Friday, June 26, 2009


We had another checkup this morning, and this time, my doctor did an exam to check for dilation, effacement and the froglet's placement. One of the things I like about my doctor is that these are not standard parts of his prenatal appointment; he doesn't feel the information acquired is worth the discomfort. Since I've been having mild contractions off and on for the last week or so, I was hoping to be magically found to be dilated 5 or so centimeters. I had visions of being whisked off to labor and delivery and having a baby in arms by tomorrow.

Not so much.

I am neither dilated nor effaced, and the bug is not descending into the birth canal at all. My cervix was deemed "unfavorable." Ouch.

Because I am already a week past due, my doctor isn't comfortable letting me go more than another couple days without some sort of intervention. Initially, he mentioned induction, but since I've done some research on induction and its success rates, I was wary. Basically, how successful an induction will be is based on, well, how favorable one's cervix is. See above. So we asked our doctor about the likelihood of an induction in my case leading to a lengthy labor, fetal distress, and an ultimate cesarean birth. His opinion was that I would labor for 24-48 hours, get to about 5 centimeters dilation, then stall and ultimately need a cesarean.

So instead, we're going straight for a cesarean birth.

Its not what we expected; in fact, its vehemently what I said I did not want three weeks ago. I'm dreading recovering from abdominal surgery with a newborn at home. But really, all we want at the end of this is the froglet, safely and healthily delivered. And this way we'll have that.

So on Monday, we'll get to meet our son.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And a real update

Sort of.

I had a doctor appointment this afternoon (40 weeks plus 3 days). According to my doctor, as long as both the baby and I are healthy and I'm within two weeks of my due date, it doesn't make sense to do much of anything yet. Which, despite my complaining, I have to agree with. I'm going back on Friday for another checkup, and we'll discuss further options then. So, while I'm sorry I can't provide better info on when the froglet will appear, at least know that both of us are healthy and hanging in there.

While we're waiting...

A few photos of baby stuff, proving that we really are, more or less, ready for this little bug to arrive already!

As previously mentioned, the froglet will be sharing his room with a lot of guitars and CDs, at least for a while. But we do have somewhere for us to sit and rock him, somewhere for him to sit and rock himself, and someplace to change him (changing table is in the forefront there; its piled with stuff right now to prevent the cats from claiming it before his arrival).

The (mostly) catproof crib.

And a peek at the goodies in the crib. Obviously these will all be displaced once the bug gets here, but for now, its cute...

And, since Randi asked, a picture of me at 40 weeks plus 2 days. Proving conclusively that there is in fact a point at which black ceases to be slimming.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A not very interesting update

So our due date came and went yesterday.

We slept in, took the dog for walk, basically had a lazy day. I spent a lot of time bouncing on my exercise ball trying to persuade the bug to drop a little more. And he did, I think. I had some Braxton Hicks contractions, as well as what felt like some regular contractions, but nothing consistent enough or long lasting enough to qualify as real labor. Nevertheless, I am confident that what activity there has been means things are moving along.

Plus there's Pace. Always a bit nutty, he's been even weirder than usual the last few days. I'm not sure if he's just not used to me being home all day or if he's picking up on some variety of chemicals or hormones, but he's been more anxious than usual. All and all, his behavior is reminding me a bit of what he was like when we first got him four years ago. Kind of frustrating, really, and I'm hoping it just a temporary reaction and not a new standard of behavior.

Poor Morgan keeps saying that this weekend has felt like he's playing hooky and that he should really be at work. Unfortunately, unless something monumental changes before 7am tomorrow, he will in fact have to go back to work and just be on alert. Fortunately it only takes him about half an hour to get home.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer approaches

One of the things I'd been dreading about the end of the pregnancy was the beginning of summer. My due date is Saturday, which is technically the day before the first day of summer. But for the last few years, its seemed like the warm weather has been starting earlier and earlier, with hot days beginning in April or so. (Of course, hot days are a relative concept - living in San Leandro now, a hot day is one where it gets to about 80, whereas when we lived in Concord, it was more like 95+. Of course, we had air conditioning when we lived in Concord...) But I'm considering myself incredibly lucky in that its been a pretty mild spring, with some downright unseasonable cold snaps and even - unheard of in Northern California - rain in May and early June.

