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I am very tired of Braxton-Hicks contractions. (For the unfamiliar, these are not real, labor contractions, which in me at least feel like Godzilla menstrual cramps, but a form of pre-labor that is very common and doesn't indicate that labor is coming anytime imminently or even in the next six weeks, though they do help pave the way. They feel like the uterus tightening up and very solid, like you could bounce bullets off it a la Superman. It's not painful, just uncomfortable, and makes walking kind of creakier than usual).

Dehydrated? Braxton-Hicks.
Have to pee? Braxton-Hicks.
Turn over in bed? Braxton-Hicks.
Bump belly against door frame? Braxton-Hicks.
Stand up too fast? Braxton-Hicks.
It's the solution to all your contraction needs!

Also, I dropped a paring knife yesterday and scratched my naked belly with it. Duh. However, my friend fell down the stairs holding her two month old last week, and two days later a clock radio spontaneously fell off the shelf onto the baby's head, so I don't yet win in the "danger to myself and others" contest. (The baby appears to be very durable - no ill effects.)


Jul. 7th, 2006 03:17 pm
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Two people at work have spontaneously and independently mentioned to me in the last two days how nice it is to be around a pregnant woman who's not a drama queen or making a big deal about it.

Obviously they are not at my house or reading my livejournal.

38 weeks

Jul. 6th, 2006 12:18 pm
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Wait 45 minutes, actual time spent with doctor 5 minutes, time it took silly nurse to track down baby's heartbeat with the doppler felt like 5 minutes (you are an Ob-Gyn nurse - can't you figure out where the baby is lying by looking, or if not, then try palpating? I can tell, and this is only the second baby I have any experience with!), weight 173.5, rest they didn't say out loud, left very short birth plan for my file.

Back in another week, when they'll do an internal. I actually think I'm maybe 3cm dilated now, but not very effaced at all. Based on my vastly limited experience of cervixes, i.e. limited to mine.

Currently wanting to get ripped and eat sweets (okay, especially the latter). It's raining and raining (which means not 95 degrees and no evil sun - yay!), and I am bored at work.


Jul. 2nd, 2006 03:21 pm
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I am feeling very sorry for myself today. Why am I having another child, again? I am hot, tired, uncomfortable, headachy, sore, creaky, bored and cranky. That's like the evil eight dwarves of pissiness. Nothing is helping, not even a roll of plain chocolate hobnobs and iced coffee.

And it's going to get WORSE before it gets better. Imagine when I actually have a newborn.
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Wait 50 minutes, weight 171, BP 100/58, heartbeat good, head down, argument about "waspy" vs. "Polish" names for Dillo ongoing. Maybe we should just name the kid Dillo and have done with it.

Books read:
Loretta Chase, Isabella.
Loretta Chase, Knaves' Wager.
Loretta Chase, The Sandalwood Princess.
All vintage late 1980s. Reading them in swift succession made me less appreciative than I otherwise might have been; I found the heroes tended to be a bit overbearing and the heroines a bit dim/driven by emotion/in need of rescue. Knaves' Wager especially made me a bit pissy - nobody should fall in love with someone who is so much of an asshole. Despite these failings, the characters resembled actual humans, the setting was mostly historically accurate, and the writing capable - all, I suspect, more common in those days than now.
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Doctor's appointment today: weight 171, BP 108/68, heartbeat good. Had the group B strep test and while he was in there he did a manual check and reports I am already 1cm dilated and relatively soft. Which actually I suspected, 'cause hey, I am the sort of liberated woman who touches base with her cervix every now and then, you know. But then, I don't think it's unusual at all to be 1cm dilated at 36 weeks with a second child. Doctor says pelvic floor weakness and/or vaginal wall weakness should not affect either date of delivery or the L&D process. We had some general chitchat about L&D, and mentioned that we'd had a very straightforward umedicated first birth and wanted to have another one like that. Still a quick visit.

