Monday, June 30, 2008

Clean Bill of Health

Jacob had his first doctor's appointment today, and he's doing well. He's now 10 days old and weighs in at 6 lbs. 14 0z., which means that he's surpassed his birth weight before the two week target. That was a huge load off my mind, because as his sole source of nourishment, I want to make sure he's getting enough. Despite a wacky feeding schedule and some random spit-up episodes, it appears he is. All of our other questions for the pediatrician came up as normal, and other than him peeing on the table, it was a pretty uneventful visit. He can even skip an appointment and not go back until late July. (I think because he was in the hospital a week, it threw off his schedule. He would have gone in a week or so ago, most likely, then again this week, but it was either go in again Friday or just wait until the month checkup. Since he's over his birth weight, there was really no need to go again this week.)

The time home has been good, though he's had a couple middle of the night wide awake periods, which are tough to deal with. We're afraid his clock is a little backwards right now, but hopefully that will work itself out. Other than one long stretch of being awake at night, he sleeps really well, so I guess we can't complain. He's such a cutie, and although I wish I didn't have such fear every time I went to change him (projectile poo is still a problem...and then he added a fountain into the mix this morning), things are going pretty well. I haven't been able to get much done around the house that I wanted to, however, even with Craig home yesterday and today. Yesterday I took my first trip out alone, which was really needed. Much easier to leave Jacob home with Craig for a couple hours than to try to explain to Craig exactly what he needed to buy at Wal-Mart and Wegmans. It was good to get out, but it's not quite the carefree shopping experience that I was so used to before!

I guess that's about it for now. I will try to post some new pictures one of these days...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Home at Last

Blame it on sleep deprivation...I had posted an entry a couple days ago but when I logged in today, it wasn't there. Turns out I had inadvertently posted it to Craig's Rattlers' blog because he had been signed in on the computer we were using at the hospital. Ugh. Probably a lot of confused lacrosse fans out there! Now that that's fixed, you get two posts in one day, sort of...

Jacob finally came home yesterday morning. It was the end of a very long week. We got to stay overnight at the hospital again, which gave us our first taste of nearly-24-hour-a-day care, and it was tough. He was up for a couple hours at one point, and nothing was calming him down. Definitely not a lot of sleep.

Once he was home yesterday Craig had to go off to work, so it was just me and Jacob for the day. He took a really long nap in the afternoon, and unfortunately, that happened to be the nap I was running around the house getting things sorted out a bit, instead of taking my nap (which I had tried to do the nap before, which only lasted about an hour). By the evening my nerves were starting to fray a bit, because the house was hot and I was worried about how it was impacting Jacob. His eating pattern has been off a bit, so that was bothering me too. I'm definitely feeling a bit inadequate. I know that's relatively normal for the first couple days home from the hospital, but he IS a week old and I'm feeling much better physically than most new moms when their babies come home...but my lack of baby experience up to this point in my life is making me really nervous. I know babies don't need a lot at this stage, just to be fed, to sleep, to be changed, and to have a little interaction. But it's hard to read him sometimes and I feel like I don't even know the right questions to ask when I have the chance. I just don't want my inexperience and exhaustion to leave him vulnerable to anything.

Anyway, he has now learned how to projectile poop. He did it to me twice in the span of about 12 hours. Really nasty. The first night home was so-so. I agonized over trying to swaddle him because the house was so warm, but it seemed to be ok. He didn't feel too hot, and in fact, he slept well. Almost too well, because I'm feeling like I'm going to have to start waking him up during these long spans of sleep to make sure he's getting fed enough during the day. His odd feeding (shorter feedings...he seems to lose interest after a while, then needs an additional shorter feeding later) continued into this morning, and now I'm waiting for him to wake up to feed again. I got some decent sleep, though not enough (never enough!). Oh, and I suppose I should shower, too, while Craig's still here. Life as a new parent...

Speaking of Craig, today is our 5th wedding anniversary. How time flies! We were listening to the rain pour outside this morning and felt relieved that today wasn't our wedding day! We had a great wedding with a beautiful day...and I can't believe it's been five years. Unfortunately, Craig is off to work in a bit for a Rattlers' home game today. He's got most of the next week off, thankfully, but there are still some work commitments that he needs to attend to. I'll be getting some help from my cousin Lori this afternoon, which will be nice. She's dying to hold Jacob (after him being hooked up for so long at the hospital and not being able to be held by other people), so my arms should be a bit freer this afternoon :) Hopefully I will chill out a bit today (figuratively and literally) and be able to enjoy this experience a little more. He's such an amazing little guy, but the constant demand can make it tough to smell the roses a bit. Have a nice weekend :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Almost Normal...

Sorry I left that negative post up for a couple days...I didn't mean to, but it's been a busy couple days since. More time at the hospital, but more breaks, too. I feel much better. I finally just had to accept that he might have to get some formula here and there, that there was nothing I could do about him being here for a week and it making nursing more difficult. I'm still adjusting to my new body a bit, but I'm not nearly as uncomfortable as I was for a while, so that helps as well. It was a rough day or two, but I am feeling much more positive now.

Having my parents in town the past few days was great. They were really helpful, for moral support, transportation, taking care of things around the house, and just being doting grandparents! Things are progressing nicely with Jacob. He's mostly been here for his antibiotics the past few days. He was off one of his monitors earlier in the week, then got rid of a few more hookups. Now the only thing making him the "bionic baby" is the IV port in his hand. I don't miss working around his wires when changing his diapers, that's for sure!

He's eating more and getting a lot more alert. It's been a process trying to get to know him, since we haven't been able to spend a lot of solid time with him. A few hours here and there, then time off to get a meal or go home for the night. The breaks are nice, but getting used to his rhythms is going to take a while. Today my parents and I got here in the morning and got to go right into the overnight room, which is where Craig and I are staying tonight, with Jacob...our first night with just him and us. The room is about 4 times the size of the room I had been hanging out in, and has a bed, a couch, and a couple chairs, as well as a bathroom, TV, and fridge. Much better to hang out in all day...a little closer to home life, anyway. Speaking of which, that should begin tomorrow afternoon! It's nerve-wracking, but it will be so nice to get him home. I feel much better about the prospect of exclusively taking care of him now that I'm physically feeling better. I don't know how new moms do it when they go home with their babies after two days of recovery. Ugh. Not that this was fun either, but I guess I'm relieved that I can focus completely on him and not me now. Craig will have a lot of time off in the next couple weeks, between the holiday and vacation, so that will be great.

The little guy is waking up now, and judging by my chest, I think it's about time to eat, too...so time to go for now!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rough Day

Before you get too worried, don't...Jacob's doing fine. He was even off the monitors all day today. He's back under the bilirubin lights again, but once again they're just being extra cautious and trying to treat the jaundice before it gets too bad. He responded well last time, so they're hoping he will again. In the meantime, he's doing his best to poop it all out (yes, that helps).

