Saturday, July 19, 2008

pregnancy journal entry 8

This is day number 258 and you're 36 weeks pregnant!
You have 22 days or 3 weeks left, and are 92.1% of the way there.
Baby's age since conception is 244 days or 34 weeks. You are due on 8/10/2008.

Fetal Development
Your baby has added another half pound and now weighs about 6 pounds, measures around 20.7 inches in length, and is almost ready to check out of "Hotel Mom." Your baby has moved downward towards your vagina; hopefully headfirst. However, at this stage it is very common for babies to be feet first, or breech. It is not until labor begins that you can know for sure if your doctor will need to manually turn the baby (ECV), or if you will have to consider a cesarean delivery.

Nesting Instinct

Around the fifth month of pregnancy, the "nesting" instinct can set in. This is an uncontrollable urge to clean one's house brought on by a desire to prepare a nest for the new baby, to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world.

Females of the animal kingdom are all equipped with this same need. It is a primal instinct. Just as you see birds making their nests, mothers-to-be do exactly the same thing. The act of nesting puts you in control and gives a sense of accomplishment toward birth. You may become a homebody and want to retreat into the comfort of home and familiar company, like a brooding hen. The nesting urge can also be seen as a sign of the onset of labor when it occurs close to 40 weeks of pregnancy.

Nesting brings about some unique and seemingly irrational behaviors in pregnant women and all of them experience it differently. Women have reported throwing away perfectly good sheets and towels because they felt the strong need to have "brand new, clean" sheets and towels in their home. They have also reported doing things like taking apart the knobs on kitchen cupboards, just so they could disinfect the screws attached to the knobs. Women have discussed taking on cleaning their entire house, armed with a toothbrush. There seems to be no end to the lengths a nesting mother will go to prepare for her upcoming arrival.

hah! been feeling that for sure. i am getting all stressed about certain things not being organized, would like to have the porch completely cleared off, the carport cleared, etc. i have been wanting to clean the walls in the bedroom for months. which i finally did yesterday. i decided to heck with taking a trip to home depot to get the mr. clean wall cleaner sheets, i am just going to use my home made cleaner. secret: it works just as well. my walls came out lovely white. a little castile soap mixed with water in a spray bottle and a sponge. hm. and it's non-toxic. why the heck did i wait so long? that's the same solution i detail-cleaned the inside of the car with for 3 hours last week, too. i armed myself for car cleaning with: the castile-water solution, also a water-vinegar-essential oil solution, and a spray bottle of club soda. then an old towel, q-tips, and paper towels. yes, it took me 3 1/2 hours. but this car hadn't been vacuumed in months, and detail-cleaned? never since we've had it. years. now it is so lovely and i feel great about it being ready to take on a newborn baby. although we probably won't even be driving it anymore when baby sister arrives. we are really looking at getting a used volvo next week. we've been researching for months, ever since some great friends of ours gave us $2000 towards a new car! can you believe it? i am so incredibly blessed all the time.

the midwife at my last clinic appointment made it sound like i should be ready to deliver my own baby, and was quite emphatic that second babies usually come in half the time. sheesh. as intense as 5 1/2 hours of labor was, i'm not sure that i would want it to go any faster, but then again i know i have quite a limited choice on that matter. i just hope i am "with it" enough to be able to push slowly and properly like i want to. i also found out that dr. green is on the rotations for cottage births! which means he could be the one to deliver my baby again! that is what i am praying for now, as i know he is absolutely the most mother-friendly doctor in town. i know with him i have the best chance of getting to deliver on my side or knees or even squatting. of course the best chance would be if the doctor didn't even come in in time, but what the heck. i don't want it to be a huge fight with either the nurses OR the doctor to have a "natural" delivery. i just keep picturing myself on my back with my legs up like some helpless, depressing kafka beetle. no WONDER i tore last time. not optimal positioning, and then they were all telling me to give really big pushes! and i listened to them instead of my body like an idiot. anyways, that's what i mean by being with it. i really really want to know what i need at the time and be assertive enough to get it. and not get it into my head that just because i'm poor and on medi-cal i and my baby don't deserve a birth that is sweet and sacred.

