Monday, February 4, 2013


Talysen Jacob Schwartz
December 13, 2012
2:45 am

I love birth stories. So much so that I decided, in 2008, to turn them into a doctoral dissertation. I can read birth stories for hours. I love the details, I love the emotion, and I love those moments that change a woman forever.

For that reason, it is hard for me to know where to begin in writing my own story. For simplicity’s sake, I will preface the story with two things.

First, I had been having early labor for weeks. It started around week 35, and I was worried that I would have a baby so early that it would require a hospital birth, and also worried that I would have a baby before Thanksgiving. This was definitely not in my plans, as I had a large family gathering descending on my house for the holiday weekend. Fortunately, I made it safely past both the Thanksgiving weekend, and the 37 week mark, making a homebirth a safe option. I fully expected to have a baby by 38 weeks, though. I was fine being pregnant longer, but still surprised to make it past that date.

Second, a few weeks before the birth I had been browsing through some of my birth books and saw a statistic that mentioned that 30,000 women give birth on any given day. I was moved by the image of laboring alongside 29,999 other women, our strength building one another up, our common goal of birthing healthy babies creating a bubble of intention much larger than anything I could create on my own. I intended to draw on that strength when the time came.

On December 12, I had had enough.  I didn’t want a 12/12/12 baby – I had done the numerology for 12-12-2012, which is an 11. 11’s are a very spiritual number, and create both beautiful and conflicted energy. However, both of the names we had picked out were also 11’s, and I figured that was plenty 11 energy for one person (not to mention for that one person’s mother!). Adding a 12/12 birthdate felt like too much for me! However, I couldn’t help but feel the pull of this baby being ready to be born. I was also becoming sleep-deprived, being up every night with contractions for hours on end, and was constipated. I decided to take a very small dose of castor oil – I figured at that small of a dose, I would probably just clear my bowels & fall asleep. I also knew that castor oil in small doses does not tend to induce labors unless both mama & baby are ready.

Around 7pm, I began making trips to the bathroom. I was having contractions, but nothing stronger or more regular than what I had been having daily up to that point. I was so relieved to be pooping – I know, TMI, right? But seriously, it was a huge relief. In between bathroom trips I sat on my ball, watched TV, ate some snacks, joked with Joe, read bedtime stories to Athan. You know, a normal night.

It was about 11:15 when I got up to go to the bathroom for the 97th time. OK, maybe the 6th or 7th time. Anyway, when I stood up it felt like I peed a little. Like any woman 2 days past her EDD, I wondered if my water had broken. I began rummaging through my bathroom drawers trying to find my Ph paper – amniotic fluid is very alkaline, while urine is very acidic. Ph paper is a perfect test to see which fluid you are dealing with. I finally find it, rub the liquid from my fingers on a piece of paper, and watch as it turns blue (alkaline). Literally just as this happened, my water BROKE. I mean BROKE – like a water balloon bursting all over the floor. I starting laughing, and I called out to Joe “Um yeah, my water just broke!” I couldn’t help but keep laughing, as the water kept coming. Did I mention I was still wearing pants? I had grabbed a towel, that I was now standing over, and what felt like 2 gallons of fluid gushed out to the floor.

I cleaned up my puddle, put on a skirt & a cloth pad, and sent texts to my midwife & photographer. Cathy, the MW, texted back & said they (she & her assistant Julia) would be right over). I told Ginger (the photographer) that we would let her know when we needed her. For the first 10-15 minutes, nothing happened. And then the first REAL contraction hit. I texted Ginger again, and said “On second thought, you should head up now!” She lives about 40 minutes away, and I knew she would need to gather her things, etc.  Joe got busy filing the pool.

Suddenly I felt really cold. I put on warm socks, a sweatshirt, and wrapped a blanket around my waist. I had to go change my cloth pads every couple of minutes – each contraction basically soaked the pad with fluid. I ran out quickly, and found a chux pad to sit on. I was rocking on my ball, using the bathroom, leaning on the bathroom counter, leaning on the bathroom doorway. I would guess I was having contractions every 5-6 minutes, though we never did time them.

