Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ainsleigh hope

She's here!! Born at 8:48 pm, 7 lbs 4 oz, 21 inches long.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

decisions and conflicting emotions

Still pregnant! In case you were wondering. In fact, this is the longest a pregnancy has gone for me (yay?) and baby girl (must figure out a name) seems quite content for now.

I remember saying over and over that this would be an October baby, but she may end up being born in early November. One of the difficult things about pregnancy after loss for me is trying to balance the pre-loss part of me that believes babies come when they are ready with the post-loss part of me that has a lot of concerns about stillbirth and/or a deteriorating placenta.

My thoughts and emotions are all over the place. I know it's important for babies to have time to develop their lungs and grow as much as they need to in the womb, but she is alive right now and doing well right now SO GET HER OUT. Oh but wait, I don't want her to come out because then I'll have to go through labor and what if she dies?? ....

And those thoughts make it very difficult for me to go into labor because I am tense and stressed and can't calm down enough to relax and dilate.

I struggled mightily with this during Bennett's pregnancy - I'm sure I blogged about it - but it ended up being a non-issue as he was born at 39 weeks 1 day. But I had signs from him that he wanted to come. This girl is giving me nothing. Nothing but heartburn, nausea and anxiety.

I really, really hope she is born this weekend. If not I go back in on Tuesday for another non-stress test and to check fluid levels. And then we'll have to make some decisions about what to do after that. BUT let's hope it doesn't come to that.


Thanks :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

impromptu (casual) family pictures

After church today I hauled everyone out to the backyard for family photos because I realized

a) I don't have any pictures of the three of us this pregnancy

b) We were all dressed and remarkably presentable for the first time in who knows how long

We even managed to get a fairly good picture with our Charlotte bear too. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

modern medicine // prenatal care // disappointment // frustration

It's been hard, and more than a little strange, to transition to a traditional maternal care program. My first experience was way off the normal track - midwives, out of hospital birth (if anyone gives me a hard time about that right now I will lose it), while my second experience was a very unusual hybrid - I saw a midwife from my first pregnancy in tandem with a high risk doctor, both attended the birth (in a hospital). And now round three: I'm going to a traditional practice, but doing things my own way even though it drives the office staff mad and makes them stare at their computer screens in utter confusion as they mutter, "but we don't do things that way ..."

I had my first encounter with an OB at the practice this morning. I did not like the experience AT ALL. I'm not going to get into full details with dialogue here because I'm tired and have ranted a bit on facebook already, but my goodness, if that kind of care is what most women experience I am SO sorry.

{Now I know the midwife vs OB vs hospital vs home birth topic is a hot one. I'm not commenting on your experience. I'm sure your OB is a very nice person and you wouldn't hesitate to invite him/her to your house for Thanksgiving.}

There is no way I am going to birth outside of a hospital now. Not after what happened with Charlotte. It just doesn't seem wise - and some would argue it wasn't wise the first time around, but I am in no mood for that so you just hush - but the alternative is so unfriendly.

Today I was

- left on the monitors FOR AN HOUR (a non-stress test usually takes 20 minutes)
- stuck in a room without a clock, my phone just out of reach, staring at the screen and trying to ascertain if something was wrong, or if I had been forgotten
- forced to make the very uncomfortable decision to call the front desk from the exam room to inform them I was still there and waiting to see a doctor (this task only accomplished by hauling myself out of the chair, holding the monitors on and waving my hand around wildly until I managed to grab my purse) 
- talked down to
- ignored
- informed of an induction that I didn't consent to or ask for
- told by the scheduler who I have seen three weeks in a row now that I could not see my midwife in a week's time because "that's not how it's done," even though I have told her that is how it is done in my case every. single. week.
- pushed to the point where I eventually snapped, "my baby died ..." etc. which I absolutely hate doing

I am so annoyed. And I know some of that is because I'm pregnant and easily annoyed, but that has to be one of - if not the - worst medical office experiences I have found myself in. All because the midwife I normally see was out delivering a baby, which happens sometimes and is no fault of hers!

Somehow I came away with an induction scheduled, which I'm still not sure about, plans to check my cervix next week, though I declined, and a raging headache from listening to my sweet girl's heartbeat on the monitors for a solid hour (don't get me wrong, it's a lovely sound, but they had it turned up way too high).

Will you please say a little prayer for us? For a healthy baby who comes on her own, for a delivery that is a little easier than the last, for peace and calm and sleep? (A lot of this rant brought to you by a severe lack of sleep due to anxiety and overwhelming feeling of terror). 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

on grief

I ordered Julian Barnes Levels of Life from the library because I read that it was about the death of his wife and the processing of grief. The first two sections I couldn't figure out what I was reading, or why, (Barnes writes about ballooning and photography as well as grief) but the third section, oh the third section. I want to quote the entire thing here, it's just that good, but I'll settle for telling you it's a must read. And if you can't get through the first two sections, which are small (the entire book clocks in at 128 pages) skip over them and read the third. Barnes writes honestly about friends who disappoint, his thoughts of suicide and his feelings about grief. Even though he is writing about the death of his wife as I read I thought, here is someone who understands.

And here are a few bits I just have to share:

"This is what those who haven't crossed the tropic of grief often fail to understand: the fact that someone is dead may mean that they are not alive, but doesn't mean that they do not exist." 

"Grief is the negative image of love; and if there can be accumulation of love over the years, then why not of grief?"

