Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Still here

I think about this blog sometimes and feel guilty that I just rather abandoned it. The past few weeks have been so busy that I haven't really taken time to catch my breath. Things are still going pretty good for me. Katherine is growing and seems to get more of a personality with each passing day. Gracie has been going to summer day camps and vacation bible school which gets her out of my hair and does wonders for my disposition :-) Her last camp ends this Friday though so I'm not sure how we'll make it to mid-September when preschool starts. I am wishing more and more that I had easy access to an every-day preschool. But I'll make the best of it. A few weeks ago I thought there was a possibility of my going to work but that petered out. Monday my hubby went and interviewed for a position within his company that would be less flying and more like a 9-5 desk job which means he would be home every night. The drawback is that we would have to move to Detroit and start all over again with no family nearby. We are still trying to decide what would be the best thing to do.

I think this will be my last post to this blog. I started it almost 2 years ago, trying to deal with the frustration of infertility. I've moved on (to other frustrations!) so it seems like a good time to let this blog go.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Time marches on

Where does the time go? Seems like just yesterday I was bemoaning a huge belly and all the aches and pains that went along with being 9 months pregnant. Now my baby is closing in on 3 months old. She smiles a lot and just yesterday she laughed several times at Gracie's entertainment. She's started drooling a lot which makes me think that teeth are in our future. She's not interested yet in trying to grab anything but she's very alert and seems to take in life with wide open eyes. This past week we went on vacation in Florida. I was worried about how both the girls would do but we all managed to have a great time. I put Katherine back in bed with me and she slept beautifully. She's making the transition back to the crib as though she hadn't slept with me at all. Crossing my fingers, she seems to be a pretty adaptable baby. We still don't have much of a routine but she's sleeping pretty well. We're back to 2-3 hour stretches at night but somehow I am managing it without being a zombie.

I am still coping pretty well with my depression. One thing my therapist grilled me on several times was keeping up the changes that I've made recently and carrying them forward. Namely that the onus is on me to make sure that I get adequate me-time. At the time I assured her that I am very aware of the need and that I didn't intend to let that slip. As time goes on, however, I find it very easy to slip back into those old habits that got me into such bad shape in the first place. I've had a few days where I honestly wanted to check myself back into the hospital. A lot of days I get through by just trying to survive one moment to the next. I wonder sometimes if I'll ever not be depressed on some level.

I got a call last week about a job at the company I worked for before I had Gracie. I am considering going back to work there. My friends' and family's opinions of that are mixed and I'm still trying to decide if it would be a good thing. Part of me wants to wait until this fall when Gracie is in preschool and see how that goes. We'll see.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Title Goes Here!

I am absolutely fresh out of ideas for interesting titles on blog posts!

Great news this week: I have been released by both my psychiatrist and my therapist. My family doc will do whatever is necessary with the Zoloft from here on out. Last night I stopped taking the Trazodone with no ill effects and decent sleep so I hope I'm off that for good. It helped immensely at first but I think it is time to move on.

Katherine is now 2 months old! Night before last she slept 5.5 hours straight. Yesterday she got her two month shots so she was a little cranky but she still slept well last night. About 7:30 tonight she got very, very fussy. Which was bad for me because I am parenting solo right now and I was desperately trying to get a very tired three year old into bed. I finally had both of them screaming and crying at the same time so I just shut the door on Gracie and went outside to walk Katherine. Gracie finally calmed down. I suspect it was one of those things where she was crying one second and out cold the next! Katherine... well, that's another story. She cried off and one for two hours. I was finally able to lay her down on the boppy pillow and give her the binky and she just now fell asleep. Sweet release! Who cares that she's downstairs in my office and not in the crib! I plan to zonk out right next to her in a few minutes!

My depression is a lot better than it was. I still have periods of sadness and crying spells but they don't last very long and they're very predictable now. Invariably J will leave for work and that night, after everyone is asleep, the sadness overwhelms me. During the day I do pretty well but some days I have to force myself to get out, around other people. Times like tonight, where everyone was crying at once, previously would have stressed me to the breaking point. Tonight I was able to stay in control of my reaction to the situation. I credit the Zoloft with helping me do that.

Life marches on. Life is pretty good. Right now I feel like a survivor. Hopefully I will continue to feel that way.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Still Here

I'm still here and doing a lot better than I was. I'm still struggling with the depression but it's not as bad as before and the really bad periods of it aren't lasting nearly as long.

I must admit that when the counselor first brought up the idea of a hospital stay, one of my thoughts was what will people think? I have been so encouraged and strengthened by everyone's comments. Without fail, everyone that I have shared my story with has been very supportive. The only thing I've been chastened about was for not telling people sooner what I was going through.

I am continuing to see a counselor although I think next week may be my last session. It has been very good for me to talk over some things and get some ideas on how to handle life at the moment. I have also started back to journaling regularly and this has helped give me some perspective on my life.

My husband has really stepped up to the plate. I'm very proud of him. I tried to talk to him one day about how he felt about the events of the last several weeks and his response was: I don't really want to think about it. It is what it is. I'd rather just deal with what is right now and move on with life. The more I think about it, the more I like that response and I'm trying to claim it as my own. I try not to spend too much time brooding over what happened or feeling guilty about things. Instead I'm trying to focus on concrete things I can do to make my life better. Last week J and I sat down and coordinated our calendars. We built in time for him to do his free-time activities and also for me to have some free time. We also made sure to build in plenty of time for us as a family. I suppose all that sounds rather obvious but it's not something we've ever done. I anticipate that becoming a weekly ritual in our house! I am also taking G to the sitter every week during the summer.

One of the things the counselor got me thinking about was whether or not being a stay at home mom is still a good fit for me. I am toying with the idea of looking around for a part time job to get me out of the house and interacting with people.

I had my 6 week checkup last week. I can't believe it's been so long! I still have some stitches that haven't dissolved which surprised the midwife and also has kept things tender down there. I have a prescription for a progesterone only pill which I suppose I will get started on one of these days. It scares me though because, even taken 100% correctly (same time every single day), they have somewhat lower rates of pregnancy prevention than combined pills. It's hard to believe that after all my trials with infertility, I am now deathly afraid of getting pregnant again! I had wanted to use an IUD but the OB who treated me thinks that would probably not be a wise choice given the unknown state of my innards. So when I feel more physically ready, I plan to get my tubes tied and while they're in there, they will do some exploration to asses just what damage was done after delivery by the retained placenta detaching. Worst case we might have to consider a hysterectomy although that's unlikely given that I've had no further problems except continued spotting. But I need to be physically and emotionally ready for that option. So in the meantime I'll do the minipill and hold my breath!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Surviving

It's been 12 days since my last post: several days of pure hell and many days on the road to recovery. Here's the story:

In my last post I said that I wasn't getting along very well by myself with two kids and hubby gone back to work. I knew that I had post-partum depression; I just didn't realize how bad. My good friend T had started calling me daily to check up on me. She is the one who came to visit a few weeks ago and she experienced PPD with her last two kids. She called me Monday morning and I had just really hit rock bottom. She gave me the ultimatum that either I call my midwife or she would. I knew she was serious so I went ahead and called because I knew I couldn't go on like I was. The midwife talked to me a bit, asking me questions. The final trigger question was "Have you had any thoughts of hurting anyone?". For some reason I was compelled to answer truthfully. Yes, I told her, I had thought many times about hurting someone. Who? My babies. At that point, just saying that out loud to another person was more than I could bear and I broke down crying. I didn't stop for the next 12 hours. The midwife asked if I could come see her right then. I went. She explained to me that I needed help right then and I agreed. She had already made arrangements for me to see a counselor at the Behavioural Health Unit of the hospital. She even took me over there herself. I ended up talking to the counselor for almost 4 hours. At some point, she broached the idea of hospitalization so that I could get started right away on medications and also have a break from everything and get some rest. I was totally resistant to the idea because I didn't want anything to interfere with nursing Katherine. In the end, I left her office rather against her advice and went home. I sat in a chair with Katherine in my arms and continued to cry. A few hours later my friend JE came over and she talked with me and brought me to the acceptance of doing inpatient treatment. She promised to take care of my babies so I allowed her to take me.

I could write a lot about my 3 days in the psychiatric ward of the hospital but the experience is too raw so I won't right now. Suffice it to say that I got myself together somewhat and got a little rest and spend time talking to counselors. It's been 8 days since I got out. I am on Zoloft and also Trazadone to help me sleep without affecting the baby. I am still nursing and Katherine continues to thrive. I am getting tons of help from my family and I think they are almost ready to relax their 24 hour/day guard of me. That has been one of the hardest things for me: not being able to be left alone with my kids and knowing full well that that was the best course of action. I saw a psychiatrist yesterday who upped my Zoloft dosage and I am also seeing a counselor every few days who has been really helpful in getting me thinking and talking. I still have a very long ways to go but I am also a very long ways from where I was 8 days ago. I have completely lost all my pregnancy weight although in the circumstances that is probably not a good thing since I basically lost my appetite and ate very little. But that is getting better now. The medicine helps me to get to sleep faster and sleep deeper and on top of that, Katherine is beginning to go 4-5 hour stretches at night. She is still sleeping with me which I have ceased to worry about. Each day has enough worries of its own!

