Saturday, November 30, 2013

Seven Quick Baby Takes, Extrauterine Edition

So, this is the Tadpole, looking rather less tadpolish than he did back in April. Scott still isn't sure he wants me using Tad's real name in connection with other biographical details, so he gets to keep his nom de blog for now.

He was born on Wednesday, November 20, at 7:14 a.m., weighing 8 pounds and 2 ounces and measuring 21 inches long--pretty impressive for a 37-weeker. (Yes, I'm very sure of my dates, and he's a pretty typical 37-weeker apart from his size--very sleepy and not the most enthusiastic eater so far.)

I'm working on an incredibly long and detailed birth story, but for now I will mention that despite being a few weeks out from my due date, I went into labor spontaneously and it lasted for a little over 6 hours with no augmentation whatsoever, so apparently Tad was just really eager to be born.

Also, I am not sure if I got my first-timer-with-control-issues comeuppance or not. On the one hand, I had to go in without a written birth plan because, well, I hadn't written it yet. On the other hand, my nurse and the OB resident on-call were both awesome. And by awesome I mean they did exactly what they were told.

And yeah, my kid got delivered by a random OB resident because Dr. B didn't arrive until 10 minutes later. It wasn't exactly his fault, though. (The nurses called and told him to head to the hospital only about 30 minutes before Tad was born. And that wasn't their fault either; I was only at 6 the last time they'd checked me.)

The only time we had to resort to plan B was when I started hemorrhaging about an hour after Tad was born, but third stage and beyond were not parts of the plan in which I had a strong emotional investment. Dr. B was there for that.

Apparently you're supposed to have some kind of "look" right before you give birth. I say this because two different people have marveled over how I didn't look like I was about to give birth when I was.

First I called Dr. B's office to cancel my 38-week appointment and schedule my 6-week follow-up. The secretary said that I was the talk of the office on Wednesday because I'd just been in on Tuesday morning and didn't look like I was about to deliver and they all came in on Wednesday morning to, "Hey, Megan had her baby."

Then I called the instructor for the unmedicated birth class to tell her that Scott and I would be skipping the last three sessions. (We kind of had the final exam early.) It took her a few minutes to connect "I had the baby Wednesday morning" to the childbirth class that took place on Tuesday night, but when she did she was all awe, because she never would have guessed.

(Can I make an aside here to say that I am SO HAPPY I did not go into labor during the whole process of driving downtown and back for the class? We didn't exactly have a backup plan for that situation.)

Things I want to remember:

The baby's very long and impossibly detailed fingers and toes. (His long toes were the second thing I noticed about him after he was born. The first was checking to make sure he was still a boy. Yeah, I'm odd.)

The fact that his hair looks dark most of the time but is a sort of brown sugar color in the right light.

How velvety soft his skin was for the first day or two--I said once that his head felt like the end of a horse's nose. (It's still soft now, don't get me wrong, but there was a certain never-exposed-to-air feel that went away quickly.)

How sometimes when he's getting ready to nurse he waggles his head back and forth enthusiastically a few times before latching on. Probably this has some important role in positioning, but it sure looks like he's just REALLY EXCITED.

How when he's crying he'll cut off mid-sob in order to eat.

The look he gets after he's had a good long nursing session--slack-jawed, loose-limbed, milk dripping out of the corner of his mouth.

His ambiguously dark eyes--sometimes they look pretty much black, other times a very dark murky brown, other times iron gray.

The way he curls up his legs so his sleepers end up working more like sleep sacks, with the empty legs dangling.

And a million other things that I've already forgotten.

Scott has really taken to this whole fatherhood thing. For the first few days we were home, sometimes he'd just take the baby and sit down and gaze adoringly at him for an hour or two. (Then he had to start telecommuting and had less free time for baby-gazing.) He also sits up at night with the baby in his lap and reads stories aloud to him. (This usually happens during the time when he is in charge of the baby for a few hours so I can get some solid sleep before having to deal with Baby Snuffleupagus in my bedroom.) And he sings to the baby, and shows him funny internet videos, and all sorts of stuff like that.

He was really good in the hospital too. I started telling him several weeks ago that the one rule for him after the baby was born was stay with the baby. So when I was lying around being anemic, Scott made a nuisance of himself following the nurses everywhere. They could not even bathe the baby on the other side of the room without Scott getting all up in their business. I thought about telling him to give them a little space and then thought better of it.

