New Mommy Advice

All of you soon-to-be new moms, listen up! I have something to tell you that can revolutionize your life as a new mom! I have the key to making your first weeks as a mother the most blissful you will ever experience!

Are you ready for this great wisdom?

Me too. Let me know if you figure out what it is.

In the meantime, I’m going to be that obnoxious person that gives you unsolicited advice based on her previous experience.

There are so many approaches, methods and techniques to parenting out there today. I’m pretty sure none of them really matter, though.

Sure, there are great systems developed by experts that make your child act better in public or whatever, but the bottom line is nothing can really make that bringing-home-baby transition any easier. Even for those that find parenting skills come to them naturally, like instinctual knowledge, transitioning to having this new little person in your life takes some adjustment.

Let me share some stuff with you that may or may not be helpful. Everyone is different, and every child is different. What I experienced won’t be what you experience, nor what I experience a second time with my son.

Now that we’re clear as mud, let’s get started.

Manage your expectations

I know I have heard this with many things in life, like starting a new job, buying a house, but never before has this been so important. Everything you think will happen, everything you think will be your new-mommy life, throw it out the window. Now.

It’s nice to visualize and think about the cuddling and the bonding and on and on happy moments that will (hopefully) motivate you while you push that bowling ball out of your hooha or sign another form and another check for a crazy amount as you pursue adoption, but there is a lot more to parenting a new-to-you kid than all that. I know you know this, but I’m just reminding you.

Everyone always talks about the sleep deprivation–we get it. We all know we will be tired. The parts people don’t mention is the everything in between (except for breastfeeding struggles, because that is a hugely popular topic as well).

The stuff in between is that I didn’t even feel like I was living in reality. There is this hazy period of time that happened where I was doing everything that needed to be done, but I wasn’t really involved. I know that sounds like I’m coocoo for coacoa puffs, but stick with me.

I was mostly intimidated by this wrinkly thing I was calling my daughter. I spent a lot of time changing diapers and washing bottles and trying to get milk stains out of almost everything. I knew she and I were connected, and that no one else could take care of her better than me, but it just didn’t feel real for a little while.

Until it felt real, which happened in little snippets of time every once in a while. These moments had the potential to make me want to vomit because I suddenly understood I was completely responsible for a little life.

 

There was a whole array of things that didn’t meet my expectations. Not that reality was worse or even better, but it was just different.

For example, shortly after arriving home, Eva (my daughter) managed to projectile poop in the middle of a diaper change. ZERO warning was offered. My joy and glee in the moment was so immense and so inappropriate, especially since I had to figure out how to get poop off of my mother’s couch, but she had plastered her father with some of the nastiest smelling/looking stuff I have ever seen to this day. I never thought I could take so much satisfaction out of something so terribly disgusting, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have been nearly so funny if it had been me. But this was part of my new life. Unexpected, not great, not terrible, and definitely unique.

By the way, the amount of gross that came out of her in the first week was of epic proportions and had me asking her pediatrician if she might possibly be broken. I wasn’t sure whether it was good news or bad news to hear that no, she was not broken and that yes, this was normal.

It’s OK to break the rules a little

Within a week of coming home, you will want to give that baby a bath. A REAL bath, not a sponge bath. The nurse/doctor will tell you not to immerse the baby in water until the cord stump has fallen off (so that everything clots up nice and neatly and a belly button can properly form). I wonder what they actually did with their child/children, though. I know for Eva, we only made it a week before she had a full immersion bath, cord stump and all.

The part that the nurse/doctor fails to mention when instructing you to keep the cord stump dry is that no matter how many sponge baths you give that cute, adorable bundle of baby, she will start to smell like rotten milk in about a week. She wasn’t even a puker and she still smelled like rotten milk.

There is only so much stink baby lotion can cover up.

Now, I will say that the cord stump wasn’t fully immersed for more than a moment here or there, but it still happened.

I let her sleep on her Boppy pillow. It was the only way she would nap some days, and I let her do it for her sake and my sanity.

Now, let me say that she was within my view at all times while sleeping on her pillow, but I still did it.

 

Ugh, and there it is. My need to justify such parenting decisions as a bath and Boppy pillow sleeping brings me to my next point.

Prepare to feel guilt like you have never felt it ever before

Mommy guilt is a term that we hear thrown about frequently. I think someone (me) should copyright the term because they (I) would become a millionaire, surely.

