Friday, May 30, 2008

Major Pregnant Moment

I backed into a mail box last night. I was turning around at my mother's house so I could park on the street, and I backed into the neighbor's mail box. I didn't see it. I didn't see it because it never occurred to me to look behind me. (Thank the Good Lord that the dogs were inside, because I probably would have hit one of them.) Who backs up in a vehicle without looking in the rearview mirror? Apparently my 8 and 1/2 month pregnant-brained, exhausted self does. Dave got out to look at it and when I saw his face in the rearview mirror (Oh, the irony!), I knew it was bad. I got out and cried like a baby and blubbered something about "shouldn't even be allowed to drive" while apologizing to my husband for messing up my "new" car. WHY couldn't this have happened while I was still driving the Tercel? This is the first time in 12 years of driving that I have hit anything (hard enough to do damage, anyway). Today, it doesn't look nearly as bad as it did last night, but I'll have to get it fixed soon because it knocked a chunk of paint right off of the trunk and I don't want it to rust. I know it really isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but in my hormonal and exhausted state, I'm having a hard time getting over it. I'm so mad and sad - and it's only my fault. : ( Oh well, I'll take it tomorrow to get an estimate and hopefully it can be fixed next week.

I had my 34 week appointment yesterday and it was pretty uneventful. I lost 1/2 pound in the last two weeks and he didn't comment on it at all. I'm still not sure how that happened given that attended two baby showers, a graduation party, and a Memorial Day barbeque in addition to keeping up a pace that didn't allow for the healthiest food choices. The baby measured at 34 weeks, so she is still right on track. My blood pressure was "great," but my fasting sugar level seems to be creeping up a bit. I'm hoping it's just because I haven't been eating, resting, or exercising well because of the crazy schedule I've been keeping recently. All of my social obligations are over now (I did this on purpose), so I plan to take it easy for the month of June. Well, aside from work, which has exploded in the last week while I'm trying to wrap things up and manage new tasks as they come in. I will start my weekly appointments next week, so we will find out Friday if I have dilated at all. I doubt it right now because she is still head up, but I guess anything is possible. I will also have to have a non-stress test (NST) every week to monitor the baby and make sure her heartrate and oxygen levels are staying normal while she's moving around in there. This is because of the diabetes. I know in my bones that she is fine and developing normally, and I am really resenting the diabetes diagnosis right now.

Because it makes me feel better, I'll share the latest bits of rudeness/ignorance I've heard. Last week we visited a car lot in Clanton because Dave has started shopping for a new car. When the salesman walked up, he said, "Are you expecting a baby?" All I could say was "Yeah." Believe me when I say that I am past the point of needing to ask to be sure. It is VERY obvious that I am pregnant, just listen to the next incident for proof. At another point over the weekend, a lady started a conversation with, "So, is your doctor worried because she's so big?" This came from a repeat offender, so probably rankled me more than it should have. WHY is it any of her business what my doctor thinks? I wish I had said, "No." Instead, I was nice and said, "Actually, she's measuring exactly where she's supposed to be, and no he hasn't expressed any concern." I would say that I can't wait to not be pregnant anymore so people will stop being rude/nosy/stupid, but I know it will just continue in a different manner when the world needs to tell me that I don't know anything about caring for babies and I'm doing it all wrong.

In our Bible study on Wednesday night, we talked about how our attitudes affect our outlook and perceptions. Obviously, my attitude is bad right now. I need a nap.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hypnobabies Birth Stories

I found a website that is full of birth stories from women who used Hypnobabies. The stories have been great motivation for me to really focus on my practice in these last few weeks. They are very inspirational and have made me even more excited about having this baby. I've realized that even if an induction is necessary (and I still hope it isn't), I can still have a very comfortable, relaxing birth. I've realized that even if I fall asleep listening to the CDs because I'm so relaxed, the hypnotic suggestions will still work.

One of the most common themes throughout most of these stories is that the women were so relaxed during labor that the hospital staff did not believe they were actually in active labor. For many of them, it wasn't until they were involuntarily pushing the baby out that the staff believed a baby was coming soon. Stories like this are the reason I chose Hypnobabies as my birth method. This is how I want to experience the birth of my baby. I believe I can do this.

