Friday, June 19, 2009


I'm not online typing with two hands often, but since I am today, here's a post with lots of stuff in it. D is three weeks and 1 day and sleeping soundly in the swing.

SLEEP: Sleep is very important for daily functioning. I'm not getting enough. Since K went back to work after two weeks and that means that I get night duty all by myself. Before she went to work, I fed the baby, she burped the baby. Now I do it all. She wakes up around 12am, 3am, 4am, 5am, 7am. I'm awake for about an hour each time. It's not enough sleep. The general rule is sleep when the baby sleeps, but I can't seem to sleep unless someone else is home. I try to nap during the day, but I can't let myself fall asleep. On the weekends when K is home I get great naps, but not during the week. On Wed I sobbed when K got home. Last night I cried as I was doing the final breastfeeding before going to sleep (10pm). I was thinking about the night ahead and crying because I knew I wouldn't get enough sleep. I need to figure out how to get more sleep - this is not sustainable. But thankfully weekend is here and that means K gets night duties and I get to nap during the day.

2ND PARENT ADOPTION: We had everything we could set up before giving birth. On June 8 we submitted the final paperwork to our lawyer (notification of live birth, pediatrician letter, family photos) and signed all documents. Everything was submitted. It's possible we will have our adoption by the end of June if there are openings, but if not, then by the end July (they only do adoptions once per month). Our baby will be adopted by K before her 2nd month is complete. We really do have the best lawyer ever, and luckily for us she's only 2 blocks from our home.

SWING: We were given a hand-me-down swing on Tuesday night by someone from our church who we don't even know. She has a 6 month old and has promised to give us stuff as he outgrows it. She also gave us clothes, a my breast friend pillow, an activity play mat, breast milk storage backs. But the thing that we are getting the most use out of is the swing. I put her in it and she falls fast asleep. I'm eating breakfast without having to hold a baby, and now I'm using the computer. It's amazing. We had another swing but she likes this one much better. It's the Fisher Price Aquarium Swing and it's awesome.

FATHER'S DAY: We are spending Sunday with L, D's godfather. He'll get to celebrate Father's Day from now on.

GALL BLADDER: I've scheduled my surgery for July 22, when D is 8 weeks old. The midwife said I should wait at least 8 weeks, preferably longer, but I needed to do it before I went back to work at 12 weeks. But the surgeon is going on vacation so I had to do it at 8 weeks.

SPITTING UP: D spits up constantly. We are all covered in it. Night time is hard because we have to sit up with her 15-30 minutes after each feeding so she doesn't throw up in her sleep and choke on it. The pediatrician thinks I make a lot of milk and she drinks too much of it and spits it up because her stomach is too full. It's probably not reflux because she is gaining lots of weight. This frustrates me more than anything else about parenting. I feel like I try and try and burp and burp and then she spits up.

GREEN POOP: A week or so ago she had some green poop. This could be a food allergy or a hind milk/fore milk imbalance. So I'm off dairy as a test, which is really hard. We eat a lot of cheese, and we've been given two quiches and a lasagna, which K now has to eat and I still have to make myself dinner. Also, I'm trying to get her to eat the same breast more often before switching, which makes the other breast painful. Hopefully it's the foremilk/hindmilk thing and I can get back on dairy.

ALERT: She's super alert. The pediatrician said today that she is more alert than most babies her age. Also she's smiling. I think it's because she was born late and thus more developed than other babies.

I hear stirring. Time to hold the baby again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stealing the Boppy

Our doggy steals the Boppy everytime we leave it behind.

Awesome baby gift

My aunt made this awesome play mat. It arrived not long after the baby was born. It folds up and has handles and the toys are attached. It's definitely one of our favorite baby gifts.

One rule - Don't lick the baby!

We want our dog to like our baby, so we don't want to constantly keep them apart or yell at the dog all of the time. But we do have one rule - don't lick the baby. This is a constant struggle. Our dog is always executing sneak attacks. She particularly likes the feet.

Baby bracelet

On one of our many walks as we waited to go into labor, we went on a search for a baby bracelet, a tradition for all Indian babies. Excited after D was born, we tried to put it on her, but she's not quite ready for it yet...

Also shown - at our baby shower the kids decorated newborn onesies which have been really useful and fun though sadly she's outgrown them now.


Our dog lets us know when to change diapers...

Birth Story

Here's the long and detailed birth story. Enjoy.

Birth Story of D
May 28, 2009
7lbs 3oz.
20.5 in.

J: On May 26, we were 41 weeks pregnant. We had a midwife appointment at 8:15am to monitor D’s progress. This was the Tuesday following Memorial Day and we both really did not want to have to return to work after the long weekend. On the way to the appointment, I admitted my secret daydream that we would arrive to the appointment and they would say “This is it, you’re having this baby today. Head to the hospital.”

At the appointment, a vaginal exam found that I was 50% effaced and not dilated at all. The midwife C set up the Non-stress test to monitor the baby. One monitor measured contractions while the other measured the baby’s heartbeat. After 20 minutes of monitoring, C saw that the heart rate was decreasing at the start of every contraction. This was concerning, so she told us to head to the hospital for more monitoring. She said there was a 50-50 chance for inducing the baby that day. We were very excited and hopeful in the car.

Midwife S met us at the hospital, where we did another Non-stress test, this time for about 2 hours, and also a biophysical profile (an ultrasound). The Non-stress test found similar results and the biophysical profile found that the amniotic fluid was low. Both of these together concerned S enough that she thought we should go ahead and induce. She said “You’re going to have a baby!” and gave me a big hug. S is kind of sweet and grandmotherly and has the most experience out of the three midwives (25+ years). Then we checked into the hospital for the night.

Hospitals are a little weird about food and labor. Because there was a possibility for induction that day, the nurses would not allow me to eat any food. I ate breakfast before the midwife appointment and did not eat for the rest of the day. I kept asking for lunch at the hospital and the nurses would say “let’s wait for the results of your tests.” I was starving! When S said they were going to induce, I asked “Can I eat something?” S said “Yes, you need to eat. But don’t let the nurses see you.” Then she told K to sneak out and buy me some food and sneak it in. Thank god for midwives! K brought a Burrito Bowl from Chipotle and I scarfed it down in minutes, shoving it in before the nurses saw. Later that night S and C directed the hospital staff to allow me to eat and I was served dinner and breakfast the next day.

We started slow with the induction. Because I was not dilated, Cervadal was applied to my cervix at 5pm to work on starting dilation over night. The drug lasts for 12 hours. I was hooked up to fetal monitoring and ordered to lay on my side to measure the heartbeat for the rest of the night. I was given Ambian to sleep about 10pm because the midwife wanted to be sure I was well rested as tomorrow would be an exhausting day. Ambian was a first for me and I didn’t react well to it. I took the meds and then went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and get ready for bed, but while standing in there, I got hit by a sudden wave of exhaustion and emotions. I said “I think I need to lie down right now.” Then I got into bed and starting sobbing. K asked why and I sobbed “I don’t know!” I felt like I was on a boat in constant motion.

K: The nurses came in and acknowledged that what J was feeling was definitely normal for Ambian. One nurse did say that given her height and weight, she probably should have been given a lower dose, but it was within range. After about a hour J did finally fall asleep, but she woke up during the night off and on. She got sleep, but it certainly wasn’t as restful as it could have been. I slept on a bench in the labor room. Because J was constantly being monitored, occasionally an alarm would sound that we figured meant something was abnormal about either the baby’s heartbeat or the contraction. The really annoying thing is that the alarm would go off forever unless you call the nurse to turn if off. After number 3 I got so annoyed I yelled into the intercom something not so nice. Before all this, J spoke to midwife C on the phone. That night was her rounds at the hospital and she called J to check in. What really amazed me was that C volunteered to come to the hospital and just stay with J overnight as the Cervadal worked, even though there was no reason as all J had to do was sleep and wait for the drugs to work. That was really sweet and nice reminder of why we went with midwives. J told her to get her sleep and that we’d see her in the morning.

J: We were awakened by the midwife C around 5am. The nurse on call had called her in because of some irregular heartbeats she noticed from all that constant monitoring. C said we should shower and eat breakfast because we had a big day ahead of us. L, our best friend and Godfather of our soon-to-be-born baby, arrived around 7am. He just moved to the area and he couldn‘t have come at a better time. He was on call to help us through labor.

The Cervadal had dilated me to 1cm so we had a lot of work to do to get this done.

K: J was pretty disappointed that after 12 hours of Cervadal she was only 1 cm. I wasn’t too disappointed, because labor doesn’t just happen the first time around. Things take time. So my job was to be positive about that 1 cm and get the momentum going about the day ahead of us. Sadly, because we had to do constant monitoring J (and me too!) couldn’t use the nice massage hot tubs!

J: I put on my pretty purple labor gown that K had given me and was ready for a big day. We were all kind of anxious because we didn’t know what to expect.

