Some final pregnancy thoughts

Today is my first day alone with the baby.  He was born 11 days ago and its just now my first day with just us!  I’ve had both Mike and my mom here helping but today Mike had to go back to work and my mom is out and about having some fun herself.  Before I get to my labor story I wanted to tie up a few loose ends with how the rest of pregnancy went, considering last I left off was something like this where I was happily touting a fairly pleasant pregnancy experience.

You know I got mine, right?

I just wanted to follow up and write this since at this point I am all but forgetting that I was even pregnant, let alone for nine months.  Seriously, that time flew by.

About a week after I wrote that post I started getting some gnarly heartburn.  I’d always heard about heartburn but man, this was like stop in your tracks can’t breathe heartburn.  I also had some sort of pinched nerve in my back that I was planning on going to the doctor for before I was able to kink it out doing some sort of chiropractic moves I half looked up and half made up.  Sleeping definitely got a lot more difficult and I’d literally start getting up every two hours to use the bathroom, but I’m seeing that more as a blessing now that I’m happily working a little baby into that routine instead of the commode :)

Anyways, all that to say that yes, I got uncomfortable, but really, I was surprised by how pregnancy was not horrible.  From the comments I sort of realize that this is obviously not the case for everyone but I’d like to think that everyone “gets there’s”.  That’s a simplistic way to think about it but getting the baby in there was the difficult part for me.  I’m sort of happy that that didn’t carry over to all aspects of child growing.

AND all that to say, that I was probably horribly wrong in proclaiming how painless I anticipated child birth to be!  I clearly spent a little too much time banking on how childbirth can be painless.  Natural, yes, it is what our bodies are designed to do, but there is a reason you practice all those breathing exercises!  The first 20 hours were something like really bad period cramps but then the last 14 were something else entirely.  Granted, everyone’s labor is different, and this was my body coupled with exhaustion over such a long labor but I just wanted to put that out there, I stand corrected :)  I don’t think 9 months of absent periods is quite physically equal to the child birth experience but I guess it really shouldn’t be.  Its something else entirely.  And this little wonder comes out at the end, so it probably should be a lot more work.

Ok, full labor story coming shortly…

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Progesterone wrap-up

Its an amazing day when you finally see that this…

…has turned into this…

and these…

Today we celebrated our ceremonial last shot!  Yahoo!  Not quite per doctor’s orders, but we’ll only be doing the suppositories 2x a day for the next two weeks.  That means we’re getting close!

Here is a little chart I put together for our own sake about our progesterone levels, but maybe it will help someone else out so I’ll post it here.  We had several draws that were “bad” (due to inaccurately taking the previous dose too close to the draw date) so those data points aren’t shown.  Also, I’ve read that The National Hormone Lab uses a specific method to measure the progesterone and hence why we had to go to the extra hassle to send it out there to be run instead of running it in our local lab.  For thoroughness, not all of my data points were run at the same lab, in case you’re trying to publish a paper on this or something :)  The last half of them were though.  And I cannot for the life of me find our conception chart that has our peak +7 (on HCG) and our first progesterone blood draw data on it.  I think both were in the low 20’s though.

(The zones are based on the data taken from about 850 normal pregnancies.  Blue line is the average of the data with the dotted lines flanking on either side one standard deviation).

From the book Dr. H wrote, there were also no findings of birth defects and/or increased weight gain of the baby (as my midwife was concerned about) with progesterone use.  Not only were there no detrimental side effects to the baby, but there were also some good side effects found for the mother.

Anyway, useful information for someone else that might be wondering if extended use of progesterone in pregnancy is beneficial.  It seems that literally no one else has done research on 2nd trimester progesterone use besides Hilgers (though many have found that first and third trimester use of progesterone can be very effective at preventing miscarriage and preterm labor, respectively).  So, though its hard to think about and hard to explain to your local doctor/ob-gyn, at least I finally rest easy knowing that there is no data saying that its harmful.  And that maybe I’d avoid some post-partum depression while we’re at it.

But anyway, here’s to the last progesterone shot of the pregnancy!  Thank God for the medicine that helped keep this little one safe and sound in there all this time.   It took some convincing (I’m a difficult patient) but it seems our progesterone levels never stayed high enough on our own, so at least we know my levels were higher on the juice which = better for the baby.  And that’s really what its all about.

