Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The "What If" Game

So there's this game I play.  I don't really like it,  but I am quite good at it.  I'm sure you're familiar with it too. It is called the "What If" Game.

You never really volunteer to pay this game.  It just happens to you... and it is about as easy to end as Jumanji. Btw, if you have any tips for avoiding/minimizing this game,  I'm all ears.

Anyway,  I've been playing for as long as I can remember.  I don't play it every day or even every week or month necessarily.  It is completely unpredictable to figure out when it might start.  Normally I am just going about my day when the smallest thing can set the game in motion. Sometimes it isn't more than a harmless thought that then snowballs out of control. 

"What if" is a game of worst case senarios. And I am so good at it that I've brought myself to tears with my imagination and have to remind myself that the what if is not in fact reality.

So last night I played a nasty round of it after the alarm on James's monitor went off.  We bought one of those monitors that also has a motion sensor.  It is supposed to detect the slightest movements and is sensitive enough to tell that your baby is breathing.  And based on my testing of the unit, I believe it works the way it is meant to. Anyhow,  if baby goes 15 seconds completely motionless a little beep will sound on my end.  Another 5 seconds and a continuous beeping alarm will sound on my end and in the baby's room.

Well,  James has been sleeping in his crib for two and a half weeks now with no alarm. Last night it went off and of course I shot out of bed and ran across the hall.  It probably took me two terrifying seconds. The alarm in his room had sounded too and caused him to stir (and resume breathing). After my heart started beating again you can imagine the what ifs that ensued...

What if it hadn't woke him?
What if I had to do cpr?
What if I didn't do it right? 
What if the EMTs didn't show up in time?
What if it happens again?
What if it happens at daycare during a nap and nobody notices? 

I watched him breathe for the next ten minutes. Then I tried to go back to bed. But I kept playing that damn game and had to go check on him again. And of course I compulsively checked on him every minute of every nap throughout the day.

I realize there is the "what if it was a false alarm?" and I have two things to say about that: 1.) I don't think it was because I can't even trick that device into going off...I ran a multitude of my own tests when setting it up.  Placing my hand in different areas of the crib... moving it gently,  keeping it still.  I can't keep my hand still enough in the crib to set the thing off. Good for nothing piece of junk, I thought,  but then I can throw only a teddy bear in and it knows the difference and starts beeping almost immediately. Things have to be deadly still for the alarm to sound.  2.) I'll take a false alarm over no alarm any day.

Yeah, yeah... all this new technology... somehow babies survived before it.  Babies sometimes forget to breathe but the body's natural response is to want oxygen and breathe again.  That may be all fine and good and true, but some babies have not survived and I can't help but wonder "what if" they had that technology? 

So I'm embracing the new technology and don't care if people think I'm crazy for it...I swear I'd collapse into a pile of dust if that what if game ever became my reality because look at this face...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Postpartum Musings

I had one goal today.  No, make that two.  1.) Catch up on reading blogs and 2.) Write a post.  Oh, make that three...3.) Go to the grocery store. Oh...and I thought maybe I'd be able to work in some laundry folding, vacuuming, dishes, pick up a couple last-minute Christmas items, and do some gift wrapping.

Well, the day is nearly over and I haven't made it even halfway through that list.  But, I have this amazing little distraction now from my ever-growing list of to-do's.  So that's what I've been up to: loving my beautiful child and chipping away at a list that will never end.  And POOF.  10 weeks have flown by since James was born. 

For what it's worth, I did make it to the grocery store.  And I read quite a few blog posts...but not all that I wanted to.  And I'm attempting to write something now. So, there's that.

Unfortunately that's what this blog space has become to me. For now anyway.  Something on my to-do list.  I WANT to write.  I WANT to read.  But it has to fit somewhere in between meeting the needs of my precious distraction, keeping myself alive, and attempting to maintain my house and appearance at least a little bit.  And I haven't figured that out yet.

And I guess I've been okay with that in the fact that I am very, very happy (albeit anxious, which I'll get to later).  I am so happy to be completely consumed with momness right now.  But I do feel like I owe something to the blogosphere if I spend too long away from it.

Over the past ten weeks I can't tell you how many thoughts have crossed my mind that I said to myself, "I'll put that in a post."  I can't tell you how many because I can't kept track of anything, especially my abundant postpartum thoughts that range from "nobody-cares" to "get-that-woman-some-medication" to "sappy-mushy-baby lovefest" to "sort-of-comical."  I can tell you that the majority of the time it's a sappy-mushy-baby lovefest around here, but I'll try to recall some of the most memorable musings (mostly completely inconsequential) for you in an unorganized list.

1. I managed to avoid stretch marks on my stomach.  Whether that was genetics or my daily lotion regiment in the third trimester for my itchy tummy, I'm not sure.  But my boobs...not so lucky.  When my milk came in...I've never seen the likes!  Pam Anderson had nothing on me!  My poor tiny boobs just couldn't keep up.  I wish I'd taken a picture. Not for you...for my husband.  He missed them at their biggest and I think he thinks I'm exaggerating.  But the purple stretch marks should be proof, right?  Trust me.  They were freaky.

2. Speaking of boobs...the veins on my chest were and are like a road map to Nipple City.  Not sexy.

3. And while we're on the subject of what has happened to my body, my belly button looks like a haggard pit of despair.  The piercing did close up...insert sad face...but I'll probably get it pierced again when we finish having kids, if we are so lucky to be able to get pregnant again. 

4.  Yes.  I know I sound vain.  No.  I wouldn't trade my baby for anything.  No.  That doesn't mean I have to love my sad belly button and stretched-out boobs.

5.  15 minutes in the shower is equal to 2 hours of sleep.  This is especially true in the first few weeks post-baby.  If you can't find time to sleep, or are feeling very deprived...make taking a shower a priority.

