December 23, 2008

37 weeks

Had my 37 week appt today.

  • I am still just 1cm dilated. Which is pretty much right on schedule. I really *felt* like things were changing, and expected a bit more, but we're ok with 1cm. I want Poblano to come when he is good and ready. Even though I am dying to meet him - I can be patient!
  • I am negative for GBS - yay!
  • My blood pressure (90/60) is great.
  • We did another NST and Poblano is doing perfectly.
  • I am having mild contractions and "cramping".
  • My Dr. looked over my "birth plan" (we're calling it Birth Wishes though) and approved everything.
Other than that, I am pretty wiped out most of the time - my huge surge of energy over the last couple weeks seems to be conspicuously missing. My brain is literally the size of a marble right now - I am really foggy and forgetful and lack normal reflexes. I am kind of scared to drive, feels like I am high on something.

It is also a really bizarre Christmas for me. Mr. Spicy and I decided to devote our time, energy, and finances this year to just laying low and prepping for Poblano's arrival - which is surprisingly a lot of work! So, no major crafting or baking sprees for me, and we aren't even really doing gifts except for kids in our family and maybe a few other family members. I feel sort of lame. It seemed like a good idea, a relief, when we made the decision. But now I am sort of missing all the holiday hullabaloo. I actually *love* buying and making gifts for others at Christmas. And now I feel all scroogy and weird because we haven't done that this year. Bah humbug!

But, we have carved out some time to honor our usual Christmas Eve traditions and to make some space for quiet spiritual reflection which is really the most important part of the season for me. So I am really looking forward to that.

And in case I sound grumpy and whiny - I assure you I am not. Just wishing I had more to give on all fronts: time, energy, gifts, attention.... I feel like we have begun the retreat into our cave to prepare for the life changing event to come, and I am having a hard time not being as available or as giving to the people we love as my heart would like to be.

But I am thrilled our little one is doing so well, grateful that I am doing so well, and looking forward to some time with my hubby over his holiday "break". It feels like we are awaiting the biggest Christmas gift of our lives and we aren't quite sure when it (he) will get here. Talk about joyful anticipation!

I hope everyone has a really special and meaningful time with people they love this holiday season - whatever that looks like for each of you. May you all be blessed with peace, love, and joy.

December 20, 2008

36 weeks (a little late)

Time is whipping by and I have been uber-busy getting ready for this little pepper to make his debut. But here is the quick update:

