Archives for category: Third Trimester

I’m finally putting up nursery pics (thanks for the inspiration, Hound Mamas!). It’s been kind of a mess with many different blankets, baby gear and diaper stuff everywhere but it’s finally pretty pulled together.

A glider really wouldn’t fit in here so J found this amazing modern wooden rocking chair. I love it! I also need to find some throw pillows for the futon, but for now it’ll be used as a bed for my mom, then probably a bed for J and me when she goes back to work and we may need to sleep separately. Glitter will be co-sleeping with us, so the nursery is really just for fun and daytime use right now.

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We’re going to be using disposable diapers for a few weeks because my sister is giving us Giuliana’s huge diaper supply, but it’s currently in a storage warehouse until they move into their new house at the beginning of August. The diapers will then be shipped from Boston! The cloth wipes are all ready and we’re going to be using a spray solution of Dr Bronner’s lavender soap mixed with water and almond oil (recommendation from one sister). We also have lots of clean swaddlers in the container next to the diapers. The diaper changer is the best part of the changing station – it’s a Keekaroo, which you just wipe down and doesn’t use covers, therefore you don’t have to keep changing a cover (recommendation from other sister).

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It’s funny how many baby blankets you get as gifts when they’re actually not safe for the baby for a long time! We have lots of cute ones we’ll use for decoration for now, and I’m sure next winter they’ll come in handy in the stroller, etc. The one over the crib I knitted and matches the ones I made for my niece and nephew!

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I also have to share these onesies I found. I really don’t like pastel colors so I was so excited to find these, they actually look like something I would wear!

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I started prenatal yoga at exactly 12 weeks, having been concerned about miscarriage before that point, and have attended almost every single Saturday since. It has been an integral part of my pregnancy, and I met the only mom friends I have (besides you all, who matter a lot!) in that class. Three of us in the class have July due dates and hired the same doula. She is amazingly positive, energetic and knowledgeable and inspires us to pursue natural, medication-free birth, connect with our partners during labor, and reduce medical interventions as much as is appropriate. Our natural birthing class took place in our yoga studio with our doula and involved dim lighting, breathing and physical support from our partners, essential oils and yoga poses to help with pain. J and I have discussed the slippery slope of medical induction many times since then, with my midwife mom, our doula, and these friends. J has read The Birth Partner and I’ve read Hypnobirthing. We’ve watched Birth Story with Ina May Gaskin and The Farm. I’ve practiced hypnobirthing on a daily basis, on my lunch break, in the bathtub, before bed. Our hypnobirthing affirmations are highlighted and written on post-it’s on the fridge for me to contemplate while filling my water glass. I have fantasies about early labor being much like a fun Saturday night at home – J setting out fruits, crackers and cheeses for us to enjoy while we watch a movie and I bake brownies for the hospital staff and paint my toenails.

Haha, joke’s on us, right? After hearing the long and difficult birth story of a friend I share my doula with, with many unexpected twists and turns, I threw my “birth plan” out the window. Many of my friends and WordPress buddies have endured such different circumstances and interventions than they were prepared for. The biggest lesson has been from both of my sisters, dedicated to natural births, who both ended up with c-births due to situations completely out of their control. And over a year later, all that matters is their gorgeous, funny little babies and their dedication to breastfeeding, whole foods and gentle, effective parenting.

I still have a vision of what we’d like for our birth experience if things go well – if I can stay at home as long as possible, not be induced, my posterior baby turns during labor, my water doesn’t break too soon, and I can use everything I’ve prepared to cope with the sensations. I’ll share this list of preferences with you, as requested by my close WordPress friend Mamaetmaman, but please take it with a grain of salt. As my friend’s husband recently pointed out to me, how can you plan for something you aren’t yet aware of? When you go into labor you have no idea what will happen from one moment to the next, therefore you can’t anticipate what decisions will need to be made and what circumstances you will base them on. I don’t want to feel disappointed if I get an epidural, or if I have to be wheeled into surgery at the last minute after hours or days of coping with labor. That being said, J and I are armed and dangerous with research, the wisdom of Ina May Gaskin, a feeling that birth is natural and generally does not require medical intervention, and the stories of many women, including my mother, who had uncomplicated natural births over and over. I think this is a lesson for becoming a parent and in the rest of life in general – to let go of expectation and control, stay positive and focused on what you want, but to stay open and flexible. I’m open to the birth I envision, and welcome it, and talk to Glitter about it every day in the shower, about working together to create a positive and healthy experience for both of us.

