Three Makes Five

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Something I didn't even know I needed.

That's what Esther is.

My pregnancy with her was totally unplanned, and initially really unwanted. I had just moved to Hawaii. I wanted to enjoy the tropics and work off the rest of my weight and get a crochet business started and a hundred other things that didn't include a third child. More to the point, Linda was nowhere near mature enough to become a big sister. I wanted to let her be the baby for a while longer.

So I was upset when I got pregnant. I had been fairly careful, but what I'd forgotten is that sometimes you ovulate the day afteryour "fertile" cervical mucous disappears. And sex was happening so rarely by then that I wasn't about to turn it down! It was bad sex too. She's not just the Navy Lodge Baby, she's the Navy Lodge Air Mattress Set up in the Bathroom Baby. Feh.

Oh, but I needed her. I remember watching "Roseanne" once as a kid, the TV show not just the comedienne, and she was talking with DJ. One of his sisters had told him he was an accident, and his mother said he wasn't an accident, he was a surprise. He asked her what the difference was. "A surprise," she said, "is something you don't know you want until you get it."

Esther is a surprise. I didn't know how much I wanted, no needed her until I had her. There is something so special about her, something I cannot even explain. Some calmness that she exudes, that I absorb through my pores when I hold her.

I am not sure how I ever lived my life without her. And that is really true of all my girls. I was really missing out before they were born, but I never knew it. I thought I was happy. I didn't know what happiness really was. Now I do.

There is something about having children that awakens anew a sense of your own mortality. Death terrifies me. The idea that I will some day no longer be here, no longer be taking part of this wonderful, wonderful world we live in is even now as I type causing a hitch of panic in my chest. I haven't exactly lead an idyllic life, but I enjoy living nonetheless. I truly do.

And it scares me in a new way now. I now get scared that I one day won't be there for my girls. I enjoy them like nothing else on this planet. Their scents are even more right, if that is possible, than Robert's. At the same time, however, I am aware that I will live on in some small way, because I have children and God willing so will they. I will love them, and with His blessing I will be allowed as well to love my grandchildren and perhaps even great-grandchildren, and if nothing else so long as someone I loved is still alive, in a way so too will I be. They are God's wonderful blessing to me. I am certain I've done nothing to deserve them, but I thank Him for them every day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

1 month, 3 weeks, 6 days old--Esther's first Christmas

Christmas with a 7-week-old is kind of boring. My two others were ~10 and 11 months old, respectively, on their own first Christmas. So there was much tearing open of gift wrap to be done, and much laughter and playing with gifts and what-not.

Esther had no clue as to the day. She didn't even really look at her toys.

That skirt I am inordinately proud of myself for. I say at every opportunity that I stayed up until midnight to make it. Because I did. I finished the last of the girls' doll afghans that afternoon and then started in on the skirt, which took a while since I kept having to stop and nurse someone. (Yes, I am tandem-nursing again.) But I really, really wanted her to have something special to wear to church the next day, so I persevered. And it turned out so cute!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

1 month, 1 week, 4 days: She's growin'!

I'm kind of slow to catch on sometimes. Esther's usual pattern is to sleep most of one day and be awake most of the next. This past week, though, or at least the last four days or so she's been sleeping every day. It was especially pronounced yesterday & today. So today it finally hits me--growth spurt. D'oh!

My milk production seems to have caught up already. I had to call Linda over once yesterday & again today to get her to nurse because I was getting dangerously close to being engorged. I sure hope Esther doesn't go up a diaper size because of this; we've got an unopened pack of diapers!

I had the most asinine conversation with my husband this morning. He was calling Esther "Esther Rose." I told him I didn't want him calling her that, because Rose was my niece's middle name (she died last year from cancer). Besides, she's already got a nickname. Hadn't he noticed me calling her "Esther-Ro"? He hadn't. Where did "Ro" come from, he wanted to know. Umm, dumbass, her middle name is Rosemary. Sigh. This is the guy who didn't realize Bobbie's birth certificate misspelled her middle name as Catherine (instead of Catharine) and who thought Linda Margaret's middle name was spelled Ann.

Needless to say, I was very careful to make sure he knew it was Esther & not Ester.

This entry's Esther pic:

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

1 month, 6 days: It is a smile!

She's got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that
special place
And if I stared too long
I'd probably break down and cry

Sorry for the grautitous quoting of a Guns n Roses song, but it lept to mind looking at this picture.
Esther-Ro (as I've taken to calling her) has a smile like her daddy's smile, so small that you have to question if it's really there. But it is.

Now that she has discovered this new way to arrange her muscles, she practices it quite often. Usually it's pointed towards my nipple as part of that Baby Mind Control thing she does so well.

I replaced the batteries in the swing this morning when I brought her downstairs and was rewarded with the sight of her reaching up trying to grab the toys off the mobile.

She is becoming more and more aware of everything. She was smiling at me tonight and staring cross-eyed and trying to grab my nose. It was cute. I just want to curl up around her and hold her and stare at her constantly, but that impacts my sleep quite negatively.

I think it might be worth it, though.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

4 weeks, 2 days: Is that a smile I see?

Could have sworn she smiled at me a few times today. I've never bought the gas theory. Gas smiles are obvious. They're more like grimaces, and followed by a burp or a fart. These today were the little half smiles my husband used to give me, just a bare turning-up of one corner of the mouth.

The other theory I've heard, which makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, is that babies mimic your smiles in an instinctive effort to be endearing.

She's asleep in the swing right now. Was gassy and fussy when I tried to put her to bed, so I brought her down here because sometimes the swing knocks her out. It worked. All the lights are off, I'm listening to a rerun of Conan O'Brien, and looking at stuff on the Net. And Esther is happy and asleep and so the world is good.

This week's gratuitous Esther photo:
She's getting pretty chubby. And she looks more and more like her daddy. From the side, at least. Looking at her dead-on I think she looks like me. Her nose is pretty broad like mine is, but she's got round cheeks like Robert and his chin too. And his ears, apparently, looking at this photo.

She's starting to spend a little more time awake and not eating or crying. It's nice. She's already played Flying Baby a few times.

I like waking up to see her still asleep. She has this green nightgown she sleeps in, it's one of those with the sleeves made to turn over her hands, and so she's covered from the neck down including her hands, and then those long feet peek out the bottom and it's so incredibly cute I have to smile just thinking about it.

I made a lot of baby stuff this pregnancy and it was all made based on the typical newborn measurements--14" head, 3" long feet, 18 inches long. And then she was born with a 13.5" head, 3 1/2" long feet, and more than 20 inches long. So her hats are too big, her booties are too small, and the incredibly cute one-piece dress I made her (kind of a onesie with a net dress overlay) is too damned short. The best-laid plans...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

3 weeks, 4 days

Lilypie Baby Ticker

So Esther had her first "real" bath day before yesterday. In the sink in the bathroom, since we don't have a baby tub & I'm still not supposed to be taking baths (though I can probably ignore that now, as it just occurred to me I've had two recently...doy!).

She was pretty cool about it to begin with. Then she remembered that she was hungry--she is always hungry. In this photo, it really looks like she's trying baby mind-control over my boob. Baby mind-control never works. She wound up hollering pretty loud in the end, but once she got wrapped up in the towel (a nice pink one that we also used for both her sisters) she calmed right down. Probably because I gave her my nipple about 45 seconds after wrapping her up.

Today was her first Thanksgiving. She got the turkey & fixin's through breastmilk, of course. And seems to have liked it. She's also spent most of the day asleep, thank God. It allowed me to cook. Of course, right now she's making up for it, wide awake and fussing. She's almost always fussing when she's awake and not eating. Every once in a while she'll be quiet and awake and happy, though.

