After a long and not so comfortable pregnancy – okay, it was normal in length, but felt really long – and both of my previous deliveries not going my way, I was anxious to do this one on my own. While lots of women are pushing for induction at a week overdue just to get the kid out of them, I insisted on putting it off until twelve days past my due date, which was as long as my doctor would let me have. For a month before my due date, I was having increasingly uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions. The week before my due date, I was sure I was in labour at least once, only to have everything stop and go back to normal.
On Tuesday, June 10th, when I was two days overdue, I went for my doctor’s appointment and expected to have my membranes stripped. Turns out, my cervix was not ripe at all and so it wasn’t possible. I went home figuring I would be back in another six days to try it again. The next morning, I lost my mucous plug and had a number of contractions, some very close together, throughout the evening. After a long night, I had Mike take me to the hospital Thursday morning. As soon as I got there, my contractions almost completely stopped. They weren’t showing up on the monitor and when the nurse checked me for dilation, she said nothing, which indicated to me that nothing was happening. The concern that day was that the baby was transverse and so I went back a few hours later for my doctor to check. As far as I can tell, the baby had moved in the two hours that I was not in the hospital, because when I went in on Thursday at noon, he was head down for sure. My doctor did an internal exam as well, and again, said nothing to me about dilation. The only thing I heard was her saying was that something was long, which I assumed was referring to my cervix, and that it wasn’t effaced yet. I went home feeling depressed and had a little cry over what I assumed meant another eight days of pregnancy. Friday went by pretty normal – it was a busy day, but after a hockey team barbeque and being at my in-laws until eleven, I felt pretty good. I was feeling a little bit strange physically, but not having many contractions. I had actually found that day that when I went to the bathroom, I would have a contraction almost every time. I worried that I might have a bladder infection, as I had heard that they could cause contractions and pain when using the bathroom.

We went to bed late on Friday and I had about two hours of sleep when I woke up with a contraction. I had them five minutes apart for three hours and then was able to sleep between them for the next four hours. They were painful enough that I was breathing through them and using effleurage to deal with the pain. In the morning, I checked my cervix to see what I could feel and something was definitely different. Instead of feeling the neck, I just felt the edge of it, which I figured meant that those seven hours had at least gotten me effaced. I didn’t check any more than that, but I may have been somewhat dilated as well.

My contractions more or less stopped when I got up and so I told Mike that we had to stay busy that day or I was going to go nuts. I figured that I would probably have the baby soon, but had no way to really tell and I had errands to run and cleaning to do in the house. I decided that if we could get a few things done at home and then have the kids nap at Mike’s parents while we went shopping, it would be a good way to stay busy. We finished up at home and went to his parents around three-thirty. We put the kids down for their nap, Mike had some steak and we left to get our shopping done. I was pretty tired and not feeling great when we got back to pick up the kids, so we didn’t stay for a long time. We had some dessert and left around seven-thirty. I had at least two or three bad contractions when I was at my in-laws, but nothing was regular. On the way home, we stopped at Safeway to get ice and against my better judgement, I went in to get it myself. Getting back out to the van, I was in a terrible amount of pain. We got home and Mike sat down to watch a movie with the kids. I heated up some food for myself and gave them some string cheese to snack on while I checked my email and did a few other things on the computer. I got up to go to the bathroom a little after eight and had a bad contraction when I was in there, so I decided to take a bath and see if it would make me feel a bit better. It felt good, but mostly just made me have more contractions. When I got out around eight thirty, I checked myself again and realized pretty quickly that I could feel a good sized circle of the baby’s head through the amniotic sac. At this point, my contractions were bad enough to make me cry, and I figured that this was a good sign that real labour was finally happening.

Mike called his parents, who were already in bed, and we packed the kids up and took them over. They had not had supper and I felt bad about it, but there was no way I was taking the time to do it. It turns out that when they got to their grandparents, they went right to bed and slept through the night without ever eating anything. We got to the hospital around twenty to ten. Right away I was having contractions that the nurse said sounded like the real thing. After being on the monitor for awhile, she checked me and said I was four or five centimetres dilated, which meant, she said, that they were keeping me. Mike and I high-fived after she left – I was actually in labour!

I stayed in the same room for a short time and then went to the delivery room and got set up in there. It must have been ten-fifteen or so at that point and things were still slow but getting more intense. I was having intense back pain and the nurse suggested that the baby was posterior, so I got on my hands and knees to try to get the baby to flip. I’m not sure that he ever did, but things did feel better after awhile, so he must have at some point. It seemed that the whole time I was in the delivery room, I would just get into a position that was comfortable and then I would have to pee. So I would move to get up, have a contraction, go the bathroom, have another contraction and then repeat it all going back to where I was. I spent some time in the shower, but found that while it felt great on my belly during a contraction, the rest of my body was getting too cold. Every time I changed positions at all, I would have a contraction, even if I was just at the end of one. Finally, I got back in bed and didn’t feel like getting up again. The nurse checked me and said that I was six or seven centimetres and while she was checking, she broke my water. She said that while I was having a contraction, there was a bulge in the amniotic sac and she just had to loop her finger into it to break it. Things went fast after that was done – I must have gone right to an eight in the next few minutes and soon, I was feeling a lot of pressure; not quite the urge to push, but I knew it was close. When I mentioned it, the nurse checked me again, found that I was nine centimetres and a minute later, nine and a half, with just a lip of the cervix still there. They called the doctor, told me that she would be three minutes and that I should pant if I felt the urge to push. I think I had two or three contractions before my doctor got there and I was panting through the second half of every one. Finally, my doctor walked in and I was told that I could push. For some reason, unlike when I was in labour with Jenny and Elias, I didn’t feel the animalistic urge to push. I felt pressure, but I was reluctant to do it. They all kept telling me to give it everything I had and I tried to do that during the second contraction, but still didn’t feel like much was happening.

