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Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
We have arrived at 35 weeks. I tried to pose a little better this time, so you can get the full effect of The Tummy:
Yep. I’m pregnant.
So how was your holiday? Ours was lovely, thanks. For us, the season starts with a big bang on Thanksgiving, when we host 20-some, then is peppered with all sorts of out-of-town celebrations, then nearby celebrations, ending in a pretty quiet Christmas Day at home. We love it from top to bottom. Roy just adores all the action and seeing all his people, whether it’s an evening with a houseful of aunts and uncles and cousins or a quick run by the neighbors’ to drop off some holiday snacks. Talks about it for days before and after.
According to Parents.com’s week-by-week babytracker, little girl is the size of a honeydew. Even though I’m bigger by the day, and even with all the holiday action, I’m still feeling better than ever, physically. Mentally, though…. After things wound down and I looked at the calendar and saw that the 29th was this week, I went into a bit of a panic. I’m due the 29th of next month. Which means that we’re not having a baby “in January,” we’re having a baby this month. That’s a shockingly small amount of days in which to accomplish all the things I’d like before she comes. Thankfully, “like” and “need” are two very different things. I keep reminding myself of that.
On one hand, there’s that feeling of having so much to do, and the over-the-top excitement of finally getting to meet our little girl. On the other hand, there’s a mellow sort of sadness about losing what we already have: our little threesome. I want to prepare for what’s to come, but I also want to hang out with Roy as much as possible, to soak in all this focused time we have together before it doesn’t really work this way anymore. I’m sure I hug him too much. Request kisses too much. Gobble his bellybutton and tell him I love him and ask for a quick cuddle, please, too much. If there is such a thing as too much of any of those.
As Christmas night was winding down, we decided to sneak in a walk before bedtime. Boo to unseasonably warm temps for stealing our white Christmas, but long, ice-free strolls do make for a fine consolation prize. Roy begged to take the wagon. Pleeeease? Pleeeease? Clint complied; dug the wagon out of the garage and loaded it down with blankets and pillows and then tucked his tiny bods in, so all that showed was a little stocking hat-topped head. We wandered up the block in the dark, toward the neighborhood’s best light display, looking at the stars and moon above. After a couple of silent minutes, I glanced back at Roy and caught him grinning ear-to-ear under all those covers, beyond happy at the holidays, the sky, the wagon, his family. I wanted so badly to bottle that moment up and keep it forever—just the three of us in that perfect slice of time.
I can’t help but feel a little sad that there won’t be moments like that anymore.
I can’t help but hope that the foursome version we’re trading it for delivers similar ones that feel just as amazing. If not, doubly so.
Honeydew image credit: iStockphoto
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Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
As I mentioned earlier, I’m again hoping to have a natural birth. The main thing I want to change this time is the way I deal with my contractions. Last time, I fought each one to the bitter end, which was truly not fun—nor productive, I imagine. This time, I plan to get a breathing and meditation system in place ahead of time to see if the process can’t be a little less horrifically, excruciatingly, monumentally painful. Enter Hypnobirthing.
I went with this method (versus The Bradley Method, Lamaze and whatnot) simply because the doula we used (and loved) last time teaches it. We had our first class last night, in the comfort of our own home, and I’m feeling… good. A little overwhelmed. A little under pressure, remembering the pain and realizing I have to adopt an entirely new mindset to try and create the experience I want this time around. I’m committing to this. I’m just in the early stages of that commitment.
So from what I’m gathering, Hypnobirthing is all about re-framing the birth experience. My interpretation, via Doula Dawn‘s interpretation: When we go into the birth scared and expecting screaming and pain—and awfulness in general—that’s what we get. But if we educate ourselves on what, exactly, is going on with our bodies physically, then train our brains to re-interpret that experience positively, the resulting experience is gentler, quicker and a whole lot less traumatic. As a case in point, Dawn talked about those shows where people don’t realize they’re pregnant until they get a persistent stomach ache, then go to the bathroom and, whoa! Baby head! The pain leading up to the birth wasn’t as intense because the expectation of it didn’t exist.
