Things Be Happening

Well, I may be early. “May” being the operative word.

I woke up early on Sunday AM, thinking that I had food poisoning. But after working through some mid-level nausea, I realized that I still felt something between typical cramps and extra-tight muscles. Hmm. This might be early contractions? I also was seeing some pink and brown discharge. Hmm. Early bloody show?

Long story short, we pulled up the list of pre-labor signs and I had nearly everything on there. We called our midwife and our doula, and both agreed that this looked promising — but of course, who knows. In the last 36 hours, contractions have come and gone, but regularity and intensity seem to be on the way up. (Ouch.) I’m also getting contractions in my lower back. (Extra ouch.) Last night, rather than wake up to go to the bathroom every 1-2 hours, I woke up to go to the bathroom and have a contraction or two.

Handily, we had a midwife appointment already scheduled for today and we just returned from there. Fun fact: back pain + contractions + car ride in rush hour? Not a recommended formula. That said, the appointment was worth it. They offered a cervical check and I decided to go for it, and it revealed that I was already 90% effaced, plus a couple centimeters dilated. So these contractions are actually making things happen! The midwife said she could have broken my water pretty easily, but they don’t so much recommend that. She could legit feel the head pushing through the bag of waters.

Now, we’re just chilling/waiting for things to progress. Almost there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birth Planning

We’re now counting down in days (six) rather than weeks. So that’s surreal.

In belated news, I did the GBS test a couple weeks back and didn’t get a false positive — or a regular positive for that matter! I was convinced that I would, so it was a jolly surprise. Our midwife practice has you do the test yourself and then hand it to the lab in this little test tube thing. Can I just say, doing a vaginal swab solo while hugely pregnant is rather challenging. I had progesterone suppositories down, but it’s all different when you literally can’t see what you’re doing. In any case, I dropped the first test on the floor, but got it with the second.

We had a chill 38.5 week appointment. Somehow, we’d gone this long without ever seeing the head midwife and she’s mad cool. However, she seemed to be cool with the possibility that I might be a week (or more) late. I would not be as okay with that. Our new goal is to have the baby this weekend or next because then the midwives from our practice would be on duty. But either way, I’d quite like the wee one to be more or less on time. I was three days early, so maybe history will repeat?

At the start, “birth planning” seemed like a ludicrous proposition. I can think of few things that are more unpredictable than having a small human emerge from your body, so the idea of planning for that seemed a little bizarre. As the months ticked along, I did realize that I had birth preferences, but I also won’t be broken up if they are not possible in the end. I truly just want a healthy, and preferably adorable, wee one. Is there a way to say, “Please respect my birth preferences … but be aware that they might change and I’m mostly cool with that?”

Ideally, I’d like to go the unmediated, self-directed routes, but not because I have an objection to modern medicine or, you know, directions. See, our conception process was so medicalized and so impersonal that I’d like to be free from that during the birth process. Also, well, I don’t like medications all that much. I don’t like drugs blocking the signals that my body is sending to my brain. I want to know what’s up, even when that’s the less comfy route. (I turned down the good stuff after getting my wisdom teeth extracted and was told that I was bananas.)

Our due date appointment is on Monday, even though the actual date is four days later. At this point, every weird feeling equals “sign of labor maybe!” Earlier this week, I started feeling much less tired and wanted to do all the things. My work productivity went up, my desire to take the dog on long walks in the middle of the day for no reason also increased, etc. We shall see!

Happy Term Day!

Technically, that was almost a week ago (last Thursday), but we still can dance a jig in celebration today. I’m officially “early term” and the midwife has pronounced that I could have the baby now without issue! This was hugely calming for some reason … even though our nursery doesn’t have doors (we’re working on it) and our carseat isn’t installed (the blanket of dog hair needs to be removed first).

We also did the prenatal visit with our doula at our house. She was very calming, had a nice nose ring, and complimented my amniotic fluid. (She’s also a midwife, so she wasn’t just guessing.) I had irrational concerns about said fluid, so this was nice to know. She told us that she gave birth to a ten-pound baby in her bathtub.

In other news, the past weeks have been the weeks o’ baby-related education. We wrapped up birth class, took infant and child CPR, and did an infant care class thanks to the breastfeeding center. My two cents, re: birth class: likely a good idea if you’re looking/hoping to go the minimal intervention route (as we are), but you don’t need an eight-week class (as we took). Really started dragging by the end. Plus I can’t sit still for 2+ hours right now.

At this point, I sense that wee one could use a little more space. He/she is kicking less and squirming significantly more. It legit feels like he/she is going to bust out any second now and start partying. Only 2-ish weeks to go and, thanks to my wife, we will have a supremely organized nursery.

Baby Hiccups

In the last couple weeks, often when I’m lying on my side, I thought that our wee one had developed a great sense of rhythm and was kicking me at very regular intervals. Eventually, I realized this made no sense. First, this was happening in my lower-right pelvic area (and we know the baby is head-down, feet-up) and second, now would be rather early to understand rhythm. I did some Googling, which promptly revealed … baby hiccups. This stuck me as weird, so I mentioned in to our birth class instructor and she said the same exact thing happened to her. Thus I will think of this as cute, rather than weird.

As of today, we officially have less than a month to go. Holy moly. We did a practice drive to the hospital the other night — which is much quicker than driving by the hospital to get to the midwife practice during massive rush hour. We also picked out a pediatrician based almost entirely on proximity. Turns out, there is a well-known practice three blocks from our house. That super-speedy drive was so delicious that we basically decided this was it unless they were evil or homophobic. As it happened, they were great to boot. (We’ll likely walk this under normal circumstances. But I’m a rather slow walker in my current state.)

