Wednesday, March 31, 2010

31w 2d flames

** Too much information warning. **

Any amount of blood in the urine is enough to make this particular pregnant woman hyperventilate, let alone what the nurse today described as "a lot." This just adds to a fun-filled day of waking up at 2 a.m. with the sensation that my nether regions have been set on fire.

I waited an unusually long time for the doctor today, who then seemed very rushed in our appointment. That left me feeling unsatisfied with the diagnosis.

Okay, to be honest, what left me feeling unsatisfied was more the extensive online research I did prior to the doctor appointment, which had me convinced that I could be suffering from at least a dozen different problems, including early labor.

The diagnosis of the old standby -- urinary tract infection (UTI) -- was unsatisfactory because the burning is there constantly and doesn't feel at all connected to urinating. I warned you about receiving too much information in this post, didn't I?

So the doctor didn't really examine anything, just took the baby's heartbeat again and scribbled off a prescription for antibiotics. "They'll be ready when you get there," the doctor had said. She must not be familiar with Wal-Mart.

Now I'm drinking water like it's going out of style in the hopes of flushing that little pill as quickly as possible to the burning nether regions.

In the back of my mind is still the nagging worry that something else could be wrong, but my logical half says that's the obsession talking. In any case, baby's heartbeat was good and my weight had not changed. In other physical news, my back pain has improved to the point I had hoped -- no more episodes of unbearable pain, just the usual discomfort. I'll try to be grateful for that, even as it feels like my chair has burst into flames.

From "Let the Flames Begin" by Paramore:
I give it all my oxygen
To let the flames begin...
This is how we'll dance
When they try to take us down
This is what will be, oh glory
Somewhere weakness is our strength
And I'll die searching for it
I can't let myself regret such selfishness
My pain and all the trouble caused
No matter how long
I believe that there's hope

Monday, March 29, 2010

31 weeks promotion

"... and then I think, Wow, she's really going to have a baby..."

I'm not the only one who has a difficult time with the reality of what's coming, what's happening, what's changing. I received a promotion today. The quote is from my boss, who was in the process of making it clear -- because sometimes it's good to say these things out loud -- that she would never be the kind of employer who lets her employees' pregnancy or parental situations affect their job status or potential.

Still... Wow, she's having a baby... That's going to change things...

So my boss and I made tentative plans to discuss the details of the maternity leave at a time closer to the due date. She said she wasn't sure if I wanted to be cut off during my leave or if I wanted to stay in the loop, checking emails and checking in. Maybe you don't know yet either, she said.

It's true. Speculation fills my plate. With a side of anticipation, a cold glass of anxiety, and impatience for dessert. I want so badly to get started, to meet this person who's going to change things so absolutely -- who has already begun changing things. Changing me.

Will it all become routine? Will the time come that there is no distance anymore that I will stand and look out at my life and my husband and my child, my family, with incredulity? At what point will it seem real?

Even with the impatience is the sense that things are in a constant state of motion, so that as soon as I grow used to something, it has already moved on, moved up... been promoted to the next step. There is no doubt my child will be the same.

What Andy was singing to my belly tonight -- "Oooh, oooh, child... you're gunna come out in 60-some days..."
From "Ooh, Child," by Five Stairsteps:
Some day we'll put it together and we'll get it all done
Some day when your head is much lighter, yeah
Some day, we'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun, yes, we will
Some day when the world is much brighter

Ooh, ooh, child, things are gonna get easier
Ooh, ooh, child, things'll get brighter

Thursday, March 25, 2010

30w 3d husband

Another year has passed for Andy. Even though he was stuck at work, I tried to fill his birthday with good things like apple pie and pizza and cookies and balloons. And lots of love.

He has this thing with "joking" about what a worthless/useless loser he is, mostly when he is at work or feeling down about his working situation. It isn't that he's ungrateful for the job. The truth is... if he didn't deserve so much better, there would be no reason for him to be this dissatisfied. If he wasn't worth so much more than his employer has made him, he wouldn't feel demoralized. If he wouldn't make a great asset to the companies to which he has sent his resume, he wouldn't be so dejected by the lack of response.

