Wednesday, February 24, 2010

the birth plan

Here's what we came up with for a birth plan. We're taking a natural approach since we'd like as few foreign substances as possible clouding our first moments as a 3-piece family. I had the nurse look this over at Monday's NST and she liked it. She even said that this is the kind of birth that the nursing staff most like to see. We'll see how reality compares to the plan once it's all said and done.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We understand that our birth plan is simply a guideline for how we’d like to experience the birth of our child. Everything is subject to change as needed for the health of mother and child.

The room and general atmosphere-
o I’d like only my husband and necessary medical staff in the room during labor and birth. I’d like C to take photographs of whatever he sees fit to photo.
o I’d like to bring music to listen to.
o I’d like to keep the lights dim and the background noise to a minimum.

During labor-
o Please send me home if I am not in active labor.
o Please keep internal exams to a minimum.
o Please do not augment or induce labor unless medically necessary.
o Please do not artificially rupture the amniotic membranes unless medically necessary.
o Please allow my labor to progress without stringent time limits.
o I’d like my husband to stay with me at all times.
o I’d like to stay hydrated by drinking instead of having an IV.
o I’d like to be free to walk and move around as I choose.
o I’d prefer intermittent rather than continuous monitoring.
o I’d like to use the bathtub, a birthing stool, a birthing ball, or any other accessory that feels right.

Pain relief-
o Please do not offer me pain medication. I will ask for it if I need it.
o I will manage discomfort with self-hypnosis, breathing, massage, and the bath/shower.

During birth-
o I’d like to push when my body instinctively feels the need to do so. Please do not coach me to push before my body feels ready, unless medically necessary.
o I’d like to give birth in whatever position feels right to me, including semi-reclining, side-lying, squatting, or hands-and-knees.
o If available and the appropriate staff are on-hand, I’d like to give birth in a birthing tub or pool.
o I’d prefer not to have an episiotomy.
o I’d like to touch my baby’s head as it crowns.
o I’d like the room to be as quiet as possible, and the lights dim.
o I may wish to view the birth using a mirror (I think I’d like to).

After birth-
o I’d like to hold our baby right away, skin-to-skin on my chest, putting off any procedures that aren’t urgent.
o I’d like to breastfeed as soon as possible.
o I’d like to wait until the umbilical cord stops pulsating before it’s clamped and cut.
o Please do not administer routine pitocin after our baby is born.
o I’d like my husband to cut the cord, but if he’s unable or unwilling, please offer the opportunity to me.
o Please do not administer eye drops to our baby until we have had time to make prolonged eye contact and to bond.
o Please conduct any necessary newborn procedures or tests in our presence, in our room.
o Please do not give our baby any shots in the first 24 hours of life, unless absolutely medically necessary.
o We plan to breastfeed exclusively. Please do not offer anything (water, pacifier, formula, etc.) to our baby at any point.
o We’d like to breastfeed our baby on-demand and keep our baby in our room at all times.
o If our baby needs to be taken from our room for any reason, either my husband or I will accompany the baby at all times.
o If our baby is a boy, we do NOT want him circumcised.

This is our first child, and we’ll certainly be a bit nervous. We welcome your encouragement and support, as well as suggestions you may have that fit with our overall plan to have a natural, unmedicated and peaceful birth. Thank you for sharing this momentous time with us.

how many?

Well, here we are on the cusp of 36 weeks. You'd think that means I have 4 weeks left of this pregnancy, but really? Who knows. At Monday's NST, the kind nurse informed me that GD pregnancies are normally induced at 39 weeks if labor doesn't start naturally before then. Last week, a doc and another nurse told me that I'd reached the stage where, if labor were to start on its own, no effort would be made to stop it. My siblings and I were all between 4 days and 3 weeks early. My sister's first was early, and her second was induced but I don't trust the accuracy of her LMP calculations.

Ishkabible and I have chatted about her entrance into this world and agree that he's a March baby. True, the birthstone isn't the best, but we don't want to wait for the April diamond and February's amethyst just seems a little too early. C, on the other hand, has had enough of the waiting and wants to hold his baby NOW. The irony of having been unemployed for nearly 5 months, and now being literally days from starting a new job (as my employee, for our new business) is not lost on either of us. But we're not picky about the timing. Just deliriously happy the be so close to meeting this baby.