The first page is just for J and I to remember when things get going, but won’t be printed for the hospital obviously. The second page is for hospital staff.

Early and early active labor – for ourselves and our doula

  • We would like to labor at home as long as possible
  • We plan to be at home until contractions are 4:1:1 unless water breaks and it has been over six hours
  • Call/text parents, siblings and close friends. Turn phone off or keep in touch, depending on my mood and comfort level
  • Labor projects:
    • watch a movie
    • take a bath
    • bake blondies for hospital nursing staff
    • pedicure
    • Hydrate and snack as much as possible
      • Nausea and energy-friendly foods:
          • Cheese and crackers
          • almond butter on toast
          • apples, watermelon, peaches, any fruit
          • Vitamin water and regular water\
          • vegetable broth with tofu, spinach, spices and coconut milk
  • Listen to Glitter playlist, which includes everything from Eminem’s Lose It to Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb
  • Call doula when active labor begins

 

Hospital Phase: Active labor, transition, pushing and recovery

Birth Team:

Our midwife is ______and we would like a midwife for delivery if possible.

If a midwife is unavailable, we would like to request a female doctor.

Birth Team: ______, fiance, birth partner; ______, Doula

Allowed in the room: ______, C’s mother

Birth Preferences:

We would like a natural birth with as few interventions as possible.

We request NO HEP LOCK unless absolutely necessary.

In most circumstances (water does not break early, mother does not have fever), we will be declining antibiotics for GBS.

We plan to use hypnosis and relaxation techniques.

The only person who will offer or request pain medication for the birthing mother is J. She and C have a code word.

Post-Birth:

We request skin-to-skin as soon as possible with no immediate bath.

We will be delaying cord clamping.

We request infant testing to be done after Golden Hour unless medically indicated.

We plan to breastfeed only and request no formula, bottles or pacifiers be used.

In Case of Cesarean-Birth:

We request J and doula be present throughout the birth.

We request skin-to-skin and family time as soon as medically appropriate.

 

I’ve been reading a few articles on the last weeks of pregnancy and how difficult they can be, and turning them into a positive experience. Yes, my nursery is finished, the house is clean, freezer meals are stocked, hospital bag is packed, car is gassed up, we’re pre-registered at the hospital, BUT this last week had been hard. I wake up every morning wondering what’s going to happen. I have cramps on and off and feel the baby descending more and wonder if tomorrow will be the day. Despite how difficult labor may be, I’m ridiculously excited about it.

Nesting and preparations set aside though, there are so many things to do this week and I’m starting to see them not as a waiting game or distraction, but a gift before my life changes forever. My mother came and left already, but while she was here for a few days we cooked, shopped and took long walks. It was fun and soooo helpful. She spent two hours learning how to ear our Ergo Baby 360 and ring sling properly so she could teach me in five minutes. She carried the shopping bags and whipped up cookies and made dinner. She made the homemade diaper-changing spray and ordered us more cloth wipes. She watched The Bachelorette with us, analyzing the contestants and getting into it despite never having seen it before. She used her midwifery skills to assure me the baby was alive and head-down when I was freaked out. When we realized it was definitely false labor and nothing was happening, she hopped back in her car and returned to Albuquerque, but I’m so grateful that she came to have fun and do things only a mama can do! Thanks, Mom.

I’ve also enjoyed my own time this week. I’ve taken long naps every day, and yesterday I took two, one at 10am and one at 2pm. I’ve taken a few long baths with clary sage oil and hypnobirthing meditations. Yesterday I watched Chef on Netflix, one of my all-time favorite movies, while bouncing on my ball and trying to induce labor 🙂 Just sleeping until 7 every morning instead of getting ready for work at 6am has been a great blessing. Today I’m going to tea with my friend from prenatal yoga who had twins, then getting a prenatal massage. I also made a baking mix for oatmeal chocolate chip walnut blondies, which I plan on whipping up as a labor project. It sits on the counter in it’s disposable baking dish, ready to be baked and taken to the hospital for the nursing staff.

We had a midwife appointment on Tuesday and I did find out that Glitter is in a posterior or “sunny side up” position, with her chin up instead of tucked and her back to my back. This CAN cause longer labor and back labor, and I’ve been doing exercises to turn her such as cat-cow, inversions and lying in a supported position on my stomach, but I’m also not obsessing about it. Most babies turn when they’re ready or during labor, and what’s the point of worrying anyway?