For technologically LJ savvy people, is there any way to archive entries, like the whole threadsuck process at b.org? Failing that, is there an easy way to print out multiple entries at once, like from the archives? When I started, I was cutting and pasting my entries into a running word doc, and printing periodically, but I haven't done that in 18 months. I'd like a backup of all this, especially the kid stuff, in case LJ or the internets go kerflooey on us all.
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The NYT dining section made me happy today, by taking on the theme of summery drinks (and even including a "recipe" for a Greek Nescafe frappe - a very amusing recipe that essentially reads: take instant coffee, a little water, sugar if you want it, and ice and shake it up, then add more water.) And then it made me sad, by talking about all these wonderful alcoholic summery drinks I can't drink.

I am become a creaky old woman with digestive problems as a result of the armadillo. My hips are creaky pretty much all the time - he's low and heavy, unlike Casper. This is probably a result of pelvic floor weakness, and also I realize is a contributor to my feeling that he'll come early.

The designer who arranged that the uterus be so closely intertwined with the whole digestive tract should be fired. I know some people are sick-miserable, and I am just burpy, constipated, and uncomfortably full even when hungry, but still!

Dillo has a strong kick. Casper's late pregnancy tendency was to keep her feet tucked firmly in the upper left quadrant under my ribcage; Dillo is all over the place but his specialties include attempting to exit my abdomen right above my navel, and to poke me firmly and painfully somewhere in the depths behind my pelvic bone. It's where I think my bladder should be, but it doesn't make me need to pee. Who knows what organ may be lurking down there at the moment.

Okay, let's go back to the happy thoughts of Nescafe frappe and genuine horiatiki salads (just very fresh room temperature coarsely chopped tomatoes, green peppers and cukes with a big slab of feta on top, doused in good olive oil and sprinkled with oregano) and good tzatziki made with Fage Total 10% fat yogurt. It's a plan for lunch on Saturday after the farmer's market.
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Well, it's on my mind a lot lately; funny, that. mr. flea called Olivia, the doula we had with Casper and really didn't need, as my mother was unexpectedly in town and was also unexpectedly a great help in labor and delivery instead of a pain in the ass. Unfortunately for us, Olivia is pregnant and due July 22, 2 days after me - with her 4th child, and her next-youngest is now about 6. mr. flea had a lovely half-hour talk with her anyway, which reassured him, and got some other numbers from her, but we haven't called any of them yet.

I am neurotically worried that the armadillo will be born substantially early. This is based on no actual physical evidence - I haven't had any checks for dilation or anything, I have some killer Braxton-Hicks contractions but nothing like labor patterns. Ultimately it is based, I think, on a combination of wishful thinking (work = boring me, body = big and tired) and what would screw up all best-laid plans the most. Now that I have expressed this worry I am guaranteed to be posting six weeks hence grumbling about the pressure I'm being put to to induce since the baby is so late, and how hot it is to be pregnant in August AGAIN, etc.

We haven't yet had any serious conversations with my Ob/Gyn practice about labor and delivery, birth plans, etc. This week's appointment (Thursday) is the time to bring it up, but I wonder if it's even worthwhile. I've met only 3 of the practice's 6 doctors, and almost all of my appointments have been rotuine to the point of drive-bys. Plus weekend call is shared with another practice. My L&D nurse friend jokes that I need to just be sure to deliver on her nights (overnight Thurs, Sat and Sun), and for choice Thursday evening, as the nurse-midwife who delivered Casper, who now works as an L&D nurse, is on duty with her from 7-11pm. Peggy says they'll take care of me.

I am worried that I had such a straightforward experience delivering Casper that I've hexed myself and something catastrophic, or at least deeply annoying, will happen this time. I know that's not statistically likely - Dillo is head-down so far, and second labors are statistically shorter by 1/2 and easier than first ones. But of course anything can happen.

