Even though there is no actual birth of yet, and I have started working on the birth story. It is here (updated on Saturday September 24th). And of course if there is anything to announce we will put it here in the blog as well.
I am officially done with this pregnancy. I am full-term, meaning if the baby was born now that would be cool. I am also two weeks from my due date, meaning the baby probably won't be born for ages yet. I can say with certainty that this baby will be born before the end of the month, but that is about all I can say.
I am very big, though, and very very tired of being pregnant. I feel much more weighed down by this pregnancy than I did with Delphine. I can't move very fast, I can't bend over easily. I have to reach over my belly to change Delphine or to turn on the kitchen tap. The other day I gave myself a nasty scrape on the belly when I misjudged my size as I was brushing by the corner of our new dresser. I am constantly running into people with it.
I hope that I feel as small and nimble after the baby comes as I feel big and cumbersome now. That would rock.
I am about out of clothes, too. I have two pairs of shorts and one pair of pants that fit and are cool enough for the weather. To go with those I have one maternity top. Until just recently I have been able to wear some of my longer tops, but now I am too big and I get a little horizon of belly between my shirt and pants if I try anything except the maternity top or one of Blake's shirts. It's a good thing I don't have anywhere important to be in the next couple of weeks because I look like a slob.
On the other hand when winter comes I will have a huge wardrobe of many-sized things to choose from, from the last couple of years of constantly changing sizes.
I asked my midwife if there is anything I can do to encourage my body to actually go into labour this time around. She suggested evening primrose oil. I am to take a capsule three times a day, and apply one, ahem, topically (to my cervix) at night. I don't know if it will make any difference, but it feels good to be doing something.
I have a pretty good feeling about having a natural birth this time; this pregnancy has seemed really... active and it seems like my body is responding more to the hormones. I am talking shit, of course, I have no idea whether I will go into labour this time. I don't really care either way; it will be kind of cool to go through labour like a normal person, but on the other hand having a c-section is sweet because you don't get all stretched out and incontinent, and you get to miss out on the sweating and vomiting. The main reason I want a vaginal birth is so I can come straight home from the hospital and not have to sleep on their plastic mattresses and pillows for three days.
Let me just say that this pregnancy is kicking my ass. I was looking over my pregnancy journal for last time and at week thirty-nine -- thirty-nine -- I was complaining, for the first time, about leg pain pelvic twinges and having to walk slower. Until then I had been just fine. It was like a pretend pregnancy; pregnancy-lite.
I have been dealing with that stuff for weeks already this time! If I have been sitting for a long time and then I stand up, I get this miserable ache in my pelvis, like you get the first time you go for a long bike ride in spring, except on the inside. I can't walk at faster than an amble without getting these crazy stitches in my sides. I can't walk at any pace for more than about twenty-minutes without taking a bread. I have to lie at funny angles, or propped up with a pillow, or else the weight of my belly pulls at my sides in weird ways. And I had a leg cramp last night that was so bad that I woke Blake up with my freaking out.
And so tired. I can sleep and sleep and sleep, and when I wake up, all I want to do is sleep some more. I wish I could have a day off to just gorge myself on sleep.
So needless to say, I will reiterate two more months?! I can't imagine whether and how it will get worse. I have to improve my attitude, though, I am spending far too much time feeling sorry for myself. It's hard not to, though, between the pregnancy and this absurdly hot weather and the bad back thing. Poor 'ittle me.
It's making me realize why the birth rate plummets as soon as a society starts to educate and emancipate their women. "You mean I don't have to do this? Hell no!"
I can't believe I still have more than two months left. Two months. I am so done. I am huge and ungainly; my pelvis hurts half of the time, and I can't walk at faster than an amble without getting miserable cramps. Oh, and the varicose veins. I could have done without them.
In better news, I don't have gestational diabetes, my hemoglobin is great, and I'm generally healthy. I'm now visiting the midwife every two weeks instead of every month, which certainly makes me feel like something is starting to happen.
I had a real moody day yesterday; I felt very anxious and ready to cry at any moment. There was no real reason for it, though, and sure enough I felt better this morning. It didn't hurt that I got lots of sleep, and it was sunny and beautiful when I woke up. And Sunday! I love the weekend. I think I will always love weekends.
There is almost nothing to do before this baby comes, unlike last time when there was everything to do. I would like to get a new dresser from Ikea, one that is the right height to be a changing table. (My back is not going to forgive me for another three years of changing diapers hunched over our bed.) And we need to pack the bag for the hospital, but that can wait. Oh, and we need another car seat.