I do treasure this time to keep preparing and relaxing, but I won’t lie, I get excited when I feel cervical pain and mild contractions every night. The midwife did a cervical check. I said I wasn’t going to do these, but after the false labor I was honestly dying to know. I was 1 centimeter dilated, 50% effaced, and my cervix is soft and anterior, which means it’s totally ready for labor, all I have to do is keep dilating! I wasn’t excited or disappointed, just glad the sensations I’d been having and losing the the mucous plug had led to some progress. It could be days or weeks. We saw a different midwife due to scheduling, and she was amazing. She told me to relax, feel open, let go of any expectations for when I’ll go into labor, take baths, have a glass of wine every day, have sex, go out to dinner, and enjoy life for awhile, and that is what I’m doing!

Well, we fell for it. I started having period-like cramping, lots of bloody discharge, lower back pain and Braxton-Hicks Friday night. I texted my mother, who told me I would go into labor any minute. After 30 years as a midwife, even she fell for it! It continued on and off for the next three days, and here I am, only a little cramping, not in labor at all. This could go on for weeks!

Friday J and I arrived at The Langham Huntington, a luxury hotel in Pasadena, for our mini Babymoon. I’m usually disappointed with hotels upon arrival, since the Internet makes them look so nice, but this was the opposite – we were impressed with the gorgeous lobby, service and grounds immediately. I’d left a note with our reservation that it was a last-minute Babymoon and I’d be 8.5 months along, and when we arrived we had a free upgrade and chocolate-covered strawberries in the room!

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The king bed had the softest sheets I’d ever felt, probably a very high threadcount. We had fun reading the room service menu, luxuriating in the sheets and looking around the marble bathroom like little kids. Eventually we went to the pool, which thanks to the holiday weekend was crammed with upper-middle class children cannonballing into the deep end. Oh well, we embraced it. Being in the pool felt awesome and my belly felt really heavy when I got out. I had a perfect virgin piña colada – very creamy and not too sweet – and J had a sparkling rose, which she let me sip on. We decided not to leave the hotel for dinner and to just relax and enjoy, despite the restaurant prices. Entrees at the fine dining steakhouse went up to $65, so we opted for the more moderate restaurant and sat on the terrace overlooking the pool. We shared a salad with fresh figs and feta, then J had a dish of pasta and I had Jidori chicken (fairly humanely raised and local). We marveled that there we were, at a five-star hotel, expecting a baby, and could afford to enjoy ourselves, but only for one night! Haha. We put our phones away, so the only pics I have are from the Internet:

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Somewhere in there I mentioned to J that I was losing my mucous plug and having period cramps and lower back pain. I didn’t know what the bloody show was supposed to look like, but we googled it and I was having it. The baby was also grinding her head on my cervix (I guess they call this “lightning crotch”) which was taking my breath away it was so painful. I’d been feeling this for weeks but not as intensely. That’s when my mom thought I’d be going into labor soon. It’s not that these symptoms always mean a woman is going into labor, just that based on my pregnancy and my mom’s own deliveries when we were babies, she just had a feeling it was happening. I was totally in denial and told her and J this could go on for weeks, but they both had “a feeling.” My first thought was if we had to go to the hospital, we’d have wasted money on this amazing hotel room!

In the morning we ate on that same terrace again – coffee, toast and a delicious omelet – and enjoyed the sunshine and the families camping out for their 4th of July by the pool. We had a late check-out, so we enjoyed our fancy room some more then had a long lunch by the pool. We had a truly amazing Babymoon, thoroughly enjoyed the hotel and each other, and now will always remember it as an exciting time.

By the time we left the hotel, I was feeling cramping, back pain and discharge again. We were starting to get nervous. I insisted on stopping at the grocery store to stock up for early labor. We went to a grocery store in Pasadena and started throwing random stuff in the cart. Two containers of hummus, bagels and cream cheese, Vitamin water for labor, a carton of Ben & Jerry’s (me), FOUR bags of potato chips, a pack of Pampers infant even though we plan to cloth diaper AND only use recycled disposables (J). It was hilarious. I the frozen food isle I started tearing up and J hugged me and told her I couldn’t have a baby today, I wasn’t ready.

When we got home I threw up everything I’d eating including breakfast, which meant it hadn’t digested well. I tried to do all the things I’d planned to do in the following week – despite cramping and fatigue, I cleaned the bathrooms, the kitchen, mopped the floors, did two loads of laundry, and made homemade cream of celery soup. I didn’t eat enough and totally exhausted myself, then threw up again (mostly water) and finally calmed down.