In one passage Barnes talks about going out in public again: "After a few months, I began to brave public places and go out to a play, a concert, an opera. But I found that I had developed a terror of the foyer. Not of the space itself, but of what it contained: cheerful, expectant, normal people looking forward to enjoying themselves."

I remember that terror well. I can still recall how it felt to meet a friend for lunch shortly after Charlotte died and admit I needed to grocery shop, but hadn't been able to manage it yet. She followed me across town, pushed my grocery cart through the store, helped me make decisions when I couldn't, loaded my groceries, then me, into my car. I still have moments when the terror overwhelms me. Every time I am invited to a group for young moms at our church I say, "no, thank you," because I can't fathom willingly walking into a room where people are likely to ask over and over how many children I have.

One more:

"Nor do you know how you appear to others. How you feel and how you look may or may not be the same. So how do you feel? As if you have dropped from a height of several hundred feet, conscious all the time, have landed feet first in a rose bed with an impact that has driven you in up to the knees, and whose shock has caused your internal organs to rupture and burst forth from your body. That is what it feels like, and why should it look any different? No wonder some want to swerve away to a safer topic of conversation. And perhaps they are not avoiding death, and her; they are avoiding you."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

belly painting! // my babies at 37 weeks

Our favorite midwife came over this afternoon to paint my belly. That makes three belly paintings from her, and if everything goes as I hope she will be at all three births!!!! Just for fun here are my three babies at 37/38 weeks and their belly paintings. Notice how much lower this baby is compared to Bennett (I'm wearing the same shirt). And she painted this one a little higher than she actually is to make it appropriate to share.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

just in case

This always happens. I say I need a break and then I end up posting more than I expect because saying I can't do it takes the burden off somehow.

Last night I finally packed most of the hospital bag. I felt a lot better after, like a weight had been lifted. Having that bag doesn't change anything, but it makes me feel good to have a small stack at the foot of the dresser.

There is a small bag for when I am in labor, a slightly larger bag for after with clothes for me, J, the baby. And there is a bright red bag that holds a dress I bought when Bennett was tiny, a dress I just had to have because I hoped there was a future for it. There is a shiny black pair of dress shoes, a blue cardigan and a pink blanket folded around the dress. It's the just in case bag. The one we'll need if it all goes sideways again.

On top of the pile is a brown blanket I used for Bennett's birth. When I was pregnant with him my midwife suggested bringing something from home to comfort and ground me. After Charlotte died I was constantly wrapped in that blanket, an outward manifestation of the grief that engulfed me, so I chose to bring it. And I was amazed by how much it meant to me to have it during the birth and throughout Bennett's time in the NICU.

It's like a talisman, that pile of bags. It's reassuring to know there is a general birth plan, a list of names, nursing supplies and new pajamas within the pile. It reminds me that preparing for birth is something many go through and it is monumental no matter how one comes to it - whether through grief, or by accident, or with great planning and hope.

I always feel unsettled in these final weeks. On the cusp, holding my breath, waiting. The baby shower is tomorrow. I didn't want one with Bennett's pregnancy, it felt like a curse honestly, but I can see now that while life is essentially about cause and effect choosing to have a baby shower is not going to decide whether a baby lives or dies. So we're going to celebrate this little girl without a name. And when the nerves come, if they come, I can always think of that pile of hope with a little bit of sorrow at the foot of my dresser.

Friday, October 4, 2013

on target, trains and candy

This morning we went to Target to buy bins to organize the freezer in the garage. We have 1/4 of a cow in there plus all of the food I've been cooking and freezing for Bennett (I spent seven hours in the kitchen yesterday finishing Bennett's food and making two comfort food dishes for me). I've been making things, sealing them up and then tossing them into the freezer. So we had to go to Target to buy something to sort the mess. The freezer and fridge organizers were $15.00, but I found bins that will work for $3.00 each, a much better price.

Last night when we put Bennett to bed I told him we had a couple things to do in the morning, including buying a treat for him for being so good while I cooked. I rarely (I can only think of one other time) buy him treats for being good, but yesterday I was really busy and he played independently and quietly for hours without complaining. And I didn't even have to turn on Thomas to keep him occupied! 

I nearly keeled over when I walked into the Thomas the Train aisle at Target ($12.00 for one train!!) but they were having a sale so I showed Bennett which trains he could pick. He selected two then we walked to the other side of the store to select a few things. And then he decided he wanted Percy. Or James. Or maybe Gordon? So back we walked, all the way to the toy section, so he could pick again. After much discussion and deliberation he selected Diesel then spent the remainder of our shopping trip and the entire drive home announcing, "I pick Dies," proudly.

Of course we left Target with more than I planned on buying. I bought another pair of pajama pants. There's something about this upcoming birth that's making me panic and buy lounge pants every time I go to Target. I needed new pants since the ones I wore during and after my first two births were really ragged, but I don't think I need as many as I bought. I can't settle on what to pack for the hospital. Continuing to buy things I don't need and adding it to the pile on my dresser will help me decide what to put in the bag, right?

I love this time of year. It makes me crave Tootsie Rolls and candy corn (the mere thought of candy corn makes J shudder). I love fall food - I have stew in the Crock-Pot and gluten free/vegan/etc. bread rising on the stove. When Bennett and I read now he likes to curl up on the couch with a "blank" and get "comf." I love the weather. It's cold and foggy and the leaves are beginning to change color. I love morning trips to Target and quiet afternoons at home in lounge pants. I'm a homebody at heart who loves comfort and fall speaks to all the things I love most.


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