Saturday, July 30, 2011

Positively Overwhelmed: Starting To Feel Like a Parent

"You're doing a good job growing my son" - Todd

I can't sleep. My bladder and my dream factory have woken me up several times and now I'm just...up. I'm getting more and more anxious. Our countdown to the due date is officially in the teens now (19 to be exact). It's all tangible and the excitement is overwhelming. That moment when you KNOW it's time is like the last major, genuine surprise you get in life. And that surprise could happen to us any day.

I wonder what he'll look like. We both have (naturally) medium brown hair, hazel eyes, and freckles. We're both tall. I have sleepy eyes and full lips. Todd has long eyelashes and a small beak. In the ultrasound pictures, he clearly had my jaw/chin and Todd's nose, and they could already tell he had hair at 18 weeks. I have a feeling he'll have lots of hair, not sure why...probably the heartburn. My stepson doesn't look ANYTHING like my husband. Not one bit. So I'm super interested to see some of him in our son.

Our son...who just woke up and is playing ribcage xylophone.

I love him so much that I'm on the fence about wanting him here so we can be a family and keeping him in there where I can protect him and keep him safe. Once he's out, he's exposed to the harshness of this world. Horrible things happen, kids are cruel, there's emotional pain. Is this what being a parent is like? Pure panic?? Todd and I love each other and are totally in love with Spencer, which I have to believe is the most important thing. And there's a huge support system of family and pals (all his rock-n-roll aunts and uncles) that will help mold him into a strong individual, providing him with all the love he needs. He's a lucky boy.

But Todd and I are far luckier. The luckiest.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

So Close: Our Son's Arrival Is Right Around The Corner

Do NOT Google "mucous plus" unless you really want to see it. Nightmarish.

Oh, by the way, you DON'T want to see it. Even if you ARE pregnant.

So today I am 37 weeks along and my man is either the size of swiss chard or a really round watermelon, depend on who you ask. I'm guessing the comparison to swiss chard has to do with his length and the watermelon with his overall size ("Monster melon"). Either way, he's as tasty as ever.

I'm definitely starting to loosen up, ligament-wise. I've got the waddle going on but I was told that it's cute. I'm not leaking any breast milk, my feet and ankles aren't swollen, I'm still painting my own toenails (they're Slate this week)...but I AM contracting at really odd intervals. Last night, they were 2 hours and 48 minutes, 3 hours 24 minutes, 1 hour and 26 minutes, and 18 minutes apart...followed by nothing because I fell asleep. The previous day, they were 1 hour 29 minutes, 5 minutes, 41 minutes, and 3 hours 11 minutes apart. So we're all over the map in the contraction department.

Oh! My man is awake! And he has the hiccups. He ALWAYS has the hiccups.

At this moment, he's shedding all that weird vernix and lanugo shtuff and swallowing amniotic fluid. My nephews recently inquired what a shot of amniotic fluid might taste like. That was enough to make me want to throw up in my mouth. Basically, he's good to go and could come out at any time but the longer he cooks, the better. The only thing still developing really is the lungs. They're maturing and something called "surfactant" is being secreted. I guess that keeps the lungs from sticking together when he begins to breathe. I find that fascinating.

I find the fact that the lungs COULD stick together horrific!

I have 8 work days left until maternity leave. I'd be lying if I said I'm not starting to get nervous. I am. Not about being a parent or being responsible for raising a human being. I've gotten over that. I'm nervous about the dogs. I'm nervous about the house not being as clean as I want it. I'm nervous about my maternity-leave replacement being properly trained. I'm nervous about money (although it is so nice to know a paycheck is coming every week while I'm off). I'm nervous about things going well during delivery. I'm nervous that he might not be healthy or there will be some other complication. And yeah, I'm nervous about the pain and my ability to remain tough.

I'm sure every mother has these worries but they're all hitting me like a ton of bricks and keeping me up at night...though my bladder and a baby that never seems to sleep help with that one. I'm taking everything day by day. Actually, I'm taking things hour by hour because I never know for certain how I'm going to feel. I'm doing the best I can. This much I know.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Pain Game: Having My Aching Suspicions Confirmed

Only 2 doctor's appointments (or LESS) to go before our due date!

