Introducing Sugar Plum

a.k.a. World’s Easiest Baby.

Our little Sugar Plum is the baby we prayed for the hardest. About nine months before finding out we were expecting her, we lost a baby when I had a missed miscarriage. We were terrified to try again, but our family didn’t feel complete yet. So we prayed and prayed and prayed for a healthy pregnancy.

I knew she was a girl from the start. I was really not wanting her to be a boy, anyway. ūüėČ I wanted Hula Girl to have a sister so badly.

Halfway through the pregnancy, we found out she had a single umbilical artery, which put her at risk for kidney or heart defects, and also increased her chances of still birth. It was a diagnosis that could have been terrifying, but we remained calm and trusted the Lord  I never actually felt scared for her, but perhaps just slightly uneasy?

Because of her cord abnormality, our midwife decided she needed to induce labor. I went in to the hospital on a Wednesday afternoon, and I WALKED those halls. For two days. Kid was FINALLY born after we started Pitocin at 10:30 on Thursday night. When my girl decided to come out, she CAME OUT. I went from 4cm dilated to baby in under 30 minutes. With Pitocin. With NO epidural or pain meds. Yep, it hurt a lot. Yep, I would do it again 18 more times. The end result is seriously amazing.

The first thing I said to her was, “You’re so beautiful!” She truly was. And she still is. She favors Monkey Man, but she has Hula Girl’s blue eyes. She is in her super chunky baby phase, and there isn’t a baby with fatter cheeks anywhere. She is stumpy and round and just adorable. Her cord issue was a total non-issue, and we feel so incredibly blessed that this is the case.

I knew from before she was born that she was going to be the type to do things in her own time. Just as with her birth, she has taken her time to do a lot of things. She is almost six months old and has not yet shown much interest in rolling over, even though I can tell she could if she wanted to. She smiled on time, but her laughs are few and far between. She saves them for times when she just can’t keep them in. She is a very complacent personality; she is content to sit back and watch her siblings in action (and boy, they are always in action!); she is happy to lie in the grass and watch the clouds float above the trees. She rarely cries. She sleeps well. She nurses like a champ. She is mild and pleasant and just so sweet. I so enjoy her.

And that is pretty much all you need to know about her for now. She is just the sweetest. The cuddliest. The relaxingest. She makes me calm. I like that about her. She’s a born peacemaker.

 

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7 Weeks Postpartum Visit

I was scheduled to go in for a 6-week visit, but due to recent car issues, I had to reschedule my appointment. So Gelato and I went today.

First of all, my OB’s office has not changed. They called me back an HOUR past my appointment time. PTL this was my very last appointment with them. I am sick and tired of waiting in the waiting room so much. (They could really use a sprucing, too. The wallpaper is soft peach, seafoam green, and cream. Like my mom’s living room… when I was five. That’s 1990, folks.¬†The art on the walls is faux Monet-style waterlily art prints. The whole thing is just a washed-out pastel blah. )

Aside from the interminable wait times and the drab decor, today’s visit was fine.

I had to bring Gelato with me since I still haven’t pumped any milk to start getting him to take a bottle every once in a while*. He was kind of fussy, but nothing a little walking around and letting him lie on the ground (on a blanket!) for a while couldn’t cure. He was also very chatty with the nurse. She was quite taken with him. I think she wanted to keep him. ūüôā

*I promised myself I would do that this time around so I wasn’t so tied to the baby… but I just plain don’t feel like it. I have to scald all the milk that I pump before freezing it because I have extra lipase in my milk. Basically, it breaks down the milk proteins faster than it should and so my milk ends up tasting like soap and smelling like a rusty can. It’s not “spoiled” per se, but really… what baby wants to drink that?! So instead of pumping, then scalding, then cooling, then freezing, I just don’t. But I really need to. Maybe I’ll start doing that this weekend. It’ll be much easier when Jonathan’s around to Hula-wrangle.

All was fine with the exam. I have been cleared for all activities. I told Hula Girl that she and I will go outside this weekend and pull out all the weeds that have sprung up in the front of the house, around the mailbox, and in our pumpkin patch. Actually, I will be pulling all the weeds while she plays nearby. The weeds have WICKED burrs that are the size of marbles. No joke. And yes, we’ve been too busy to pull them, so yes, we’ve ended up with a few in our house. As a rule, we don’t wear shoes in our home, but still… these crazy stickers get tracked in and when they get stepped on, massive tears flow freely.

And the biggest news: my weight loss! I am back down to 6 pounds less than my 6-weeks-pregnant weight. I can zip my size 0/1 jeans, though not comfortably. This probably means that I still need to lose about 10 pounds to be at my ideal weight. But the goal is a lot closer than it was at this point in my postpartum period with Hula Girl. I blame the elimination diet. And the toddler.

