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16 Weeks

A whole entry about my poop? Seriously?

Here, as promised, is an entire entry dedicated to poop. There will be no pictures of poop, however, just graphic descriptions.

When Lillian was around seven weeks I noticed some little specs of blood in her diaper. Of course, I freaked out and called the pediatrician who said it could be a reaction to cow’s milk and to maybe scale back on it a bit. Being the freakazoid I am, I decided to cut dairy out completely and I got every soy product I could get my hands on and ate them all weekend. Then it got really weird and icky. Mucusy, sort of seaweedy dark brown and stinky as hell. There were also occasional specs of blood, and other poop was really green. I called the pediatrician and asked what I should do. I mentioned that the week before I cut out dairy I had actually started subbing in soy milk for my cereal because I was worried I’d been overdoing it. So follow along  – I actually upped my soy intake right before this whole mess started. Then I upped it a lot more, and the poop got way worse. I asked the pediatrician if she thought it was possible that Lillian had issues with soy, but not dairy. She said it was possible, but told me to keep drinking soy milk and cut out all dairy.

Lillian was really fussy during this time so I decided that was crap advice and I was going to cut out both diary and soy – Lillian started feeling better pretty quickly. When we saw the pediatrician about a week later for her two month appointment, she recommended I take a probiotic called Florastor that was safe for people who were dairy intolerant, and she gave us 5 vials for collecting poop to have it tested. She claimed that mucusy, green poop was actually a sign of intestinal bleeding (rilly?) and I shouldn’t try to reintroduce dairy or soy until she had yellow poop again.

I’m generally not squeamish about changing the poopy diaper, but collecting it was no fun at all. The vials had liquid in them and the tops had these tiny spoons attached that you were supposed to use to scoop the poop. The vast amounts I had to get into each vial was totally incompatible with these teeny tiny spoons, so I just ended up trying to scrape it into the vial from the diaper. Much ickiness ensued. Bleah.

The tests came back negative, and the doctor told me to stay off everything with any soy or dairy additives and take the Florastor until things were normal again. I became a poopologist. I looked at every diaper, scanning it for blood, consistency, color, and smell. The state of Lillian’s poop became the barometer for my state of mind. Good poop – good day. Bad poop – bad, bad day. Depression. Anxiety. Fear.

The poop stayed green but stopped showing any blood (and mind you, the blood was always in such small amounts that David couldn’t even see it) until Mother’s Day when we went out for dinner. The pediatrician had said goat and sheep cheese should be safe, so I had me a goat’s cheese fest and a great dinner. 36 hours later Lillian’s poop got nasty again. I felt like a horrible mother. It took about 5 days to cycle back, and in the meantime I’d run out of Florastor so I was off it for a few days. Magically, we had yellow poop again for the first time in about six weeks! Hallelujah!

Then I went back on Florastor and it got weird again. So I went off. Florastor, it turns out, has lactose in it. The theory was that Lillian has an intolerance to either soy protein, dairy protein, or both. So lactose from cows shouldn’t have an effect. But then again, the doctor told me to avoid all dairy and soy additives, many of which don’t contain protein. Huh?

I called our local blended holistic-conventional pharmacy and asked a pharmacist about Florastor. She said as a probiotic it’s virtually useless because it only contains one bug. She suggested a broad spectrum, dairy and soy free probiotic and an enzyme to help with digestion.

Several things have happened since then. Lillian’s poop is much better overall. When something seems to disturb her digestion, she bounces back quickly. I think the supplements help, and I also think her system is getting better at processing stuff.

I’ve talked to other mothers about the situation, and come to the conclusion that we blew the whole thing way out of proportion, partly thanks to our pediatrician. She even had me worrying every time I could hear Lillian’s stomach grumbling. Yes, blood in the poop means something is bugging her intestines, but monitoring every single quality of her poop is crazy and crazy-making. It turns out lots of my friends have babies with green, mucusy, dark, light, yellow, brown, whatever poop. They’re all fine. Baby poop is not standard, and it’s no big deal when it changes. Even blood is not a big deal if you can isolate the cause and cut it out until they outgrow the intolerance.

