Category Archives: physical deterioration

shark baby

so. breastfeeding update. i wrote in my last post about how it hasn’t been going well since ramona came home & it was making me feel like a shitty mom. as it turns out, it wasn’t really my fault. ramona had a tooth! when newborn babies grow teeth like this (had she gone to term, i would only be 37 weeks pregnant today), it’s called a natal tooth. it’s fairly unusual. it happens in one in about 3000 babies. ramona’s tooth was right in the middle on the bottom, so it rubbed on her tongue when she tried to latch on to the nipple. i guess the shape of the bottle nipple was more comfortable for her.

see that bump? it's a tooth!
see that bump? it’s a tooth!

jared discovered the tooth first. i had shown him how to soothe ramona by letting her suck on a finger, which is sometimes easier for her than holding on to a pacifier. (a crunchy mom friend who didn’t want her baby to use pacifiers turned me on to that trick.) he noticed a sharp bump & was like, “hey, i think she has a tooth.” i was all condescending about it: “look, i know you don’t know a lot about babies, but it’s going to be quite a bit longer before she starts growing teeth.” but we took her to the pediatrician, who confirmed that ramona had a tooth! she treated it as a major emergency, referring us to a pediatric dentist & telling us that if the tooth falls out, ramona could inhale it into her lungs. seems like kind of a long shot to me, but we took her to the dentist anyway & they extracted the tooth.

they let us keep the tooth, of course.
they let us keep the tooth, of course.

now that the tooth is gone, i guess i could probably breastfeed her. i’ve only tried once & it didn’t go so well. she has trouble latching, which makes her scream with frustration, & obviously a screaming baby is not going to be eating. it’s a million times easier to give her a bottle, & it’s less taxing on my shoulders & back (it’s easier to hold her up in a bottle position than to tuck her into a breastfeeding position). there are downsides: you have to get up to fix the bottle in the middle of the night, rather than just pulling her into bed & giving her a meal without really waking up. there are dishes to wash. you have to stay cognizant of the rotation of milk in & out of the fridge & freezer. you have to keep pumping around the clock to produce the milk, & sometimes that means you’re pumping when the baby is screaming for food, which feels counter-intuitive.

but there are benefits too. giving her breast milk in bottles means that we always know exactly how much she’s eating. it means that jared can take on half (or more) of the feeding duties. including the ones that happen in the middle of the night. there’s something about pumping that appeals to my highly-organized/OCD personality in a way that breastfeeding doesn’t. i didn’t expect to feel this way, but the idea of being constantly tethered to the baby because she will only feed from my breast really does not appeal to me on a conceptual level. i mean, i say this now. i can think of a lot of circumstances where breastfeeding would probably be a lot easier. like if we are out of the house all day–if i breastfeed, i don’t need to figure out how to have five bottles with me. but i have been reading up on moms who exclusively pump & i’m kind of wondering if that’s the route i might take.

i feel like having ramona home gets a little easier every day, as we figure out who she is as a person & how to meet her needs. it was completely overwhelming at first & i didn’t handle it that well. i cried a lot. i felt really shitty because jared would spend all day holding her, talking to her, making up songs for her, giving her silly nicknames, etc, & i wasn’t really doing any of that. i was making pediatrician appointments & doing baby laundry & washing pumping supplies & fielding phone calls. i felt like i was doing all the logistical stuff (which i enjoy doing) & he was doing all the nurturing stuff (which has never come naturally to me). & that i was therefore a bad mom. or that he was secretly resentful–that he too felt overwhelmed by the idea of holding the baby & fussing over her so much of the time, & would have preferred to do the “easier” organizational/bureaucratic stuff. but we talked about it & it turns out we were both playing to our strengths.

i feel more comfortable with her as the days go by though. we’re working out a system. jared stays up later in the evening with her, & i go to bed early. we take turns getting up with her in the night (i take the first shift, since i’ve had some sleep at that point), & then i get up with her early in the morning when i am the most calm & together. as the day wears on, i start to fade & get really out of sorts, & jared is just the opposite, so it works out pretty well. we are both learning to read her cues & ignore the normal random baby noises that babies make because they have no self-awareness.