Well, there ya go. All is well. Except now Gelato’s been awake (aside from a 20-minute car nap) for three hours straight. Thank you, OB-Who-Can’t-Keep-Track-Of-Time. Hey, you win some, you lose some, right?

40 Weeks 4 Days

Since I don’t typically post on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, I didn’t post this weekend. And a lot of people assumed it was because I was in the hospital giving birth. Sorry, friends. I was not.

Gelato is still in there, cooking away. Getting bigger and bigger every moment. Yipe.

Jonathan is now officially on vacation. I told him that I would appreciate him being home even before Gelato comes, just so he is HERE and can help with Hula Girl. She is over the moon happy that her Daddy is home with her all the time now. What little girl wouldn’t love a chance to hang with her Daddy during all her waking hours? I will say, though, that even though she’s thrilled to be with Jonathan a lot, she still wants me. She comes to find me and sits with me on the couch and snuggles and reads books endlessly. When I walk into the kitchen, all she wants is for me to pick her up and hold her while she rests her head against my cheek and shoulder. When she comes out of her room after sleeping, she comes straight to me and says, “Mommy, are you coming downstairs with me?” SUCH a mommy’s girl. And I love it. L.O.V.E. it.

This past weekend was pretty uneventful as far as things go.

We went to swimming lessons for Hula Girl on Saturday. They were quite a bit more challenging than the previous lessons have been, but Hula Girl did very very well. She is great at following directions and she is not afraid of the water. Both of these characteristics make her an excellent swimming lesson participant! The class started working on keeping their arms out in front of them when they are swimming or jumping in. Hula Girl and the other little kiddos had to wear these floatie belt things around their waists. Hula Girl’s was too loose and it kept slipping up to her armpits, but she didn’t care. She kept on swimming and kept on jumping like a pro.

After swimming lessons we spent a chunk of time skyping with Ama and Papa (Jonathan’s parents) and Hula Girl impressed them (and annoyed all of us eventually) with her constant LOUD chatter. Kid never stops talking. And her talking voice is pretty much a shout. That evening at dinner we implemented “medium voice” practice. So far it’s going well.

Sunday was full of naps for me and laid-back stuff for the family. We went shopping in the morning so Jonathan and Hula Girl can eat this week. Then we came home and Jonathan pushed her in the swing while I napped. After her nap we made brownies as a family. Hula Girl has never had brownies before, so she wasn’t sure what that meant. But when she got up from her nap, I heard her singing, “We are making brownies! We are making brownies!” all the way downstairs. And the whole time she was pouring, stirring, and sniffing the batter, she kept looking up and grinning like the Cheshire Cat while proclaiming, “I am making brownies!” She got to eat one after dinner, and I’m pretty sure she’s hooked now. ūüôā

Today Jonathan took Hula Girl out and about to return about $100 worth of random items from various stores around town. We often end up buying the wrong thing or too many of one thing, but we are SO BAD about returning the items we don’t need. They pile up in random places around our house- garage, bedroom, kitchen peninsula, etc. I think Jonathan realized we’re hoarding a jackpot and decided today’s the day to cash it in! It’s nice to be home alone.

Okay, onto the PREGNANCY stuff. 

I have been begging, pleading, longing, hoping, crossing fingers, praying, and generally pining for labor to begin. I have had several false starts, including one last night.

Yesterday I felt slightly different from the way I had felt previously. In fact, on Saturday, I felt GREAT! I had no contractions, no pressure, and no pain at all. All of Saturday. Then yesterday I felt crampy and all those random twinges, pokes, pinches, and sharp pains were magnified to a significantly higher level of pain than what I’d been feeling before. Then I woke in the night at 2:00 and was in a lot of pain and I was having contractions that were 8ish minutes apart…for over two hours. I laid in bed trying to fall back asleep, but making an entry in my phone’s contraction timer app each time I had a contraction kept me awake for a long time. Around 3, I decided to go downstairs and eat because I was starving. I last looked at the clock around 4:15, and I think I managed to fall back to sleep soon thereafter. But I was convinced that I’d be waking up and heading to the hospital.

When I woke up, nothing seemed very different anymore. No pain. Some contractions still, but not enough to really take notice and start tracking them again. So, here we are.

Warning: possibly gross details to follow.

I did lose the mucus plug today, which is not a definite labor sign. It can happen any time after the 7th month, and the plug itself can regenerate. But since I hadn’t lost mine yet, I am kind of thinking that things are finally starting to move in the direction of labor. Since I lost it, I have been feeling stronger pains and my backache hasn’t gone away. So, without making any promises… maybe today/tonight?!