Just thought you should know…

…that, despite the fact that I am only 7 months pregnant and have had a relatively ‘easy’ pregnancy (people tell me that when I say I didn’t throw up a lot – I could count on my hand the number of times I did),

the physical discomfort of pregnancy does not come anywhere close to the physical discomfort of sub/infertility and getting your period every month.  And I’m just talking about the physical side of things.  If we threw in emotional discomfort, well, that wouldn’t even be a contest now would it?  But we all knew that already.

But just in case you had some inkling way back in there (like I did) that maybe pregnant women complain so much because physically it really is that bad.  Its not.  At least, its possible for it to not be!

(edited to say, this pregnancy has not been symptom free. I’m just recognizing these symptoms aren’t that big of a deal and at least for me, aren’t painful enough to act as if they compare to the physical pain of not being pregnant.  And, I’d venture to say that that’s before any treatment, although maybe all the pain of treatment makes it that much more obvious. Even with the mind fog, constant tiredness that has you going to be before 9 every night, constant hunger-if-i-don’t-eat-every-hour-I’ll-be-nauseous feeling, side-hip nerve pinch that wakes you up at night and makes you walk with a limp, constant peeing and nasal drip, braxton-hicks contractions, and some other weird pains down there I won’t talk further about, in my experience pregnancy is physically easier than not being pregnant.  Pregnant women talk about these things because everyone is always asking you “HOW DO YOU FEEL?” So you tend to analyze every twinge :) )

It is beyond amazing not having cramps every month.  I told Mike the other day that I’m pretty sure not having cramps for 9 months would totally add up to labor in terms of physical pain.  Moms everywhere are probably laughing at me right now, but I think it could be close.  I guess I’ll know for sure in two months :) And then I may eat my words.

That being said…I have a few random points about this pregnancy I’d like to share:

  • Round ligament pain feels exactly like the pain I had ovulating every month.  So much so that early on (probably before 16 weeks pregnant) I actually had our doctor use the ultrasound to look to see if I was ovulating or had huge cysts or something because I had the exact same pain as I did or what I thought was ovulation pain while we were trying! (and before, for the record).  After confirming I was not freak ovulating while pregnant (ahem) she told me she was 99% sure it was round ligament pain.  She said the same high levels of hormones can make those tendons hurt during ovulation as well!  So interesting.  Which explains why the two times I was *sure* that it was lefty ovulating, we confirmed by ultrasound that righty was doing all the hard work.  And I was so confused.  Turns out that was never ovulation at all but tender ligaments.  (And silly me, why I thought I was a frequent multiple ovulator! Twins do run in my family, but I am not the fertile one!)  Mystery pain finally solved!  Turns out I’ve just always had round ligament pain.
  • At a certain point in pregnancy, it appears that your posterior becomes resistant to progesterone shots.  We are running out of spaces that aren’t bruised to shoot into, no matter how slow he injects (last night’s took 5 minutes!).  Just kidding!  Luckily the booty is jealous of my growing stomach and has been matching her pound for pound, so we have plenty more surface area :)
  • I am convinced that handling these shots will only help us during labor because they mimic having to relax during contractions.  Has anyone else found this to be true?
  • I did the blood draw after taking a suppository last week (also known as, a useless blood draw and a waste of money) but I didn’t know that at the time.  Well, my level was 95 and the nurses still weren’t going to change my dosage, even thinking that was a real number (which it wasn’t, as I was later informed).  That being said, being 32 weeks means only 4 more weeks of shots!  Hallelujah!
  • People stop making eye contact with me.  They just look at the belly.  Especially at work.  Its really weird sometimes because I’ll see myself and think, Wow.  I am a pregnant woman.  And though I have known this for a while, now I look like one to everyone else.  And that’s all some people see.  I know because I that’s what I thought at times.
  • Researching cloth diapering has become my favorite pastime.  Like, to the extent that its an obsession.  Mike couldn’t figure it out.  I couldn’t figure it out.  Why was I so enthralled by cloth diapering? (well, despite the obvious, them being cute, me being an engineer and loving to solve/optimize problems).  I think I finally came up with it.  Entering the cloth diapering world is my entrance into motherhood.  I haven’t bought many things for our baby.  But before we were married, I decided I wanted to cloth diaper our babies.  I was so excited about it, I thought, well, as long as I don’t have a baby, why don’t I cloth diaper myself?  So I did. And I have been ever since (If you’re confused by that statement, see this link).  But I have never cloth diapered a baby, as was my original goal.  And for a while anytime anyone would post or talk about cloth diapering I would have such a strong reaction…like that was my idea!  I was supposed to do that with our baby!  Beyond reasonable but that’s how it manifested itself.  And now here I am…or I will about to be as soon as our baby decides to come out.  And its a big moment for me!  A realization that for just this one way that I wanted to mother, I will finally be able to!  And that means I’m really becoming a mother.  Hence the cloth diapering overboard.  Its all profusely gushing out in the only way it can right now.  That being said, I’m seriously done until this baby gets here because cloth diapering itself can really not be that cool, can it?
  • (I said that last week).