There is a reason we hear about mommy guilt all the time–it’s a real thing.

You’re going to feel guilty for that sigh of relief that escapes when the baby FINALLY stops crying long enough for you to hear yourself think.

You’re going to feel guilty when you take those extra two minutes pooping just because it is the only moments you get to yourself (wait until that baby is big enough to open doors, ha!).

You’re going to feel guilty when you realize you haven’t worn anything but pajama bottoms and various sloppy shirts for going on three days straight now. Depending on how neurotic/sleep deprived you are at that moment, you might also begin to panic that your significant other might be looking for greener pastures.

Wait for it–the baby will cry again and you will be saved from imagining a terrible place where you are suddenly a single parent, which will trigger more guilt when you realize that your significant other is right there next to you in the trenches.

You’re going to feel guilty when you gleefully get out of the house without the baby for the first time.

If you are going to the world of outside employment, then prepare yourself now to feel guilty every time you shower and dress for work. Be prepared to feel guilty every time you walk out the door, leaving that baby with the sitter. Be prepared to feel guilty and anxious every time that baby gets the sniffles and you can’t be the one to watch her every breath, move, hiccup and snort as she recovers.

Don’t get me started on the guilt that accompanies stay/work-at-home-moms, too. I have a word count limit I’m trying to work with here.

 

Take the advice with a smile and a thank you

As many women know (I know all my infertility sisters out there hear this especially), there is always someone who has something to say about reproduction, pregnancy, labor, birth and parenting. Sometimes, this person manages to give advice on every single one of those subjects. Most of the time, you just want to scream or knock a tooth out by the end of the unsolicited advice. But, not all unsolicited advice is bad.

I learned very early in my daughter’s life that I shouldn’t complain/mention anything about her other than she is “good” unless I was prepared to hear twelve different ways to fix the problem. The result of this lesson was I never had the chance to vent to anyone, ever, about anything. I didn’t want to hear the advice. I didn’t want to hear how Sue Z. Que approached a similar situation sixteen years ago with her twin girls.

The problem wasn’t really the advice giver, because the intent was always one of helpfulness. Every woman that gave me advice was trying to share her hard-learned knowledge. Every advice giver was trying to share a moment with me to remind me that I wasn’t the only struggling parent the world had ever seen, that I wasn’t alone.

I was the problem. I had an inferiority complex. I was also very skeptical. Any piece of advice from a mother that hadn’t parented her newborn in the last five years was, in my mind, obsolete. My inferiority complex also demanded that every piece of advice was a sign of my failure as a parent. Every piece of advice was confirmation that I was doing it wrong.

If I needed advice, then surely that meant I wasn’t a good mother. I didn’t have the mother instinct, obviously.

I have come to realize, instead, that I was ignoring some very good and practical tips from other moms that have stood in my shoes. Even those who have children I find to be awful and obnoxious can be sources of helpful lessons in what not to do or how to loosen up on your own parenting skills.

It’s okay to ask for help

I know you know this one, too, but I feel like I should say it again. It is okay to ask for help.

There is probably a flock of family and friends who are just waiting for you to pick up the phone to call on them for help, a break, advice or some sympathy. Those people want to be a part of your new life.

There is something about bringing a new life into your little world. I don’t know what that something is exactly, but it prompts an emotional reaction in everyone–truly, everyone, even that gnarled old man you call uncle that hasn’t smiled since his favorite team won in 1963. Emotions vary, but they are still there.

 

For example, even when my daughter wasn’t old enough for solids, I found myself on the receiving end of envelopes that contained two $1.00 bills with a quickly scrawled note stating that the money was candy money intended for my daughter. My godmother lived to far to visit regularly, but she was determined to let us know she was thinking about us.

I have no doubt that there is someone in your life that is chomping at the bit to be able to help in some way. Take them up on their eager willingness! If nothing else, maybe you can guide those intentions to something more useful than candy money for a 3 month old baby.

It doesn’t mean you failed. It doesn’t mean you aren’t a good mom.

I would like to think it means that you are a smart mom that recognizes her assets and uses them appropriately.

Don’t keep track of whose turn it is

Don’t argue over whose turn it is to change/feed/bathe the baby. It won’t do you or the baby any good. Do it together, if you can.

