02 Nov

i’m calling it a practice run

We got home about an hour ago from a Sunday night trip to the emergency room and I’m looking at it from the perspective that now I’m a pro at navigating to the hospital when in a somewhat emergent situation. Like a dress rehearsal, yeah?

On Friday, we had that whole “high blood pressure” and “non-conclusive stress test” drama that sent us to the hospital with explicit instructions to call the midwives if we had any questions or concerns. Earlier today, we got a call from the midwife we saw on Friday and she was calling to let us know that everything looked great from our trip to the hospital, but had scheduled us an appointment for tomorrow morning at the main hospital to go over some blood pressure stuff again just to keep tabs on things. I think we combined that with the fact that Amelia had been having some headaches and dizziness and seeing some spots when she stands up too fast, and decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to call the midwives.

They had us head into the hospital, specifically through the emergency room doors since it was after hours and it wasn’t like all of the doors were just hanging wide open. You know what’s funny? Showing up at an emergency room with a 39 week and six day pregnant wife. They automatically assume that baby’s about to drop out of somewhere awkward. They were even more surprised when she declined a wheelchair to go anywhere. Hey, there’s an 11 pound baby rolling around in here – she’s tough!

Anyway – two nurses and a different midwife later, we’re back home. Blood pressure was better than it was on Friday and little guy’s moving around just fine. Got to see a pretty big contraction while hooked up to the monitor and since we’ve left, she’s had a couple more. I’d say things are definitely getting ready to happen, but I haven’t quite made it through my PhD in Delivering Babies to give you the exact truth on that one.

Meanwhile, my 65 pound dog is sitting on Amelia’s lap in our living room chair right up against the baby and is in no hurry to leave her lap. He’s our Lassie. Timmy’s stuck in a well? Baby’s about to be born? Riley’ll sniff it out, that’s for sure.

I’m watching what I’m assuming will be the my last episode of The Walking Dead before I have an infant dictating my sleep schedule. Then, I’m going to bed and we’ll see what happens when I wake up on this little guy’s due date.

01 Nov

mucho pina, no bebe

That DuoLingo is really paying off, huh?

Monday’s this baby boy’s official due date. Much like the papers we were given at the midwife’s office, we’re very aware that’s not an official due date and more of an estimated time of arrival. And, really, if he’s anything like this mom, he’ll show up late. But because multiple medical professionals have pointed out that he’s very large, we’ve been trying to get this guy going sooner rather than later. We have tried the following in an effort to induce labor:

  • eating pineapple
  • walking
  • sniffing cinnamon
  • drinking root beer
  • evening primrose oil
  • raspberry leaf tea
  • acupuncture
  • three different kinds of spicy food

Result: no baby. One of the biggest things we learned in our baby prep class was that there’s never been a baby that HASN’T come out. So, we’re just hanging out and waiting for him to wrap up whatever projects he has going on in there, tie up loose ends, all that jazz. We’re ready for him to get here.

We’ve kept busy with applications, fairs and tours for the 17 year old’s entrance into college next year. Shit, that’s a process. You’d think those schools would work their scholarship deadline schedule around this baby’s due date to make things a little easier for us, but noooooooo. So, we’re plugging away with that, too.

30 days in November, 30 days of blog posts? I’m going to give it a try, but I’m pretty sure I’ve barely posted 30 times all year. I love unrealistic goal-setting!

 

19 Oct

38 weeks down, no more than 22 days to go

Now is the crazy time, where we can actually put a finite number on how many days will pass before we meet our baby boy. Many, many things are falling into place and that’s what a lot of this last week or so has kept us busy. The distraction with getting a bunch of last minute things and doing things like brunch and roller derby with friends has been great to get us out of the house and thinking about something besides when this baby might be coming.

We know it’s 22 days or less because the midwives have been pretty clear that they won’t let Amelia go past 41 weeks before they start talking about interventions, like an induction. It’s been very important for us (specifically Amelia) that this guy gets all the time he needs to grow and so we were struggling in thinking that we’d have to talk the medical professionals in our life out of inducing “just because”. It hasn’t been easy. They’ve thrown things our way like age and BMI and size of the baby, all of which can’t really be proven by evidence that they’re so dangerous she shouldn’t be able to have a completely normal pregnancy. Without getting too far up on a soapbox, doctors and some of the nurse midwives we’ve talked with have been more concerned about making it convenient for them than what we, and again specifically Amelia, want to happen because we know it’s okay.

And just for inquiring minds, Amelia has had an incredibly healthy pregnancy. She’s passed two one-hour gestational diabetes tests with flying colors. Her blood pressure been extremely healthy, just like it always is. She’s gained less than the amount of weight the midwives asked of her in the beginning. Essentially, at our previous place of care, they ran her through all of the tests they could multiple times. They were never consistent on why they were having them done and it became really tiresome for her. I can’t say I blame her.

