Monday, December 31, 2007

I've tried...

I really have tried to post before this but recovery is slow and with family around it was even harder. Plus the tingling in my hands has gotten worse and typing is pretty difficult.

I can't get into the whole story now but short version is the non-stress tests showed baby Jack to be stressed. After many of the contractions (which I couldn't even feel) his heart rate would plummet, a sure sign of distress. They didn't even want to induce me because they weren't sure he'd make it through labor.

When your choices are c-section now with an epidural, have your husband with you and see your baby right away or crash c-section later under general anaesthesia, no husband present and maybe see your baby 4 or 5 hours later after the drugs wear off, it became really easy to ask for that epidural.

And look what I got! He's gorgeous...

All photos copyright Cedar Bough Photography. To see more of her amazing travel photography, go to her website.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


After much thought and discussion, we've decided to go to the hospital to be induced. The Jack in my box seems to need a little help getting out and the midwives felt that even if I began labor spontaneously, they would have to monitor me closely and might likely end up transferring me to hospital anyway.

It sounds so calm when I write it, but I think I scared the hell out of my mom when I started screaming and crying. I really wanted some gloves and a heavy bag. I wanted to wail on something until everything was numb and I could collapse from exhaustion.

My poor dog got nervous, too. She really doesn't like to see me upset. But I know it'll be okay, because she laid down and put her head on my foot while I make this entry. And she's a magic dog. She knows the future.

If you want to visit, I'm at UW. Balloons are welcome, the brighter and goofier the better.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Routine freak out

I'm 41 weeks today. This morning I went to have a non-stress test at my midwife's office. This is when they strap a monitor to my belly that measures the baby's heart rate over 20 minutes or so. They look for a spike in heart rate of around 15 bpm for 15 beats. They want to see two like this over the course of 20 minutes.

Well, she didn't. She thought it could be because the baby is sleeping, so we tried waking him up - drinking ice water, moving him around - but didn't really get a response.

So, she sent me to see the OB triage at the local hospital. The idea is they would monitor as well, to get their own set and see if there was any change and also to perform an ultrasound (biophysical) which would look at fetal movement, breathing, fluid, etc.

At the hospital, the OB looked at the charts that came with me and recommended induction. Then they hooked me up to the monitor, and I got several good spikes and even had some contractions, too. However, I had one deceleration down to 91 bpm right around a contraction (that I didn't really feel) and they immediately go for the red flag. She wanted to induce.

The US looked good, lots of movement, plenty of fluid, breathe movement, etc. But even with all of that, they wanted to induce within a few days. The L&D nurse seemed uncomfortable with me even leaving tonight even though the OB said we could wait a few days.

My feelings are that most everything was fine, but that one deceleration in over 2 hours of monitoring that could have been any random thing. Although I'd be open to the idea of a little assistance to get labor started, once I agree to induction, it's hard to leave the hospital and I'd like to avoid that road.

It's not just that I have a "plan" or that my heart is set on doing this one way. It's that I want what is really best for me and my baby. Is it better to give myself up to the whims of ultra-conservative "experts" who don't think twice about directed pushing, constant monitoring and c-section?

I've read the studies and I don't come to the same conclusions they do. I don't trust hospitals. When I'm there, I feel talked down to and am fed mixed messages. Today it was all about, "everything looks really good!" and then "we want to induce."

I don't get it and I'm not ready to give up everything until it becomes much more clear that a change needs to happen. That does not seem obvious to me at this point.

My midwives are on the same page. Tomorrow I will go in to my midwife's office for another non-stress test. We will try to stimulate some contractions and see how the baby responds. If we get good accelerations, we'll be happy. If we get decelerations, it's time to rethink our plans.

If I go into labor spontaneously, it's clear they will want to monitor me more closely than normal, but nobody's particularly nervous and neither am I. I'll only become alarmed if I have decrease in fetal movement, which right now, due to the belly quake going on, seems unlikely.

Other than that, I'm just really glad to be out of the hospital. While we were in the OB triage area, most of the time it was quiet and I was fine. But as other's started coming in, I started to get really antsy and just wanted to hit something.