There is an interesting ‘side story’ to this birth that started right around this time. Joe, who had been completely fine as we were watching TV earlier, was suddenly nauseous. He would sit with me for a few minutes, then go off to the other bathroom. He ended up throwing up a few times. I really wondered if he was going to be able to support me through this labor at all. Fortunately, Craig & Jordan were on alert as well (one of us had told them when my water broke, too), and so I knew there would be people around to help. It didn’t make me happy to think of Joe being unavailable, but I didn’t feel devastated by it, either. It was just the way things were going.

*note – a lot of the details from here on out were pieced together over a few days after the birth. I had very little concept of time, and the birth was so fast that I really didn’t know what was going on!*

A little after midnight, Cathy, Julia, & Ginger all arrived. I was mid-contraction, leaning on the side of my bed, when Cathy came in to my room. She waited quietly, and then asked how I was doing. I was still wrapped in my blanket, laboring normally, and said that other than being cold, and my back hurting, I was OK so far. She asked if I wanted her to check me. Throughout my pregnancy, I had thought I would decline any internal checks. However, I had asked her to check me about 5 days before, as I wanted to know if all of the daily labor was making any progress. I was curious to know what to expect at this point (I was 1-2 cm, 50% effaced, and pretty posterior at the previous check). I figured I was maybe 3 cm, but hoped that I was more effaced & less posterior by now. I was shocked to hear her say “6 centimeters, fully effaced, I can’t even really feel the edges.” So either in 5 days, or an hour, or some combination of the two, my cervix had gone from 1-2cm to 6; from 50% to 100%; and from posterior to ‘right there.’ I figured another 6 hours or so, and I would have a baby! It was about 12:30am. Ginger came in to say hello, and snapped a few pictures.

I continued to labor on the ball, or standing wherever I happened to be as I was walking around. When Joe needed to leave the room, he sent Julia in. By now I was asking for hip squeezes, as the back pain was getting pretty intense. He was doing his best to stay close by, and running off to throw up when he needed to. I went in to use the bathroom, and hated the feeling of sitting on the toilet through a contraction. I was so glad when it was over and I could stand back up.

That was when I started shaking uncontrollably. By now I had removed several of the layers of clothing. I was no longer cold, and that shaking could only mean one thing. My thinking brain, however, was incredulous. “There is no way I can be in transition already!” I remember thinking. I decided to get into the birth pool. I stripped off the last few items of clothing, except the black ‘bra’ I wore throughout the labor & birth. Getting into the water felt wonderful, though I was wishing it was slightly hotter. I liked being able to be on my hands & knees, taking some pressure off my back as my belly floated in the pool. According to Cathy’s notes, it was about 1:15am.

Pretty soon, the contractions started coming right on top of one another. I told Joe I needed him near me – I couldn’t cope when he was out of the room at that point. He diligently found a spot on the floor next to the pool, and held my hand. I was getting tiny breaks between the contractions – some as little as 10 seconds, and most less than a minute. They hurt in my back more than anything, so Joe did his best to give me some counter pressure when he could. By now he was yawning through the contractions – he wasn’t tired, he said, but he couldn’t help it. I felt like I couldn’t get enough oxygen. Because I was getting almost no time to rest between contractions, I rarely was able to take full, complete cleansing breaths. I swore a few times, I cried a little, I asked for a bowl into which I heaved many times but never actually vomited (a first for me, I threw up with all 3 previous births). There were sips of Gatorade, ice chips, and water handed to me. There was a cold cloth that felt SO good on my face & neck – I felt like I was overheating at this point. There were encouraging words from Joe, Cathy, Julia, & Ginger. There was pain, and noise, and quiet, and water.

At some point, I remembered those 29,999 other women. I remembered that I only had to deal with one contraction at a time. I remembered that there would be a baby coming soon. I remembered that I had done this three times before, and that each time it was worth it. I also remembered that after tonight, I would never have to do this again. Even if tonight lasted into this morning, or even this afternoon or evening, this was the last time I would do this. It would end, eventually. Those thoughts calmed me, and the panic I was feeling at the peaks of the contractions began to subside.