With Casper, my water broke at midnight; I started serious labor by 4:30 am; we went to the hospital at about 7:30 by which point I was 7 cm dilated; was ready to push by 1pm after a stubborn cervical lip. Things got as complicated as they got at that point. I had trouble pushing, partly because I couldn't figure it out, and partly because of weak contractions due to dehydration from vomiting. I eventually got an IV of fluids, which helped. Casper was also in a funny position - or rather, what was funny was she wouldn't stay in one position, and her head was rotating even after she'd crowned. The combination of her having the hardest head ever (3 hours pushing and to see her photos you'd think she was a c-section, no head deformation at all), and me having the world's least stretchy perineum, meant an episiotomy, which finally ended the whole pushing thing I was getting so tried of. She was born at 3:50pm and despite being very purple at first was in the classic post-birth awake/aware state (my god she looked wise) for several hours. I had no pain meds for me (during or after) except a local anesthetic for the episiotomy, and had only doppler monitoring, was free to move about as I wanted, etc.

With Dillo I'd like the same set-up; the odds are labor will be closer to 8 hours total, which would mean less throwing up, less dehydration, and easier pushing. But you never know.

And first we need to decide if we want a doula. And I do need to bother to bring the whole "I'd like to have another unmedicated-as-possible birth" thing up with the Ob-Gyn.

34 weeks

Jun. 7th, 2006 03:05 pm
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Another very routine appointmment. Weight 169, BP 108/68, baby head down, everything normal. I've had a couple of killer Braxton-Hicks contractions in the past week, really strong, but no more than 1 or 2 a day, nothing like a pre-labor pattern. Dillo had hiccups for the first time last night; Casper used to have them all the time. I am getting a sore back from sleeping now, and have a hard time spending more than 7 hours in bed at night - have to get up and move around. We go back in another 2 weeks for the Group B strep test, then go to every week appointments. Yoicks, it's a comin'. Got my FMLA paperwork done; must call the hospital about pre-registering.

Casper's had some bad times on the potty front. mr. flea went out and bought The Princess and the Potty, which is as much for me and my frustration as for Casper. (The King and Queen go to the royal wise man, who says, "The Princess will use the potty when the Princess is ready to use the potty." And she does.) But over the weekend she ate and drank very little and didn't poop, and we've had two evenings of constipation and pain and some crying (and successful production, eventually). mr. flea is fretting a lot; as a chronically constipated person myself I am a little more sanguine. I'm not sure if it's a psychological thing - holding it in, control - or physical as a result of dehydration and too much dairy in hot weather. We're pushing fruit and juice and relaxation.

Casper is currently the owner of a large herd of horses. It started with the 3 lego duplo horses that were a Christmas present. Then they acquired a mommy, in the form of a dollar-store My Little Pony knockoff from the nanny (purple). My mother got her 3 plastic Schleich horses when she visited, and helped make a stable for them out of a shoebox. They have ropes that they get led around by, made of shoelaces. Two small stuffed elephants are also sleeping in the stable; I'm not sure where they fit in. The horses require a lot of care, and sometimes get lined up. They must not be played with by any visitng friends. Last night they each slept in their own squares on the plaiddish rug in Casper's room.
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Routine appointment today: weight 165 (up 3), BP 110/66 (back to normal), height of fundus 31cm, baby heartbeat normal. Back again in another 2 weeks. It's good to be normal, but it is rather boring.

Yesterday we ate dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. It was spur of the moment; we were coming back from a late afternoon beach visit to the lake (Wilmington was too daunting, but Casper was very pleased with Jordan Lake; as for myself, a lake is always kind of disappointing, but it was pleasant enough). We found ourselves passing The Mother of All Malls, and hungry, and had heard good things about Cheesecake Factory, so there we were.