I had no drugs during labour at all, so at this point, I was very aware of what was going on. They were checking the baby’s heart rate off and on, and during contractions, it was going down to 80 or 90 beats per minute. I knew that this was a bad thing, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. I looked down at my doctor and heard her ask for Lidocaine. The nurse told her that I wanted to go without an episiotomy or tears, but my doctor said that the baby needed to be born and she was just going to have to get it out. I knew right away that I had to do it if I wanted to escape without stitches. They had already seen the baby’s head at this point, so I knew it wasn’t long and with the next contraction, I finally gave it all my strength. When he crowned, they coached me through little pushes and panting to keep me from tearing. It was really hard not to just get it over with, but having experienced stitches after an episiotomy and then, when Elias was born, making it out with just a tiny tear, I knew it was worth it for my recovery. Very soon after he crowned, I pushed his head out and then, even though I could have waited, I pushed his shoulders out as well. The cord was wrapped around his neck a bit, which explained his heart rate dropping. It was 12:46 am when he was born – I had been in the hospital about three hours and had only pushed for ten minutes.

Because of his cord being wrapped, no one said anything to me about whether the baby was a boy or a girl. I had felt like it was a girl, but when I sat up to see for myself, I said to Mike, “Oh, it is a boy!” So many other people had said it was a boy, but I hadn’t really believed them. Mike had said during my labour that he was hoping for a boy, and I was glad to see that he had gotten his wish. It was amazing being so aware of what was going on that I could sit up to see him at the foot of the bed. I had asked to let the cord pulsate after the baby was born, so they put a towel on my chest and then laid him on top of me. It was amazing, as it always is, that I loved him so fully the moment I saw him. I held him for a few minutes until the cord was definitely done pulsating and then cut the cord myself. Mike had not interest in doing it, but my doctor asked if I wanted to, and I thought it might be a good experience. I wouldn’t jump at the chance to do it next time, but it was neat being so clear headed that I was able to do it. After I cut the cord, they took him and cleaned him up quickly and looked him over to make sure things were good. I think I actually heard his Apgar score mentioned (which I never have with the other kids). My doctor said eight and something about his colour, but I didn’t really care. As soon as he was back with me, I nursed him and he stayed with me for at least forty-five minutes, nursing while I had a snack. He was very awake and making eye contact with both of us for most of the time. It was amazing, because Jenny and Elias were taken away much sooner and were not nearly as alert as Erik was.

After he seemed to have enough to eat, Mike took him to have him bathed and weighed and the nurse cleaned me up and moved me to my room. At this point, it was close to two in the morning and I felt bad for my roommate in the bed across from me. Mike came back ten minutes or so later with the nurse and our new little boy. I quickly asked Mike how much he had weighed – I had been expecting a nine pound baby because when Jenny was eight days late, she weighed 9 lb 6 oz. Erik was a week late and after holding him, I knew he wasn’t as big as Jenny had been, but I still thought he had to be bigger than Elias was at birth – 7 lb 4 oz and two and a half weeks early. I had the second shock of the night (the first being that he was a boy) when I heard he was only 7 lb 1 oz! I guess because our nephew was born 5 lb 8 oz so recently (about five and a half weeks before), Erik just didn’t seem small. He was twenty inches long, half an inch shorter than both Jenny and Elias. Right away, we noticed that he had a completely different look than both of our kids. They had looked so different from each other that I thought our third would look more like one or the other. Erik has lighter skin like Jenny, but only a few similar features to Elias. He has lighter hair than both of them and much less than they both did when they were born.

Mike went home around three in the morning and I slept off and on through the night, waking up to feed Erik once or twice before breakfast. Mike went to breakfast at his parents house before they went to church and then he came back to be with me. He snoozed on my bed holding Erik while I made phone calls to my family. When I was in labour, we were watching the clock to see if the baby would be born on Saturday or Sunday. When the hands moved past midnight, I knew that I’d be giving Mike and our dads a great Father’s Day present. My dad had mentioned weeks ago that I should have the baby on Father’s Day, but I brushed the idea away because I didn’t want to be pregnant still. It was also nice being in the hospital Sunday afternoon, because the whole family came all at once to see us after they went to church.

My doctor came Sunday morning and actually indicated that I could go home if I wanted to, but I knew that the rest in the hospital would be good for me. I did tell her that I definitely wanted to go home the next morning. With no tears or stitches, I felt really good right away. Monday morning, after a pretty good night’s sleep (my roommate left Sunday before noon and I had the room to myself the rest of the time), Erik had his PKU blood test done and my doctor checked us out and gave us the go ahead to go home. We went home around ten in the morning – I wasn’t even in the hospital thirty-six hours this time!