Tickers for the older girls:

Lilypie Baby Ticker
Lilypie Baby Ticker

I don't want tickers in my signature online anymore, but I'm a sucker for knowing just how old my kids are, down to the day.


I've also been able to get back to my exercising this week, lucky me. Haven't done anything today, sadly, but I'll get in some weight work when Rob & the girls go to bed. Linda picked up the scale & dropped it yesterday and got it to work again, so I weighed myself...I got up to 212 during my pregnancy & was 204 the day I got out of the hospital...I'm 190 right now, which means only 8 pounds to go until I'm down to my prepregnancy weight. By mid-December, maybe. We'll see.

Gratuitous weight-loss ticker:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I feel like a first time mom.

Esther is one week, four days old.

Seriously, I feel like I'm on my first baby. Recovery from a vaginal birth is that different. The stitches, I think, have dissolved. But I'm still kinda achey through my pelvis, & I found out the hard way yesterday that my perineum is still bruised. (I never manage the six weeks of "pelvic rest.") The lochia is different as well. I guess during the c-sections the amniotic fluid was suctioned out or something, and that of course didn't happen with the vaginal birth, so for the first few days I was apparently still leaking amniotic fluid along with the blood. So I thought it was a lot milder than it really is. Still, the bleeding is much less than after my c-sections. It's nice. I have to wonder if I won't get lucky when it comes to duration as well; might be nice not to bleed for eight weeks straight.

In other news...

Esther has the greatest 99-cent wardrobe in existence. There's a thrift store we go to, Saver's, and they have some things priced at 99-cents. I only buy that stuff; the rest of it is pretty expensive. It takes some digging, but you can find some very nice stuff priced so low. I even managed to find two different pieces that were the half-off color; like I told Bobbie Catharine, it's like getting one thing free. I am so damned cheap.

Rob checked off leave today, but he went in the afternoon since he was getting charged for today no matter what, so he was really only gone for about an hour. And tomorrow of course he will have off. (Kind of hard not to give the military Veterans' Day!) So it'll still be vacation until Monday, effectively. And then I'll have to really adjust to having three kids!

I'm trying to get my eating back on track too. It's odd, because for pretty much my whole pregnancy I never had any "hungry/full" signals. And so I'm not too trusting of the vague ones that are returning. And it's frustrating, because I really had that down before I got pregnant, and now it seems that I have to totally relearn it. I was joking today that I gained a lot of baby weight in my butt, apparently to balance out my humongous stomach.

You know, I didn't give Esther's stats with the birth story! I totally forgot. She was my biggest baby in more ways than one. Weighed in at 8lbs 0.1oz and was 20.75 inches long. Heaviest and longest! Explains why I was so much bigger. She's 2 pounds heavier and more than an inch longer than Bobbie, who was the bigger of the other two.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

It's been slightly more than a week....

I really owe this blog a birth story! It's going to be hard to order my thoughts, but here goes...

This all really starts the Monday after my due date. I woke up at around four-thirty in the morning with contractions. Tried to ignore them. Didn't mention them to Rob as he got dressed and left for PT. Realized eventually that they were 2 minutes apart, so I started trying to call him and of course didn't get an answer, since he was in the pool by then. Got ahold of him finally and he started trying to get off work. I got in the tub. Finally got him home by lying and telling his boss my water'd broken. (He screwed up by telling them I only "thought" I was in labor.)

Around noon, the contrax took a break. I took a nap and was woken up from it around 2 or 3 with more contractions. These lasted, though not nearly as regular, through the night. Next morning he called in and got permission to stay home from work. Around ten or so, they dissipated altogether. I had Rob check my cervix (which he did by looking at it) & he said it appeared to be a fingertip dialated. I was also losing little pieces of my mucous plug, so I took some heart in that.

Throughout the week, I'd have irregular contractions. I was reassured by several people that this meant I'd certainly have a short labor, when it did kick in for real. Great! I figured I deserved a short labor after a week or more of the prodromal stuff.

Saturday morning, it started all over again. Once again, contractions woke me up at four in the morning. Coincidentally, Rob had to work that day. I had him set up the pool and fill it before he left for work. We had this set up outside on the front porch. I watched the sun rise and then went in to try to get some more sleep. I tried really hard to sleep between contractions, but it wasn't happening.

That morning, the contractions were two minutes apart. They eventually spaced out to five mintes apart, then ten minutes apart. I was hoping by then for another break in contractions so I could get some rest, but it wasn't happening this time.

And it hurt! Dear God, it hurt. It was like being ripped apart. My back felt like someone had hit me a few times with a baseball bat. I could barely walk. I knew the baby was completely posterior; I felt her little hands slapping at my pelvis. I squatted and swayed. I did some bellydancing (it was originally a labor aid). Earlier in the week I'd sat on the birthing ball, even gotten on my hands and knees and rocked. It didn't help. Nor did being in the pool, though that at least allowed me to relax somewhat between contractions.

The contractions continued, as I said, though irregularly. I made sure Rob went to bed with the girls; told him I'd wake him when I needed him. I tried to sleep too, but it wasn't happening. Laying down made the contractions get worse. Throughout all of this, of course, Linda kept wanting to nurse and I couldn't let her because it also made the contractions worse. It just hurt too much. Of course she didn't understand, so her temper started fraying and started fraying mine.

Around midnight, two hours after we'd all tried to sleep, I woke Rob up. Thought it would be nice to have his support. Too bad I didn't actually get it. I tried to lean on him through one contraction and he just stood there. I do believe his attitude is in part what kept me from really progressing. I wound up sitting beside him on the couch with the heating pad against my back, crying while he snored. Not exactly the right attitude to have during childbirth. I kept thinking "Well, they always say you lose it during transition."

Through all this, I was sticking with the desire not to check dialation. I wouldn't have been able to reach my cervix on my own, and by then it really seemed pointless to ask my husband to check again. I was losing my mucous plug in big long strings now, so I knew something was happening.

Not sure exactly when, but some time in the early morning Linda woke up and came downstairs crying. I pushed her away a couple of times but in the end gave up and carried her upstairs and nursed her back to sleep, even though laying down and nursing of course made things about ten times worse.

By Sunday morning, I was finished. I was just completely exhausted. I told Rob I wanted to go get the morning paper and drive by Kapi'olani hospital, just to see where it was. Well, when were we going there, he wanted to know. I said around four, because by then it would have been 36 hours, but I planned to tell them it had been only 12. Through all of this I was still having contractions, about every five minutes apart or less. And they were still excruciating.

We got home and I said to hell with it, I wanted to go to the hospital. They already had me in their system, they'd already said they'd be more than happy to have me. I went and took a shower and then we packed a bag. I'd never intended to go to the hospital. We'd been fighting with his parents about it all week, in fact. They wanted me to go and we didn't see any need. But I was totally out of it. I wasn't having a baby, I wasn't able to take care of my current children. I knew that if I went to the hospital and told them how long I'd been in labor, I'd get Pitocin and that would get my contractions regular and I'd actually progress. I was honestly pretty scared that I hadn't progressed at all. My first labor, I was for eight hours at 2cm dialated. This was because of the presentation of the baby (footling breech) combined with laboring flat on my back because of the magnesium sulfate.

I knew that if I went in, I'd wind up with a very medical birth. It wasn't something I wanted, but having a totally natural, unassisted birth was becoming less important with each contraction. I was crying by then with pain and frustration. I wanted Pitocin and I wanted some sort of pain relief. I needed to have the baby that day. There was no way I could handle another day of labor, and I was also afraid it would just stop again and I'd have another week of prodromal labor. So we packed up and loaded up the kids and went in (Rob had called ahead while I was in the shower to let them know we were coming).