This is the first time since my breakdown that I have gotten on the computer. I am hopelessly behind in all my emails and blogs. Again, not worrying too much about that. I hope this post might help someone else out there. Everyone I come into contact with rushes to assure me how completely normal I am. Hopefully it will continue that way.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Surviving Single-Parenthood

I'm on my third day of four days of single parenthood. I can't say that I've done very well. No shower. I think I brushed my teeth once or twice. If I can't do it with a baby in one arm, it just doesn't get done. Not to mention that I've experienced every symptom of post-partum depression in one form or another. No, things have not been going well. My newborn seems to get more high-maintenance every day. This morning, though, we had a sort of a breakthrough.

A little background first... Before G was born I read all the books and did all the research and decided that we would go the co-sleeping, baby-wearing route. About 3 days into the parenthood thing, the co-sleeping thing went out the door. I quickly figured out it just wasn't for us. We moved her into the crib in her own room and she has been a great sleeper ever since. More and more, though, I am realizing what a different baby Katherine is and this morning I brought her to bed with me. We both slept a solid 3 hours and I woke up feeling like a different person. I can't decide now what I want to do. I am tempted to bring her to bed tonight, if for no other reason than to get a good night's sleep and try and get out of this deep, dark, black funk that I'm in. On the other hand, my general motto with kids is to start as you intend to finish. In other words, I have this real fear that if I let Katherine in my bed at this point, she'll still be there when she's 20. I know it's an irrational fear but since when are depressed people rational?

I did a fair amount of carrying G around in the Baby Bjorn when she was small. I am definitely doing it more with Katherine. She just does not like to be put down.

On that note, someone just woke up and wants feeding.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

One of those days

Last night I had to take a Benadryl to ward off the start of a sinus thing. I hesitated to take it because Katherine was having one of "those" nights where she decided to be fussy and wake up every half hour. By 8am this morning I felt like a train had run over me. Probably should have stayed home and slept but we had promised Gracie we would go do something fun so we did. By lunch time I was still tired but felt like I might make it through the day. We got home and put Gracie in her room for her "rest" and I fed and changed Katherine and then laid down for mine. 10 minutes later Katherine was crying again so we repeated the feed. I laid down again. 10 minutes later J's phone rang (he had it set at full volume) which woke everyone up. I went back to sleep for about 10 minutes when Katherine woke up again. At that point I totally gave up on a nap. I fed Katherine and put her in her swing and proceeded to clean up G's play room, a project I have been wanting to tackle for some time now. Of course, an hour later Katherine was still sleeping peacefully and G was ready to get up but by golly I have a clean play room now. Here's hoping that both my sinuses and Katherine behave themselves tonight and let me get some sleep. J leaves this evening to go back to work for 4 days. Here comes the true test of single-parenting a toddler and infant!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

3 Weeks

My best friend left last night after a great visit and I am really missing her today. The first day she was here she took my two and her 4 year old to the park and I got to take a nap. I truly thought I wasn't all that tired until I woke up and realized how hard I had slept. I took a nap every day after that! The next day she cleaned my house. She swept, mopped, vacuumed, and cleaned all the bathrooms and the kitchen. I'm not a neat freak but I do like things clean and tidy. I can't tell you how much better I felt to walk around in a clean house. The next day she spent cooking. Every time I go to the basement now I open my chest freezer and just gaze inside. I have enough food to last me at least 2 months. Plus she brought me some of her favorite recipe books with easy casseroles marked for when I start cooking again. The other two days she was here we spent just having fun and getting me out and about. I was sad to see her go.

In other news, my bathroom claims that I only have 6 pounds to go to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Where all those extra pounds went I have no idea. I feel like I've been on a non-stop eating binge for the last 3 weeks. Nearly everyone who brought food also brought some sort of desert so it's not like I haven't been indulging in chocolate cake. I'm already wearing a lot of my regular skirts which didn't happen with Gracie until she was 3 months old. I'm not complaining, mind you; I just really wonder where it all went. Maybe when I start exercising in a couple of weeks I can actually lose that 5-10# that I wanted to lose before I got pregnant!

I talked with my friend a little about post-partum depression. After she had her 4th child she got pretty severe PPD. She swears by St. John's Wort; she said it took about 3 weeks but when it kicked in it cured her of the worst of the symptoms. I've been doing a little research and am leaning towards trying it. I want to discuss it with my midwife and get her take. Have any of you had any experience with it or know someone who does?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

2 Weeks

Yesterday my baby turned 2 weeks old. It was also her official due date. Wow - it really does seem like she's been here longer!

My doula came yesterday for a post-partum visit. She brought gifts for the baby and Gracie and also a nicely printed birth story for me. Since she got there just as Katherine was crowning, I was curious to see how she would make a birth story out of it. She did a really good job and wrote in the form of a letter from her to the baby and it was really nicely done.

Physically I am feeling pretty darn good these days. I'm still taking it pretty easy. The only bad thing is that I am either starting to get a yeast infection or one of my stitches is getting a little infected. Yesterday I started taking acidophilus in earnest and today it seems to be a bit better, so maybe I've headed it off at the pass. In retrospect, with all the high-powered antibiotics I was on in the hospital, I should have started the acidophilus as soon as I got home.

Emotionally I am also doing pretty well. It's been a week since my last "episode" (as J calls them, the attack of the aliens) and I'm happy about that. There have been a few times that I felt like I would succumb to another episode of depression but I have been able to quickly get on top of it, which tells me that they are not nearly as bad as I've had in the past.

Katherine continues to have her days and nights mixed up. The really strange thing is that I'm not more physically exhausted. Last night I got in bed about 11 and she woke up just shy of every two hours. But she's only awake for about 20 minutes and then I'm back in bed. I got up around 8 this morning feeling tired but not as exhausted as you would think. Still, I'll be ready for an afternoon nap!

This is going to be my first full day alone with both girls. J left at 5 this morning to work on his airplane with some friends. He has a function to attend tonight so he probably won't be home till well after Gracie's bedtime. But my fridge is stocked with food and the house is reasonably clean so all I have to worry about is taking care of the three of us. I am even entertaining the notion of taking us all to have lunch in the park. I mean, if I'm on my own I might as well do it up big!

My best friend arrives here on Thursday and I am so looking forward to it. I am mainly anticipating having conversation time with another adult. I think that right now for me is even more important than getting sleep in terms of heading off the depression.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Self-Worth

I loved this article titled:
Stay-at-home mom’s work worth $138,095
Annual amount she’d earn as a housekeeper, cook and psychologist

I liked the concept of the article, not so much for the dollar amount (like anyone is actually going to send me a paycheck for what I do) but for the list of all the jobs that we as Moms do. I think the job list applies whether you work at home or outside of it. For a while now I have entertained the thought of adding a section to my resume for these years of staying at home and list all the various things I do. I mean, it's a valid job, right? And a lot of what I do at home would directly transfer over to a job situation, such as organizing and managing and teaching. Now excuse me while I go wipe the puke off my glasses and change a dirty diaper. And figure out how that translates to resume experience.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Change in tactics


I've been thinking a lot lately about what to do with this blog. According to the title, I should have closed up shop with my BFP last year. I know a lot of you who read and follow my story are in your own struggle to TTC which makes me think maybe I should end it here. But I find that blogging really helps me sort out things and makes things somewhat clearer for me. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be a good tool in my battle against the post-partum depression that I can't help but believe is coming. So I've decided to keep the blog and unapologetically change the focus to the ins and outs of raising my two beautiful girls. I'm keeping my blogroll up to date and I will be following all the stories that I have for the past almost 2 years. I hope someone out there will continue to benefit from my journey.


If my little Gracie had been as good a baby as Katherine, I would have ordered up at least 2 more just like her. Granted, she's still got her days and nights mixed up. But the only time she cries is when she's hungry or trying to burb. She's content to sit in the swing or the pak-n-play or even lay on the bathroom floor while I shower. I am probably jinxing things but so far she is just a really good, laid back kid.

Gracie, on the other hand..... I knew having a sibling would be tough on her. I knew it would take me time to recover and that other people would have to give her the attention she was used to and that it wouldn't be the amount she was used to. Over the past almost two weeks I've made lots of excuses for her. Today, however, was my breaking point and at the end of the day I finally admitted to J the inevitable truth: we've got a royal brat on our hands. I told him no more excuses for the situation. It is what it is and she needs to learn to accept it. Obviously our approach so far has not helped. Time for Mama to get mean. No, not mean. Strict.

I've always watched with a certain amount of trepidation some parent-child encounters. You know what I mean; you've seen them too.
Mom: stop that
kid: [continues]
Mom: stop that or I'm going to [spank, timeout, whatever]
kid: [continues]
Mom: you really need to stop that
ad infinitum
Today I realized that I was in a loop like that with Gracie. No wonder she turned into a spoiled brat overnight. She can do whatever she likes with no consequences and she's determined to take full advantage of it. No more. Tomorrow is a whole new day and a whole new Mama. Poor kid.

