In Labour

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It is very odd to welcome discomfort. But this just reminds me that we are closer to our goal. When the past 9 months were our reality, minimizing discomfort was the order of the day… now, discomfort and pain means K is closer to being in our arms. I’m in a rhythm, a bit of a groove. I feel supported and Allia is getting me what I need, but we are also working on a puzzle and playing solitaire, respectively, until contractions happen.

Latent labour… early labour. I can still talk. We are laughing. I’m changing positions. Breathing deliberately. It’s 11 pm. I’ve been having contractions, getting closer together, but not necessarily more intense or consistent, since noon.

It’s so hard to tell what is going on, since no one can tell you how it will feel for you, not even if you’ve already done it. Each pregnancy is different. That’s what they tell me. How do you know when Braxton Hicks contractions, which are practice for labour, progress into the next phase. These are more intense, with more pain in the hips, low back and some waves of sharpness, but does the contraction end when the belly softens, or when it’s still rock hard, but the pain dulls slightly. Baby is moving and rolling and I’m focused on relaxing and rocking, walking, bouncing, leaning forward… different positions, which tend to make the contractions worse, but if they are getting more intense, rather than easier, it feels intuitive that I should keep changing spots and activities to keep things moving along.

And maybe none of this is comparable to what I’ll feel later tonight, or tomorrow. Of course it’s not. How do you describe versions of pain? Especially when your threshold is high to begin with?

It feels very arbitrary… the timing, the levels and measures of pain, start and stop…

compared to what? On a scale of what?

8 AM –

I lost my mucous plug at 4:50 am and have had contractions from 5:47 am, 14 min., 12 min., 17 min., 13 min., 11 min., 8 min., apart…

Now I’m eating cinnamon raisin toast and trying to relax.

2 PM –

Nothing is more frustrating than lateness (okay, some things are for sure), but right now it feels like the LONGEST wait. I’m getting contractions, not as strong as yesterday, except occasionally… and not regular. Where is the progress? Sigh.

This is what being overdue and impatient feels like.

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Week 39, 40 and now 40 weeks and 4 Days

The bumpy road ahead. This week, so close to the end, I’ve had a few spills and near misses. Some tears shed. Bad dreams. Real life silliness- I electrocuted my finger, had a hysterical crying fit over the fact that we don’t have a formal will, slipped down the last three steps of our stairs, all with no damage to baby. I’m trying to get all the things done that I won’t want to do once he gets here.

Had our midwife checkup today. All things are progressing well – I am eating a pineapple a day, taking Evening Primrose Oil, drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea, stimulating, stretching, walking around, having nightly massages and bouncing on an exercise ball.

We talked about an induction at 41.1 weeks. I’d love to spontaneously start, but that’s a good avenue if things continue to go slowly. Don’t dawdle, little guy!

We did a stretch and sweep today, in addition to the normal heartbeat, pulse and bump radius measures. Not going to lie… it was intense. Maybe it’s because I have a long torso and my mindwife is very petite (with very petite hands)… but it was very invasive… and hurt more than I expected. But fortunately I was able to follow her prompt to ‘relaxxxxx’ even as my body was following its natural inclination to tense up in protectiveness. The stretch involves going into the cervix, if it’s open, while the sweep aims to detach the membranes on the other side of the cervix and release oxytocin and hormones that can bring on, or at least speed up labour.

It was worse than I thought it would be, but I’m tough. Allia was there and I’m so glad, because as our midwife announced, “I am touching his head” I thought I’d burst into tears. Plus, we now know that I’m officially 2 cm dilated (stretched to 3 ish) and 40% effaced… already with no interventions. This bodes well.

So, here we are at 40 weeks and 4 days. And I can’t stop wondering how I will pass the time until we meet.

Let the Mat Leave Begin

I’m off. It has been almost two weeks. I am restlesssssss. I have written all my thank you cards, made freezer meals, sorted all my email, shredded old bills, made a list of all the places (drawers, etc) where things get untidy and I’m attacking them one at a time (de-cluttering), sorting items to sell, donate and swap. I’m journaling. I am bouncing on my exercise ball.