i bought a bouncy chair in the interest of “having somewhere to put her” when i need a break. it was a very contentious purchase at first. jared claimed that ramona hated it because she made little huffy baby noises the first time i put her in it (which are actually the noises she makes every time you move her at all). he said, “it’s too bad you don’t seem to enjoy the attachment part of attachment parenting.” i cried, because my biggest insecurity right now is that i really am not wild about holding her all day long while she sleeps, but as a mom, i feel that i should love it (even though i don’t expect other moms to do that kind of thing). but after like a day, jared realized that holding the baby 24 hours a day every day is just not realistic & he came around on the bouncy chair idea. he apologized for impugning its utility.

what to expect when you’re not really expecting severe pre-eclampsia

today has been the first really boring day in the hospital. monday was a whirlwind of meeting doctors, social workers, financial consultants, etc. they had me on magnesium & a catheter for the entire day so i wasn’t allowed to get up. i was hooked up to a fetal monitor 24 hours a day, having blood drawn every few hours…i honestly barely even remember the details, even though it was just a few days ago. they did let me eat dinner, but i don’t remember what i ate.

the constant monitoring doesn’t stop at night. monday into tuesday, someone was coming in every few hours to take my blood pressure & top off my magnesium IV. every time they lost the baby on the monitor (due to the baby or i shifting positions), someone had to come it to adjust the belts & sensors. they give me a sleeping pill (at my discretion–i can refuse it if i want, but i love sleeping pills so i’m happy to take them), but there are still a lot of interruptions. the night nurse told me i was free to order breakfast, so when 6:30am rolled around, i did.

the head perinatal nurse came in an hour or two later to walk me through the day. a lab tech had come in a few hours earlier & drawn more blood to look again at my platelet levels & liver enzymes. she said my platelets were good but liver enzymes were even more elevated, which was very concerning. i had only had my second steroid shot (to mature baby’s lungs) the night before, so she said they would try to hold off on delivery until at least 24 hours after that second shot, but that the likelihood of me still being pregnant by the end of the week was slim indeed. just as i was trying to digest that concept, a doctor that i have dubbed “doctor hysterical” ran in hollering about my liver enzyme levels.

“we NEED to get this baby out,” he said.

“shouldn’t we wait until 24 hours after the steroid?” asked the nurse. “she only has about fifteen hours to go.”

“i really don’t think we have time for that,” he said. “someone else is on deck for surgery at noon, but i’m scheduling her for 2pm.” he turned to me & said, “i’m ordering a second round of bloodwork to look at your liver again but i’ll bet anything they’re even higher now, & if they are, or if there’s no change, we’re taking the baby at 2pm. ordinarily i wouldn’t want to deliver at only 32 weeks, but we can’t risk you getting any sicker.”

so. yeah. i was kind of so shocked that i couldn’t even react. i called jared & our doula, both of whom showed up at around 11:30am. the lab tech came in shortly thereafter to take blood. the NICU sent down a representative to walk me through the ins & outs of what to expect as far as having a baby up there & how 32-week-old preemies do. our doula helped guide us through what to expect from an emergency cesarean & facilitated a conversation with our delivery nurse, which was really helpful. they put me back on magensium to control my blood pressure & prevent a brain bleed in the baby during the birth. they laid a bunch of other lines for the anesthesia & everything.

& then the lab results came back. my liver enzyme levels had actually DROPPED a tiny bit since 6am. it was a totally unexpected result, & they canceled the surgery, took me off the magnesium, etc. i can’t even explain how i felt. on the one hand, i was enormously relieved. a baby born at 32 weeks will generally do all right, but we were looking at about a month in the NICU. if we can scrape by to 34 weeks, the time the baby will be in the NICU will drop exponentially. on the other hand, i just kind of wanted to get the whole thing over with & begin the recovery process.

our doula left–she looked exhausted. she didn’t say anything about what her week had been like, but she looked like she might have been at a birth the night before. jared stayed with me while i came off the magnesium, until my headache got bad enough that i encouraged him to leave. the first time i was on mag, they kept me on it for nearly 24 hours, & i was sick for another 24 hours after they took me off–vomiting & everything. it wasn’t quite that severe the second time, maybe because i had experience with it, or because i was only on it for about four hours this time, but i still had a headache to beat the band.

