test.

My followup ultrasound to check for the presence of a placental lobe will be around 36 or 37 weeks. So WAY closer to the end than I was expecting.

Carseat

We dug out Wesley’s old infant carseat from my parents’ basement and thankfully it’s still within dates (carseats expire!) so that’s one expense we can avoid this time around. It’s absolutely FILTHY though – covered in sawdust and grime, so I’ll be washing it really, really thoroughly.

Birthing Class

Our Bradley birthing class is nice. It goes much more in-depth into each stage of the labor process than the class we took with Wesley did, so I feel like both Daniel and I have a way better idea of what I might say/do during each stage of labor and how he can support me through it.

It also focuses a lot on optimal baby positioning (something my midwives with Wesley never mentioned) so I’m supposed to tailor-sit all the time, and I’m not supposed to recline at a 45 degree angle because it’ll encourage the baby to be posterior. The not-reclining thing is really hard for me! I usually just give up and lay all the way down on my side to avoid it.

Nesting

I’m slowly starting to accumulate baby clothes and supplies. We didn’t use cloth wipes with Wesley and I don’t even know why – partly it seemed stupid to pay money for flannel squares, but in that vein it was also stupid to spend oodles of dollars on throw-away wipes! I think mostly we kept using the disposable wipes because that’s what we’d been using. This time, I purchased some GroVia cloth wipes and a new BumGenius diaper (the “Jules” one) because the print was adorable. I’ve never tried the organic “Elemental” diapers before so I’m curious how it’ll compare to the microfiber ones. The GroVia wipes got really good reviews so we’ll see how those go as well.

I also picked up some essential oil blends for each stage of labor. Feel free to think I’m a nut – I’ve also got somebody lined up to encapsulate my placenta for me, which is way nuttier than massage oils – but I’m basically willing to try anything non-invasive to help me through a natural birth. My labor with Wesley was weird and augmented and I didn’t really try very many coping techniques before everything went downhill, so if essential oils might help me, I’ll totally try them out.

I’m feeling a really strong urge to get ALL THE THINGS READY for labor/delivery/baby even though I haven’t even hit 30 weeks yet. I don’t really feel like I “nested” with Wesley but man, with this baby I feel like everything needs to have A PLAN at least and it’s making me anxious that I have no plan for a lot of things. We’ll need some kind of dresser for the baby’s clothes and we’ll have to figure out a spot for her diapers. Somebody will have to take care of Wesley during the birth. I still don’t have a doula and I’m not sure if I should be panicking about that or not.

I keep thinking I HAVE TO GO BUY SOME NEWBORN DIAPERS and I SHOULD GET A NEW NURSING BRA and MAYBE I NEED A BIRTH POOL then I remember I probably still have, like, four months left to go and I can buy them at any point during that time. But my brain thinks I need to have them NOW, just in case.

Comparison

I’m still shocked at how much better I feel physically this time around. No fat feet! That started at 24 weeks last time. No pubis symphysis pain preventing me from putting on pants or escaping a theoretical house fire! That started at like week 17 and didn’t improve at all until about week 25. I wrote here that I felt pretty good, but looking back, I already had a lot more things going wrong physically than I do right now. (Also, apparently week 26 is when I start freaking out about nesting and baby stuff. Good to know.)

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January 24, 2014 2:00 pm

Foot In Mouth

A couple of weeks ago, I was at work when a resident and his caregiver came in to have me make some photocopies. When I stood up to walk to the copy machine, the caregiver, L, remarked, “Oh! You’re expecting!” I responded cheerfully that I was.

She then did a double-take and said, “So— wow. When are you due?” in a tone of voice that suggested she expected the answer to be “tomorrow.”

I told her early May, and I wish that I had been able to film her response. She looked incredibly shocked, and spluttered, “MAY? Oh. WOW. You’re— you’re, uh, really out there.” And then, without me saying anything, she continued:

“And you’re sure it’s just one?”

I kind of cocked my head at her but responded politely that I was sure it was just one. L continued with the “Wow… May, huh? You’re… huh…”

At that point, I’d finished the copies and sat down again. L stood there, still saying stuff, and I was smiling sweetly at her, hoping she’d get the hint and stop. And then my brain short-circuited and I started trying to smooth over the awkwardness by saying that this is my second baby and it’s really common to show more with your second. As I was saying it, my brain was like, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING” because I am way smaller with this baby than I was with Wesley. I don’t even know.

L finally got over her shock well enough to take her photocopies and leave, but I was butthurt about the interaction for a few days afterward. I had expected to get the “are you sure it’s not twins?” comment when I was pregnant with Wesley and had gained 40lbs by this point, but not with this baby! I was still feeling great about not needing maternity clothes yet, and then this lady spent several minutes trying to convince me that I was some kind of blimp.

Here’s a picture of me from that day, at 22 weeks 5 days pregnant:

22w5d

Here’s me at 22 weeks with Wesley:

22 Weeks

I felt like asking her if she’d ever been pregnant, but since I was at work (and will have to interact with her in the future) I decided to just let it go and seethe quietly at my desk.

I’m still just blown away that she felt it was an appropriate topic of conversation. Appropriate topics might have been “is this your first?” or “do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?” or some variation on that theme. Not, “you’re so huge you must be having twins” or really ANYTHING commenting on the size of my body other than “you have such a cute bump!”

Good grief.

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January 23, 2014 5:08 pm

Dressing A Girl

Since finding out that Baby #2 is a girl, I’ve started browsing for clothes online and I’m realizing I apparently don’t fall into the marketing niche all manufacturers think I’ve fallen into.