So far, Erik has been a very happy baby. He eats really well and sleeps for long stretches. He’s also awake for long periods of time, which has been lots of fun for anyone who sees him. He has an intelligent look about him, like he’s really studying things and wondering about the world already. Right from the beginning, it has looked like he wanted to smile at us. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he does it before he’s a month old.

My recovery so far has been great, too. The pain I had after labour went away quickly and other than cramping while nursing, I have felt good since we came home. My milk came in during the night on Tuesday, which was just in time because Erik seemed to be needing more than he was getting. Other than the discomfort coming from some engorgement, my body does not feel like it just went through labour four days ago. This makes me look forward to any future deliveries – hopefully they’ll all be like this one (or even shorter). The great thing is that even though it was a fast labour, it wasn’t really intense. My labour with Jenny was just barely longer than this one, but it was awful right from the beginning. I was very quiet during my labour this time and only yelled a bit when I was pushing. It felt good to have control like that over my reactions to the pain.

So, that’s the story of Erik Michael, born June 15, 2008. His big brother and sister love him and the whole family thinks he’s pretty cute. I can’t wait to see what he’s going to be like as he grows up.

Erik Michael

To clarify: What went wrong with my labours before: Jenny was induced at eight days late and I was given demerol twice while in labour with her, once was way too late in my labour because the nurse thought I had hours to go when in fact it was much shorter than she expected.  Because of this, Jenny was born with low oxygen levels and had to be woken up to feed; she couldn’t be snuggled or held close for some time.  I also felt incredibly drugged.  I’ve never been stoned, but I figure that’s what it feels like – it was an awful feeling being out of control.  With Elias, I did make it to six centimetres on my own, without feeling anything, but then because his head was high, there was concern that if my water broke, the cord would be flushed out.  After an ultrasound determined all of this, I spent six hours in bed labouring, only getting up to use the bathroom, the whole time attached to a monitor and an IV.  I had the drug fentanyl during that labour and while it was not nearly as bad as the demerol, it only helped me to sleep a bit between contractions and didn’t seem to take any pain away anyway.  So, based on those experiences, it was that much more important to me to do the whole thing on my own and I’m so glad I did!

 

 

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Okay, fine.

June 13, 2008

I said I wouldn’t post again until I had the baby, but that is because I thought I would have the baby on Wednesday or Thursday.  It’s Friday now.  No baby.  Well, I’m still carrying it around with me, but on the inside.  Wednesday night I had pretty bad contractions, enough to convince me that I must be in labour.  I was able to sleep through the night, although I woke up nearly every hour.  In the morning, I kept having contractions and a bit more pink mucous.  I finally decided that it was bad enough to go to the hospital.  I couldn’t imagine going through the day like that and trying to take care of the kids.  So we packed them up, drove them to Mike’s parents’ house and went to the hospital.  I was put on the monitor for a good half hour and my contractions chose that half hour to stop being intense.  A nurse felt around to find the baby’s position and then had another nurse come in to confirm what she thought she felt – that the baby was not head down.  That’s just the news I was wanting to hear.  So she called my doctor and had some sort of argument with her on the phone (my doctor was sure the baby was head down on Tuesday), but convinced her to come in at noon to check me herself.  So I packed up, sent Mike to work and went to pick the kids up.  We went to Bible study for almost two hours and then I left and went back to the hospital by myself.  My doctor came in and checked things out and said that the head was down.  The nurse that had checked me earlier said that it now felt like it was and was significantly different than what she felt in the morning.  She did an internal exam as well, said the head was high and didn’t say a word about whether I was dilated or anything.  The only thing she said was “it’s nice and long” which I assume means my cervix is long.  In other words, not dilated or effaced.  So off I went again, picked the kids up and went home to try to have a decent afternoon.  Another disappointing thing heard while in the hospital is that I probably lost my mucous plug and was bleeding a bit because of the exam on Tuesday. 

So now I go back to waiting again.  With the addition of really nasty Braxton Hicks contractions.  Hooray.  My only hope is to stay distracted until next week.  And to hope that my cervix is ripe enough for my doctor to strip my membranes on Monday.  If not, I have to hold onto hope that I’ll go into labour before Friday morning, when I’ll go in to be induced.  I hate waiting.  I’m very impatient.

Here’s hoping

June 11, 2008

I had a dream last night that I lost my mucous plug and I was bleeding.  I woke up, went to the bathroom and there was nothing.  Drat.  I went back to bed, slept for another hour or so and went to the bathroom again.  Nothing.  Then I ate breakfast, went through my routine with the kids and checking email, etc. and went to the bathroom again (gotta love a pregnant bladder) and what do you know?  Something!  A nice bit of mucous that had to be my mucous plug and blood – red blood.  I’m being descriptive again.  Just you wait, after this kid is born, you’ll all be cringing at my descriptions of labour.  The thing is, if it’s false labour and there is bleeding, it is usually brown.  This is definitely not brown.  And yes, it can mean that labour is still a day or more away, but still – this means that I should have the baby by the end of the week, rather than having to go through having my membranes stripped or being induced.  I literally just prayed for this specific thing moments before I went to the bathroom and made my discovery – God is listening!  So here’s hoping that today will be the day.  Apparently, my child decided that coming during the first ten days of the month wasn’t going to happen, but if it’s born today, all three of my kids will have been born on Wednesdays, which I think is pretty cool.  You know me, I get joy out of silly things like that.

