Monday, April 20, 2009

Week 37-- Still Waiting

Well, on Friday we had our 37 week appointment and no baby yet. Ho hum. I guess I am feeling tired today of being pregnant and I just want him out-- I want to meet him and count his toes and see if he really does have as much hair as I am imagining. I have been really feeling good up until now, other than the typical pregnancy symptoms of swollen feet, sore back, heartburn and fatigue.

Today I have begun to really feel the impatience and the stress of simply not knowing when he will be arriving. Do I buy extra groceries in anticipation of Noah arriving soon and needing to feed me, Jim and my parents? Do I really clean out the hall closet the way I want to to fit the stroller in it and risk going into labor while everything is halfway done and strewn across the floors? Is this sudden emotional shift an indication of impending labor? (Probably not-- more likely just one of those pregnant things.)

At my appointment everything was fine. My blood pressure is still good, and Noah's heart rate seemed fine and we only heard about 2 missed beats. After he is born, if it isn't gone totally they may do an EKG, but it looks unlikely that we'll have to do even that. I am still about 3cm dilated-- about the extent that I can do without being in active labor, but I am now more effaced, which is definitely a good thing. I would love it if my cervix could be totally thinned out by the time I am admitted to the hospital, and I would only have to dilate whatever is left at that time. Noah was also quite low- no surprise, but it makes me even more impatient to know how close he is to the door.

I suppose the one negative would be that I am Strep B positive-- about 35% of women are, and that means when I arrive at the hospital I will have to have an IV, and another every 4 hours if I do not deliver at that time. However, when I am not getting the IV, I will be able to walk around with just a saline lock on my hand. This doesn't mean anything bad for the baby, and only about 1 in 200 of babies whose mom's tested positive even get strep at birth, but they are so fragile at that phase that they don't want to take the chance of any baby being infected. This also doesn't mean that I am sick-- I am just a carrier. Not too pleased about that, but among complications I could have, this one is pretty innocuous.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

36 Weeks-- Noah is Trying to Escape!

When last we left the saga of Noah and his life inside of me, I was cleared to fly to MI for our shower with friends and family back home. Noah had dropped low and against my cervix, but I had not begun to dilate or efface at all, so no worried about flying home and seeing everyone.

Fast forward 2 weeks to my 36 week appointment-- the first of my now weekly appointments and the beginning of regular cervical checks. I told my OB that I was excited to see if I was dilated at all, because Noah has seemed determined to wiggle his way out of me, and it felt as if he were opening my cervix, whether or not he is realistically capable of doing so. I was also experiencing some Braxton Hicks contractions (practice contractions) with a lot of tightening and a little bit of pain. These contractions usually do not dilate you, but doctors do want you to monitor them, just in case they come too frequently because they can signal real labor. Dr. Ambur told me at this appointment that now as many as is possible is a good thing, in contrast to the previous tactics of trying to stop them as quickly as possible.

After our regular chatting and questions at our appointment-- yes I am having some foot swelling, yes my blood pressure is still good, yay- my iron levels are considered normal again, we finally moved on to checking me for Strep B (I won't say anything more about that test) and checking my cervix.

I can't say who in the room was more shocked, Jim, me or Dr. Ambur, when she said, "Well, you are dilated to three cm." Three? I think Noah was the only one who wasn't in the least shocked, since he has been determinedly pushing the top of his head against my cervix and I like to think he enjoys the new toy and task that he is mastering as he strengthens his muscles and feels the changes on the top of his head.

In retrospect, I think that Jim was the most shocked. I have the opportunity to feel all of Noah's motions from the inside and knew that it felt like he was opening the gate to this world, but Jim has only what I tell him to rely upon. I tend to leave certain pains and sensations out, simply because I know that they are normal and will only worry him that Noah is coming early. Now the worry about Noah being pre-term is gone since we have reached 36 weeks and everything seems to be happening in quick succession. Dr. Ambur advised us that I could go into labor or my water could break at any time, or that I could walk around this dilated until after my due date.

Going from 0-3 cm isn't unheard of in a 2 week period-- many women start at 0 when they begin their eight hour labor, but it certainly got our attention and made us aware of the things that we still have to do to get our home ready for our little man, and for visiting family. On our way back through the skyways we stopped at the downtown Target and got toiletries and a back massager and several other items we had been putting off getting for our labor bag, and then went home to clean and get our guest room ready.*

Since last Friday I have still been feeling the same Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions and the same pushing by my son, so I am eager to see where I will be at my next appointment-- if I make it that long. We haven't done any of the "Old Wives Tales" to begin labor-- I am not that impatient and we still have so much to do to be ready--- if you can ever feel really ready for something like this. We even went on a mile and a half walk on Saturday and ate lots of spicy foods this weekend, which didn't set me off.

So if Noah needs to bake for a while longer, I am content to have him in there, and if he and the BH keep dilating me more, then I say go right ahead. Any little bit that happens before I have to be in real labor is less that I have to be in horrible pain for, will make it less likely that I have to be induced later on and will make labor shorter overall.

