Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Looking Back & Looking Ahead

What I'll Miss Most About Being Pregnant

1. Feeling her kicking around inside me. I love getting to know when she's sleeping and when she's awake. I love knowing if she liked what I had for dinner or if she's enjoying my favorite TV shows by proxy. I haven't always enjoyed being pregnant, but I'll miss her kicks and stretches inside me.

2. Having her all to myself. When she gets here, I'll have to share her with everyone. Having her to myself for so long has been a real luxury.

3. Strangers being especially nice to me. No more seat offers on the bus or in restaurants. Bummer!

4. Being able to sit down "because I'm pregnant." Relaxation based solely on gestation? Yes please!

5. Naps. I mean, really. Naps should be required of everyone during the work day.

6. The special attention I get from the cat. She knows something big is coming. She cuddles with me more and more each day. I'll miss that once Baby gets here.

7. Knowing exactly where she is all the time. Not to sound like one of those helicopter parents, but once I go back to work I'll always be wondering what she's doing and how she's feeling. I'm a closet sap.

What I'm Looking Forward To

1. Meeting her. Seeing what she looks like and knowing that she's okay. Finally getting to see her face. No more anticipation!

2. Sleeping on my stomach again. The last 8 weeks have been rough. Being able to sleep comfortably is something I'll never, ever take for granted!

3. Running. Exercising in general. I can't wait to be able to work up a sweat that isn't the result of turning over in bed or climbing the stairs.

4. Reclaiming sole ownership of my uterus. And ribcage. And pelvis. And stomach. NOT having people at work and perfect strangers coming right up to me and touchin me. Call me selfish! I dare ya!

5. Wine. Beer, champagne, sangria, morning coffee, more wine.....

6. Seeing my feet again. See #3.

7. Peeing less than 140,852 times a day. Self-explanatory.

8. Being able to experience things with my baby. I can't wait to actually see things through her eyes. I know it will be a little while before she can actually look at something and marvel at it, but I can't wait. I can't wait to take her on walks and read her books and take her swimming during the summer. And even better, I get some of those "firsts" a second time! We can take her to the aquarium as a baby and again as a toddler, and t's like a brand new experience for both of us.

9. Not being asked, "How are you feeling?" 36 times a day.'Nuff said.

10. Introducing her to friends and family. There are so many people who want to meet her. I can't wait to introduce her to my best friends.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Maternity Leave, Day 1

Well. Here we are. Just sitting around, waiting for baby to show up. I got what I wanted: one day to sit and do nothing. Nothing has been accomplished, so Baby G can show up anytime now!

I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and couldn't get comfortable and fall back asleep, so I was basically awake for the next 4 hours. I got up, changed (from one set of comfies to another), made some breakfast, and played around online while watching Girl, Interrupted on FX. I napped on the couch a little, then heard my cell phone ding, and surprise! A text from work, asking me to send some stuff and check my work email. ::facepalm:: I swear.....

And before you ride me out on a rail, the only reason I replied to a few of the work emails is that one of them is pretty time-sensitive and involves a grant I wrote months ago; my boss needed to approve the grant proposal before she can sign it and we can get $4,000. When I got that text, my first thoughts weren't exactly Christian thoughts, that's for sure! But, I'm happy to forward documents that can secure the school a little more money (and securing $$$ makes me look a little better, no?), so it's not that big of a deal.

I ate some lunch, sent an email to my friend Jess, and now I'm watching Law & Order: Criminal Intent while waiting for my water to break. I should probably do laundry or clean up the kitchen or something, but I'm tired of moving and having to be on the move after such a long weekend. We decorated the tree last night and the front room still looks like a small child ran through here, and I'm okay with that. My lack of "want to do anything" has a pretty firm hold on me (which probably means no labor today--aren't pregnant women supposed to go a little psycho just before they give birth?) so I'm just going to sit here and watch some crap TV for a while.

The cat is handling our Christmas tree quite well. She likes to sleep underneath it, and so far we have zero ornament casualties. I think it makes her feel safe because she can sit underneath it and still see everything. She likes to lay on the floor where she can see what's going on.

Welp, that's that for now. No news is...good news?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Maternity Pictures

When I first got pregnant, I didn't really want to do a maternity photo shoot. I never really wanted pictures of me looking swollen and super pregnant, and my weekly photos were good enough for me.

During the middle of August, one of my blogger friends--Rachel--held a giveaway on her photo blog where she was giving away a free one hour shoot. I entered and figured that if I won, great! If I didn't, oh well. I'd rather have pictures of my baby anyway! Well, Rachel picked a winner, but she also picked a few 50% off winners, and I ended up being one of them! (See? Everyone else in the world is a better person than I am. I never would have thought to do that!) It took some coordinating to get together for my photo shoot--we wanted it to be a little closer to my due date so I looked pregnant in the photos, but then Rachel and her family were living in Wisconsin for a month while her husband completed a residency rotation, and because there's a lot going on for both of us it just got put on the back burner. Well, this week we decided that we wanted to get it done and Graham and I made the trip up to Niles/Park Ridge (closer to Rachel) for the shoot. Teasers are up on her photo blog if you're interested!

http://brishamphotography.com/blog/?p=6486&cpage=1#comment-2106

I'm really glad we got the chance to do this. It was cold as hell out there, but it was still really fun. And, in a few years, I'm sure I'll really treasure these photos (especially if this is my only pregnancy).