K: I bought J a Pretty Pushers Dressed Up Delivery gift set that included a designer hospital gown, a matching headband, some lip gloss, lemon moist-towelettes and massage oil. I highly recommend getting this as a gift for the pregnant woman in your life! J looked so pretty.

J: Pitocin was started around 9am. The goal was to dial it up to contractions every 2-3 minutes. No pain medication, so this was an ambitious goal for early labor, but we were afraid to slow things down with an epidural and the strong fast contractions were necessary to make the dilation happen. At first they were easy to handle and we even played a game of skip-bo. But by the end of the game, things started heating up.

K: Things were looking so relaxed in early labor that I asked L to take over while I went to the waiting room to make some phone calls. I took my time and made my way back through the secured labor and delivery doors when I saw L briskly walking toward me. He said that J was crying and that labor was getting harder. She wanted me to get back now.

J: Labor was hard. K and L helped me through strong, hard, and fast contractions for many hours. It was rough. I alternated between walking and hanging on them, squatting on the birth ball, and sitting upright on the bed when I needed rest. Because I was on constant monitoring, many of the labor techniques I had learned didn’t apply, and we couldn’t use the hot tubs that we were so excited about. We were really limited in pain management techniques, but kept trying anyway. C sat with me through most of it, rubbing my back, rubbing my feet. This is where we knew using the midwives was the best decision. Who else would sit with us through every bit of this? We never felt alone in this.

K: When things started getting hard I found myself overwhelmed by just how painful this was for J. I’ve always said that the hardest thing for me in all this would be to see the love my life in such terrible pain and that was certainly the case. I had to do some yoga breathing of my own to keep from tearing up at the sight of her struggling to keep up with her contractions. I would be helping her with positions and luckily she never looked at my face because I was so sad for those first 10 contractions. After that I think I started to get used to the pattern and the sadness started to subside. On a more humorous note, J got to a point where she banned talking during contractions. This was something that we took seriously at the time, but it’s given us a good laugh since! We used to joke that I would be the kind of woman to tell people to shut up during contractions (if I ever were pregnant and in labor), so it was funny to find that in the moment J was that kind of woman too!

J: Progress was slow and by 6pm we had only dilated to 2cm. C later said it was like active labor during early labor because of the pitocin. Because progress was so slow and labor was so hard, I grew increasingly frustrated. Every exam made me more disappointed and disheartened.

C was off duty at 7pm and returning the next night at 7pm. She said that she thought she might see this baby born the next night when she was here - that the baby wouldn’t be born for more than 24 hours. This added to my frustration. I couldn’t imagine doing this pitocin induced labor for another 24 hours. This along with my slow progress really started to bring my spirits down.

K: Now it was getting harder to be positive with J. She was spiraling and getting more and more disheartened and that was hard to deal with. All the positive talk and calming tones don’t work so well at this point. Every positive thing I had to say, she had something negative back at me.

J: Luckily the baby was handling the labor very well and not showing any other signs of heartbeat problems. The midwife said we needed to make things happen faster, so she wanted to break the bag of waters to get the contractions stronger. I was starting to freak out a little at this point. I said “I know what you are saying is right, but I can’t agree to making these contractions stronger. I’m too exhausted as it is.” But K said “We have no choice, we can’t keep doing this forever.” So we agreed and broke the water. There was meconium in the water, another indicator that the baby was stressed, but C thought the meconium looked old, like it was an indicator of past stress so she wasn’t too concerned but wanted to watch it.

The contractions came strong and fast at this point and I started to really freak out. I asked for some kind of pain medicine. C said “you weren’t planning on an epidural originally, were you?” Almost yelling, I said “I wasn’t planning on having a pitocin induced labor!”

K: To clarify, we weren’t really planning on anything. Of course labor without any drugs is the best for your baby, but it’s not necessarily prudent. We never came to this point thinking that we would or would not do anything--like some women automatically say they’re getting an epidural before going into labor and some women say the opposite. We did neither, but had our preference of doing what is best for the baby. To the midwife’s credit, she carefully reviewed our birth plan and wanted very much to abide by it and I really appreciate that. Of course, birth is flexible by nature and plans change, but the fact that she knew our preferences and wanted very much to honor that is something we appreciate.

J: The two options were an epidural, where I would feel nothing but the labor would be slowed down, or Nubain, which is a narcotic that takes the edge off but still allows for labor to progress. C said Nubain was better for early labor. This was discussed for what seemed like a really long time for me and I wasn‘t feeling mentally able to make any kinds of decisions. I felt like there was all of this talking and talking and in the mean time I kept having more and more contractions. Finally I said “I don’t know what to do, but we need to make a decision fast.” K said quickly “Let’s try the Nubain.”

K: I would have made the decision earlier for J, but I didn’t want to tell her what to do. My preference was to use neither, but if J wanted it I would have done Nubain first to see if that worked. I didn’t say anything, just waited for J to ask me what she should do and when she finally did we went with Nubian.

J: The Nubain worked okay. I was able to manage the contractions for a while. But the Nubain only lasts for an hour and when the contractions came back, they came back strong, stronger than before. At this point, I was practically begging for an epidural. It was time for a shift change for the midwives and S came back. As soon as she came in, C said to S, “She’s asking for an epidural.” S got things moving and the anesthesiologist came fairly quickly. At this point I was only 3 cm.

K: This was an interesting point for me. Because I really thought that J was not going to get an epidural. I’m not against an epidural and to the contrary we’ve joked that if I was the one who was pregnant that I’d probably just schedule a c-section (not really a joke, I would totally do that). So the fact that she was so intent on getting an epidural made me realize that she really needed it, because she would not have asked for it if she didn’t. We were still in early labor and her contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes, more intense than if the contractions had ramped up naturally. Actually, after reviewing some info on contractions post-labor, we found that when your contractions are 2-3 minutes apart that’s more like the transition phase of labor which is right before you should be birthing the baby, but of course we were still technically in early labor (where contractions should be much less challenging).

J: As C was leaving, she said “If this baby is born by midnight, it will be a girl. If it’s born by 7am, it’s a boy.” We’d been hearing a lot of these predictions so we just laughed this one off. S said many times throughout the night that she was convinced it was a girl. We’d spent most of our appointments with her and she was there for my gallstones emergency at the hospital, so she’d certainly spent enough time with us to get an idea.

I was pretty much gone at this point, barely able to handle each contraction, and I was really freaking out. The anesthesiologist came in jovial and telling jokes. I was practically yelling at him. L had to go in the hall during the procedure and he could hear me yelling out in the hall. The anesthesiologist made me change into a real hospital gown instead of my pretty purple dress--asshole.

The epidural was amazing. I didn’t feel any of the contractions from this point on. I went straight to sleep and K and L ate dinner and everyone relaxed a little bit. I could hear them talking and laughing but couldn’t focus on what they were saying because I was so exhausted. My legs were completely numb. I kept thinking that I should tell someone that my legs were numb, like that was something to be concerned with, but then I would remember that my legs were supposed to be numb. We were able to sleep/rest for a few hours.

K: The epidural was amazing -- we went from frantic and dazed to peaceful and calm. While J, of course, took the brunt of all this, L and I were exhausted as well. My back was aching from all the weight J put on me during the contractions. She would use me to sway back and forth, she would rest on my shoulders, lean on the back and front. Basically many of the labor positions we tried, and as her wife I wanted to be part of them all (not just asking L to always take over). But after so many hours my body was aching too and I was happy for the respite.

J: S monitored the baby as the contractions got stronger and saw the problems with the heart rate coming back. She placed an internal monitor to the baby’s head for a better read and got similar results. She came in and said she thought it was time to call it and do a c-section. This was around 10:30pm. When she said it, I was relieved. I thought, finally, this will be over. The doctor was called in from home and we prepared for the c-section. At this point I was only 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced.

K: I was so happy that we were doing an c-section. I felt bad for being happy about it, since this is major surgery but I was relieved. I was happy that our baby was finally going to be on the outside and it didn’t matter to me (it never did) how she got there. I was worried that recovery of the c-section would be hard, but that was a thought for later. Our baby was soon to be born!

J: K put on scrubs. The doctor came in and introduced himself, wearing his casual clothes. All of this is kind of vague to me. I was basically exhausted and relieved and didn’t care much more about what happened next as long as the baby was safe. The anesthesiologist came back in to expand my epidural. The normal labor epidural makes you numb from the waist down, the c-section epidural makes you numb from the shoulders down.

My bed was wheeled into the operating room. K had to wait in the recovery room until right before the procedure. The room was super bright and cold and there were a lot of people in there, none of them introduced themselves to me. The doctor was there, and S was there. She seemed to be there to interpret things for me - everything that was done to me she would explain to me what was happening and why. They tied me to the metal table. A man was soft and gentle, but I don’t know what his role was. A curtain was hung directly in front of my face. K was brought in and sat on a stool next to my head.

