Thursday, March 29, 2007

"Don't be discouraged" midwife said today. "It's perfectly normal for first time moms" to be a week overdue and show essentially no signs of progress. That's right. No dilation. No effacement. No nuthin! She added, "You never know, you could go home and start having major contractions tonight." Uh huh. Right.

I won't lie. It bummed me out. Especially since every single day - I swear - there is more and more pressure, it is harder and harder to walk, and I couldn't help but think that we were getting somewhere. And now to know we haven't even gotten started yet... It sucks.

Darn. Oh well. There are a couple of things we can do on our own to help encourage labor, and the midwife recommended we go ahead and get started with those, especially since we'd like a natural childbirth. We didn't schedule an induction date yet, but she said the hospital feels strongly about not letting us go past 2 weeks overdue because of the rapid degradation of the placenta.

So the plan is to go back on Monday for an ultrasound (to check the amniotic fluid level), a "non stress test" to make sure baby and placenta are healthy, and to set a date for induction. At least the upside is we'll get to see the baby's sweet face again! And who knows... maybe we won't even make it till Monday. At least a gal can hope!


We're just twiddling our thumbs waiting for this baby to get here. I thought I'd post some random shots from around the house. (We finally managed to purchase the camera that had me in tears several posts back.) Jen took this picture yesterday that made us laugh. You can just barely see what used to be "normal Heather" above the belly, and you really get a feel for how much the little peanut has overwhelmed my poor unsuspecting body. You can also get a glimpse of our super cool sock monkey sheets, which were courtesy of Mommy Too when she was up visiting a couple weeks ago.

I thought I'd also take a moment to post a photo of Sasha & Hallie. They are the best of friends - sharing toys, food and a spot to cuddle. Here they are doing what they do best: begging for food.

And last but not least, here's Jen whipping up yet another fantastic meal for us. Not only is she living in a basement with no shower and a leaky sink, she has been cooking endless meals around the clock for us. At dinner time with the afternoon sun blaring into the kitchen window (which of course has no blinds on it yet) she's found a need to add a new kitchen accessory to her collection: a pair of dark sunglasses. Despite such hardships, yesterday she cooked us lunch, made 2 trips to the grocery store (because I botched the list) to get supplies for making my sick friend some fresh chicken soup, and then she finished up her day by cooking us another fabulous dinner and insisting that we spend the evening just the two of us, having some quality time. Yup, she's the greatest.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

And the good news just keeps on coming

That is sarcasm my friends. In addition to the mystery leak under Jen's kitchen sink which is yet to be resolved, we learned today that the shower pan in her bathroom is leaking - badly. What should've taken up to 24 hours to see any evidence of leakage actually made itself known in under 10 minutes. That sucker is leaking like a sieve!

So now we're facing the prospect of having both her kitchen and her bathroom torn up, just days before Micah arrives with a 26 foot truck containing all their worldly posesssions, before Arwen's mom arrives for a weeklong stay, before Miss Roan decides to make her entrance into the world, and before my Mom arrives as well. Perfect timing really.

Oh well, life's an adventure right? Somehow things always seem to work out. And anyway Arwen's ordered me to bed and not to think about it. So off I go...

Monday, March 26, 2007

"Exploratory Drywall Demolition"

...are not exactly the three little words you are longing to hear about your new house when you're waiting to go into labor at any minute. But this evening as Arwen was washing dishes downstairs at Jen's (after yet another delicious meal) a mysterious pool of water formed at his feet. He opened all the cabinets, only to find the insides clean and dry. He pried off the cabiniet trim and peered underneath with a headlamp and still found nothing. And then he got out his drywall saw.

By the time he had the hole cut in the wall, we had lost our ability to reproduce the leak. So for now it remains a mystery. We'll just have to keep an eye on it.

The leak was a bummer, but it didn't spoil our evening. We brushed up on baby calming techniques by watching the video "The Happiest Baby on the Block." Now we know how to shush and swaddle our baby into bliss. Jen was teasing me because I also read the book, compiled notes from it and filed them away in my homemade baby reference binder. I know. I need help. I think it'll be real funny when after all this preparation I still end up - inevitably - as clueless and frazzled as anyone else.

After the video we broke out our new Snappis (rubber cloth diaper closures that have replaced safety pins) and Bummis Super Whisper Wraps (waterproof velcro closure cloth diaper covers). Here's a closeup of Snooty the Elephant wearing an organic cloth diaper in the "Bikini Twist" configuration with a purple Snappi.

And here is the whole array of unsuspecting stuffed animals that served as our diapering guinea pigs this evening. Notice Hallie in the background, wearing a look that seems to say "Don't even think about coming near me with those things!"

We are having fun, just waiting for our little peanut to show herself.