(And yes, I realize that this is pretty contradictory to what I said in my previous post, but I really do feel weird about attention. I never would have done this on my own had I not won. Rachel's a wizard, though, so I think she made me look a little better than I do most days!)

We're still here!

I made it to my maternity leave, and I'm still cooking this baby! Am I happy about it? ::shrug:: I'm glad I made it to leave with an inside baby, but I'm definitely ready for this kiddo to become an outside human.

On Tuesday we finished our last birthing class, so I'm as prepared as I'm going to be for labor, methinks. At Wednesday's appointment, my doctor sent me upstairs because my blood pressure was still high, but after a few hours laying down while hooked up to the monitors, they sent me home because my bp dropped to a healthy number and leveled off. I had to do a second 24 hour urine collection this weekend, and today we dropped it off but they kept me hooked up to monitors for a while because I was feeling dizzy and I had a headache that wouldn't go away.

Fortunately, everything is looking pretty good for now. Things aren't what I'd call "great", but my bp is good as long as I'm laying down, and my headaches aren't so bad. The proteins in my urine have even gone down, so all in all--not too shabby!

I was sent home with very specific instructions to lay down whenever I can and come in the minute I have any blurred vision or strong headaches that won't go away with Tylenol. I have a feeling that because my vision isn't blurred and my bp isn't bad as long as I remain as active as a slug, I'm going to stay pregnant until at least Wednesday (unless my water breaks before then). My doctor is great, and I know she's watching me closely so that if anything changes, I'll be up in L&D ASAP.

I'm a little bummed we weren't admitted today, but I'd rather things happen naturally or as close to it as possible unless there's a true emergency. I'm bummed only because I'm ready to not be pregnant. I miss my feet. I miss having ankles. I miss being able to sleep comfortably. As much "fun" as labor is, I'm a little bummed I'm not being induced, but I know that my doctor isn't going to make that decision lightly, and I won't be induced just because I'm tired of being preggers.

As far as contractions go, they're coming and going. Much more constant than they have been, and much stronger compared to what they were, but still so sporadic that it's not worth it to go in. I'll have two strong contractions back to back, but then nothing for 4 hours, and then one contractions, followed by nothing worth noting for 2 days. That's almost more annoying than the blood pressure and pre-e; my body is getting ready, but not fast enough!

The holidays were okay. I could have spent Thanksgiving laying on the couch and that would have been fine with me. I'm definitely "over" big parties and gatherings at this point. I love my family, but they're so damn loud and obnoxious that I was in misery by the time we left. I had a headache that wouldn't quit and I was royally pissed off at pretty much half of my family members. My uncle wouldn't put his friggin' camera down and kept taking pictures of me and my belly, even after I asked him nicely to stop. When I get those photos from him, I plan on tearing them up and putting them in the trash right in front of him. Rude? Yes, absolutely. So is continuing to take photos of someone who is the size of a house when she looks and feels like shit and politely asked you to lay the eff off.

I was also especially sensitive to all the comments and nicknames everyone thinks are so cute. If I wasn't 9 months pregnant, I probably wouldn't have minded as much, but being called jumbo, fatty, preggo, etc. by my dad, my cousins, my uncles, my aunts....it's a little too much. Three months ago, I didn't mind at all. Now that I look at myself and all I can see are stretch marks, swollen ankles, a fat face, and just general bigness, being called "jumbo" isn't exactly something I'm okay with hearing. And because I've got a big mouth, when I go so far as to say that comments like that are offensive and ::gasp:: bother me(!) everyone seems to blow me off and tell me it's the hormones that make me so cranky. That very well may be the truth, but hearing that, after being called "tubby" makes me want to rip your face off. Honestly, it's shit like that which contributes to eating disorders. Please, continue to call me jumbo. Don't friggin' wonder why I have low self-esteem and body image issues in January. I realize I just said I hate being fussed over, but a little sensitivity wouldn't kill you.

After that, someone had the genius idea to take family photos and as I was waddling back from the bathroom for the 80th time that hour, the girl cousins were lining up for a photo. I know that no one really had any idea how bad my head hurt at that time, but 8 women chanting, "Angie! Angie! Angie!" just made my temples throb and if I hadn't been so focused on that, punches may have been thrown.

(And, is it really necessary to continue to take cousin photos at this stage? Am I the only one who thinks it's stupid? The oldest of us is 27. I think we can safely move past the group photos at every holiday party.)

On top of that, my cousin is in med school and decided that after 9 months of pregnancy, I'm still a dumbass and my doctors are clearly clueless, because she spent the entire night trying to educate me on pregnancy. She just finished up a 2 month OB rotation and obviously knows more than I do. ::eye roll:: She had me on the fence when she told me I didn't need to educate myself on breastfeeding because it "should just happen naturally" (even though I have no idea what I'm doing) and spent 20 minutes telling me that epidurals are bad and that if I get one I'm a bad mother. I'm sorry, but when someone who has never felt a contraction in her life tells me that epidurals aren't necessary and labor pains can be controlled with breathing techniques, I tend to get a little skeptical. Gain 35 lbs and swell up everywhere, then tell me that pain meds designed for labor and delivery are the epitome of evil. And maybe this makes me a giant bitch, but I'm a little more inclined to accept the medical advice of someone who's practiced for 10 years, rather than a student who spent 2 months following around a team of doctors. ::shrug::

