Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ella Grace!!! Yippee!!!

Note: This blog entry comes from Dave and not Amanda. Any factual, clerical or other errors should be attributed to him (which is me).

June 25, 2008, 7:50 a.m. Ella Grace was born, looking like a chicken. Some have already disagreed with me on this, but I was right there and I saw it with my own eyes. The doctor delivered her by grabbing her back and easing her through the incision, and all I could think of was, "My gosh she looks like one of those bagged chickens we cook on the aluminum can stand on the grill." Maybe it was the way she was laying or maybe it was that her skin got little bubbles when exposed to the cold air, but the girl came into this world looking just like a chicken.

She was immediately cleaned up and thank goodness, she started to look a little more human. She weighed 7lbs. 13oz., was 20.5 inches long and had a good bit of black hair at birth. She was very pink and her head was round instead of looking like an egg. I had never really considered that a newborns head would look like an egg, so I am glad Ella Grace's didn't.

Mom and baby are doing pretty well. The kid appears to be a pooper. They say to expect one dirty and one wet diaper on the first day, two a piece on the second day, etc. We had seven yesterday that I recall. There may have been one more early this morning while I was asleep. The nurses are pretty excited about all the pooping. I could probably fare just as well with the normal 1-1, 2-2 ratios, but that is apparently not how it will be.

I have thanked God several times that the baby is healthy. Amanda is healthy and not in too much pain. She is getting a little stir crazy I think. She is now disconnected from all the tubes and she is ready to bathe and have a walk. It will be hard to sit here in the hospital another two days. I believe we are both ready to get home.

Enough talk . . . . let me introduce you to Ella Grace. . .

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

You know the saying. : ) It seems as if Timothia will make her arrival into this world next Wednesday, June 25th. The 25th is a nice round number, so I'm okay with that date. : ) This is, of course, provided she doesn't come on her own before then - but I think she would have been here this week if that was the plan.

I am scheduled for a C-section Wednesday morning because the sassy little chic is breech. Now, I know that she was head down for about two weeks because I know when she turned that way, and I'm pretty sure I know when she turned back to breech. There is a chance that she could turn head down before Wednesday, but it isn't very likely at this point and given our situation. They will check her position when I get there Wednesday morning, and if she's head down I'll just have an induction instead of a C-section.

Obviously this wasn't my plan for the whole experience. Am I disappointed? I don't really think that's the right word for how I feel. I can't be disappointed because I'm too excited about having this baby and KNOWING that it will be next week. I also know that I made the best decision for us out of several options that my doctor presented. I think the best word to describe how I feel right now is "defeated." It sounds worse than it is, I'm sure. I can honestly say that I have done everything in my power to keep me and the baby healthy, and to move her into position. I don't have any regrets about anything that I did in this whole process. I realized early on that the healthier we are, the more options and influence I would have. I guess the feeling of defeat comes from working so hard (physically and mentally) to ensure a natural birth, and still making the decision for the C-section. But the part that makes me okay with it was that it was MY decision. So, was the work and the studying and the practice worth it? Absolutely. I'll be using hypnosis anyway, just not in the manner I expected. It will help with lots of things surrounding the birth and caring for a newborn, and most importanly, it really helped me keep a positive frame of mind - even now when everyone is expecting me to be upset.

I have suspected for weeks that my plan wasn't going to happen, so I was somewhat prepared yesterday to find out that she is breech (more prepared than I realized, actually). There was one moment when I wanted to cry on the way home from the doctor, but I said to myself: "Self, you are not going to cry about this. You made the decision and you know it's the best one for you." So, I didn't cry. : )

Let me say again that I LOVE my doctor. I basically had three options: breech vaginal delivery, external version with induction, and a c-section. Most doctors will not even consider breech vaginal delivery, and most (at Brookwood) don't know how to do an external version (that's the procedure where they turn the baby from the outside) - mine is willing and eager to do both, but I wasn't a good candidate for either. I have two strikes against me: this is my first baby and I have gestational diabetes. Even if the baby is not oversized (and I don't think she is), she is most likely proportioned differently than non-diabetic babies - larger in the torso, which can make it difficult to fit through my pelvis even if she's head down. With first babies, the uterus is less pliable, making an external version less successful in general, and labor is usually longer, making a breech vaginal delivery more risky since the biggest part of the baby (the head) would be delivered last. So, a c-section it is. I really don't think there is much chance of her turning on her own at this point.

