This baby is so grounded as soon as he’s born

I thought with our hospital visit back in January, we would be able to skip the late night, pre-labor Labor and Delivery run.  I guess that wasn’t the case.

(Obviously, if you couldn’t tell by the title, everything is fine)

After a day of not feeling the baby move hardly at all yesterday, plus not even being able to get to 10 kicks for kick counts (the complete opposite of my usual getting kicked simultaneously in the ribs and bladder), I finally broke down and called the doctor’s phone service.  The on-call doctor told me, of course, to go to the hospital.

We’ve done the drive to the hospital plenty of times for all the classes (childbirth, breastfeeding, CPR, etc.), but this was by far the longest ride, even with hubby running a red light.  Yeah, we’re outlaws.  I hadn’t realized that I’d become so used to the baby’s movements until they weren’t there.  I kept anticipating kicks that weren’t happening.  I felt a little ridiculous waddling up to the ER sign in desk and having them ask “is it time?”.  The nurse asked if I wanted a wheelchair to L&D.  The hubby is usually against that type of assistance (he’s trying to convince me that I should reject the wheelchair when we are leaving the hospital with the baby just to be a badass – which I won’t), but once she explained that it was a really far walk, I told them I would take it.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually been wheeled around in a wheelchair before.  It felt even weirder just getting up out of it when we reached our destination – like I was a fraud or lazy or something.

Everyone had to ask me how far along I was.  Since I suck at remembering what month (and I never know if I say the month I completed or the month I’m in), I always answer with what week I’m in.  However, I was also on the cusp on 33 weeks – my weeks change on Wednesdays, and it was quarter to midnight on a Tuesday.  Hubby was less than amused when I would joke that I would be 33 weeks in a few minutes.  Half of it was me attempting humor, but half was also my inability to do anything but precisely follow the rules (which, I think, he knew).

The first hour-ish of my stay involved me laying in a bed with a monitor that kept losing the baby’s heartbeat either from slipping or the baby being uncooperative as usual.  I was given a clicker to document any time the baby moved.  The problem was, with the monitors strapped to my belly, I couldn’t feel much of anything.  Finally, I was walked down to the ultrasound department where we would finally find out what the heck was going on as we really couldn’t figure out the point of me being on the monitors for so long.

Just an aside, I apparently rock at maternity triage, however.  I called 2 things correctly about other patients.  First was an order for “environmental services” to come to a room, or whatever you call the curtained-off area, and I totally predicted that it wasn’t a clean-up – the woman just left and they were resetting the room.  The second one was a bit more impressive.  A nurse came by saying that another woman’s water broke.  I whispered to hubby (the curtain was closed, so I couldn’t see anything anyways) that her water didn’t actually break, but she just peed herself (not that I blame her for that at all!).  Turns out I was right on both accounts.  If I didn’t hate dealing with bodily fluids and injured people and such, I probably could go in to nursing.

Anyways, the ultrasound is where everything went down.  Already long story short, baby managed to turn himself breech since my last ultrasound a month ago when he was vertex.  It probably happened the day before and was most likely the reason I couldn’t feel him kicking all of a sudden.  After passing every test this pregnancy with flying colors, finding this out was kind of like learning that your straight-A, all-star athlete kid is doing drugs behind your back.  I know, I know… plenty of time to move, blah blah blah.  I just don’t want a scheduled C-section.  I want to go into labor.  I want to at least try to deliver naturally before any attempt at surgery.  At least he was moving after being prodded by the ultrasound guy’s cattle prod.  Only half-joking about that – he literally had a buzzer that he would put against my stomach and sound to make the baby jump.  See, baby would move around just fine during all the other checks – breathing, heartbeat, fluid levels – but when it came time for the actual, you know, MOVEMENT part of the exam, he stopped.  This kid keeps proving how much of a pain in the ass he’s determined to be.  Finally, we got some video of independent movement, most of which I couldn’t feel BTW, and were sent on our way back to triage so that we could leave.

Also, some fun things we learned at the ultrasound: baby is doing his practice breathing (he better be for all of this trouble he’s causing), male ultrasound techs are not nearly as gentle as their female counterparts (especially when he’s pressing directly on my bladder and commenting on how full it is and how I must need to pee really bad), and I also have a fibroid a little over 2 cm wide.  Not quite sure how 5 other ultrasounds missed that, but whatever.

