Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Last Day of Pregnancy

I had an appointment with my midwife first thing in the morning yesterday, and she finally pulled the plug on my hopes for a med-free, birth center birth. I'm being induced at the hospital this evening. Sad face.

Things have been deteriorating over the last week. I have an awful, unbearably itchy PUPPS rash that started on my belly, but has spread to my arms and legs. A rash like this is sometimes an indicator that your liver is stressed and the toxins it is not able to cleanse from your blood have nowhere to go but up through your skin. Lovely.

In addition to being driven out of my mind by itching, there are some other indicators that things are not going well. For one, Snapdragon is still floating really high, not settling into my pelvis at all. She seems to be head-down, but was so far up that Joyce could not even reach her during my internal exam. I am a tiny bit effaced, but not dilated at all. Add that to the cyst, my low iron, and the fact that even Tufts thinks that she will be a 9-pounder, and there are just too many risk factors for the birth center. Snapdragon's eviction notice has been served.

Joyce gave us the option of being induced right away (Monday night) or waiting until Tuesday (today). We opted for Tuesday so that we have a bit of time to get our affairs in order, contact our families, and repack our bags for what will be a longer hospital stay than we were anticipating.

I was pretty disappointed about the whole thing and cried right after the appointment, but I am feeling resigned to the reality of it now. There are plenty of positives: We get to meet Snapdragon! No more waiting! No worrying about going into labor at an inconvenient time/place! Time to charge the camera and phones! Time for my parents to travel in a non-emergency fashion!

Still, I am feeling a little bummed that I have to go to the hospital and worried about the level of intervention I may be getting into. They'll start the induction with a 12-hr dose of Cervidil tonight. There's a chance that that will get everything started, but if it doesn't, they'll have to bring out the Pitocin. More worrying than the drugs is the fact that drugs mean constant fetal monitoring, IVs, etc. Not only will I not have the comfort of the birth center, where they have beds big enough for Pete to get in with me and whirlpool tubs for laboring, I may not even be able to walk around very much (depending on the monitor/IV situation). If I'm stuck on my back, I won't be able to make use of all of the pain-management strategies and positions that would allow me to cope with the pain and avoid the epidural.

I have to decide whether I am ok getting the epidural. While I don't want to abandon my plan, I also don't want to put myself in a situation where I have the worst of both worlds: all the pain of going med-free with none of the freedom to use coping strategies. There are lots of reasons why I don't want the epidural — groggy baby, higher risk of c-section, inability to walk — but I may need it if I can't use warm water and movement to get me through. If the induction goes smoothly enough that I can still have some freedom of movement, I think I'll be able to make it. If not, I have to be ok with accepting the epidural without feeling like a failure. I don't want it, but it may be the best option for my situation. I'll have to discuss this with the midwife and doula before they start the induction so that my final decision is not coming from a place of panic in the moment, but from reasoned, conscious choice.

So, wish me luck. I check in at 8:00 pm. If all goes well, I should have an outside baby by Wednesday night — Thursday morning at the latest.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fun, Not Fun

Fun: Going to the grocery store and and telling people who ask when you're due, "Oh, last Wednesday."

Not Fun: Being 41 weeks pregnant.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Last Ultrasound? Please?

I have been wrong before, but I really do think that we are all done with the ultrasounds.

Joyce acknowledged that the radiology dept at Little Hospital is not really all that great, so she sent me back to Big Hospital to have a final growth estimate/fluid check/cyst update. We went yesterday morning.

The final weight estimate (@ 40 wks, 1 day) is 4,088 grams, just a smidge over 9 pounds. This is fairly consistent with Big Hospital's estimate from 38 weeks — they estimated 7 lbs 12 oz, with a rate of growth of 1/2 pound per week, so this is fairly consistent with that. I don't know whether it is accurate, but it is consistent.