In other news, my stitches seem to be healing. At least, they're itching like heck. I didn't have stitches with G but I'm assuming the itching is normal. Physically I feel almost normal, if a little sleep deprived. But not terribly sleep-deprived; nothing that an afternoon nap can't cure. If only G hadn't just given hers up. Today I took one anyway and put a movie on for her. I came down two hours later to discover that she had been at my desk and ate a chunk out of my glue stick. Yep. Ate it. I think I should be more worried about what's in my child's stomach and if I hadn't told her at least a million and one times not to touch anything there I might be more concerned. She seemed mightily pleased with herself to be telling me she ate it. I almost wish it had glued her mouth shut for a while.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Busy Day

Let's see... woke up this morning and had breakfast. Showered. Had fast food lunch at the park and hung out there for almost 2 hours soaking up the sun and taking a bit of a nap. Came home and sat around all afternoon. And guess what? I'm exhausted! Last night J took Katherine and I got a 3 hour stretch of sleep. What luxury. I guess tonight will probably be my night and I'm rather dreading it. She wakes up at night every hour to hour and a half. Considering that feedings take 20-30 minutes, I don't get much sleep in between. When I went through this with G, it seemed like eternity stretched before me and I often felt like I would never again get a good nights' sleep and that really contributed to the depression. This time around I know there's an end in sight. I'm hoping Katherine will be as good a sleeper as G and have a solid schedule by 12 months.

Speaking of sleep, I've given up on G's afternoon nap. The last few days I put her in her room about 2pm and she will play until about 4:30 or so. Then she falls asleep and wants to sleep till 6pm or later and she's really grumpy. Since I never seem to catch her before she actually falls asleep too late, I've decided to just forgo the nap and see how that goes. So much for afternoon alone time! I find I'm looking forward already to the start of preschool when I can hopefully have some morning alone time!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A post about food

Katherine went for a weigh-in today and I'm happy to report that she is now one ounce over her birth weight. My SIL says that babies don't usually get back to their birth weight until closer to 2 weeks. So that made me very, very happy. Apparently she is getting more milk than I think.

I am getting help this week in the form of meals from my Mothers of Preschoolers group. I would never have guessed what a huge help that would be. Someone brings something every other day around dinner time and the off days we have plenty of leftovers. The only other pressing chore that absolutely has to get done is laundry and J and I are working that out pretty well. Oh, and I have also left all the dishes to him to do and he hasn't complained about that once! Anything else in the house is basically just not getting done but I'm trying not to lose any sleep over it!

Thanks for all the encouraging comments about my depression. Last night was a black episode and J is now calling it the attack of my aliens. I suppose it is rather like being possessed. My doula called the other day to check up on me and immediately she asked me how I was handling my depression; apparently it was that evident from my voice. She has pointed me in the direction of some local resources which I'll pursue as I am able to.

Monday, April 30, 2007

One Week


I thought I would post a one week old picture. Physically I am feeling much better. My abdominal pain is gone and the swelling and pain of the stitches is minimal as long as I'm careful when I walk around. I'm in that in-between state where I feel like I could be doing things but I know it would set me back if I do too much. For now I am hanging out mostly upstairs and doing easy things like putting away a few pieces of laundry every now and then.

Emotionally, the depression is settling in much sooner than it did with G. Maybe because I'm just more aware of it this time around. J totally does not understand that you can't just smile your way out of depression and his being unable to understand what's going on with me makes him back off and keep his distance. One of the items on my to-do list is to start researching treatments for depression and their impact on nursing. I am definitely going to seek treatment this time around, sooner rather than later, but first I need to know what the options are and be informed.

Katherine is doing great. Breastfeeding still has me a little worried but she seems to be doing fine and my milk supply seems to be coming in okay. Nights are challenging because she just wants to be held all night. Days are easier because she is content in the swing or on the floor. I've figured out a technique of sleeping in the recliner with her at night that keeps her content and me reasonably well rested.

Things with G are much harder. I can tell that she is stressed and she acts up because of it, stressing me and causing me to sometimes take my frustrations out on her, creating a vicious cycle. Hopefully now that I am feeling a little better I will be able to spend more quality time with her. She did sleep much better last night so I'm holding out hope that we've hit the low point and it gets all better from here. She loves Katherine though and is always quick to give her a kiss or pay attention to her when she cries. J had something to do today so he took her to the sitter's. It's nice to have a bit of a break with just me and the baby!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Aftermath

Despite the quick timing, I'd have to say that, overall, my birthing experience was pretty good. The aftermath was not so good.

As soon as Katherine was born I put her to the breast and she sucked like a champ. I don't know how much time passed (maybe 15-20 minutes?) but at some point the midwife asked me to work on pushing out the placenta. Something about her tone of voice made me aware that things were, once again, not going exactly to plan. After a while of trying (there again, I don't know how long) the cord detached from the placenta. Not good. What happens next is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. Basically she had to reach up into the uterus and try a "manual extraction": she reached up in there and tried to detach it from the uterine lining and pull it out. Mine happened to be attached at the very top of the uterus. I am not exaggerating the following: she was in almost up to her elbow. Did I mention I got a second degree tear from the birth? This was not fun. In fact, it was much, much worse than any of the labor and delivery. After a while she said she was going to call in the OB on call because it was looking very much like I would require a D&C to get it out. Of course, in an effort to spare me surgery, the OB also tried a manual extraction. My doula didn't get to help out with labor but she was a huge help getting me through this.

In the end it was decided to do surgery. The midwife sat down with me and explained that there was a good chance I would end up requiring a hysterectomy. I guess when a placenta is stuck and they finally detach it, there is a very high risk of uncontrolled bleeding, in which case the only thing to do is remove the uterus. I told her I was fine with whatever they needed to do so long as I was around to raise my kids. In the recovery room the first thing they told me was that I did not need a hysterectomy and that everything was fine.

I'll spare you a blow by blow of the next few days. Suffice to say that everything was not really fine. Here's the OB's theory on what happened to me: In order to repair my septum they basically scraped tissue from the top of the uterus. I remember the fertility doc saying that it "thinned out" on the top right side quite a bit but shouldn't be a problem. When I got pregnant, the placenta attached to the scar tissue (which I understand is quite common). The placenta probably grew into the uterine wall a little too much, embedding itself in the scar tissue. When it finally detached, it left behind a small tear in the uterus and that tear allowed blood and air to escape up into my abdomen. It also left me severely anemic. A normal person has a hemoglobin level of 12-14. Within 12 hours after my delivery my hemoglobin was hovering around 7 and the next day it had dropped to 6. I agreed to a blood transfusion and within a day I was feeling like I might make it through the experience. Throughout my days in the hospital I had some pretty intense belly pain and was on some strong IV pain meds. I'm still pretty sore.

The thing I worried most about through all this is my ability to breastfeed. My milk is just now starting to come in but we have been lucky so far in that Katherine has not lost too much weight, nor is she showing anything but very, very mild signs of jaundice. My SIL (aka pediatrician) is not concerned at all and is not even suggesting I supplement her. I think it's going to work but that is still my biggest fear right now.

My second biggest fear is this hole in my uterus. The OB thinks that as the uterus shrinks down in size, the hole will seal itself off. As long as the uterus never stretches to pregnancy proportions again, the hole and corresponding weak area of scar tissue should never pose a problem. Theoretically. I am supposed to have a follow up appointment with him in about 3 weeks. I've been doing some serious thinking about whether or not I should just go ahead and have a hysterectomy once I'm all healed up from this ordeal. The whole situation makes preventing another pregnancy that much more vital and a hysterectomy would certainly solve that problem. Strange how this blog started with me wanting so desperately to get pregnant and now I'm worried about that very thing happening again.

Thanks for everyone's comments and well-wishes. I am still following all your blogs and will continue to follow the stories, hoping for a BFP for everyone.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Birth Story

This is going to be pretty short!

To recap a bit, at my 36w3d appt, I was already 3cm but not effaced. At my 37w3d appt, I was almost 4cm and 50% effaced. After that appointment I stopped having any contractions but I did start to lose my mucous plug. I felt great Thursday through Saturday. Sunday (37w6d) I woke up feeling just "off" and not so good. Around 10pm Sunday night I was sitting around talking to J and I realized that I was having mild back pain. I called my good friend Janet (a L&D nurse at the hospital) and warned her that things might be going to happen. I went ahead and went to bed, hoping to get a bit of sleep. At around 2:30am, after dozing off and on, I finally got up as the back pain was getting more intense and less bearable. At that point I was still not having any contractions.
I went in to my bathroom and got down on my hands and knees which immediately relieved the back pain. I stayed that way about half and hour when all of a sudden I realized that I was having contractions. I tried unsuccessfully to time them. In retrospect, it was impossible because they were coming right on top of each other, lasting probably a couple of minutes with maybe 30 seconds in between. Finally about 3:30 I called Janet again and she insisted I call the midwife. I know it sounds stupid but I was hesitant because I couldn't say how far apart my contractions were! So I paged her and called out for J to get up and get dressed. The details are a bit sketchy in my mind but between 3:30ish and about 4:15, I continued to labor and in between I got stuff together and J got ready too. He called some friends who live close by to come and stay with G. I also called my doula and said we were heading out to the hospital. I had to page my midwife several times before she actually got the page and it finally clicked in my head that we needed to head to the hospital sooner rather than later! We were in the car sometime around 4:15 and my midwife called on our way to the hospital. We got there several minutes later and pulled up at the ER entrance. I got in a wheelchair and my friend Janet met us on the way back to L&D. They got me in a bed and checked me and I was already 9cm. My midwife showed up and quickly got a gown on and checked me. She said I was almost 10cm with a little lip of cervix. I told her I had to push and she said to go for it. Within about 5 minutes of her arriving and with only 2 or 3 contractions, Katherine was born. My doula arrived just as I was crowning! J was on one side of me and Janet was on the other and that was about the only thing in my ideal birth plan that came to pass!

