June 29, 2009

Three Weeks: The Joys of Cluster Feeding

Today Charlie turned three weeks old, and it was one of those days where, if he were able to talk, I feel pretty certain that he would have been asking for a new mother.

I should have known what kind of day it was going to be when my pump was barely working around 3 AM, thus leaving me with no choice but to go back to bed with rock-hard engorged boobs. (Charlie does not nurse, by the way.) Once Roy got up to get ready for work, Charlie was ready to be fed (of course) and my shirt was soaked with breast milk (of course). I picked Charlie up to comfort him as he cried, and he kicked my painfully sore boobs a number of times. Finally, Roy came to my rescue and I finally managed to get some pumping done but had to order more new parts for my pump (of course). I guess I'll have to pump each side separately until the new parts come in, like pumping both boobs at once is not time-consuming enough.

The morning passed quickly enough, with Charlie eating his regular amount, but (of course) almost every time I put him down to sleep, he'd be wide awake again in a matter of minutes. I did manage to get him to sleep long enough for me to start a shower. I put his bouncy chair outside the bathroom door, which I left open, and proceeded to shower with the lights off (so as not to disturb Prince Charles) and with my head sticking out of the shower curtain. Mao immediately began getting in Charlie's face (of course), but she eventually settled down under his bouncy chair - right around the time the pacifier fell out of Charlie's mouth and he started fussing. Mao decided to not be useful and wouldn't put Charlie's pacifier back in his mouth (even though I asked nicely). So I had no choice but to abort the shower mission and scoop up my little guy, who by that time had probably decided he hated me.

And that's how the rest of the day went, with Charlie definitely not sleeping enough due to his hourly demands to be fed, which means that his mom definitely didn't sleep enough and also didn't get to eat. Still, I handle these daytime challenges much better than I do the nighttime ones. At night, the whole world is dark and sleepy, except, seemingly, for Charlie and me (and Roy, when Roy's taking care of him), and Charlie's screams are enough to reduce me to tears (which they have many times at this point).

In the gentle light of day, though, I look down at my screaming baby and observe his delicious skin and his cute little baby toes; I see how his top gum peeks out from under his top lip and how his tiny little baby hands flail uncontrollably. I put the bottle in his mouth, and instantly he stops crying, and his dark blue eyes meet mine, and everything is okay, even if only for this moment. I am, after all, the mother of the most perfect baby I've ever seen, and even if only for this moment, I am everything he needs.

June 28, 2009

Lost in a Sea of Spit-Up

I knew being a new parent would keep me pretty busy, but I had no idea what was in store for me. My days and nights are completely consumed by our 10 lb handsome boy, who is growing like a weed and (sometimes) screaming like a banshee. I'd like to say that I am soaking in every minute of his absolute perfection, but truthfully I haven't learned how to calm down enough to do that. I definitely am enjoying him, though - but it's often tempered by my own meltdowns and freak outs.

I have a very long blog entry in the works about my current emotional landscape. I've realized that being a new parent is a lot like being part of some strange alternate reality. I never know what the date is, and I definitely have my days and nights mixed up. I live in a fog of sleep deprivation and always seem to be up to my eyeballs in dirty laundry. It's a strange place to be, and not necessarily a bad one. It's just hard! I had no idea how hard any of this would be. I guess you just can't know until you're doing it.

Anyway, about that long blog entry - writing it is so tough. I've actually been working on it since we got home from the hospital but I have to take it in pieces because everything is still so raw. Hopefully I'll have that completed and posted soon. While I doubt anyone will be waiting on the edge of their seat for it, I want to get it out there for my own benefit and for others who might be going through the same thing.

I have been terrible at commenting on other people's blogs, but I am still reading! I often read blogs when I am pumping, and it's really hard to type out a comment one-handed. So know that I am thinking of you all and still keeping up with what's going on in your lives. I'm hoping that someday soon I'll figure out how to handle a baby while taking care of other important things.

Another thing I do while pumping is watch movies. I've seen some good ones lately:

Dan in Real Life - This one surprised me with how good it was.

11:14 - This one was a surprise, too. I had it out from Netflix since the beginning of May and just watched it last week. I really, really liked it, but then again, I'm a sucker for those types of movies that have a bunch of random story lines that eventually all merge.

