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41 Week Bumpdate: Angry Edition

24 Feb
Um, yeah. I warned you about the self-tanning meltdown... And you probably should have seen the anger coming.

Um, yeah. I warned you guys about the self-tanning meltdown

Well, the Trifecta of Success ended up being ultimately unsuccessful in producing an end product. And actually unsuccessful in producing so much as a single labor contraction.

I ate two entire pineapples in two days.
I made like the pioneer children and walked and walked and walked and walked… and walked. And then I jogged.
I used evening primrose oil like a boss.
I even ate spicy food and tried some other tricks that are rumored to be successful in coercing babies out of their warm little aquarium homes.

But guess what. He stayed put. And I no longer have any faith in the old wives because their tales just don’t work.

This whole waiting to go into labor thing reminds me of two situations in my life:

1. 2nd grade. When my classmates lost a baby tooth, they got to stand in front of the class and tell about how it happened. With every day that passed and every child that came in with a new lost tooth, I became more and more horrified that my teeth all remained intact. I had a few wigglers, but none had taken the great plunge from their gummy home. All I wanted was to experience the magic of the tooth fairy, but my body was determined to make me the last miserable girl in the world to lose a single baby tooth. Eventually they disappeared, never to be seen again (well, not never to be seen again, because me and Jill found them all hidden in a box in my parents’ room circa 1998. Ew. I gag. But that’s a post for a different day…), but it took a lot of waiting before I was an all-permanent kinda girl.

2. Sex education, 6th grade. Having been previously warned by my mother, I knew the horrors that would begin to descend upon my body. Breasts. Hair. And the worst… menstruation (though that word wouldn’t enter my vocabulary for many more years). During sex education, one of the teachers asked my class of all girls who had started their period (I imagine this was an exercise to help these girls understand that they weren’t alone… but it had the exact opposite effect on the rest of us losers who hadn’t). The horror. I felt like the only girl without her hand in the air. And I had never been more embarrassed in my entire life (I would, however, be much more embarrassed in the future, when said period descended on a day when I was wearing khaki pants). Just like I had to wait for my permanent teeth (which were at this point covered in metal) to make their move, there was nothing I could do but wait to become a Woman.

Well.

Here I am, a little bit older and a tad bit wiser and still waiting for my body to get in sync (*nsyc. Love them.) with my mind. I know it will eventually happen, but in the meantime I feel like the elephant in the room all over again… (more literally this time around though). I guess I just didn’t learn my lesson the first time. Or the second… But one thing is for certain: this is definitely my very last bumpdate for a very long time!

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Woman with a Plan

22 Feb

After yesterday’s disappointing news at the doctor’s office I hit the self-tanner pretty hard as a form of self-therapy. Yes, I deal with stress by turning my skin orange. Don’t judge, it certainly isn’t the worst form of stress-management out there. I guess having newly (and artificially)-bronzed skin makes me feel just a tad bit more attractive, which, I firmly believe, is very important during pregnancy.

You gotta do what you gotta do to feel cute, right? After all, a giant belly certainly doesn’t do much for the self-esteem, whether it be from a human baby or a food baby.

I was trying (unsuccessfully) to explain this whole concept to Michael last night while we were out shopping for some last-minute baby-time items… He couldn’t understand why I wanted the cheap neon orange sports bra over the cheap black sports bra to wear under my hospital gown.

Luckily, JCPenney filled that particular void in my life and I walked out of the mall with this fancy little thing (okay, honesty time… pregnancy has affected my body in such a way that the word ‘little’ isn’t super accurate when describing my bras anymore) for only $14:

Cute, no?

A flash of neon under my hospital gown? Don’t mind if I do!
And yes, I’ve already thought about how awesome this
color will look against my (fake) tanned skin.

Sorry, I was just so excited about that cute thing that I couldn’t help but share.

Ps: the reason I’m getting a bra specifically for labor is because my hospital is all about immediate skin-to-skin contact. I’ve read a lot about it and apparently it has all kinds of benefits for the baby. But. Babies are covered in all kinds of nastiness when they are… freshly squeezed… and I don’t want to be wearing a bra that I’ll use ever again. I just don’t want to live in a world where it’s acceptable to wear articles of clothing that have once been covered in blood and slime and baby poop.