I probably should be sleeping instead of writing this, but it's been a long day and I have to pump again in an hour so I think it would be worse having to drag myself back out of bed than missing out on an extra half hour of sleep or so. Maybe that logic is what got me to where I am today, but I'm going to stick with it at least for tonight. Anyway, I've always been pretty honest on this blog, so why stop now? Today was a tough one. It started out with me waking up 100% sure that my milk has really come in. Not to be graphic, but my chest was really sore and rather firm...and not in a good way. For those of you who have never had a baby, just know that your chest is no longer your own, in so many ways. Then I realized that I have nothing to wear. I still have to wear maternity clothes because of my belly, but my nursing bra isn't really the right shape or support to wear with any of my maternity tops...or other shirts, for that matter. On top of that, the nursing pads were really obvious under everything. I was expecting to be home for weeks straight following delivery, so I went for comfort on all counts. Not so good when you have to go out in public. Then I forgot my pumped breast milk when we went to the hospital. Craig said good morning to Jacob and then went off to work. He's saving the vacation time for when Jacob is finally home. My parents came in this morning for a couple days and finally got to hold Jacob, which was nice.

Pretty much the whole day, from 9am to after 7pm, I was in the same little room adjacent to the special care nursery. We were in the same room for a good chunk of the day yesterday as well. It's small and has no windows, but it's private for needing to nurse and it allows us to spend most of the day with Jacob. It was an up and down day, with Jacob's feedings a little crazy (a continuation from last night--just some oddball stuff that I'm attributing (right or wrong) to him getting supplemented with formula, bottle feeding with both breast milk and formula, and getting a pacifier to soothe him periodically when he freaks out during treatments) and him just ending up overtired from a lot of stimulation. He slept well for a while in the afternoon after needing the pacifier (ugh...really never wanted to use them, but I'm finding out that they have a certain function) to chill out. Regardless, I was pretty good until later this afternoon, when things just started to compound. Whether it's some hint at postpardom depression or a case of the "baby blues" (I hate that term...it seems really condescending for something that's actually pretty serious), I don't know. I know it's easy enough to chalk it up to lack of sleep and an overwhelming set of life changes, but I'm not convinced it's as simple as that. Hormones can be crazy, and I'm sure they're part of the equation too. In any event, after my parents left to go retrieve the breast milk in the fridge and drop off their stuff, and once Craig arrived at the hospital from work, I had a meltdown. It lasted a good three hours or more, with me being pretty inconsolable that whole time. My head still hurts, actually. There are a lot of factors behind it, including hormones and lack of sleep, I'm sure. But in general the biggest thing is a frustration with the nursing process. As I mentioned yesterday, a third of my existence now revolves around that. Nursing, pumping, waking up to do either, thinking about needing to pump to try to minimize the formula they have to supplement it with, dealing with the discomfort of it all, and getting frustrated if Jacob doesn't appear to be nursing quite like he was or how I'd like him to...it's a vicious circle. One issue just leads into the next, and it gets overwhelming. It all leads into other issues about being a good mother and things like that, but I know a lot of that is just an overly emotional addition to the nursing thing, which I consider a real, non-hormone-induced issue. No matter how many nurses or lactation consultants or loving family members you have telling you that you're doing your best, it never seems to be quite enough. And I'm not saying this to elicit pity (I don't want it right now...it just seems to make things worse)...it's just a very real feeling and it's a tough one to deal with. I know I'm doing my best, but in the end you wonder if the effort is worth it. For example, why kill myself to try to nurse if in the end he's going to end up on formula, either because I just can't provide enough breastmilk or because I'm going to send myself on a path to the antidepressants trying to do so? I know breast milk is best and I know formula is still 100% fine, but both ends of the spectrum are tough. Mixing isn't ideal but is completely possible, and that has been happening to some extent already. Some research on the internet tonight made me feel a bit better about it all, but it's still really hard.

However, I need to cut myself some slack, or I'm going to go nuts. I still have to get up and pump every three hours, and I'm going to do my best to keep Jacob on as much breast milk as possible...but I know I can't do it all so I just have to accept that he's going to get his share of formula this week. I am hoping that it won't screw anything up for him--taste-wise, nursing technique-wise, or with nipple confusion (that's a real thing--look it up)--but it's a risk that's going to have to be taken. I just have to keep in mind that it's temporary and there's nothing I can do about the fact that he's in the hospital...it's an extenuating circumstance that wasn't planned for. If he had just come home, I'd still be having some of these frustrations, but the barriers to normal nursing that I have now wouldn't be there (geography, spending the whole day in the same room, less opportunities for "fun" with him (most of my interaction seems rather "business-like" right now)), and most likely I'd find a way to deal. But right now the issues have compounded and I feel a bit like I've been hit by a truck.

I still have to figure out what to do about tomorrow. I don't think mentally I can take another day in that room. I think I'll have to do a lot of pumping, spend a little time at the hospital, and try to get some distance from the whole thing. Sucks to say that about something involving your own newborn child, but I think it's important right now. It's still a long week. I want to make sure my parents see Jacob a bunch while they're here (they can't without Craig or me there), but they also want a sane daughter so I think they'll understand if we don't do another marathon session. On the bright side, the less time we're there, the more time he'll spend under the lights getting better. A little less interaction here and there for the rest of the week hopefully won't scar him for life....but a crazy mom might.

Anyway, it's time to pump. My apologies for the extra long, extra depressing post. I am hoping not to dwell on this too much in the days to come, but it may still pop up a bit because it's all a part of the process. I didn't think it would be fair to gloss over it or not mention it at all, because as great as Jacob is, not everything is perfect and wonderful. The blog can be great therapy, and hopefully tomorrow things will feel a little better. Oh, and please no "rah-rah" comments...I know this is normal, I know I'm doing my best, I know parenting is tough for everyone...like I said, I didn't want pity with this post. Just trying to be honest and present the full picture as best I can. I know it will all work out, but this is defintely a process to be reckoned with. I'll get there.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cool Things about the Little Man

The past couple days I've spent a ridiculous amount of time staring at Jacob. It's partly because I can't take my eyes off him, and partly because of proximity...I spend practically a third of the day nursing him, after all. He just amazes me over and over again. Some things that make him extra cool:

1) He's got a dimple - He inherited a single dimple on his right cheek from Craig. You can't always see it, but when he makes certain faces it shows up and is the cutest thing ever.

2) He's got pretty hair - Yet another thing I think he got from Craig is some cool natural highlights to his hair. Craig's hair has a nice golden shine to it in certain light, and Jacob's hair has the same thing. And it's perfect baby hair...not too much, not too little.

3) He squeaks - Even his cries are pretty cute right now, most of the time, because he does this squeaking thing. It's pretty endearing.

4) His little fingers and toes - Like any baby he's got adorable little fingers and toes, with tiny little nails. They're still a little ragged because I never remember to bring an emery board to fix them, but it's an amazing thing to see how they look in their most primitive state. You read during pregnancy about things like that, that the baby has developed fingernails at week whatever...and their current ragged state is how they were made. And he's really started to use his hands a lot, even if he doesn't know what he's doing with them yet.

5) His Superman pose - Sometimes when we burp him, he sticks his arms straight out into this Superman pose...it is so cute.