It should be mentioned that Lillian has never seemed to have any discomfort since that first week. She’s perfectly happy, active, healthy, and has a good appetite. We rarely notice any discomfort that could be attributed to her digestion.

So after making myself nuts for two months, I decided that was enough. No more obsessing about every change in Lillian’s poop. We would start reintroducing soy and dairy separately and determine if either or both was the culprit, and any poop that didn’t have significant blood was good poop as far as we were concerned.

The pediatrician quizzed us about it at Lillian’s four-month appointment last week and we gave her the basic story. I asked her about the Florastor and she claimed it was perfectly safe. Again, her party line without any real consideration for my observations, or my individual kid. So. Fired.

It’s way more fun to not be obsessive. And now we know she is actually quite sensitive to soy. I tried some stuff that had soy additives and lo and behold, she had a clear, but short-lived reaction. Hopefully she’ll outgrow it, but I’m not going to try again until she’s six months old. I’ll try a small amount of dairy in a week or so and see what happens. I suspect with dairy it may be a threshold thing and if I enjoy it in moderation she’ll be just fine. Either way we’ll know before we start solids, so we’ll know what to avoid. In the meantime, I’m turning in my poopologist badge and just going back to being Mama.

And that’s the poopstory. I’m going to get in so much trouble for this when she’s a teenager.

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DSC_0001Note: I’m publishing two stories at once, so scroll down if you want to read them in order.

Lillian’s pediatrician is so fired. I’m making an appointment with a new doctor this week. Lillian had slipped slightly on the weight chart. I pointed out that not only is she very active and strong, she is also good and chunky – she’s just small. The pediatrician admitted she looked great, but kept referring back to the chart. Then she told us to start giving her rice cereal once a day – she’s barely four months old – and that would increase her caloric intake. Apparently I’m supposed to make my kid chunkier than she needs to be so that she fits a number.

I have a friend who takes her baby to another doctor in the same practice. Her kid was born four days before mine and weighs 4 lbs more than Lillian, yet her doctor also suggested rice cereal at four months. So if my baby is underweight and her baby is not, why are we getting the same advice? This sounds like a blanket policy they created that is enforced however the particular pediatrician feels like, and has nothing to do with the needs of the individual child.

A sidebar to this conversation – I suspect that Lillian may be small boned, which means she could weigh less and have more body fat. Which means she’ll never look quite right on a chart. I had the same problem the other direction. When I was 17 I decided to basically stop eating partly so I could meet the maximum weight for my height on Weight Watchers – 113 lbs. I didn’t start eating like a normal person again until I hit 117 lbs, started getting dizzy a lot, and saw a doctor told me I had no body fat and needed better nutrition. Did I mention I hate charts (and most doctors)?

Anyway, I told her everything I’d read said that the AAP recommends breastmilk exclusively till 6 months, and that cereal doesn’t increase calories, it decreases them (it’s far more filling and less nutritious). She told me my information was outdated and insisted we start solids or we’d have to come back in for a weighing. For the record, I was right about the AAP. I’m not sure why pediatricians are pushing solids at four months when the research shows otherwise.

I want a pediatrician who 1) Can give me valid scientific data on why I’m supposed to do something that is widely recommended against and 2) Who values my opinion and common sense over a freaking chart that by the way, was created in the 50s based on formula-fed babies. I called my lactation consultant after Lillian’s appointment to check out some of this stuff and she said as long as Lillian had gained a pound a month (she’s gained more) she didn’t have an issue. Have I mentioned I love my lactation consultant?

I was proud of myself for arguing with the doctor instead of just taking everything she said as writ. She’s dogmatic and rigid, and I’ve decided that does not work for my family. I’ve also decided that we blew the digestive issues WAY out of proportion, partly due to her approach. I’m going to start adding soy and dairy back into my diet in moderation. That’s a story for another time. All about poop!