We got there and they put me in a labor & delivery triage room. Coincidentally, this was the same one I got put in after my fall at the zoo. A nurse came in and talked to me. What did I want to happen? Did I realize this was going to be very far from the birth I'd planned? I consented to AROM (something I'd really wanted to avoid) for placement of a pressure monitor inside my uterus; standard procedure for VBACs at the hospital and also to an IV and the possibility of Pitocin. No problem. Go ahead, draw blood. Go ahead, test me for HIV and whatever the hell else you want. I was totally beyond caring at that point; I was still out of my mind with pain.

They checked my dialation when I was in the triage after asking me if I'd been checked before all this and what I'd been at. I told them 2cm, by then I was 5cm. So over (by then) 36 hours, I'd dialated maybe halfway. No guarantee that I'd have continued at that pace, but I had the thought that I'd never have been able to take another 36 hours to get complete. Once they had convinced themselves that I was contracting (every 7 minutes while I was there; it had been every three on the way to the hospital), I was moved back to a labor/delivery/recovery room.

And there began what I now think of as my downward spiral into medicalization. But I'd taken it all on myself, and at the time it was the only choice that could preserve my sanity. I went to the bathroom one last time, then got on the bed and let them start poking at me. The IV is nearly always my downfall. The first nurse blew out two different veins trying to get a needle in me. Then, thankfully, that nurse and "mine" conferred to figure out who could come in and get a needle in me without blowing any more veins. That nurse's idea of bedside conversation was to lecture me for having planned an HBAC. I ignored her, which I am not certain she noticed.

Once the IV was in someone--I honestly don't remember if it was a doctor or a nurse--came in and broke my bag of waters and inserted the pressure monitor, which I didn't even feel. Some short time later the nurse came in and said they were going to start Pitocin because my contractions still weren't regular. I'd known this was coming, even sort of hoped for it. I told her if she was going to start Pit I wanted some sort of pain relief (it was in my chart that I wouldn't have an epidural but I would ask for something else when I wanted it). This request was pretty much ignored.

I can say that the Pit didn't make the contractions any worse. Of course, the contractions to begin with were hurting worse than the Pit-induced ones with my first daughter. It started to dawn on me around this time that I really should have reviewed my Bradley stuff. The rare times I was able to relax and let my body work, it felt much better, though it was still incredibly painful.

I'd also asked for a blanket right around this time, and the nurse said she'd heat one up and bring it to me. And that also never happened.

Time really compresses during labor. Getting the Pit got the contractions regular, and that made them somewhat easier to deal with. Relatively speaking. There was a shift change somewhere in all this, and Rob managed to convince the next nurse to bring me some pain medication and a blanket. This nurse told me the baby was posterior (duh!) and to lay on my side to try to dislodge it. I didn't figure this would work, but by then I was ready to do about anything.

Before I got the med, which I don't recall the name of, I had to be checked one more time, to make sure there was still enough time before pushing. They checked me again and I was at "a stretchy seven". So I got the medicine, the downside of which was it had to be given during contractions, and couldn't be given all at once. Two contractions later, the edge was taken off somewhat. I was given a heating pad for my back; between that and the narcotic I was able to doze off a bit between contractions. Rob took the girls for a walk around this time (yes, the kids were there for the whole thing; it's not like we had anyone to leave them with).

It seemed like only a short time later--that time compression thing again--that a nurse came in and handed me an oxygen mask. Thought it was a bit odd, but then I was checked and pronounced complete. "Get ready to start pushing." Um, OK. Hmm, should have mentioned that whole "don't coach my pushing" thing before then.

By then, though, I just really wanted it all to be over. So I pushed when they told me to, but not the way they wanted. The instruction to pull my legs up to my chest and curl my head down just, well, hurt. Actually, the whole freaking thing hurt, so when Rob and the girls came back it was, sadly, to me screaming and crying and saying I couldn't. This "I can't" was taken to mean I couldn't push. That wasn't what I had problems with; it was the whole 'hold your legs' thing. So I wound up with a couple of nurses holding onto my legs and Rob's hand on my shoulder (which was nice, and pretty much the sum total of the freely offered support).

The pushing thing was something I wasn't prepared for, mentally. It hurt and it was for some reason a reminder of very bad things in my past. I'd heard of it happening but didn't expect it to happen to me, for whatever reason. It doesn't make logical sense, which is why it took me by surprise.

I actually did OK, though, once I got the mechanics of pushing down. I totally ignored the "hold your breath while you push" thing, and also mostly ignored the "two pushes per contraction" thing. I breathed as normally as I could while pushing, and pushed when I felt the urge, whether I got in the correct number or not. I wasn't mentally able to tell them to take the Valsalva pushing and screw themselves with it, but I was able to physically do what I felt right doing.

I started out pushing on my back, then went to one side for a while, and that finally turned the baby. Then it was back onto my back, and pretty soon they collapsed the bed and the doctor got into position. I vaguely noticed she was wearing a face shield, which makes sense but struck me as pretty funny at the time.

The one good thing about all of this was that I was no longer feeling the contractions, just an urge to push. The bad part is that the ring of fire thing rang true and lasted a lot longer than the single push I'd hoped for. I think I was told "Just one more push" about three or four times.

Eventually, though, the baby was out. I don't know how long I pushed, but it seemed like only a very short time. The doctor who caught was a resident; the OB overseeing her I think was the one who made the announcement that it was a third girl. This really caught me by surprise. I had been told so often by so many people that I was having a boy that it'd knocked aside my usual deep conviction that I can have only girls (I have no idea why I usually believe this, but it has been borne out in experience). I was then shocked farther by being handed my squalling baby; my only prior experience was with c-sections where I was merely shown my baby. It was wonderful, the most amazing & overwhelming thing to be able to hold her. They told me to try to nurse her; she didn't have any interest to begin with.

The placenta was delivered while I was holding her, and they saw then that there was a knot in the cord. This is something that can be deadly, but usually isn't. The reaction though was that it is almost always deadly (perhaps they don't notice unless something goes wrong?); we were told that she was what they call a "true knot miracle baby." I knew she was a miracle anyway.

Rob was holding her while they stitched me up, which was a good thing. As I have been joking since, I didn't feel the numbing shot. I did feel the needle, though. No episiotomy, but I tore both up and down. The down was partially into my perineum, but mostly (going by feel here) along my left labium. It's not the most wonderful thing in the world to be stitched up by a woman who is being coached. I pretty much begged them to not stitch the top tear if it was at all possible. At least the stitches self-dissolve!

Once they were done with that, I took Esther back from Robert. We decided on her name more or less on the spur of the moment. We'd been wavering between Esther and Judith, but when she was born I pretty much knew I had to name her after my friend from high school. That Esther is just such a wonderful person I had to use her name. Rosemary was the only three-syllable name that we really knew we liked. Joy I sort of snuck in on Rob's adrenaline I think; he's vetoed that name every time it's come up in the past, but I have always loved it. Esther turns out to be the most popular name I've given a child--304 last year. Rosemary was 718, and Joy 483. I just looked that up. It really has no bearing on the birth at all.

Esther did nurse that second time I held her. She latched on perfectly. Just perfectly. Lips turned out and everything. And she has been a very good nurser since. Which makes sense, as she's prone to nursing twice an hour!

It has been nine days since her birth, and she fits in already as if she has always been here. I was marvelling today that we had a life without her. I am glad I had my VBA2C, somewhat guilty that I didn't stick it out and go unassissted, but mostly just elated that I have her. I spent a very long time that first night after she was born just sitting there in bed smiling and thinking how wonderful it was that I had a third daughter. I'd have loved to have had a son (I wanted to use the name Randolph!), but I am just over the moon with another baby girl.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

41 weeks 2 days--Out, out damned snot.

