Saturday, March 17, 2012

40 weeks + 4 days.

I've gotten the sweetest, funniest, most amazingly supportive emails and messages from mama friends.  Their words have made me feel much better and given me perspective.  Birthing our children is 1% of the work. The other 99% that has the most effect on how they turn out as people is the most import part of motherhood.  

Thursday afternoon, after my OB appointment I gardened for a while to clear my head.  I was sitting on a stool pulling weeds and when I reached over at one point I felt a sharp pain in my upper stomach.  It didn't go away the following morning, Friday morning, so I ended up going in for another NST after acupuncture.  The baby was fine. They did some blood work and there was nothing going on.  Not even a single contraction.  The only thing that made me think I might go into labor was that I literally felt like I was separating in two from the bottom up.  I felt as if my hips, tendons, etc were coming apart. Every step hurt like hell.  

This morning I woke up to contractions around 7am but by 10am they had gone away.  Again I'm feeling like I'm coming apart from my bottom seam.  Fortunately, P has TWO birthday parties today.  Dave has taken her to both and it's given me time to relax and be mellow here at home.  I sat down to watch one of my all time favorite movies, "Almost Famous".  I use to think the mom in the movie was a nut. Now I'm starting to see an awful lot of myself in her.  

As Dr. Perlow requested, I called her at 1pm to let her know my body was not going into labor.  So the plan is for me to go in for a scheduled c-section tomorrow morning at 10am.  Labor and Delivery has been super crazy the last few days and there aren't any beds today but tomorrow I'll be able to get a comfy room.  It also gives us the time to have a prepared plan for P.

I'm not sad anymore.  My friend's emails have made me feel great. I feel relieved. Actually, I should have known myself better. I'm a planner.  This suits my personality much better. Plus, because I'm not having to go through hours of labor I won't be worn out when the baby arrives.  Dave can spend the nights at home with P.  That has been a huge concern for me.  P has never spent the night away from me...EVER!  She's started to bond more with Dave in many respects and I think she'll transition better being at home with Dave at night.    

After I hung up with Dr. Perlow it hit me...this is our last night as a family of three.  Tomorrow my greatest desire of the past three years will become a reality. We will be a family of four.  We are all so ready. Poor P is beyond ready.  A day is like a month to a four year old so imagine the patience this has taken her.  Every morning she wakes up and asks if today is the day.  Last week we were with a friend's mom before going to an NST and she took the opportunity to decide she wasn't going with me.  "You can do it by yourself Mama. I'm going with Danny's mom." She's done preparing.  

I must confess. There is a part of me that still worries there might be something wrong with the baby that went undetected.  I'm praying it's just me being over worried after all we've been through.  I'm letting the thought go as much as possible and focusing on my dreams coming true.  Tomorrow I meet my second daughter!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

40 weeks + 2 days = looking at our options.

 I'm a little sad this evening.  I had an NST this morning at 8:30am. The baby was moving but I could tell from the nurse's reaction that something was not as good as it usually is.  Then I saw my OB, Dr. Perlow, for my weekly appointment at 1:30pm.  She said the baby was moving really well but that in the morning she had had a long period of calmness which was not a good sign.  My placenta has started showing signs of aging and the baby was actually higher than she had been in the last two weeks.  I hadn't gotten any further along than 1cm, same as the week before.  My pockets of fluid were good but it was getting harder to find them.  

The bottom line is that my body doesn't seem to want to go into labor.  It's as if it's gotten stage fright or something.  I had a feeling this was happening.  When I got sick two weeks ago my contractions stopped the day after I started feeling awful.  The baby started moving a lot as if to say "if you're not getting me out I'll get myself out".  Last Wednesday the contractions started again but each day they've gradually subsided and ultimately gone away again.  Even though I've been going to acupuncture, I've felt my body do less and the baby do more.  The feeling of separation in my hips has come from the baby moving further down, not my own body contracting.  

Because I had a c-section with P, the only choices I have are either to A: go into labor on my own or B: have another c-section.  I can not be induced without risking a tear to my uteran wall, which could possibly lead to the hands of a less experienced doctor.  So, the plan is to wait and see if I go into labor naturally by Saturday. If I don't then we'll go in for a c-section but I don't know if it'll happen over the weekend or on Monday.  I sense it depends on the state of the baby and my placenta. 

On the one hand I feel lucky I'm giving birth in this era of modern medicine.  I'm sensing my body knows itself better than I do . There's a weakness somewhere that's not allowing me to have a natural birth.  I am, however, able to conceive and grow healthy babies.  This pregnancy has been harder than the first.  To a certain extent I now think my body struggled to get pregnant in the first place because it knew it was not going to be easy unless the conditions were ideal.  So, at this stage in the game I'm feeling extremely lucky.  The baby is in my womb and she is healthy.  The only issue now is getting her out and we know that is possible and pretty standard thanks to modern medicine. So, I need to let go of my ideals and count my blessings.  

