Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Tour of the Birth Center

Exciting stuff around here... last night Scott and I got to go on an organized tour of the birth center where our baby will enter the world in the coming weeks. Castle Hospital holds these tours once a month and they give all the inquiring minds an outlet to see what we're about to get into and ask the same questions.

Castle has recently remodeled some of their rooms and it looks like a nice laid back relaxing (?) place to give birth. We were quite surprised by the number of people there at the tour though- there must have been 30 couples! Who knew Kailua was such a fertile town? Hopefully we don't all go into labor on the same day b/c that chillin' and relaxing (chillaxin') atmosphere would disappear rather quickly...


For me, it felt like a reassuring opportunity to see the facility, and to learn things like there is a refrigerator in each private room so you can bring your own food and water... you get to labor, deliver, and recover in the same private room so feel free to bring all your creature comforts from home and set up your little nest... there are 3 birth balls on premises but feel free to bring your own if you absolutely have to have one... etc.

For Scott, it was more of a cold water in the face realization that oh-my-gosh-I'm-going-to-be-a-dad-really-soon experience. I think he's known that all along (all you have to do is look at me and it's pretty tough to miss) but that little tour raised his anxiety level a tad. Ok, maybe more than just a tad. I've actually never seen his eyes so big. We came home and decided that the car seat should be installed this weekend. Time to really get ready because this is happening!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another Day at the Beach

After completing our mandatory bit of Weekend Baby Preparation (putting together the high chair, and yes, we know we won't be using it for another 6 months but we want to be prepared)...
We decided that a beautiful Sunday afternoon required a little beach time. That, and the dog just begs us to go to the beach on the weekend. You can see it in her eyes as she stares at us relentlessly... and if she could speak she would say something like, "I know it's the weekend because you're both here and that means that we have time to go play in the ocean!!" How could anyone resist this face??So off we went.
Scott and Hoku found a 12 year old who was eager to play keep-away with them and the soccer ball. I made my way out to the deeper water and got in a little ocean water running while they played. The water was warm and nice with just a few little fun waves- enough to make it interesting for Hoku to try to retrieve the soccer ball anyway.

Here's a picture of me at 34 1/2 weeks. I believe that I have now officially passed that 'cute' pregnant belly stage and entered the 'holy moly look how big that pregnant woman is' stage. It's not funny. Another month of this and I may not be able to hold myself upright. My only choice will be to stay in the water full time where gravity is unable to threaten me.Family Foto...Upon returning home I managed to put away a whole watermelon and Oh. My. Gosh. was it good. I'm over my cheese/butter craving thing now and have moved on to Watermelon. It's officially been named the greatest food on earth.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Green Light

Another week, another appointment with my doctor.

The good news is that baby is growing right on schedule and now weighs just over 5 lbs. Dr asked about my contractions and I described them as frequent but not regular in timing. Which is an indication that I'm fine.

She believes that my risk of pre-term labor is slim to none at this point and told me that I could start exercising again if I felt like it... and then added with a smile, "If you haven't already done so." I smiled right back and told her that she knows me well... that although I did take some time away from any exercise last week, that I was going crazy on that lazy schedule so I had started back with some light swimming. She said no problem. Green light to go back to doing whatever I feel up to. Yea! That's good news because who knows, it could still be 6 more weeks til this baby decides to come out. At least I don't have to sit around and drive myself (and my husband) nuts in the meantime.
Next appointment is Oct 8, at which point we will schedule the External Version with the perinatologist at Kapiolani if baby is stil breech. I don't think Dr has much hope that its going to dive down on its own at this point (she seems to think s/he is stubborn and has found a comfortable spot up on the right side of my uterus under my rib). We'll see.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Truth Be Told

Ok, so I know I'm supposed to be limiting my physical activities these days because of all these Braxton Hicks contractions. And I am. Pretty much.

But truth be told*, I've been sneaking to the pool each day to swim. Just a little. Okay, 2000 meters. But that's less than the 3500 meters I was doing before. And I'm doing it all even slower than before.

Here's how I see it. The contractions are coming regardless of what I do. I get them while I'm on the couch. I get them while I'm sleeping (I wake up with a rock hard belly and and urgent need to pee every 2 hours or so). I get them if I stand up and walk. I get them if I don't drink enough water. I get them if I drink a lot of water. Nothing seems to matter in this process because my uterus is just doing what it wants to do. And apparently it is overly obsessive like me and wants to practice contracting**.

Trying to get my uterus not to contract at this point is like trying to tell an athlete training for the Ironman in Kona right now to just stop riding your bike for the next two weeks. Not gonna happen. So I figure I might as well allow myself to be mentally sane, and a trip to the pool each day helps to accomplish that. And honestly, I got a bigger contraction carrying 2 bags of groceries up the stairs this afternoon than I did while I was mindlessly lapping up and down the pool.