the next day (yesterday), i started experiencing chest pain. that can be a sign of pulmonary edema, fluid retention in the lungs…basically, just a bunch of bad stuff related to pre-eclampsia that is really bad news. they did a bedside chest x-ray which came back clear. they did a bedside EKG which also showed no abnormalities. a bedside echocardiogram indicated that my heart is in perfect health. no one could figure out what was wrong so they started giving me heartburn medicine to see if that would fix the problem, even though i told them it didn’t feel like heartburn. i am not ruling out the possibility of it being an anxiety symptom though. i mean, look at the situation i’m in. who wouldn;t be anxious?

jared visited for a good chunk of the day, even though i just slept a lot because i was worn out from all the heart/lung tests. shortly after he left, they took me off the constant fetal monitoring for the first time in almost 72 hours. that gave me a lot more mobility–i can now get up to wash my face or whatever without needing the nurses to come in to readjust the monitor afterward. i still have to do an hour of fetal monitoring every four hours, but that’s so much easier than being on the belts 24 hours a day.

my labs are still bad–protein over 1000, elevated liver enzymes. they have started referring to my situation as “severe pre-eclampsia,” but they really want the baby to bake a little longer. & although my labwork looks bad, it is stable. it’s not getting better, but it hasn’t gotten worse in the last few days either, & i am relatively asymptomatic as far as non-magnesium-induced headaches, swelling, & vision changes go. things could go south at any moment, & they would send me an emergency cesarean, & there’s pretty much no chance they will let me leave the hospital before i have the baby, even if i am stable for weeks. i also don’t know if i will be permitted a trial of labor or if i will be sent for surgery. they are really concerned that labor could tip me over into seizures or a stroke, given my poor lab numbers. but for now, we’re trying to keep the baby in for as long as i can handle it, & today has been a good day. i feel better, physically, than i have since before i was admitted, i was able to tour the NICU & see some babies, & they are talking about reducing labwork to every other day. they also told me that they have a pet policy & jared can bring charlotte in to visit me! i smell the hit buddy movie of 2013!

bumpwatch terror alert: week 32

look at that perfectly round baby bump!

i can’t believe i am already 32 weeks pregnant. only seven weeks to go, tops, if my doctor has her way & induces me by 39 weeks (due to the whole gestational hypertension/pre-eclampsia issue). i am now twice as pregnant as i was when i started taking these weekly photos. let’s take a trip back in time & revisit week 16…

kind of significant difference.

even though i am kind of obviously pregnant in that photo, it’s hard to remember being that small. i am now so enormous that i have to turn sideways to squeeze between the dishwasher & the bathroom doorway. i’m just waiting for the inevitable day that my belly gets wedged in there & i have to get jared to butter it so i can be free again. getting in & out of the car is like a five minute endeavor. we were going to install the car seat this weekend, but i suggested to jared that we wait until the baby is much closer to being born–or possibly already born–because we’ll have to move the passenger seat forward to fit the car seat behind it & i’m afraid that i won’t be able to get in or out of the car at all if my space is limited any further. (jared does most of the driving while we’re together so i can space out & stare out the window & change the radio stations & deal with my constant braxton hicks contractions.)

i’m thankful that i am still sleeping pretty well. a lot of pregnant ladies complain of back pain or hip pain while they are laying down & i haven’t had to deal with anything like that yet. laying down is in fact one of the few times when i am almost 100% comfortable. i just have the world’s most boring pregnancy dreams. i literally dream that i am reading studies about the efficacy of episiotomies or whatever. other women have dreams about losing their babies at amusement parks, or their babies turning into ostriches, or giving birth to their grandparents or whatever. my dreams are super science-y. last night, i seriously dreamed that i was reading the footnotes in an obstetrics textbook.

with the baby’s arrival imminent, jared is getting more & more enthusiastic about holidays. he’s already brainstorming future halloween costumes for the baby. for baby’s first halloween, he wants to dress up as professor plum & i’ll dress as mrs. white & we’ll dress the baby as mr. body, dead in the billiards room. he has this big plan to construct a billiards room in the interior of a wagon & dress the baby is a dapper little suit & lay it down in there. it’ll work great if the baby falls asleep, but if the baby is excited & wiggly, it won’t look much like a dead guy. hopefully our costumes will help people understand the concept.