The operation was strange. I was awake but completely numb. It felt like at the dentist when you feel what’s happening but feel no pain. There was a lot of pressure. The weirdest part was when they pushed the baby out. The incision is a small hole just below my belly, just big enough for a baby to fit through. The baby is pushed through the hole and you can feel the pushing. I thought I was going to puke, but didn’t of course.

Then at some point I heard a baby cry. I asked “Is that our baby?” The anesthesiologist yelled “It’s a baby girl!” K asked“What time was she born?“ People in the room asked around - what time, what time? Someone said “12:09”. K was allowed to go see the baby as she was examined and cleaned up. She was allowed to hold the baby and she brought her over to me. I was still being stitched up and was still tied to the operating table. I wanted to see the baby but was also very uncomfortable. I felt very guilty - I knew I should want to see the baby but I was so uncomfortable. S said she knew it was going to be a girl.

K: I brought the baby over to J and put her just within reach so J could stroke her face while still tied to the operating table. She seemed happy to have that moment, but also deep in concentration as she was still in surgery. So D and I just sat there offering our support to Mommy.

J: I was transferred onto another table then wheeled into the recovery room. D was put in between my legs and traveled with us. I started shivering uncontrollably. S said I should breastfeed. I was shivering too much to feel comfortable holding my baby. I said that I couldn’t. S said that I didn’t need to do anything, just stay still and let her have my breast. She placed the baby to the breast and got her to feed while I dozed on and off and shivered.

K: Our original birth plan included the baby being put to J’s breast directly after birth. Of course with a c-section that wasn’t possible, but D was put on J’s breast as soon as possible (probably a half hour later).

J: The nurse gave me Demoral for the shivering. I kept shivering and asked S if the nurse really gave me Demoral because I wasn’t feeling any different. S assured me that the medicine was given. Then I asked if they removed my placenta during the c-section. I was afraid I would have to birth that, but S assured me that it was removed as well.

S told me that she was happy I had an epidural. She said she didn’t think there was any way this baby was going to come out naturally. She thought I was trying to push a square peg through a round hole - that the baby was just too big for me. She had actually told me this at my very first vaginal exam - that she was concerned my pelvis was too small. With 25+ years of experience, she probably knows what she’s talking about.

K: In retrospect, this may have been partly our fault (though haven’t talked to the midwives about it). We chose a donor who is the average height for a man (5’10”) and who has parents and grandparents who are even taller. D was born at 20.5 inches. Maybe our donor is a little too big for J’s body. Unfortunately, South Asian men are hard to come by in terms of sperm donors so our pool was slim.

J: S gave me a hug and a kiss and left for the night, as soon as D was cleared and I was ready to transfer to postpartum.

The nurses took the baby for a bath and took me to the postpartum room.

K: I was asked if I wanted to go with the baby and oversee (I guess) her bath. I felt absolutely no guilt at saying no. I wanted to stay with J and make sure that she was okay first and I would do the same thing over again.

J: It was about 2:30 am. K went to find L who had spent this time packing up our stuff (we moved in, practically) and I said “Find our baby! I haven’t held her yet.” L and K came back to the room and I said “Where’s the baby? I haven’t held her yet!” K said they had her in the warmer and they’d bring her in when she was warmer. A nurse came in and I told her I wanted to see my baby. She said the same thing K said. I was feeling frantic because it had been a few hours and I hadn’t held my baby yet. When she was first born, I didn’t want to hold her because I was so uncomfortable, but now I couldn’t think of anything else. Finally the nurse brought her into the room in a bassinet and I said “Let me have her!” K handed her to me and I held my baby for the first time and it was amazing.

K: Right after D’s birth I was on a deadline. I had 2 hours from birth to call the cord blood bank courier about packaging and picking up D’s cord blood to have it air mailed to California where it will be stored. Because this was so important and because we had to get it right, that’s all I could think about. Until L and I got that package placed in the courier’s hand, I was preoccupied. I know J was anxious about D, but I couldn’t concentrate on her.

J: L slept in the fold out sofa and K slept in the recliner. The bassinet was placed next to my bed and neither K nor I slept that night. Every time she made a noise, I told K to get up and investigate. I couldn’t walk (I couldn’t even feel my legs) or I probably would have stood next to that crib the entire night.
We really appreciated how well the midwives wanted to stick our birth plan. After S said we needed to do an emergency c-section all our other preferences went out the door. However, she still strived to meet our preferences even in our changed situation. For example, K got to be in the operating room right beside J. As soon as the baby was born our original preference was for K to “catch” the baby as it came out. As soon as the doctor got the baby out of J’s belly, D was carried over to the warmer and S led K directly over right away to see our baby. K couldn’t touch until the pediatrician and nurses were done cleaning her (they called in a special Neonatologist), but as soon as they were done K got to hold her baby first as planned. (The baby’s Apgar score was a 9--so actually very healthy.) Then K brought D up to J while the operation was still going on and J could touch her and see her beautiful face. The original plan was after catching the baby, the baby would be placed on J’s chest for breastfeeding right away. Given we had a c-section we couldn’t do that. However, as soon as the operation was done (as it’s a quick procedure) the baby joined us on J’s bed and we were taken to a recovery room where S helped D to breastfeed from J. J was out of it and shaking uncontrollably (happens to vaginal births too, related to hormones) but S wanted us to have that experience and more importantly to start off as best we could with breastfeeding with D. While things didn’t go as planned, our preferences (before, during and after the c-section) were respected and that made all the difference in terms of our how we view this experience.

We really trust the midwives and that made this whole process so easy for us. In our childbirth class all the partners kept talking about their roles being to be really informed and having to constantly fight for a vaginal birth (as opposed to just automatically going for a c-section). Since we really trusted the midwives, we never felt like we had to fight for anything or even had to be that knowledgeable of the process ahead of time. They always explained everything really well, always let us ask tons of questions and were really supportive through everything. We knew that when S said we needed a c-section, we needed a c-section. There was no question. Having talked to other women due around the same time as us, they were being pressured into c-sections and really had to fight to wait it out. One even said they found out that (after the fact) her doctor always had a birth on his birthday, and so she was induced! We surrounded ourselves with professionals we trusted and just let go. We will definitely use the midwives again, though likely to co-manage another c-section.

We are in love with Shady Grove Hospital. Everything was so nice. We live 2 miles away from our local hospital, but it was totally worth the extra miles to give birth at Shady Grove. Everything was new, all the nurses and staff were excellent. They all treated us so well. There was Mom (J) and the other Mom (K). Many would refer to us as the mommies, etc. We felt really welcomed there and that’s an important thing to feel during such a huge life event.

The Birth Partner by Patty Simkin was an excellent book and I highly recommend it for partners. It really helped me be useful for J--to help guide her through contractions, help her find the right positions and help her focus on her breathing and remaining calm. Of course, with a c-section I didn’t have to do anything but through the 14 hours of labor I was happy I had the knowledge from that book. In particular, I’ve never thought of childbirth for myself and always (even very young) assumed I would just adopt. As a same-sex couple we then had 2 uteruses; J really wanted to be pregnant and I really wanted an Indian baby so I found myself having to go through conception, pregnancy and childbirth after all. I couldn’t have done the latter and most challenging part without this book, it really helped me through something I never wanted to experience in the first place.

With that said, pregnancy and childbirth is fine but having the baby is the best part. Some women feel really tied to the experience of childbirth. So many women who have told us their birth stories would recount all the bad things that happened and how they hated this or hated that about their experience. I don't think we hated anything about our experience because the point of all this is to have the baby. We got pregnant in the first place because we wanted a baby--not to share in some sacred experience of women all over the world. Having that viewpoint made it easy for us to let go and just let things happen during birth. So in that respect, we had a wonderful birth experience and we're very blessed to have a healthy, beautiful baby.
And now with writing our birth story, we are happy to close this chapter of our lives. For 9 months we've been hearing nothing but birth stories from everyone, strangers alike, and by like month 4 we were totally over it. We're so happy to have pregnancy and birth behind us--now we're onto the fun part!

Rough morning

Last night was a rough night. I ate cabbage for lunch yesterday and I think it made little D gassy (actually, both of us were a little gassy...). She fussed all night and we got little sleep. I was planning to go to the La Leche League meeting this morning at 10am. I woke up tired around 8:30 and had about an hour to get both of us ready to go. I breast fed, took a quick shower, breast fed some more, got dressed, got D dressed, and shoved down my breakfast. It looked like we were going to make it. But then I couldn't find my cell phone (I still haven't found it). And D wouldn't stop spitting up - all over me and her. I put her in the stroller and she spit up and then started screaming. And I groaned, "Oh no, don't scream the whole way there" and then I started crying.

But there was no time for crying and I sucked it up and got on the road. She did scream the whole way there. I got to the community center and found the room, but no one was there. I asked at the front desk and she said "Why don't you feed that baby?" Um, I will, but I need to find my meeting, please. She checks it out and says "I'm sorry but La Leche League meets on Wednesdays." Great. Then she opens the room anyway because she really wants me to feed that baby, and I start to do so, crying a little. But then this woman come for her quilters group which meets in that room.