If you have time and interest, read some of them here:

I also fully believe that Hypnobabies is one reason I've had such an enjoyable pregnancy. I can honestly say that my biggest complaint about being pregnant is not anything physical at all, it's the stupid things that people say and the constant, unsolicited advice. Even now when I'm huge and hot and itchy, and I know the baby has dropped because I can feel it in my hips and back, I LOVE being pregnant. It has been a very positive experience, thanks in part the the positive affirmations I listen to every day and the relaxation skills I've learned. I love my body and my big belly (despite the constant comments), and I'm already sad at the thought that I will not be feeling my baby move inside me anymore once she's born. It is hard for me to put into words the sense of strength and power I feel about this pregnancy and my decision to have a natural birth. Even if everything goes wrong (according to my plan, of course) from this point forward, it will have been worth it to have this sense of confidence in myself.

Monday, May 19, 2008

So Excited!

We had our Prepared Childbirth Class on Saturday, and it was great. A lot of my anxiety about this baby has been alleviated and now I just can’t wait! More about that in a minute, though.

One of the main reasons we attended the class was to familiarize Dave with the birthing process because he has not been obsessively reading everything he can find like me. I think he now feels nervous and excited and a lot more educated. He’s been studying the book they gave us and asking me questions, so I know that he is fully engaged. Also, he is now 100% supportive of my natural birth plans! Until now, he’s been skeptical. At any rate, this is the quiet conversation I overheard Sunday morning while I was getting ready for church.

“Do you remember when you were born?”
Silence from what I imagine was a big, brown-eyed, inquisitive face.
“Probably not. Your eyes were still closed.” Pause, then in a louder voice, “Right, Amanda?”
Me: “That’s right. Puppies’ eyes don’t open until they are two weeks old.”

This is funny in two parts: 1. He is excited and curious enough about the birth to discuss it with the dog and 2. At one fairly recent point in his life, he did not know that human babies open their eyes at birth. He actually asked me when babies’ eyes open. : ) God, I love that man.

Back to the class – We did the all day one on Saturday because that’s just easier to fit into our lives than five weeks of evening classes. First, I’ll just say that I LOVE Brookwood and I’m so glad we are having the baby there. I have been worried and anxious about how my natural birth plans will be received in L&D because so many women don’t even consider natural childbirth these days. There were two other women in the class that are planning on natural birth, so the instructors made sure to address that along with the pain relief options. I learned that when I get to L&D, they will try to pair me with a nurse that has experience or interest in natural birth. This is so exciting for me, and it’s something that I have been praying about. The hospital is very open to natural birth and they even have birthing balls and a squat bar on the unit!! I will be able to labor and push in positions of my choosing – two of the most important things in my plan. They also encourage “kangaroo care” – which is skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, and if you are nursing they try to get you started in the first hour – two more extremely important things in my plan. I have now been told by three separate people that the nurses really try to help you have the birth experience you are seeking. I am so excited.

The class also talked a lot about relaxation during labor and the tension-pain-fear cycle. We learned some massage and breathing techniques (some of which I had to ignore because they directly contradict Hypnobabies). Basically, most of what we learned corresponded with what Dave and I have been studying and practicing in our Hypnobabies course. This is part of the reason he feels so much better about it now. Also, I learned that there is a nurse at Brookwood who just recently got certified in hypno-birthing! It just makes me so excited to learn that Brookwood is so open to natural birth, breastfeeding, and attachment parenting. They strongly encourage breastfeeding, and have a great Lactation center if you need help while you are there or after you go home. They encourage rooming-in with the baby and responding to her cues for hunger, sleep, etc. rather than rigid scheduling. Over all, I felt really good about the class and the hospital in general.

We took a tour of the L&D rooms and the postpartum rooms. This was nice, because now when I visualize my ideal birth I can actually see what the hospital looks like. There was some baby care instruction – things like diaper changing, swaddling, bathing, etc. Dave learned how to change a diaper and swaddle a baby. He was amazed that I already knew how to swaddle, but I informed him that I used to swaddle my dolls in the exact same way. Someone must have taught me to do that at some point.

We had our first baby shower on Sunday. The generosity was amazing. We can barely walk into the baby’s room right now because there are packages completely covering the floor. I will be sorting through them this week in an attempt to figure out where to put everything. I really wanted to look at everything again last night, but the nap won. I was SO tired.

I think the animals are realizing that things are about to change in our house. They keep going into the baby’s room and sniffing all the bags and boxes – over and over again. I keep seeing Georgia randomly coming out of there; I know she’s in there thinking, “What can this mean?” Of course, there was a present for her in one of those packages, so she might just be looking for another. She LOVES the bone that she received at the baby shower. She stayed busy with that all afternoon and evening yesterday. Last night, I heard a rustling in there, and I turned on the light to find Jewel deep in the middle of a sea of bags. Somehow she waded through them, sniffing each one, as is her nature. She is the nosiest of all my beasts – not afraid to sniff and stick her little paws in the purse of a guest, should the opportunity arise.

