Saturday, August 26, 2006

36 Weeks

36 weeks is only two weeks away from being considered "full-term", although I'd certainly like a riper baby than 38 weeks if possible.

For some reason we had a People magazine (I think) rattling around here recently, and there were pix of the J*lie/P1tt crew hanging out in the sands of Namibia, being generally pregnant and/or incipiently parental.

I wanted a photo for direct comparison, so I subjected myself to the photo-taking you can see here. However, now I believe I pitched the magazine in the trash already, so there is no comparison photo. Only this one. Please keep whale comments to oneself. Also sea-cow comments.

It is indeed strange for one's body image to suddenly gain 30-odd pounds for any reason, even under the supervision of medical personnel. (See butt, below).

Please note, these photos are now two weeks old, and are therefore already somewhat out of date as far as the stickoutage of The Belly.

So let's see, what have I been experiencing regularly but not writing down?

The first things that come to mind are a lot of physical complaints: the incessant reflux (worst at night when trying to sleep), random insomnia, painful hip problems (someone recently compared me to an Irish Setter), exhaustion and absolute lack of stamina, intermittent depression, and for the past few weeks--severe cankles. If I thought this might go on indefinitely, these symptoms might distress me more, but under the circumstances they seem tolerable. I also have a lot more contractions--maybe a couple dozen a day--and some are lasting pretty long now. Gearing up for the Big Squeezathon.

The other thing is that it's much easier to see the wiggulations of the baby, as little pointy body parts move across the face of The Belly, or create a giant "wave" that warps and moves the entire bump. Usually by the time I point it out, it's stopped, so that TheLimey has only seen this a few times, though he has been greatly impressed when he has. There are still hiccups, which are often visible, but they've tapered off somewhat to maybe once daily instead of twice or three times. If I pat the little fanny-area, the baby wakes up and stretches. Hee. And, ouch.

When we were on our little weekend-vacation, there was a noticeable increase in the number of women who started conversations regarding my due date and the likely sex of the baby, and how great it is to have kids, etc. etc. (See 8/14 entry.) I couldn't figure out why the sudden chattiness. Vacation town? I seemed more relaxed or something? Largeness getting to some crucial point?

It wasn't until I wore the same outfit again (not pictured)--which features a "maternity" top that always rides up and shows The Belly--that I figured out that they're responding to the actual Belly being visible, as this outfit elicited a number of "cuteness"-type comments among acquaintances. Shameless exhibitionist that I am, I just really don't care that much (which actually is not the definition of an exhibitionist), and will wear whatever the heck is expedient. It didn't even occur to me that this might be seen as ... what ... daring, or something.

Not until a compatriot pregger in the waiting room at the midwife center commented that she wished she was as "courageous" as I was to wear stuff like that. Psychosocial meaning: it's the kind of sight that engages people's attention and emotion whether they want it to or not. Then the light went on, and I realized that for every person who thought it was "cute" or "courageous", there was probably someone else who found it "obnoxious."

Later at the supermarket this hypothesis was borne out, as a bitter-looking older woman was shooting dagger looks at me (though it's hard not to look bitter when you're shooting dagger looks.) Even when I saw her 20 minutes later across the ice cream aisle, she had not forgotten that I was her nemesis and shot me some more daggers. Well, theoretically I don't care, but it did make me feel both self-conscious and defensively angry. Like someone was shooting dagger looks at my actual baby...which in a sense, she was.

When I was last at the midwife, one of the other women from my Bradley class came out, and she was very upset. Apparently her amniotic fluid was low, and they were going to have to induce her (otherwise they'd let it go pretty much as long as the baby wanted). Induction, you don't want. Especially after taking a 12-week course in natural birth that boasts a 90% meds-free rate. In those cases, most everything you've been trying to do goes right out the window once you're induced (the contractions aren't like normal ones, once you're given pitocin for induction or augmentation.)

I actually drove out to the hospital to see her the next day, hoping to at least get to see a baby. However, she'd been there all night having various natural induction methods tried on her (castor oil, etc.), and still hadn't started. They were just about to hit her with that nasty pitocin when I arrived. Poor thing. In the end, I hear she had to have a C-section. Dang, I so want to avoid that. At least I know she has a ton of family members in the area who have been supportive, so she'll have people to help her through the post-surgery period.

Speaking of interventions...since I haven't been working on the couch belly-down all day lately, I think it's influenced the baby's position. S/he's been in a nice, nearly head-down position (maybe at the 25-minute spot, if my belly were a clock face) for maybe two months already (as determined by hiccup position and pointy feet position), about which I've been very happy. Head-down baby is good baby. But for the past three days, the head's been more at the 15-minute mark and the feet at the 45-minute mark...which is really really bad. Completely sideways baby is even worse than completely upside-down baby.

