Thursday, May 25, 2006

BP Blues

I really didn't expect anything out of the ordinary at the midwife visit today. I had some questions about my epi-pen, and our birth plan, and a few things like that. The baby's heartbeat was great, and the size was good, and all that.

However, my blood pressure measurement was suddenly quite a bit higher than usual...126/90. (It's usually, like, 105 over 70 or something--I have a history of too-low blood pressure, if anything.)

They redid it a little while later and it had come down somewhat, but still not entirely. The thing about blood pressure and pregnancy is that a suddent jump can mean pre-eclampsia. Which if you go look up eclampsia as I know you will, is really really bad. And I'm at higher risk for it because of my age.

She asked if there was something I was stressed out about, but I couldn't think of anything in particular right at that second. (Besides, my blood pressure usually doesn't fluctuate that much due to stress, I don't think.)

Later as I was driving home I remembered that earlier today I panicked because of some weird skin things that have been going on with me lately, and I had spent about half an hour looking up melanoma pictures online. So maybe that was it. Or maybe the newly arrived and unaccustomed heat. Or maybe that I was four minutes late. Or that I had been bending over to tie my shoes (which is definitely a lot harder these days.)

Anyway, I have to drink a ton of water and go back in two weeks, watching out for high blood pressure symptoms all the while.

...Then on the way home, my car stalled out in traffic three times. Now that surely lowered my blood pressure.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ol' Kickory

The internal kicking and shoving has become quite noticeable of late. I know when the little Somebody is awake, now. Sometimes I can even see movement ("Poik! Poik!") much like a pet rat under a blanket. However, TheLimey still hasn't been able to feel the movements.

I finally discovered last night that lying on my back flattens everything out enough that the movements are really obvious externally (to me). However, even when I do that and put my hand over his, and can actually see his thumb being kicked, he still can't feel it. Is it because he has such large hands?

So I'm afraid it may have to wait until the baby actually comes out.

Nap-free for four days and counting!

Slouching to Catch Up

My mood has been up and down lately, which may be hormonal. But I think it's also largely a function of this new life wherein I am at home all day, every day.

Yesterday I had that distinct "yaaah-the-walls-are-closing-in!" feeling.

I do have some activities planned, like going in to campus once a week (whether or not there's a reason), attending the weekly birthing classes of course, and finding a La Leche League meeting that I can attend once a month.

I could make other plans to do this or that random activity, I guess, though it would all pretty much involve driving somewhere out of town. Unfortunately, a lot of that kind of activity feels pretty contrived. What I'm missing is the structure of a daily task. I've been working (outside the home) since I was a teenager, so this is really hard.

As much as I wanted time off from the insanity of grad school, this is maybe the opposite extreme. I really have to get myself straightened out about this before the baby gets out. Not because I want a schedule to fit the baby into (ha!), but because I really feel I should be clear and solid in my own mind before then.

Now as far as all this eating goes--man, it's hard. I can't keep up with all the dang food we're supposed to be eating. I especially find it hard to get in all the vegetables, and then the other vegetables. Based on what I can tell from the nutritional analysis, it's really supposed to be a diet that would include all necessary nutrients without taking any supplements, whereas I do actually take a prenatal vitamin, so I don't think I'm actually going deficient. Yes, of course I know that ideally all our nutrients would come from a whole food source rather than a vitamin, but better that than not.

In fact, I'm feeling a bit rebellious about having someone tell me exactly what to eat, dammit, when I've made such a study of nutrition on my own. Hmph.

Have not needed a midday nap the past few days, so that's been nice. I even slept through the night last night, except for a brief disturbance or two by noisy trains.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I awoke today feeling pretty awful...nosebleed, headache, fatigue, and even some replaying of the ol' "morning" sickness. I haven't gotten much done today. I feel successful at having eaten breakfast and lunch. I think the headache is beginning to subside a bit, now that it's nearly three, but I spent a lot of time trying to sleep it off on the couch today.

I still think that the various symptoms are at least somewhat tiredness related. I didn't get to bed until late last night as I was cooking some food for the return of TheLimey from his brief business trip out of state. I just wanted something to be waiting for him when he got back in the middle of the night.