Maybe I shouldn't be such a bitch about it, but I can't help it. I mean, it could be worse--no one could care! It's a blessing that so many people care and are excited for my baby's arrival. But, I really loathe attention and people fussing over me, so being at the center of attention (seemingly) for the whole damn day really just made my mood worse. When my headache set in, I wasn't in any sort of mood for anything. It's touching that everyone cares, but I'd really just rather be left the hell alone. I don't need constant reminders that I'm pregnant and having a baby--I realize that I'm not nearly as intelligent as my husband and his siblings, but it's pretty hard to forget you're gestating when someone is constantly kicking you in the ribs and you haven't been able to walk without waddling for 2 months! Hearing, "You're pregnant, so YOU eat first!" and "You're pregnant, so eat more pie!" and "You can't sniff that wine, you're pregnant!" and "So, how are you feeling? I'm asking because you're PREGNANT!" gets reeeeeeeeeeally friggin' old.

Anyway, it helped cement my decisions to not attend anymore holiday parties (this year) unless I'm either drunk or stupid. I have zero desire to be fussed over and talk about nothing but "the baby!" I may be days away from officially becoming a mother, but I really do enjoy other topics of conversation outside of my uterus. I'd rather be able to pick and choose visitors and decide who can come over, and when! After ths year, a low-key Christmas is exactly what I need.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Weekly Update: 38 Weeks

How far along? 38 weeks, 3 days.


How big is baby? Around 6 lbs, hopefully a little heavier than that. 14-15 inches, crown to rump.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: 33 lbs.

Next Appointment: Saturday, then next week if I don't have this baby before then (or if she isn't forcibly removed from my womb).

Maternity Clothes: Yes, but I'm totally done with my work maternity clothes. YAHOO!

Sleep: It is what it is. Mostly, it isn't.

Best Moment This Week: Making it to maternity leave and getting the nursery to "mostly done". And, hearing my doctor say, "There's no medical need to keep you pregnant." My blood pressure was up again at my appointment today, so they sent me up to L&D for some blood tests, blood pressure monitoring, and fetal monitoring. If they felt like my bp was too high, I'd be in the hospital right now waiting for this kid to pop on out. How weird is that? But instead, I get to come in on Saturday after doing a 24 hour urine collection, they'll do some more tests, and *maybe* I'll be admitted, maybe they'll send me home. It's literally a day-to-day watch at this point. As much as I want the baby to be safe and healthy, I'm so tired of pregnancy and hugeness that hearing I can have the baby and there's no real need to keep her inside makes me happy.

Annoyance of the Week: Preeclampsia. Major thumbs down! Guess who gets to do another 24 hour urine collection this weekend?
Movement: All over the place, especially last night. After my doctor called and told me about the preeclampsia, she said, "If you feel any decreased fetal movement, come in right away." Right after that, baby started kicking me in my ribs and it didn't stop until hours after our last L&D class last night. I'm fairly certain my ribs are bruised now.

Planning/Preparation: We're done with our birthing classes! We've got some breathing to practice, and a few more things to finish up in the nursery. I need to get a few more chapsticks to have around for labor because I lost the two I kept with me, but my hospital bag is backed and we're basically ready to go.

Belly Button In/Out: So far out it's disgusting.

Gender: This baby better still be female.

What I Miss: Anything and everything I used to be able to do easily, even a month or two ago. I'd really like to be able to touch my toes again.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Being not pregnant! This time next week, I could have a baby. Holy whoa!

Contractions: Sometimes they're a little painful, sometimes I can barely tell they're happening. Much more frequent in the last week, though.

Milestones?: Making it to my maternity leave. I have to say, I was a little worried for a few days.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I can taste the rainbow!

Twenty-four hours from now, I'll be on my maternity leave. EPIC. I can't wait. I'm tired swollen all the time, so not being on my feet all day is gonna be great, even if it's just for a few days.
Last week, my elevated blood pressure and the elevated proteins in my urine left us hanging around, wondering if I would be induced Monday night. Well, I'm watching Mike & Molly on the dvr, and I'm clearly not at the hospital. Woot! I'm pretty thankful for that right now, just because with one more day at work I could really use the time to wrap up the final loose ends and clean up my office. I'm done teaching kids until MARCH, which is weird. Tomorrow is just a professional development day, so it'll be low-key and fairly relaxing. Then I have a meeting after that, and tomorrow night we have our final birthing class (not lamaze) and then we get to sit around and wait for baby, I guess!

Today we got a small sample of cloth diapers in the mail. The liners/pads are disposable, but the diapers are cloth, so it's a little like the best of both worlds right now. We've got a decent supply of disposable diapers right now, but these are great. They'll buy us a little more time between boxes of diapers, and we can flush (or compost, but...ew) the refills. Sweet! And, the refills are available at BRU, just like the diapers we get, so it's not like we need to make a special trip to some north side hippy dippy store to get them. Sweet!

I've been feeling my body prepare for labor all week, and DAMN. I'm tired. I've been feeling a lot of intense pressure in my lower pelvis and it feels like my daughter is trying to make a break for it. Ever had someone try to exit your body via a very small opening? It freaking hurts! I've also been feeling more frequent BH contractions, and I looked in the mirror last night and it looked like my the baby had dropped even further! How is that even possible? It's getting to the point where I'm afraid to stand up too quick because I'm afraid gravity will take over and she'll come shooting out like a baby giraffe or something.