Random side note: When I'm talking for the baby I refer to us as Beard Man and Milk Lady. I don't know why this amuses me so much; maybe sleep deprivation.

I feel like I should interrupt all this sappiness to note that having a newborn is really, really hard. There have been plenty of crying-in-the-shower moments--and for that matter, lots of crying-while-not-in-the-shower moments. Apparently it gets easier, though, and having a kid is not 18 years of doing nothing that doesn't involve some kind of bodily fluid. And yes, I promise to talk to somebody if the shower crying persists beyond a few weeks.

I've had a TON of help, too. Eldest Younger Brother stopped by the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for me and then came over and helped us get settled last Friday, when we brought the baby home. Tad thanked him by peeing on him during a diaper change.

Then on Saturday my mother and Andrea came over and cleaned things and held the baby and made food. My friend Grace also stopped by briefly on her way to Liza Jane's baby shower, saving me the trouble of finding a different way of getting Liza her present.

Then on Monday I called my mother-in-law and asked if she could send somebody over so I could take a nap. (Scott was telecommuting and couldn't commit to much baby-tending.) Oh and I also needed more prescriptions. (Apparently narcotics only come in 3-day doses, plus nobody had thought to get Scott more of the medicine he takes for his digestive problems. Side note: Should it bother me that random relatives were able to pick up my narcotics prescriptions with no trouble?) She dropped off Youngest Younger Brother, who took things out to the trash and unloaded the dishwasher and was generally useful if big-footed. (He's the tallest of the brothers now and might grow more if his feet are any indication. He made our apartment look very, very small.) My father-in-law also came by for a while after he got off work and hung out. Later that evening MIL stopped by with pasta and ice cream. The ice cream was supposed to be a belated birthday present for me, but I'm pretty sure it was actually an "If she called her mother-in-law asking for a nap she had to be really desperate and needs some chocolate" present.

On Thursday we went over to the in-laws for Thanksgiving and stuffed ourselves with awesome food while other people held the baby.

Yesterday my mom and Andrea came over again and did more cleaning and cooking and general helping out.

And now my whole family is coming over so Dad and the littles can finally meet the baby. (Teresa was sick last week so they were waiting for her to be un-contagious.) Which means I should probably wrap this up.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Two Quick Baby Takes: 37 + 1

This is a picture of me and Tad on Sunday night, when I was 37 weeks and 1 day by my NFP-inspired count.

And this is a picture of me and Tad on Wednesday afternoon, when I was 37+1 according to the OB's Cardboard Circle of Destiny.

There will be more here when I'm not typing with a sleeping baby on my lap, and in the meantime visit Conversion Diary as always.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Seven Not So Quick Baby Takes: 36 weeks

I had my 36-week OB appointment yesterday morning. I still weigh 211-point-something (gain of less than 1 pound since 34 weeks, about 28 pounds overall), so maybe I won't gain half my pregnancy weight in the last 2 months. Of course, for all I know I could have been gaining in 5-pound bursts all along and I just never knew because I was only weighed once every 4 weeks. I don't own a scale because I can't behave moderately around scales. Or chocolate, but at least I'm happy when I'm being immoderate with chocolate.

My blood pressure was 116/68, or something like that. I think I might be dead, because I sure haven't had any reduction in my overall stress level.

After being weighed and sphygmomanometered, I had blood drawn for a repeat iron check. (This is routine; I don't get specially stabbed because I was anemic before.) I have a nice purply-red bruise now, even though I let the MA use my good arm and everything. (My right arm, in addition to being more adept at writing and other fine motor skills, is better at surrendering its blood.)

After having my veins mutilated, I was taken to an exam room and given the opportunity to change into a super flattering paper skirt. Then I sat and read a book until Dr. B showed up, at which point I had my Group B strep test. It was much better than I anticipated, and I'm glad I declined the cervical check. (I had the passing thought that if I was going to be practicing my abdominal breathing anyway, I might as well get a cervical check, but I did not have to practice anything.)

Then Dr. B stepped out so I could get re-dressed and came back and did the usual finding the position and heartbeat on the baby. (Side note: They always give me something like 10 minutes to get dressed at this OB office. How long do they think it takes to put on some pants? It's not like I'm redoing my hair and makeup before they come back in.) Tad is head-down still, and "low". I'm not sure if that means the same as "engaged" or if he's still floating but just less so. Anyway, let's hope my little gymnast doesn't figure out how to get his giant noggin out of my pelvis and flip over; that would make me a bit nervous at this stage of things.

