Archive for the ‘final countdown’ Category

still in the oven.

seeing as how my daily stats have more than tripled over the last few days, i’m guessing you’d all like to know if there is an update to my quick update?

here’s the short answer: still pregnant.

and here’s a little more info, if you’re so inclined:
yesterday was my weekly midwife appt. zig is measuring between 38-39 weeks, still estimated to be in the 8lb range. i’ve lost 5 lbs in the past two weeks, which brings me back to what i believe is 1 lb less than the weight i was when i got pregnant. so basically, my son continues to be an adorable little parasite who will ultimately bring me a fabulous figure, yes?

jude laid next to me on the four poster bed while the midwives listened to ziggy’s heartbeat. as i wiped the goo from my belly, she exclaimed “jude’s turn!” and lifted her shirt. and so midwife meg gooed j’s chest and turned on the doppler. jude listened, rapt, with puckered lips and big, blue unblinking eyes. it made me cry a little bit to hear jude’s heartbeat through a doppler again, after 27 months. the reality of the child inside me was felt a little deeper in that moment. the mysterious whoosh whoosh in my belly is the heart of my daughter, my son. and there we all were, lying on a big bed together.

…my maternity leave has been nothing but moment after moment of waking up to the wonder of my children, by the way. every day, it’s an achy soul squeezing sensation. there will never be a non-sappy way to describe it. motherhood has made me into a sap. pregnancy has made me into a blubbery sap.

i digress.

so yeah. still pregnant. as of yesterday, i was still dilated to 2. my cervix was still too thick to make anyone believe i was about to pop. another few days, michele says apologetically. perhaps a week.

and i was okay with this news, mostly because i was given things to do to while away the time:

continue to walk every morning: check. –h, j and i have been walking everyday, sometimes nearly a mile. it’s felt so so good to move my body. and j gets to run and race and pick up stones and wave at chickens and cows.

squat with every contraction: check.

get on the EPO and dr christopher’s herbs: check.

acupressure and acupuncture: check. –contractions after acupuncture today were pretty fantastic. lots of squatting. lots of heavy breathing. at one point, a pained expression on my face really upset jude. she wailed and wailed, and i had to snuggle her for a long time after the contraction passed. she knows her brother is coming soon. she is really dealing with it in an intense, clingy way at the moment. she asks for my arms to be around her. instead of self-soothing by twirling (and knotting) her own hair, she holds tightly to mine when she’s sleepy. i confess that i love being able to console her in such a tangible way. i want her to remember, and i whisper it in her ear as she falls asleep, that she is my beloved, my joy; she is safe and she is home. i love you, jude, i say. i wash you too mommy, she replies before beginning to snore like her mama.

as for an update on my labor fears, i can only say that the closer i get to the inevitable, the less afraid i am. there are still moments of panic, but they are fewer, and less intense. my brain is preparing to make sense of what my body is already doing. yesterday, michele told me about a birth she attended the day before. the first time mama played bach on the piano between contractions. when labor became too intense, apprentice midwife genevieve took over playing. for some reason, the simple peace of this act centered me. i have so much choice about the spirit of ziggy’s birth. i want to play the proverbial bach. and when i can’t anymore, i want to allow the women in the room to play for me.

here’s what the bump looked like yesterday, 38w4d:

night night, everybody.

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so. just got home from midwife. sparky is -1 station, fully engaged, 3 cm dilated, and fully effaced i think. michele gave me a very very painful cervical massage/stretch. (think two fingers IN my cervix and making a peace sign. fuuuuuck.)

and now the contractions are big and bold when they come. i’ve been ordered to drink a castor oil smoothie (to the tune of SIX OUNCES OF CASTOR OIL) to push myself over the edge into active labor.

michele fully expects me to have a baby in the next 24 hours.

i’m going to enjoy a late lunch now, before taking on the smoothie. i’ll update later if i can.