Did I mention that it was a very fast labor?! In retrospect, my labor with G was very similar. It started with my water breaking so I did all my laboring in the hospital, but once the contractions really started with her, she was born about 3 hours later.

If the story just ended there it would be perhaps a wonderful labor and delivery story. Unfortunately for me, it did not end there. Later on I'll post the drama of the aftermath.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

We're Back!

The Good: Katherine Hope made her appearance at 4:47am on Monday the 23rd of April. Birth story to follow. Katherine did great from the very beginning.

The Bad: A retained placenta meant an emergency D&C for me.

The Ugly: I passed out Monday evening and was having severe abdominal pain. A CT scan showed air and blood in my abdomen. It was finally determined that there was a small tear in my uterus. A blood transfusion Tuesday evening finally had me feeling like a human on Wednesday. We were able to come home today (Thursday).

Obviously there are lots of stories to be had from this week! I am healing but am severely anemic. We were oh so lucky that my uterus did not rupture and that I didn't have to have a hysterectomy for the retained placenta. But we are so much more lucky that all the drama happened to me and that my little Hope is perfect in every way. Here's a picture to tide you over until I can get all the details posted. Oh, she weighed 7 lb 9 oz and was 20" long.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

37w6d Going and Going and Going

I must have the energi.zer bunny of mucous plugs: ever since early yesterday morning it just keeps on coming out. I have read some women describe theirs as up to softball size when it comes out intact. I truly understand now how that can be. I'm beginning to wonder if mine was more basketball sized!

The last 3 days I have felt really good and yesterday I felt almost normal - like I wasn't pregnant at all. Today I have not been feeling well at all. My nether regions are very swollen and painful which I suppose is the varicose veins protesting all the walking and exercise ball sitting I've done over the last few days. I also took a nap today.... for 4 hours! Right now I am just counting the minutes till I can put G in bed and go back to bed myself. I have also been feeling somewhat nauseas and the back plumbing department is pretty loose (sorry - TMI!). Off and on today I've been having the very mild contractions again and a few Braxton Hicks. I can only hope that all this together adds up to an imminent labor. On the one hand I want to run around and get my house cleaned up but on the other I want to just sit and save up my energy. I will probably do some of both. I will try to update when there's something to update with!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

37w5d

At my midwife appointment week before last, when she checked me for the first time, it seemed to get things going. For the next 7 days I had mild contractions and lots of Braxton Hicks. Ever since I was checked this past week, nothing, nada, zip is going on! Every now and then I have a mild contraction but it's more like once or twice a day rather than an hour. The only positive thing that's happened since then is that I definitely lost part or all of my mucous plug this morning. Some women report it coming out in one big blob. That wasn't my experience; it was more like tons and tons and tons of fertile CM that just kept coming and coming and coming.... That was several hours ago and it's still coming. I still find it incredible that the cervix can be open and have all this stuff still lodged up there. I'm thinking maybe losing the plug is more related to cervical effacement than dilation: as the cervix basically goes away, this stuff has nowhere to lodge.

So, no real news to report. I have been doing as much walking as I can stand the last few days. Fortunately we are having beautiful spring weather here in central Ohio so G and I can go to the park. Usually my trips to the park are spent on the bench reading. Now I've been walking around in circles while G plays and she really doesn't know what to make of it! J is due home tonight and I'm really hoping that psychologically my body will feel ready to get off its break and "let go"! I'll try to keep posting here every few days with my status.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

37w3d

I woke up this morning to see a small spot of blood on my pad and a little more when I wiped. I never thought the red stuff could be so exciting! When I told the midwife about it plus the fact that I have been having mild contractions all week, she said she wanted to check me again. Last week I was 3cm but not at all effaced. This week I'm almost 4cm and 50% effaced. She said she didn't feel my waters bulging so she doesn't think they'll break anytime soon but the Group B Strep makes it much more likely that the water will break before real labor sets in. She said she wouldn't be surprised if I delivered this weekend but it could be just as likely that it might be a week or two. But the good news is that I'm almost through the "latent" phase of labor. The active phase is 4-10cm. So I'm supposed to call her when the contractions are 5-6 minutes apart and are strong enough for me to have to stop what I'm doing. Or if my water breaks. She said if my water breaks at this point it would not be a big deal - it would probably be the thing to jump start real labor. So after all this time of hoping labor didn't start that way, I now find myself hoping that's what happens! J is off on a trip today and then plans to spend several days in Memphis working on some stuff. He assures me he's just a phone call and airplane ride away but I am so stressed that he might not make it in time.

So even with all this I find myself still waiting. But I am at least a little more hopeful that the wait might not be much longer.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

37w2d

I am so done being pregnant! I continue to have very mild contractions throughout the day. It's not that they hurt. Rather, they keep me on edge, wondering if/when they're going to turn into something more. To add to that, J was supposed to be off until Tuesday of next week but he accepted an assignment and leaves tonight and comes home tomorrow. I know it's an assignment he needs to take but I just have this niggling feeling that he's not going to be around for the birth.

As the baby gets bigger I find that her movements are much more uncomfortable. This morning she seems to have gotten a foot caught in my rib cage. Sounds cute until you're actually trying to get unstuck from that position.

Okay, enough wining! I spent a fair amount of time yesterday walking around. I find that my vulvular varicose veins don't bother me nearly as much since I stopped exercising regularly, so walking is actually an option now. I'm going to do more of it today.

Monday, April 16, 2007

37 Weeks: Home Stretch

Wow! 37 weeks. It was a mere 7 weeks ago that I made a trip to L&D with mild contractions and all the angst of possible pre-term labor. Where has the time gone?! Someone told me the other day that my pregnancy has passed very quickly for them but it probably didn't seem that way to me. Looking at the day to day perspective, it seems to creep by. But if I think about where I've been, it seems so quick! It's been almost a year since May 1 of last year when I had my HSG that diagnosed my septum. May 26 of last year was when I had surgery to correct it. And now here I am, about to have the baby that resulted from all that. Wow!

My BH and contractions have really tapered off but this morning I'm having a lot more discharge. Every little sign and symptom gets paid a lot of attention! But, I've been informed by both my hubby and SIL that I'm not allowed to have the baby this week. SIL is off at a medical conference for the week. J wants to get a bunch of stuff done this week and out of the way. So I guess I'm supposed to just hold my breath and hope for the best! I promised them both that I wouldn't do anything to try and bring on labor this week.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

36w6d Breastfeeding

One day to go to that magic 37 week mark! Yesterday my BH/contractions dropped off considerably. I'm starting to get more in the mindset that this baby is coming closer to her due date, despite walking around with a partially opened cervix.

The past several mornings I've woken up to quite firm breasts that feel really full of milk. If you've breastfed before, it's that feeling you get just before you're baby is ready to nurse: not quite painful but reminding you there's milk in there. It's rather exciting for me because breastfeeding is one of the things I'm really looking forward to with this baby. My experience breastfeeding G was absolutely wonderful but abruptly cut off by an illness (mine) when she was 11 months old.


Previously I had thought that I wouldn't try to pump and freeze. I pumped a little with G but it was such a hassle. This time I signed up with the formula makers to get free samples and I figured I would just use those the few times someone else kept the new baby. Now that I have the deep freezer, though, I decided to think more about freezing. If you have breastfeeding questions, I've always found the Kelly Mom website to be really good. In particular, this page has information about how long you can freeze breast milk. In a deep freeze at 0 degrees, it will freeze 6-12 months. Wow! This means that I can freeze along the way in the early months and have plenty of supplies when she gets to the point where I will leave her with someone else. So, I might pull out my pumping supplies after all.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

36w5d Counting the "Symptoms"

Ever since the internal on Thursday, I feel like I am right on the brink of going into labor. Right there but not quite! Both evenings/nights since then I've had lots of Braxton-Hicks, interspersed with very mild contractions. Nothing to count or time or anything. But they're definitely there. Yesterday and today I have had a definite increase in cervical mucous. It's much thicker than before and almost brown-tinged. I assume this is my mucus plug breaking up, although it seems to me that at 3cm, whatever was in there surely would have come out by now. But what do I know? Last night a number of times I would feel her kicking at the top of my uterus and I could actually feel the corresponding pressure of her head on my cervix. A few times it was actually quite painful. Today I've been feeling more mild contractions than the BH but still nothing that makes me stop and want to time them.

