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Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
Those two rounds of contractions (contractual episodes? contractisodes?) last week made it ever so clear that this baby will come whether or not I’ve packed my bag for the hospital. Already she has a mind of her own. Babies.
So I’ve given in to reality, on this point at least. I will fill that suitcase that’s open and waiting on my bedroom floor. Because I’m a compulsive list-maker, I consulted many “What to Pack” lists, then pared them down to a “What I Really Need to Pack” list. That’s one of the benefits of this being Babyhaving: The Sequel. I know that wearing the hospital’s disposable undies is better than ruining my own, and that between visitors and sleep and babygazing, I will not have time to tackle a little light magazine reading.
Here is what I think I need…
To pack ahead of time:
- Copies of birth plan (in case they don’t have the copy my doc sent over ready and waiting)
- List of phone #s to call (even if Clint can remember the list of five people now, he may not have his wits about him when the time comes, due to sleeplessness and baby excitement)
- Notebook (Birthing thoughts? Final baby-name narrowing down? Returning home to-do list? You never know.)
- Birthing skirt/2 tanks/zipper sweatshirt (aka stuff to labor in that allows me to regulate my temperature and allows the hospital staff to access my lady region. An extra tank in case I want to wear one into the birthing tub.)
- Two pair nonslip comfy throwaway socks (For labor. There will likely be dripping. Gross, I know.)
- Nursing bras
- Bella bands (Nice to pair with nursing bras, for the discreet & ladylike, such as myself.)
- Breast pads (In case my milk comes in. Oh, the leakage.)
- Lanolin (At first, your nipples hurt. A whole lot. Lanolin helps.)
- Arnica (My awesome friend Laura, a homeopath/pharmacist, recommends 200C post-delivery, and again 12 hours later, to promote overall healing.)
- Ponytail holders
- iPod/speakers (I prefer silence to birthing tunes, but we have HypnoBirthing scripts and affirmations on there.)
- Breastfeeding-friendly PJs/hangout wear (Better than a hospital gown. You’ll probably want options that allow easy access to Down There and/or your post c-section tummy. Make it something you won’t mind being photographed in.)
- Pantry snacks that may be tolerable during labor, such as electrolyte jelly beans, granola bars (sprung for fancy raw Pashen bars for the occasion), nuts, emergenC (Keep that energy up!)
- Have cooler ready
- Present for Roy (From the baby. So when they meet, she has it ready for him.)
- A few sleepers (Those long gowns with the elastic at the bottom, to make frequent changes easier. Might as well have her wear her own clothes, washed in our detergent, from the get-go.)
- Socks & hats
- Super cute going-home outfit
- Car seat with BundleMe (Essential for a winter baby in Minnesota—no bulky, hard-to-regulate snowsuit necessary.)
- Baby book (Get those footprints!)
- Boppy, or other breastfeeding pillow (Might as well start in the manner you intend to continue.)
To pack the last minute:
(Again, a list containing even the obvious is nice. It’s hard to make decisions while in labor.)
- Camera (batteries, charger)
- Phones & chargers
- Makeup bag
- Lip balm
- Vitamins & allergy medication
- Hair products
- Hair dryer
- Stock cooler (ice, drinkable yogurt, hard cheese, fruit)
- 12-pack fizzy water (It’s my jam.)
- HypnoBirthing scripts (On paper. For Clint to potentially read to me.)
- Towel to sit on in car (if my water hasn’t broken)
- Wallets/insurance card/ids
- Calendar (I’ve not yet gone electronic on this. Rockin’ it old skool style.)
(Just a loose reminder list for him…)
- Food (If he’s gonna support me, he needs to maintain energy as well.)
- PJs (The hospital is not the place for underwear-only sleeping.)
- Camp mat (To make a crappy hospital sofa more bearable.)
- Blanket (See above.)
POST-DELIVERY UPDATE: What I ended up using, not using and forgetting.
Image: Pregnant Woman Is Getting Ready for the Maternity Hospital via Shutterstock
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Thursday, January 12th, 2012
Yesterday afternoon, contractions started. I ignored them at first, then they became strong enough that I decided to time them. They seemed a consistent 9 minutes apart, so naturally, I decided to go back to ignoring them.
I went to the salon with Clint and Roy, where they were both in for a trim. (Baby’s Second Haircut! Woot-woot!) I was relatively useless because the contractions were getting stronger. And closer together—like 6 minutes apart. I called my doula. I texted my stepmom, Roy’s official babytime caregiver, as a “just in case” heads up (she lives about 1.5 hours away). When the haircuts finished, we rushed home to start packing and getting things in order.
Then the contractions stopped. Thank god. As I mentioned on Tuesday, I’m not quite ready. Close. But not quite. My due date is January 29th, so I am not completely crazy in hoping for a little more time.
I am, however, ready chat with you on American Baby’s Facebook page today! Let’s do this! My fellow pregnant Parents.com blogger Jill Cordes, who is also due on January 29th (but having a scheduled C-section in the 25th), goes on at 1:30 EST. I’ll take over at 2:30 EST. Be there or be square. I’ll answer most anything, but here are a some pet topics of mine. Just to get you thinking:
I could go on. Really, ask me anything. I’m ready. For this, at least.
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Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
Today when I was at the doctor’s office, he said that next time, if I want, he could sweep my membranes. Move things along. I immediately told him no, thanks. I’m in no hurry. I’m excited to meet her and all, but I’m in no rush. It’ll happen. We can just leave those poor membranes alone.
At 37 weeks, she’s as big as a bunch of Swiss chard (according to the babytracker), and she’s done. Meaning she’s likely big enough, strong enough and formed enough to survive just fine, whenever she decides to show up. Which is to say: Any day now. Any day.
