Friday, January 23, 2009

30 days to go! (Aaaaaahhhh!)

Week 36

Routine checkup yesterday with the measuring and the listening to the heartbeat, both of which were a-ok. Also did the Group B Strep test, the results of which I will find out at my next appointment. It's not a huge deal - 1 in 5 women are GBS carriers and most have no idea. All it means is that you'll have to have IV anitbiotics for a few hours once you go into labor so you don't pass it to the baby. Dr. O also did a cervical check and poked the baby's head! He, thankfully, did not seem to notice. She said that while I'm fingertip-width dilated, the baby's head is pretty far back, which means he's not engaged and hasn't dropped yet. Translation: it's gonna be another couple weeks. I am both happy and sad about this.

Sad because it means another 2-5 weeks of being pregnant, when I already feel so huge I can't imagine possibly getting any bigger, and not being able to sleep comfortably and the various other inconveniences and discomforts of pregnancy, and most of all, being anxious to meet my little one.

But it also makes me happy because despite all the various inconveniences and discomforts, I have greatly enjoyed being pregnant. Unlike a lot of women I've heard from, I've enjoyed seeing and feeling the changes in my body and sharing the pregnancy with Mr. Fantastic, and most of all, feeling Peanut moving inside me. That most of all is something I will miss acutely. I'm sure that once I have an actual baby to distract me, I won't notice so much, but right now just the thought of not feeling him rolling around in there anymore makes me so sad.

Also, I will cop to the fact that the closer it gets, the more I realize that I'M GOING TO BE SOMEBODY'S MOTHER, which is scary and freaky and exciting all at once. Not to mention, it's a lot easier to take care of a baby who lives inside me than one who lives on the outside. So I'm still overall happy to keep him inside just a leetle bit longer.

Almost every night, Mr. F and I lay on the couch or in bed with our hands on my belly, just feeling the baby move, and it's a really lovely time of closeness and connection for us. I'll miss that too, and I hope we can find a new way to do that once the baby's here.

Speaking of Peanut and moving around...since he's gotten bigger, there's less room for him to actually poke/kick/punch, and now it's more of a rolling, squirmy thing. It hurts less (usually not at all, except when he's got a foot lodged under my ribs) but looks a lot weirder. When the kiddo decides to start moving, the whole belly gets involved. And at times, I do get slightly concerned because I swear something is actually going to burst through. It's fascinating to watch - my stomach has become sentient. Literally! Some days, he moves around so much, I swear he is trying to escape or is looking for something. The exit, possibly, because it's pretty cramped in there.

I spend a lot of time staring down at my belly, watching it lurch around without any input from me. Many of my Conversations with Peanut these days involve me looking incredulously at my belly as it heaves itself to and fro and asking, "What are you doing in there?" Or sometimes it goes like this:

Peanut: *squirm squirm squirm JAB*
Belly: *barely retains the alien trying to escape*
Me: You do know there's only one way out of there, right?
Peanut: Yes! And it's! *jams foot in my ribs*
Me: Ow!
Peanut: *squirm squirm roll* No, wait, it'! *pokes butt into the underside of my belly button*
Me: *headdesk*
Peanut: No, here! *continues squirming randomly*
Me: Seriously, dude...I promise, you will see the exit when it's time. You don't have to keep looking for it.
Peanut: I will not be vinced! *shakes tiny fist*

While enormously entertaining for both me and Mr. Fantastic at seven in the evening, this is much less amusing at two in the morning. Even less so when Peanut seems to have exhausted his fruitless Search for the Great Egress and quiets down, only to develop hiccups thirty seconds later. The hiccups are a charming little tickle down near my left ovary that generally don't bother me when I'm not in bed trying to sleep. I don't even notice them after he initially starts, but when I'm in bed with nothing else to distract me? OY. Please smother me into unconsciousness, because all I want is to go to sleep.

