McLovin’s Birth Story

It’s been (almost) a week since McLovin was born, give or take a few hours. It’s strange to think that we haven’t even reached his due date yet – he wasn’t due until Monday the 28th. So really he could still be inside my belly right now, but I’m so much happier that he is here. I look at him and can’t believe he was actually inside of me. Now he is his own little person out in this world with us and my belly has shrunk and it’s hard to believe, looking back at my pictures, that it was as big as it was just a week ago.

So now here is his birth story, and sorry that it is long-winded but I’m doing this just as much for me and my memories because I don’t want to forget anything!

Last Wednesday started out much like every other recent Wednesday – The Husband and I woke up early to head to our hospital for an MFM appointment with Dr. T. We stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way and during the 40 minute drive I insisted on listening to old school rap/hip-hop and joked that I wanted McLovin to be a “gangsta country boy” as we listened to Snoop Dogg and Dr.Dre.

We arrived for our appointment, which was a biophysical profile, but noticed this time it took a bit longer to see all the movements. We got them all in, but the prior week’s scan went really quickly and this time I had to move from side to side, drink water and try to wake him up. The sonographer didn’t seem too worried and said that Dr. A, not Dr. T, would be seeing us because Dr. T had something come up and wouldn’t be in until late morning. We had met with Dr. A once before so we knew him, but obviously didn’t have the relationship with him. Dr. A came in and told us baby looked great with a strong heartbeat but then asked me if I had been leaking fluids. I had noticed some slight increase, but thought it was part of the “normal” increase in discharge that we’re told to expect. And McLovin was still kicking away, and the week prior everything looked perfect, so I didn’t think much of it. Dr. A told us that my fluid levels were low (they like to see a 5 or above, mine were at 4.1) and then “I think it’s time to get the baby out now.”

He could see we were obviously surprised and shocked, so he started the measurements again and explained everything he was seeing to us. He was very thorough and answered all of our questions. His concern was that with low fluids, there isn’t much space or anywhere for the umbilical cord to move to, so McLovin could step on it or grab it and it had nowhere to “float away” to and it could end very badly if that happened. And given that I was 38+2, early full term, McLovin had developed enough that he could do well outside at that point. And we weren’t sure exactly why the fluids were low – if it was the placenta beginning to give out, or if I had sprung some sort of leak (my words).

By this point I had started to feel anxiety – first, I didn’t want anything to be wrong with McLovin and didn’t want him to be at risk. Also, Dr. A was basically saying that I’d be walking across the hall to be admitted that morning  and be induced that day as they had open rooms on the L+D unit. They would induce me with Pitocin, and this had never been discussed with Dr. F or Dr. T as everything had been going great up until that point. Induction wasn’t even on our radar. Although our car seat was installed we had none of our bags with us, as we had just been expecting  a routine scan. So my mind was jumping all around.  I asked if I could go home to get our bags and say goodbye to the dog – Dr. A said he wanted me to do a NST first, and then have the OB  (Dr. J) who was covering for Dr. F’s practice check in with me and she could make the decision as to whether or not I could go home for a few hours and come back.

Needless to say when they took my blood pressure it was through the roof. E, my genetic counselor, visited with me to try and calm me down a bit and all the staff was so nice and reassuring as they tried to keep my anxiety at bay, but I had three readings that were sky high. The OB came in to see me and she wanted to do an internal exam – at that point they realized I was 3 cm dilated already. I hadn’t been feeling any contractions that morning, but in fact I went to my weekly acupuncture appointment the evening before and remember feeling some tightness  during my session but chalked it up to Braxton Hicks. Well, based on the fact that I couldn’t get my blood pressure lowered and I was already at  3 cm the OB said she didn’t want me to go home – mostly due to my blood pressure. I cried. This wasn’t how I thought it would be, and I desperately wanted to see my dog. If I had known that morning that it would be the last time I would be with her, just the three of us, I would have given her so much more love. Instead of a perfunctory kiss and a “See you in a little bit, be good!”

So, across the hall we went to labor and delivery. The Husband was going to leave after I was admitted to go get our bags, and I made list of last minute items I hadn’t packed yet because I was still using them at home. Once he left around 11:00AM  the nurse was hooking up my IV and I was ordering lunch and watching TV. She asked about my “birth plan” (didn’t have one) and my requests for pain management (no meds please!) By that time I had come to grips with the situation and my blood pressure lowered considerably and was in the normal range after this point. They started the Pitocin around noon, at my grilled cheese with bacon, and then took a little nap because The Husband hadn’t returned yet. Not only was he getting our bags but was bringing the dog to his parents house as they were going to watch her for us while we were in the hospital. He didn’t return until about 2PM. In the interim Dr. T and E visited with me to see how I was doing, as did one of the midwives. When I was wondering out loud how I could be 3 cm dilated at 38 weeks and not realize it and have no contractions Dr. T reminded me that, although this was my first birth experience, I didn’t have a “virgin cervix” due to the three D&E’s I had – particularly the procedure at 19 weeks. They were wonderful, as always, and assured me that although this wasn’t part of the plan and nobody saw this coming, it was a good thing that I was coming in weekly and that we caught it so that we could be in the best possible position to make sure McLovin arrived healthy and safely.