Week 40-Examining my Motives

So I’ve been thinking. Why do I really want to get this kid out of me so much? After all, I know all the information out there about letting a baby come in his own time and not being born on due dates, and the like. And my number one priority this time has been to have a healthy natural birth. And just because he’s “due” today doesn’t mean anything really- everyone knows you don’t really set a date in the calendar and make flight arrangements and cancel plans based on that one date. Babies are unpredictable, as they like to remind/teach us from the very very beginning- even before the beginning! I know all this. But I have been so stuck on just wanting him to come out.

Some might suppose I’d want him out because I can’t really wait to hold him and meet my son. Well, sure. But since I don’t know him yet and I don’t know what it’s like to have a son, I haven’t really thought about that much, to be honest. I know that I will grow another heart when he comes out and I will love him and adore him just as much (but in a totally different way) as I love Hula Girl. I know he will be a joy and a struggle and a wonderful blessing in my life. But I can’t really fathom what that will be like yet, especially since I have been so focused on Hula Girl and Hula Girl alone for almost three years now. He’s actually kind of like an intruder into our special Mommy-Daughter-super-special-no-one-else-allowed-except-maybe-sometimes-Daddy club. And I am actually dreading the day when her priorities can’t be my priorities because his priorities are more important. What will that feel like for her? When she grows up, will she remember feeling left out or unimportant? Or will she only remember the good times, like when her baby brother is sleeping and I can spend 30 minutes snuggled up with her on the couch reading book after book after book? And then thinking about all these things with Hula Girl makes me sit and wonder what Gelato will be like. Will he want to snuggle? Will he want to wrestle? Will he be into reading like his sister? It’s so hard for me because I can see so much of Hula Girl’s personality and I’m really enjoying getting to know her. I can’t really remember a day in her life when she didn’t have a quirky little personality, and it’s hard to imagine another baby with a different personality… and then calling that baby mine, too. Freaky.

Another segment of the population might think my haste to kick this parasite out of my belly is due to my level of discomfort with him actually being in there. Absolutely. He is a PAIN in the back, the front, the sides, the middle, and all around. Literally. I have been waking more and more frequently at night from just plain pain. I can’t walk more than 25 yards at a time without feeling immense pain in my hip. I can’t lift my Hula Girl without feeling like I’m going to burst. And shaving my legs… well, let’s just say that if I could sleep with hairy legs, I would be far more comfortable during my 25-minute long showers these days. Seriously, ladies, try it. Put a beach ball down your shirt and then try to shave. Now imagine that beach ball is a human being who kicks and punches when you squish too hard. And the lower backaches. Yowza. I am grateful each night for my sister-in-law’s Christmas gift- a rice bag that I can heat and reheat and reheat and reheat to keep the pain-dulling warmth close as long as I need it. Yep, I feel a little ridiculous using a heat-giving rice bag during the middle of the hottest summer on record, especially when I wake up drenched with sweat, but that’s really what’s keeping me able to sleep even a little. Without that rice bag poor Jonathan’s hands would be sore and tired from having to rub my back constantly. So thank you, Jenn, from both of us.¬†By the way, please do not recommend a heating pad. I will not be able to sleep with one in my bed since… um… they are electrical and I don’t do electricity in my bed. The rice bag is better anyway- it can mold and shape to my exact specifications. And if you do choose to recommend a heating pad after all that, I just might have to throw my rice bag in your face’s direction. That is all.

But neither of the aforementioned theories is correct. Do you know why I want this kid out so badly? It is one hundred percent pure selfishness on my part: I want Jonathan to come home. The past few weeks have been the hardest ones of my life. Here I am parenting a toddler (a very active, very in-her-testing-phase two-year-old to be exact), and life is not dull. All I want is to collapse on the couch during the heat of the day, go for long walks during the coolness of the mornings and evenings (“coolness” is relative- it’s been about 75 here in the evenings and mornings), take warm soothing baths whenever I feel a backache, watch movies that match my mood, and eat healthy but delicious foods. Instead I am chasing and disciplining and providing learning opportunities for my super bright and therefore not easily amused child, making breakfast and getting said toddler’s room ready for bedtime, unable to take baths since the bath shares a wall with toddler’s crib and running the water would wake her up, unable to watch movies because we have a strict ban on TV viewing in our household for anyone under the age of three, and grabbing snacky foods that fit my elimination diet whenever I have time to do so between the cleaning up and the setting up and the playing and the reading and the sunscreening and the bathing and the helping and the corralling and the loving and the kissing and the constant constant constant awareness that I need to just drink this in because she’s never going to be this same age ever again and I want to relish every moment for what it is.