my doula is bringing me a midwifery textbook this week, too, JUST in case segunda pops out at home or in the car. (since i am still apprehensive about going to the hospital right away. stupid painful belly monitor!) according to a book she read, every woman should be prepared to deliver her own baby. you just never know. this is so wise. i particularly want to know how to suction fluids out of the lungs and what to do if the cord is wrapped around the neck...

geez i am running out of time here, though. three weeks? and i am feeling sooooo ready. i know it is foolish to hope for an early delivery, but the signs my body is giving me are just like the ones i had the DAY before i gave birth to sparrow. In particular, sharp pains in the cervix, which i have been experiencing for weeks now, and major amounts of braxton hicks contractions. it's so funny, though--the mind-body connection: some days i just feel like i could push her out right now, and some days i feel way too anxious about money or housing or family or simply not having everything ready or clean enough yet. on those days i just know she is not going to come early. she just can't. i remember this with sparrow, i felt pretty ready to have her but then right on my due date, thomas decided it was time to clean out the hall closet, and piles of crap ended up in the middle of our room. i was SO anxious and stressed that day! i could not have given birth with our room in such a state. the other thing factoring in to favor an early delivery here is the knowledge that thomas is going to be in san francisco soon, and i just have this feeling that i have to push her out before he goes! women are amazing, too, i know i have a lot to do with the delivery date with my attitude and readiness. i mean, women have totally voluntarily opened--and closed!--their cervixes (is that a word?) as well as voluntarily stopped post-placenta uterine bleeding, not to mention totally sucked their crowning babies right back in if someone or something unwelcome entered the delivery room!

i am learning all these great things about childbirth from the book "ina may's guide to childbirth," which cybil lent me recently. it is wonderful to read the perspective of this woman who is so in awe of and so confident in the woman's ability to give birth. one of the things that has helped me the most is her assertion that it is definitely NOT like pushing an orange out of your nostril. "Nostrils weren't created to do anything of the kind. Nothing larger than a little mucus comes out of them." her point is that the birth canal WAS created to have babies come out of it, and it is awesomely capable of doing so. the bones move, the canal stretches and expands, and the baby's head actually mushes together--hence the movable skull plates--hello! we picture this thing that is the size of a large grapefruit bursting out of a tiny hole, and we simply cringe. in reality, if you have ever seen a baby come out of someone, (and i have) the head looks nothing like a grapefruit. it is a mushed, malleable kind of squishy thing that is perfectly suited to exiting the mother's body in just this rather slow way. it really is stunning how it is all made to work.

another thing that has been encouraging in reading this book is the way that the author (ina may gaskin) describes contractions as "rushes" and emphasizes the husband's role as lover in labor and childbirth. the way he can ease and even neutralize the pains if the couple can choose to focus on each other, lean on each other, and draw on their love. the case studies she has of women who chose to go along with these suggestions are totally inspiring. which is another reason why i need thomas to be there during the birth. i can't very well make out with ander now, can i... but you know, i know even if he is not here, i am going to be totally ok. i have ander as friend and support, two great doulas who are excited about the process of life, holly lomelino as an experienced help, and now my sister is scheduled to be here as well. i am fully surrounded and supported, and my love for my husband will be felt strongly either way.

as for now, my friends, i am still waddling around during the day and floundering like a whale on my bed at night. my lower back and hips are treating me crazy!! nothing to complain about--compared to nausea--but seriously! my relaxin hormone has been working on me so much that i can now hear my legs clacking in my hip sockets when i walk down stairs. every time i get up i hobble about like a fat old geezer. and whoever made up that thing about sleeping on your left side? i swear if i sleep on my left side i get these excruciating, stabbing jabs in my sacrum if i try to roll over, sit up, stand, walk, or put pants on. yes. there is definitely a parallel. i am better off sleeping on my back! supposedly dangerous for your heart, but... what can i say. that's just my dang observation.