Before and After

Thought you guys might like to see some before and after photos of the house. (No we still haven't had the baby yet.) These are just from the ground floor part of the house. (There is also a 2 br/1 ba basement apartment, where Jen is living, that is not pictured.)

Click on the picture to see it enlarged.

The Living Room
Before: Before After: After

The Nursery
Before: Before After: After

The Kitchen
Before: Before After: After

The Bathroom
Before: Before After: After

It's amazing what a little paint and de-cluttering can do huh?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

All Quiet on the Western Front

Nope, we still haven't had the baby. Today is our official due date. Not that Miss Roan Marie is paying any heed to it. I haven't had much in the way of indicators that labor is anywhere close to imminent. I did have 3 little practice contractions spaced widely yesterday morning, but nothing since then. There are other indicators that have also not happened yet, but we won't go into the details there to spare you from the "ick" factor.

Sorry I haven't had a chance to post many updates the past couple of weeks. We have been going nonstop trying to get things done around here. And I'm finding that I have much less energy these days. The other night I ran out to pick up the new camera Arwen and I had researched (and meant to purchase weeks ago). It was a simple, straightforward errand and yet I managed to come home in tears, no camera in hand. Arwen sent me straight to bed and told me I was not to leave the house again until it's time to head to the hospital. (He has since lightened up on that order, but I am under strict instructions not to get myself and the baby stressed out.)

Week 39As you can see from the last 2 weeks' belly photos, things are starting to get out of hand. It is hard to believe that through most of this pregnancy I was smaller than most of the other ladies in my group. Now I seem to have left them all in the dust. Needless to say, getting up and moving around just gets harder every day. My hands, feet and face are swollen. Walking used to be one of my favorite things to do, especially around our neighborhood. But not lately, when it feels like the bowling ball in my tummy might just fall right out. But I'm hanging in there. I'm trying not to think about the fact that this baby may decide not to come from another 2 weeks. One day at a time...

Even though it's getting a little harder each day to keep lugging around this load, my spirits are up. I love our new house - and I'm so relieved to be out of our crappy apartment with it's nasty ancient carpet. We are starting to get settled. There's still lots to do, but it's mostly the fun stuff that doesn't really *have* to get done.

Arwen has been super sweet. He's in total take charge mode, making sure everything gets done - which usually involves him doing it. After two solid weeks of painting, renovating and moving us I scheduled him a one hour massage yesterday. He at first coyly tried to refuse, but after the fact he was so glad that I had insisted. I want to make sure we're both in a good place before the really challenging part begins.

The other thing that makes me so happy right now is having Jen here. She has been just amazing. She's done everything she can think of to be of help, from grocery shopping to cooking healthy meals to heavy lifting to making me a cup of tea and reminding me to put my feet up. And she's done it all as if it were effortless, with a graciousness of spirit about her.

One last quick note. The gals in my knitting posse threw me a surprise shower this week. Jen and I popped in on our regular Thursday night Stitch Therapy session, just to say hi and that we couldn't stay. (The week before when I didn't show up because of the move, I got several frantic phone calls wanting to know if we'd had the baby. So I didn't want to cause another stir!) When we got there they had the whole place decorated with pink streamers, and they had a spread of all kinds of dips and cheeses and crackers. There was wine and sparkling cider. And there were german chocolate cupcakes. And then there were presents. Mary Kay, one of the gals, crocheted me this beautiful baby sweater. We also got an assortment of baby care goodies, as well as mama care supplies. And the really incredible part was the huge stack of coupons everyone made offering all kinds of things - from home cooked meals, to clean bathrooms, to postpartum massage... It was really overwhelming. I never expected to make so many good friends so soon after moving here.

These days I am feeling like one lucky lady.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I know, I know...

More updates please! More pictures please!

Be patient, more is coming soon...

Monday, March 19, 2007

6 days and counting

Wow, we've finally made it to the last week! Can you believe it?! That's not to say she'll actually be here by Sunday, but still...

I still haven't had any contractions at all, even practice ones. I don't get the sense that anything is going to happen imminently, but I have felt a difference in the way she's moved the past few days. I've felt more movement in my lower abdomen, and also towards the inside - the guts side I guess you could say - rather than the skin side. She is quiet for long stretches and then she'll go nuts for a while making my stomach look like a stadium crowd doing "the wave." In fact, she's doing it right now!

Things are going well at the new house. You know if I were taking a class in photo journalism I think I'd be getting an F for my lousy coverage of the whole dramatic unfolding of events. Arwen and Jen have put so much work into the place, and I still haven't managed to snap one lousy photo. Shame on me!