However, I had my chiro appointment yesterday, and that did seem to help pretty quickly. At the next set of hiccups, I determined that the head was already almost back where it had been. I know, I know...scientifically it doesn't work, etc. etc. But as far as efficacy (as opposed to effectiveness), it sure as heck works for me. I'm in a lot of pain and discomfort, I go in, she does crunchy stuff to my hips, and I can walk and sit again when I come out. I don't know about all this "subluxation" business, or the idea that "pinched nerves" are at the root of all mankind's evils, but as for actual musculoskeletal concerns, it does what I want it to. (And since she's had seven kids of her own using the Bradley method, I will actually listen to her suggestions.)

Finally, what's funny is this: when you're trying to squeeze past something, and you turn sideways as usual to reduce your profile--but your sideways profile is actually larger. (This is funny for other people, mind you.)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

eva, one hour old

eva, one hour old
Originally uploaded by didonatos.
Hey, I want a calm, smiley one like this mother's!

Monday, August 21, 2006

2.5-5.5 Weeks!

Very short post, as I have too much to do right now anyway. Hopefully more later.

Increased spontaneous napping again daily for hours, as well as a simultaneous occurrence of the Melancholy, Lonesome Ugly, Good-For-Nothin' Blues for a while now. It's hard to parse out what is chemical and what is circumstantial, as is true of most depression-related feelings.

I'm incredibly swollen, not unlike a flavor-injected turkey, have completely lost my ankles, and can't fit any of my shoes at all. (No, really.) Wearing an old silver ring that I found in a liquor-store parking lot a few years back instead of my wedding ring. Can't sit in a normal sitting position due to back probs and now the swelling, too. Standing still also increases swelling. However, walking seems to help, though my endurance is pretty low. And how much of my day can I spend walking, when I have so much to do?

Baby constantly writhing and stretching these days, and has very sharp feet to poke into my ribs. Also apparently likes headbutting my cervix a great deal.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Only 3 to 6 Weeks Left!

I ordered the FuzziBunz diapers today, at least the first dozen. I got them in the least gender-specific colors I could. The best deal I could find was not the place nearest us after all, but a place in Texas. Free shipping and free microterry inserts! Volume discounts! Nursing bras! (Those are coming up all too soon, too, I guess.)

I also received some other things I ordered last week, such as an old-tyme baby scale from eBay, and a toilet-attached diaper sprayer for reduced touching of poop. We still have to set up the little cradle next to the bed, though I imagine the baby will spend a considerable amount of time actually in the bed. I found several of my baby list items at a Once Upon a Child, which was wildly exciting. Nothing like spending $50 on five or so items, when just one of them would have been $50 new.

My back has been "going out" way too easily. I simply cannot sit at the computer any more, even in TheLimey's $500 ergonomic adjustable chair. I finally was feeling pretty good last Thursday and therefore sat in it for about an hour entering my data, and completely threw my back out again. This was agonizing the rest of that day (upon which I had planned to work) and for our car-trip weekend vacation.

I really can't sit down normally anywhere. In fact I'm not sitting right now; I'm kneeling on one knee and supported by a chair under the other leg, which is the only way I can do anything at the computer. It's quite ouchy too, but not as bad as the other thing. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

It takes 4-6 weeks for your cartilage and ligaments to harden up again after birth. I can't wait. (I hope they harden up in the right position!)

Several women that we met in random places (grocery store, art gallery, etc.) over the weekend volunteered a guess that we're having a boy, based on how I'm carrying. However, the research I've seen indicates that this prediction method is only good 50% of the time. Ha ha. (I pretty much didn't say this to them, though.)

I find that I mind much less than I imagined this phenomenon of being sort of public property as a pregnant woman. I'm finding it supportive rather than intrusive, overall.

On the other hand, whenever I see one of those baby programs on The Learning Channel or whatever, I feel kind of sorry for myself. All those women have experienced family and extended family, usually mothers or mothers-in-law, who step in and take care of them those first few weeks after the birth. I am still sad that my mother--the "backwoods" lay midwife--won't be delivering my baby, and that neither my nor TheLimey's mother will be able to meet their new grandbaby. S/he would have been my mom's first grandchild (though his mum's third.) Anyway, they both would have loved to have been here and seen it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Breast Milk for Profit and a MAJOR Discovery in Neonatal Care!

I sometimes just can't believe the things I hear on the news. I mean, I believe it, but I am flabbergasted that the world is doing what it is.

One of those bizarre things that makes me feel exhausted with the world is the processing and sale of donated breastmilk for profit, now due to become widespread. The reason I included the second link is that it makes more clear the fact that pasteurizing human milk removes the advantages of it being breast milk as opposed to formula: its quality of being more or less a living substance (I want to say "tissue", but it's a fluid). Therefore, the company is profiting simply on the idea, not even on something that really benefits the recipient babies.

It's basically the same thing as the old days of hiring a wet nurse (who was often poor, of course, and often had to reduce or stop feeding her own child to nurse the richer family's baby, unless she was already weaning her own, though how common was that?) Except that in those cases, at least whoever was drinking the milk at least got to benefit from live milk (and even cuddling).