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woke up this morning to a little bloody show. (i always get a mental image of a gameshow featuring lots of blood.) yay. good news.

so we walked. a little over a mile to the corner store, where h bought me kk donut holes. such sweet rewards. contractions were pretty intense while walking: 2-4 mins apart, lasting over a minute. we watched a chicken cross the road with her little chicks. an auspicious sign, yes?

so i called the midwife to let her know about just how low sparky is. (her bum, which used to rest just under my ribcage, is now situated at my belly button, which has finally popped all the way.) i gave her all the details of contractions and cramping, blahblahblah, and she sounded very excited and said, “sounds like you might have a baby today!”

so now i’m back to the pump and the herbs and will check back with her in a little while with an update, if there is an update…

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…as inspiration.

the news from here is that we’re working bootcamp today. i gots 10 minutes till i pump again, and torture myself with a little black cohosh under my tongue. at least it tastes like scotch.

woman three, by the way, gave birth yesterday. after making to 6 cm, the baby’s head would not engage, and kept floating high high up. the midwives worked their magic for a long time, before deciding it best to transport. the docs at the hospital advised that pit would probably have about 20% success rate in bringing the baby down, and recommended a c section. so that is what happened, and she gave birth to a nearly 10 lb little girl with a perfectly round head; she clearly had no intention of descending on her own.

michele told me all of this over the phone this morning. “i’m only telling you the details because your baby’s head is already much lower than this one ever ended up. you’re going to break this crazy cycle of transports…”

so, h gave me a cervical massage this morning (so much more pleasant than when done by a midwife), and was shocked to find sparky’s head very very low, my cervix all but gone, and dilation wide enough for 3 fingers to fit through. (mercifully, she didn’t test the 3 fingers estimation. bless her.) she could feel sparky’s head begin to assume cone shape.

and we wait.

contractions come and go, and i feel my baby’s head between my legs when i walk. come on out, child o mine. come on.

time to hook myself up to the bovine machine again. if you were here, you’d see me staring down in absolute wonder over the long slugs of nips being sucked through the pump horn, as h knits a scarf next to me. patty griffin is singing about burgundy shoes. the dogs are asleep under the bed.

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two [two!] friends who i haven’t seen in at least two years were in town today, from philly and nashville, completely independent of each other. and so we had visitors twice this afternoon, which was lovely. and i was a good girl, who did no gymnastics while hanging out with them. in fact, i mostly stayed seated. sparky has been quiet all day. no sign of labor.

after our flurry of guests, we napped. this is the view from around here as i lay low, and h still naps as i type:

waiting around and napping.

[note h’s new fish, a betta named georgeburns.]

i’m feeling a bit peckish…ice cream sounds good. mmm…

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1. bootcamp begins today. i’ll let you know if we make any progress.
2. had some intense contractions during the game last night. kobe bryant is such a little bitch.
3. forgot to mention that, as of thursday, my hemoglobin levels are at 11.4. woo.

more later.

ETA: scratch bootcamp. woman #3 from my birth class has finally gone into labor, just under the wire, it seems. i just got a call from midwife kristen telling me explicitly NOT to do ANYTHING today. no pumping. no herbs. no walking. no.thing. i am trying to swallow this like a nice girl. but being told that i am essentially not allowed to have my baby today makes me feel all kinds of rebellious. i need a snack.

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i’m trying to think of ways to not make this post sound miserable and whiny. oh but fuck it, i am miserable and whiny.

the past 24 hours have brought a new hormonal shift. one where tears are constantly sitting on my eyes, and i swing moment to moment between feeling ridiculously needy and wanting to be left utterly alone. h asks if she can do anything, and she can’t do anything, and i feel frustrated at once again having to say no. she worries i am angry with her. and i am not angry with her; i am weary, period. sleep is increasingly uncomfortable. last night, i was awoken over and over to contractions burning in my back and left hip. contractions that go nowhere, of course. i’m not in labor. the braxton and the hicks are simply conspiring against my chances for a good night of sleep.

they say you know you are in transition when you feel like you can’t do it anymore, when you want to give up and escape. surely, i am in transition from not-in-labor to in-labor then, because i can’t take the mind fuck, let alone the aching heaviness of lugging this baby around, any longer. i am so weary of this.

…but i am trying to buck up for the possibility of another two weeks of this.

seriously, though, would it kill mother nature or the weather channel to give us something other than triple digits and extreme drought? every.fucking.day?

done ranting. really. and i’m sure my hormones will shift again, and i’ll be back in my mother teresa, zenlike place of tranquil readiness for whatever comes.

pee ess thanks for the colostrum-saving recommendations. i would save it, if there were enough to save. right now, it’s just sticky drops that mostly end up hanging out around the rim of the pump horn. if i produce something more salvageable, i’ll freeze it fo sho.