Time flies when you're having...contractions? I had my weekly appointment this morning with one of my doctor's colleagues since she's off this week. I've seen this doctor before so I was totally comfortable. Well, as comfortable as I COULD be in an office without the air conditioning on...preggo chicks need AC, buddy...and after a day of pretty intense pain.

I had to leave work before the day even began yesterday because I was doubled over more than I was upright. I felt like I had an industrial strength rubberband around my mid-section which had me all rolled up on myself. So, feeling like a wuss, I bailed. I crawled back into bed and there I stayed for the duration. I slept on and off, watched a little TV when I was too uncomfortable to snooze, and had some mac-n-cheese care of the husband. Yep. That was my day in it's entirity.

Today I hit the doctor for what I hope was my third to last visit. My blood pressure was 110/64 (I was told this was excellent and I'll take excellent any day). Spencer's fetal heart rate was 160, which is the quickest it's even been! The nurse said he is a very active baby...I've been hearing that a lot about my little Squiggy. When the doc came in, I told him about the pain I'd been having and he had me lay down to measure my fundal height (36 cm), and right then...YEEEEEOUCH!

Me: I'm having a pain right now.
Doc: You're having a contraction right now!

He told me he could feel my entire belly firm up and that I was having a contraction at that very moment. He began feeling around to see if Spencer's head was down (and pushing on me like that while I was contracting was NOT awesome) but I was "very firm". He brought in the ultrasound just to be sure my guy was in position, which he was. I wish he wouldn't turned the screen to let me see my man. I should've asked. Wuss.

The weird thing is that he didn't do an internal physical exam. I was told I'd be examined for dilation and effacement every week until I popped but not this time. So I have no idea where I stand in that department. You would think that since he was handling me at the very moment I had a contraction, he'd be interested in what was happening below the belt. He just told me to stay on patrol (I had another contraction 33 minutes later so I'm thinking this is still all pre-term garbage) because things were definitely a-brewing. I'm guessing we'll get some news at my appointment next Thursday, if Spencer doesn't shock us all before.

In other tales of interest...

1. I am NOT a Group B Strep carrier so no antibiotics during delivery.
2. Spencer scored a third generation Yorktown Lanes bowling shirt from the Cottrells!!
3. He also scored another home-made blanket, this one with spaceships & aliens.

I managed to cart the Spencer bump to the Roll-n-Bowl for a few hours on Saturday but he told me when he reached his limit. We went home and watched Gray's Anatomy in bed while Todd rubbed my head. Sunday, I'm attempting to cart him to the Renaissance Faire in Geneva with his daddy and Auntie Phee-Bizzle. That will most likely be the last hurrah (and huzzah!) before my agenda switched to Motherhood Mode. I'm excited for both events, motherhood AND mutton-n-mead. Well, no mead for me but you get the point!

See you Thursday when we hit 37 weeks or 21 days to go!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Coming Soon: Time Flies When You're Creating Life From Scratch


Me: Your son is the size of a cashew melon. I’m not sure what that is. Probably something in that exotic melons of California bin at Giant Eagle.
Todd: We can put him there when he's born and see which one he looks like
Me: By then he’ll be one of those weird little watermelons. I'll miss getting my weekly fruit salad updates.
Todd: Crazy cashew
Me: Oops. It's a CRENSHAW melon.
Todd: Boy in the hood
Me: I don't know what that means.
Todd: Crenshaw Ave.
Me: Oh.
Todd: My little maniac melon

For your viewing pleasure, here is a CRENSHAW melon, the week 36 fruit.

And here is what I look like had I swallowed a Crenshaw melon.

So we've got 4 weeks or 28 days until we hit our due date, depending on how you want to slice it. I'll slice it whichever way sounds shorter. I guess, according to What To Expect, I'm considered full-term now so if Spencer were to appear, all would/should be well. I can officially go into labor at any time. My dad had the nerve to say I still had 4 to 6 weeks to go. No tacking on extra time, sir!!  We'll know more on Tuesday as the doc checks for dilation, effacement, and "cervical ripeness". Yeah, pregnancy is gross.

Spencer isn't gross though. He's rocking away in there, although it was a little less than usual yesterday. But when Todd got into bed, he gave the bump it's night time rub and Spencer started showing off for his daddy. Because I'm carrying a boy, I tend to eat more, or so "they" say. I can buy that. I've consumed more Lucky Charms during pregnancy than I did in my youth! And my eating is giving him energy to practice sucking, blinking, swallowing, pivoting...all the stuff he'll be doing when he enters this crazy bananas world.