The whole visit was about 2 1/2 hours, which, for a hospital, is probably pretty good.  Unfortunately, that meant that we didn’t get home until almost 3am.  Needless to say, I’m damn tired today.

Also, as a post script, before we went to bed, hubby and I watched the Tupac hologram video from Coachella.  Of course, this is when the baby finally started moving again.  That is all.

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Cranky pants

Ok, so pregnancy is officially kicking my ass (hence the lack of updates as I cannot stay awake long enough to compose an entire post).  That second trimester euphoria has been replaced (or, rather, forcibly removed) by third trimester exhaustion and swelling.  Everyone at work now comments on how I’m REALLY pregnant… or my waddle.  On a side note, NEVER tell a pregnant woman that she’s waddling unless you are offering her a chair and getting her whatever she needs.  Considering that the baby is stretching from my bladder to my rib cage, I don’t really think there’s enough room for the both of us in there, which is making me very nervous that he still has another 2 months to grow.

Basically, all of the edema and fatigue have made me more than a little cranky and weepy, which has led to a very short fuse.  On the plus side, I’m being a lot more forthright with people, especially those that are pissing me off.  However, it is also making me more ranty than usual.

For example, a friend of mine posted the following article on Facebook: Lactation Breeds Lack: The High Cost of Breastfeeding.  Now, the article itself isn’t anything to write home about.  It uses outdated data, draws conclusions where none really exist (although, I do agree with said conclusions), and focuses more on short-term solutions (such as better laws for expressing milk in the workplace) rather than the underlying issues (the major suckitude of maternity leave in the U.S.).  The worst part for me, though, was the comments.  Yes, I should know better than to ever read the comments section on any article, ever.  Now, do you think that is really going to stop me?

If you scroll down and see my replies, you will see exactly where I take offense. Women post responses declaring that the only reason this is even an issue is because women aren’t willing to leave their job with their precious money and sack up and take care of their children.  Now, excuse me while I go tear my hair out and scream!  First of all, looking at the state of the economy, I don’t know very many households that are sustainable on a single income, even when “making sacrifices” or “cutting back”.  Most people aren’t struggling in their finances because they have expensive tastes (and, generally speaking, those that are overspending aren’t the ones that recognize that they have financial issues in the first place) – it’s because companies are preying on a desperate workforce that doesn’t have a lot of options.  Jobs don’t have to pay competitively anymore because, really, where else are you going to go?  Secondly, that does not take in to account families where the woman is the breadwinner, not always by choice.  Hubby is in law school.  Should he sink the money already invested in his education to attempt to find a job that will pay significantly less than what he will be able to make once he is out of school?  And that doesn’t even BEGIN to address the issue of the single mother!  I despise the criticism that working mothers don’t love their children.  Do you really think that we all just go to work for that sweet, sweet cash?  Does it ever occur to you that we drag our asses to soul-sucking jobs day after day BECAUSE we love our children and want to make sure that they have food in their bellies and a roof over their heads?  That, were it not because of them, we would gladly quit and survive on ramen noodles and live in a cardboard box until we found a rich husband or a better job (with flex time and maternity leave that would allow us to actually breastfeed our babies).

This also leads me down another mental path, one that I have a hard time reconciling.  Now, people always say that if you can’t afford to have a child, then you shouldn’t have one.  In this day and age, though (and given the position that I am in), this feels elitist.  Sure, you shouldn’t be broke and in severe debt and expect to properly raise a child, but what is the “right” amount of money/income for having kids?  Are we saying that only the wealthy should be allowed to procreate?  That those in a less-than-ideal financial situation shouldn’t be able to start a family? It just starts to feel classist after a while when only the rich have access to the means necessary to reproduce.

I know I am having a hard time expressing my point properly, but my son is trying to escape out my belly button butt-first, and I need to get out from behind the computer now.

Relying on the kindness of strangers

At this point in my pregnancy, it’s pretty obvious to everyone that I’m pregnant, I guess.  Even complete strangers are confident enough to ask me if I’m having a boy or girl.  I’m even reaching the limits of my non-maternity clothing options due to ANOTHER sudden growth spurt by the fetus (or my uterus, I suppose, if we are being particular).  Anyway, I’m guessing this is the contributing factor to what happened to me the other day.