Now the hard part is knowing when to go to the hospital.  I’m not having regular contractions, but rather lots of cramps.  I guess I just wait it out at this point.  I called Mike and let him know something was happening, and called my mother-in-law to put her on alert for the day.  So now I just hope it wasn’t in vain and I don’t have to wait until tomorrow.  Oooooh, there’s a nice crampy contraction.  Yikes.  Let’s just hope I don’t wait too long and end up delivering on the floor in my living room (or..my bed or couch, etc.).

Other than updating this post, I think I won’t be writing again until the labour story that will come in all its gruesome glory sometime after the birth of my baby.  Hooray!

Update: 4:00 pm

A whole bunch of nothing.  Well, so far anyway.  I feel sort of silly now for calling Mike and his mom since I haven’t had any indication that anything is going to happen today.  I did some work around the house, kept the kids entertained, called my sister, made lunch and went for a walk and still not much of anything.  Including more bleeding.  The thing is, it seems that if I lost my mucous plug weeks before having the baby, it wouldn’t be so red, it would be brown-ish.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I sincerely hope that I’m not.  It’s okay if this kid doesn’t come until tomorrow or Friday…or sometime before Monday, but if it waits that long, I’m pretty sure my doctor won’t have any trouble stripping my membranes, and that was something I wasn’t looking forward to.  Maybe I’ll have the baby tonight and look back on this and laugh later.  I totally did this when I was pregnant with Elias, actually.  On the 5th of September, I had some bleeding and then contractions in the evening.  When I went in to the hospital, I wasn’t effaced or dilated at all.  The next morning, I was giving up and deciding that I’d just stay pregnant until I was overdue (since that was still two and a half weeks before my due date).  Elias was born before seven that night.  One of the reasons I’m waiting to go into the hospital is that when I went in with him, I was six centimetres dilated and they put me on pitocin to get things moving.  I was then stuck in a bed for six hours.  I really really don’t want that to happen again.  Sorry if I’ve mentioned this before, but I feel pretty strongly about it.  So I’m waiting for something drastic to happen – my water to break or my contractions to get really bad.  Half of the things I read about losing your mucous plug say that if it’s tinged with red blood, or if you have show that is red or pink (rather than brown), labour will start within twenty-four hours.  Other sources have said that it could mean labour is still weeks away.  At least I know that’s not right.  If this kid isn’t out on its own by the 20th, it will be forced out of residence by the power of prostaglandin gel (gulp).  But really, I was thinking how awesome is this that I’m just going to have the baby on my own and not have to have any of that happen again.  Oh, please.  I really hope that I didn’t jump the gun getting so excited about it.

Short and sweet

June 10, 2008

Well, it might be.  I’m not making any promises either way.  Today I am two days late and having my membranes stripped.  I’m not looking forward to this procedure, but I am seriously hoping that it works to get my labour started.  There are lots of different ways to look at it, and it’s not my ideal start to labour, but if it works and helps me to avoid being induced when I’m ten or twelve days late, I’ll be happy.  If it doesn’t work today, we’ll try again in a week.  My hope is that if it doesn’t work, I’ll have the baby before we have to try it again. 

The best way to describe it, making conclusions from what I’ve read, is that it feels like a very very thorough cervical exam.  For those of you who have been nine months pregnant and had a cervical exam (during labour or not), it’s not very comfortable anyway.  Rather than just reaching in there to see if you’re dilated, though, the doctor reaches in there and spends a few minutes pushing things around.  Ouch.  I’m thinking of taking some tylenol pre-appointment, although I’m not sure if it would do any good.  I actually have this hope that my labour will start before my appointment and that when she goes to do it, she’ll find that I’m four centimetres dilated or something.  I’m pretty certain that this isn’t going to happen, but a girl can hope.

The other thing I wanted to share is a picture.  I recently put up pictures of myself on Facebook and MySpace that made me look gigantic.  My sister-in-law said that they weren’t very true to life, but exaggerated by the shirt I was wearing.  So I had Mike take more last night, hopefully for the last time in this pregnancy.  There’s one I’m particularly proud of that I took of just my belly.  You can actually see the curve of my back and the wall behind me, so I don’t actually look so huge for once.  Anyway, I think that’s what I’ll end on.  Hopefully my next entry will include a picture of a baby outside of the womb.

You see, I\'m not really that gigantic.

Update, post doctor’s appointment:

My cervix is not ripe.  This basically means that my membranes could not be stripped, because my doctor couldn’t get a finger into my cervix (I know, descriptive, but I happen to know that the majority of my readers are women who have had children, so I don’t care).  She’ll try again next week, on Monday afternoon, and if that doesn’t work, my induction is scheduled for Friday, June 20th at 8:00 in the morning.  Woohoo.  I desperately hope that I have this kid before I have to be induced.  Meanwhile, when I dropped the kids off to my mother-in-law, she said I could just leave them there and she’d bring them home around four.  So they’re having lunch and napping over at her house which leaves me the rest of the day to do whatever.  I’m thinking I’ll go nuts on the nesting (is it nesting if you know you’re doing it and would rather be taking a nap?) in the hopes that I’ll make myself go into labour.  At this point, I think I’d do almost anything.

