Thursday, December 27, 2007

Blah Blah Blah

It's 7:32 pm. I've had a long day so forgive the rambling to come.

Why am I tired? you ask (and thank you for your concern). I spent the morning waiting for clothes at the laundry, which were not ready. My husband and I have a wedding to attend this weekend in NYC. I had a dress altered, which was done. He needed a suit taken in and laundered, and that's what wasn't ready. He says he'll get the stuff tomorrow.

The wedding was originally scheduled for July, but the bride called Dec 10 to say she's getting married on the 30th. I am an attendant in this wedding, and finding a dress for a last minute wedding when you are pregnant is frustrating and expensive, especially when I nearly missed my ultrasound (got there 15 minutes before the office closed!) and had to put off eating for a few hours more to guarantee that I found a damned dress.

The good news is I got the dress. It's a non maternity, size 12 dress that has to be altered. So ladies, if you have a formal event while you are pregnant, you have more options than maternity wear (I looked online, and I didn't like the options I saw). You can buy a larger size dress and have that puppy altered. The problem of course is shopping too early. Your belly grows faster than you think, and not every fabric is flattering or comfortable around your belly. Try on lots of dresses*.

If I told you how much I've spent on this one dress that I was hoping I'd get two wears out of, you would cry. I'm already dreading putting this dress on Sunday, it may barely fit. I have another formal event in February, but the baby condo I'm schlepping around may be too big for this dress by then.

*But make sure that when you do go shopping it's not on the day of your baby's anatomical ultrasound. You don't get moments like that back, and I was robbed, straight up! I wish that day had been just for the three of us (oh, did I mention that was the same day as the tour of the maternity ward? Yeah...) Not that Red Lobster by the Cherry Hill mall isn't a nice celebratory dinner, but that's what we had to settle for because I was getting nauseated from not eating most of the day.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Just when I think no one's reading this...

Someone noticed that I did not disclose the sex of the baby in my recent posts.

Lots of people - from co-workers to strangers on the street - have asked if I know the sex, and what it is if I know.

No one knows is the obnoxiously technical answer. A co-worker of mine was told she was having a girl based on the ultrasound. When she gave birth she found out the technician was wrong. It happens more often than you think...

I did not even want to tell our family what the sex was in the beginning of the pregnancy. I wanted to keep something for my husband and me. He wanted to share the news with the "concerned and interested." I lost that round. So our parents, siblings, and grandparents know. A special thank you to my mother, who (without my asking) said she would not share that info with anyone.

This is a dream I had a few days before the ultrasound:

The technician and a nurse start my ultrasound but say they can't finish it because the baby is asleep. So they walk me around trying to wake it up, and all the while they're calling the baby she. I'm wondering "why do they keep saying 'she'? They said they couldnt see anything?" We get back to the room after they said it should be awake, and before I get on the bed they say: "Oh, by the way, we could see the sex, and it's a girl!"

I slam my hand on the bed screaming "DAMMIT! DAMMIT! DAMMIT!"
They all look at me like I'm crazy, and they ask if I'm ok. I say "Yeah, I'm fine. I'm ready." I hop on the table as though nothing happened.

Was my dream a premonition?
I could tell you, but it's so much more fun to guess!
That's my Christmas gift to you :-)

Be Prepared (Well, as much as you can be...)

I was supposed to go bowling last night, but my doula/friend (D/F) was under the weather and her daughter wasn't feeling the bowling alley. The mommies stayed home while the daddies went bowling. I got a chance to hear lots of advice from two new moms and an experienced one (my D/F's mom).

Most of the advice was about postpartum life, something I have to think about now. I'm halfway through my pregnancy, so now it's time to look forward to labor, birth, and beyond. My husband and I started a birth plan a while back, but it doesn't include what happens after the baby is born and home. Both my friends said it's really important for our family (new father, mother, and child) to have time to get to know each other before visitors come to call. And they specified: you need days, not hours, alone. My D/F urged me to make family bonding time a part of my birthing plan, and to let the extended family know ahead of time what our needs are.

As for my bithing plan, I hold the image that my labor will be peaceful and stress-free birth. Notice I did not say painless. I accept that there will be pain, and I know the pain exists for a reason, and that there is an end to it. My mother said that to this day she can put her finger on where the epidural needle went in 28 years ago. I'd rather endure the pain of childbirth than recover from cesarian surgery. If there is a medical emergency that calls for cesarian, I accept that. But it better be a true medical emergency. If the nurses and doctor are just tired of me laboring and are doing it for their convenience, they will have to wait. My doula may be short, but she's feisty, and she'll cuss somebody out in a hot minute for me, I guarantee!

Other advice from La Doula and Co:

Drink lots of water

Get lots of exercise (in addition to all the walking and stair climbing I do)


Drink Raspberry Leaf tea (my adopted mother suggested that too!)

Filter out judgmental advice (it usually comes after this or similar preface: "Oh, you're doing that, are you?")

Do your own research about everything so you can make informed decisions.

Trust your instincts.

I hope you had a wonderful Chanukah!
Have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Ultrasound/Nurse Practitioner Visit

Had the ultrasound last week. The heart's beating, extremities and internal organs are in place. All is well, and it appears that I won't have to go in for another ultrasound, which is a good thing.

