Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dr. Appointment

On Monday, Jon and I went to our latest Dr. appointment. This was the appointment where they test me for gestational diabetes, so 30 minutes before, I had to drink this orange syrupy stuff. I'd heard horror stories about it, so I poured it into a cup with a little uncertainty. I decided that chugging it would be the best way to get it over and done with, but after my first huge gulp, I realized it basically tasted like flat orange soda. So, no, not the greatest, but not horrible, either, so that wasn't bad.

The stats are always the first thing at these appointments, so here they are:
My weight: gained less than half a pound! Total weight gain of 10 pounds.
My uterus length: 27 t0 28 cms. The number of centimeters should correspond with how many weeks along I am (which was 27.5), so we're just fine there.
My blood pressure: 99/66
Caleb's Heart rate: 143 bpm

So all that looks good! The nurse took two little vials of blood for the glucose test. That didn't go so great, because my vein wasn't giving up its blood very willingly. By the time the tourniquet came off, I couldn't feel my fingers very well, but at least it was done. But then they remembered I needed more blood taken because I'm Rh negative, so another tube from the other arm. That one went much better, and I was thankful that I don't have a huge problem with needles. I also got my Rhogam shot, again because I'm Rh negative.

So what exactly is Rh negative? Well, if you know your blood type, and if it has a "-" on the end (as in O-, like me), you're Rh negative! It's not as common as positive, which has two affects. First, you're on everyone's list to call when there's a blood drive, and second, if your baby is born positive (which is likely if your spouse, like mine, is positive), there's a possibility that your body will see any future positive babies as "foreign bodies" and miscarry.

So, if Caleb is positive, nothing will happen to him, but, at the point of his birth, it's possible that his blood and mine could get mixed, at which point, my blood will start forming antibodies to his positive blood. The next time my blood comes in contact with positive blood (at the next baby, perhaps), there would already be antibodies there to "fight the intruder." That is obviously not what we want, so I get a shot now, and if Caleb's blood is positive, I get another shot after his birth. If he has a negative blood type, then no worries for now, but we'll go through the same process for the next baby. Thankfully, modern science has it all figured out, so there's really nothing to worry about, and a couple shots is a minor inconvenience compared to not doing it!

The nurse joked with Jon and I about how I should have picked a negative person for my spouse, and how, when we have a little girl (if she's negative as well), we'll have to tell her, "Pick a negative man, but ONLY in blood type!"

Let's see...other than that we just had a few questions for the doctor. She said she would allow a video camera for the whole delivery, but the nurse may not, so we'll have to see. Basically, I want to get a few shots of the actual pushing ("I really did it!") and then shut the camera off until Caleb's there to steal the show!

The dr. also said that I could hold Caleb before they do all the cleaning and eye drops and all that, and she explained how they'd hand me a warm towel to receive him, I'd rub him down really well, and then hold him next to me with a warm blanket on top. Most babies are swept into the warmer, where they get rubbed down, measured, drops in eyes, and hat on head, which is not bad, but I'd like to do this as a science experiment, really. (I know, my poor kid is subject to my experiments straight out of the oven.) My mom had sent me information about something called the breast crawl, and I want to see if it happens. If it does, I think that would be totally cool. There is a site you can go look at for more information, but I'll warn you, it's all about nursing, so you can decide for yourself if you want to see it. It starts out with a bang right on the front page, so don't even click the link if you're not interested.

And that was my appointment! If the glucose test comes out unusual, I should know by tomorrow, and then I'd have to go in for more in-depth testing. Other than that, I go back in three weeks.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What to tell work

NOTE: I started this post April 21st, before I told work that I was pregnant. I was going to edit it for today, but decided to leave it as is and then add edits to the end. So this first section was written before work knew about my pregnancy.

When I first started working at Texas Life (part time, in 2004), I worked in the office. When I moved, I broached the topic of working from home. It was quickly squelched. Evidently, someone had done it before (who didn't live in the state), and had gotten pregnant and had a baby without the company even knowing. That left a bad taste in their mouths, and they wouldn't think of it.

Well, we all know that at some point they changed their minds, because I now work at home for them, and have for 3 years. However, I'm not sure how my being pregnant will affect their attitudes. In some ways, I think it will be fine. My boss is a granddad and likes to think of himself as a father figure to me. He worries about me and makes sure I take enough time off, etc. And almost everyone on the marketing team has kids. However, they've all got crazy lives, crazy schedules, and most have divorces or dead marriages because of the life of a salesperson. I'm not sure many will understand that I never have found my fulfillment in work, and having a baby will make that more obvious.