OK, so it's not technically snot. But I am losing my mucous plug in large pieces. Which is heartening. It means I'm dialating. Which, of course, doesn't really mean a damned thing, but I am going to hope it means the baby will come soon.

Contractions are continuing to happen sporadically. Wake me up sometimes. I read something in the Midwife Archives about the theory that an open mouth makes for an open cervix. Not too sure I believe that, but consciously relaxing my mouth has indeed helped to get the rest of my body to relax. I can't exactly hop up out of bed to squat & rock every time I have a contraction.

Oh, I'm having bad back labor too. I've always had back problems. This is like my worst backache piling on top of itself repeatedly. God, it hurts. All the contractions hurt, but this back pain (which never really goes away between contractions, only dulls a bit) is a special sort of hell.

And the thing is, I could end this tomorrow if I wanted. Walk into Kapiolani and say "Hey, I've had two c-sections, gimme a third" and then give birth in a most painless fashion.

But I'm not gonna.

Oy, I'm insane.

Pool...Pool...I love my pool. It really doesn't stop the pain of contractions, or even seem to ease them in the slightest, but it sure makes me more comfortable in between them. Spent some more time in it today. Not laboring, just trying to ease my back. Heavenly. I took the advice of an online acquaintance & made myself a drink. I had about 45 minutes of near-painlessness, except for the contractions of course. And there were only two or three of those.

I think I said in my last entry that I had Rob check my cervix (he looked!) & he said it was maybe a centimeter dialated. I checked it last night and since I could actually find it and tell it was dialated, it has obviously changed some between Tuesday & Thursday. So I've got some change going on, however slowly. That was a big fear of mine. When I was induced with Bobbie, I stayed stubbornly at the 2cm I came in at, & had been at for more than a month. And of course I never got the opportunity to labor/dialate with Linda. So I'll take the movement, however slight.

Tried belly binding tonight. Folded a twin-sized sheet, pulled up my tummy, & had Rob tie it around me. Only problem being, by the time we got it tight enough that it actually held my stomach up, it was so tight I could barely breathe and it made my back return to screaming in pain. Nice theory. I'm certain it even works for some women. It did not work for me.

Took more belly shots tonight, since I've hopes this will be about my last opportunity:

Compare that to the one back at 34 or 35 weeks. There's more of a difference than just extra hair on my legs. My tummy is broader, for one. It doesn't look like it sticks out as far, but the truth is I just can't bring my feet in as much as I could seven weeks ago. Geez, I wonder why, LOL.

OK, this next deserves a side-by-side comparison:

Impressive, eh? That first one is 34 weeks, 2 days. The second, 41 weeks, 2 days. Not a huge difference, but an appreciable one. If I knew where my tape measure was, I'd measure myself again, just to see what it says.

Weighed myself on Monday & it said 213. So I've gained about thirty-three pounds. Wow. That's a lot. Not that it bothers me--much. I guess by the time you hit a week overdue, it the whole "ideal weight gain" thing flies out the window anyway.

God, I gotta e-mail these pictures to Mark. He'll get a kick out of them, I think.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

41 weeks--OK, this is getting ridiculous

Day before yesterday, I woke up with contractions. Decided to time them. Two minutes apart. Called Rob at work. He came home. We ran around and did a few last-minute things. Around noon-ish, the contractions started to peter out. So I mixed a little castor oil into a milkshake with the idea of preventing them from stopping, and went and took a nap. Woke up with more contractions. Not so close together, but still pretty regular. Eventually got the pool filled up and went outside to relax in it.

And then...

Nothing. Nada. Kept having contractions, but they got farther & farther apart. Tried to sleep and couldn't--they were still coming often enough to ensure that. I could tell they weren't doing anything. Don't ask me how, but I could. God knows they felt real enough. Well, they *were* real, just not real helpful. Not enough to do anything. But I kept thinking that sooner or later they'd flip over into the real thing. Got permission for Rob to stay home from work. Endured another day of occasional contractions. Still no baby. This is getting insane.

Some time during the first day, we made the mistake of calling our mothers. My mom just keeps calling to see how things are going. His mother--well, there's a reason we didn't mention the term 'homebirth' to her prior to this. She called yesterday to see how it was going, or he called her, and he said that the labor had just petered out, it was apparently false labor but we'd thought it was the real thing because the contractions were two minutes apart.

So she's flipped out because the contractions were close together and now they're not. For some reason in her mind this means an emergency and that we MUST GO TO THE HOSPITAL RIGHT NOW BECAUSE ONLY THE HOSPITAL CAN DEAL WITH THIS. Um, yeah. I've dealt with hospitals. I know that "I was having contractions but now they've stopped," brings the response of "OK, we'll check you out and monitor you...OK, nothing's going on, go on home and come back when the contractions are regular again." Start-and-stop prodromal labor is frustrating as hell, but it is not unusual and it is not an emergency.

So we're not answering the phone anymore. Not when it's them, anyway.

And now, I will whine...

I hurt. All these contractions hurt. Linda, of course, is still nursing. I should get some sort of medal for nursing during any sort of labor, even prodromal. Because of course nipple stimulation helps to bring on contractions, which hurt like hell. This is seriously impeding my ability to nurse her to sleep, however. Something about Mommy occasionally tensing up and starting to whimper in pain isn't very soothing. Geez, can't imagine why.

I do have hopes the baby will decide to come within the next few days. Hopefully by this weekend. He's still moving around plenty, so I'm not worried at all on that account. I'm just getting more & more impatient as I go.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

0 days 23 hours 12 minutes 19 seconds left...

So says my handy-dandy little count down ticker in the corner of my screen. Mozilla Firefox, how I love thee and thy plug-ins.

Really thought I was going to have this kid on Sunday. Was awoken with contractions, which continued the next five or so hours, and then stopped. Just. Stopped.

Further musings from last week's ultrasound...Tech said baby is estimated 7lbs 2oz, but I'm not clear if that was a birthweight estimate or not. Of course, such things are notoriously inaccurate, but it was still interesting to hear. I am also measuring a bit behind, in theory. The LMP due date they gave me at the hospital was 13th October (a 28-day cycle instead of my real 32-day one), so was 39w 3d. Measurements put me at 37w 2d. Which of course doesn't mean a thing either.

All the pieces of the baby are also present & accounted for. Fluid was mildly decreased by the sonographer's measurement--7 where 8 is the minimum of normal. Initial ultrasound done by doctor indicated 9. Of course, slight olgiohydramnios is to be expected at the tail end of pregnancy.

I'm past ready for the baby to be here! Fed it more raw cauliflower and pickles today, as well as a nice rare sirloin and some artichoke hearts. Well, much more than that, but everything save the pickles was dinner.

No almonds, though. I seriously wanted some smoked almonds, and we went to the miniNex in search of them, but none were to be found. So I got a brownie instead. I am still not certain why that was an acceptable substitute...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

38 w 6 d--Hello there.

Let me see if I can make this clear.

Stay the fuck out of my business.

Clear enough? My body, my baby, my birth. That means I have a say in it. That means my husband has a say in it. That means that no one who once talked to me on a message board has a say in it, however nice you may be. It certainly means that no one has any business encouraging others who are still on said message board to quiz me about my birth choices. I have made them as public as I intend to through this blog and through my discussions on MamaDrama & MotheringDotCommune. I have neither the interest nor the energy to deal with the close-mindedness I know I will find on MomsWhoThink. I'm not going to play this game.

We went to the zoo Sunday. I fell. I went to the hospital and got monitored. I'm no fan of medical intervention, but I'm smart enough to use it when warranted. That is why I underwent six hours of near-continuous fetal monitoring after thinking I might have hit my stomach on the ground when I fell. That is why I let them do an internal exam and run all the blood tests that they pleased, why I put up with the first two ultrasounds of an otherwise undisturbed pregnancy.