It was then that I realized I had been pushing through my contractions. I even said out loud, “I think I’m pushing.” Joe’s reply was a sarcastic, “You think?” It was sweet & made me giggle in my mind. Cathy said something about if this was the position I wanted to be in that when the baby emerged she would pass him up through my legs to me. I couldn’t imagine moving, so I shook my head & said OK. I began pushing with a little more might – the gentle movements that my body was doing didn’t feel as if they would be enough. It felt good to push against the pain. But after a handful of contractions, I remember HATING being on my knees. I said something like “I don’t want to be in this position anymore!” and as soon as that contraction ended I turned over into a semi-reclined squat. That felt much better! Another interesting note is that when I started pushing, Joe felt miraculously fine. Nausea gone, yawning over. He was just fine….

I continued pushing in this position. I was worried, however, about having a cervical lip. All three of my previous births had involved an anterior cervical lip that was stretched over baby’s head by the midwife or OB involved. I said to Cathy, “What if I’m pushing against a lip?” Joe said “So what?” or something to that effect, and my thinking brain wanted to explain all of the so what – the danger of swelling, etc. But the rest of me was too busy having a baby, so Cathy quickly reached in and said “There’s no lip, you are doing just fine.” Then I REALLY started to push. I reached in to feel where the baby’s head was – I could tell I would be able to feel it. I felt him there, really low but with a few inches to move down. I could only feel a small part of his head – maybe an inch across and 2 inches long. It was motivating, though. It was the first time I had felt my baby without parts of me between us.

I also remember that at some point in there, I started talking out loud to my baby. “Move down, baby” I would say, or “Come on baby mama is ready to meet you.” The first time I said something out loud I felt a bit awkward. I knew, though, that baby needed to hear me talk to him, so I just kept saying things during every contraction break. It seemed to help the whole process.

The whole time, Joe was whispering wonderful things in my ear. I don’t remember what, exactly. Telling me I was doing a great job, saying our baby would be here soon, that kind of thing.

I pushed through 4 or 5 contractions (they were still only about 2 minutes or so apart), and felt again to see how much he had moved. My findings: he hadn’t moved at all. That was when I realized how much I could feel him up against my tailbone. I knew he was stuck there – it didn’t feel like he was in danger or anything, but I knew it was going to take some real effort to move him past that obstacle. I think I said something out loud about it, I remember Cathy telling me to visualize him moving up & out. I got up into a full squat, pushed a few times with everything I had, and felt him move past my tailbone, until he was crowning. Then I leaned back a bit.

One of the great things about the water, in this birth, was that there was NO WAY I could put any weight on my tailbone. Sitting was totally out of the question. Because of the partial weightlessness, I was able to keep my weight on my hands and feet & keep my bottom off of the ground.  There was no way I would have been able to do that on the bed or floor. My arms hurt like hell for days after, but it was worth it. At some point, I asked to have my boys brought in. They had been in the living room, watching a movie and waiting patiently. They were in the bathroom with us for about the last 15 minutes until the birth.

Those last couple of pushes, I let my body do the work. I helped a little – tiny grunty pushes. I could feel that familiar ‘ring of fire’ that comes with an emerging baby head. It was interesting, though, that it felt so different than my first three. With each of them, I felt as though my clitoris was going to tear off – I remember putting pressure on it and that helped so much. This time, though, it felt very different. This time it felt as though everything was going to tear. We gently pushed together – me & baby – until his head was out. Something felt like it was cutting me, and I yelled STOP a no one in particular. Cathy was reaching to check for a cord, but she stopped, told me what she was doing, waited a second, then checked. No cord. Good.

Ginger got several great pictures of this moment. Had it not been for the pictures, and what everyone had told me, I would have had no idea that he was born face up, posterior, and looking right at everyone through the water. Hence the back pain, different feeling as the head was being born, and the sore tailbone to follow.