I'm going to see my doctor again tomorrow. She'll check to see if any changes are taking place in my cervix. I would bet money that nothing has changed. Anyone wanna bet? :)

*I really felt like I had to come clean because I keep running into people I know at the pool and they're like, "Are you supposed to be here?" Luckily I have good enabler friends and I've heard each of them say "I won't tell anybody..."

**Baby really needs to do it's little flip thing soon so my uterus gets to use all this fitness its gaining when the big D-Day comes. What a shame it would be to throw away all that strength by cutting a hole through the uterine wall.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Want To Be The Biggest Loser

And not just because they get to do cool things like go down water slides* and then run back up the hill for an hour.

It's because they have personal trainers and chefs personally motivating and teaching them all sorts of healthy lifestyle information. And because they get to feel themselves transform into healthy and fit individuals.

I was watching them work out last night on TV... thinking that I. Can't. Wait. until I can push myself like that again.

I had a dream last night that I was able to suck it in... my pregnancy belly... I could suck it in and see Flat. Ripped. Abs... and then in my dream I would relax and have my pregnant belly back again.

One of these days my friends... one of these days...

*Sliding anywhere on my belly right now would be completely impossible. It's actually painful to even think about. A few more weeks and that should no longer be the case...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ellen!!

I found Monti on my desk writing a letter to his mom, Ellen in Kuwait... he must miss her!!Dear Mom,

Happy Birthday! I know your birthday really isn't until tomorrow, but I think I read somewhere that today in Hawaii is tomorrow in Kuwait... or something like that.
I'm so proud! I caught you a present for your birthday!! Do you like it? I'm assuming it is on its way to you now... You should have seen the excitement on the Woman Who Swallowed a Basketball's face when she saw it... she screamed and jumped and ran inside to get The Husband right away. He packaged it up so hopefully you'll get it soon. I ripped its head off for you so you don't have to do that yourself. You're welcome! :)
Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and let you know that everything is still fine here. The big black monster and I have become pretty good friends. Not quite as close as this dog and her cats, but close enough. She licks me sometimes and doesn't bark at me so much. She barks more at the other cat now, but I think that's because the other cat is so aloof. It's annoying. Like she can't be bothered to be associated with the other animals in the house. Whatever. She can't catch a bird.

In more adventurous news, I've finally discovered The Land Beyond The Front Door! I figured out how to escape... the Big Black Monster is pretty good at sensing when the Woman Who Swallowed a Basketball is coming home... so when doggie goes to the door the greet her, I slip out right between her legs through all the confusion! HA! She's too uncoordinated these days to chase me down the steps, so freedom is easily attained...
I usually don't get to stay out too late because The Husband comes out to get me. He's nice enough so I don't mind when he picks me up. And don't tell anyone, but secretly I'm kind of relieved when he comes to get me. It's kind of scary out there. I also found a new favorite place to sleep! The Woman Who Swallowed a Basketball seems to be rearranging this room all the time lately, but I found this comfy place to hang out and sleep. It feels safe because of the bars. Only problem is now the door is closed all the time so access to this sacred sleeping place is limited.And in other good news, I've lost some weight since I've been here! You know, I used to almost look like this (ok, maybe not quite so bad)...
Ok, I gotta go. It's time to go stand by the front door and meow as loud as I can... just checking to see if I can annoy the WWSABB (you know, the Woman Who...) enough to open the door and actually let me out...

Love, Monti

PS- I think I heard a rumor about us leaving Hawaii at some point? What's that all about?? Bruddah, the Land of Aloha is where it's at! We can't leave!??!?

Monday, September 22, 2008

6 Hours Old

I don't even know how to start.

I walked into Kelley and Ryan's birthing room this afternoon to see this...
And just burst into tears.

I totally couldn't help it. 34 weeks of Pregnant Hormones... anxiety.... anticipation... it all came out when I saw Ryan holding his new daughter and Kelley in bed watching them. Kelley looks great, by the way. Truth be told, I was expecting her to look like she's just been through a war (which she said she definitely had!), but her eyes weren't even red.

And they let me hold Sara... and of course I don't have much experience holding newborns. Ryan said that was ok b/c he didn't either. :)

I can't believe that's going to be Scott and me in something like 6 weeks.

I told Kelley that I was on my way to an appointment with the chiropractor she knew who is experienced with the Webster Technique to try to get whatever tight spots I might have released which would ideally allow baby turn do it's little flip and get itself positioned head down already. When I told her that we'd be scheduling major surgery to get my baby out if s/he doesn't flip in time, Kelley just smiled and said that sounded pretty good to her right at the moment. Apparently 6 hours is not enough time to forget labor pains.