Moving on… I have a plan. Forget about my hesitation from yesterday, this little boy is going to be out by midnight tomorrow night. I have all of the necessary protocols in place to make it happen.

Phase 1: These little cuties. No big deal, but I’ve already eaten an entire one. It got kind of brutal toward the end… and my tongue is now covered in tiny little blisters. But hey, if it gets the job done…

Apparently pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme that can soften the cervix.

Apparently pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme softens the cervix.

Phase 2: I’ve been walking pretty much all day long. 4 miles, to be exact. And yes, it did take this pregnant chick all day to accomplish this feat because I broke it up into mini sessions. And now my back is killllling me. But it will all be worth it when I’m holding a little baby boy in my arms rather than my uterus at midnight tomorrow.

Phase 3: Evening Primrose Oil. Chalk full of prostaglandins, the stuff that softens the cervix. I’m allll over this stuff.

This 3-phase plan is my Trifecta of Success and will get things going so that my goal is accomplished by midnight. I have never been more determined to make something happen in my entire life, so I know it will happen (do you see how I’m relying on the power of positive thinking to produce a son and heir? If only the European monarchs had as much optimism as I do).

I shall update you when the contractions begin. And they will begin soon.

No News

21 Feb

You know that saying ‘no news is good news’? Well turns out it’s a dirty lie.

I know this because I had a doctor’s appointment today and found out that not much is going on in terms of progress for me. I’m somewhere between 1 and 2 centimeters dilated and about 60% effaced. Just to recap, I was a little under 1 centimeter dilated and 50% effaced at my last appointment a week ago. Sigh.

All last week I could feel the little guy using his head as a battering ram against my cervix (which, btw, feels about as awesome as it sounds), so I was pretty sure I would see a bit more progress, but no dice. And I was planning on having my membranes stripped today but I wasn’t dilated enough. Sad day.

He (my doctor) also told me that I have a “pretty decent sized” little person in me, which, he went on to explain, means that the little monster is probably “only” 8 or 9 lbs. Does that seem gigantic to anyone else? Because I’m thinking it sounds absolutely huge.

On the bright side, I still have a few more days to process.

I’ve been thinking seriously all week about this whole “labor” thing… and also the whole “baby” thing, and it’s a little overwhelming. I mean, I obviously knew what the end result of my adventures through pregnancy was, but I’m feeling seriously, seriously under-qualified to deal with the massive project of raising a human baby into a successful adult.

So even though I feel like I’ve been waiting for years to go into labor, I’m really appreciating the extra time at this very moment.

One thing for sure is that I’m definitely down to days (and not weeks… or months…) because I have an induction scheduled for next week. The plan is that I’m going to go into the hospital for a Fetal Non-Stress Test (remember the last time I had one of those?) and if everything looks good I’ll be induced on Wednesday morning. 6 DAYS! What? I know, crazy.

Having an induction makes me really nervous that I won’t be able to do a natural birth. When labor is induced, doctors use a drug called Pitocin, a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin which stimulates contractions. With Pitocin, however, contractions come a lot harder and stronger, making them waaay more painful than natural contractions… meaning that it’s much more difficult to deal with the pain. And. When labor is induced the chances of a cesarean increase as well.

I guess what this all boils down to is that I have had a bit of a stressful day trying to wrap my mind around everything. I’m trying to stay positive, but I’m also (kinda) panicking a little. Only 6 more days of pregnancy… going into labor… the possibility of not being able to follow anything in my plan… coming home with a baby… my life changing forever… Yikes. That’s a lot to deal with.

Um, yes. Now that you’re thinking about it, I wouldn’t mind some words of advice… The countdown is on, after all, and I’m feeling the deadline coming up quick…

Why I’m Doing This Thang Naturally

10 Feb
Yes please! {source}

Yes please!
{source}

I’m one of those people who likes to have a full supply of painkillers on hand when I get sick. Nyquil, Tylenol, Afrin, Theraflu (which, btw, is no longer made. Tragedy), pass them my way! Which is why it came as a bit of a shock to some people (Michael, are you reading this?) to find out that I am planning on having a natural birth. After all, if someone hates being in pain, it should naturally follow that this person would opt for an epidural during childbirth, right?