And by and large the experience reinforced my decisions. I'm too dumb to take care of myself, of course. Funny, then, that I knew exactly how the baby was laying, exactly where my placenta was--data that were confirmed via ultrasound. Funny how both my baby and I are robustly healthy.

In other news...this long-drawn-out labor shit is getting old. I've been having contractions off & on since Saturday night. I had hoped the long walk around the zoo would kick it into gear. No such luck. I was having a butt-ton of contractions whilst being monitored, but I wasn't feeling 90% of them. Going by the ones I can feel, I'm only having one or two an hour. Enough to make me hope something's going to happen soon, but not enough to be making progress, it seems.

All of this makes me wonder how early Bobbie really was. I more or less assigned myself the 28 Feb due date, because it's the only one that really fit in with when I had sex. The first ultrasound I had assigned me a due date of 10th March. Which means she may well have been 9 days early instead of one day past due. I have to wonder what my labor would have been like with her, had my body been allowed to go into labor on its own. And would she have turned head down eventually?

This baby has been confirmed as head down via ultrasound, by the way. Which, as I said, I knew. I wonder if tension, if dread of the hospital, could have prevented the previous two from turning. Or was it a mere matter of neither of the previous two having enough time? Or was it the affirmations? Asking my baby to be head down? Bribing it with the promise of raw cauliflower and pickles?

Speaking of which, I must get more raw cauliflower & pickles...

Monday, October 03, 2005

37w 4d--Still here. Dammit.

I actually look pregnant these days. Very, very pregnant. Linda was already two weeks old by this time. Frustrating. Damn Them for being right about each pregnancy being different.

If I'm pregnant for too much longer, either my head will explode or I will kill my husband. Or both.

I can't sleep. I can't get comfortable. And then when I do finally fall asleep, I can't stay asleep. I get maybe 2 - 3 hours of sleep at a time, and I wake up in pain. Usually my right hip, from sleeping on it all the time. I'd like to lay on my left side, but that tends to make my stomach hurt.

And then my ass has decided to hurt. My right buttcheek, anyway. Badly. Maybe the sciatica I keep hearing about. Feels like someone's stabbing me in the ass, at any rate, and sometimes when I try to walk it zaps down my leg and makes me have to stop short to be sure I don't fall flat on my face and drop whatever I'm holding.

About the only blessing is that the heartburn comes and goes. Which is a good thing, since no amount of antacids makes it go away. Occasionally I get bad sulphur burps that last all day. Miserable. This is why women schedule inductions before their due dates.

I'm taking some herbs said to help you in the last trimester. I'm back with the red raspberry leaf tea. The latest incarnation of that is to boil a bit less than a quart of water, pour it over three teabags, let it steep about 10 minutes, spike it with 5 drops of blue cohosh tincture (tried taking it under the tongue as suggested, but that shit's made with grain alcohol and burns like a mofo!), and use it to wash down my black cohosh tablet. A sort of all-in-one thing. Bedtime brings two evening primrose oil capsules inserted vaginally. So I ought to have one hell of a ripe cervix & toned uterus by the time all of this is over. I'm thinking I'll add in oral EPO tonight. I've considered nipple stim, but Linda takes care of that nicely with her nursing. Can't get comfortable enough to masturbate for the help an orgasm is said to be, and can't get my husband to have sex with me either. Bastard.

Monday, September 19, 2005

35w 5d--tons of contrax

I had enough contractions in the wee early hours of the morning that I thought for a little bit I was going to have to wake Rob up. But then they went away. Had some more this afternoon at lunch, and then all through the time we were grocery shopping and yet again at home. Then I took a nap & had a few more near dinnertime.

And then they went away...

Blah. Braxton-Hicks, technically. The so-called painless "practice" contractions. Painless my ass. They better be doing something. I'll be 36 weeks on Wednesday. I told Rob I don't expect to last out the week. We'll see.

We have everything we need. That we could find, anyway. No baby scales to be had, but we bought an adult scale that weighs in 1/5lb increments, so that will get us close on the weight, at least. Rob wanted to buy a new pool, but we couldn't find one out on town for less than $29, and there's no way I'm paying that much when the one we have only needs a little help. So we aired up all three rings today and scrubbed it out with Ajax with Bleach (I love that stuff). It is now on the front porch, outside the window for the laundry room. Easy access to hot/cold taps that way, & underneath the clothesline so we can hang up some sheets for privacy. So as long as it doesn't rain, I'm all set for outside.

We got a heating pad. I wrapped two blankets around it and put it in a spare pillowcase and shoved the first baby outfit in on top of that. So it can be plugged in and will warm up the blankets & clothes. Baby won't be cold long.

We got the carseat too. That was $120+. But it's a good seat, the Evenflo Triumph V convertible. Consumer Reports Best Buy, ranked higher than the Blessed Britax seats even. Funny how the CR article said the MSRP was $70. We paid nearly twice that, if you include the tax. The older version, the Triumph IV that we have for Linda, we paid the same thing I think, if not $10 more. So I've never gotten it at a price near the "MSRP".

Happily, we finally found some decent-sized onesies. Gerber stuff used to be up to 7lbs for newborn sized onesies. Then they changed their newborn size to 8 - 13 pounds. For newborns. The average newborn is 7lbs. Very few are more than 10. They finally realized how asinine that was, but not before dragging the rest of the industry along with them. They didn't shrink them back down, but they relabeled them as 0-3 months. Carters, meanwhile, until very recently, was the same way. Their newborn stuff was up to 12lbs. They've now changed that size to "up to 3 months," and THANK YOU GOD have restored or brought out a new newborn size in their Child of Mine line which is sold at Wal-Mart--it fits 5 to 8lbs. Which makes them just the right size for my babies. I'm so glad to find that. I've got a 5-pack of white ones in the kitchen still in the package. I'll get some more in appropriate colors just as soon as I figure out what I'm having. I'm just so happy to have found those.

So...Baby, we're ready for you. You come out when you're ready. Everyone wants to meet you.

Monday, September 12, 2005

34w 6d--Look ahead to next week & some stuff I made for the kid.

I have 99% of the baby clothes and blankets washed. Everything is folded/rolled up and set in the bassinette. It needs to be downstairs, but that will wait until I am actually in labor.

A lady online was going to send us the infant car seat she used for her youngest--never in an accident--but she took it to PakMail since she didn't have a box for it, & they wanted $130 to ship it! Bear in mind, the car seat itself is worth maybe $50, and that's here in HI (meaning it's a good $10 - $15 cheaper on the Mainland), & we were to pay her for shipping. Intelligent woman, she told them to go screw themselves (certainly in a different way!) & donated the seat instead.

So Thursday we will go buy a carseat and a baby scale, and then we will have everything we need. Ah, scratch that, we need a new fishy pool, as our current one is in not-too-good condition. But only three things.

Five more days until I am at the same gestational age at which I had Linda Margaret. Nothing to say I'll go then, of course, but the theory is if you go early once, you're that much more likely to go early again. So we shall see, and every day past then is a good one for the baby to bake.

Went to Kaneohe Saturday. They have some of the cutest pixellated camouflage baby clothes. Even a little dress.

And more exciting news--someone actually noticed I was pregnant! Lady who was checking IDs at the Commissary Sunday said I was going to have a boy because of the way I am carrying. Actually, I've noticed I'm carrying the "boy" way too, & we had sex much closer to ovulation this time. So things are aligned in a boy fashion, but there are just no guarantees, especially with me consistently bearing girls. (I know, I know, two girls just make such a pattern!)

Now, to look forward to week 35:
The average-sized baby now weighs 5.5lbs & is 18 inches long.
Baby's lungs are completely developed.

