Family reunion

Yesterday, K, E and I attended an event that’s hosted by the reproductive endocrinologist who helped us conceive E. It was held in a park with a bouncy house and free ice cream from an ice cream truck, and was meant to be a sort of family reunion for families who have expanded because of the staff’s loving expertise. K and I wanted to attend because our lives had gotten busy and we had never gotten the chance to take E into the office and thank the staff.

It was a lovely park that we didn’t even know existed, and the weather was perfect for the event. Staff members ooed and ahhed over E and other babies in attendance. The oddest part was an unofficial receiving line of sorts where parents and babies waited to speak to the doctor. It felt a little bit like an unintended “meet your maker” sort of moment, but likely only because there were so many thankful parents (like us) who wanted to say hello to the doc.

The doctor’s practice is located in a very upscale nearby community, so K and I weren’t sure what sort of crowd to expect at this gathering. I was pleased that so many of the families seemed down-to-earth and friendly. We chatted with some of the parents about each other’s babies, milestones, etc. K and I confessed to each other later that we each spent time wondering about each of these family’s experiences with infertility. Thoughts of, “I’ll bet you were a cycle monitored, fertility med sort of family,” and, “IVF with egg donor for sure,” kept swirling through my head.

There was one family that was among the demographic I expected to see at this event: a privileged blond woman with her equally privileged mother and baby. They were, as K put it, a spectacle. The baby’s grandma clearly had a lot of plastic surgery and the entire family was decked out in a wide array of upscale clothing brands. The baby was cruising in a $5 bajillion stroller and had no short of seventeen toys dangling in front of her glitter beret topped head. I imagined that the mother had been married to a very wealthy older gentleman and, upon his death, had a doctor harvest his sperm so that she could conceive her miracle baby and secure a larger part of his estate for her and his postmortem spawn.

I wondered what others assumed our fertility journey was, and mused that they were all likely very far off from the accurate story.

The Best Laid Plans

After hanging out in a hospital room for a very uneventful 24 hours in order to collect his pee, it has been determined that K has pre-eclampsia. Neither he nor the baby are in immediate danger, but doctors rightfully take this stuff pretty darn seriously and K is being induced.

We were transferred over to a less glamorous labor and delivery room, where even less glamorous things occurred to K’s body. He was given magnesium to try to relax his body, as well as meds to ripen his cervix. Early in the morning, he’ll begin pitocin. The magnesium gave him the world’s worst hot flashes and he projectile vomited. The nurse was eventually able to reduce his dose of magnesium and K now feels a lot better.

Since K was already somewhat dilated and effaced, the nurse thinks we will likely be hugging our sweet Falco sometime in the next 24 hours!

Since I won’t be able to personally reply to your well-wishes and words of encouragement, I want to say in advance just how much we appreciate them. I’ll be sure to post photos as soon as I’m able!

Hangin’ at Triage

We went to our 37 week OB visit and were about 15 minutes late due to a terrible highway shutdown. Before we arrived, K received a phone call from the office, saying that our doc was called to the hospital for an emergency situation and that we’d be seeing the other doc.

We started with a repeat ultrasound, since Falco was measuring so huge the last time. This time, Falco measured 8 lbs, 9 oz (95th percentile) with a ton of amniotic fluid.

K’s blood pressure measured pretty high and he had protein in his urine for the first time during this pregnancy. The doc was concerned about possible pre-eclampsia and wanted a repeat blood pressure after the exam and cervical check (still 3 cm, 80% effaced).

Bp was still high, and since it was the end of the day on a Friday and lab work wouldn’t come back in a timely manner, the doc sent us over to the hospital for triage and assessment.

So far, baby isn’t distressed, but K’s bp has been all over the map (including quite a few normal readings). The bloodwork came back normal but the protein in K’s urine was still pretty high, so conservatively, the doc is admitting K into an antepartum room for a 24 hour urine collection and analysis. If those results show that he meets the criteria for pre-e, they’re definitely going to induce labor.

Here we go…?

37 Weeks

I keep meaning to write a post but I feel like all I would be doing would be complaining about being 9 months pregnant.  I’ve felt pretty upbeat and positive most of this pregnancy, but these past two week has really knocked me on my ass.  I keep thinking that I have 24 days until the due date, and as you’ve probably read from C’s previous posts,the doc thinks Falco may be coming earlier.  Here’s a little update from the preggo.