The Reader - I had not heard of this one until one of Roy's friends let us borrow it. It's a really great (but sad) story. And it's totally gotten me hooked on Kate Winslet - I have two more of her movies coming to me next week.

Mulholland Drive - I've seen this movie multiple times, as I'm a huge David Lynch fan, but it had been several years since I had watched it. I still think it's a fantastic movie, one of Lynch's best.

Delicatessen - I'm in the process of rewatching this one. It's by the director of Amelie, which is my favorite movie ever. It's a very interesting, very funny French movie. I really like foreign films when I am in the mood for them.

Anyway, this is all I've got for now. Charlie is three weeks old tomorrow, and I hope to be back with an update on the cutest baby ever.

June 22, 2009

The Past Two Weeks

Since Charlie is two weeks old today, I thought I'd dedicate a post to the many changes he's brought to our household.

But first, here are some of my favorite pictures from the week. (These aren't perfect; the sleep deprivation must be really getting to me)

1) We spend entirely too much time talking about pee, poo, and spit-up.

2) We do multiple loads of laundry every day. Not just Charlie's, but ours as well.

3) It's not uncommon to find baby blankets, baby socks, and burp cloths somewhere in the folds of the blanket on our bed.

4) I rarely fix my hair or put on makeup anymore.

5) We live our life in two to three hour increments (from one feeding to the next).

6) Charlie's room has been turned into a pumping station/media room where I go to pump breast milk for him while watching old episodes of The Practice on hulu.

7) We don't bother with real plates or cups anymore. Paper plates and plastic cups all the way, baby!

8) We are not surprised when we look down and see spit-up on our clothes. As a matter of fact, I have used my own clothes to wipe up Charlie's messes on more than one occasion.

9) We wake up multiple times a night to make sure he's still breathing.

10) We are unable to leave him alone in a room while sleeping for any period of time longer than a few minutes.

11) It takes a whole lot of effort to get out of the house now. And I mean a lot.

12) It is not uncommon for Roy and I to be up at 4:00 AM having a heart-to-heart conversation.

13) We skip meals. We had only had donuts today when my sister-in-law and her husband stopped by to see if we wanted them to pick up dinner for us. We probably would have gone without if they hadn't come by. (Truthfully, my appetite is really lacking these days.)

Pretty much everything has changed. It's true when people tell you that a baby changes everything. While some of the changes have been challenging, I wouldn't want anything to be different.

I didn't have a chance to write a Father's Day post yesterday, so I thought I'd say a few words about it today. Roy really is some kind of Superdad. He's managed to take care of both Charlie and me while operating on little to no sleep. I always knew he would be a great father, but I had no idea how good. I feel so lucky to be sharing this life with him.

Happy belated Father's Day, Roy! And happy two week birthday, Charlie!

June 21, 2009

Charlie's Birth Story

**Warning: This is very long and detailed.**

My induction was scheduled for 1 AM on June 8, 2009. I was ten days overdue. The plan was to call the hospital an hour ahead of time to see if a bed was available. We found out that there was indeed a bed for us, and so we got our things together and headed out to the hospital.

On the way I noted how nothing about our drive to the hospital was how I imagined it to be. I think I originally thought I’d be writhing in pain while Roy manuevered the car through 5:00 traffic. As it turned out, our ride to the hospital was only one thing that didn’t turn out the way I expected. There were still many more unexpected things to come.

We made it to the hospital and were checked in right away. Once escorted to our room, I stripped down into only a hospital gown and was hooked up for continuous fetal monitoring (Charlie’s heartbeat and my contractions). My first dose of Cytotec was administered at 1:50 AM.

The nurse examined me at 2:30 AM and informed me that doctors and nurses measure cervix progress differently. So where my OB had me down as 1.5 cm dilated and 60% effaced, the nurse said I was “one cm and a wiggle” dilated and definitely not 60% effaced. I asked when I could get the epidural and was informed that I had to be four cm dilated. This was kind of a shock to me since in our childbirth classes, we were told that epidurals were not administered based on cervical progress but on the need for pain relief.