this baby herself has grown quite large--i gained 5 pounds in 2 weeks! (and i thought i was going to get by with less than 40 lbs this time.) and she is now stretching out to kick my ribs quite often. i am so excited to see what she will look like. and i really hope that her name just dawns on us when we meet her. i like june, i like evangeline, margo, imogen, jael, adelaide, golden of course, olive, grey, and quite a bundle of other names, but honestly can't settle in on any type of priority or configuration among them. plus, we have to keep in mind that at least one middle name has to be acceptable in german. we owe at least that much to my german heritage and dear dad. and with that, friends, this is probably my last entry until the big event is over, people have been looking at me with sketchy "you're about to pop, aren't you?" eyes for over a month now--some (men) even having the audacity to say as much outloud. so there you have it. labor!--bring it on! i am looking forward to it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

stung by a bee!

poor sparrow had to experience a bee sting (BS!) yesterday. i was driving her home from samuel's house after work, when suddenly she started completely freaking out and shrieking in the back seat (BS!). I knew it was the kind of shrieking where she had gotten hurt, and i glanced back and saw her frantically itching/rubbing her shoulder. i guessed it was a bee sting right then and there and pulled over to take a closer look. we were almost home and i didn't see the bee around, so the best i could do was to tell her we would be home soon and i would look at it as soon as possible. i hauled arse on the final stretch home and got her and a bunch of stuff into the house with the poor dear crying hysterically. when i pulled her out of her car seat, sure enough, the wicked creature was still nosing about in her car seat! i got a paper towel and smashed it dead, then put it in a ziploc bag to analyze later. the fact that i got 'im seemed to make her feel somewhat better, but everything was pretty hectic until i got her in the bedroom and got her clothes off. except she freaked out even more when i took off her dress. "my dress! my dress! i wanna wear the red dress!!!!" she hollered. (she had found this interesting red corduroy dress in a bag of clothes holly had given me for segundo, and she insisted on trying it on. amazingly, it still fit her, and it has been her favorite thing to wear these past few days...)

anyways, the dress had to come off for me to examine her shoulder properly, but she really wouldn't let me anywhere near the sting. i finally determined that there was no stinger in the wound, but i really wanted to clean it off with water at least, and she wouldn't let me. the great thing was that holly had just given me a book called "nature's pharmacy for children" that day when i had picked up sparrow from her house. it was one of my baby shower gifts from the girls and it had arrived at holly's house in the mail. so--aya was here that day and i handed her the book and had her looking up remedies for bee stings as i tried to deal with sparrow's hysteria. she said calendula cream or a moistened aspirin rubbed on the area would be an effective treatment. this ended up not being too helpful though since sparrow wouldn't let me touch it. she was putting on a worse show than when we wash her hair... however, having that book reminded me of something i had read about in that book months earlier when i got it at the library: rescue remedy.

there is this company called bach who makes flower extracts as nontoxic homeopathic remedies, and their most popular one is called "rescue remedy." it is for times of intense stress or ire, and if anything qualified, this moment certainly did. so i read in the book about how to administer the stuff, and it said you could put drops in a glass of water. i had bought some at lassens when i'd first read about it, but never used it before. now i put it in some water and tasted it. tasteless, thank goodness! i asked sparrow if she wanted some water, and she had seen me put the drops in so she was really suspicious, but seeing me drink it, she took some, and i got her to drink the whole thing! sure enough, within moments her cries subsided and she was able to calmly read books with me before naptime. then we fell asleep together, but when i woke up, i managed to sneak some calendula cream onto her shoulder without her waking up--score! by the time she got up from her nap, the sting was barely even visible. i had also been nervous about allergic reaction, of course, cause you never can tell until the reaction happens (hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, etc.) but thank God she ended up not having any allergic reaction to the bee, so--now we know! i am super grateful. check out the amazingness of God as he creates flowers that can give extracts to calm the emotions! it is just baffling!!! this stuff is going to be a new favorite ally of mine, i can tell. i might even use it in labor.

sparrow talked about her bee sting all day. she told janny downstairs, "a bee STING me!" with wide eyes, and she also told daddy on the phone, as well as alan and melissa. my favorite moment, though, happened when she was still bawling--she looked at me with this tear-streaked face and said frantically, "it went bzzzzzz bzzzzzz ZZP!," moving her little fingers around in the "bee" pattern that we always do. it used to be fun: bzzzzz-zip! now it was all too real. learning about the world can be so painful at times!