This time next week, we will have a baby. : ) The most disappointing kink in all of my plans is that I won't be able to have a celebratory chocolate milkshake from Chick-fil-A right after the birth. Since it's a surgery, I'll probably have to wait until the next day. Dang it.

Both the baby and I are still doing great, and I got a small consolation prize for this whole C-section deal. When they did the ultrasound to check her position, the tech took some good 4D pictures of her face for me. She has the same fat cheeks and lips that I had when I was born. I can't wait to see her.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Full Term and a Full Moon

We are 37 weeks today!! Technically, that's full term and the baby is fully developed. She will spend the next few weeks (maybe) packing on weight. If I go into labor tonight, she should be healthy and whole. She should weigh between 6 1/2 and 7 lbs right now, and her fingernails are longer than her fingers so she might be scratching herself already. She'll need a trim right after she's born - it's a good thing I packed tiny nail clippers in her bag.

This is what one of the websites I read says about me this week (I love it!).

"You will also become tired from having to drag your belly around all day. It's like there's a 33-pound backpack full of kittens hanging on the front of your body and that is really something."

I couldn't agree more. I'm also supposed to be more forgetful and my ability to concentrate is "considerably diminished". I concur, thus, I'm updating this blog instead of working frantically on finishing the few items on my list before I go on maternity leave. : ) It also talks about the urge to nest, which I haven't experienced yet. I'm kind of hoping I don't because the thought of scrubbing things with toothbrushes and reorganizing closets does not sound at all appealing to me right now. However, Dave cleaned up the front and back yards and reorganized his tool closet last weekend. He told me he thought he was nesting - does it count if he does it for me? I hope so.

Let's talk about a couple of great ironies of pregnancy. Number one: For the first time in my life I have boobs - real ones, I mean. I'm wearing a C cup right now, and I'm pretty sure I could wear a D if I was wearing normal structured bras with underwire. What's ironic about that? My belly is so big that my boobs still seem insignificant. Number two: The term "lightening" is used to describe the baby dropping into the pelvis in preparation for birth. It's called lightening because your lungs and stomach are supposed to have more room so you can breathe and eat - you are supposed to feel "lighter." I don't know who dreamed up that bit of nonsense because there is nothing light feeling about having a baby in your pelvis. I've never felt so heavy in my life as I've felt for the past three days.

Last week, I was told that I walk like a duck. Last week, I took exception to that comment because it wasn't true. This week, it's absolutely true. I cannot walk without waddling. I've tried. It's not happening. She is so low that it really feels like my hip and pelvic bones are disconnected. I waddled the mile around our neighborhood last night, and that about finished me. It's never been that hard before. Labor is imminent - I just hope the timeframe for imminent is days and not weeks. : )

That brings me to the fact that tonight is a full moon. Supposedly, labor and delivery units have extra staff during the full moon because there is an increase in pregnant women coming in because thier water breaks. There aren't necessarily more babies born, but more broken water. I don't know if we are that close yet, but let's all hope that if my water breaks tonight, there are good contractions to go with it so I can have this baby without any intervention. Provided there is no full moon labor (and I'm really skeptical, trust me), we go back to the doctor tomorrow for another non-stress test and all that good stuff.

Oh, and congratulations to my friend Kathryn who had her baby last Friday! It was her babyshower I attended when I posted the picture a couple of months ago. I'm so excited for her! She was the first due, so babies will be popping out all over the place now. : )

Friday, June 13, 2008

Time Has Stopped

Until now, I've been living in a strange time warp where the days and weeks were passing so slowly, but also at the speed of light. Now, time seems to be standing still. I'm not complaining, too much. I am trying to remind myself to be patient because there are moments when the anticipation is killing me. But, I'm also enjoying these last few weeks when it's just me and Dave, and while I don't have to share this baby with anyone.

I am such a selfish person. At times I dread giving birth because once she's here the world will swoop down on me ready to hold and love and care for her. Not that that is a bad thing - they've all been eagerly anticipating her arrival, just as I have. I'm so happy that there are so many people ready to accept her into their lives so wholly. Dave and I are blessed with a huge and wonderful family. While I can't wait to share the joy of her with all of them, I also want to keep her all to myself for a little longer. I feel like a little kid at Christmas who doesn't want to share her new toys yet. Is that horrible?