Since I have had approximately a million ultrasounds during this pregnancy, I feel qualified to offer a few suggestions to the techs/doctors who do these scans:
  • If you are going to use the entire bottle of gel on me, the very least you could do is hand me an extra towel at the end. I have long since learned that you will not, under any circumstances, actually help me clean myself up, and I suppose that's ok, but the towel tucked into my underwear is already covered in gel, so it isn't really adequate for the full cleanup job.
  • It is very uncomfortable for me to lie flat on my back at this point. Please get on with what you are doing in an efficient manner.
  • It is also difficult for me to shift positions, especially since the "bed" is a flimsy, narrow gurney with no handrails, not an actual bed. With this in mind, please keep requests that I turn on my left side, then my right side, then my left side, then my back, then my left side, to the absolute minimum necessary for you to get the shots you need.
  • Narrate. I know the techs are not allowed to say anything diagnostic, but a simple, "Now, let's have a look at the kidneys" would be much appreciated. It all looks like static to me, and I have been very pleased with the very few techs who have bothered to tell me what they are doing.
  • Always give me a picture. I will feel better about being sticky and uncomfortable if you give me a picture of my baby at the end of the procedure. It doesn't have to be a shot of her face! Hands and feet make excellent ultrasound pics — even the heart looks pretty cool. Leaving me with no pics makes me grumpy.
I hope we have seen the last of Snapdragon's ultrasounds. It's time for us to see her in person!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pregatory

pregatory: the time after your due date, but before your baby's actual birthday

All the week-by-week calendars have run out. All the tiny clothes and diapers are clean and ready. All the maternity clothes are worn out.

Seriously, baby. This has gone on long enough.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Due Date!

This date has been circled in bright colors on my calendar all year. Now, it's here . . . and it's just another boring day of waiting. Grumblecakes.

I'm actually trying to get some things done today so that I don't just sit around and mope. I wrote a 500-word summary of my summer research project, followed up on some work emails, went out to lunch with FB, and took a short (very short) walk. Honestly, it was pathetic. I walked to the library branch, which is a little over a quarter mile from my house, before admitting that my back was killing me. Unfortunately, at that point, I had to walk home. I walked less than a mile and feel like I need an ice pack.

FB has downloaded PuzzleQuest 2 on the Xbox for me, so that has killed several hours. It's my kind of video game — instead of fighting monsters, you defeat them by playing a version of Bejeweled. It's much more my speed than FB's shooting games.

I've been doing all I can to get ready, but there just isn't that much left to do. Yesterday, I made two playlists for labor — a mellow one and an energetic one. I don't know whether I'll want to listen to music while I'm in labor, but at least I'll have the option. I suppose I could vacuum again or clean the bathroom, but that doesn't sound like much fun. Perhaps I will write a letter to little Snapdragon that I can put in her keepsake box and give to her when she is older. It would mostly say,

Dear Snapdragon,
Get your butt out here. No, seriously, it is time.
xoxo,
pb

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Getting Sick

FB had a bad cold last week and I fear that I am coming down with it this week. I woke up this morning with a sore throat and a groggy headache. Sad face.

I had hoped that Snapdragon might be born today (Talk Like a Pirate Day), but it looks like that is not going to happen. I still haven't had any noticeable contractions or mucus plugs fragments or any other signs of labor.

While I am impatient to meet Snapdragon, I'm not very excited about laboring or caring for a new baby with a cold as bad as the one FB had. Hopefully, whatever symptoms I have will run their course over the next few days and resolve themselves before Snapdragon makes her appearance. I wouldn't want her to get seriously sick in her first week of life because I have the sniffles.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stupid Doctor's Appointment

I went to my appointment this morning, where the doctor checked my vitals, measured my belly, and shrugged at me. Yes, I have too much fluid, but there's not really anything anyone can do about that.

For the record, my belly is GIANT. When they measure it, the number of centimeters is supposed to correspond to the number of weeks (24 cm = 24 weeks pregnant, etc.). For most of the pregnancy, I was right on target, but around 35 weeks, I started measuring 1 or 2 cm bigger than expected (this was when they noticed the high fluid). Today, I measured 47 cm. For the love of all that is holy, get this baby out of me.