It was a busy weekend. This week will be busy too since one of my brothers is graduating from high school, and we have another shower Saturday evening. Then there is supposed to be a pool party for Memorial Day, and I am REALLY looking forward to that. I can’t think of anything better right now than floating in the pool.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I wish I had x-ray vision.

I would love to be able to look inside my belly and see what the baby is doing in there. I swear sometimes it feels like she's hitting a speed bag (You know, that hanging punching bag that you hit really fast with your fists? I know this from Tae Bo.) I also want to know how she is positioned. I cannot tell what these parts are that I'm feeling. There is lump in the top left side of my belly, and I don't know if it's a head or butt. I'm hoping it's a butt since that would put her in a nearly head-down position. However, she's not kicking me in the ribs, so I'm suspicious it's a head. I'm 32 weeks today and she's supposed to be moving to head-down pretty soon. I want her to get on with it so I don't have to worry about a breech baby.

There isn't much new to report on the pregnancy calendar. She weighs about 4 lbs. and is 11-ish inches long. I am supposed to start thinking about my birthing options. If I had waited until now to start thinking about them, I would be freaking out. Dave and I did our last Hypnobabies "class" last night. I have one more week of listening to a new CD track, then I start my maintenance program until birth. He's beginning to grasp his role in this process, I think. He has some jobs to do to help me be as relaxed as possible during birth. He told me he doesn't think he can be "down there" watching while I'm delivering her. That's fine, but he will be in the room. He started talking about how his brother stood at the door of the room when his wife was having their first child. I told him, "We aren't having any of that. You are in this with me and you are a grown man. Besides, you are the only person I want to be there." I think we are clear on this subject now. Perhaps I'm a radical feminist, but my thought on this subject is this: If you are man enough to look at a woman's most private part during recreational time, then you are man enough to see it during work time, too. This isn't 1950.

My first shower is this weekend. I think I need to practice using my "Bubble of Peace" before then. The Bubble of Peace is part of my Hypnobabies training. I'm supposed to surround myself with it to protect myself from negativity (obviously, I've not been doing this lately). Creating my bubble was the first thing I did in my Hypnobabies practice. Since this is all about visualization and the power of the mind, I'm supposed to build and maintain a positive outlook about pregnancy and birth - that means I have to protect myself from other people's negativity about birth, etc. In case you are wondering, my bubble is pale pink and covered in silvery, elven mail (think Lord of the Rings). There are butterflies inside of it. (Newsflash: I'm a freak.) Negative thoughts and feelings are supposed to bounce off of it. They do, when I remember to use it. This bubble, like most of the Hypnobabies training, will be useful in other areas of my life as well.

I also have a safe place I'm supposed to go to during my relaxation, but I find that most of the time I relax so quickly that I don't make it to the safe place. Dave rags me all the time about being "hypnotized" because he thinks I'm sleeping. Sometimes I am. :) However, most of the time I am in a state of "hypnotic amnesia"; I know this because I come out of it when the voice on the CD counts me up. It's so cool. My safe place is the backyard of our house in Gardendale. I don't know why, but like the pink Bubble, that's the image that popped into my mind when I was creating it. When I visualize my anesthesia moving through my body, it is a bright white light. Anesthetizing myself is the coolest thing about this program so far. I have a lot more work to do, but I'm really excited about my progress.

I have my 32 week appointment tomorrow. I have to ask the doctor if creating a birth plan is crap or if it's worth the time to do it. I have one in my head, but if it won't be taken seriously, I'm not putting it on paper. I know what I want and don't want, and I will make sure I get it (or don't). Hypnobabies is empowering. :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Just Venting

Disclaimer: I'm in a funk, so stop reading now if you don't want to hear my whining.

I'm tired. I'm hot. My hormones are crazy. My body hurts. I can't bend in the middle anymore. People are stupid. To top it all off, my number one, go-to, feel-better food is off limits right now - and I don't dare have a tiny bite for fear that the Food Police will be buzzing around me in 30 seconds flat. For the record - sugar free chocolate pudding, while it has been a life saver, is NOT real chocolate.