So, lots of symptoms to obsess over but nothing definite. J is on a trip until Monday. One of his flights on Monday is a special exam that he really doesn't want to miss as it is the last step in him getting sort of a promotion (and corresponding raise!). While I'd like for him to get that out of the way before the baby comes, on the other hand I'm having a hard time imagining these BH/contractions going on for days on end. Time will tell......

Thursday, April 12, 2007

36w3d: 3cm!

Yep, the midwife checked me this morning and I'm already 3cm! I have been debating whether or not I would ask her to go ahead and check but she beat me to it and said she'd like to as she likes to have a "baseline" around 36-37 weeks. She asked if I was feeling lower pressure and I said definitely, and I even feel like sometimes she's going to fall out when I stand up. She said my cervix is still pretty long so there is no effacement yet; but she said it's quite common on subsequent babies for the cervix to efface while it dilates. So the bottom line is that I still don't really know anything yet. I could walk around like this for a few more weeks or labor could be imminent. We'll just have to wait and see. The last few days I've been feeling an increase in crampiness which I take to be Braxton Hicks but are obviously doing something down there. Let the waiting continue!

Monday, April 09, 2007

36 Weeks

Can't believe I'm finally here at 36 weeks! I thought I was in waiting mode before but I realized this morning that I'm in a whole new waiting mode now. It's funny to me (from this vantage point) how closely parallel is waiting to conceive the baby and then waiting to birth the baby. I find myself scrutinizing cervical fluid wondering not if it's fertile but if it's actually part of the mucous plug. I've seen a marked increase in fluid the last few days but nothing I can definitively call part of the plug. I also have cramps to pay attention to and scrutinize now. They have no regularity and aren't anywhere near what I would call contractions but I do wonder if they are mild ones that might perhaps be doing something.

So, lots to obsess over! I've noticed that people have stopped asking me how far along I am. The question now is "How much longer?"!!

This weekend, in a supreme burst of energy, I cleaned my upstairs. The vacuum cleaner has been sitting in my upstairs hall for 2 weeks waiting for that burst. My house right now is in a state such that I'm not ashamed for anyone to see it. Actually, it hasn't been this neat and clean in some time!

My other project was to design birth announcements. This was one thing I didn't do for G; I sent an email to most of the people we knew and the few who didn't have email, I mailed a picture with a note. The emails were actually nice because almost everyone responded and I saved all those for G's baby book. But I decided to do something a little different this time around so I'm sending out some simple announcements. With all the energy, I also managed to address all the envelopes!

That's all for now. Just waiting....

Saturday, April 07, 2007

35w5d

All my bags are packed
I'm ready to go.


Yup, the hospital bags are packed and ready to go. It feels so surreal to look at the corner of my room and see them sitting there. So, here's what I packed in case anyone is looking for a packing list:

For Baby
I basically just packed the diaper bag with:

  • a few diapers (the hospital provides diapers but it is a diaper bag after all!)
  • wipes (for some reason most hospitals don't provide these and changing a yucky meconium diaper with a wet paper towel is not fun)
  • hat
  • "coming home" outfit (basically the smallest footed pajamas I have)
  • a couple of newborn size onsies (probably won't be needed but they are something I will keep in the diaper bag anyway)
  • socks
  • mittens
  • a couple of blankets
  • the car seat. I know - you're supposed to install this beforehand but for some strange reason I'm just really not ready to drive around with it empty right now.


My Bag

    Toiletries
    2 nursing nightgowns
    a robe
    a nursing shirt to wear home
    nursing bra
    several pairs of socks
    Lansinoh (with G I didn't start using this for several days. This time I plan to start using it right off the bat. It helps immensely but I think the trick is stopping the chapping before it starts)
    breast pads
    stuff to keep my hair out of my face
    some pairs of old underwear
    chapstick
    shirt to wear in the jacuzzi
    snacks
    birth plan (the midwife has one in her files but this one I will hand to the nurses when I come in so everyone can be on board with what I want up front)
    nitelight (the hospital where I had G had a nightlight type lamp but some places don't, making middle of the night feedings challenging. I have a rechargeable flashlight that has a nightlight setting that I plan to take just in case)
    gatorade
    my ipod and speaker set (I changed my mind about taking music. The doula convinced me that it couldn't hurt to bring it)
    cameras
    shower shoes
    walking the halls shoes that I don't mind getting dirty
    phone charger


That's it. I left out the bottle of wine. Since we only live about 5 minutes from the hospital, I decided I can always send someone home to get it if I decide I need it. Of course, there are some last minute things that I can't pack yet (like my hairbrush and my cameras). I have a very detailed list about these items and exactly where they are in case I'm not the one grabbing them.

The only other thing I'm thinking about is a gift for G when she comes to visit. I'm thinking about getting her something like a cabbage patch doll and having my friend who is a delivery room nurse there bring it in in a bassinet just like the real baby. I think it will help her to have her "own" baby to do stuff on when she can't actually do it on the real baby. She is really into that stage where she wants to help me on everything and gets very frustrated when she's not capable of doing something.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

35w3d Appointment

Midwife appointment went great today. No sugar in my urine which was a nice change. I didn't gain any weight in the last two weeks but she didn't comment on it so I didn't ask! I asked her about what to take when Tums didn't handle the heartburn and she suggested liquid Mylanta. So I got some of that to try. We went over my birth plan and she said it was a great one because there is nothing on there that is outside of standard procedure for her. My next appointment starts the weekly visits. I didn't ask her about when or if she does internals. I go round and round about that. On the one hand I don't want to take the higher risk of infection. On the other hand, I'd love to know what's going on in there. We didn't specifically talk about it at this visit but I get the distinct impression that my midwife thinks this baby is going to be early. I suppose if I get to 38 or 39 weeks I can decide about asking for an internal exam.

I started packing the baby's bag last night which meant that I had to get on the ball to wash all the clothes. It actually took 2 loads in my front loading washer but that included the myriad of blankets and crib linens. I did open the package of newborn size diapers - I can't believe how small they look! It's so easy to forget how small babies are. With G I never used a special detergent - I just washed her stuff separately and did a second rinse on them. Even then, I only did that for maybe 6 weeks and then I just started washing her stuff with ours. Fortunately she didn't inherit my sensitive skin! My front loader washer has a "skin care rinse" that does about 3 separate rinses I think. Hopefully this one won't require anything more special than that.

Tick, tock. Just a few more days till I can start thinking labor thoughts! Actually, right now, I'm thinking 37 weeks would be a perfect time frame. We'll see what happens.

Here's my birth plan if anyone is interested:


I would like the following observed when at all possible:

- no drugs offered or administered unless firmly requested

- freedom to move about

- I would like to have the option of laboring in water

- I am aware of the need for IV penicillin for Group B Strep, but I would like to have a Heplock when the antibiotics are not being administered.

- vaginal exams only when necessary. I would prefer the midwife to do most of the exams, although it is okay for someone else to do an initial one.

- no artificial rupture of membranes unless necessary

- staff in the room should be limited to only those necessary

- eating and drinking allowed

- fetal monitoring via stethoscope or Doppler only except for the initial monitoring upon admission.

- no episiotomy unless absolutely necessary

- no medical interventions without first having discussed the benefits and risks with both of us

- immediate breastfeeding

- cord cutting delayed until pulsing stops if possible (G's cord was very short so it was cut more quickly so we could hold her)

- spontaneous placental delivery if possible

- no separation of mother and baby unless absolutely medically necessary

- in case a separation is necessary, J, M, or J should be allowed to be with the baby at all times

- no bottles or pacifiers

- anticipate 24 hour rooming in with breastfeeding on demand

- eye drops delayed until at least an hour after birth

- If a cesarean becomes absolutely necessary:

o I would prefer an epidural over general anesthesia

o J should hold baby as soon as possible so that K can see and touch

o attempt at breastfeeding as soon as is medically possible.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

35w1d Doula

We met with the doula again today for the second and last time. This session was all about comfort measures. She brought her "doula bag of tricks" (basically a rolling suitcase bag). She said she likes to acquaint people with what she's got in there before the heat of labor. Which was good because the first thing she pulled out of her bag was this. It looks like some sort of medieval torture device but it felt absolutely wonderful on my head! I was all prepared to say don't touch my head at all - I had a massage therapist that tried scalp massage on me once and I hated it. But I let her try it and decided I really like it. Whether I'll let her do it during labor or not remains to be seen. There other stuff was pretty basic: massage oils, things to massage with, etc. She also brought her birth ball. The only time I've used a birth ball was when I was in labor with G and it just wasn't something that worked for me at that moment. But sitting on this one was very comfortable and I could feel it stretching let muscles that are obviously out of use but ones I need to strengthen up before I try to push out a baby. So on her recommendation I plan to get one and start using it regularly. To finish up she massaged both my hands and feet. It was blissful!

