Tuesday, December 28, 2010

No news is... no news

We had our weekly appointment this morning. It was bumped up a day because the office will be closed on Friday for New Year's. And, though I had certainly hoped that all those twinges and practice contractions were actually a sign of progress, I remain at 2 cm dilated with a lot of thinning out left to do. Darn.
The good news -- baby is fine as frog hair, there's no rush because I'm "low risk" (I still can't believe that's how they classify me) and though my doctor said I look like I'm carrying a giant baby because I'm so big up front -- he's actually just an average size. So we wait.
We go back on Monday and my doctor hinted that if I want to be induced next week, he would consider it but only if my cervix is "ideal." If not, being induced can lead to the dreaded C-section, so if the choice is mine, I will certainly choose to wait.
My parents and my sister and my niece all have their plane tickets now. I had hoped to have some time with just me, Greg and the baby before they get here to sort of figure some things out and try to get some breastfeeding experience. But, that might not happen and I have to be OK with whatever happens. This is something that's simply out of my control.
I am slightly more uncomfortable each passing day, but this baby seems utterly content in his home (small as it might be right now). So, we are hoping he will come sooner rather than later, but we are trying to be patient at the same time.
As for the great name debate -- we are still stuck. Today, I offered a compromise -- Daniel Carter. And Greg said -- I'll give you Carter Daniel. And I said, I'll think about it.
Obviously, I am weary and I feel myself inching closer to waving the white flag -- or sock or whatever else I can find within arms reach -- in surrender. Who would have imagined that Greg would have a stronger will than me? Him with his laidback, easy come easy go personality and me with my opinionated, stuborn, have to be right all the time personality. Odd.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

38 weeks... just waiting

Here I am at 38 weeks. Don't you love how Brody poses for the camera? He is well trained in that regard.
Our appointment this week went very well. We had the ultrasound to check the baby's size and other things like the amniotic fluid level. All was well. I was a little disappointed that we didn't really get to see the greatest pictures, but with the baby being so big now, the view is very limited. The technician said the baby weighs about 7 pounds, but Dr. Carter said those estimates are usually a little high so he guessed about 6 lbs. 10 oz.
I haven't really made a lot of progress since last week -- about 2 cm dilated and cervix is still soft but not very thin yet. The baby's head is very low and he's in good position. In fact, Dr. Carter said he could touch the baby's head, which made me a little jealous I have to admit. I had been worried about what would happen if I go into labor over Christmas weekend because I really want my doctor to be there. I found out yesterday that my doctor is on call Christmas Day, which was a relief.
So, we wait and we go back on Tuesday.
I've been having lots of contractions -- nothing regular, but exciting nonetheless. My mom and dad will be coming Jan. 11. I finally won the argument and got them to agree to fly instead of drive. I don't think they have any business on the road for 16 hours at their age -- 72. And, I think riding with my dad (who is a scary driver) for that long might shave some years off my mother's life. I always say, the scariest part of going home is not the flight. It's the hour-long ride from the airport to my parents' house with my dad at the wheel.
Plus, all that driving time would take away from time they could be spending with me and the baby. So, I found a great deal on tickets this week and finally won the battle.
Dr. Carter said he would not let me go past Jan. 10. So, right now the plan is to wait it out, but if we go past our Jan. 6 due date, we can take a look at the situation and determine if we want to induce. I have been opposed to induction because I really wanted my body to do its thing on its own, but I am willing to consider it if I go past my due date or if I'm 3 or 4 cm dilated.
The name debate continues at our house. We joked yesterday that we hoped the baby would be holding a sign with his name on it on the ultrasound. No such luck. Last night we sat down with our lists and our books and had a serious conversation. My favorite is Daniel. Greg's is Carter. I told him it looks like neither of us is going to get our favorite, so we might as well cross those off the list and move on to the names we actually agree on, which right now are Samuel and Andrew. But, Greg wasn't willing to do that. So, as long as Carter stays at the top of his list, Daniel will stay at the top of mine. Who knew this would be so difficult? I really wanted our baby to have a name before he was born. I don't want to feel like we made a decision under pressure. And, I definitely wanted to finish this art project I've been working on for his nursery. But I need a name to do so!
Guess that's all the news for now. The car seat is installed. The bags are packed. And, I guess I'm about as ready as one can be for the adventure that awaits. My desire to hold this little one in my arms grows stronger every day. I hope he doesn't make his Mama wait too long!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Today, when I stopped by the store to give my former co-workers their Christmas goodies, one of them said "you look like you are about to POP!"
That was the first time anyone has said that to me. I just smiled and said "Well, I haven't popped yet!"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