The thing that has worked for us the most is recognizing each other’s needs and communicating. If I have reached the point that a break is needed but the parenting thing just keeps going, I will tap my husband and say something along the lines of “tag”. He knows exactly what that means, too.

If Eva wakes me up at 6:30 am on Saturday and my husband stirs easily, he gets up with her. If she tries to wake him up on Sunday at 8:00 am and he doesn’t budge, I will signal her to leave him be and get up with her instead. He doesn’t sleep late, usually, so on those rare occasions when he is still soundly asleep after 7:30 am, I know he really needs this extra sleep. We both need to sleep, and neither of us feels robbed this way.

If I am still desperately in need of a bit more sleep (which happens frequently these days), then we make time for a nap. The goal is to work together, though. I don’t need him adding to my list of tasks, just as he doesn’t need it from me, either. The laundry, grocery shopping, cooking/preparing lunches for the week are all tasks we complete together, even with Eva. That girl can hang clothes like no other six-year old I know.

All of this brings me to my last point.

Learn to say no

Once you figure out what schedule works for you, treat it as sacred. You and your significant other will find a rhythm that works for the two of you that results in both of you being able to bond and sleep. I promise! It will happen!

These days, our weekends are sacred to us. We need them for family time and to regenerate our brains and bodies before the week begins again. We try not to schedule more than one activity per weekend. If we were overbooked, there would be no time to sleep in or take that nap.

When Eva was a baby, though, I remember all the invitations for this or that and you can bring the baby offerings. The problem was that to get Eva to sleep through the night, I really had to make sure to stick to a schedule with her daytime naps and her nightly bedtime. If she ended up overly tired, the results were torturous for all of us. She would fight sleep unlike any child I have ever seen. She also wouldn’t stay asleep all night either, which never made sense to me because I knew she was tired.

The result was me saying no a lot. I felt so guilty, especially since I was the only mother in my group of friends. But, in the end, I knew I was doing what was the absolutely best thing I could do, not just for my daughter but for me, too. I invited people to come to us more often as a result, and I also quickly learned who was really interested in continuing a friendship once things became slightly less convenient.

The part that surprised me the most was that I didn’t feel like I was missing out. I reveled in my time with my daughter. We made our own fun. My priorities had shifted, and I didn’t need the companionship from friends as much anymore.

All of this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take a night off every once in a while, though.

Remember those people that are just itching to help? This would be a good time to call them.

Ladies, I need your help

mindyminix:

Calling all the infertility ladies that have purchased fertility drugs: Written In Pen needs some input on the best route to take for purchasing infertility drugs. Your personal experiences are invaluable! Please leave her a comment here or at her original post!

Originally posted on Written in Pen:

Where did you purchase your fertility medication from?

We are in the process of looking at different options and we want to know what is the best bang for our buck if we are having to purchase it.

Also, did you pay out of pocket  and did you have any problems with delivery or anything you would like to add would be extremely helpful.

I appreciate you all for taking the time to answer this  : )

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Upside

I slept through the entire night with only one trip to the bathroom. The upside is I really needed some rest.

The downside is this means I didn’t have any serious contractions overnight. I have only had one since I got up this morning (about three hours ago).

We continue to wait (somewhat patiently) for things to continue to progress. Monday will mark week 37.

As for my strange change in gestational diabetes, my blood sugar levels remain within limits, even though I ate cereal for breakfast. I can’t fully express to you what cereal would have typically done to me.

We are expecting snow again. Off to the grocery store (it’s grocery day) with dread! I hate shopping with the frantic milk-bread-eggs-are-vital-because-we’re-getting-snow crowd.

My Experience With Gestational Diabetes

I’m not entirely sure I am completely normal or typical, but I felt I should share my gestational diabetes experience with others. For those that haven’t been following my pregnancy journey, I will start from the beginning.

I skipped the one hour glucose tolerance test at 24 weeks of pregnancy and went straight for the three-hour test. I had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) prior to my pregnancy which made me insulin resistant. My fasting glucose levels were generally in the 80’s or low 90’s, but my A1C was in the 5.9-6.1 range. I was on 1000mg of Metformin daily prior to pregnancy, and I continued taking the medication until I hit the second trimester per my obstetrician’s recommendation.