J actually told me today that he needs to pack his hospital bag! Then he started listing all the stuff he wants to be sure and bring. I hadn't mentioned a hospital bag at all to him so it was neat for me to know that he is actually thinking about and looking forward to doing this all over again.

I think G is dealing with a virus or something. She has been "off" the last day or two and she woke up from her nap today with a bit of a fever. I can only hope it's nothing contagious.

Monday, April 02, 2007

35 Weeks

Now that April is here I'm feeling more a sense of urgency to get things prepared. I spent a while yesterday scouring the net for ideas on what to pack in the "hospital bag". I don't remember what all I took with G but I do remember that most of it stayed in the bag! I think the doula will have us covered for most of the labor stuff, so I don't plan to bring stuff like massage oil or music or anything like that. I brought some CDs with G but don't remember listening to them. Sometime this week I will actually pack the bags and when I get that done I'll post the list of what I actually decided to pack. I also need to talk to my friend who is a L&D nurse and get her input.

Last week I bought a chest freezer. I have a bottom freezer fridge and space there has always been at a premium. Last summer I got tons of fresh vegetables from a friend who has a garden and, being the frugal person that I am, couldn't let it go to waste, so I froze a bunch of it. No regrets on doing that except for maybe the time ice cream was on sale and I couldn't buy any because there was just no space. I've also had my ice maker turned off so I can use the space taken up by the ice bucket. I was talking to my friend last week who is coming after the birth and she offered to make stuff for me to freeze while she's here. That's when I decided it was time to invest! I got the smallest one available which still has tons of space and I'll be curious to see what it does to the electric bill.

Another thing I did yesterday was to make a calendar for the month of May that I can hang up in the kitchen so that anyone coming over can see what's going on, namely to show who's bringing us food when. I was pleased to see that basically we're covered for meals from May 10th on. Depending on when this kid actually shows up, we'll hopefully have some help until then. Plus I am making extras of all our meals right now to freeze. Between that and frozen pizzas I think we'll survive. J is actually a pretty good cook if he puts his mind to it but I'd rather have him worry more about things like entertaining G and changing diapers!

Pregnancy-wise I'm feeling about the same. I started getting some crampiness again Saturday night and it continued off and on through Sunday. Saturday I actually considered taking some of the terbutaline pills but I knew I'd be up all night if I did so I decided against it. The cramps were somewhat regular, coming about every 10 minutes. But they seem to be gone now so maybe they were just Braxton Hicks. My next appointment is this coming Thursday so I'll check it out with the midwife then. I suspect that since I'll be so close to the 36 weeks mark by then that she won't be too concerned.

Time is ticking by. It's entirely possible that sometime this very month I'll actually have this baby! So another project this week will be to actually wash the baby clothes and finish getting the nursery ready. Doing that, combined with packing my bags and a session with the doula on comfort measures during labor will, I think, really serve to bring home to me that this is actually going to happen. Yes, I still check the toilet paper every single time I pee. Yes, I still wonder about every twinge. Yes, I still hold my breath somewhat when I think the baby hasn't been moving enough. Yes, I know that things can still go terribly wrong. But right now I'm allowing myself to be optimistic and look forward to meeting my new daughter.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

34w5d Countdown, More Tips

Only 9 days to go till I'm 36 weeks and can deliver at the local hospital. I don't know why I'm holding my breath so. I've really had no more pre-labor symptoms since the 30 week scare and there's nothing to indicate I'll deliver that early. Still.... I'll feel better when I actually hit that milestone.

Only 30 days to go till I'm 39 weeks (when I delivered my daughter).

The other day I was making out a grocery list and started thinking about how the shopping will get done when I'm not able to do it myself. Mostly I was thinking in terms of how to get it paid for. If J is doing the shopping it's no problem. But my best friend will be here for several days and I'm sure she'll do a lot of shopping for me (she has promised to make a bunch of stuff for me and freeze it!). Plus there might be times when people drop by and offer to pick up things. I'm not a cash person and I rarely have more than $20 on me. It occurred to me to buy a gift card to the local grocery store that I could just hand over to whoever is doing the shopping. My last trip I bought one and I plan to buy more each time I go (I'm buying them in increments to spread out the cost a bit). This way I don't have to worry about paying anyone back and the added advantage is that I can just use up whatever's left over when I start doing the shopping again.

Another tip I just read over at Parent Hacks and will definitely try. They suggest freezing hair gel in ziploc bags for ice packs. The advantage of the gel over water is that the gel will supposedly not freeze as hard as water. I can attest to the need for ice packs after a vaginal delivery. I didn't try them till about a week after I came home but oh what a huge difference they made. I ended up using the ice packs from my Avent pump and go set because they didn't freeze rock solid. I would freeze them and then put them in a ziploc to use. The problem was that I only had two. So definitely on my shopping list is a thing of hair gel and the snack size ziploc bags. I think that will make the perfect size for down there. I plan to freeze a few test runs and test them out and I'll let you know how well they work.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

34w1d Is it just me or is it hot in here?

It's currently 77 degrees here in central Ohio. Someone must have gotten the message that this is spring break week, at least in my town.

I remember the last two months of my pregnancy with Gracie was in January and February, typically the coldest months of the year. I would sleep with just a T-shirt and sheet while John shivered on the other side of the bed under a mountain of blankets because I had turned the heat off. So it's with a little trepidation that I view this warmer weather.

Night before last I slept horribly and, upon reflection the next day, I realized that the flannel sheets might have had something to do with it. So yesterday I kept the windows open all day and replaced the flannel with nice cool cotton. Then just before bed I drug out the fan (the one that I paid a bunch for because it is super quiet) and directed it right at my side of the bed. Last night I slept pretty well. Except for the shivering on the other side of the bed.

Today I actually got out one of my short sleeve maternity shirts. It was a huge shock to see myself in something other than one of the 4 long sleeve maternity shirts I posses. But oh how heavenly to actually feel somewhat cool.

Looks like tomorrow we may go back to more March-like temps. I'm still not putting the flannel sheets back on.

Monday, March 26, 2007

34 Weeks

Wow! Only 2 weeks to go until I hit that 36 week milestone. I keep feeling like it will be all down-hill from there for some reason.

J and I are actually planning one last outing next weekend. He is based out of Detroit and sometimes has long overnight layovers there. So I will fly up there to meet him and we'll stay in the swank Westin hotel that is right in the airport. He gets a decent pilot rate on it although eating meals in the airport always kills the pocketbook!

Not much new to report on the pregnancy front. My swollen feet and varicose veins continue to plague me. Only 6 weeks to go!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Three

I've decided I really like Three. The age, that is.

The first year of G's life was hard for me. There are so many adjustments to be made and when you throw in post-partum depression, it made for a rough time for everyone involved.

Between the ages of 1 and 2 was a good time. We had worked out the sleep issues and were both getting plenty of it. I had managed to work through my depression. G started walking and the world was a new and exciting place every second of the day.

Between 2 and 3 got tougher again. G began to figure out that she was an independent person and she took every opportunity to assert and test that independence. But there were so many things she wanted to do and just wasn't capable of yet. Lots of frustration.

Now G is 3. Things have gotten progressively better over the last few months. She still tests her limits but overall she is turning out to be a pretty well-behaved little girl. She still naps in the afternoon which gives me a break. The world is still an exciting place with new discoveries every day. But my favorite part is watching her play. Po.lly Po.ckets have recently invaded our home and G absolutely loves them. One day she spent three straight hours in her own little imaginary world, acting out all sorts of things with the dolls. I'm fascinated to watch her concoct all sorts of stories and it makes me really aware that she is always watching me and not a whole lot gets past her.

So I am liking 3 so far. Weird how the good years and bad seem to alternate. Makes me rather afraid that the same pattern will occur with the new baby because then someone will always be in a bad year. Sometimes I let myself look down the road and think that I have 3 years at least to get this new baby to a point where I feel like I really enjoy being a mother. And by then G will be 6! I'm sure it was just yesterday that the midwife handed her to me and I marveled that they were actually going to send this tiny baby home with me - no instructions or degree required. Wow.

Friday, March 23, 2007

33w4d Motivation

I have never really liked exercising for the sake of exercising. Previous to all the complications of this pregnancy (namely the varicose veins) I could motivate myself to go to the gym daily because for one thing it would give me a break from G and also because I could read a book and listen to my Ipod and forget that I was actually working. Since the treadmill is no longer an option, I just can't seem to get motivated to go and swim. The last few times I've ended up in the warm water pool just hanging out. While it feels great to have a little relief from the aches and pains, the only exercise I get is in actually packing my bag and changing my clothes. I can practically feel my muscles melting away.

This morning we had to leave the house at 6am to get John to the airport for work. It was raining cats and dogs all the way there and back. Definitely a good day for a nap. Makes it even harder to get motivated to go to the gym.