It took probably a full minute to find Tad's heartbeat, which of course bothered me even though I pretended it didn't. Dr. B checked on the right side first and didn't find anything, and then checked on the left and found the umbilical cord (you can tell the difference because the cord is whooshier, apparently) but nothing else, and then finally went back to a different spot on the right side and was successful. Even when we found it, the heart rate was only in the 140s, but it jumped into the 150s during the minute or so we were listening. Yes, I have spent the last day and a half reminding myself that everybody sleeps sometimes and a resting heart rate in the 140s is excellent for a fetus, why do you ask? (He had been doing his very best bag-o-snakes impersonation just an hour before the appointment, so probably he was sleeping extra-deeply to recover. And he's been as hyperactive as usual since.)

After that we talked about different things, including my Birth Plan O' Doom. At one point I was talking about immediate skin-to-skin contact (which seems to be promoted pretty hard at the hospital where I'm giving birth, but I wanted to make sure that Dr. B and I were clear on the meaning of the word "immediate.") Him: "Well, I delay cord clamping, so the nurses can't take the baby away because he's still attached." Me: "That was the next question on my list." Seriously, I geek out so much at these appointments. I'm dragging Scott along to meet Dr. B at my next appointment, which is on Tuesday. (Scott claims that he's met Dr. B before, but I'm pretty sure he hasn't.) Though I probably should keep the geekery to a minimum since Scott gets paid by the hour and all. (I apparently don't care that Dr. B gets paid the same whether I have a 3-minute appointment or a 30-minute one.)

I'm going to a chiropractor for the first time ever on Monday morning. I feel like such a hippie. (I'm also taking probiotics and my mother has promised to give me some Vitamin E for my itchy skin.) Liza Jane tried to talk me into it ages ago, but I was busy with other things and anyway only wimpy people seek medical attention because they're 8 months pregnant and everything hurts. (That's just how it works, right?) Plus why bother if I'm not going to be pregnant that much longer?

Then I started taking Tylenol several times a week so I'd be able to sleep, and figured that yeah, even four more weeks of that is not okay. Hence the chiropractor. I will make sure to report back. Remember to hold your breath in anticipation.

(I made sure to run it by Dr. B first and he says he generally trusts chiropractors who specialize in pregnancy because they can't order fancy X-rays and stuff so you know they're not in it for the money.)

Scott and I started our weekly "unmedicated childbirth" classes last Tuesday. I was worried that everybody in the class was going to be due in March or something and I'd be the cautionary whale, but of the 8 pregnant women in the class, 4 are due in December and 4 in January. (The class ends December 10.) So everybody procrastinates just as hard as I do in signing up for these things.

I really enjoyed the first class. The instructor is Dr. B's next door neighbor (she says that he's nice and they talk about childbirth while raking leaves). I discovered that birth balls are the most comfortable thing on the planet. Really, y'all should try them. I am large and have poor coordination/bodily awareness, and I did not fall off or anything. After about 2 minutes I was threatening to steal mine and take it home just to use as an everyday sit-upon-thingy. (And if Scott sits on a chair behind me, he is just the right height to rub my back. Everybody knows Scott's sole purpose on this earth is rubbing my back whenever I want it, so that's convenient.)

The second class was not as fun, since we had a guest lecturer telling us about "nutrition." Nutrition apparently involves having super-detailed information about portion size and how to lose weight as fast as possible after you give birth. I ate blueberry muffins (we're allowed to bring food to class) and ignored most everything. (Remember, I chose not to own a scale because I decided being fat and happy was better than being fat and hating myself.) Anyway, that's supposed to be our only guest lecture, so next week should be fun again.

We also had our hospital tour last night, which was fine. I learned some stuff, but I also got tired and cranky walking around so much. And there was a video that I just could not take seriously because they used dolls as stand-ins for actual babies. I know, babies are not good actors, but I still found the dolls too funny.

I apparently spoke too soon when, in my last update, I talked about how we have a crib that's "close enough" to being ready for a baby. Scott had the day off on Monday, so we started assembling the crib and promptly discovered that two of the pieces don't actually fit together. Manufacturing fail. So now we're in the middle of wrangling customer service to try to get a replacement or a refund or something.