I would be able to do all the fun things, like watching her become smarter and more beautiful by the second, while laying on the couch if Jonathan were home. I would be able to sneak away and take a bath. I would be able to make food that I can actually enjoy and eat. I would be excused from the hard stuff, like lifting and sunscreening (is there anything worse than trying to put sunscreen on a wiggly toddler whose skin tone matches Casper’s? honestly? anything more difficult?) and disciplining and physically playing. I would get to enjoy snuggles and reading and kisses and amazement… all from the comfort of the floor or a chair. Jonathan is an amazing father, and when he’s home, it’s a truly welcome and wonderful break for me. He makes time and makes sure Hula Girl knows how much he loves her by engaging her in creative play, careful discipline, emotional development, and so on. I can rest assured that when he’s home, it’s not all on me, and in fact, if we’re going to be quite honest here, it’s mostly on him. He takes it on and loves on us and cares for us like no one else could possibly ever do.

So when I say I want Jonathan home, it is purely selfish. And he’s not going to be home until Gelato’s out. Because his work is actually being really awesome and flexible with his schedule. He was originally slated to take off work starting today, but since no little gnome has popped up in our crib yet, he is at work. And there he will stay until Gelato appears. I have been anxiously awaiting and looking forward to Jonathan’s presence at home ever since the plans were made back in May. And now I am truly disappointed that I have to wait. Because it’s not just having to wait to see him… it’s having to wait to take a break from being a full-time Mommy of a toddler (yes, I realize that once Gelato gets here, I will be a full-time Mommy of a toddler AND a newborn- but I am pretty darn sure that will be physically easier on my body than being ginormously pregnant while being a full-time Mommy of a toddler). Oh, I am so looking forward to the time when we start to develop our new lives and new routines as a family of four. How sweet to have such a great time together planned… how bittersweet when those plans get postponed!

 

 

 

He’s Still in There…

This whole waiting game is lame lame lame. Gelato, come OUT!

Granted, I am not the most patient person on the planet. But when I somehow get it stuck in my head that something super-cool-big-exciting-and-life-changing is going to happen earlier than predicted, I become the least patient person in the whole entire universe. And somehow I managed to convince myself that Gelato would be coming before his due date. Probably because I got so huge so fast this time. And second babies tend to come earlier. And everyone else agreed with me. So I blame all of you for this, too.

Anyway, over the weekend I started experiencing some really clear signs that labor is imminent. (How imminent is up in the air, but definitely more imminent than, say, 12 weeks ago, when I was still able to EAT FOOD and had energy to keep up with my toddler.) I have been feeling slightly nauseous. I have had some back pain (some meaning some REALLY painful moments interspersed with 24/7 dull ache). I have had some diarrhea-like cramping. I have also had contractions.

In fact, last night I was convinced that I was going into labor. My contractions were very noticeable. Not painful. Uncomfortable and easy to distinguish. They were also getting closer and closer together. They were averaging between 6 and 7 minutes apart. I even had a few that were only 3 minutes apart.¬†This is it! said I, so naively. It was not it. I decided to finally go to sleep around 11:15 because I figured that since they weren’t painful, I still had plenty of time and I wanted to get some rest. I was convinced that I’d be waking up at 5 am and then I’d be waking Jonathan so we could trek down to the hospital.

NOPE. I woke up in the night having to use the facilities, and I felt nothing except the usual backache. I laid awake waiting for that familiar blood-pressure-cuff-around-my-torso feeling… and I didn’t feel it. So I went back to sleep and woke up at 6. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

Jonathan went to work and I bemoaned the fact that I had to get through today with Hula Girl all alone.

To be fair, I have been feeling some contractions today. I haven’t bothered timing them because they’re not getting stronger yet. Not painful=not gonna pay attention anymore. SO THERE. ¬†I have also been feeling the crampiness and the backache most of the day. And my hip has decided to just go ahead and dislocate permanently. So that’s been fun.

Whine, whine, whine. He’s not even due until Thursday. But I am impatient. My prayers have not exactly been patient. I have been begging, “Lord, PLEASE just let him come NOW!” rather than, “In your timing!” And you know what? I think it’s okay for God to hear exactly what I really truly mean. If I prayed, “Lord, let him come whenever the time is right!” I would be praying half-heartedly and I’d be lying. ‘Cuz I want this kid out NOW! I am often reminded (and therefore often astounded) of the measure of God’s grace for us. When Hula Girl wants something and I say she can have it later and she says, “No, Now!” I freak out inside, thinking, Who does she think she is, telling me when she gets to have that!? Aren’t I the parent here?!? Um, hello! Thankfully God’s grace IS enough for me.

39 Weeks

THIRTY-NINE WEEKS.

When I was pregnant with Hula Girl, thirty-nine weeks didn’t seem so bad. After all, I was still required to attend work days at the school, and so I had something (kind of) to occupy my mind. It didn’t seem so dull and awful to be stuck there at 39 weeks. After all, pregnancy is supposed to last 40 weeks, right?!

