Monday, February 14, 2005

the good and the bad

I finally got to see my midwife on Saturday! Yippee! I was beginning to think she was going to tell me we couldn't work together, what with the number of times I've canceled or rescheduled in the past two weeks.

My blood pressure and other preeclamptic symptoms are back to normal- hooray! Weight- at the doctor Tuesday I showed a total gain of 7 lbs, but my home scale is weighing 4 lbs lower than that- even though it weighs Allie the same (36 lbs) that she was at the doctor on the same scale I used. Huh. Well, anyway, everything is good in that department.

Measuring 32 cm @ 31 wks, which is right on, and for one baby :) Baby is positioned funny- really high (not even a tiny bit engaged, actually anti-engaged if that's possible). Heartbeat could be heard not near shoulder as expected, but near feet. Which caused my MW to poke around all over the place and declare that "it only feels like one baby..." and I would have to agree. Head down, which is good, and still posterior. As long as baby doesn't engage while still posterior, I'm not going to worry about it.

Bought a birthing tub...I think I'm going to use it, too! Everyone I know who has used one in labor would never consider any other way, so it's hard for me to even think it won't be great. Now to get my supplies list...then I think we're ready to go (even though I'm not term until Easter, it doesn't hurt to be done early if you're a procrastinator!).

I went out Saturday night with my was a lot of fun. I tend to think we don't have much in common, but we had a good time. I found out she is worried about me giving birth outside a hospital setting, so we talked about that, and I'm hoping she's able to let go of some of her worry. Her births were both pretty traumatic, so I'm sure that's part of what's bothering her. Even though my first birth was difficult and second was an emergency, I wouldn't call either one "traumatic", so I feel really blessed in that regard. I don't know if she'll want to see any of the study results I have access to, or if it would help her feel at peace about things, but I'm trying anyway. I have to have a talk with her daughter, though- apparently, she is very unhappy with our choices, and is feeding mom's fear rather than talking to the responsible party (me). I don't understand it, but this kind of "I'll gripe to my mom rather than talk to the person who I have a problem with, namely my sister-in-law" problem has existed pretty much as long as I've been her sister-in-law. 7.5 years, I guess that is. I'm getting a little tired of it. It's hard to accept someone's smiles and hugs when you know that days before they were on the phone attacking your beliefs and choices. It hurts- I tend to forget she can be like this until it slaps me in the face. I know our parenting crops up in conversation from time to time too, and that is my weak spot- even though I have no idea what she said, the fact that she has criticized me for my parenting choices makes me want to cry. It also makes me hope that her children will be devilspawn, but that's only in weak moments.

I'm not a confrontational person by any measure- I actively avoid confrontation, really- but I hate when people talk behind my back. Enough to get in their face a little. So I'm going to try to play nice and write a short little note about how happy I'd be to answer any questions she has. I want to meet this head-on (easy), but I also want to be diplomatic enough that everyone will still speak to me afterwards (hard). Wish me luck

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Off quarantine!

Well, Allie was finally feeling better today- yesterday was the first day all week that she didn't voluntarily take a nap. Unbelievable. I'm getting over the upper respiratory thing I caught, and so are Gabe and Eva. I'm pretty sure Allie was the only one lucky enough to get influenza- none of the rest of us have been half so sick (although I've been twice as whiny!). Jeff only got a teeny bit sick. Lucky. Now I'm wondering if maybe Gabe and Eva are getting their 2 year molars, because all of the sudden, sleeping through the night is just a memory. Ugh.

I'm so glad a few of you are stopping by to comment- it feels nice to be thought of, especially since I've been posting so erratically the past few months. And Rachel- what you said about the water birth that never happened- that's exactly what I'm afraid of. Gabe and Eva were the longer of my two labors, and they clocked just over 12 hours...Allie was just about 8, even though she was stubborn posterior (facing my belly) and ended up being born that way- sunny-side up, it's sometimes called. As far as I can tell, a birthing tub would have to be filled from the kitchen faucet, which would probably take 4 or 5 hours. And I have no idea how we'd keep it warm, in any case. It just seems like so much trouble...

