It seemed appropriate given that I study children’s literature, that I use a picture from a kids’ book to describe my life. It’s from Esphyr Slobodkina’s book “Caps for Sale” and illustrates how I feel most days lately. In trying to balance graduate school, an international move, being a new mom, having a decent house, eating/showering myself, and taking care of my ousted furry firstborn (border collie), it feels like my hats have to be stacked like this picture if I want to get anything done. (You may ask why in the midst of this craziness I am blogging. The answer is I have no idea, but it is likely procrastination.)
The photo to the left sums up my days. Coffee that has gone cold, a baby who sleeps only while touching me, a laptop with thesis research on all the tabs that aren’t Google results of random parenting questions, and a notebook scattered with thesis jottings and schedules of house showings (the joys of moving #475: having to keep your house clean for strangers).
I love being a mom. Little dude’s smiling face (yes, I know it’s probably gas, but it’s so darn cute) is the best part of my day. I just have to make it through the turmoil of this move and then focus on my thesis until September. I know life never slows down; the crazy just evolves into something new. I am going to 100% — (pause for diaper and outfit change; resume typing with one hand while feeding baby with the other) — anyway, I will 100% miss this time once it’s gone, but it is a little more chaotic than I anticipated. Please forgive infrequent posting. I suspect that will be the new norm.
Oh and did I mention I have horrid allergies and my sneezing frequently wakes baby? It’s great. 😉
Three weeks ago, my world changed forever. I became responsible for the very life of the cutest little boy you can imagine. He has his daddy’s big blue eyes and my dark hair. His birth was dramatic; uncomfortable, scary, and almost life-threatening at points. It was 100% worth it. This is his birth story.
The day of my 39 weeks check up, my nurse noted I had high blood pressure, a first for my pregnancy. It was high enough to throw a red flag and she asked me to come back the following day (a Friday) and retest. If it was still high, they would talk about inducing me. My husband was away on a last minute business trip. He was due back Sunday. I asked if I could wait the weekend, come in Monday, so the baby’s dad could be there. The OB agreed.
Sunday night my husband came home and first thing Monday I was in the OB being tested for preeclampsia. It all happened so fast and before I knew it I was on fluids in the Labor and Delivery portion of the hospital and they were putting in a Foley bulb (ugh, they are from hell) to force me to dilate. At 39 weeks 4 days, I wasn’t dilated in the least. The midwife putting in the bulb said I might have “mild cramping”. Understatement of the year. The ensuing contractions had me in tears on the way home. I was to come back in the morning for my induction, at which point I should be dilated to 4 or 5 cm.
At 5 o’clock the next morning, my husband, mother, younger sister and I packed up and headed to the hospital. I was still in pain, but less so once the Foley bulb naturally came out around 1 a.m. By 7:30 I was hooked up to a variety of IVs and drugs and by 8:30 my water broke. By 4 p.m. I had only progressed to 6cm dilated. The doctors were concerned. I was groggy from the drugs, but I could tell by their faces, and my family’s demeanor, that something was wrong. Later I learned my blood pressure was so high I was nearing the level of stroke/seizures. At the time though, I just wanted my baby out. The contractions were coming fast, with only a few seconds of rest in between. I was in and out of a dream-like state (honestly, it felt like being drunk) and my biggest concern was having the baby before I had to switch my female doctor for the male doctor scheduled for night shift. That was a lost cause, but the doctor I had been laboring with gave me an epidural before she left.
Another 8 hours of contractions left me snarky and sarcastic with my patient team of doctors and nurses. I didn’t blame my husband, hit anyone, or scream obscenities. I said a very bad word one time, when the baby’s shoulders finally came out, but otherwise I was just generally a feminist who was too scared of accidentally pooping to push properly. (Yeah, that was hands-down the worst part; fear of pooping/feeling like you were gonna. I didn’t, but still. It left my baby pinned under my pelvic bone for 6 hours and gave him an impressive conehead, according to the staff’s notes).
At 11:51 p.m., 34 hours after my contractions began and 9 minutes before his due date, Ronan was born.