This time, I am bored. Bored, bored, bored. I have been trying my hardest to keep Hula Girl on a good schedule and not throw anything else in her world out of whack just before her world turns upside-down. Therefore, we’ve done a few outings here and there, and we’ve stayed home a decent number of days. But there has been less and less enthusiasm from me. Partly because I am unable to jump up and down; partly because I am just really looking forward to the next chapter in our little lives.

Anyway, our appointment went well today.

I forgot what time our appointment was scheduled. I had it written down on this little card that held the dates and times of all the rest of my appointments until Gelato’s little cuteness is due to be out in public. However, I was desperate for a place to put my gum the other day, and so I pulled out the card and carefully placed the gum inside it and folded it so I could still clearly see the dates and times. Lo and behold, I actually took cleaning out my purse seriously, and threw away the gum holder. I have never actually cleaned out a purse in a decent amount of time before. I don’t know what came over me. So here we were, lying in bed at 7:00 this morning, wondering if perhaps the emergency line answerer would have the schedule. Nope.

It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal, except for a few things. First, we live at least 30 minutes away from the doctor’s office. Next, they don’t start answering phones until 8:30, even though they open for appointments at 8. And finally, my appointments tend to be somewhere around 8:45-9:30. So I just left the house at 8:15 and Jonathan and Hula Girl followed after she finished her breakfast. I arrived at 8:45 and was actually called back right at my appointment time- 9:00- which was surprising, since they’re so very rarely on time (or within 20 minutes of it). Jonathan and Hula Girl got there just after I was weighed and had my BP checked. Great timing for everyone!

The nurse told me that the doctor would be “checking my progress” today, and I responded, “Does she have to?”

She was quite perplexed by that question. After all, what 39-weeks-pregnant lady doesn’t want hope that the end is in sight?! But that’s the thing- it doesn’t really matter how dilated and/or effaced one is- the measurements don’t predict anything! I could be 3 cm dilated and 75% effaced and still not deliver until August 14th! Or I could be 0 cm dilated and 0% effaced and deliver in the next 4 hours! So the measurements are basically meaningless, unless one really needs that hope.

The nurse asked the doctor if I really needed to be “checked” today and the doctor said, “Well, that’s unusual that she doesn’t want to be, but it’s fine. She doesn’t have to be.”

Another big reason I don’t want to be checked is that I read that if you’re positive for GBS, the checks can actually push the bacteria closer to the baby, endangering that little kiddo even more. So, it wasn’t really worth it for me to get checked today.

So the doctor took the normal measurements to check Gelato’s growth and then we heard his heartbeat (which was between 130 and 140 bpm today- I finally remembered to ask!). She said everything’s looking good.

Then she asked me how far along I was when I delivered Hula Girl. I reminded her that I was induced on Hula Girl’s due date, and her response was, “Hm.” (She also furrowed her brow quite a bit.) Then she told me that she’ll be here through next Thursday (which is Gelato’s actual due date), but after that she’s going to be on vacation for two weeks.* So the best time for me to deliver will be this weekend, when she’s on call. I told her that I would work on it.

*Frankly, I don’t really care which doctor is down there catching the baby. The OB is so uninvolved in the whole delivery process that the only way I’d really freak out about someone’s absence is if I had a specific nurse who’d worked with me all the way through pregnancy and who would be there the whole time during L&D. Guess that’s why some women want midwives and doulas!

Anyway, I do plan to go into labor before next week. I have been having some encouraging signs and symptoms lately (ones that I can actually feel free to share on my blog- don’t worry, they’re not the gross ones)!

Contractions– Nothing regular like I had a few weeks ago, but the contractions I’ve been feeling have been stronger and longer than the ones I had previously. I have been feeling them throughout the day for the past week or so (the other ones were limited to the evenings pretty much).

Back Pain- When I lie down in the evenings, my lower back starts to hurt. Like, really bad. Last night I was awakened several times in the night due to strong back pain. It’s constant, so it’s not contractions. However, I am concerned that this will equate to back labor for me. We’ll have to see.

Other Pain-¬†Gelato moves at very consistent times of day now. So when we put Hula Girl down for bed at night, I can pretty much sit down and predict how long it will take for me to feel Gelato kick it up. And when he does- oh, man, does it hurt. It almost feels like I have no amniotic fluid surrounding him. Or like something inside there is swollen and receiving a brutal beating. Seriously, sometimes the pain is so bad that I can’t even talk or breathe through it.