Honey, you are far -- so far -- from "loser." There's nothing I can say to make your job suck less. But I can remind you of what you already know so well: I am on your side in all things. No one could ever love you more than I, except perhaps this little person whom we've made. You can think of that the next time you sling your arm around me in the middle of the night and find that you're unable to sleep with all the kicking and scraping and swimming around that's happening in my belly under your arm.

You put that little kicker there and I love you for it, just as I love you for being so funny, for the way your brain works, your common sense, the way you laugh, how you're not afraid to pick fights with strangers, how you force hugs out of people, how you clean the house when you realize I'm not going to, how you care enough to get angry when I'm mean to you, how you try to protect me from my own gullibility, how you see the beauty in small things like a well-made guitar, how you pour your love out to your cat, the way you're unafraid to be honest, the million small ways you have of showing me you that you love me too...

Happy Birthday.

From one of "our" songs... "No One Like You" by Scorpions:
I just need you like never before
Just imagine you'd come through this door
You'd take all my sorrow away
There's no one like you
I can't wait for the nights with you
I imagine the things we'll do
I just want to be loved by you
No one like you

Monday, March 22, 2010

30 weeks contractions


Andy and I waited in line for about an hour to meet Joe Satriani and get his autograph. I spent a lot of the wait rocking back and forth, stretching my hips, and feeling the baby...

Periodically, I've been getting the feeling that the baby is stretching or getting "bigger" for a few moments. The truth finally hit me while we were waiting in line.

"Andy, I'm so dumb."


"The baby's not getting bigger. My uterus is getting smaller!"

What the other people in line thought of that conversation, I'm not sure. But I'm so excited to know what a practice contraction feels like! It's one more milestone down...

We're officially three-quarters of the way there! Here's a look at 10 weeks, to 20, to 30:

Friday, March 19, 2010

29w 4d expectations

Expectations can be dangerous and make everday living impossibly difficult, even when we think it shouldn't be. Especially when that inner voice says it shouldn't be. The tiny miracles and heroic acts of an average day don't get the play they deserve.

I Googled the definition of "hero." One entry read, "Champion. Someone who fights for a cause." Twenty-three years – that's how long I've known my champion of everyday living. While everyone faces his or her own struggles, few emerge to be as beautiful as she with their battle scars. Still within the struggle, she may not feel like a hero.

We can use honesty to battle our tendencies to distance and withdraw, to shut down and shut out. Honesty is a sword that cuts those who carry it, but it delivers self-forgiveness if we let it.

Expectations, I realize now, are my war. I have always had too-high expectations for myself; in the past, it has helped keep me fighting even as each perceived failure punctures the soul of me. Do I perpetuate it because I like having high expectations? Because I'd feel guilty or weak if I didn't have them, just as I feel guilty or weak when I don't meet them? It's ingrained.

I stand at the mouth of a cave. Within it lie my future attempts at parenting and at reconciling my mother-self with my married-self and working-self. From here, can I learn a way to forgive the blindness I'm sure to have within the cave? Fumbling in the dark, will I remember that it's normal... acceptable... okay if I stumble?

If I can forgive myself, if I can make it through, if I can wear my battle scars with soul intact, it will be because I'm not alone in the dark.