Me: *watching clock in the dark* Please, please, please can we call off the Search for the Great Egress for a little while? It's not going anywhere and I'd really like to get some sleep.
Peanut: *grumbling* Fine! Fine. *flops around a few more times, petulantly arranging his pillow*
Me: *eyeroll* Are we done now, your highness? Thank you. *tries to sleep*
(Thirty seconds pass)
Peanut: ...
Me: ...
Crickets: *chirping*
Peanut: *hic*
Me: Nonononono! *pats belly* None of that now, sleepy time.
Peanut: *hic hic hic*
Me: Nooooo!
Peanut: *hic hic hic hic hic hichichichichichichic*
Me: Waily waily waily!

And so on, for what seems like eternity but which is actually less than ten minutes. I have resigned myself to this sleeping thing not actually improving once Peanut's out here in the world. (Waily.)

In other news, the first of two baby showers is tomorrow and I'm so excited! My cousins (H's 1-3 and G and T) are hosting for me and I know they'll put on a lovely party. I'm excited to open presents and especially to see some people that I don't on a regular basis. Particularly some of Mummy Fantastic's friends who were also friends with my mom, and some of my other cousins who I haven't seen in a while. Instead of your traditional baby shower, we're doing a late afternoon/early evening cocktail party type of thing, with, most importantly, no bloody games. I hate baby and bridal showers, mostly because they take up your Saturday afternoon with stupid games and don't even have the decency to get you drunk so it's tolerable. So I told my cousins the only thing I really cared about was games = no, alcohol = yes, and they, all being of excellently like minds, agreed. We actually all discussed this when we planned H3's baby shower back in October, and she felt the same way, so we've already thrown one excellent baby shower.

Mr. F's aunt and cousin are having a shower for me next weekend - also excellently planned for the evening and which I am sure will also include wine.

We're also having our last open house for the condo tomorrow. I don't know how I feel about that - I mean, what if we get an offer on the place now? I would be absolutely useless to help with a move at this point. I can barely bend over, let alone actually lift anything. I mean, I was very keen on moving asap a couple of months ago and I still want an actual house but I guess I had reconciled myself to being here for a few months after the baby. So I'm having mixed feelings. I'm sure whatever happens will be for the best but it is certainly a daunting prospect that's being moved to the front of my mind again.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gulp...only 41 days to go!

Week 35

Another checkup today. Not much news, with the exception that Dr. O has caved in the face of my excellent sugar numbers and conceded that there is just no way I have gestational diabetes and am very unlikely to get it at this stage of the game. Ha!

Downside: she still wants me to test once a week. But! Once a week! That's nothing. She also did not do anything crazy like order another ultrasound or anything, just measured me and listened to the heartbeat and chatted.

In ten days, I have my next appointment, where I have to have a Group B Strep test, which is apparently not entirely pleasant and is reminiscent of your annual Gyno visit. Not looking forward to that. And then after that, I'll be going in once a week until the baby. I can't believe how quickly time has gone by. It seems like just yesterday my pants were getting a little tight...and now I'm hiding a basketball under my shirt.

I am writing a birth plan, which Dr. O was very receptive to. She even gave me some suggestions as to what to include. After much research and discussion, Mr. F and I are very concerned about having a C-section, mostly because it happens very often unnecessarily. There are many, many instances where a woman is pushed into a C-sec for "failure to progress" when she has not been allowed very much time for pushing or progress - sometimes as little as 4 hours. The average labor is 14 hours (and I think this would be higher if women weren't herded into C-sections so quickly.) Often, doctors will make this decision because they just want to get the delivery over with - I don't have the source with me right now, but we read somewhere that a majority of C-secs happen between 4-5 pm, when the doctor wants to get home in time for dinner. Also, it happens a lot when you doctor has plans the next day, like if your doctor is leaving for vacation the next morning. It's definitely possible that the doctor's vacation plans and desire to get home sooner may factor into their decision making.