Having a baby will also bring up the question, "What will you do after the baby is born?" Many women take their maternity, go back a couple weeks, then quit their jobs. The problem is that I don't know the answer to that question. The truth is, I would love to quit. I've seen work-at-home moms, and it's hard, if not impossible, to keep up the same level of productivity with a newborn.

On the other hand, it just may not be in the cards for me to quit, yet. And that's fine, too. But I can't give work a confident, "Yes! I'll be back and more ready than ever to work hard for this company!"

Here starts the post from today:

So I told work, obviously, and it has not been quite roses since then. Well, I thought it was until last week, when I got my performance reviews in (reviewed by my boss and peers). It turns out that the people in my department don't feel I'm pulling my weight, or sacrificing enough for my job. They feel it's just a job to me, and no more. Which, if you just read the first section of this post, you'll know is true. My work is not my life, and I sadly work in a department where most people have sacrificed their lives (and the lives of their families) for their work. Now, there are two sides to every coin, and I'm not saying the review was completely off the mark, but this is the first review I've gotten in three years that has been less than exemplary, so I do know there's a connection.

Last week I also had a discussion with my boss about my maternity leave. At the time, we knew of no one in our department who had set a precedent for maternity leave--everyone came into the dept. with kids already (which tells you the age difference between myself and everyone else). The day I announced my pregnancy, I'd asked for 6 weeks leave, and I described when I would take off and get back, supposing Caleb came the day expected. However, last week, my boss wanted me to outline again exactly what I wanted, and he implied that I needed to be available for emergencies, and stay in contact at least through part of my leave. Well, I know what an "emergency" is in a marketing department: it's any crazy project you promised to a client to be ready by Friday. They come up every week. So I knew I didn't like that idea, but didn't know exactly what to do.

Yesterday I went to lunch with a lady who has 5 kids and hasn't been in the department very long. She stressed the importance of 6 weeks of leave, and how I was doing the right thing to expect it. Knowing how our department works, she did suggest a compromise by my offering to be available through e-mail the last two weeks. Then, evidently, after I left for home last night, she went in and talked to our boss, expressing my frustration about it. It turns out he had done a little research himself, and found that one lady in our dept. did take maternity leave, and she took 12 weeks! My friend told him that she thought my request for 6 weeks was very good, and she would support it. She called me this morning to tell me, but still reminded me that offering to be available the last two weeks was still a good move. And I agree.

So, here is what I will request (and you can put edits in your comments): 6 weeks maternity, leaving Nov. 21st to return on Jan. 5th. The last two weeks (Dec. 22-Jan 2), I would be available through e-mail only, and only do edits of existing pieces, no creation of new pieces. Any time I spend working will not be counted against my maternity, including 30 minutes per e-mail.

So what do you think? Now, I realize that's the holiday weeks, and I can't imagine that they would find a reason to e-mail, but I'm willing to still answer any e-mails. Plus, Caleb will pick his own time to come, so the last two weeks might not fall on the holidays.

The following paragraph subject to change due to further instruction from God:

Beyond my maternity leave, Jon and I have decided that I will quit my job when able. That means that if Jon has already found a job starting in January, I will probably go ahead and quit, with perhaps a couple of weeks to prepare things for the next person coming in. If he has not yet found a job, I'll keep working until he does, and he'll keep on with his part-time security job, which will allow him to stay home with Caleb on the days I go into the office. When I quit, I become full-time mom and part-time photographer.

And with that paragraph, my life changes!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Twenty Six...and Twenty Seven....Weeks

Well, pooh, I've almost made it to the end of this week, and I never posted about last week! (Counting for the week ends every Wednesday.) So, I think I'll smoosh the two weeks together, since they're mostly smooshed in my mind, anyway.

I had a dream last night that Caleb was born. The birth was so easy--the only hard part was that I'd gotten bee stings all over my arms from a random swarm of bees, who were all now dead, through an even more random poison in the house that obviously affected no one but the bees. I guess I figured, after bee stings, what's a little labor and delivery, eh?

Last night was our second Lamaze class, and we saw two videos, not just one. As a side note, these videos remind me a lot of nature videos. We're watching this natural occurrence (which looks very unnatural, by the way) which takes about the same time as watching a snake molt--and almost as boring until the very end--and there's a soft narrator in the background: The mother draws inside herself, no longer worried about the world around her, but pulling from the strength of her instincts. Her family gives her constant and quiet support. She rests when she can.... I'm pretty sure they just pull the script from "How Farm Animals Are Born" and add in a bit about families or something to make it for us. Thankfully, the end of the movie ends in happiness and tears, whereas the other nature movies usually end in, "And the mother eats her young, thus negating all her hard work." Every time a baby is born in these movies, I tear up. It reminds me of when Ian was born, and what a relief to see him and hear him. I know I'm going to cry when Caleb's born, and it's a pretty safe bet that Jon will be crying (Caleb, too, now that I think of it), so you can bet we'll be a big snotty mess at the end of our ordeal!