Not a whole heck of a lot of info this week. The only thing the links say other than that bit of info is that the baby's getting fatter & has less & less room in the uterus.

Here's a photo of what I made to be baby's very first outfit:

Cute, huh?

Friday, September 09, 2005

34w 2d--A new kind of belly shot.

Was sitting on the couch crocheting when it occurred to me this'd be a really good photo:
My navel has popped.

Got a nice surprise today. Lady I very much respect on another website inquired about my birth plans, & said she didn't blame me at all for going unassisted! I know better than to share my UC plans widely on that particular site, especially after some of the stuff I read when we were discussing the subject in abstract. Woman in question had said in that thread that UC wasn't something she'd feel comfortable doing. Glad to see she actually does believe in others making their own decisions. So many people merely pay lip service to the idea.

I think more and more that there will be a birth soon. I'm only 9 days out of where I was when I gave birth to Linda. Not that that technically means anything, but I'm starting to feel as if I am in the very earliest stages of labor. Hoping the baby will stay in at least those nine days, if not a lot longer. Might be nice if the baby shared my brother's birthday; he was born 16th September.

Here's what is so odd to me...I could just about eat a whole head of raw cauliflower myself. It's a matter of getting full before the vegetable is gone, not of lack of desire. Baby has my innards squished up enough that I've not much of an appetite. But damn do I love raw cauliflower! I have a bowl in the fridge that has the remains of tonight's, & it's all I can do not to get up and go sit in the kitchen with the bowl in my lap and shove all the rest of it in my mouth. I'm not particularly hungry, mind. I just love the taste of it.

And my scent cravings have come back. Rob is amused greatly by this. I have a little carton of baby powder and a larger bottle of baby lotion. The powder is really what I'm using. It doesn't just smell good, it is handy because of how sweaty I get when I'm pregnant. (Which is a very odd thing that I haven't heard anyone else mention.) I do rub the lotion into my tummy at least daily though, hoping to keep away the itchies. The stretch marks...Well, they're not getting worse.

I have fallen in love with my spare pillow. I must sleep with it between my legs. I don't know why that makes such a difference in my comfort level, but it does. It's the only way I can actually sleep. Not that I'm sleeping a whole hell of a lot. I was actually in bed by this time yesterday, but I laid awake for so blasted long I'm not bothering going up early this time. I don't seem to be able to sleep at night. Is this a sign I'll be having another nighttime baby? Certainly hope so!

To wrap things up, a more conventional belly shot:

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

33 weeks, 6 days

I always get so impatient towards the end. I want the baby here, and I want it here NOW. As in, day before yesterday would be nice, but OK I'll take today if I must. If I could bend over, I'd be sticking my head between my legs and yelling "Hurry up already, haven't you gestated enough!"

But realistically, I know s/he hasn't and so I need to be patient. I am a day away from the earliest I feel comfortable with UC, and about two weeks away from where I gave birth last time (was written down as 35w 4d but was exactly 1 month before my EDD). So I am headed into the home stretch & can really feel that I am. And it's driving me insane.

Nesting, me? Heh. In my own way. Compulsively buying up baby things. The thrift store we bought the stuff for the hurricaine victims at was having a 50% off everything sale today. You can imagine what a pleasant experience
that was. Thought it'd be a good idea to buy some towels today for the birth. Too bad everyone else in Honolulu apparently also wanted towels, and got there long before we did. The one rack with towels on it was stripped almost completely bare. I was able to find 2 towels that actually had price tags on them. The $1.99 ones I'd intended to get, thankfully. Will go back next pay period & grab a couple more.

Other than that, though, we did pretty well. Got four newborn onesies, one little shirt, and one pair of yellow shorts. All pretty much unisex, though I'm probably fooling myself with the John Lennon onesie, since its background color is blue. But it still looks unisex to me. Maybe I should be making myself a few headbands in case it's a girl...All in all, though, with the towels and the baby clothes, we only spent $5.70. The onesies were all 99-cents before the discount. I think we'll be going back there pretty soon after the baby is born, because they've got a whole lot of stuff that's really cute & in good shape, but gender-specific.

Rob is still hoping for a boy. I'm still hoping for a girl. OK, OK, I'm actually in the "I don't care, I just want to meet you already!" phase. Part of me thinks a boy would be neat, but damn I'm cheap I want to recycle the girls' clothes I already own. Still remember telling my insurance agent when I was pregnant with Linda that I was secretly hoping for another girl so I could reuse all of Bobbie's clothes. Maybe a second round is a bit much to ask, eh?

Come payday, though, I want to pick up at least one package of preemie onesies at the NEX if they have them in stock. I told Rob tonight I think I've got maybe two weeks left. Intuition? Dunno. But that's what it feels like. I am into that restless as hell stage, as I've been reiterating, and crampy all day today, which is sort of my form of Braxton-Hicks. What's insanely frustrating is that I still can't tell which end is up. Still. Guess I'll find out eventually, when we see what the presenting part is, but it would be nice to have a head-down baby for once. I've threatened it with a package of frozen collard greens on its head. Putting something cold up top is supposed to induce the baby to turn, especially combined with a bright light down below. So I was joking tonight about throwing all the turn-a-breech tricks at it at once--take the pulsatilla then lay upside down on the ironing board with frozen veggies on my fundus and a flashlight between my legs and have Rob get down there and tell the baby to turn around. Wonder if it would actually work...

Sunday, September 04, 2005

33 weeks, 4 days

I am so peeved. I read a story about some pregnant women who'd been evacuated from Keesler AFB to Lackland AFB. So I reasoned that perhaps they would need some things. So I had my mother (who is actually still in San Antonio) call the base and ask about it. Oh yes, they welcome donations. They're happy for anything we can send.

So, I buy some stuff. Mind you, I'm putting off buying things for my own baby to buy these things. And I posted it online too, figuring the more help the better, right? Today I log on to one of the sites and someone else is saying she called them (I posted phone numbers as well), and they don't want any more donations of things. Several possibilities come to mind. 1) Whoeever my mother spoke to was clueless (should say, everyone she spoke to was clueless, since she was told at least twice that they welcomed what could be sent) and they really ARE all set. 2) Whoever this other person talked to was clueless and they DO need things. 3) Whoever this other lady talked to is lazy & doesn't want to deal with donated items/would rather have money. 4) They have adequate donations for adults but could still use stuff for the babies. 5) This other person online is full of shit & just trying to make me look bad.

Only possibility number 4 really appeals to me. Number five would just piss me off, and number 1 would really set me off. I spent a good $20 that I could really have used for other things on what I thought was a good cause. I don't have the energy to hunt down someone else willing to take goods. Everyone wants money, but judging from what I've read several places on line, a lot more people are able to give things than to give money.

This is just going to burn me out. I want to do something. Physically I can do little, being so far from the source of the disaster, and 8 months pregnant to boot. I got info on two families to help out, to send stuff to. I have one address right now. That box will go out on Tuesday. I am going to be royally pissed if I never get an address for the second family. More money I spent trying to get useful stuff. This is why some folks never do anything charitable. I try to do something good, and I get kicked down. Pisses me off.

But...Still pregnant. At least that is good. Here's the info for week 33, which I am more than half finished with, but oh well:

Rapid brain growth has increased the size of the baby's head approx. 3/8" this week!
I've got all the amniotic fluid I'm going to get; the amount will remain constant until delivery.
If it's a boy, his testicles have descended. A girl gets only a prominent clitoris...(Too bad they don't stay prominent, maybe then my husband would be able to find mine!)
Baby is approx. 17.5" long & weighs just over 4 pounds.

Since I'm almost done with 33, here's some info for 34:

The baby's eyes are open when she's awake, & closed when she's asleep.
She's developing the immunities to fight slight infection.
Fingernails are at the ends of the fingertips already.
The grasping reflex is already present.
Baby has gained half an inch and half a pound from the week before.