Well, not this girl, turns out.

In all honesty, I’ve wanted to write about this for a few weeks but have struggled with putting the right words to my feelings. I have felt very strongly about going the natural route for awhile now, but I couldn’t quite figure out exactly why it struck such a cord with me. But (yep, get excited for this) I think I figured out my internal struggle.

Here’s the thing: I believe that some pain has a purpose. Sounds nuts (and not just a little eccentric), right? Just wait til I get going…

If you know much about me, you know that I am absolutely in love with running. And not just any running, distance running in particular holds a special place in my heart. To the point of obsession at times, actually… I mean you can’t run marathons without being just a tad bit obsessive, after all.

Anyway, here’s my point: I would never take drugs before going on a run. Even though I know I’ll be in pretty significant pain in an hour (or two, depending on the workout), feeling pain is important because it tells me if I’m doing something wrong. If I’m pushing a little injury too far, if a previous injury flares up, or if a new injury starts to form, it’s important to be aware so I can make adjustments. See what I’m saying? Pain with a purpose. When I get home from said run, I’m all about the Tylenol though, because I don’t see any reason to continue subjecting myself to pain.

I think of childbirth in pretty much the same way.

The human body is pretty freaking awesome. And the female body was made for childbirth (minus the stretch marks… I feel like there’s a flaw somewhere in the plan on that one). If pregnancy has taught me anything, that’s it. Even though I’m fully aware that it will be painful, I think there’s a purpose to the pain. Feeling contractions will allow me to work with my body to deliver my little guy quickly and safely. I don’t like the idea that I’ll have to be told when my contractions are going on, and I really don’t like the thought that I won’t be able to feel how hard I am pushing or should be pushing. Plus, just like with running, I think it’s important to know if I need to make adjustments in order to avoid unnecessary pain once the epidural wears off.

Btw, I don’t think the pain that goes along with the flu or a cold is really that productive. I take more of a “thanks, I’m aware that I’m sick, now stop bothering me” approach to viruses.

Long story short, I really believe that natural childbirth is the best and safest option for me. I have a really hard time with moms/books/professionals who try to impose their beliefs and values on others because each person and circumstance is so different, so don’t think I’m writing this to try and convince you one way or the other. I just wanted to explain to some of you out there (ahem… you know who you are :)) why I’m choosing this route.

Anyway, happy Sunday! Look forward to a bumpdate tomorrow 🙂 For now, I’m off to bed!

And Then I Freaked Out and Went to the Hospital…

8 Feb
Hospital Party

Spending some quality time with the labor and delivery nurses…

Yesterday around 4:00 I realized that I hadn’t felt my little guy move around much throughout the day. It’s weird because it usually feels like he is having a dance party in my tummy at least a few times during the day, but yesterday was a little different.

I tried to poke him a little and wiggle him around, but I still didn’t really feel anything going on. Usually the rule of thumb is that moms should feel their babies moving at least 10 times per 2 hours, but I realized that the last time I could remember feeling him move was the night before.

I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but I mentioned it to my dad while on the phone with him, and he told me I should probably call the hospital just to make sure everything was okay.

After explaining the situation, they told me to come in to get things checked out. Cue minor freakout.

I had to wait about an hour for Michael to get home before we could go, and in the meantime every plausible (and a lot of implausible) scenarios went through my mind. By the time Michael got home I had his entire little funeral planned out in my mind.

When we got to the hospital they performed a Fetal Non-Stress Test (hence the itchy baby-monitoring bands strapped around my exceptionally large belly).

Well wouldn’t you know that about 5 minutes into the test the little guy decides it’s party time and starts wiggling around like a maniac. Like, “Ha, aren’t I so funny? Scared you, mom!” Yep, thanks a lot, kid. Awesome joke.