Four months!

Four months old!

I am actually feeling a lot better these days. I know the hormones are starting to subside because I don’t break into a sweat every time I get stressed out. I still get kind of hot at night, but nothing like it was. And oh yeah, I don’t have a mental breakdown every day or so. That part is key. I still get grouchy, and defensive, and worried, and exhausted, (just ask David!) but I don’t hit the red zone nearly as easily.

So now I can reflect on some of the madness that has been the last 4 months and think about writing more about it. Here’s a tale of self-inflicted crazy from the crazy archives.

When Lillian was about 4 weeks old, I had the really bad idea to weigh her on the bathroom scale. And the scale said she was only 7 lbs, way too low for where she should be. To rewind – she had come in at the 10th percentile for weight and her doctor had warned us it couldn’t go below that, so I was paranoid. She had also lost too much weight when she came home from the hospital, and that was really scary. Also, breast feeding is hard in that respect because you really have no idea how much food your kid is getting. And a friend of mine had had supply problems and her baby was having a hard time gaining weight. Another friend’s newborn had ended up in NICU because she had issues relating to low birth weight. How does all this apply to this situation? Er, it doesn’t really, I was just paranoid.

Anyhoo, I freaked the hell out. Freaked. Out. I was convinced that Lillian was dangerously underweight, dehydrated, sickly, and on the brink of being taken from me and stuck in NICU. (At this point I was seriously sleep-deprived as well.) David didn’t want me taking her to the doctor or calling the lactation consultant and further indulging my panic – he was sure she was just fine. But I got so wigged I did end up calling the lactation consultant. She came later in the week, weighed Lillian, and determined that she was in fact 7lbs 12oz, a very respectable weight gain since her previous appointment. Doh.

The freaky thing was I managed to convince myself so completely that something was seriously wrong when it wasn’t. A freakier thing was how my fear of Lillian not gaining weight and somehow getting “in trouble” for it was really an inversion of my own feelings about my body. I’ve always hated the scale, and while my self-esteem is usually pretty good these days, as is my fitness, I’ve still avoided the doctor because I don’t want a supposed authority figure to tell me I’m wrong or defective in some way. But since I had the baby I haven’t really given a crap about that so much. So here we have a perfect example of how my own issues can be passed on to my kid unconsciously if I’m not careful. Do I want Lillian to worry about weighing too much or too little as she gets older? Nooooooo. I just want her to feel as comfortable and happy in her body as possible. Is it her job to take on my feelings about my body? Oh Jesus no.

Sometimes I still worry. Lillian is smaller than most of the babies in our play group and I have a tendency to compare a bit too much. But I just look at my anxiety and say, “Well, that’s just my old friend Anxiety in another costume, and it doesn’t have any more to do with reality (or with Lillian) than last time when I was fixated on something else.”  It eventually works when paired with some fresh air, or meditation, or a good nights’ sleep. And Lillian is awesome; she’s active and happy and I love her chubby thighs and cheeks. I may be a worrier, but I make good, well-thought out decisions for myself and her.  I have no intention of letting my own crap influence those decisions or how Lillian perceives herself as she becomes more self-aware.

I’ve also talked to a lot more parents since the early days and realized that the milestone/percentage tracking thing is a bunch of bullshit. My kid is not a demographic. She’s an individual and she may be smaller or bigger at any given time depending on her activity level, growth spurts, sleep, eating schedule, and basic genetic makeup. I understand that tracking her growth over time can show trends and give us an idea if there are problems, but it seems just ludicrous how much attention is paid to this stuff in the first few months. Her doctor warned us that she had to stay in the same percentile (or go up) at her first appointment. What the hell? She’s going to be smaller sometimes and bigger sometimes. What about when she starts solids and her calorie intake drops for a while? What if her growth slows down for a little while? Should we really have to look at all this stuff with a magnifying glass before it can ever indicate anything? It turns out I know a lot of people whose kids were in low percentiles (myself included) and turned out just fine. And anyone who sees Lillian can tell she’s thriving, so the growth charts (and our pediatrician who I’m about to fire anyway – story coming soon) can just suck it.

