Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mark your calendars- Dragon's Induction Date!

Last Thursday I had another Type II ultrasound at Maternal Fetal Care. Dragon is doing great! They even measured different organs and bones and said he averages out to about 5.4 lbs, 38% for weight. Perfectly healthy, and it's nice not to expect a 10-pounder. (And yes, I realize those measurements are just estimates, but they have measured him with accurate equipment every three weeks and he has been stable at these numbers the entire pregnancy, so I trust them.)

I asked them who schedules my induction- MFC or the midwife clinic where I receive my primary care. They told me the clinic will schedule. I asked if my est. due date could change at this point, since he is measuring a week behind but I'd like to be induced a few days prior to my 39th week mark. They said no, my EDD wouldn't change, and good luck getting my induction scheduled a day earlier than 39 weeks.

I took my chances. 

They were right. 

At my midwife appointment the next day I explained to my midwife that I'd prefer scheduling the induction on a Friday over a Tuesday so Ben could be in the hospital over the weekend without missing work (we were in the hospital Friday-Sunday with Eleanor and it was so convenient!). She promptly offered for my induction to get scheduled a few days later on the following Friday. No. The convenience wasn't worth pushing my delivery back at all!

So I'm all scheduled: July 18th! 
This is 39 weeks and 1 day, but that was fine with me because it's the day both of my midwives will have shifts in the delivery ward. One day was worth waiting to be sure I"ll have personal care from the women who have been through this journey with me. 

If I haven't explained before, it is the protocol to offer an induction at 39 weeks for some pregnancy conditions, including a previous stillbirth. I know the baby is growing and developing every day, but we feel ok with having him a week early. (My sister has a friend whose child was stillborn at 39 weeks. I've heard that happens because the baby is big enough that they aren't moving much anymore, so it's hard for the mom to recognize something is wrong. I'm not taking that chance.) I'm starting to get really anxious to have him here, so I think the emotional/ stress relief benefits win out. 

I am a little nervous about him coming at 39 weeks via induction. I know inductions w/ Pitocin more commonly lead to C-Sections, and I do not want a C-Section! My midwives understand my concerns and completely agree. They believe my delivery won't lead to a C-Section because I've had a previous natural delivery so my body will "remember" how to perform, and they will also give me natural treatments in the week leading up to the 18th to try and encourage my body to go into labor spontaneously. 

So, the bottom line is that I will go into labor on my own or via induction BY JULY 18TH. 

How scary/ amazing is that?!?!

Wow... 3 measly weeks away... we have so much to do! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


You've heard the adage that you ought to be nice to everyone you meet because you don't know their situation, or how they could influence you? Well, I really believe that's true. Since I started working from home I've developed a pretty reliable routine. Because of my routine I end up at the same places over and over again, and feel like I've developed genuine friendships with the employees at places I frequent. I really love the staff at my clinic, for example. I am so glad I have made a point to always be pleasant when I'm there- I can tell they love me, too, and our friendship has really helped me through this process. Who knows where we would be if neither of us were friendly to the other in the beginning? We had no way to know back then when my appointments were every 4 weeks what we would end up going through together and how often they would see me!

Another unlikely place I've made friends is at the post office. I go to the post office almost every single day, and I look forward to my visit. Ben even bought me a home postage scale so I could print out my shipping labels, pay online, and have someone pick them up, but I've never used it. The post office is sort of out of my way- a few stoplights passed my other regular errands on a busy, frustrating road- but I go because I've come to know each of the tellers by name and have great, friendly, personal interactions with whomever happens to be available to help me. It's become my adult interaction time :)

One such employee recently told me she is pregnant! Everyone there knows about my situation- I have been going since I was pregnant with Eleanor, and it has even been the location of at least two emotional breakdowns of mine. This employee confided in me a few months ago that she had had a miscarriage and the idea of being pregnant again really worried her. Her miscarriage was years ago, but the fear has remained. When she gave me the news of her new pregnancy my first question was how was she feeling? She said she had had early signs of another miscarriage, but immediately went to the hospital and doctors were able to stop it. She is more anxious than ever, though, because she still bleeds frequently.

