Our Birth Plan

I originally password protected this post because there are family members who now have access to this blog and we were waiting until the birth of our child to announce his sex… which is male. Yes, readers – you now know that we’re having an amazing, deliciously imperfect little boy, whom we plan to encourage to express his gender however he wishes/decides. This post, which contains the finalized version of our birth plan, specifically mentions Falco’s sex.

Our Birth Hopes

Gestational Parent/Father-to-be: K
Non-Gestational Mother-to-be: C
Doula: Marie
Location: Our Hospital Birthing Suite

Hi there and thank you for your care and expertise during this exciting moment in our growing family! We’re K and C and this is our first baby. We appreciate you taking the time to learn about us and our birth preferences.

It is really important to us that you know that K, who is delivering our child, identifies as a man, uses male pronouns such as he/him, and will be our child’s father. We’d like you to also be aware that C is our baby’s mother. While we know that mistakes and confusion can occur, we hope that you will do your very best to refer to us using these terms.

Birth preferences:
We know that labor and delivery are unpredictable. Ultimately, we want the health of K and our baby to take precedence. Whenever possible in non-emergent situations, we’d like to discuss all procedures, including their risks and benefits, before they take place.

Labor:

  • We would like only necessary people in the room during labor and delivery. This includes C, our doula, a nurse, and our doctor.
  • K wishes to be able to move freely in order to naturally manage his pain. To this end, he would like a port to be inserted upon our admission, and for an IV to be used only if it is determined to be necessary. He would also like intermittent monitoring instead of constant monitoring techniques, when at all possible.
  • K wishes to be able to utilize natural comfort measures, including but not limited to the use of a shower or tub, changing positions, and the ability to walk to stimulate/progress labor.
  • We are aware of the availability of pain-relieving medication, and will request it if the father feels it is necessary. Please do not offer pain medication.

Delivery:

  • K would like to be able to push as he feels naturally compelled to do so (i.e. spontaneous/patient-directed pushing style). Please do not direct his pushing by counting.
  • We would like the ability to try different pushing positions, including but not limited to squatting, hands and knees, and toilet sitting. Please do not limit K to birthing our baby while he is on his back.

Cesarean Section:

  • We wish for both C and our doula to be present if a cesarean section is necessary.
  • So that we feel involved in the process, we would like for the doctor or nurse to describe what is taking place during the cesarean section.
  • While K is recovering from the cesarean section, our infant should remain with C, unless he is experiencing a medical emergency that requires immediate medical care.

Newborn care:

  • Cord cutting: We wish to allow our child to continue to be attached to the umbilical cord until it has stopped pulsing. At that time, C would like to cut the cord.
  • Temperature regulation: We wish for our child to be placed, skin-to-skin, with C or K, immediately after birth.
  • Eye treatment: We wish to forgo the antibiotic ointment in our child’s eyes.
  • Rooming in: We wish for our child to remain in our room at all times, unless he is experiencing a medical emergency that requires immediate medical care.
  • Circumcision: We do not want our child to be circumcised.
  • Feeding: We are unable to breastfeed our child and would like to use bottled formula.
  • Bathing: Due to a risk of severe maternal allergy, please do not bathe our infant with any product other than what we have provided.

Hot Date: Packing our Bags

We had our weekly OB appointment this afternoon and, despite my continued insistence that the end is coming soon, it took the frank delivery of information at today’s appointment to really shake K out of denial. The doctor confirmed that Falco has descended and informed us that K is 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. Sources on the internet are unsurprisingly conflicted about the value of this information, saying that a pregnant person could be dilated and significantly effaced for weeks, or conversely, that this could indicate quickly impending labor. Our doctor seems to fall on the side of the latter, lecturing us because we still hadn’t packed our bags (“Hey, we made a list!”), and saying that it was highly unlikely that we will make it to our due date of April 26th and could even be unlikely that we’ll make it to next week’s scheduled appointment with her.

We’re feeling quite the range of emotions. K had a massive hot flash after we left the office and also felt pretty teary. I felt slight panic but also felt vindicated. I’ve been trying to convince K that, at the end of this week, Falco will be considered full term, and that labor and delivery could really occur at any time. Two things are certain: this baby will come when this baby is ready and, within the next few weeks, we’ll be parents.

Needless to say, our hot Friday night date consists of packing our bags (and, of course, updating this blog). Fingers crossed for an April Fool’s baby, y’all!