Apart from that, well, if he's a boy I will probably have to get some boyish clothes, but since we need to get him or her winter clothes anyway (since Delphine's baby stuff is all summery) we can just layer the boy sweaters over the effeminate underthings.
Oh, and I bet we will need a tandem stroller, but I am having no luck finding a tandem version of the cheap umbrella strollers. Do they even exist? I don't want to spend upwards of two hundred bucks on another stroller, but I thought it would be handy to have a tandem.
Yesterday we all went up to the suburbs to visit Ellen and Dexter and their new baby Maxine, who is just a month old. She is very small -- still two pounds smaller than Delphine was when she was born. Blake was a little weirded out by her smallness; he thinks she's too small to be out. I, on the other hand, can't imagine something that big still being in. It's the paradox of birthing a huge human head through tiny human hips.
Delphine was pretty stuck by the baby. After we got home, she was very emotional, so I asked her if she was sad -- "yeah". Was she sad about Maxine? "Yeah." Was she said because Mummy and Daddy spent so much time holding Maxine? "Yeah." So I explained to her that when the new baby comes we will still love her just as much. Then this morning when we were all in bed, she saw my big belly and started crying, and we had to do it all again. I expect we will have the same conversation a few more times before September, and then some more after the new baby comes. I'm glad that Maxine came first to help Delphine get used to the idea of a baby before having to confront the reality of one.
This pregnancy is starting to make its presence felt in some annoying ways, and some less annoying.
On the less annoying side, I seem to have popped in the last week or so. My belly is all round and sticky-outy, and I have developed that pregnant woman habit of resting a hand on top of it, like it's my own portable arm rest.
More annoying are the varicose veins. (Thanks for the genes, Mum!) I did some research and apparently they usually go away after the pregnancy ends, but in the meantime I'm supposed to put my feet up, and not stand too much, and also not sit too much, and not cross my legs, and wear support hose (SO not going to happen).
None of that sounds so bad, but I'm just about up to here with things I'm supposed to do or not do and I am pissed off that there's another whole set to think about. Although on the other hand it does give me an excuse to buy the matching ottoman to go with our glider rocker, and then Bogart it for the rest of this pregnancy. See? Silver lining.
Most annoying of all is that I am scheduled for a test for gestational diabetes. Last time I opted to not do the test, but this time we know that I have had a large baby before, and my mother is diabetic, and I am overweight. Those last two were true last time too but apparently that midwife was less concerned about them than the one we have now. (One of the annoying things about GD is that there is no standard of care for it in Ontario so every practitioner does their own thing.) Soooo, I am doing the thing with the fasting and the sugary drink and the blood tests for hours.
I'm a little freaked out about it. I did some reading and GD is kind of a pain in the ass, what with the no sugar and all. I really hope I don't have it, but on the other hand going through this whole process and even just thinking about it is reminding me that I am at risk for Type II diabetes and I should watch what I eat and get enough exercise and all that. Like Blake says, "GD: Practice Diabetes!"
I'm just over halfway through this pregnancy, and I'm really starting to feel it.
This morning I put on a dress and realized it was a little tight around the middle. My first thought was that I should put on something bigger, that I didn't want my belly to look too fat... and then I realized it's not fat, it's baby. There's a weird shift that has to happen -- I'm so used to wanting to conceal and camouflage my belly, but when you're pregnant you don't have to. Not to mention that in a week or two it will be completely impossible!
I'm definitely showing more than I did at this stage last pregnancy, I guess because I started this pregnancy some thirty pounds lighter. It's been weird going through my wardrobe to find things that fit; it's like going backwards in time through my weight loss. I just grew out of the shorts I bought last February. Fortunately it's getting hotter and it will soon be little summer dress weather. I'm pretty sure my existing little summer dresses will work, and if they don't I bet I can get some cheap at Old Navy or somewhere. Real maternity wear! I never had that before.
I said above that I'm starting to feel this pregnancy, and I do mean in the painful way. I'm having a lot more pelvic and abdominal pain this time than did with Delphine. I get killer cramps in my lower belly whenever I walk at better than a fast trudge, and I'm feeling more pressure on my pelvis and cervix than I remember last time. Also, since the placenta is posterior this time, I can feel way more kicking, and way earlier, than I did with Delphine and her anterior placenta. It feels like the little guy is practicing capoeira sometimes. It's nice, though; I like the kicking.