It’s a lot to talk about and a lot to understand. Sadly, we’re noticing not many women do understand it all because fear gets in the way. Amelia’s a birth worker. She’s passionate about making sure women get what they want during their pregnancies and deliveries, so it’s hard for her to think that she might not be able to get what they want. It fires up the protector side of me and I have to hold back when it comes to defending her choices. That’s why we hired a doula – mainly, so I don’t punch anyone.

But on to more fun stuff, like decorating his room:

oslosbedroomThe top row is the top of his bookshelf, that he shares with his moms. The signs and buckets are from his baby shower that Shawn and Jenni threw for us. The tiny red wagon is from my grandma (his great grandma) and it’s filled with three tiny bears from her and an adorable tiny elephant from Amelia’s mom, that she sent us just a few days after we found Amelia was pregnant. There’s a lamp from IKEA, a sign reminding him to always kiss his dog goodnight from Amelia’s mom, all the good lotions and bath goodies from Shawn and Ani, and some red pillow I had as a kid that I’ve hung on to since then. Nobody seems to know where it came from or who gave it to me, but now it’s this nursery decor.

His changing pad is on top of his dresser, which is overflowing with clothes that he’ll probably never wear more than once. He is this mother’s child, though, which explains all of the witty onesies and thermal undershirts. The stuffed monkey and turtle are representative of both of his moms. Truth be told, Amelia and I have had these stuffed animals for years, I think before we met one another. I’m more monkey; she’s more turtle. I’m more baseball cap; she’s more fedora. He’s got five framed sock monkey prints we picked up at IKEA, because my grandma (his great grandma) used to make a stuffed sock monkey for all the babies in her life. In no way do I expect her to try to make one for him (even though she told me last weekend she’s already bought a pair of socks to do it), so we planned on still having sock monkeys hanging around somewhere.

This turned into a lot of rambling; I don’t care. There are just some things I want to be able to go back and reflect on in a few years. That’s why this blog has been all about for me for years, so why change that, you know?

14 Oct

what’s happening at 37 weeks?

I’ll tell you what’s happening at 37 weeks of pregnancy for the non-pregnant partner in your relationship. They’re going increasingly impatient and yet still feel incredibly unprepared for this baby to get here. They’re VERY excited about finally meeting the baby, but they’re honestly concerned they’re not going to be able to support their pregnant partner as much as they should during the whole birthing process. Wait. Is that just me?

What’s happening with the baby? He’s considered full-term and could be born “any day” now. He’s full of crap. No, he seriously is. He’s gaining a half pound a week, but our baby is probably doubling that. He is an overachiever after all. I’m assuming he’s planning out what he’ll be doing for the next 18 years, too.

We met with a new midwife on Friday. She’s part of the huge collaborative of midwives at the new place where this guy will be born. The appointment went pretty well. She advised us against getting another ultrasound (which we were fine with), because when babies start showing up as weighing more than 5000 grams (which is over 11 pounds), the doctors that make the rules start saying it’s important for mamas to have C-sections. You know what my wife doesn’t want? A C-section. If it’s medically necessary, sure. If it’s not, totally not interested and may just give birth in our backyard. Amelia (and by default, I guess, the baby) are measuring at about 42.5 weeks now, so there’s a good chance he would have been above that 5000 grams mark.

We’ve hit the part of the program where we’re visiting with the midwife every week. We have to talk about induction in a couple of weeks, based solely on the fact that he’s measuring as a big baby, but they won’t actually do it until 41 weeks unless there’s a true medical need. And if that’s the case, then that means the absolute latest this guy will be making his appearance will be on or around November 10th. Either way, it’s less than four weeks at this point.

We’re keeping ourselves busy. Like literally planning something every day until he gets here. Might seem extreme, but if we just sit around and look at him trying to run a marathon in Amelia’s belly (which he does regularly), then we’re gonna drive ourselves crazy. Speaking of marathons, that might induce labor, huh?

12 Oct

57 hours and 1000+ miles later

It’s not the first time we’ve driven down to Sedalia on a Friday and came back on a Sunday, but this was the first time my co-captain was 37 weeks pregnant with my future backseat riding baby. I don’t know how she managed to spend 16 of those 57 hours in the car and remain a champ about it the whole time, but she sure as heck did.

We left Minneapolis right after meeting a new midwife since we had to make a very abrupt change in health providers due to an insurance change (UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE, PEOPLE) that we weren’t really expecting at the tail-end of a pregnancy. We had the new car packed, which meant the dogs were getting their first taste of being demoted to the “way back”. Spoiler alert: they didn’t complain about being able to stretch out that much for the entire ride there and back.

Pregnant and tired wife = dinner stop in Ankeny, Iowa, just so she could have dinner at Maid Rite. She gets very nostalgic when it comes to loose-meat sandwiches and who am I to get in the way of nostalgia? Or, again, someone that’s 37 weeks pregnant.

