31 weeks! **NOW with FUN! management Update!**

I think my creative blog title well runneth dry . . .sorry y’all.

The most exciting news is that tomorrow is our Colorado baby shower! We are super lucky to have friends and family throwing us showers in both Colorado (where we live and my family is) and Indiana (where La is from). So shower #1 is tomorrow and #2 is two weeks later, on Feb 14th. La and I haven’t had to do a thing for the showers, other than provide names and contact info, and it’s been really lovely. As an extra special bonus, BFFBF (our donor’s boyfriend and the friend who colored and cut my hair) want a good picture of my hair, so he’s coming over before the shower to give me the full on celebrity blow-out experience. The worth of this gift was reinforced earlier this week when I tried to straighten my own hair and it looked . . .well . . .not so hot. So I am very pleased to have BFFBF come over. If only I could figure out how to have this happen daily . . .

Here’s a few other highlights of my week:

  • I have weird ear pain. I’ve had it for a bit now, mostly when I’m lying down or just wake up. The first morning I had it, I felt certain a full on sinus infection/ear infection was headed my way. But then nothing really showed. So then I thought it might be TMD (from the TMJ joint in the jaw) but I never really had any pain in my teeth or jaw, or any other indication of a problem. So I asked my midwife at our appointment, and she looked and said she saw inflammation . . .but then decided not to give me anything and told me to take sudafed for a few days and if it didn’t clear up to talk to my GP. Today I feel more congested and my throat is a little sore. So, I’m taking votes: do I go see my GP or book an appointment with a specialist about TMJ or just chalk this up to something else weird?
  • Speaking of the midwife . . .we unfortunately had to see our very least favorite this week, confirming our decision to buck the system and start scheduling far out to be able to see our fave, who I’m naming Velma because she reminds me of that sassy, spunky nerdy scooby doo character. Going to a medical appointment every two weeks just sucks if you don’t like the person you’re seeing. I am also recruiting the universe to help me get Velma there for my birth! But, all was well. Seafoam was hard to capture on the doppler again, moving all around and making it obvious. But we finally got him. I’m measuring on-track, BP is normal (higher than last time, but they used the machine instead of doing it manually, so I’m taking it with a grain of salt) and I’m approved to fly to Indy in two weeks, and to Durango, Co in three (for work.)
  • Speaking of work  . . . Babs (my supervisee who you may remember from here has continued to be a pain in my ass since October, but things are finally showing up more clearly as poor work. Not so much that she’s a bad employee/person (she’s not) but more than she just doesn’t have the skills needed for the position. My ED and I had another talk with her this week, and it was rough. Babs cried, a lot, mostly because it’s hard to hear that people think you’re not good at your job, especially if you’re kind of clueless about it. I say this, but honestly, I felt like shit. I don’t think she’s a good fit for her position, but I also hate being a reason someone is hurt. We told her some things need to change very quickly, and she said she’s not sure she should stay. We are meeting in an hour to talk things through again. I imagine it will suck again. To round things out, we also had a site visit from the primary funder of the program I manage, who is often confusing and intimidating. It went well, but it was an entire 8 hour day of ass-kissing. So, I’m beat.
  • I’m finally feeling seafoam up higher! I was starting to be confused/concerned that I only ever felt him down lower. But this past week I’ve gotten some clear thumps, bumps and kicks up higher. I think my placenta may be higher up in the front, as I’ve had multiple experiences this week of feeling a kick from the outside but NOT the inside, which seems weird? But reasonable, right? My guess is, since he’s been head down at every appointment we’ve had, that he’s just finally big enough for his legs and feet to be kicking me instead of flailing unbidden in the upper part of my uterus. But I’m not a doctor.

That’s all . . .expect some baby shower pictures and updates soon! Until then, send me good woo to be a caring, understanding but also take-no-shit manager, ok?

Update! Babs put in her notice . . .for TWO weeks. Expected, but maybe frustrating because . . .1) she talked a BIG game on weds about wanting to ‘transition well’ and leave things positively 2) a F’ing HUGE event that falls under her purview is scheduled for March 9th – less than 5 weeks away. 3) I’m going on maternity leave in 6-10 weeks. AND YET . . .I am so relieved.

30 weeks!

Holy Shit. From here on out, the countdown is in single digit weeks. That’s weird!

I don’t have a whole lot to update on, but somehow 30 weeks feels milestone worthy . . .is that true? I mean, the third trimester is established, and it’s not like some kind of developmental line was crossed. Maybe it’s just a fondness for multiples of 10?