For the first 24 hours of his life, I was on a magnesium IV and still felt out-of-it. My husband was absolutely smitten with our son, but I still felt groggy and disconnected. At midnight on Wednesday, they turned off the magnesium and it was like magic. My head cleared and I was IN LOVE with this tiny child. I had cared for him the day before (even on drugs, I love kids and knew he needed me), but – off the magnesium – I relished every moment. Thursday was a great day. I had meals delivered, a fantastic nursing staff at the touch of a button, and my husband brought me Starbucks iced tea throughout the day. Best of all, I had my tiny son to cuddle and love on.
We went home Friday afternoon, though they almost kept me another day. I have never been so scared to be responsible for a baby, despite a decade of babysitting and having four younger siblings. I am eternally grateful that my mother flew out to stay for three weeks. She made the transition much easier.
So here we are, three weeks later, and finally settling into a routine. I have officially joined the mommy club and it is my favorite thing ever. 🙂
It’s been a pretty smooth pregnancy. This is week 39 and not a single complication, everything normal, on schedule. Although it is my first pregnancy, I thought I was prepared. I have friends with kids; I remember my mom’s pregnancies with my little sisters; I’ve read the books. Unfortunately, friends don’t share everything, memories are fallible, and the books don’t always present the clearest picture.
Here are 5 things about late pregnancy that are apparently normal, but I was entirely unprepared for:
Dizzy spells and seeing stars: this one freaked me out a bit. Two weeks ago I had an ocular migraine (seeing flashing lights, blurry vision, headache) and went to bed early. It was mostly gone by the next day, so I moved on. Yesterday, I was curious and Googled ‘seeing stars in pregnancy’ because lately this has been happening to me a lot — despite staying hydrated. I was worried when I saw it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, but since my blood pressure has always been ok, this isn’t a concern (for me personally, but always check with your OB – I certainly did). Solution/Explanation: Drink extra water and move slowly from one position to the next.
Nausea when laying down: the last few nights I’ve woken up feeling incredibly nauseous. No actual vomiting, but I felt it in my throat. Nasty. Solution/Explanation: A lovely result of acid reflux. No rest for the weary, this only gets worse as the pregnancy progresses. YAY! So eat those TUMS and sleep propped up (I make a pillow armchair and sleep kinda reclined. If I had a LazyBoy, I’d sleep there).
BRAXTON HICKS EVERY TIME YOU MOVE. I’m not totally unprepared; I knew Braxton Hicks were part of the deal. Last Friday, I spent the day running errands and had tons of Braxton Hicks. Since my husband was leaving for his business trip Saturday morning, he begged me to take it easy. Hm, Netflix and microwave meals all weekend? Don’t have to ask me twice. Since then, I am just dandy if I am sitting down, but as soon as I get up (Even if it’s just to pee!) BOOM Braxton Hicks. This morning’s shower cost me two. Solution/Explanation: Normal for this stage of pregnancy. Call Labor and Delivery if they become regular (and frequent), don’t stop when you settle down, or are really painful.
Really achy tummy: outside and in, this is not a comfortable stage. I’m not sleeping, getting up to pee every hour, and my stomach aches (like someone’s standing on it….or, I don’t know, growing inside it) all the time. It is increasingly difficult to find a position that doesn’t hurt. Sitting up straight on a comfy chair seems optimal. Of course, you can’t sleep sitting straight up, so good luck there. Solution/explanation: the world has just chosen to keep secret how freaking uncomfortable the last month is. I thought early third trimester was bad. Experiment with positions until you find something you can live with. Move slowly when you wake up or else risk killer cramps.
Weird poo: Ok, this is gross, but you know what this whole pregnancy and birth thing is disgusting and not one bit “beautiful”. Those women who gush about missing pregnancy and what a beautiful experience it was, they are lying. Or else they have memory loss. By all accounts my pregnancy has been a breeze and perfectly textbook, but it is pretty horrific the things going on with my body. This latest development I blamed on my obsession with not getting sick (ie eating tons of oranges and other vitamin C fruits). I had read this could be a sign of labor, but I didn’t expect it to start in week 38 and last for…? Solution/Explanation: Various types loose and/or strangely colored things showing up in the toilet are apparently normal (?!). WTH. Best part is there is zero fix for this. I’ve basically cut out fruit and upped the carbs, but as this hasn’t helped, I may just say screw it and eat my precious oranges and blueberries again. Just stay hydrated, my friends.