Anyway, I'm not sure how much the chiropractor was able to help? I don't regularly go to chiropractors. Maybe I'm a tad skeptical. But at this point I'm willing to try any technique available to help baby flip (see earlier post about the herb burning if you don't believe me...) It appeared that she found a tight spot in T9 that she was able to release. Maybe that will be enough to 'open me up' and allow baby room to do it's thing? We'll see.
I. Can't. Wait. to use this...
Thanks to my grandma for my most favorite baby item!! I ended up going with the Bob Ironman Jogger... It was a toss up between the Ironman and the Revolution... I also got the infant seat thing so I can start running with baby as soon as I'm up for it. I'm envisioning being super-fit if I'm pushing around 30-40 pounds all the time while I'm running... ahhh. Super-fit. Can't. Wait.

In other great news, Kelley had her baby yesterday! A little girl... Sara Ryley Hatfield. No news yet other than everyone's doing really well. Check her blog in the coming days as I'm sure they'll be posting pics soon. :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What's That Pregnant Lady Smokin'?

My neighbors might think I've become a pot-head. Lately our deck smells like some college dorm rooms at UH and I'm more than a bit surprised that no young surfers have come by late at night with some cash.

But before my mom starts worrying that the recently imposed 'no exercise' law* has truly caused me to go over the edge, allow me to explain.

You see, I am a classic Type A personality (which may be a requirement for anyone who calls themselves an Ironman athlete) and therefore I am not inclined to sit by passively and let problems fester. I am going to take action. No matter how drastic.

In reality, of course, there is no illegal activity going on in or around our abode. I was just previously unaware that Moxibustion, when burning near your feet in an effort to turn a breech baby, smells like pot.
For the last 3 days I've been burning this stuff near my little pinky toes in anticipation of my baby making a nose dive into my pelvis. Moxibustion is touted to 'encourage movement of the fetus', which indeed it does. Baby moves a lot for several hours after each burning. I just haven't felt the swift kick in the ribs yet that I've been so desperately yearning for.

But I am not one to give up easily. I will persevere, my friends, and eventually my baby will be like 95% of its peers.

And ideally, I won't have to use this stuff before I have to pee in a cup at my next doctor's appointment.

*I will admit it... I've broken the law... I am an addict... I need a 12 step program... I went to the pool to swim today... but just a little... and really slowly... I need my fix...

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Conversation With Doc

I hashed out a whole detailed plan of what I was going to say to doc today... was gonna ask her about the rationale of being on a med to stop pre-term labor when I wasn't actually in pre-term labor... in hopes that she would agree and tell me it was ok to go off the drug.

But the fact of the matter is that I've already taken myself off the drug and feel 100x better than I did while I was on it. I figured it would be best to be honest and just tell her that I took myself off it because it was just not tolerable. And I'm fine. Still some contractions but nothing that's causing alarm at this point. Doctors should listen to their patients desires, right?

I felt nervous to tell her that I'd made my own decision about not taking that Terbo drug. Why do we feel like we can't question what our doctors tell us? I was a pharmaceutical sales rep for five years and in that time it became quite clear to me that while doctors know a lot, and typically more than we do, that they are human and don't always know everything*... so we shouldn't blindly assume that they always do. Not that any of us know everything either. But I think sometimes when a doctor says something, we feel like we have to take what they say as gospel and not question it... Maybe even more so when you're seeing an OB about an impending birth because its not just about you anymore. It's about doing the best thing for this little baby inside you.

Anyway, the appointment actually went really well. I told her I was feeling much better, and then just blurted out that I stopped taking the drug- citing my inability to sleep due to my heart pounding through my chest as the main reason. I didn't go into all the other reasons I had because I didn't want to make it seem like I was questioning her judgement... which turned out to be the right thing because she said something about how its good that I have it so if I start to feel major contractions I can start taking it again. I nodded my head, but didn't mention that merely looking at the bottle of pills makes me feel like I'm going to puke...

Now I'm on the weekly appointment plan so she'll keep checking each week to see if my cervix is changing. So far its still all closed up. Now if we could just get baby to turn itself head down we'd be all set.

So this is how I'm spending the majority of my time these days. At least I have a cool cat to keep me company.

*Q: What do you call the person who graduates last from Medical School?

A: Doctor.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Doing the Research

So I got good news and bad news from my doctor yesterday at my appointment. We'll start with the bad news so we can end on a positive note.

~My contractions are coming too frequently for her comfort.
~Doc wants me to start taking terbutaline every 2 hours instead of every 4, around the clock.
~If baby comes before 36 weeks (Oct 8), I can't deliver at the local hospital (Castle). I'll have to go to Kapiolani where they have a NICU.
~My doctor doesn't go to Kapiolani so I'd have a random Dr I've never met before deliver baby.
~Baby is still breech. :(

I was kind of stressed out about this stuff last night. Upping the dose of the Terbo drug doesn't help at all as my heart rate is now through the roof and I'm more shaky than ever. Add headache and nausea to the list of side effects. It's truly the worst I've felt through this whole pregnancy so far. And the thought of delivering in an unfamiliar place with an unfamiliar doctor doesn't excite me in the least. And I was surprised that baby is still breech. I was sure I felt all this new pressure in my pevic area... turns out that's baby's feet stepping on my cervix. Oh. Ok. Time to start the moxibustion burning.