This is one of those moments where ignorance is bliss. First time I had a baby, I had NO IDEA how much those emerging shoulders would hurt. But I’m birthing baby #4. I seriously did NOT want to finish this process. I remember thinking, he’s fine right there… except of course he wasn’t, and neither was I. So I gave one last huge push, and screamed as he came through. Then we lifted him up out of the water to my chest, where he proceeded to make the cutest little mewing sounds. It was 2:45 am. He was breathing well and pinked up fast. We checked, and sure enough, boy number four. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Except for those things that need to be noted. Like my beautiful 13 year old son crying, because he was so happy to see me so happy (I am even more grateful to Ginger for catching that moment!). Or the look on my 6-year old’s face as he became a big brother. And the look of pride on my 11-year old’s face as he cut the baby’s cord. There was also the fact that my midwife had to leave pretty quickly after the birth, as another mama had called to say that her water broke around 2:30am. Cathy didn’t make it on time – the other baby was born at 2:55am.

We stayed in the water for about 15 minutes or so. The placenta came out pretty quickly after the birth. Daddy held baby Talysen while I got out of the tub & walked gingerly to the bed. Sitting was NOT an option, as my tailbone felt as though it had been broken. Julia stayed behind and took care of clean-up. She also weighed & measured Talysen – 7 lbs 6 oz, 21 inches. Corbin’s size, exactly. No tears for me, but Talysen ended up with 2 pretty good sized hematomas on his head. They didn’t seem to cause him any pain, but they caused us some stress so we had them checked out at about 2 weeks. They were fine, and cleared up by 6 weeks.

Overall, it was a beautiful birth. I couldn’t believe how short it was – 3 ½ hours from water breaking to holding a baby. I always refer to myself as a ‘marathoner’ with my 19.5, 27, and 11 hour previous births. Of course 11 hours is totally average, but I never would have guessed that this one would be so fast. The joy of climbing into your own bed with your new baby is one you have to experience to understand. We didn’t even put any clothes on him, just a diaper and a towel to keep him warm, and he slept skin-to-skin on my chest from 4am until we woke up around 8 or 9. I was able to have all three of my other ‘babies’ present for the moment of their brother’s birth, which is something I know they will never forget. Gabe has commented that “It must have taken a lot of power to get Talysen out” and he is right- it did take a lot of power. I am clear, though, that it wasn’t just MY power. It was the power of those 29,999 other women; it was Joe taking some of the energy so that I did not have the burden of all of it; and it was the power of a mother who knows just how beautiful and transformation birth really is.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Week 39/40

Today is my first EDD. Which means people are calling, texting, and emailing to see if we have a baby yet. Because, you know, we are for sure going to keep it a big secret when it happens, right???

Anyway. All day Sunday & Sunday night I was having regular, strong contractions. The problem is that they were only hurting in my tailbone, which is usually an indication of a positioning problem. I called my midwife Monday morning for advice, and she gave me a few stretching issues to do that would hopefully help bring baby back up a bit, and then back down into a better position. They seemed to have worked.

Physical update: Because of my concern about positioning, I decided to have her do an exam. It's probably the only one I will have, unless I decide to opt for one during labor, but that is doubtful. At this point, I am very 'ripe', about 50% effaced, about 1-2 cm dilated, baby is fully engaged, ROA (optimal birthing position for those who don't know), and everything looks good with me & baby. I was ordered to eat a good meal, have a BIG glass of wine, and get some sleep. I did, and I have to say that while I still got up to pee 5-6 times last night, it was the best night of sleep I have had for awhile.

Emotional update: Today was the best I have felt in weeks. I woke up NOT thinking 'maybe we will have a baby today!' which was nice because every day I wake up feeling that way becomes a disappointment when I wake up the next morning still pregnant. I think the combo of the good night's sleep, the absence of very many contractions, and the fact that only about 5% of babies are actually born on their due dates made me feel like there is no way today would be the day. At this point, unless I have a rocking fast (less than 5 hour) labor, today is NOT the day.

Which brings me to a thought: Last night, as Cathy was packing up and making a few final notes in my chart, she asked, 'You aren't one of those moms that wants a 12/12/12 baby like everyone else, are you?' To which I replied a big NO. Numerologically, tomorrow is an 11 - briefly, "High spiritual plane, intuitive, illumination, idealist, a dreamer." I have no problem with any of those characteristics, (and actually I think it's a beautiful thing!) except for the fact that both of the baby names I have picked out (boy & girl) are also 11's. I have already considered changing the spellings a bit just to avoid putting that designation on a child, but I feel like those are the names that came to me - s/he must really want them. In other words, it is who s/he is, but lordy I don't think we need to complicate it with a birthdate of the same numerology...