The combination of these symptoms since last week had me slightly concerned, my absent husband even more so. At his request (and giving in to my slight paranoia), I called the OB. First, I hate when a medical professional (ha, professional) is condescending, so I had to deal with that. Otherwise, it was a reassuring call. All normal, and they’ll see me later this week for hopefully my last appointment (39 week).
Of course, they covered with “if you start bleeding, have a sudden loss of fluid, or experience regular, frequent, and increasing contractions, contact Labor and Delivery right away.” Well, actually, I knew that much, it was just items 1-5 that I was unprepared for.
Lesson learned. Pregnancy is a gross and uncomfortable process. Little baby, you had better knock my socks off. All for you, kid, all for you.
Trying to be a good wife over here, but honestly struggling. My husband is talking about going out of town for the weekend with his nephew. They’ve been talking about going hiking for awhile, but I feel like now that we are three weeks from the due date (with a hospital bag packed) it is a really bad idea to go off in the mountains with limited cell phone reception. I don’t want to be a nagging wife, but I also really don’t want him to go – even though it would only be Saturday – Monday. Grr, how do I balance this?
Speaking of balance, I find the bump makes my center of gravity way off and have reached that oh-so-fun point where bending down/cleaning house is more of a chore than usual. My husband’s job has been hectic and he’s been working 12-13hr days. Understandably, then, when he gets home he just wants to sit and chill. Meanwhile, I have been trying to run errands and clean all day and am exhausted, but not going to bed because now it is time to work on my master’s thesis.
DEAR JESUS GIVE ME PATIENCE. I keep swallowing the bitterness that wants more help around the house, because I have yet – in five years of marriage (this week – happy anniversary us!) found a way to discuss his lack of helping around the house in a way that gets results.
Yeah, I know, this is hardly mommy-related, but I can tell you what, if he doesn’t feel the need to help his 37-week-pregnant, full-time graduate student wife with household chores, why should I expect help once baby is here? Everyone is telling me to take it easy, especially once baby comes, but I can’t when the house is falling to pieces and I am behind on schoolwork.
I apologize for the whine-fest, but this is reality – this is life. My husband and I have one of the best and most fun relationships I’ve ever seen and I adore him to pieces, but sometimes the work-life balance is a struggle. Every late night and all those long hours are to support me and this little one, I know…. is it selfish to want help at home too?
Hi Baby, you don’t have a name yet, but I’m sure your daddy and I will think of something before you arrive. We’ve been trying to find the perfect name since December 20th, the day we found out you were a boy, but no luck so far. What do you think of Alexander? Ronin? Arthur? Tristan? It’s hard naming a human we’ve never met.
A few days ago we got to see you on the ultrasound (first time since December – my how you’ve grown in those 16 weeks!). You have stubby fingers (from my dad’s side) and you waved at us. Hi honey. We are crazy about you already.
Quick favor though. It’s about this whole birth thing. Can we maybe bulls-eye the due date? The doctor said at this point you can come anytime, but let’s aim for the 10 May area, as planned. You see, Daddy is being sent on a business trip the week before, just for a few days, and will be back May 6th, so don’t come earlier than that, please. And your grandma (my mom) will be here May 4th – she’d never forgive you if you showed up before her. Daddy’s parents will also arrive May 6th, so maybe let’s shoot for the 8th-11th? Any of those days would be fine. And let’s try for quick delivery, ok? I’m ok with pain most of the time, but, honey, your head is huge. Try not to ruin me, ok?
There’s a lot of people who can’t wait to meet you and you are already so loved… let’s just stick to the 8th-11th plan and we’ll be off to a great start. 😉 Thanks kid.