I suspect that labor will commence within 3 days of C starting to work again, just because that's how our lives go. Remember what happened last year? In the middle of the unemployed season, C suddenly found himself with two simultaneous work commitments (a lucrative temporary gig and a snowstorm to plow) AND the RE's requirement that the "partner" deliver the donor sperm for a DIUI. No obligations for months, but then three conflicting ones in a single day. Yup, that's our norm. Feast or famine, and not much in between.

Then again, Ishka might be the beginning of our bucking that trend. The truth is that no one can predict when we'll get to see Ishka face-to-face. The excitement builds daily. We can't wait!

Monday, February 22, 2010

on cloud 9

I'm still grinning over Kate's beautiful beta. And while I'm here rejoicing for her, she sent me this award. How can she think of awards at a time like this?! I have no idea, but Thank you, Kate!

Award rules:
1) Thank the person(s) who nominated you for this award

2) Copy the award and place it in your blog
3) Link to the person(s) who nominated you for this award

4) Tell us 7 interesting things about you

5) Nominate 7 bloggers and link to their blogs
I guess I've already covered 1 through 3, so on to the 7 interesting things. I hope I can come up with that many.
1. I've landed every job I ever interviewed for, including one for which I was unqualified (but performed admirably because I learned quickly). My various positions have ranged from bus company dispatcher to forester to retail store manager to tax preparer.
2. I love Eeyore and do not believe he's a pessimist at all. He's a roll-with-the-punches, go-with-the-flow kind of guy, just like me. Any day you haven't lost your tail is a good day. Everything else is gravy.
3. The more time I spend in a store, the less money I spend. I tend to walk around in circles, reconsidering what I've selected, and eventually it all goes back where it came from.
4. My earliest memory is from my 2nd Halloween, when I was 19 months old. There were styrofoam cups of cider on desks in a classroom. I wanted one, but couldn't reach high enough. Later, I learned that there were doughnuts beside the cider, but I was too short to see them.
5. I don't believe in fate or astrology or horoscopes, but I've noticed on a few occasions that life tells me when I need to make a major change. Sometimes, it's as subtle as feeling restless and unsettled. Other times, it's as violent as a car accident and getting evicted. I guess you could say that I feel guided. Somehow, I always end up where I should be.
6. I tend to click right away with folks born within 2 days of my birthday, but we don't get along long-term. I hope Ishkabible is born more than 2 days before or after my birthday.
7. I lost my faith in humanity once, in a D'Angelo sandwich shop when I was a college sophomore. A few weeks later, my faith was restored thanks to a student from Iran and a Chris DeBurgh cassette.
And now to nominate 7 bloggers who I'd like to hear more about... some of my instinctive selections have already received every award under the sun, so I'll let them off the hook on this one. The folks I'm naming are at several different stages of TTC. Their insights remind me of where I came from and where I'm going.
3. BB at Baby to Be
4. Amy and Melissa at Amy and Melissa's Baby Blog
5. Emily at Oh Emily's Weblog
I wish us all great success!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Today, Kate got a stupendously positive beta.

I'm so happy right now I can hardly think.

Friday, February 19, 2010

and showered again

This one was truly a surprise- on Wednesday, my supervisor walked into my office and demanded, "You're coming with me now. No questions," and led me to our main conference room where about 20 of my co-workers had assembled along with piles of food, a bouquet of pastel balloons, and a stack of wrapped gifts. It was a baby shower for Ishkabibble!

The biggest surprise? I think it was organized by my mother! Whether she did it unprompted or because colleagues suggested it was her responsibility, I'll never know (and I will not ask), but it was very sweet and I really did have tears in my eyes when I walked into the room.