Right this minute, I feel like staying at my house for the rest of this pregnancy. At least there I can wear zero clothes, lie on the couch, and avoid anyone who will say something stupid.

Let me be clear about something. I want this baby to be born before the doctor induces labor, BUT I want her to be READY to be born. That means fully-cooked and able to come home with me when I leave the hospital. I know that I don't get to control everything, and sometimes babies have to stay in the NICU (believe me, I know this), but I don't need anyone to tell me "I don't think you are going to make it until June" because my belly is so big. Umm, thanks, and do you realize that she won't be full-term until June 18th? And that's pushing it since 40 weeks isn't until July 10th. I DON'T GIVE A RAT'S TINY BEHIND HOW BIG MY BELLY IS; THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THIS BABY IS READY TO COME OUT YET. And furthermore, I don't need any commentary on when she will be born or how big she will be. Note to the shower planners who might read this - if you are planning any stupid games about predicting her birth date or size, they would be best cancelled now. I've heard enough already. She'll be here when she gets here; and, while I'm tired and achy, I'm not in any hurry to get her out before it's time. In truth, I already know that I will miss feeling her move inside me.

Yesterday, we had Muffins with Mommy before Sunday School. I was really good and I ate a lowfat blueberry muffin - just one. Then, someone came in with those miniature chocolate donuts. I knew that I would eat one when I saw them. It couldn't be helped. I got one. It wasn't 30 seconds before two people commented. One of them told me, "You don't need to be eating that. It will make you fat." First of all, fat is the least of my worries about eating a donut right now. Second, I KNOW I don't need to be eating it. I worry every day about everything I eat, and when I eat something that I shouldn't - I feel completely guilty for the rest of the day. I did splurge yesterday (again) and have a piece of regular cake after lunch, but I was very good at dinner and ate the cheesefake I made (sugar-free cheescake that was surprisingly good). This morning, my sugar was well within the fasting range before breakfast and one hour later. I must not have done too much damage. Oh, by the way, shrimp IS on the approved foods list for pregnancy. I double-checked.

There is a comeback that I've been saving because I haven't felt mean enough to say it to anyone yet, but I think I'm just about ready to throw it out there the next time someone comments on my size or that what I'm eating will make me fat: "I'm going to lose 20 pounds in one day. What's your plan?"

Oh, and here is an amazing tidbit that some people don't know. When I'm in the room with you, I can probably hear what you are saying about me. Surprising, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Stretch Marks

I knew that I would have stretch marks from this pregancy because I already had some from going through puberty. The other night, I was displaying my belly to my parents and discussing that my belly button seems to be poking out as far as it can go and you can't see it through my clothes. My dad noticed that I only had stretch marks on my hips. I stupidly said that I hoped I wouldn't get any more (as I also have them a couple of other places), though I knew it was doubtful. Would you believe that the VERY NEXT DAY I found some more on the under belly? Oh well. Dave suggested a deep tan to disguise them next summer "since I don't have to worry about frying my ovaries now." I did mention that frying my ovaries isn't my only concern about going to a tanning bed, not that I'm okay with frying them any more now than I was before I was pregnant. I guess he's thinking they are disposable now that we have a baby on the way. Men.

My pregnancy calendar says this about me (from

"As your baby's weight increases (she weighs over three pounds this week!) the strain on your body will be noticeable. Your lower back and hips ache, especially at the end of the day. A growing baby also means less room for your internal organs. You'll be taking more breaths to fill your scrunched lungs."

I concur with all of that. I think the scrunched lungs are what makes the walking more difficult these days. I remember from swimming class in college that when my muscles had a burning feeling while I was swimming, it was because I was holding my breath and my body was burning lactic acid. Now, even though I have very focused breathing while I'm walking, I get the burning feeling in my legs. Hmmm. As stupid as it sounds, walking and breathing takes quite a bit of focus these days. Good thing I'm not chewing gum, too. :) Seriously, though, when I have the dog on the leash, it makes the walk so much harder because she walks faster than I want to walk (which causes a wind cramp that is so much harder to get rid of with this belly!) and she distracts me. I'm also pretty sure I've been having Braxton-Hicks contractions during the walks. My lower belly gets really tight and uncomfortable, then releases - rinse and repeat until I get home and rest for a minute. Oh well, that isn't going to stop me from walking. Those are practice contractions, and if walking makes them happen, maybe it will also help the real ones happen when it's time so I don't have to worry about induction.