I have a funny feeling I might deliver this week, but I think that's more wishing and hoping than anything else. I'm really tired of being pregnant and I'm ready to move on to the next phase. Motherhood seems pretty scary, but I'm confident I can handle it better than I can handle my 9th month of pregnancy. At least I'll be getting increasing amounts of sleep and I won't wake up every 3 hours because I have to go to the bathroom and my hips are on fire, right? I can breastfeed while lying down; it's a little harder to justify going to the bathroom lying down.

In other news....the nursery is A.L.M.O.S.T. done! We've got to get a few more things (like a rug, and get the curtains up), but for the most part, it's DONE. We'll make a quick BRU run this week to get the few things we do need, but we're pretty much ready to have this kid. WOO-FREAKING-HOO! All the furniture is in and assembled. The books are in the bookcase and the clothes are in the dresser and closet. It's weird looking at that room and knowing that a month ago, it looked completely different. I love it, though. I'm glad we finally have a space for her to call her own.

So, that's where we are these days! As long as I don't go into labor before Monday, we're all good. There's a few more things I'd like to get done this week if I can help it, and ideally I'll be able to go to the mall to get some Christmas shopping done during the day Monday or Tuesday so I can avoid all the crowds (though I'll definitely be getting my Cyber Monday on, too)!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weeky Update: 37 weeks, 3 days

How far along? 37 weeks, 3 days.

How big is baby? Somewhere between 5 and 6 lbs. and 20-21 inches long. Every website and book is different at this point.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: 32.5 lbs. Just a few more weeks of endless weight gain!

Next Appointment: Next week. It's always next week.

Maternity Clothes: In one more week, I'm relagating myself to comfies nonstop. I can't wait!

Sleep: It's actually gotten a little better. I found a better pillow to stick between my knees so that's helping to keep my hip pain from waking me nonstop.

Best Moment This Week: Getting a crib and bookcase put together and getting most of the baby laundry done, and making it to full term! I guess I really had no reason to think I wouldn't make it to 37 weeks, but it was always a fear I had.

Annoyance of the Week: Having to collect all my urine for 24 hours this weekend. Two swollen feet and a little high blood pressure and now I need to pee into a jar for a day. Yippee! I've been really fortunate to have a pretty decent pregnancy so far, so if a little pre-e scare is the worst I get, I'm okay with that.

(I'm also tired of being swollen from my face to my feet. I have Pregnant Face, Pregnant Feet, and Pregnant Ankles. If all of these body parts were about to birth a human, I'd be cool with that. But since they aren't....)

Movement: Terribly active! It's nice to know that despite my swollenness, she's still doing really well in there. She was moving all over the place during our birthing lass tonight!

Planning/Preparation: Labor & Delivery Class #2 was last night. We had a different nurse than last week, and she was a little....dull. Her voice was really monotoned and she repeated a lot of the information we'd already heard in the video. Thankfully the video we saw wasn't 3D--it was 3D annimation! We learned how to push and use the breathing exercises we learned last week during contractions. I'm still pretty pro-epidural, though, but it's nice to have those exercises in my arsenal in case I can't get an epi or it doesn't work on me completely or something like that.

Belly Button In/Out: So out. Nothing I try keeps it flat. ::sad face::

Gender: On the off chance the baby's a boy, I'm pretty sure he's going to become Kurt Hummel when he grows up. There's lots of pink and purple in her bedroom right now.

What I Miss: Being able to sit comfortably.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Everything!

Contractions: Ongoing. Not consistent, but enough that I'm noticing the ones that are light and the ones that make me stop and go, "Oh, that's...new." The last day or two I've felt a decent amount of back pain, and that seems to either be a product of a contraction, or where they start. Sometimes, it's hard to tell.

Milestones?: Reaching full term! Squee!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Back to School

Lately, we've been busy! In addition to all the books we've been reading, we signed up for a few classes at the hospital and have been learning how to prepare for labor & delivery.

On Tuesday, we had our first Birthing Basics class. There are only 4 couples enrolled in this month's class, which is meeting every Tuesday for 3 weeks. I actually know one of the other moms in the class--she's the principal at another Catholic school in my neighborhood. It was a pretty low-key class when you think about all the information they gave us, but there were plenty of visual aids! I squirmed a lot when I saw the little poker thingy they use to break your water if it's deemed medically necessary. I can see it now:

Me: "I'm sorry, you're going to stick a what into my where? I don't friggin' think so!"

Next class, we get to watch a video of a baby being born--in 3D! No, really. In 3D. We ran into another couple from the class at Babies R Us the other night, and we had to ask if they had heard the same thing we heard. How that film will work, I don't know. At least I know it won't be a 3D experience like Honey, I Shrunk The Audience at Disney World. Phew!

Today, I went to a breastfeeding class at the hospital. There were 4 or 5 of us signed up, but I was the only one who showed. I've always tried to be an overachiever. ::snort::

It was a really interesting class, and I'm glad I went. I've been reading up and learning about breastfeeding, but attending  class and getting to practice with one of the dolls was much better. I always learn better by doing, and the LCs I met with were great. I'm looking forward to actually talking to them post-delivery and figuring out the whole, "How do I feed my baby?" mess.

We had our hospital tour today, too! That was fun. I'd been up to L&D for checks and all, and we spent time in the ultrasound department, but I hadn't had a good look at the rooms I'll be using. The Labor-Delivery-Recovery room is huge, and I really like that everything is right there, so I'll be about 3 feet away from the baby after she's born and getting checked out. They took us by he NICU, and I felt really fortunate that we could just breeze right by that area. It's good to know that they've got it together and are taking care of the preemies, just in case, but as for right now I'm really glad that we didn't have to deal with all that.

