Archive for the ‘third trimester’ Category

…and here i am writing something. i sincerely apologize for the lack of words around here. every day, i’ve meant to put something down–there is so much i want to talk about–and every day, i miss that small window of time and energy when writing a coherent thought becomes possible.

so, let me sum up the past month like this:

    a family full of sickness and back woes
    car repairs
    house-cleaning in fits and starts
    wading though enough boy clothes for 17 babies
    learning how to be present with jude in her every waking hour
    continuing to grow what has become about an 8 lb baby

i’m still trying to find words to describe what it has been like to transition, very quickly, from being with jude on weekday mornings and evenings, as well as weekends, to being with her all day every day. it’s not been difficult in an “i don’t know how to do this” sort of way. it’s just a new way of relating to each other, and as a person who feels compelled to chronicle everything so nothing goes forgotten…i’m still adjusting. so much happens every day. everything new all the time. words and phrases and emotions and games and it’s all so raw and messy and real and lovely. every day, my little girl is growing more and more into her own self, and already i feel the push and pull of how she separates from me, and then run backs for reassurance. this is a post unto itself. one that i vow to write soon. for now, let’s just say that my goal of being home long enough to savor our final days with jude as only child has been overwhelmingly met and exceeded.

i wanted to put something down here about the aforementioned 8 lb baby that happens to be due in 16 days. i’ve been very silent about him lately, even with myself. sure, i talk about him all the time–he’s a very obvious conversation topic–but when i think back to these final days of pregnancy with jude, i had a lot more…what was it? time? energy? to contemplate what was about to happen. sure, i wasn’t keeping up with a toddler, and i was on the threshold of becoming a mother at all, and that is a very different thing to contemplate.

honestly, my fear about giving birth this time around is a lot more concrete than that mystical fear i experienced last time. you know how “they” say mothers forget the pain of childbirth? yes, it’s true, i’d forgotten a lot of the hard moments for about two years, but now that i have constant braxton hicks contractions, as well as a grinding baby head on my cervix? i remember. i remember the firebelly of transition. i remember the long, nasty recovery. i feel it all again. of course, i also feel and remember what it was like to normalize the fire of each contraction, to go to that time-out-of-time laborland, and how i was able to simply let my mind bear witness to what my body was doing all by herself. i remember that quiet well.

and yet, i’m still afraid. more afraid than i thought i’d be.

with jude, there were prenatal classes, lots of conversations about birth plans and centering techniques. i spent hours reading other women’s birth stories. with ziggy, there have been no classes, the birth plan is agreed to be the same as last time, and i haven’t felt compelled to scour message boards for really inspiring birth stories.

i’m rambling. losing focus. it’s hard to write about this. i entered into the birthing experience with jude wanting to give her the most sacred entry possible. i knew that this experience was a rite of passage for both of us. and right now, birth doesn’t feel that way. it feels like something to get through in order get on with it already. i don’t want to shortchange my son. i don’t want my heart or body to be less open to the wonder and mystery of what it is to bring a new life into the world. i want to exhale my fear and worry and wounds from my last birthing experience. i want to hold on to all that was sacred and peace, and let him inhale it all with his first breath. that is my birthplan.

here’s his little face from our final ultrasound a week ago. his left kidney remains dilated, but it hasn’t worsened, so the dr isn’t too worried.
did i mention that we are clear for takeoff, delivery-wise? developmentally, he’s ready to be born. the countdown has begun.

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a brief synopsis of today’s ultrasound: mister zig weighs about 5 (FIVE!) pounds, is measuring a week ahead in size (today is 32w4d), and is expected to be an 8-9 pounder like his sister. he remains head down. (stay boy, stay!)

everything looks perfect, save for his left kidney, which is measuring 9ish mm today. (10mm is the magic number when normal becomes abnormal.) so. another ultrasound is scheduled for 37 weeks.

we actually saw the dr today. my midwife delivered his baby at home. for this reason alone, i like him. he doesn’t seem to be doctor intervention-irrational-freakout man. he is not worried about zig at this point; he really thinks everything will be okay in the end. he doubts surgery will be necessary, but wants to stay on top of it all just the same.

and so, for now, i’m just trying to enjoy the sneak peeks of my son, and trying not to dwell on something i cannot at all influence until after he is born.

here he is, again with the hands:

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bullets ahoy:

  • so very, very nauseous right now.  nothing helps but sleep.  every food upsets my belly and causes cramps that feel like labor.  the cramps bring on braxton hicks.  i hurt.  this sucks.  and is totally normal.
  • but sunday was a relief sort of day.  we ventured over to new friends’ house for a playdate.  we met c&s through a mutual friend in april. c gave birth to a wee baby boy last month–little brother to nearly 3 year old big sister, v.  on sunday, jude and v played and played together, independent of us, in a whole other room even.  and it was interactive play, not just the parallel sort.  it was a wonder to behold for both sets of parents.  a first.  and so excellent.  grownups got to talk like grownups for long, uninterrupted segments of time.  we are all kinds of excited about this developmental milestone.
  • still haven’t forgotten the posts i want to write.  i anticipate the headspace and timespace to write them this week.
  • a video of sweet j this morning. watching super why, and eating breakfast.  peep those brows when she realizes i’m recording her.   and also, peep the need to demonstrate her water-drinking abilities:  “watch jude.”