I’ve been debating how frank I want to be on this blog about some of the crazy postpartum stuff I’ve been going through. I tend to keep my tone some kind of combination of chirpy and sardonic, and a lot of what I’ve been through over the past few months really doesn’t fit with that. Nor can I write about these experiences and make light of them with a clear conscience. This is some serious shit.

The postpartum period is no freaking joke. Sleep deprivation is used as torture by the military. All new parents are subject to it for weeks or possibly months, and everyone just laughs it off. Or they say asinine things to you like “Why don’t you sleep when the baby sleeps?”

Add on to that something nobody really talks about which is this crazy hormonal shift your body goes through for God knows how long. I still have night sweats and I’m almost three months out. For the first several weeks I broke out into a cold sweat, had heart palpitations, and generally felt wretched. The mood swings that come with them are epic.

Add in the reality that you’re now responsible for the survival of a helpless human being and you have no training and no experience. This is not a recipe for confidence. What you do have is a whole lot of dogmatic, vastly contradictory advice from friends, family, health practitioners, and the dreaded internet. It’s enough to make anyone, no matter how well adjusted, good and crazy. I’m a worrier and a rule-follower, so wading through all this crap while trying to figure out what makes the most sense for Lillian and us is wicked stressful.

Another problem is how the medical community and our society treats this period. Nobody wants to be stigmatized and diagnosed with Postpartum Depression. But in reality every new mom I know, myself included, manifest at least a few of the “symptoms” associated with it. But what if you don’t want to think of yourself that way, or you don’t want other people to think you’re sick? You hide how you’re feeling or repress it. This is obviously not good for your kid, and seriously not good for you.

I wrote about how I lost my shit during the first couple of weeks. I didn’t write about how much more I lost my shit after that, and how I still can’t hold my shit together for more than a day or two at a time. I have a lot of experience dealing with emotional turmoil. I’ve been treated for anxiety and panic attacks in the past, and I have a bunch of good, healthy coping mechanisms that keep me on the right track. But when I had the baby most of those things were derailed. Meditation is hard to come by when you’re caring for a newborn, as is exercise, sleep, good eating habits, and socializing. Medication is not my favorite way to cope, and it is no substitute for an emotionally and physically healthy lifestyle.

The hormonal stuff just sucks. It SUUUUUUCKS. Right at the point in my life when I need to be able to use all my wisdom, experience, and maturity I seem to have reverted to teenagerhood. Most of the time I’m rational and even tempered, but I unpredictably become enraged or despondent and I often don’t see it coming. Once it sets in I’m barely functional. My self-esteem takes a nose dive and I spend a lot of time crying and feeling helpless. The last time I remember feeling like this I WAS a teenager and one brief period in my life when I was on the pill. Yay hormones!

While it’s interesting that much of this emotional bedlam is probably hormonal in origin, it doesn’t help much with the “What the fuck do I do right now?” aspect. How do I build a whole new set of coping mechanisms while learning how to be a parent and under the 24 hour pressure and stress that it entails?

Do I take medication? Well, yeah. I went back on a low dose of Prozac. It’s enough to keep my anxiety from turning into panic, but not enough to stop the unfamilliar waves of depression. But I really don’t want to have to deal with weaning off a larger dose when the hormonal component of this shit is likely to pass in the next couple of months or so. I also have been taking Ambien to sleep, but I’m starting to wean off of it. I don’t sleep as deeply when I take it and I think it makes my insomnia worse when it wears off in the middle of the night. It was useful for a while but I’m kind of over it.