The list is long and I am having trouble not checking my email 10 times a day. I am tackling mindless (or time consuming projects) that I used to put off when I had actual work to do.

Going through the last decade of photos and making albums is on my list. So is going through our basement storage and really Marie Kondo-ing the shit out of things. I have been binge watching Netflix.

What can I do while I wait for this little dude?

I never thought I’d be impatient for a man to show up. Lol.

Next-level Nesting

I was inspired by a friend who went on a marathon food-prepping session – following a plan from StockpilingMoms.com

I picked the most appealing plan and hit the grocery store with the pre-made list from the site. This, after two weeks of trying to eat up other leftovers and clear out one whole drawer of the freezer. With a total bill of $300 (including some leftovers like olive oil, lemon juice, etc), I will have twenty meals of four servings each – stored flat in the freezer and ready to simply throw in the slow cooker/crockpot. Ready and delicious with just a side or two to prepare.

It did take a while, but the cat seemed to find it more exhausting than I did. I prepped and labelled the Ziploc bags yesterday, and then went ahead filling the bags, starting with one type of meat, and moving through the rest. I kept my compost out and my recycling bin handy, and really only used a few knives and several cutting boards. I am beyond thrilled with my stockpile of food. Although my wife is eating vegetarian, and on most days I do as well, some of these meals have meat and will be great while I’m replenishing my iron stores post birth with a high dose of protein.

My pictures don’t look very different from the ones on the StockpilingMoms website!

Check out the site for some handy and well-organized meal and grocery plans to suit anyone, from full vegetarian to Paleo.

Perhaps this is the ‘nesting’ everyone talks about. Let me know if you have other tips and hacks for new moms!

Tough Day

Today was a hard one. I went to the walk-in clinic (my own GP has a wait list of a week for an appointment) after being up all night throwing up stomach acid. The heartburn and reflux is so intense. I worry that I won’t get enough vitamins (if I choose the stuff that feels comforting… mostly rice and porridge) and that I’ll be dehydrated, since drinking water make the reflux worse. I don’t want to go into a first time labour after however long of not eating (or sleeping really).

I have tried to tough it out with my own special cocktail of Tums and Gaviscon… with some Zantac for good measure, exceeding none of the maximum doses individually or in combination, but it’s gotten so bad that I feel defeated. He is taking up so much of my torso that there really isn’t much room left for a stomach, or a safe distance between it and my throat. I can feel bile floating in my mid-neck area (almost constantly) and when I burp up the queasy gases I throw up a little in my mouth (like 27 times a day). TMI?

So, feeling a little at my wit’s end, I went to the clinic where a doctor, obviously male, told me (after a 2 hour wait) that ‘the female body is quite resilient, especially in birth/ that if I’m truly dehydrated, the hospital can replenish my fluids/is this my first pregnancy?/usually we recommend non-prescription/ it’s really a question of the risks vs. benefits…

As if I’d never thought of any of this. I tried to explain that throwing up all night was not just making it hard to stay hydrated, but that I am not sleeping (even more than usual) and that I’ve managed it thus far in the manner described and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t more than I can handle. I also mentioned that my midwives suggested I see a physician since they can’t prescribe medications…

My eyes were brimming with tears of rage and frustration. (Please don’t talk to me like I’m a simpleton and PLEASE don’t waive your prescription pad in my face while telling me how resilient my body is). I fucking know this. And I’m not asking you for opiates or addictive medications. I want to be taking as few things as possible… but also to be able to ensure that nutrients are staying in my stomach so this little fetus can use them.

Especially, please don’t say these things while holding out the real possibility that you’ll say no, even though I’ve tracked down the only clinic open on a holiday weekend and I’ve sat here for hours, and told you the name of a medication which my friend used in all three pregnancies, Losec, which is safe for use.

He had to leave the room to check (fine, we aren’t encyclopedias) but acted like he was doing me a huge favour as he handed me the prescription. Four hours post-dose and I’m still burping up bile … but maybe, just maybe, I will sleep tonight and not go on for the next two weeks feeling like a puke-filled pinata. 2c58a781-d9d9-4931-b1a6-7aee1f3c9ea0_1.67d0e38e50464307878ff97f1d1523d0.jpeg

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.

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