I had another thought about tomorrow's date as well. I would be very interested to see the statistics on the number of planned inductions and cesareans for tomorrow. I would be willing to put a lot of money on their being an increase, you know, because it's such a cool birthday! It is a cool birthday. It's also an opportunity to bring in a whole lot of children on a very high spiritual plane, who will be dreamers... which could be a blessing, depending on how many of them are also beings who can get things done & make a difference in the world. Or maybe they will all end up like little Tibetan monks, and we will worship at their feet... Either way, I doubt many, if any, of the women who have scheduled births tomorrow are aware of the energetics surrounding the date. But who knows, maybe this is the universe's way of ensuring we get a whole bunch of spiritually enlightened beings to show up right now.

I'm not saying I will be crossing my legs if I go into labor before tomorrow is over. My sense is that this baby will show up on the 13th, but that's just because both Athan & Corbin have birthdays on the 13th of their months (as do my brother, my Grandfather, and a dear friend). But I also thought this baby was coming on the 4th and I was obviously wrong about that. I guess we will all just have to wait and see... but please, don't call me. Watch your facebook feed, I promise you will know! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Week 38/39

Today is either 1 or 2 weeks until my EDD (estimated due date). Normally, at this stage in pregnancy, I am feeling tired, excited of course, but patient enough to wait that last week or two. This time around, I hit the "Fuck this I am tired of being pregnant" point about a week ago. I think it has a lot to do with the already 3 weeks of early labor I have been experiencing. Off & on, constantly, usually too much to totally ignore but not enough to get serious about, either. It's frustrating, but more than that, exhausting.

Last night, for example, I think I managed a total of 3.5 hours of sleep. Went to bed around 11, couldn't sleep because I was feeling so yucky. Every time I dozed off, I would get up to pee. Somewhere in the middle of the night (Maybe 2am?) I went to the bathroom & couldn't fall back to sleep for almost 2 hours because of contractions. Between about 4:30-6 I must have slept; went back to sleep around 7 and was up at 8:30. Honestly, I know I will get more sleep when the baby gets here than I am right now. Waking every 2-3 hours to feed & change a baby is nothing compared to this constant 30-45 minute mini sleep cycles.

So yeah, I'm in 'grumpy bitchy pregnant woman mode' at this point. I had some nesting energy earlier in the week - cleaned the whole basement on Friday, cleaned out the fridge yesterday, that sort of thing. I'm thinking about cleaning out the pantry today, not because I have that same nesting urge, but because I'm so grumpy I need something to do so that I don't just bite the head off of anyone who gets too close to me. I KNOW I need a good nap today, and I am hoping that happens. Tomorrow, I'm going to get a Labor Stimulation Massage at SL Prenatal Massage, and hope that kicks all of this prodromal labor into action. At least I will be relaxed. I hope.

Of course, there is a long list of stuff bugging me right now, and I know it is due mostly to exhaustion. I am grateful that baby has dropped so low that walking up & down the stairs is not as much of a problem (have plenty of lung capacity again!) and the heartburn has become manageable. I'd really like to get our bills paid today before the baby comes, but for some reason (actually I am pretty clear about the reasons, but I'm not going into them here) our monthly transfer has still not come in. It was supposed to be here Friday. Which also means we have no $ for groceries, or a nice little walking trip even through a thrift store. That is definitely not helping my mood.... Neither is the fact that holiday traffic makes is annoying to be out & about, or the dog prints on the carpet by the back door, or the pain in my sciatic nerve, etc.... Yeah. Bitchy grumpy pregnant woman, lol. I feel like such a stereotype.