I think I had more.  But I forgot it all.  That statement comes out of my mouth way too often now.

  • Ok, I remembered one more!  When I realized I was peeing pretty much constantly at work, I started a game to see if I could use all the stalls in our bathroom over the course of a day (there are 8).   Then I could make a game out of peeing (clearly I’m in need of a little entertainment at work!).  I’d start with the first stall and see if I could make it to the end by the end of the day.  Oh how it would throw me off when someone would be in stall #3 when stall #3 was next on my list!  So sometimes I had to make modifications.  I thought it would take me a while, maybe by the 8th or 9th month, but I’m happy to report that I’ve done it several times at this point!  Probably like 3 or 4.  Good times.  Now I need another game to keep me entertained…

Ongoings

We had our first Southern California infertility/miscarriage/prayer support group meeting about two weeks ago.  Only a few couples showed up the actual event and so it turned really informal, which was probably good for ‘bonding’?  A few others  emailed/called to say that they were interested but had scheduling conflicts.  We’re planning another one for early March…hopefully we can get a few more people out of the woodwork.  So, if you’re reading this and you’re a lurker, please email me to find out more information!  We’re all super cool and non-threatening, I promise!

I wonder what my role will be in this group going forward, I do.  I wonder how my larger belly at the next meeting will be perceived but I hope I can just remain humble enough to listen and support others and not be a cause of pain, I don’t know.  I just know that I’m called to this ministry now and to help organize something that badly needs it in this part of the country.  Its painful to hear of women suffering multiple miscarriages and not having any support from their churches…hopefully we can provide some relief and support.

So this and NFP seems where I’m called right now, only we’re doing less on the NFP front.  I hope to schedule an information session in March also at our parish.  We are helping with RCIA but are trying to obeserve and make suggestions instead of going in and just changing their classes.  We are both serving as sponsors for confirmandi, and I THOUGHT we would be ending on Easter, which would be several weeks before our due date, but they changed the weeks this year with the bishop and we’re now supposed to be at the downtown cathedral a few days before our due date!  A little nuts but we have ‘subs’ ready in case the baby comes early.

We’re also serving on a panel for the high school confirmation class “vocations and discernment” talk in a few weeks (although, it was suggested that another couple “with children and experience parenting” serve also since we didn’t know anything about that…have to admit that comment ruffled my feathers a bit, but I’m sure the old man who suggested it didn’t mean any harm).  If any one has any idea about what things to say to high schoolers or any good youtube clips we can show, do share!  I’m a little unfamiliar with this age group but we’re trying…hope the Holy Spirit gives us something intelligent to say!

On the baby front, I’m growing away…a little too much says my doctor :(  But I can feel a moving, kicking, squirming little one in there all throughout the day so as long as I’m eating healthy I’m trying not to listen to my doctor and ignore the numbers. I would not step on that scale if they let me.  Seriously, I knew I was gaining a lot but I think there should be a warning button and/or personality test that the doctor’s take to see how much anxiety telling a given pregnancy woman they’re gaining too much weight will cause. I clearly have a perfectionist streak in the sense that if a medical professional tells me I’m hurting my baby, I will do what I can to not hurt my baby.  It would just help to know that their advice is reasonable.  And if its not, that also makes me think, what am I doing in this office again listening to you?  In all reality, I’m at most 5 lbs over the recommended weight at this point.  I hardly think that’s enough to scare a pregnant woman about and tell her to watch her calories.  Ok, no more weight talk…

Our birth classes are going well and I even bought some things for the baby the other week.  Pretty much the only unisex onesies I could find at the discount store and I just picked some slings  on Craigslist today.  What a steal!

