Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Introducing Austen Olivia Lowman!

Well, she’s here! In addition to being completely in love, I am also dealing with a whole range of emotions (to be expected). The strangest of them being how I miss being pregnant. Given how ready I was to get over with that phase and into this one, there is this weird sense of grieving for my pregnant self that is baffling me a bit. I think it’s the same for most big events in your life…like getting married. You wait for months and months with anticipation, going through preparations, and then the day comes and goes and you’re left feeling a little nostalgic.

Aside from that, we’re doing great. I’m feeling better than expected and I have to brag a little, already back to my pre-pregnancy weight! The whole labor and delivery process wasn’t too terrible either. I was calm, cool and collected when told at my normal appointment on Halloween they were going to induce me because my amniotic fluid was a little low. I just casually headed over to the hospital (already had the bag in the car!) and Jarrett soon followed.

We got into a room around 1 p.m. and they didn’t place the cervadil (something to help further “ripen” my cervix) until 5 p.m. so we were a bit restless for a while just chilling in the room. They were going to start the pitocin at 5 a.m. but it never happened. I went into active labor before then. The hour or so before I got the epidural was NOT pleasant but then everything was all good. I love drugs. I only pushed for about 30-45 minutes and then Austen was in the world! The timing of everything is a bit of a blur but she arrived at 8:21 a.m. on Thursday, November 1. That’s the important part.

We’re adjusting to life at home pretty well. So far, she’s an angel. She sleeps like a champ and isn’t fussy. I’m aware this could change at any time! The only real challenge is breastfeeding. She had to get introduced to a bottle nipple in the hospital because she was jaundiced and needed a supplement to help clear it. Well, that allowed her to learn that a bottle nipple is less work and now she refuses to nurse. She’s getting pumped milk, which is good, but I want her to nurse so I’m not giving up. We’re seeing a lactation consultant next week and hoping that will help.

Looking back, from the moment the stick was positive until I saw our baby girl for the first time was amazing. I can’t wait to see what our future holds!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Waiting is the hardest part

Cue Tom Petty! I have turned a corner and the mental anguish now outweighs the physical discomforts. I can’t think about anything except “when?!” and it’s driving me batty (there, that's my Halloween Week pun). There have been no signs to indicate we’re getting close. I had a few pretty intense contractions over the weekend, but they were sporadic and obviously didn’t progress or this would be a whole different post.

Last week I was 2cm and 70% effaced, so we’re at least moving in the right direction. If there hasn’t been much improvement come my appointment on Wednesday, I’ll be disappointed, even though I know it doesn’t predict anything. But again, for me, it’s all mental at this point.

I’d prefer to be one of those 10% whose water breaks so I have very clear marching orders to call the doctor and head to the hospital. Most women claim you know when you’re in actual labor, but there are also stories of women whose contractions weren’t the doubled-over-in-pain type and it was more about the consistency. I’d rather not worry about deciphering or timing contractions and just have something concrete clue me in (i.e., gush o’ fluid). We can deal with contractions once we get to the hospital and I’m all settled in. Yeah, that sounds good; let’s do that.

I’m starting to think about inducement. If needed, I have a scheduled appointment the day after my due date and I’m hoping we put something on the books for later in the week. I simply can’t imagine drawing this out any longer but I know they can wait as far as a full 1-2 weeks past your due date to induce. Lord, help me (and J, and anyone else who has to listen to me!) if that’s the case.

Tonight is a full moon and I know of one grandma-in-waiting who is betting on it. Regardless of whether it puts me into labor, I’m feeling funky if nothing else. I have experienced cramps/contractions/baby movements nearly non-stop and walking suddenly became more difficult than normal today. However, the famed eggplant parmesan at Scalini’s was a bust so I’m not feeling very superstitious.

Bottom line: everyone keeps reminding me Rosebud will come when she’s ready. Does my being ready count for anything anymore? I’m beginning to think not…and that it’s called parenthood. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me

Each day I show up to work I can count on at least one person musing, “You’re still here?” I try to fake a polite smile. Some are referring to the fact I haven’t delivered yet and others to the fact that I’m too close to D-Day to still be in coming into the office. Believe me, if I had the available time off, I wouldn’t be. I’m completely useless and satisfy scant more than providing a warm butt in a chair. Thankfully, very little is being asked of me these days; just menial tasks that don’t necessitate much thought or effort. I think that is the best solution for everyone involved at this point!

I’ll admit to feeling sorry for myself this week. I think the emotional strain of J being gone for so many days in a row (9 of the last 10) is taking its toll. At home, no task comes with ease  – going up and down the stairs to let the dog out multiple times a day, bending over to fill her food/water bowls and schlepping to the kitchen to fix a meal. I’m at the most uncomfortable phase in my pregnancy and no one has been around to take care of me. Poor, poor, pitiful me, I know; but I can’t help how I feel. That, combined with my overall state of being OVER IT has caused a handful crying jags over the past few days. However, this is the last time I can be selfish and insist on some intense TLC before becoming a mom so I also feel slightly justified in my pouting. My parents may be required to increase their length of stay once the baby is born whether they or J have agreed to it or not!

