Archive for June, 2010

Gulp!

June 29, 2010

I am 37 weeks today, with 10 days to go til my scheduled cesarean.  The Braxton-Hicks have been ramping up, but the pelvic exam today showed Tadpole at -2 (he was at 0 station last week) and cervix tightly closed.  I don’t think my cervix knows we have a deadline.  Right now I’m running on the assumption that it’s going to be a repeat section.  But like I said… I’m at peace with that.  I know how to prepare for it, and what to expect afterward.

T is home!!!!  Yay!!!!!  Who knew a king sized bed could feel so small… or the sound of snoring be so beautiful!  🙂  He’s jet-lagged and stressed out about report deadlines and the impending birth, but still manages to make me laugh like nobody else in the world does. After my NST this morning he took me to B&N for a relaxing magazine indulgence so I could enjoy my “parole” a little longer.

Ten more days… I can hardly wrap my mind around that!

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Unlikely

June 25, 2010

My NST/Biophysical today was uneventful; found out my proteinuria was 240, which is great;  baby looks good, now measuring approximately 6 lbs. 7 oz.  We talked more about labor/delivery/cesarean, and even though he’s willing to let me labor if it starts spontaneously before the 7th (my scheduled cesarean), chances are low that I would actually be able to deliver that way.  And it’s not just because of the hypertension, either – part of it is the VBAC situation.  I think if it were just one or the other I’d have a better chance, but taken together…

Because of my previous cesarean, he would want an internal fetal monitor at all times, which in my understanding means laboring on my back for the most part.  He also has a solo practice, with a bigger ob/gyn as his back-up.  They’re the ones I used to go to before, who told me in no uncertain terms that repeat c-section was my only option with them (which is why I switched to this other guy).  So if I were to go into labor while my OB was in the office instead of at the hospital, I’d be dealing with the back-up practice anyway and I KNOW they’d push for a cesarean without delay.

Because of the PIH (pregnancy-induced hypertension – I’m not calling it pre-eclampsia anymore), they’re going to be watching my blood pressure and monitoring the baby extra-closely, so even if I was in labor any sign of distress on either part would shunt me right over to the OR anyway.  Which I’m guessing would probably be unavoidable unless some kind of miracle occurs.  He’s not ruling out the possibility completely, and I like that he keeps checking with me every time I see him about how I feel about this whole scenario, but I really think the chances of a vaginal birth here are pretty slim.  Which is fine with me.  My cesarean was not a horrible experience, even though I did and to some extent still am grieving not having a “normal” birth experience, and I know I can deal with it.

Reconfiguration

June 24, 2010

It doesn’t feel real yet… that I’m going to be mother to a SON… that V. is going to be a big sister… T., when talking about the life we’ll soon launch in Albania, keeps referring to “the kids” – it sounds so strange to me!  A collectivity… It’s not that I feel unprepared; materially, we’re pretty close to there – it’s more that the reconfiguration of relationships is boggling my mind.

Steady as she goes

June 21, 2010

I’m unexpectedly home alone; just woke up from a nap to find that my parents have taken V. to the park since she was cranky after her nap.  I often let her watch E.lmo and drink apple juice when she’s in that kind of mood but they didn’t know that.  The park is probably better for her anyway 🙂

Last night I called my OB, concerned about my blood pressure and the increased Braxton-Hicks, and he increased my dose of labeta.lol to 300 mg 2x/day.  Said to monitor for 24 hours and call him again if BP was still high, but go right to L&D if any of a long list of symptoms or events developed.  Thankfully, within an hour of the first increased dose, my BP was back in the safe range – 129/84 – and as long as I stayed lying down my Braxton-Hicks pretty much stopped.  But over dinner last night (at MIL’s) I was getting kind of freaked because they were coming one right on top of each other, I think I counted 7 in an hour.  That was sitting up at the table though.  I had a minor headache when I went to bed but today I’ve been fine, and I feel a lot better too – I felt really crappy yesterday.

I am bummed, I have to admit – I’d been starting to think about scheduling some interviews to try to do before the baby comes – now it doesn’t seem like such a good idea.  But will I be able to do any research at all after the baby is born???  I’m worried about having enough data before we leave the country.

It will all get done somehow.  My mom is doing a lot of the cleaning and organizing that needs to be done in order to pack up the house.  We’ve been sorting through tubs of clothes – she pulls things out, folds them, and stacks them in piles while I direct from my bed, then boxes them up and hauls them to the basement.  She’s helping me think through what we might need to take and what we can leave behind.  She’s an expert traveler/mover/packer, it’s awesome. It really takes a load off my mind and I’m sad she’s going back to Peru in a month…

Anyway, so that was our little crisis, averted.  Thanks for checking in.