On another note, last night's videos were about the different positions to be in during labor. Everything was fine until they showed a lady screaming during contractions. I thought I could do this, and then it turns out they've been editing out all the horror stories. That one just managed to slip through the cracks, and now I'm not so sure I want Caleb to come out. Ever.

Speaking of the little guy, let's see what kind of growing he's been doing the last couple of weeks.... Caleb is almost 2 pounds now! He's 14.5 inches long, and his lungs are developed enough at this point that they would be able to function (with medical intervention) out in the open. Let's hope he doesn't have to try them out for several more weeks!

I've been trying to notice things about Caleb: does he have a sleep pattern, has he gotten the hiccups, how is he situated in the uterus. But, alas, I have no idea about any of these questions. I've never been good at noticing developing patterns. I think I would've noticed the hiccups, though. I do notice that he seems to have direct access to my hip bone, because I could swear he pokes it every once in awhile. Sometimes his pokes actually make me jump, though they're so fleeting that they don't really hurt.

My belly seems to have slowed its growth--maybe it's absorbing the 8 pounds I packed on last month, which evidently did NOT, in fact, go to my belly. I know this because I now have stretch marks on my rear, not my belly, and I know that Caleb is not growing in my rear. That's all me....sigh.... Anyway, there's a girl who's 8 weeks behind me, and her belly is as big as mine! Granted, she's teeny tiny, so she's all belly, but still, I have an 8-week jump on her! I guess Caleb is just spreading out more than balling up in front.

Otherwise on the pregnancy front, I've noticed it's getting harder to get up and down from the floor, which is where I spend a lot of my time during photo shoots! I've also cried more--twice in two days last week--which is very unusual for me. On a good note, I'm sleeping through the night, now! It turns out that it wasn't me having to get up to pee that made me wake up. It was the cats. They've been kicked out of the room, and I'm sleeping very nicely. A couple of nights in a row, I slept very fitfully, but I think it was from an overworked brain still trying to think things out. Three photo shoots and the Big Shift in one weekend can do that to you, I guess.

Speaking of the Big Shift, it's almost complete! Our living room is all shifted around, desks and computer added, and I really like it! I mean, not just, "oh, I can tolerate it for the next few months." I really like it! I think it's a good layout, and won't feel too cramped at all. So that's nice. When we get all the random stuff put away, I'll take pictures.

And I think that about covers these last two weeks! More to come on this exciting journey!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Big Shift

To prepare for Caleb, we need to make the living room serve as the living and office area. Hence, the Big Shift! Because there are large pieces of furniture involved, we only want to move stuff around once, so one night I measured out everything in the house--the walls and everything that had a footprint on the floor--and drew it out on a grid. I drew the furniture on a separate grid, then cut out each piece. My mom put some adhesive on the back of the pieces, so we could arrange and rearrange all the furniture on the grid. It worked so great, and only took an hour or so of time! Since then, we've come up with two possible plans for how to arrange the house. I didn't have the foresight to show you the way it looks currently, to give you a comparison. I guess I could rearrange it all and scan that one in, but...nah.... Here are the two plans:

KarenD came up with this layout, and I think it's the winner. It brings our office space into the living room, but, as she pointed out, gives room next to my desk for Caleb to play (at least until he's mobile!). It uses the space in front of the fireplace, too, which spreads things out a bit more.

(click on the image for a larger view)

The next layout is the one my mom and I actually came up with first. (I just scanned in the living room area, because nothing else changes.) It splits the room more into two separate spaces: living and office, but it ends up being a little more crowded. Plus, my desk is the one in the back corner, leaving no space for Caleb to play where I can watch him while I work.

(click on the image for a larger view)

So, there you are! Jon's off on Monday of this week, so I'm hoping we'll get a lot of it moved around then. After that, the nursery (because then it'll be an official nursery!) will be open for us to start sorting things and going through the storage closet.

Very exciting!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The first Lamaze class

Last night Jon and I went to our first Lamaze class. I had so much fun! Jon wouldn't go that far, but he did say he enjoyed it. And yes, he even made it through his first birthing video!