It’s kind of a strange feeling, knowing that at some moment very soon I will go into labor and come out the other end with my little girl. It could start tonight, while I’m sleeping. Or tomorrow, after lunch. And then everything that’s at the forefront of my mind—that deadline, that dinner with friends, Roy’s upcoming birthday party, that closet clear-out project—it disappears, replaced solely with Have Baby.
Then again, it could happen three weeks from now. That would be completely reasonable as well. It’s hard to be prepared without being anxious; excited without being antsy. It’s hard to just act as though something huge and amazing isn’t about to happen. Because it is.
As you can see, I’m big enough now that my planetary presence communicates exactly that. Strangers regularly comment on the event, so clearly impending. This makes it difficult to go about life as usual, but I don’t mind. People seem genuinely excited for me, which is so incredibly sweet and keeps me psyched. My favorite recent bout of enthusiasm came from a young gas station clerk with inky hair and awesome Cleopatra eyeliner.
Her: When are you due?
Me: A couple of weeks.
Her: I’m so excited!
Me: Yeah, well, it’s exciting!
Her: I can’t wait to have one, too. But I’m going to wait. Probably at least until I get married.
Me: That right there is a good idea. A really, really good idea.
Related: I love doughnuts. Suddenly and passionately. I gained two pounds last week. And guess what? Don’t care.
Relatively unrelated: I’ll be doing a Q&A on American Baby’s Facebook page on this Thursday, January 12, at 2:30 EST. My fellow pregnant Parents blogger, Jill Cordes, goes on at 1:30—she and I have pretty differing mindsets regarding our upcoming births, so it could be fun to throw the same question at each of us.
On to week 38.
Swiss chard image credit: iStockphoto
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Thursday, January 5th, 2012
So we finished up our HypnoBirthing classes, and I’m feeling pretty good about things. Clint and I have a little hypno session most evenings, where I relax and he reads what’s called a script—a story designed to help me meditate through labor. One takes me on a lovely hot air balloon ride with Clint during which I eventually tossing a box full of extra weight overboard so we can fly higher. Another walks me through a beautiful, magical forest in which I follow a playful little fawn into the bright light of day. Relaxing and symbolic and whatnot.
I’m also practice breathing. Sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair while working all day. Continuing with yoga and massage. Listening to birth affirmations and hypno scripts at night while I’m sleeping. Drinking raspberry leaf tea (to get the ol’ uterus in shape). I’m also sorting through things in my head; trying adapt the right mindset. The one that realizes this a new birth, hopefully one that’s shorter and less painful that my first.
I am about two-thirds of the way through HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method. A few things that have jumped out at me:
“The belief in pain surrounding childbirth is so strong that, instead of questioning the validity of the concept, there have been many efforts to rationalize its importance and attach some reason and higher purpose to it.”
That’s exactly what I did. My first birth hurt so badly that I was swearing at the top of my lungs that I would never do this again. (Paraphrased to exclude curse words.) Then I met Roy and knew instantly that I’d do it a hundred times over in a heartbeat. I decided that such a great reward shouldn’t come easy, and that was why childbirth was inherently difficult. Was I wrong? We’ll see.
“It is said that a woman births pretty much the same way that she lives life. For that reason, it is imperative that you take the time to do an assessment of how you see yourself and whether this image is productive for you or counterproductive.”
Hmmm. That’s all.
As you can see, it’s a lot of mind work. Which is cool, because I’m an overthinker anyway. Might as well use this possible character flaw for good.
Clint’s totally on board with all this. Willing to do whatever I want. Even if he does think any of it is in the least bit crazy, he would never say, which is so incredibly sweet. I suppose it’s smart, too. Who in their right mind would tell an eight-months-pregnant woman she’s crazy? Certainly not someone who has lived with an eight-months-pregnant woman before.
Make no mistake: This is a team effort. Have I mentioned that the last time around, Clint dislocated a few rib bones from his spine while helping me push? In the end, of course, the bulk of the pre-prep necessarily falls on me. Too bad, too, because the hubby is clearly better at the hypnosis thing than I am. Both times in class when Doula Dawn had us close our eyes while she read a meditation script, I worked hard to stay focused and relaxed, while Clint promptly fell asleep. It’s quite difficult to stay focused and relaxed with someone snort-snoring next to you. Kind of like when someone gives you the giggles in church or farts in yoga class.
I trust this will not be a problem in the delivery room, where snoring would be significantly less hilarious. If anything’s worse than the wrath of an eight-months pregnant woman, it’s the wrath of a nine-months-pregnant woman. In labor.
Image: A shot of a pregnant woman sitting on exercise ball, Shutterstock
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Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012
Hello, 36 weeks. Lovely to see you.
Just for reference, let’s revisit 26 weeks:
And, for good measure, 16:
Aw, sweet 16. So tiny. So mobile. So, so, so long ago. My, how things have changed.
Went to the doctor today. He did a quick check to see if the Braxton-Hicks have done anything whatsoever, and reported that there was dilation enough for a fingertip’s passage. A fingertip! He actually touched her head. This made me an eensy bit jealous—is that weird? Regardless, things are happening, no question about it. I go in weekly now. And the doctor felt the need to let me know he’s going out of town for a few days. “Not that I think anything will happen,” he said. “But just in case.” In case I go into labor, that is. Holy. Crap.
According to Parents.com’s week-by-week babytracker, she’s Crenshaw melon-sized. Apparently this is a Crenshaw melon:
I think they’re running out of fruits and vegetables. Perfect timing, as I’m running out of weeks.
Crenshaw melon image credit: iStockphoto
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