To even manage to ovulate or conceive, I had been working hard to fight my insulin resistance and PCOS with diet, exercise and Metformin. l managed to lose quite a bit of weight (I received my PCOS diagnosis shortly after ballooning up to 250 lbs for the first time in my life) which seemed to have some influence on my hormones. I managed to have a period without Provera within a timely fashion and then ovulated and conceived on that cycle. To say this was a miracle and surprise is an understatement!

At 16 weeks gestation, my obstetrician ordered my A1C to be checked again. It was the lowest it had ever been at 5.7. But, that didn’t last for long.

Around 22 weeks, I noticed that I was unreasonably tired. My thoughts were even foggy a times. There were days that I felt like I couldn’t even type a coherent sentence. Not sure whether this was just pregnancy brain and fatigue or something else, my obstetrician and I opted to complete the glucose tolerance test as soon as possible at 24 weeks.

I failed miserably. My one hour levels were bad, but sadly, my two hour levels were awful!

Since then, I began cutting back on my carbohydrate intake. I went to the two-hour diabetic teaching session and received a glucometer with a personalized nutritional plan. I quickly realized that the amount of carbohydrates recommended by the nutritionist wasn’t going to work for me. I was having a blood glucose spike after almost every meal.

So, I cut out some more of the carbohydrates. The nutritionist had recommended I get 100 grams of carbohydrates daily. I cut back to about 80 grams daily. My levels then began to stay within normal ranges.

Around 30 weeks, I suddenly began experiencing low blood sugar problems. I increased my carbohydrate intake to compensate. My numbers stabilized until week 31 when I suddenly began having spikes again. I cut back again, hoping this would help.

It took until 32 weeks for my numbers to stabilize again and remain consistently in normal range without spikes or crashes. Also at 32 weeks, a growth scan was completed. My son’s abdominal circumference was measured to be in the 97th percentile. This didn’t match his other numbers; so it was thought that my gestational diabetes was out of control.

My obstetrician put me on glyburide, 25 mg in the morning. This was the lowest available dose.

The first morning, my blood glucose levels bottomed out within a couple of hours of taking the medication. It happened again at lunch, and again in the evening. The next morning, I woke up with low blood glucose levels. For breakfast, I had my usual (two scrambled eggs with shredded cheddar cheese and 8 oz of milk). My blood glucose levels shot up to 151. Two hours after that reading, my numbers had tanked again, reaching 69. I stopped taking the medication. I also lost seven pounds that week (week 33).

My obstetrician agreed that this medication was not the solution for me. She advised me to keep trying with my diet. We also began weekly visits at this point so she could complete non-stress tests to monitor for oxidative stress. She was concerned that my placenta would fail because it does sometimes occur in women with gestational diabetes. She also said that the placenta tends to degrade a bit sooner with some women with gestational diabetes. To safeguard against stillbirth, she felt much safer completing non-stress tests weekly even though I argued for bi-weekly stating that I could complete kick counts.

Let me stress at this point that I strongly believe in my intuition. I have a good sense of my body. I don’t panic easily. I can tell when something isn’t right. I wasn’t being careless with my son’s life when I advocated for bi-weekly visits, but rather I was advocating for her to trust me as well.

It was obvious after speaking to her that she would forever blame herself if anything happened to my son if she agreed to bi-weekly testing. I decided my autonomy wasn’t worth it because denying the weekly appointments might result in her being overly cautious in her judgement or recommendations (I was/am really, really trying to avoid a c-section or induction).

I further limited my diet to approximately 60-70 grams of carbohydrates a day and increased my protein intake significantly. I also made a point to jog in place, dance, or walk for about 10 minutes after breakfast and lunch each day. At least once a week, I would go walking in the evening as well for 30 minutes. My numbers were suddenly beautiful! I had numbers that looked like a normal person’s numbers.

Fast forward to 36 weeks, where another growth scan was completed. My son’s abdominal circumference suddenly looked like an average baby’s! His weight is estimated to be in the 54th percentile!

For those that don’t know why I keep mentioning abdominal circumference, let me explain. The baby of a woman without gestational diabetes is expected to take glucose from mom and use it to build fat storage. The key to this is, though, that the glucose the baby turns into fat is usually distributed evenly over the body. The baby’s body takes these small, consistent doses of glucose and has no trouble producing an appropriate amount of insulin to facilitate the storage of glucose as fat. In a baby that has a mother with uncontrolled gestational diabetes, the baby is receiving random large doses of glucose. The baby’s body produces large amounts of insulin to facilitate storage which builds fat, but the body tends to store most of this glucose in the form of abdominal and chest fat. This excess fat can cause problems at birth such as difficulty breathing. To read more, you can check out the American Diabetes Association site.