But... yesterday and today are giving me a little taste of summer. I don't think it actually got above 75 yesterday, but that was enough for me. I headed over to my friend Amanda's house (even though she is in Southern California at the moment) and plopped myself in her pool for half an hour. Her unheated pool. Unheated pools make very little sense in this area - I can't imagine its really warm enough for most normal people to enjoy them more than a couple times a year. But, a nine-month pregnant woman who is overheated and can't seem to regulate her temperature is not normal. It was heaven. My feet and ankles are actually almost their normal size, and my fingers had some feeling return to them for a while (ultimately more uncomfortable, alas, since the feeling is now leaving again. I really want my hands back.).

And last night was another Concord dinner, only I was very bad and actually had some smoked turkey - lunch meat is one of those big no-nos during pregnancy. It was tasty, but I was okay having skipped it during previous pregnant Concord dinners. I also had a very small glass of dry Riesling; that was worthwhile. I told Morgan it was our official break the rules, I'm done with being pregnant celebration dinner. He cruelly pointed out that I'm not actually done yet. Mean. Just mean.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Today would be okay (2).

Today would have been my grandmother Mary's 85 birthday. I (and I think she) would be perfectly okay with the bug sharing that date with her.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Today would be okay.

The latent Irish writer in me would be okay having a baby today.

Fourteen years ago, a college friend and I randomly found ourselves in Dublin for Bloomsday. Well, we were aiming for Dublin; we just didn't know it was Bloomsday. We spent a couple days drinking whiskey, visiting church crypts, having picnics in cemeteries in the rain, and sleeping on park benches. (We had hostel beds; I am honestly not sure why there are so many pictures of me sleeping on park benches from that trip...) Waiting for our ferry at DĂșn Laoghaire, we ran into a cute straight-edge punk boy I took a creative writing class with my freshman year at Santa Cruz and stayed up all night talking, because, well, that's the sort of thing that happens when you're 20 and randomly wandering around Europe.

It makes me sad to think about this now; this friend still lives incredibly close, but really, it might as well be on a different planet. Its easy to blame parenthood for driving friends in different directions - her oldest child is now six, and she has at least two more. I know that I will change when the froglet is born; my priorities will shift, I might lose interest in the things I used to find important. But. But I think - I hope - I have a strong enough sense of self to not lose who I am just because I am a parent. My values have been set in place for quite a while now, my politics, what I consider right and wrong, what I consider the kind way to treat my friends. I don't foresee any of these things changing. And if they do, please feel free to call me on it.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I had my week 39 appointment this morning, in which I got to hear my doctor's reaction to my (not) ginormous baby. Happily, he is satisfied with last week's ultrasound result and is prepared to take a wait and see approach, rather than scheduling a c-section. I had been preparing myself to strike a bargain with him - I'd be willing to schedule a section if I hadn't gone into labor on my own by the middle of next week - and it was a relief to not have to bargain with him. My next appointment, which my doctor is confident I won't make, is next Tuesday.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Not a poser

This morning was the ultrasound to measure our gigantic baby. After Monday's adventure getting to the hospital during morning rush hour, I made Morgan leave early. Of course, I failed to take into account the fact that we could use the carpool lane, so we got there way early and sat around reading fitness magazines ("Sleek abs in just four weeks!" - Give me a week, and I'll be thrilled with what I get.). The ultrasound only took about 15 minutes, and the tech was able to confirm the froglet is head down, with his spine against my left side. In other words, the perfect birthing position. Good baby. My doctor wasn't convinced the tech would be able to tell me the approximate weight during my appointment, but I asked anyway: 8 pounds, 11 ounces, plus/minus 16 ounces. Sooo... anywhere from between 7.5 pounds to 9.5 pounds. That's precise.