6.  Either I was abnormal in the postpartum bleeding department, or the books I read beforehand made the aftermath of having a baby out to be way more of a nightmare than what actually took place.  Perhaps it's because I had a C-section??  Anyway, I thought I'd be bleeding heavily for at least a week or two and then bleeding more, but not as yuck for another 3 or 4 weeks.  I had purchased three packs of the heavy-duty-overnight-diaper pads in preparation for this flood of ick.  My heaviest bleeding was the couple days in the hospital and even that wasn't any worse than a period.  By the time I came home the pads I'd purchased were a joke.  I started wearing them to bed at night stuck to my bra because they were better suited for soaking up all the milk I was leaking.  I still have two and a half of the three packs I bought.  I think I was pretty much done bleeding in a couple weeks and completely done in three.

7.  Pad technology has come a long way since I was a teen.  I use tampons typically, so I had no idea.  There are super thin pads that are really absorbent!  They are sufficient for the job...there is no reason to wear something that feels like a diaper for more than a couple days unless you like that sort of thing.  

8.  Also...people said: beware the first postpartum poop!  Ummmm...again not so bad.  But maybe I am an exception.  Granted, I did get food poisoning on day 5 postpartum (and yes, baby did too via my milk...poor baby!), and that sort of helped things along.  But I've heard people say it's like giving birth all over again.  I don't know.  I didn't get to deliver vaginally, so I'm sure that makes it a bit more uncomfortable down there.  But I have heard others who have had C-sections tell woeful tales too.  I think the pain meds they want to give you are part of the problem...the hydrocodones.  Anyway, I didn't take much of that stuff...so maybe that's how I avoided that terror.

9. I think the amount of nostalgia I am and have been experiencing since right after James' birth is kind of unhealthy.  I am nostalgic about my pregnancy, I am nostalgic about my labor day, I am nostalgic about his birthday.  Nostalgia sets in every time I retire an outfit that he no longer fits in...or never even got to wear.  I feel guilty any time that I spend not looking at him because I feel like I am missing something.  Does this make me crazy?  I find myself wishing so hard that time would just slow down, dang it!  Or better yet, if I could just rewind a little and suspend ourselves in time....my tiny baby is not so tiny anymore.  In fact, he has more than doubled his birth weight!!  And even though I KNOW this is a good thing and that he is healthy and wonderful...I just want to go back and go slower! 

10.  I cringe thinking about going back to work.  I've had nightmares and the anxiety I mentioned earlier all has to do with work.  So I'm not even going to talk about it except to say that I have to go back on January 8th.  Boo.

11. My husband is still training.  And that is both wonderful and horrible.  He is loving his new career but missing us.  And we miss him terribly but are surviving just fine.  This week has been one of the hardest because he didn't get to come home last weekend.  But he does get a couple long weekends with Christmas and New Years coming up.  I've had some very emotional moments, but it has not been as hard as it originally felt like it was going to be.  And with as fast as time has been going by, he'll be home again before we know it.

12. My life has done a complete 180 from a year ago.  I was feeling so defeated.  So sad.  So consumed by the ugly stuff.  Now I am beyond blessed and have never been happier.  That's not to say that things aren't tough occasionally, but it's so much easier to handle the rain when you've got sunshine in your life....and when the rain isn't a constant downpour.  So, to those of you still out there in the torrential rain awaiting your miracle, I pray that 2015 is your year.  Keep on keeping on and know that you are in my thoughts.  I know it's hard.  I know it hurts.  It's not fair.  But I am here to tell you, someday your little miracle will mend the pieces of your broken heart and your heart will ache in an entirely new way that will make all the struggle worth it. 

I am sure there was more I was going to write about.  And in my head it was going to be much more thrilling for you to read, but I don't have it in me to be clever and I really don't remember. So, I'll leave you with some photos of the cutest baby ever (IMHO)... 

 
Brand New! (October)


So tiny! (October)

Very expressive from the get-go. (November)

Purposeful playing (Early December)

Angelic Sleeping (Always, but photo from December)


Adorable Smile (Always, but again December) 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Labor Day

So I'm talking about October 10...not the first Monday in September.  Most people love the September Labor Day because it means they get a nice long weekend.  For me it always marks the beginning of going back to work for another year.  And as much as I love my job, I hate that day.

October Labor Day from now on will be far superior.  It marks the day James decided to come meet us.

My labor started at 3:00am Friday, October 10.  Maybe sooner.  It's possible I slept through some contractions.  But at 3:00 I was either woken up by my eensy-weensy bladder or the crampy contraction I was having.  It wasn't much, but it was very different than the 15-minute-long-entire-uterus-tightening-up-so-hard-it-feels-like-a-boulder contractions I had been having.  While those contractions were obnoxious and uncomfortable, they never were "painful" whereas this one would fall in the pain category.  It was certainly tolerable, but was a feeling you wanted to go away.  It started low in my pelvis and felt like it was building and then subsided.  "Crampy" is really the best word I can think of to describe it. I remember thinking "Hmmm?  Is today the day?"  I immediately reached for my phone and started the contraction timer app.

I couldn't go back to sleep because my mind was racing.  Is this labor?  How will I know for sure?  When do I call JT?

About half an hour later I had another contraction.  And then 45 minutes later. I laid in bed the whole time trying to go back to sleep/rest...but it was no use.  By 6:00 I decided to get up and call Labor and Delivery.  I had only had a handful of contractions and knew I was far from needing to go to the hospital, but was hoping they could shed some light on if what I was feeling was the real deal and if so, at what point I should call my husband so he could start his 6 hour trip across the state.

L&D made me cry.  The nurse was not helpful at all and said, "What? Is this your first?"  She didn't ask any questions and seemed annoyed to be on the phone.  When I tried to explain my situation and what I was experiencing she chuckled and said, "Well, I can tell you not to call your husband."

I bawled when I got off the phone and was completely lacking confidence in what I was feeling.  Maybe I was just making it up because I wanted it to happen.  I called my sister-in-law who was going to be my "stand-in coach" until my husband arrived.  I told her about my morning and conversation with L&D.  I said I didn't know if I needed her or not because I didn't even know if I was in labor...but just wanted to give her a heads up that I might need her at some point.

After that I got in the shower and cried some more.  My brother called back and said my sister-in-law (also a teacher) had sub plans ready to go and was taking the day off to be with me.  I was grateful they made the call...because I probably would have just been freaking out and playing head games if left alone all day.