So they opened another room just for me to feed my baby, and I sit there until she's fed and then go home. And I'll do it all again tomorrow, but hopefully it will go a little better.

Friday, June 12, 2009

All Alone

Today we are alone for the first time. K's mom flew into town the day our daughter was born and stayed for two weeks, leaving on Tuesday. Our best friend and the baby's godmother A arrived on Tuesday and left yesterday. We've never been alone in our home with our baby. It's actually kind of nice - just our family. Luckily for me K is working from home right now or I think this would be very hard for me, but instead it's quite enjoyable. We just stay home together - K working, me being domestic and breastfeeding. It also helps that we have a lot of food in the fridge thanks to K's mom and friends from church. Last night we had vegetable lasagna and for lunch today we had vegetable curry. Tonight we'll probably have fried rice. All in the fridge. We're doing okay. This baby is certainly hard and sometimes scary but we're doing okay. Our baby turned two weeks old yesterday.

On a completely different note, I stink. My underarms stink after just a short walk outside, and this happens daily. They've never stunk this much before in my life, even after vigorous workouts. I've been noticing it for the last week. I guess this is related to hormones. It doesn't help that I often forget to wear deodorant. I can't remember everything these days, and that seems to be the one I forget.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Oops, yesterday I published the birth story before K was finished writing it. So then I took it down. You'll have to wait to see the real thing. Sorry K! I'm just an eager beaver!

Monday, June 8, 2009


Today I feel normal. Despite a rough morning which left me and the baby covered in spit up (like soaking in it) and despite the fact that I'm typing this one-handed while my daughter nurses, I feel good today. Today, for the first time in two weeks, I took a shower, put mousse in my hair, put on a nice dress, and put on deodorant. I'm clean, I look good, and I smell good.

Many women told me I would mourn being pregnant. I don't. The last month of pregnancy kind of sucks - tired, sick, large, hot. The only thing I miss is the obviousness of it - The random smiles and congrats from strangers, people holding doors and carrying things for me. But even that gets old. And I don't miss the unwelcome comments from people about my body size.

Instead I love being a mom. This was why I was pregnant after all. I love looking at my daughter's perfectness. I love the way she smells. I don't mind the spit up and the sleeplessness.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Some random thoughts

  • My breasts are bigger than my baby's head. It's amazing how big these things are. I look down at them while breastfeeding and wonder whose breast they are.
  • My breasts are no longer my own. They are things used for feeding. There is nothing sexual or private about them. I have shown them to more people than I can count including three friends and K's mom, none of whom I would have considered showing them to a week ago. In the hospital, I spoke to many doctors, nurses, midwives, lactation consultants, people who deliver the food, etc. while naked from the top up. Sometimes breastfeeding, which doesn't feel too bad because you are mostly covered by the baby. But sometimes while pumping, which just feels really weird - you are completed exposed and pumping. Those were probably the time I was most embarrassed. I thought it was over when I left the hospital, but we went to the pediatrician yesterday and had questions about breastfeeding. She said 'let's give it a try and see how it looks.' I hesitated a little and then pulled out my breast and fed my baby during the rest of the appointment. I long for modesty.
  • I love the hospital. Advocates of birthing centers and home births told me that hospitals are horrible because you are poked and prodded and get no rest. I disagree - hospitals are fabulous. They care for you, they answer the many baby related questions you have, they feed you, they do the massive amounts of baby laundry that piles up, they provide you with diapers, wipes, etc. - all you need to care for the baby, they take your baby a few hours at night to give you sleep, they provide you with unlimited lactation support for free. The place is amazing. We didn't want to leave. And luckily with the c-section we got to stay a long time.
  • Breastfeeding on demand is a lot of work. Not work, really, but time consuming. I can't do anything but breastfeed. Today I went through stretches of feeding every half hour. I fed during dinner. I feed all night long. I'm cranky from not being able to do anything. She's sleeping now which means I get a break, but also that when we are ready for bed, she'll be wide awake and wanting to eat.
  • Baby's go through a lot of laundry. They spit up on the new clothes you just dressed them in, they have juicy poop explosions. In just two days at home we had a whole load of laundry just from the baby, and each one needed to be stain treated.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


We are the proud parents of a four day old (almost) baby girl. She was born at 41 weeks and 2 days, emergency induction followed by emergency c-section. It was hard but in the end we have a healthy baby girl. 7 1bs 3 oz, 20.5 inches. We just got home from the hospital today and we are exhausted and not looking forward to another sleepless night, this time without nurses to relieve us to let us sleep for a few hours. But we can't complain too much when we look into the eyes of our beautiful baby, currently sleeping on K's chest in the rocking chair while K sings My Darling Clementine softly.

More info to come. Now I must go pump, breastfeed, and try to nap for an hour or so until I do it all again, if the baby lets me. Good night everyone.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh, and I forgot the best part

I also have a yeast infection. I need to start taking Monostat today. Otherwise the baby will be given thrush during birth.

From Dr. Google:

What is thrush?
Thrush is a yeast infection that causes white patches in the mouth and on the tongue. Thrush is most common in babies and older adults, but it can occur at any age.

Doesn't sound fun for the baby. I certainly don't want my baby born with this.

40 week midwife appointment

Today we are forty weeks. We went to the midwife this morning. The baby is still healthy, everything seems fine. I have dropped a lot. Last week, when I was at -2 station, my uterus was measuring 37.5 cm. Today it measured 35 cm, the first time it has shrunk, an indication of how much the baby has dropped. But she didn't give an estimate of the station. This midwife is much less quantitative than the other. She also said the cervix was soft, but didn't give a percentage effaced. I'm guessing fully? But the cervix is closed up tight - no dilation. So no baby yet.

Last week the baby was slightly to my right side. So I've been doing the yoga positions cat/cow and child's pose all week to try to move the baby to the center. Today the baby was completely to my right side, in a worse position than last week. Basically we are headed for back labor. She said to spend more time on my hands and knees, but I feel like I've been doing that all week and not only have gone nowhere with it, but have gone backwards. This in particular was very disappointing to me.

We made a plan for the next two weeks which we hopefully won't need. Next appointment in 1 week on the 26th at 41 weeks. At that appointment we will do a Non Stress Test. Then on the 28th we go in for a Biophysical profile. Then back on the 29th for another Non Stress Test. Then induced on June 1, just 1 day shy of 42 weeks. So by June 1st or 2nd we will have a baby.

I asked what induction means. I will check into the hospital on June 1. If there is no dilation, they will apply something to my cervix (I don't remember what it's called) and let it sit overnight. Then the next day start Pitocin. If there is some dilation, they will just start me on Pitocin.

This means that we may get this Memorial Day weekend to celebrate before the baby is born. This is the good. We're trying to think of some low key and local ways to celebrate together.

This also means that K's mom may be here for the birth. This is the bad. This thought stresses me out more than any other. She's trying when I'm in my best of moods.

This also means possibly weeks of coworkers coming by daily to see if I'm still here. Yes, I'm still here. Today is my due date. Half of all births occur after the due date, so it's not shocking that I'm still here. No, I'm not going to stay home for the next few weeks. That sounds excruciating and there is no medical reason to do so. Yes, I'm excited. Yes, I'm nervous. Yes, I'm tired. They all mean well, but one after another is a lot. The women are pushy, the men are tentative. The women say things like "I can't believe you are still here!" The men tip toe into my office and say softly, like I'm sick in bed, "How are you feeling?" Two women stopped by today and I finally said to them, "Hey, you've both given birth. You know what it's like. Don't pressure me." I'm sure I've been the annoying coworker, but I vow, never again!

Here's my google research:

About dropping/lightening: It cannot be directly linked to indicating that labor will start within a certain window but it usually occurs up to two weeks before labor in 65% of first-time moms. Although it can't pinpoint the beginning of labor, it is a sign that things are headed in the right direction.Read more: "Lightening During Pregnancy as an Early Sign of Labor" -

So if I dropped sometime before last Monday, I should have the baby sometime before next Monday (if I'm like 65% of other first time moms) or sometime later (if I'm like 35% of first-time moms).

About the Fetal non-Stress test: The test involves attaching one belt to the mother’s abdomen to measure fetal heart rate and another belt to measure contractions. Movement, heart rate and “reactivity” of heart rate to movement is measured for 20-30 minutes. If the baby does not move, it does not necessarily indicate that there is a problem; the baby could just be asleep. A nurse may use a small “buzzer” to wake the baby for the remainder of the test. The test can indicate if the baby is not receiving enough oxygen because of placental or umbilical cord problems; it can also indicate other types of fetal distress.