In more reassuring news...

~My cervix is not effaced and has not started dilating. Yea!
~Doc did a fetal fibronectin swab and it came back negative, which is great, because that is an indication that I am not going to go into labor in the next 2 weeks. Yea! That puts me at least to 35 weeks. At least.

I laid awake for hours last night... most of the night in fact... not due to stress about all this but rather because my heart was pounding so hard through my chest that I just couldn't doze off. I actually took my heart rate while watching the clock without touching a blood vessel- I could feel it that strongly- and it was 104 while I was laying down. I just kept thinking that this can't be good for me or my baby.

So I have contractions all the time. But they're not causing any change in my cervix. So I'm trying to understand why this is even an issue? Why am I on this terrible drug that makes me feel as bad as I've ever felt since before I peed on the stick? My understanding is that contractions, if they are not causing cervical changes, are fine and normal. My body knows how to be pregnant and deliver a baby. I really don't want to mess with it any more by adding pharmaceuticals to the mix when it seems to me they are unnecessary...

So then I did more research on this drug terbutaline. Turns out, it's indicated for asthma. Not pre-term labor. And in fact, there's much debate about whether or not it should even be used for pre-term labor. Apparently it has only been shown to work for the first 48 hours to delay impending labor. And in fact, I'm not even in pre-term labor b/c that's defined as cervical changes, which I don't have.

Clearly, another conversation needs to take place with my doctor. I'm definitely thinking that I'd rather deal with around the clock contractions than all the adverse events this drug is causing. I feel like I just want to trust my body... that it knows what its doing...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Terbo Drug for the Birth Goddess?

I'm still all shaky. Heart rate 90. Terbutaline doesn't stop all contractions. I still get a contraction every time I stand up. And sometimes when I'm sitting down. They're not regular in timing and they're not intensifying so probably everything is fine. I have an appointment with doctor today at 3:15 so I'll find out for sure then.

I talked with my girlfriend, Melissa, who gave birth to twins a couple weeks ago when she was 33 1/2 weeks along. She had been on the Terbo Drug for 2+ months trying to keep those babies in there as long as possible. She said that after 4-5 days your body adapts to the drug and the shaking stops.

Last night Scott and I attended a 'Basics of Birthing' class where I learned that I am a Birth Goddess. Giving birth is apparently the most empowering thing a woman can do. Once I give birth I will have an elevated confidence level and know that I can now do anything. My body knows how to give birth. Babies love labor. They can't wait to come out and meet us.

I know Kelly is cracking up right now because she and Ryan attended this class a while back...

During the class we were given a Labor Log so we could start tracking our contractions when we thought we were going into labor. Early labor was described as the following: 'painless tightening'. I checked my watch and started writing down all the episodes of painless tightening I was having while sitting in the class. My log shows the following:

7:06 for :40 seconds,
7:09 for :50 seconds,
7:15 for :60 seconds,
7:21 for :50 seconds,
7:32 for :50 seconds,
7:41 for :40 seconds,
7:52 for a long time (I had to get up to pee and the walking triggers them)

I stopped counting after that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

PreTerm Labor

I'm sitting here trying to type with a mild case of full body trembles and a heart rate of about 110 bpm (a side effect of the drugs), so please excuse any typos...

Sunday afternoon I cut my swim short b/c I just wasn't feeling quite right. A little crampy in my abdomen. So I got out. The crampiness lasted about 20-30 minutes and then subsided and I let it go as if just another weird thing that a pregnant body does.

Yesterday the same thing happened. I cut my swim short again and had a terrible eerie feeling that I wasn't going to be in the water again for a while... This time the crampiness lasted longer. I kept waiting for it to go away... I'd planned to run some errands after swimming so I just sat in my car waiting to feel better. But that wasn't happening in a timely matter so I figured I'd just come home and chill out on the couch. I made a pact with myself that if the cramps lasted for an hour I'd call doc.

An hour later...

Me (to nurse at doc's office): I'm almost 33 weeks pregnant and am having cramps that feel like menstual cramps. I don't really feel like I'm having contractions unless I stand up and walk across the room, but the crampy pain is unyielding.

Nurse: Ok, I'll have doctor call you back. She's with patients now.

About 1/2 hour later the crampiness finally subsided and my phone rings.

Doc: Go to the birthing center to have them check you out. It sounds like it could be preterm labor.

The first thing I did was call Scott at work. I calmly explained to him how I'd been feeling, told him that I was sure it was nothing, but that I would feel better having a professional check me out and reassure me that it was nothing. Yes, he should definitely still go play his soccer game tonight. Seriously, they're just going to check me out and I'll be fine. Yes. Go play.