I knew that inducing labor could take a lot of time, so at this point I decided to get some rest. Roy and I slept off and on for as long as we could. I had another internal exam at 6 AM and there was no change. However, at 6:30 AM, the nurse noted that my contractions were already two to three minutes apart. She thought that maybe we could skip the second dose of Cytotec and go straight to the Pitocin instead. In the end, she decided to go with the original plan and give me the second dose of Cytotec at 6:45 AM. I also had yet another internal exam, and I was two cm dilated.

My contractions became more intense but still manageable around 7 AM. I was pretty uncomfortable at this point, and I recognized that I was in a small amount of pain, but I was still able to answer emails and watch some TV. I had no idea about the level of pain I would end up experiencing. Looking back on it, I think my approach to labor and delivery was a bit naive. I always told myself that childbirth was something that had been done for thousands of years by billions of women and that one way or another, the baby would come out. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about pain management or anything. I always figured that I would just get the epidural and that I’d be fine - of course, I’d also been relying on misinformation about when epidurals could be administered. That really came back to haunt me later.

At 9:30 AM, the on-call OB came in and introduced himself. He gave me another internal, and I was still at two cm and 60% effaced.

Once the Pitocin was hung and began dripping at 9:45 AM, it didn’t take very long for me to begin experiencing some awfully painful contractions. I tried really hard to be brave at first, but as the hours wore on and I progressed really slowly, I began to not hold back. The pain was awful. It was, hands down, the worst physical pain I have ever experienced. I yelled. I screamed. I cried. I begged for help. Even though I was given IV meds, I was still in horrible pain. Roy and my nurse tried desperately to calm me with every contraction. Roy held my hand through every single one of those awful things. It didn’t matter if he needed to go to the bathroom or eat or just have a moment to himself. Once he heard me whimpering and reaching out for him, he would quickly make his way to my side and hold my hand. He quickly proved himself to be an amazing labor coach, and he only got better the uglier things got.

At 12:30 PM I had another exam and was three cm dilated. At this point I was nearly out of my mind because of the pain. I never thought I would get to four cm so I could have the epidural. I was crying or screaming (or both) through every contraction. It was awful. I watched the clock a lot, although at this point time began to be irrelevant: each contraction felt like a miserable eternity.

Finally, at 2:00 PM I was examined and told that I was four, almost five, cm dilated and could now have an epidural. There was some waiting involved, but I have to credit the hospital staff for not making me wait too long. I was completely out of my head with pain at this point. It was around this time that my mom and mother-in-law walked into the room and I told them they just could not be in there right then. (I was really disappointed that they were not the anesthesiologist coming to give me my miracle stab in the back.) They went out to the waiting room, and once the anesthesiologist came in, Roy was sent out of the room. The anesthesiologist expressed some concern about giving me an epidural since I have scoliosis, but at 2:45 PM I got my epi.

Unfortunately, there was trouble in paradise. The epidural only took on my right side, and so I could still feel everything on my left side. The pain was much more manageable, though. The nurse had me lay on my left side with the hopes that the epidural would flow over to that side and help ease the pain. And she was right. It worked! I was very encouraged. My mom and mother-in-law and her partner were able to come in and spend some time with us.

At 4:15 PM my catheter was inserted. I was examined and discovered to be five to six cm dilated. The doctor came in and broke my water at 4:25. Things went downhill very quickly after this.

I rolled back over onto my side, and in no time at all, I began to feel the contractions again. I knew that breaking my water could make the contractions much more intense, so I chalked my pain up to that. I felt pretty confident that the pain would become more manageable again in time and with more of the epidural coursing through my system. But after a couple of contractions, I found myself at the point where I was calling for Roy to coach me through the pain. I started crying and saying that I couldn’t go through all that pain again. Roy alerted the nurse about my pain, and she couldn’t figure out why I was still feeling everything. She had the anesthesiologist come in, and he discovered that the epidural IV became detached and had leaked all over my hospital bed (this probably happened when I turned over to have the catheter inserted.). He reattached it and said it should be working again in five minutes and that he’d come back to check.