I think she enjoys talking to me about it because I've been there. I have experienced a loss and am now almost full term with another pregnancy. Not only that, but I'm really, really happy and feel incredibly blessed and full of gratitude every day. I've overcome a lot, and could be an example to someone in her (or my) position. But what she knows that I understand is that the fear of experiencing the same loss multiple times never fully goes away, no matter how fulfilled you consider yourself.

 Yes, to be honest, there are often times that I drive really defensively because I can't help but expect to be killed in a car accident before I've given birth, leaving Ben alone. I still expect to have a premature labor- even getting to my 39 week induction date doesn't seem like a real possibility, and it's hard to accept that, at this stage, the baby would likely be just fine if I did go into labor early. When I visit Eleanor's grave I always look around to see what spots around her are still available in case we lose our son. I prepare myself for the possibility that he'll be born with the birth defect we were concerned about earlier. I've asked Ben what his plan would be if I died while carrying the baby, if I died but the baby survived, or if I died while we were together and he had the option of saving the baby. It sort of surprised me to hear his well-thought out answers to my strange inquiries. He's thought about it, too. To a certain extent, he gets scared, too. We are both so happy and excited, but that fear may not ever fully go away.

My mother-in-law's first child was stillborn, as well. She was a great comfort to me when I lost Eleanor. She told me that she didn't feel really settled until her next child was delivered and safely in her arms. I heard those words, but I wasn't sure they applied to me at the time. I've felt really grateful during this pregnancy, but now I have to admit that I'll probably feel the same way she did. I fully expect the remaining weeks of my pregnancy to go well and to have a safe delivery and healthy baby boy. Maybe at that point this weight will be lifted.

Until then, all I can say is please be patient with me- I'm feeling pretty emotional, preoccupied, and easily upset right now. But I'm really trying to hide all of that in an effort to take care of those random friendships that develop because you happen to be nice to someone who ends up meaning the world to you in the end. I'm glad I, a passerby during their day, has been able to give back some friendship and support to people who are now staples in my daily routine. You really don't realize how fragile we can all be.

Monday, June 18, 2012

35 Week Update + Maternity Pictures!

I am 28 days, or less (my exact induction date hasn't been scheduled) away from bringing Dragon into the world.  It's close enough to count by days??????

Oh. My. Goodness. 

* I still go into my midwife clinic 2x week for a Non-Stress Test. I love these appointments! I get to be calm and focus all my energy on Dragon, and the staff (who are now good friends) come in to talk and pass the time. 
*My midwife sees me 1x week at either of the above appointments. Again, I can't say enough how much I love them and how supportive and attentive they are. Everything is going really well! 
*I go to the Women's Hospital 1x every 2 weeks for a Type II ultrasound and BPP test (Dragon's amniotic fluid, movement, breathing, and muscle tone are monitored for 30 mins.) So far these tests are all great! 
*I am constantly thinking about Dragon's nursery, which still isn't finished! It is looking really good though, and gives me something good to stay busy with in the meantime :)
*Dragon doesn't move as often as he has in weeks past, but, at certain times of the day, still moves enough that my belly looks like a 3 Ring Circus! It is so so cool! He is large enough now to move on two different sides of my belly at the same time. I don't get bothered by this at all- I have a long torso so he never disturbs my breathing or anything- but sometimes he will stretch something around my side and something about that patch of skin/ organs is really sensitive. It's not too often, but that movement always takes me by surprise and I have to try not to scream! 
*I felt Braxton Hicks contractions for the first time a few days ago (and none since.) I happen to be on video chat with Ben (in China) and he started to time the contractions and asked me to call the on-call nurse :) It was so sweet that he was concerned, but I was prepared for this and knew without a doubt that it was just fake stuff and nothing to worry about. It did really hurt, though! 

New Photos!
Since Ben was gone for 1 week in Indiana and scheduled for another 2 week trip right after that I spent 1 week in Milwaukee with his Brother and SIL and he came over to spend the weekend with me. Some other members of his side of our family came over, too, and we had a great mini family reunion together!

My sister-in-law, Sarah, is a great photographer and offered to take (or did I push the idea on her?) some couples pictures for us! See, I love the maternity photos Ben has taken of me to chronicle my pregnancy, but I really wanted some pictures of us together! 

Here we are: 
(These pictures were taken in about 30 mins in the backyard then transferred to Ben's computer and e-mailed to me. They haven't been re-touched or enhanced at all, I just couldn't wait to share them!)