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like many moms before me, it’s been all kinds of difficult to find the time and headspace to meditate, in a meaningful way, on the present tense reality of my pregnancy. but here i am, approaching 30 weeks along, with a heavy belly full of limbs jutting out at odd angles. i’ve got 16 inches of son balled up in there, and in seven short weeks, it’ll be safe for him to make an exit at home.

aside from the obvious limitations of being a very pregnant person, i often forget i’m pregnant at all. i’m still very engaged at work, and at home my focus is on being a good parent to a spirited toddler, as well as being a present, loving partner. our family life is a steady current, and our son’s immanence is easy to let slip: out of sight, out of mind.

he made himself very known a couple weeks ago, after i did too much cleaning, too much standing around and lifting children, over jude’s birthday weekend. i started having contractions, every fifteen minutes, for two hours straight. they were the start-at-the-back-wrap-around-to-the-belly sort. ie: not just braxton hicks, don’t worry contractions. my midwife put me on two days of bed rest, and told me to slow the fuck down already.

and so i’ve slowed the fuck down already. i am making a concerted effort to be aware of my son with every move i make. you know, is this good for the company baby? conversations with jude about the baby have increased, especially as she asks me to pick her up, to run with her, to dance, and when she attempts to jump on my stomach.

we talk a lot about the baby coming out of my belly soon, very soon, and we paint pictures of breastfeeding, diaper changes, why her brother will cry and how to comfort him, etc.

even as we have these preparatory talks, though, it is so much easier for me to focus on endings than beginnings. these are the final weeks of jude being an only child, after all. i think some grief over that reality is appropriate. but it’s hard for me not to get overwhelmed by it, in a “what have i done to my poor child” sort of way. i’m heartened, however, by families like lagliv, one of his moms, and lesbian dad, whose kiddos have clearly flourished in their new role of Big Sibling.

and so i’m choosing to step back from the ledge of fear; instead, i rest my hands on my belly and consider the life inside me. my son will be joining his family soon. i imagine him having a bald head like his sister, and similar squinty eyes. i will spend the greater part of every day sniffing that head of his, and sighing, you smell like my baby. he will snuggle between h and me in our squishy bed, and he’ll nurse without ceasing. he’ll squawk and coo and fart like an old man. his sister will kiss him and hug him and pretend to eat him. eat. ziggy. mommy, she’ll say, as she puts her fingers in my mouth and giggles.

it’s gonna be so great.
i can’t wait.

i am reminded of a gorgeous song by lucy kaplansky, called “i had something”. i first heard it eight years ago, at a bar in belfast, where she was performing. with green ink, i scrawled these lyrics on a beer napkin: what i lost, returns with love and time.

they were prophetic words then, words that would soon carry me through the estrangement and stark darkness of coming out in christianland. and now? they are simply true. prophecy fulfilled. here we are. everything i’ve ever lost is in my arms and belly.

enjoy the song. drink the lyrics. amen.

I had something
It fell from me
Something strong
Like a pounding drum
Like ringing bells
When I was young
I had something
And it was gone

I had something
Made me walk all night
Made me run from home
Made me fight

I had something
Made me feel alone
Like an orphan
Waiting for a home

Every footstep that I take
Completes the circle my life makes
Every living thing has ties that bind
What I lost returns with love and time

I heard something
It called to me
And it told me
I was saved
Not by God
And not by words
Not by any living thing

It was the voice that I once knew
Of my daughter or my son
Not yet born
And not yet known
Another orphan waiting for a home

Every footstep that I take
Completes the circle my life makes
Every living thing has ties that bind
What I lost returns with love and time

Every living thing has ties that bind
What I lost returns with love and time

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so, you may remember that there was some concern about the development of my son’s kidneys at his last ultrasound. yesterday was our followup ultrasound, wherein we found out:

1. his kidney fluid levels have remained pretty much the same as last time, which is a good thing. we’ll have yet another followup in 4 weeks to ensure continued stability or improvement. WHEW.
2. ziggy is still very much a boy. a boy with intimidatingly enormous junk. no further questions here.
3. he is fond of keeping his hand next to his head in the exact same manner of his sister. sweet LORD, i hope he puts that thing down before exiting my womb. his hand placement made a profile pic for the family album pretty impossible, btw. i may post one of the u/s pics just to confuse you, though. it’s damn near impossible to identify him as an actual baby in them. he looks like a blurry handface.
4. he appears to have lips like his sister’s. we watched for a brief moment as he opened and closed them. they’re lovely. i can’t wait to kiss them, in (hopefully) 11 weeks.

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kidneys and belly

in honor of zig’s followup “come on kidneys, be properly developed and functioning!” ultrasound today, here is a (mobile) belly shot:



[note: duck face intentional.]

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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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