We all sat and had lunch together- finger sandwiches and meatballs, and salads, and a chicken-rice dish, and stuffed mushrooms- all made by my co-workers and smuggled in without my noticing. They had taken up a collection site-wide and gave me an envelope of cash with the explanation that a gift card was too limited, so we're to spend the money on whatever Ishkabibble needs, wherever we need to buy it. The ladies with whom I share a building chipped in separately and bought the car seat that we registered for (Chicco KeyFit30). Two others had purchased a small wooden toy and a board book ("On the Night You Were Born"- beautiful, simple story) for our little one. After unwrapping the gifts and reading the cards, we dove into a beautiful cake that another colleague is famous for (she makes a cake for nearly every event we celebrate- birthdays, retirements, bridal showers, etc. and they're always gorgeous and deelish)- she could go pro with the cake business if she didn't want to be a scientist any more.

On the baby-front, Ishkabibble continues to grow and pass the NSTs and BPPs with flying colors. I've been having BH contractions for several weeks now, but didn't identify them until a nurse pointed them out on the monitor during an NST. Occasionally, they're VERY noticeable, but sometimes I hardly feel them at all. Now that we've passed 35 weeks, nothing will be done to stop labor once it starts. I've chatted with Ishka, though, and assured him that she's a March baby. At work, I've shown everyone how to do pretty much all that I do. They're not comfortable doing it solo yet, but I'll be kind of sitting back from here on out, available to help out and answer questions but no longer actually "doing" my job. My ankles are officially gone, no longer returning after a night spent horizontal. And I now sleep almost sitting up, propped on a pile of pillows because I can't go more than an hour on either side without back/hip/knee pain waking me up. Now that I sleep sitting, though, I generally manage 5-6 hours at a time... I should have thought of it sooner!

This weekend, we'll finally pick up the furniture. I'll wash all the baby items and tuck them away in the new dresser. 'Thank You' cards will go out to all the generous gift-givers from both showers. We'll finally hang the mobile that I've wanted for so long. And I'll see if my new sewing machine works by trying to make my own crib sheets and sleep sacks.

The countdown continues... 34 more days, or whenever Ishka decides it's time.

Monday, February 15, 2010


C tried until the bitter end to keep it somewhat of a surprise, telling me that we were just going to his brother's house on Saturday to have spaghetti with his aunt and some of his nieces and nephews. He had implied a few times that the shower I'd been crying about not having would be on Valentine's Day, Sunday, and that Saturday was "just spaghetti lunch." I made cookies, since it's always nice to bring a little something when someone invites you over for a meal.

But then I was getting dressed and I asked him, "I bought a new shirt. Should I wear it today or tomorrow?" He tried to continue the ruse- "Wear it today, but don't spill anything on it."

The driveway was full and a few cars had been parked along the street. My mother's car was tucked in behind a mini-van and an SUV, presumably so I wouldn't notice it. No one yelled "surprise" when I walked in, but there were balloons and a mountain of gifts and lots of smiling friends and family who greeted us as we walked in. C and Ishka and I were showered with good wishes and love and delicious food and gifts. This baby will want for nothing with friends and family like ours around.

The cake came from the bakery that made our wedding cake (holy mackerel that was good cake!). Our niece, daughter of the hostess, took photos the entire afternoon and will give us the gift of a shower photo album once she's had a chance to print the pictures. Our youngest niece and our great-niece (ages 5 and nearly-4) helped us unwrap presents. C stayed for the whole shower, and we didn't play any silly games... we're kind of old for those, I think, and our family and friends are mostly beyond that too. It was a wondeful afternoon of good food, great company, and incredible generosity. We've fallen into a nice generational break- the youngest child in the family, our great-niece M, is approaching 4 already so everyone is excited at the prospect of a new baby in the family. And M wants the baby to be born on her birthday, which happens to be just 9 days before our due date so it could work out that way. We have nearly everything on our registry, and enough duplicate items to exchange for most of the necessities we don't have. Hooded towels are VERY popular (and so incredibly cute!). And rubber duckies.
It was a beautiful afternoon, and I am so thankful for the family and friends that I have. We're planning to take our hostess and her husband (C's SIL and brother) out to dinner to thank them for the shower. And then I have to tackle the montain of gifts and send out Thank You cards before Ishkabibble arrives. And pick up the furniture. And put it together. And deep-clean the carpet in the baby's room. And hang the framed watercolors (did I mention I had them framed? Got them back Friday... so cute!). And sew crib sheets. And pick up the bassinette. And hang the mobile.
So much to do, and so little time! Only 5 1/2 weeks to go. C asked yesterday if we couldn't just get the baby out already because he wants to hold his son/daughter NOW!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

the cliche'

It's official... I have become the stereotypical pregnant woman. At long last, I not only look but also FEEL undeniably pregnant, and it's been more than a week since my last "I feel just like my non-pregnant self" moment.