Do I exercise more? Yes, when I can. I’d love to do a yoga class every day but since I don’t have a live-in nanny that’s not on the menu. Postnatal yoga can be frustrating,  I’m lucky if I get half an hour of vinyasa in before Lillian needs changing or feeding or soothing. Not a lot of bang for the buck, though it is nice to socialize with other moms and babies. I’ve been taking walks while wearing Lillian in the Bjorn. For weight-bearing exercise it’s great, but it’s hell on my back and shoulders. She’ll eventually grow into the Ergo and that will be an improvement. We’re also getting a fancy stroller that I may eventually jog with, so we’ll see how that goes. Luckily exercise is something that helps with anxiety AND depression so the more I get, the better. It’s just that any activity is now about four times more complicated than it was before. Many activities are just plain impossible.

Do I reach out for support? As much as I can. I see my therapist and go to group therapy, both of which have been invaluable. But it’s not enough. I don’t have time to call or see my friends like I used to, and many of them don’t have time for me. I also can’t meet people out for lunch right now because anything I don’t cook myself may make my kid have bloody diapers and let me tell you, that is not a good thing when I’m struggling with anxiety and depression.

To add to the fun my therapist is moving away at the end of July. This totally sucks, and I’m experiencing a lot of dread over it. She’s been especially helpful during this period when I need support – not advice, judgment, or obligation. I’ve always had a hard time accepting support, and she’s really helped me so her leaving is not a fun thing.

I have a group of new mamas I meet with and chat with over email. They’ve all been great, and we’ve really helped each other out a lot, I think. Our play dates are a bright spot in my week.

My husband has been amazing. He’s been present, supportive, and incredibly loving. He’s an amazing dad, and we learn from each other all the time. I am so incredibly grateful that in our relationship we choose to see our differences in temperament and perspective as an opportunity to learn rather than as a threat. Every day one of us learns something new about the baby and teaches the other one, and we get collectively smarter. This is awesome.

While the last few months have been probably the hardest in our marriage, in some ways they have also been the best. I trust him more now than I ever did before, he’s stuck by me no matter how unhinged or miserable I’ve become.  The hardest part has been letting him take care of me, letting him bear some of the burden without drowning in guilt and remorse. When I get depressed I feel like I can never do enough for Lillian and for him and that all my efforts come up short (this is a habitual thought pattern I’ve had for much of my life). Allowing him to take care of me when I feel this way is a struggle, but it’s been an amazing lesson, too. I think I’m beginning to realize for the first time in my life that I’m worth taking care of, and that I deserve help when I need it, and that it’s okay to ask for and receive it.

My inlaws have been incredibly helpful, especially during the first few weeks when I just couldn’t get my shit together. They still will babysit at the drop of a hat and love spending time with the baby. I also just interviewed a doula/nanny who will be helping me out on an as-needed basis. I’m really looking forward to having a little free time to do stupid shit that has no other object than making me feel good for a little while. I’ve been struggling with guilt over not spending every moment as productively as possible. Things get pretty chaotic when there’s a new human being in the house who can’t talk or walk and stuff like dishes and laundry and grocery shopping get a wee bit backed up. So the idea of getting a massage or going to yoga by myself seems alarmingly decadent and unwarranted. Except that I desperately need some me time to recharge my depleted batteries.

On the flip side, I’ve also come to realize that people really aren’t offering help unless they genuinely care about what I need and want. Sometimes I’m offered things that I don’t need or want, and then made to feel like I’m unreasonable or ungrateful if I don’t accept them entirely on the other person’s terms. For example, one person I know loves to offer advice that isn’t useful or interesting to me, and then argues compulsively when I respectfully decline to take it. I seriously don’t have the energy for this shit right now.

Drawing healthy boundaries is never easy, and is more stressful and draining when my energy and self-esteem are on the low side. Sacrificing my peace of mind in order to take care of the feelings of someone else is something I do reflexively, but it’s just not possible right now.