About the Biophysical Profile: A biophysical profile (BPP) test measures the health of your baby (fetus) during pregnancy. The BPP measures your baby's heart rate, muscle tone, movement, breathing, and the amount of amniotic fluid around your baby. Special ultrasound methods are used to keep track of movement, increases in heart rate with movement (nonstress test), muscle tone, breathing rate, and the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby. If these five areas are within a normal range, your baby is considered to be in good health.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Shifting due date

When we first got pregnant, we were told by the RE that the due date was May 16. That's the one we've been counting on and telling everyone. That's the one that came and went on Saturday. We did everything we could on Saturday to encourage this baby to come, but it didn't. We walked, got pedicures, swung on the swing set in the park, at spicy food, ate tropical fruit. Our friend A was in town from NC visiting. She and L were there for conception and it would be awesome if they were both there for birth. But then she had to go home. I cried on Sunday. I really believed it would have happened by then. I've been thinking about about May 16 since the middle of September.

But somewhere along the way the midwives changed the due date to May 19. That's tomorrow. In the last month I've been telling everyone my due date was May 19 because I figured it would feel better to have a later date in case I was late. I was right. Being late doesn't feel good. But then I remind myself that I'm not late. I'm not due until tomorrow.

But then I talked to my mom yesterday. She said she was 5 days late with my sister, her first, and 1 day late with me. Five days from the new due date would be Sunday, May 23. I think I'm going to start considering May 23 my due date in my head so that I don't feel like I've missed something.

Tomorrow is our midwife appointment. We were hoping not to have to attend this one, but chances are we will. At our last appointment she said that at our next appointment we would discuss a plan for if this baby is late. Looks like we're going to need that plan.

K's mom is coming on May 27. That's 8 days past the due date. We really wanted her to come after the baby is born because she would drive both K and I crazy during delivery. She has a lot of opinions and a lot of advice, and we disagree with all of it. But now, 8 days late, that doesn't seem so unreasonable. She may be here for the birth and if she is, we really can't shut her out. She's grandma and she flew in from FL. I've got my fingers crossed that the baby comes before then.

She called on Saturday to check in and told me that she is sending vibes for us not to have this baby for at least another week. She thinks it needs to cook more. Get nice and large. It was already 6 lbs 9 oz three weeks ago. I think that the baby is plenty big. I said that I don't want to wait that long and I don't want to give birth to a large baby because it will just be hard and have complications. She said 'No, you'll just have an episiotomy and it will come right out.' Ugh, I would like to avoid an episiotomy please. I finally convinced her (I think) to send positive thoughts for a baby any day. This was just one crazy part of a crazy conversation with a crazy old lady.

Now I'm at work and everyone keeps stopping by to see if I'm still here. I am. And I'll likely be here all week. Please stop reminding me that it sucks, okay?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One week

I am one week from my due date. I've answered that question a million times today, and a million times yesterday. Coworkers, friends, complete strangers. I'm thinking of getting a countdown sign and wearing it on my chest. Today it says 7, tomorrow 6, etc. Then I won't have to answer. Of course, I'll still get the follow-up questions - are you excited? are you nervous? are you uncomfortable? are you tired? are you ready? yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Of course my favorite is from coworkers - oh, you're still here, I was wondering if you would be here today. I'm thinking - yes, I was wondering too, I wonder every day, but I'm still here, so let's work.

Dressing is getting harder and harder. Today I'm wearing an outfit I really don't like. It's not professional at all. I would never wear this to work, especially not on a Tuesday. A pink t-shirt, black capris, and black flip flops. But the pants fit, and few do, and the t-shirt covers my belly, which few do anymore, and is kind of thin, so I won't get too hot. And flip flops are all I'm wearing right now because of my swollen feet. So this is my outfit today. This is the first day I've had to just wear something, whatever, and not care. As I was getting dressed this morning, I thought, I'm 39 weeks pregnant - everyone will understand. I hope that's true.

I'm pretty much finished with my work. I have a report to work on that I really was hoping to push off until after maternity leave, but I think I may have to start on it now since I may be here for a few more weeks and can't just sit around and I seem to have finished all of my other tasks. But first I think I'll clean my office - put that work off for a little longer. And maybe I'll go into labor tonight and none of this will matter.

Monday, May 11, 2009

39 week midwife appointment

Tomorrow we are officially 39 weeks. Today we had our midwife appointment. All looks good. She said the baby is at -2 station, so it's moving into position but not there yet. She hasn't done a vaginal exam since 36 weeks, so we don't know what kind of progress is being made down there. My uterus is measuring between 37 and 38 weeks and I've lost a pound. Slow growth, which she said is normal at this point, and good because we don't want the baby to get too big. I concur.

I've been taking oil of evening primrose to soften my cervix for 2 weeks now. She advised me to also start drinking red raspberry leaf tea as well. Ugh, I hate tea. I tried drinking tea to increase my fertility but gagged on it every time. Still, I went to Whole Foods this morning and bought some. I'll try anything to get this baby out.

The baby is laying on my right side, not the ideal position but not the worst. She said I should start doing cat/cows and always lean forward when I'm sitting. I know this, and I've been trying since I got to 36 weeks, but sitting forward takes a lot of energy when I just want to lay back. And cat/cows usually make me nauseous. But like I said, I'll try because I want this to go easy.

Last night I had the strongest contractions yet for about an hour. They felt like a really bad period cramp, the kind that makes you lay in bed, but the pain came and went, unlike a period which gives you no release. We were hoping it meant that it was time, but then they went away. I probably have a lot more of those episodes to look forward to before the real thing comes.

During the contractions the baby was super active, like way more than normal and for the entire hour. The midwife and the Internet said this was normal. It must be exhausting for the baby to go through labor if that's how the baby reacts to contractions. Also, it's pretty exhausting for me because the baby is kicking up a storm during and between contractions so even though the contractions came and went, the baby just kept going.

A coworker in another department is 34 weeks pregnant. Her department throws baby showers before the baby is born, mine throws them afterwards. So today I attended her baby shower even though I haven't attended mine yet. I felt bad upstaging her because I'm due in a week and she's due in 7 weeks. But she got the big gift card, so in the end, I'm sure she's happy.

The AC in my office is broken. Four people have come by to say how much that must suck for me. I've been offered two offices. Tomorrow I may take them up on it. I'm sweating like crazy and I stink.

An Indian tradition is that all babies wear gold bracelets. K was going to hand hers down, but found out it's broken. We asked her crazy mother to buy one for us in India on her recent trip but instead she bought a Buddha charm and said to tie it around the baby's wrist. K pointed out that this is a major choking hazard - crazy lady. So yesterday we went shopping. We started at the Indian jeweler, who sells them for $450. Ouch, that's a little steep. After shopping around a lot of places, we bought one at a little jewelry kiosk in the mall for $50. Much better.

So now we really are ready to bring this baby home. Nothing left to do but wait. Oh, and K still needs to clean the kitchen and the car. I'd offer to help but I'm pretty useless. I do plan to do some laundry tonight though. I need to wash the few pairs of pants I have left that fit so I have something to wear to work.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

So this is what life without medicine is like...

I've been taking allergy medicine like pretty much my whole life. I got pregnant in the fall. I was sniffly, sneezy, congested but not too bad. Then winter came and I felt pretty good. I'd still have trouble around cats or particularly dusty places, but since these were rare, in general I felt good. I thought maybe my allergies had gone away like they sometimes do for lucky pregnant women. My mom lost all of her allergies when pregnant with me and they never came back.

But then spring arrived. And bam, I am sick. I am so congested I have trouble sleeping, my throat is constantly sore, I'm tired and light headed, I'm coughing, I have a head ache. Is this what I'd have been like for years if I hadn't been taking my medicine? I think it's my allergies. Everyone is complaining about allergies. But maybe it's a cold. Who knows? How would I know and what would I do differently anyway?

The good news - it was just pointed out to me that the ticker has reached the single digits.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

38 week midwife appointment

Yesterday we were officially 38 weeks and we had our midwife appointment. All looks good. The results of my ultrasound and blood work came back normal, so the pain that I'm in is 'just one of those things'. About the back pain, she basically said 'just hang in there'. I asked 'when's this baby gonna be born?' She laughed and said 'probably not when you want it to.' I've gained 23 pounds so far and measure 37 cm. I measured 37 last week too, but she says that's typical in the last few weeks - baby doesn't grow as quickly and settles in lower into your pelvis. So all is good and I'm 'just hanging in there.'

I went out for Mexican with some co-workers for lunch to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Since I wanted to eat healthy, and I was really tired and thought I could use a protein boost, I ordered the Mexican cheese omelet, which came with beans, rice, salsa, and guacamole. Nice and healthy, nothing too special. Then back at the office I snacked on an apple, a pineapple cup, and some peanuts and headed out of work around 5pm feeling fine.

However, as soon as I got in my car and started driving (in the rain for my 30 min commute), I started feeling horrible. Halfway home, in the rain, I pulled over in the emergency lane of the interstate, and puked. A big, horrible, probably gall stone related puke. All my peanuts, all my Mexican food, everything I'd had all day. I haven't had this issue since I went to the hospital, back in February. And there I was on the side of the road trying to figure out how to get home. I waited a few minutes, then decided to keep on trucking. I drove home sucking ginger candy and tums and blasting the AC, driving in the rain and feeling horrible. I was very thankful that the rain didn't cause a long commute home like it normally does. At home, K took care of me. I layed down all night and today I feel okay. Hopefully I can make it home without puking today. That's my goal.