As part of this re-framing, Hypnobirthing presents an entirely new birth vocabulary. A contraction is a “surge,” or a “wave,” for example. Those Braxton-Hicks I’ve apparently been getting are “pre-labor warm-ups.” The mucous plug and the bloody show are the “uterine seal” and the “birth show.” Both of those were past overdue for a rename, amIright?
So we learned the philosophy, the terminology and the physicality; stuff such as the different types of uterine muscles and what, exactly, they’re doing during a “surge,” and why. She ran us through a couple of meditation exercises, just to demonstrate the goal state, and she popped in a DVD featuring some Hypnobirths.
First was Mindy. The first shot showed her laying quietly on the hospital bed with her eyes closed. The second showed her laying quietly across the bed, face down, legs tucked under her. The third showed the baby quietly coming out, followed by quiet Mindy and her quiet partner sharing a quiet laugh while cuddling their newborn.
Next was Barbara. Barbara hung out in her hospital bed eating red Jell-o. When a “wave” hit her, she’d close her eyes for a few moments, not even bothering to put down the Jell-o. Again, silence. Rock on, Barbara.
This ain’t my first rodeo. I’m not expecting to breathe my way straight through a short, serene, pain-free birth. But I do want to try and do this without drugs. And I do believe in the power of meditation. And I do want to accept all available help to attain my goal.
One thing Dawn said last night that really resonated with me is that this is a new pregnancy, a new birth and a new baby. She deserves her own experience.
So for the next month, I will work on making it just that. Fresh. I’ll try and distance myself from my first birth and its many, many (many) hours of off-the-charts pain and screaming and pushing and acrobatics (all totally worth it, by the way, simply because it led to Roy). I’ll work on getting my mind on board so I can find out firsthand what that does for my body.
Yup. Here we go.
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Tuesday, December 20th, 2011
Another week down. Pow! So crazy to finally be nearing the end of this journey. Those first months took forever. Now, each week closer to forty seems to slip on by in record time. In a month, we’ll be at the “any day now” phase. One short month.
I think I’m experiencing Braxton Hicks? (For the uninitiated, these are, basically, unproductive contractions.) I’m not completely sure if that’s what I’m experiencing in part because I don’t understand online descriptions of Braxton Hicks, such as “labor pains without the pain.” Wha? So then, labor? Labor that’s technically not labor? Right. OK. That’s makes some sense, but without the sense. Exactly.
So what I am feeling is a sort of tightening of the stomach, towards the center. Other times, I feel pressure, really low and really deep, that takes my breath away just a little. Neither are uncomfortable. They’re just interesting sensations. But aren’t they all at this point? The kid is growing, so there’s not a lot of room in there, and she’s apparently taken up tai kwon do to pass the time because I often catch my stomach jerking in one direction or another with the force of her movements. Often, as in many times a day. Which might worry me if it weren’t so consistent. Which is why odd tightening and pressure didn’t strike me as anything but Sissy training for her blue belt. So, Braxton Hicks? Definitely maybe.
Parents.com’s week-by-week babytracker says she’s cantaloupe-sized. Closing in on 5 pounds. The bigger she gets, the bigger I get and the more excited Roy is. He still calls her Juni, and will often give her hugs goodnight and include her in conversations about who’s happy or whom he loves. Once, he made me sit still with my shirt pulled up as he held his construction trucks in front of my bellybutton, articulating their proper names: Dumper. Loader. Excavator. You know, giving her a little heads up about the important things in life.
Since we’re getting closer to the due date (January 29th), and since his birthday is in January (the 26th) we’ve started telling him that January is when she’ll arrive. Not that he has any concept of when January is, but whatever. It’s true. And it’s another talking point for all of us on the subject. “Juni come outta Mommy’s tummy in January,” he’ll say. Or, on impatient days, “Juni come outta Mommy’s tummy today.”
Hearing that possibility said out loud does cause a knee-jerk flutter of panic. But I read yesterday that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks generally do just fine, with no long-term health issues. There’s something reassuring about that. Like it’s another hurdle cleared. Like the finish line is truly, finally, in sight.
Cantaloupe image credit: Blaine Moats
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Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
Since last week’s Tummywatch, I had a prenatal checkup, including glucose screening. That was supposed to happen at last month’s checkup, but I forgot to come in early to drink that disgusting sugary Gatorade-ish drink, so it was postponed. I remembered this time. Downed it in five minutes, then began vibrating in the waiting room as the sugar hit my system.