I was on a shopping excursion for work searching thrift stores trying to find a table that looked like one in a set design for an upcoming show plus some spray paint to paint 2 chairs.  The plan was to hit 2 thrift stores, then Home Depot.  Unfortunately, this very specific-looking table couldn’t be found at the first 2 stores, so I added on 2 more to my trip in hopes of landing the perfect piece.  Those turned out to not be fruitful either, so it was just past lunchtime and I was finally hitting the last spot on my errand run.

By the time I’d reached Home Depot, it was well after 1pm (for reference, I usually eat at around noonish).  In front, there was a hot dog stand.  Unfortunately for me, I never carry cash in my wallet.  I decided to try my luck anyway.  I waited patiently in line for my turn, then asked the vendor if he accepted credit cards.  Of course, the answer was no.  As I walked off, a gentleman offered to buy me something.  I politely declined.  A second man called after me, asking what I wanted to eat and handed the vendor some money.  Normally, I would have walked off, but I was starving and knew that there was a chance that I would keel over if I didn’t eat anything – I’ve reached the point in my pregnancy where if I go too long without eating, I get really sick.  Since he’d already handed over the money, I told him that just a plain hot dog would be fine.  He tried to offer me more, but I told him that was enough.  Apparently, he had also paid for a drink for me, so I was able to get some water as well.  As I walked off again, the first gentleman told me to grab a bag of chips, too.  The vendor said that the other guy only paid for a drink, but then changed his mind and said that the chips were on him.  As I walked off, he said that he wanted me to know there were still good people in the world.

I don’t think I’ve ever been treated that kindly by a stranger before.  I could have cried as I walked into the store with my lunch.  After procuring the spray paint (the only shopping success that day), I remembered that I had a little bit of change in my wallet, so I put it in the tip jar of the hot dog vendor as I left.  He told me to stay safe as I walked to my car.

It wasn’t until then that I realized how little it takes to make someone else’s day.  The hot dog only cost that guy a couple of bucks, but it was momentous enough for me to tell everyone I know about it.  It even inspired hubby to finally go and donate blood that day (he’d been putting it off for probably a month at that point).  I challenge anyone reading this to do something nice for a stranger when the opportunity presents itself.  Pay it forward!

Son, please remove yourself from my bladder

What they don’t tell you about blogging is that it is really easy to write when you are complaining; it’s significantly less interesting to write about how things are going well.

Not to jinx myself, but I’m really pretty good lately.  I can finally feel baby moving or, rather, rearrange furniture via my uterus.  Hubby felt him kick for the first time a little over a week ago and jumped a clear foot in the air.  The petrified look on his face was comic gold, as was him almost falling off the bed (and, yes, I’m horribly mean).  Other than falling asleep at obscenely early times, I actually feel like I can contribute a little to the house again.

Since I’m in such a bright effing ray of sunshine right now, I thought I would talk about some of the good things about being pregnant.

I’ve actually never received more compliments on how I look than I am getting in my second trimester.  Based on my history with weight gain, I expected to blow up when I got pregnant.  I thought that I would just become round and bloated, being 5 feet tall and all.  Instead, I’m pretty much all belly, which suits me if I do say so myself. This is part to the fact that the baby has literally wedged himself UNDER my hipbone (as my bladder likes to remind me now by refusing to actually hold anything) – according to my hubby, my hips have actually moved UP an inch rather than spread.  Leave it to my kid to completely mess with the simple process of how to lay in a womb.

Also, it’s pretty much the only time in my life where I’m asked by almost everyone I see how I’m feeling.  I definitely need to be careful about this ego boost – I don’t want to get into a Duggar situation just because people seem to like me more when I’m pregnant.  I don’t think my husband’s heart could take it.  Speaking of which, it is absolutely hilarious to have hubby speak to my stomach; this is mostly because he chooses his words very carefully so as to shape the baby’s mind in a certain way.  For example, he spent half of the Super Bowl shouting at my stomach “Tom Brady sucks!”  The indoctrination must start early.  On the bright side, we shouldn’t have any problems with the baby sleeping because hubby has a lot of theories and knowledge to impart to his offspring.

Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day everyone!

Who’s down with CPSC… JPMA…

So, my neuroses have attempted to focus themselves on something productive – looking at baby items that will eventually end up on our registry. Unfortunately, letting that part of my brain handle this monumental task means I’m up until 1am twitching because if I don’t pick out the right high chair, life as we know it will end.