But I have to get on some kind of schedule--maybe I can get up early and go to bed at 6pm or something, instead of staying up (usually until the late late hour of 10!) and then sleeping late. Of course, if I did that I'd never see my husband.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I have been feeling pretty good for about...what, 7 or 8 weeks or so now? That gave me 5 or 6 weeks to finish out the teaching semester and wrap it up, and then a week or so to begin tidying up all the tattered trailing remnants of my life that have been catching on the doorjambs of the world for about five years now.

It's been great! I've actually done laundry, chased down mysterious insurance charges with Blue Cross by phone, begun clearing out the office of stacks of various papers that will interfere with my research beginning, tidied the kitchen a few times, worked on getting my data into the house and numbered, and concentrated greatly on childbirth class homework. Especially that eating bit. I'm not kidding--it takes a lot of time to daily figure out, prepare for, buy, eat, and keep track of my nutritional requirements.

I even made a weekly schedule a couple days ago that incorporates research/academic tasks and exercise/eating requirements into a reasonable, doable amount of time, while still giving me time for things like actually looking at my bank statements and bills (especially the ones in my name).

So I've felt like I am finally getting to where I can both do my work and have a life, and maybe even finish my research before the baby comes (out). Which is going to have to be a real priority, as it will be nigh-impossible to do anything on it for a long time after that, which could mean even further delays in getting this damn PhD.

However, for the past seven days, I have begun requiring more sleep again; about twelve or thirteen hours it's looking like. This means that I may well get up at 6 or 7 with TheLimey, but then within an hour I have to go back to bed for the morning. I mean, have to. So my day then begins at 11:30 or so instead of 7.

I really hate losing half the day. Sleeping late like this makes me feel depressed and weird, and really behind in everything, from the minute I awake. It means that everything I've scheduled for the morning is just gone and I have to squeeze it into the remaining five hours of the workday, which is always impossible.

I was hoping that it was just a fluke, a day or two of tiredness, but now it's gone on for a whole week. I am going to have to drastically rethink my schedule if this is going to continue for the rest of my pregnancy, because there goes eighty hours of (non-gestational) work a month, just like that >snap<.

It also does not help to be getting several invitations from the APA to join as a member (rather than a student member) "now that I've graduated." When in reality, I won't be graduating for--at the absolute earliest--another two years. Thanks for reminding me, APA!

Monday, May 15, 2006


1. No nosebleeds for a while now.

2. Itching and scratching have diminished--perhaps the growth and molting are complete.

3. That class is rigorous as far as homework! I have to get back on track with the exercises. The hardest one to do is the relaxation. It's especially hard because it's supposed to be guided by my husband, and ... it's just hard to get us both on the same page to do this at the same time, and do it every day. But it's the most important aspect of how this whole birthing method works, so I have to find a way to get us to both do it unfailingly.

It's also hard to eat everything I'm supposed to. The diet is based on the Brewer diet. I do use the checkboxes on my daily worksheet to remind myself which components to eat. However, I don't always follow it strictly.

I try to make sure that I get all necessary nutrients as advocated by the Nutrition Analysis Tool, which I plumb fergot about. (I used it for my Master's thesis.) However, I do try to get the 80-100 grams of protein advocated by the Brewer diet rather than the lower 60 grams advocated by the NAT. Usually, by the time I eat all the eggs, whole grains, and dairy products on my worksheet, I already have the 80-100 grams, and don't need to add another protein source.

4. Almost forgot--bellybutton is starting to disappear! (Soon I'll look like a clone.)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

I had gotten some hints that I might get crepes in bed today, which I did. So nice to have a gourmet-cooking husband! However, I was surprised to also get a nice gift certificate for a nearby spa for some kind of 4 hour package thingy. (I suggested it would involve some kind of long and severe deep-tissue massage by large German women, but I don't think it does in reality.) Now I have to think of something really good to give him for Father's Day!

It's already 21 weeks. "Your baby is the size of a large banana." Where did the past five weeks go?

There is a lot of kicking now, which I can even feel from the outside. However, the baby always stops kicking whenever Daddy tries to feel the kicks, however patient he tries to be.