To sum up, postpartum depression or anxiety or whatever you want to call it is some serious crap that I’m going to bet most new moms experience far more than anyone wants to admit. The cocktail of massive life change, horrible sleep deprivation, and huge hormonal shifts constitutes a shitstorm no one can imagine before it happens, and no one has the innate capacity to deal with when it does. Our society sucks at this stuff and either stigmatizes or minimizes what most new moms are going through every day. I’m still struggling to find the right balance and the right kind of support to just get by. I love my kid like crazy, but I haven’t grown all the mental muscles I need yet to deal with the new responsibility and pressure. I know I’m a strong, resilient, healthy person, but this has tested me in ways I never imagined.

If you or someone you know is struggling after having a baby please encourage them to ask for whatever help they need without shame. The expectations we have of ourselves when we enter into parenthood are often unattainable and unreasonable, and we need all the considerate, meaningful help we can get.

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Hospital beds: not as comfy as they look

The 48 hours ish we spent in post-partum at the hospital were not great fun. People come in and wake you up all the freaking time. Nurses, doctors, other random people. They just knock and walk in. Even if I had wanted to sleep I was so wired up from the birth that I only slept about an hour at a time, even with drugs. I had a couple of nice nurses, and several annoying, incompetent, or belittling nurses. Sometimes all in one!

I’m not sure where some of these ladies got their make-you-feel-like-a-stupid-asshole skillz, but they must have learned from the best. I had one night nurse both nights who did everything she could to show me how little I knew about anything baby. She’d spout of statistics or numbers after a checkup with exactly no explanation of what they meant, and smile at me ingratiatingly. Her nursing technique sucked and involved squeezing my breast painfully without authorization. That was a recurring theme. Nothing in there yet ladies, thanks. Our final nurse who checked us out was totally lame. Lackadaisical doesn’t begin to cover it. She forgot to stop at the pharmacy for my meds, didn’t feel like answering questions, and would disappear for long periods when we were trying to get out of the room and get home.

I still had a port in my hand for the first 24 hours, and I had to get 4 more doses of antibiotic through it. This was supposed to take about 20 minutes, but sometimes it stretched out to 1.5 hours, because apparently nobody had taught the nurses how to administer a fucking IV. They’d flush out the port with saline, which hurt like hell, and then start the drug. And invariably fuck it up – it wouldn’t pump, or the line would be jammed. The bitch nurse fucked the last one up really badly at like 1am and acted as if I was just being whiny. It took like 2 hours to finish it. Did I mention how much that shit hurt? I did however talk to the charge nurse about it. Go me. I also called the charge nurse to ask for feedback forms on all my nurses and guess what? She never showed. The OD consultant in me was not impressed.

Trying to learn to breast feed, which is wicked hard anyway, was impossible with the awful hospital pillows. Plus I didn’t seem to be producing anything which was stressful. I had one day nurse who was great and I at least got an idea of what a good latch felt like. Lillian was all about the boob, but she chewed with her surprisingly strong gums and it hurt like hell. I guess I lucked out with the latch, but OW.

David was in a world of pain from the horrible bed in L&D, and the one in the recovery room was far worse. Fortunately, that nice nurse got him a cot which was a bit better. It royally sucks that you can’t sleep with your husband when you need snuggles incredibly badly.

The food was really pretty good. Who knew? They had a killer veggie burger, and decent breakfast tacos. Of course, I would have eaten a tire happily at that point, but it really wasn’t bad.

Yeah, so I couldn’t wind down. This did not bode well for when we got home. There was serious boding. We wanted to get home so badly, but at the same time, how were we going to take care of this tiny being without anyone qualified around to help? How are we allowed to take her home without a medical degree? Does not compute.

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Biological Imperative Win

The other thing that happened while we were there was we both fell madly in love. People don’t always bond with babies right away. For us, it was like one of those cartoon 10 ton weights dropped on our heads. It helps that she’s so dang cute.

Not much of a narrative, I know, but hold on to your hats. Next up, postpartum depression/anxiety/craziness and extra extra sleep deprivation!

So 37 weeks is considered full term. I saw my OB today and everything is pretty much the same as it was last time. Belly is a little bigger, I may be about 1cm dialated, and 60% or so effaced. I’m officially in the “could happen any time” zone and the doc is still predicting I won’t go the full 40 weeks. Collective fingers crossed on that one, please.

