You make me feel. Mighty Real.

35 Weeks Today

Maybe I don’t need to go off work for physical strains, but the mental strains are getting pretty significant. Today I had a whole hour (and then some) of crying. Got up, after I thought I was done, then went back to bed to cry some more. Yesterday was better than today. I saw my host sister, from my high school exchange to Brazil, whom I haven’t seen in twenty years.  But today, I’m feeling pretty much the opposite of yesterday’s high.

Sometimes I feel guilty for just wishing I could have a break, even just a two hour break, from feeling totally consumed, full, uncomfortable and like I’m missing pretty major things that used to be so taken-for-granted. I want to lie on my stomach. I want to sleep through the night. I want a glass of wine. I want to not feel shame for whining about things like this when so many people have trouble conceiving, period.

MORE WANTS

I want to dance. Tie my shoes without huffing and puffing. Feel strong and capable. Do my own heavy lifting. Not feel like I have to bow out of things I want to do, because I don’t think I’ll be able to follow through. I want to not have an anxious thought every day because the same symptoms that make me feel like I’m having the pre-anxiety that can sometimes lead to a panic attack… are the same ones I feel pretty much all the time now. I want to not throw up in my mouth a few times a day due to acid reflux and heartburn.

I want not to feel stressed out when I swallow a feather that escaped my duvet during my sleep because if the worst case scenario turns out to be true, and I do get aspiration pneumonia, I won’t have to worry that it could hurt the baby.

All of this is to say “I’m getting about ready for this little guy to be OUT of me.” I read that this might happen. That true last month is all about wanting it to be over. I am feeling big. I still have great days and great moments of days, but TOday was tough. Worse than usual. I feel like I get nothing done.

CHOICES

I’m relieved that I was able to make the choice and get support in taking two extra weeks off from work (so that I’ll leave at 38 weeks rather than working right until my due date. I hear lots of women lamenting this choice – asking, when should I go? For some it’s a financial decision; I wish for me that it was not. I’d love to be off work now, to take care of myself (and take many mental health days). But I do love going to work; I’m good at my job. It brings me joy and keeps my mind off things.

TAKING THE EXTRA TWO WEEKS

As a teacher, it was pretty straightforward – moreso than I would have imagined. I’m due Oct. 21. I work in a school with no AC, on my feet for most of the 8 hours, with blistering classroom temperatures, full boob-sweat and swampy feelings are a daily reality. I was scheduled to work right until my due date, but I got a great tip from a coworker. If you only take ’10 business days’ (your sick day equivalent) you don’t need to get all the extensive medical paper work required to document a Long or Short Term disability leave.

I was able to count backwards from the due date and get my doctor to write a note that simply says “X will not be returning to work after X day” due to her pregnancy. Signed by your doctor. My board said, “thanks for letting us know,” and I got in touch with the people who are pre-arranged to take my mat leave and they’ll simply be taking over early. That gives me an extra two weeks prior to my due date to get things in order and gives a bit of relief, given that I’m feeling massive, tired and sore. Though I LOVE my job, the stress of leaving at a moment’s notice makes me even more worried, both for me and for the kids (I want them to have continuity and a smooth transition). If you are considering taking a leave prior to your official mat leave, talk to your union and coworkers who have taken mat leave to see what your work’s policy is!

Yesterday I would have said, “Five more weeks? Bring it?” Today… I’m making friends with the couch and considering whether a second banana muffin is in order. (At least I was still able to make a batch of muffins, so really, who can complain??)

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Not Sleeping

I sit up in bed and stare into darkness…I probably look like a zombie…..after an hour or so I get sleepy and attempt to lay back down…good times.
My word, I love this description. I just really don’t love the reality of it.

I’m sleeping awfully, too. I am up 7 or 8 times a night. I flip and flop. I go to our guest room for a change of temperature and mattress. I eat cereal. I read. Listen to podcasts. Have baths.

The one thing that I try to remember is not to get frustrated. It just IS how it is right now.
John-William-Godward-The-Betrothed-S.JPG
This Godward painting might be what I thought it would feel like to spend a languid afternoon ‘resting,’ but not so.

And I’m trying to take advantage of any time I have now to sleep. I just had a three hour Saturday afternoon nap. It won’t be like this forever. But… apparently, this may also be the body’s way of helping to prep you for the sleep deprivation of being a new parent. Oh, joy.

Any hot tips for good sleep are welcome!

Can I Ever Stop Worrying?