Also, I’ve found it is very easy to get caught up in the millions of safety & health concerns involved in shopping for baby items.  Recalls, JPMA-certified, BPA, toxic paint, fumes… it’s extremely daunting.  And who wants to be THAT parent who didn’t read THAT article and is subjecting their baby to ALL THE CHEMICALS and now my kid won’t get into Harvard.  Or worse, purchase something that is legitimately unsafe.  The problem is that the internet does a terrible job at distinguishing between the two.  I recently discovered Consumer Reports’ section on baby gear.  The same people that crash test car seats (an important service methinks) tell you NEVER buy a sling because your baby WILL suffocate and die (even though faulty slings have already been recalled and you are never supposed to let your baby’s face be covered when in a sling in the first place – the reason for the recall).  This means that I have no idea when they say that you can’t microwave, boil, or put in the dishwasher a platic bottle, does that apply to BPA-free platic?  Of course, they also tell you to not listen to the manufacturer’s directions because they are just filthy liars out to make a buck.  (as you can see, I don’t do well with scare tactics)

The funny thing is, we aren’t even the types that believe you need a ton of crap to raise a baby.  We see the parents in restaurants with their kid having a seizure over Elmo on the portable DVD player and the ones that just let their kid play with the utensils, and we know that we will fall in the latter camp. 

However, I’m also a realist. There are things that we NEED (crib, diapers, bottles, car seat) and things that will make our lives much easier (swing/seat, stroller, carrier). Hubby says we don’t need a changing table and that we can just change the baby on the floor; I’m not so sure that he will agree with that sentiment after the baby arrives (he’s never changed a diaper before in his life).

Most people’s response to this would simply be to just get one later if we decide we need one.  That really isn’t an option in our world.  We aren’t doing great financially.  I’m the only one bringing in a (paltry, non-profit job) paycheck.  Hubby is currently in law school.  That makes our registry like currency, as horrible as it is to say.  If people are determined to buy us things, we need them to be as functional and multi-purpose as possible to get the most bang for someone else’s buck.  I don’t like being this dependent on other people (and I know Hubby absolutely hates it).  I also know that I need to provide for my son, and this is the only way I know how to right now.

This was going to be my $0.02 on SOPA/PIPA

I started to write a post on my feelings about SOPA/PIPA while I was at the doctor’s office a few days ago.  Unfortunately, I’ve learned that drafting something on my phone is not a good start to a post.  So, after a quarter of the way through my musings, I was finally called back for my ultrasound and all interest in that topic went down the drain.

So, in short, I think Congress isn’t outright trying to censor the Internet – they just have no idea about intellectual property OR technology, which are kind of important when making laws concerning the two.  I also think the lobbying groups (namely, the MPAA & RIAA) really need to learn that when people share things online with each other, even if it technically “breaks copyright law” in their mind, it is also FREE ADVERTISING, morons!  Generally speaking, any ideas that these groups come up with to protect against real pirating is about 5 steps behind where those pirates are operating.  People know about IP addresses versus domain names.  Get ahead of the technology – stop trying to catch up.

Ok, now that I’ve gotten my topical BS out of the way, back to talking about me me me!

Update on the doctor visit: doctor told me, basically, that I looked like shit and prescribed me some antibiotics.  Baby’s heart rate was still fine, and my blood pressure was as low as ever.  Going back in for a retest of my white blood cell count tomorrow, but I’m already feeling tons better, so hopefully I get the all clear.  Went in for an ultrasound the next day since the doctor was still concerned about all the pressure I was feeling & wants to tell me to just suck it up but couldn’t without one more look at my innards.  Luckily, and I quote from the doctor at the ultrasound facility, my “cervix is long enough for triplets.” Everything was in its right place and as it should be.  Plus, we got to find out…

I'm a Boy!

Yes, that arrow is pointing where you think it is...

I get to post pictures of my son’s peen across the interwebs now!  The only sad part was that the anatomy scan was scheduled for this week when the hubby could be there.  I had to call him on the phone so that we could find out together.  All together, though, baby weighed approximately 12 oz as of that sonogram and measured about 3 days ahead of schedule (I was at 20 weeks exactly, he measured 20 weeks, 3 days).  On the individual measurements, he has a huge head and short legs.  Taking after his mom already, I supposed.