this is going to be our first xmas flying solo as a couple. usually we fly back to boston to spend xmas with jared’s family, but we can’t do that this year because i am too pregnant. so we’re going to get ourselves a tree & jared is teaching himself how to make origami cats with which to decorate it, since we don’t have any ornaments & don’t really want to buy any.

starter cat.

he wants to make them our of white paper & then paint them to look like calicos. i really like this idea. i think the calico coloring will look nice on a green tree, i think the cat idea is unique but in keeping with our tastes (we love cats!), & i am always a fan of not having to buy stuff. but once we have a tree, the pressure will be on to put some gifts under it, & jared & i are just terrible at buying presents for each other. neither one of us ever really wants anything, & if something does capture our fancy, we usually just buy it for ourselves. i could maybe use a new winter hat & the 2013 nikki mcclure calendar, & i’m looking forward to maybe a new sweater or pair of jeans once i’m not pregnant anymore & can go back to wearing regular lady clothes, but other than that, i’m all set. jared has been talking about wanting a meat grinder for years, but we now have two food processors & a food mill, so i don’t know if that’s still topping his list. (he wants to experiment with making his own sausages.) i have been thinking for a long time about buying a digital photo printer, but it’s hard to justify, because it’s such a large upfront purchase & then a money pit as time goes on, replenishing the paper & ink.

we don’t even need much more stuff for the baby. i guess you can never have too many cloth diapers, & we could maybe stand to pick up some toys at some point–a rattle, maybe a nice set of blocks. but if the baby was born today, i think we have everything we need to get started.

i keep toying with the idea of making a zine before the baby is born. obviously it would be mostly about pregnancy. it’s been interesting for me to think about how different it is to be the pregnant lady, compared with everything i thought i knew from midwifery school & doula training. i’ve had so many weird experiences i was unprepared for, like pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel, symphysis pubic dysfunction, pregnancy rage (which is apparently a real thing–in some cultures, the hormonal feelings associated with pregnancy translate to “the mean feelings,” rather than socially-sanctioned american weepiness, which i’ve not experienced at all)…to say nothing of my pregnancy getting hijacked by high blood pressure & turning into this carefully monitored high-risk situation. i haven’t made a zine in over two years. we will see…

bumpwatch terror alert: week 30

wow, i am so behind. this photo is from a week & a half ago.

what an unflattering cardigan.

never fear, i am still pregnant. i didn’t fall behind because i precipitously gave birth or anything. instead, i came down with strep throat & ear infections in both ears. i honestly just thought it was kind of a rough cold, but i guess my OB caught strep throat during her last pregnancy & she insisted on checking me for it because she had been really miserable. the test came back positive, much to my surprise. she got me on antibiotics, but i was still pretty sick for kind of a while. in fact, i’m still a little bit congested & suffering from a residual cough & stuffy ears.

but hey, i guess it’s better to be sick now than after the baby is born. if the baby is feeling angry or rambunctious, it is well contained in my belly & can’t bother me with its screaming yet. & now jared is home, so he can help me out with the house & my terrible health.

i’ve had three biophysical profiles so far & the baby has done great at all of them. there are no signs of fetal distress at all & i am measuring right on target for gestational age. they’re doing growth scans every four weeks & the baby was ENORMOUS at the first one–measuring in the 96th percentile. but those things are really just estimates that can be off by a pound in either direction, & at this stage, being off by a pound could plummet a 96th percentile baby down into the teens. it also may have just had a growth spurt that was throwing off the estimates. the baby FEELS big, but what the hell do i know? i’ve never been this pregnant before.

i too had been doing pretty well at my first few post-gestational hypertension prenatals, but today’s was a bust. my blood pressure was well into the danger zone & the urinalysis was also pretty bad. they are having me do another 24-hour urine catch–because nothing says thanksgiving quite like a big jug of pee in the fridge. i also have to go in tomorrow for bloodwork. yes, on thanksgiving. they wanted to put me on travel restriction too, but luckily, we weren’t planning to go anywhere for thanksgiving anyway. i can’t even imagine how pissed i’d be if i’d shelled out a couple hundred bucks for plane tickets to have thanksgiving with family somewhere or something & then i go to a prenatal & they say i have to stay put. we’ll see how i do on all these tests, but if things come back looking less than great, they are talking about putting me on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. or at least some kind of modified limited activity. i have a hard time imagining how much more limited my activity could really get, considering that i already don’t work & spend the lion’s share of my days reading library books & napping, but hey.