The evidence-

~ I need to pee every 45 minutes (or less!), regardless of when or how much I drink;

~ I am exhausted, but not just from a lack of sleep;

~ On a good night, I can sleep for about 3 hours at a stretch before some ache or pain has me rearranging all the pillows (and making the trip to the bathroom, since as soon as I am awake, I again need to pee);

~ My ankles, the only skinny part of my body, have begun to swell. Not yet to the point of the dreaded 'cankles,' but I can barely make out my ankle bones today. My feet are following suit, too;

~ I am thicker than I am wide, so when I turn sideways to get out of someone's way, I end up more in the way than before I turned;

~ My BE band is back on permanent wardrobe rotation. The waistbands of my beloved yoga pants won't stay up without it, and I need something to block the draft on my otherwise-exposed underbelly (that part that's "covered" by my tented shirt, but in the open air as seen from below).

So, yes, here I am at 34 weeks and I finally, truly feel pregnant in all the glorious ways I imagined. I'm happy to report that I have no 3rd-trimester nausea or heartburn (yet... knock-on-wood), but I do feel quite large and I routinely bump into walls, doorways, and countertops with the belly.

AND- out in public, for the first time, a complete stranger asked me when I'm due. Luckily, no strangers have attempted to touch the belly, but I walk with a fist cocked and ready-to-go, just in case. :-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

there may be tears

Thanks to all who commented to let me know that I wasn't being pathetic or selfish. It's so nice to be in a community of women who understand what I meant about really wanting a shower or party of some kind to celebrate our becoming parents. It isn't the gifts or the attention, per se, it's the recognition of what a huge milestone this is. Sometimes, I question whether what I'm feeling is rational or hormonally-driven. In this case, it may have been both.

I had another crying spell yesterday at the thought of not having a shower for Ishkabibble. After stopping at the hospital for nother NST (during which Ishka "acted like a girl" according to the nurse who declared last Friday that Ishka was almost definitely a boy), I opened up to C about the whole shower thing when I got home from work. I was on the verge of tears again, and about to suggest that we throw a party of our own, when he asked me, "Do you not have sisters-in-law and the best friends possible?" Apparently, something is in the works and it's supposed to be a surprise. I didn't press for details, but he let on that the planning has been going on for months ("Why do you think I needed a copy of our holiday card address list? I don't send out the cards. You do!").

Now I understand why my brother's fiancee's surprise bridal shower is 3 full months before her wedding... if you wait too long to throw a surprise party, the guest-of-honor starts to wonder if a party's even going to happen. She may wonder if perhaps what she thought was a REALLY BIG DEAL isn't seen that way by her family and friends. Is she being selfish for wanting someone to throw her a party? She questions her motives and her sanity and starts to wonder if she means as much to her friends as they do to her.

I'll file this away for when it's my turn to plan a surprise for someone. Do it early! I do enjoy surprises, but I don't like the way I felt yesterday, before talking to C. I didn't mean to ruin the surprise, and I didn't spoil it completely- I don't know where or when the shower will occur (although I do have my suspicions). And if I'm particularly hormonal that day, I will most likely burst into tears in response to the affirmation that our friends and family DO understand how important Ishkabibble is to us.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I am selfish and pathetic

As I mentioned quite a while ago, my MIL and sisters-in-law threw my bridal shower before C and I got married. I don't believe it occurred to my mother to throw the shower, and she didn't help with the planning or anything else. As far as whom to invite, my MIL simply sent an invitation to every female on the guest list. My mother isn't rude or negtlectful or anything like that. She simply doesn't seem to understand social norms with respect to that sort of celebration. It really never occurred to her that she might be expected to throw a party to celebrate her daughter's upcoming wedding. Well, not so much "expected" to do it, but that she should want to, or should at least consider it.