So she came over and I continued to track my contractions with my little app.  By 9:00 the contractions were 15-20 minutes apart.  They still didn't seem bad though.  I decided to call my doctor's office and get their advice.  The nurse I spoke with was MUCH nicer...but I still wasn't confident that I was going to meet my baby that day.  She sympathized with me and said I was definitely describing the early stages of labor, but what she couldn't tell me is how my labor would progress because everyone is different.  She said my contractions might continue like this for hours...or days.  There was really no way to tell, but if it were her she would call her husband just for peace of mind.  She was super sweet and actually called back later that afternoon to check on me and see if I had ended up calling my husband yet.  She said she'd been thinking about me all day and couldn't go home without knowing whether or not he was on his way.

It was a nice day, so my sister-in-law and I took the dogs for a walk to see if things would pick up at all.  Around noon the contractions were about 10 minutes apart.  I was explaining to my SIL that I wished I could just call JT instead of having to call the Academy office.  Things still didn't feel very bad and I didn't want to get JT in trouble for leaving early if the baby wasn't going to come until much later.  If this had happened any other day of the week I may not have been so hesitant, but it was a Friday, so he was going to be coming home anyway and would probably get home around 11pm.   Just as I was explaining this to her, my phone rang.  It was JT.

"Hey Kelse, I've got like two minutes.  Tell me what's going on? I got a feeling I needed to call," he said.

I quickly updated him and told him I wasn't sure if he needed to leave yet.  He said he didn't care and he was coming home.  I was so relieved!

"I love you so much!  See you soon!" was how he ended the call...but he forgot to hang up and I could hear him yell to his fellow cadets, "WE'RE HAVING A BABY!"

Later he told me that everyone dropped what they were doing to help him gather his things and get on the road.  I guess the class literally had two minutes to change into some gear and be somewhere...when they are late they get punished, but nobody cared...they all just chipped in.  How cool is that?

So I was thrilled! My SIL and I decided to go to Target to kill some time and walk a little more.  At this point I was finally excited about what the day had in store and as we left the house I wasn't thinking about much else but the fact that soon my husband would be home and we'd work on welcoming this new member of our family together. 

As I closed the front door I reached to my purse where I normally clip my keys...just a habit I guess.  But, we'd been for that walk earlier.  And I had taken my keys off my purse.  They were sitting on the sofa table.  Inside.  Inside the locked house. 

No, we don't have a hide-a-key.  No, no one has a duplicate except JT.  A problem I suppose I need to fix.  $*#! we were locked out.  And it was going to be at least 6 hours before we had a key to get in.  Unless....

It's scary how easy it is to break in to my house.  I probably shouldn't say that on the internet.  Even the dogs broke in about a week prior to this...I left them in the garage one day because Sadie was sick and I could leave them outside because they dig.  And they chewed the weather stripping on the door into the house and somehow managed to bust in...but that's an entirely different story.  And that's not how we got in.  Apparently there are multiple ways to break in to my house.  I actually had to do it one other time (think I would have learned my lesson about having a spare key then, huh?).  We used the climb-through-a-window-route.  *Please nobody break into my house* unless you want to throw me a surprise party and buy me stuff. 

Anyway, we managed to get in...my SIL ended up needing a Band-Aid, but it was a normal size one, so I say that's not too bad.  We eventually made it to Target and we both bought cute baby shoes.  Hers were cute little boots for her daughter (my niece born back in December...if you've been reading this blog long enough to remember) and mine were an irresistible pair of sneakers.

By mid-late afternoon the contractions were inconsistent...between 7 and 20 minutes apart, but getting stronger.  They still weren't bad, but I decided to lay a bit low until JT got home.  We took the dogs to jail...I mean, "Pet Camp" where they would remain until I felt ready to have them home again.

By 5:00 my contractions were consistently 6-7 minutes apart.  And there was no more mistaking whether or not they were "real."  Still very manageable with breathing and movement, but I was feeling like it was game time.  I called JT to let him know that we would likely be heading to the hospital when he got home, so he'd better stop and grab something quick to eat because who knows the next time he'd have a chance to get a meal.  I hadn't eaten since lunch as a precaution...not that I thought I would have a cesarean, but they advise you not to eat when you're in labor...so I didn't. 

Okay, I had a few cookies throughout the afternoon.

My friend made me some tasty bring-in-your-milk cookies...so it was sort of like prepping for baby, not just snacking on junk food.

JT got home around 7.  And guess how he translated "something quick to eat"? He had a couple steaks and a Cesar salad kit.  Seriously.  That's my husband.  I was thinking like McDonalds, Taco Bell, Carls Jr....something *quick*...as in fast...as in fast food.

But no.

AND THEN, he asks if he has time for a quick shower.  By this time my contractions were 5-6 minutes apart.

"Hurry," is all I said. 

My SIL and I looked at each other and could only laugh.  Was he for real?  She grilled his steak while he showered and I prepared the salad.  This makes him sound like a terrible husband, but honestly he's the best.  Just...sometimes clueless.

We didn't leave for the hospital until about 8:30 when my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart.  They were extra uncomfortable in the car because I couldn't change positions.  We got to the hospital around 9 and didn't get to go back to triage (spelling?) until 9:30.  The nurse hooked me up to some monitors and asked a bunch of questions.  I can't remember them all...but I do remember she wanted me to rate my pain.  I had no idea what to say.  There wasn't even a sign with faces for me to look at as a guide. 

"I don't know," I said.  "Maybe a 7 or 8?"  I could tell my contractions had spaced out and didn't seem as strong once I laid down, but I thought surely I was going to be far enough along that they'd admit me.  I mean, I'd been in labor since 3 in the morning!

"You're at 2cm," she said kind of apologetically.  "We'll have you walk around and check you again in an hour.  If we don't see significant change in your cervix we will need to send you home."

I was crushed.  2?!?!?  I had dilated 1 cm all day?  WTF?  No way was I going home.  No way could I be making up that my contractions had been 4 minutes apart before going back to that little room.

We started walking the halls and almost immediately the contractions picked up in intensity and frequency.  JT was timing and he said they were 2 and a half minutes apart...I'm not entirely sure how long they were lasting...45-90 seconds which meant I really only had about a minute break between the end of one and the onset of another.