Last night Arwen finished painting the walls of the baby's room and hanging some decorative moulding. Now we just have to caulk and paint the trim and bingo! we're in business. I can't wait to see the crib set up in her new room.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Our first night in our new house

No, we haven't had the baby yet. (I've started to get phone calls from people wondering, so just thought I'd start off with that.) In fact, she seems pretty cozy in there. So far I've gained 40 lbs! No wonder my back is killing me!

In other news, last night we spent our first night in our new house. True, we didn't sleep in our own bed - we slept downstairs in the basement on Jen & Micah's spare bed - which I'll tell you is 10 times more comfy than our own. We have no furniture in the living room or bedrooms yet, but we do have most of our kitchen stuff and bathroom stuff over there, so it was enough to brew some decaf this morning, take a shower and have a bowl of cereal.

It's funny. When we first saw this house I thought it was a total dump. Now I've grown fond of it. Without furniture and with two whole floors, the darn thing seems like a mansion! Which is pretty funny at less than 1800 square feet. I will try and post some pictures soon - I keep forgetting to take the camera over.

Arwen and Jen have been working so hard to get us moved and settled in. Really it's amazing. They've been working night and day with sore feet, tired backs and not enough sleep for days on end now. I do what I can, but they're both pretty insistent that I take it easy. Arwen refuses to let me get on a step stool, even one that's just a few inches off the ground. It really kind of sucks being so physically limited at a time like this. When just walking is a struggle and all I want to do is sleep, it makes it hard to do all the things that I want to do to get us moved in. I did manage a trip to the grocery store, a few loads of laundry and cooking a few meals in the past few days. But just in case Roan decides she's ready at some point during this move I'm going to make sure I'm not overtired.

The other thing I have to post pictures of soon is the beautiful bassinet that my dad, sister, Karen, and her friend Susan worked so hard to lovingly restore. It's been used in my family through several generations. Roan will be the 13th baby to use it!

Monday, March 12, 2007

It's all good in the hood

Week 38Things are going great. The tenants moved out of our house last Thursday and ever since we've been making a full court press to get all the renovations done before Roan arrives. Jen and Mommy Too arrived on Friday and they worked like dogs all weekend to help us get a leg up. We are making lots of progress, but I can't help wonder how many days we have left to get it all wrapped up.

Jen is here for good, and I am so glad. Micah won't get here to stay till school lets out for summer. I hope they both love Denver as much as Arwen and I already do.

As far as how I'm feeling, I seem to have achieved a zen-like level of acceptance and patience with where I'm at. It's been really interesting how this pregnancy has moved along in stages, and the start of each stage is the hardest part. This last time I really wasn't sure I'd be able to find my equilibrium again, but it seems to have returned. It's funny too, because I'm more uncomfortable than ever. My hands and feet are swelling, my ribs are still sore, I wake up bigger and bigger every day, my back hurts all the time, I can only sleep sitting up, and there is so much pressure on my nether regions when I stand up and try to walk that the only way to propel myself forward is to get myself rocking side to side and get waddling.

But somehow I seem to be taking it all in stride. At least my emotions haven't been going wacky the past few days. Even all the renovations we have going on haven't rattled me. I am certainly hopeful we'll manage to wrap it up and get moved in before I actually go into labor. And I'm also hopeful that we don't wear ourselves out working late and then find ourselves going into labor being sleep deprived, achey and paint splattered. It's also possible that we might find ourselves going into the big event halfway moved in to the new place, without being unpacked and settled in.

But I just feel this sense of calm and well being, like everything is going to work out. We'll get finished at the new house whenever we do, and Roan will come whenever she's ready. And one way or another everything will be just fine. Maybe it's all the good vibes people from all over are sending our way. Or maybe it's the wonderful support I feel from my terrific husband and my sweet sister.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I'm not freaking out

Week 37So yesterday I got myself all freaked out about GBS - Group B Strep - which I tested positive for. It's a type of bacteria (totally different from Group A Strep, which causes strep throat) that routinely colonizes the intestinal tract of healthy people. When it's present, it's usually intermittent. It is not considered pathogenic in adults. The only problem is when it's present during labor and delivery.

Most of the time, even if it is present the baby doesn't pick it up on its way into the big wide world. But 10% of the time they do. And 10% of those babies have life threatening infections. GBS is actually the #1 source of infection in newborns. It causes all kinds of horrible scary things like sepsis (a blood infection), meningitis and pneumonia among others. A certain percentage of the time it's fatal, but we're not going to think about that.

Current medical wisdom is to administer a course of IV antibiotics to the laboring woman about 8 hours before she gives birth. Our hospital administers the drugs every 4 hours during labor, since there's no way really to know exactly when the baby will pop out. But the trouble with antibiotics is that you have to take enough antibiotics of sufficient strength to kill *all* of the bacteria. Otherwise, what's left is the super strong drug resistent bacteria that come back and wollop you with a doozy of an infection that is resistent to treatment.