I don’t know the exact times all that happened, but I do know that it was still light out. At 6 PM, a new nurse took over. She, along with Roy, held my hand through each contraction. Both of them urged me to relax, pick a focal point, and breathe. Sometimes I was partially successful in doing this, but I almost always ended up screaming, crying, or cursing (or all three). The pain was worse than I could have ever imagined. It was so bad that I began to beg to be put out of my misery. I couldn’t even think about Charlie and focus on him as my inspiration. The pain was just that bad. I felt certain that I was going to die.

With the pain eventually came intense pressure. With each contraction, I felt like I had to take the world’s biggest crap. My nurse kept telling me to fight the urge, but after awhile I stopped fighting it and just starting pushing. It was the only thing that brought me any kind of relief whatsoever. I kept asking for the doctor, and the nurse told me that he was performing a C-section and would come by once he was done. When he finally did come by, he noted my pain and said he’d have the anesthesiologist come by.

The anesthesiologist did come by and tried a different kind of epidural. It didn’t work. The nurse gave me some more IV meds. They didn’t work. She checked me and I was seven to eight cm dilated and 100% effaced. I felt a shred of hope at this point, because I only had two cm left until I was fully dilated and would be ready to push (even though I was already pushing). I had a glimmer of “I can do this,” but it ended up fading away as the pain and pressure intensified. I was checked a couple more times and my progress had stopped. I was beside myself.

I kept asking for the doctor and was told that both he and the anesthesiologist had gone home. So we waited. And I screamed and cried and begged for relief. And finally, after what seemed like forever, the doctor came in and talked to me about how I hadn’t progressed in awhile. He said that that my cervix was swollen and I probably wouldn’t progress any more. He also said that we could wait it out and see what happened or we could throw in the towel and do a C-section. Without a moment’s thought, I opted for a C-section. It was explained to me that the best thing would be to put me under general anesthesia for the surgery rather than try to place another epidural.

For the first time all day, things moved very quickly. My mom, mother-in-law, and her partner came into the room to gather our stuff and hold it for us in the waiting room. While they were in our room, they reached out to me and were extremely supportive. (Meanwhile, I was still crying and screaming.) Their presence, though brief, made a huge difference; it reinforced the notion that there were people on our side.

The next thing I knew, I was being wheeled out of the room and down the hall. It was very alienating and scary, because at one moment Roy was by my side and the next I was screaming through a contraction on my own in the hall of the L&D ward. They wheeled me into the OR and began doing all kinds of things to prep me for the C-section. I was still contracting like crazy and still begging for reprieve. Finally, a mask was placed over my face, and one of the nurses put a couple of her fingers at the base of my throat. I was staring at the ceiling, wondering what the hell was going on.

There was no fade out and fade in here. It was like a jump cut in a movie. I came to and found myself staring blearily at a man holding a baby about fifteen feet away from me. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was Roy and that he was holding Charlie. This was, without a doubt, the most surreal moment of my life.

Roy walked over to me and showed me Charlie. I think that I was crying a bit. Even though I was in a lot of pain from the procedure, I asked if Charlie could be placed on my chest. He was. And mother met baby at last.

I honestly don’t clearly remember those moments when I first held Charlie. I do remember thinking how beautiful he was and how I just couldn’t believe that he had finally made his way to the outside world. It’s one of those moments that I just will never be able to put into words. It was extremely emotional but also clouded by the entire day’s events.

We spent a little more time in the recovery room and then were taken up to the postpartum ward. Right when we got there, the phone started ringing. It was my friend Jessica wondering what the hell was going on. (At this point, it was after 11 PM, and I hadn’t updated anyone in hours.) We spoke briefly, and then I was put in a new bed and Charlie was given to me. I nursed him a little, and my mother-in-law came in to see him.

Needless to say, Roy and I were exhausted. I asked the nurse to take Charlie for the night because we were just so out of it. I thought I would fall right to sleep, but instead I was up for most of the night. I think I was just wired. I rang the nurse around 4:30 AM and asked her to bring Charlie back. I was missing him. He roomed in with us for the rest of our hospital stay.

We were in the hospital until Thursday (Charlie was born on Monday night). I had to stay in bed for 24 hours after the C-section. They removed my catheter on Tuesday night, and I managed to make it to the bathroom on my own with Roy’s help. On Wednesday morning, also with Roy’s help, I was able to take a shower. I was shocked at the state of my body. I had adhesive, not to mention betadine, all over my stomach and upper thighs. My stomach was kind of saggy, but I still looked about four months pregnant. I had marks everywhere that I wasn’t sure about. It was all very strange.