The most exciting thing is that I got my hair done! (yeah. I’m serious. is that depressing?) BFFBF (aka: our donor’s boyfriend) is in hair school, which means access to a fabulous hairdresser for very little money – a real boon for the fashion forward bohemian income level soon-to-be mother. Around the time we got pregnant, I made an unofficial decision to start growing my hair out (it’s been somewhere between very short and short since I was a sophomore in college) and with it, see the extent to which I have gone gray. I’m only 33 but my mom was solidly salt-and-pepper by 40 and full on silver fox by 45, so I knew it was coming. Indeed, as my locks have gotten longer, so too have the hardy chunks and definitive streaks of gray made themselves known. I wanted to know what the damage was, but also to learn to embrace it. The hair color train is hard to get off when you’re an early turner in the gray department; leaving hair color after a certain point means embracing not just the silver but the skunk part.

Comme ca:

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Which I don’t wanna do. So I thought: get over it now while it’s still new and subtle, and avoid heartbreak later. Unfortunately, unlike my mom who had naturally very dark brown hair, mine is a nondescript medium-brown which, when supplemented with gray, just looks ashy and gross. And I am 30 weeks pregnant and feeling frumpy isn’t exactly difficult to do under the best circumstances. So, I said fuck it and told BFFBF to do as he wanted, and he did. I haven’t been able to get the best picture yet, but its a really lovely combination of red and copper and blonde highlights. And I feel way less frumpy. And way less old. I’m already freaking out about being someone’s mother so I don’t need the premature gray to complicate that, you know?

I also had a really intense dream about having a miscarriage, except in the dream I was only 14 weeks pregnant. (I don’t mean only  in any dismissive way,  just that it’s less pregnant than I am now) and it really hit me kind of hard. As soon as I gained enough awareness to realize where I was, Seafoam gave me a good switch punch to the pelvis, which was relief. But dreams like that are terrifying. I’ve come to the realization that there is no end to worry now that this little being is here. No end to the thought that the other shoe might drop. But I think the spaces between the worries are getting bigger. And good swift kicks help maintain perspective.

Gotta run to hypnobabies class! Here’s 30 weeks!

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Commitment (29w4d)

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m on the board of directors for a local non-profit organization that I adore. I’ve been volunteering with this organization for 10 years in some capacity or another, and I’ve really enjoyed my time on the board, although it’s also been a much bigger time commitment than I realized when I signed up. The board term at this organization is two years, which I will be at in May. Given circumstances, I let folks know I’d likely be ending my term a little early, when the baby came. Everyone was, of course, super supportive.

This weekend, the annual board/staff retreat for the organization is scheduled. A few weeks ago, when I got the high BP reading, I sent out e-mails to a lot of folks who I work with (and am close to) letting them know that I may have to readjust my workload on various projects. It might have been jumping the gun, but I work with my friends and people I value, and I wanted to be as transparent as possible. Of course, now my blood pressure is back to normal (or was at last check) so that particular concern is off the table. But, I got an e-mail from another board member offering me an ‘out’ for this weekend – it’s a fair distance away, at a higher altitude, and a full two day commitment – including sleeping away from home.

And I feel really, really torn. On the one hand, his specific concerns (about my BP) aren’t valid anymore. On the other, this past weekend I set the not-usually-lofty goal of cleaning the house (not deep cleaning, just the usual picking up/sweeping/dusting/bathrooms stuff) and ended up collapsing in tears at some point because I just couldn’t do it. (I want to clarify, as well, that this was an Al + La project, so I was only doing half of the listed tasks) I was exhausted, and my back hurt, and it was just really beyond my capacity. Even my usual sitting down and thinking heavy job is starting to become more tiring again.

Compounding my already complex feelings of guilt/need, is that another board member (one who I have quietly judged for her lack of commitment – seriously, she’s about 4 monthly meetings since she joined a year ago) sent out an e-mail this morning saying she wouldn’t be at the retreat because she needed to study for the LSAT. So, now I feel like my absence will have an even greater impact than it would have before. Not because I am so super important, but because it’s a small board and tiny staff.

So what do I do, y’all? I really try and see my commitment’s through . . .and I feel like I won’t be present in the way I want to be at the retreat. And I feel like an asshole for bailing. And . . .and . .and . . .