Things seemed to progress slowly at first, we had a change of nurse at 3PM. Our new nurse, who was with us through the birth, was very sweet and in fact that night was her first shift back from her own maternity leave. The first change I noticed was an onset of cramping – the same feeling I would get before “Aunt Flo” arrived. I did start to feel hungry at about 6:30PM, but I also started to have bouts of nausea as well and skipped dinner because I couldn’t decide if I was going to puke or not. I was able to get up and walk around throughout the day, so I didn’t feel trapped, and I was watching some Curb on my iPad too.  I did not start to experience any significant discomfort or “pain” until around 7:30PM, which was right after my mother arrived. I started using the peanut yoga ball which helped, and The Husband would use some acupressure/shoulder massage when I felt contractions coming on. I also kept feeling like I had to go to the bathroom a lot, and I actually felt very comfortable sitting on the toilet, or in a similar position, throughout contractions. I did a lot of visualization and focused on my breathing during this time – visualizing what my body was doing and trying to be “open” to the process to encourage things along. Keeping my jaw loose (I could feel myself clenching and consciously had to remind myself to unclench.) It was really quite manageable.

The OB had been in sometime after 8:00PM to check my progress, and I was 7 cm dilated and in active labor. Around 9:15PM things started to get real, and I started having much stronger contractions. I was back in the bed, and suddenly I heard a POP and felt a gush. I shouted “MY EFFING WATER JUST BROKE!” and then immediately the pain intensified. As soon as that happened it all changed and no amount of visualization seemed to help me focus. I had also packed a framed picture of the dog to use as a focal point but that didn’t work either. The pressure had increased exponentially and the contractions started coming stronger. The nurse confirmed my water broke and asked what I was feeling, and at that point I was telling her I was feeling strong urges to push and almost couldn’t control it. She went to get the doctor, and Dr. J did a quick check and said I was fully dilated and I could push if I wanted. Multiple other nurses came in to help set things up and then I realized it was really happening, and happening now.

I pushed for around an hour, and at the time it felt like the longest hour of my life. For the first 30 minutes I struggled – I wasn’t getting the timing right with pushing and breathing and contractions. I kept telling them I felt like I couldn’t breathe. When I would feel a contraction coming g I would state “ITS HAPPENING”. The nurses coached me through it, and got me some cold face clothes to help me feel more comfortable, but it was a really tough time at first. While I was living it the pressure felt so intense, and although I’ve read some people call it “orgasmic” there was nothing orgasmic about it to me. I was almost brought to tears a couple of times. And, I was also afraid and wasn’t giving it my all while pushing, I was definitely holding back. The pressure was so intense and I felt like my body could not handle it and there was the whole fear of the unknown type of thing. I was afraid to push – the pain was radiating down my legs. Between contractions I would close my eyes I relief and felt like I could almost fall asleep, until I could feel another coming. They offered me a mirror, because I was getting discouraged and saying “This isn’t working” and they thought if I had a mirror and could see the progress it would encourage me. My response – “I DON’T WANT TO SEE THAT!” Eventually I got the hang of the pushing and timing and some of my fears subsided.  There was plenty of cussing and some not so pretty dialogue, but eventually at 10:33PM McLovin was born. The relief was IMMEDIATE. I could feel his head come out, and said “OH MY GOD IS THAT HIS HEAD?” then his shoulders, then the rest of him slipped out. One of the nurses had told me the best way to end the pain was to give strong pushes – and sure enough, once I gave the strong pushes and he was out it just stopped. I was crying once I heard him cry, but no tears came out. Just my body crying.

We did skin to skin for over an hour, and The Husband is very squeamish and did not cut the cord. So my mother did – honestly in the throes of the intense labor I forgot she was even there. Originally my plan was for her to be there during the early and active labor and leave for the actual birth, but I forgot all about that when it got too intense. Dr. J delivered the placenta, and I also needed a few stitches for a “very small tear.” After an hour or so he was weighed and measured in the room with us. I was starving so one of the nurses got me a large turkey sub from the hospital’s mini cafe. I was also able to get up and go the bathroom with the help of one of the nurses.

One of the memories I have is of The Husband’s choice in television. The room had a flat screen TV mounted on the wall, and my view was straight on. Evidently there was a Duck Dynasty marathon on, and one of the visions I have is of that on the TV above the doctor’s head as I was pushing. Ugh.

In the end, although this coming about 12 days early was a surprise and I wasn’t anticipating being induced The Husband reminds me that we have what I/we wanted – a vaginal birth, no epidural, and most importantly a healthy baby boy. I always thought it was a cliche when others said this, but I’m already forgetting  the labor pain – I remember that it happened and can picture it but I feel very far removed from it and now it pales in comparison to everything else. And I can’t speak highly enough of the nurses who knew what I wanted and encouraged me and supported me even when I thought I couldn’t do it.