D-Day, so to speak

June 9, 2008

It doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t mean anything.  A due date is just another day in the lives of most pregnant women.  Only a very small percentage of women deliver on their due dates.  So I’m going to get over it.  Meanwhile, my father-in-law says to hold it in tomorrow because it’s their anniversary.  If I remember right, my aunt actually said she would think it was pretty neat if I had the baby that day (my aunt and uncle share the same anniversary – year and day – with my in-laws).  However, my mother-in-law is quite busy tomorrow, but said that the rest of the week, she can cancel almost everything she has booked if it’s necessary.  She’s going to keep the kids when (if) I go in Tuesday to have my membranes stripped.  I thought it was a good idea just in case something happens really quickly, which I would love.  I’m trying to think positively and assume that it’s going to work and that I’m going to have the baby on Tuesday or Wednesday.  Of course, with my luck, it probably won’t work, but it’s always a good idea to be optimistic.  I think. 

Yesterday was, I hope, the last weekend day I get stuck with the kids most of the day without much help.  We spent the morning running errands and then Mike went to play Axis and Allies at his parents.  It’s a very long game, so I was home from just before one until five without Mike.  Fortunately, the kids slept for almost three hours and I had a nap as well, and then we drove over to have supper with the family.  I expected a nice relaxing evening, but then everyone wanted to play tennis, so we ended up at the courts being bombarded by mosquitos while the kids played in puddles and soaked themselves.  Because we drove separately and Mike’s friend needed a ride home, I made it home first and immediately put the kids in the bath.  The night wasn’t so bad in the end and we did get to bed early, but I was wiped out at the end of the day.  I felt like falling asleep in church this morning and of course had to tell a dozen different people that today was my due date and yes, I’m still pregnant and yes, I’m tired and of course, I want to have the baby soon.  A nice long nap this afternoon (for the whole family) was needed and enjoyed. 

Tonight when the kids are in bed, Mike and I are going to sit down and watch a movie and hope that the kids don’t decide to get up and bother us (well, Jenny, anyway).  We haven’t seen any new movies in a few weeks, and I’m looking forward to putting my feet up and turning my mind off (more or less) for a few hours.

Until the baby is born, I’m going to try to write as much as I can, seeing that this is technically a “pregnancy” journal, and therefore will end when I’m not pregnant anymore.  I’ll go back to my messy housewife blog, but I can’t promise any regular frequency since I will have a new baby.  I’ve actually been trying to decide what to do with this blog, since I titled it “baby number three” and can’t exactly change that.  I should have thought ahead, but there’s not much I can do about that now. 

Once again, I do really seriously hope that this is my last pregnant entry, but you just never know.

Apparently my uterus was offended at the letter I wrote and it decided to get me back last night.  I had the usual hour or so of contractions after supper when I started feeling cooped up and decided to take a walk.  Mike was watching Jumanji with the kids, so it was a good opportunity to go out by myself and see if I could get something happening.  I made it half a block when I was already feeling mighty uncomfortable and by the time I got halfway into my walk, I was stopping pretty frequently to bend over or squat to relieve some of the pain.  I sat down on a bus stop bench about a block from home to rest and then dragged myself the rest of the way.  Mind you, this was not a terribly long walk – I didn’t walk miles or anything, just a few blocks (okay, I don’t really know how far I walked and I lost track of time, so I can’t even relate that information).  I got home, collapsed into the rocking chair and spent the next half hour or forty-five minutes breathing and groaning and complaining about my pain.  We put the kids to bed in the middle of all that and I still felt pretty bad.  Mike went out to mow the lawn and I sat at the computer most of the time he was outside.  Little by little, my ridiculously painful Braxton Hicks contractions went away.  We went to bed somewhat early, although it took me ages to fall asleep because of my ribs.

Today, I’m tired, nauseated, still having contractions and absolutely no signs that they are “real” contractions.  My half hearted joke from yesterday is still floating in my head: “Let’s get on with the bloody show!”  Yeah, Mike didn’t even really laugh, but he’s the one who asked if I was having any yet. 

I’m starting to look forward to Tuesday, when I may very well give birth almost on my own.  I would still love to have the baby before then, but I’m having doubts. 

Meanwhile, the kids decided today would be a good day to be clingy, argumentative (in the way that a three year old and twenty-one month old can be) and demanding.  At the moment, they’re quietly eating lunch and watching Rugrats for the second time today (yeah, I’m weak; movies are too easy).  When they’re done, they’ll have a nap and I can lay down or manically clean things, depending on what mood strikes me.  What I would really like is one of two things: to go into labour right now or to let someone else deal with the kids for the rest of the day while I climb into bed and feel sorry for myself.  And maybe sleep.  It seems that I’m more likely to go into labour than for someone to magically show up at my house just begging to watch my kids.  Maybe after the baby is born, but not now.  Poor me.  Poor pregnant me.