It’s been a hard realization for me that my ability to do shit just isn’t what it used to be, and that my ability to do shit is going to change quite a bit when I am parenting a baby. I know this is inevitable – a part of the process of rearranging life as a parent – but it’s still hard. I also balked at the changes that came with partnership – although I was (and am!) deeply in love and so very smitten with La, I loved (love!) my independence, and renegotiating it was hard. Eventually, I found a good spot for myself – a balance of asking for what I needed, showing up in places I wasn’t used to, and enjoying sharing my life. I’m sure this will happen again, but the transition is no less difficult because of this eventuality. My fear of shrinking into mommy-nothingness is real right now, my deep desire to hang on to the parts of me that are distinct is fierce. All of that AND also . . .oh! how I’ve longed to be a parent! Competing realities are hard.

Speaking of which . . .I feel like I was just remarking about how time is just flying by . . .and I just re-wrote my 60 day dry-erase calendar at work and (thanks mostly to February’s brevity) I was able to fit from today through our due date which was weird . . .and yet, things are also beginning to feel like they are at a standstill. Seriously, this morning I thought: how am I only 29 weeks pregnant? I feel like I’ve been 29 weeks pregnant for a month now. There really is no part of this that is rational, is there? This weird waiting to have a baby worm hole . . .

Here’s 29 + 4, since I guess this is now when I take my bump selfies:

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Sneaky Seafoam (29w)

Oh, this week. Today is the first time since Monday afternoon I’ve had any time at my desk and I am choosing to update this blog instead of begin slogging through the to-do list that has tripled itself in my absence. I can always tell when I’m harried because my desk goes from neatly organized to a whirlwind of notes and travel coffee mugs.

On the gestational side of things, there has been good and less good but still not bad (are you sensing a theme?) We had a midwife appointment on Wednesday where my weight had dropped 4 lbs and my blood pressure was 100% normal. This brings me to 10lbs total gain for the pregnancy and no longer on super-hawk watch for gestational hypertension! Seafoam, however, was hard to capture – it took the midwife (a new one, who we are less fond of) a lot of searching before she found his heartbeat, sounding very distant. Since he’s always had a loud, strong presence on the doppler from the get-go, it made me feel funny.

Unfortunately, right after walking out of the office, I got pummeled with a wave of intense nausea and weird head feelings (sorry for the lack of accuracy but I don’t know what else to call them!) I figured I was hungry, so I went home and ate some nuts, which didn’t seem to alleviate anything. La made us a truly delicious dinner of salmon and salad, which also did nothing to bring me round. Between the sudden sickness and the lingering weirdness about seafoam’s heartbeat, we decided to go to the OB screening room, our hospital’s “OB ER.”

Don’t worry, we are all ok. My BP was still normal, my urine was still free of protein. They found seafoam, albeit after another very long search, and determined my intense nausea was probably the result of shrinking stomach capacity and heartburn. I would feel like a total asshole for going to the ER for that but my favorite midwife was on call and she is the best about making sure you DON’T feel like an asshole. I also got a script for zofran and rinitidine (a heart burn med), the latter which has totally changed my life in the few days I’ve taken it, the former which I haven’t touched because I’m so afraid of the headaches that are a common side effect. I’ve opted for unisom at night (also life changing) and meclazine (OTC) during the day. The nausea is sticking around, although the head cloudiness has mostly cleared up.

My final note about pregnancy body function is this: I will never, ever again decide to ‘switch up’ my mira.lax/docusate sodium (aka: my pooping regimen) again. I made the foolish decision to move when I took the meds from before bed to morning, to avoid consuming any more liquid than I already was close to bedtime. After three days I had not pooped. Clearly, my body was in revolt. Constipation when you have a stowaway the size of a winter squash in residence is awful. So I upped my game and switched back to night time. This morning I was greeted with a poop the size of an antarctic iceberg that I felt I had to birth. Never. Again.

(and I’m not sorry about not prefacing this with TMI because who reads TTC/pregnancy blogs and is offended by bodily functions?!)

Work is fucking insane. In addition to trying to prep to leave for two months (not my specialty as your friendly office type A neurotic) and get all the training for all the schools I work with done in 10 weeks (or less!), the government also issued new grants (for teen pregnancy prevention, if you’re new to my blog – the great irony of being an infertile queer is that I spend my days trying to ensure other people don’t get pregnant) which means, in between all my other work, I’m trying to read and digest 150 page requests for proposals. Maternity leave is looking both so desirable and so fucking terrifying.

Life, like pregnancy, is getting less comfortable. But it’s still awesome.