That night the baby moved so much, causing more symptoms, that we thought something would happen in the middle of the night, but I woke up with no more symptoms. The problem was, my mother had already jumped the gun and was halfway here from New Mexico, just in case I went into labor. We really want her here when that happens and afterwards to help with the baby, but by then we assumed it was a false alarm.

The guessing game has continued – the rest of the mucous plug fell out (sorry, that is so gross), I’ve had on-and-off cramping, lots of movement with irregular contractions, especially at night, and yesterday morning I woke up in the morning with cramps. Then last night, nothing at all. In fact, Glitter hasn’t been moving as much as usual. At 4am I freaked out, had some orange juice, she only moved a tiny bit, then almost woke my mom up but decided to just sleep. This morning my mom did some midwife tricks, moving my stomach around until Glitter moved a little, but she’s definitely not as active as usual.

My mother has been helping me with baby preparations but she’s considering going back to New Mexico until I actually go into labor. I love having her here because I need help! I didn’t have many newborn clothes and no complete outfits, so we bought some pants to go with the onesies I do have and two newborn pajamas with footies and hand holds. Then we got some essentials I hadn’t gotten around to yet like a nasal aspirator, baby thermometer and nail clippers. We also went to Whole Foods and made a great taco dinner for J, who’d had a rough day at work, complete with fresh margaritas (for them, not for me). We had fried Tilapia, pulled pork (which I don’t eat), spiced black beans, then the fixings – homemade cabbage slaw, homemade guacamole, crumbled cotija, fresh salsa, red onions in vinegar, and lime juice. And chips! Soooo good.

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I did a hypnobirthing exercise in the tub and we watched The Bachelorette. My mom mixed up Break Your Water Cookies, which are supposed to jump start labor. They have ginger, cinnamon and cayenne, which we doubled, and they’re so spicy it’s hard to eat them without almond milk! Of course these are silly and don’t work, but it was a fun induction project!

http://www.shoppingfortwo.com/Articles/Pregnancy/breakyourwatercookies.htm

I didn’t want to go into labor that early. In fact, when it was happening I felt like I was losing out on valuable time I’d been counting on to prepare and relax. When it stopped happening though, J and I were both disappointed. It was so exciting and overwhelming, then anticlimactic. These next few days/weeks are going to be a roller coaster! Now that things are fairly under control, with clean floors and a full fridge, I feel more relaxed. I have a midwife appointment this afternoon, a haircut tonight, and prenatal yoga with my doula tomorrow. We’ll see how things go but I have a feeling nothing is going to happen for awhile.

I can’t photograph the nursery now that my mom is staying there, but I’ll get around to it soon.

Well, 38 weeks tomorrow!

Doctor

We have a midwife and a doctor, and actually like our doctor better. She was away having surgery and we finally saw her last week after several appointments with our midwife, who is incredibly knowledgable but a little bit abrasive. Our doctor was super excited to congratulate us about gay marriage being legalized that morning. She was so positive and caring and respectful. She examined my belly but also did a brief ultrasound. My blood pressure is great (consistently around 95/58) and Glitter has lots of healthy fluid. The placenta is disintegrating a little (you can see on the ultrasound monitor that it’s calcifying) but that’s normal. I’ve gained 23 pounds so far and I’m hoping not to gain any more.

GBS

The doctor was supportive of our perspective on GBS and accepting that we may decline antibiotics under certain circumstances (if all goes well, my water hasn’t been broken for more than a few hours, and I have no fever). She agreed to swab me for GBS, although the results ended up still positive, despite over a month of anti-strep b regimen. I took fem-dophilus, garlic and vitamin c twice a day, drank apple cider vinegar throughout the day, and yes, towards the end I inserted a clove of garlic into my vagina overnight, every night. The positive outcome of this regimen was that when J got a bad cold for a week, I didn’t have a single symptom. I’ve always had a sensitive immune system, but either pregnancy or this regimen or both made it very resilient. Anyway, I’d prefer not to have Glitter exposed to antibiotics as she comes into the world, but if that happens, so be it.

Symptoms

Things are getting really uncomfortable. My belly feels very heavy and walking around the office and sitting in therapy sessions has been difficult. I have sharp pains throughout the day and even more at night when Glitter is moving a lot. No decreased movement here – she stretches, shudders, has hiccups, and pokes sharp body parts into me constantly. When she moves this much, I’m experiencing sharp cervical pains. I hope this means she’s getting into position, as the doctor and my mom have confirmed. Monday morning THREE different coworkers told me I’d dropped over the weekend, but when I carefully compared photos from two weeks ago to that night, I really couldn’t tell. Her butt is in my right ribs a lot and her feet or knees are poking out of my left side a lot. I have a lot of Braxton Hicks, especially when she’s moving. My belly gets hard and tingly.