The post-delivery rooms were nice. Because I'm a "Great Expectations" patient, I get a nicer, larger room with a double bed and "guest room" attached. When I found out I was pregnant, my doctor gave us a bunch of information, and I signed up for the Great Expectations program thinking it was something I needed to do or that it was strongly recommended. I learned today that it's totally voluntary and comes with all sorts of crazy perks, like that big ole bed! Score! Note to self: If there's a #2, sign up for that program again! (Supposedly the big rooms can also be picked by just luck of the draw, but I'm glad that I've got one secured. I'm selfish like that.)

Another "perk" of the program is that an L&D nurse has been assigned to me and calls every few weeks to answer my questions, see how things are going, and just generally help get me revved up for birth. I haven't met her yet, and she was actually working today but at the times I was there she was busy. Fancy that! A nurse working in L&D was busy! When I got home, I had a voicemail from my nurse--asking how things were going and making sure that everything's going well. Oh well. I'll call her back next week and hopefully I won't be meeting her for a few more weeks. (Then again, if Baby G wants to show up at 38 or 39 weeks, I won't complain. I'll be happy to have my bladder back!)

We're learning! Now, if only there was a post-baby class we could take....like "How to Bathe Your Baby Without Dropping It" and "What To Do If You Drop Your Baby" and "How To Feed Your Baby and Still Eat a Hot Meal at Dinnertime."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Weekly Update: 36 Weeks

How far along? 36 weeks, 3 days.


How big is baby? Estimated at over 5 lbs, around 20 inches in length.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: 32 lbs. Le sigh. I *know* I'm pregnant and it's normal, but it still doesn't stop me from feeling like a lazy fat ass.

Next Appointment: Next week. I'm at weekly appointments from now until this baby escapes from the womb.

Maternity Clothes: Even my maternity jeans are tired of my fat butt.

Sleep: Ugh. I'd kill for ONE good night's sleep at this point. All I want is one. I'll never get to sleep in again....is one last one too much to ask for?

Best Moment This Week: Feeling like significant progress is being made in pretty much every area of babyness.

Annoyance of the Week: Realizing that sharing the baby's name with everyone was a big mistake. I initially wanted to so no one would "steal" our name. Now I'm annoyed as hell that everyone else calls my baby by her name. All weeked it was "How's Hannah?" and "How's Hannah enjoying herself?" and "Are you taking care of Hannah?" and "Take Hannah out on the dance floor!" OH! And my favorite: "Hannah's first wedding and her first trip to Florida! Yay!" Ahem. ::straps on bitchy pants::

1. Hannah's fine, but her mother is tired, bloated, swollen, and annoyed that you're asking about a human who quite literally doesn't care where I am or what I'm doing, so long as she's fed. No matter what baby's name, she's still considered a fetus. Right now, my fetus has no opinions.

2. Know what baby needs to enjoy herself? She needs me moving and she needs me to eat. The end. She doesn't give a damn about the rest of it.

3. I'm still pregnant, right? So YES I'm taking care of my baby. My mental health, though....

4. Hannah loves this song, but her mother hates it, so no I will NOT be taking her out onto the dance floor. Until she's mobile and walking, she goes where I go. Babies tend to work that way.

5. Once again, unless my baby is actually experiencing and seeing things--with her eyes--for the first time, it's not her first anything. She hasn't taken her first breath of oxygen yet, and you're telling me she's already experienced her first trip to Florida? Right. My birth mom probably went to Homecoming in 1983, but that doesn't mean it was my first high school dance. Use your noggin, people.

::steps off soapbox::
Movement: Still active 3 or 4 times a day. Almost always active shortly after I've eaten something. (Dear God, I hope she's not a fatty like I was. It's a miracle I never had Baby Diabetes.) I realized yesterday I hadn't felt any movement all morning, so I almost went into L&D, but about 30 minutes after I ate lunch, she started kicking my ribs and bouncing on my cervix. She's so thoughtful that way.

Planning/Preparation: We attended our first labor and delivery class last night! It wasn't quite so gross as we thought. We looked at a lot of pictures of pregnancy and labor---the pre-pregnancy pictures made me miss my tiny, fist-sized uterus. Seeing the plastic baby doll slide through the plastic pelvis made me a little nervous. I slide back and forth between, "I can SO do this!" and "Dear God, the baby has to come out of WHERE???????" It was great to sit down with other couples/expectant moms who are all due around the same time I am. We've also got our hospital tour on Saturday and I've got a 2 hour breastfeeding class afterwards. (I'm going to miss having cute, perky boobs. I always thought they were one of my best features.)

Belly Button In/Out: Out. Oh ew. It's so gross. Even those damn internal turkey timers don't pop out this much.

Gender: I hope she likes pink....

What I Miss: Sleeping on my stomach. Sleeping without waking up with shooting pains in my hips. Sleeping in general. Not being hot as hell all the time. (Seriously, I'm ALWAYS hot. I feel like I'm stuck inside an oven. How the hell do women do this all summer?)

What I'm Looking Forward To: A glass of wine wine with my Christmas dinner. (No, Brian--I don't hate everyone who drinks in front of me. I just really want a glass of wine. I'm tired of helping myself to big glasses of whine.)