We took a tour of the maternity ward. It was a little disheatening. Philadelphia is closing a lot of its maternity wards (yet I see lots of pregnant ladies schlepping around this city), and the one I'm scheduled to give birth in is going under construction in January. That means fewer recovery rooms, noise, and other inconveniences of construction. The tour guide was unsure of when construction would be complete, and as of Tuesday so was the nurse practioner. She said they are having a faculty meeting so I should know in January when construction is scheduled to be over.

I don't like that. I also don't like the fact that the delivery ward gets so crowded that women are laboring in the hallway. Plus the recovery rooms are small and I will have to share. The good news is that I wouldn't have to share a delivery room except for with my husband, and there's a shower in there too. The security system is good too- the hospital issues tracking bands to the baby and parents, and the alarm goes off if anyone takes the newborn past a certain point.

Water birth is a nice dream, but it looks like it will remain that way for me. According to my nurse practioner (and several studies I've read) water birth has not been proven to be safe, and Pennsylvania has a very high malpractice rate, so hospitals do not do it. We could rent a tub and see a midwife who has much experience with water birth. We don't own our apartment, so God forbid the tub should overflow into the neighbor's apartment. Of course, I can labor a while at home in my own tub, and in the shower at the hospital...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mother Support Groups

I'll be brief today, since you'll hear from me tomorrow post doctor's visit.

If you are a first-time mother, I recommend going to a mommy support group before you give birth. I went today with a friend, who had a baby in September. Scuse my language, but these women are fucking geniuses! New mothers are an informative and underutilized wellspring of information. I learned where not to have my child in this city, where to get cloth diapers (and how ridiculously inexpensive it is to have a cloth delivery service), and what foods make the best homemade baby food just this morning! By the time you give birth you will have created a network of support outside of your family (not all of us live near our family, and not all of us have the same ideas about childrearing as our family). Plus you will want an adult person to talk to, as my friend this morning said.

Give it a try, that's all I'm saying.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


So now that I am halfway through this pregnancy I have come to accept the fact that one day this child will leave my body. I took sex ed in middle school, my mother took out books from the library about this before I was in middle school, I knew that was true. But it was an abstract truth until now.

Women have given me lots of conflicting advice about how to deal with childbirth. From take the epidural, don't be a hero, to the pain has a purpose, don't fear it - work with it. I know women who had cesarian sections out of medical necessity, others out of convenience. I know women who gave birth vaginally. My doula danced through her labor (no, really! she did!), with no pain meds, and pulled her child from her nethers. I hate her, but that's why she's my doula:-)

I saw a 20/20 segment about waterbirth when I was in 8th grade. It looked so calm, so serene. When I saw the baby swim into the water I said to myself "That's it. That's what I want!" I have held to that mental image for a long time. So when the midwife at the OB/GYN said their practice does not perform water births I was crushed. There is not a hospital in this city that does it, I've checked. Some birthing centers will allow labor in a tub, but not delivery. Doctors want 360 degree access to the laboring mother, and many tubs are against a wall.

So I am faced with a choice: water birth at home, or hospital birth. I am not sick, I'm having a baby. I've said from the beginning I will not have a cesarian unless it is medically imperative. I'm not keen on doing it in the hospital. Unless of course I could go to a hospital in Phila where I could give birth in the water. Sadly that's not an option for me, and I'm not interested in travelling to North Jersey to give birth. I still have lots of research to do, but if I do decide to have a water birth, it might mean I'll have to switch doctors.

There are midwives in the city who have experience with water births and admitting privileges at hospitals, for emergencies, and also accept my insurance. There are companies that sell and rent birthing tubs. There are websites dedicated to promoting water birth. I am not at a loss for information, it's just going to take a lot of time to do the research.

This Ham Sandwich Tastes Like Crap

And it pains me to say that because I LOVE HAM!!! It's leftovers from Turkey Day. I think it may be the American cheese on the sandwich compromising its integrity. It's all thick and fake tasting, but it didn't taste like that on the last sandwich I had. That's the story of my life, I tell ya.

Anyhoo- the turkey is half-cooked. I am 20 weeks, 3 days along. My stomach is round, the baby is moving, and the pants I bought in the beginning of this endeavor are not fitting so well anymore.

The other thing that's happening, which I haven't shared, is that I am having dreams. Violent, morbid dreams. One dream involved me watching a documentary entitled "Great Executions of the 20th Century." Another dream was another documentary of a man who wanted his last moments to be filmed. It was like a five minute film, which started with him telling the camera a joke, and cutting to quick flashes of him dying, which was extremely painful, with a narrative running over it, and ending with dirt being thrown on the camera, I assume in what was the man's grave. No, I don't think I'm going to die during childbirth.

I told a friend about this phenomenon, who is a mother of four children, and she says it's because I am in pain. I figure it's that, or I am mentally preparing myself for the pain of childbirth. No, I'm pretty sure these types of dreams are not symptomatic of every pregnancy. But Jeesum Crow, it's unsettling.

Do I have anything happy to report, you ask? I told you the baby's moving, didn't I? Be grateful I wasn't the one committing any of the murders in these dreams, and that you weren't my victim. Enjoy those little morsels of happiness.