On the other hand I'm so sad.  I really, really wanted to experience birthing one of my children. I know this may not seem important to many people. Truthfully, in the grand scheme of things it's a pretty inconsequential issue to have.  But none the less I feel sad. It's a loss of a different form.  Last week when I was in the waiting room at the hospital, before my NST, there was a family waiting to hear the news about their daughter-in-law/sister/friend who was in labor.  The father came down and said "It's not happening. They're starting to prep her for a c-section".  Those words made me so sad I almost started crying. It wasn't until then that I realized how much having a natural birth meant to me. 

I'm trying to focus on the fact that the baby is healthy.  That's been my biggest concern since knowing I was pregnant at the start.  Yesterday I noticed my belly moving in a pattern that was too slow for her heart rate and too fast for mine so it had to be her breathing. It had to be the movement of her abdomen inhaling and exhaling.  Today Dr. Perlow confirmed that was indeed what I saw and she said that was an incredibly good sign of an advanced forming child.  I'm staying focused on those words. 

Dr. Perlow also said some other words that made me start crying in her office. When she gave us the options of what we could do she started it with "if you were my sister this is what I'd hope you would do....". And then she said "This entire week I've been thinking about you, your husband and your daughter before I go to bed every night. I see your faces before I close my eyes to go to sleep. I've been thinking about your family and what would be best for your circumstance. You can't treat every case the same and having been through what you've been through and knowing what's important to you I think these are our best options."  I've never heard a medical professional say words with such heart and empathy.  I mean even Hollywood tv writers can't come up with something that good!!!  

I'm going to sleep now and I'm going to let go of everything I want out of my birth and life and letting what should come, come.  I have two daughters, a great husband and marriage that has survived the hardest of obstacles. I have an amazing doctor who is there for me and my family. The rest is not as important.  I guess after all this time my previous doctor was right though. Maybe that's what's really making me sad. That horrible doctor wasn't wrong when she said I wasn't strong enough to birth a child.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

40 weeks + 1 day

One day past my due date and nothing.  All of my appointments were tentatively scheduled.  Dave was home doing all the things I usually do; making breakfast, taking P to school and ballet, etc.  I decided to take today to be a quiet day for just me and my body.  I took a long walk with Penny, sat on the ball, organized the house a little more, took a very long shower and nothing. It was also a quiet day inside the womb.  

The baby has been moving but I can tell changing positions is harder for her. She's running out of room. There's always something protruding from my belly; an elbow, a foot, a knee. A watched pot never boils and so a watched baby is probably never birthed.  What to do when your baby won't come out of your womb?  For me, the best thing to do is bake, or cook, or do something yummy in the kitchen.  

From the picture in the last post you will notice I have a line up of very ripe, brown bananas in the freezer.  They've been waiting to be a part of banana bread and so today three had their wish granted. I made a different recipe from Orangette and it turned out just as delicious as my go to recipe from her book.    

Since about my 18th week of pregnancy it never fails that when I cook the baby moves quite a bit. Tonight was no different.  Well, it was different for me as every movement of hers is now painful. She pushes down on my pelvic floor and it feels as if she'll separate my hips herself and push her way through. But through the movements and pain I can remain calm as long as I'm beating eggs or chopping up a delicious block of semi-sweet chocolate. 

I'm trying not to worry about being past my due date. My biggest fear is that I'll have to be induced as I was with P at 41 weeks and one day.  But I remind myself that I have a different doctor this time. I have a  much, much better doctor who listens to me and has been through my hell of numerous losses always supporting me physically and emotionally.  I am scared about how painful it can be.  As of right now I've come to think of the pain as a good thing. Each contraction is one step closer to meeting my daughter but it seems so scary.  I fear the unknown.  I could ask 1,000 women about their birth story and their sensations and I'll get 1,000 different versions.  There is no solid game plan or time frame. That is what has me most thrown off; no time frame. I can endure anything as long as I'm told how many seconds, minutes, hours or repetitions it will last.  But no one knows in this case. 

My body seems to be ready and I think at this point it's my mind that has to gear up and let go of every fear it's currently holding onto. 

Smartest thing...

...I've done to prepare for the coming of a second child is to freeze lots and lots of food.  In January I started making meals and freezing half.  I made all the things I crave whenever I'm sick or need comfort. There's chicken soup, Italian wedding soup, broccoli-potato soup, minestrone soup, mac and cheese, meat lasagna, chard-mushroom lasagna, pomodoro sauce, pesto sauce, and chocolate chip cookie dough balls.  