Five Days…

June 20, 2010

…until T. comes home.  HALLELUJAH!!!!!

Postcard from Shallott

June 20, 2010

I was forced to slow down today, as over the past 48 hours my BPs crept up into the Red Alert zone – the highest reading was last night, at 150/101.  So not good.  Part of it has been the deadline-induced panic to get Stuff done – sorting papers and files, supervising some household projects, making arrangements for an alternative place for my parents to stay after the baby comes home… plus some more GRANDMA DRAMA.  Meaning my MIL.  This morning I kind of had a meltdown, after we spent all day yesterday negotiating back and forth about sharing out the child care – her complaining that she hasn’t seen V. all week and so looks forward to the weekends when she can spend more time with her – my wanting to honor that, as well as honor my mother’s desire to spend time with V., and my own desire to be with her – and V’s need for regular routine, and my automatic politeness/deference towards my MIL (strongly socialized through my South American upbringing) – and my MIL’s passive-aggressive way of getting her own way 99% of the time (I’ve watched this play out over and over again in the 10 years that I’ve been observing her interactions with her husband and son).  Last night I couldn’t sleep until finally I decided what the hell, she can have V. all day if she wants, and I called her this morning to come pick up V. around 8 – prompted by my still-high blood pressure, plus V. climbing all over me while I lay on the couch.  After she came and they left, I checked e-mail and found a loooong message from her saying basically that she was ok with my mom watching V. today since blah blah blah – I just started crying, just so tired of all the back and forth negotiating and weighing everybody’s feelings. My mom soothed me and I said “I feel so stupid crying about this,” and she said “it’s just the release of the tension you’ve been feeling” and she was so right.  She sat and talked me down and prayed with me and after a while we started talking about diapers and how to help V. adjust to the new sibling and whatnot and I just felt so much better.

I am so glad my mom is here.

My MIL is just kind of high strung – wound tight – high energy – and loves to endlessly negotiate even the most simple of decisions (e.g. pot roast or salmon for dinner tonight?  What would everybody else like?) – but this exhausts me.  I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m a “good enough, just go for it” decision-maker while she needs to maximize every single thing – what is the best possible alternative?  It really and truly comes from a good place in her heart, but wow it wears me out.

And she’s sad about us moving to Albania in a few months and already misses V, her first and only grandchild.  Baby boy will be her second.  For years – decades, really – she’s had to ooh and ah over her siblings’ and friends’ grandchildren and even great-grandchildren – her oldest sister has something like NINE great-grands – whereas until 2 years ago MIL had none, none at all.  I imagine it felt a lot like IF.  Her son didn’t marry until 35, and then didn’t have kids for 8 more years.  Her daughter is still single and at 42 now has made the decision not to pursue parenthood.  Whereas MIL’s older sister had her first child at 20, he had a child at 20, and so on.  It’s highly likely that older sister will live to see at least one great-great-grandchild.  I know this has been hard for MIL.

That knowledge doesn’t always make it easier for me to deal with her foibles in the day-to-day although it does give me perspective.

Countdown…

June 17, 2010

Today it struck me that our baby will be here in just over three weeks…

THREE WEEKS.

Wow.

It feels like there’s a lot to do before then…  Just as I’m starting to feel that I’ve settled into a comfortable routine here with my parents, it’s time to prepare for more change.  T. will be back a week from tomorrow and that will shift things again, of course – hopefully we won’t feel too crowded with four adults and a toddler in a 900-square-foot house (1 bathroom!).  My mom’s been helping me sort through clothes and things – she has scoured the basement, cleaned and repaired a number of random household objects, and has become a favored playmate of V’s (although I still have my regular sitter watching her during the day).  Mom’s been doing all the laundry and cooking and dusting too.  She’s amazing.

Today I dropped off another 24-hour urine, last time in the “old” hospital.  They’ve built a new one that opens next Tuesday, which is where the Tadpole will be born, one way or another.  I have a c-section “tentatively” (my OB’s word) scheduled for July 7, but he’s willing to see how things progress towards a potential trial of labor.  I so appreciate his openness and flexibility – even if I do end up with another cesarean, it helps me feel more at peace about it knowing I’m not locked into it incontrovertibly.   Last week my parents did a little volunteer work at the new hospital and got a tour of the maternity wing – which I haven’t even seen yet!