And again I say it. Let's just have this baby already.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Happiest Baby on the Block

A & C loaned us this DVD and we finally got around to watching it on Sunday. It spells a a technique for calming your baby. It looked really amazingly helpful. We couldn't practice the techniques yet of course so I can't say definitely that it works, but the babies on the DVD seemed to calm down right away. We wrote a post-it note of the five steps so that we could remember them in the throws of a crying fit. The five S's:

1. Swaddle
2. Put them on their side
3. Shush loudly in their ear
4. Swing or jiggle them
5. Give them something to suck on

If it doesn't work, keep trying. Sounds good to me. I'll try anything to stop a crying baby. On Thursday we babysat for A&C for only about 2 hours, but K screamed for .5 an hour. We couldn't figure out how to make him stop. He's a year and much too old for this technique, so I still don't know what would have calmed him. But the experience was enough to remind me that a screaming baby can drive you mad very quickly.

Unrelated - while babysitting, we had to change his diaper. We removed a BumGenius and replaced it with a Fuzzi Buns. Fuzzi Buns was more confusing than the BumGenius and we weren't sure how to put it on. Turns out we put it on backwards. Between this and the screaming, we've got a lot to learn about babies!

New babies

Two babies were born this weekend. I hope that I'm the next to go, and I hope that it's soon. The first we know through friends of friends in real life. They were 1 week late and make me nervous about being late. Also they had a rough birthing experience which I haven't heard about yet but also makes me nervous. I want it all to happen soon and with smooth sailing.(

Which brings me to the other birth. I only know this couple from their blog. Their due date was one day after our adjusted due date (the midwives are now saying it's probably May 19 instead of May 16 - this couple was due May 20). They went into labor over 2 weeks early and it sounds like it went smooth and easy. This couple give me hope. (

My boss

I just saw my boss, the head VP, in the hall. He asked how I was doing and I said "Tired, and I have a back ache that won't quit. I'm ready for this to be over." He asked how much longer and I told him two more weeks until my due date, but really it could be anytime in the next four weeks. Then he said "I've been meaning to ask you - what happens if you go into labor at work? Do we have a plan?" I told him that D and I have both volunteered to take me to the hospital and they have all of the details on doctors and stuff, and that my secretary E knows to find them if I need them. And he said "Good, I wanted to make sure we had some kind of plan." It's good to know my boss is thinking about this and worrying about me. And now that he knows the plan he can help find D and I if needed as well.

Emotional and in pain

Since Friday I have been full of raging hormones. I cry over everything. This weekend I cried because we don't know the name of our son if we have one, K wanted to get rid of a bowl she gave me when I started my job 6 years ago, my back hurt, I couldn't do much to help around the house, K takes such good care of me, and many tears that I couldn't even define (K asking "why are you crying?" my response "I don't know"). It's like the first trimester all over again, maybe worse. K is very supportive, which I cried about (a blubbery mess sobbing "you're so good to me, you take such good care of me").

For about two weeks I've been suffering from a back ache. I've done what I can to correct it (no more heels, sitting on a pillow in the car, sitting in only hard chairs or on the floor, no more sofas). All of this was helping for a while but starting Friday it just won't go away. I wake up okay but by midday I am in pain. On Friday we were at Borders buying a 'teach your baby French' CD and I couldn't take it. I was leaning on everything and I was grumpy. We came home and I burst in tears saying that I've put up with a lot in the last few months but this back ache is too much. Then Saturday we were cleaning the house and the back ache started again. I was lying on the floor crying about the pain. Laying down on my left side is the only thing that seems to relieve it. K basically told me not to do anything else and just to rest while she spring cleaned the bathroom (she hates to clean the bathroom so this was a really big deal). We were having our friend L over for dinner Saturday night and I was going to cook, but we decided to go out instead. Sunday all I did was rest, lying down, and the back ache was pretty minimal, though the emotions were strong, and I cried a lot, I think because I didn't do anything all day. Wow, I can't imagine what forced bed rest must do to you.

Now I'm back to work and already the back ache has begun. I just popped some Tylenol and I hope that gives me relief. I can't just lie down here like I've been doing at home all weekend. Maybe tomorrow I'll bring my heating pad.

On other notes, we did get our car seat installation and inspection done Saturday. Now we really are ready to have this baby. I'll be 38 weeks tomorrow. I'm in pain and crying constantly so sooner is better than later. Let's do this thing.

Friday, May 1, 2009

37 week midwife appointment

Our 37 week midwife appointment was Wednesday. Again we reviewed the plans if we go into labor - when to call, what to do. I've gained 21 pounds so far, and no weight gain since last week, so all is good. Measuring 37 cm just like I should.

I was complaining about a pain in my back for about week and a new pain in my abdomen, both on my left side. The midwife said this could be my kidney and wanted to check it out. So Thursday I had an ultrasound and today blood tests. The ultrasound on the kidney showed no issues and if the blood work comes back okay, then this is just one of those pregnancy things.

But the fun thing was that while we were there anyway, we got to do an OB sonogram as well, so we got to see the baby for the first time since the 20 week ultrasound. The baby is much bigger and more fully formed. I thought the images might be clearer than the first time but they really weren't. The tech said the baby was measuring 6 lbs 9 ozs. We agreed that this is plenty big so we don't want the baby to grow any larger. K has been telling the baby that 6.5 lbs is plenty big.

Today at the lab getting my blood drawn the tech told me that she gave birth 5 weeks ago. I said 'Five weeks? What are you doing here?' and she said she came back after 2 weeks! She said 'the economy is bad and we need the money'. I thought, 'wow, I'm a lucky person.'

So now our hospital bag is packed and I bring it to work with me every day. I just sent coworkers details on what to do if I go into labor at work. Tomorrow we get our car seat inspection. We are ready to have this baby - let's do it! My coworker said that Cinco de Mayo is a good day and that's Tuesday, so that works for me. K is shooting for Mother's Day, next Sunday. That's okay too. I could also do tomorrow. I don't need to wait around any longer.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

37 weeks - Full term and ready

We are full-term today. We are ready to have this baby. We want to hold it, smell it's little head, kiss it's tummy, listen to it breathe, sing to it, and tell it how much we love it. I hate that we might have to wait 5 more weeks.

Monday, April 27, 2009


At the midwife's a week ago, she did a vaginal exam and found that I was 40-50% effaced. Over the weekend I noticed a sharp increase in white discharge, which I read this morning is a sign that your mucus plug is preparing to discharge. Our next midwife appointment is Wednesday. I can't wait to see how much progress has been made. I just wish that progress could be traced to a time line. So if we're 40% effaced, then we have X weeks left, or something like that. But it just doesn't work that way sadly.


I've read that you are supposed to count 10 movements an hour twice a day during the last trimester, but I've been avoiding it. I've seen this kind of thing make women crazy. I've felt that as long as I feel the baby move, I know it's still alive and I don't need to do anything official. At our midwife appointment last week, she asked that I count 10 movements an hour once a day after dinner and record it on a log, and bring that log to the appointment each week. And if I don't get to 10 in an hour, call. We couldn't avoid it any longer, so I started keeping a log.

But instead of making me crazy, it's been the opposite. I don't worry about the baby's movement except during that time of day. It gives me one time a day to think about the movement, check in and make sure all is on track, and then not worry any more. And since every evening I've been able to get 10 in 20 minutes or less, it's given me confidence that the baby is really okay. Instead of making me crazy, I've been given peace of mind.

My aching back

I've been having a backache lately, maybe for the past week. Mostly when I sit down for a long time. It was just sitting in the car or on our chaise, but for the past couple of days it was sitting anywhere. On Friday it was some serious pain and Saturday was pretty bad too. I figured it was normal pregnancy pain. I checked it out in my trusty 'What to Expect' book yesterday and I was right. It's caused by leaning back while standing to account for the big belly. How to avoid it - try to stand up straight, sit up straight, don't sit for more than 30 minutes without getting up, and don't wear heels.

Heels. I've been wearing them throughout my pregnancy and for the last month people have been saying "I can't believe you're still wearing heels." I've noticed that I walk slower in heels - they don't work well with my waddle. And I already walk slowly lately anyway, so this is very slowly. But besides that they weren't really giving me much trouble. I like shoe variety. My ankles have become cankles. My legs are short and stocky. I like the way I look in heels much better than flats. I'm very short and I like the height that I get from heels.

But I haven't worn heels since Friday. I wore some very high heels on Friday and had a lot of back pain, the worst yet. Today I'm wearing flats. I wore flip flops all weekend. Today my backache is more of a dull pain than anything else. There may be something to this heel thing. I guess I'll put my heels away for a few weeks.


Friday was K's baby shower at her work. I got to meet her coworkers that I've heard so much about and see her office for the first time. It was fun. And we got a big Target gift card, which is awesome.