Am I pitiful or what?

Dear womb,

June 5, 2008

To my uterus,

First of all, thank you for carrying my two children for me and for holding on to this little one now.  Thank you for keeping them safe and warm and not rejecting them or doing anything silly like falling out of me like cow’s wombs sometimes do.  I imagine it would be uncomfortable for both you and me.  Thank you for putting up with all my poking and prodding (as well as that of my doctor) and times when I haven’t been so nice to you (going nuts with the housework and taking long walks that make you tense up so badly). 

Really, I am thankful, but I have one small request to make.

Could you maybe settle down a bit and not bug me so much until you’re actually ready to release the child inside you?  I mean, I thought maybe we were headed somewhere Tuesday night when you were contracting every three minutes and making me stop eating my supper to focus on breathing right.  I thought maybe it was the real thing when I was almost groaning in discomfort for two hours on Wednesday afternoon.  I know we’ve been here before and I know that my mind likes to try to trick me sometimes, too, but I’m a little bit confused as to why you persist in torturing me so.  I mean, do I really need four months of Braxton Hicks?  Do I need a month of double me over false contractions?  I don’t really think so.  I guess that’s your call, though, and since I can’t exactly do anything to make you change, all I can do is to beg you to let up a little bit.  Or get on with it and get the kid out of me.  Whatever.  That’s up to you.  Thanks for considering my request.  I’ll be waiting for a response – or a lack of response.

Katie

The home stretch

June 3, 2008

Mike mentioned the other day that even though I’m sick of being pregnant, I will have the baby this month.  It’s one nice thing about being due when I am – I can only really go two weeks late, and that’s still June, so there you have it.  I had my appointment today and found out something pretty shocking – I have gained about six pounds in the last week.  Yeah, no kidding.  I have noticed more back pain and feeling like I’m suddenly huge, so my suspicion is that the baby and the boobs have grown.  At least that’s what I’m hoping.  I’m also hoping that I have the baby soon, because I did the math, and I’ve now gained about thirty-three pounds during my pregnancy.  My doctor actually made the first weight related comment today when she said that I was on target for how much I could gain during pregnancy, if I had the baby today.  And then she told me not to have the baby today, because the whole hospital, maternity ward included, is packed.  When I went for my first appointment in October, the nurse told me that June was a busy month.  I mentioned this to my doctor and she said that she has thirteen!maternity patients due this month.  Yikes!!  And I’ll remind you that this is not a big city.  This is Fort St. John, population 18,000-ish.  If I remember correctly, the year Jenny was born, someone told me that we have the highest birth rate per capita in British Columbia.  For our population, we were having about 250 babies per year, while Metro Vancouver, population around 2 million, was having 1000 babies per year.  Yeah, our population is a fraction of the size of theirs and we are having a quarter of the number of babies they are.  I’m sure my statistics aren’t perfect and are somewhat out of date, but still.  That’s crazy.  Add to that the fact that our hospital is ancient and sucks in a lot of ways, and well, it’s just a lovely place to have a baby. 

Anyway, she said, “Don’t have the baby today.”  I wonder if tomorrow would be okay.  It would help me keep up with the Wednesday, first ten days of the month thing

Regardless of all that, I have an appointment scheduled for next Tuesday to have my membranes stripped, which I would really love to avoid.  If it doesn’t work then, she’ll do it again the next Tuesday, and then if it still doesn’t work, I’ll be induced between the 18th and 20th.  I finally got the nerve to ask her what the hospital policy was on induction and she said that it’s more up to her and that she will give two weeks if everything appears to be going well for the baby.  It’s very common here to induce after eight days, but she was previously practicing in the UK, where it is never done before twelve days overdue.  I was relieved to hear this, because as much as I don’t want to be pregnant for another minute, I also do not want to be induced, so I’ll go as long as I can before putting myself through that again. 

As for self-induction, I’ve been doing a bit of boob groping (I don’t know, that just sounds better to me than “nipple stimulation”) in hopes that it might help, but I haven’t noticed anything yet.  I’m also planning to do some walking tonight, hopefully after the kids are in bed and things have cooled down a bit outside. 

On the kid front, something pretty funny happened this morning, albeit something that required a good deal of clean up afterwards.  I put the kids in their room to play for at least an hour and at some point, I remember hearing Jenny say, “Here, I have to change you.”  I figured she was talking to one of her dolls or something and didn’t bother checking.  Finally, I heard Elias crying and not stopping, so I thought it might be time to go in and rescue him.  I found him, completely naked, sitting on Jenny’s bed.  She had taken off her shirt and shorts and was pretending to sleep in her bed, ignoring her poor brother.  A very dirty diaper was wrapped pretty nicely on the bed.  As in, she took it off of him and wrapped it up just like we do.  The only problem is that she gave no thought to the fact that he had some of the contents of that diaper still on him.  So the sheets were stripped and the poor boy had to endure a good wipe down because it had all dried on by then.  Ah, the joy.  At least Jenny is trying to help.  I told her that this is one thing she can’t help with unless I’m there.  And I learned my lesson – don’t ever leave them alone with Elias in only a diaper.  It was really warm in the house, he got breakfast all over his pajamas, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to wait to get him dressed.  I was wrong. 