I expected to start going through all this after the baby was born.  These last few days I've been so tired and brain dead that we've started digging in. It's come in very, very handy.  After P was born I remember craving home made food. My mom was here at the time and she froze food for us before going back to Florida. It was sweet but most of what she made isn't what my body craved and she only has a rotation of four dishes.  After my DNC neighbors made us food and brought it over.  I hate to say this, but I threw out half of it out. It was awful.  It was either over salted or had no flavor and again not what my body craved when recovering.

After those two experiences I realized I'm finicky about what I eat...or I'm a total control freak.  Either way I figured it was best to take care of it myself.  Yesterday when I was at acupuncture I asked what I could do to help my body recover from birth.  They gave me a list of foods to help my body replenish all the blood it will lose.  And guess what is on that list: chicken soup, preferably home made,  dark greens, lots of veggies and a healthy choice of organic meat.  Everything I've made is what is considered ideal for recovery!!!!  The only thing I need to finish off before the baby is born is the Minestrone soup because it has a good chunk of cabbage which gives nursing babies lots of gas. 

I've been told I worry too much and plan way too far ahead. Right about now I'm seeing this "flaw" as a really good thing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Due Date: 3-13-12

Today is my due date...  With so many people choosing scheduled C-sections and the media's skewed portrayal of birth, it's interesting to see/hear people's reaction to the following dialogue:
stranger: wow! when are you due?
me: today
stranger: today?
me: yes
stranger: OMG! (as they back away) are you going to deliver right now?
me: uh, no. If I was I wouldn't be here.  I'd be at the hospital. 

I also find it interesting that a lot of young women don't understand what a natural birth is all about. Or that a due date is not a date set in stone.  You can't schedule anything. It's normal and ok to go into labor any time from 38-42 weeks.  So for five weeks you're kind of on-call 24/7, and so should your support system be on call.  

Today I actually felt better than anytime in the last 5 days.  I'm not as bloated and my energy sort of came back.  I went to pre-natal yoga and then to acupuncture to help the process along.  I felt both help.

In yoga I felt the baby drop even further during our lunges. Then during shavasana, as I laid back in a propped reclined position with my feet together in a "butterfly" I noticed the very top of my stomach was flat!  For the first time in months my stomach was flat!!!! The baby had moved down! All the way down!  

During acupuncture the baby was moving hard core and I could really feel some contractions.  All evening long I've been feeling them but nothing has officially started.  However, I do have a whole repertoire of things to do to get the process going.  

Every day I sit on an exercise ball, three times a day for 45-minutes. To get all that time in, with a 4-year old in my life,  I just sit on the ball during every meal and again later in the evening.  My knees have to be higher or the same height as my hips. The supported squat helps the cervix and hips open up.  I take 1000mg of evening primrose oil,  drink raspberry leaf tea, take long walks and have sex.  Who knew the very stuff (semen) that gets the entire process started is the same stuff that helps us end it?  

This evening the whole family came on a walk with me.  It was nice to have everyone's company.  The acupuncturist felt I would have a baby tonight....but so far at 10:15pm I'm not thinking it's going to happen. 

On the way home from seeing her I stopped to get a pedicure. I just got one on Saturday but the color I picked, a pale purple, was really bugging me.  During my last NST I noticed my toes were the same exact color as the hospital walls!  It looked kind of trailer trash and it was bugging me so much I felt it was inhibiting me from going into labor.  So, now with the perfect toe color (a classic and classy red) I'm ready to have a baby!


Painting the Bump

 Two weekends ago we finally got around to painting my belly. I had talked about it with P and she was very eager to go to town.  But every afternoon was taken up by some other activity.  Fortunately, we did this when Dave was home so he took pictures.  It was a lot of fun to do. Mostly, it was a lot of fun watching P have fun with the process.  How often does one get to paint their Mama?  It was also another way of getting P involved with the process of her sister's arrival.

Being Elmo

This documentary popped up on Netflix recently. I had read about it on Cup of Jo and have been wanting to see it.  We all watched it, including P. She's rarely interested in  live action so just to get her through it was a big thing.  

I really loved this story. I think what I loved most about it was a lesson in parenting.  Kevin Clash, ie Elmo, grew up in a low income neighborhood of Baltimore.  It wasn't above average schooling, or an unbelievable opportunity from his neighborhood or anything of the sort that allowed his dreams and interest to blossom. It was his parents.  

He talked about an incident when he cut up his father's coat. It caught his eye because of the great fur lining. Kevin thought it was the perfect fabric to make a puppet.  When his father came home, instead of being mad he said "I just want you to ask first next time".  How understanding, insightful and calm is that?  

Coincidentally, a few days after watching the movie P cut up some curtains. They were part of a fort I had made for her.  Had I not watched the movie I would have been upset but instead I said "next time just ask because I actually have a whole roll of that fabric in the office".  She said ok.  