  • I am 1cm dilated as of this past Tuesday. I don't know about effacement or any of the other details. My Dr. doesn't usually check dilation at 36 weeks but she did for me because I am so anxious to know EVERYTHING! Also? lots of bleeding after the check, and spotting for 2 days afterwards. I know this can be normal - but it kinda freaked me out.
  • They tested me for GBS (Gram B Strep) on Tuesday as well. I will find out this following Tuesday the results. (Crossing my fingers for a negative!)
  • On Tuesday night I woke up with a really strong contraction. On Wednesday my doula looked at me and asked if I was breathing better. I suddenly realized I could take a full deep breath for the first time in ages. She said it looked like I had "dropped" or at least begun to. She suspected that the big contraction was Poblano moving himself down into my pelvis. I am breathing much easier and have much much less acid maybe she's right?
  • Speaking of our doula and her fabulousness, we had a long meeting with her on Wednesday night and it was really wonderful. We discovered some things about the ways that I feel encouraged and how I cope with stress or pain that will help us during the birth and we worked on our "Birth Preferences" (aka Birth Plan) and she taught me some exercises for optimal fetal positioning (OFP). Supposedly all the women she has taught this to, and all the women taught this by the doula who trained her in it, never have had longer than 10 hour labors!!! So, I am faithfully practicing every night. I mean, 10 hours? That would be nice.
  • Other than my OFP exercises, I have been walking this week with a dear friend. We hop on the treadmills and start gabbing and suddenly I have walked an entire hour! I wish exercising always felt this easy! Of course afterwards I am waddling like a duck and sore as hell! But it feels good to be doing it.
  • Because of Mr. Spicy's new job and our new insurance I can go back to my chiropractor for only $20, AND I can get a full 1 hour massage for $20. So - I did both this week, and it was heaven! I had my massage yesterday and I slept soundly last night for the first time in a really really long time. I am planning on getting adjusted and massaged each week till Poblano comes. It is supposed to really help the baby get into position for birth and relieve a lot of the back pain. I just feel so fortunate that our insurance makes this so affordable to do.
  • I have been seeing my acupuncturist once a month through pregnancy. I went to see her this week for possibly my last appointment. But we scheduled another appointment first thing in the morning on the 30th (38 weeks). If he is not here by then, she will begin activating some of the more "aggressive" points. So, Mr. Spicy may get his wish for a 2008 baby after all. Of course, none of this will do anything if Poblano isn't ready to come, so I feel fairly secure in knowing that we are opening the way and encouraging him, but still allowing him to get here when he is fully ready to.
  • Sleep. Sleep? I miss sleeping. I miss it so much! It has gotten to where I dread going to bed at night because I know I will either a) be unable to fall asleep, b) wake up in 2-3 hours and be unable to fall back asleep, or c) wake up in 2-3 hours and spend the whole night sleeping in 20 minute increments as I toss and turn trying to get comfortable, or breathe, or stop throwing up (acid reflux). The breathing and the acid reflux has been better since Tuesday, so there is that. And the massage yesterday REALLY helped. So there is that too. I can handle it if at least every second or third night I get 6+ hours or so, but for a while there I was getting 2-3 hours of sleep for 3-4 nights in a row and it was killing me! I would spend all day an exhausted zombie on the verge of tears and then at night I would lay awake with adrenaline surging through my veins. It got pretty miserable. BUT - I am crossing my fingers that we may have turned a corner and that next week may be better. It just has to be. I don't expect to sleep solidly through the night. It is impossible with my now pea-sized bladder. But to be able to sleep for the majority of the night would be amazing. Was amazing (last night).
  • Otherwise, all is pretty normal here in preggo-ville. I am losing brain cells daily, possibly hourly. I can't remember anything unless I write it down, and even then..... I am frantically trying to get all our baby-prep done as well as keeping up on normal day-to-day stuff like dishes, and trying to squeeze in a few last visits with friends before I am out of commission for awhile in baby-ville. I feel very "ready" for our Poblano to come and just can't wait to meet him! There is still a lot to be done, but emotionally I am just ready - I want to see him, to hold him, to nibble on his cheeks and toes. I pull out his clothes and sigh over them. It has been15 weeks since we saw him in that last grainy ultrasound image. I am jonesing. I want to see my son's face. It is all I think about. I am totally obsessed.
  • Last but not least, here are my 36 week (actually 361/2 week) belly shots. I don't know if I look terribly different than 2 weeks ago - you tell me. But I do know it is the first time since I was 14 that my boobs have actually not looked enormous! I am wearing a 38H right now (usually I'm somewhere around a 34F) - but my belly makes them look normal-sized. Ok, enough talk about my breasts, they'll be plenty of that later when breast-feeding comes along.

December 09, 2008

35 weeks.....really. wow.

Warning! Half naked belly pics below!

So. I am 35 weeks pregnant today. Holy cow.

Everyone keeps asking "Are you excited?" and "Are you ready?"

The answer to the former is, Yes of course I am, but I am also a bit terrified and overwhelmed at the BIG change about to come into our lives. And honestly, I am grieving being so close to the end as well. I almost burst into tears at my last OB appt. This time has literally flown by and there are still so many things I *meant* to do to commemorate it. And although it has been a hard time in some ways, and certainly a time of reflection and growth and assessment - it has been really, truly, sweet. I love my pregnant body. I love the way my husband looks at my giant growing belly and smiles. I love dreaming about our child together. I love feeling him move and knowing he is safe and sound. I love the feeling of strength and beauty I have knowing I am carrying this life inside of me. And no, I won't miss not sleeping, or having massive acid reflux every night, or feeling like someone kicked me in my vagina - but I will miss pregnancy as a whole. I know, I know, ask me again in 3 weeks and see how I feel, right?

The answer to the latter question is pretty much, "Hell no" - we are so far from "ready" (whatever that means). My "to do" list is more than a page long and I will have to accomplish more than one thing on it per day to ensure we are all set for our Poblano. I have washed some of the baby clothes and erected the co-sleeper (it still needs bedding washed and to be attached to the bed) - I have ordered diapers (cloth) and some other items we are missing - but other than that? Yeah, total slacker. Which is no surprise really. I am a renowned procrastinator. I am the queen of getting things done at the last possible hour. I think I actually work better under that stress some times. But in this case, I am working against a really vague deadline. He could come weeks early, or weeks late, or anywhere in between. Doesn't give me a whole lot to work with there. We aren't setting up a nursery right away though, which saves me some work. He will be staying in our room with us for probably the first 6 months or so. We have a dresser for him and a co-sleeper. There's a changing table in our bathroom and we have a couple swings, bouncy seats, etc. that will reside upstairs and downstairs. So, shouldn't be too difficult, right?