Well, once again, I sincerely hope that the next time I write, I will no longer be pregnant.  I seriously doubt that will be the case, but you never know. 

Tick tock…

June 2, 2008

I was going to say something about counting the days, now that I’m down to less than a week before my due date. Then I realized that due dates don’t mean much and the less I think about it, the better off I’ll be. I really, really don’t want to be overdue, but I was with Jenny and it doesn’t seem like this kid is making any effort to move out yet, so I may very well go past my due date. I made it through Jenny’s birthday without giving birth, so one goal has been accomplished. Not that I would have minded having the baby a few days before her birthday, but I was a little afraid that I would have it on her birthday and then my poor kids would have to share a birthday forever. I never have thought that was very fair – it’s similar in my mind to kids born on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It becomes very hard to celebrate one without the other and people often end up combining the two to save time and/or money. I know, Jenny’s birthday will be quite close to the baby’s, but at least it won’t be on the same day.

My goal right now is to also make it through today without going into labour, since my sister-in-law’s baby shower is tonight. However, after it’s over, I’m starting in on the self-induction stuff big time. The baby is head down and I think pretty low, I’m full term and healthy – there’s no reason that I can see not to try to get things going myself. Number one on the list of things to try – nipple stimulation. (I bet that phrase will get me some unintentional links from search engines.) I have never used this method in past pregnancies, but a friend of mine said that the one OBGYN we have in town recommended it to her, so I figure it’s a safe bet. It can bring on really strong contractions, so women are supposed to be careful, but I’m not too worried. It will either work or it won’t. The What to Expect book has a brief blurb in it that says women who started doing it at 39 weeks were much less likely to go past their due dates. That’s enough motivation for me. There are lots of other things I can try, but I’ve done most of them and none of them have worked for me in the past. I do want to try to go walking a bit more often as I know it’s good for me, but I’m not expecting that to push me into labour. And castor oil – something one of my friends swears by and has used, I believe, in all four of her pregnancies – is just way too gross for me. Not only do I hate the thought of swallowing oil, but the effects of it are just not what I want to start labour with. Yeah, let’s spend hours on the toilet emptying out our insides while having strong contractions. Um, no thanks.

Meanwhile, the ribs still hurt, but I’m getting used to it. They are making sleep a bit more difficult, as I think I wake up a bit every time I roll onto my left side. Of course, at this point, I’m waking up nearly every two hours to pee anyway, so what difference does it make? I still hurt pretty bad when I sneeze, but I think the cold is going away, so it’s not happening all that often now. I haven’t iced them in a few days and I stopped taking Tylenol, so things must be better.

Yesterday was a huge day, but somehow we got through it and didn’t feel totally awful at the end of it. Church in the morning, lunch on the way home, a short nap for the kids, I made a cake and then we had Jenny’s party. We quickly cleaned up after everyone left and ran over to Mike’s company barbeque, where at least we were fed and I didn’t have to be on my feet much at all. Most people are pretty sympathetic to hugely pregnant women, and the hostess actually recruited one of her daughters to keep the kids entertained for some of the time. I expected that we might be there for some time, but by twenty after six, things were wrapped up and the kids were acting pretty grumpy, so we decided to go to a communion service at church. Friends of ours were doing childcare, so I at least was assured that bringing the kids wouldn’t be a bad idea. They got to play with their friends (who were at the birthday party, too) and we got to sit in one place for awhile. After that, Mike’s parents were going to McDonald’s, and while we do not buy things or eat things there as a rule, they do have a nice play area, so we headed over after getting drinks for ourselves elsewhere. The kids got to play some more and by the time we got home at nearly nine o’clock, they were quite obviously in need of sleep. Jenny just had to play with her new toys first, but after fifteen minutes, we got them to bed. I then had some cleaning up to do and Mike took the time to remove all the junk from our room and put it back in the laundry room (that was how he cleaned it up so that people could come from the backyard into the house…our room was full of laundry room mess). I put in some laundry, made Mike a lunch and then read and slept until Mike came to bed. I got a foot massage out of him before we went to sleep, which was a nice treat. It must have been the shoes I was wearing, but my right foot hurt so bad I was walking funny before bed.

Anyway, today is my day “off”. So far, I have folded laundry and cleaned up a few things in the kitchen, but I’m not planning to be terribly productive, just because I wore myself out so badly yesterday. I have movies and books from the library and the kids have new toys and a clean room to play in, so they’re likely to stay entertained pretty easily today. Tomorrow, when I feel like going into labour would be nice, I can start back on things around the house, with hope that cleaning might get things going for me.

My big triumph of the day yesterday was the cake I made for Jenny. It was a boxed cake mix (I had to compromise somewhere) but with homemade filling and icing. I did a layer of raspberry puree with some sugar and cornstarch to thicken it and a layer of whipped cream in the middle of two layers of chocolate cake. I iced it with pink butter cream frosting and decorated with candy. I have made Jenny’s cakes in the past few years, but this one is definitely my favourite so far. I did some piping on it and really enjoyed that part – it may be something I do more often.  Here’s a picture (yes, I’m showing off :)):

 

Jenny\'s pink candy cake

Take a deep breath.