I really can’t believe tomorrow we will be celebrating our first Thanksgiving as a family of three. I can’t wait to watch Christmas Vacation with him in my arms. I don’t know where we are going to celebrate although we are supposed to spend it  with The Husband’s family this year (we rotate years between his parents and my mother), or if I even want to go anywhere at all. I think I’d be just as happy staying in with my little man and watching football just the three of us (and the pets, of course.)

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Take A Sad Song, and Make It Better

Our rainbow baby McLovin made an early arrival yesterday at 10:33 PM, 38 weeks and 2 days. He’s perfect with ten fingers, ten toes at 19 inches, 7 pounds and ten ounces.

I will share more about his birth story once we’re home and settled in, but I wanted to let all my blog friends know – the people who have cheered, supported and offered words of encouragement, and shared their own stories with me. Suffice to say for now that we went in yesterday for a routine BPP, and found out during the ultrasound that it was go time. Totally unprepared and surprised, but after 11 hours of labor he was here. And when I see his eyes open, and he looks all around – I can’t believe he is my little person.

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(Almost) Thirty eight

Tomorrow I will be 38 weeks pregnant.

In a way it almost feels bittersweet. After three losses I never thought I would make it this far. And, as much as I’ve always wanted two children, I don’t know if I will make it here again. We still don’t have our genetic test results back, so we really don’t know at this point if we truly were “struck by lightning” three times OR if there is some genetic issue and this baby that I am not carrying is our the real lightning strike.

I want him to be here, I want to meet him, but I also feel like I want to “hang on” to this pregnancy a little bit. I may not have this opportunity again. I may never feel a baby kicking or moving again. I don’t want to hang on to everything – I could do without the heartburn and the finger swelling and the lightning crotch pain. But I feel bad even complaining about it. This is what I wanted, and now it’s here and almost gone. I have a lot to look forward to once he’s here, but as nerve wracking and scary as the pregnancy has been I’ve also recognized that it’s a special moment, for me and for me and the baby together, and I’ll never have it back again once it is over.

Sigh.

Baby Boy still doesn’t have a name, although now it seems to be narrowed to four possibilities, so The Husband and I have been referring to him as “McLovin.” Yes, McLovin. So I am going to refer to him as such on here too!🙂

So what have I been doing (besides grieving the election and being super angry still)? A lot of stuff!

  • This week I had my MFM appointment for a biophysical profile (scored 8 out of 8), and then a NST with my OB which also looked great. My Group B Strep results came back negative. I’ve gained 35 lbs. at this point and I can tell.  I will have two appointments/week for the duration – one with MFM for ultrasound/BPP and a second with my OB for the NST/usual monitoring. I am also going to weekly acupuncture appointments.
  • Freezer meal prep for once we are home with McLovin. I have to give credit to my mom for helping me prepare the freezer meals and paying for it too. We made: chicken, broccoli and ziti; macaroni and cheese; chicken casserole. I was going to do lasagna this weekend, but due to unforeseen circumstances wasn’t able to get to it. I might do that on my day off this week or next weekend.

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    Freezer meals

  • Checking some items off my shopping list: nursing bras, nursing tanks, and some nursing friendly pajamas.
  • Packing McLovin’s hospital bag. His bag is packed. My bag is almost fully packed. The Husband has not even started telling me what he would want, so I am leaving him to his own devices and he can pack his own bag. If it doesn’t get done, then he will have to deal with it because I’ve been bothering him about it for almost two weeks now.
  • Finishing touches on McLovin’s room – the bassinet and bouncer are now put together and the room is now more organized. We got a Halo Bassinest, which I really like a lot even though technically we haven’t used it yet since McLovin isn’t here, and the Fisher Price Snugapuppy. They had me at “Snugapuppy.”
  • Car seat installation – The Husband installed today and my father came over to inspect, as he’s a firefighter/paramedic in the town where I grew up and has done car seats for many years as part of that role. However I am also going to swing by our local police department, where they also inspect installations, on my day off this week to get it double checked. We went with the Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip infant car seat.
  • Stocking up. Along with meal prep, I got it into my head that I need to stock up on all sorts of “essentials”. So I made a Target run two weeks ago and it must have looked like I was preparing for a hurricane or blizzard. Paper towels, toilet paper, granola bars, cereals, tea bags, hand soap… all kinds of random things that I convinced myself I needed to stock up on so I wouldn’t run out. As if once McLovin is here I would be housebound and unable to leave for months on end, or that The Husband couldn’t go out shopping, or that our families wouldn’t be around to assist with grocery shopping (which, my mother and grandmother already said numerous times they would do for me!). And I have Amazon Prime, so it’s not like I couldn’t just order it online. But, I felt like I needed that stuff RIGHT NOW. So I got it.

I will leave everyone with this note below. For those of you, like me, who are still grieving the election results and are worried about the future, are frustrated and scared, and who want to do something. Here is a small action we can take to stick it to the man a bit, so to speak. Mike Pence’s record on women’s issues is abysmal. So you can let him know what you think about that.