There were 6-7 couples there, most due in early October. (We're going a little early because of schedule conflicts with the later sessions.) We all introduced ourselves, and we got to put in a plug for my photography business, letting everyone know that I do maternity and newborn. So, in that way, it's handy that we're going early, because I'd actually be available to do all these people's shoots, if they wanted. We'll see. I had my business cards with me, but it seemed a little too cheesy at the time, so I'll pass them out next week.

Anyway...I love the instructor! She reminds me a lot of my mother-in-law. Her mannerisms are similar, and she did a great job of writing down little facts about each of us, and then remembering them and referring to them in her lecture. She's a registered nurse for labor and delivery, plus a certified doula (a birthing coach). Even though the subject matter can be a little personal (therefore uncomfortable to discuss with strangers), she did a great job of adding humor in to lighten the mood. She is also very expressive with her body language, and watching her do all kinds of motions to refer to "down there" and the way to push or the way the baby is going to wiggle his way out...I was cracking up.

So, the instructor went through the 5 or 6 points of Lamaze. It was an overview, and evidently we'll be covering each one in further classes. She talked about medical intervention vs. the natural method. Of course, the natural method is her preferred method, though, as an RN, she's very familiar with inductions, epidurals and everything else.

After her lecture, we watched the birthing video, outlining the stages of labor. Jon had been reading the labor chapter in the What to Expect book, so he was able to follow along with the terms and everything very well. I, of course, have seen probably 10 birthing videos since the second month I was pregnant (and so had most of the expectant moms, I'm sure), so it was funny to see all the women in the class look to our white-faced husbands at key points in the video: the baby's head crowning (our first look at some random person's hooha), when the baby comes out, and then when the placenta is delivered. All the guys did very well, I must say. The video reminded me of when Ian was born, and I kept leaning over to Jon to affirm that yes, that really is how babies are born, because I've been there. I know! :) I'm so thankful to Karen for letting me be a part of that, both for the memories as family, and also for the experience it's given me. I've read that childbirth used to be a female affair--every female in the family helped out, and by the time it was your turn to have a baby, you'd already been exposed to it before. It's not like that now, and I'm grateful that I've seen it firsthand. It's not some mystery behind closed doors for me.

The class ended with relaxation stretches and breathing. That was the best! Jon and I had to do all our stretches together, either pulling/pushing each other, or back to back with our hands together, so we did every stretch in sync. It was a lot of fun, and reminded me how important my Pilates exercises are (which I finally picked back up last week). The last relaxation thing we did was to imagine a "happy place" and consciously tense and relax our muscles. Some of that, as Jon explained, is to help you relax more--tensed muscles tend to bounce back further than neutral muscles. It was also a way to learn, "Okay, it's going to hurt, and I'm going to tense up naturally, so I have to make a conscious effort to relax my muscles, which will help the rest of me relax, too." We'll see if I remember my happy place in the throes of contractions. Haha!

Overall, it was a good class. I'm glad we're going, and I look forward to next week.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Pervasive: My Two Loves

"Daddy, how do I know when I'm in love?"
"Well, love is...pervasive."
"Oh. Um...okay. Thanks."

That conversation--though I didn't understand it at the time--changed my life. Pervasive: it permeates everything. It's the explanation I've passed on many times to girls asking the same question. When you think about the future, do you think of [fill in blank with potential spouse] with you in everything? Not just running through fields of joy together, but do you think of him as the guy who sits across the table from you every morning, who deals with your imperfections, or who holds your hair back for you when you're puking? That's pervasive. That's love!

My conversation with my dad answered my question--yes, I was in love with Jon, and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.

Now, without realizing it, I find another pervasive love creeping up. A love I really hadn't expected to appear until November.

As I'm sitting in church or talking with friends, I look down at my belly, or place my hand over the spot where Caleb is moving. I drift away into daydreams--taking Caleb to the zoo, rocking him, singing to him, and eventually teaching him to sing and play and be an active little kid.

In these daydreams, Jon is always with me (pervasive, remember?)--my first love together with this new love! What a blessing to be in love!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Twenty-Five Weeks!

Caleb has grown to 13.5 inches this week! He weighs a pound and a half, which is quite an increase from last week. I can tell, too! His kicks are getting to be a bit more than love taps. Jon and I watched my belly hop and jump for a few minutes last night. It feels kind of like muscle spasms, or big popcorn balls popping.