Oh well, at least I have the satisfaction of knowing that since I'll be breastfeeding I will be the only one feeding her for at least the first month or so. : )

An update from my 36 week appointment - we are still doing great. The baby looked great on the non-stress test and my blood pressure was normal. I had one giant contraction while hooked up to the monitors, and several small ones that I didn't feel. I have not dilated anymore since last week, and my doctor confirmed my suspicision that the 1 cm the other doctor told me was a little generous. : ) He doesn't seem to think we'll be having a baby this week.

For your amusement: Picture me, nine months pregnant, in a t-shirt and panties, in the tub with the dog. That was a scene from our house this week. Said dog had been sick in her kennel that day (finding that mess is a story not worth retelling), and was due for a bath. She only gets a bath about twice a year because her fur is pretty much self-cleaning. Labs are made that way. As a water dog, one would expect her to like having a bath. Not so. She HATES it. She loves the pool, the creek, the lake, and playing in the rain - she'll even get into the shower with me on occasion, but put her in the tub for the purpose of bathing her and she has a different attitude entirely. Case in point, on this particular day, after cleaning up the mess, we spent two hours outside waiting on the subsequent vomit incidents that always happen on the carpet (not this day!). She played in her pool (to rinse off most of the nastiness) and played ball in the pouring rain. When I finally brought her inside, she was soaking wet. When Dave put her in the tub for me - because she doesn't go willingly and I can't lift a 70 lb. dog right now - she acted like I was about to beat her with a stick. In order to bathe the beast, one must straddle her and hold her in the tub with ones thighs while scrubbing one half. Once that half is finished, one turns around and scrubs the other half. One must do this quickly because her patience with the process doesn't last long, and when the 70 lb dog decides she is finished with her bath, there isn't much a 9-months-pregnant woman can do about it. Luckily, she was mostly rinsed when she vacated the tub, leaving me standing in two inches of muddy water and dog hair while she dried herself (i.e. shook clean water and dog hair all over the bathroom). Usually, the drying process starts in the tub with the shower curtain closed when I give her the command Dry Yourself, but this day I was not fast enough. At any rate, we have a clean dog. She only pouted for about half an hour, then decided she wasn't mad at me anymore after leaving her wet imprint on my side of the bed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Holy Booties, Batman!

**Insert sharp inhaling of breath** I'm having a baby!! Relax - not right this minute, but in the VERY near future.

Right before I married the love of my life, there were several anxious moments in which it suddenly occurred to me (again and again) that I was about to get MARRIED. MARRIED!! My entire life was about to change and suddenly I would always have to consider another person in addition to myself in every decision I made, in every action I took, etc. There were even moments when I questioned whether it was really the right decision to get married - to anyone. Was I really the kind of person that could be married for the rest of her life? Marriage is hard work. Obviously, the answer to that question was YES. This was all after dating the man for nearly four years, and knowing that I was going to marry him for at least three and a half before we actually got around to it. It wasn't a sudden decision. :) I could go on and on about him, but suffice it to say that I'm glad I did marry him. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Now, as we wait through the final weeks of this pregnancy, I find myself having the same type of shocking, gasp-inspiring realizations that I'm about to have a baby. :) My heart stops for just an instant as I realize that VERY soon there will be another tiny person in my life that will change everything. How ridiculous is that? Obviously this life-changing event is no surprise to me since I've been carrying her inside me for the last nine months, since my house is already partially transformed in preparation for her, since I'm already planning for what we will do with the baby when we do this or that. This baby couldn't be more planned or wanted or anticipated or loved, yet the thought that we will have a real, live baby soon fills me with the same sense of anxiety that I felt in the weeks before I got married. It must be something about life-altering events.

The difference this time, aside from the fact that there is no undoing what has been done, is that I KNOW without a doubt that having this baby is God's plan for us. I know that He has already and will continue to prepare us for the changes that are coming. (He did that for my marriage, too, I just didn't know Him as well then.) Knowing that He has prepared me doesn't stop my wordly self from feeling anxious about the change when my guard is down and those thoughts slip in on occasion. Left to my own devices, I've never dealt with change well. I don't like it and I am a creature of habit to a fault. It's my fear of the unknown that makes me anxious. If I knew right now exactly what life would be like with the new baby, I would have no anxiety. I also know that once she's here, I will adapt quickly and we will be moving full-steam ahead to the next angst-producing event. But, that transitional time where I move from what is familiar to what is completely new gets me every time. I guess that's what faith is about - taking the leap and believing that you really won't fall on your face. :)

With all that said, I already know that this is another of those best decisions.

