Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Still here...still pregnant

Week 41

Hi! Yep, still pregnant. Had a dr. appt. on Monday, regular visit plus we went ahead and did the membrane sweep. I will not lie, it sucked. Somewhat painful and pretty unpleasant. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to have done anything...usually if it's going to jumpstart labor, it will do so within 48 hours. So I guess me and Peanut are just not quite ready to part ways yet. Doesn't mean I'm not doing my best to evict him anyway!

I have been having lots of low back pain since then, and also what I think are contractions in my belly. But the stuff going on in front is nowhere near as painful as the low back pain, so I don't know what that really means. I was under the impression that if the baby is turned the right way (which Peanut supposedly is) then you don't have back labor, but that could be wishful thinking. The back pain usually goes away after a nice rub from Mr. F and the front pain tends to go away on its own. I'm guessing things are progressing and we are getting under way but I don't think we're too close yet. Who knows!

I'm scheduled for another appointment on Friday, where they'll do an ultrasound to check fluid levels, another NST and something called a biophysical profile, which I guess is part of the ultrasound.

They'll also want to talk about scheduling an induction, which they know I don't want to do but they don't like to let you go past 42 weeks. Today I am 40 weeks 3 days, so technically, I have until March 8 before I am 42 weeks. I'm sure they would like to schedule me the first week of March but I would like to put it off until the second. Steve has chemo the first week of March and I was sort of hoping not to be having the baby when he was feeling crappy. So if I could have the baby before the 3rd it would be great (hint hint, Peanut!), if not, then I'd like to wait until the 8th when Steve will hopefully be feeling better after the chemo.

These last few days practically everyone I know has called or texted me (some of them multiple times) to see if I've had the baby (and possibly forgotten to let them know!) and I feel so bad when I have to tell them I have nothing to report yet. My doctor told me at the very beginning not to tell anyone my actual due date because everyone would start coming out of the woodwork wanting to know if I'd had the baby yet, and she wasn't kidding! It's sweet that everyone is so excited, but I really do feel kind of bad saying, nope, no baby...and no idea when, either.

Also, I have been advised by both my sister-in-law and Mummy Fantastic that we need to be having sex to get Peanut going and I had to tell them both we've tried to no avail. Also thus far unsuccessful: walking, swimming, bouncing, nipple stimulation, pineapple, red raspberry leaf tea, evening primrose oil, chinese food, bribery, pleading, threats. I am considering acupuncture at this point! (which I have actually done before - obviously not to induce labor - but I found it very relaxing, so it might not be a bad idea.)

So! Keep your fingers crossed that Peanut will see his way to joining us in the real world in the near future. Will keep you posted as always!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dear Peanut:
Okay! Today is d-day. Or b-day, whatever. So really, ANY TIME now would be great. Especially if it means this back ache will go away. Plus, Mr. Fantastic says I can't be having you tomorrow because Tottenham v. Hull City is on. You know we wouldn't want Daddy to miss that. And you know, it would be totally awesome if you didn't make us wait until next week or anything. I'm just saying.

Dear Battlestar Galactica:
Yeah. Still watching but there're only 4 more episodes, so I might as well. But you continue to be mysterious and confusing and a whole lotta work for not much reward. Maybe we're just not right for each other...maybe I'm too old and unhip to understand your depths. Maybe some people like having to figure you out, but that's not me. I watch t.v. so I don't have to think.

Dear Stargate Atlantis:
Oh, I miss you. My Friday nights will never be the same. Yes, there are other things I can watch, but they're not like you. Those things will never replace you; they take too much work. You were easy to love, with your pretty and your splodey and your shiny stories that nobody ever needed to draw me any kind of chart to decipher.You will always have my heart.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster... Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride! I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.

We found out yesterday that my brother's surgery is being postponed. The doctors have agreed they want to give the chemotherapy more time to work on the lung tumor, so instead of going ahead with the brain surgery, they are going to do at least one more round of the chemo instead. The next round is scheduled for the first week of March - they were originally scheduled to be every three weeks.