After the best shower ever, I felt almost human again. I also put on makeup that day and it made me feel a million times better. Roy and I decided to walk the halls that afternoon, and once we did that, I was completely over being in the hospital and was ready to go home. That night, we left Charlie with our nurse for a bit and walked to the bottom floor of the hospital. (We were both going stir crazy being in our room, and taking Charlie out of the ward was not an option.) It was slow going, as I had to kind of shuffle along all hunched over, but it was progress.

On Thursday, both Charlie and I were examined and discharged from the hospital. We drove home and began our new life as a family of three. My mom had been there the entire time we were gone and stayed for a few more days helping us get adjusted. I got to rest a lot, which I really needed.

My body is slowly returning to its pre-pregnancy state. I am still bruised from the IV I had during labor and the first day afterward. I still have some betadine and adhesive on me. I still have stitches, and my incision is still painful sometimes. But I have no more heartburn, swelling, or excessive thirst and appetite. My hands and feet are no longer in constant pain. I have lost 25 of the 30 pounds I put on while I was pregnant. My stomach is very soft and flabby, and I have to wear granny panties because of my incision, but overall, I am really happy to have my body back.

So that, my friends, is my very long birth story - with some general recovery details thrown in. I have deliberately left out how I feel about everything that came to pass to bring Charlie into the world, but that is definitely something I will explore in a later post.

If you got this far, thanks for hanging in there. More to come later!

June 17, 2009

Knife in the Heart

We had Charlie circumcised today.

Our instructions were to not feed him past 6 AM and be at the doctor's office by 8 AM. We fed him as close to 6 AM as we could and prayed that his little tummy would stay full enough to last through the procedure. Unfortunately, he started getting fussy soon after we arrived at the doctor's office, and his whimpers quickly turned to wails.

Thankfully, they didn't make us wait long. The nurse weighed him, and we discovered he's already gained a whole pound from his birth weight! Then the doctor came in and talked with us briefly. I was so scared to leave him with her because his crying was scaring me so much. I asked her if she was sure he would be okay, and she peered into my face and said, "Are you okay?" She urged us to take a walk and so we did. We came back and sat in the well baby room and listened to him screaming down the hall. My own tears were flowing by then. It was really hard.

We were both so relieved when the doctor brought Charlie back to us and told us to feed him. I think we were both afraid that we wouldn't see him alive again, as morbid as it sounds. It took us quite awhile to calm him down to the point where we could put him in his car seat and drive him home. He has been sound asleep since then, thanks to lots of cuddles and some baby Tylenol.

(I'd like to note here that Charlie's biggest issue was that he was hungry, not that he was in pain - a local anesthetic was used for the procedure. This was the longest he'd gone without one of us there to comfort him and feed him. It totally sucked.)

Circumcision used to be a given if you had a baby boy. Now it's not. It's definitely a hard choice that parents of boys have to make. For some, it's a no-brainer. For me, it wasn't. I felt pretty divided on the issue. Roy seemed more sure that we should have him circumcised, based on a conversation we had with our pediatrician about cancer statistics. So that's what we did. I wish that we could have had it taken care of at the hospital, but the pediatrician there was unable to fit us in before we were discharged. Still, it's not like having the procedure done at the hospital would have spared Charlie any pain or discomfort - it really would have been sparing us.

If we have any more boys, I'm not sure if we'll go the circumcision route, even though there are some medical benefits to having it done. This morning we were all pretty traumatized. I hope we made the right choice for Charlie.

Here's to happier days and a happier baby.

(No flames for this post, please. This is not a carefree decision we made.)

June 15, 2009

One Week

Charlie is one week old today!

There are so many things I want to say to commemorate this occasion, but I find myself short on time. We have to get my mom to the airport by 5:30 AM, and it's already almost midnight.

This week has been absolutely insane. From ending up with a C-section to middle of the night feedings to baby spit up and baby poop to the sweet smell of our perfect little boy, this is one week I will never forget. Charlie is absolutely amazing. I hold him and am overwhelmed by his perfection. It is the strangest thing. He is just fascinating.