Regardless, the weight combined with the position makes me feel much better about the likelihood of a success natural birth. Obviously, I still have to see what my doctor says on Monday, and who knows what will happen if/when I go into labor. But I feel better.

We also got some cute glimpses of our little boy's face. Unfortunately, none of them were printable because he had a fist pressed against his forehead the whole time (wonder if he had Mommy's headache?), but we could see his tiny little fingers curled up against his face, and his mouth was opening and closing throughout the whole thing, making him look like a toothless little old man gumming away at his food.

Now my only real concern with getting through the next week or two is my head. After making it through my whole pregnancy with only one migraine, I've had two this week. Both hit me at around 6pm, after productive but not overwhelmingly busy days. I'm not sure what to chalk them up to, but I have a few theories. My first thought was just that the froglet was done and wanted out and our hormones are now clashing. Then it occurred to me that I've been pretty anxious about the whole weight/position/possible c-section thing, and maybe now that I have a little more information, I can relax. After that it occurred to me (and I kind of think this is the most likely) that every weekday for the last five months, I have had a grande decaf white mocha for breakfast. Those decaf espresso shots have a lot less caffeine than a standard shot, but there is some. This week, being home, I've been drinking juice or herbal tea for breakfast. On Monday, when the migraine hit, I had Morgan pick me up a regular coke; last night when the migraine started, I had a small cup of coffee (and boy did the bug enjoy that...). In both cases, the aura died down after about an hour long nap, and while the headache portion lingered, it was mostly gone by the next day. Tomorrow? I'm starting my day with a damn mocha.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday Moodswing Madness

My first day of maternity leave has been a bit bumpy.

I had a 9:15am doctor's appointment, so I got up with Morgan. The cats were all a bit needy and nutty, with Isobel lashing out at everyone, which made me testy. But then Isobel - the grumpiest of our kids, who I am quite convinced really doesn't like me - decided she wanted to lie across my belly and purr like a lunatic while I massaged her face and ears. That made me feel a bit better.

Then I managed to crack the toilet seat. That made me feel worse.

My doctor's office is all of 7 miles from my house, so typically giving myself 30-40 minutes to get there is way more than enough. Not today. Today, with the multiple accidents I passed and the general slowing at the new Highway 92 flyway, I was half an hour late for my appointment. Half an hour, I might add, spent sitting in the car near or in tears, just desperately wanting to get off the freeway. Note to myself and Morgan: if I approach active labor near morning rush hour, the froglet is going to either be born in the car or at home. Just saying.

When I finally got to my appointment, I apologized to the receptionist for being so late; she brushed it off and complimented my earrings.* I apologized again to the nurse who always takes my blood pressure and weighs me; she told me that with the prenatal appointments, which usually don't take longer than 10 minutes, I'm good as long as I show up before noon. All righty then. Both women were ridiculously sweet to the stressed out pregnant lady and, yes, made me feel better again.

According to my doctor, I'm still measuring big. Did he think the baby would shrink over the course of a week? Anyway, nothing new to report there. I have an ultrasound on Thursday and another appointment on Monday**; that is when we'll discuss whether he really feels a c-section will be necessary.

After my appointment, I went down to Kaiser member services to discuss what I need to do to collect state disability. The medical secretary had me fill out a bunch of forms, and then told me that Kaiser does the rest; all I have to do now is wait for a check. I can do that.

I also popped into the hospital admissions office to see if I could pre-register to avoid having to do so whilst in labor. After asking at the front desk, I was immediately called back by a woman in a rear cubicle who obviously enjoys registering the preggos. She took one look at me and cooed, "You are all belly. Its a boy?"

So my disability is being taken care of and I'm registered for whenever I have to check into the hospital. I feel like I had a ridiculously productive morning, even though really I did very little. And now the afternoon stretches out in front of me with a couple options: Laundry? Some light cleaning? Or a nap? Hmmm....