We came home, took the dogs for a walk and now I think I'll punch a pillow and lay on my birth ball for a while watching Angel.

That's the news that's fit to type.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Nope, not yet.

Some days it's not so bad. Waiting is natural. It's also a very special time with my boy - we'll never be this close again. I do want to treasure these moments.

It's also entirely possible that our dates are very much off kilter by several weeks. But if that's so, then he's always been ahead of the curve on growth and development as they say early Ultrasounds are very accurate.

Who knows - it's all still such a mystery. One of the most basic parts of human life is also the most complicated.

So the natural childbirth thing becomes funny. Not ha ha, but strange. I feel myself shifting a bit - sometimes with fearful questions, other times with just plain frustration. There are moments I imagine the white coats offering me a mask, saying, "Darling, go to sleep and when you wake, you'll have your sweet baby! Doesn't that sound delightful?" And it does!

And also absolutely horrific. I feel so weak that I could drop my values because I'm a little uncomfortable. Wait until labor starts - then I'll really get to learn discomfort!

So today was both terrible and just fine. I don't know what changed - maybe having a nice dinner, maybe laughing about doing jumping jacks and hearing the funny things my step dad said. I don't know - there was this awful tension and then it just wasn't there anymore.

I can't take any credit for it, but I'll give some to Ray, Mom and Jeff. Ray said, "no matter what, I'll be there with you."

Mom said, "Yes, I miss home, but I'm staying because this is more important."

Jeff said things that credited and encouraged my ability to trust myself. He has a such a rough persona but he understands the miracles of life and respects nature more than most anyone I have ever met.

I'm so glad I have the support I have. I really am a very lucky person. Which is so much better than I felt about 5 hours ago. I will also credit "Breakfast at Tiffany's" Buster Keaton and Angel, Season 1 for their roles as happy distractions.

Thank you, Academy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I miss my comfortable bed. There is a bed beneath me, but it somehow got switched while I was sleeping with some other bed not nearly so comfy.

I'm sure it has nothing to do with being so pregnant. Not at all.

I wake and feel restless, or hungry or have to pee or all three. I try to stay in bed as long as I can, try to get back to sleep or at least rest because horizontal is good for pregnancy. But after 1 hour of "resting" I get up for a snack and after another hour and listening to my self-hypnosis, I give up and catch up on all my podcasts I haven't heard the past week. 2 hours later, my comfortable bed still hasn't returned and now I'm utterly restless.

Even the peaceful buddhist talk can't put me to sleep.

So, welcome to 6:43 am PST, blogosphere.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

40 weeks and 3 days, but who's counting?

Today was one of those weird weather days - slightly warmer and raining in varying degrees of downpour. I felt so hot in my light down maternity coat and had it unzipped with a light cotton shirt on underneath that, I swear, covered my belly last week. Now my belly ring showed, which made quite a site as I bounced where ever I walked like I was singing a little Rick James to myself:

"This mama's lettin' it all hang out, cause she's a pregnant house..."

I have another entry for the "Some People" catalog...

In the grocery store, a woman asked when I am due.

"Last Saturday," I smiled.

"My daughter looked like you. She had a 12 1/2 pound baby."

Now, why in the hell would someone tell me that? I just said, "I don't want to hear that!" and walked away.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

In a spot

Outside my window, a squirrel is hanging on to our bird feeder for dear life. He's eaten all he can but can't seem to find his way off the feeder. He wrestles around, repositions while the feeder swings to and fro, but for some reason he can't go back the way he came.

I want to help him but don't know how. If I go out there, will he just freak out, possibly fall and hurt himself? Do squirrels have heart attacks?

I want to help him because at least someone should be able to get on with their life and not be stuck on an empty swinging bird feeder.

I feel so big now and I think he's still growing. I have that totally pregnant walk with my hands on my back and waddling like a penguin. When I sit in a chair I have to have my legs out to the side because there is no room for baby on my lap. The pressure on my pubic bones is intense and his head hasn't even descended nearly enough yet.

I don't like this waiting... I was never one to leave the presents under the tree uncounted, unshaken, sometimes even unopened - the anticipation is too much!

today I spoke to a friend. "I just want something to happen!" I said.