This has been a week full of firsts for all of us. Things have already changed so much, but honestly, I would not have it any different. We are completely in love with Charlie. He already has a million nicknames, and he's already so familiar to us. It's definitely been a challenge, but I also know that he will never be this small again. As a matter of fact, as I was loading all the pictures from the past week onto my computer, I got a little teary. Already!

Here are a few pictures from Charlie's first week.

Baby frog legs:

First sponge bath (with diaper):

First cloth diaper:

First tummy time:

First stroller ride:

And here is how I look at one week postpartum:

Here's to many more weeks (and years) full of Charlie goodness! What a ride this has been.

(Birth story is coming, I promise. And also, thank you so much for all your comments and support.)

June 10, 2009

Welcome to the world, Charlie.

Charles Jacob
June 8, 2009 - 8:56 PM
8 lbs, 3 oz. - 21 in. long

Dear Charlie,

I loved being pregnant with you, and I'm going to miss it. I loved feeling you move around. I loved listening to your heartbeat. I loved placing my hands on my tummy, knowing that you were safe and happy just underneath them. I loved that I was able to give you what you needed exactly when you needed it. I loved having you with me all the time. I loved thinking about the person you're going to be. And just as I feel honored to be your dad's wife, I feel so incredibly honored and humbled to be your mother.

But now you're here - and what an amazing little guy you are. I could stare at you for hours. I could hold you for days. I could listen to you whimper and even cry until the end of time. I don't know how I existed without you. It's like my life didn't start until you were born and I stared into your blue eyes.

Your birth day is only the beginning of what I hope will be a long and happy life for you in this crazy, chaotic world. I think you are the most wonderful little person I have ever laid eyes on. You are, to put a tried and true cliched spin on it, a dream come true. A lifelong dream in human form. You are absolutely beautiful. You are so devastatingly perfect. And I am so proud of you.

Happy birth day, buddy. Welcome to the world.

I love you,

Birth story coming soon!

June 8, 2009

A-Birthin' We Will Go...

We are leaving to go to the hospital soon so I can be induced so we can (hopefully) bring home our baby boy. I say "hopefully" because I am afraid that the induction will fail and they'll tell me to come back in a couple of days. I haven't really been feeling right the past couple of days, and I'm pretty sure that I'm having real contractions. I might even be in early labor at this point - it's really hard to say. I have been really uncomfortable, though - but I wouldn't say that I've been in pain.

My birthday was low-key but great, and it included a bracelet from Roy, a nice lunch at Citrus City Grille, a trip to the movies to see Up, a long nap, and then the usual Sunday night family dinner with gifts (yay!) and chocolate cake (yay!) as added bonuses. Thanks to everyone who emailed, texted, called, and commented to wish me a happy birthday - you guys are simply fabulous!

There aren't a lot of pics from today, but here are a couple that I like:

I just love my kitties!

I've been a big ball of nervous energy since getting home from family dinner. I've been doing laundry and dishes and making sure that we have everything we need and that everything is clean. When we walk back into our house again, everything is going to be different. So right now I'm taking a moment to soak things up as they are. It's a good life I've got and one that is going to become even better once Charlie makes his entrance into the world. I am so excited!

Here's Charlie's last picture in utero, taken on Friday. It's a profile shot, and you can see his hand near his mouth:

Thanks for sharing in this journey with me. I'm sorry if I've been an insufferable bore this whole time with all the pregnancy posts. But truthfully, the last 9+ months have been nothing short of amazing, and well, I just like sharing.

I'll update as soon as I can - hopefully with some pictures of our outside baby.

June 7, 2009

Watch my belly grow...

On September 24, 2008, I found out I was pregnant. I was four weeks and five days along at that point, and even though I didn't see any drastic changes in my belly for awhile, I started taking pictures that very day. I'll spare you all of the pictures, though.

4 weeks, 5 days

9 weeks

14 weeks, 5 days

18 weeks

21 weeks, 1 day

25 weeks

27 weeks, 6 days

30 weeks, 5 days

34 weeks

36 weeks

39 weeks

41 weeks and 30 pounds later (and hopefully my last belly pic for this pregnancy)

It surprises me to say this, but I'm going to miss my baby belly.