Hard things:

I’ve been so sick these past weeks, probably sicker than I have been in years.  I think the most stressful part was the constant intense coughing which gave me days worth of braxton hicks contractions and kept making me barf and pee myself.  😦

I’m tired as hell.  Walking to my carpool at the end of my workday I feel so weary.  I walk soooo slowly. And I feel HUGE.  It’s seriously getting hard to get comfortable driving (sleeping, sitting, etc.)  Plus I wake up every 45 minutes to pee all night long.  Really….it is that often; I check the time!

I am feeling a ton of early, early labor symptoms this week (cramping, bad lower back pain, extreme pressure (it really feels like I am walking around trying to hold a bowling ball between my legs) lightening/baby dropping, crazy bowel movements, an increase in cervical mucus).  All this stuff is a bit overwhelming emotionally.  I’m trying to just make a note of what is happening, and not pay too much attention to anything or read too much into anything.  Easier said than done!

I have absolutely ZERO desire to wear clothes.  I’ve been sleeping naked and am hardly dressed when I’m around the house.  I no longer give a shit what I look like or wear to work.  Some of my man-ternity pants don’t even fit me anymore, and I don’t even care.  I just cycle through the same 3 or 4 outfits and think to myself, at least I’m still working.

Good things:

The nursery is done!  It’s so cute and cheery and makes me happy every time I pop my head in the room.

Our bags are packed, and virtually everything left on our to-do list is crossed off.  C and I both busted our butts this weekend.

I have finally finished my contingency plan for my leave after Falco is born–A detailed 5 page document outlining the status of all the projects I oversee, coverage plans, and alternate contact info, etc.  I have a draft of my work email away message ready to go!  This makes me feel so much better.  As much as I want to spend a ton of time home after the birth it’s going to be really stressful for me to be away from work.  I really love and enjoy what I do and it is going to drive me a little nuts to feel disconnected from the studies I manage and work on.

I’m 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced at about 37 weeks.  This means nothing EXCEPT it makes me feel like SOMETHING is happening.  My body is getting ready and sooner or later we will meet this little one.

 

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!

Allergy update

When I referenced a potential horrible allergy to an ingredient in baby formula, so many of you have reached out to me with support, great ideas, and lots of love. I can’t even begin to express how much that means to me.

I figure I owed you all an update after my self-inflicted patch test. I am thrilled to report that none of the formula patches reacted in a notable way. Similac and Enfamil Newborn left a minor and temporary red mark, but nothing that lasted or itched in the way that tocopherol typically causes. Similac Sensitive and Gerber Good Start had no effect whatsoever. Ironically, because I am also allergic to adhesives, the only itchy reaction of note was the round outline of the bandages covering the patches.

My allergist was hopeful that this would be the outcome of my patch test because levels of tocopherol in food products are so much lower than that in beauty products. I’m still planning on being cautious and limiting my exposure as best I can, but I’m not going to freak out about it or go hog-wild in my paranoia.

In other news, so that this blog doesn’t turn into C’s Allergy Tracker 5000, I had a really nutty nesting urge over the weekend that translated into me hauling ass, organizing a bunch of stuff, doing chores, and getting much closer to the completion of our nursery. (I truly think that this world would be a much happier place if it was biologically possible for the more Type A person in a relationship to be the non-gestational partner. It’s so wonderfully practical!) As of today, the two finishing touches yet to complete are the purchase of a crib skirt and the construction of my “You Are My Sunshine” inspired mobile. I can’t wait to post photos! I’ll be really happy to have everything ready for our little one, especially since our estimated due date is officially one month from today.

It’s getting real, y’all!

Being a new mom makes me feel old

Until now, I hadn’t considered my age (34) as particularly old or young. More neutral, I guess. Going through the process of preparing for our little one has made me feel so incredibly old. K and I are typically among the oldest parents-to-be at any baby-related class or event, and it baffles me. I can’t imagine having our kid any younger than our current age and I feel like this has been a well-planned and appropriately timed decision for us.

I just got another reminder about the rarity of our age as first-time parents-to-be when Everyday Family sent our weekly pregnancy update. This week’s email contained a poll about the age we are or will be at the birth of our first child. Woo! I’m squarely in the 9% category. Thanks for reminding me of my new mom-to-be unicorn status, Everyday Family.

old?

*shrug* I wouldn’t change a thing.

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.