In happier news, this past Saturday was my Mama Blessing. It was a wonderful gathering of women - we ate, told birth stories, painted by belly with Henna, decorated onsies for the baby, and I was given some wonderful - and very touching - gifts. I literally need/want NOTHING for the baby now except a diaper pail. Alyssa made the most beautiful purple diaper cake! It was the only thing I really asked for (I have always loved those things, and I needed a few more cloth diapers). I used several of the gifts I was given, plus some other items I had been saving, and created my 'birth alter' next to the bed. The pool is blown up & ready to be filled. My room is ready. So really, baby, come on. It's time to come out and play. Seriously.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Week 37

It's week 37 here - or 38, going by my earlier EDD. Which makes me officially 'full term' no matter which EDD we are using. I made it through Thanksgiving, as I hoped I would, but there were definitely a few minutes there when I thought that wouldn't happen!

It was quite a week! As I posted, I left home early last Tuesday and had a wonderful massage (first time my hips hadn't ached in weeks!), then got the boys & picked up my Grandma at the airport. It was pretty much a whirlwind from there. I didn't do as much 'sitting & chopping' as I had hoped, but I managed some. Everyone around me kept reminding me to sit down, to not pick up that big heavy pot, etc. It was actually kind of nice - I'm usually annoyed by that kind of thing, but I honestly needed the reminders! I only once lifted something I shouldn't have. The physical response was enough of a reminder, but the loving reminders from my parents, grandmother, and brothers were helpful, too.

Wednesday was interesting - a truck had pulled some cables down in from of the house (we had no internet or cable for 4 days), and the power line had to be replaced. Mom & I were running like crazy to make sure we got the baking done before the power was turned off - I'm pretty sure the electrical component of the oven would have shut off, giving us either no oven or no way to regulate the temperature. Fortunately the power stayed on until around 8pm. I was asleep at that point, but woke up around 9:30 to a candle-light poker game in the kitchen. Proud to say Gabe took 2nd place, knocking out grandpa, the rest of the kids, and Craig.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday. My mother made a "Thanksgiving Tree" and everyone placed leaves with what they were thankful for on the tree. It is still sitting in the library area, and will likely stay up for a couple more weeks. Even the dogs added leaves. I think someone helped them with spelling, though....

Daily, I am experiencing rounds of contractions lasting from an hour to 5-6 hours. I'm really not used to having SO MUCH of this go on. With all 3 of the boys, it was 3 days of this, then a baby came. I've gone for 8-9 days now dealing with this every day. It's exhausting! The good thing is I am getting in a very good nap every day - 2.5-3 hours each day. I would be very worried about being rested enough for birth if it wasn't for these naps, as I get up every hour at night. I seem to be able to sleep for an actual stretch of time only in the afternoons. At least I am getting some sleep!

I still think this baby is coming December 4th. I don't know why, it's just the intuition I have had all along. I am looking forward to my mama blessing this Saturday, and I'd really like to go pregnant, so I'm fine if baby waits at least until that is over! Of course, tonight/tomorrow morning is a full moon, so again, who knows what will happen.

I've been awake for 3 hours. It must be time for more sleep, right?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Week 36

So it's week 36. Or 37, depending on how you look at it.

You've all read my rants about due dates, so I won't go back into that again, However, there are some very important milestones in pregnancy. Today is one of them: According to the charts held by my midwife, I am now 37 weeks pregnant. Which means baby can be born at home.

I don't know why I have been concerned about this so much. I never really worried about that with any of the boys. Yet, I have had a feeling this little one might come early, and as I mentioned a few weeks back, with my friend Teri having little Rowan at 28 weeks, it's just been on my mind the whole time. Honestly, our hospital experience wasn't a total nightmare when Athan was born - I still had a totally natural, intervention free birth. That's a rare thing in hospitals these days. But I had to fight for it, even in the short 2 hours from arriving until he was born. Add to that the battle to get OUT of the hospital, which included me signing him out AMA (Against medical advice), and those are the things I really do NOT want to have to repeat. Bottom line: I am VERY grateful that from this point on, baby will be born at home. Most likely in my bathroom in the birth pool that was delivered last week.

Which is a very good thing, as for the past two days I have been having pretty much non-stop contractions. They aren't the painless Braxton Hicks that women get throughout pregnancy, but they are pretty mild so far. Aside from the crampy, aching sensation in my back I can mostly just keep moving and doing whatever I am doing while they do their job of getting my body started in the birthing process. In reality, women can have these kinds of mild but useful contractions for weeks at a time before baby comes. In my experience, I tend to do about 3 days of these before kicking into full blown labor. Which would have tomorrow be bay's birthday. I mentioned last week I REALLY want to stay pregnant through Thanksgiving, but if baby has other plans I can't exactly argue.  Well, I can argue all I want actually, but little good will it do me! Oh, and yes, they are continuing today. Just had to stop typing to pay attention to that one!