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Speechless

I am despondent this morning.

Ashamed and embarrassed of my country. Worried about the future. Electing a  fascist hate monster makes me feel unsafe, like we have a target on our collective backs now because we have elected someone who spews hatred and bigotry and they are going to now spew it back to us.

The only fact that gives me solace are that: I live in a blue, blue state, a real Liberal bastion.  My state did not vote for the hate monster. I am also not a minority, unless you count women as a minority. I feel so much worse for my LGBT+ friends, POC, and other minorities. They must be much more fearful and distrustful than I am, based on what has transpired.

I wanted more for my son.

I wanted to watch the first woman president be inaugurated in January with him. I wanted a more inclusive and accepting country for him.

I wish I could go give President Obama a great, big bear hug and never let go.

Seeing the outright glee in my Facebook news feed from some of my “friends” was also disturbing. So, I went on a friends purge. Immature? Maybe. Is it “just politics”? When people are going on and agreeing with the racism, bigotry and xenophobia then it is MORE than just politics. It is a core belief system, one that I am at odds with, and I don’t want or need that in my life.

Is that un-American? I don’t care if people have their own beliefs. I don’t have to like them or agree with them and I certainly don’t need to be “social media friends” with them.

I had a bio-physical profile this morning with MFM and everything was great. That put a smile on my face, but only for a few minutes. I will have a non-stress test tomorrow with my OB. Everything is moving right along. I would write more about it, but I feel in such personal disarray that the gumption to go into more detail escapes me.

How could this happen?

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#ImWithHer

WARNING: I typically don’t write about my political leanings, although I’m sure I’ve written enough for most to realize that I lean “to the left, to the left” as Beyonce would say. I’m sure the majority of you don’t care about my politics, or care to read about my political beliefs, but this is my blog and I feel compelled to share something because I am honestly disgusted by the hateful rhetoric that’s come about this election season. Whether it be masochism, racism, xenophobia, sexual assault, etc. – it’s all pure garbage and it’s consumed much of the news this election because of one man. So please, if you’ve had enough of people bitching about the election and the candidates and politics, please just scroll on past this or “X” out of this because it’s only me whining about the election.

Where is all the substantive policy discussion? “I have many, many ideas” – WTF does that even mean? Please share them. Rather than knowing the policy positions of one of the candidates that I’m asked to consider voting for, I instead know that he brags about grabbing women by the pussy (read: sexual assault). The fact that “Check out sex tape” is now a THING is disappointing and embarrassing. Why is a candidate for president encouraging us to watch a non-existent sex tape? The level of political discourse has been lowered dramatically and quite frankly I think that people in other countries across the world must be laughing at us for having this bully so close to the presidency. Because, he has proven that he is, in fact, a bully.

I also found comments during the last debate regarding abortion to be disgusting, not to mention the previous comments and actions by the VP candidate. I am a woman who has terminated three pregnancies due to fetal abnormalities. “Termination for Medical Reasons.” TFMR is a nice way to dress it up, but guess what? It’s abortion. I went to the hospital pregnant – I was put under for 30-45 minutes, and I woke up and I was no longer pregnant. Three times. Do I wish I had never been put into those situations? You betcha. Do I regret my decisions? I did the best I could with what I was given. I regret that my babies were sick – I don’t regret my decisions once I was given the information. Even though I terminated for medical reasons, it’s none of my business WHY anyone terminates. They should be able to do what they want to do.

And to think I should be “punished” or my doctor should be “punished.” My doctors did what I wanted – they presented all the options, and their professional medical opinions, and pledged to support me either way. Quite frankly I am THANKFUL for them – I knew that I was in capable hands and that they did the best for me that they could. They didn’t want my babies to be sick any more than I did. Why should they be punished for helping me carry out my own wishes and keeping me safe and complication free?

Not to mention… seemingly not understanding checks and balances and the difference in powers of judicial, legislative and executive branches (i.e. one senator is responsible for all issues and should have fixed all issues)… essentially spitting on the concept of a peaceful transition of power… inciting distrust in our election system and encouraging fraud and intimidation… running a multi-year smear campaign against our first black president… it’s just sickening. I don’t have enough time or energy to talk about all the things that bother me. Basically, he is just not a decent person. What is wrong with wanting some basic decency and empathy in a president? I would think everyone would want that, but I guess I am wrong since ~45% of the electorate appears to support a person who makes fun of the handicapped, and pregnant women (imagine that, me – an inconvenience!).

Let’s keep a whole religion of people out. Let’s build a wall to keep another segment out. Why anyone would want to emigrate to our country, after one of our major political parties nominated a hate monster as its candidate, is beyond me. They want to come here to deal with the shitstorm he’s started? Maybe they will support a wall if only to keep us out on November 9th if this bully is elected president, because I would want to leave.

Our most dangerous enemy is not Russian hackers, ISIS, or WikiLeaks. It’s whatever societal cancer that brought about Donald J. Trump as the Republican nominee.