Contractions: YES. These m-effers HURT. I woke up the other night with a really strong pain in my stomachal area. I felt around and my stomach was rock hard. It lasted only a few minutes, and then it was gone. About 45-50 minutes later, I felt another one. In the morning while I was in the shower I got another one, and then I felt the fourth around 12:30 p.m. That was Monday, and then I felt one overnight/this morning. A total of 5 in three days. Obviously it's a little premature for a trip to L&D, but it was still crazy weird. I'm not at all prepared, but my body has gotten the signal that the hour is nigh. It's crazy how my body just knows. I'm still barely dilated, so my doctor isn't concerned. My cervix is still "really soft", but really...I could walk around like this for another 4 weeks. No dilation and random, super far apart contractions? If I went to L&D they'd send me home before I even got off the elevator.

Milestones?: Feeling a "real" contraction. I chalked them up to BH, but my doctor said that they're real, but nothing to be concerned about yet. That's...wow. I mean really. Wow.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thanksgiving...

...is a little more than 2 weeks away.

My due date is December 6th, a little more than 3 weeks away.

We have thus far purchased ONE Christmas gift. ONE.

Oh crap.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Making Progress

In more ways than one!

Last night, I woke up and had one hell of a pain in my hips. I could barely sleep and thanks to that (and some other factors) it was a rough night. Thankfully, Jane slept right next to me all night. She rarely cuddles, so it was a nice tree to have my first baby next to me and keeping me warm.

Today I walked into work and everyone said, "Oh, you've dropped!" It's a little easier for me to breathe, but I've still got some heartburn. I'm not sure if I've actually dropped or not, but if I have that definitely explains the hip pain! Naturally, just in time for another family wedding this weekend. Suuuuuuuuuuuuper! If I didn't love to dance so much I wouldn't worry about it, but dammit! I love to get my groove thing on.

Last night, I finally had enough. I'm annoyed as hell that the nursery isn't done yet--damn room wasn't even started! I decided that enough was enough, especially after my doctor said that I could basically go into labor at any time (though it would be a fast as hell labor considering I'm not dilated at all) and I just started tackling that room. I taped it up and sanded down what I could. I was majorly pissed to realize that there were more cracks and breaks that needed to be spackled than I originally thought, but I was not about to be stopped! I even busted out the toolbox to start putting the crib together. Mama Bear was on a mission!

It wasn't ideal, but it did help light a fire under Graham, and by the end of the night the room was spackled, the walls were cleaned, and the spots on the ceiling that I couldn't sand down were sanded. This is PROGRESS, people! Wahoo! If the priming isn't started tonight, it will be started soon. It's entirely possible that I'll have a purple nursery by Tuesday at the very earliest. Then, we start assembling the glider. That should be fun....

Weekly Update: 35 Weeks

How far along? 35 weeks, 4 days.


How big is baby? Estimated at over 5 lbs, closer to 20 inches in length.

Total Weight Gain/Loss:30 lbs. exactly as of yesterday's appointment. Le sigh. Couch to 5K, I'm coming for you!

Next Appointment: Next week! I've graduated to weeklies now. And from here on out, all appointments will be "pants off." Whoop-dee-freaking-doo!

Maternity Clothes: Blah.

Sleep: Sleep would be nice, yes.

Best Moment This Week: Getting to 35 & 35 on Monday. Holy crap! That's like, major! And finally getting the thank you notes in the mail. They'd been done for over a week; I just needed stamps!

Annoyance of the Week: Where should I begin? Should I start with the nursery that isn't finished/started? Or should I start with the comments and mouth-flapping from family members who should be supportive but aren't? Or should I start with the fact that in-home childcare seems to be completely unheard of in my neighborhood? ARG.

Movement: Still active 3 or 4 times a day. Usually in the morning when she uses my bladder as a bouncy ball, and right after lunch and dinner, too. This is totally my kid because she clearly loves her food.

Planning/Preparation: Getting the light switches installed in both upstairs bedrooms, finally! Registering for a few classes, and purchasing the last of the furniture. Phew!

Belly Button In/Out: Out. I hate it.

Gender: I hope she likes pink....

What I Miss: Seeing my feet. Reaching my feet. Not having heartburn.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Seeing my feet again.

Contractions: Nope. Still not dilated, either. Cervix is still soft and partially effaced, but it's nothing my doctor is worried about, so I won't worry about it either. If I was dilating, then I'd probably be on a ladder painting the nursery right now.

Milestones?: Making it to 35 & 35 and graduating to my weekly appointments.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Questions Answered

I got a few emails and comments re: my last post, so I figured it was best to clarify. I'll start with a timeline.

College: Seasonal Affective Disorder. This pretty much goes undiagnosed for my college years because I figure out a way to live with it. I know that I'm grumpier in the winter and I tend to sleep in more and get lazier, but I found that it was easier to attribute all that to just typical college studentness than to actually deal with it. By the time I graduate from school I'm formally diagnosed with it but I don't want to say it out loud or admit it for a lot of reasons: the acronym sucks, saying it out loud makes me feel weak, it's not worth mentioning because it's only seasonal and there are real, legitimate health concerns in the world, admitting it and sharing the news with my parents would make my mom unbearable....I used every excuse I could find.

December 2008: We land in Hawaii for Liz's awesome wedding. We spent Christmas and New Year's in paradise, and even though we weren't with family for the holidays it's still my favorite Christmas to date.