So, if the abdominal circumference is large while the rest of the baby’s body doesn’t match, then the possibility of after-birth complications increases.

I’m not a doctor, but that is the jist of my understanding of what happens. Please don’t take my word for it, but talk to your doctor if you want to understand the disease process.

I am 36 weeks 4 days today. On 36 weeks 2 days, it was as if suddenly everything had changed. I began having symptoms of early labor. That wasn’t the strange part, though.

Suddenly, my blood glucose levels began to drop. The next day, my numbers were even lower. I crashed in the middle of Walmart, despite having ate a snack as usual about 30 minutes prior. I was dizzy the rest of the day, which is typical when I have either had a crash or a spike. I thought perhaps I would be much better the next morning (today).

Through the night last night, I had three contractions powerful enough to wake me up. Things seemed to be progressing just a bit toward labor.

After I got up this morning, I realized that my dizziness hadn’t gotten any better. I also saw that my fasting glucose levels had hit the lower acceptable limits at 75. I called my doc.

She called me back as I was making breakfast. She informed me that it sounded like my placenta had switched gears on me. The placenta releases hormones that increases insulin demands, which is typically no big deal for most women. In someone who is insulin resistant, though, this is what triggers the high blood glucose levels and thus gestational diabetes.

I’m not going to pretend to understand the pathophysiology of what is happening right now with my placenta, though. She said that my placenta is preparing for birth, though, and that this changes which hormones are being produced. This also means that my placenta does has an expiration date that is sooner rather than later.

I informed her of my labor symptoms as well, knowing they weren’t significant or consistent yet, but she was pleased. She said that it sounded as if everything was progressing perfectly. She advised me to increase my carbohydrate intake significantly. She also said that she expected real labor to begin within the next couple of weeks.

She said she wondered if my low numbers meant that my body was eating away at my fat reserves, converting fat to energy. This is a concern because this process releases ketones. A significant amount of ketones in the blood can result in diabetic ketoacidosis, Long list of symptoms later, ketoacidosis can be really dangerous leading to seizure, coma and death if left untreated.

She cautioned me to be patient with the increase of carbohydrate intake. She said to expect some spikes, but that I shouldn’t back off on my intake without giving it a couple of days.

That conversation was this morning. For lunch, I had pizza. I haven’t had more than one small piece of pizza since around week 22 of pregnancy. Today, I had four pieces of pizza. That’s how many sounded good, so I went with it. Nervously.

An hour later, my blood glucose level was 91! A fasting blood glucose level that is considered ideal is between 75-95. Needless to say, this was amazing! I promptly stocked up on dark chocolate covered almonds to keep with me at all times in case of crashes, though (always pick something that has some sugar but also a bit a protein).

I have been snacking all day. This has been difficult because I’m also having bouts of nausea to go with my contractions. For dinner, I had chicken and dumplings (along with some other healthy things, but those items aren’t important). An hour later, my blood glucose levels were at 110! Another miracle!

It’s like I’m suddenly normal! Well, that’s relatively speaking anyway.

As my labor symptoms increase, I will have to guard against low blood sugar it seems. This is quite a switch for me, but a welcome one nonetheless.

I will continue to monitor my glucose levels four times daily (at minimum) and I will update my blog for any new developments. I don’t know any two people that have had the same exact experience where gestational diabetes is concerned, but I do know that others’ experiences have been so invaluable to me along this journey.

Have you had a similar experience with gestational diabetes? How did it progress as you neared labor and delivery? I would love to hear your story in my comments section!

Early Labor

Warning: TMI! I’m going to share all of my early labor symptoms, and some are gross.

I have had three contractions tonight heavy duty enough to wake me up! I’m so excited about them that I find myself having a hard time going back to sleep.

I have been having signs of early labor since Tuesday night. I know this is probably just my body tuning up for the real deal, but I’m getting more and more excited as all my symptoms become more frequent.

Given that this stage of things could progress to labor or could last like this for weeks, I’m sure my enthusiasm for it may change. Before it does, I would like to outline what’s happening at this point.