6) He's a trooper - Labor was no fun for me either, but the poor kid didn't ask to be born into this world...he just had to deal with it and be born. Along the way his head got squished through a pelvis with the assistance of a vacuum. Yikes. As a reward, he ended up with this huge bruise on his head. It looked pretty ugly for a couple days and is finally going away now, but it hurt just looking at it. However, once in a while I'd catch myself kissing his head pretty close to it, and he didn't even flinch.

Those are just a few of the cool things. He seems to be doing well...he responded well to the bilirubin lights, enough that he wasn't even on for 24 hours. I don't think the jaundice is completely gone, but they seem pleased with his progress. His low oxygen episodes were becoming fewer and fewer, so they've taken off one of his monitors. It makes me nervous, but he was always recovering from them on his own, pretty much, so it appears he's making progress and is mostly here for the antibiotics now, just to be certain he'll come home healthy.

We had a nice morning with him today after spending the night in the overnight room adjacent to the nursery. If only we could do that every night. We got to hang out with him alone for the first time. It simultaneously made me feel more comfortable and more nervous at the thought of bringing him home. We had fun, though, because it gave us more of a chance to get to know him. I finally got to leave the hospital for the first time today, and we skipped the afternoon feeding (courtesy of my new best friend the breast pump--not really...those things are helpful but borderline torture devices) so we could go home and get some things settled. We came back this evening and have had a less than helpful nurse running the nursery, but we've got one more feeding around midnight before heading home for the night. I'll be back first thing tomorrow, because pumped milk only goes so far right now.

For tonight I'll leave you with a little treat...the chance to hear his little squeaks!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

One week...

I guess I'm getting my wish, in a really backwards way. Remember how I desperately wanted to have this baby right on time? Well, obviously that didn't go quite according to plan, but the timing of bringing him home may be about the same as if I did. Jacob's going to have to stay in the hospital another week, on antibiotics to clear up a touch of pneumonia in his lung. That seems to be the only reason his oxygen levels go down periodically, so they really need to keep him here and clear that up before sending him home with us. He's also under the bilirubin lights now to clear up a bit of jaundice before it gets out of hand. He started to get a little yellow--not a surprise given that his blood type is different from mine-so they got him started on it now. We just keep saying that he's putting on his shades and getting a good tan :) I'm getting discharged today but will be spending the night here tonight in the overnight room adjacent to the nursery. I can't stay every night because the room has to be shared among other parents, but I will probably get another night later this week. In the meantime I will be discovering the wonderful world of the breast pump, to try to keep him well-stocked with breast milk while I'm not here. It's going to be tough trying to work out a good schedule for getting me here to see him periodically, since Craig's probably going to work most of this week (better to be off when Jacob's finally home) and I'm not supposed to drive yet. It's going to be a long week, for sure. On the bright side, we can catch up on some sleep in anticipation of having him home next week, and we can finish up anything that didn't get done before he arrived. So, in a touch of irony, we'll get the week back that we didn't get before. Definitely not how we planned it, though.

It's obviously tough leaving him behind. However, they're assuring us that he'll come out of all of this fine. As a result, it's hard to get too upset because things could be so much worse. He could have been born with any number of major problems, and he wasn't. He's got something totally treatable, and he's in great hands. I feel better having him here getting the right care, rather than having him home and freaking out 24/7 worrying about his breathing. The logistics of being apart from him for a week are probably my biggest worry right now, weird as that sounds. But regardless, it will be so nice to finally get him home and just enjoy him for a change. The little bit of time we have with him each feeding when he's not actually feeding is enough to fall in love with him all over again...and we can't wait to have uninterrupted time like that at home with him soon.

Oh, and for those of you who are aware of our (or more specifically, my) complete lack of poopy diaper experience, I've now survived three of them. Granted, slimy green newborn poo is a little different than normal baby poop, but it's a start.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Day Two

Well, Jacob is officially 36 hours old. He's still in the special care nursery but he looks great. He's still having episodes once in a while with his breathing, but it appears that most of them resolve themselves, so hopefully that's a good sign. No more space helmet, though, thank goodness. Still not sure how long they're going to leave him on the antibiotics, or whether or not he'll be able to come home with us, but we still have another day for them to observe him so we should have some answers tomorrow. My doctor told me today that I might not go home until Monday now, which is fine with me. It's not that I love hanging out here all day in a hospital gown, but I am nursing him every few hours now so it's way more convenient to be here and not have to worry about pumping or anything quite yet. We shall see, though.

I'm feeling better, I guess...still sore but a little more awake and mobile. I finally took a shower and have been trying to walk around a little more, so I think that's got to help a bit regardless. Craig's escaped the hospital a bit to check in at home, stop at the grocery store, and make himself feel a little more human as well. We're definitely still trying to figure out the parenting thing a bit, but we'll get the hang of it eventually. It's just odd not having Jacob in our room all day, because we haven't had as much of the usual experience yet...the nursery changes most of the diapers and things like that, so we feel a bit behind right now. We'll have plenty of time, but it probably would have been nice to encounter that stuff while we have a ton of people around to ask about things. Again, we'll figure it out eventually. Right now we just want to make sure his breathing gets back on track so he's safe when he comes home.

We had a lot of visitors yesterday, some of which were surprises, and it was nice to see people and show off our little man. He got rave reviews from everyone! It's also been fun reading our emails and getting all of our well-wishes...Craig sent the news out to the lacrosse team (he's missing a roadtrip this weekend) and the players' responses have been funny. It also got announced at the major press conference Craig missed on Thursday that he wasn't there because he was here, so he's gotten a lot of emails from a bunch of people that wouldn't have otherwise known. Technology makes this whole experience that much more interesting these days!

So without further ado, I'll give you what you've been waiting for...more pictures!
Our sleepy little angel :)

Look who's awake!

Have a nice weekend and check in again soon!

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's a Boy!


After many months of speculation, now we know...that basketball I'd been carting around was, in fact, a boy! Jacob Julian Rybczynski made his appearance at 2:40 this morning! He's nearly 6 lbs., 13 oz. and 21 inches long. He's beautiful, of course. He cried for a couple hours after his arrival but it turns out his lungs weren't as strong as that would have indicated. He had some trouble keeping his oxygen up this morning so he's getting some extra care in the special care nursery for a couple days, to pinpoint the problem and make sure it gets fixed. He's doing well, but it's odd not having him around in our room right now. There's a chance we won't go home with him either, but we're trying not to worry about that right now. He's getting the care he needs, and that's what's important! In the meantime he's sporting a little oxygen-rich space helmet and chilling out with some new little friends in the nursery. He'll be ok, but we just have to be patient and keep praying in the meantime.

The whole labor experience was pretty surreal. When I blogged yesterday, that was near the end of my comfort zone. After that the pain started getting worse and was pretty brutal until I got the epidural around 8ish, I think. That epidual has to be one of the greatest inventions ever. Amazing how you can go from lots of pain to nothing with just a little needle stick. That comfort lasted a while, until the pressure from further dilation started to get a little unbearable...but by then I was fully dilated and got to start pushing. It actually wasn't bad for the first hour or so, but the lower he got, the worse the pressure was. His big ol' head and my little ol' pelvis didn't get along so well, so things slowed down considerably and I ended up getting a full three hour workout. A vacuum helped things along in the end, and after a lot of pressure and a long night, there he was! It's all pretty crazy, but we're excited and hopeful that we can hang out with him more soon.