Hip Pain-¬†One of the essential hormones in pregnancy, relaxin, has done a number on the tendons around my hip. Last time I had sciatica, but that was totally different pain. This time, if I turn my right foot out and put pressure on the leg at the same time, I am guaranteeing myself the inability to walk unassisted for at least four hours afterward. (Yes, I have even had to crawl through the house and up and down stairs several times in the past week. That’s a sight to behold!) Last night I did something weird to it and I couldn’t even move to sit down, so Jonathan had to carry my poor sobbing self to bed. Even lying down hurt my hip, so I had him prop my leg up on a pillow, which helped. But I felt so helpless and I got scared that pushing this child out is going to cause permanent damage. (My doctor so kindly informed me that she has yet to see a patient lose a leg during delivery. So I guess I have nothing to worry about.) I felt like a big gigantic baby. And I cried like one, too. Poor Jonathan.

Nausea-¬†It’s¬†baaaaaaaaaack!¬†When I woke in the night with my back pain, I felt an overwhelming urge to vomit. I didn’t. Ha. And then when I was brushing my teeth this morning, I was contemplating going downstairs for Hula Girl’s fruit toothpaste because our mint toothpaste was bringing back memories from Christmas and the following months- not the good kind of memories. The memories that make me want to vomit just thinking about how truly awful I felt. But I am embracing this nausea because I have read that it is a very good sign that things will start happening sooner than later.

Well, that’s where we are. I am going to go downstairs now and make myself some rice and beans. Oh yes, the meal of champions. Champion elimination dieters, that is. (By the way, the elimination diet is going well. I have only lost one more pound, which is common at the end of pregnancy. Woohoo! I think the constant intake of Lays and french fries has really boosted my ability to maintain my weight! That’s a good thing, right!?)

 

Eviction Notice

EVICTION NOTICE

To: Gelato

I am terminating your tenancy and want to evict you from the following property:

Your Mom’s Abdomen

My reason for evicting you is

You have been there long enough. Sure, sure, we have a 9 month/40-week lease agreement, but I’m just getting tired of your antics. You’ve gotten so big that Mommy can no longer polish her toenails or tie her shoes. Your sister is unable to enjoy Mommy’s lap because, well, you’ve stolen Mommy’s lap and kept it hidden for the past few months. You’ve violated curfews by causing Mommy almost nightly episodes of severe pain and discomfort. Oh, and did I mention that Mommy, Daddy, Sister, and Family are dying to meet you in person?

You must move from the property by the following date:

ASAP. If you must wait any longer than that, the absolute latest date is August 2, 2012.

If you do not agree with this eviction notice,

you have the right to legal advice and may contact a lawyer.

Name of Owner or Agent: Mommy

Address of Owner or Agent: 1234 Middle Abdomen Lane

Torso, Body 56789

Telephone Number: 1-800-2-GET-OUT

Date: 7/25/12

“I don’t care if it’s a MONKEY!”

So when my mom delivered me, she (very stubbornly) chose the natural route, but I was equally as stubborn and I had a ginormous head. Hence her classic quotation: “I don’t care if it’s a monkey, get this thing out of me!”

They had to use the vacuum extractor. Then I had a cone head. My dad always tells me I looked like Jabba the Hutt. Apparently I had big jowly cheeks to accompany my cone head.

Anyway, I was thinking about how I am looking forward to Gelato’s delivery and how much nicer it will be once he’s on the outside. Sure, it will be TIRING and HARD. But you know what? I am so ready for a change. I am ready to not weigh as much as a small elephant. I am ready to have people stop saying, “We thought he’d be here by now!”¬†Because, um, duh, you saying that you thought he’d be here by now is REALLY uplifting to my spirits when I’m four thousand pounds, dumpy, unable to tie my own flipping shoes, and in pain. Thank you for your input.¬†I am ready to be able to play with my daughter without having to bend around a watermelon-sized overgrowth on my abdomen. And, let me tell you- I can’t wait to lie down on my BACK!

But aside from those wonderful after-delivery things, I am looking forward to Gelato’s¬†delivery.¬†I feel very prepared for pretty much anything. Delivery doesn’t seem scary to me at all this time around. Sure, I know I’m going to be in a lot of pain. Possibly the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life. But I have had a kidney infection, which is rumored to be even more painful than childbirth. But that pain is going to bring something incredible. And then when it’s over, I will get to look back and be proud of myself for accomplishing so much for a second time. Wahoo! I plan to be super proud of myself.

And if he’s a monkey, so be it.

Choices, Fish, and Dead Batteries

Last night, I said to Jonathan, “I just don’t know what to do with Hula Girl tomorrow!”

He suggested the same ol’ same ol’: zoo or playground. But it’s too hot for either of those. I mean, sure, maybe if I weren’t 38.5 weeks pregnant… but I am, so those were not options. So we thought maybe Hula Girl and I would hit the pet store and the bookstore. Then I remembered that I really need to get the fabric to finish up Gelato’s nursery walls and Boppy cover. So we added the fabric store to the list.