Throughout the whole drive to the hospital, I did everything I could to overrule my irrational pregnant brain. No, I'm not having my baby today. No, don't call mom yet b/c you'll just worry her and then she'll be up all night. Call her tomorrow when you know everything is fine. I know you didn't pack a bag and you don't have any of the stuff the books told you to bring when you're going into labor. You're going to be fine. I bet they're not going to let me exercise anymore. I probably should have let the dog out one more time in case I'm gone for a while...

They were expecting me at the birthing center. Apparently doctor had called and let them know I was coming. That was kind of nice to be welcomed by name.

Right away they hooked me up to a fetal monitor and another monitor that records contractions. I told nurse Cathy that I wasn't having contractions, just crampiness. She hooked me up the machine anyway.

Baby didn't like the fetal monitor. S/he wiggled around like crazy. But apparently was not under any stress.

And the contractions I didn't think I was having? Coming regularly every 3 minutes. What? Those are contractions?? It gave me hope that I wouldn't need an epidural afterall b/c I could barely feel them. I've totally been having way stronger episodes of BH contractions than what this monitor was calling contractions...

I was told they were looking to see that I was having fewer than 4 contractions per hour. After I had 4 in 12 minutes the doctor instructed the nurse to give me a shot of terbutaline to make them stop. That's a terrible drug. Spikes your heart rate, makes baby jump around like there's money to be won in a dance contest, and then later makes you tremble all over. But the contractions stopped. So I guess it works.

Doc also then came in to check me out and see if labor had actually started 'progressing'. Good news was that I wasn't dilating yet, but I guess my cervix was starting to shorten. Apparently she trusts me as a compliant patient b/c she sent me home with an rx for the tremble drug (take 1 every 4 hours around the clock. Shaking and trembling at 4AM is a hoot.) and instructions regarding all the things I'm not allowed to do for the next 3 weeks. Which is essentially everything. I take that back. I can read or write or watch TV. And I bet I'll finally get to use up all those rollover minutes on my phone...

I might be diagnosed as having gone mentally insane in the next 3 weeks. But the goal is to deliver a healthy baby that can breathe on its own, and at 33 weeks that isn't likely to happen. After 36 weeks they'll worry less about if my body decides to go into spontaneous labor, so at that point I'll be released back into the real world. Until then, update your blogs out there so I have something interesting to read...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Another vivid and crazy dream

So last night I was dreaming again... My pregnancy dreams are sometimes very vivid.

Scott and I were in the house (not actually our house but one that was supposed to be)... and there was this gray/white cat in the bedroom... I asked Scott who's cat that was... he thought it was Monti. But it definitely wasn't Monti. It was a nice enough cat so I didn't want to get rid of it, but I did wonder where it came from.

Then there was another cat. Again, gray/white, but this one had more white. Who's cat is that and where did it come from? Scott though it must have come from outside and needed a safe place to stay. Ok.

And finally, a 3rd stray cat in the bedroom? I remember thinking, "This is too many cats." But somehow, we managed. I took good care of all 5 cats in the house.

And then the dream expanded.

I guess I thought that if I was able to take care of 5 cats, that running a little day care out of my home was a natural next step. I was still pregnant in my dream, so mind you, had no real experience dealing with babies. But somehow I advertised to start this little in-home day care.

On the first day, moms started showing up with their little ones. Seemed like in my dream most of the kids must have been like 2-3 yrs old because they were all running around and yelling wildly. At first there were just a few moms and kids, but then more and more kept arriving. Finally there must have been like 20 moms with their kids and the scene was a complete state of chaos. All the moms were staring at me to see how I would control the situation but I just stood there like a deer in headlights with no clue what to do.

Finally, in a state of total panic, I just broke down and told all the moms that they needed to take their kids home because I was completely unqualified to care for all these kids. All the moms nodded their heads in agreement and one of them actually came up to me and told me that they were all wondering when I would come to the realization that I couldn't handle this situation... that I had no business trying to run a day-care because I didn't know how to handle kids.

I woke up feeling completely inadequate. Oh boy. Let the panic begin.


You can get anything on Craigslist.

I think I knew that before, but I'm not in the habit of using the site so it didn't occur to me to check it out for baby stuff until a girlfriend (new mom!) of mine recommended it.


I think we actually have most of what we need for baby. I mean, I'm sure there's more that we could have, but a lot of the important stuff has been given to us by friends and family already. And then some of it I'm just gonna wait to get until I know if we're having a boy/girl. I really don't need more white/yellow/green clothes for baby... ;)

But this weekend I picked up an infant 'play-gym', an infant bath tub, a vibrating bouncer, and one of those jumper things you hang in the doorway... all for a grand total of $20!

Funny how my definition of a successful weekend has changed! HA!