so it seems like jared has come home just in the nick of time. obviously he still has work to do, like writing an entire dissertation from scratch. but he’s also been pitching in with the cooking, keeping the house clean, helping me put my socks on, taking care of errands, etc. in a dish-washing frenzy the other day, he broke my favorite coffee cup, so we had to go get me a new one. which inspired him to also order a pasta maker. i probably would not have thought to buy a pasta maker if left to my own devices, but now i am really excited to find out how my lasagna recipe is affected by homemade noodles. i already make a stupendous lasagna (if i do say so myself)–i mean, i actually get cravings for my own lasagna recipe sometimes. & i’ve made it so many times, i could do it in my sleep, so it’s not this huge complicated undertaking like people associate with lasagna. i’ve had lasagna in some pretty fancy italian restaurants & it’s really not as good as mine. so i can only imagine that homemade noodles are going to take deliciousness to unforeseen heights.

he also came home just in time to go to my doula’s class on carriers & cloth diapers. obviously we decided long ago that we were going to be a cloth diapering/babywearing family. & to that end, we have already stocked up on about four dozen diapers (an even split between pockets & prefolds with covers) & three different carriers (including a moby & an ergo, both of which i got used for really nice prices). so we weren’t attending the class to necessarily learn if these were the methods for us. we were just curious about what the doulas had to say.

it was kind of weird because they talked a lot about how it’s probably smart to just use disposables for the first few weeks, until breastfeeding is established & you feel like you’re in a good rhythm with your baby, because having a newborn & dealing with feeding & sleeping & screaming & recovering from giving birth & everything else, plus cloth diapering, is just too much. maybe jared & i will live to regret our hubris, but we didn’t really understand this logic. neither of us is really at all familiar with disposable diapers, so no matter what diapering system we choose, there’s going to be a learning curve. so why not just start with what we really want to use for the long haul? sure, there’s laundry involved, but it’s not like we didn’t know that babies make laundry. & we are both committed to cloth diapering, so, you know. we’ll both be contributing to the work involved in laundering. just like we’d both be involved in taking out the trash every ten minutes if we were doing disposables.

i discussed the topic with my doula privately & she was a lot more supportive of cloth diapering right from birth. some people had discouraged me because they said those first meconium poops were way too gross & would “ruin” my diapers. which i also didn’t understand. babies poop. that’s what diapers are for. how can poop “ruin” a diaper? supposedly the meconium stains really badly, but…it’s not like i was planning to frame my pristine white diapers once the baby was pottytrained. i really don’t care about stains. she said that as long as i wasn’t looking at cloth diapering as some kind of hobby where i was going to resell my diapers & make all my money back, i could cloth diaper from the start, no problem. so…i’m going to try it. i will report back if it ends up being a complete disaster.

bumpwatch terror alert: week 28

the baby is now the size of either an eggplant or an amusement park churro.

i am officially in the third trimester now. there is some debate about whether the third trimester starts at 27 weeks or 28 weeks or maybe somewhere in between, but either way, we’re in the home stretch. i’m not sick of being pregnant yet but i’m getting there. i have had some mild swelling for several weeks, mainly in my hands. i have a mild case of pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome, which isn’t a problem i have ever had while not pregnant. my right hand is tingly & numb 100% of the time & i can’t really grasp stuff with it anymore. which means i have a hard time writing anything by hand, because it’s difficult to grip the pen. this is very frustrating to me, because it means i can’t really write in my journal, & i am banking on not having a lot of time for journal writing once the baby is born & this swelling situation resolves itself.

in boston, i noticed that my feet were swelling as well. actually, i had a pretty serious elephant foot situation happening in boston. even loosening my sneakers as far as they would go, my toes were still crowding each other & it was difficult to walk. i didn’t have nearly enough opportunities to elevate my feet, & i am always bad at staying hydrated when i travel, which didn’t help things. by the time i got back to kansas, i could hardly walk. my feet were so swollen, even my slippers were too tight. my socks no longer fit. i had a prenatal on friday morning, the day after i flew home, & i went in just a pair of jared’s socks because nothing else fit on my feet.