Given that this post really had no point, I think that's enough random, gibberish, blabber for one day. We'll see what tomorrow brings. ;)

Friday, June 06, 2008

35 Week Update

This week started my weekly doctor's appointments and non-stress tests. The baby did great during the test, her heart rate behaved exactly as it should have in response to her movements and my contractions. I had a few contractions during the test, but I couldn't feel them. She did want to sleep through the monitoring, so the nurse had to wake her up with this buzzer thing so she could get enough movements on the the test strip. I fully expected that to happen given how stubborn she is about moving when someone wants to feel it. It was pretty neat to just sit and listen to her heartbeat for 40 minutes.

I can totally understand why women don't want to wear those monitors the entire time they are in labor. They are uncomfortable and lying on my back on the bed for 40 minutes was REALLY uncomfortable. I wanted to ask the lady if I could sit up, but I didn't and she actually had to write on the report what position I was in. It will be a different story when I'm in labor and they try to make me lie there. I'm more achy today than I have been in a week.

As for me, I lost another 4 ounces and my blood pressure and sugar levels are great. We measured 35 cm for 35 weeks, so we are still on track as far as growth goes. (I'll say it again, I'm not having a giant baby.) I also had the Group B Strep test, which I'll find out the results on next week, and my first cervical check. I am dilated 1 cm. I was surprised by this news, but I'm excited about it. It won't be too long now.

Oh, and the baby is finally head down! I seriously think she turned yesterday. I'm relieved.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Day in the Life

This one is about vomit. Don't read if you can't handle it.

I think most mothers, to fur- and skin-kids alike, would agree that the sound of puking can spur them into action regardless of their state of being 30 seconds before. Such was the case last night. I was snuggled comfortably in bed (and that takes a while these days), listening to a Hypnobabies CD, and practicing being in a deep state of hypnosis. From across the room and down through many layers of hypnosis came an unmistakable "SPLAT!" sound that one will associate with projectile vomit, if one has ever been exposed to it. The culprit? Jewel E. Cat, who was perched sweetly on top of my jewelry cabinet and vomiting onto the floor - precariously close to the dog's head, I might add. As any mother would do, I jumped out of bed (quite quickly in my present state), stopped briefly to rub her head and talk sweetly to her, and ran for the paper towels.

As I squatted down to clean up the mess, Georgia decided it was just too disgusting to watch any longer, so she moved from her spot in the floor - inches from the vomit puddle - to my spot in the bed with a look of spite for having her sleep disturbed. This made me laugh, even in the midst of cleaning up cat barf. I've never seen so much puke come from cat before, but the one good thing about cat puke is that it is rarely smelly. I cleaned it up, found the cat who had left the room, and successfully stuffed half a Pepto-Bismol tablet down her throat. She wasn't pleased with me, but hey, I didn't want her puking all night. I'm really hoping it was a freak thing and she's not getting sick. She didn't throw up again, so we may be okay.

Dave, of course, barely lifted an eyelid while all of this was going on. Then Georgia started barking because, Heaven forbid, the across the street neighbor's living room lights were still on! I shut the curtains in our living room and told her to shut it because she wasn't going out. As I headed back to bed, Dave mumbles, "What is going on? Haven't we been at this for an hour now?" Umm, no dear, WE haven't and it's only been 10 minutes.

Those that poo-poo the idea that animals don't prepare you for children have never dealt with mass quantities of animal poo, and puke, and pee, and house-training, and getting up in the middle of the night to take the puppy out, and bathing one and washing all it's bedding in the middle of the night or as soon as you get home from work because it had an accident, and medicating them when they are sick, and trying to figure out what's wrong with them because they can't tell you, and monitoring when and how much it pooped, and.. need I go on? Even Dave can stomach the smell of dog vomit (which, unlike cat vomit, is QUITE smelly) these days. I'd say our animals have prepared us well for the messes of early childhood and the discussions of bathroom habits that some might find so strange with a new baby. Bring it on.