It was HORRIBLE. Everything I ordered was bad, and the things mr. flea ordered were mediocre at best. My "home-made lemonade" was certainly not, and tasted funny besides; we decided they had run out of lemons and were using some bar lemon drink mixer. I couldn't drink it. mr. flea's unsweet tea was foofy passionfruit, but whatever, that was just not to our taste. The the entrees came. My thai steak salad was literally bigger than my head. I looked at it and just started laughing, and so did the woman at the next table. The plate was 12 inches across, and the salad was piled up in a mound about as high - it was a little volcano of salad. Oversize might be tolerable if it had been good, or even edible, but basically it was an entire head of shredded cabbage, some shredded carrots and peppers, a few random clumps of stuck together asian noddles, and a substratum of very sweet crunchy rice noodles. With a sparse scattering of cashews, cilantro, and little strips of steak (estimated total meat: approximately 4-6 oz.) The dressing was sweet and nasty. mr. flea had fish tacos with unexciting fish and soggy wraps. Casper shared with us (she ate black beans and rice and strips of steak). It was all ridiculously overpriced, which added insult to injury. And the lights mysteriously went very dim partway through the meal, and when we inquired they told us it was on purpose, and when I went to the bathroom, 4 of the 5 stalls were marked out of order. By that point, I was laughing at everything and Casper was getting restless so we just left, picking up a "deeply chilled" (frozen) cheesecake on the way out.

The cheesecake is excellent. I'll never eat there again, though. Bad food PLUS pretension is the best way to make me boycot your restaurant for life.
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Today I dug out all (I think) the boxes of baby clothes and stuff and sorted through them, staging the first couple of phases of the armadillo's needs (phase 1 - little flannel blankets and onesies/t-shirts; phase 2, one-piece creepers) and sorting out the future clothes into "girly; cannot be worn by my son" and "unisex." There's a hell of a lot of girly.

Lots of thinking accompanied this process:
1. Casper is never going to be a baby again. Looking at her tiny clothes, the hat they gave her at the hospital, all my favorite things she's worn - that's all finished with. I am not usually one to look back on her babyhood with regret - I'm so in love with the present and anticipating her future - but today was a nostalgia festival.
2. My god, I'm having a baby in 2 months, and he will be SO TINY. The newborn clothes are so small (and Casper was a healthy 8 pounds). Babies. So tiny. So helpless. My god.
3. Despite our valiant efforts to acquire unisex clothing whenever possible, there's a hell of a lot of girly, some of it very nice things I am loathe to give away. But at this point, a) we're not sure we'll have another child (though we do plan to consider it), b) if we do have a 3rd child the odds of it being a girl are only 50%, and c) if we have a 3rd child, it will probably not be for another 3 years. All of which adds up to, maybe I should let some (most) of this stuff go.
4. Where the hell are the adorable red monkey Robees?

I'm starting to reach the "really big" stage of pregnancy, suddenly. (Due 2 months from today; or, in 8 and a half weeks). I get turtled lying down lon my back, and so forth. Casper almost knocks me down becase my balance is off. Ugh. (Actually, though, I think I look cuter than I did a couple of months ago. Must take belly pictures, though I'm still very red-streaked from the poison ivy.)
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28 weeks tomorrow; Had the glucola appointment this morning (i.e. the "I drank the Kool-Aid test" - where you drink a nasty sugary drink, they wait an hour and take your blood, and see if you have gestational diabetes.) BP 100/62, weight 160 (so BACK OFF mother), fundus measurement normal, baby heartbeat normal. Now we go to every two week visits.

mr. flea begins to be worried we are not doing enough to prepare this time around; I told him to go re-read the book from our childbirth class. He wants to hire a doula again, which except for the expense seems like a good idea to me, as it was very valuable to have someone there with us last time (even though the someone there doing most of the support was my mother and not the doula). The doula is really to spell mr. flea, but I think the L&D nurses would have been more involved and supportive last time if we hadn't had my mother and a doula. We need to talk about it in more detail.

A woman at work I don't know well had her daughter, Charlotte, by C-section at 37 weeks on Friday; they did a section because they were worried the baby wasn't getting enough nutrition through the umbilical cord, and indeed at 37 weeks she weighed 4 pounds 11 oz which I think is on the small side even for 3 weeks early. I think the baby may be in the NICU still but seems okay and just needs to gain some weight and figure out how to suck.