In case any of you are now going to check out Craigslist to get those valuable last minute things you didn't get at your shower, keep in mind that people are selling used burpcloths and bibs too... and I think I saw an ad for a 'reusable swim diaper' for $3. Woohoo. That one might actually be tough to get because I bet the demand is really high for a used diaper.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Family of Three

Just last week Scott and I were talking about how much we like being married. It's a change for sure... maybe we have a little less independence than we had as single people, but there's a lot more security. And confidence in each other. Overall the partnership just feels good.

As much as I love having Scott as my husband, when I think of the word 'family', I still think about my mom and dad and brother back in Ohio. That family. But all that is about to change...

Last night was a big 'ah-ha!' moment for both of us... we brought dinner over to our friends' house... friends who just had their first little baby (a girl!) 12 days ago.
This is Solbee. She's such a precious little magical thing. Super mellow baby which isn't a huge surprise because her mom and dad are totally mellow laid back people. Solbee has been to the beach already. :)
The ah-ha! for Scott and me was watching mom and dad and Solbee be a family. A family of three. Instant change.

As many of you who read this are experiencing (or have experienced), this whole pregnancy thing isn't really all that much fun. And its pretty abstract. Right now it's just about being uncomfortable and getting bigger all around and having all sorts of new and weird things happen to your body. More than once I've thought (with some amount of guilt) about how much I dislike being pregnant and can't wait for it all to be over.

But the good news is that when its over, you have this tiny magical thing that *instantly* transforms your marriage partnership into a real little family. A family of three. After watching the family interaction last night with our friends, I can see how it'll be easy to forget all the irritation I currently feel with being pregnant. Watching Scott be a dad is really going to be something else... something that makes all this worth it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Living the Dream

I had another weird pregnancy dream last night... I was curled up in the fetal position floating around in a very small aqaurium. It was nice and warm and comfortable and I felt very at ease.

Gee. What do you think that means? ;)

Apparently I've got my psychic conection already with my little baby and he/she is very happy in there. Hopefully not too happy because we do want him/her to come out at some point.

I went swimming this morning with a friend of mine and afterward floated down to the deep end to try reliving my dream. After curling myself up as small as I could I let myself sink to the bottom and relax. Problem was, I'm pretty bouyant these days so I didn't sink too far. And then there was the issue with the breathing. I just couldn't duplicate the comfort that I was feeling in my dream... Oh well. At least one of us is living the dream.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Something's Changed

Clearly, I have started experiencing some 'crazy mommy' behaviors.

Last night, after stressing all day about sideways baby, I did everything I could immmediately think of (or had heard of) to turn baby head down.

I laid on the couch with my hips up on the arm on top of 3 pillows for 15 minutes.

I spent time visualizing baby turning head down.

I crawled down the stairs.

I put a bag of frozen peas on the right side of my belly where baby's head was.

I pressed down on baby's head with the palm of my hand while telling baby to turn.

And then... I felt it... movement!

I know I didn't imagine the movement, and I definitely felt more down in my pelvic area. And now, on the right side of my belly where baby's head was, it feels like a much bigger hard body part (like the butt or its back?). Last night, I only woke up once to pee, which is like a major miracle. And this morning, I felt this massive amount of pressure in my pelvic area. Could it be? Did baby move into the right position that easily? I won't really know until I go in to see my doc again in 2 weeks... but something has changed down there in the uterus. Maybe I have a very compliant and easy baby? Let's keep wishing!!

And I haven't even tried burning mugwort near my toes... ;)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Breech Baby

I had another appointment with my doctor today. Most everything is still right on track... baby measures 32 weeks and weighs in at just over 4 pounds. My bp is 120/64 and my weight is right where it should be.

The only (kind of) concern now is that baby is still not head down. I thought it had turned a few weeks ago but was wrong. It has actually settled into a transverse lie position, and the ultrasound today showed that its head is on the right side of my uterus with the butt on the left side. It's legs are actually straight out by the head (flexible little thing in there!).

My baby is actually just opposite of this- facing down with its spine on top rather than bottom like this picture shows. Doc said I could have a funny shaped uterus that encourages baby to hang out this way since its more comfortable. Not exactly comfortable for me when the back of baby's head gets lodged up in my ribs!

The good news is that most babies will turn on their own before 36 weeks. I've been trying some of the at home methods of turning a breech baby for the last few weeks without any success (but I don't give up easily so I'm still trying!). Doc said maybe I could try a chinese herbalist for Moxibustion treatments which according to a study published in JAMA has been successful in turning 75% of breech babies. Doc actually gave me the phone number of a woman who might be able to help me do this (doc wants to avoid a c-section as much as I do!), although if you watch that You-Tube Moxa video (link above), it appears that I could do it pretty easily on my own... maybe I'll be making a trip to ChinaTown to see if I can find some??