I also still haven't installed the car seat. I should probably do that just in case it turns out to not fit in our car or something.

I did order some diapers (from here--supporting missionaries while saving money ftw), but they're not supposed to arrive for another 1-5 weeks, so I am maintaining an air of detachment.

I also impulse-bought this car seat cover (except in tan) for my not-yet-installed car seat. Scott wants to know how the baby is supposed to breathe with the flap closed. I told him I'm pretty sure that the cover isn't completely airtight; it just keeps the wind off a little.

Our biggest accomplishment of the week was making progress on the baptism front. (Who needs a crib when you have sacramental grace, right?) Our godmother says she checked with her calendar and her husband and can definitely come, and the godfather says that he doesn't have anything going on in January and would reschedule even if he did. (Awww.) (You can say those things when you're young and single.) I called the parish secretary today and got us penciled in for January 12 and then sent out an email to the godparents and grandparents so they can object if that date doesn't work for them. Hopefully it'll work for everybody. And I'm pretty sure we won't have to return the godparents to the manufacturer for defective parts. :)

(Edited to add: Since I wrote this take both grandmothers have emailed me back and indicated that they have no objections to the date, so things are looking good.)

November 9 was my last day with my Saturday babysitting gig, and yet somehow the prospect of free weekends has not materialized. Scott and I have a new patient orientation at a pediatrician's office tomorrow afternoon, and then next week I am attending Liza Jane's baby shower. (She is expecting a little boy in January. She never blogs, but I'm pretty sure that's public information by now.)

I miss Saturday afternoon naps.

And here's the obligatory belly shot, at 36 weeks. I wonder if I am going to look back in another month and think, "I was so tiny!" I thought I was huge when I first wore this shirt at 24 weeks, and now I look at that picture and think I was pretty svelte back then. I am seriously surprised every time I do a belly shot, because I apparently have no concept of how big I really am. (For example, I periodically hit myself with the fridge door. I feel like that summarizes the entire third trimester in one awkward moment.)

(P.S. The belly button is gone for good now. I forgot to report that when it happened, which is certainly a failure of proper bloggerly navel-gazing.)

When Liza Jane saw me on Sunday (a few hours before this picture was taken), she said it looks like her guess of a 10-pound baby is going to be correct. I told her she's looking nice and fat herself. (That bag in the corner contains her baby's present. If she's mean to me I might just keep it, though. :))

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Seven Quick Baby Takes: 34 weeks

As you might assume from the title, I had my 34-week appointment on Thursday. There is really nothing to report, but I am going to update you all anyway because I can.

First off, I arrived right as Dr. B had to run over to the hospital for a delivery. The office staff were all sorts of apologetic as patients quietly stacked up in the waiting room over the course of the next hour and a half. Fortunately, they did take us back one by one for our pre-appointment stuff before sending us back to the waiting room to wait some more. (I say fortunately because I come prepared for the whole urine sample part of the appointment, and I don't think it would end well if I had to wait an hour or more longer than I expected for that.)

I weighed 211, so 5 pounds in 2 weeks. Eep. I got nothing but crickets in response to that, though, perhaps because my blood pressure was better than usual. (118/something.)

Anyway, Dr. B finally got back and I got my 3 minutes of, "Here's the baby's head, here's his bottom, here's his heartbeat, any questions?" Tad is still head down but floaty, and kicked Dr. B when he was feeling around for his bottom, and had a heart rate in the high 150s, as he often does.

We did actually talk about some stuff, though I didn't whip out my giant birth plan o' doom. (There were LOTS of people in the waiting room, and I'm sure they all wanted to go home too. Plus it was time for my nap.) And Dr. B warned me that I get my Group B strep test next time. (Pardon me if I don't leap for joy at the prospect; I'm rather large and cumbersome at the moment.) He also said that he does offer to do cervical checks starting at 36 weeks but he doesn't really find them useful. Me: "Yeah, what are you going to tell me? 'You're going to have a baby sometime in the next 6 weeks.' I already knew that." And he agreed that it's not good to read too much into anything. So we had a little meeting of the minds over that topic. I kind of like him, though he talks really fast even when he's not running 90 minutes behind. (I was never good at keeping up with fast-talking people, and then I married a slow talker and became a hermit, so now anybody who talks faster than Scott does--which is everybody--seems rather frantic to me. Actual fast talkers are almost impossible.)