I’m also still nauseous on and off and last night threw up all of my dinner, then had to eat crackers and fruit right before getting into bed. And speaking of bed, that’s the worst spot – I wait all day to get in there, exhausted, then I don’t sleep. My hips are in so much pain but I can’t lie in any position other than on my sides. I wake up every hour or more to pee. Thank goodness the pressure of work will be gone from now on and I’ll be able to take a nap when necessary.

Maternity Leave!

I really felt that 38 weeks was too early for mat leave until this week. As it became more and more difficult to get up early and be gone 11 hours straight every day, I started to let the relief sink in. I finished up seeing all of my clients, concluded supervision with my intern, and tied up a lot of loose ends. My intern cried when we said good-bye. She’s an incredible person – professional, authentic, energetic, flexible and just plain talented. I was honored that our supervision relationship meant so much to her. I remember looking up to my clinical supervisors and I can’t believe I get to be that person now, and for such an incredible intern. My supervisor, who just had her first baby a year ago and is my age, has been incredibly supportive. I hugged her good-bye and thanked her for everything. I also told her I may be back Monday, as we don’t have air conditioning!

Last weekend J and I reviewed our finances. With my SDI we’ll be fine, but if it doesn’t come through for some reason, we’ll also be fine. Not having my own money is going to be difficult, but I know that caring for Glitter is a huge and worthy job in itself, even for this career woman.

Next week I’m going to put up pics of our nursery here. It’s pretty much finished and Glitter’s diapers, swaddlers and clothes are washed and ready. The closet needs to be cleaned out and organized though. I have a full week planned – midwife appointment, hair cut, breastfeeding consultation, prenatal induction massage, and more freezer meals and house cleaning!

Childbirth Prep

My fiend from yoga whose due date was today had her baby this morning. She went into early labor Sunday, and finally had our shared doula come over on Tuesday. I’m not sure when she went to the hospital or how her labor went, but I know she had a beautiful baby girl, 6 lb, 9 oz! The weird thing was that when she was in labor, I felt kind of jealous. I know it was so hard for her and she was getting through contractions by the skin of her teeth, but I couldn’t wait to be where she was. I’m so happy for her and can’t wait for us to meet up with our babies during maternity leave!

My hospital bag is pretty much packed and paperwork for the hospital is completed and gatherered. We’re pre-admitted at the hospital and co-pay is paid. I even wrote an Advanced Directive and Birth Preferences sheet. We don’t really have a newborn outfit for her to wear home though, and her baby blanket isn’t finished yet. I keep wearing and washing the one maternity/nursing gown I bought. I finally bought nursing pads and a nursing bra, which arrived today, and in perfect time since I’m leaking a lot of colostrum these days. I can feel my breasts tingle before it happens, which is pretty cool. The nursing pads (Bamboobies, both day and overnight reusable bamboo pads) are in the dryer right now.

For the past week I’ve been doing hypnobirthing meditations in the bathtub and in the car on my lunch breaks. I don’t know if, in the moment, I’ll actually use these but I plan to. Deep breathing and acceptance of sensations has definitely been helpful in coping with the cervical pains and Braxton hicks. J is kind enough to do perineal massage most nights, and I practice deep breathing during that fun activity too (yes, very sarcastic).

Jurassic World was everything it was cracked up to be! We had such a fun weekend last week. Tomorrow we’re going on a late, short baby moon at a gorgeous hotel in Pasadena. We’re going to relax and go out to eat. The most important thing is the swimming pool, which I can’t wait to get into! It’ll feel like we’re getting away, but we’ll just be a short distance from the hospital just in case. I don’t think I can handle going anywhere for fireworks – I need to be very close to a bathroom – but I know it’s going to be a nice holiday weekend. Happy 4th everyone! (Well, the Americans!)

J and I got engaged just before they announced that the Supreme Court would be ruling on federal same-sex marriage in July, which would have been just in time for us to get a marriage license and seal the deal before Glitter was to enter our world and require legal documentation that we are both her mothers. We’ve since changed our minds about getting legally married before she comes, thanks to some legal consultations and complicated finances and tax issues, BUT Friday came as a happy surprise that means so much more than just my own marriage status.