I'm hanging in there, but definitely need to get some sleep. It was a crazy night and today's been a little all over the place. I've got some aches and pains so getting around is tough, but what do you expect for pushing out a baby after the hardest workout imaginable? I still can't figure out how women gave birth before drugs. The pressure was bad enough...I can't imagine adding pain to that! Kudos to those women.
Well, time to get some rest. I'll post again when I can...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What everyone's been waiting for...or almost...

Well, it appears the time has come...this blog is finally going to get interesting :) Guess where I am? I'm blogging from a hospital bed, believe it or not! Nice to have a hospital with wireless access! So yeah, it appears we'll have a baby in the next day or so! Last night my amniotic fluid started leaking. Fortunately it wasn't a crazy water-breaking like I had been fearing, and no furniture was harmed in the process (whew), but it was still a little nerve-wracking. We were told to hang out and see if I went into labor overnight, and if not, to come to the doctor in the morning and get checked out. No labor, so this morning we went in and they confirmed it was fluid and not just a leaky bladder or something. I had to be on the monitor for a while to make sure the baby was ok, and it was. They weren't sure if we should be sent to the hospital right away or not, but after Craig and I each headed to work for a little bit (we had to kill time somehow!), we got a call that we should come here this afternoon and get checked in! So now I'm on pitocin, which is aiming to induce my labor. Supposedly I'd been having contractions but I couldn't feel them and they weren't regular anyway. I'm up to a dose of 3 (out of 42) and thing seem to be progressing a bit...nothing horrible, just a little crampy...but noticeable contractions now. No idea how long it will be, but considering I started out at 4 cm dilated, they're optimistic it won't be super long. We shall see. We'll do our best to post news as soon as we can! Keep all three of us in your prayers, and we'll blog to you soon!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Chickening Out

I feel like I'm turning into a bit of a chicken the closer I get to going into labor. Heading into this whole process, you know how it all ends. If you watch female-oriented reality TV, you're well aware of the basics of childbirth. The further you get into pregnancy, particularly once you take childbirth classes, you see the rest of the story...and no, it's not pretty. But technically you already knew that going in...it's just officially seeing it that takes it to a whole new level. Regardless, billions of women over the course of history have had babies. I've tried to comfort myself with that fact repeatedly, but it doesn't seem to be preventing me from panicking just a little every time I feel something that seems even remotely like a contraction or anything that might be a precursor to labor. I know it's coming at some point, but I feel like the moment I know it's for real I'm going to be trying to turn back time or something...like wait, are you sure I signed up for this?! I suppose it's much like I've been saying in previous posts, that you just can't fully prepare for this until you're actually experiencing it...there's nothing that compares, so you do what you can to brace yourself for the unknown and deal with it all as it comes. I guess it's just the reality that everything changes at that moment, officially, forever.

Craig warned me yesterday that he read somewhere that you shouldn't watch any birth-oriented shows on TV after the 36th week or so. I'm not sure what the full context of it all was, and while I get it, I don't necessarily believe it. I mean, I don't feel like I'm feeble-minded enough to completely psych myself out with those shows. If anything I'd rather desensitize myself to it a bit, know what's out there, and just keep a level head that while the complications are possible, they're not probable. This morning I watched the breach birth of a twin on "Birth Day", and the gush of blood they showed as the baby popped out wasn't exactly appealing...but heck, I'd rather see it and know it's normal than see it happen as I give birth and wonder if that's supposed to happen, you know?

Of course, over the weekend I watched this show called "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant", profiling four women who had no clue they were pregnant until they were in labor...and in some cases, not until they were at the hospital pushing that baby out. Having gone through this process, I can't imagine how you wouldn't know, one way or another. I mean, there were so many things that had to be a certain way...no morning sickness, no weight gain, no body change, no movement...but apparently these women had no idea. The one thing that probably freaked me out a bit was that all the women pretty much thought they were dying when they went into labor. They didn't know what the pain was, but they knew it was so severe that they didn't think they'd survive it. Yikes. I'm just hoping that because they didn't know they were pregnant they couldn't begin to prepare themselves for it and it was made that much worse because they were caught off-guard. Let's just hope I can get to the drugs before it gets to that point.

I know that ultimately there's no chickening out. I just hope I can act like the future parent that I am and deal with it all gracefully when it happens, regardless of the mess, the fear, or the complete insanity it will bring.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Productive Weekend

It's amazing what one weekend at home can do. We got a LOT done. Saturday I kept myself quite busy. Despite the heat in the house, I stayed pretty active. I did take breaks periodically to sit in front of the TV (and the fan) and get hydrated, but shortly thereafter I'd be right back to work. I did the dishes, changed our bedding (I tested out the garbage bag for waterproofing because it was a lot bigger, but opted to go with an extra hand-me-down multi-purpose waterproof pad I had because the garbage bag was crinkly.), and then got going on the baby stuff. Two loads of laundry, lots of folding, trying to find the best places in the nursery to store it all, and lots of reorganizing. I cleaned out all of the boxes of stuff we had, either putting things into a place until we need them, or pulling them out of the package and getting them set up. With Craig home on Sunday we got more done, including putting the mattress into the crib so I could make it up, moving a chair from the living room into the baby's room, and putting up the pack-n-play in its place. Seeing the pack-n-play sitting in our living room was one of those "reality check" moments...like, wow...the baby is really going to start taking over the house!

The nursery is pretty much set, with just a couple more things that need to get put elsewhere and in desperate need of some decorating. Hopefully this week sometime. It'll definitely be a work in progress for a while, though, particularly once the baby comes and we figure out the flow. I put things away based on my logic, but how it all works in reality could be entirely different. We'll see. Once I get some decorations up, I'll try to post a picture...but right now it just looks like a whiteroom with some baby stuff in it. It definitely needs a little character boost.

It felt great to get all of that done, though. A huge load off my mind, and one step closer to not freaking out completely if I go into labor sometime soon. I still haven't packed that all important hospital bag, but I use so much of the stuff that I would put in there anyway that I have a feeling it would be a lot of last minute packing regardless. I have a checklist ready to go, and under most circumstances I'll have some time to kill before we can go to the hospital anyway. Craig is packed and ready to go, so if I am physically unable to do it, he should be able to follow my instructions and help me pack. I've got it all in my head and just have a couple things I need to prep ahead of time (like maybe putting some stuff on an MP3 player and making some decisions on coming home clothes for me and the baby--not that I have a lot of choices either way anyway), but I think when the time comes most of it would just be quick snap decisions anyway. By that point, I might not care! I just want to do some running around this week, and I should be in good shape. At least the weather is going to cooperate and stay cool this week...that will be a nice relief. Sleeping in a real bed beats the air mattress as long as the temperature is reasonable!