Oh, and here’s the 28 + 3 bump:

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Water babies! 27w5d

I must be setting some personal record for blogging this week, except the week I peed on a stick every day and posted it for y’all to analyze for me. I don’t plan on getting quite that obsessive again until we are trying to get La knocked up (and it’ll be way worse, cause I can’t make her pee on things!)

I’ve been adjusting to the idea of this maybe gestational hypertension dx. The midwife called yesterday and told me all of my labs came back 100% normal, which is definitely reassuring. I have been itching to check my own BP at one of those kiosks (if you can find them anymore!) even though I was instructed not to . . .I feel like a junky. Trying to think about how I can sneak it in and keep it quiet. It wouldn’t work, I’m a terrible liar.

However, I started working on my maternity leave plan at work since I had to submit my official “this is when I’ll be gone having a baby” letter this week, and I factored in the possibility of an early induction. I’m also being more thoughtful about what I am doing between now and then, should I have to modify my tasks or work at all (for example, not spend entire days training on my feet?!) All in all, I think they are good practices to let go of some of the rigidity I feel about planning and predicting. I’m getting looser with the idea of possibility. It’s a good thing for me.

But I have at least a brief sketch of what my leave plan is, which is great. I’m planning to be out full time for 8 weeks, and then I’ll be transitioning back for another 5, working 2 days a week for a few weeks, then three days a week for a few more. I’m lucky that thanks to my super sweet ED and chill office culture, not to mention the pretty stellar benefits (for the U.S., for the non profit sector) – all of that will be 100% paid. Anything else isn’t really an option, since my paycheck is the primary one. With this plan, we should be able to avoid any outside childcare (ie: only La and I taking primary care of seafoam) until August. After that, I think I’ll be able to work from home 1 day a week, La doesn’t have classes on Friday, so we’ll only have to find care for three days a week – a lot of which my mom might take on, at least while he’s little.

In other news, this morning La and I (along with our fabulous friend E) got up and went to aqua-aerobics at the rec center. We were the youngest people there by probably 20 years, but it was *awesome*! The water is warm (92 degrees!) and the class was actually a pretty good workout. The benefit for me was that I didn’t have to worry about my belly flopping around, and it was so much easier on my joints that already feel taxed from doing like, nothing. I’m a little embarassed but mostly totally happy, and I will recommend this to any pregnant woman, especially those of you in your late second or third trimester. Plus, a warm pool is like the closest thing to a hot tub I’m gonna get for the time being.

I had a couple of days where I hardly felt seafoam at all . . .enough not to really freak out, but not enough to feel confident. In the last two days he has given me my comeuppance. All day long, big swift pummeling movements! But, still very low in my belly, close to my pubic bone still. I guess that’s his spot? I’m not worried, per se, but would like it if I started feeling like all this belly between my button and my ribs held something other than . . .guts? a uterus? amniotic fluid?

The Good, and the Not-So-Good (but not quite bad) News (27w4d)

I got the call this morning that my three hour glucose tolerance test came back  . . .NORMAL! I was low on all the draws, from fasting to hour three. So low on hour three that the nurse remarked, ‘You probably felt like crap.’ I declined to tell her I actually felt not-so-bad until I ate some nuts and my body got all hot and shaky and crazy.

There was MUCH rejoicing!

We had our 28w appointment this afternoon, though . . .and there are a few more curveballs to contend with. The first is that I gained 7lbs (!!!) since my last appointment. HOW?! I gained 0 lbs in 4 weeks and 7 in two? I know I was in the midwest eating casseroles and sweets like club crackers covered in carmel but . . .whew. The midwife wasn’t terribly worried, and mentioned that she actually thought a good chunk of it could be water weight, because . . .my blood pressure is also high.

Well, maybe. Like a lot of offices, my midwife practice uses those automatic blood pressure machines, which seem to consistantly malfunction when I use them, not even registering a BP. This was the case today, so the assistant took it using the machine with a small cuff on my forearm. And doing that, it popped up at 141/85. She decided to take it again, manually, but using a small cuff, where it dropped just under the cut off. The midwife took it one final time with the machine and the big cuff before we left, and it was at 139/82 – again, just below the cut off for high.

So, the jury is still out. My urine was free of protein, which is good news in any case. But since my blood pressure has been inching up throughout my pregnancy, the midwife is concerned I might have gestational hypertension. While she was explaining it, she casually mentioned induction at 37-39 weeks and I all but lost it. I feel so so so strongly about NOT being induced, and now it seemed like my fate was sealed.

