Full Term! 37 weeks 2 days

So we’ve reached FULL TERM! Hooray!

I keep going back and forth, depending on the day, feeling like she could come any minute and we still have some time to wait. But every day I think I feel just a little more ready.

I haven’t “dropped” yet. I am feeling more pressure in my lower abdomen, but I don’t look like I am carrying any lower. This is a bit discouraging as what I am reading on line is that this happens ‘a couple of weeks’ before going into labor. I really don’t want to go past my due date (who does??) so I am hoping this isn’t something that is always true.

I also haven’t had any bursts of energy where I want to scrub my floors at 2am. Apparently this is another sign that things are getting “close” and they say it is part of “nesting.” I have been feeling pretty motivated to get everything checked off the to-do list, but I wouldn’t say that this has come with any extra energy, unfortunately.

Last night Beau and I went to the baby store to buy the rest of the “necessities” off the registry and use up the gift cards we accumulated from the baby showers. Which, of course, turned into buying just about everything that was left on the registry even though much of it we don’t need, or at least won’t need right away. Oh well, we are overly prepared now I think! But boy was that exhausting… so glad to have it done.

It seems like we have a task on our to-do list every day. Tonight we are packing the hospital bag. I am nervous about this task becoming a monster too. The more lists I look at the longer my list becomes… and it’s starting to feel a bit daunting. And then I think, am I even going to open the bag once I am at the hospital? I am sure there’s about 2 things I will end up using. Better to be over-prepared than under-prepared, right?

 

Mom’s out there:  Did you “drop”?  Did you get a sudden burst of energy and clean your whole house? How long from getting these ‘signs’ until labor started? 

Baby Shower! 35 weeks 6 days

OMG. Tomorrow I will be 36 weeks! One more week until “Full-Term” and 4 more weeks until due date. I can’t believe it’s coming up so quick!

This last weekend my friend and neighbor threw me an adorable baby shower. I felt so much love from my friends and family who helped me celebrate. I really felt spoiled by all the stuff I received.

Here’s a picture with some of my family members who attended the shower:

baby shower

As I get closer I feel less ready for the labor! I am sure all mom’s to be go through this… I thought I was ready – and I AM ready in a lot of ways. But goodness, the thoughts of labor can be overwhelming. I am taking a birthing class, that has been labeled as a Hypnobirthing class, but when I read descriptions of what Hypnobirthing is, I don’t think this class 100% fits the bill. I am under no delusions that I will be able to hypnotize myself into a trance during my labor that will allow me to not feel pain or experience my birth. I have only been to one class so far, but this class was really great. I love the instructor.

A few take aways from that class:

  • She does not like the term “natural” to describe an un-medicated birth. It implies that if medicine is used, it somehow becomes an un-natural birth. So instead she chooses to just call it an un-medicated birth.
  • She rejects the “birthing without fear” methods because she thinks it’s okay to acknowledge our fear and birth through it, not try to deny it is there.
  • Women should follow their birthing instincts and not feel inhibited from using movement, vocalizations, etc… as they labor.

I still can’t help but wonder how I will handle it. You never really know how your labor/birth experience is going to be. I hope I can handle it without the medications, I am trying to have confidence in my abilities…but doubts are creeping in.

Any advice out there from mom’s? However you chose to birth (medicated or un-medicated) I am open to any assuring words you can offer me! 

A Day Without A Woman. 34 Weeks

Last week I participated in Day Without A Woman on International Women’s Day by attending a rally at my state capitol, wearing red, and not making any purchases that day.

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I did not strike. I was lucky enough to be able to work from home, hoping that my physical absence may be felt, but my work would still get done. There are two reason I chose not to strike. One, being that I am pregnant, I will need the time off for maternity leave. My company offers FMLA leave, which allows me to be out for up to 480 work hours without risk of losing my job (roughly three months). But any pay I am to receive during that time comes from my accumulated sick and vacation time, so using it now means I don’t get to use it later. Some may say this is exactly why I should strike – to show that this policy is inadequate to meet the needs of new moms and dads. That we should have better paid leave policies for maternity/paternity. These are things that I agree with and would fight for. But my second reason for not striking is a bit more compelling…

I work with all women. My team is all women, and though we work for a larger organization that has these maternity leave policies, the work I am doing right now affects the long term careers of these other women. They were relying on me to meet a deadline with my piece of the project so they could continue with theirs. Our failure on this project would not affect the overall organization we work for very much, but it would affect the careers of these other women. It simply did not make sense to me to hold these other women back in any way. 

Striking was a good choice for many. In a different circumstance I would have participated in the strike. Not because I think that I suffer injustices at work for being a woman (like I said, working with all women eliminates a lot of the discrimination other women suffer). I feel I am adequately and fairly compensated and am encouraged in my career growth. However, it is not for me that I participated in the rally.