Last resort, if baby is still hanging out like this at 37 weeks will be to go to Kapiolani Women and Children's hospital to have a specialist work on performing an external version. Not real excited about that so hope baby figures it out and turns on its own in the next few weeks!! I guess I'm skeptical that it will since its head has been in the same place all along... But I think I'll order some of the moxa and give it a shot. Can't hurt, right?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I'm a Soccer Mom

I think I have to officially admit it. I'm a soccer mom. And I don't even (really) have a kid yet.

Two years ago if someone would have told me that I'd be a soccer mom at any point in my life I would have laughed. Loudly. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I just didn't picture it for myself. Weekends spent watching soccer? HA! My weeekends were spent training on my bike or ocean swimming or on a long run...

But alas, this is where I spent my weekend.*
My husband is a good soccer player. He plays on several real teams. This year he has qualified to play on the 45+ team. Who would guess he's 45 years old already? Anyway, I guess age teaches you something because yesterday he went out and bought me this...
Now I'm the stylin' comfortable and not sunburnt pregnant soccer mom.

I actually enjoyed hanging out there on the field and watching the old guys run around kicking the ball at each other.

Afterward, we went to consumer hell.

Apparently, this is where everyone on the island with kids spends their Sunday afternoons. Scott and I aren't exactly big consumers, and the sheer volume of products in this store scared us to some degree... but we put our patient hats on and managed to get through unscathed with at least a few of the things we set out for. And now we have enough pasta/sauce to get us through a major famine.

As a reward for guarding the house while we were gone and not attacking the cats today, Hoku got to go to the pool!

3 seconds later...
Ahhh, it's a tough life for the dog.

*For the record, I've already claimed Saturday mornings for my own workouts after the baby is born...

Friday, September 5, 2008

BabyProofing Your Marriage, Inlaws and Outlaws

The next chapter of Babyproofing Your Marriage deals with family... not just the new little nuclear one you and your partner have created, but the extended family (i.e. inlaws who are now, for good reason, more interested in you than ever.)

I don't actually picture having to deal with this too much personally. First, because Scott and I live on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles away from any grandmas... and Secondly, because both Scott's and my families are generally very reasonable people.

However, just as the Mama Bear hormones can turn (us) generally reasonable women into overly-protective psycho-moms, apparently it is also possible for grandparents (especially grandmas, who were, after all, Mama Bears themselves not too long ago) to become more overbearing and opinionated than necessary or desired.

This chapter was rather long because there are so many possible scenarios, depending on where you live in relation to your parents (his and hers) and how reasonable everyone is. But I'll summarize a couple of key points from the chapter that will be good to keep in mind regardless of the scenario...

1. Grandmas love love love their grandbabies. They want to hold them and cuddle them and smell them... and impart some sort of their own legacy on them as well. They hope that baby looks like their side of the family. They are sure they know how to take care of them because, afterall, they have raised at least one if not several into successful adults (ahem, you). And you know what? You slept on your tummy and were bottle fed and you turned out just fine.

2. We, as the nuclear family, do still have ultimate authority and responsibility for the lives of our little ones. This means that major decisions still lie with us, which can be a blessing and a curse. So maintain your ideals to some degree, but maybe give grandma a little slack when its her turn with the baby. Let it go if kids get to bed 30 minutes later than usual, or are allowed a snack/dessert that you normally wouldn't give them. It's wonderful when kids have a chance to bond with their grandparents so sometimes it's best to just step aside and let that happen. Hey, the more adults in their world that love them, the better.

In many cases, families get closer once little ones enter the picture. You will likely have a whole new understanding and respect for your own mom. Or you may gain a whole new appreciation for your mother-in-law if, for example, she lives close by and volunteers to watch your kids so you can take a break to get to your yoga class.

That being said, inlaws can unknowingly cause problems in lots of ways. Maybe there's too much pressure on you to spend more vacation time with one side of the family (depending on where you live this might be inevitable). Maybe you feel that his dad doesn't think about safety quite enough when your kids are around (i.e. when knives are left right out on the counter). Maybe your dad is too critical of decisions you've made regarding your choice to work outside the home. Maybe your husband thinks you and your mom make all the decisions and he's left wondering where he fits in to the picture. Maybe your mom and dad are divorced and you feel like they are competing with each other for time with your kids or who gave the best birthday gift... This list could go on and on...

Regardless of the scenario, communication with your husband is the key. Remember that your husband and kids come first (and vice versa- YOU are his priority as his wife) and then all the other relationships will fall into place. The two of you then need to sit down and hash out your priorities. Set up a schedule of who you're going to visit and when. Create your own new traditions. And remember that it is your responsibility to run interference if your side of the family is the offending party. Just like you shouldn't be the one to have to call his dad out on his lack of judgement in showing your 4 year old how to shoot a gun, your hubby shouldn't have to tell your mom to stop dropping in every Saturday morning for breakfast.