So far, so good. I’ve been so lucky this whole time to have a pregnancy that has gone smoothly. Any of the ailments and warning signs have been accompanied with a heap of ‘wait and see’ or ‘we are just monitoring,’ and more often than not ‘this is a very normal symptom.’

Baby was measuring big at 29 weeks. It could just have been position, the fullness of my bladder, the different measurements of the two midwives, etc. But I did the 32 week ultrasound to check. He looked marvellous. But.

We got a call, which we missed, yesterday to tell us that although things are still technically within the normal range, they want to set up another ultrasound during week 33 (this week) because they are concerned about the amount of amniotic fluid. I Googled.

Could it be – a birth defect, inability of the fetus to swallow, gestational or maternal diabetes, … a bunch of other things? Could it lead to – premature birth, digestive issues for baby once born, overly large baby, prolapsed umbilical cord?

I head back to work this week. I’m not complaining. It was luxurious to have the summer off, busy as I was. But this coming month will be a race to the finish line. I know they have already hired my mat leave replacements (yes, several, since my subjects require specifically qualified teachers), but that also makes it hard to leave if I need to book off last minute with a supply to cover those classes.

Sleeping is hard as it is. I’m up 6-8 times to pee, to roll over, requiring all the shifting of pillows that my 6 pillow system involves. Add to that the worry that in the final 5-7 weeks, maybe there is something wrong. Maybe it’s nothing. But I should definitely check. And checking means an ultrasound in the very first week of school, making supply plans and leaving brand new classes in the hands of supply teachers, to attend an appointment that will be scheduled whenever it’s scheduled (no say from you about what is convenient).

Obviously, I want to do everything possible to make sure we have the info to make good decisions. But the last ultrasound was optional – ‘do you want to get it, just to be on the safe side?’ Of course, I said. What if I had opted not to? How many of these things are only discovered, only become worries, due to such close monitoring? What if it’s nothing? Would it be better not to know, if it turns out to be nothing? The level of care that we are receiving is tremendous, but it also means that I have a hyper awareness of every detail; whereas some women only have 2-3 ultrasounds, I’ve had 7 or 8. I love seeing his face, but it makes it so much harder just to trust that all is well, now that I know his face, have seen his little body so many times.

Crossing my fingers. Trying not to worry.

Baby Shower

Showered indeed! Al and I are so lucky to have a warm, wild and fiercely loving group of family and friends-who-are-like-family (#famely) to help celebrate and guide us as we get ready to be mamas. This was shower number one of two and we already feel so spoiled… all smiles, all day. #thankyou!!! #lesbianmoms #babyshower #rainbowfamily

A backyard bbq, swimming pool and games for the kiddos was a hoot. The weather was cooperative and the decor was handmade by yours truly and my friend Lindsay.

My friends and family are a colourful bunch. My mom, in yellow, is over the moon about the upcoming arrival.

This will be the new normal.

Nesting

At the prenatal class they said that nesting is a sign that baby is coming (but what if you are already a compulsive organizer-nester?) and I should also anticipate a decline in my energy. I am defiantly filling the rest of August with things to look forward to.

I have gained 27 lbs and continue to feel pretty good, though tired. I am loving he distraction of summer plans with friends, like yesterday’s lunch at Queen Mother, dinner at Tabule and I have continued eating intuitively to keep both me and baby happy. He is a kicker and always lets me know when he is awake.

To Do List

  • Get a hospital go bag ready
  • Set up our cloth diaper service first delivery so nappies are ready and waiting
  • Prep to go back to work… and be ready to leave again when baby comes
  • Finish prenatal classes
  • Celebrate baby at our baby shower
  • Get all the little things organized (like today I put labels onto all the drawers and baskets in his room so it stays tidy)
  • Get rid of our sharp cornered coffee table (because I won’t want to do that when baby has already arrived)
  • Knock some more items off my to do list

Bumps and Strangers.

I had my first real ‘stranger’ conversation today about the size of my belly. On the heels of 10 days of travelling in England, with my mom, where everyone was so wonderfully kind and accommodating to this pregnant traveller, I’ve largely escaped any comment about the size of my bump.

I had a funny conversation today.

I enter the chiropractor‘s office and take a seat.

Him: when are you due.

Me: October.

Him: aren’t you kind of big for that due date?

Me: I’m quite a big person. I’m 5 foot 10.

Him: I guess October isn’t that far away is it?

Me: No just little over two months. And I had quite a flat stomach before this (I press my top against the outline of my body; wearing quite a billowy top gives the impression of a tent, somewhat).