On Tuesday, my doctor said I am dilated to 1 cm. Tuesday evening, I began feeling achy and cramps, very similar to PMS cramps.

Wednesday, the light cramping continued and was joined by frequent trips to the bathroom. I began experiencing a lot of gas and had many loose bowel movements. Wednesday evening, I had a really serious contraction that made me stop mid-sized and made my entire belly hard as a rock!

Thursday morning, my blood sugar was a higher fasting number than I have had in a long time. I struggled all day Thursday to understand my numbers. I stayed at a 95 all day after every meal until I went to Wal-Mart in the afternoon. My blood sugar dropped in the middle of the store and I thought I was going to pass out. Chocolate and almonds saved the day, though. I felt dizzy and like the room was spinning off and on after this incident (which is typical for me if my blood sugar has tanked or spiked suddenly) all evening. I had a couple of Braxton-Hicks in the evening.

A little after midnight, the first contraction woke me. It felt like a very intense cramp that built and built and built and then began to slowly ease away. It made me nauseated. I didn’t look at a clock until it was over. I’m not timing anything until it becomes more consistent.

About an hour later, it happened again, but this time it was intense enough I needed to stand up.

Around 2:40 am, I had another wake me up. I sat up and rubbed my belly until it passed. I also noticed I have a runny nose now. I am also urinating frequently.

I have had a lot of pelvic pressure and discomfort that comes and goes since Tuesday as well.

So, that’s where things stand at the moment. We might be doing this for weeks or I might progress to a more consistent pattern anytime. Since I am only 36 weeks and 4 days, I’m not up walking  or doing anything to actively try to get things to progress. Even though the doctor said we are safe to go at any time now, I would still like him to stay in there until 37 weeks.

Breast Pumps and Insurance

For the first time ever, I can say that I am very pleased with my insurance.

I will probably never, ever say that ever again. I’m sure I will be cursing their existence as I pay my deductible in the very near future.

I called them a couple of months ago about coverage on breast pumps. The lady I spoke with was very helpful and she mailed the proper forms to me to order the pump and informed me that I can’t order until I am 30 days away from my due date.

My insurance company further impressed me by sending me updated information without prompting when their policy changed. The updated policy meant I could order my breast pump online without having to mail in a single item or press 1 for English on a single menu.

The new policy allowed me to order the electric breast pump of my choice (I had six different options) from Edgepark at the 36 week mark. I placed my order on Tuesday evening. The order acknowledgement email reminded me that it could take up to 10 business days to receive my order because first my physician would need to be contacted and then the insurance would have to grant approval.

I got my breast pump via FedEx today! Talk about fast! In the box with my pump is a piece of paper showing how much my insurance will cover (100%) and how much is my responsibility (0%).

I was a little dismayed to see, though, that Edgepark charged my insurance $450.90 for my breast pump that I could purchase from WalMart or Target for about $250.00. Another contributing factor to inflated premiums, I suppose.

So, now I have a Medela Pump In Style Advanced free of charge (if you don’t count my insurance premiums, of course)! I haven’t broken the seal yet just to make sure that everything has been covered. I will be calling my insurance company tomorrow to verify that they are covering it completely. I don’t want to end up stuck with a $450 pump that I can purchase for $250 locally.

Pump-experienced moms, which parts exactly do I need to sterilize when I do finally open this baby up? Will the instructions tell me? I would like to be ready to go once my baby gets here because I’m sure I will have a fatigue-fogged brain the first time I use that pump. 

36 Weeks 1 Day

Today, we had another ultrasound.

In my 32 week post, I was dismayed that my son’s weight was estimated to be in the 97th percentile. I was frustrated that my gestational diabetes, even though I was tightly controlling my diet, seemed to calling the shots. I was frustrated that this news seemed to put my thoughts of a natural birth on a pedestal as an unobtainable ideal.

I spent the next month eliminating even more carbohydrates from my diet, mostly from breakfast because my blood sugar was spiking more frequently after breakfast. I made sure I was completing some moderate exercise for 10 minutes after breakfast and lunch each day.

Today, my son’s weight measured in the 54th percentile! I couldn’t be more ecstatic! His weight gain slowed since our last scan. He is still plenty tall, though, according to his femur (70th percentile). But, we can deal with tall. Tall is just fine by me!