If memory serves, the average baby gains half a pound a week (comforting thought, when mama's gaining a pound a week) during the third trimester.

I had Linda at 35w 4d, so I'm only 2 weeks from where I gave birth last time. Scary thought. Still don't really have the birth supplies I'd like to have. Stupid thoughts of charity sidetracked me. (Ah well, if I can't send that stuff to Lackland & I have a boy, I've got some really nice things for him!) Still don't have much of a clue as to a name. Probably Esther or Judith. Yep, I like the old names.

Measured my fundus, & it's holding steady at 36 cm. Not really any more room for it to grow upwards. I still can't tell from kicks or from palpating which way the baby is facing. Half the time I think it must be double-headed, the other half it seems as if I've got two bottom halves instead of two top halves. Frustrating as hell. I've got the pulsatilla that's supposed to be very good at turning babies, but I don't know if I need it or not.

When you've had 2 breech babies, what're the chances of having a third not breech?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

31 weeks even

Time for another belly shot:
Cool photo, except for the whole demon-eye thing. I just couldn't get the red-eye correction to come out looking right, so I left it out this time. My belly is yet more prodigious. I really feel as if I am coming to the end of my skin's ability to stretch. The stretchmarks aren't growing, but my stomach itches a lot.

I had a classic pregnant moment tonight. I ate four small dill pickles. I hate dill pickles when I'm not pregnant, but for some reason when gestating I cannot get enough of them. I had the very distinct impression that if I'd brought the jar out of the kitchen as I had the urge to, I'd eat the whole blasted thing in one sitting. And my husband & kids just wouldn't understand. OK, the kids wouldn't. The husband would think it was hilarious.

I am pretty sure this baby is vertex. Either that, or it's two-headed. I was getting kicks this evening right under my ribs on both sides at the same time. Good indication that it's not a head up there. Yay me.

Last time I weighed myself, I weighed 196.5 pounds. Up 14.5 from my prepregnancy weight of 182, up 20.5 pounds from my lowest first-trimester weight of 176. So I'm doing OK there. I have managed to misplace all three of my tape measures, so I cannot indulge my urge to measure my uterus.

Info on this week from online:

Baby is now concentrating on gaining weight, not lengthening.
Growth in general is slowing, but the brain is undergoing a period of rapid development.
The only major organs left to develop are the lungs, but they and the digestive tract are nearly mature.
If the baby is a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum.
Baby's pupils now respond to light.
Baby has attained the typical newborn coloring due to fat deposits.
Fingernails might be to the ends of the fingers.
Baby is now a little over 3lbs and 16 inches long.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

29 weeks 1 day

I redid my blog, which is quite obvious. I love the way it turned out. I did it in a lazy way, since I'm not really familiar with HTML (can only do the basics); I downloaded the graphics and overwrote them to ensure I had the right size for everything. Have to wonder if it's technically ethical, but oh well. I'm not stealing anyone's bandwidth. Just the HTML that Blogger provided me for free, so I guess it's OK.

But this isn't a blog about HTML. It's a blog about pregnancy.

This particular belly shot is from last week, I just never got around to uploading it here. I am now quite obviously pregnant. What a difference a month makes, eh? I was wearing today a dress I haven't worn since the early days of my pregnancy, and it no longer hangs on me. Not on my tummy, anyway. It's quite tight across there. I like it, actually. I realize most strangers probably think I'm a fat chick with no fashion sense, as I'm trying to show off my belly. But I don't honestly care.

It feels as if my fundus is maybe two fingers below my sternum. I haven't been able to comfortably bend over from the waist for quite some time now, and I'm losing the ability to sleep comfortably in most positions.

Pregnancy Updates from Online:

The baby's head is in proportion to the rest of the body, and fat is continuing to accumulate.
The brain can control primitive breathing and can also somewhat regulate body temperature.
The eyes can move in the sockets, and the baby has started to develop a sense of smell.
The baby can not only detect light, but will move his head towards any source of light. (This must be where the advice to shine a bright light down by your crotch in order to turn a breech baby comes from!)
Baby's bone marrow is completely in charge of red blood cell production.
Baby pees about a half-liter into the amniotic fluid every day (by the end of pregnancy, amniotic fluid is mostly baby pee).
Baby weighs in at about 2.5 pounds and is 15 inches long.

No interest in getting up from the computer to measure my uterus. I'm still going to be measuring ahead, LOL.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

28 weeks 1 day

My pregnancy book seems to have successfully hidden from me, so I can't update from it right now. Luckily, I have an alternate source.

The following is from StorkNet's Pregnancy Week-by-Week Guide, for week 28 (with some added in from's Week-by-Week Guide):

Eyebrows & eyelashes are now present, & hair is starting to grow on the head (not too much, knowing my babies)...
Eyelids are open & eyes are completely formed & can differentiate between light & dark...
Baby weighs abou 2lbs & has 2% - 3% bodyfat (approx. half the weight of the average bag of sugar)...
Baby is 10" long...
Lungs are capable of breathing air but aren't yet mature...
Baby can recognize mama's voice...
Fundus is about 3" above navel (mine is more like 4.25" above it)

Hmm, methinks that's a better source than the book! Certainly has more info.

Gratuitous illustration:
Cute, isn't it? One hopes mine is head down. I keep thinking it might be, but there are so many little bumps and smacks I really can't tell. I'm pretty sure I was able to feel a little foot pushing against my hand earlier today, and up top too, but I'm not certain.

My stats this week:
I weigh 193.5 pounds, for a gross gain of 17.5 pounds & a net gain of 11.5 pounds. On the low end of the normal range if you account for gross weight gain, a bit below normal if you take my start weight into account. If I work with the theory of gaining a pound a week in the third trimester and the further theory that I'll go to 40 weeks, I can expect a 29.5 pound gain, total. I doubt I'll gain that much, but we'll see. Not that it bothers me, the prospect. Just I don't think it will happen.

My uterus is 33.5 cm this week. A centimeter up from last week, so right on with my own normal curve, though still measuring significantly ahead. My tummy is now 43" circumference, two inches greater than the last time I measured, back in week 24. It's about time for more belly shots, too, but I'm not in the mood for those tonight.

I have started drinking red raspberry leaf tea. It's supposed to help tone the uterus. The box says to drink 3 cups a day, so I take 3 teabags & make a pitcher of iced tea with it. Worked well until I drank the last of it today, & we're broke til the first! Ah well, some say not to start drinking it til 36 weeks. It doesn't give me braxton-hicks contractions, though, so I'm comfy with drinking it early. Will definitely buy a bigger box, or two boxes, next time, though. I'm not too worried about missing a few days this early on, but I don't want to miss any in the future.

Once I hit 34 weeks, I'll start evening primrose oil orally, and at 36 weeks I'll switch to vaginally. EPO isn't usually started until 36 weeks, period, but since I had Linda by then, it makes sense for me to start a little earlier.

We're telling Linda this is her baby. We told Bobbie that Linda would be hers, so it's only fair that this one is Linda's. And the cute thing is, Baby is definitely reacting to Linda's voice. Well, her hollering, at any rate. Bobbie hollers too, but Baby reacts only to Linda. I guess it's more familiar with her, because she's the one usually cuddled up to me.

We have added another girl's name into consideration, Judith. Nice old-fashioned name. Ranked 542 last year, an 85-place jump from the year before. Hasn't been in the top 100 since 1964. The height of its popularity was 1940, when it was at #4. So it's got the same feel as the others. Hmm...




The thing that gives me pause is neither daughter's name lends itself easily to a nickname, but Judith does. Ah well, we'll wait to name the baby til it's here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Twenty-seven weeks even. Happy Third Trimester!