May 28, 2008

Okay, so literally, doing this hurts, but figuratively, I think it’s what I need to do.  I had a decent morning, really.  I woke up at nine, which is nice – not too early and had some snuggle time with Jenny before we got up to have breakfast.  I started to make her breakfast when the phone rang, which usually throws me when it happens so early.  However, it was a good phone call – from the lady who has been more or less running the show at our Thursday morning Bible studies.  She is a great-grandmother and I won’t guess at her age, but obviously, having that status does generally make you “elderly”.  She defies that title, though, as she is full of perk and incredibly easy to talk to.  It seems that once a week now for a few weeks, she has been calling to check up on things with me and to talk about the Bible study and what our plans are for it.  I feel priveleged – she’s a fountain of wisdom and a breath of fresh air when I need it.  Anyway, I talked to her for some time, made breakfast for Jenny and then for Elias when he woke up, and picked at my cereal while I talked.  Just after I hung up the phone with her, close to ten o’clock, my mother-in-law called and asked if we would come over for coffee on the deck at eleven.  I had not even started reading my Bible and had just poured myself a new bowl of cereal (as the kids ate most of the first one).  I figured I could probably do it, though, so I said we’d be there and got on my routine right away.  Really, things seemed to go very smoothly until we left the house.  The kids got dressed without a hassle, I had a shower that wasn’t even rushed and we got to my in-laws right around eleven.  The rest was not quite as nice.  Elias decided that getting into things and doing things he wasn’t supposed to be doing would be lots of fun and so instead of enjoying myself and relaxing in the sun, I kept jumping up to stop him from doing one thing or another.  My sister-in-law was there with her son and she was asking my mother-in-law about breastfeeding and when she started giving solids.  This is where it got fun.  I have opinions about all of this and they are based on research and the facts about babies and what is best for them.  It’s just like car seats – maybe we didn’t ride in proper car seats when we were babies, and maybe we’re just fine now, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can for our kids now that we have more knowledge.  The same thing goes for breastfeeding and giving solid foods.  Breastfeeding is good for babies.  This has been proven.  Long term breastfeeding is good for them as they get older, and feeding any form of solid food before six months of age is not a good idea.  Their digestive systems are not mature enough yet to handle more than formula or breastmilk, and in reality, they do not need more than either of these.  There is a mentality with some people that if your baby cries more than  you like or demands to be fed or doesn’t sleep through the night often enough, you should give them infant cereals to get them to behave.  Well, Jenny was easy – she slept through the night at two months and was a content baby.  I did nurse her a lot – often forty-five minutes on each side per feeding.  However, she hardly had to get upset when I would know to nurse her, so I never had any temptation to give her anything else.  Elias was a different story.  He was on the breast every two or three hours until he was six months old and still not sleeping through the night.  I persisted in waiting until then to give him solids and guess what – he still didn’t sleep through the night!  The fact is, we have more information now that will benefit our children’s health and well being.  Our mothers had other information, their mothers had other information.  Our daughters, when they are having children, will have new information and we will have to respect that.  Shouldn’t we want the best for our kids and someday, our grandkids?  I should hope so. 

The point it, my mother-in-law started giving my husband solid foods at three months and stopped nursing at five months.  She stopped nursing both her daughters around three months.  She has made comments to my sister-in-law about nursing that indicate that she doesn’t expect her to nurse any longer than she did.  My sister-in-law said today, “How am I going to nurse for a year like my husband wants me to if my mother didn’t do that with me?”  The logic stumped both my mother-in-law and myself, and yet she said, more or less, that it wouldn’t hurt her grandson to have solid foods earlier if he needed it.  I explained my thinking and that it is based on research and what is now advised by the medical community and it felt like she was shooting it down and calling me stupid.  My kids are doing just fine now and they breastfed for a year or more each, did not have solid foods until they were six months and did not have any dairy products until they were over a year old.  I never gave them formula, I never gave them bottles – we went straight to cow’s milk in sippy cups when they were not nursing anymore.  Yes, I know other families who have gone in the opposite direction from this and their kids appear to be just fine as well.  And yes, my husband and his sisters are healthy adults now.  But if our kids could be heartier and healthier because of the differences in how we do things now, why wouldn’t we want them to be?

Anyway, after this mental upset – it’s not like we actually  had an argument, it just felt like we were on the edge of one – I brought the kids home and fed them lunch.  Jenny wanted applesauce and there wasn’t much left, so I split it between both kids and then made them sandwiches.  Jenny first had to throw a small fit because she wanted applesauce and not a sandwich, and then when she was over that, she ate two or three bites of her sandwich and said she was done.  I then had to do a great deal of forceful speaking to her to get her to go to the bathroom and to bed.  Elias made a gigantic mess with his lunch, so much that I had to just take his overalls off before putting him to bed.  And then, as I finally sat down to check my email and have some lunch myself, I can still hear them talking in their room.  In fact, right now, forty minutes later, I think I can hear Jenny humming.  This does not fare well for the rest of the day, because we are supposed to be going to the lake with the family for supper at four.  Some days.

So, I’m going to try to take a deep breath and keep hoping and praying that I’ll go into labour today and at least get the physical pains taken care of.  Who knows, it could happen.