* I later told Jim that I didn't think that Noah was going to come over Easter weekend and that he would probably stay put for a while longer, and he had the best comeback-- "Yeah? Well you didn't think that we would be able to conceive either." That managed to freak me out a bit and showed me that while I may think our baby still wants to be a May baby, he may very well arrive any time now.
Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Night of Questions

My night at GEMS usually consists of a lot of energy, a lot of trying to relax the girls to get done what we need to do, after they have had a long day at school, and at least 2 questions about Noah and comments about how big he is (which really mean comments on how big his MOMMY is.)

However, last night I had more questions than I think I ever have, probably because Miss Jessica was in the room, and her craft for the night involved making cupcakes, loaded with sugar. So yummy and cute.

I always struggle with how much to tell them when they ask-- I am not their parents, and I am not an official educator in a formal school setting. And they are only in second and third grade. However, they are intelligent girls whose minds can be quite curious about the watermelon growing under my shirt. Last night it all began simply enough:

K: "Where is Noah's head?"
Me: I pointed out where- placing my hand below my belly button. "He's right here."
K: "He's upside down?!"
Me: "Yes, a lot of babies are upside down. You might have been. You should ask your mom."
C: "Does Noah have blood?"
Me: "Yes, why do you ask?"
C: "If he is upside down, wouldn't all of the blood rush to his head?"
Me: "Umm, well, he is water, so it doesn't all rush to his head."
C: "He's in water??"
Me: Yes, it keeps him safe so he doesn't get bonked." (This is when I began to worry that I had said too much.)
J: "How does he breathe?"
Me: "Well, he doesn't need to yet. When he becomes an outside baby, then he will breathe."
Miss Jessica: "Yes, the first time he cries, then he will need to breathe." (I send her a thankful look for backing me up.)
A: "Does he throw up?"
Me: "Umm, no, not yet."
A: "My mom says that when I was a baby, I would eat and eat, and then I would throw up, so I always had to have a bib on."

Thankfully, at this point the conversation was steered toward throwing up, rather than Noah's current existence, which I always fear will come down to a discussion of just how the little guy ended up living inside of me, which is certainly NOT on the curriculum list sent to us by the lovely GEMS headquarters in GR.

Jim's Deacon Nomination

Okay- I have to brag a bit about my husband. This brag may or may not meet with his approval, but I don't see him anywhere around here, do you? No? Good.

Last week while I was napping Jim went to get the mail and woke me up, excited to get something from the deacons at Faith. It was a letter informing him that he had been nominated by someone to be a deacon at Faith for the next term. We were both so honored to read the letter and to think about the characteristics that are laid out in the Bible that someone saw in him, to make him worthy of being nominated.

This is an even greater honor, since we only began attending Faith less than a year ago and became members this past December. As far as his becoming a Deacon, this newness may hinder him in the actual election (depending upon how Faith conducts the process of choosing their Consistory.) Not too many people know him closely, although for those of you who have met Jim, you know once you have met him, he will know you for life, and make you laugh in the process. I am continually amazed at how he can see someone in a Sears in Coon Rapids and remember his name from meeting him during coffee time at church, and remember his job and at least one other fact about him. I really do believe that Jim would make a great Deacon-- his personality predisposes him to the duties of a deacon, and our experience church planting back in MI and his work experience all make him a well-qualified candidate.

The next step is that someone will call him and tell him more about the process and what would be involved if he was a Deacon. We'll see what they say, and I will definitely be giving an update about the man I am honored to call my life partner.

My Second Shower

I am such a blessed woman. really, I am fully aware of how lucky I am. I was blessed to have not one, but two showers, the most recent of which was in Minnesota and was put on by one of the women from our small group out here at our church- Sara. There was a time where I thought I probably wouldn't have even one shower for Noah, and so to have 2-- and to be also given random toy samples from the showroom at Jim's work when the packaging got wet is beyond anything I would have expected.

This second shower was filled with women from our small group, as well as other GEMS teachers and a couple women who I had never met before, which seems to be a recurring thing at my showers. I was so blessed with all of the wonderful baby items that Noah got, and to talk to other women about their labor experiences. Sara was also such a gracious host. When I arrived I was greeted by balloons and a large diaper cake, which tragically Noah will treat without the lisghtest regard for the beauty of it. Sara was even so sweet as to offer me punch, snacks, cheesecake (she made it from scratch) and whenever I needed it, and even before I asked. I don't think that I had to get up at all to get anything.

It feels so wonderful to be surrounded by women of God who have gone where I am going before me. When I fist found out that I was expecting Noah, we had just begun to attend Faith a few months before, and while everyone was super hospitable and we felt like we were int he place that God wanted for us, it did not feel like the home that it feels now. Now we cannot wait for Noah to join in on Sunday mornings during the Children's message, for him to sing in front of church at Christmas, and for him to be friends with the other boys and girls who are so abundant in our church.

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