I think the greatest gift anyone could have is a parent who supports their interest, whatever they may be.  I think that may trump education or financial means.  Where there is a will, there is a way and having your parents support is an extra dose of will.    

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Santa Monica

Yesterday... in the car... on the way home...sitting stopped in traffic on the ramp headed down to PCH from Ocean Avenue...I turned to talk to P and saw the "Santa Monica" sign lit up and perfectly framing P's head in the window!  I quickly grabbed the camera and then tried to get into position fast before the light changed. Problem was my giant belly! It didn't let me turn in the right position and I didn't want to make a great fuss. I loved P's expression exactly where she was. It's her usual expression after a west side trip: tired from a long day and somewhat bored knowing we have a 40minute drive before being home, mixed with a hint of curiosity about what she could spot out in the water.  Sometime its dolphins, or surfers, or nothing.    

Valley Mama

I swore I'd never turn into a Valley mom but here I am wearing Uggs and shorts. Just shameful but I've had the hardest time getting dressed while pregnant and even more so now in my 39th week.

We went to the west side yesterday.  It's always about 20 degrees cooler over there. I know to bring extra clothes and often shoes. While I can wear flip flops over here I have to change into something warmer over there.

Problem is, lately I'm always hot.  I think I wore my Uggs two times this entire winter when normally they are a part of my winter uniform.  I started out in shorts and flip flops and felt fine but soon I needed my sweater and then for our walk in Palisades Park I needed my Uggs and that is how this awful look came to be.  The other thing I only noticed till the picture is how small the chambray shirt is on me now and how protruded my belly has become.  The belly bands a friend game me are now incredibly useful.  My belly still sticks out even when I'm wearing maternity pants and shirts.  I'm just big, plain and simple.  But I'm pregnant so I'll take it!!!!

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Toast Cups

This morning I wanted something eggy, but special, but easy to make. I remembered these egg toast cups I recently found on Pinterest.  They lived up to their great expectations. Easy to make, Dave loved them and they felt special. Definitely not our usual scrambled eggs with toast.  

The recipe can be found here.  The only two differences I did was use larger "jumbo" muffin tins instead of regular sized ones. And I used one entire egg per cup.  The recipe calls for only part of the egg white but it's P's favorite part so I used all of it.

This is a recipe I'll use when we have company over for breakfast.  It's easy to have everyone's meal come out at once and I can feed 6 or more people at a time. I guess if I had 3-4 kids I would use more often as well.  Next time I might try a "Florentine" version with onions, spinach and cheese instead of bacon and cheese.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

40th Birthday

Almost a year ago we planned a trip to NYC for my 40th. Then I got pregnant and my due date turned out to be 3 days after my birthday. trip, no party...not much of anything really but I'll take a baby over anything in the world.  

In February we celebrated both my birthday and our anniversary, that's coming up on the 30th. It was a lovely night out in downtown LA.  We ate at a fabulous place but my stomach has been ultra sensitive and I got horribly sick by 3am.  Today we played it safe and ate at home.  Plus the only thing I really, really wanted was my Three-berry cake at Sweet Lady Jane. 

Initially I thought I could muster up the energy to go see The Lorax and then go have cake. However, just getting out for breakfast was such a struggle we decided on just cake.  There are two families we go see kid movies with. Both are friends from school and not only does P love hanging with the two boys in her class and one older sister but I love hanging with both mamas and Dave likes both dads.  So, the last minute movie/cake plans of just us,  turned into just cake with the two families over in Santa Monica.  It was the perfect low-key, no drama afternoon.  I was so touched everyone came over the hill so easily to hang with!

I've been feeling rather awful. I'm bloated and uncomfortable.  So uncomfortable and not bloated in a "I have my period" kind of way but in a my entire body is tight. My fingers, toes, legs, stomach, neck, face, etc it's all super tight and feeling awful.  Moving from sitting to standing or rolling over to the other side in bed is hard.  Clothes aren't fitting.  Not even my largest maternity clothes. If I'm not breathing through pain I'm exhausted.  But I'm pregnant and about to deliver.  We'll celebrate good next year!

Friday, March 9, 2012

The last night of 39...

Tonight is the last night I can say I'm 39 years old and 39 weeks pregnant.  I had to capture it...messy room and all.  A long time ago before I had any sort of wisdom and understanding about having children, I swore I would never have a child in my 40's.  I remember saying "if it hasn't happened by then you should let it be and move on".  So, I feel this is the universe speaking to me now that I'm due to deliver my second child so close to my 40th birthday.  It's karma saying watch what you think or say because you might have to take it back some day.  Almost everything I said I'd never do as a parent has come to fruition. Parenting has been the biggest game changer EVER!