His head at birth will be the same circumference as his hips, abs, and shoulders. Odd.

So there it is. The scoop, if you will. I can't WAIT for him to get here!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

News Flash: A Lack-Of-News Flash

So I had my first weekly doctor's visit today and this is what we've learned:

-His heart beat was 150.

-My blood pressure is still really good.

-His head is down so he hasn't repositioned.

-My cervix is shut, but per my doc, it's still pretty early.

-The fundal height was 34cm which she considered OK.

-The Group B Strep results should be in tomorrow.

The next appointment is 1 week from today so we'll see if anything changes. But like she said, it's still pretty early. He won't even be considered full-term until the end of next week. But she also said anything can happen, it's unpredictable, so I'm still on contraction patrol.

When they're 5 minutes apart for 1 hour, I'll call in. She doesn't like to send broads to Labor and Delivery unless everything sounds promising because they'll just send you home if the timing isn't right. If it's during office hours, she'll check me out there first. If it's in the evening, I can call and then go to L&D or go to L&D and then call.

Either way, I'm leaving with a baby.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Getting Dirty: Slathered In Paint Spencer-Style

I haven't been feeling up to snuff or top notch lately so I tried to relax this weekend. I didn't push myself. Lots of sleeping. Lots of couching. Lots of cartoons. Probably one too many chocolate covered pretzels. But just to make sure the weekend wasn't a total wash (and it wasn't...there was lots of much needed down time with Todd), I decided to do some paintings for the Spencer Dome. And I don't mean to pat myself on the back but I sure accomplished a lot in a day or two.

I love that I can do these things for my little man. I still have a pregnant ghost (I'm not sure it's supposed to be pregnant but the position it's in and the pooch that it has leads me to believe it's preggo) that my mom made in a ceramics class when she was pregnant with me. I love having it. Spencer may be pumped to have these mom-made things some day. Unless he doesn't like robots and which case he is clearly NOT our child and I'll have to exchange him.

In non-painting news, I have my next doctor's appointment tomorrow which included the Group B Strep test. If you don't know what that is, look it up. Sounds like loads of fun. Of course I'll do anything to ensure the safest delivery for Spencer but there's nothing like getting the bulk of your nether regions swabbed to put a spring in your step! Appointments continue every week after this and the doc should start telling us if I'm dilating or effaced at all. 30 days from tomorrow. A-maz-ing. Truly.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Winding Down: Entering The Final Month of Preggoness

Welcome to the last month of my pregnancy! Only 5 weeks to go!

It's so hard for me to believe that this whole countdown started with 280 days and a baby the size of a pin-point. Now there are only 35 days until I give birth to a boy the size of a cantaloupe (as of now...once he hits 40 weeks, it's watermelon city).

He's still all soft. Skull, bones, cartilage. That's all well and good for squeezing him out of my junk but it still scares the bejesus out of me. My little marshmallow man. So fragile. And growth is allegedly experiencing a slow down at this point in time. I already knew he hit his birth length but I guess he'll be packing on the pounds a bit slower to save energy for his big journey. Such a short distance to travel...yet such a huge deal!

An interesting fact: while most of his systems are mature, his digestive system won't be fully operational for 1 to 2 years due to him depending on the umbilical cord in utero. Fascinating. To me. His mother. The penguin.

Yep, even though I'm not carrying much weight, I've got the pregnant penguin walk going on because all the weight I DO have, it front and center. Yep, I'm waddling a little but it's entertaining. And important, or so I hear. The waddle means my connective tissue is loosening which is important for the big day.

On a very awesome note, I have to believe that Spencer is "dropping", which sometimes doesn't happen until labor begins, because I can BREATHE! I can take actual, deep breaths without feeling like I'm going to keel over. I'll never take breathing for granted again. Breathlessness (and I have asthma so I know something about it) is horrific.