It is for all the other women who could not rally

  • women who do suffer injustices at work
  • women who are paid less than a man for the same work
  • women who cannot take personal leave without the risk of being fired or reprimanded
  • women who are sick of a mostly male government deciding what she can and cannot do with her body
  • women who are accused of “bringing it on themselves” when they have been assaulted or abused
  • women who are told they aren’t pretty enough, skinny enough, curvy enough, tall enough, short enough, funny enough, smart enough, nice enough or good enough to meet our impossible standards of women
  • women who are sick of being ignored

I rallied because I wish for a better future for my daughter. As women we have all felt at least some of the things I listed above. There are certainly more things that could be added to this list, these are just the ones that come immediately to mind. I know I cannot shelter my daughter from all of these cultural injustices and she will some day experience some of these. My hope is that it gets better as times wears on. I did feel an energy at the rally that was really encouraging. We need to keep the energy alive and not let it wane.

The saddest part of the Day Without A Woman protests were the attacks from other women. The last thing we need is to tear each other down for standing up for what we believe. Even if it isn’t something that you care about or believe in, we should be proud that we are even allowed to have our own opinions that can be expressed publicly! It’s the women who came before us that have allowed us this expression. How you use it is your choice, but isn’t that a beautiful thing too!

In pregnancy news I am 34 weeks today! Only 6 short weeks to go. I cannot believe we are getting this close!

Did any of you participate in any of the Day Without A Woman activities? How did it go?

Anyone with daughters have advice on raising them to be confident and secure? 

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

 

 

Doulas

Sorry I suck at blogging right now! I have so much to share I just haven’t had time to sit down and share it. Growing a baby is a lot of work! Today I am 31 weeks and 6 days! 

We interviewed our third Doula a couple weeks ago and I think we’ve found our winner! She seems really open and calming, just exactly what you’d want in a Doula, but almost just as important is that she is midwife certified and has attended around 300 births! She still charges less than the first Doula option we interviewed because she doesn’t offer any of the little extras. For instance, the first Doula takes notes about your birth during the process and writes you a birth story and also gives you some kind of trinket or charm after you’ve delivered. I am totally fine with passing up those little extras, in return for a more educated Doula who can come to my house and is certified to check my blood pressure, baby’s heart rate and my cervix for dilation while I am in labor, thus giving me a better opportunity to labor at home longer and knowing when I need to go to the hospital. I can’t tell you how reassuring this is.

I have had many friends give birth in their homes. Somehow it is more common in my area of the west than the general population. I assume this is something to do with the culture of frontierism and libertarianism. People around here are a little more suspicious of government and somehow that bleeds into modern medicine and doctors. Even some of my friends who I would consider to be more liberal on most issues (as opposed to libertarian) have chosen to give birth at home with midwives rather than at a hospital. However, I am not one who feels totally comfortable giving birth in my home without trained doctors and medical equipment on the ready should an emergency arise. 

I fall somewhere in the middle of showing up to the hospital and just doing whatever the doctor says, and not wanting the doctor involved at all. This is where the Doula/Midwife comes in. I think it is the best of both worlds to have a birth advocate who can keep me comfortable in my home for as long as possible, and help me to achieve an epidural-free hospital birth, which is my goal. 

I have a few reasons for wanting to try and epidural-free birth. The most important being that I have low blood pressure. Epidurals can cause your blood pressure to drop further, and if that happened to me and it tanked my blood pressure to be “too low” I would end up with an emergency c-section. That is the last thing I want. So that is the biggest reason, in addition to not wanting to be considered a “fall risk” and then restricted to the bed for the entirety of my laboring. Being able to move around and try different birth positions (squatting, all-fours, etc…) seems to be the key in finding the most effective way for an individual to give birth with the least amount of complications (delayed labor, tearing, etc…).

At the same time I am trying to keep an open mind and be gentle on  myself. If I end up in stalled labor without the epidural and the contractions are getting to be more than I can handle, I will allow myself to give into the epidural. I will not see this as a failure if it happens. As long as I bring a healthy baby girl into the world at the end of it all, it will be a successful birth. I truly believe that there are no wrong decisions to be made when it comes to giving birth, we all do what we feel is best for ourselves and our babies.

I have, unfortunately, encountered some people who have stronger opinions on the matter. I don’t bring up my birth plan in conversation with anyone, but if someone asks I am open to letting them know what my intentions are. I have been disappointed in a friend who recently gave birth, who I thought would be more sympathetic to the plight of pregnant women and the judgement we all receive, only to be met with comments like “women who want to have an un-medicated birth are trying be martyrs so they can brag about it” and “our ancestors who didn’t have pain medication in birth would think we were stupid to decline them.”