All I could think as we wandered those halls and past those empty rooms was, "Why can't I go in there? Why can't I have one of these rooms?"  Instead I had to labor in the hall.  Not what I had pictured.

About half an hour in to our walking I went to the bathroom and ended up vomiting with my next contraction.  I barely made it to the nurses station to tell them I had thrown up before I needed a bucket and vomited again.

The nurse who gave me the bucket said, "They're making you guys walk?  Looks like she's in labor to me." She seemed sorry that the hospital had stupid rules. 

I continued walking.  With my bucket.  Stopping every few steps to brace for another contraction.  Puking.  In the F-ing hall.

At one point I remember almost crying.  "I'm not a warrior.  I want to stop walking," were the words that were playing on a loop in my head and occasionally coming out under my breath.  Not the positive words I'd practiced.

JT and I made our way to an empty waiting room where he tried to help me sit down but I couldn't figure out how.  I didn't want to stand anymore.  I didn't want to walk.  I didn't want to sit.  I didn't want to lay down.  I didn't know what I wanted or how to get it.  But I kept looking at the clock ticking closer and closer to the time I could be checked again.  At 10:45 (5 minutes shy of my hour) the nice nurse who had given me the bucket had advised the triage nurse that she might need to check me again.

I wobbled my way to triage and felt this weird pressure...need to go to the bathroom-ish feeling.  Not the pushing feeling...but immense pressure on my bladder?  My mucus plug (such a gross term...but it was so gross) came out and my water broke as soon as I sat down in the bathroom.  What a bloody shock that was..."mucus plug" sounds like a booger to me...but NO.

And then my water...kept...breaking even after I stood and tried to walk back to the room to be checked.  This is maybe getting more graphic than you bargained for.  Sorry for that.  But it's probably not going to get any better...so you may want to stop here.  You've been warned.

When the nurse checked me she said I was at 5cm, 100%, and ruptured.  She asked me to rate my pain and I asked if I could amend my rating from before.  I said the pain before was a 3 or 4 at best.  This, now, was a 7 or 8.

I didn't have to stick around there any longer...they started wheeling me to a room and the nice bucket nurse (Jenn) came too.  She said she knew that we were going to be her's when she saw us walking in the hall.  I liked her a lot.  She was super nice.

In the L&D room they hooked me up to some monitors, I hooked myself up to my I-Pod (why hadn't I done that in the hall??).  The contractions felt like they were coming right on top of each other by this point.  My new mantra was, "I'm not a warrior.  I want the epidural.  I need a break.  Just give me a little break."

At one point I felt the need to push and I tried to refrain, but I said, "I REALLY want to push now."  It was like an animal instinct.

Jenn looked at the monitors and asked me to try really hard not to push because it looked like I did with the last contraction.  She said we could get the epidural but it might be a little while because there was only one lady there to do it.  She decided to check me again in the meantime.

I was as shocked as she was when she said, "You're a 9!"

"Is it too late for an epidural?" I asked to which she replied, "....maybe...."

Jenn made a call and I guess I got moved straight to the top of the epidural list because the anesthesiologist was there in no time and got right to work.  I had to sit up and in doing so I was completely reconsidering the epidural altogether.  The need to push was so strong I just wanted to get it over with...it felt like the epidural would be a waste of time.

For whatever reason, I went through with it...and the relief was instantaneous.  I finally got my break.  It couldn't have been later than 11:15 at this point.  I was officially 10 cm, but Jenn said just to relax for a little while.

Around 11:30 Jenn decided we should try some "practice pushing" to see how effective I could be with my contractions.  I did four rounds of practice pushing before Jenn left the room and said, "I'll be right back."

She came back with another nurse?? Or somebody.  She said the other lady was better as feeling the position of the baby and she was going to have her check me out.  They then explained to me that they thought my baby was breech because they couldn't feel any hair and they thought they felt a hole. They asked about my last appointment and what position the baby was in at that point.  As far as I knew, he had been head down for a long time. 

Then they got some more people in the room...a resident doctor and...I don't know who else to do an ultrasound that revealed that he was indeed butt first.  At 11:45 Jenn told me not to push anymore.  Medical people commented that it was good I'd had the epidural.  I had to sign paperwork about doing a C-section.  I was bummed, but not devastated.  I had tried really hard not to come in with too much of a plan because I knew things wouldn't go as planned.  And they really hadn't to this point.  I never planned to do most of my labor in the halls of the hospital.  I was okay with a C-section if that was my path to keep me and my baby safe and healthy.  The nurses assured me that I would be an excellent candidate for a VBAC in the future...I didn't even ask, they just offered...kind of like a consolation prize, so I took it.  That was good news.  (Later my doctor apologized and said that because of the position of the baby he had to make another incision in my uterus and he would not advise any vaginal births in my future).

So then we waited.  Fortunately my doctor was the one on call, but it was still going to be half an hour before he would get there.  And there were preparations for surgery.  I don't even really remember what all went on.  I was shaking uncontrollably and feeling super exposed in that stark operating room.

The hospital personal explained that I would feel lots of weird tugging and pulling sensations, but that I shouldn't feel anything sharp or any pain.  If I did they would need to put me out completely.

They did a pinching test to see it I could feel it.  I could.  I might have winced a bit and I said I could feel it, but they said, "No, if you had felt that you would have punched somebody."  Well...two things.  I couldn't punch anybody because my arms were strapped down to the table.  And I had just been through transition labor...those pinches hurt, but they were nothing compared to the pain I had very recently felt. 

So they preceded.  And I could feel the cutting.  And I know I made a face because JT noticed and asked if I was okay.  I whispered that I could feel it, but that it was okay.  I DID NOT want to be put out for the birth of our son.  The anesthesiologist caught on and shot some more cold juice in my line and almost immediately the sharp pains were gone and thankfully I didn't have to be put out.

James was born at 1:43am on October 11th.  And I cried at the sight of his beautiful little head.  I was so relieved to hear him cry.  I was happy.  And somehow I was sad too.  About what I am not really sure.  Maybe that I couldn't touch him or hold him.  Maybe that he was born in that bright, cold room.  Maybe it was that they asked what his name was and I said "I don't know"...it never did just come to me...it never did just feel right in that moment.  That was sad, I guess.