Time to go for now...I've been trying to catch up on emails tonight before I'm too busy and tired to write them, and now I think it's time I go back out and rejoin Craig in the living room. Only so many of these evenings left with just the two of us!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Nesting Day

Whether the instinct has kicked in or not, today is nesting day. I have a ton of stuff to get done, and I'm not sure whether the hardest part is going to be pacing myself or keeping myself moving enough to get a good chunk of it done. Last night was a little scary, because I just wasn't feeling well. My cold seems to be on the downside, thank goodness, but for whatever reason, everything just shut down. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I lost my appetite. Craig and I were out for what may be our last date night alone, and I just started getting really tired. When our Olive Garden salad arrived (usually one of my absolute favorites), I was just sort of blah...almost uninterested in it. Same with my meal. I still ate some of each, hoping it would perk me up or something, but nothing seemed to do it. We had been planning on going down to the lake for ice cream or just cooler air, but then some thunderstorms rolled through and stopped that plan regardless of how I was feeling and we settled for a DVD at home instead...which I didn't even make it through. I was worried, of course, that this was some sort of pre-labor unsettledness, but apparently not....yet. My belly's been sore the last couple days from the baby kneeing/kicking me in this one spot, and I'm convinced that everything must just be stretched and sensitive. In any event, I'm feeling a bit better today so I think nesting day will go mostly as planned.

I already did dishes this morning. Next, I need to change the sheets on our bed and figure out a waterproofing method. That will be my first load of laundry. Next I will probably run the vacuum quickly in the kitchen (it needs it) and also in the baby's room, since the floor is covered with an infinite number of styrofoam beads from the packing around the furniture. Then I need to iron the crib dust ruffle and window valence a bit before putting those into place. Beyond that it's going to be some baby laundry and trying to find places in the baby's room for everything. I have some major rearranging to do in a number of places around the house, which is going to take some creative thinking to see where our storage inefficiencies currently are. I may also try to pack part of my hospital bag today, finally, just in case. There's a couple more odds and ends I have on a to do list somewhere, but that's the bulk of it. Strangely, the nesting instinct hasn't really made me a compulsive cleaner yet, though part of me wishes it would because I'm sure there are a lot of things around here that need it!

It may seem like a lot, but I think it's all pretty necessary and it's rare to get a whole day to just focus on this stuff. I know I mentioned in a post way back when that I was looking forward to this process, if only because I figured it would help me get mentally prepared for this baby. As much as we know all of this is coming, it's still pretty hard to believe that it's really going to happen. I've been watching the show "Birth Day" on Discovery Health each morning while eating my breakfast, and it's just a series of deliveries (not as gross as it sounds, I swear). As much as I know it's coming, it's still hard to believe that's going to be me in the next couple weeks...or sooner. All of those people got through it, and I will too, I guess!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Paranoia

So, this walking time bomb thing is really starting to make me a little nervous. Not knowing when your life is totally going to change is making me a little anxious. And at the moment it's not even so much about the baby, though that is definitely on my mind. It's more the things left undone. And while I know I shouldn't worry about that stuff, it's hard not to. Work is probably the big one right now, because for the longest time I was convinced I'd go late (genetics, being so small, first baby) and could wrap things up nicely before I had the baby. Now, with the dilation news from yesterday, I'm really not so sure. If I would have stayed at 1 cm, I would have easily subscribed to the whole, "People can stay at 1 cm for weeks" theory. And although it can happen, I have to think that staying at 2 or 3 cm is a bit rarer. So every day when I'm sitting at work I keep wondering how many things are going to be left undone if I go unexpectedly. I suppose this is why they encourage you to take the two weeks of disability before your due date--to minimize surprises. But I might go crazy if I had to sit around the house for a couple weeks waiting, and I have a lot of work I'd like to get done if I am lucky enough to get the time. So now I've started doing things as I think of them, sending notes to my bosses about random things I don't want to forget, straightening up my desk before the weekend, things like that. I like my bosses and don't want to leave too many balls in the air when I finally go out. Even getting all of my maternity leave paperwork filled out is a concern. What if I go early and it's not done? Oy.

I have a lot to do this weekend to get the nursery ready. It's my first full weekend at home in weeks, and now that we finally have the furniture and it's all assembled (last night's crib assembly could have been on a TV show...classic mess), I can actually get going on that. My fear is if I go into labor before I do, I might never get it in the best shape possible. I can imagine my brain won't exactly be in the right mindset to organize effectively when I'm trying to learn how to be a parent and am sleep-deprived. I know, I know...it doesn't really matter and it will all work itself out at some point...but I'd really like to at least get a good start on it and not leave piles of stuff for Craig to sort through before the baby and I get home from the hospital.

I'm also starting to get into a bit of paranoia about my water breaking. Now that it's looking like I might go early, I'm thinking the odds of it breaking at the hospital are slim. I guess I can hope it's just a trickle and not a gush (seriously, those are the terms they use--sorry if that's a little graphic), but even still...yuck. The two blogs that inspired this one talked about walking around with a water bottle, just in case it needed to be "spilled" at strategic time. :) I've already heard one story about a mattress being ruined. Right now I'm driving with a towel on the seat of my car (new car...not exactly jazzed about the thought of wrecking the seat), but I still need to try to waterproof our mattress a bit. I'm not too sure about what to do about our couch, since I spend a lot of time there. I'd hate for it to break in public place, or even at work. I'd feel bad for whoever had to clean that up.

Lots of stuff on my mind these days, I suppose. I've got a to do list for the weekend and I'm hoping I can clear some things off it. The more I get done, the better I'll feel...but I'd still like the baby to stay put for just a little longer!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Excitement vs. the End of an Era

Last night Craig said to me, "Why does it seem like other people are more excited about this baby than we are?" I couldn't help but agree with him. His comment was specifically the result of an interaction with someone at work who was telling him how excited she was about the baby. I've had similar interactions with a lot of people as well. And the thing is, it's not that we're not excited...we definitely are. I will admit we're on the low-key side about all of this, but I think it's just caution...we're looking forward to it, but it's completely new territory for us, and a complete change of lifestyle. That's a pretty intimidating thing when you've gotten used to a certain way of life. Not having the slightest clue how it is going to impact you is a scary thing, and I think that fear is what keeps us from being as giddy and excited as the people around us. For everyone else it's a bit of a novelty...it's fun and exciting to see a new baby. But they get to go home and sleep a full night's sleep....and they don't have to face day care costs and questions...and they can go to the grocery store freely without having to think about how the baby will impact their trip...or wonder how their meals will get cooked and their dishes washed when pain and exhaustion are getting in the way...or worry intensely about the quality of life this child will be living for the rest of their lives. Craig likened it to when someone gets a puppy. You love to go over and play with it, but you also get to go home. You don't have to deal with it peeing on your carpet, needing to go out in the middle of the night, or chewing up your furniture. Kids are the same deal, hence why grandparents readily admit they've got it good.

I've definitely had similar feelings lately to how I felt back in the last weeks of college. I knew something good was coming to an end and would never be that way again. I wanted to savor every minute of it. Of course, exams probably got in the way of that a bit...tough to have a lot of fun when you're studying a ton. On the other hand, I was excited about life after college...a whole world of possibilities. Of course, that was also dragged down a bit by the concept of having to find a job. It's that same sort of conflicted feeling now, though. I appreciate more than ever how great my life has been these past few years, and am sad that it's all going to change. It's going to be a great change full of possibilities, however, so that's definitely something to look forward to. It's just another phase in life, and we'll adjust. It's just that feeling now of wanting to savor what we have, enjoy those quiet moments with just the two of us, and appreciate not being completely exhausted 24/7. I've been a little sick (lots of congestion and coughing) the last few days, and we've both been tired lately, so it's tough to really enjoy this time to the fullest...but I think we're doing what we can.