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still no sparky, as of yet today. lots of interesting contractions though, and walking, and a little pumping for good measure. my girls definitely gots the colostrum going on!

while i’m waiting, i’ve finally finished my labor playlist. 101 songs. 7.6 hours. artists include:

andrew bird
arcade fire
be good tanyas
billie holiday
brightblack morning light
duke special
edith piaf
finn brothers
gillian welch
innocence mission
julie lee
bon iver
bright eyes
cat power
flaming lips
great lake swimmers
iron & wine
jane siberry
jeff buckley
jolie holland
jose gonzalez
kris delmhorst
massive attack
modest mouse
nick drake
over the rhine
patty griffin
rosie thomas
ryan adams
sam phillips
sarah harmer
sarah masen
sigur ros
sufjan stevens
susan enan
trespassers william
yann tiersen

sparky better be inspired to be born nicely to such wonderful tunes…

and now to milk myself again…

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midwife appt today was all about having a second blood draw. last week, my hemoglobin levels came back at 10.9 after 2 weeks on all the iron craziness. so, we added chlorophyll and ferrous gluconate with blackstrap molasses. i’m still getting used to drinking a liter of green chlorophyll water every day, especially since it smells like ink and leaves my tongue green for hours. god, i hope my hemoglobin is up now. michele would like to see it at 11.7 or higher, so i can best handle blood loss during the birth.

oh yes, the birth. so, contractions continue, as does the crampiness. i received another lovely cervical massage today, which really ached after having so much poking and prodding up there this week. the plan is to keep doing what we’re doing with the walking and resting, etc through the weekend. if sparky still won’t budge, we begin boot camp on monday.

boot camp goes like this:

i spend two whole days hooked up to a breast pump, double pumping 20 minutes on the hour, every hour. i take a tincture of black and blue cohosh and caulophyllum, rotating every 20 minutes. basically, i’ll be watching a lot of movies.

if nothing happens after two days of this regimen, i will take two days off, and start it up all over again. the hope is that the herbs and pumping will inspire my body to get things going before i suddenly find myself 42 weeks pregnant, and stuck with pitocin. shudder.

at this point, i am completely relaxed about the whole thing. i am confident that sparky knows what she’s doing in there, and will choose her own birthday wisely. (but how kick ass would it be if she decides to come on friday the 13th???!) and i am hoping that the birth stories of the other three women from my birth class simply mean i will have an ideal, uneventful birth.

woman one: her story can be found here.

woman two: she did boot camp at 41 weeks, after nothing was happening. the next day, she had a beautiful labor at home, pushed for four hours, and then had to be transferred to the hospital for a c-section. her baby’s head wouldn’t fit under her pubic bone. she gave birth to a nearly 11 lb baby, who is healthy and humongous.

woman three: was due june 1. she’s still not budging, despite all the midwife tricks. the baby is fine, according to an ultrasound she had yesterday. but if she doesn’t deliver by monday, it’s pit and the hospital.

woman four: me. can i just have my baby at home please?

michele is amazed at 3 transfers in a row. “i haven’t had a transport in 2 years!” she told me this afternoon. “statistically, your birth is now looking awesome…” she encouraged.

and now to a nap.

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h and i were out and about running errands when the contractions started coming pretty regularly. (actually, they began in the middle of my therapy session!) i had to call midwife michele for lab results (my iron is 10.9…we’re trying to bump it to 11.7) so i mentioned this fact. they felt a little different today, in that i felt the contractions equally while sitting or standing. and they were coming 3-5 mins apart, lasting about a minute. lower back burn and wrapping around to just underneath my navel. ow.

so michele squealed a bit and asked me to check back with her in an hour. an hour passed; h and i enjoyed a lunch of falafel and gyro, respectively. contractions kept coming. i called michele back, and since were in the neighborhood, she asked us to come by for a quick exam. and guess what? i’ve made progress.

drumroll please: i am now 2 whole cm dilated, and 85% effaced, with a melty, buttery cervix. (such adjectives made me hungry for movie theater popcorn.) sparky has moved on down a bit (-1 station i think), which is why i am feeling pressure on my buttery cervix at all times anymore. well hooray.

michele massaged my cervix for awhile, which was quite uncomfortable, and when i asked about stripping membranes, she told me there was nothing to strip; my cervix and bag of waters are completely separated and ready to go.

and so she advised some mall-walking, which we did, hot sexy sexyness, which surely we will do, and an early night to bed. hopefully, things will pick up from there.

i had some good contractions at the mall, but they’re slowing down now that i’m relaxing without pants on. (you wanted to know this, yes?) however, i am quite crampy and sparky has massive hiccups way down in my pelvis.

i’m ready for you, little hiccuppy girl, if you are ready to slide on out.

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