I am so happy with these pictures! Especially now, with Ben away for so long, I love looking at them and remembering how in love we are and how much he loves our baby. Plus, I love the pictures of my new big, beautiful body! I feel so gorgeous right now, and just love being pregnant! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Memorial Day in Williamsburgh!

Ben didn't tell me he had Memorial Day Monday off of work until Thursday of the previous week. He also said he'd like to go to the beach for our holiday weekend. So, starting Thursday, I tried finding ANY hotel availabilities at ANY of the beaches within a 4-hour drive.

Myrtle Beach: BOOKED.  Outer Banks: BOOKED. Virginia Beach: BOOKED.

Ben had an exam to finish by noon on Saturday, so until noon I was still trying to find a hotel room. After HOURS I eventually disturbed Ben in the office with a total freak out:

"I can't believe you didn't tell me until a couple of days ago that you had a day off and wanted to go out of town to the beach! The entire country is trying to go to the beach for Memorial Day Weekend! You should have told me earlier, or pick a new place to go because I'm not looking for a beach vacation any more!"

"Ok, Honey. Let's go to the mountains, or anywhere. Or we don't have to leave at all. Whatever you want :) We'll have a great time together no matter what." 

Well, when he's so sweet like that what other choice did I have but to look just... one... more... time. But for a new vacation destination :O) 

Five minutes later I was back upstairs, just as Ben finished his exam, and said, "Get packed. I found a new place to go and booked the first available hotel I could find. It happened to be a great deal, it looks awesome, and I'm really excited." We packed and were in the car before I even told Ben where we were going: Colonial Williamsburgh!

This one is from a Ghost Tour we signed up for our first night. It was a great way to get a feel for the area before buying entrance tickets, and we both enjoy the stories. To be honest, though, it was a disappointing tour. Hard to say why, but there was just something too manufactured about it. Oh well. 

The town was bought a few decades ago and re-constructed back to it's historical condition. It now employs period actors to teach about different trades from the Revolutionary era, give re-enactments, and maintain the historically accurate homes and gardens. It really was like stepping back in time! 

What's the British flag's nickname again? Cap'n Jack? 

I've been to Williamsburgh a lot. My mom taught EFY at William & Mary for a few years, so my aunt would escort my sister and me around Williamsburgh while my mom was in seminars. I loved it and have really fond childhood memories of being here, and one is sitting down and having an authentic ginger ale, gingerbread cookie, and loaf of bread and chunk of cheese for lunch. The bakery doesn't sell the bread and cheese anymore, but it was so nostalgic to have the cookie and drink again! 

Ben was quite enthralled with the historical tailor. They had a pretty funny conversation in front of a bunch of other tourists about different clothing materials and the manufacturing process. 

The Governor was appointed to represent the interest of England to the colonists, so the Governor's Mansion was reminiscent of European country homes. In a word: GORGEOUS. In three words: OUT OF PLACE.

I can't take him anywhere! :D

One of the most fun parts of the town was the masonry field. We heard about how bricks were made with local clay, and they even invited tourists to try mixing the clay themselves! Ben jumped right in. 

Then I couldn't resist joining in the fun! 

We're just two big kids :)

I didn't get pictures of a really amazing re-enactment of the colonists declaring war on the British, but it was quite the production! It was a really amazing coincidence that we chose a historical significant place to visit for Memorial Day weekend :) Sort of like how there "Just happened" to be a soaring centennial celebration at the OBX the weekend we chose to visit and stumbled upon those great flight displays! 

We are blessed travelers. 


We also visited Jamestown and Yorktown, other significant colonies just nearby. Jamestown was a lot of fun- it was an original colony, and had lots of interactive displays of how the original settlers lived and worked. 

Virginia Beach
We decided to take a short detour through Virginia Beach (just to try and actually go to the beach) on our drive back. 

This Dairy Queen is the busiest location in America. They just brought back my favorite item- frozen hot chocolate- so we walked about 15 blocks (one way) to go there and get my drink! 

What do you know... Ben got to the beach, after all :) 

The whole weekend all I could think about was how grateful I am that my spouse is so adventurous and up for whatever trip I happen to plan on a whim. We have so much fun together, and have really dived into living this area and enjoying ourselves here. I am so excited to share all of these places with Dragon one day!