Anyway, Dr. O and I talked about it a bit and she reassured me that she (and the other docs at her practice) don't take the C-section lightly and respect our desire to avoid it. Of course, this came with all the blah blah caveats about doing what's necessary for a healthy baby at the end, so it may have just been a bunch of hoo-ha to placate me. Seeing as Mr. F and I have decided we don't want a bunch of people in the delivery room with us (meaning, nobody besides us and the medical staff), Mr. F knows he is my advocate and will be speaking up on my behalf if I don't or can't. I've been surprised at just how much knowledge he's absorbed through this whole process and I feel really good about how much we've discussed and agreed on about the way we want the delivery to go.

[Speaking of people in the delivery room - we haven't really talked to anyone much about who we are or are not having in the delivery room with us. I think if my mom was still alive, it'd be different - I know she'd want to be in there, at the very least. But we've really only had one person even ask about it and that was a month ago, and I just said we hadn't really decided. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, but I don't think it will be a problem. With a bunch of men on my side, I don't think we have to worry about them wanting to be there, and Mr. F's family have always been wonderful to me and I cannot even imagine any hurt feelings or contention about it. All any of our family wants is for us to be happy and have a healthy baby. (I have to say again that I have the best family-in-law, especially Mummy Fantastic, that anybody could ask for. I could write an essay on the awesomeness of my mother-in-law alone.)]

Dr. O did mention that one of the best ways to help avoid a C-section is to labor at home for as long as possible. She said specifically not to come in right away and to keep active at home and that we should just give them a call when things got going. This totally makes sense with all the research we've done. The more time you're in the hospital, the more opportunity you have for them to start wanting to monitor you and do all kinds of "helpful" testing that actually doesn't really help much at all, and in fact, can lead to further intervention due to false positives. Plus, they generally give you a 24-hour window from the time your water breaks before they start worrying about infection and section you. So if you don't go in right away, they can't start the clock on you and that gives you extra time to progress.

One thing that did concern me was that Dr. O said they don't like to let people go more than a week beyond the due date before they induce. I'd prefer they allow two weeks, but hopefully this is not a battle we will have to fight. (Please, please, OMG, please do not let this baby go two weeks postdates! Oy. I already feel huge and waddly enough.) For another bunch of reasons, induction is something else we really, really want to avoid, so you can bet when the time comes, I will be doing every trick I can think of to get this baby to get started on his own.

We have started our childbirth preparation classes - 3 hours every Wednesday night for 4 weeks. The first week they didn't tell us much we didn't already know, but we did learn that Peanut is in the OPTIMAL BIRTHING POSITION, otherwise known as Left Occiput Anterior. That means head down and feet kicking me on the right, basically. We also did some relaxation stuff that was nice, but mostly it was anatomy and getting to know the other students. And she talked alot about how fear causes tension which causes pain, so if we went into the process well-educated, we wouldn't be as scared, therefore, we'd relax easier, ultimately resulting in less pain. Which I am totally down with. She handed out a sheet with some affirmations on it, one of which was something ridiculously cheesy like "My cervix is like a flower, the petals gently opening to welcome my child," and which totally cracked Mr. F and I up, and so we've decided our relaxation affirmation is going to be "My cervix is like a leaf on the wind." Except I don't know how relaxing that will be if we're cracking up every time we say it. Anyway, hopefully next time will be more educational.

Oh! And guess what? I have found a remedy for the ANGRY LADYPARTS. The swimming pool! It is actually a remedy for all pregnancy-related ills, because when we went swimming last night, aside from the obvious basketball I was smuggling, I could not even tell I was pregnant once I got in the water. It was like magic. Nothing hurt, at all! I mostly floated around (or had Mr. F tow me) on a couple of those pool noodles for an hour while Mr. F did the actual swimming part. And Peanut, who has spent the last two weeks working a foot up under the right side of my ribcage and waggling it around, OW, even seemed to enjoy it because he calmed right down and hardly walloped me at all. It was heavenly! I forgot the ladyparts were hurting until I got out of the pool. That was kind of a downer, but it was lovely being in the water and remembering what it was like to feel so light. Needless to say, we will be making much more use of the pool in the next fortysomething days. Ahh.