Like sands through the hourglass…

I can’t believe we’re nearing the finish line here. At yesterday’s appointment, our OB gave us the “it’s important to have your bags packed” and “if X happens, you should come to the hospital” speeches. I think it made the whole thing very real for K, who has been hearing from me these past couple of days, “No, really. We have to finish up these preparations soon because Falco could arrive whenever!” We’re on the weekly OB schedule now, for Pete’s sake!

We also heard that our 35+ week fetus already weighs approximately 7.5 lbs. You read that correctly. When the ultrasonographer referenced that estimate, I quite literally screamed an obscenity loudly enough for patients in the lobby to hear. BabyCenter’s weekly email says that our 35 weeker weighs approximately 5.25 lbs, whereas Everyday Family’s weekly email states that the baby is about 6 lbs. Even if the ultrasound is off, which is apt to happen, our kiddle is clearly bigger than average.

K’s blood pressure was also higher than normal (which I’m sure would never occur when one finds out their baby is already that large with ~5 weeks to go). Between the bp and his swollen ankles, the doc was really concerned about the possibility of pre-eclampsia. The OB ran some bloodwork and promised to call us with the results last night. We never heard from her, so we’re working on the hope that no news is good news. My thought is that K’s bp is elevated from being so miserably sick and taking a ton of cold meds, which have the tendency to raise one’s blood pressure.

I’m so glad the OB prescribed K some antibiotics, which he clearly needs right now, and I’m hopeful that they’ll start to kick in very soon. I think that it should be a biological impossibility for someone in their third trimester to get sick. It’s just cruel! It’s hard for K to breathe as it is, with Falco taking up some much real estate, and the congestion is making it so much worse! K keeps pitifully coughing and, every single time he does, he ends up having Braxton Hicks contractions.

I sure hope this little one stays put for a little while longer, but I’m starting to feel skeptical. I sure wouldn’t mind an Aries baby instead of a Taurus. We could use another fire sign in this family.

Bored at the OB office

After a long day of work, K and I hustled over to the OB’s office for the first of our every 2 weeks appointments. We arrived a little bit early, which is fairly typical for us, and they’re usually able to get us in a few minutes early. It was clear from the moment we arrived that they were running a bit behind. After twenty minutes of waiting in the lobby, we realized that we were the absolute last appointment of the day.

We were finally whisked in by one of the nurses for a weight check, blood pressure reading (only slightly above normal – woohoo!), and a quick listen via doppler to Falco’s 130 bpm heartbeat. Then, we were dumped into the likely worst exam room of the entire office, where we continued our wait. The nurse warned us that they were running slightly behind and apologized in advance.

At that point, I was getting pretty tired, which translated into zany behavior in an attempt to stay awake. I did some nutty dances to the easy listening music playing overhead before discovering the training model of Mirena. The insert-the-Mirena game thankfully kept me occupied for a few minutes. K was amused but mildly horrified by my antics.

Go fish!

The doctor finally arrived and apologized for the wait. K inquired about the upper abdominal pain he’s been experiencing lately and the doctor thinks that it’s uterine pain from being repeatedly kicked and punched in the same area by our soon-to-be not-so-Little, who will apparently be gaining about half a pound each week for the remainder of the time inside her/his papa.

From here on out, we’ll be back on weeks 32, 34, 36, 37, 38, 39, and 40, depending on when Falco decides to make an appearance. The doctor said that she prefers to induce at week 41 if the baby doesn’t make a move on her/his own. At our next appointment, we’re going to meet the other doc in her practice, just in case. Fingers crossed that our actual OB is there on the big day(s), though, because I can’t imagine doing this without her endearing social awkwardness and teasing.

75% Cooked

As of this week, K is 30 weeks pregnant and we officially have about 10 weeks left to go. It amazes me when I think of how far we’ve come. At this point, I feel like the majority of our large preparations have already occurred.

Our choice of cribs kept being reduced in price at every vendor we visited, but because we thought one of our family members, or even a group, might consider purchasing it from our registry, we kept putting it off… until it was even more greatly reduced on Zulily. We took it as a sign and snatched it right up! The crib arrived on Friday and I assembled it late last night while K and the dogs slumbered together on the couch. My parents purchased the crib mattress from our registry, and it should arrive next week. I can’t wait to post photos of the nursery, which should be completed soon!