Hula Girl woke up feeling like a TWO-YEAR-OLD this morning. And what I mean by that is that she wanted to make all her own decisions and do the exact opposite of what I wanted her to do. This was demonstrated clearly when I chose her outfit for her and she screamed and cried for ten(!) minutes about how she wanted to wear the “nank bop” (tank top) instead of the yellow shirt. Too bad for you, girlie girl. I even chose white undies, whereas she would have preferred blue ones. She made that quite clear.

Sadly for her, I don’t accept that kind of thinking. I have been talking to Jonathan lately about how she’s getting more and more choice-addicted. So I cut her off completely. She has officially made zero choices today. And guess what? Her behavior has gotten better and better as the day has gone on. Guess she needed a bit more reminding about who’s in charge. Also, I think she was getting stressed out with the number of choices she was responsible for. Emotionally, she couldn’t hack it, and she was inwardly concerned that she might actually be in charge. (Which, for those of you who don’t know brain development stuff well, can be very traumatic for a toddler, and they begin to act out to try to force the parent to regain control.)

Anyway, we had a lovely morning together after the tank top and blue undies vs. yellow shirt and white undies episode. She did push back on a few decisions I made, but nothing like the throw-herself-down-and-sob-miserably tantrum from the morning. I chose peanut butter and honey toast and strawberries for her breakfast.* After breakfast we rearranged her art/crafts station because she has gotten tall enough to reach the crayons, markers, glue, and paints. Hence her little redecorating spree the other day. I got a fun idea to have her color a picture and use stickers this morning. We haven’t done that at home in a long time. Plus she needs the practice coloring, I think. I generally give her blank paper and have her scribble on it, but I noticed the other day that she was actually attempting to color in individual shapes when we were at the library. Oops! Guess I should give her practice with that, too. How else will she learn to stay in the lines?** So I busted out my¬†major artistic skillz and drew her some fish.

Here’s the final product! Note the ginormous glue globs under the eyes on the left 2 fish!

Crayons, stickers, and glued-on eyes! What fun!

So our day is sounding all hokey and stay-at-home-mom-ish now, right? (How do I fill the day? Crafts? Shopping? Yes!) Well, it gets even better.

After Hula Girl and I completed her fish project, I got dressed and the two of us headed out the car. I turned the key and heard rrr, rrrr, rrr, rrrr, click, click, click, click. Thinking it must have been a one-time-only deal, I turned the key again, and this time I heard click, click, click, click. Boo. Dead battery.

Normally it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal. I would have herded the little Hulameister back into the house and occupied her time with fingerpainting and dancing and general glee and merriment. But, remember folks, I am 38.5 weeks pregnant.

What if I went into labor and couldn’t get to the hospital!? (No, I do not plan to drive myself there, but I also do not plan to ride all the way there in 100 degree heat in the other car. The other car’s A/C is broken.) And then how would we get home once Gelato’s ready?! No, no, no. This will not do. Must.fix.car.

So we walked across the street to see if the neighbors could give us a jump. I was praying the whole time that a) they were home, and b) they knew how to jump a car. I have no knowledge of this. Well, a) they were not home, and b) there are no other neighbors around that I trust. So we went home and called roadside assistance.

Dude came in 15 minutes! It was awesome. He jumped the car and left it running so we could head over to Walmart (AGAIN) to have them check out the battery.

We pull up to Walmart and ask the nice garage guys to test the battery. Yup. Dead. So they go ahead and replace it. Sounds simple, no?

Well, not exactly. See, our car’s battery is down under all the other stuff. It’s right next to the wheel well, in the fender. WHO DESIGNED THIS CAR?!?! I mean, come on! Isn’t the battery kind of something that people try to get to frequently!? Obviously it has poles above the engine where it can be jumped, but it’s seriously¬†buried down there. So of course they have to take off the wheel. And the fender.

An hour and a half of mindlessly wandering Walmart and thanking whoever it was that thought of putting Subway restaurants right inside Walmart and feeding Hula Girl a lunch consisting of things she’s never going to eat again (turkey with nitrates and fake juice, anyone!?) later, we found out that our car was ready. Score.

Hula Girl kept saying to me, “Ay-oh cah is wix! Ay-oh cah is wix!” (Our car is fixed! Our car is fixed!) She was delighted. Weren’t we all?!

And we got home just fifteen minutes late for Hula Girl’s nap. I’d call that pretty successful.