January 2009: We come home from paradise and land in the middle of a craptastic Midwestern winter. My mind and body definitely did not take this transition well.

February 2009: At this point I am stuck in an all-out war with my S.A.D. but there's not much I can do about it. I spend as much time outside as is possible, but that winter was especially rough and we had daily highs of -30 and wind chills of -50. Outside was definitely not my friend that winter.

Winter/Spring 2009: We had a late, long winter. Spring arrived, but it was cool. Even June was pretty wet and cool. I didn't mind the cooler temps, but they also kept me from breaking free of FunkFest 2009 until May or so.

Late summer 2009: We decide that the time is ripe to buy a house. We start looking and life is happy.

Late October 2009: We realize that our loan officer is a nice guy but his foolproof plan is taking forG--damnever. Combine that with the cooling temperatures and it was practically a perfect storm. I'd also become stressed out and disillusioned by my new responsibilities at work and I started to lose interest--I guess that tends to happen when you share a job description with someone and your Commanding Officer doesn't take charge; Instead, you're told to "figure it out" and the two of you divide your job duties. Not awesome.

November 2009: Target closing date comes and goes. By this point I was pretty gone. I'd dealt with depression before, but not like this. I was miserable and Graham was basically stuck in an apartment that was shrinking by the day thanks to the packing that I had started to feel was pointless with a wife who was essentially useless. By the end of this month he had forced me to see my doctor (PCP) and she put me on antidepressents just to get me through the closing, the move, and the rest of the winter. I'm supposed to stay on them for 6 more months.

December 2009/January 2010: Moving was stressful and I was sick the day before and the day we moved. The holidays, S.A.D., and the stress at home and at work made me pretty useless to all of humankind.

February 2010: Still on the antidepressents but I'd thought I was getting better. I had been feeling better, I was feeling capable and useful at work (the first time I'd felt that way since the start of the year) and even though things were stressful at work I'd somehow managed to make some pivotal allies; things were looking up(ish). I foolishly--really, it was a dumbass move to make--thought that adjusting the dosage of my meds was the right thing to do. I was over it, right? Wrong-o! Call me a big ole hypocrite because I have openly judged friends for choosing to self-medicate, but "this time it's different; it's me! I won't make their mistakes."

Ugh, yeah. Heh...::sheepish grin:: About that....

Wrong move. February to March was a rough transition because I was definitely not well at that point. I made that classic mistake: choosing to forget that it was the medication that was helping me out and making me better and choosing to believe that it was, in fact, ME! I was better all on my own without the help of those happy pills. Bad Angie! Bad Angie! This mistake was corrected and I was back on my meds. I hated that I needed them to feel at least 50% human most days, but I was glad I had them.

March 2010: Sperm meets egg. Game On.

April 2010: Things are going swimmingly. Clearly. This spring was a lot nicer than the previous one and on especially nice, bright days I noticed that I was MUCH happier and peppier. This time I felt that my meds were responsible for the upswing in my moods, but I could also feel things adapting and changing for me emotionally. I was feeling ready to come down off my meds and I was looking forward to my doctor's appointment in May.

April 2010, continued: BFP. Holy whoa. It actually happened.

I dropped my antidepressents like they were stolen goods. I'd figured that I had done enough to my developing fetus at that point and for some reason thought that stopping the drugs cold turkey would somehow fix or undo any potential damage to my baby.

Note to self and all other moms-to-be: Going gold turkey on your happy pills? NOT a good idea. P.S. Don't do your own pregnancy research and for the love of all that is good and holy--STAY AWAY FROM ANYTHING THAT GIVES YOU INFORMATION ABOUT NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS.

"Neural Tube Defects": This phrase has haunted me since the spring. I will most likely not be completely convinced I didn't somehow further damage my child until she's born healthy, receives an APGAR score of 293573, meets all her developmental milestones on time or ahead of time, and gets a scholarship to Harvard.

Spring 2010: I started to get excited about pregnancy and having a baby, even though I was nervous as hell. It was pretty cautious optimism for a while because I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall. I'm never this lucky--something had to give, right?

Summer 2010: I had a lot of free time in which to plan and think about the ways my life was about to change. This was a bad thing. In retrospect, going off the antidepressents was a bad move. My doctors supported that decision, but ultimately it made this summer a long one. I wasn't productive with all the work I needed to do, my hormones were seriously whacked, 20 weeks of morning sickness made me a huge bitch to pretty much everyone, and I found that it was a lot harder than I anticipated to "say goodbye" to a lot of my hopes, dreams, and plans. A lot harder, honestly. I don't know why....I guess part of me wanted to believe that I'd be 20 something forever and that we could deal with my uterine and reproductive issues in my 30s when I was less selfish and more mature. I figured that by 29 or 30 I'd finally be ready to have a child--emotionally speaking, that is--and that I'd be in a good mental state of mind where I could deal with the realities that we were facing. I fully indulged in my selfishness. I had a glass of wine almost every night. I slept late all the time. I made plans to travel and wanted to go to grad school and pay off my student loans before having a baby. And why not? Deep down, I knew that it wouldn't be easy to conceive. Why not be selfish and make plans and live it up? My friend Jess told me earlier this spring, "We're running out of time to be young." I didn't see any reason to not make the most of all that time. The end result was that I started to feel pretty ambivilent, and sometimes even angry about my pregnancy. I spent a lot of time crying.