I’m still having the same list of complaints, but everything is marginally worse. My fingers are more numb, hands are more swollen (feet are a little better), sleeping is getting more and more difficult, more hip pain at night, more heartburn, and mostly more exhaustion. I wear out fast. Being awake makes me tired. Some days are better than others, though, and I have some latent nesting instinct that’s making me organize my closet. So that’s good, I guess. Also, most nights I have some Braxton-Hicks contractions and let me just say, do not eat a large meal if you’re having those. Not. Good.

The glider arrived this weekend so the nursery is pretty much complete. I also got a cool floor lamp. Pictures when it’s all cleaned up and pretty. David’s work threw us a shower on Monday and they got us this wicked cool baby food maker that I’m excited to try out as soon as she’s able to start on solids.

The other thing I’ve been dealing with is having high blood pressure at the doctor’s office. But since my doc asked me to take my BP at home every other day and it’s been pretty much normal, she’s refrained from diagnosing me with preeclampsia. This is a good thing. I tried drinking tea and meditating before my appointment today but to no avail, it was still a good bit higher than at home. But I think I’ve found the cure for all stress-related problems. Let me know if it works for you.

Today was my 35/36 week checkup. It looks like things are progressing, possibly a little faster than expected. I’m 60-70% effaced and my doctor thinks I may deliver in 3 weeks or so (at 38 weeks). Also, the baby has grown a bit since last time, my doctor thought she’d be over 7 lbs if I delivered in  three weeks or so, where at my ultrasound they though she’d be under 7 lbs. I’m getting big, I’m gaining a bit of weight now (though it’s probably mostly baby and water from swelling) but damn is my belly big.

This is all exciting, and also a little scary. I certainly am on board with being a couple of weeks early, if she’s ready to go.  But damn, that’s soon! Still, I’m less and less mobile every day. I have to adapt stuff more in yoga class, and I sleep a lot during the day (but not as much as I want to at night, I’m usually up by 4am). The blood flow issues seem to come and go – some days are really hard, others are almost normal. Generally my feet and ankles are really swollen, and the fingers in my right hand are numb a lot. I’m having trouble gripping with my right hand too. She’s kicking and moving a lot, and since she seems to have dropped a bit it can be way uncomfortable. All of this is well within the norm, but it’s not a lot of fun. Still, I seem to have gotten an extra dose of mellowing pregnancy hormones so I’m not stressing out too much.

The weather in Austin is turning coldish again, not my favorite, but it will probably help a bit with the swelling.

David and I are taking our childcare class on Saturday. Not a moment too soon. Our childbirth class isn’t for a couple weeks, hopefully it won’t be too late!

The nursery is as close to finished as it’s going to get for the next few weeks. We’re still waiting on the awesome glider the grandmas got us, a floor lamp, and some stuff for the dress/changing table. Oh yeah, and a baby. But I think it’s ready for the early debut. The Design Guru will probably add some additional style magic when she photographs it for her porfolio, so I’ll be sure to share those pics.

These are from a quick grab of photos, and my flash was acting up so stay tuned for the really pretty pictures in a few weeks.

Left side of the room: painted book case, Indian wall hanging, some photos, and a placeholder for the glider.

Here's the crib (IKEA) and some decorations.

Check this puppy out: It's a toddler-sized duvet that was decorated with iron on images from David's and my photo portfolio. Brilliant!

The right side of the room: a hand me down dresser painted and then decorated for use as a changing table and storage. More iron on art above!

Decorative detail on the dresser, done by moi.

I wish I’d thought to take some before pictures on the room and the furniture we re-finished, but alas no.