About the baby this week (also from

"Your unborn baby's lungs continue to mature. . . . Her skin, which has been wrinkled, now becomes pink and smooth as fat cells fill out her body. . . Baby knows your voice. . . Your baby's fingernails have grown and she may even need a manicure after she's born. . . Your unborn baby weighs around three pounds, eight ounces and stretches to around 11.2 inches (crown to rump)."

I think it is finally sinking in for Dave that we will have an actual, real, live baby soon. He asked me if I thought he was ready for this. I said, "Yes, I know you are. I've been praying for God to prepare you for it since long before we decided to have a baby." He said, "If she is anywhere near as sweet as Georgia, I'm going to be fine." He's ready. Note: He compares the baby to the dog because he has no other frame of reference.

Yesterday morning, I went to hug him when I got up, like I always do. He immediately put his hands on my belly and asked if there were any baby parts sticking out. There were, and he found them right away. Then he complained because he hadn't felt the baby move in while. Apparently, he tried to feel her in the middle of the night and she was sleeping. I told him that she must party in the wee hours of the morning because she sleeps until I get to work and get settled in for the day. Then, she moves all day long. Oh, and she's even worse now about stopping when you put your hands on my belly. This kid is going to be a sassy one. Luckily, she had hiccups last night for the first time in a long time, so he got to feel that. :)

His latest commentary on my big belly: "There is no doubt you are pregnant. If we weren't married, we would have had to send to you away to the special school for girls about 10 weeks ago." Alrighty then.

Friday, May 02, 2008

I'm Doing Great!

At least that's what the doctor says. I gained 1.5 lbs this time (the smallest amount so far), my sugar levels were acceptable, I measured 30 cm (perfect for 30 weeks), and her heartbeat was strong and good. Yay!!

I feel so much better after talking to him about all of this. He told me that he is not treating me as high risk, and that as long as my sugar stays under control she will most likely be a normal-sized, healthy baby. He did say that he probably won't let me go past 39 weeks, but that will depend on my progress at the time. In the last month, they will really start monitoring the baby to make sure she isn't getting too big, but right now she's right on track. There is a less than 5% chance of me having to use insulin, so that was VERY encouraging. Most of the time when complications occur and the baby gets way too big, it's because the diabetes is undiagnosed or untreated. I feel very encouraged. I am to continue monitoring my sugar a couple of times a week and stay on the diet. Everyone, please pray for spontaneous labor, natural delivery, and a normal-sized baby in the mid-to-late June timeframe. :)

Because I feel so much better after talking to my doctor, people seem to be less stupid right now. (Isn't it amazing how our outlook affects how we perceive the world around us?) However, I did remember a story that I need to share. Last weekend I encountered one of those people who knows a whole lot about combining pets and babies. Upon discovering that I have cats - because she asked just so she could give me this helpful tip - this person told me, "You better go ahead and get rid of them now." Thinking I needed to hear this one because people know everything, I asked, "Why?" Her response: "I heard they smell the milk on the baby's breath." Umm. So?

I'll not be getting rid of any of my animals unless I see that there is a danger to the baby. I don't foresee there being any issues. Georgia will LOVE her as if she's her own (she may pout first, but she'll come around), Jewel will probably be all about her, and I'm just not sure about Gypsy. She's a big question mark, but I really see her hiding from the noise before she does anything else. She completely disappears when there are visitors at the house. As far as germs are concerned, they are all on flea and tick repellent and up-to-date on their vaccines. Studies have shown that raising babies with animals in the house decreases the chance of allergies because they build immunities to them from birth. They won't be left unattended with her, but I will not be keeping them separate either - as if I even could.

Sidenote - to my disappointment, Timothia was kicking the crap out of Gypsy the other night while she was lying on my belly, and Gypsy never moved. I so wanted to see her be startled by it. They all know she's in there. I have no doubt about that.

I'm so proud of myself because I've been walking regularly, 3 or 4 times a week. It just makes me feel better, sleep better, and keeps the swelling down. I'm keeping it up, but that doesn't mean I'm fast about it. Dave was prodding me along last night at the end of mile number 2 because I had fallen so far behind. He says to me: "I've got eighty pounds on you!" as he's trotting backward ahead of me with the dog. I said, "Oh? Are you carrying it all in the front? Is it bearing down on your bladder so that you waddle after taking three steps? Is it spreading your hips apart, straining your lower back, and making you think you cracked your tailbone?" I could go on. We have some variation of this conversation at least once a week, but without him I don't know if I'd keep up the walking. He makes it easier. :)