When JT was able to bring him over by me I kissed him about a thousand times and cried some more and rubbed my cheek against his.  He was (and is) the most gorgeous and miraculous child.  Sometimes I can't believe my dream is here in my arms and even though things didn't go the way I would have dreamed...they went the way they needed to and I am so glad I had the experience of it all.

40 weeks!

Post steak dinner...pre-hospital:)

On our way to the hospital

41 weeks


A tired, but happy family
James is born!


My first up-close look



       

Friday, October 17, 2014

He's Here!

As you may have guessed our little one has arrived! He was born Saturday, October 11 @ 1:43 am weighing 6 lbs 9 oz and measuring 20.5 inches long.  He was delivered via c-section because he flipped breech in the last few days of pregnancy.  I'll tell the whole birth story in another post...not necessarily because you want to hear it but because I want to remember it.

Anyway...a few little bumps in the road, but all that matters is that I am snuggling a healthy baby and am recovering well.

I have become that person on facebook that everybody hates...posting tons of photos of JAMES, but he's soooo perfect I can't seem to help myself. I am going to try to add photos to this post but am not sure yet how bc this is my first post from my new, not-stupid-anymore phone.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pregnancy

39 weeks 3 days pregnant...I still blink in awe as I type it.  It is hard to believe I am finally here, a full-term pregnancy, and likely just days away from meeting my son.

Just a couple days ago I had a moment where I was lying in bed...in the same position I was in when I snuggled up next to JT and told him we were pregnant eight months ago.  And even though JT wasn't physically there to share it, I had this overwhelming love, relief, and gratitude surge through me.  How for we have come...how incredible the experience has been...how much we've grown through the process...how much we love this child who has been a part of me since January, but is still such a mystery to us...

It made me the tiniest bit sad that the pregnancy is nearing its end.  Feeling our baby move, hearing his little heart inside of me, all the aches and pains and inconveniences of pregnancy that reassured me there was a little somebody in there growing...I wouldn't trade any of that for the world!  Never getting to experience that is what made me most sad about the thought of not being able to conceive or carry our own child.  It's what makes my heart break for others who are in the throws of infertility.  Not having the chance to be pregnant was something I feared and cried about...a lot.  Which maybe sounds weird. Yes, there are other ways to become a parent.  Yes, I am sure they are incredibly rewarding.  Yes, I could find a way to live happily-ever-after without ever being pregnant.  But, I had people ask if my goal was to become a parent or become pregnant.  I'm not mad that they asked, but that's a terrible question.  Is it so bad to have wanted both? (Do you want a marriage or a wedding??  Okay, not exactly in the same ballpark, but sort of...)

I am so humbled and grateful that I got to be pregnant.  And no matter what, I will always look back on this time in our lives fondly.  I know it sounds a bit morbid to say "no matter what, "but even now...at the very end of the pregnancy...when I keep telling myself it has all gone fantastically well and has no reason to not end the same way...I am still afraid of that jump between being a pregnant parent and a parent of an in-my-arms-baby.  I am eager to meet him and try to envision that moment, but just like it's been throughout the pregnancy, my happy thoughts are punctuated with irrational fears that something could go wrong....even though I KNOW it's going to be alright.

That all being said, I am going to soak up these last days of being pregnant.  I am going to cherish every wiggle.  I am not going to wish him out anymore like I was doing a week or two ago (I feel soooo much better this weekend than I have in awhile...maybe that's just knowing I don't have to go to work this week).  I am just going to be ready to welcome him to the world when he decides to make his entrance.  And I can't wait!  But, I totally can.    

Thursday, September 25, 2014

...rant

I apologize ahead of time.  The contents of this post may not be appropriate for the audience that reads this...actually I don't even know who my audience really is.  Not sure how many people take the time to read this, but I remind you that my original and ever-faithful audience here is some non-existent, non-judgmental entity since this is my diary.  I just need to vent some teeny tiny little things that in the grand scheme of life don't actually get to count as problems.  I know this. 

I am 38 weeks pregnant.  And thrilled to death about it.  Beyond thrilled.  My appointment this week went well...baby's heartbeat was 148, my blood pressure was good, still 1cm but up to 50% effaced for whatever that's worth.  The doctor said (as he was checking my cervix) that he could feel baby's head pushing back at him.  I am so happy and excited and loving this baby. But, I am also 38 weeks pregnant and experiencing much of what I assume other 38 week pregnant women experience.  I'll spare you the details, but it's no walk in the park.  And the person who is supposed to be rubbing my feet at night and cooking me dinner and pampering my pregnant @$$ is 6 hours away.  Which is hard...but we're both dealing with it and it's working.  Again...thrilled to be experiencing every second of this pregnancy...thrilled at what it all leads to in a couple short weeks...THRILLED beyond words!!  But frickin' exhausted and emotional and uncomfortable.  I don't need (or for that matter want) anyone's sympathy, but what I am really really getting tired of is the assumption that because I look like I am "all baby" or because I look "so little" or because I look "so great" must mean I feel fantastic too. 

Just today I went to get some vaccines (TDAP & Flu) per my doctor's advice. The pharmacist came out and told me that, "I'm sorry, I can only give the TDAP vaccine in the third trimester and it looks like you have a ways to go."  I suppose this is a compliment.  Sort of.  I told him I had 2 weeks until my due date and he seemed taken aback.  I feel pretty safe saying no pregnant woman wants to be told she looks huge or that she looks tiny.  To be "normal" is perfection in pregnancy-world.

I sort of do feel like I am shrinking though...because baby seems to move lower and lower every day increasing the back pain and pelvic pressure that I'm experiencing.  And people think I "look great" because they can't see I have an entire baby head between my legs.  It's totally manageable, but gets in the way of ever being comfortable.  So...also, don't tell me to "get sleep now."  I know, I know...I will be up with a baby at all hours of the day and night.  Good sleep will be hard to come by for the unforeseeable future.  I will be a new kind of exhausted after baby's arrival.  But...that doesn't mean that right now I can just cruise in dreamland for a blissful 8 hours a night.  Ummm...far from it...especially when you add a sick dog to the eensy-weensy bladder & discomfort of being in the 9th month of pregnancy.