Steve is feeling much better physically and is in much better spirits with this news. I, of course, am having mixed feelings. On the one hand, I worry that we're not moving fast enough on the brain, or what exactly this means about the lung tumor. I have to keep reminding myself that they don't want to go in surgically to take care of the lung tumor because it can and usually will leave lots of bad cells roaming around in there. It's actually better and more effective to try and kill it all with the chemo instead.

But I'm also glad because putting off the surgery gives me some time to have this baby. Apart from hoping that Steve will not actually be in the hospital when I deliver, it's crossed both our minds that there's a possibility that he might not come out of the surgery okay or at all. He said to me last night that he's glad they're putting off the surgery so he'll have a chance to at least meet my baby. They've given us no reason right now to expect the worst, and it breaks my heart to even think about it, but I can't help it. I do worry about how much longer we'll have Steve with us. I want him to have as much time as possible with his nephew.

I'm doing my best not to stress and focus instead on Peanut. Of course, being 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant, this is its own source of stress. I am so ready to have this baby and he seems to be perfectly content to keep percolating. I'm due in 3 days, but it's average for first-time moms to go over past their due date by 7-10 days. So even though Mr. Fantastic is convinced that I'm having the baby ON Sunday, I am not expecting that to happen.

I had my checkup with Dr. O on Tuesday and there was no change from last time. She asked if I wanted her to sweep my membranes, which I didn't want to do yet, and also about getting an induction scheduled for once I hit 41 weeks, which I REALLY don't want to do. So I told her I'd consider doing the sweep for next appointment and we could talk about the induction then too. I'm actually scheduled for two appointments next week - Monday for my usual checkup and then Friday they'll do an ultrasound, another NST and a biophysical profile. All this is just to make sure things are still going okay in there.

I don't want to be pressured into interventions that I don't want to do, such as an induction or the membrane sweep. I am willing to wait until 42 weeks before we start interfering, whereas the doctors don't like to wait past 41 weeks. But Dr. O just happens to be on vacation again next week, so I am seeing two of her colleagues on Mon and Fri, which I think will make it easier for me to put off scheduling the induction. I may agree to the sweep, though. It only works about half the time and carries a risk of breaking your water (something I want to avoid as long as possible), but Mr. F and I have discussed and he thinks I should consider it. I'm still thinking about it. I am anxious to get the ball rolling, and the sweep, if it works, could help avoid induction, so it's worth considering.

In the mean time, I am doing all the "natural" things I can to help get things started - eating pineapple, drinking red raspberry leaf tea and some other things. None of it may actually work, but if it does, yay! Of course, will keep everyone posted as things progress on both the baby and the brother fronts.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Oh, television.

Dear Heroes:

It was this close...we were SO over. I was totally breaking up with you tonight and then you went and gave me an awesome last two minutes and now I can't break up with you until I find out what happens with HRG next week. Consider your execution stayed. For now.

Dear Battlestar Galactica:

Look, I still love you. But I just don't understand you anymore. I feel like I know about a quarter of what's going on with you. Is there some sort guidebook or manual that would help me read between the lines better? I'm not going anywhere, I just wish I knew more about you. Why must you be so cryptic? Why won't you let me in?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Update on my brother

Well, we finally have a plan for my brother. First, he started chemo on Tuesday. Last time he was on something called Temodar, which was a pill he took for five days every month. This time it's Taxol, which is a more traditional chemotherapy that required him to go to the oncologist and get an IV infusion. He's supposed to do this every three weeks.

Last time the Temodar didn't have many of your traditional side effects. His hair got a little mangy and he felt pretty run down the week he was taking it, but in general he tolerated it pretty well. The Taxol this time is already taking much more of a toll on him. Although he swears his breathing is already better, it's making him feel terrible otherwise. The big thing is muscle and joint pain, very much like growing pains. The medication spurs bone marrow growth and so you get aches and pains from that. He feels run down and is alternating between chills and being too hot and has no appetite.