37 weeks

Here I am at 37 weeks. Don't fret, I wore a sweater out in public to cover up that huge badonkadonk. I just took it off to get a good picture of this big ol bump. I wish that we had waited a while longer to get our maternity photos done, now that the bump has finally taken the shape that you expect. But, I am happy with the way that the pics turned out, so I won't complain too much.
We had our first weekly appointment on Wednesday. I'm dialted about 1.5 cm and my cervix is soft but not thinned. The baby has dropped (which I already knew) and is in good position. Best of all -- we get an ultrasound next week to determine just how big this boy is. A couple of months ago, Dr. Carter said we probably would not get another ultrasound unless we wanted to pay for the 4D. No thanks, those things creep me out a little. So we haven't gotten an inside look at our little one since August. I'm pretty excited to see him again!
Dr. Carter said he is guessing the baby is already 7 or 7.5 pounds. Yikes! I told Greg, I hope that doesn't mean that my dream last year is going to come true. In the dream, baby boy Rowan was 9 pounds! While the baby is growing like a weed, I had only gained one pound in the last two weeks, thank you very much! I was so relieved to see that number!
Dr. Carter said he doesn't expect me to have the baby within the next week, but I am making some progress. He said I should start to see some spotting and other unusual stuff in the next week or so as my cervix thins.
I can't believe we are so close already. I woke up in the night scared that we won't be able to find a name for the baby even after he is born. I've asked my husband to please reconsider the name Daniel (after my dear cousin who died) but he has been against that name for several reasons from the start. I am just hoping he'll get into the Christmas giving spirit and surrender.
So on our must do list this weekend -- install the car seat! I've got my stuff and the baby's stuff packed, but I think Greg should probably throw a change of clothes in there for good measure even though the hospital is literally three minutes away from our front door. I have a feeling he isn't going to want to leave to come home after this party starts.
It has been so wonderful to see two BFPs on my reading list this week! I'm praying that your pregnancies are as uneventful and joyous as mine has been. What a miracle!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Peace of Mind

We met with a prospective pediatrician today. Our prospects were somewhat limited due to our insurance. So, I made a few calls and got an appointment with a doctor that my OB once mentioned in passing. Dr. S conducts prenatal interviews during lunch, while the office is closed, so we visited with her in her office. We had an appointment last week, but it was cancelled after Dr. S had a family emergency. So, I showed up like the books advise, with a list of questions in hand. But, as it turned out, I didn't really need them.
I'm pretty sure Dr. S has read all the books. She answered all our questions before I could even ask them.
Her office is in the same building as the hospital, exactly like Dr. Carter's office. That means, when our baby is born, she or one of her associates if it's on her day off, will be right over to examine our little one. I like that.
I also like the fact that Dr. S is a mother of two and she splits the week up with another doctor. That tells me that family is important to her and that is important to me. Well-baby visits are scheduled on the days she is there. If the baby is sick and you need to be seen on a day that she's off, the doctor she splits her week with will be there. So, that seems very reasonable. The office is open on Saturday and Sunday for sick appointments. Infants are taken back to exam rooms as soon as they arrive in the clinic, even though they have sick and well waiting rooms.
And, the best part of our time with Dr. S -- she is a breastfeeding expert. Not only is she a doctor who supports breastfeeding, she is a doctor who breastfed both of her children until for one year and you have to admire a woman who can do that.
When I told Dr. S that I hope to breastfeed, her entire face lit up and she told me breastfeeding is her passion. Educating women about breastfeeding has been one of her personal missions as a doctor. In fact, she normally conducts the breastfeeding class that we went to (you'll remember the instructor was crass and not exactly tactful) but she was out of town that month. I told her I wish we could have gone to one of her classes and when she found out who our instructor was, she made a face and said something to the effect of "she will not be teaching anymore classes at this hospital." (There are three campuses of this hospital in our area and apparently, the lunch lady is not welcome at our campus anymore.)
She also said that our hospital has three lactation consultants who she adores and they are "absolutely nothing like" the lunch lady. Sweet relief.
So, overall, I was very happy with our visit with Dr. S. I admit I was somewhat nervous going into it, but she put us at ease immediately. And, when I found out how passionate and knowledgeable she is about breastfeeding, well, I was certain we had found the right doctor. I feel so much better now that I've actually met our baby's doctor and I feel like if (maybe I should say when?) I encounter problems with breastfeeding, she'll be there to help guide me through.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Final Vinyl Days