The invitations to our family shower are officially in the mail, albeit wayyyyyy later than what makes me feel comfortable (or, notably, than what is considered polite to guests), but hey, I’m not planning it. My teammates at work indicated their desire to throw me a work shower, so now I am attending a total of four baby showers in seven days:

  • 3/10 – our friends shower
  • 3/15 – my work shower
  • 3/16 – our family shower
  • 3/17 – attending the shower of some friends
  • 3/18 – taking a random day off work to recuperate from the whirlwind

It has taken forever and a day, but Lowe’s is delivering the new washing machine today. I’m really thankful for this fact, as hauling a week’s worth of laundry to a laundromat is getting exhausting. I intentionally did it alone this week, too, because K’s getting more tired now that our little Falco is getting larger and putting a lot more pressure on K’s back. I have to wait until at least Monday for the rental agency to send someone to actually install it (NO clue why Lowe’s doesn’t install it), but the end is in sight!

So many things on the horizon: the showers, another OB appointment, a meeting with the doula, and further Falco preparations. I am looking forward to documenting it all for you all!

Welcome to the Third Trimester

In honor of making it to the third trimester I thought I would do a 28 week roundup. Another fabulous blog I follow, Kathryn Finding Fertility, does great weekly updates so I’ve taken a few of her categories.

How Far Along? 28 weeks as of 1/31/2013

Size of Baby: 2.5 lbs and about 15 inches

Symptoms:

  • Hip pain. This mostly happens at night when I sleep on my side. Unfortunately, it’s so painful in the morning that it wakes me up, and causes me to limp around the first few hours of the day. I’m still trying different sleep and pillow configurations. I’ve also heard that getting some sort of extra mattress pad may help.
  • It might just be my imagination, but it seems like my chest has gotten a lot bigger this past month. This really stresses me out and is my LEAST favorite part of the pregnancy thus far. I still have some tissue left after top surgery, and I swear it’s multiplying by the day. So far it’s not enough to wear some sort of binder/light compression/sports bra thingy. At this point, I think it would take a lot for me to sacrifice comfort
  • Fatigue. I just don’t feel like I can do all the shit I want to get done, and between every chore or project, I feel like I need to sit down and rest. On a weekday, getting through a 2 hour commute and 8 hour workday pretty much does me in.

Movement: As you know, C felt Falco move for the first time last week! That was fun and really exciting. I’ve noticed some sleep/wake patterns and am feeling lots of movement all day (and night).

Food cravings: Still obsessed with citrus and tomatoes. Even the resulting heartburn from all these acidy things isn’t enough to deter me! lol. And french fries. But not just any fries, the thick cut, potato wedge kind from Red Robin—that’s the only kind I want.

Clothes: I feel like I have a pregnancy uniform (especially during the work week). 3 button down shirts, 2 v-neck sweaters, and one lone polo shirt that I’m still able to squeeze into. Black pants, navy pants, khaki pants–repeat. To be honest I’m kinda bored of the wardrobe. On the weekend I’ll pull out some favorite old t-shirt that I haven’t worn for months and wear it about, pretending it still fits.

Ring: I can still wear my wedding band if I’m a little cold. Does that count? I’ve pretty much stopped wearing it because I’m anxious it will get stuck if I get overheated (which happens frequently throughout the day).

Belly Button: Shallower and shallower by the day. Any bets on if/when it will become an outie?

Sleep: Okay, aside from the hip pain. I do roll from side to side A LOT and wake up twice per night to pee.

Doctor Appointments: Because this pregnancy is going so well and is so average, we get to postpone moving to every 2 week OB visits for another month. (C and I find this really funny–that the pregnant dude is having a textbook pregnancy). Our next appointment is on Feb. 19th. After that, we’ll switch over to two week visits for weeks 32, 34, and 36. Then we’ll go every week from 36 weeks on. This is very standard; however, since our OB’s office is 45 minutes away, the once a week visits are going to be a pain in the butt.

A quick update

Good news, all! K passed his glucose tolerance test! We didn’t specifically have reason to be concerned, but we were fearful about this as a possible diagnosis. Gestational diabetes is NO JOKE and we didn’t want yet another reason to stress about our little one. We don’t have the specific levels from the test, but I’m sure we’ll hear all about it at our OB appointment on Friday.

In the meantime, baby Falco continues to truck along while K’s navel gets shallower and shallower.