Even though he started moving right after the test started, I’m glad I went in, because I would have spent the entire night worrying that he had been oxygen-deprived for several hours during the day and had brain damage. Oh yeah, I can come up with all kinds of terrifying scenarios if I really put my mind to it.

It’s funny because I feel like I have spent my entire pregnancy being worried. First I was worried that I would miscarry. Then I worried that he might not be healthy. Then I worried that he wasn’t growing normally. Yesterday I was worried that he had died. I usually have one or two worries floating around in my mind…

My current concerns are that he will either be born with ambiguous genitalia (I saw a documentary about it one time and have been terrified ever since…) or that he’ll be born with the aforementioned brain damage. Or both. It’s really exhausting to sit and worry about these things all day long. I mentioned this to my mom and said that I can’t wait until he’s born because then I can stop worrying about him all the time and she just looked at me with this expression that clearly said, “Oh sweetie, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.”

It was in that moment that I realized that I will go to my grave worrying about my child(ren).

Am I going crazy, or is this what having a mom’s brain feels like? All of this concern is making me feel not just a little nuts… Help!!

Running & Cocaine

23 Oct

A few weeks ago Michael’s cousin, Melissa, and her husband, Kimball, invited us over to their house for dinner. They live in a little town called Maple Valley, which is a little ways away from the city, and it was so nice to drive through a canyon, see some open land, and spend time in a neighborhood. I forgot they existed! Can you tell that living in the city is killing me a little?

Anyway, Melissa and I were talking about running during pregnancy and she told me something that just blew my mind. During her first pregnancy, her doctor flatly told her that she absolutely should not be running during pregnancy, so she asked about her friend who ran 5 miles a day while she was pregnant. He said: “Well some women use cocaine when they are pregnant and sometimes their babies turn out fine, but that doesn’t mean you should do it too.”

Is that just crazy or what? Running and cocaine? I mean, they’re both pretty addictive, but I really don’t think they have much in common besides that.

Fortunately, we live in a time when doctors (with the exception of Melissa’s OB…) generally agree that exercise is healthy and completely safe during pregnancy. A lot of things have changed over the last several decades, apparently.

Pregnancy in the 1950's

{source}
Anyone else think that “bump” looks a little lumpy and suspect?

Even though we are a few years past the whole be-careful-not-to-break-a-sweat-when-you’re-pregnant mentality, some of it obviously still lingers.

When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately dialed back my running. In fact, I had registered for the Wahsatch Steeplechase (which I hadn’t trained for…) and just skipped it completely after finding out I was pregnant. See, I’ve wanted to run this trail race for years, but after I crossed the finish line of the Ogden Marathon (in late May), I needed a serious break from running. So I took one.

Unfortunately, I had signed up for this beast several months earlier (it took place in late June):

Wahsatch Steeplechase

This race is seriously hardcore.
It gains 4,500 feet of elevation in the first 7 miles.
Someday I’m going to actually do it, but it will be when I want to do it.

Anyway, the day before the race I freaked out. I knew that a positive pregnancy test was the only plausible out, so I took one out of sheer desperation. I knew there was an option it would come back positive, but I didn’t feel any different and was genuinely expecting a negative result. Obviously the positive result was a complete shock. So much of a shock, in fact, that the only emotion I felt for a few days afterward was relief (at not having to run the Wahsatch Steeplechase).

Looking back to that day, I probably could have run it. I might have hated it (okay, let’s get real. I most definitely would have hated it… And there was a pretty high chance I would have come home with the Bloodiest Runner award at the end–yep, they give that out), but I probably could have run it without any harm to my little guy (who is kicking me quite ferociously at the moment).

Pregnancy Exercise

{source}
Yesss. This is EXACTLY what I need for jogging in Seattle. Who doesn’t love a sexy maternity unitard? Oh wait…

Back in the day (think 80’s and even 90’s), doctors thought it was really unsafe for your heart rate to rise above 130 bpm during pregnancy. These days, we know there isn’t much truth to that. In fact, you don’t need to worry too much unless you start getting close to your maximum heart rate, which you usually can’t accomplish without an impressive amount of effort.