We got into Sedalia around 8:30 or so Friday night and that included a stop at the Wal-Mart in Warrensburg, because I sure did forget to pack things like hair product and toothbrushes. We stopped at my folks’ house and watched my mom watch a few innings of the Royals/Orioles game. It’s hilarious and adorable and I have no idea when she became a giant sports fan, but the thing is – she knows things like roster salaries, which kind of blows my mind. My brother and his girlfriend came over once they found out we were there (BECAUSE NOBODY TELLS HIM ANYTHING), but they had to leave when the score was tied in the 8th inning because it was throwing off their good luck rituals. I’m still not sure my brother’s changed his underpants since the post-season started. Once we noticed we’d kept my dad up way past his bedtime, we grabbed food at Sonic and headed to the hotel to watch the rest of the game.

We woke up Saturday morning to stop over at my folks’ house again before going over to my grandparents’ house. The reason we visited Sedalia was because my grandpa turns 90 on Monday. I wasn’t going to miss his birthday for the world and Amelia wasn’t going to let me either. Originally, we were going to be able to make it to the party that was being thrown for him, but that got changed and we just couldn’t risk another week later. Baby and all.

You know what I’d do every Saturday afternoon if I could? Spend several hours with my grandparents. I mean, you know what I’ll never forget about this weekend? Showing my grandpa the new car. Hearing my grandma talk about the muffins she made earlier in the day, all the apples she’s been cooking with, cleaning up the soot the furnace repairman got everywhere. Getting a brand new baby quilt that Grandma hand made and tied with her own hands that are so bent and crooked from arthritis she can’t even lay her hand flat. Listening to her tell a story about how she found one of the gifts she gave us for the baby. Having her write down the baby’s name, so she’ll be able to learn it by the time she’s born. Watching my grandma share books and books of pictures with Ash just to try to find one particular picture to show him. Showing my grandpa pictures on my iPad and listening to him chuckle anytime he saw any picture of my dogs. Looking at old photos with my grandpa and him telling me how much a catfish weighed in a picture from the early 90s.

grandmaash10112014

I won’t forget how at 6pm, they both said they were hungry and wanted to take us out to dinner. I had to make about 11 calls between my dad and my brother to get it all worked out and I refused to go anywhere that Grandpa wasn’t choosing. He mentioned Hardee’s Steakhouse (yes, that Hardee’s fast food restaurant, but then he went off on a tangent about how “you can’t hardly get a good sandwich there anymore”.) Before he chose, he changed out of his t-shirt and into a fancy pearl-buttoned cowboy shirt. When Amelia complimented him on it, he honest to God said, “this old thing?”. That old thing was sparkly and I’m not even exaggerating.

We ended up going to cafe on the outskirts of town that’s been there for God only knows how long. “It’s not fancy or anything” was my grandma’s disclaimer. When your 88 year old grandma that might weigh 80 pounds joins the Clean Plate Club after plowing through a whole patty melt and a plate of fries, that’s fancy enough for me. (Totally introduced her to the wonders of a patty melt, by the way.)

We were lucky (?) enough to be there during karaoke, which in Sedalia means 10 years olds can get up and practice their ventriloquist acts to Justin Bieber songs. Not kidding. My grandpa insisted to the server that he get the bill for everyone. The server told us she had to respect her elders when he told her he outranked us all. I let her know it was his birthday on Monday and when she came back, she asked his name and if he’d care if they sang to him. My answers were Charles and absolutely not.

I asked him if he was going to get up and sing. He said he only knew two songs. I asked which he was going to sing first and he said the first one. Of course, I had to know what the first one was. His answer? Not the second one.

If there’s something you don’t see or hear very often, it’s that guy smiling and laughing. He’s not unhappy, by any means at all. He’s just an old farm guy that grew up in the 20s and 30s, where I’d imagine emotions weren’t really something boys needed to show. He laughed and smiled so big when the announced between tone deaf karaoke singers that it was his birthday and everyone in the whole restaurant sang to him, it made me tear up. Or I got something in my eye. I won’t forget that old codger pretending he didn’t think it was a big deal that there were 8 of us there celebrating his birthday in a way that he loved – music (even though it was bad), eating a burger and spending low-key time with some of his family.

Before we left, I grabbed a quick picture of these two people, who just happen to be two of the most wonderful, caring, loving, amazing and genuine people you could ever meet.

grandmagrandpaberry10112014

Grandpa poses all the time without his dentures in or he acts like a cranky old man. Pictures with him truly smiling are few and far between. This picture, even though it was taken on my iPhone in a parking lot underneath the lighting of an old cafe, is the best one I’ve taken in a long time. It’s getting printed and framed at our house.

I told Amelia on the way home today that I’ll never forget this weekend and what we were able to do with Grandpa for his 90th birthday.