When my midwife said I was positive for GBS I was bummed, mostly because I was worred it would interfere with my desire to have a natural birth. I didn't really know how serious it could be for the baby. And she was so nonchalant about it. She basically said you'll just take these antibiotics and everything will be fine. And she's probably right. But then yesterday I read that although the upside of the anitbiotics is that it greatly reduces the chance that the baby will be infected with GBS, the downside is that if she does get an infection it has a much higher chance of being resistant to antibiotics.

But I decided today that I'm going to let go of these worries. It really helped yesterday trading emails with Arwen's cousin's wife Nisha and his aunt Monica who went through this at the birth of Nisha & Dion's son Odin. Nisha got the meds and all was well. I'm just going to put some faith in the universe that it'll work out the same way for us.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Latest

This has been an exciting week so far. Arwen had a lot of fun over the weekend snowboarding with "the guys" and luging like a madman. I have gotten 10 cute diapers sewn over the weekend (still have 5 more to go). We got the basement unit of our new house painted and the carpet cleaned. It's all ready for Jen when she gets here sometime Thursday or Friday. I got a massage yesterday, which was just freaking fantastic. (Although I'm already achy again...) Our upstairs tenants are set to move out of the house tomorrow. And today I got official confirmation of what I had come to suspect: the baby has dropped!

That doesn't mean we should be expecting to go into labor immediately or anything; our birthing instructor said babies drop on average about 2 weeks before they arrive. But I began suspecting she had dropped as of last Friday, when I noticed new pressure down below and ever since then I've been having a hard time just walking and doing ordinary things. I wake up in the night every few hours needing to roll over and get into a new position and find it's tough just rolling over or getting up to go pee. It's like there aren't enough muscles to move my body parts. And what muscles there are are feeling very strained.

Ever since last Friday I've pretty much been dragging my left leg around like a cripple. It's just too heavy to pick up! That combined with the sore ribs I have from last week's coughing bout has left me in a pretty sorry state. I also have a tiny bit of swelling in the ankles. Even still - and I know this sounds weird - I feel pretty good. I know it won't be long now, and although it's a fairly constant discomfort, it's nothing unbearable. I keep trying to envision adding gut wrenching contractions on top of these aches and remembering that if I'm going to have the natural childbirth I'm hoping for I'm going to have to figure out how to suck it up and deal with it. If it's hard walking down the hall now, or getting on all fours to stretch it will be doubly so then.

I think too what's adding to my chipper mood is all these happy changes that are just around the corner: meeting Roan, Jen moving up here, and getting into the new house. We have so much to look forward to.

Oh, there was one more thing. I found out at my checkup today that I tested postive for Group B Strep. It's fairly common, but about 10% of babies exposed to it during birth develop a life-threatening infection. So they take treating it very seriously. I have to receive IV antibiotics 8 hours before birth. I was really bummed to hear this news because having an IV in restricts your movement, and being stuck in a bed can slow down your labor substantially. But my midwife assured me that it's not so bad. I'll have to be hooked to an IV for a few minutes every 4 hours, but in between I will be free to roam the halls or sit in the tub or whatever I like. So it's not so bad. If that's the only hiccup we have in this birth we'll have a lot to be thankful for.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Bigger and Better

Week 36Well, as always I am definitely growing bigger all the time. (This sunday makes 37 weeks.) And thankfully I'm feeling better now. I still am hacking up yucky stuff but at least I feel human again.

This weekend some friends from Houston are in town - Brian and Xave - for a weekend of snowboarding in Breckenridge. Jay and Clover are throwing a Luge Party Redux in their honor, and this time the luge is much improved. We asked my midwife whether it'd be ok for me to make the trip up, and she cleared me to go, but in the end I decided to stick around home instead. I still need to fully recover from this cold and there's lots for me to do here to get ready for Roan. I hate to miss another great party, but Arwen could probably use a weekend with the guys anyway. He's had his hands full taking care of me sick and pregnant, managing the new house, and getting ready to become a daddy.

I plan to have a nice quiet weekend - after all it may be my last for the next 18 years or so! The main task at hand is a diaper sewing marathon. I started cutting them out last night and boy o boy are they going to be cute. I will also be checking up on the painters that are working on the basement of our new house. We went by last night at 9 pm and they were still working. It is a huge improvement already in terms of how bright and cheerful it is.

Oh, speaking of the house, we had a bit of good news this week. The upstairs tenants decided to move out early - on the 7th, this coming Wednesday - instead of the 31st. So Arwen is feeling inspired to get us all moved in before the baby comes. That would be nice. And Jen will be getting here sometime next week between Thursday and Sunday. I can't wait to have my Sissy back.