On top of that I felt (and still feel) tremendous guilt for even being pregnant. Everywhere I went I felt like I needed to apologize to people. Having so many friends who struggled and are struggling to get pregnant really made me feel....unworthy. I was so glad that one of my best friends wasn't around this summer. Much as I would have loved to be with Liz because she's been there and she understood a lot of what I was going through, I was glad that she was thousands of miles away and stuck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean because I couldn't face myself everyday knowing that my just being pregnant was probably causing her (and others) a lot of emotional grief.

I felt--and feel--guilty. I felt like I did when I was 7 and I stole a Snickers bar from a gas station. I felt like I needed to run back and apologize to the guy behind the glass, but I couldn't return the Snickers bar because I'd already eaten it and I couldn't pay for it because I was 7 and didn't have any money. I started to beat myself up emotionally for somehow ending up with a uterus that could carry a baby. Here I was, petty and selfish and pissed off that I couldn't have a daqueri when I wanted one, and all around me are women who would give their left leg to be in my position. That just made it worse. I felt like I'd gotten trapped somehow and in the process I made sure that no one was happy--except for our mothers. I was tired of it. I AM tired of it. All I wanted was one frigging day where I was left alone. I was tired of hearing, "So how's my grandchild?" and "How's the baby?" and "Are you taking care of the baby?" and "Tell me about the baby." All I wanted to do was just start screaming, "LEAVE ME ALONE! I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE BABY!"

Constant vomiting for 20 weeks makes a person cranky. It's hard to stay excited about something that ruins all food for you. I was throwing up so much that I was losing weight and I wasn't able to keep anything down.

At the same time, talking about it kept me from pushing it out of my mind. It sometimes helped to make me excited, but most of what I felt was guilt. I mean, what are you supposed to say when someone asks, "Are you excited?" "No" isn't exactly an answer that inspires confidence. Sure I was excited....kinda. "Terrified" was closer to the truth. Christ on a bike, I can barely dress myself. I forget to shower sometimes. I've been known to eat Oreos for dinner. How in the hell am I supposed to take care of a small, helpless human being when I can't decide if wearing black and brown together is a fashion no-no? While eating chocolate pop tarts for breakfast? All while feeling like I'm still 16 years old?

All of that: the guilt, the hormones, the stress, the non-stop chatter, and of course the morning sickness resulted in a pretty serious case of "Bump on a Log". I was sad all the time, and that just made it worse. Why the hell should I be sad? I have a great life! On top of that, I felt selfish and childish. I felt like my emotions took on the role of a lion that was playing with its prey before it was devoured.

I tried. I tried so hard to get past the crap and get over myself. I tried to be stronger than what was beating me up. I tried to not let the littlest of things get to me. I tried not to beat the shit out of my laundry baskets when I was upset. It didn't work.

Our trip to New York helped a ton. I was still being chased by work while I was there (aside: Summer 2011--you're all mine and no one else's!) but I was 1,000 miles and another time zone away. Oh well! Once I came back it was the same old crap.

I was documenting everything--every episode--and after a long discussion with my doctor (it took me a lot of strength to even bring it up because I felt like the words were getting stuck in my throat and the only thing I could squeeze out was, "I'm fine.") we made the decision for me to see a counselor. All my issues make me a pretty great candidate for post-partum depression, so it makes sense to get me in now while I'm still somewhat mobile and the seasonal depression hasn't set in yet. Part of me just doesn't want to. It makes perfect sense and I need to do it--for me, for my baby, for my husband...but I just don't want to. On the otherhand, part of me is looking forward to it. I'll feel more like a human being again. I'll feel normal. I won't feel quite so stabby when I see someone spell 'postponed' like this: post pond. (It's a work thing.)

I need to do it. I know I need to do it. I'd rather stay in bed. I'd rather spend all day in bed in my pajamas watching SVU on USA. But I need to. I need to. If I don't, then my maternity leave will be a waste and I won't get to know my daughter. I'll be in worse shape than I am now and the end of my academic year will be a waste. As if it wasn't already a countdown to My Last Day, if I don't figure my shit out it'll be a long, long few months.

If we get in soon, I'll maybe even feel completely excited about this for the first time since July. Part of me is still so nervous and hesitant. Maybe it's silly, but I know that things go wrong and I know what can happen. I know a perfectly healthy pregnancy can take a sudden and unfortunate turn. I want to enjoy this, but I'm afraid to give in completely. What if the unthinkable happens? What if that person everyone suddenly feels pity for is me? I love watching Graham get excited and I love seeing everyone happy, but I'm so afraid that something terrible will happen. Depending on the day or the hour, I sometimes find myself pulling back. I'm calling her, "The baby" instead of calling her by her name. I don't refer to her in the present tense (and it pisses me off royally when people refer to "the three of us" as though she were in the room). Even though I'm 35 weeks, I'm still hoping that my next trip to L&D is on December 6th, even a little later. I want to meet her, I just want to meet her a little later rather than sooner.

That being said, I can't wait for her to get here. I want to see her face. I want to know if she looks like me (I'm terrified she'll look nothing like me). I want her to be born a little later because it means I won't have to go out and celebrate the holidays with big groups and I can respectfully ask that people stay away from the house for a while. I can't wait for it to be just the three of us--finally. I can't wait to be able to rock her to sleep and read her books and share things with her.

I walk a really fine line most days. I can't explain it. I just wish I could settle in firmly on one side of the line or the other. This back and forth isn't fair to anyone.