Why does everything seem to take so much more time and effort than I could have imagined though? Take our search for a doula for example. We went to a "Meet the Doulas" night. It was good. Lots of good info. Met 4 doulas. No one really jumped out at us. We interviewed another doula at our home. She was really experienced and knowledgeable and would have done a great job, I am sure - but we just didn't "click" with her the way we hoped to. Then, I spent day after day emailing or calling doulas, only to get no response or to find out they aren't practicing any more or are already booked. FINALLY, this weekend we interviewed another doula and she really rocked. She isn't as experienced as some of the others we've looked at, but she has so many qualities that are such a good fit for us and she seems very knowledgeable and supportive. We connected right away and I felt really safe with her discussing some of my concerns and issues around the birth and preparing for it on a spiritual, psychological, emotional, and physical level. She also has a decade of experience as a counselor working with pregnant and postpartum women and is very familiar with post-partum depression. So, she will be very comfortable supporting me in assessing where I am at and getting the resources I will need if that becomes an issue for me. So, that is finally resolved - which is a huge relief - but gosh it seemed to take forever! Now I need to find a pediatrician. Yeah. I am not looking forward to that so much at all. But I have to have one by the time our Poblano arrives - so I better get on it.

Lots has happened in the last few weeks.

  • We finished with our birthing classes. We took the Birthing From Within classes. It was a really great series. We met in the instructor's home, with only 2 other couples. It was small and intimate, and creative, and informative, and empowering. It gave us so much to work with - practical aspects like pain management practices and information about birth, emotional aspects like facing our fears and looking at our attitudes and beliefs about birth and about family, and spiritual aspects like making symbols and birth art, and thinking about how we want to welcome our child into the world.
  • I had my baby shower this weekend. Two friends of mine hosted a sweet, intimate, meaningful, and fun shower for me. About 12 other women attended. We had great food (all of it was gluten-free, which is a sure-fire way to tell me you love me!) and each of the women said a blessing or wish for this new season coming upon us, or for our birth. And then there was the present opening. I could not have asked for a better shower. I felt so loved and cared for. But it was also really hard having all that attention on me in such an intense way. I had to literally keep coaching myself to stay calm and to keep my ears and my heart open to receive it all. By the end I was full, and completely exhausted.
  • I met with my OB at 34 weeks and addressed with her my concerns about her maybe not being available for the birth and also about my wishes and hopes for our birth. It was an incredible conversation. I have sometimes been hesitant to advocate for myself so obviously - so it felt really good to speak up. She took lots of time with me and was really reassuring about everything. It would take volumes to report back all that we talked about and all that she said. But suffice to say I felt really heard and empowered and supported by the time I left her office and I feel so much more confident that our birth is something we will be active, educated participants in. Dr. Honey has been really consistent in addressing my concerns, fears, and questions with respect and compassion and without making me feel rushed or like the worry-wart I sometimes feel that I am. I pretty much adore her for that. In fact, this visit I again mentioned my worry that Poblano isn't moving quite as much as I would expect and without skipping a beat both she and the medical assistant offered to do another NST just to ease my worries. Of course he was just fine, and he did somersaults the entire testing time just to reassure me - but both of them just continued to tell me not to feel weird or embarrassed about asking to come in for this any time I might be afraid. After talking with others who have had to fight with their Dr.s to even be seen at times - I feel really fortunate to have ended up where I have.
So, I will see Dr. Honey again in a week and they will do my first internal exam and test me for Group B Strep (please let me dodge that bullet!) - I will get to see what if anything is happening in my nether regions to get ready for birth (it sure FEELS like something is happening!). I will also begin weekly visits. And wow, we are really here, aren't we?

And last but not least......I did manage to take a 34 week belly photo, although I am posting it a week late - here is my belly in all its glory! (sorry about the lack of clothing - I can't stand wearing clothes right now any more than I have to)

34 weeks:

December 01, 2008

Monday is for Music (2nd edition)

You know when you suddenly remember a band you used to listen to a decade ago and you go and find their music again and wow, it takes you right back to that time in your life - and surprisingly you still really like it?

This last week I was thinking of this group I used to listen to called Digable Planets. I first heard them in 1993, when I was introduced to them by my secret boyfriend and fellow theater major in college. He was a secret because I also had a boyfriend back in the town where I went to high school who I was trying to figure out how to break up with. (I was 18, my skills were lacking) So college boyfriend and I had these crazy adventures all over town made even more adventurous by our "secret status" and he was always introducing me to music I had never heard of as we would jam out and dance our butts off in my dorm room.

Then I ran off, after one year at college and moved to Denver, where my father was living. I had broken it off with high school boyfriend and college boyfriend and I were on the way out as well. I fell in with this group of hipster hippy funky friends who also listened to the Digable Planets and formed all new memories of dancing and laughing with this new group and of course, getting high. I felt so cool and free and the music seemed to match this new season of my life.