Fifteen years ago, at age 22, I sat with my old girlfriend in Massachusetts watching news coverage on civil unions. I understood why other couples would want to get married, but I had mixed feelings about the legal aspects. First of all, at the time I didn’t believe in marriage and wasn’t interested in getting married myself. I’ve always been skeptical about lifelong commitment and whether it’s natural and realistic. My father is a divorce lawyer and I’ve grown up with few role models of satisfied marriage. My own parents were in the middle of a divorce at the time, after 30 years of being together. I believed that marriage was for religious people, and having grown up in an extremely liberal and agnostic environment, I just didn’t see why non-heterosexual people would want to go there.

Fast forward to my late-twenties. All of a sudden I wanted committment, a child, a life partner. I was exhausted and disenchanted with dating and with the insecurity of new relationships and breakups. I wanted a family, a house, boring weekday evenings and Saturday mornings playing in the backyard. I had been going to Unitarian Universalist church for a few years and was softer about religion and spirituality. I was very, very hopeful that one day I too would walk down an isle, probably not in a church but somewhere, in a simple white dress, towards the love of my life. I now completely understand why same-sex marriage is so important; we just want to same rights, protections, responsibilities and legitimacies of everyone else.

My own life aside, seeing the plaintiff couples celebrate this victory is incredible. They have spent years living married life without the societal benefits, living as interracial couples had to once do; living as second-class families. I am so happy for them, and for the hundreds of thousands of couples this law effects. I am happy for the bigger picture, the symbolic and political aspects of this decision. And as a huge Obama supporter, I am so proud that this came during his term.

Friday night we felt the excitement and headed to West Hollywood to hear the mayors of WeHo and LA speak at a rally. The plaintiffs from Tennessee were there with their children and also spoke. It was moving and historic. Since I reached full term and my doctor okayed it, I even had a beer! We also went to The Abby, but I was uncomfortable being in a club with my huge belly so we just saw some friends and were out of there around 9pm! Here are pictures of the rally and of the screen at The Abby:

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Months ago I also planned on seeing Jurassic World a few weeks before the baby was born, knowing it would be one of our last loud, indulgent, thrilling 3D movies for awhile. I can’t believe that day is here! J and I both love fantasy actions, like Godzilla, Avatar, and The Hobbit. I’m soooo excited to see those dinosaurs in a few hours!

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I can’t believe we’re full-term. I can’t believe Thursday is my last day of work! I’m so excited to hug my baby girl!

Of course I’ll add a pic of Giuliana and me last fall, just as a reminder of what it’s going to feel like!

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I’m not considered high risk anymore! Friday I had two appointments, one with our midwife and one with Maternal-Fetal Medicine, which is the high risk doctor. Our midwife always listens to the heartbeat, measures my belly and goes over lifestyle and birth questions. This time we discussed my birth plan and she was very supportive, even when I told her I want to listen to Eminem during active labor. She mentioned that she felt my bleeding and having been in the hospital may have been a “fluke” as they found no evidence of abruption on ultrasounds and I’ve had no bleeding since.

A couple of hours later we had a comprehensive ultrasound with MFM and that doctor also found everything to be normal and no evidence of abruption. Both providers don’t necessarily think I’m at risk for preterm labor anymore! Also, the baby’s head is down and she’s in a good position. Despite how much she moves around, I think she’s stayed in pretty much the same position for awhile now.

Glitter was measuring 6 pounds, 2 oz, which seems a little large for 35 weeks but is still normal. The What to Expect app says about. 5.5 pounds for this week. And speaking of What to Expect, as a side tangent – the end of the book reviews birth and breastfeeding, and refers to the “father” or “him” as the birth partner over and over. So much for their latest edition being inclusive.

We decided that July 2 will be my last day of work. Our doula (and lots of others I’ve consulted with both in person and read experiences of) feels that having at least a week to relax and mentally prepare for birth is important. I filed my FMLA paperwork with my insurance and now waiting to get it back to give to HR. Only 13 more working days! That helps, since getting up is a huge struggle every morning, getting dressed is uncomfortable, and I have to take naps at lunch every day, which lead me into afternoons of grogginess…

Yesterday I had a great yoga class taught, as usual, by the awesome doula we’ve hired. It’s getting more difficult to work out and I’m tired more easily, but it feels good at the same time. My friend from yoga and her wife had twins and I went to visit them. It’s amazing to have TWO babies! She gave me a ton of maternity clothes which are proving very useful for these last few weeks of work. J and I are thinking of starting a group of new parents and babies on Sunday mornings at a park near our house, a way of connecting and hopefully meeting some other lesbian mothers.