Twenty-seven weeks marks the start of the third trimester. According to my ticker in the corner of my browser, there are 90 days, 22 hours, 29 minutes, and 39 seconds remaining in my pregnancy. Not that I expect to go all the way to the end, as I was a month early last time.

From the book:

Baby now weighs a little more than two pounds.
Crown-to-rump length is 9.6 inches, and total length is 15.3 inches. (I tend to give birth to 18 or 19-inchers.)
The uterus measures 27 cm from pubic symphysis to fundus. In theory. In practice, it is 32.5 cm, which is 5 "weeks" ahead, but consistent growth for me, about 2 cm more than the last time I measured.

The baby can, in theory, see now. The retina has formed, at least. Of course, the womb is a rather dark place, so what the baby can actually see is anyone's guess, I suppose. It's probably starting to blink, at any rate.

I still cannot discern the baby's position. Probably breech, knowing me. If not completely transverse. Sigh. It's not sitting still from day-to-day.

Third trimester pain has started. Started last week, actually. A bit early. Nothing like going around with an icepick stabbing you at the base of your spine...Usually this is when I start to question why the hell I don't just adopt. This time...I dunno. I'm groovy. Mellow. My marriage seems to be falling apart around me, but I'm in some other universe with the fetus. Odd. Very odd.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

25w 2d OWWW!

First off, let's see what the book says...

Baby weighs 1.5 pounds
Crown-to-rump length is 8.8 inches
Uterus is about the size of a soccer ball (yeah, right!)
Top of the uterus is halfway between bellybutton & sternum.

The "Daddy Tip" this week is to do the grocery shopping. "This may be an unsettling prospect for some men, but cell phones have made men better shoppers." On the one hand, it's sexist as hell. On the other hand, my husband does frequently call me to verify things now that we both have cell phones.

OK, time for Sabra's Uterine Reality Check. There's really no need to measure my uterus every time, but I'm bored and so I will anyway. Instead of 25 weeks, I'm measuring ~29 or 30 weeks. Still ahead, but at least consistently 4 to 5 weeks ahead. So offhand, I'm guessing this will be (at least relatively speaking) a big baby. Either that, or it's twins, which isn't bloody likely.

On to the OW...

I finished crocheting a little yellow dress (with blue trim, God it's adorable!) tonight and decided to go digging for my buttons. Easier said than done. They're in the bottom of one of those humongous plastic storage tubs, so brilliant me decided to heft it onto the floor (it was stacked on top of another such tub). OW! My whole pelvis hurts now. I stressed a stretched-out ligament or something. No serious damage done, of course. No damage at all, most likely. But damn it hurts.

Word to the wise: if you can't bend over from the waist because your stomach's getting in the way, you shouldn't be wrestling heavy things to the floor.

one last thing...

Dear God, my tits have grown AGAIN. I did not think it was physically possible. But it must be. And it had to have happened in the past week. I mean, I put on tonight a dress that I last wore this weekend, Sunday I think. Then, it fit perfectly. Now, it's tight, but only in the bodice. And I know it didn't get shrunk, because I hadn't washed it (kinda grody I know, but I'd only worn it a very short time on Sunday, I swear it didn't stink, & we weren't getting out of the van anyway). My boobs no longer fit in the dress. Eek. I noticed a little tightness in my bra when I was taking it off, too. But that may just be my imagination. I do hope I'm wrong and I just didn't have the dress adjusted properly or something...

Sunday, July 03, 2005

24 weeks 5 days...Homebirth

Birth is not an Emergency
It's an Emergence, See?

This is my new motto for birth. Someone mentioned it on Laura Shanley's website for unassisted childbirth. I'm adding it to my affirmations. Thus far, they are:

My body is strong and made for giving birth.
My baby is healthy and will be born healthy.
My baby will be head down for birth.
My birth will go well and my baby will be born.

I will now add the following:

Birth is not an emergency. It's an emergence, see?
My pelvis is soft and flexible and moves to allow my baby through.
I will stay centered and balanced in labor, surrendering to each contraction to bring my baby into the world, within the perfect length of time.
My baby will grow to the perfect size for my body to birth naturally.
My cervix will open fully, like a flower to the sun, to allow my baby through.
I now choose to have a loving, gentle birth at home.
My baby is safe and nutred and instinctively knows what to do.
My body was made for giving birth and knows instinctively what to do.
Through pain I will find strength, through birth I will find healing.

I'll add others as I think of them. I believe strongly in the power of the mind. With my first daughter's birth, I was induced. I started having contractions right when I thought they put the Pitocin in my IV bag--a good five hours before they actually did. So I know how belief affects reality. I'll ask the baby to come at a good time, and I'll be s/he will. We'll see.

In fact, I'll pick a birth date now and whisper it to the baby. My "official" EDD is 19th October 2005. Pretty good, since not very many cousins are born in October. My brother was born 16th September, so that's tempting. But I'd like to go to at least 37 weeks. So let's aim for 30th September. I just really don't want an October baby; my mother was born in October.

Baby...come 30th September.

That part is to be continued...

I used to watch "A Baby Story" all the time. I can't do it anymore. Birth...Birth should not be violent.

I was looking for photos I could use as a basis for some pregnancy graphics I want to make. So I did a Google Image search on "homebirth." Then I did one on just "birth." The latter gives lots of hospital birth photos.

And you know, the difference is distinct. I've seen lots of photos from hospital births. The women in them never look truly happy. Some look drugged, some look pained. None look happy, much less ecstatic. But the homebirth mamas...even the ones in obvious pain, they look HAPPY. Not just happy, HAPPY. Ecstatic. When was the last time you heard of a woman having an orgasmic birth in the hospital? I never have. It's just not the right venue. Home is. Which of course is not to say that every home birth is orgasmic. Just that it's more likely to happen at home than anywhere else.

"I had been told to expect a 'dogging pain,' but was unprepared for the sensation of sexual ecstasy, the voluptuous feeling of penetration....Crouched on my knees on the little afghan, I caught the infant who rushed from my vagina into the small world between my legs, in the midst of an extraordinary orgasm from the inside out."
-From They Don't Call it a Peak Experience for Nothing, by Ruth Claire(Mothering, Fall 1989)

That's from Laura Shanley's website. That's the sort of thing I aim for. Not the frightening, helpless births of my first two. A happy birth. A fulfilled one. An active birth. I want my baby to have that sleepy happiness I only see in photos of homebirthed babies, not the fright and neediness of hospital-birthed babies.

(The next time you watch "A Baby Story", look at it objectively and see how they terrorize the mother and child, especially that poor newborn. I've always thought "newborn care" was more torment than anything. Certainly not the welcome a new human deserves!)

Friday, July 01, 2005

24 weeks 3 days Hooray for Viability!

Baby's officially viable at 24 weeks. That's when a baby is more likely than not to survive, though it doesn't hit about 90% til 27 weeks.

What is new for this week?

Baby weighs approximately 1.2 pounds, & 8.4 inches long.

I'm measuring way ahead again, 28 or 29 weeks instead of 24. I've really "popped" over the past week or so. Still, +/- 3 weeks is considered normal. so +4 isn't really out there. Book says my uterus should be 1.5 or 2 inches above my navel, but mine is 3" up. Only 1" more in circumference, though.

24 weeks belly Posted by Picasa

That's the latest tummy-shot.

More from the book:

Baby is filling out. Its face & body look more like an infant at the time of birth. Quarters are starting to get cramped. (Really, I can feel it flippin' around in there.) Amniotic fluid volume is approximately 12 oz, & will top out at 2 pints around 36 weeks.


I like this baby. Very interactive. I still very much enjoy playing games. Funny how not having to dread the hospital at the end of the tunnel makes for a much calmer Mama.