That's the title of a collection of short stories by Jill McCorkle, who is one of my favorite writers. I got to meet her once. I even had lunch with her (and about 20 other journalists and professors) and I was too chicken to speak. I just sat there with a goofy grin on my face and stared at her.
But I digress. That's not the point of this post, even though one could do much worse than a post about Jill McCorkle.
The reason I titled the post Final Vinyl Days is because that phrase has been popping up in my head over the last couple of days as I think about how soon this pregnancy will be over. We are at 36 weeks today and I have no idea whether this little one is going to make his debut a little early or settle in for a long winter's nap and be overdue.
What I do know is that these final days are so precious -- every movement, every hiccup, every time this baby jabs my ribs or pounds on my bladder or my cervix -- reminds me of how short my time is getting. Though I cannot wait to see my son and hold him and nurture him and start our lives together, there is something so magical about pregnancy that, despite the discomfort I sometimes feel, I am sad to see it go.
Knowing that this very well may be my only pregnancy, I have tried to savor each moment. I've been lucky, I guess. No morning sickness, no strange cravings, no stretch marks (yet), no hemorrhoids, no back pain. My baby has taken it easy on his Mama and that has helped make this pregnancy a remarkably peaceful and happy time.
As much as I am looking forward to this baby's birth, I am not really looking forward to not being pregnant anymore. Does that sound strange? I waited so long for this and the time just passes so quickly. People keep saying to me "I'm sure you are ready," or "I bet you're miserable." But truth be told, I'm not.
I am still simply enjoying the ride. Maybe that will change in the coming weeks and I'll be begging my body to begin the process of getting this baby out of my uterus and into my arms. But for today, at least, I'm perfectly content to watch his little rear end move across my abdomen, to listen to my husband talk to the baby in a very deep voice as if he's channeling James Earl Jones and to rub this giant lumpy bump (which by the way, isn't so lumpy anymore -- where does the fat go exactly?).
So, though I have only a couple of pairs of pants and shirts that actually still fit, and though it's obvious the baby is running out of room in there, I am still loving every minute of this journey.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Stones were right

I was reading Trinity's post this morning over at Three is a Magic Number about her annual Lick Off, where she and her hubby invite all their closest friends (and their yummiest dishes) over for a pseudo-Thanksgiving dinner. It sounded so yummy and so beautiful and it made me a little homesick for the traditions we had with our friends back in Italy.
My friend Anna (you might remember I've written about her before -- (bravely battled cancer, stood by me through two failed IVFs and is now pregnant right along with me)recently posted on facebook that she was cooking up a Hanukkah feast and that made me feel sad. Every year when we lived in Italy, Anna invited us over for latkes, brisket and challah and I would do my best to make something that was relevant (even though I am not Jewish) and I finally got it right when I made raspberry jam filled cookie balls. After dinner we'd watch Dorian open one of his Hanukkah presents and play Scrabble. It was simple and intimate and just wonderful.
That special dinner was the first of many little holiday traditions we came to love during our time in Italy. We always visited a Christmas market either in Italy or Austria. We always went to the Christmas tree lighting in our town's piazza where we ate fried dough and drank mulled wine. My spouses group would always have a "girl's night out" party and cookie exchange. We attended Greg's squadron and flight Christmas parties. We spent Christmas Eve with another infertile couple. Michelle would make stuffed pasta shells with her killer secret sauce and then we'd head to the nearest decent sized city where we walked around the Christmas Eve market and watch all the beautiful Italians talk and eat and drink. And, though Christmas Day was always sort of lonely because I missed my family, Greg and I had our own little traditions that made it special. And, then the day after Christmas, all our friends would come over to our house, left overs in tow and we'd feast again and then head up the mountain to ice skate and have hot chocolate so thick you have to eat it with a spoon. It was really a magical time and I miss it.
But this is a magical time as well. Not because of where we live or the friends we have (or don't have). This is magical because of this pregnancy. It makes me think of another miracle pregnancy. Being a Christian, I often think of the story of Jesus' birth. Poor Mary "great with child" riding on a donkey and giving birth in a barn.
Anyway, I'm starting to veer from the point of this post, which is this -- when we lived in Italy, we were surrounded by friends who we considered family. We shared wonderful traditions with these friends and every day was magical and adventurous. Then, we moved here to Shreveport, La. and though we have our beautiful house, we have yet to find any friends who count as family and our Christmas traditions are pretty pitiful. Yet, we have this pregnancy and all the joy that it brings and each day brings us closer to meeting our son and seeing his face and starting our new journey as parents.
Maybe the Stones were right. You can't always get what you want. Sometimes, you get what you need. When we were living in Italy in the lowest points of our infertility journey, we were surrounded by the love and support of dear friends and we were buoyed by them and they helped us maintain our sanity and still enjoy our lives even though our hearts were heavy and lonely for a child.
Then, we moved here and we found Dr. V and we got this against-all-odds FET pregnancy and all the joy it has brought, yet we don't have the friendship we'd hoped to find, but maybe we didn't need those types of friendships anymore.
This Christmas represents the start of new traditions for us. Next year, even though my husband is likely to be deployed in Afghanistan, I'll get to start our own family traditions with our son. And, all those traditions we had in Italy will pale in comparison to the years to come.