We discussed baby names in the car on the way to the appointment, and mr. flea's gut instinct of the moment was David, and mine was Eddie. Either would do, though there are a ton of other things in contention (Theodore, Charles, Marcus/Mark, Anton/Anthony, Idris Elba...)


Apr. 4th, 2006 10:11 am
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Reasons why I should not move books for an hour a day, or at least should do it gently: today I have some serious pubic symphysis pain. And really, one can't walk around one's workplace clutching one's public bone, as I have been catching myself doing.

Amusing work news: During Oct.-Dec. 2005, one of the top 5 search strings that referred people from Google/Yahoo to our academic library web site was "betty boop." Systems is as mystified as I am.

In Casper hates the cat now news:
Casper: A monster should come and take Penny away.
me: Why?
Casper: Because she's bad.
Ah well, at least the cat is seemingly unperturbed by Casper's animosity; I suppose it's a good outlet for her, i.e. better than smacking kids at school or saying nasty thing to Daddy.
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We had a 24-week appointment today, one of the routine ones involving only pee in a cup, weight (155), BP (100/66), baby heartbeat (don't know, seemed fine), height of fundus (24 inches, which is normal, but she asked me how tall I was since it's still below the bellybutton - seemed satisfied when I told her I was both tall and long-waisted. Or at least high-bellybuttoned.) Why this all takes an hour, except for ill organization, I don't know, but at least it gave me and mr. flea the first time to talk to each other since Sunday night.

The Armadillo seems fine, normally wiggly.

I am doing fine as well. I get more winded than I'd like to climbing stairs at work, etc. I feel I've gained more weight faster than last time, and while it's not a medical concern, I'm feeling like I have been indulging in treats and not eating enough vegetables. I'm now a full C cup, although haven't started wearing bra extenders yet. I waddle a little. Perhaps the opening of the Farmer's Market this weekend will help with the healthy thing. I also just don't like showing so much so early. It makes it all more public this time around - I was surprising people in my 7th month last time. I know this is normal. I don't have to like it! I have been sleeping okay - still up in the middle of the night some nights if Casper wakes. A little problem with back stiffness and tossing and turning in bed, but no big. No sciatica at all lately, and no round ligament pain either, which I had a lot of last time. Still intermittent constipation and the joys of poor bladder control. In short, easy, normal, healthy pregnancy, which is the way we like it.
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17 weeks tomorrow, and I'm feeling all belly right now. (Yes, the couple of you who have seen me lately will laff and laff, as I am basically not showing.) But I can't slump in a chair, there's this annoying lump of flesh in the way. It's pissing me off terribly right now, both the current discomfort and especially the thought of the future discomfort this presages are bringing me down.

We had an appointment on Friday, and after being weighed, peeing in a cup, and having my blood pressure taken by the nurse, we waited 45 minutes so the doctor could walk in, introduce herself, apologize, do a doppler sonar thingy on my belly and count the heartbeat, and say "come back in 4 weeks." The wait turned out to be because an earlier patient is 5 months pregnant and discovered her husband has been cheating on her all along, and the doctor dealt with the emotional fallout. Which does reflect well on the doctor and the practice, overall. But still.

No, there will not be a ray of sunshine to redeem this post. None, I tell you.
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JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) published a story in its latest issue on the risk of relapse into severe depression in previously depressed women who went off antidepressants during pregnancy - more than 60% of women, compared to about 20% of women who stayed on antidepressants. Yes, folks, it's true, not all women glow with an inner serene light when pregnant. (I sort of did with Casper, when I wan't cranky and sleeping badly, but I counted that a remarkable lucky thing.)

The article is available free at JAMA's web site: http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/295/5/499 and contains links to citations for several articles on the effects of various antidepressants on the fetus and the effects of untreated maternal depression on the fetus. If you're interested, email me a citation (or ask, in comments) and I can track down specific articles for you through my work resources.


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