Well, eventually.

The heartburn has been a lot worse. I have to make sure that I eat long before bedtime or else I will be awoken in the middle of the night and kept awake for usually several hours.

We have gone to the birthing class twice now. Last time the instructor showed a video of a homebirth (in water). It looked ouchy but doable. The mother didn't even tear or anything, so there was no blood. I think TheLimey felt a bit anxious about all the noise she was making, but it's good to begin the exposure now.

Now I think of the baby as a girl, ever since the midwife appeared to have revealed that...it's a girl. Who knows! It'll be whatever it is. I haven't bought anything different or made any different preparations, at any rate. I still am not interested in getting frilly dresses. However, I do have somewhat different feelings, as I imagine I can identify more with girls, having been one. Therefore it's sort of like I have a deeper or more detailed image of what I think it will be like.

Nevertheless, a baby is a baby. It's going to use that German porcelain hedgehog-pattern teaset (from eBay, a couple years ago) either way, as Daddy and I read Wind in the Willows out loud and drink from our own grownup-size teacups.

Monday, May 01, 2006


I'm going to review this Slate article whenever I am tempted to accede to anyone's efforts to make me feel had about having the baby sleep in our room.

There's been a lot of kicking lately. Or rather, I'm guessing there's probably the same amount of kicking as before, but I can feel it more regularly now.

At that midwife visit last week, I learned that I had a "big jump" in weight (i.e. I'm at 140 now, where I started at 129 or so pre-conception.) I think this is as it should be, and I was merely catching up to where I would have been had I not spent so much time feeling so miserably ill. However, I am surprised to find that I have some slippery-slope feelings of "Oh, no, I've started gaining weight and I'll never stop!" Also I feel guilty that I've been so sedentary, and think it would feel better if I were back to exercising more. It's hard to tell what's unnecessary guilt and what's reasonable motivation.

As the results of the ultrasound had arrived, the midwife told me that the placenta is attached in the front, and that this means there is a stronger chance that the baby will come out facing the front "sunny-side-up" (which in birth terms, is backwards--it should be facing your spine.) (And it's only "sunny-side-up" if you're lying on your back to give birth, which I assure you will not be the case. I'm pretty sure I'll be on my hands and knees and hiding under the bed.)

Great. This backwards birth position means longer and more painful labor, and as the midwife reported about her own child, a lot of head and facial bruising that can last weeks. (The squished baby, not the mother.)

However, she also reported that a recent British study suggested that one thing that encourages this "sunny-side-up" positioning is slouching. That's right, bad posture is bad for one more thing. Recliners are apparently bad for the same reason. So I am making an effort to sit up straight all the time, to make plenty of room in there for it to get into the right position. (This is easier to remember whenever I feel a little mnemonic kick.)

She was able to locate the hearbeat immediately with the doppler this time, as the baby's back was at my front (a good sign?!). If you haven't heard what a fetal heartbeat sounds like somewhere or other, then just do this: in the back of your throat, make a sound like the "ch" in "challah" or "loch", then with the front of your mouth modulate the swooshing sound coming out to say "wow, wow, wow, wow," continually. That's pretty much exactly how it sounds.

The other thing that happened is that when I referred to the baby as "he" as I have been doing for a while now, the midwife said, " 'He'? What's that about?" I said we still (purposely) didn't know the sex of the baby but I'd been calling it "he" for a while now.

I thought the ultrasound tech said that she was not going to write down the sex, but...now that I think about it, there are some different issues with boy and girl babies (like length of gestation), so maybe she just meant she wouldn't write it down for us, but did put it in the report that the midwife got? Did the midwife give away something she thought we already knew (as nearly everyone else can't wait to find out the sex of the baby at the 20-week ultrasound)?

So now I'm trying to figure out if she was just questioning my use of "he" because how could I know, or because she knows something different. Maybe my feeling that it's a boy is just because we have a macho girl, like mummy. (At which my husband can't contain his sarcasm, -- I expect it protects his ego to imagine I am a gentle little flower.)

So, anyway--birthing classes begin tomorrow evening. Yikes.