And one more thing.  I told my principal about my decision to stop working on the 3rd and he was sort of weird about it.  He seemed kind of peeved.  And less-than-pleased.  And maybe a bit rude.  And not so understanding.  I don't know if it's because he too assumed that I must feel fine or maybe he thought my due date was further away than it really is.  Or maybe it's because he is a guy and can't quite imagine what it's like to have a person hanging out in your pelvis in an organ that has expanded to something like 2000x its original size.  Or maybe it's because by leaving a week earlier than I originally planned I have significantly decreased the chances that he will fulfill his bizarre dream of transporting a laboring teacher to the hospital in the back of his truck.  Like an animal.  Every time a staff member is pregnant he talks about it.  I personally can't imagine nothing more horrifying. 

Maybe it wasn't him at all...maybe it was me being over-sensitive and emotional and reading into his reaction.  Whatever it was, it bugged me.  I am busting my butt at school...putting in 10 hour days on a regular basis and coming home with nothing left, but still having to suck it up and get stuff done at home too.  AND I still have so much to do before my leave!!!

And to top it all off, the sick dog keeps farting and assaulting my nose...even with the special diet of blended, boiled chicken and rice that the vet told me to implement to reboot her digestive system. As if the nauseous feeling I get in the evenings wasn't enough on its own!

So there you have it...apparently I am that pregnant woman that complains about ridiculous little things and drives you crazy because "Why can't she just be grateful, damn it!"  Again, I'm sorry.  I know how ridiculous it must all sound. 

I leave you with this...my 38-week bump picture through the lens of a first grader...

"...all the right curves in all the right places:)"

Saturday, September 20, 2014

aiNT NoBoDY GoT TiMe FoR THaT!

Just gonna let you know right now, there is likely nothing exciting or creative about this post.  It's just an update because I feel like it's been awhile.  Because school started...and since then I aint got time (or energy) for much of anything else.

Before I start, I'll throw out my usual disclaimer...I am SOOO happy and SOOO lucky that I have had a very uneventful pregnancy.  I do not take that for granted; I've seen and heard about too many that haven't gone so smoothly.  And I don't want to complain...I'm just putting out my current thoughts and happenings in a disorganized list:
  • I just completed day 13 of the 2014-15 first grade school year. 
  • That sounds like nothing....feels like forever. 
  • School is overwhelming.  Trying to front-load my students, get ready for a long-term sub, follow our new curriculum maps to meet district expectations, evaluate myself and set goals using a new teacher-evaluation tool, support two brand-new teachers on my team, plan a parent preview night, get initial student assessments done, and probably a handful of other things I can't remember right now...it's just a lot.  And I know I am not on my "A Game."
  • Sometimes I feel like I can't possibly do enough to get my kids and classroom ready for my absence...and other times, I just don't care. 
  • I love what I do...and I think I am pretty dang good at it...but this year my career gets to take a backseat.  And that's okay...in fact it's wonderful.  I know I will be busy and tired and fumbling my way through being a full-time mom with a full-time job and a long-distance marriage...but I am looking forward to learning how to let things go and focus on what matters most.
  • I am 37 weeks 1 day pregnant.
  • I can't tie my own shoes...let alone 18 little pairs multiple times a day.
  • I'm sure it's pretty comical watching me try...I know I sigh and make a face every time one of them asks me to tie a shoe...I can't hide it.
  • Unfortunately only one student can actually tie shoes...but it takes her about 2 minutes per shoe.  There are others who *think* they can help their friends, but only end up tying a series of knots...which requires even more effort on my part to undo.
  • I was planning on working through Friday, October 10 (my due date is the 9th).
  • 15 more days of work sounds...well...horrible.  So I'm thinking of calling it quits on Friday, October 3rd (that'll be 10 more work days) unless my little man has different plans for us....which, now that we've reached 37 weeks, I am totally open to.
  • At my 36 week appointment nothing was going on with my cervix.  This week I was nearly 1cm and starting to efface...baby had dropped even more too.  That could mean things are getting underway slowly...or it could mean nothing. 
  • I was thrilled, even though it was little progress, that there WAS progress within the week because I really don't want to be the crazy first-time pregnant lady that over-reacts about what is going on.  I wanted to believe SOMETHING was happening  because it feels like things are happening...lots of pelvic pressure, some lower back pain, Braxton Hicks like you'll never read about anywhere...
  • Just yesterday I made a point of writing down when I was having the intense contractions (not painful, but extreme tightness) and how long they were lasting.  I have had several days where they feel constant...like they never really go away, so they have been hard to count.  Turns out the frequency wasn't as bad as I thought, but the duration still seems CRAZY.  They were consistently 45-65 minutes apart but were lasting anywhere from 7-12 minutes a piece.  Between contractions the tightness would let up and come and go with less intensity until the next big one.  I also noted baby's movement and he moved all day with the exception of 2 quiet hours (which were not back-to-back).
  • I have been reassured by the OB's office that all this practice is good...just my body getting ready for labor.  And as long as I am not in pain and baby is moving and there is no fluid/blood I am not to worry about the duration of the contractions.  They say this is my "normal" and that if I notice changes in my normal, then I should come in.  But, it still seems crazy to me.  Anyone else?  7-12 minutes!  It just doesn't seem right...but what do I know?
  • I'm really glad to be having weekly appointments now.  I love feeling our little guy squirm and hiccup, but nothing makes me happier than hearing his healthy little heartbeat and hearing that we continue to grow right on track.
  • I can't believe I will get to meet him so soon.  I don't think there is a word to pinpoint how I feel about that coming day...when I will finally hold him.  It is a mix between anticipation, excitement, nerves....but that still doesn't cut it.  Overall, I guess I am just finally ready (as ready as you can be for such a monumental event anyway) and happy.
  •  And...HUSBAND JUST GOT HOME FOR THE WEEKEND...so this post is over! Maybe I'll write more later.  Maybe not...aint really got time for bloggin' much these days.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Weirdest.Dream.Ever.

So, strange dreams are a common symptom of pregnancy...or so I've heard.  But man!  The one I had last night has got to be off the charts CUH-RAZY. 