Here we are now, 7 weeks before we expect to meet Ishkabibble. Traditionally, a baby shower is thrown 1-2 months before the due date by either close friends of the mom-to-be or by her sister or mother. My closest friends live pretty far away... NJ and TX as a matter of fact. My sister is in FL (and as socially clueless as my mother). I do have local friends, mostly the wives of C's friends as well as my sisters-in-law.

I don't believe a shower is in the works for me. I haven't heard a peep from anyone about a shower. No one has asked when I'm free. No one has asked who I'd like to invite. A few people asked if we'd registered anywhere, and I know my father and his sister (my godmother) went on a shoppping spree at BRU, but at this point it seems fairly clear that there will be no organized party to celebrate the biggest event of our lives. I'm disappointed.

Just writing that, I had to hide in the bathroom, twice, to blot at my eyes and blow my nose because I'm crying like a pathetic simp over a party I already predicted would not happen. I thought I was OK with that. Maybe it's the hormones, or maybe I'm really not OK with it. I just don't know. Right now, though, I know that I DO want to have that recognition of our milestone. I was invited last year to a baby shower for a teenager who got knocked up by her boyfriend in their senior year. It was unplanned, but it was celebrated. And here we are, with one of the most non-unplanned pregnancies possible, after years of stress and frustration and sadness and a mountain of debt, with no celebration planned.

Yeah, pathetic. I don't understand why it bothers me so. I'd be tempted to throw my own baby shower, except that would be publicly pathetic and I like to keep this side of myself discreetly hidden. So, I'll sneak back to the bathroom to un-redden my eyes and go about the next 7 weeks as though it really doesn't matter.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

holy monitoring, Batman!

33-ish week appoontment with the OB yesterday (making my way through all the staff in the practice so they're all familiar before the BIG day), and she gave me another 'A' for weight, blood sugar, and anything else she could look for in a fast, 10-minute appointment. I can't fault her for the quickie. I was supposed to have reported to another office at 8AM to meet the other OB (the male OB... oh, dread), but I screwed up and went to the wrong office and they were kind enough to squeeze me in. I'll meet Mr. OB in about 4 weeks. My next visit is in the third of their locations, with MW#2. Then, I think I'll have met everyone and can go back to original MW#1.

Anyhow, thanks to the GD, Ms. OB has signed me up for bi-weekly non-stress tests (NST) and weekly biophysical profiles (BPP) from now until Ishkabibble's birthday. I can see how the last bit of pregnancy can fly by. I'll be in one office or another for some medical thing 3-4 times a week for rest of my pregnancy. I don't object at all- last night's first NST was actually quite nice, and since it's at the hospital where Ishka will be birthed I'll have the chance to get really familiar with the Birth Center nurses and rooms. Coincidentally, I was considering going over for another tour, since a few questions have come up since my first visit. Now, I get a private audience with the nurse who hooks me up for the NST twice each week, AND when my usual MW is "on," she'll come and chat with me, as happened last night.

The NST itself was simply 40 minutes spent lying on a fairly comfy hospital bed with two monitors strapped to my belly- one for Ishka's heart rate and one to monitor contractions (in hypnobirthing, we call them "surges."). It was enlightening to see Ishka's heart rate change and hear squawking from the doppler even with movements that I couldn't feel. I also learned that I am having Braxton-Hicks contractions. I haven't felt them yet, but I could see them clearly on the print-out. All-in-all, a nice relaxing event, and since it's at the Birth Center, which by necessity is open 24/7, I can go on my way home from work. I like convenience.

BPPs are scheduled at the near-work office of my MW/OB practice, every Thursday. My first is tomorrow, so I don't know from experience what to expect, but my research leads me to expect an ultrasound during which 5 categories are checked- fetal tone, amniotic fluid level, fetal activity, practice breathing, and... I forget the last one. I think heart rate might be it. Ishka gets a score of 0 or 2 for each one, and a total of 8 or 10 is good. I'm just happy to get the chance to SEE my little one every week from here on out. Maybe I'll get some more great pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I am still working on the home computer issue- hoping to get it taken care of by this weekend so I can start our taxes. AND scan images of Ishka's face... I must share. It's so incredibly beautiful!