* I haven't explained my baby earrings yet, have I? Susan, who has cut my hair for the last four or so years (and has cut Morgan's hair for probably twice that long), makes jewelry that she also sells in her salon. I have a couple necklaces from her, one that Morgan bought me for Christmas a few years ago and one that I picked out for myself about a year ago. When we went in for haircuts last weekend, Susan pointed to her jewelry display and told me to pick out whatever I wanted, as birth jewelry. She explained that when she was pregnant with her son, she splurged on a pair of earrings that she then always cherished and associated with his birth. She lost one of them shortly before he moved away to college last year, but she found herself at jewelry store at the Portland airport. She found another item that has replaced the original earrings and that commemorates the next stage of her relationship with her son. So I chose a pair of earrings with stones that match the necklace I bought last year. And every time I've worn them, I've received compliments on them.

** My wonderful nurse, when making next week's appointment, told me she was putting me in the 9:15 slot again, but if I needed to be late it really didn't matter. I laughed and told her I would just give myself more time next week. She reminded me that after sleepless nights its really hard to get up in the morning and I should just do what I need to do. Really sweet, and I appreciate the thought. But I also now have a better idea of why my doctor is always running late...

Friday, June 5, 2009

38 weeks.

Its been a while since I've done a weekly update post, mostly because my books and newsletters were annoying me. But, since we're so close to the end, here goes.

The froglet is considered full term, and in theory can arrive at any time now. He's somewhere between 6.5 pounds and... bigger, and is about 20 or so inches long. He's been practicing curling up his little fingers so that when he arrives, he'll have a strong grip.

And me? I've been washing diapers and receiving blankets and baby clothes. I am getting up every hour during the night to go to the bathroom. I carry a bottle of Tums around with me at all times. I had to buy a new pair of Birkenstocks because they are the only shoes that currently fit my poor swollen feet. My maternity tops are approaching being too short. But hey, I can still walk four miles on the weekend, and the dog is still getting two walks daily. So I'm doing fine.

Today is my last day at work before starting maternity leave, which is probably a good thing because I'm starting to get alarmed looks in the halls, in the ladies' room, at Starbucks, at Safeway. Clearly I look like I'm about to explode, even though I feel like this little guy is still tucked in pretty securely.

I feel like we're ready at home too -- I want to spend the next two weeks tidying up some and trying to put some meals away in the freezer for after the froglet arrives, but if he were to come today (which he won't), we would be ready. Oh, I guess I have to finish packing my hospital bag. Eh, apart from that, we're ready.

Except for the part where after he's born, we'll have to take him home and keep him alive and stuff. Egads, what made me think we would be ready for that part???

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Over to your right.

So see that new little gadget in the right hand toolbar? Morgan kindly set up a Twitter account for me so that come D-Day, we will be able to update the blog via cell phone without having to haul my whole laptop to the hospital. No, I don't plan to tweet every aspect of labor, so don't worry about any TMI posts. And for anyone who also keeps an eye on my Facebook status, I might switch over to updating Facebook via Twitter closer to the big day.

A slightly cranky post, having nothing to do with cats.

So a week after my post about my plans for a natural labor and birth, with parallels drawn between marathoning and birth, I'm in a position of having to possibly reconsider. At my doctor appointment last Friday, my doctor brought up the fact that I am again - still - measuring big for where I am in my pregnancy. This has been the case throughout my pregnancy and, honestly, I've chalked it up to me measuring big, rather than the froglet. I wasn't at my skinniest when I got pregnant and, well, my weight gain is slightly over the recommended guidelines. (Bear in mind, I'm still walking every day, being reasonably conservative with my food intake, etc. I'm just going with the assumption that this is how my body wants to be pregnant.) But now my doctor is concerned that the baby might be getting "too big." He's also concerned that I'm still carrying really high; I haven't "dropped" at all. So he's scheduled an ultrasound to get an estimate of the baby's weight, and based on that, might want to talk to me about scheduling a cesarean.