The ultrasound tech confirmed his gestational age is still five days ahead of the original estimated due date. She confirmed that his spine and skull look perfect. She confirmed that his heart and kidneys are both looking perfectly normal as well. She did not complete his biophysical profile, though, so poor guy still had to have a non-stress test complete.

He kicked and carried on throughout the non-stress test (NST). I was sitting there strapped up for about 8 minutes without a solid minute of usable results when my doctor came in. As he did at the last appointment, he immediately settled down and quit kicking the sensors once my doctor started talking. I wish I knew what he was thinking. It sure seems like he likes her voice or something.

My doc swabbed me to check for group B strep after the NST was completed. She then checked my cervix for dilation. To her surprise, she reported I am about one centimeter dilated. Excitement abounds! I knew my body was working on something in that department.

As for my weight, I am still maintaining and not gaining. I am at my pre-pregnancy weight of 217. My blood pressure is still within the perfect range. I have no swelling and I am wearing my rings (which are actually a bit on the loose side when my hands are cold). Somebody knock on some wood real quick before I say this, but everything seems to be going really well!

So, my natural birth seems like more of a possibility today! I am saying lots of thankful prayers today!

29 Days and Heavy Thoughts

TRIGGER WARNING: This post addresses pregnancy, miscarriage, recurrent pregnancy loss, stillbirth, birth defects and secondary infertility from the perspective of someone experiencing a viable pregnancy.

I only have 29 days before my estimated due date.

I’m not naive enough to think my due date is some magical date whereupon reaching midnight my water will suddenly burst and baby boy will make his appearance soon thereafter. But, it would be nice to have such assurance.

My water may not even break until it is time to push. Lord only knows when that will be!

At a local Chinese restaurant recently, the owner’s daughter (an adult) pointed at me with a knowing smile and said, “Ah a boy”. She caught me by surprise, but I nodded and smiled back.

She said the next time I walked past her, “Only 4 or 5 more weeks”. I was 34 weeks at the time. I should have stopped to question her because my curiosity now is killing me. Instead, I just smiled and said, “Time will tell”.

We have all been guestimating when I will have the baby. My husband and I both said March 17th. I have since changed my guess to March 18th for no real reason except maybe to have my own date picked. I never did share well with others. Ask my poor brothers! Hazards of being the youngest child maybe.

My mother and a friend have guessed March 5th, while my brother guessed March 12th. I know there are other guesses but I have lost track.

I find it funny none of us have guessed past my estimated due date. We shall see.

My brother sent me a text today saying, “Are you still pregnant?”

“Yep,” was my reply.

“I will be texting daily to make sure,” he said.

“Lol ok.”

What else should I say to that?

I had planned on posting on Facebook a photo and an announcement that I am only 29 days from my due date today. Instead, I will only be posting here.

I found out that someone I consider a wonderful mother and lady just had her third miscarriage yesterday. She has a wonderful, intelligent, sweet 4-year-old daughter, but she hasn’t been able to carry a baby to term since.

She doesn’t even know that I know these things. But my heart hurts for her loss. It wasn’t so long ago that I felt my life would be forever haunted, my dreams crushed, by secondary infertility. Her mother told my mother that this woman will have to have a D&C later this week.

I know it is my Facebook and I can post whatever I want, but I just can’t bring myself to post something that may make this sweet lady or anyone else feel even more grief or pain.

Something else is weighing heavily on my mind. A family member experienced a stillbirth two years ago. She now posts articles on Facebook about kick counts frequently in an effort to promote counting the baby’s kicks in the third trimester as a way to prevent stillbirth.

Today, she posted another such article. But, she also wrote that if she had only known to do kick counts, her son’s life might have been saved. I didn’t realize she felt this way.

I’m about to describe something graphic concerning her son. Please stop reading if this might negatively affect you.

Her son had a neural tube defect. He was missing a portion of his skull. The defect wasn’t discovered until after he had died at almost full-term after she gave birth.

Her doctor had told her the missing portion of his skull was a result of decomposition, even though he died on a Monday and was delivered on a Thursday and her waters were intact until the birth.

I always assumed her doctor’s statements were untrue, because decomposition doesn’t occur in a bacteria-free environment such as the womb (when the gestational sac is intact). It was never an appropriate time or situation to bring this up previously. And, I always assumed that she had learned the truth when she began visiting her high-risk obstetrician.