None of her comments have made me question my choices. It’s just sad that we as women place so much judgement on each other! I never once told her that choosing and epidural for her birth was bad in any way. It was the right choice for her. She had an easy, uncomplicated birth with no tearing. I am happy for her. It’s just that I want to try something different. We need to practice more acceptance of each other as women and not be so quick to compare ourselves to others or judge them for the choices they make.

On a positive note: Weekend before last I had a friend (a different friend) take some maternity photos of me! And then this last weekend Beau and I took a short babymoon to Las Vegas to enjoy some warmer weather and a some relaxation before this baby arrives! Expect updates on both soon! (if I can get my shit together and actually blog haha)

29 Weeks 1 Day and Erratic Sleeping

I am 29 weeks and 1 day today and it’s a weird space to be in. I feel close, yet so far, from my due date.

It’s still a month and a half before I even have a baby shower. That’s a decent amount of time. But it’s really approaching quicker than I realized. I can’t believe it’s already been 29 weeks! Crazy.

And my sleeping has decided to become very inconsistent. It seems like I am only sleeping well every-other night. I cannot figure out why. I was SOOO tired last night. I had had a pretty busy day….

When I got to work I discovered my tire was leaking air! I am lucky I made it to work without going flat! A couple of coworkers tried to help me get the lug nuts off but we couldn’t and I don’t have AAA. So we called maintenance and I was really lucky they were willing to help. Sent a big dude who got them off no problem. Had I been on the side of the road I would have had to hope that someone would take pity and stop in the middle of their morning commute!

Later on I had physical therapy for my rib/back pain. Being pregnant is all kinds of fun! The physical therapy is only very slowly starting to help with this pain. But at least it’s something.

That was at the end of the day, so I went straight from there to take my car to the auto shop before they closed for the day. They’re only a few blocks from my house, so I left my car there and walked home. They’re a small shop so they don’t keep a lot of inventory on hand and had to order the tires for me, to be delivered sometime this afternoon.  My boss is super nice and flexible so working from home today was not a problem while I wait on my car. [I am writing this on my lunch break for those concerned about my work ethic 😉 ]

THEN Beau and I met with a doula last night. She came over to talk about her process and strategies and see if we were a good match. She was really nice and a lot cheaper than the first doula we met with, but she’s also newer to this work. We are meeting with a third option this weekend so I think I will save all the doula details for another blog.

Anyway – you’d think with all that activity I’d fall right to sleep! Wrong. I was exhausted after the doula left and definitely felt ready to hit the hay. But for some reason (pregnancy) I couldn’t get comfortable no matter what I did. Then my mind started working and I couldn’t shut it off. I probably drifted in and out of sleep for a few hours and decided to try my luck on the couch. That was worse. Nothing was comfortable! So I went back up to my bed. I finally did doze off, though I am not sure what time.

When Beau woke me at my usual time this morning I felt terrible. I sent a quick email off to my boss about working from home since I didn’t know my car situation and then fell back asleep an extra hour. Luckily boss was totally cool with working from home because I would have been LATE had I had to get myself dressed and onto public transit to trek to work. Instead I worked in my jammies at my kitchen table until I could take a quick break to shower and get dressed and write this post!

The problem is this keeps happening. Every other night I can’t sleep and then I am exhausted and am able to fall asleep the next day but then the cycle starts all over again!

Anyone out there with pregnancy sleep problems have any advice? I am not sure I can do this for 11-ish more weeks!

 

99 Days!

So I have been posting past experiences and not much of the ‘what is happening right now’ stuff. I am trying to get caught up to the now, but wanted to give readers some background to my journey. BUT today I looked at my pregnancy app. I don’t look at it every day, but I just happened to open it this morning at it said…

99-days

 

99 days to birth! I am down to double digits! I am getting more nervous and excited every day. I just faxed my FMLA leave request information to the HR department at my work. Having a baby as a full-time employee is a bit complicated. I am lucky enough to be employed by an employer who offers FMLA for maternity leave. I know that some smaller companies don’t have to. I am also lucky that I have accrued a lot of sick and vacation pay to help cover my loss of income while I am out. I will run out of it before I am back from leave, but it’s good to know I wont be going three months without pay. I can’t imagine what other women have to go through who don’t have the same options as me. It’s hard enough with support from your work.