Here are some pics of my Sunday cooking. I promise to do some bump pics (I promise, Alicia!) soon, my belly is huge!

Cream of broccoli soup was supposed to be for freezer meals, but it’s so good I think we’re going to have to have some with tonight’s dinner!

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Spinach, mushroom and gouda quiche for freezing:

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Roasted potatoes and zucchini to go with our salmon tonight; salmon for baby’s brain development:

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Hospital Tour

The hospital tour made me want to go into labor right then and there. It was anti-climactic to return to my office afterwards!  The room we were shown, which was right near the one I spent a few days in last month, had a gorgeous view of some nature and an art center. The most valuable thing we learned was that J drops me off at the “Stork Dropoff,” which is entirely different from the emergency room/general dropoff area. 

Pregnancy Symptoms

I spent Wednesday extremely nauseous. I was up in the middle of the night, when it started, therefore was exhausted when my alarm went off, which increases my morning sickness. I somehow made it to work because it was the last day of a group I’ve been running that I couldn’t miss. Around noon, once I’d sat through a few therapy sessions and the group, I could barely stand up so I left. Once I was home I threw up violently (I somehow always make it home as my office has a shared bathroom with stalls). The rest of the day was spent sleeping and crying.

I feel huge! It’s difficult to get out of bed or off the couch. Even getting into the car is difficult! Glitter moves a lot as usual, and she’s bigger now so I can feel her feet stretching into my ribcage and her little butt moving around. It’s adorable. I also have leg cramps when I get up too fast, and I pee an average of eight times a night, even when I stop drinking water after 6pm. I’m exercising lightly, walking or doing my prenatal barre workout most days. Other than that, I’m just excited and nervous!

Work

Ah, work. It’s so busy and demanding. I love my clinic but I do wish I could work part-time. The clients talk about my pregnancy constantly, which doesn’t bother me too much but gets a little uncomfortable. As a therapist I’m really not used to the focus being on me when I’m at work, let alone a room full of 20 women asking me how I’m feeling and making comments about how big/small/far along I am all day! Pregnancy is one personal process that you really can’t hide…

A note about the group I mentioned: It’s a closed group, which means the members must be approved by their clinicians to attend, must agree to come to each weekly session, and must commit to respecting one another’s confidentiality completely. The group is for victims of childhood sexual abuse. I created the curriculum to be primaryily process-oriented, with a theme each week such as sharing aloud exactly who the abuser was and which family members were unable to protect the victim, validating anger and lack of forgiveness, and coping with family of origin as an adult. I took it on as a final project before my maternity leave and have really enjoyed running it, as sad as it is to witness the clients’ pain every week. It’s amazing to see their strength and their vulnerability and to see how committed clients can actually be, since usually they no-show half the time or blow off groups.

J and I have been discussing maternity leave – when to start, how long to take. This involves a lot of considerations like disability income, physical ability as my due date gets closer, and childcare options. I’ve begun calling daycares but so far I’m unimpressed. I’d like to leave my job a week before my due date, but I also want to save as much money as possible and save my time off for the baby. However, my doula insisted today that taking ample time off before going into labor is important. She urged me to consider at least two weeks, sharing that in her experience, women who relax and spend time with themselves before going into labor are better able to handle labor and their babies tend to be less stressed during the birth. My boss also advised me to take time off, sharing that she wished she had taken a week to lie on the couch and get ready for the baby, rather than working up until her due date. Any personal experiences or suggestions on this would be much appreciated!

Nesting

  
I haven’t had much time to do this, but our nursery is in pretty good shape and I did start some freezer meals today. I looked up some recipe suggestions on the Internet and ended up with black bean and corn enchiladas, whole wheat penne with chicken, mushrooms and tomatoes, lasagna primavera and spinach and Gouda quiche. So far I’ve made the enchiladas and the penne. I bought disposable aluminum pans that came with covers, and wrapped the final products in 2.5 gallon freezer bags, so they’re nestled into the freezer now, ready for some night in July or August!

We’re missing some supplies but there’s still time. I ordered a maternity and nursing night gown, nursing tank top, and some things from the registry I ended like reusable diaper pail liners, organic wipes for traveling (at home we’ll be using cloth wipes). Once the clothes are washed I’ll be ready to start my hospital bag just in case.

  

  

How did I go from writing every few days to writing twice a month?! I guess between the family visits, the high-risk appointments and work I’ve just been feeling worn out. I hope to write a lot more for the rest of the pregnancy.