The doctor also told me that the weight estimate from yesterday's ultrasound was 9 lbs 14 oz, but that is bullshit. Snapdragon was moving around so much and was so uncooperative that I know that they did not get good measurements. Besides, the Tufts estimate from last Wednesday was 7 lbs 12 oz and I trust their staff and machines way more. The Tufts office specializes in obstetrical ultrasounds and sees all the high-risk patients, while the Cambridge Hospital radiology dept is an all-purpose unit that does everything from mammograms to gall bladder scans, so their technicians don't do growth ultrasounds all day long. I don't expect that Snapdragon is a tiny peanut, but there is no way she is a 10-pounder at this point.

The doctor did offer me a c-section, though. I declined.

So, I have a huge baby, extra fluid, and an itchy, stretched-to-the-max stomach. Still no progress with the whole effacement/dilation thing. Due date is in 5 days, but it is looking like that is not going to happen.

Side note: my blood pressure is 100/68. Does that sound too low to anyone else? I'm not running any marathons over here.

Itchy

Screw these stretch marks. I've never been much of a bare midriff girl, so I don't care if they are ugly, but they ITCH! All day, every day, and sometimes in the middle of the night, I have an irresistible urge to scratch all over. The three inches below my ex-belly button feels like it's on fire.

My skin is stretched so tight it is shiny and feels so thin. Worst of all, most of the area around my belly button is also completely numb, so I'm afraid of getting into one of those situations where you bite through your lip after getting Novocaine.

I have some Aveeno lotion that is usually good for 2-3 minutes of relief. I am considering duct taping mittens to my hands.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

39 Week Appointment

My appointment with my midwife this morning was a bit more eventful than I was expecting. I have felt a difference in Snapdragon's movements these past few days — the kicking has been all over the place, rather than on the right side, where it has been for weeks now.

I was afraid that she may have turned and Joyce was suspicious as well. I got an internal exam (lovely), which revealed that I am 0 cm dilated, 0% effaced, and that Snapdragon's head was not within feeling distance. Since Joyce couldn't really tell whether the baby was head-down, I got sent over to the hospital for an ultrasound. Inductions and c-sections were mentioned.

I texted Pete, who had stayed home to get some more work done before Snapdragon's *hopefully* imminent arrival. He rushed right over, just in time to sit through the world's longest, most uncomfortable, and most boring ultrasound. All the poking and prodding made for an angry Snapdragon — she decided that she was not going to cooperate AT ALL, so everything took 3x as long as it should have. She would not stay still for a single second, meaning that I had to lie flat on my back for over an hour as the ultrasound tech tried to luck into the shots she needed.

Long story short, Snapdragon is still head-down, just twisted in a weird way. She should be good to go.

The ultrasound did reveal that I still have too much fluid, so I have to go to a doctor's appt tomorrow morning. It is unclear to me how this will help. What is the doctor going to do about it? I'm hoping that I will have less amniotic fluid soon due to my water breaking.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cloth Diaper Delivery

I got my Bum Genius diapers in the mail today. They are so cute!



I love the colors. The Diaper Lab only had the x-small size in white, so I ordered other colors from Thanks Mama. Thanks Mama is only online, but it's a local company, so their free shipping arrives in two days. It will be super easy to get more if we decide we like these.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ultrasound Update

I'm back from my unnecessary ultrasound, which (thankfully) turned out to be a super boring waste of my time. Everything looks fine/normal/the same, which is infinitely better than finding something new and exciting. Still, I had to get up early and drive into Boston for a test that probably didn't need to be done at all.

Snapdragon is up to 7 lbs, 12 oz (72nd percentile). The weight measurements from ultrasounds are notoriously unreliable, but since the 35-week ultrasound from this hospital put her in the 6-6.5 range, this recent estimate seems to be consistent. She's right on schedule.

It is getting really uncomfortable to stay on my back for any length of time, so I had to focus more on breathing than on watching the monitors, but I did get a few glimpses of Snapdragon's little face. Her feet and hands are definitely chubby — not the skeletor hands from earlier ultrasounds. The ultrasound technician even assured me that she could see hair on Snapdragon's head, though I couldn't see it. Plenty of babies are born at 38 weeks and look perfectly normal, but I still have a hard time believing that there is a fully-formed, ready-to-be-newborn baby living in my abdomen. It still seems rather abstract, even as I get my internal organs knocked around for hours every day.