We've been saving all of our gift cards and we have a lot of money from Target and now we have to figure out how to spend them. We're thinking breast pump ($230), 12 cloth diapers ($204), nursing tank tops ($18 each - how many should we buy?). Maybe that's all we need right now?

It's HOT!

Our early spring heat wave is too much for someone this pregnant! It's been in the 90's since Friday and we won't get relief until Wednesday. I've been hot for about a month as it is - waking up in the night drenched in sweat, baking at work, barely able to function. But now it's actually hot outside, on top of my normal hot, it's just too much!

Saturday I woke up with some serious nesting urges. I woke at 7am (on my own - no alarm) and put in a load of laundry and then started cleaning the kitchen. Then we went to some yard sales and got some great baby items, then to the farmers market. After that trip outside, all of my energy for nesting was gone. I still had the urge, but couldn't do anything. I ended up doing some low-key things, making lunch from our tasty farmers market stash, and then taking a nap while K cleaned the balcony in the heat. The heat just wiped me out.

Sunday was just as hot. We had our pregnancy support group meeting (the last one we'll be attending - the next one is scheduled for the day after our due date). It was hosted by a couple that doesn't have AC in their home. I can't live like that! I was soaked in sweat after our 1.5 hour meeting. My underwear were completely soaked. I stunk and felt sticky and gross. All I could think of was going home to shower. I don't know how the pregnant woman who lives there can handle it. She's due in June and it's only going to get hotter.

Based on this heat, I hope the baby comes sooner than later. If this is any indication of what our spring will be like (thanks global warming...), I can't take it much longer. Thank God for AC! And I'm so glad I don't live in FL anymore.

Monday, April 20, 2009

36 week midwife appointment

This morning was our 36 week appointment. I've gained a total of 21 pounds so far, but 4 pounds in the past two weeks. Actually, I know that I gained it all in the first week and none in the second week. The midwife was a little concerned and suggested I drink lemon in my water, eat lots of watermelon, and soak in a warm bath each evening for 30 minutes. My uterus is now measuring 36 cm, which is also a lot of growth. 2 weeks ago, it was only 32.5 cm.

This week starts the weekly appointments and the vaginal exams. I haven't had to take my pants off at these appointments for months, but this week I did. She said my cervix is still closed but it is 40-50% effaced, so it's certainly preparing for birth. She did a quick ultrasound and confirmed that the baby was head down and in the right position for birth. So we are good to go.

We went through the birth plan and what to do if I go into labor. From this point on, if I went into labor, they wouldn't try to stop it since I'm close enough to the due date. She said to call if there is any spotting, any water breaking (even just a trickle), or contractions 5 minutes apart for an hour. In the next few weeks I should be sitting cross-legged to loosen the hips, practice squatting if I can, and sitting on the birth ball. Also, I should start taking Evening Primrose Oil, doing perineal massages to loosen things up down there, and keeping a daily log of the baby's movement. Lots of info to absorb.

After my appointment I came to a nice surprise waiting at my office. A coworker left a bathtime gift set. A very sweet surprise.

We spent the weekend checking things off of our to-do list. Friday night - we went swimming, which was something really important to K - to swim with me in my huge state. It felt pretty good, so we may go again next weekend. Also Friday night, we finished the birth plan just in time for our appointment today. Saturday - cleaned the nursery and hallway and finished all baby laundry. Sunday - cleaned hall bath and stocked up on supplies at grocery store. Now we have tons of toilet paper and frozen food - we spent about $350 between Safeway and Trader Joe's. But we won't have to go to a grocery store for a long time hopefully. But the way I'm peeing we may need more toilet paper sooner than later. We also learned to use our video camera, so we're all set to record that birth! It feels good checking these things off of our list.

K talked to her mom yesterday, which is always annoying. She doesn't like the name we chosen for our daughter if we have one. She would be named after K's grandma, which you would think K's mom would love. But she says, very authoritavely, "I never liked that name, don't name her that. I like the name Rama, that's what you should name her." We don't like the name Rama, it's not special to us like the name we chose, but thanks for your advice. It's not up for discussion.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

35 week photo shoot

We did a photo shoot last weekend in Rock Creek Park and around our neighborhood. We needed to document this big belly before it pops. I'm much bigger now though. You certainly grow fast toward the end.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Our doggy helps with the baby laundry.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Boy or girl?

That's the first thing everyone asks. And now that I'm so undeniably pregnant, I get it from strangers almost daily. Answer - we don't know. Today a friend asked what I thought it was. Not sure. Very early on I had a very vivid dream about bringing home a little girl in a flowered dress. Only a few weeks ago K had a dream that we were having a boy. Many people have emphatically pointed at my belly and said "That's a boy!" but this was done most often by the woman who cleans our bathrooms at work. One person (I can't remember who) pointed at my stomach and said "You are definitely carrying a girl" but this conflicts with what everyone else says about the shape of my stomach. My Chinese coworkers said that if you have a boy, you will have nice skin and crave sour food, if you have a girl, you will have bad skin and crave spicy food. According to this, we're having a boy. A Chinese chart online predicts the gender based on the month you conceived and how old you were when you conceived. According to this, we are having a girl, but we conceived on August 31, so that's pretty border line. Bottom line - we just don't know.

But we could find out. We have a sealed envelope at home that we planned to open as we got closer, and we're certainly close now. But K changed her mind recently - she wants the "It's a girl!" moment. I want to know. I was expecting to know - that's why we have an envelope. But I have to wait because I can't keep a secret.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hospital bag - check!

Last night we packed our hospital bag - mostly. There are so many last minute things to put in there - computer, camera, ipod. But we're mostly ready to go once the big day comes. We packed a lot - I wonder if others pack this much. But we don't want to have to come home if we forget something, and we don't want to have to go buy something. We want to have everything we need so that we can stay warm and cozy in the postpartum room with our little family.

Packing the baby clothes got me a little emotional. Up until this point I feel like we've been gathering things for a baby eventually, but this made it very real. We were packing clothes for our baby to wear. Wow, that's weird. I'm 35 weeks today. In two weeks we will be full term. The baby could come anywhere in the next 2-7 weeks. I'm trying to get used to the fact that I could be a mom in 2 weeks, but also preparing myself for the fact that nothing may happen for almost 2 months.

I made a list of things to do before the baby is born and it's pretty long. I don't know when we'll be doing these things. Some of it is a wish list, but some of it is really necessary. Here's hoping we get it done.

  • Swim - on 4/17 (this is one of K's dreams - to swim with me in my big pregnant state - and it hasn't happened yet)
  • Birth plan - before April 20 (36 week midwife appointment)
  • Follow up with RE about second parent adoption letter - after 4/21 (two weeks from when we first contacted her)
  • Buy remaining baby products - after K's work shower on 4/24 - breast pump, cloth diapers, hamper, what else?
  • Pack hospital bag - before 4/28 (37 weeks)
  • Get keys made for I (he's watching our dog) - by 4/28
  • Get dog food and other items packed for I - by 4/28
  • Learn to use Flip mino (video camera we got for Christmas from my parents but haven't used yet - now's the time!) - by 4/28
  • Call about how to use cord blood banking kit - by 4/28
  • Go through mail and pay any bills - by 4/28
  • Get phone list to L for labor day phone tree - by 4/28
  • Change sheets on our bed - 4/28 (who knows when we'll do this again)
  • Return books to library - by 4/28
  • Load Itunes onto new computer - by 4/28
  • Load McAffee onto new computer - by 4/28
  • Load Flip mino onto new computer - by 4/28
  • Clean inside of car - before 5/2 (when the car seat gets installed)
  • Car seat inspection - 5/2
  • Spring clean - master bath, hall bath, hallway, kitchen, nursery, balcony
  • Finish baby laundry
  • Cook food for freezer
  • Stock up on frozen food & boxed food, frozen vegetables, canned fruit,drinks, toilet paper for after birth
  • Sleep with our dog a few more times (she's not allowed in our bed so sometimes we sleep with her on the sleeper sofa) and tell her how much we love her constantly

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


On Sunday I was wearing my corduroy capris that I got hand-me-down from my friend E. I like them because they are green and all other maternity pants that I own are black or khaki, so it's nice just to have a little color. I haven't worn them much because they are capris and it only recently got warm enough to wear them. BUT they are pretty worn looking. And when I was wearing them on Sunday, they were snug, and I said a few times 'this is the last day I can wear these - they are getting too tight'.

Well, Sunday evening we had J over teaching me to cook dahl. She asked for a frying pan, I bent down to get one for her, and rip! The ass split open about 6 inches. I ran to the bedroom to change - trying to hide my ass from R, J, and J's fiance - and I'm not sure how successful I was.

This rip was beyond repair - not even close to the seam. I just said goodbye and threw the pants in the garbage. Now the pants I'm wearing today are too snug. I hope we don't have a repeat incident.