Tomorrow is yet another doctor’s appointment. Last week I was 1cm dilated and my cervix was beginning to thin (TMI? Sorry, this is a pregnancy blog, folks). We’ll see if there has been any change. My doctor did tell me that since this little girl isn’t so little, she would possibly do an ultrasound at this or the next appointment to get a better feel for her size. I would get a kick from seeing just how Rosebud’s crammed into this belly. I attempted to negotiate with her last night: if she would kindly oblige and let us meet her ASAP, she’d have a lot more room to move and stretch as well as be showered with lots of love, adoration and cuddles. That’s a pretty good deal, right?

J will be back tomorrow evening for the long haul so there will be no more reasons to stall. I’m just trying to take things day by day, but the thought of going all the way to my due date or beyond causes me great distress. Between the mounting anticipation and physical discomfort, I don’t know how I will survive with any sanity intact.

Friday, October 19, 2012

You Big Baby!

Well, my hopes a while back for a smaller (yet healthy) baby have officially been dashed. The doctor is guesstimating this child is in the mid-7lb range and will deliver in the mid-high 8s. I know this is just an estimate and she could easily be wrong, but I'm pretty certain she won't be so off that I have a 6.5lb baby so I'm prepping myself.

Hearing those numbers scares me a little, but since I already know I am having an epidural (hooray for drugs!), I am assuming I won't feel much of a difference no matter her size. The thing that makes me nervous is perhaps a greater possibility of a bad tear or even a c-section. Either way, I still just want her to be healthy. I will survive.

The best news of my appointment today was that I hadn't gained any more weight, which can be normal at this point. Those last couple of weigh-ins were a doozie; not just because the actual amount I gained in a short time seemed high, but the numbers on the scale went into digits I never, ever want to see again. I truly can't complain about my weight gain during this pregnancy - I have been lucky and can only hope that means it is a tad bit easier to lose.

I was also assured that feeling like I have been hit by a Mac truck is completely normal at this point. You know, can't sleep, every move is at least a little painful and requires great effort, that sort of thing. As I have said before, even more frustrating than the constant discomfort is the haunting uncertainty of what is to come and when.

J is back from Vancouver (yay!) but off to Orlando on Sunday. As of next Thursday he's home until at least after Thanksgiving so let's all plan on a Friday, Oct. 26 birth. Sound good?! Good. It's a date.

p.s. I had a dream last night that Rosebud actually came out a boy. I was freaking out because J and I couldn't agree on a name before we left the hospital! Did any of you mamas out there have a opposite sex name back up just in case?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Today was a good day

So, hooray: I’m feeling pretty good today! Well, mentally – not necessarily physically. However, I’m pushing through the daily pains and discomforts best I can. I know the end is in sight!

Anyway, back to the positive news: we now have all the essentials for surviving at least our first few weeks with our baby girl (or so we think)! We assembled the pack n’ play she’ll use to sleep in our room in the beginning. It’s actually a bit of a tight squeeze if I place it next to my side of the bed. Not sure that’s where it will stay. It would easily go at the end of the bed but that is directly under the fan, which we keep on religiously. Is that a bad idea even though we have really high ceilings? My gut says yes. Anyone else care to weigh in?

We also got the car seat. We’ll install it in my car this weekend and Jarrett will get the extra base in his so we can just pop her in and out. Speaking of cars, I managed to scrape up the side of the Murano against a concrete post in my work parking garage the other day. It’s not horrible, but it most likely won’t be a cheap fix. I’m so mad at myself, but J was pretty chill when I told him and I really appreciated that because I had already burst into tears when it happened.

Since we are well-prepared stuff-wise, I’m definitely ready for Rosebud to make her big debut. On Monday I’ll be 37 weeks and she’ll be full-term so I say bring it on. I did not have an exam at my last appointment to check for dilation. I learned that my doctor does that starting at 38 weeks. However, it won’t predict much of anything regardless of when she does one. You can be 3cm dilated (anxiously convinced you’re going to go at any time) for weeks or go from zero to go time in a matter of hours. I can accept that, but it doesn’t give me any ammunition to get J to stay home from either of his trips, especially next week's Monday-Thursday jaunt to Vancouver.

J being that far away is a worry I can't calm and unless I can fix that ASAP, I may jinx myself into labor while he’s gone just from fretting about it. I’m going to address his schedule at my doctor's appointment tomorrow but I know she can't predict if anything will happen next week; so unless I’m already in labor prior to his flight, he’s going to be on it. As much as I tell him just the possibility is enough reason to stay, I know he really wants to fulfill his work responsibilities while he can.