The technician was not able to see whether my cervix has progressed at all, but my guess would be that it has not. I have felt no contractions, so I would be surprised if I am dilated much at all. I have an appt with my midwife tomorrow, but I don't know whether she will do an internal exam to check for progress. I could still be looking at up to a month more of this, so I'd better settle in.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cloth Diaper Extravaganza


On Saturday, FB and I went to a cloth diapering workshop. We got to see all of the different types of diapers — there are so many options! — and ask questions about laundry.

I feel much more confident about cloth diapering after actually seeing the diapers. Originally, we thought we might try pocket diapers — either gDiapers or cloth pocket diapers — but the prefolds and fitteds with covers looked so much more straightforward. Perhaps we'll try the cloth pockets when Snapdragon is a little older and wetting more, but for the newborn stage, they just seemed too finicky.

We aren't going to be cloth diapering fanatics — I've got a big box of newborn-size disposables that I plan to use whenever I feel like it, whether it's because we're traveling or behind on laundry, or just lazy.

I imagine that the cloth diapering will get easier as we get more practice and once we figure out what size/style/brand fits our baby and our lifestyle. For now, we bought a variety of kinds so we can try them out and see what we like. For starters, we have:
  • 6 conventional cotton prefolds
  • 6 organic cotton prefolds
  • 4 Thirsties Fab Fitted diapers (2 xs, 2 sm)
  • 2 organic cotton fitteds (sm)
  • 1 OsoCozy all-in-one (sm)
  • 4 Bum Genius all-in-one (xs)
  • 3 Thirsties duo covers
  • 2 Thirsties sized covers (size 1)
  • 2 Bummis covers
Obviously, that is not enough to exclusively cloth diaper a newborn who needs 10-12 changes per day (unless we want to do the diaper laundry every single day), but it should be enough to give us an idea of what we like. If we find ourselves cursing the fitteds or wishing that we had more of those wonderful all-in-ones, we will know what we should invest in. The diaper store is only about 2 miles from our house, so it's no trouble to get more of what we need once we know we need it.

We decided to spring for the newborn sizes rather than trying to go right for the one-size diapers that supposedly fit from birth to potty training. I don't believe that the leg holes that fit a 2-year-old will also fit a newborn's chicken legs and the whole multiple snap system was a bit too daunting for us to jump in right away.

Our current stash (plus whatever we decide to add in the next few weeks and some disposables) should last us through the newborn phase. By the time Snapdragon is 3 months old and ready to move up to larger sizes or one-size diapers, it will be Christmas, and we can ask our families for cloth diapers as Christmas presents. So exciting! But really, a 3-month-old doesn't need anything and has no concept of Christmas, so I'd rather our parents channel their baby-shopping enthusiasm into useful things. Besides, cloth diapers and covers are so cute! It should be fun to shop for them!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I Love Blankets

Last night was the first night in months that was cool enough for blankets. It was glorious.

After suffering through a week of hot, sleepless nights, I was able to fall asleep and stay that way for two 4-hour sessions, broken only for a bathroom break. It has been weeks since I slept for 4 hours at a time, and it felt amazing. I woke up feeling refreshed.

Of course, 3 hours after I got out of bed, I was tired again and napped the morning away. I guess one night of good sleep does not make up an entire month's sleep debt.

In other sleep news, FB and I put a waterproof mattress cover on our bed today. I'm not all that worried about my water breaking during the night (though that certainly could happen), but I imagine that there are many other types of leaks in our immediate future and I'd prefer not to have to clean our mattress all the time.

The co-sleeper is all set, with sheets and everything. It just needs a baby.

I'm 37w4d today, so she could come any time. I am beyond ready, both materially and emotionally. Come on, Snapdragon.

Though, if the weather stays cool and I can keep up this sleeping thing, a few more weeks wouldn't be so bad.