"Something is happening. This is happening."

But, but... damn.

So, after a full day of dog park walking, Indian food eating and Christmas shopping (in Macy's, no less!), I have been sufficiently distracted and even a little soothed by the small contractions I've experienced. Yes, something is happening.

This is happening. And I feel less of a need to define what this is. It is now.

I think I'll take a bath.

Updates - Cardio and Psycho

A friend reminded me that I need to update what happened with the cardiologist and the psychiatrist.

I did a stress echo test at the cardiologist's office. They hooked me up to 11 different leads to measure different parts of my heart, then did an ultrasound of my heart. What an amazing organ! Then they put me on a treadmill set to a speed way faster than my normal slow shuffle and increased speed and incline until I complained then they kept me there for a little longer to torture me into responding, I guess. Then I got another ultrasound to determine how my heart was reacting and good news! I'm just pregnant! I felt so relieved!!

I think that helped to alleviate my general anxiety a lot. Since then, I've felt like a normal person. I can respond emotionally to things without it being overwhelmingly frightening. Except for now that the pregnancy has progressed so far, I'm definitely feeling more emotional which is to be expected - it's just not any fun.

But it's okay. I'll manage. I have to.

Friday, December 14, 2007


The past three nights I've dreamt that I lived in an abandoned natural history museum. When the curators left, many of the specimens were left behind, some stuffed and even a few live animals. New discoveries were constantly being made by the new inhabitants. There were quite a few of us in residence there, though it was hard to tell who lived there and who was just hanging around. It had the feeling of a squat, only a little cleaner and more interesting for the exhibits.

An interior room had a few pools and some interesting shore birds were picking their way through the sand for bugs and such. Interesting how we all just left the animals to their devices and didn't really tread too much on their space. Someone must have been feeding them, too. It was a happy place, really.

But tonight's discovery was strange - how could we have missed this huge bee hive? At least, they looked like bees or like some kind of strange bee-wasp hybrid. They were quite yellow without any of the fuzz that most bees have, black pointy wings like a wasp, but a larger round abdomen, without any stinger at all.

Let's be clear - I love bees. The more I learn about them, the more I respect them. Do you know they vote by consensus? I highly value their place in our ecosystem and love their product. I'm concerned about the high numbers of mysterious bee deaths that have been recently found to be some kind of virus that could potentially kill out all bees, leaving farmers to figure out how to artificially pollinate over 75% of our food. (That figure might be wrong, but it's not far off.)

But when I saw this huge hive on the floor of the pool room, I became very concerned. My roommates felt it was fine for them to be there, but I thought, bees don't live inside - they belong outside where they can eat and pollinate and do their business. Also, these were strange looking bees and yes, I was concerned for my safety and the safety of the my housemates and the friendly, random drunks who hung out there. I didn't want anyone hurt.

I gently persuaded them to entertain the concept that I call someone who could remove the bees to an appropriate place - maybe even we could put the colony into hive boxes and harvest the honey? They started to like the idea. Then we walked over to a cabinet and found several specimens of what may have been the same variety of bee. They were in display boxes and one of the people with me said, do you want one of these so you can try to identify them? Yes, I thought that was a good idea. Except as I approached, some of the specimens started to move and one in particular looked like the hulk version of this bee. His exoskeleton was old looking and mottled - one might say battle-scarred. His head was black and shiny like a helmet and as I looked on I could swear he was armoring up. I turned and ran out of there as fast as I could, falling into the pool which seemed to get people's attention. The urgency I felt at getting out of there was so strong, I couldn't even say to anyone else, get out NOW. I just ran.

I woke in a sweat.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Updated belly pic!

Here I am! We took these photos at 38 weeks and 4 days.

Until now, my mother has been saying, "I carried you just the same way."

Now she admits, "I think you are bigger than me! I think he's going to be a big baby!"

Well, Mama, I'd be real appreciative of any acupressure, visualization or anything you can think of that will let this baby know he is needed on the outside.

I feel like he's ready and I'm ready, but I could be a little biased on the subject. So all of you out there: think birthing thoughts! Let's see if we can give him a loving nudge to come see us outside!