I’m still not sleeping well and my hips have started throbbing again. I’ve had a very emotional few days, too. Monday was Memorial Day, but as it was dreary in LA and we’d had very little time at home, we decided to spend the day nesting. I went into the nursery to try to sort out baby clothes and try to organize the books and toys. I got so overwhelmed not knowing what to do with what that I just lay on the floor and sobbed for no reason. J was really supportive. She knew I’d been having some new hormonal symptoms – colostrum leaking from my nipples being the biggest one – so while I took a sad nap on the couch, she hung bookshelves, put away the books, cleaned out the dresser and put the baby clothes away, and vacuumed the nursery. She’s an amazing partner and continues to read The Birth Partner, give me natural birth pep talks and talk to the baby through my stomach every day.

Anyway, I have some major blog catching up to do. May 9th was our baby shower. I had just gotten out of the hospital and couldn’t do much housework. My mother and sisters came for the weekend and were very helpful. They picked up and arranged the catering, decorated the house, served mimosas exactly how I wanted them served (with a raspberry in each one) and kept the shower low-stress. I didn’t have any games; instead, my friends who are, respectively, an art therapist and a life coach, put together an art project in which each guest decorated a paper butterfly in the colors of our nursery and wrote a message to Glitter on the back. The butterflies will be strung together into a mobile for the nursery. It was beautiful and thoughtful. My little sister introduced a little blessingway ceremony, inviting people to read a poem or words of parenting advice aloud. Only a few people did but it was sweet. Then came the gifts! I’ve never been showered before and have never had so many gifts on one occasion! A lot of our friends came up from San Diego and it was amazing to see them and share our baby excitement with them. A friend from LA also brought her amazing camera and photography skills:

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I got through a week of work on “modified duties” which proved to be just as busy as regular duties, but with me having a more relaxed perspective and fiercely guarding my sanity with strict boundaries. My office was very supportive but it’s just not a low-stress job. Of course, whose is.

If you’re positive for Strep B, which I am because I had a UTI in my first trimester, apparently you must be on antibiotics during labor. J has done a ton of research on this and does not want our baby to be born on IV antibiotics. A very user-friendly site she used was this:

http://thecontrarianmom.com/2010/09/10/group-b-strep-simple-treatments-for-group-b-strep/

I’ll be tested again in a few weeks and if I’m negative by then, they will not administer them. J has me on a regimen of probiotics, garlic and yVitamin C capsules, plus a no-sugar (well okay, probably more like low-sugar) diet. I’m also drinking apple cider vinegar in my water and eating fermented foods like pickles and a lot of plain yogurt.

I asked my mom the midwife about this and although she believes in natural birth with few interventions unless absolutely necessary, she thinks the antibiotics are necessary in this case. However, she then reflected that in he the seventies when my sisters and I were born, they didn’t do a Strep B test and that she was likely positive for it and didn’t even know. Well, my sisters and I are all fine (at least in this way); we didn’t die because my mother didn’t have antibiotics. Only a very small percentage of babies whose mothers are positive for Strep B contract it, and of those fewer than
4% actually die.

If it were up to just me, I probably wouldn’t risk it, but I respect J’s viewpoint and it’s certainly worth a try to get rid of it. I like healthy eating anyway and after so many sweets over the baby shower weekend, it’s nice to scarf vegetables and not pastries.

Last night we watched Birth Story, the documentary about Ina May Gaskin and the Farm midwives. We’ve watched all of the episodes of The Business of Being Born and there’s a great episode also about The Farm. When I was little, my mother’s copy of Spiritual Midwifery started at me from the bookshelf but I’ve never had an interest in childbirth or babies so I didn’t pay much attention. The fact that my mother delivered babies was beautiful and amazing, it just had nothing to do with me. Anyway, the movie both terrified and inspired me. Watching a breach birth was really scary – my vagina actually hurt. But there were also some peaceful and happy births. It made us want to have a home birth. We probably won’t due to a number of factors, but in a perfect world I would have a birthing tub in my living room or at least go to a birthing center. These mother are amazing and make labor into something empowering and sensual, not medical and scary.

To prepare for this gargantuan task, we’ve been doing hypnobirthing exercises. This week i went to my car on a lunch break to do a hypnobirthing meditation and was in such a deep trance that I locked my keys in my car. I used it to get through a painful dentist appointment today and it helped. We’ll also start perineal massage in a few weeks to prepare the vagina for stretching and birthing sensations.

My posts about my high risk appointment and my baby shower are coming soon!