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Destination Wedding Aggravation

Warning: this will be a rant-y post, so please feel free to skip over it if you aren’t in the mood to hear some hormonal whining/complaining/ranting.

The Husband was asked to be the Best Man in his cousin’s wedding next year, which he said yes of course. Well, they’ve decided to do a destination wedding in Florida. In August. And then a celebration after the fact here in Massachusetts in September. And they expect us to be at both.

Now, back when we got married we considered a destination wedding but ultimately decided against it because we didn’t want to put people out, and we knew people important to us, like our grandparents, wouldn’t go. And I didn’t want to ask our bridesmaids and groomsmen to incur the extra expense. If we had done it, it would be with the expectation that not everyone would want or be able to attend. We decided it wasn’t for us, but I don’t have a problem with them in general.

The problem, for me, becomes when people EXPECT you to go or demand that you go. They are deciding for you that your hard earned money and vacation time should be spent on their whim; for their wedding at the destination they choose. What if I don’t want to go there? What if I had another vacation destination in mind? What if I don’t want to go to Florida in August and deal with the heat and humidity down south, when we wait all year long for a few nice months of summer up north? I loathe going on tropical/warm weather vacations during the summer and wasting the wonderful New England summer weather.

Not to mention that my vacation time next year, hopefully with a healthy baby by my side, will be a commodity. I have a certain amount of time and I’d like to use it how I see fit and to be with my baby! And The Husband’s family has already made comments that we can just “leave the baby home with N” (my mother.) I waited a long time and suffered a lot of grief to get to this point, and why should I “just leave him home”? Perhaps I will want a getaway with my husband, some alone time. Maybe we will enjoy a quick getaway, but it wouldn’t be “alone time” or “just us” with his entire family there anyway. Perhaps I won’t want a getaway and won’t want to leave my baby! I don’t know how I will feel but I don’t think they should be assuming things like that. Maybe my mother won’t want to watch him for several overnights – she works full time so would need to take time off work too. What if I don’t want to spend my money on this? Flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. We could afford it, but why should I have to spend money on all this for a vacation that is not of my choosing in the first place? If I had unlimited vacation and funds I wouldn’t mind. But the fact is I only have so much vacation time, and we have only so much money in our budget for vacations.

Also, August 31st is our fiscal year end at work, which is a very busy time for us in Finance. Usually the last 2-3 weeks of August is a vacation freeze. We can take a random day here or there during that time, but taking several days is frowned upon and may not be approved anyway. I really don’t feel like dealing with that, because I would need to take multiple days to accommodate this wedding – it’s not on a weekend, it’s on a Thursday so I’d need to take multiple work days off. And I really don’t care to do that.

We have already been asked several times what are plans are for traveling and when we think we might go and leave and the hotel and this and that. My response was, I am trying to get through my own situation first – what with my due date fast approaching. All I want is to have a safe, healthy delivery and give birth to a healthy baby boy. That’s really all I care about right now. I don’t want to rain on their parade, I am happy for them that they have found happiness together and they are a great couple, but this really isn’t at the top of my mind or a priority for me at the moment.

I am just bothered by this situation. I don’t want to go to Orlando in August and be in the sweltering heat. I don’t want to spend vacation time on this and I don’t want this to interfere with our usual summer vacation to Martha’s Vineyard – I’m not giving that up. We go every year and I’ve dreamed of bringing my own child because I have such happy childhood memories there. I don’t like people telling me to just leave my baby home – he’s not even here yet. I can already feel I won’t want to leave him.

I am getting bothered and I feel like I shouldn’t – it’s many months away and who knows what will happen between now and then, how I will feel. But if people would stop mentioning it and asking about it then I wouldn’t have to think about it at the moment. Maybe I am anxious about traveling because my boss is already mentioning conferences she wants me to register for in April, requiring travel, when I’d presumably be back from maternity leave only a month or so. Maybe I am being a selfish self-centered jerk and should just suck it up and go. Maybe I will do that in the end. Maybe the hormones and pregnancy angst are making me crabby and annoyed for stupid reasons.

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What’s In a Name?

One of the biggest struggles we’ve had in planning for our baby boy, other than the whole “creating a healthy baby in the first place” issue, is in deciding on a name. For some reason, I always had plenty of girls names lined up but only a few for a boy.

We found out the gender early due to having the MaterniT21 test done – and right away, I started thinking about names. I had a few in mind from the start, but The Husband was never completely sold on any of them. Now I am essentially 35 weeks (tomorrow), and it is really bothering me that we do not have a name, or at least have it narrowed down to two or three. Our list right now includes TEN names, some that I like, some that The Husband likes. We each narrowed that down to a personal top three, and there is only one of those ten names that made it on to our individual top three lists. So it would seem like that name would be the choice, right? Well, it happens to be the name of one of my biggest middle/high school crushes, who also happened to be my mother’s friend’s son, so it does have that connotation. Could I get past that? Yes. But I wouldn’t want anyone to bring up “Hey, remember when you were in LOVEEEEE with so and so in high school and went to all his baseball games and tried like mad to get him to notice you even though he thought of you as a sister and nothing more?!?!”🙂 It’s also the name of my aunt’s dog that passed away two years ago, but I really don’t care about that because they live many states away and we only see her once or twice a year (she did come up north for my shower though!)