And for one really cute story: hubby just found out that someone he knows read the same story to their little fetus everyday before it was born.  Then, whenever the baby heard that story afterwards, they would always smile.  The only difference is that hubby’s idea of a “story” is to read the Declaration of Independence, complete with his personal DVD commentary (which, as I tried to explain to him, completely throws out the whole notion of reading the SAME story every day so that the baby will know the rhythm of the words).  Still, it was very cute, and I know I’m lucky to have such an involved daddy-to-be (commence gagging… now).

So, next for the neuroses, provided the doctor’s appointment tomorrow goes fine, is that I still haven’t felt the baby move yet, at least that I can know for sure.  Between normal pregnancy gas and antibiotics killing almost anything in my stomach that would aid in digestion outside of acid, there is way too much action down there for me to tell what is another person poking at my insides.  Here’s to hoping I figure it out soon.

This post brought to you by insomnia

(Somehow, I doubt this is the first blog post ever with that title…)

I ended up in the hospital today for what to me was a sharp, stabbing pain in my stomach & vomiting.  Turns out, that was just normal (dear LORD, how the human race survived when being pregnant feels like this is beyond me).  Unfortunately, that was not what the doctors seemed to care about.  My temperature was elevated (100.4° F) and my white blood cell count was a little high.  After some very skillful negotiating with 2 doctors, I managed to not get myself admitted under a blood oath that if my temperature went above 100.4, I return immediately to the hospital and, if it doesn’t, go straight to my OB first thing tomorrow morning..  Taking my temp right before bed, I came in just under, thankfully.

However, I’ve now been awake since 2:30 am (or probably earlier than that even) with some really intense back and chest pain.  I don’t really know what is “normal” as I suspect that laying on a hospital gurney for hours on end may have something to do with this. The worst part is, I really don’t care if there is something wrong with me.  I’m easy to fix.  I worry about the baby.  I don’t know what will hurt it (him/her).  I don’t know what is safe for it.

I spent a lot of time yesterday feeling like a bad mother.  The baby isn’t even born yet and I can’t take care of it when all I need to do is eat properly, get a bit of exercise, and take a prenatal vitamin (and, you know, no hard partying or jumping in front of x-ray machines or anything).  I’ve been having lower abdominal achiness and pressure for a couple of weeks now.  I don’t know if it is due to carrying the baby low (my mother’s explanation) or just over-exerting myself.  Hubby wants me to quit my church singing gig (even though I know we need the money) so that I’m not doing anything extra outside of my normal work day.  All I know is that I feel helpless and too many people keep throwing around the words “pre-term labor” now.  I’m scared of bed rest.  I’m scared of the NICU.  I’m scared of not working (or not working enough at least) and not being able to pay our bills.  I’m scared of anything that I’m possibly doing  to hurt this baby.

If you ask my husband, I had/have a lot of irrational fears regarding pregnancy.  The first being that I would never get pregnant.  This was not based in reality (obviously).  Most likely, it was a combination of reading infertility blogs/articles and a gynecologist once telling me that I might have endometriosis. Not exactly good indicators of one’s own fertility although it is an excellent indicator of my tendencies toward hypochondria.

Secondly, once I got pregnant, and seeing how suddenly & easily it happened, I was then constantly worried about miscarriage.  I know the stats.  It wasn’t even about that, really.  I just felt like if it could come this easily, it could also go just as easily.  Hubby had to talk me off a ledge when I decided that I wanted to rent a Doppler machine.  I thought this was the only way to assure myself that the baby was still alive until I could feel it move for myself.  Every time I go to the doctor and they check the heartbeat or I get an ultrasound, the only thing I can ever feel is relief.  We made it this far.  He/she is managing to survive, no matter how much I may be screwing up or how tenuous the whole matter seems to be.

Now, though, things are getting very real.  The pressure that I’ve been feeling could very well be Braxton-Hicks contractions – especially seeing as how I can feel my uterus hard as a rock when it happens (and, usually, I can’t find my uterus with a map and a compass).  Again, this is something that could be completely normal OR could be a harbinger of doom.  Who knows!  The pain I’m feeling is probably just round ligament pain (but, “keep an eye on it” the doctor says!).  All I know right now is that I need to make it the next 5 hours before I bang down the door of my OB’s office to get everything checked out.