Blood sugar levels continue to be good - I'm not testing them very often now, just when I feel 'off' and want to see what's going on. Which is a good thing because those test strips are EXPENSIVE!!!! I've been very good (Santa, bring me an extra present?), eating mostly every 2-2.5 hours, lots of high energy carbs & protein. I don't feel like I am getting the most balanced diet at the moment, because I am eating the same few things over and over again. But hey, if it's working it's working, and I only have a few weeks left of needing these restrictions.

I had a pretty big burst of nesting energy yesterday - I felt the need to either clean the entire house, or find a project to keep me occupied. I ended up painting the hall bathroom. The white walls all over the house were really getting to me. Actually it's the dirty fingerprints all over the white walls that were getting to me. I figured one less space for dirty fingerprints would be nice, plus I generally don't like white walls anyway. I was able to use paint we had on hand, so no expense to the project either. It came out very nice - copper & green, bright but subdued by the copper. I kept the bathroom fan on the whole time so the fumes were pretty minimal. I am glad that Thanksgiving madness starts today, though, otherwise I might end up painting my bedroom today...

It's going to be a busy 36th week. I will be leaving the house around 2 today - I get to start off the craziness with a massage from Kristen at Salt Lake Prenantal Massage. For now, I'll have her stay away from labor triggering pressure points ;). Then it's off to pick up my Grandma from the airport, take her to dinner, and get her settled at her hotel. Tonight, Mom, Jesse, and my awesome nephews arrive. Tomorrow, Dad gets into town; Thursday it's Jeremy & his new wife, Meghan. The turkey is defrosting, the groceries are getting picked up by Craig today. I plan to do a LOT of sitting & chopping vegetables while everyone else does the big work. I am so grateful to be able to be with my family this year. Thanksgiving is a big deal with my Dad's side of the family in particular. Last year I cried because no one was here & I couldn't even reach a single family member by phone for a couple of hours. I can't imagine dealing with that in my pregnant, hormonal state ;). I am happy that this year I will be surrounded by members of my extended family. I just keep telling baby s/he will get to meet them all soon enough, so STAY PUT for another week, will ya?!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Week 35

Well, last week's attempt at diagnosis was incorrect. My labs came back totally normal, except for a slight increase above normal blood sugars. After a few days of testing those (thank you, Rebecca, for the loaner of a glucose meter!), it was pretty apparent that blood sugar has been the problem. I had a couple of highs over the diabetic range, and many more in the 'very high' range as well. Fortunately, diabetes in pregnant women usually reverses after the baby is born. Also fortunately, it's another issue that can be handled through diet with no other intervention needed.

So for now, I am on a highly restrictive diet until baby comes. The hardest part is eating every 2 hours - I'm not hungry when I am eating, which I don't like to do. And getting enough of the right carbs in combo with enough protein is tough, too. So far, though, it seems to be working - I've had the only two normal blood sugar readings so far right before eating today.

I was also advised to pretty much quit working. So, sadly, tomorrow will be my last staffing day at Sego Lily until baby comes (well, until after I have recovered from baby coming, and am ready to start being back at school with the babe). I will definitely be in for the Chili Supper if I can make it, and of course our holiday party, most likely with baby in arms.

The goal, for now, still remains to stay pregnant through Thanksgiving. Even though I am clear to give birth at home next Tuesday, I have family coming in from Vegas, Portland, and Florida via New York. I really want to spend my time with them, enjoy the holiday, and maybe cheat just a little on the diet ;). I also really don't want to have to kick everyone out of the house to have a baby ;) The next goal will be to stay pregnant past the baby blessing on December 1st. But for now, Thanksgiving is the goal.

The other great thing about my appointment with my midwife (besides the fact that I felt relieved to reconnect with her after her vacation) was that she delivered our birth pool & birth kit. Another step in feeling like things are getting pretty real around here! It feels so close.