As for a middle name, we have it narrowed down (right now) to two – one is a family name from my side, another is a family name from his side. My argument is that the baby will already have his last name, and that is his family name that he gets to pass down, and I should get more discretion over the middle name. And, ever since we decided to try having a child, I told him right from the start that if it was a boy I wanted this middle name. So it isn’t a big surprise to him.

I am trying not to share any of the names with friends and family because namely I don’t feel like it is their business, and second I don’t want them to influence our decision. Even if they didn’t outrightly state an opinion one way or another, we can all read facial expressions. And I find that most people don’t have a good poker face when it comes to these matters.

But, I really do want to talk about it with SOMEONE, and since this blog has been my outlet for my pregnancy loss issues that I keep (mostly) to myself “in real life”, I guess I can talk about other things that I keep to myself (in real life) on here too. And it’s really stressing me out – this baby is going to be the most important person in my life, actually he probably is already, (save for The Husband) and I feel like he should have a name and I should be able to call him something other than “Baby.”And I’m feeling anxious that we’ll be in the hospital with no name and I’ll be hormonal and indecisive. All that being said, here is our list of names, and I won’t designate which are from The Husband and which are from me, and I’ll put them alphabetical. For the few of you that may be reading this that I know “in real life”, please keep these on the down low!

  • Aidan
  • Benjamin
  • Connor
  • Elijah
  • Ethan
  • Evan
  • Jude
  • Liam
  • Thomas
  • Tyler

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

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*Strongly dislike since I don’t like the word hate!

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Three Four

We’re 34 weeks along now, and we’ve been keeping busy. Time feels like it’s moving very quickly – time seemed to move so slowly during the first trimester, when I was tired and nauseous, and the times that I feel good and am enjoying being pregnant seem to go by too quickly to enjoy.

And for the most part, I do enjoy being pregnant! I wasn’t sure if I’d be one of those women who is either loving pregnancy or hating it, and for the most part I do love it. I’ll never have this time back with my baby – for the most part I feel like he is safe with me, my constant companion with his kicks and pokes. This is our together experience and it feels unique and special. I don’t feel too tired yet, unless I have a bad night’s sleep, and I feel good going about my daily life. One thing I’m not pleased with myself about is that at around 30-31 weeks I stopped exercising – it just seemed like there was too much else to do, and sometimes walking made me uncomfortable and I had to pee a lot and it became a nuisance. So I stopped, and I feel bad about it, but I try to make myself feel better by saying at least I made it that far with physical activity. As of my 33 week appointment I’ve gained 30 lbs, so I seem to be on track for the “normal” 25-35 lb weight gain. I got my Tdap shot, and beginning next week I begin weekly appointments and non-stress tests. I’ve had some uncomfortable symptoms start up the past week or so – notably acid reflux at night, and my feet have all of a sudden started swelling – I had no swelling all summer, when it was hot and humid, and now that fall and the cooler weather has hit I thought I’d be okay. Well, the past few nights my feet have swelled and at first it was very jarring! I wake up in the morning and they are normal, and I try to drink lots of fluids during the day and I’ve been checking my blood pressure and it’s normal, but the foot swelling is here.

Next week I am starting a reduced work schedule of 4 days a week vs. 5 days a week – not much, but I think I will enjoy having that extra day to myself! I want to start getting our hospital bags together – at my last appointment I was asked if I had started that yet, and nope, I haven’t, so I am going to use the days off to work on that. These past two weeks have been a horror show at work – I supervise three people, so we are a team of four (including myself) and the past two weeks I’ve had one person out on medical leave and another out on bereavement leave, and my boss has been at a conference in California (I was supposed to go, but my doctor nixed that idea because I’m too far along for cross country air travel now.) So I’ve been working a lot of nights trying to keep up, and I will be glad for next week when my boss is back, and at least one of the ladies that has been out on leave is back. We’ve also discussed how we are going to divide up my work when I am out on leave, and I have to start training people on my accounts and tasks beginning next week. So things are getting real at work with preparing for leave and all that good stuff.

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We’ve decided on a pediatrician – we had a prenatal consult with a local practice, with a doctor that came highly recommended. In fact, my friend S tried to get in with him but he was not accepting new patients when her son was born in February. Lucky for us he just recently started taking new patients again, and The Husband and I both really liked him right from the get go. The practice was nice and clean, we toured the offices and then sat down and “interviewed” him. We talked about breastfeeding, immunizations, circumcision, his philosophy in practicing medicine, the office policies and staff, etc. Everyone was so nice, the receptionists seemed very pleasant every time I talked to them – from booking the appointment to confirming and then meeting them in person. Everything seemed to jive with our wants, and the office is five miles from our house so it doesn’t get much more convenient than that. The Husband gave his stamp of approval right away, so that made me feel good and that’s one task of our list.