it wasn’t a great appointment. i had to get another rhogam shot & i wasn’t really prepared for it. needles don’t bother me, but it’s never fun getting a shot. especially a shot in the ass. good thing i no longer have any dignity about stuff like that. my first blood pressure reading was atronomically high. the nurse tried again with a bigger cuff & it came back with a far less terrifying number, but it was still on the high side. she took my pressure again ten minutes later & it was even higher. combine that with the sudden swelling & the fact that i’d gained about sixteen pounds in a single four-week period (twice the amount they like to see) & basically i was showing a lot of risk factors for pre-eclampsia, which is my worst pregnancy fear.

the doctor sent me to the lab for some bloodwork, & i was also given a lovely jug & told to collect all my urine for 24 hours so they could look for elevated protein levels. it was definitely one of those situations where i was really thankful that jared is away doing research. you have to keep the urine jug cool, in the fridge or on ice, & it was just a lot less embarrassing to deal with the whole thing with no witnesses aside from a cat who doesn’t give a fuck what’s going on as long as she gets fed in a timely manner. though i am now blogging about it, so…i figure this is just one of those sucky pregnancy things people should be aware of going in. i suffer so that my constant reader might not have to.

i returned the jug 24 hours later, & also after fasting for like twelve hours or something so i could do my glucose test, which screens for potential gestational diabetes. i don’t have any symptoms, but it’s a routine test in the states, & the fact that i have a family history of diabetes puts me in a risk category. the glucose test is arguably the most dreaded routine pregnancy test. it involves being forced to chug a disgustingly sweet, syrupy beverage & then sitting around doing nothing for an hour, & then having your blood drawn. if you fail, which is to say, if your blood sugar comes back too high, you have to do the test again, but this time it takes three hours. so picture it: you’re in the third trimester & probably enormously pregnant. all you want to do is eat your way through your daily routine like the episode of “the simpsons” where homer imagines being transported to candyland. but you have to fast, & the first thing you’re allowed to eat or drink (aside from water & black coffee, which are both permissible) is this totally horrifying cup of syrup. & then you get blood drawn, which is a horror all its own to a lot of people (not me so much–again, needles don’t bother me).

i got tropical punch flavor. i hate tropical punch even when it doesn’t come in the form of pure glucose in a styrofoam cup at the hospital. i really i hope i pass. i do not want to do that again.

my doctor also accelerated me to every-other-week-appointments a month early to keep an eye on the blood pressure situation. if i do end up with pre-eclampsia, either now or at some point later in pregnancy, the only cure is to deliver the baby. if left untreated, it can shut down my kidneys or liver, i could have a stroke–all kinds of awful stuff. so basically, maybe i should stop telling people i’m having an easy pregnancy. i mean, everything is more or less copacetic at the moment, aside from the symphysis pubic dysfunction, third trimester nausea, pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel, swollen hands & feet, toothaches, congestion, i could go on. apparently my definition of a “complicated pregnancy” is being out on bed rest at the hospital. it’s almost kind of sick that i have all these issues with my own comfort & well-being, but as long as the baby is kicking away & measuring well (& it is–i can even SEE it kick now, which is really cool), i am happy. i guess i really am going to be a mom.

bumpwatch terror alert: week 26

how have i not toppled over yet?

only fourteen weeks until my due date! that’s only 98 days! i’ve broken into the double digits. i’ve said it before, but this pregnancy is flying by. i can’t believe how little time is left before we finally meet the baby…& how much is going to be packed into those few months. & damn, i am getting huge. i had to see my primary care physician yesterday for a foot issue i was having, & she weighed me, as per protocol. i had gained four pounds just in the two weeks since i last saw my obstetrician. i’ve gained almost thirty pounds altogether so far. i wonder what the final tally will be? the baby still has a good six or so pounds to gain to reach a decent full-term birth weight, so i can undoubtedly count on gaining at least ten more.

i keep telling people that i’m having a really easy pregnancy so far, but i am starting to realize that that’s not completely true. my baby has been head down pretty much from the start, which is great in some ways, because it’s not compressing my lungs so much & it means baby is in a good position for birth. but it causes a lot of uncomfortable pelvic pressure, which is alleviated to some degree by a maternity belt, but not completely. there’s a condition called symphysis pubis dysfunction in which pregnancy causes the pelvis to separate. i’d heard horror stories about women dislocating their hips & being confined to wheelchairs until delivery because they literally couldn’t walk with this problem, so i assumed i didn’t have it. i mean, my pain isn’t THAT bad. but i am starting to realize that it’s pretty damn bad & would probably be a whole lot worse if i couldn’t just sit down & put my feet up whenever i want.