We had our second ultrasound since I last posted, and we were supposed to find out the gender of baby number two, but no. He, or she, was positioned wrong and the technician couldn't tell. (I'm not sure how the ultrasound can see through my belly but not through the baby's leg or whatever.) So we have to pick two names (which we did, but I'm not telling what they are) and we have to play the pronoun game for the next four months. I'm quite disappointed. As I said to Beth, I found that knowing Delphine was a girl really helped me personify her and feel closer to her when she was in utero. On the other hand I'm not hung up on having one gender or the other this time; some days I feel like I would love another little girl because Delphine is so great, and then other days I want a little boy because it would be nice to have one of each.
Tuesday we have a midwife appointment with our primary midwife. I think we will set the date for a planned c-section, ten days or so after my due date. I know we won't be inducing with oxytocin, so unless I go into labour all by myself or with gentler methods of induction, it will be a c-section.
I'm really torn about the birth thing; on the one hand I would like a Caesar because it's a known evil, and because I am scared of the damage that a vaginal birth could do to my body, and because a section is safer for the baby. On the other hand it would be nice to prove to myself that I can deliver the old-fashioned way -- not that I am tough enough, I know that for sure, but that my body can generate the right hormones and contract the right muscles. My mother never delivered vaginally so I have this weird superstitious idea that we, Brown women, just can't do it. I would like to disprove that to myself. We're kind of a genetic dead end, otherwise.
I'm feeling better! Calloo! Callay! I'm still tireder than usual, but the nausea is gone and I'm actually regaining my interest in food. Yum! Food!
We had our first ultrasound a couple of weeks ago, to check for signs of chromosomal abnormalities, and everything was fine. The baby is the right size for this stage, and has a nasal bone. I don't know about that last part, but apparently it's good. We got a picture which I will post in the Family Snapshots sometime. (Well, probably not for a while because the little computer is futzed, but that's another story.)
The thing I'm fascinated about with this baby is how little attention he (we don't know yet so I'm just going to go with "he") needs. When Delphine was in utero I spent so much time thinking about her and about being pregnant; practically everything I did was informed by the knowledge that I was a special glowy pregnant women, all creating life and stuff. This time I'm busy with other things like looking after Delphine, keeping house, buying groceries, being sick and miserable. I go for hours at a time without even thinking about being pregnant. And yet still he grows inside me, taking what he needs without making a fuss about it. He's not going to be this independent again until he's, like, eighteen.
I am bone-weary and grumpy and nauseous and I have no appetite. At least I know something is going on, but I'd rather it wasn't so much like the 'flu.
Also I have crampy feelings, but they're not in my uterus, they feel more like they're in the tendons which tether the uterus. I think of it like a big hot-air balloon with guy-wires holding it to my pelvis -- it's the guy wires which seem to be twingeing. Weird.
So far I have been pretty much major-symptom-free, apart from the tiredness, but today I peed about a thousand times, and I was bordering on narcoleptic. Granted I didn't take a nap today, which I have been able to do a lot lately. Generally the low level of symptoms is freaking me out a little bit, because I know that women who don't have morning sickness are more likely to miscarry. Or rather, I suppose, women who are going to miscarry are less likely to have morning sickness. And I'm pretty sure I had morning sickness by this time in the last pregnancy. (Actually I just checked my old journal and apparently I had no symptoms at this point, so never mind.)
Anyway, I asked the midwife whether I was likely to miscarry and she said it was pretty unlikely given my age and history, so I'm mostly not worried about it.
Our midwife (not our primary from last time, but our secondary) also said that with a VBAC you can't induce, which saves me having to decide if I want to induce if I go post-mature again and need to deliver immediately. If I do go into labour normally I think I will deliver at hospital due to the (admittedly low) chance of uterine rupture. But maybe not, there is still lots of thinking to do about that, and lots of time to think.
For the last couple of weeks I've been tired like a pregnant woman, I've been hungry like a pregnant woman, I've been cranky like a pregnant woman, and I practically fainted last week, like a pregnant woman.
What do you know? I am a pregnant woman.
I don't remember the symptoms kicking in this early last time -- I wonder if everything happens earlier with a second pregnancy because your body is travelling familiar territory.
Blake is very excited -- he's been having the baby lust lately. I am less excited because it's such a long time; summer will be over before this baby comes. But I am pleased.