Exercise during pregnancy isn’t just okay to do, it’s healthy for you and your baby! According to WebMD: “Regular exercise during pregnancy can improve your posture and decrease some common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue. There is evidence that physical activity may prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieve stress, and build more stamina needed for labor and delivery.”

Health benefits aside, exercise makes me feel just a little hotter 🙂 Trust me, that goes a long way when the size of your belly is the most noticeable thing about you… It’s pretty emotionally tough to see your waistline quickly expanding and finding that your clothes don’t come anywhere close to fitting. Let’s not even talk about my arch-nemesis, the bathroom scale. But when I get out and sweat, I feel so much more attractive. I never realized how vain I am! Maybe it’s just me (though I suspect it’s not), but how I look is really important to me. And even though pregnancy has definitely forced me to alter my ideas of what is attractive, running gives me a little boost in the mornings. Shallow? Maybe. Worth it? Definitely.

Ps: If you’re pregnant and have never really been into exercising, you can start today! Seriously. I feel like I’ve heard all my life that you can maintain the intensity of your workouts after you get pregnant, but you certainly can’t start exercising if you haven’t already been doing it. FALSE! Unless your doctor gives you the thumbs down, you can start exercising for the first time when you are pregnant if you start out easy. Make sure to read this for more information if you’re thinking about exercising during pregnancy!

And on that note, I’m going to bed. And I have a doctor’s appointment in the morning! Am I the only one out there who absolutely adores these appointments? I’m just hoping this one doesn’t involve… an exam. You know what kind of exam I’m talking about. Eek.

A Moment of Silence for Grey’s Anatomy

19 Oct

Hi 🙂

Let’s talk about something impressive. Yep, it’s that time again: time for me to brag.

A few weeks ago I made the mistake of watching the Grey’s Anatomy season premiere with Michael… At various points during the show, he let me know just how pitiful he thought this particular choice in television was.

I got to thinking about it and I realized (begrudgingly) that… he’s probably right. As much as I love Grey’s (and trust me, I love Grey’s. A lot. To the point where I have quite literally seen every episode at least twice…), it just takes up time that I could be using productively.

Greys

{source}
I ♥(ed) Grey’s

I decided to quit cold turkey.

I allotted myself one more episode, but after that? Completely done. Fooorrrevur. I’m happy to report that since October 4, I haven’t watched an episode or even looked anything about it up on wikipedia.

You have my permission to be impressed 🙂 I certainly have been feeling quite proud lately.

Just in case you were wondering what I’ve been doing with my extra hour each week, that’s it. Not watching Grey’s. The best part? I don’t even miss it! It was getting pretty lame anyway, so it wasn’t a true test of my resolve, but I’m pretty proud of myself anyway.

Aside from ditching my favorite guilty pleasure, I have been waaay too consumed by election news. Ugh, it’s getting a little ridiculous. I can’t wait until November 7 when the stress and anticipation are over… I guess I’ve just replaced Grey’s with election fever. You know what they say… one addiction to another. Oh well.

Election 2012

Who will it be!?
Seriously. Who is going to win? I’m going nuts over here.

Is everyone registered to vote? So important! I love that I have the opportunity to take part in the selection of the commander-in-chief. Democracy rocks.

Cooooookie Monster

I could easily eat every last cookie on earth if left to my own devices.

Other things I’ve been doing? Baking cookies at Michael’s request. And just in case you are curious if I should be eating these things (as per my pregnancy), you should probably know that little man absolutely adores them. I made sure to eat an extra so we both got one 🙂 It’s only fair.

And. True story, these really are the best chocolate chip cookies on earth. I’m generally suspicious of people who claim their chocolate chip cookies are the best (none seem to measure up to the claims), but I’m fine with ascribing the superlative in this case because the recipe comes from Crisco.com, not my own brain (and as per such, they are incredibly–even embarrassingly–bad for you). Make and eat with caution.

But. Like I said… they’re the best on earth, so I really can’t stop you (or myself, it seems).

Ps: RECIPE-FEST 2012 coming tomorrow (No, it’s not all on one day because I procrastinated cooking all week, why do you ask?). Errabody get excited!