Maybe we'll go out for McD's for lunch. That would count as some exercise, wouldn't it?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

33w3d Midwife Appt

Everything went swimmingly at the appointment today. Blood pressure was perfect, heartbeat was around 150 which is perfect, there appears to be plenty of amniotic fluid, and I'm measuring almost 34 weeks which is perfect. The midwife thinks the baby is going to be on the smaller side. She estimates weight at around 4.5 to 5 pounds right now. That's fine by me!! My weight was up 33 pounds overall. If I gain the standard pound a week from here on out I should be about what I gained with G. She would have done the Group B Strep culture this appointment but there is no need since I already know I have it.

She didn't ask for it, but I plan to bring my birth plan to my next appt in 2 weeks. After that appointment, I'll start going weekly. Wow!

Monday, March 19, 2007

33 Weeks

Only about 7 weeks to go! Lately the worst of my symptoms seem to have gone away, knock on wood. My varicose veins don't really bother me and the restless legs have quieted down. My worst problem the last few days is the inability to breathe. Sometimes I feel like I just can't catch my breath. I guess that's what happens when you've got a butt in your lungs.

Thus far I have held off on putting together a "hospital" bag. Like if the baby thinks I'm ready, she'll come too early. How silly is that?! But yesterday I started at least compiling a list. I was wondering the timing of things during my labor so I went back and looked at the time stamps on pictures from that day. At 1:45pm I was sitting in a hospital bed getting monitored (they did it for 15 minutes every hour) eating a dish of chocolate pudding with a big smile on my face. At that point my water had been broken for about 12 hours but I was obviously not in serious labor! The next picture I have was taken about 4:30pm and I was just starting to work through some serious contractions. If I remember correctly, a check previous to that had me at about 4cm dilated. About half an hour later things started really heating up and I went into the shower (I wanted to labor in water but the room with the only jacuzzi at that hospital wasn't available). G was born at about 7:40pm. Looking at that timeline, I realize that I only had about 3 hours of true labor. Wow! Sure seemed like more than that. The coolest thing is that G was nursing a mere 10 minutes after she was born!

It was neat to look back at the pictures and I would highly recommend that you have hubby or someone take some during your labor. Even if you never show them to anyone (notice I'm not posting any of mine here!), the timeline they can give you is invaluable to compare with what you remember of the day.

The next batch of pictures I have is from the next day. In most of them, I am in the hospital gown nursing G. Of course, they don't make hospital gowns to nurse in, so in all these pictures I'm pretty exposed. Which brings me to my list. This time around I'm taking my own nursing pajamas! There is also a picture of me nursing her just before we left the hospital and I'm wearing a maternity shirt hiked up so you can see my squishy belly. Also definitely on the list is a nursing shirt and bra. Live and learn! The other thing that's currently on my list? A bottle of wine! Apparently this hospital has a nice supper for the new parents and I intend to top that off with a nice glass of wine!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Anniversary

Seems like no matter how I try to forget it or bury it, the anniversary of my first m/c will always remain with me. Two years ago today I went in for a D&C. I was 10.5 weeks and the baby measured about 9.5 weeks. About this time last year I was having another m/c. I confess these events greatly factored into my anxiety over the cramping I experienced a few weeks ago. March is just not a good month for me and babies.

I hit yet another milestone today: I had to take my wedding band off today. I have never had it off my finger since J put it there over 10 years ago. The last week or so my fingers swell up and that fingers gets itchy. Today it actually started to hurt. It took a while but with the help of some hand lotion I was able to get it off. I know J will never let me live it down but I reckoned it was better than losing my finger!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Do You Have A Doula?

Hey Christina over at a Mommy Story - drop me an email (see right bar for my address). My doula sent me a list of recommendations for you.

Friday, March 16, 2007

32w4d Baby Necessities

After my dentist's appt today I went shopping, first to Target then to the mall to spend some Christmas gift cards. At Target I decided to go ahead and buy a package of both newborn and size 1 diapers. Oh my gosh - I had forgotten how small the packages are! I think I bought one package of each size before G was born and I still have some of those left (I used mainly cloth).

Earlier this week we had our first "prenatal" with the doula. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but from some comments she made, I got the impression that it would be a 2-hour childbirth education class. Now, we took a four week class before G was born and we decided not to take any this time around. Rather, I've been re-reading lots of books and even got a couple for J to read. So I met the doula at the door with our birth plan from G and as I expected that rather headed off a lot of the basic material. We spent most of the time going over the birth plan and noting minor changes to accommodate what the hospital here does. Our next prenatal will be in a few weeks and she'll spend the time going over and demonstrating various comfort measures. That will be more to my liking!! She will also bring her "doula bag of tricks" and show us things she has like aromatherapy and knee pads for J if he has to be kneeling to help me out. When I get the tweaks done I'll post my birth plan here.

Back in January when I was cleaning up the nursery, I made a list of a few things that I thought would have been nice to know the first time around. Some true "necessities" that you don't usually find on other lists:

  • A variety of diaper rash creams and ointments – Sooner or later your baby *will* get a diaper rash. And the miracle cream that worked for your friend down the street may do nothing but irritate your baby’s bottom. The best thing is to have a variety of stuff ahead of time and then experiment to see what works. Over the course of time I ended up buying about one of everything in the diaper rash section. I wish that I had known and could have stocked up well ahead of time when things were on sale or I could price shop. The stuff isn’t cheap and especially not when you have to buy it at the local pharmacy because you need something *now*. By all means, ask around and get recommendations, but be prepared to experiment. And don’t discount simple talcum powder. In the end I found that to be the best at preventing rashes in the first place.
  • Hand sanitizer – I keep a bottle of this wherever I have diapers. As soon as I get the wet or dirty diaper off and in the trash, I clean my hands and then put on the clean diaper. You can’t always get away to wash you hands properly but this at least lets you get some of the germs off. This also comes in handy as the kid enters toddler-hood to try and keep away some of the cold germs.
  • You’ll see a lot of the hard, travel cases for baby wipes. Skip those. The best container for baby wipes is a Ziploc bag which keeps the moisture in so the wipes won’t dry out. This is especially important for wipes you have stashed here and there that don’t get used often. As my child got older I even kept my main stash of wipes in a Ziploc rather than the dispenser box to keep them from drying out.
  • I used and really liked something called the “Ultimate Crib Sheet”. It’s basically a waterproof mattress pad and bottom sheet all in one. It attaches to the side of the crib in such a way that you don’t have to take off the bumper pad or anything in order to change it. I had three of them and would put them all on the crib at once. Then, when one got dirty, all I had to do was take the top one off and the crib would be ready again. Easy! I got mine at Target.

By no means a comprehensive list but just a few tips to get you thinking! Sometimes it's the little things (like being able to quickly change the crib sheet at 3am) that will keep you sane!

It's strange: the last few days have seen a return of my fear of the baby having Down's or something similar. I don't know why all of a sudden I'm afraid - I guess because the weeks are counting down and we'll know for sure soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

32w2d

I actually got out of bed at 7:30 this morning and went grocery shopping! I am totally not a morning person but I've been trying to get this trip in with no luck all week and this was my last chance before J goes back to work. I'm now satisfied that I have enough pantry stock to get us through the birth and a little beyond. I'll still make weekly trips but just for perishables.

Last week at our MOPS group we had a nutritionist come and talk about meal planning. I've had a system in place for a while now that works pretty well and will work especially well when the baby comes, I think, provided that I have stocked up enough! What I do is I write down a list of about 20-30 meals that I will make over the course of about a month. I have a 3 column document made up so that I can write the recipe name in one column, non-perishable ingredients in another, and perishables in the third. When I've listed all the meals I go through my pantry and check off the non-perishables that I already have. Then I make a (usually) huge grocery list from the non-perishables that I still need. Then about once a week or so I sit down with my calendar and write down things I plan to make. From that I make up a shopping list of perishables to get. For me, this is more flexible than trying to plan out each day what we're going to eat for weeks in advance. Plus I always have some meals that I can make completely from pantry items in case I can't get to the grocery store for perishables. Anyway, that's my system and maybe it will give someone out there some ideas.

One thing the pregnancy books will tell you happens in late pregnancy is that your pelvic bones will begin to move open in anticipation of a baby passing through them. I don't remember having any pain with G from this. I am definitely having it this time around! Seems like it would hurt more the first time but maybe it didn't really happen until I was in labor. Even though it hurts like heck to walk, it's an exciting development since it means my body is getting ready for things. I'm sure I looked pretty funny waddling around the grocery store this morning though!

Monday, March 12, 2007

32 Weeks

I'm 32 weeks today. In just 4 short weeks I'll be able to deliver at the hospital of my choice and the baby won't be considered too early. 28 days. I'm counting. In 28 days you can bet I'll start visualizing an opening cervix in all my spare moments. I am so very tired of being pregnant.