*Peanut butter: I have decided to start introducing peanut butter. Hula Girl has had no problems whatsoever with coconut milk, which I was determined to do before peanuts. Therefore this morning she got her first taste of peanut butter. Like a true member of our family, she said, “Mmm! [Hula Girl] yike meanuh bah-bah!” ([Hula Girl] like peanut butter!)

**Staying in the lines:¬†I was actually kidding. I don’t think it’s important for a 2-year-old to learn to stay in the lines. I actually need to pull out my “art for kids” stuff from college to see what she ought to be doing now. Maybe that can be my next research topic. I generally like her to just do what she feels like she should do with art/craft supplies. Granted, this usually generates no “art” as it were. Just messy hands and lots of miniscule marks on a page.

38 Weeks and GBS+

This morning’s appointment was much better than the ones we’ve been having lately! It was scheduled for 8:50, so I got Hula Girl out of bed and dressed, then read to her while she drank her milk, and then we were out of the house. I packed a nice breakfast for her to eat in the car and in the doctor’s office, so that was fun for her. Something different.

When we got there, I was informed that my OB was doing a delivery this morning so she’d be about ten minutes late. Of course, we were seen about 20 minutes late, but 20 minutes is a lot less than an hour and 20 minutes! Hula Girl finished up her graham crackers and then played with a group of four kids who were in the waiting room. There was a twelve-year-old girl who was really sweet and she knew¬†how to talk to two-year-olds. She and Hula Girl formed a “mutual admiration society” and Hula Girl was devastated when the girl’s mom was called¬†back and the girl had to leave. We compensated by munching on some berries and reading a book.

My physical stats were good. I actually gained a pound back in the past week, which really shows the effort I’ve been putting in. Gaining a pound on rice, vegetables, quinoa, beans, and potatoes is really an accomplishment. So, high-five me when you see me next. My blood pressure was back to “normal” at 102/58. Last week it was higher, but that’s because I had to do a mad dash in the waiting room to help Hula Girl clean up the toys when we got called back (plus I was anxious/annoyed that we had had to wait so very long). The nurse refused to check it again once I had calmed down a bit. Oh well. One blip on my records isn’t going to kill me.

Gelato’s heart rate and growth rate were solid. My OB doesn’t tell me specific numbers, but she says, “Looks good,” or, “Everything’s looking wonderful!” So I will trust her.

The only question I really had for my OB this week was about the antibiotics that are administered for GBS (group B strep). Since I tested positive there is a lot to consider.¬†¬†Jonathan and I have been researching and looking at statistics and alternatives and personal stories and such for a week now, and we still have not reached a decision about what we’re going to do. We were leaning away from antibiotics in hope that things will work out (I would not even have been tested a few years ago, so we wouldn’t have known and I wouldn’t have gotten antibiotics, anyway!). Then I started feeling nervous that something might happen to Gelato, and I’d be kicking myself for the rest of my life because I could have prevented it. But the antibiotics are not guaranteed to work, and the chances of him getting GBS disease are super slim regardless. So I asked my doctor for direction, thinking she’d be 100 percent set on administering the antibiotics, and she’d have some awesome reason that would help me make up my mind. Here are some of the things she said in the discussion that followed:

“Well, everything we do is dictated by you and your preferences. If you decide to decline the antibiotics, that’s fine.”

“A few years back, we wouldn’t even have tested you, so we wouldn’t have given you antibiotics anyway.”

“If he does end up getting infected, it’s a big deal. But his chances of infection are very slim.”

“All the literature recommends doing the antibiotics just to be safe.”

“Yes, thrush is a very legitimate concern. That’s what makes this decision so hard. There are potential positives and negatives on both sides of the issue.”

“You’ll just have to go with your gut and do what you feel is the right thing to do.”

And finally, when I told her that my actual labor (once begun) with Hula Girl lasted maybe 9-10 hours, and my mom delivered me in 7 hours, start to finish, she said, “Well, there might not even be time for you to have the antibiotics, anyway! It sounds like you’ll probably go really fast!”*

So, in the end, her opinion wasn’t very strong at all, and now I am just hoping that I don’t have to make that decision at all. I am hoping that I either get a fever during labor (which indicates high risk for GBS transfer to baby) and therefore must receive the antibiotics, or that I have such a short labor that I don’t have time to receive the antibiotics. What I am not hoping for is a slowly-progressing labor that has me waiting in the delivery room for hours, wondering what to do.

I have asked several different groups of folks to chime in on this issue, but if I haven’t asked you and/or you haven’t shared, please email me or facebook me or comment or call me or something and give me your opinion! And, please, keep Jonathan and me in your prayers as we make (what is turning out to be) the toughest decision yet!

*I hope I am not jinxing myself when I type out my OB’s statement. I would LOVE to have a super speedy labor and delivery process. But writing it out?! Is this a bad idea? We’ll see… ūüôā

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