On a less awesome note, I haven't been feeling so hot the past few days. Horrible headache, dizziness, blurry vision. And of course there's the cramping/contractions and one fussy pain that I can't shake. And during all this "off" feeling, Spencer has been THEE most active he's ever been. I love it, but it makes it a bit difficult to get any solid rest. I had to take the day off work yesterday but everyone understands. We're in the home stretch. If he were born today, he'd have a 99% chance of surviving. That's a percentage I can live with.

Not sure how long I can live with this skull crushing business. But this helped.

Doc appointment on Tuesday. More blathering then...unless I burst before.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Internally Boxed: Being Abused and Entertained From the Inside Out


My tiny, precious, little man that depends on me for sustenance, protection, and BOXING MY GUTS nine ways from Sunday! Last night was like nothing he and I have ever experienced during our time together. For about 12 hours straight (no exaggeration), he twisted and turned and stretched and kicked and punched and rumbled and karate-chopped his mama's insides! He wants OUT! He's done! And honestly, I'm done, too. My internals can't take much more of this beat down. Half a day of internal attacks is a long time. And believe me, I love my little ninja. But going from a steady stream of movement to a full-tilt boogie, roller-disco, demolition derby in my uterus is exhausting.

I didn't get any sleep last night due to the beat down so I'm struggling this morning. I love being pregnant. In fact, I was telling Todd how much I'll miss the bump when it's gone, to which he replied, "We'll make another one". But I'm ready for Spencer to come on out into the world. I can make it another 5 weeks...I'm tough enough...but it would be nice to just have him be here. I made him from scratch. I want him in my arms. And I want my ribs to remain intact!  Pals have begun placing their bets as to when he'll arrive.  The winner gets the bottom shelf liquor of their choice delivered by me, dressed as a saucy cartoon character.

And my maternity leave begins 1 month from today (or sooner if there's a jailbreak).

12 weeks of the Spence Monster and me. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Taking a Tour: Welcome To The Spencer Dome

Off topic right off the bat, Todd just said, "What up baby bake oven". Ha!

He also referred to Spencer as "punky pineapple".

Besides a glider and gliding ottoman that should be arriving today (a Baptism gift from my parents) and a few robot and space monster paintings I want to do, the Spencer Dome was completed last night! It has officially replaced the art room as my favorite room in the house. No matter what's going on, I feel 100% better just by sneaking a peek in the nursery. It wasn't just put together by us...all of his family-n-friends had their paws in making his room awesome. And speaking of sneak peeking, here's a little tour for those of you who might not be able to make it to Castle Grayskull any time soon. Welcome to the Spencer Dome!

Entrance to the Spencer Dome, featuring the puzzle that was made for him at the baby shower. Lots of sweet messages and pure awesomeness.

Wall #1 - a closet full of clothes, a basket full of plush pals, a growth chart, and Dr. Nightmare attorney-at-law (checking out the competition).

Astronauts (or aliens) need to be big and strong.

Some new friends and some of my old friends.

Wall #2 - changing table, dresser, and pure awesomeness.

Besides all the diapers, receiving blankets, and toys, we have an awesome stack of blankets handmade for Spencer by his family (ROBOT BLANKET from Aunt Jen May!!!).

How cool is this? Monster, Outer Space AND Robot? It was DESTINY for him to have this in his room. All the crucial elements to being a cool little boy.

His dresser and his extra-special mementos that he won't appreciate until he's older.

From top left: shark beanie made by Aunt Natalie, baby shower invite, book from and skeleton family made by Grandma Honey, Birthday Book from Aunt Barracuda, picture of us with our moms and the penny my mom found the day I told her I was preggo, Spencer's first shark and a ceramic egg from Aunt Bizzle, framed favors from the shower and his Little Black Book from Uncle Richard, first newsboy hat, NCTM/NCC hoodie from Grandpa Rich, shark robe from Aunt Bizzle, Me and My Big Brother frame, piggy bank we bought the day we found out we were having a son, and shark Squishable from his cousin Megan.

Wall #3 - crib and clothes hamper.

Where my little monster will spend his nights. I would sleep in there if only I could fit. Though I haven't actually tried to fit yet...

Wall #4 - book case and space posters. Possibly future location of above mentioned glider.

Awesome space paintings. The far right was a gift from Aunt Sugar and Uncle Texas Pete.

The bookshelf was a gift from Aunt Barracuda and Aunt Wen-Dog. They (and their families) picked out books that they loved for Spencer, and there's more to come. I plan to jam-pack this shelf FULL and to read to him daily. I'm a book work and I think it's great bonding time. The shelf was an incredibly thoughtful and cool gift.