My visit also marked this pregnancy’s first interior exam, which I was not looking forward to. There’s enough going on up in there at the moment without adding stirrups and doctor hands to the party. But it was quick, and I suppose as good a way as any to start the increasingly tactile part of this process, which ends with a roomful of people intently focused on my southerly action. Yes, technically, it’s the baby they’re focused on, but still. It is from whence she’ll appear.
Bottom line: Inside situation is as it should be. My weight gain’s pretty much on track. The baby has a strong heartbeat. I’m measuring on the small side, which the doctor says is fine and just means I’ll probably have another little peanut, like Roy. And a big negative on the gestational diabetes. I’m actually forgetting the other thing they tested for relating to the imposed sugar rush, but I don’t have that, either. Everything’s looking good at thirty-two weeks.
The Parents.com week-by-week Babytracker has her jicama-sized. I know what jicama is and all, but I don’t regularly have them lying around whole. Do jicamas really get that large? Like 17 inches and nearly 4 pounds? That just doesn’t sound right to me. But you guys: Girl’s almost four pounds! Apparently, she’ll be gaining weight like a champ during this final stretch, possibly even doubling that figure. My waddling days are far from over.
Though who knows if she’ll gain that much, as she’s getting plenty of exercise in there. Roy was busy, and that busyness continued outside of the womb. He bore weight on his legs almost immediately, walked early, and has run practically everywhere since he discovered the pace.
The one on the way seems even busier. Or maybe “more active” is a better term. While Roy was prone to long, consistent stretches of butterfly nudges, this one produces frequent, yet random kicks, turns and elbows, oftentimes delivered with force enough to jerk my entire stomach in one direction or another. I’m a little nervous to see if/how this translates on the outside world. Maybe it means I’m eating too much sugar this time around. Or perhaps it’s an indication that she’ll be one to make her presence known. We’ll have a pretty good idea whether or not that’s the case in roughly eight—eight!—more weeks.
Jicama image: Kristada Panichgul
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Monday, December 5th, 2011
When we decided to try for #2, we had to talk out the would-be sleeping arrangements. Roy has a pretty small room, with space enough for his crib, a changing table/dresser, a rocking chair and not much else. And there’s really not another kid room to be had without making some fairly major changes. We’re certainly in no position to move anytime soon. Nor do we want to.
We decided the best option was to move the changing table into the laundry room/hallway right outside of Roy’s room. It will actually fit perfectly in front of a little window there. In further preparation, we installed a dimmer on the overhead hallway light, and Clint built some cabinets above the window, for extra storage. Once we actually move the changing table there and cute it up a bit I’ll snap a photo for you. It feels like a pretty creative, yet logical solution.
So. There will be room enough for two beds/cribs. Maybe a slim dresser or two. As the kids get older, surely Clint will build them the coolest bunk bed ever. We will make the most of every square inch. It kind of feels good. Like composting or re-purposing leftovers. We’re being thrifty with space.
Of course, there are times when I think that the kids need their own space. Deserve it, even. That a boy and a girl, especially, need the privacy of separate rooms.
Then I think about the third-world countries I’ve been to. Multiple kids of mixed ages and genders sharing the same room—the same bed, even. Or people living in more expensive cities, where the kid’s room is a closet. Literally. And then there’s the fact that the family who lived here before us raised four children under this very roof. And we’re worried about squeezing in two?
I love when other parents share their own boy-girl room-sharing situations. Even better are the stories from grown adults about how they grew up sharing a room with their sibling—of the opposite sex, even—and how close it made them. Just this weekend, a woman I met at a party, upon learning I was pregnant with a girl and had a boy at home already, asked, “You have rooms for each?” When I dove into a
defense description of our setup, she told me she happily shared a room with her younger brother until the age of 15. “It was a little strange getting our own rooms,” she said. “He spent a lot of time hanging out in mine.”
So I’m homing in on the pros, as related by those who’ve lived this situation. Things like late-night whisperfests and never feeling alone in the middle-of-the-night darkness. We will make the most of what we have and hope that sibling bonds do grow stronger with maximum together-time in small, shared spaces—regardless of gender.
Image: Love illustration via Shutterstock
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