As for me, I've noticed a few disturbing things from the first trimester creeping back in. I'm starting to get crabby again. Woohoo. And my face has started to break out more. And I'm tired again. Well, actually, I think I've been tired all the way through! :)

A friend of mine who is a couple months ahead of me said that she experienced the same thing--even with a bit of morning sickness--when she hit the third trimester. The hormones must be realigning again or something. She did assure me that it lightens up a bit...not back to 2nd trimester bliss, but a bit!

And for once, I really have kept my update short! More later!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Dr. Appointment

Yesterday we went to our 24-week doctor appointment. It was pretty routine, but still fun. Since the last appointment, I'd gained 8 pounds! So, not exactly the pound a week I'm supposed to be gaining (try TWO pounds a week), but Dr. K said it put me right where I'm supposed to be right now, since I hadn't gained much weight until now. But, that does mean I can't let "being underweight" be my reason for the Wendy's Frosty any more. :) (Just kidding...I've only had one Wendy's Frosty this month!)

My blood pressure is still just fine: 110/70. And Caleb's heartbeat is a strong 146bpm. "Perfect," as Dr. K said. I like to think so! Remember how I said that the Dopplar takes WAY too long to find a heartbeat with? There's just too much tension waiting for that little heartbeat to come through. Well, this time, Caleb's heartbeat was the first thing we heard, loud and clear!

My uterus measures at 26 centimeters. This measurement is taken very precisely...the doctor pokes around on my abdomen until she finds something, then she spreads a tape measure across my belly. The measurement should be about the same as the number of weeks I am, give or take 2 cms. So, I'm 24.5 weeks, and I measure at 26 cm, which is just fine. I asked if that extra was me or the baby, and Dr. K said it could be both, but (and she looked at Jon for this) Caleb's probably going to be a big baby. Haha!

And that was pretty much it. We asked a few questions. One was about my cartilege ring that still hasn't healed completely. I was hoping it was related to pregnancy in some way (since I got it pierced 2 weeks before conceiving), but nope, it's just me, evidently. So, though I like it very much, and have endured the healing (or lack thereof) for 6 months, I think it might be time to pull the plug. We'll see.

We made more appointments for the next couple of months, starting every 2 weeks after this next appointment! I've added them to the sidebar. One exciting bit of information is that I get another sonogram at 36 weeks! I guess they figure the tape measure method isn't exact enough (go figure), so this will let them know what the next steps should be. If he's big, we might induce early or schedule a C-section, and if he's a normal size. we'll just let things happen. (That's me totally guessing why we might have the sono; I really don't know.)

We tried to pre-register at the hospital while we were there, but the lady that does it said it would be much easier for us to do it online. We both thought, "Wow, she's completely negating her job" but we didn't say it. We did find out that without insurance, the hospital costs would be $4,000, unless we stayed extra days (like for a C-section), in which case it would be $6,000. Evidently, when we register, the hospital will give us a more accurate figure based on what our insurance covers. We'll do that pretty soon so we will know what to expect. From our doctor, we found out who the anesthesiologist would be, so we can make sure they're covered under our insurance. (Yeah, things to think about!) People have made having a baby so complicated these days! :)

And that's all for this update! Tune in next time!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Diaper Bag Purchase

We ordered our diaper bag today! Because it's a pretty big (and long-term) purchase, I was nervous about making the perfect choice. From talking to moms I know, it seemed important to determine the kind of mom I might be. Will I just grab a diaper and a bottle and go, or will I have every possible scenario of the day covered, with sunscreen and a sweater in the same bag, "just in case."

So I thought about what kind of purse I carry. I have two favorites: one is very small with only the basics, and one is very large, with all kinds of random stuff inside. Hm...that doesn't help. But, of all the random things I put in my big bag, it's mostly just because I have the room and not because I need it. I do like lots of pockets, and I don't want to carry a bag and a purse at the same time. I want something I can carry saddle-bag style across my chest, and something that Jon wouldn't mind carrying as well. Finally, I didn't want it to scream, "I'm a mommy!" with it's fluffy diaper bag-ness.

Enter the Skip Hop Expo!

I think it's going to be a perfect fit. It's very streamlined (only 3.5 inches deep), but the bottom expands to 7 inches for those longer trips. So, I can keep it pretty small, and add more when I wish. And it looks more like a book bag than a diaper bag--one I would be happy to carry wherever.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Belly pic oddness

Well, I added Week 24 pic to the sidebar, but my belly is definitely smaller-looking in 24 than 22, which is weird, because I've had two weeks to grow! So I'm thinking I must have been taking a deep breath the first time, or sucking in this week--why, I have no idea.

Plus, we learned from yesterday's update that Caleb has expanded above my belly button, so maybe he's just shifted around. I read that my uterus is the size of a soccer ball!!