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Sunday, September 26, 2010

The waiting is the hardest part

Today is not a good day. I woke up with every part of me hurting. I'm very irritated.

I am avoiding the phone, and staying off Facebook. I just can't take anyone else asking me where the baby is. Know where she is? In my pelvis, hurting me. I know people care, and just want to know. I know I'm overly sensitive because every moment of every day, I know exactly where she is and that she isn't where I want her to be, which is out of my body. And I'm hormonal, and maybe a little unreasonable.

I started this whole adventure out wanting to avoid any artificial induction--the thought being, labor induction leads to all the other interventions that I want to avoid. And I still think that's a good plan. But like Chris Rock says in his famous comedy bit-- I UNDERSTAND. I totally get being ready to just deliver and be done with this part, and move on with life. My OB is really great, and very supportive of my desires to avoid unnecessary interventions, and she even suggested I try some acupuncture (which I did, twice, and which doesn't seem to have helped), and I've tried every other at-home technique except castor oil (no thank you).

And of course, every day I spend on FMLA pregnant is one less day I get to spend with my baby. Either way, I go back to work Dec 1. This country's family leave policies SUCK. I was actually lucky to even get FMLA--I wouldn't have qualified, since I just started this job a couple months ago, except someone advised me to ask if my previous employment at the same hospital made me eligible, and it did. I don't have any more paid leave than before, but at least I don't have to pay COBRA for insurance, and my job is protected (not that they would let me go after spending so much money training me).

The whole idea of a "due date" is a huge mind f*ck. Half of all babies arrive after their due date. But we get this "date" in our heads--you really can't help it, the whole pregnancy focuses on this due date. And when the date comes and goes, you have to readjust, even though part of you knew this would probably happen. It is hard to really be prepared for the extra waiting, even if in the grand scheme it is a relatively short period of time. When you are so uncomfortable, and your brain can only fixate on this one thing, it seems impossible to wait another moment.

So, appointment tomorrow, and we'll see where we go from here. Sorry about the complaining. It's about all I feel like I can do right now. I do hope to have something better to report soon.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Stir Crazy

39 weeks and 5 days. But who's counting?

I'm becoming more stir crazy, cranky, and lonely by the day. And bored. Yet, my mind isn't really able to focus on much other than baby, or getting baby out of me. It seems like a waste not to be working, except that I don't have much focus, and don't think I can tolerate either the 13 hour days or the pushing and walking involved. I have a stack of books and a couple knitting projects, and of course my baby shower thank you cards that still haven't gotten done. But these things aren't helping much.

I learned early on in the pregnancy that this can be a very lonely time for us women. Even though many, many women do experience pregnancy and birth at some point in their lives, when you are actually experiencing it, it is still an isolating time. I find my brain wanting to isolate and focus in, and I'm experiencing things that I feel dumb complaining about or talking about. Yeah, everybody knows that being late term means not sleeping, having lots of back pain, heartburn, etc. But it sucks! And I do feel somewhat trapped in my body. It's been long enough now that the mystery and fun and beauty of pregnancy has worn off, and I'm ready for the next stage. And hearing people warn me about the sleeplessness and endlessness of the next stage doesn't make waiting right now any easier or better.

I sit at home each day, and my husband mostly works from home. I think he's sick of me being around, most of the time. I don't have many friends in Portland now--being gone for 3 years will do that, and a lot of people did move away in the meanwhile. I only worked at my new job for 2 months, so I didn't establish close friendships there. So I hardly see anyone at all. I try to stay active--walking, going to the gym to swim, sitting on my yoga ball instead of on the couch, doing squats. Sometimes I worry that this loneliness and lack of interaction is going to really blossom when I am home with a newborn, but what do I do about that now?

I'm just ready to move on.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I was planning on working until my due date, which is in 10 days. But this past weekend things seemed to be moving undeniably toward labor (yes, on Labor Day weekend), and when I went back to work on Tuesday, I was miserable enough that I threw in the towel. My supervisor was extremely understanding and supportive, and I went on leave at 38 weeks exactly.

At first I felt terribly guilty about this. I've found that many women who worked during their pregnancies have told me similar things about it: you don't want to be waiting around at home, you don't want to spend any of your maternity leave pre-baby. There is a sort of pride about it, working until you deliver. But after a day of feeling like a weenie for dropping out of the race, I'm over it. My job involves 13 hour days, a lot of which are pushing stretchers with patients on them down long halls to and from operating rooms, bending over to do things on the OR floor like empty urine bags and pick up all the stuff I drop, and sitting in (or avoiding sitting in) incredibly uncomfortable chairs while monitoring my patients under anesthesia. There isn't much space up at the head of the bed for walking around and relieving back labor. Plus, having a patient on my last day who was "ruling out" for VRE (a particularly nasty multidrug resistant organism) reminded me that every patient in the hospital has the potential to pass along a bug I might not want my newborn daughter to get when I deliver her.

Plus, I don't mind having the time to get my head in a new space, and being able to do as much or as little activity as I see fit to do right now. Yesterday, I was walking around a lot and being more active, but today I just haven't been able to do much at all. I have great plans to do all this cooking for after the birth, go grocery shopping, write my shower thank-you cards...but I haven't been motivated today. This blog post is the most ambitous thing I've been able to do yet.

My profession has made me a little more educated about pregnancy and delivery than I used to be, and perhaps more so than the average person, but one thing I didn't really get before is how ambiguous labor signs can really be. Not just the fact that contractions can start and stop multiple times, but that you can be unsure if they are actually contractions. Or if what you are experiencing is 'progressing' or not. Or if your water has broken or not. If it's your first time, not only can you be unsure yourself, but there are a hundred other women to tell you their hundred different experiences, which doesn't add clarity. I want something more definitive, but I haven't gotten it. And being stuck in a moment in time, unable to see if an hour or three from now things will be more obvious (as I know they eventually become...usually), is terribly disorienting. I find myself losing perspective. For every woman who tells me knowingly, "Oh, you'll know," there is another whose experience was not knowing she was in labor for hours, or days.

Anyway, I'm ready to be done. I realize it may still be a few weeks, or it may be any day.