Speaking of posterior babies, I did a belly mapping exercise last night, and it seems that this baby is posterior too, at least for now. If you scroll halfway down that page, and look at the picture labeled "OP", I'm 90% sure that's how Blinky's laying in there (my runner-up is ROP). No wonder my midwife was having a tough time finding heart tones- you usually hear those through the back of baby's shoulder, and there's no way to access any part of Blinky's back! I'm brushing up on ways to change that- I'd prefer not to have stitches this time, thanks.

I bought two new baby carriers- one wrap-style (like this one, but different brand) and one pouch. I wanted something easy for when Blinky is new and needs to be nursed/changed often (the pouch), and something that would go over both shoulders to distribute weight for later on, and for my bigger kids (the wrap- I also wanted something really versitile, position-wise, and wow, despite it being a little goofy to look at, you can use the wrap a zillion different ways!). I had regular slings with my other kids, and I loved them, but because much of the weight is on one shoulder, I always hurt after using them. I've used a Snugli carrier before, and theoretically, it should be comfortable- straps on both shoulders and all that- but it wasn't terribly. And you can only use them till baby is 25 pounds or something! I had Allie (4 yrs, 40ish lbs) in a back carry with the wrap for a little while today, and it worked great!

This week Allie got a new book, called Runa's Birth (warning- if you click on the "US english" link, it just takes you to a PDF of the book's text- if you want to see what the book looks like, check the buttons on the left). She's very, very excited about the baby. She has informed me that she would like to be the one to cut the cord (just like Runa's big sister Lisa in the book). She also told me we should name a girl baby "Dorothy" after the dinosaur on the Wiggles, but that idea I'm not so open to.

I'm pretty set for middle names- most likely Rae or James, thus keeping our single-syllable middle name streak (Brynn, Kate, Dean) intact. We have to give the kids a break somewhere- their last name is 9 letters, and Allie's first name is the shortest with 6 (Gabe's is 7, and poor Eva's is 10). The first names I'm looking at are all 8 or 9 letters. I don't set out to curse my kids, I just tend to like longer, more old-fashioned or unusual names. Although I thought we should nickname Eva "Jelly". I was voted down.

Saturday, February 05, 2005


Well, Allie and Gabe have influenza. Time to put my money where my mouth is regarding that vaccination I refused to get :)

Allie is almost over it- her white count is in normal range, although she isn't eating again yet, and she looks like the walking dead (ok, so she's unable/refusing to walk still, but you get it). Gabe is obviously not feeling too good, poor guy. Those of you who have cared for him at church wouldn't believe this is the same kid- he slept all day, and then slept on his dad for 90 minutes at urgent care. In fact, he's sleeping now! Eva and I aren't sick, and while Jeff felt yucky this morning, he's doing ok now. There's no doubt I've been exposed, but so far I feel fine. Let's hope it stays that way! Thanks to Gabe nursing, I'm sure my body is making antibodies for both of us, so it might be my system will kill it off without me ever knowing I had it. Neat how that works.

We'll miss you all on Sunday. No bringing the kids out till they're better- doctor's orders. Not that we'd want to. Poor kids.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


For some reason I can't bring myself to settle down and go to bed yet. It's late, and I know we have to get up at 7 tomorrow as part of our newly begun program to get the kids to sleep by a decent hour, but I feel sort of edgy and wakeful. I keep reading blogs or looking at baby carriers online and getting up every half hour to prowl the house a little.

Tomorrow I'm seeing my midwife again. Last time she was here, I had a few of the symptoms of preeclampsia. I'm really hoping they've resolved. High blood pressure in particular is something I've never dealt with before in my life, so it's a little worrisome.