And, yes, I am thinking that once again, the poor are going to be offered money to give up their bodies or parts of their bodies, as has been traditional throughout history. Pay a poor person to take on your conscription and get killed in battle in your place. Pay a poor person to have sex with you (or more likely, pay their batterer to coerce them to have sex with you). Pay a poor person to give you their organs for transplant, or give their blood and plasma. Pay a poor person to be experimented on with pharmaceuticals. In most of those cases, the majority of the bodies currently being sold are female and/or children. So I shouldn't be surprised about the milk thing, I guess.

Now, the other thing I heard on the radio while we were driving (to the midwife as a matter of fact) that actually made me laugh out loud (but not LOL, thank you very much) was about a brand-new, simple way to reduce anemia in infants in the "Developing World".

"If they'd just allow the umbilical cord to empty into the baby before they cut it, they wouldn't have so much of a problem with anemia in the first place," I muttered in annoyance at the radio.

"It's a funny solution you wouldn't have thought of!"* [<--paraphrased, but not much] says the doctor being interviewed. "...[The study shows we should] simply delay the time you clamp the cord!"

At that point you could probably have actually heard the rolling of my eyes over the road noise in the car.

Ah, yes, those poor infants in the Developing World. Never mind that we do it here, too, thus adding to the risk of months-long anemia and necessitating various interventions that would otherwise be completely spurious. (Clearly, it's true that the Developing World infants are already at additional risk, as their mothers might have serious nutritional deficiencies, the cord-clamping simply being the straw that breaks the back of their tiny little healths.)

But, sheesh, just how dumb are we, anyway?! A major discovery. Tsscchh. What's next?

"Yale study shows that simple treatment of eating food prevents curious and unpleasant sensations of contraction in stomach which, untreated, lead to death!"

*Speak for yourself, pal.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Birthing Tour

Just a quick post, as I am really trying to get non-gestation work done today.

We attended an orientation to the Alternative Birthing Center last night. I really just wanted a tour, but there was a nearly 2-hour lecture about their philosophy first. It was pretty much all stuff I already knew, so I was somewhat bored. When one of the other attendees raised her hand and asked what a placenta was, steam came out of my ears and I got out my PDA to play Bejeweled ("easy" setting).

However, I think it reassured TheLimey that we will get to do things the way that I want and he won't have to be fighting any physicians while I'm laboring. (He's heard too many horror stories about "traditional" childbirth at this point.)

The tour was the final 15 minutes of the whole deal, so we got to see the actual center. Basically, a comfortable room with the addition of a giant tub or jacuzzi in it. And the bed doesn't do as many tricks as the beds in Labor and Delivery do, which is fine with me. (L&D is on the same floor.)

Now, the point at which steam came out of my husband's ears was when the nurse/midwife/guide mentioned that previously, the ABC cost half as much to use as Labor and Delivery, due to the lower-tech provisions in it, but when the hospital saw that people liked using it, they began charging the same amount for either. (So long, low-income families.)

We did see one actual newborn baby in the ABC, just lying there in its swaddling clothes (in caterpillar fashion) on some sort of baby platform next to an office person entering data into a computer. Probably data about the baby. Nobody was even looking at it! It really was kitten-cute, and was blinking its eyes very slowly and confusedly as we all trooped past on our way out.

They all get little electronic anklets that sound an alarm if you try to take one out of the hospital, however.

In other news, I am looking forward to some much-needed brain repair. It just goes to show that you can't be too careful about whom you allow to impregnate you, because that person's DNA is potentially inside your body forever! (Or at least a good long while.)

Also, here comes more evidence that Tom Cruise's poor child may have already gotten a rough start, besides being his child, I mean. I guess when you're really, really rich, no one bothers to warn you when you're taking stupid risks, like performing DIY ultrasound on your own fetus at home. Untrained.

There may be some upcoming cross-pollenization between this blog and my normal one.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Notorious PRG

I don't feel like posting these (or any prego photos with my face in them) on Flick'r, since those ones have been ending up on certain unsavory websites.

Swimming last weekend made me feel like I was my non-prego weight. It'd be nice to have somewhere to swim all the time. (The appearance of my not wearing any bottoms is just due to The Belly hiding them!) I needed two pool noodles to support my bulk this time.

My nails and hair always grow faster this time of year, but this nail growth is ridiculous! I haven't been growing them on purpose, but at this length it's a pain in the behind to cut them so I keep putting it off. Even the one with a flaw down the middle hasn't broken. And even the parts of my nails that had polish on them from my spa day haven't broken. (The white line you can see if you look closely is not malnutrition or illness, but an indication of where the manicure was.)

Trying out the new baby sling with Tom Kitten as subject.

32 Weeks

Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
But not at the best angle for showing the hugeness this time...