Here’s the list of things to do now, and while on maternity leave, as it pertains to work:

NOW

  • Tell your supervisor!
  • Fill out FMLA request form and return to HR department with supervisor signature
  • Determine how much sick and vacation time you have available so you can take it while on FMLA
    • note: if you run out of your accumulated paid leave, the remainder of your leave will be unpaid. Because you don’t have money on paychecks you will not be able to make any paycheck reduction payments (so any bills that are paid directly from your check) – so plan ahead for that! This includes your health insurance. You will not lose your health insurance, but any back payments will be taken all at once when you return, so you may be paying two or three times as much on your first paycheck back. Plan for that too!)
  • Find out if your insurance payments will change by switching to a family plan, and by how much. Time to start budgeting for these changes!

WHILE ON MATERNITY LEAVE

  • As soon as she is born, get paperwork from hospital and forward it to HR department and let them know you are starting your maternity leave
  • Apply for a ‘life changing event’ through your insurance to switch to a family plan and/or add your new baby. It may take a bit to process but they will back-cover to the date of birth for any appointments for the baby you may have while you are processing everything.
  • You  may also want to enroll in a flexible spending account through your work. This will allow you to put aside tax-free money every month for child care expenses. They provide you with a ‘debit card’ of sorts that draws directly from your account. Some day care facilities will accept payment this way. If you chose not to do a flexible spending, you can apply for a tax refund at the end of the year. It just depends on if you’d rather have that savings along the way, or get a refund once a year. I haven’t decided which I will do yet.

 

I am sure there are more things I am forgetting. It feels a bit overwhelming at times, but I am sure it will all come together.

Mom’s who’ve been through this before… What am I missing? How was your experience handling all the paperwork while adjusting to a new baby?

Telling The Family

October 2016

There’s a reason this is a private blog that I haven’t told any family or friends about. I don’t want the thought of family or friends reading this to hinder my honesty and openness. So here’s what happened when I told my mother I was pregnant.

First I will briefly say that telling Beau’s family was easy. We shared the news at our nephew’s 7th birthday party because everyone was there. We didn’t want to steal the spotlight so we didn’t do any big announcement thing, we just showed his mom a picture of the first ultrasound on our phones while the kids were running around playing and Beau’s parents and brothers and sister were hanging around chatting. They were all very kind and excited for us.

My family is a completely different situation. I think I’ve already mentioned that I have a sordid relationship with my mom. One that I went to therapy because of for a number of years. Our relationship is better, but far from perfect. I still don’t know what I am going to get from her. BUT my relationship with my brother is very good. We are very close even though he lives a few states away. So one GREAT thing about the timing of our pregnancy is that my brother and dad had planned a visit in October and it turned out to be a good time for revealing my pregnancy to them in person. Had they not been coming, I probably would have told them sooner, but the chance to tell them in person was too exciting so I chose to wait.

It also gave me the chance to tell my mom and brother at the same time. Had they not been able to be here at the same time, I would have struggled with who to tell first. That may seem strange, but I knew there was potential for my mom to be competitive with getting to hear the news before my brother, but I also feared that if I told her she may tell my brother before I got the chance. Perhaps not, but I didn’t want to risk it and his coming to town made for the perfect solution.

He was bringing his wife and two kids (22 months and 3 months old). So I thought it would be cute to get them shirts that say “I’m going to be a big cousin.” Nothing elaborate but a fun way for them to find out. And it was. They were all surprised and happy and it was going great. Until I was clearing plates from the table and my mom cornered me in the kitchen to ask me if I was going to keep working and what our childcare plans were. This was followed by TELLING me that I didn’t have to go back to work (as if she knows our financial situation) and that I CAN’T leave our child with a stranger (as if I’m just going to put an add on Craigslist or something).

I had to set a boundary immediately before she got any big ideas, so I told her that we would figure it out and I did not want her to be our nanny. Ouch. I hit a sore spot with that one. She sulks back to the table, ignoring me and asking my sister-in-law if she’d be allowed to babysit her children. My poor SIL did not know what conversation I’d just had with my mom and was put in a very awkward situation. Beside the point that being a full-time, all day, everyday nanny is a much different scenario than occasionally babysitting for a few hours, which of course I’d let my mother do.

Ugh. My mother wouldn’t talk to me for two days. She finally made some comment to my brother in front of me about how I didn’t want her babysitting. So I was able to explain that babysitting and being the nanny are different. Once I explained that she’d have to come to my house before 8 am every day and stay until after 5 pm every night (because I wasn’t going to drive my baby all the way to her house when I work 5 minutes away from my own), and that I didn’t want to burn her out with childcare, she changed her tune a bit. She’s been fine since, but man oh man, my mother can be quite a lot to handle. I can only imagine what is going to happen once this baby arrives. Sometimes I am crippled with anxiety.

Anyone else out there whose been through this transition with their mothers that may have some tips?