And for your reading pleasure, I will share:

It started out normal enough...I was feeling my stomach while Ziggy was moving around and I found his head. (That was the only normal part). 

When I did he lifted it a bit and you could kind of see the shape of it protruding from my abdomen.

I called out to JT to come look.  "His head, babe!  Look you can see his head!"

As JT came running to see, baby lifted his head even more...so much so that I had two bumps on my stomach...the normal pregnant one, and a well-defined-baby-head-shaped bump on top of that one down near my right leg.

JT gasped, then exclaimed, "He's ugly!"

"What?!" I said, "He can't be!  He's our baby!"

The little guy had lifted his head so much that my skin was stretched tightly around his facial features.  Problem was, I couldn't see much more than the back of his head because his face was pointing down.  I craned my neck for a better look...

"He's not..." I started, but then I too gasped.  "You're right!  He's ugly!" 

Ziggy started pushing his whole body...outward.  Slowly little fingers, knees, elbows, and toes were visible under my taught skin.  He just kept pushing more and more until...he just...emerged from my stomach and was no longer under layers of skin.  I feel like there is some image from a movie I could compare this too, but am having trouble placing it.  Like a ghost going through a wall?  But not that easy.  It wasn't creepy or anything like Alien.  It wasn't like my skin split...he just was under it...and then he wasn't.  He kind of bubbled apart from it...not unlike a lava lamp.  You know when a clump of "lava" starts to separate and eventually is two bubbles?  If I had to attach an onomatopoeia to it, it would be "BLUB."

BLUB...and he was out.

As soon as he was out he started smiling and wiggling and was immediately cute and wonderful and I held him on my chest.  I held him for a minute...just full of love and not at all phased by how he had come to be in my arms.

But after a short time, we all (baby included) decided he better go back in because he wasn't done. 

For whatever reason, going back the way he had come was not even an option...it wasn't even a thought.  Instead...

The little bugger got up, assumed a diving position with hands above head and lunged at...well...the NORMAL exit route babies take.  I did one hellofa Kegel trying to block his re-entry.

"He's not going to fit that way!" I yelped.

JT said something like, "You've got to relax and let him back in."

I tried to relax, but every time he dove, I'd block him (unintentionally).  Like when your tongue fights a pill you just don't want to swallow.

Eventually he got back up there...somehow...like that "Egg in a Bottle" science demonstration.

But then he was breech.

The end.

That was it!  That was my crazy dream.  Anyone care to analyze???       

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What's Crackin'?


Remember back in January when I was so "eggcited" to have ovulated for the first time in who-knows-how-long?  AND THEN, to find out I was pregnant blew my mind!  But it wasn't long at all before I started worrying that something would go awry and my little miracle egg would "hatch" too soon...
Don't worry...nothing has happened.  Ziggy is safe and growing in his "shell."

I have tried to stay calm and positive. For the most part, I've done a good job.  Having a rather uneventful pregnancy has helped immensely, and for that I am sooo grateful!  I get that I am beyond lucky for how smoothly things have gone...I know there are many who, after the stress of IF, have to face extremely stressful (sometimes terrifying) pregnancies...some that have happy endings and others that only end in more heartbreak.  With each passing week it seems I have more and more reason to believe that everything will turn out just fine and I have no need to stress. 
In the past two weeks though I have had a few brief moments of ill-founded panic...that we are so close to term, but darn it baby, don't get any crazy ideas!  I am sure that there is some naïve, first-time mom stuff at play and my worry is unwarranted...but you know when you just get a feeling that something isn't right?
So, I've had Braxton Hicks contractions daily since early in the second trimester.  Early on I would say I got about a dozen each day.  Though my doctor said it was completely normal and okay as long as I wasn't having too many (4 every hour), they didn't hurt, and they weren't accompanied by bleeding/fluid, I was still a little unnerved that I was getting them so much earlier than what everything I was reading said. 
Over the course of the pregnancy the intensity and frequency of the contractions has been building.  Still not to the "too many" or painful level, but I would say I have at least one an hour and they last any where from 2 to 5 minutes a piece.  Before they were pretty localized; now they seem to start out in one or two places but spread to most areas of my uterus.  I have spoken with my doctor about them at every check-up and am always told not too worry, to call if I have 4 an hour "consistently", to lie down on my side, rest, hydrate, etc.
Anyhow, 2 weeks ago I witnessed my grandma fall and break her femur.  It was scary seeing her on the ground in the state she was in and not knowing what exactly was wrong.  I think the stress of the situation took its toll and I hit the "4 an hour" contraction mark.  I rested and drank my water and tried to take it easy the rest of the day.  I had lots of contractions that day...but only had the one hour with 4.  Then again this past weekend...not sure what might have triggered it...but I had another hour with 4.
Now I know I am not in labor...but my concerns are: 1.) Are these contractions a sign that my body is getting ready to go into labor sooner than 4-6 weeks from now?  2.) Why are they so much longer and more frequent that what is written in all the books?  Could they be stressing out my baby?, and 3.) If I am having this many now...what happens when I go back to work next week?
I had another appointment today and voiced my concerns.  I was told basically all the same things as before, so I am thinking I need to just chill...but I can't shake the feeling that this baby might come sooner than we are expecting.  (Now, just because I said that, watch this naïve first-timer be begging her little one to GET OUT at 41 weeks or something). BTW, baby's heart rate (140), my blood pressure (118/70), and fundal measurement (34cm) were all great & right on track. Weight gain is 28 pounds, and I think that is good too...nobody at the doctor's office has said anything about it anyway.
I am 34 weeks tomorrow, so I know I am at a point where Ziggy would probably be okay...but each day and week he can stay put, so much the better!  At my next appointment they will start checking my cervix and I think knowing what's going on there will help.  I just really want a healthy baby and want to do everything in my power to make that happen! So baby, do mommy a favor...no surprises please!
Alright, enough with my most recent anxieties...here is a random list of things that have been going on since I last updated:
*I had my baby shower (on the same day that my grandma fell). Lots of wonderful people came and brought me lots of wonderful things. But it was also kind of weird because the whole day was weird with grandma being in the hospital and all.
*JT and I went to an all-day birthing class.  We had to go with the all-day option since JT is only home on weekends.  And no, we didn't have to sit on the floor and practice breathing techniques.  I am glad we went, but feel like I knew most of what they told us because I have been reading books.  I was glad for JT to hear it all though and it got me more excited for the "birth day."  Again, some naivety here...but is it weird that I am excited about labor/delivery?  There are some horrible, gruesome tales out there about during and after labor...but I'm not scared...I am just curious.  And sooo excited to experience it and meet our little man!  
*Side story about the class:  The instructor asked the men right at the beginning "What has been the best thing about your woman being pregnant?"  (She kept saying that throughout the class..."your woman"...I didn't really dig it).  One guy said, "mood swings."  Not a great start.  He thought she had said "worst thing" and then tried to redeem himself quickly with some other comment that was not much better.  Another guy said, "Just the fact that it finally happened because we've been trying so long."  I wanted to hug that couple and scream "YAY!!" The other four men in the room (my husband included) said NOTHING!  What?!  It was a Ferris Buehler moment...you could almost hear crickets chirping as the instructor pleaded, "You can't think of one wonderful thing? Anyone? One thing? Let me help you: try...she's growing my baby, she's beautiful, she's glowing, she's wonderful...anything!  Anyone?"  I can think of a million wonderful things about being pregnant: the heartbeat, the ultrasounds, the kicks and squirms, preparing the nursery, daydreaming about the future, smiles from strangers, belly rubs and kisses from JT, the list goes on!  So, during the lunch break I had to give JT a hard time and ask why he didn't say anything and could he really not come up with one thing or did he just not feel like talking?  His response, "I didn't think it was appropriate to talk about your boobs."     
*School starts next week.  Teachers have meetings all day on Tuesday and back-to-school night that evening.  Kids come on Wednesday.  I have been spending lots of time at school.  I guess I am ready-ish...but I really don't want to go back.  Seriously lacking motivation.  Lacking so much motivation I don't even want to talk it about it right now.  So I won't.
*I've been trying to find child care for when I return to work in January.  It's hard, man!  Maybe I'll do a post on that later.  The good news is that I think I finally found some decent options.
Alright, that's all I've got for now. 'Til next time...
 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Just Photos