In the end, remember point number one above. Grandmas love love love their grandbabies. And that's awesome for your kids.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Should I Patent This?

I have always been a stomach sleeper.

Flipping back and forth from side to side over the last few months has felt so restrictive. My hips hurt. My shoulders hurt. And since I get up at least 4 times every night to empty my bladder, I'm just exhausted and cranky tired a lot.

Me: I would give anything just to sleep on my stomach again.

My problem-solving friend Mike: Why don't you get a big piece of foam and cut a hole out for your belly?

I mentioned this idea to Scott. Since he's the one who listens to me grumble about how sore and tired I am all the time, this is what I found him doing the other day.

Me: What are you doing?

Scott: A mommy who sleeps through the night is a Happy Mommy. A Happy Mommy makes for a happy home...

And within minutes... TA DA! Check it out! How cool is this? I covered the pad with a loose sheet. My belly fits right in there and I am once again a stomach sleeper. :)

We may need to double it up in the coming weeks to make the hole deeper as I continue to grow... I have some ideas of ways to make it more supportive and comfortable too... Maybe add a couple smaller grooves just above the belly hole to accomodate the BOUS's*...

I've slept on it for a few nights now and although it's not perfect, it is the best solution I have found so far. I dug around some on the internet looking for a similar product that is made and sold, but found nothing like it. All those pregnant woman sleep aids are just versions of pillows that let you sleep only on your side. I really thought we could patent this piece of foam with the hole. Scott doesn't think so because it's such an obvious idea. Whatever. All that matters is that I'm sleeping a little bit better these days. Happier Mommy. :)

*Breasts of Unusual Size

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Baby's Pediatrician

On my To Do List lately has been to find a pediatrician that seems suitable for Baby Simmons once he/she arrives. Apparently it's the norm to go meet several doctors and pick one early because the hospital will ask you to designate your choice when you go to give birth.

So obviously I wanted to find someone good, located in Kailua, hopefully with similar values to my own... and guess who I found? I found a local competitive triathlete for a pediatrician for our little one! I was so psyched. I met her today and really liked her. She grew up here, her dad was a doctor (who knows Scott's dad, who was a practicing urologist for years on Oahu- small world) and her husband is a sports medicine MD on the island as well. She's done Tinman all 25 years of its existance (one of only 5 people who have done the local race every year)... she's only 43 so that would put her triathlon start at what, 18 years old? Her kids are all into it too.. apparently she and her husband do the local team swim/run biathlons and race against their teenage kids (who have started beat them). So cool. Anyway, clearly she and I are like-minded. :) She was really glad to hear that I'm still exercising everyday... assured me it would make labor and delivery easier, as well as getting fit again afterward... It feels good to find a doctor who you can really relate to, you know?

The funny thing was that after my appointment with her I went swimming in Kailua and then headed to the local health food store for grocery shopping and lunch... and guess who I ran into there? I bet I start seeing Dr all around town now that I know who she is. :) Heck, who knows... maybe we'll end up as training partners?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

First Monday in September... Labor Day. But not really Labor day... Not for me anyway. Although I do have several friends who are actually pregnant enough to have had their labor today... but since I have not heard anything from anyone I'm going to assume that no one I know actually labored today.

Scott and I woke up this morning kinda late (we're getting good at sleeping in these days) and came to the conclusion that today could possibly be our last holiday together sans kids. We should do something fun together! What's something cool to do on Oahu that we don't usually do? Ah ha, we will pretend to be tourists. We will go to one of the most popular tourist sites on the island... We will go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay!
After all, we're all just tourists on this earth.
It's been 15 years since I've been to Hanauma Bay, which is really a shame because it's a stunningly beautiful place and the perfect place to snorkel... and snorkeling happens to be the perfect activity for a pregnant woman in her third trimester.

So we gathered up the snorkeling gear, packed some fruit and cheese and crackers in a small cooler for lunch, and headed off to the beach.

As usual, it was a beautiful day. As we walked down to the water we were commenting about how just about everyone else there spent thousands of dollars saving for their Hawaiian Vacation to get there today. We figured our spend was about $8 in gas (the X-Terra isn't so good with gas) and whatever the fruit and cheese for our lunch cost... Oh yeah, and a dollar for parking. We should never take for granted that we live here.
We put on our mask, fins and snorkels and headed right out past the reef... cruised along looking for big fish, which we didn't really see, but the variety out there is worth mentioning. Scott took a bunch of underwater photos but the water wasn't quite clear enough out there to get too many good ones. Here are a few though so you have an idea. Look closely to see the three pretty fish in the second picture. :)

And Scott even captured a panoramic video from the water. Pretty cool.

I can only hope that in about 2 months when it comes time for my real Labor Day that I can at least have some fond memories from this place... because I can't imagine that experience will be quite as pleasant!!