And here's a little bonus - a video about second pregnancies from Momversation. Even though this is my first pregnancy, I could relate to a lot of this video, particularly people's questions about "You're aware that has caffeine in it, right?".

Just thought I'd share, as it made me smile.

Thanks to everyone for your supportive comments throughout my pregnancy, especially over the last week. I'm excited to (hopefully) meet Charlie tomorrow, although I also realize that I could have a long labor and not meet him until the 9th. I hope to be back later on tonight with a birthday recap - thanks for all the birthday wishes as well.

June 6, 2009

Things I Don't Want

1) I don't want to turn 30.

Last year, when I turned 29, I had this vague notion in my head that went something like this: "Hey, next year I'm going to be 30. How 'bout that?" When I found out I was pregnant and due at the end of May, I was pretty sure that my 30th birthday was going to end up being overshadowed by having a baby. And sure enough, I was right.

This whole time I've been thinking of my 30th birthday as a possible day that Charlie might be born or as a day when I would be so busy caring for him that I wouldn't really have the time or energy to absorb being 30. I guess I really believed he would be born by now; I am disappointed that he hasn't been yet, and I am even more disappointed that we probably won't end up sharing a birthday (as weird as that probably sounds).

So, here I am, turning 30 tomorrow. Charlie is still an inside baby, which means that we can probably do some celebrating. I have no idea what I want to do or what I want. I have no idea how to feel about leaving my 20s behind. We're talking ten years of major pain, major joy, major growth, major realizations. In so many ways I feel that no decade of my life can possibly compare to this one - I have watched myself grow and change in ways that I never would have thought possible when I was 20. But I also know that I'm young and have so many more decades of life to experience.

As I leave my 20s, I am still kind of haunted by the same things that plagued me as I entered this decade. There are things that I haven't "gotten over," but I also believe that there are some things that you just can't or don't get over. I've managed to make a space for these things in my life instead. It doesn't mean that they control my life, only that they are undeniably a part of me. I will probably always have these issues. One of the greatest things that I learned in my 20s is that it's okay to have problems - we all do - and this is one of those things that binds us together as human beings.

When I think of myself as being 30, I don't think of myself in terms of being old. I just want this next decade to be as dynamic as the last. I don't ever want to stop growing or thinking or wanting. I want to continue to evolve. When I turn 40, I want to look back in amazement on my 30s and say, "Wow. What a life I've had." Because that's what I'm doing right now, as I turn 30.

2) I don't want to be induced.

Last night I realized that not only do I not really want to be induced, I am also pretty afraid of it. It happens every day on every L&D ward in the nation, I'm sure, but honestly, I just don't really feel emotionally prepared for it. My whole pregnancy I have been pretty lax about the whole labor and delivery thing. I've always had in my mind that any woman can give birth - if a vaginal delivery doesn't work, there's always a C-section - but the bottom line is the doctor always makes sure that the baby comes out.

I think a huge part of my fear comes from the fact that my OB will not be delivering Charlie. I know this kind of thing happens, but I really didn't expect it to happen to us. He won't be on call again until June 16, and I'll be damned if I'm still pregnant by then - they wouldn't let me stay pregnant that long anyway. When I found out this bit of news earlier in the week, I simply could not shake it off. At first, it was a WTF?! kind of indignation that I felt, but now it's morphed into a full-blown sadness. I feel absolutely cheated by the fact that this person that we've developed a relationship with won't be there to deliver our baby. I can't even explain why, because I know that the nursing staff is much more present and is much more a part of the process than the doctor. Still, I wanted my OB to be the one to catch Charlie as he comes sliding out of the birth canal - no matter how routine it is or may be to an OB, it's not routine to me. I don't want a perfect stranger delivering my baby. I am so sad over this; I just can't help it.

I feel like I don't know what to expect now. I trust my OB and was pretty willing to just go with what he thinks is/was best, but now my whole birthing experience is going to be in the hands of some doctor I've never even met. I am kind of livid about it all. I can't help but wonder now if I haven't put enough thought into what I want from my birth experience; I have been perfectly willing to have a "normal" experience since it's my first time. I figured that I could always adjust things as needed for the next baby - and I'm sure I will do that. But now I'm feeling panicky. Really panicky. Instead of looking forward to my birth experience, I am, quite frankly, dreading it. It's hard enough that I am going to be induced, but to be induced and have my experience be overseen by some doctor I don't know? Let's just say that obviously I am having a really hard time with it.