Thank God for La, who saw the tears in my eyes and mentioned to the midwife how strongly we feel about induction. And thank God for the midwife, who fell all over herself apologizing and clarifying that 1) I don’t have gestational hypertension diagnosed yet 2) The practice and the hospital both want to avoid induction and other interventions and 3) Induction doesn’t mean pitocin, necessarily, and she would go out of her way to do what she can do avoid using pit if induction does have to happen.

They took some liver and kidney function labs, and are getting some other baseline data to be able to better gauge if things are going badly. I go back in a week to get my BP checked again and if it’s high (over 140/90) I will likely have to be transferred to co-management by the midwives and OBs at the primary hospital clinic. But, that hasn’t happened yet, and I’m hoping that that my BP will go down and I won’t have to be concerned about any of this – from having to see an OB (and a midwife – have to remind myself of that!) to possible induction.

Unfortunately, like GD, you either get gestational hypertension or you don’t. It can’t be prevented or really treated, aside from increased monitoring. This makes me feel less like a failure, but still bummed about about the possibility of intervention.

Seafoam, though, is measuring right on track and is happily head down, for now (and forever, I hope!) with a heart beat steady and bold, as always.

It could definitely be worse, but it could also be better.

Dream Baby (27w2d)

Today is my last day off after a week and a half of vacation, and – just as was the case when I was in school – I am ready to be back to work. I’m kind of terrible at vacation. Mostly, I like routine. And I miss my colleagues.

I took my three hour GTT on Friday, since Wednesday morning came far too early after a delayed flight that didn’t get us home until after midnight, which thanks to time change felt more like 2am. It wasn’t as bad as I’d made it out to be, although I’m definitely not interested in ever having to repeat it. I didn’t get shakey or vomity, which I’m hoping is evidence of good things. It was somewhat miserable to sit in a waiting room for three hours, but even that went pretty fast. I’m hoping my results will be back tomorrow when I go for my regular appointment, but I’ve been enjoying things like it might be my last day of freedom in any case. I know that GD meal plans aren’t really so bad, and any incentive to eat better is a good one. AND . . .there is something about the idea of not being able to eat certain things that makes them that much more delicious sounding – even if I rarely, or never, eat them regularly anyway.

La went out on NYE to drive for Ly.ft and made some decent money – although not as much as we were hoping. I stayed home and used my new pedicure spa foot bath and lotions, christmas gifts from my fabulous mother in law, and then fell asleep before 11pm. So – exciting night! New Year’s Day we made our traditional meal of ham, black eyed peas and greens and made ‘intention boards’ – collages of the images, ideas, and words we want to manifest for the year ahead. I think resolutions are kind of a set up, so this allows me to set goals and think about the future without also screwing myself.

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Our hypnobabies class starts next Friday, and we started listening to the pre-class tracks last night. Aside from the baby bulldog doing everything in her small but bulky power to distract us (I’m talking head butting the bed, racing between rooms, barking at her toys) we made it through the first session fairly relaxed. And it must have had some significant impact, as I had a childbirth dream last night and little seafoam emerged – in that dream – with almost no pain and only a few easy pushes at home. Little seafoam was also giant. (This isn’t the first time I’ve dreamed of having a very large baby – my first childbirth dream I delivered a toddler sized, hair covered man-baby!) Although at least this time he was still infant sized, just very large infant sized. We also, again, chose a name from our list that has consistently been in the #3 slot and is, sort of, been dropped off the list. After this, I think we may need to consider adding it back. I’m excited that my dreams about child birth have, so far, consisted of delivering large babies with no pain, and hope this bodes well for the future.

Finally, hello third trimester! I continue to be a little mystified about how these things get decided, and my apps don’t seem to agree either, but since I’m about 27 1/2 weeks and the cut off seems to be either 27 or 28 weeks, I’m gonna call it. I continue to feel a lot bigger, but looking at my pictures, I don’t feel like it really shows. I’m sure that will change soon enough.

Seafoam continues to hang out pretty low in my pelvis, although his movements seem to be inching up gradually. After talking to my cousin, who suffered tears in the muscles near her ribs thanks to her babies, I’m not going to be too pushy about him moving up too fast. I also have an exceptionally long torso, so I figure he’s got a bigger pad than a lot of babies and is probably just enjoying his space while he still has it.

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And now, the downhill ride to the birth of our son has begun. Holy shit.