Our wee one was extra-active today. Somedays, he/she is just chilling and I mainly feel him/her shifting around. But today was a full-on dance party in there. I took advantage of the circumstances by playing various songs and tapping my belly in time to the music to see what wee one might like. Results thus far: Indigo Girls (obviously), “Istanbul, not Constantinople,” and the Newsies soundtrack. All good options. Looking forward to some bopping around on the outside!

Oh The Sneezing

Speaking of things that become oddly dramatic when one is pregnant, “common cold” should be at the tip top of the list.

Early last week, I developed what my wife calls “the scritchy throat of doom.” As in, your body is taunting you with the horrid cold that you will soon experience. I had some cough drops, went to bed, and then was incapable of sleeping … for about three days. It was the most dramatic cold ever. I took two sick days in a row, which I have not done in many moons. Everything hurt. All I could do was toss around in bed and feel pathetic.

See, when one is pregnant, getting comfy and sleeping are rather onerous tasks. Throw some plague in the mix and they are all but impossible. Plus, plus, you can’t take anything. All the yummy, anti-cold drugs are off limits. I subsisted on nasal spray, Tylenol, and all the watermelon and oranges ever. For reals, I haven’t wanted either of those until this point and now I’ve eaten, like, an entire watermelon patch in about a week.

The primary stressor though was that wee one moved around less in the early days of plague (or so it seemed). He/she was still wiggling on a daily basis, but it was somewhat subdued. I called the midwife and she told me to chill, which was likely the right course of action. Once I started recovering and walking around like a normal person, he/she went back to bouncing around. Could wee one have been taking a strategic doze so as not to deal with my germs? Was my wacky immune system doing wacky things? I want to know. In any case though, he/she has spent the last few days wedging his/her feet into my upper abdomen. So that’s comforting.

Here’s what no one tells you about gestating: anxiety is like its own strange, scary side effect. I don’t particularly relish the heartburn or insomnia that come with pregnancy. And it’s rather challenging to get from Point A to Point B without various dramatic noises. But there is something magical and fun about being pregnant that trumps all that. I have this wee person who is always with me, who enhances and amplifies even the mundane moments of the day. It’s cool, is what I’m saying. I just wish that I could let that coolness fill me up and not stress out constantly about whether he/she has enough space, has the right nutrition, is moving enough, is positioned correctly, etc.

More than physical symptoms, the anxiety is the tough part. When I was sick, I was equal parts physically ill and mentally worried. I just want our wee one to be safe and content in his/her little house until we bring her into the big, uncomfy world. (Sorry, I realize that life post-womb will be very confusing to you, baby.)

That said, I am mostly back to normal operations. I made it though a two-hour meeting today with no cough drops or tissues at my disposal, and was mostly fine. Better yet, Internet tells me that wee one (who is 33+ weeks) is nearly four pounds and the size of a pineapple. That’s so big, y’all. I’m only 5′ 2″, so it’s hard to imagine a pineapple-sized person in my uterus. But hey, we are working up to small pumpkin equivalent in size! Maybe I should eat more fall-type foods.

Countdown Time

Holy moly, we have less than nine weeks to go. That is not very many weeks. There is something psychologically significant about having single-digit weeks remaining.

We had a midwife appointment on Wednesday and wee one is measuring right on schedule. While checking the heartbeat, she apparently poked wee one with the doppler and could see the heart rate pop up in response. Apparently this is a positive thing. My heart rate would likely go up as well, were someone to poke my nice comfy space with a doppler-thing.

Now that we’re well into the third trimester, I’ve make a handy list of “things that become oddly dramatic when one is in the third trimester of one’s pregnancy:”

  • Ordering take-out: yesterday, I ordered a perfectly nice sandwich. I have ordered this sandwich on many occasions. But now, so delightfully, it gives me serious heartburn. As in, I ate the maximum allowable number of Tums and still was gagging on reflux until midnight. Darn sandwich.
  • Sleeping through the night: currently, I wake up 4-5 times a night to pee. My round ligament pain is not kidding around, thus I need to stand up super-slowly and do this kinda hunched-over, stagger-walk to the bathroom.
  • Shaving my legs: dude. It’s hard when your stomach is so sizable. I can’t really see what I’m doing and cut myself like crazy last weekend. Oops.
  • Picking things up from the floor: I drop my phone, my food, my whatever, on the regular under normal circumstances. But now, I drop things even more often and then have to make a huge dramatic noise when picking them up.
  • Staying a normal temperature: not really. But I often want the AC blasting and a fan aimed at my face. As fall is approaching, my wife is sleeping in fluffy PJs and under the covers, like a normal person. I am wearing the minimal amount and insisting on winter-like conditions.
  • Just chilling: last weekend, I was doing a lovely job being lazy and my stomach skin started to hurt. Like, it felt as though my skin was stretching to the max. (Don’t google “abdominal tightness.” Unnecessary panic.) They think now that it was just wee one having a growth spurt. Everything was cool after 48 hours. Plus Tylenol, Tums, water, and one day of doing even less than normal.
  • Walking upstairs: it’s difficult, peeps.

Needles to say, I am attempting to be amusing. None of these things are especially problematic. I am more marveling at the strange and plentiful physical changes that are occurring. Plus, wee one has been wiggling and kicking quite a bit recently and, well, it’s awesome. I’m happy to be toed in the ribs wherever, whenever. Tonight, he/she basically high-fived my wife with his/her foot. Keep it up!