plus i have some swelling in my hands, which is pressing on the nerves & making them numb all the time. i haven’t had full feeling in my right hand in weeks. the swelling isn’t severe–there’s no edema. but it’s enough. the extra fluid is also putting a lot of pressure on my already arthritic finger joints & making my hands really stiff & sore all the time.

when people talk about pregnancy symptoms & discomfort, you think of morning sickness, fatigue, maybe a sore back & swollen ankles. i was totally unprepared for this whole pelvic dislocation thing & the numb hands. why didn’t any of my mom friends warn me? it’s manageable, but i’m realizing that these symptoms are not terribly common & kind of undermine my claims of “an easy pregnancy”.

anyway. jared will be back in kansas in just a few days! i can’t wait to see him. every time he goes out of town, something weird happens with his phone, & this trip was no exception. his phone just stopped working one morning. i have the same model, purchased on the same day, & mine still works fine. it took him a few days, but he managed to replace it with a crappier model (or at least, a model with a crappier camera). so i am relieved that i am able to get in touch with him again in the event of some weird emergency. he’s going to a baby shower today for a friend of his that is pregnant with twins. better her than me, that’s for damn sure! (ps–i bet no parent of multiples has ever heard that hoary old chestnut before.) it made me realize that i have never actually been to a baby shower before. my first baby shower experience will be my own next weekend.

apparently jared’s mom & brother got together & decided to throw us another shower while we’re in boston at the end of the month. i have recused myself from all involvement planning for it. i’ve been a little more involved in the shower here, ordering the invitations & handling the RSVPs & such forth. but i am getting into the third trimester now & am starting to run low on energy again. most days, i consider it a victory if i manage to change out of pajamas & run a comb through my hair. but it will be cool to see how the boston shower goes. most of the invitees are members of jared’s extended family. kind of nerve-wracking for me. i have so little relationship with my own extended family, rubbing shoulders with other people’s makes me really anxious.

on the topic of family, check out the onesie my sister made for the baby:

it’s charlotte!

& speaking of charlotte, she has some weird bumps on the skin of her back. they look kind of like lumpy warts or something. the fur around them is coarse & greasy. they don’t seem to bother her–she had no reaction when i touched them. i did some research & it seems like they could be anything from cat acne to a fungal infection to simple dermatitis to skin cancer. i had a little phone consult with a vet who said they didn’t sound like an emergency, but that it was worth bringing her in. but she’s so vicious, i can’t get her into her carrier by myself. well, i probably could (& have in the past), but it would be an endeavor. i tried yesterday, just to see how willing she would be. she didn’t yowl & scratch like she has in the past, but she did wiggle & whine & puff up her tail. so i let her go. she seemed sad that i’d subjected her even to that small indignity. i’m going to wait until jared is back in town to help me.

man, i made the mistake of mentioning to a group of pregnant women that i was born five weeks late & now they won’t stop talking about how dangerous it is to allow your pregnancy to progress past 42 weeks. there was even talk of how one woman knows someone whose baby died at 41 & a half weeks. of course. because no matter what you do during pregnancy, there’s someone who knows someone who did that same thing & their baby died. the fact that i sit here as a reasonably healthy & definitely 100% alive former 45-week baby means nothing. i also never said i was planning to allow my pregnancy to go significantly past term. i was just making conversation. it’s so weird that people flip out about that but they have no problem scheduling cesareans for 36 weeks, even though there is evidence that a 36-week-old fetus’s lungs are not fully developed yet. but do i comment on that? no, i do not. except i guess i just did.

bumpwatch terror alert: week 24

i am officially gestating a viable fetus! what an accomplishment.