Which I really don't want. Not that there's a wrong way or a right way to give birth; this isn't so much about aspiring for an all-natural crunchy birth experience. If that was what I was after, I probably wouldn't be giving birth at Kaiser. I just really do not want to 1) spend four days (as opposed to 24-36 hours) in the hospital; 2) have to deal with recovering from major abdominal surgery while trying to adapt to life with a newborn.

I've done some research on the accuracy of ultrasounds to estimate fetal weight - there can be a range of error of a pound or two, apparently. And the difference between 8, 10 or 12 pounds is huge. And even if the ultrasound comes back saying the weight is in the "right" range, just the doctor having the idea of a big baby can apparently contribute to more interventions than if the baby was never suspected of being big. Weird, huh? Fortunately for me, I think I have very little chance of actually having my doctor be on staff at the hospital while I'm laboring, so that shouldn't be an issue.

Like I said last week, the end objective is a healthy baby. But me being me, what I would prefer is to be allowed to go into labor naturally, no induction (which can lead to lots of interventions) or c-section, and to be allowed to labor as long as I need to, providing the baby is doing okay. This is my ideal birth, and what I think I will request, regardless of what the ultrasound says. (If there's any risk of danger to the baby, by all means, pump me full of drugs and get him out of me ASAP.) But part of me wonders if this is fair to the froglet, if there is any risk of not being able to be delivered normally, or to Morgan, who will be there with me in the delivery room for as long as it takes. I'm trying to keep an open mind to whatever might happen and keep focused on the end. Our son.

But then I went and took this birth experience predictor, which gave me this prediction:
The day you deliver, outside will be fair. Your baby will arrive in the mid morning. After a labor lasting approximately 35 hours, your child, a girl, will be born. Your baby will weigh about 12 pounds, 7 ounces, and will be 16 inches long. This child will have dark blue eyes and fluffy brown hair.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Because its a Pax sort of day*

*This isn't really Pax. Just another cat who likes to usurp baby items.

The crib tent, revisited.

When one has four cats, the nocturnal activity in one's house can be considerable. Nevermind that most of our cats have had the instincts cuddled out of them and prefer to sleep either wedged between us, at our feet, or on top of one or the other of us. As I might have mentioned, once or twice, my sleep has been a wee bit compromised lately. But despite this, I haven't witnessed too much nighttime cat activity, except for them jumping out of bed to follow me back and forth from the bathroom, and then demanding affection while I'm trying to reposition myself in amongst my considerable number of pillows.

And Pace, who is probably the most well rested dog on the planet (credit the prozac), doesn't usually contribute to the nighttime antics at all. But he had a rough evening last night (preparing us for parenthood by throwing up all over the house), and for some reason, he decided to sleep in the living room - usually he has to be in whatever room we're in. At around midnight, he started barking. Since this is very unlike him, it woke me up. As I struggled to get out of bed and into the living room, my brain slowly processed something strange about the crib, which sits about three feet from my side of the bed. A big dark lump in the crib, under the tent.

Pax. The biggest of our cats, the one we're most concerned with having not crush the baby, sleeping curled up in his crib. Under the tent.

I evicted him and told myself I would deal with figuring out how to prevent recurrences of this in the morning. An hour later, I woke up again, this time as Pax was hauling himself up the side of the crib and under the edge of the tent. At five am, he woke me up as he was balanced on top of the tent. At least we know it holds his weight.

When we were setting up the tent, we made some modifications to it; originally, it had a screen that was designed to go under the mattress and inside the slats of the crib, as well as forming a dome over the crib. Morgan and I weren't happy with that, as it felt a little too much like we were putting the baby in jail. So we snipped off the bottom portion and just left the top, dome part. It attaches flush to the sides of the crib and is held in place with velcro, but the ends have a gap of a couple inches. Which is apparently just enough space for a sixteen pound cat to get in through.