Him: god has a plan for all of us.

Me: I find it mind-boggling that every single person on the planet started out this way.

Him: do you know if your having a girl or a boy?

Me: a boy. We’re very excited.

Him: do you have a name picked out?

Me: yes. Kingston.

Him: Kingston. Does that have a particular significance for you?

Me: yes, my parents went to Queens University and there. My grandmother and grandfather both went to Queens, in Kingston. (So far so good, he is nodding along). My wife was born in Kingston, Jamaica. (He is still nodding. A good sign).

Him: so it’s a perfect fit then. Queens is a very good school… did you go there, too?

…And so it continues, until I’m called in for my adjustment. That is how conversations should go. Assume positive intentions. Be yourself. I could have expected that this octogenarian, name dropping the Lord, might be less receptive to a lesbian ‘with child,’ especially with his size-based opener (it takes a certain kind of man to feel entitled to comment on a woman’s size and shape), but sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised.

He seemed totally unphased by my status, thoughtful even about my answer regarding my due date. He told me he has for children in their fifties and sixties. Maybe he was just reminiscing and seeing how accurate his math/ memory are. No let a trace of homophobia.

On the day before my trip to England, twice – on the phone with people discussing coverage for pregnant traveler – I was asked if I might want to consult my husband, or if I wanted to check my husband’s policy number after being transferred to a new telephone operator – all separate cases of incorrect assumptions.

Sometimes I feel like screaming ‘it’s 2018!!!!!!!!!!’

But then I remember to be gentle with people and have the same patience with them that I do when I interact with the 14 to 20 year olds that I teach. Sometimes the way you approach someone in your

response makes all the difference. #warmthandkindness

here is the bump:

Glucose Tolerance Test

Round 1 and … Sadly… Round 2

Two days ago I went for the Glucose Tolerance test at the midwives clinic. I drank the drink. Waited an hour. They took the blood.

The One Hour Glucose Tolerance Test is a screening test (involving a sugary drink and blood work) that measures your body’s reaction to sugar and helps to catch signs of Gestational Diabetes. Being overweight (before or during pregnancy, being 35 years old, having it in your family or being from certain ethnic demographics can raise the likelihood).

I have a sweet tooth, but as my last post might suggest, I eat really balanced, good quality foods, too. I fared pretty well with the icky sweet drink (the woman beside me fanned herself for the 20 min. it took her to gag it down and she looked nauseated the whole time). I drank it in 5 minutes and sat to wait.

So bummed out. I thought I was in the clear, because I didn’t hear anything until.. 2:30 pm the next day. My midwife called, my heart dropped. I got an 8.9 (they prefer less than 7.8). I’m so sad. I feel like my body tricked me. I have none of the symptoms. Midwife reassured me that my habits don’t have any bearing on how my pancreas reacts to pregnancy. Fine. But I still feel let down.

So, now in a bit of a rush, I am trying to squeeze the more extensive diagnostic test in before heading to a cottage, then off to England.

Gestational Diabetes and Glucose Tests have been hot topics on BabyCenter and some reassuring comments popped up:

A lot of people fail the 1hr test as its not diagnostic. The 2hr test is much more accurate and a lot of people who fail the first test are perfectly fine and pass the 2nd. I wouldn’t worry too much. For the next test you’ll be fasting and accuracy will be there.” 

This, plus the fact that some women’s OBs send them straight to the test I’m doing, to avoid the false positives that seem very likely in the one hour screening test. I know it’s not the end of the world, since it’s manageable even if it turns out that I have GD. It also (almost always) goes away after pregnancy and treatment helps make sure the baby is safe and … healthy. All good things. I just get stressed about extra things to worry about.

So, I found out on Wednesday afternoon and promptly found a lab that opens at 8 am Thursday. Then I needed to fast from 8 pm, Wednesday,  until 8 am on Thursday. I woke up and booked it to the lab (to beat the rush!). Taking blood after the sugar drink on Tuesday made me feel a bit light headed, so I’m not looking forward to the next phase of this process. Here we go!

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Part 2: Thursday Morning’s Test

Fasting for 12 hours. Go into the clinic super early and sit for three hours. Blood drawn three times. Once before the drink. One hour after. Two hours after.

Friday:

So relieved to find out, after the long test, that I got a negative result. I do not have gestational diabetes. Big smile on my face.

So relieved to find out, after the long test, that I got a negative result. I do not have gestational diabetes. Big smile on my face.