So there you have it. The Spencer Dome!!! Hope you enjoyed your visit!

Dreaming Is Free: Is Lots of Hair and Funny Ears In Store?

I dreamed of Spencer again last night. I was checking in on him in the middle of the night like a terrified mom even though Todd told me to relax. There he was, wide awake and chubby cheeked in his crib. He had tons of fluffy hair (like his dad) and over sized ears that he was gripping on to. After I woke up and realized I was dreaming, I couldn't fall back to sleep. I'm ready to hang out with my boy.

I'm 34 weeks today and he is the size of my most hated food, the pineapple. Blech.

The specs say he's probably between 19 - 22 inches long and a around 5.5 pounds, but that's all speculation and guesstimation. The rest of his growth with be pounds, not inches, and it could be anywhere from 1 measly pound to several. We'll just have to wait and see. As of my doctor's appointment yesterday, I have not gained any more weight, but that really means squat. It's at this time that my monster is becoming "squeezably soft", like he was in my dream. Swoon. And his squeezably soft brain is continuing to develop at warp speed.

Nothing much has changed about me since last week or my last appointment. I haven't gained any weight and I'm still getting up only once or twice during the night to empty my tank. No swollen feet/ankles or varicose veins either!And thank sweet zombie Jesus, I haven't had any moments of urgency or lack of bladder control when I laugh or sneeze. But there's still time for all that magic to happen. I'm feeling good (and my mom was told that I look good, healthy and happy, which is quite the compliment), just getting anxious to meet our son! Patience is not one of my virtues.

My doctor's appointment was pretty boring as well...and boring is good! No news is good news. His heart rate was 148, my blood pressure was excellent, his head is down, he's in position, and he's pretty much out of room in there (the punching I've been feeling behind my belly button is actually from a KNEE). And my fundal height was a little over 33cm so I'm no longer measuring ahead at all! Way to go, Spence! Since I'm still having constant dull back pain, I was told to keep an eye on the cramping for anything "measurable" and to call if there were any physical changes down below.

Spencer totally pulled one over on the nurse. She was dead set he was in one position but couldn't find his heartbeat so she started poking around. The little sucker was laid out in a completely ridiculous position and the nurse was really shocked that he had tricked her. Silly baby.

So my next appointment is set for the 19th (we'll be married 1 year and 10 months that day) and after that, I'll go every week. How's THAT for a sign that it's all getting close?? Until then, I'm taking it as easy as I can. I know I keep saying that I'm anxious to get Spencer into my arms, but I know he needs every extra minute he can get in the oven to give him a good start. Dr. Nightmare is making sure he stays right where he belongs...for now!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Fun: Another Way My Son Is Like His Mom

I have a check-up today to see how the Spence Monster is coming along. I have to see another doc because mine is on vacation but I guess I'm fine with that. There's always a chance my doctor won't be on-call when I go into labor so it's not a bad idea to get to know as many people in the practice as I can in the next 6 weeks.

Though my aunt (a nurse for 30 years) suspects he'll arrive in early August.

This weekend, I submerged the bump into not ONE but TWO swimming pools for the first time. Well, I was going to the rec but that was before I could even feel him move so I'm not counting it. Typically, when I move, he zonks out and when I'm resting, he's jamming out. Not so when it came to the swimming pool! The entire time I was splashing about, HE was splashing about! I thought the water would be even more calming and lulling but he was going BERZERK! I swam and he swam. NON-STOP!

Therefore, I must conclude he is part me.

I fall more and more in love with this boy every day. He's just so quirky. Maybe you don't think I can already know that with him still stuffed inside my guts but I know him better than ANYONE. He makes me laugh. He blows my mind. And his pool behavior was just another totally bizarre thing he did. The rec offers swimming lessons starting at 6 months so I think me and my little squid will be there.

And on a non-pool related rant, he kicked the other day and I was able to clearly hold/grab/rub a foot or a knee...or a fist if he's in some really jacked-up position. It was the first time this happened and it temporarily freaked me out! By being so cool, that is. Every day it's something new. Something awesome!

Back tomorrow with a doctor's appointment and 34 week update!!!