The cashier said something sweet the other week, she asked if I knew the sex of the baby.  I’m always reluctant to answer that question because of course its a personal decision and a great majority of our friends/family seem actually upset at the fact that we didn’t find out.  When I told her that we didn’t know, she said something along the lines of “Oh, good for you!  That’s the last real surprise we have on this Earth so that’s just great.”   So I thanked her for being so nice about it, although I think her statement was a complete exaggeration.  It was nice to have someone support one of the first decisions we’ve made for parenting this child.  But the last great surprise?  Will a meteor come and kill us all?  What will the toy in my kinder egg be?…Maybe the last surprise that we can find out the truth to but choose not to.  I think I would have loved to been given the option of asking “God, am I going to have children?” and have a definitive answer.  I probably would have taken that answer in a heartbeat.  So, in a way I think not finding out the gender is my way of not being greedy, if you can even call it that.  I said that’s all I needed and I have my answer now, so now I just have to be patient and wait for it to get here.

And I go to Houston for a baby shower this weekend.  Beyond thrilled to be going back to Texas and to see my friends and then for a baby shower?  Oh man, I’m in Alison-heaven.  Trying to savor every minute!

2012: The year of our baby

First it was Advent.  Then it was Christmas.  And then New Year’s.

All going by without so much as a quiet (written) reflection.  Sigh.

Many things seem like a blur lately and its hard to find time to pick up our house let alone do anything else.  We did just get back home from a multi-stop trip visiting family across the states.  I figured it was time to seize the day and make it happen because who knows when we’d be able to again.  Perhaps I underestimated how tiring of a trip it would be,  especially factoring in the two days of remote working due to a conveniently placed project deadline.

One thing for sure is that its become more of a reality that this baby is indeed making its way here, and sooner rather than later.  That was probably the biggest realization of the new year.  2012.  This is year of our baby.  Wow.  I can gather how it seems contrived that its taking so long for it to sink in, but with half of my time spent at work and the rest spent mostly sleeping or eating, its been hard to find time to do anything else and the shock still lingers.  I guess somewhere in there though, I can see how just as its hard for someone to understand what its like to go through sub/infertility, its hard to fathom how you’ll react on the other side of it as well.  I remember commenting on probably several blogs that I never understood why women who get pregnant don’t just skip off happily into the sunset.  I really didn’t get it.  The best way to put to my former self, is that it feels like everything is right with the world because you finally have everything you had longed for, but to still KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that its really not, that there are still people really suffering a great isolating, sorrow.  And to have those people be your close friends you walked shoulder to shoulder with or didn’t even know existed, it doesn’t matter.  That’s the way the world has always been, I realize, but going through the transition just takes it to a whole new level of reality on a personal level.  I guess I was just naive before, or thought the world was limited to physical poverty, not the spiritual/emotional kind that exists even in the land of plenty.  But even then physical poverty can be somewhat alleviated by money/time donations.  What is there to do for the other sorrows?  Prayer, listening ears and hearts, and more prayer.

But I won’t beat a dead horse.

I really am making efforts to make this pregnancy a reality.  Well, I’ve been reading birth/parenting books since the start of the second trimester and we have even watched two birth videos already (yes WE, my husband is convinced that baby is just gonna slide right out…which makes me wonder if we’re even watching the same videos).  And yes, I even made a facebook update that covertly mentioned the baby.  Radical, I know.  We may even register for a few big baby things now that I know a shower may be in the works in a few weeks, you know, in case any rich relatives want to come out of the woodwork and help us out.

And perhaps most relevant, I created a baby/momma progress page, accessible from over there on the sidebar.  So those of you that want to, and when you want to, can see some photographic evidence of what’s growing on over here.  And I can share these photos I’ve been clinging to, desperate to see some sort of proof that there is something growing and that change is evident.  At this point, I think it is (that and the kicking is telling me so).

As I’ve always struggled with confidence and humility, this girl who still thinks I fooled a department into giving me a PhD, somehow tricked a company into giving me a job (they probably think that too now that they know I’m pregnant), and could probably give a very decent excuse for why anything good has ever happened to me, I know beyond any doubt that I really did nothing to deserve this pregnancy.  And I will not stop saying it, because it feels good to admit complete inadequacy.

I could not have earned this if I tried.  Lord, thank you for teaching me that.

Baby/Momma Moonhead Growth Progress

Photographic evidence that this pregnancy is happening.  Accidentally wearing the same the work clothes every time I take a picture, but I guess it makes for a nice time sequence!

The first photo at (unknowingly) about 3 weeks. Taken in self pity.

August 21st: The mysterious second line that I had accidentally envisioned so long ago.

8 weeks
9 weeks
16/17 weeks
baby c! at 20 weeks
21 weeks

24 weeks

About 28 weeks

32 weeks

36 weeks

38 weeks