VH1 really does rock! In a trashy, train wreck sort of way.

VH1 has the most excellent programming ever. Aside from legitimately cool shows like Best Week Ever, Where Are They Now, Movies that Rock and their actual music stuff like blocks of videos, Top 20 Countdown and 100 Greatest, they have become kings of train wreck reality programming. As many of you know, I am a huge sucker for reality t.v. While I love my scripted shows, I have a giant soft spot for "unscripted" shows as well. My favorites are the classier of the genre, like Amazing Race and Biggest Loser, which tend to focus more on some kind of wholesome competition/goal/team thing. But there is something about these trashy, train wreck shows that basically focus on the FAIL of the cast that draws me in. I can't believe there are people who actually go out and behave this way on t.v., whether it's their "real" personality or not. It's mesmerizing, to see what people put out there.

New this year on VH1:
- Celebrity Rehab Sober House (which I haven't seen yet, but come on, if it's anything like Celebrity Rehab it can't fail but be train wreckingly awesome)
- Rock of Love Bus (Bret Michaels and his third try at finding his soulmate from among a bunch of trashy drunk whores)
- Confessions of a Teen Idol (a group of former teen idols move in together to talk about their train wreck lives and their desire to be famous again, and which includes among others, Adrian Zmed, Christopher Atkins, two dudes from Baywatch and Eric Nies, formerly of the first Real World and subsequent Mtv Workout show The Grind)

And the show I am watching now, Tool Academy. Which is the most unfailingly awesome of the new shows, in which a bunch of party animal jackasses' girlfriends nominated them for Boyfriend Improvement Camp, aka Tool Academy. The best part? The guys think they are competing for the title of MR. AWESOME. The realization that their girlfriends (and the rest of the viewing world) think they are a bunch of tools in need of serious intervention is only marginally tempered by the fact that the winner gets $100k.

Right now, the entire group of Tools plus their beleagured DTMFA* girlfriends are watching the Tools' candid confessional interviews, in which they brag about their exploits and how well they have their girlfriends trained and how much they cheat on them and in which they show their disrespectful, asshat, tool-y base natures. My god, these guys are serious tools and deserve all the beatdown they get. I cannot believe any of these women claims to love these guys.

Also awesome about this show is that when they do interveiws with each guy, they put his name up and below that, they put what kind of tool he is. For example, there's Rob: Power Tool (the biggest jackass of them all), and Matsuflex: Naked Tool (a stripper, that's his stage name), Josh: Tiny Tool (a little dude), and Tommy: Slacker Tool (jobless). Much in the same way that other shows call their contestants "bachelors" or whatever, this show consistently calls the guys Tools. As in, "Will the three remaining Tools please step forward?" AND THEY DO. They respond to being called tools, and have even begun to self-refer as such. I can't explain the awesome of this.

There are also apparently team challenges, like today's, where the girl has to build a bed and the guy has to read her the instructions and is unable to physically assist her. One of the girls is praised by the show therapist for "redirecting" her boyfriend and getting him to focus on the task at hand when he starts jackassing for the camera. The girl does this by saying, "Brian, can you focus on this now instead of being a tool?" This is what counts for good communication on this show. Snerk.

At the end of each week, one guy will be declared too toolicious to improve and will be expelled from Tool Academy, at which point his girlfriend will have to decide if she wants to break up with him now or later. And the way they're expelled? The host says, "I'm're just a tool." Hee! It's also pretty priceless that some of them still think they're somehow still competing for the MR. AWESOME title, while others have realized that getting expelled means they're the biggest, faily-est tool in the cabinet. Or, as Joey: Cold Hearted Tool puts it upon his non-expulsion this week, "I may be a tool, but at least I'm not the Grand Poobah King Tool of 'em all." I can't wait for more episodes.

*DTMFA = Dump the motherfucker, already. Thank you, Dan Savage. Seriously, not a single one of these guys deserves the girl they are with, let alone ANY girl at all.