In pregnancy news, the third trimester is a pain in the ass. Literally, if you’re me. I get hip/thigh/butt cramps at night that make it impossible to sleep more than about 5 hours. I usually get up around 4 and go back for an hour or so around 7. Waking up every hour to pee goes without saying at this point. My fun swollen hands and carpal tunnel are progressing well, and the latest fun is bouts of wooziness and nausea if I lean back. My doctor’s prescription: “Don’t lean back.” Yep. On the plus side my blood pressure has been good, so less worry there. Still dragging my ass to yoga, but I’m less able to power through the vinyasa stuff. Still it’s worth it just to hang out with other disgruntled third trimester women.

Last week’s ultrasound was followed by my regular prenatal visit this week. Everything was fine except my blood pressure, which was a little higher than normal. So I didn’t stress. NOT. Preeclampsia is some ugly shit, and I Do Not Want. And you know what’s good for high blood pressure? Stressing out! Also who likes to get weighed after lunch? Me me! My weight was up a bit, but today it’s the same as last week. But I guess my doctor would have been worried if it hadn’t gone up some. My OB told me to take my blood pressure every two days and keep track of it if it got to 140/90 or higher. So this morning David took it and it was 128/70. Seems I’m back in the normal range. Phew. I think maybe I was just more stressed out than usual. I had my doula with me at the appointment instead of David, and David is kind of a human form of Xanax for me. He’s so coming with next time. (He’s also hiding the blood pressure cuff so I don’t take it obsessively every 2 hours.)

TMQ has been seriously wiggly the last few days. Not sure what is going on in there, but she’s really rocking out. I’m still dealing with some swelling in my hands and feet, but it varies. The biggest pain about it is some carpal tunnel in my right hand. If I sleep with wrist braces on it’s way better, but man are they ugly. The lower back gets more tired more easily, but as long as I’m dragging myself to yoga everything seems to be manageable. That support rig thingy I got is good for walking around, but as usual Miss Q doesn’t like any compression and kicks the crap out of me if I wear it for very long. I have serious doubts that this kid is going to take to swaddling.

So here’s my 33 week girth:

Miss Persephone looks on. Sorry for the blurry.

I remember when this shirt hung to my knees.

Tiny Miss Quimby at 32 Weeks - that's a profile!

Today Tiny Miss Quimby is 32 weeks and 1 day old (though we reset the counter when she decides to come out). We went for our final ultrasound yesterday and everything seems to be good. She’s on the smaller side of average, which makes her mama very happy. The Quimbys make big babies, and luckily it looks like she’s taking after Oster babies which are smaller. Her heartbeat and all other indicators were good. It was fun to see her wiggling around, though it’s pretty hard not to notice her presence these days – she’s very active.

I’m continuing to be a yoga junkie. I go to at least 4 classes a week. It’s nice to be with other pregnant ladies and share some of the discomforts and fears that it seems like everyday people don’t want to know about. Or want to exaggerate, depending.

Remember when I blogged about a terrible song one of my favorite yoga teachers played during final meditation? So she’s back from maternity leave and I’ve been going to her classes. But she still plays that godawful thing at the end of class. And now that I’m in my 3rd trimester, as predicted, it makes me want to cry. Except I still hate it so I end up fighting back the tears while thinking evil thoughts about the artist and her lack of musical and verbal talent. It’s interesting to be me.

While I’m getting more of some of the annoying 3rd trimester symptoms (swollen hands and feet, occasional heartburn, difficulty sleeping) I actually feel better than I have in a while. The round ligament pain gave me hell last week, but seems to be lessening this week. I think I have some pubic symphesis pain (look it up, it’s fun!) but it’s not that bad right now. I ordered yet another belly support apparatus and when the weather stops being truly horrible I should be able to take some walks.

Work on the baby’s room is progressing well. I’m going to wait until it’s doneish to post more pictures. I still have to do a bunch of decorative work on that dresser that took me forever to paint, but it’s going to look really cool when it’s finished. The only bummer is the glider that the grandmas ordered probably won’t get here till mid February, which kind of blows. Apparently Dutalier shuts down operations for half of December. Oh, to be an employee in France. I want my chair!

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