I have been very, very thankful that V. is sleeping much better ever since I decided to try letting her sleep by herself (we were still co-sleeping up until the end of May).  It’s working, for the most part.  This morning she woke up at 5 (after falling asleep at 9:30 last night), but fell asleep again at around 6 for another 2 hours and woke up in a really good mood.  So it was ok.

Three weeks.  I can’t believe it.

so far so good!

June 11, 2010

I had another check-up today with the specialist at the fancy hospital, and he said he’s “amazed” at how well we are doing!  My proteinuria levels are basically back to normal, and my blood pressure is under control with the bedrest and medication.  I’m supposed to continue as I am with frequent monitoring until delivery.  We are now at 34 weeks and the baby looks great – estimated to weigh in at 6 lbs. 6 oz.

Such a relief.

Nothing

June 5, 2010

I have done nothing today.

Well, that’s not entirely true; I got up with V. at 6 and fed her breakfast, dressed her, changed her diaper, introduced the new shoes that her chiropractor recommended (which so far she hates) and then held her for half an hour while she sleepily watched Sesame Street on YouTube while waiting for Grammy to pick her up and drive her to her standing Friday morning playdate.

Then I went back to bed and slept for 2 hours, until my mom came and got me for lunch – sandwiches and grapes.  After lunch my mom put V. down for her nap and I lay in bed reading Blood Signs for three hours (Pam is an amazing writer and lovely person).

There is so much I COULD be doing… sorting and organizing my clothes, transcribing interviews, reading articles pertaining to my research (dozens downloaded in PDF format on my laptop…)  I completely lack the will to tackle these projects, even though I now have the time… lots and lots of time…

I mentally berate myself for being such a slacker but then I really don’t care.

Dinner at my MIL’s tonight.  I still kinda feel like she’s stalking me… but I’ve also come to see that part of it is her attachment to V and fear that she’ll lose the connection now that my mom is staying with us.  It’s easier to be tolerant when you feel some compassion for someone.

***

Thank you, by the way, for your notes of encouragement, support, and advice.  I feel like I’ve been really self-absorbed for the past two years, on the whole, but even more so in the past two weeks.  Have to remember Mel‘s slogan – something about how the love you take is equal to the love you make…

Medical update

June 4, 2010

The good news is my proteinuria is down again – 240!  I feel validated that I’m taking good care of myself – and being cared for by a loving “village” as well.

Even so, my doc wants me to go back to the specialist at the fancy hospital an hour away next week, for another high-level u/s and second opinion again.  So my calendar is filling up with medical appointments:  Monday NST, Tuesday 24-hour urine, Wednesday NST, Thursday u/s.  It is starting to feel like a job.

They also went ahead and scheduled me for a cesarean at 38 weeks (+ 2 days) – July 7 at 10:00 a.m.  So he’s assuming I’m going to make it til then.  What I recall my doctors saying when V. was born is that past 37 weeks they don’t really see much point in letting the baby bake any longer, since by that point they generally do just fine outside the womb, and it just prolongs the period of high risk to the mother.  If I were to go into labor on my own naturally before then, the doc would just want to see how things progress but be prepared to go to cesarean if things stall out along the way.  Because of my previous c-section induction isn’t an option.

For the most part, I feel like I’ve made my peace with the idea of having another c-section.  In comparing notes with friends who’ve had emergency cesareans after long labor, it seems like having had the time to prepare mentally and emotionally before hand made a big difference for my peace of mind and ability to be emotionally and mentally present at the birth and to make sure that I had a say in some aspects of the process that were important to me – like ensuring that T. would be with the baby the whole time while I was in recovery, and that I’d spend as much time with her as possible as soon as possible.  I also think that the scare we had 2 weeks ago with the prospect of immediate delivery and a NICU stay put things in another perspective for me.  The fact that I’m experiencing pre-eclampsia for the second time makes me think that (at this advanced age anyway) – this is just the way my body handles pregnancy.  Perhaps I could have avoided it through better diet and exercise in the first and second trimesters… perhaps not.  I’ll never know.  There is no part of me (right now at least) that wants to do this again.

At the same time, when the nurse called me this afternoon to confirm the scheduled cesarean, a little part of me felt suddenly deflated and sad.  One of the ironies in the situation is that he has been consistently head-down since forever ago… if only V. had been head-down, I might have had a chance at an induced vaginal birth with her, and would have had the option for induction with this one too.  But that was something completely out of my control.

It is what it is.

So the cesarean is now scheduled for 2 weeks from when T. gets back from Albania, and 3 weeks before my parents leave, which is pretty much the best possible timing I could ask for.