Second, on top of feeling crummy, he got word today that the gamma knife procedure is out. They have scheduled him for regular open brain surgery the afternoon of 2/20 to remove the tumor that's there. He'll be at PSL, the same hospital as last time, with surgery done by Dr. Lamond, who also did the last one.

The reason they can't do the gamma knife is because this is a melanoma we're dealing with, and it doesn't respond well to the gamma knife, so this is the only way. Steve is really bummed about it. He's had such a hard time in the hospital - it seems like something else always goes wrong when he's in there and he ends up staying longer than they originally told him. He'll probably still be in the hospital by the time he's supposed to do the next round of chemo, so I imagine they'll be postponing that until he's more recovered from the surgery.

We went over to see him this afternoon for just a few minutes - we brought him some prescriptions he needed and some other sundry items that he's just been too wiped out to go to the grocery store and pick up. We didn't stay because Mr. F has such a bad cold and we didn't want to get Steve any sicker with his immune system as compromised as it is right now. Poor guy just seems so down - I'm sure he's feeling pretty awful emotionally as well as all the chemo side effects. When you feel bad physically, that affects you mentally, and then to get the news that he's going to have to have the surgery, in a week no less - well, I'm sure he's about as down as he gets.

I am doing my best to keep upbeat and not worry so much about him. I hate to be going through all this again, especially knowing that I won't be able to care for him like I did last time. I just have to keep my spirits up and know that we will get through it. As always, good thoughts and karma sent our way are always appreciated.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I had a half a PBJ today and noticed that the grape jelly seemed different. This is because it was grape jam. I liked it more than jelly, I guess because of the texture - it was more spread-y and less slide-y than jelly. For some reason, we've always bought jelly; I have no idea how we ended up with jam this time, unless Mr. F bought it. Anyway, it got me to wondering, which do people prefer and why, and actually, what's the difference?

In other news, we ran some errands tonight which brought us in the vicinity of one of the two Colorado Krispy Kremes, which is way the hell over on the other side of town and not convenient to go to at all, and which is why I went to it once when it opened years and years ago and have never been back. Mr. F and I were both in the mood for something sweet, and the HOT NOW sign was on, so we thought we'd pop in for a doughnut.

Well, we walked in and the guy just handed us free, piping hot doughnuts, which I did not remember tasting this TOTALLY AWESOME when I had one a million years ago. Man, they get you with that "first one's free," because we ended up buying a dozen to go (one of which was eaten on the way home and NOT BY THE PREGNANT WOMAN.)

In conclusion, YUM.

T minus 11 days

Week 39

Yikes...only 11 days until my due date! Not that that means anything, as most days I think Peanut is perfectly content to keep cooking in there and just may overstay his welcome, for all that he pretends to be Searching for the Great Egress.

Saw Dr. O on Tuesday...nothing exciting to report. Listened to the heart, had a cervical check - still less than 2 cm dilated and Dr. O guesses still at least another week or two before b-day. I told her I was starting to get paranoid that something might be wrong. Not for any real reason, just - we've come so far and I don't want anything bad to happen now. And with everything else going on in my life right now, I'm just nervous. So if Peanut doesn't move for a little while, I get anxious (and start poking at him, and if he doesn't respond to that, well, then I get really anxious) and start thinking something's wrong. She told me at this point, it's so crowded he won't be moving as much and I should think about the quality of his movement as opposed to the quantity.

Dr. O was great about it though, and said that we have nothing to gain and everything to lose now, so I shouldn't think twice about calling her if I'm worried. And to help put my mind at ease, she did a quickie ultrasound herself to check fluid levels (all excellent) and then I did a non-stress test (NST), which is basically sitting in a chair for twenty minutes with a fetal heart rate monitor and another for uterine contractions. And they give you a little button to push whenever you feel the baby move. So I did that, and of course Peanut was romping around like a madman - I think he liked when they strapped the things around my belly.