We’ve also had two classes at the hospital and had our maternity unit tour. We sampled the cuisine a the hospital cafe, their french fries were so.good. Like really good! The Husband was satisfied with the options and food so at least I know I won’t have to worry about him complaining about food while we are there. Next up is a breastfeeding class, and then we are done with the classes that we’ve registered for and I can check all that off my list too.

The baby’s room is progressing, even though we have a corner stacked with unopened boxes full of baby items we received at the shower. All the big stuff is together, and we have decor on the walls, and now it’s just down to more of the putting stuff together and getting rid of boxes phase.

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Feeding, Reading and Gliding Corner

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Baby’s closet is small!

As for non pregnancy/baby preparations, I had a fun night out with my family two weeks ago – all of the ladies on my father’s side, and including my mother, went to see Wicked in Providence. We had a nice Italian dinner on Federal Hill first then went to see the musical. It was a great musical and the food was delicious, and I’m glad I went even if I was battling a bit of a head cold.

Today we got a few of our maternity photos back – our full online gallery should be up soon, but she sent us a few “teasers”, if you will, this afternoon and I can’t wait to see the rest. We did them outdoors with our doggie girl, and I really love that it was fall and we got some great New England foliage and scenery – fall is my favorite season, even if the past two years it’s been marked by loss.

And some “bump shots” for those that like that sort of thing.

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Ready to exhale

I’ve been in a funk the past few days. It started Sunday night really, and has continued through this evening. I feel just really sort of down, like I want to cry, and just sort of SAD. In a way that I haven’t through (most) of this pregnancy. In fact, I had been feeling relatively “up” after the shower (and anxiety) had passed.

Now, I feel dreary and tired.

I am tired. It’s more than the drizzle outside. It’s more than the hormones.

I guess it started when one of my mother’s dogs had to be rushed to the vet over the weekend and had emergency surgery. Now he has a 50/50 chance of making it. He had an intestinal blockage, they did surgery. He’s home now, but isn’t eating and when he had bloodwork done yesterday his white blood count was up, which obviously is a sign of infection. It makes me sad to think of him not eating and losing weight and not being himself. He’s typically a pain in the butt and admittedly isn’t my favorite of her dogs, and he’s too rambunctious, but he does have his sweet moments and doesn’t deserve this. Seeing him listless, the complete opposite of himself, makes me want to cry.

Then today one of our good friends lost their dog to Lymphoma. He was a boxer, only a year or two older than my own Layla. Such a handsome boy, we would also call him Layla’s boyfriend. That made me want to cry.

Also, I’m back on the Facebook and I follow so many animal rescue groups and animal shelters. Seeing all those animals every day in my news feed, abandoned or sick or injured, makes me want to cry. I think I need to deactivate my Facebook again if only so I don’t have to see those poor animals. I don’t mind donating, in fact I donate often when I see a really terrible case and to shelters all over, but it’s very emotionally taxing to see it all the time and that it’s just going to keep coming.

Today we had another growth scan with MFM. Baby Boy was practice breathing, and is up to 4 lbs. 4 oz. He’s gone from the 60th percentile to the 63rd percentile, fluid levels good, and his heart rate was 159. I was concerned that it was a bit higher than usual (usually at our ultrasounds and OB visits it’s in the 149-151 range) but Dr. T said it’s perfectly normal to fluctuate, especially if we caught him at an active time. His head was crammed down in my pelvis, so we couldn’t get any good 4D or profile shots, but he stuck his tongue out at one point so I guess he has my attitude. Dr. T is recommending that we do weekly non-stress tests with my OB, starting around 34/35 weeks I believe. She said that typically if a patient has some underlying diagnosis, or if they had lost a pregnancy due to a placenta issue or the like, she would recommend it. Although we don’t fall into those categories, her thought is that I’ve never been this pregnant before and we’re getting to the home stretch, and she wants to make sure that everything is holding up and that there is not something we overlook. She compared it to taking out a small insurance policy and she is a conservative physician – she sees nothing wrong in any of our scans and everything continues to look good, BUT, I am a “special patient” and we STILL don’t have the genetic test results back from Children’s Hospital, so although there is nothing wrong that we know of or that is obvious on any scans, she wants to cross every t and dot every i. But she made sure to mention more than once that everything she sees looks fine, it’s just my terrible history.

See that?!? I am a special patient! Take note, world. But I mean, I get it. I am worried of the unknown too. I am worried that my placenta will just give out or something equally horrible that I haven’t dreamed up yet will happen. I worry about it every day.

And that’s when I started to cry. I want my baby here. It’s been almost three years since my first positive pregnancy test. This is my fourth pregnancy. All the visits and procedures and genetic tests and worries and ultrasounds – today marked my eighth ultrasound for this pregnancy. I am getting to the point where I feel exhausted and drained, emotionally/mentally at least. I am mentally tired. I have been through the losses and been fighting and pushing and now I am tired. I am not giving up by any means, or quitting, but I am ready for him to be here. I am ready to meet him and hold him – I know he still has some growing and developing to do, and he is not ready, but I am ready. I am ready to breathe out. Of course Dr. T and E understood and held my hand until it passed. Like they always do. I wonder when I’ll run out of tears.