We got a crib this week! Well, my uncle got it for us and it showed up on our doorstep. I have some awesome relatives.

Conveniently, the day it showed up was the day I felt compelled to rearrange the bedroom so that there would be space for a crib. So now the box is lying on its side on the floor, with the box o' crib mattress on top of it, and then some other baby things on top of that.

I really want to make Scott set it up tomorrow, but we've had a busy week and we're going to have a really busy day on Sunday, so I should probably give him a break. Of course, with all these nesting urges I've been getting, what's likely to happen is that I'll try to start setting it up on my own while he's at work or something and he'll come home and have to do most of it because I'll realize it's too heavy for me right around the time I have little screws all over our bedroom floor.

Anyway, I'm kind of excited.

With the advent of the crib, Tad now has three of the four things on my mental List of Absolutely Essential Things. The four things: Carseat, crib, diapers, milk. Of course, the carseat is sitting on our dining room floor, the crib is unassembled, and the milk is not actually here yet as far as I can tell, but we're close enough on all those things.

On the diaper front, I do have two cloth diapers and about 30 wipes, but two diapers do not a stash make. I'll have to get budget approval to buy a bunch more sometime soon, and maybe get a package of disposables because everybody says you don't want meconium on your cloth diapers. (My mother can probably attest to this; apparently I ruined her favorite nightgown right after I was born. I claim no responsibility; I was a baby and by the time you're 23 and having your second child you should know better than to wear your favorite nightgown while giving birth.)

Also, Tad has a LOT of clothes. See?

(From left: Bucket with hats and socks and things, 3-6 month clothes, 0-3 month clothes, sleep sacks, bunting.) It actually doesn't look like very many, but that's only part of his collection (I'm still working on washing stuff) and he keeps getting more things. My mother has been taking first-time grandmotherhood very seriously and buying all the clothes she can get her hands on. I only need a few odds and ends in 0-3 months (which I will purchase myself as soon as I have time to wander up to Carter's again), so I suggested that she could buy him some 3-6 month stuff and she accordingly got a big pile of things at the thrift store the other day. Assuming they're true to size he should now be set in the 3-6 month category. And I even have a few things in 6-9 months, though I'm keeping the tags on those for the time being. (Cotton sleepers and onesies never really go out of season; I'm mostly leaving them that way because I have enough baby laundry to wash already.)

My body clock seems to think that the baby is here already or that we need to practice or something, because I have seriously not been sleeping. Last night I actually kept track (because you have to do something when you're not sleeping). I went to bed at 11:00 and woke up at 1:00, 2:30, 4:30, and 5:30 before my alarm went off at 6:45.

Seriously, body, I have nesting to do. We can practice the lack-of-sleep thing later.

Another thing slowing my nesting roll is this silly foot-swelling problem I've been having the last few weeks. It wouldn't bug me except that my feet always swell lopsidedly and then I freak out about DVTs and my anxious brain just doesn't need that. (I actually called Dr. B at about 8 p.m. the first time I noticed my right foot being decidedly puffier than my left. He told me not to worry about it unless I had other symptoms, and it hasn't killed me yet, so he was probably right.)

Anyway, driving around and being on my feet a lot both seem to trigger the problem, so I spend an irritating amount of time sitting with my feet up. And lying in bed not sleeping.

Scott has managed to figure out how he's going to handle work around the time the baby is born. I am especially pleased by this because he worked it out entirely on his own. I had not even thought that far ahead, but about a month ago he mentioned that he had been thinking it over and did it sound like a good idea for him to do thus-and-so. I said yes and then got busy again. I was just thinking that I might want to ask him how that was going yesterday, but I did not. Then today he told me that his manager had approved of the plan (and said congratulations) so he just needed to do a couple more things and we should be all set. And I did not have to remind him at all!

My husband is pretty awesome.

And here's a picture of Tad and me at 34 weeks. I couldn't wear my preferred shirt because our sink got clogged and I managed to get dirty sink-water all over my only clean skirt. Hence, wearing a dress to Mass and for my picture. (I wore a white sweater over it for Mass to make it look less casual.)

The nice thing about having such a big belly is that I'm pretty sure it makes my backside look smaller. (If you've seen me in person and disagree, just don't say anything, okay? :))

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!