Anyway, after the twenty minutes, Dr. O came in and looked at the printout and told me that with the fluid levels looking good and with "an absolutely gorgeous tracing" from the NST, that everything looked fabulous and I should feel good, and to please call her if I got worried again and she'd happily have me come in and do another NST or whatever would make me feel better.

I do feel better but am still ready to have this baby. Not that I'm EVER going to stop worrying about him in the next 50 years, but I feel like I'm ready to burst, I'm so big! I lost a pound from last week's appointment, but the books say that at the end sometimes you will actually lose a little weight. Still, I was somehow able to gain the 15 pounds I was supposed to but I imagine most or all of that will be gone quite quickly after the baby's born, especially if the breastfeeding works out.

Lessee...still not sleeping great, although Dr. O said I could take a benadryl to help, which I did last night. Helped a little, although it mostly just made me drowsy during the parts where I wasn't sleeping. And, good news...the angry lady parts seem to have calmed down to an occasional mild annoyance. Lots of low back pain, still being managed with heating pad, exercise ball and numerous nightly rubs by the uber-fantastic Mr. F. And of course, all this is accompanied by continually feeling as if I could not possibly be able to grow any bigger. The swaybacked waddle on me is hysterical.

Speaking of breastfeeding, I am planning on doing it for as long as I can - well, not years or anything, I don't think I could hack it - but hopefully a good six months. So now I'm reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, which is a La Leche League book, and while kind of earth-mothery-hippieish and agenda-oriented as LLL is known to be, is still very informative and supposed to be the best resource on breastfeeding.

Still, one of the things that ticks me off - they put this little note in the foreword explaining how throughout the book, they "...still write from the perspective of a household consisting of husband, wife, and child or children. Some have pointed out to us that times have changed and this is no longer a realistic approach to family life. But we are convinced that breastfeeding and mothering progress more easily in such an environment. From personal experience, we also know that this situation does not always hold true in real life. Sometimes the father is missing from the family, and mothering then becomes a solitary endeavor. It is not an easy situation for a woman to be in. Our hope is that any mother in that situation finds the support she needs in other ways." La Leche League was formed in 1956, but this is from the 2004 7th edition. They're having a hard time getting the "sometimes moms are single" clue...when are they going to understand that there are all kinds of families now? Hey, guess what - sometimes there isn't a dad! But that doesn't mean mom is doing it by herself. Sometimes there's another mom! Or friend or parent or one (or two or three...) of a hundred other people who provide the same support to a new mother. Not to mention that they are basically saying they acknowledge that it's not always the "traditional" family setup and yet they still think it's the best way, so they are going to ignore all other possibilities. *headdesk* Anyway, despite the fact that I happen to be in the "traditional" setup they desire, I am reading this book through a filter and trying to ignore all the crap that's not specifically about how to breastfeed.

Also, speaking of breastfeeding, the fine bastards at Simlac have somehow discovered I'm about to give birth and helpfully sent me fairly large free sample of their most expensive formula. Literally everything I've read about breastfeeding says not to keep any formula, not even free samples, in the house because it's so tempting to give in and use when you're having trouble breastfeeding and worried that baby's not getting enough to eat, and that can cause huge setbacks in breastfeeding, if not disrupt it entirely. So that's how they suck you in...the first one's always free. Guess I'll be giving this to my cousin so I'm not tempted!

Anyway, that's about it from babyland.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

State of the Me

Well. Lots going on, so it's about time for another state of the union.

Not a lot to report...Peanut is cooking away and doing his best to bust his way out any way but the one way he's supposed to. Had a dr visit on Tuesday and saw the last OB in the practice I hadn't met yet, Dr. Mahoney. She was great, and now they will all be familiar faces, no matter who shows up for the delivery. The appointment was quick, just a chat and listened to the heart beat. I had assumed she would do another cervical check - I thought they would be doing that every week until the end - but she didn't, which was a pleasant surprise. The fewer of those I have, the better. I really like this practice - they have two midwives on staff and really seem to be in tune with the things I want as far as my prenatal care and also for my labor and delivery. Although most of them are OBs, they seem less inclined toward all the interventions my books and Dr. Internet have scared me into thinking all OBs are determined to do.