I, on the other hand, can't say the same. Well, just about the strategic planning meeting I have to attend next week. It will be three long days of presentations/discussion in a local hotel conference room followed by group dinners each night. I’m going to be uncomfortable and exhausted. I’m totally dreading it and if I could get a note from my doctor saying I shouldn't attend, I would do it in a heartbeat. Alas, unless I forge it, I'm stuck. Hmm...forging.... ;)

Monday, October 1, 2012

If it walks like a duck...

We’re at 35 (completed, wading into the 36th) weeks today, folks, and that means two things of interest: weekly doctor visits and they would not try to stop labor if it were to occur, according to my last appointment. I’m spending most of my days trying to quiet the (very loud) voice inside of me that is vying for this little one to come early (like, NOW) and let her continue to develop a little longer in the womb. I know that’s best in the long run and a full-term arrival wins in spite of me feeling completely over being pregnant and dealing with the plain ole’ anxiety of waiting for something I know is imminent.

Since my last post I think I am a bit better at recognizing my contractions, which range from a tightening sensation to menstrual-like cramping. I generally have 2-3 every couple of hours and sometimes more if they are indeed what I think they are. They aren’t painful per say, but certainly cause some discomfort. Some things I read say to call your doctor if you have 4 or more in an hour but since I’m not always positive that’s what they are, I haven’t yet. Again, I’m walking that thin line between logic and paranoia. If I experience any other symptoms along with those maybe contractions, I will definitely call.

Rosebud’s movements feel like she’s trying to find her way out, even if that means punching through my stomach! J and I like to watch my belly jump with her powerful kicks and jabs but it’s still surreal to think it’s a tiny human who is doing all that. No doubt it will all become very REAL soon.

Aside from being zapped of all energy no matter how much I rest, my biggest obstacle now is walking (read: waddling). It feels like the baby may fall out and there is constant pain/pressure in my pelvic region when I’m standing. I know this is all normal, but it doesn’t make it any more pleasant.

I find myself having an influx of pregnancy/labor/delivery dreams lately. They are all quite vivid and just a little left of reality. For example, being in the hospital and freaking out because we didn’t have a car seat to bring her home in so I send J out to buy one and have the baby while he’s shopping…and oh yeah they deliver the baby one body part at a time and just assemble her afterward but it’s totally normal. Or, trying to disguise my pregnancy from others at my own baby shower because it was an accident or something and I’m embarrassed (a nod to being unable to wear my wedding rings on my swollen fingers?).

I imagine these types of dreams will continue because, you know, I’ve kind of got that stuff on my mind. It may very well be the ONLY thing on my mind though, because remembering things, like…oh yes, words...can be difficult. I stumble around a lot when I speak and often feel like I’m not making sense. My attempts to appear intelligent the days I’m in the office are pretty much in vain. However, at this point I finally feel unequivocally validated in blaming everything on being pregnant and am not afraid to play that card.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I think I'm paranoid

I admit it; full-on crazy lady mode has set in. I’m chalking it up to this being my first pregnancy and not knowing what to expect at this stage. It’s not about actually giving birth; it’s about knowing whether I’m experiencing preterm labor. I’m finding it difficult to walk the line between worrying about everything I’m feeling and passing it all off as normal; the whole thing is messing with my mind a bit...okay, a lot. Some of this is just my nature so it was unavoidable to a point, but that little trip to the hospital a couple of weeks ago has only heightened it.

I have read and heard conflicting stories of those who say you’ll have no doubt when you’re having real contractions and those who had no idea at first. That makes me nervous because I was a bit surprised to find out how many contractions I was having when I was being monitored at the hospital. I can honestly say I can’t distinguish them between all the other intense sensations I am having in my belly lately, and it does feel like there is some kind of activity almost constantly. I figure that can’t always be the baby.

The baby’s movements are no longer little bumps and jabs and have become much more uncomfortable in general. I have strong pelvic pressure/pain and my lower back is starting to hurt. However, I know for sure that some of the other signs of labor (water breaking, bloody show – ew – who came up with that name?!, etc.) haven’t occurred so I’m airing on the side of normal for now. I’m actually looking forward to the weekly doctor appointments that start next Thursday to give me peace of mind on a more regular basis.

Speaking of peace of mind, just like I thought Rosebud was a girl from day one, I have also felt in my gut that she will come early. Therefore, I feel no peace at the fact that J has an unfortunate travel schedule coming up. He will be in Vancouver (dude, that’s in a whole other country!) on Oct. 15-18 and Orlando on Oct. 21-25. I suggested he tell his supervisor he can’t travel that close to my due date but he insists he has to go and can’t cancel just on the off-chance I may give birth. Depending on what the doctor says at my appointment the week before, this could become less of a suggestion and more of a request.

I’m also hoping the doctor can start to give me an estimate of how big she is next week. Up until now I have relied strictly on various sites and books, none of which seem to agree. I’d just like to have an idea if she’s leaning more toward being on the small or large scheme of things. Given that I’m not planning on a c-section, I’m personally rooting for no more than 8 pounds – closer to 7 would be even better!

p.s. Please tell me I'm not the only pregnant woman who has felt this way.