We also went and had photos done with Ginger of Earthside Birth Photography. I had really wanted to get maternity photos taken this time, as it is definitely my last pregnancy. I can't wait to see what Ginger came up with. We also got my belly cast done, which was another big to-do off my list. Now my two big 'wants' are handled, in case baby comes early.

Baby remains extremely active, measures just a little big (as always), heart sounds fine, etc. Funny how that works - the babies get whatever they need, while the mamas' bodies fall apart, lol. I'm grateful for that arrangement, though. I can change my diet, baby can't. It's getting so close to baby time, that I am beginning to long to meet her/him. Until now, I have been willing to let this pregnancy take as long as it takes. Now, the due dates can't come soon enough :) As long as we get through Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Week 34

Well, it has NOT been an uneventful week. Not even close! Some of you were following my Facebook posts, and know a bit about what has been going on, but I will lay it all out here in detail, anyway. After all, this blog is my diary of this pregnancy more than anything else!

Last Friday was a Sego Lily day. I love my Sego Lily days - working with the Odyssey team, chatting with the staff, being around my kids, playing games with students, etc. It was an extra nice day because we had some visitors, and the weather was gorgeous. I spent a lot of time outside, and as much time sitting as I could manage.

The bad thing about my work days is that they have become EXHAUSTING. It's a 6-hour work day, but really an almost 8 hour day when you include the driving back & forth and the energy it takes just to get out of the house. I'm no longer surprised when I get home exhausted from a school day, so Friday seemed very normal to me, in that I came home, got into bed, watched TV, had dinner, and went to sleep.

Saturday morning, I woke up early & took Gabe to his soccer game. Baby was NOT very happy about my camping chair, so I spent a lot of the game standing behind the chair watching the boys play. It was a disappointing 0-2 loss - mostly disappointing because it was their last game of the season., and also because they played really well but just couldn't manage to score. By the time we got back (mind you this was a home game, so a total of probably 2.5 hours of being out), I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I climbed back into bed & tried to nap, but for some reason with 15 kids in the house I just couldn't fall asleep. I did rest though, for as long as I could. When I got up to use the bathroom, I felt super dizzy, and was seeing spots. My heart rate went nuts. I got back into bed as soon as I could. The rest of the day was spent mostly in my room, resting, reading, watching a movie. Each time I got up to pee, same dizziness. My heart rate would go nuts even when I was sitting still. Baby was super active, so I wasn't too worried there. I watched carefully to make sure I was getting enough fluids & food, but that didn't seem to help anything.

Sunday, same routine. At some point, I got worried enough that I decided to call my midwife, who I then remembered was still in Mexico. I tracked down a number for her back-up, and spoke to her about what I was experiencing. She recommended I check my blood pressure, so I went to Walgreens. Totally normal, though my HR was pretty high for just walking into the store. Melissa (the MW) and I brainstormed a few things - the most likely culprit seemed to be anemia.

On Monday, I met Melissa at her office. She did a blood draw, checked BP, listened to baby, etc. I was feeling slightly better, but still dizzy every time I got up. the slightest bit of exertion has me feeling winded & exhausted. I did have slight amounts of both protein & keytones in my urine, which are signs of possible infection, low blood sugar, and also possible preclampsia, but only when combined with high blood pressure. We were both still of the opinion that this is most likely severe anemia, so I decided to start treating as such.

My late lunch on Monday was a salad with half a dozen oysters. My dinner included chopped liver (YUMMY!!!), and I bought some new protein shake powder to get my protein intake up as well. I have upped my intake of my iron supplement, and am combining it with OJ to help with absorption. These things, as well as other steps I will be taking, all help with iron levels & if we are correct about the diagnosis, I should be doing better within the next 2 weeks.

At this point, I am still waiting for the lab results that should be coming in this afternoon. They should rule out anything else, and most likely confirm the anemia. Of course, if they point to anything else I will following those paths as well, to see what I need to do to keep baby & I safe & healthy for another 6 weeks. Oh yeah, 6 weeks. Now THAT is a short time! And I still haven't made those baby wipes....