I’ve been pinning stuff on Pinterest that I like and it’s all neutrals or navy blue and maroon or gray and teal and yellow. And it’s adorable! Way cuter than the “Mommy’s Little Cupcake” stuff. Why is it so hard to find clothes that don’t say dumb things on them? Or onesie packs that come in colors other than pink and hot pink? I like pink just fine, but good grief.

I get the feeling I’ll be reusing more of Wesley’s wardrobe than I initially thought! A girl needs some blue and green in her life.

This is not a unique dilemma, I know. And I had a similar one when we found out Wesley was a boy – little boy stuff is all SPORTS TIME and DADDY’S CONSTRUCTION BUDDY and I LOVE TRUCKS.

Where are the relatively inexpensive clothes in simple dots and stripes in a multitude of colors? Or florals. I think I basically want to dress my kid like Posie Gets Cozy dresses her daughter.

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January 23, 2014 4:29 pm

Ultrasound – 23 Weeks

In a dumb series of events involving insurance coverage (or lack thereof), we had to travel to Spokane to get our 20-week anatomy scan ultrasound done, and we accidentally arrived about 45 minutes early. This was on the 15th, and I was 23 weeks along at the time.

The ultrasound tech lady did her measuring thing, and at one point I thought I caught a glimpse of baby’s bits and hazarded a guess. Then she reconfirmed that we did want to know the sex of the baby, and told us baby is a GIRL! That’s what we’d been guessing all along, but it was fun to have it confirmed. For some reason, she didn’t print a picture of that image, and I’m not sure why. We got good shots of Baby’s feet and arm. Profile was a little more difficult because she had her hands in front of her face the whole time.

Baby looks good – 35th percentile, so not a giant, which is good news for my VBAC.

The only unusual thing is that it looked like maybe my placenta had an extra lobe. My midwife said she’s seen that reported before and then it turned out that the placenta didn’t have it, but she recommended I have another ultrasound to confirm the presence of the extra lobe. They want to know about it if it is present, because there’s a possibility it might not come out with the rest of the placenta and they need to know to be on the lookout for it. Nobody wants retained placenta! It can cause hemorrhaging and poor milk supply and infections. So! Other than that, things look good.

And a girl! Aaaah!

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December 6, 2013 7:13 pm

17 Weeks

I had my second prenatal appointment today and it went really well! My blood pressure was great (94/70) and I’m only up a couple of pounds. Fetal heart rate was 140-150 and we had a nice talk about me eating more protein and taking more walks. Given that it’s currently six degrees outside and windy… I am not really feeling the walk idea but I will figure something out.

Sleep continues to be a problem. I should just get over my fear of taking Unisom regularly and just take it already since it appears to help keep me asleep, unlike melatonin, which seems to make me drowsy just fine but does not help me stay asleep, which is the actual problem I am trying to solve.

My midwife also reviewed my medical charts from my induction/c-section and said that my bloodwork/urinalysis numbers weren’t ideal but weren’t, like, HORRIBLE. So she’s pretty optimistic that I’ll “have a different story this time around.” That’s about the best I could hope for, so I’m happy about that. I would have been worried had she hemmed and hawed about me being high risk or something, but she feels like things are going great so far and we’ll continue to keep an eye on things.

Unrelated: I got my Secret Quonsar gift in the mail today! It was so unexpected – for some reason it didn’t even occur to me that I might receive it before the send-by date! I am going to mail my person’s gift out tomorrow (on the deadline! whoops) so hopefully they receive it in a timely fashion.

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November 30, 2013 6:05 am

16 Weeks

I’ve been kind of terrible at documenting this pregnancy. I just have so much other stuff going on!

I re-read a bunch of my posts from when I was pregnant with Wesley and I seem to be doing way better physically this time around. I don’t have nearly the ligament pain (though sometimes sneezing or coughing wrong does give me shooting pains for a few moments) or the achy-ness.

My insomnia got better for a little while and then the last few days have gotten worse again. Instead of being awake from 1-3 or 2-4am, I wake up at 4:30 or 5:30 on days where normally I wouldn’t have to be awake until after 7am. So irritating.

I also haven’t taken any belly photos this time around. Not on purpose; I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I think I’m quite a bit smaller looking though, despite starting this pregnancy about 12lbs heavier than with Wesley. I expected to look way bigger way faster, but that hasn’t been the case. Having not gained any weight probably contributes to it, too – I didn’t keep records of my gaining pattern then, but I’m reasonably certain I had gained close to 20lbs by this point last time.

I just FEEL a lot better this time, I guess? I’m hoping it continues throughout the pregnancy and labor and delivery.

Did I mention I got the Home Study Hupnobabies kit? It went on sale a while back so I went ahead and bought it. I don’t have any illusions about it, like, removing all pain and negative feelings from my experience, but I like the idea that it will give me a framework for relaxation and visualization. I know several people for whom Hypnobabies worked really well so that helps me feel more confident too.

A lot of what I’ll have to work through is fear-based; primarily feeling scared of a vaginal birth because I’m currently way more familiar with the alternative. Kind of a “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t” situation. I never want another c-section but that doesn’t mean I’m not kind of terrified of a VBAC, you know? It’s hard to articulate. I’m afraid I won’t know what to do, I guess.

Anyway, I have the Hypnobabies VBAC CD as well which is really helpful. I’ve listened to it several times and it has a really good visualization track that I think will help me a lot.

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