I don't have much to say today, but thought I would share the past month worth of belly pictures.  Some people (strangers and friends alike) say I look small...some say I look big (remember the custodian that lacks social awareness?? I saw her the other day and she said, "You so huge already? What you eat?")...and the doctor always says we are growing perfectly.  Obviously I just want to be "normal," whatever that is, so the doctor's assessment works for me.  I go back tomorrow for an appointment and hope that all will appear "perfectly normal" again!
28 weeks

29 weeks

30 weeks

31 weeks!
Can't believe I am in my 31st week of this pregnancy! How lucky am I??  Just for fun...here is my 15 week belly when I thought it was COMPLETELY obvious that I was pregnant.  Ha!

 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Beautiful Things

So, I was at Kohl's today getting a cushion for the rocking chair in Ziggy's room and this guy was looking at pillows.  I would say he was a surfer-type if there were anywhere to surf around here, but since there is not I guess he was just sort of a hippy...long hair, flip-flops, exuding a very mellow vibe. 

I knew what I was going for and exactly where to find it, so I was on a mission.  I didn't really want to get distracted and shop for anything else.  My tunnel vision was zeroed in on the quickest route to the seat cushions.  As I passed this guy, he looked up and said "beautiful" with a kind smile and a nod toward my belly.  It caught me a little off-guard...but I managed to smile quickly and say "thank you."


As I walked on to my destination I got to thinking how "un-beautiful" I was feeling...my hair was up in a messy ponytail thanks to my water-exercise class and sweaty nap.  My make-up was a bit smudged and my clothes were ones I had worn the day before and just threw on again since I was going out in public.  I knew I'd be out working in the yard later and so I was waiting to shower until after that.  I think I am starting to waddle a bit and my skin is getting weird little spots of funny pigmentation.  My legs (and other parts) swell as the day progresses.  Basically, I felt dirty and sweaty and large and quite the opposite of beautiful.
But he said "beautiful."  And you know what folks?  He was right.  What is happening inside of me is undeniably beautiful even if the outside doesn't always feel like it matches...and I reckon that is what he saw.  It wasn't that I looked beautiful, but that I was beautiful.

It's funny how this complete stranger made my day with one word.  And it's not like it's a word I've never heard before.  My husband tells me all the time how beautiful I am, but of course he thinks so!  I mean, we love each other like crazy!  There was just something different about hearing it from a stranger at such an unexpected moment. 

This guy struck me as the type of person who might find beauty in a lot of places that go unnoticed by others as we set our sights on our missions for the day or week or months ahead of us.  How much beauty are we missing out on when we have our blinders on???

So, in an attempt to honor the beauty in the simple things around us, allow me to share a list of some of my favorite things.  

Favorite Smells:
*Dry, dead pine needles and dirt on a hot day
*My husband's t-shirts
*Bakeries
*Hometown air after being away for awhile

Favorite Sounds:
*Heavy rain on a metal roof
*Wind chimes at the lake
*My husband singing country songs when he thinks no one is listening

Favorite Sights:
*The vibrant greens set against the purply-grey dustiness of an oncoming storm
*Orchids
*Fall leaves before they fall
*Fresh snow, especially when it hangs on to branches

Favorite Tastes: (this one is tough because I LOVE to eat and my favorite things to eat change throughout the year)
*cold water when you are really, really thirsty
*Almost any food I eat while on a date with JT
*Sour gummy worms

Favorite "Feels"?:
*Ziggy moving inside when JT has his hand or cheek against my belly
*A warm bath or shower after a long day...especially if it was a day of traveling
*Clean feet
*Getting in a freshly made bed with clean sheets
*The very beginning of a run on a mild day and the end (when you get to stop) of every run 

If I sat and thought longer about each category, I know my lists would grow.  But these are the things that come immediately to mind. This has been kind of a sappy post...but there really is a lot of wonderful in the world and I suppose this blog was due for a touch of it. 

Where do you find beauty?  What are some of your favorite things?