Last weekend I ran into the mom of a girl I went to grade school with. The girl had a baby when she was about 17, which makes her first-born (there's been one or two since, I think) about 13 years old. I can't even begin to wrap my brain around the idea of being a parent to a teenager at this point in my life. But it got me to thinking about how much I've crammed into the last 13 years, the relatively free-spirited life I've led since then. I finished high school, went to college, worked in sports, got married, bought a house...and had a lot of fun in between. I'm sure this girl wouldn't give up her children for anything, and I'm sure she's had some amazing experiences in her own life, but I can't help but be extremely grateful for the life I've had...which makes it that much harder to give up, I suppose. But I'm thankful for what I've had and look forward to the future.

I may have more thoughts on the whole transition in a future post, but for today I'll leave you with the latest update from my weekly doctor's appointment. I'm at least another centimeter dilated, so things seem to be progressing--fortunately without much pain or discomfort. I guess that's good, but yikes! If the baby keeps this up, so much for my best-laid plans, eh?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another picture...


I figured it was time to post another picture of myself, particularly because you never know when that bump is going to disappear without warning these days! :) I figured I'd take the opportunity yesterday because I was wearing the same shirt I wore for the first picture I posted way back in February. Check out that post here. Quite a difference, eh? I'm not sure if it's the picture or the angle, or what, but I hadn't really noticed a lot of extra weight gain in my face until seeing the difference between the pics. I'm hoping it's just an optical illusion. Anyway, I'm getting downright massive, and feeling every bit of it. My mobility is really feeling strained these days...from walking comfortably, to just trying to turn over in bed. It's hard to deal with when you're so used to being active and mobile. Maybe I'm just a little extra cranky because I've been stuck with this coughing and congestion problem lately that might be a cold or might be allergies. Energy-wise it didn't seem like a cold, but now I'm starting to wonder. I can't really take anything anyway (or I'm not sure I want to, no matter how safe they say Sudafed is), so I'm hoping it just works itself out.

Thankfully the weather has eased up a bit and we were able to return to our bed from the basement for the first time in a few nights. The heat had been pretty unbearable in the house, and has us seriously considering central air. Nothing like adding major projects to the list less than three weeks before my due date. The break in the weather meant that I could start putting furniture together last night, too. Well, I tried to do a little bit on Monday night, but that was completely impossible in the heat. So last night was better, and with Craig's help moving around the big pieces, we got a portion of the dresser/changing table done. I had to do it in shifts, of course, because it was still a little warm in the house, but slowly but surely it took shape.

I know you're probably wondering what a pregnant woman is doing putting this stuff together at all, but there's a couple issues to consider here: 1) I'm more mechanically inclined than Craig, and I probably also have more patience with stuff like that. Sure, we could pay a lot more and get preassembled furniture, but I'm my parents' daughter and have learned to save money however possible. So, if it's going to get done right, cheap and in a timely manner, furniture assembly is my job. Many years of IKEA shopping have helped! 2) Craig was helping to move the big pieces and hold things in place while I did what I had to do to connect them...so really, all I was doing was working the electric screwdriver...not exactly a strenuous job, so it's really not as bad as it sounds, I promise. I will say that the above mentioned mobility problem made it a little tougher to move around and get a good angle on things, though...bummer.

Anyway, I have a few pieces to finish up tonight, and then hopefully we can get going on the crib. Beyond that I'll finally get into some actual organization and decorating, and I will feel a heck of a lot more prepared in the event I go into labor early. Oh, and tonight is also the check for our first attempt at installing a car seat. We put the infant seat into my car last night, and tonight we have an appointment to get it looked at by the Greece Volunteer Ambulance folks. Craig's probably going to be getting a new car in the next couple weeks, so we're holding off on his car for now. There's another check nearby in two more weeks, so hopefully we can do it then. Installing it wasn't particularly fun, but I didn't think it was as awful as so many TV shows made me think it would be. It's a little freaky looking in my backseat and seeing that thing sitting there, but I guess I should get used to it, eh? Now if we could just master putting the carrier into the car seat base without totally jostling the baby, that would be even better...ugh.

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Sign

Based on the events of this weekend, I've decided I should start carrying around a sign. What do you think of it?

In case you couldn't tell, I had to answer a few of the same questions over and over again. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I was back in N.T. with my parents this weekend, mostly to go to my cousin's graduation party. While I was there I also got to visit my grandma where she's been rehabbing her replaced hip and to go to the annual St. Matthew Church Picnic with my parents. Between those two stops and the graduation party, I don't know how many times I answered the same questions. And that's not even counting the inquiries from random strangers while I was out shopping Saturday evening or the chit-chat with the hair stylist on Saturday morning.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't ask...but maybe the strangers could keep their thoughts to themselves. I had these two sales clerks at Macy's asking me names, and I was merely walking by them while they were chatting. Don't they realize some people don't share that info, even with close friends and family? And for the record, there are a few reasons--first, that you just don't want people giving you looks that make you second guess things. I know our names aren't that freakishly weird...so I'd rather just leave the topic alone. Once the baby's been named they really can't say much, but at this stage they could still try to talk you out of it, and why give anyone the chance to bring on that kind of frustration? And second, what if we decide to change it at the last minute, particularly once we've seen the baby? I've heard of that happening a lot. And third, with strangers, is it really any of their business anyway? While I'm relieved to not have any total strangers coming up and rubbing my belly, I still don't understand what makes people think that pregnant women and their bellies are suddenly public property.

I get that most people (the ones that know you, especially) genuinely want to know and it's sweet that they care. Still, answering the same questions gets old. And even worse was the fact that it was 90 degrees outside the whole weekend and my house doesn't have air conditioning. That makes me even more of a pity case. No, it's not comfortable, but I'd be uncomfortable even if I wasn't pregnant. The only difference at this point is carting around 20 extra pounds and not being able to wear less or different clothing that might have been more comfortable. Again, I appreciate the sympathy, but I don't know...I'm just sort of dealing. Common courtesy is fine...offer me a chair or a beverage. But feeling sorry for me isn't going to buy me central air, so having people assuming I'm miserable just doesn't really do me any good. I don't really want to sit there and feel sorry for myself.

Anyway, it was a good weekend. Back to the grind at work. It was another active morning for the baby, which at this stage really starts making me nervous. It got a little uncomfortable, so maybe that, along with this congestion/coughing issue I've got right now (probably allergies), along with said coughing interrupting my sleep (once again in the basement, BTW), it put me in a bit of a cranky mood this morning...hence the cranky post. But really...I do appreciate everyone's concern. I think I'm just questioned out...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Thank goodness for the basement...