Joyce

K’s glucose tolerance test was on Friday morning. In preparation, he was asked to make sure he had at least 150 g of carbs each day for several days before the test (the poor thing), and then fast for 8 hours before the test. (Can I just say that it must be the meanest thing in the world to withhold food from someone who is late in his/her second trimester?!)

K got really pale after the last blood draw during the three-hour test, so the nurses insisted that he drink some juice. After the nauseatingly sweet orange drink he had to take as a part of the test, the juice tasted especially gross to him. He was so famished that he stopped for a bagel on the way home from the test, where he sent me the following text. Please excuse the typos in order to appreciate the hilarity that is auto correct fail:

Joyce

Looking at Falco again

Our OB wanted us to repeat our anatomy scan because the ultrasonographer didn’t capture everything the OB wanted to see the last time. K has been really stressed about this and we’ve both been really hopeful that Falco is developing exactly how our little one should be.

Today was definitely a rocky day. K was so stressed that he got a terrible night’s sleep last night. We woke up at 5 a.m. and while K was in the shower, I bundled up to go outside and shovel snow for the third time in 12 hours. (Can I just say what a shitty season this is to be a non-gestational partner?) We scrambled to leave early just in case the roads were still really rough, and managed to get to the ultrasound appointment before any of the fetal imaging staff members arrived. K was nauseous from stress and I was battling a pounding headache from sleep deprivation and/or impending illness.

The ultrasound tech was a lot less friendly and personable than the tech we had the first time. I was also really irritated by her heterosexist and gendered assumptions when she called K to come back by referring to him as “Mrs. Hislastname.” Seriously, Mrs.? Not every person in fetal imaging is married (let alone female, but I’m willing to let that slide since we’re a fairly unique case), so why not just call people’s first or full names?

The tech was really quiet while she conducted the ultrasound, only occasionally pointing out various structures. She spent a lot of time on Falco’s heart, which made my own heart pound with anxiety while my imagination ran away, worrying that they were repeating the exam because Falco had a heart problem. The coolest part of the ultrasound was when K felt Falco kick and, at the same time, saw the kick on the ultrasound screen and as movement on the outside of his belly. The ultrasonographer said that Falco weighs approximately 1 lb. 4 oz. and everything “looks average.” Even though we’re a family of overachievers, this information gave us a sigh of relief.

After the ultrasound, we slowly made our way through the Michigan slush to our next OB appointment. Thankfully, we were early, allowing us time to run a quick errand before the appointment. K’s blood pressure was slightly elevated for his typical measurement, but still very much within the normal range. The OB says this is something she is going to closely monitor.

By the time we made it to the appointment, our doctor had already received the new ultrasound report and said that all of the structures that weren’t visible in the previous ultrasound. We asked for clarification about why we needed the repeat ultrasound, and the OB told us that a number of times, little ones don’t cooperate in terms of their position, and not all structures are visible. Falco’s lips and heart chambers weren’t visible in the previous ultrasound. The OB assured us that everything is going well and that we have nothing to worry about. K needs to get his glucose tolerance test before our next visit in a month. Oh, joy of joys.

We’re breathing a sigh of relief from the good news and are looking forward for the milestones to come!

Try it again

K got a call from the OB’s office today and was told that our doctor wants us to do a repeat anatomy scan. Apparently, she wasn’t able to see everything in our previous ultrasound. We’re trying not to fret about needing to redo this test and to just take it as another opportunity to catch a peek of Falco, but it’s difficult to not allow your mind to wander to the darkest “what-if’s” that reside there.

I’ve been doing some internet research to see if this is a common problem, and I’m learning that it seems to happen to a significant portion of pregnant people and usually without incident. Maybe this is just happening because of how Falco was positioned or because it was fairly early. I keep telling myself that if our doc was actually concerned about something specific, she’d tell us what that is, but again, it’s difficult to keep from obsessing. Please keep your fingers crossed for us. Our repeat ultrasound is next Thursday at 7:30 a.m. (sorry, K!).

In unrelated news, one of our dogs managed to pull a Houdini this morning. When K went to put the dogs in their crate before we left for work this morning, he yelled up from the basement, “WTF?! One of the dogs ate almost an entire package of rice cakes, made a huge mess and pooped all over the place!” My reply: “Wait – which flavor of rice cakes did she eat…?!” K was outraged and asked incredulously, “Is that really your main concern here?!” Ah, the joys of having pets. They sure know how to keep us on our toes.