yesterday was bittersweet. on the one hand, i achieved gestational viability, which is something i’ve been looking forward to for months. a baby born at 24 months has a pretty decent shot at being kept alive (although, obviously, the earlier a baby is born, the more long-term health issues it potentially faces, so don’t expect me to start trying to induce labor any time soon). on the other hand, jared left to do dissertation research in new england. he’ll be back in less than three weeks for our baby shower, & then we’re traveling to boston together for one last hurrah before we become parents, but i’ll be flying home to kansas alone while he stays to do research until thanksgiving. he also anticipates having to do a little more research in december, meaning he won’t be home full-time again until i am around 35 weeks pregnant. & then, only because i put my foot down & said, “no traveling out of state in the month before my due date.” just in case i go into labor a little early.

my most recent prenatal was a few days before he left (& the same day he did his master’s exams, which means he is officially all-but-dissertation at this point–go, jared!). both the baby & i appear to be in excellent health & the nurse didn’t anticipate any physical problems with me taking care of the house by myself for the next couple of months. my blood pressure was normal & i didn’t have any signs of elevated blood sugar, which were relieving developments in light of the fact that i have gained eight pounds in the last four weeks. rapid weight gain can sometimes be a harbinger of pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes, but i guess in my case, it’s just a hint that i may be pregnant, & that the morning sickness that gave me such an aversion to sugar is long gone.

i was supposed to see my actual doctor, but she was called away to a delivery & i had to see the nurse practitioner instead. i do not care for the nurse practitioner. i had made a list of things i wanted to make sure i mentioned at my appointment &…i kind of feel that it didn’t go so well. for example, i said that i needed to schedule my gestational diabetes test. she looked at my chart & said, “yeah, we do that at 27 weeks so we’ll get that scheduled at your next appointment.” i pointed out that i will be over 28 weeks at my next appointment. not that it really matters, it’s just a week’s difference, but she was all, “don’t worry, it’s being scheduled, we’ll deal with it next time.” she said the same thing when i asked about referrals to pediatricians: “we’ll do that at the next appointment.” i mean, that’s cool, i can wait four weeks, but it was like she was irritated with me for planning ahead, or for being a first-time pregnant lady who is not already familiar with the time table the practice has established. it’s not like they gave me a hand-out about exactly what topics will be addressed at each prenatal. i just know i’m supposed to do a gestational diabetes test & get referrals for pediatricians at some point in the late second trimester/early third trimester. forgive me for trying to be proactive about that.

she also asked if i am experiencing any pain anywhere, & i told her about my right knee, which has giving me all kinds of trouble in the last month. maybe it is just having trouble supporting my heavier pregnant self (i have gained 25 pounds so far), maybe it’s related to my arthritis, maybe i actually injured it somehow. all i know is that it hurts A LOT. the nurse was all, “well, we can refer you to physical therapy.” i was like, “okay, sure, we can try that.” she was all, “unfortunately, we really can’t give you any medication for that because you’re pregnant. nothing stronger than tylenol. we just can’t write you a prescription for narcotics,” blah blah blah. never mind that my actual DOCTOR has already written me a prescription for something stronger than tylenol for the headaches that plagued me at the start of the second trimester. instead, let’s focus on how i never asked for narcotics & agreed to physical therapy. i really felt like she was treating me like a pill seeker, like i was trying to get hooked on oxycontin & using my baby as a fence or something. this was underscored by the fact that she obviously forgot to put anything about a physical therapy referral in my chart because i did not actually get referred to anyone. it’s like she thought i was making up the whole “knee pain” story to get drugs & when it didn’t work, she decided i didn’t need any real treatment.

there was also an awkward moment when one of the other nurses weighed me & then ducked into the hall to retrieve the “large adult” blood pressure cuff when she saw the numbers on the scale. i’ve never had trouble fitting into the regular cuff in the past. i know this is far & away the most i have ever weighed, but IT’S ‘CAUSE I’M PREGNANT. & the baby mostly stays in my abdomen. it makes very few forays into my upper arms. the “large adult” cuff was really not necessary.

anyway. our kansas baby shower is coming up in a few weeks & we specially ordered really cute invitations featuring a blue bird & a pink bird canoodling over an egg in a nest. jared was really motivated in making sure he took invitations up to school & passed them around to colleagues. & then his mom got in touch with us & asked how we would feel about having a second shower while we’re in boston! i never even expected anyone to give us one baby shower, let alone two. so i am hopeful that maybe this baby will have people that care about it, aside from jared & i, & that we’ll be all stocked up & ready for it once it is born.