I went to a birthing class. This is going to be a nasty experience. Apparently, my hospital is big into “skin to skin” and plan to deposit the slimy newborn on my bare chest as soon as he exits the birth canal. No, thank you. I am all for cuddling my new little son but please, for the love of all that is holy, wipe off the gunk.
I looked into saving the cord blood, but my gosh that is expensive. Someone did it in a novel once and it saved the baby’s father 18 years later. Not sure if it’s enough to spend several thousand dollars on….
We have set up the crib and purchased all the necessary baby items. The stroller/carseat combo was delayed in shipping so we may end up buying a second carseat, just in case little man decides to show up before our order.
And, no, we are nowhere near settled on a name. Oh, and my feet are still quite swollen. I miss my pre-pregnancy body quite a bit these days. I haven’t gained too much (somewhere between 20-25lbs) and it is mostly belly, but the family’s jokes about how huge I am are grating on my nerves. Gotchya, the stomach is carrying a 6+lb infant, stop pointing it out.
Tomorrow makes exactly one month until the due date! It is still surreal, but I think we are about as ready as can be to meet our little guy.
And so at 31 weeks and 3 days, I had swollen feet for the first time. I blamed the fancy dinner for which I wore heels, but I’ve noticed it a few more times over the weekend. Apparently this has something to do with my body pumping 50% more blood volume than normal. Little guy is still happy and bouncing but this momma has some swollen feet. Yay, it’s started.
“Don’t sit for extended periods” says Google. “HA” says the grad student.
Currently attempting data analysis on my laptop with my feet propped up. They feel kind of numb and warm. It’s weird and I don’t like it.
When you’re a grad student and an expecting mom, late night PopTarts are bound to happen. Tonight (this morning?) at 2:30 am I took a study break to treat my progress with a snack. I guess the sugar woke little man because he started turning and stretching. Despite looming deadlines and tired eyes, I was suddenly so peaceful and happy. As I brushed crumbs off my bump, I relished the moment – the quiet stillness of my home, the contented breathing of my dog curled on rug, the progress I’ve made tonight on my essay, the tasty midnight snack…and most of all the sweet company of those tiny, sleepy kicks.
I can’t wait to hold him in my arms, but sometimes I just love being pregnant.
In the first trimester, I couldn’t make it through the day without a nap. When I found it too hard to fall asleep at night, I starting purposely exhausting myself (by not taking a nap) so that I’d fall right to sleep at night.
The second trimester was a breeze and I didn’t notice any fatigue, but now I’m in the third trimester and it’s a different story! My trouble is though I have so much I should be doing (homework, cleaning house, devotions and yoga (would be nice), spending time with D, making meals, more homework) that I feel far too guilty to nap. When I mention to D that I am just so exhausted, he’ll reply with a casual, ” Oh yeah, me too.” Or “ugh, I feel ya; I’m tired too.”
OK, yes, I get it; work’s been terribly hectic and you are working long days and don’t even get a lunch, but I am growing a HUMAN. And when I get home from class, I can’t rest because I have chores to do or a dog to walk or HOMEWORK (SO MUCH homework). It’s Sunday afternoon and I’ve been awake since 8:30 (which was my “sleeping in”). I breakfasted and did devotions, and took care of the dog then hit the books…
Now I am desperate for a nap, but I don’t think I could live with myself if I laid down amid my massive to do list. There’s laundry on the couch and dishes in the sink. I have a very important assignment due this week that I’ve made scant progress on and my hormones are in full swing.
All this to say, hope to the busy moms. I feel ya. I assume this overwhelming desire to cry and sleep and a strong inclination to knit little hats (which I definitely don’t have time for) is all normal.
I think my husband picked up on me hesitating to share baby related news. The past two days when he gets home from work and gives me a hug, he immediately puts his hand on my belly and asks, “How’s he been doing today? Is he kicking?” Part of me is thrilled, but he cynical part of me is wary. I feel like he’s humoring me and I’m reluctant to take the bait.
But he is being quite sweet so I guess I should just accept it.