I'm sure I'll get over it, but right now I feel like I am grieving a huge loss. But I should have known that something like this would happen, since the best-laid plans have this habit of falling apart when you least expect them to.

The best news, though, is knowing that no matter what my birth experience is like, no matter what doctor shows up in the delivery room, at the end of it all, Charlie, Roy, and I will be together.

3) I don't want to be controlled by my own limitations.

My family is painfully dysfunctional. It's something I seem to conveniently forget until I spend any amount of time with them. No matter how old I get, there are things that just never change. And then I realize (over and over again) how emotionally exhausting these things are.

One thing that being a member of my particular family has taught me is that we do indeed have limits - but at the same time, we are only as limited as we let ourselves be. Life seems to have beat down my family in a way that some members of it just can't or won't recover from, and I find it just as heartbreaking now as I did when it was actually happening. It is so hard to watch people you love let themselves become negative and bitter and sure that they will fail. I almost want to walk away sometimes and never look back. But I never would. Because these people, no matter how freaking sad they are, no matter how much their sadness wears on me at times, are people that I love - and will always love.

I just don't want to be like them.

(Note: I'm being super duper general in this section even though the family members I'm referencing don't read this blog.)


So there you have it: my list of current things that I don't want. Obviously, I'm in a sad place right now, but I guess it's to be expected, what with the pregnancy hormones and being overdue and all. I don't think I could have ever suspected how much being overdue would affect me emotionally. I am kind of a basket case sometimes.

Come on, Charlie! Give your tired ol' mom a break. Please?

June 5, 2009

41 weeks

I am now one week overdue, and I swear this has been the longest week of my pregnancy.

Belly-wise, not a lot has changed.

And my hands and feet still look the same (swollen).

And there is still no indication that I'll go into labor anytime soon. The hope that I experienced earlier this week when I found out I was 1.5 cm dilated came crashing down around me today when I went back to the doctor and found out I'd made no progress from that. While I know things can change in a heartbeat, I am losing more and more hope that I will go into labor on my own. I am not thrilled about being induced, because I would much rather not be pumped full of drugs and regulated to a hospital bed for my entire labor.

However, we have scheduled my induction date for Monday anyway. We just think it's the best thing to do at this point, even though it's not the best case scenario. I still have a shred of hope that I'll go into labor on my own before then, but I won't be surprised if I don't.

One thing I am grateful for is that we might be able to celebrate my birthday on Sunday by doing something fun. I'm going to be 30!

June 3, 2009

Today I wore Crocs.

This is a completely unprecedented event, and one I swore would never happen. But my mom totally blindsided me and let me try on her awesomely comfortable flip-flops today. Little did I know that they were Crocs.

When I realized they were Crocs, I had a total WTF?! moment. Seriously. I hate Crocs. They are ugly beyond reproach. I make fun of my sister-in-law (in good fun) for wearing mary jane Crocs. But honestly, my weary feet loved my mom's Crocs. I wore them all day.

In other news, yes, I'm still pregnant! Roy and I have decided that no matter what happens at our appointment on Friday, we are going to go ahead and let them induce me whenever they are able to fit me in at the hospital. I think going a week overdue is plenty. We've been walking a lot, and I'm bouncing on my exercise ball as I write this. So I've been making a good effort to get things moving on my own. But I honestly can't wait anymore. If I go on my own before being induced, great! That's the best case scenario here. But at this point, I am ready. I am over my emotional yaya's from yesterday, I am prepared as I can be, and in the last week or so, I have gotten to be pretty damn uncomfortable. The pelvic and abdominal pressure is insane. I truly feel like Charlie is going to punch through my stomach sometimes. I can barely get out of bed on my own. I feel huge. I am ready to meet this kid already!

And speaking of Charlie, he is definitely his mother's son. I have been trying to catch his antics on video all night, and as soon as I start filming, he stops using my stomach as a punching bag and gets really quiet. Crazy, stubborn kid. I'll keep trying, though. Because I'm stubborn, too.