The Husband was a little concerned as we discussed it on the drive home – “Just when we think everything is great they want to do more testing! We can’t relax!” I tried to explain that NSTs are not uncommon, and that everything looks fine and Dr. T is just trying to provide us more assurances/comfort than what the ultrasound can offer.

Now I have my regularly scheduled OB visit tomorrow, our hospital tour/preparing for childbirth class this weekend, our maternity photos next week, another OB visit in two weeks, a growth scan in four weeks, and by then I’ll be 35 weeks. I hope by then I’m feeling more upbeat! Although I guess we all deserve those days once in a while, those dreary days when we just want to curl up and lay in bed and shut out the world.

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30 Weeks and Baby Shower

Today we have officially hit the 30 week mark! I can’t believe it! I know I keep saying that, but as we keep climbing up in weeks it feels surreal.

Last Friday I had a visit with my OB which went well. I got my flu shot, and will get Tdap next visit. I didn’t want to be a pin cushion and since my next visit is in two weeks, still within the recommended timeframe, I decided to do them separately and start with the flu shot. My fundal measurement was 32 cm, which she said was a “little larger than expected” but she reviewed the last ultrasound report, and since he was measuring in the 60th percentile, she had no concerns. I’ve gained 25 lbs. total now, which she said was still within the 25 – 35lb range she would expect. All went well and my next visit is a growth scan with MFM in two weeks. I will start having 3 weeks/month now – 2 with my OB and 1 with MFM for a growth scan.

Our baby shower was this weekend as well! It felt like our wedding in that it was a BLUR. I was having a bit of anxiety right up until the time we walked in. But once we walked in, and I got over the “deer in headlights” feeling and had a moment to collect my thoughts, it was much better. I really loved everything! My mom and friends really did a great job and everything was just lovely. There were I think… 60 people there! My mother went overboard in her excitement with inviting a lot of people, including some of her own friends whom I had never met, and then we had some people show up that originally responded no so I heard about the scramble to get extra place settings at some of the tables. It was a bit overwhelming at first, I have to admit. But once I got acclimated I really didn’t feel the anxiety or sadness that I felt earlier in the week. I’m glad I got it out of me before the shower so I could enjoy the shower.

We had a buffet for breakfast with all of our favorites – french toast, scrambled eggs, home fries and bacon, along with a chicken alfredo and salad for those that wanted a lunch. there was also a mimosa bar, which I could not take part in but would have been right up my alley. So needless to say I was a bit rushed all morning – first with going to all the tables and saying hi to everyone, then we were first for the buffet so we could eat and then move to gift opening while others were still eating, then the gift opening. My friends M and L were helping by writing down the gifts and givers and then moving stuff out of the way. I had to tell them I needed a break to even go to the bathroom and get a cupcake. We had chocolate cake and red velvet cupcakes! My best friend M’s aunt is a baker and made them. SO DELICIOUS. There were also a few games – a bingo game for the gift opening, a “Guess the size of the bump” game, and a “Don’t say the word ‘baby'” game. The prizes were cute – blue OPI nail polishes and nail files in a mason jar. The favors were mason jars filled with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (my favorite candy) and Hershey Kisses (The Husband’s favorite candy) in blue wrapping.  I was not able to take any pictures for myself, because time just didn’t warrant it and I felt like I was being pulled in 50 directions all morning (but in a good way) but I’ve had some friends forward me some. All in all, I think my nerves got the best of me leading up to the party and in the end I had a great time and I was so happy to see our family and friends, everyone seemed so happy and excited, and to celebrate our baby. I feel like he (and we) deserve it. And I definitely have enough to do to keep me busy for the time being, what with organizing and washing and assembling all of this good stuff. I am overwhelmed by the love and generosity and it is definitely very humbling, especially after all we have been through.

It was a long road to get to that point and I remember back to this time last year, when I thought this would not happen for us and I was feeling so low, and now I feel glad that I had a morning where I could feel genuinely happy and excited. If you had told me this time last year that we would have had that celebration this weekend, a day shy of exactly one year after our third loss, I would not have believed it. And now I am sitting in our brand new glider in our baby boy’s room and typing this. Someone pinch me.

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Game table

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Diapers galore!

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Completely overwhelmed by all these gifts!

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Cake and cupcakes, with two small diaper cakes

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Close up of the cake – little footballs and golf balls on them, since The Husband is an avid golfer

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Table set with the favors, diaper cake centerpiece and little blue pens to write out the bingo squares

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Bouquet centerpiece at another table

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Baby shower aftermath

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Aftermath Part 2

 

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So cute! I love this rocking chair and teddy bear.

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Our new glider and ottoman that The Husband assembled today! The quilt is a handmade gift from one of my aunts.

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