Monday, April 13, 2009

My office

My office is a horrible mess. Papers everywhere, empty water bottles, stacks of reports on my desk. It's gross. On my list of things to do before maternity leave is to clean this trash heap up. I can't imagine coming back here after three months and being met with this mess. Well, today my mouse stopped working - it could go side to side but not up and down. So essentially I couldn't use my computer. Perfect timing. After reporting the problem to IT, I spent about 1 hour sorting things, throwing things out, emptying my mail box, putting reports on shelves and in file cabinets. Then I came back to my computer after calling the IT folks to ask about my replacement, and my mouse started working again. It was strange but allowed me to at least start cleaning this place up. It's still gross, but not like it was. I've thrown things out but now I have to sort things and put them away and clean my desk with some product to remove the grossness and recycle all of these empty water bottles. But it's a start.

I have been so disgustingly hot lately. I wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. I bake in my office. My last days of pregnancy, and the heat that comes with that, are coinciding with the beginning of spring, which means it's too hot for heat and too cold for AC. If we open the windows at home, K is freezing, but I'm still waking in the night drenched in sweat. At work I have no choice - there are no windows in my office. I sit here baking, unable to think or move or do anything. I've always been a hot person, but this is unbearable. Today, after throwing things out and putting things on shelves, I made room for a fan on my desk, which I promptly requested when my mouse started working again. And now it is blowing on me and it feels so good.

So, so tired

This weekend K's high school friend R came from NYC for an impromptu visit. I'm exhausted. We didn't do much. Usually when we have company we are active and busy the whole time. But this time we specifically planned a low key, hanging out kind of weekend. And yet I'm still exhausted. 8 and a half months pregnant is just a lot, I guess.

R is 29 and getting her PhD. She has a sort of delayed adulthood thing going on. She's in many ways naive and knows nothing about the world, since she's never really done anything but go to school. She called earlier in the week to plan the trip, asking if I was home for maternity leave. I said "uh, no, I have to get paid."

She takes her academics very seriously since that's all she knows and is constantly talking about how her program is so hard, so much harder than everyone else's. Example, she said she needed to bone up on Latin American history. I asked why. She said "Because for my degree, I need to know everything." And she wasn't kidding - she really believes that. It's a lot to take for a whole weekend. I just remind myself that this small world is all she has, so she has to make it seem special.

She's starting to feel baby pressure. Her program is an 8 year degree program, just for the PhD (because, you know, it's such a hard program), so she won't graduate for another 5 years, when she's 34. She doesn't want to wait until then to have babies because it's too close to the magic 35 number when everything goes down hill. But she just broke up with her boyfriend/fiance of 5 years and she makes very little money as a grad student. So her biological clock is ticking and she sees no way to get what she wants. I actually can't imagine her as a mother so I hope she waits awhile. She's got some serious growing up to do.

We went Friday night to Baby's R Us to register and receive our free gifts and $10 gift card. The gifts were a newborn bottle and pacifier by Avent that match the bottles we already own (hand-me-downs). With the gift card, we bought a breast milk storage organizer for the freezer. Then we went to Kohl's with a $10 gift card that came in the mail for the big 'grand re-opening'. I got a maternity shirt that looks like it will fit for a while, maybe even last through the rest of the pregnancy. Total cost for the shopping trip at both stores - $11. We did quite well for $11.

Saturday morning we died eggs. This was K's first time - at 29 years old. Easter just wasn't a big deal in her Hindu/Muslim family. I like Easter, and now that we're having kids we're going to start celebrating. So this year we colored eggs. We decided that as a way to blend our cultures, in the future we'll use the eggs to make egg curry for our Easter dinner, one of K's favorite meals. I just need to learn to make egg curry.

Saturday night we went to this South-Asian panel discussion about coming out to your families. The event was free and dinner was served. It was all vegetarian and so tasty. I don't think we knew it was about coming out or we may not have gone. Lots of South Asians are not out to their families, so it was an important event for the community, but we've been out for about 8 years, so the positiveness and encouragement wasn't really needed for us.
The conversation with R afterwards really annoyed me. She is a white, straight woman from a very wealthy family, so she's kind of always had what she wants. She said that it's not important to tell coming out stories because isn't everyone over that already? And she said that anyone who's not out is just a coward. When I tried to say that it's really scary and hard, she pointed out that we've been out for years so it wasn't hard for us. Um, yeah, it was really hard, it is really hard still. And just because we don't talk about it a lot doesn't mean it's easy - we just like to remain positive. When I pointed out that she was white and straight, she exploded "Yeah, so I've never been oppressed." Well, hmm, has your mom ever told you that you are the same as a child molester? If you got married, would your parents attend the wedding? Does anyone get on TV talking about how you are bringing society down? Does anyone go to congress to have debates about whether or not you should get married? Does anyone vote in general elections about whether or not you should be able to adopt children? When you tell your coworkers about your partner, do they look uncomfortable and try to get out of the conversation, and from then on refer to her as your 'friend' with a weird tone? When you tell people you're pregnant, are their first words "How?" It's not just coming out to your parents, although that's a lot. But it's everything. It's your whole life. It's the news, it's work, it's the grocery store, it's every where you go. Until you live that life daily, you are in no position to call a person that does a coward.

Sunday morning we had an Easter brunch. L came over to join us. L said that since moving here two weeks ago, every time someone asks why he moved, he says "Because I want to have a baby." They look at him strangely and then he explains that as a gay man, that wouldn't be legal in FL. He says he'd like to adopt within 5 years. And he's telling this to men he's dating. He's like the woman who asks a man on the first date if he likes kids. He's caught the baby fever.

Sunday evening our dog walker, who happens to be Indian, came over to teach me to cook dahl. Dahl is one of the first foods you feed Indian babies, so K wants me to learn to make it. Like any good Indian cook, she wasn't much of a teacher. She came with the spices already mixed, so I have no idea what she put in the dahl. But at least I learned consistency so maybe I'll be able to find a good recipe to make it on my own. I guess I need to start practicing soon, but I don't think I'll get to it for a while.

Now I'm exhausted. Hopefully I can recover this evening. We have Project Runway from Netflix, so maybe we'll just watch that and relax and go to bed early.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How much weight have you gained?

Today I got that question for the first time. I was in the elevator with a woman who works in my company that I don't know but see often in the elevator. She asked all of the normal question "So when are you due? Boy or girl?" Then said "How much weight have you gained?" I gave her a strange look and she said "I gained about 60 pounds when I was pregnant!" So I said "Oh, I've only gained about 17 pounds. I've been lucky." Then she looked disappointed and then I got off of the elevator. Sorry to disappoint but I just haven't gained that much. Partially I've tried to eat healthy, partially I've been forced to eat healthy due to my gallstones. I certainly had enough to begin with that I don't need much more.

Last night's dinner with our friend E was interesting. According to her, she does everything in their marriage, she doesn't think it's a partnership, and she needs some space to feel like herself again. When she was talking about what he doesn't do, I thought about all of the things I don't do, and how upset K gets with me sometimes about it. E said "After reminding someone to take out the trash every Thursday for 19 years, you get sick of it." I thought, what if K is sitting around a table 10 years from now saying the same thing? After she left, I told K how I felt and she said I was being silly, that I do a lot of stuff, that she feels like we have a partnership. I'm very secure in our relationship, and have been for many years, but talking someone who's been married for 19 years and wanting a divorce just threw me.

I ate too much last night at our dinner. We went out for Indian and then back to our place for sorbet and cookies and afterwards, I was feeling very, very full. Sometimes that feeling of fullness starts to feel like a feeling of pressure and gas and then lots of pain and then I'm throwing up because I have gallstones and can't eat like I want to. So I rested and I was okay, but I was a little nervous. But the Indian food tasted so good!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Surprises abound

Last night was another big surprise. My mom called and said they wanted to visit for 4th of July to meet the baby. We never bothered asking them to come to visit because the last time we did was full of drama. We asked them to take off their shoes while they were here and they sent an email threatening not to come because they are 'not vegetarians and do not worship Indian culture' and if we wanted them to visit we had to accept them as they are, in a longer and angrier email than this. We said fine, wear your shoes, if shoes are more important than visiting your daughter. They did come in January 2008 and we all had a good time. But then K and I said to each other that we would never ask them to visit again - they could come if they wanted but we wouldn't ask. And if they didn't visit, we wouldn't go out of our way to visit them either. We've seen them twice since getting pregnant, and talked on the phone a few times, and have never said to them "When will you come to meet your grandchild?" They surprised us by asking to visit. Babies change things. It will be interesting to see how the next 18 years go.

Tonight we are having dinner with a friend who is separating from her husband. It's so sad. They were college sweethearts just like we are. They've been together for 19 years and they are only 40 years old. They have two kids that they adopted from Korea after years of struggling with infertility - a 12 year old girl and 9 year old boy. They are good people that always seem happy and like they are having fun together. We had no clue that they were having trouble. They came to our baby shower a few weeks ago as a family and we co-hosted an Arrested Development viewing party with both of them in January. Everything seemed normal. I guess you just never know. But tonight should be a sad one for sure.