I ended up sleeping in the basement last night. I figured it wasn't worth tossing and turning any more than I already would, so I braved heading down to the basement, inflating our new air mattress, and sleeping in the relative cool of the basement. Considering I'm over eight months pregnant and I was on an air mattress, it wasn't half bad. Better than sweating to death upstairs, anyway.

The house was cooler but still pretty hot this morning, but at least there was a nice breeze coming in once I started opening up all the windows again (I closed a lot of them in case it rained overnight...I never would have heard it). Getting dressed was a sweat-fest anyway, and then I went out and got a haircut, despite my reservations about changing my hair right before having the baby. I decided that 1) my hair was too long for this hot weather, even though it did allow me to put it up if necessary; 2) I was really starting to dislike it as long as it was; and 3) I didn't know when I'd have the chance to go do it again, so I wanted to get it out of the way now. It's pretty short and relatively cute, but as usual it'll take some getting used to. I had to shower again when I got home to stop the little pieces of cut hair from sticking to me, and by then it was hot enough in the house that I couldn't bear to heat anything up for lunch (and with cold cuts being a pregnancy no-no, my cold options were limited), so I ate a bunch of fruit for lunch. I also stopped at Friendly's on my way out of town to grab a FREE ice cream cone...they had a big event today from 12-5 giving away single cones. I had a Vienna Mocha Chunk cone, which was a treat because it's so rare that I eat regular ice cream. Gotta love pregnancy.

It's been a nice day, though...Buffalo was a little cooler than Rochester, and I got to spend some time with my grandma, who's recovering from a hip replacement. I did some running around this evening (bought a nursing bra...woohoo!) and now I'm settling in for the night. I'm pretty beat and my body is giving me signs it's time to stop walking around...so I'm listening. I was also listening to Craig's lacrosse broadcast on the internet, but they're in a lightning break right now so that's done for a bit. On to another busy, hot day tomorrow, but it should be a good one...Have a nice rest of the weekend!

Friday, June 6, 2008

How hot is it in Rochester?

No, it didn't bring on labor...yet. But it's so hot that the MALL lost power. Not just a couple stores or a wing, but the WHOLE mall. And not just the mall, but the Target across the parking lot. After work today I headed off to a happy hour for Erin, my co-worker of three years (first at the Amerks, then at my current job), who is moving on to bigger and better things. A bunch of us sat outside on the nicely shaded patio at a bar on East Ave. downtown. It was hot but tolerable. Lots of water with lemon for me! East Ave. was busy because it was the first East End Fest of the year...about what you'd guess....beer, music, people. Fortunately the traffic and road closures didn't throw me off too much, because with the heat and pregnancy, my tolerance probably isn't at its peak. I came home, had a little dinner, then headed back out to shop for a summer robe (aka hospital gear) at JCPenney with the $10 off coupon we got in the mail the other day. I didn't notice anything until I saw people standing outside of Circuit City (like, employees in their matching red shirts), and then noticed people outside a bar...and noticed that the mall looked awfully dark. Then I saw the wave of people outside the movie theater...and more people streaming out of every available exit. I couldn't believe that the whole mall lost power! I decided to head over to Target and see if I could hang out there a bit until the power came back on at the mall, but sure enough, Target was out too! It's the craziest thing to see.

So, now I'm back home in the sweltering heat. I have a fan blowing directly on me and I'm still sweating. It's not really any cooler outside right now, I don't think, so having all the windows open doesn't appear to be helping. The baby's pretty fidgety, which is making me a little nervous. I don't want to get overheated, for my sake or the baby's. I'm starting to think central air really is going to have to climb the priority list, because I don't know how much of this I can take, or the baby should be exposed to (even if it is used to a balmy 98.6 degrees right now!). Sleep is going to be in short enough supply without being hot, too. So we shall see.

I'm off to go have another freeze pop or some ice cream or cold something...stay cool, everyone!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy Thursday!

Still reeling a bit from yesterday's news, but I know from everything that I've heard and seen that I could be like this for a while. Still, every twinge makes me that much more nervous. I'm sure I'll adjust to the idea and eventually just accept the fact that something could happen at any time. Not knowing when or how all of this is going to happen could start making me crazy. I'm hoping that once things are a little more set with the baby's room I will feel better, though work will always be a concern. I'm sure there's still a lot of things I need to communicate before I finish working, though I'm sure many things won't occur to me until it's too late. I do have a backup plan, just in case, though it would obviously be a while before I could even act on the plan if the baby came early. My job is always changing so it's a little scary to think what I won't have had a chance to communicate if I go out unexpectedly. Ugh.

In other news...the next few days will be interesting, since the temperature is going to go sky high. I had a feeling this would happen, that even though I set myself up nicely to have the baby before the majority of the brutal summer heat, that the weather would find a way to get hot before then. April was so nice around here, and then May stunk...and I just knew that once June hit, we'd skip right over those lovely 70s and jump right into the heat. I'm not terribly uncomfortable when I'm awake, but I can only imagine what 90 degrees is going to feel like with this body. And sleep is going to be a disaster. We had one moderately warm night recently and I was miserable. And I'm still trying to figure out how we're going to keep the baby cool in the house when weather like this hits. Might have to have A/C leapfrog the dishwasher on the home improvement priority list...darn.

The good news is that I may not have to be home for a portion of the heat wave, since there's stuff going on this weekend that may take me to my parents' house a little ahead of schedule. This weekend is my cousin Jamie's college graduation party, and it will be my last chance to see my family before the baby comes. We had the some opportunity with Craig's family last weekend. It's a weird thought, that the next time you see these people your entire life will have changed. The baby that's currently hanging out in my belly will actually be here in the flesh. Crazy.

Oh, and apparently I'm still "cute pregnant"...I'm getting a lot of that these days, now that my belly is this perfect round basketball. It's appreciated, since I suppose any compliment at over 8 months is an amazing thing, but again, I swear, it's all about watching what you eat, keeping active, dressing nicely, and having some good genes to fall back on. I can't take a ton of credit for the last one obviously, but I've put in a good effort on the other three and I'm happy with the results. Heck, I almost feel like I'm getting off easy because I'm not looking massive yet. Massive compared to what I was, maybe, but just pleasantly pregnant compared to the rest of the world.

Sorry there's nothing too fascinating to post about today, but hopefully I'll be more inspired tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Walking Time Bomb

Yeah, that's about what I feel like right now. Why? Well...I went to the doctor today. I'm now up to weekly exams, and they're no longer the easy tummy checks, as they like to call them. For the first time since the first time I went there after finding out I was pregnant, it was pants off. And what do you know? I'm apparently one centimeter dilated. That news really shocked me, actually, since I haven't really felt any contractions or pressure, and as everyone keeps reminding me, I'm carrying really high. And speaking of which...the doctor said that the baby's head is actually really low in my pelvis.

All of this sounds a little scary, like everything's in place, but you can be at 1 cm for weeks...which, as we all know from previous posts, is what I'm hoping happens. We have a LOT to do and I was counting on a couple more weeks to do it, at least. I'd like the baby to at least have a crib or some semblance of organization in its bedroom before it makes an appearance! Hopefully the ball will get rolling on that early next week. We'll see.