But after a year in Denver I took off yet again and drove across the country to move to Chicago. I had never been there, never met anyone there, and had only a few hundred bucks to my name. But within a very short time I was settled in and again had fallen in with an eclectic and diverse bunch of friends who embodied the full energy and creativity of the city. Some of these friends were poets, as was I. And we would ride the train up and down through the city and sit in dark smoky coffeehouses, coming up with new works for our spoken word performances and slam poetry competitions. Some wrote rap-inspired rhymes, others wrote free flowing verses, but no matter what, when you took to the stage you had to have rhythm. There too, I heard the sounds of Digable Planets and other rap/jazz/funk/ hip hop infused music. I heard it in my friends' apartments, I heard it wafting up from basement dance clubs along the street, heard it in dusty coffee houses, heard it spilling out of car windows as I walked past.

So, this week I pulled up some DPs on Pandora Radio and on You Tube and I was simultaneously taken through all three seasons in my life where they played a part in the soundtrack. I remembered dancing awkwardly in a dorm room in Albuquerque, sitting around at a house party in Denver, swaying to the beat, and walking into dark underground jazz clubs in Chicago to dance the night away and afterward run home and transform it all into something I would read later that week on stage, borrowing from the rhythms of the music I was enveloped in nights before.

There is a certain energy in their music, in their rhymes, that is indescribable. They are poetry, they are hip hop, they are life being lived, they are cool, smooth, and hip. They are real.

I am including a You Tube video here for one of their most popular songs - so you have likely heard this before. The setting of the video itself reminds me a lot of being at the famous Greenmill in Chicago every Sunday to perform spoken word and compete in slam poetry, it reminds me of the women's spoken word group I helped form and performed in at coffeehouses and bars throughout the city, and it also reminds me of the funk band I was briefly a part of in Chicago and the small stages and clubs we would perform at - the band's funky bass-laden rhythms laying down under my voice as I sang or spoke my words at the mic. But I could never really hope to be as cool as these three - even now, more than a decade later I watch this video in awe ...... check it out:

( and also? Poblano seems to LOVE this music!)

Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)

we like the breeze floats straight out of our lids
them they got moved by these hard rock brooklyn kids
us floor rush when the dj’s boomin classics
you dig the crew on the fattest hip hop record
he touch the kinks and sinks into the sounds
she frequents the fatter joints called undergrounds
our funk zooms like you hit the mary jane
they flock to booms man boogie had to change
who freaks the clips with mad amount percussion
where kinky hair goes to unthought of dimensions
why’s it so fly cause hip hop kept some drama
when butterfly rock the light blue suede pumas
what by the cut we push it off the corner
how was the buzz entire hip hop era
was fresh and fat since they started sayin outtie
cause funks made fat from right beneath my hoodie
the puba of the styles like miles and shit
like sixties funky worms wit waves and perms
just sendin chunky rhythms right down your block
we be to rap what key be to lock

but i’m cool like dat
i’m cool like dat
i’m cool like dat
i’m cool like dat
i’m cool like dat
i’m cool like dat
i’m cool like dat
i’m cool

we be the chocolates taps on my raps
she innovates at the sweeter cat naps
he at the funk club with the vibrate
them they be crazy down with the five nate
it can kick a plan then a crowst burst
me i be diggin it with the bug verse
us we be freakin till dawn beats and i
he yes a stranger smile so i say hi (wassup)
who understood, yeah, understood the plans?
him heard a beat and put it to his hands
what i just flip let borders get loose
how to consume all the beats just like juice
if its the shit we’ll lift it off the plastic
the babe’ll go spastic
hip hop gains a classic
pimp player shark it don’t matter i’m fatter
ask butter how i zone

man, cleopatra jones

and i’m chill like dat
i’m chill like dat
i’m chill like dat
i’m chill like dat
i’m chill like dat
i’m chill like dat
i’m chill like dat
i’m chill (chill)

blink, blink, blink, blink, blink
think, think, think, think, think

we get you free cause the clips be fat boss
them dug the jams that commence to goin off
she sweats the beats and ask me could she puff it
me i got crew kid, seven and a crescent
us cause a buzz when the nickel bags a dealt
him that’s my man with the asteroid belt
they catch a fizz from the mr. doodlebig
he rocks a tee from the crooklyn nine pigs
rebirth of slick like my gangster stroll
the lyrics just like loot come in stacks and rolls
you used to find the bug in a box with fade
now he boogies up your stage plaits twist the braids

and i’m peace like that
i’m peace like that
i’m peace like that
i’m peace like that
i’m peace like that
i’m peace like that
i’m peace like that
i’m pace

check it out, man i groove like that
i’m smooth like that
i jive like that
i roll like that

yeah, i’m thick like that
i stack like that
i’m down like that
i’m black like that

well yo, i funk like that
i’m fat like that
i’m in like that
cause i swing like that

we jazz like that
we freak like that
we zoom like that
we out (we out)