So, this is week 38 - I have 17 days until my due date. OMG. It's coming so fast! We are mostly ready, although the one thing we haven't bought is the co-sleeper that we want from our registry. Not to worry - we have a pack n' play as well as several laundry baskets and drawers, so Peanut has someplace to sleep until we do get it. I had my second baby shower last Saturday and we got tons more clothes - this is going to be the best dressed baby ever, as long as we can get all his laundry done! And Mr. Fantastic took me to the baby store this week so we could get some necessities - diapers and wipes and whatnot. We've got pretty much everything assembled and now we're just trying to find the optimal arrangement in our little place for all this stuff.

I feel great, although I am really not getting much sleep. Partly just being uncomfortable, partly my brain racing a million miles an hour, and partly just not being able to stay asleep for very long at once. Am having lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are not exactly painful per se, but which are really uncomfortable because they make my entire belly tighten up. And I think the baby has dropped, or at least he's Searching for the Great Egress lower than he used to be. Next appointment is on Tuesday again, will keep you all posted on the Peanut front.

Took Dad on the 28th to get sentenced for his DUI from back in April 08. As expected, they gave him the minimum 10 days mandatory in jail, plus fines, community service and probation. The good news is they gave him the option to join the Weekender Program, meaning he's allowed to go in on just the weekends. He got credit for time served, so he actually only has to do 4 consecutive weekends, from about 8 am on Saturday to 5 pm on Sunday, starting March 21. It sounds like it will be fairly easy - he won't even be "locked up" at night (the building itself will be locked, but not his particular room/cell), is allowed to wear what he wants as long as it's plain, and he may be required to do some chores as needed.

The best part is that Dad has asked my oldest brother JT to drive him to and from the facility on all four weekends, meaning I don't have to do it. Don't get me wrong, I am happy to help out my family as much as I can, but with a new baby, I was worried about being on point for that. And it was nice of Dad to just take care of it and not even ask me, because you know I wouldn't have said no.

Not a lot of news otherwise - he is supposed to be deciding on a course of treatment for the prostate cancer, either surgery to have it removed or doing radiation treatments along with the seed implants. Both would be preceded by a hormone shot that basically halts production of testosterone, which is what feeds the cancer. Nobody seems to be too worried about handling this too aggressively, so I am attempting not to worry about it and concentrate on other things, like Peanut and Steve.

Why am I worrying about Steve again? Well. Here's the tough part. The cancer is back. He started having a cough before Christmas, went in for a scan and they've found new tumors both in his brain and his lung, the same spots where they were before. We basically don't know a whole lot at this point - he has an appointment with the brain surgeon next Thursday to formulate a plan.

Mostly all we know is they want to treat the brain first - possibly using the gamma knife - then do some type of chemo for the lung. They are moving quickly, but they also keep saying we have options, so I am having mixed feelings about how hopeful I should be as far as the long-term prognosis, which they haven't said anything about. In the mean time, Steve's got this cough that won't go away and which is driving him crazy. He doesn't have a sore throat or anything, but there's fluid in the lung cavity, which makes it hard for him to breathe, so they've got him on oxygen again, and then the cough is because his body thinks there's something in there (the tumor) that it can get out by coughing. So he's got some cough medicine but it gives him nightmares, so either he doesn't sleep or he hardly sleeps. All in all, he's not feeling too hot these days. Just a short walk to the car wipes him out. He is adamant that I not do too much for him this time. With the baby coming, he doesn't want to depend on me so much. I know Dad will be a big help and Mr. Fantastic has offered to do whatever he can as well, but I can't help feeling in some way like I'm letting him down. I know that's silly, but it's in my nature; I can't help it.

So. More on that as we get news, but as always, we will gladly take any good karma you want to sling our way.