On the bright side, this news made some sense after the past few days I've had. On Monday I was practically convinced the baby was dropping, based on some odd sensations and on how sore the underside of my belly got when Craig and I took a walk. That night I slept terribly. In the past few weeks I've had a pain under my belly that sometimes comes on when I lay down. It's not all the time, but when it comes on, it's pretty intense. The doctor said that it was ligament pain. The other night it was awful...no matter how I tried to lay down, it kept coming. Fortunately, last night I didn't have it at all. Of course, now I'm convinced that the walking did me in, and today's diagnosis makes that thought make even more sense.

Not wanting to bring on labor any sooner than necessary, I'm now a little worried to take another walk or go back to the gym. I don't want to worsen that pain, either. I need to get sleep while I can! Even though I know one centimeter is common and doesn't mean much, now I'm extra paranoid that I'm not going to go late like I've always expected. Craig is even more paranoid, bringing up the possibility of not going on his roadtrip this weekend. I told him to go. However, he's now 100% convinced he's not going to take his June 22nd trip down to North Carolina (which he had really wanted to make since that's where our good friend Dave lives), because if it I make it that far, it's just going to be too risky. He doesn't want to miss this, obviously. My bosses got a little nervous with the news, too. Every time the baby moves now, I keep thinking, "Don't be getting any crazy ideas! Stay right there!"

I suppose this means I should really get around to packing my hospital bag...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Before and After

Pretty much ever since I've been married I've looked back at the family photo albums and had a new appreciation for the pictures of my parents before they had kids. Of course, my parents were quite a bit younger in their just married/pre-kids days, but even still...for some reason it's interesting to think of what they were like before they had kids and relate it to Craig's and my existence the last five years. Never having known my parents without kids (duh), those pictures were just a little bit of insight into their younger, more carefree days. It's like that scene in Field of Dreams where Ray realizes that the catcher on the field is his dad, young and before he was worn down by life. As Ray said, "He has his whole life in front of him, and I'm not even a glint in his eye."

I've known that at some point Craig and I would have kids, and someday our kids may look at our photo albums and see the same sort of "before" shots of us. I can't begin to imagine what they'll think of them, but it's amazing to think that we're officially in the last month or so of that era. This whole process is like making your own little bit of history. And honestly, I think that's part of the reason we wanted to have kids...because we were both blessed with great families and wanted to add to that history ourselves, to pass along that great family tradition to our kids.

As a kid you think imagine what it's like to have kids...or at least, I know a lot of little girls do by virtue of playing house. You stuff the pillow up your shirt and pretend to be pregnant...and as you get older you begin to wonder what it would really be like to be pregnant, swearing you'll be a cool pregnant chick in cool maternity clothes. All that imagining is over these days as I look in the mirror and can hardly believe that it's really me and I'm really sporting this huge belly. I've grown accustomed to wearing something with an empire waist every day, and I'm getting used to (but still amazed by) all the crazy kicking going on inside my body. That stuff has become normal, and it occurred to me this morning that I already only have another month of it left. In another month I'll look like any other woman walking through the mall, that I will go back to the world of the love-hate relationship with my stomach, and that I won't have this constant companion stowing away in my belly. Everything will be different, and I'll re-adjust again.

Regardless, the point is that in a span of nine months, we'll have changed our entire existence. Not just in the present, but for years to come. And much like my parents' photo albums, there will be this journey, from just to the two of us, to us with this new little baby, to watching the baby grow up, to hopefully adding at least one more, and then to wherever else life leads us. We're getting our little bit of history up and running, starting our own little story of our family. It's a pretty crazy thing to think about.

Sorry for the uber-philosophical post...sometimes my brain goes off on these random, deep tangents, and I just have to hope some of what I type makes sense!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Random Thoughts

Some random thoughts on pregnancy and stuff...

- It's really nice to not having to worry about looking thin. At least, it's not to not have to suck my gut in or to worry about my stomach sticking out after a big meal. Women are so conscious of that, pretty much from puberty on, so the break in past few months has been really nice. It's also nice to not worry constantly about what I eat. I don't have to feel terribly guilty about splurging a little, particularly at this point, now that I've made it this long without ballooning. The trick will be stopping once it's time to lose the weight!

- I did a little happy dance in the dressing room at Goodwill yesterday when I found a shirt and a pair of capris that fit me (and actually looked good). It's nice to be able to look in the mirror and feel good about what I see, even with this gigantic belly. I never would have thought I'd feel good in anything by this point in the pregnancy.

- I'm getting a lot more comments now from random strangers. No random touchers yet, thank goodness, but a lot of talkers. Lots of "How much longer?" or "What are you having?", mostly in the last couple weeks. I suppose it doesn't bother me too much, but it's weird when random people feel the need to comment. Some people I don't mind getting in conversations with, but there have been one or two where I've kept my responses short and sweet because they just seemed odd or wouldn't shut up. The other day I had a guy who looked a little like Snoop Dogg congratulate me while I was walking through the mall on my way to work (For those of you who don't know, I have to walk through a downtown mall to get from the parking ramp to my building. The mall has gone downhill in recent years, with few tenants and shady patrons, and is slated for demolition soon). He was going down the escalator, I was going up, and I heard this random "Congratulations in advance!" Yeah, a little creepy.

- It's weird to not be able to do simple things anymore, like standing up from sitting on the floor or getting up from the couch. I even had to give a second try to getting up off the toilet once! You'd never think having 10 extra pounds on the front of you would throw off your balance so much, but it does. It's even a struggle to change positions in a chair these days, particularly when I'm sitting at work. When you're used to being pretty mobile and flexible, it's a bit of a switch.

- Another switch is having this belly out in front of me. I always used to be able to sneak through small spaces, and now I can't! My belly runs into a lot of stuff, which I always feel bad about. As small as I am, I tend to underestimate the space I need to get through a small area, like between two cars, or past a person standing near another object. I try different angles, and nothing seems to work! At work we have a bathroom door that has to have a code punched into it to get in, and the doorknob is awkward. It doesn't turn easily (or maybe that's just me, particularly since I'm left-handed and that may not be the best for how the knob has to turn), and at least once every few days I'll go to turn it and I won't quite turn it far enough, and I'll run into the door, belly to knob. Not hard, but I still feel guilty. Thank God for cushy amniotic fluid.

- This week begins my weekly doctor's appointments. I'm not exactly looking forward to once again having to undress for my appointments, but I suppose it will be interesting to get some real information from each appointment, like how big the baby might end up or whether or not I'm dilating. While I'm hoping they might be able to give me an idea of when I might go into labor, I've heard enough stories about people going to the doctor in the afternoon with no sign of labor, and going into labor that night, to know that that's merely wishful thinking. Still, the possibility that I might get some advance warning of dilating will be helpful. Until now appointments were just the basics...urine, weight, blood pressure, baby's heart rate, maybe some measuring, a few basic questions, and that was it. Easy, but not exactly informative most of the time. I guess there are trade-offs either way.

It's hard to believe we're only a month away. We saw Craig's family today, probably for the last time before the baby's born. We'll do the same with my family next week. That's sort of a weird feeling. Actually saying stuff like that was especially odd. Reality is a scary thing...exciting, but scary!