Two weeks ago I dealt with a fever and GBS infection. This past Saturday afternoon I came down with a fever again and it continued all day Sunday, hovering around 100 degrees. Not enough to be truly concerning but enough to make me feel achy all over and just generally miserable. Fortunately I didn't have any cramping this time but, as I finished up my antibiotics Saturday, I did begin to worry that they might not have wiped out the GBS. I finally talked to the midwife Sunday evening and she asked me lots of questions and eventually decided that I just have a viral infection causing the fever and aches. She sounded pretty certain that, with some Tylenol and lots of rest, I will feel better within a few days. I do feel somewhat better today so am keeping my fingers crossed that she's right.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Whopper of a Bill

Got my insurance statement today for my little visit to L&D last week. Wow! I was there for about an hour and a half. I got monitored and had several labs done (urine and cultures plus the FFn). Also got the shot of terbutaline. All that came to a grand total billed of almost $1700! Wow!

Our company got on a new insurance this year - Un.ited Healt.hcare. From everything I've heard it's the bottom rung of insurance plans. Doesn't pay a whole lot so no one wants to take it. Our dentist is no longer covered. Fortunately the hospital and midwife both take it. I have to say, though, that I'm pleased with the coverage thus far. For one thing, it looks like they cover 100% of labwork when it's done in conjunction with a hospital stay. So all my labs were free. I'm still working on the deductible this year so I have to pay a grand total of $150 which could be worse. What got me, though, is that the hospital billed $1681. The insurance company allowed $478. No wonder no one wants to accept this insurance! I almost feel like I should leave a tip for the midwife or something. Her office is always way behind on billing (I just recently paid the copay for my first visit in October) so I don't know what they'll allow from her bill. Hopefully it's a goodly amount!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

31w3d Midwife Appointment

My every-other-week appointment went pretty well today. The most reassuring thing is that my midwife isn't worried about my going into pre-term labor. She's satisfied that it was the GBS infection causing the uterine irritability and as long as that's being treated, she doesn't think I'm at any higher risk of delivering early. But of course she cautioned me to be a little more vigilant for any signs of pre-term labor.

The only thing I got a little lectured about today was my weight. I don't routinely weigh myself at home anymore but I suspect that over the course of last week I lost somewhere around 5 pounds, maybe more. Today I was down 2 pounds from my last visit two weeks ago. I have a newfound respect for women who cope with Hyperemesis Gravidarium which is the really, really bad form of morning sickness. I went about 3 days without having much of an appetite and lost 5 pounds. I can only imagine the issues with weight gain when one is constantly sick while pregnant. I still don't really have much of an appetite but yesterday and today I have at least gotten hungry at the appropriate times. I'll be done with my antibiotics on Saturday and hopefully that will boost my appetite.

After my appointment today I went and got my hair cut. My last cut back in November was an impromptu stop at one of those drop-in chain places. I'm sure there's lots of good hair stylists that work at those places and I wouldn't want to offend, but the particular lady I got that day really butchered my hair. One side looked great but the other side was all different lengths. So I got a referral from a friend and plunked down $40 for a wash, cut, and style. Totally worth it! She made it look cute with very little effort. I might even drag out my blow dryer and attempt some styling of my own!

G is at the sitter's today. J called and asked how I was enjoying my "day off". Well, let's see, between the midwife and hair appointment, and doing all the shopping on my list, the day is pretty much gone. And I still have to go do the grocery shopping which I positively dread. We go through about half a gallon of milk A DAY here (!!) plus about a gallon of water a day (yes, I've become on of those water-snobs who thinks tap water tastes yucky and only drinks bottled). So if I buy two weeks worth of milk and water my basket is full before I've even begun. I really must look in to a bottled water delivery service and possibly tethering a cow in the back yard!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

After Baby Comes Home

I came across this article at one of my favorite sites today: "Chore board" helps postpartum visitors help you. I think it sounds like a stellar idea. I remember all too well when I first came home with G and people would stop by. Of course I wanted to sit and chat with them but in retrospect I did way too much "entertaining" and not enough taking advantage of people who were more than willing to help. So I'm seriously considering doing this. I'll probably add things to it like "Watch the kids while I take a shower" or "Take G somewhere for a few hours while baby and I take a nap". I'm sure some people will find it tacky but I suspect I'll be too tired with a toddler and newborn to really, truly care too much!

Monday, March 05, 2007

31 Weeks

My first pregnancy was a breeze. I remember thinking many times "I like being pregnant". Let me just say that I do not like it quite as much this time around. I feel like a walking ailment list. My latest is pain in my heel. I've had to take to wearing my most comfortable shoes all the time, complete with a heel pad, to keep the pain at bay. Just getting up in the middle of the night and walking across the carpet will cause it to hurt. If nothing else, it has made me but sure to keep my feet propped up a lot which is also really helping with the swelling.

I think the antibiotics are helping my infection. Yesterday I had just a few occasions of very, very mild cramping that lasted for just 10-15 minutes each. The pills are a pain in the butt to take, though. I have to take them every 6 hours on an empty stomach (1 hour before a meal or 2 hours after). Getting them on an empty stomach is quite challenging, but I decided not to worry too awfully much about it and just do the best I can. Hopefully I'll be done with them this Sunday.

The whole pre-term labor thing still scares me. I know that she would have a very good chance of surviving at this point but I can't even contemplate having to spend weeks in the NICU and trying not to let my other child be too impacted.

I told G last night about the baby. Of course she got very excited but I think it is still a shadowy concept for her. She keeps wanting to "look at the baby" and then she fixates on my belly button. I'd give anything to know what's going on in her head! Of course, she wants to know when the baby is going to come out. I told her that baby has to grow some more but she'll come out when she's ready. So last night she kept asking me over and over if the baby was ready yet. I think it's going to be a long 8 or 9 weeks!

My next midwife appointment is this Thursday. This time I'm anxious to talk to her about how likely she thinks it will be for me to go into early labor and also whether she'll do early internals or repeat the FFN test. She's a very laid back practitioner and I think if she takes a wait and see approach it will do a lot to alleviate my fears of an early labor.

Thursday is also a sitter day for G. YIPPPPPEEEE! We haven't been since January and I was beginning to think she was going to blow me off. Of course, about the only thing I plan to get done is the midwife and grocery shopping. Oh, and I have an appointment for a hair cut.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Me And Group B Strep

Sounds like a title of a bad country song, doesn't it? So let me tell you about my relationship with Group B Strep.

When I was pregnant with G, I tested positive for GBS. This bacteria usually doesn't cause any symptoms, but if the baby is exposed to it, it can make the baby very sick. So, once you are in labor you get regular doses of IV antibiotics so that the baby has some protection when they are delivered. Normally it's not a huge deal until your water breaks. Then you need to deliver within 24 hours or there's a much higher chance of the baby contracting the infection. My case was that my water broke and it was almost 12 hours before my labor really started. Which put a timeline on things and made labor a bit stressful. Fortunately, in the end, they didn't have to augment my labor with Pitocin but the threat was always there.

When I got pregnant the second time and started spotting, my midwife ran some routine tests and one of the cultures came back positive for a GBS infection. She diagnosed my spotting as due to this and put me on some antibiotics but I still had a miscarriage - most likely due to the septum.

Fast forward to this week and my cramping. Guess what's apparently causing it? Yup: GBS. So I am on antibiotics right now and will be on them when I go in for delivery. I can only hope that my water won't break so early this time and will give me some time to labor without feeling like there's a stopwatch about to go off.

I did a lot of research before and I did some more today on GBS. About 10-30% of pregnant women have the bacteria present but it is apparently quite rare to actually have symptoms from it. Symptoms or not, it can cause pre-term labor and premature rupture of membranes. An infection of the baby is the leading bacterial cause of infant death. Scary stuff! So, even though we have an apparent answer for the cramping, there is still probably some concern of a pre-term birth. As with so much else in life, we'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Miraculous Cure?

After I put G down for her nap today, I sat in my chair feeling more and more crampy and uncomfortable. It was getting to the point that I was about ready to head back to L&D to get checked out. Of course, I hadn't been able to go pick up the wicked jitter-causing medicine, so I decided to just lay down a while and see if that helped. Somewhere along the way I feel asleep (imagine that!) but only for about half an hour because J called to say hi. After I talked to him and got up to pee I realized that I was no longer in pain. My cramping and backache were completely gone! I sat in my chair a while to see if laying down was what did it but the cramps didn't come back. After I got G up I cleaned up the kitchen, made dinner, and did a load of laundry. Still no cramps! My midwife called a while after that to check on me and I told her the story of my miraculous recovery. She was as stumped as I but glad to hear it as she still hasn't received the vaginal culture results and she really wants those before she prescribes anything.

On the one hand I am oh so glad to be free of all that cramping. Even though the FFN test said it wasn't likely I'd go into labor anytime soon, it was still not comforting to be in pain and not know why.

On the other hand, I'm left with the huge question of what caused the cramping in the first place. I can't see that an infection cleared itself up that fast. Which leaves me wondering if an occasionally irritable uterus is just going to be the norm for the next 9 or 10 weeks. It's not that the feeling was unendurable. It's just that I can't imagine feeling like that for 2 months and then having to face hours of labor with that feeling intensified.

So, as with so many other things in my recent history, there are no real answers as yet. But the good news is that my kitchen is clean and the laundry is at least in the dryer!