I also discovered that I have an abcessed tooth yesterday. Yippee. It doesn't really hurt, which is why I only noticed by accident. I have an appointment Tuesday to get it checked out and maybe fixed, depending on the time they have available. I have to get a mouth xray, which I know is a pretty minimal danger compared to the risk of allowing the infection to continue and possibly spread, but I still don't like the idea of radiation coming anywhere near me and this baby. Another reason to hope that my blood pressure is down is the long period of time I will be supine in the dentist's chair- which will mean the main artery carrying blood to my lower body will be partially compromised by the baby's weight pressing on it, causing my BP to rise to compensate...really makes you wonder why so many women are still forced to labor and deliver on their backs. I've never had a root canal before, so I'm kind of dreading it, especially because my choice of post-procedural pain relief is rather limited (let's see....tylenol....or, hmm, tylenol? decisions, decisions).

At the same time, I'm excited to have my midwife visit us again, especially since Jeff wasn't able to be here last time. And I'm hoping that this time the baby is better positioned for me to hear hir (that's my intentional attempt at a gender-neutral misspelling there) heartbeat. Last time, I only got to listen to the placenta, which was still pretty neat. Kind of a whoosh-whoosh wavelike sound (it reminded me of putting a seashell to my ear). My friend Reb in TX (the angel responsible for backing the Vecinos booksale/fundraiser) has me half-convinced to waterbirth this time. I know from experience that I probably won't really strictly need it, but I also know that a warm shower has immensely helped me during labor past times, so it might be nice. I just have to decide if it's worth the hassle of setting up a tub or pool and filling it. This is my last chance to try it, so I'm certainly tempted. The drawback would be it would have to be set up in the living room- which could be distracting for me if anyone is messing around in the connected kitchen.

It feels really odd to be talking about this birth in terms of living room and shower. With the exception of the aforementioned Reb, who is having her second homebirth a month or so after I am due, I know of no one else who is not opting to go to the hospital. It doesn't make me angry or sad or anything- I don't think it's a right-or-wrong issue, or that hospital birth is a terrible thing- but my position is sort of alienating. What makes me sad is, I'm sort of locked out of the normal cultural trappings of birth. I haven't had an ultrasound, or a triple screen, or a glucose tolerance test. I get to listen to my baby on a regular old stethoscope, not an amplified Doppler. I don't go to the doctor, my midwife comes to visit me. No one has been less than supportive- that's not what I'm getting at. It's that I wish like crazy I was more able to blend in; be part of the group. I wish I didn't always seem to be isolated by my choices.

I'm sure part of it is just being a 4w5- I think that's kind of a double whammy in terms of living with a certain amount of isolation and social awkwardness (I'm the Bohemian, for those looking to connect the numbers with a title). But sometimes it seems like I'm just programmed to find ways of increasing the awkwardness and isolation. I complain to Jeff sometimes that I just can't do anything in a normal fashion. I'm factory pre-set on "eccentric". And I know that part of me deeply values that- my refusal to pretend I'm like everyone else is a source of great self-worth...and that probably sounds arrogant until you realize that my other choice is to hate myself for something I have no control over- not that liking myself for it is rational, but it is more comfortable. But it's crazy-making too. Try as I might, I suck at chit-chat and other social niceties.

It's not that I want desperately to be like everyone else. I just want to be enough like everyone else that people can tell that I genuinely like them and enjoy their company. Maybe I just need to go to finishing school.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I've been neglecting you...

You know, I had this halfway-long post written, and I hated all of it. Completely. Buh-bye.

So all I'm going to say for now is, I'm really happy to have made it to this point in my pregnancy- Gabe and Eva were born at 29 weeks gestation, which I am now, and I was a little nervous that I wouldn't make it this far. And I'm really happy to be diaper shopping- we're doing fitteds this time, which are adorable although pricier, and yes, I know most of you are staring at your screens in confusion at this point, but I know what I mean, and I love buying diapers so much that your confusion is really rather endearing. You're cute when you wrinkle your foreheads that way! Here's a dictionary for anyone interested in the joys of diapers that need to be washed. If not, I'm afraid I really don't have much of anything for you...which makes me feel terrible!

I'll find a way to make it up to you. Promise.