Now, I’m not sure if I am mistaken or if she really lives needlessly with a mountain of guilt believing there was a way to save her son. I’m not sure if maybe this wasn’t something she discussed with her obstetrician or if I’m just wrong.

Anyone with experience and knowledge please feel free to comment. I’m not sure if I should approach her about this or not. She is more than open and willing to discuss anything and everything related to her son’s life, birth and death. I would like to ask her if she ever got a second opinion on her son’s death, but only if I am not completely wrong.

I have stillbirth listed as one of my biggest fears for my son. My mother experienced a stillbirth as did my father (they were both previously married). There are many people within my circle that have as well.

I can’t imagine living with the thought that I might have been able to prevent my child’s death. I really can’t imagine living with that thought for years only to discover later that there wasn’t a single thing anyone could have done.

Hey, Breastfeeding Mom, I need To Speak To You

As my due date quickly approaches, I am preparing last minute details for the arrival of our son. My breast pump can’t be ordered until Monday, but I already have a few spare parts purchased. I also have a manual pump (that I found on sale which makes it much more valuable to me) in case my electric pump were to breakdown for some reason.

I have read many articles, blog posts, books and thread after thread of mommy commentary on breastfeeding. I have searched out the pros and cons to both pumping and feeding straight from the tap (ahem, the boobs). I have read all about the different holds and even read about laid back breastfeeding (Google it, or go here to learn more because it seems pretty legit to me). I scoured Ina May’s Guide To Breastfeeding like it might hold the most valuable nugget of wisdom ever shared to breastfeeding mothers everywhere.

The approaches are endless, but the goal is the same–to have breast milk as your baby’s sole source of milk.

There are many drawbacks and many rewards to breastfeeding as a whole; so I wasn’t expecting glorious tales of mommy nirvana, exactly. I was expecting to find some general truths that rang true for every breastfeeding mother out there. Some tidbits of wisdom that would fortify me as I begin my own journey in breastfeeding would have been perfect. Boy, I was disappointed.

I have discovered, instead, that breastfeeding is a lot like childbirth–it is completely different for everyone. Breastfeeding is even different with each subsequent child, for crying out loud!

The universal truth seems lost to me. Many moms stress that the first six weeks of breastfeeding is the most exhausting, most painful experience any woman will ever endure. One mom told me to be prepared to treat the first six weeks like a never-ending marathon in which only your boobs are participating. But, then, another mom completely disagrees with such thoughts of awful.

She stated that it was the most natural thing in the world for her and her daughter, and that it didn’t hurt for more than a few seconds at the beginning of each feeding. She went so far as to reassure me that she wasn’t up at night any more than if she had formula fed (as she had with her first child).

The cynic in me thinks that possibly the second mom was just trying to alleviate my anxiety about breastfeeding, but then I saw her breastfeed. She didn’t flinch. She didn’t even pause in our conversation. She also looked well-rested, and her baby was only eight weeks old.

So, now, I want to stop every breastfeeding mom I see when out and about. I want to take a person-to-person poll, to see if there is a commonality among the moms that dread every breastfeeding session. I want to hear about the experiences of the moms that think it just couldn’t be more natural and easy. Breast is best is the mantra for many, but man, that just doesn’t do it for me.

I think I will stick to analyzing such things from afar (i.e. in a blog post).

What about you, breastfeeding mom? Got any wisdom to share?

 

Older Moms Are So Cool

I never wanted to be an older mom. I wanted to have all my children while in my twenties. I know I’m not the only one with such early-life aspirations, either.

As I carry this child knowing I am 30 already, I don’t care so much about age anymore. I have most definitely decided against birth control that requires the manipulation of my hormones.

So, anything could happen…in theory, if my PCOS takes a chill pill.

I could end up being 40 and pregnant.

I could even be 45 and pregnant. Hey, MTV, that would make a much better show than 16 and Pregnant! Middle Aged and Pregnant doesn’t have the same shock value, but man, I would actually enjoy watching a middle aged woman experience pregnancy, for so many reasons!

Anyway, back to the point. I read an article in The Washington Post that made me smile. If you are thinking about adoption a little later in life, then this may be the article for you! Follow the link below.

Why I like being an older mom
http://wapo.st/1vzSKbQ