From "Surrendering" by Alanis Morissette:
so you were in but not entirely
you were up for this but not totally
you knew how arms-length-ing can maintain doubt

and so you fell and you're intact
so you dove in and you're still breathing
so you jumped and you're still flying, if not shocked

and I support you in your trusting
and I commend you for your wisdom
and I'm amazed by your surrender in the face of threatening forces
that I represent

you found creative ways to distance
you hid away from much through humor
your choice of armor was your intellect

and so you felt and you're still here
and so you died and you're still standing
and so you softened and you're still safely in command

and I salute you for your courage
and I applaud your perseverence
and I embrace you for your faith in the face of adversarial forces
that I represent

self protection was in times of true danger
your best defense to mistrust and be wary
surrendering a feat of unequalled measure
and I'm thrilled to let you in
overjoyed to be let in, in kind

Thursday, March 18, 2010

29w 3d rack

I lost a chip crumb down my cleavage at lunch today. Hunting for it was like trying to find a pebble in a narrow canyon between mountains. Soft mountains, mind you. And all this took place at work.

"They're going to get bigger?" Andy asked incredulously upon learning of what happens when the "milk comes in."

"But her belly will be gone then," he said to my dad, as if hoping a third party could somehow reverse this news. "She's going to be, I mean she's going to look..."

Ridiculous. Yeah. Dolly Parton, Pamela Anderson, move over and make room for me and my mama rack. I need to get a T-shirt made that says, "Caution. Suffocation hazard." Or maybe, "Watch for falling boulders."

Kicking and stretching, the baby grows as surely as the green buds that peek up from my garden.

"March is that transitional month," my dad the gardener said. All around me, things are beginning, happening, changing. I love all of it. I love Baby. I'm scared anyway, and that's okay. A brave new world.

From the epic and fantastic "This is War" by 30 Seconds To Mars:
To the right, to the left
We will fight to the death
To the edge of the earth
It's a brave new world

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

29w 2d role models

Remember 9 weeks pregnant, when I felt like a whale?

Fast forward to 29 weeks pregnant. Let me introduce you to the mammoth:

Baby Update: The breastfeeding class was informative but dull, and I apologize again to Andy for making him go. As a dairy farmer's son, he couldn't help but make the comparison between his wife and a cow. "I don't care if they call it a breast pump," he says, "That's a milker." The doctor's appointment went well yesterday -- the heartbeat is good, my weight is good, and no call today means that the diabetes test was also probably good.

As for me, something has gone sour with my patience. Things that may be contributing to the new, irritable me:
  • The stranger who shall remain nameless who (not long ago) changed his cell phone number, so that I could end up with his old cell phone number and inherit the daily phone calls from the creditors who are hunting him
  • The return of the awful nausea (oh how I missed you)
  • Bone-deep exhaustion
  • The dry heat in my office
  • Waking up in the night from back pain, when sleep used to be my one reprieve
  • I'd include the rapid growth of the alien within -- how it's getting more and more uncomfortable with each squished breath I take -- but each kick/stab/jab/stretch is still too miraculous to me
Then I read over that list and realize that I sound like a big, ungrateful whiner, and feel even worse.

This past week, to put it gently, insult has been laid on a mass scale against women who blog about parenthood. I don't actually consider myself among them, since I don't profit from any of this and don't have what you'd call a following, but it doesn't do much for my confidence to know that pretty much every group I do belong to (women, wives, working mothers-to-be, and so-called mommy-bloggers) is under attack. I guess it's nothing new, and not what it may have been once.

So an early Mother's Day "Thank You" goes out to my mothers and grandmothers, you generations before me paving the way for strong women who, despite being told now that they are whiners (because they struggle) and bad mothers (because they work and blog), nevertheless continue to write and work and parent and grieve and love and recognize their flaws publicly, all without ever giving in to the cruelty that would drag them down.

Bravo to:
My own little response to that there sophisticated newspaper: Bloggers are masquerading if they make ad revenue? I will corrupt what a blog should be if I use the things I know about SEO, SEM, branding, keywords, and social media to gain followers, rather than continuing to blog quietly? Thanks for taking us back to the "Quiet Revolution" of the 70s and making bloggers feel guilty, not just for providing for their families, but for being individuals as well as mothers.

The world is full of role models, if you've been raised to recognize them.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

28w 6d soup

Congratulations, Josh and Megan! It was wonderful to see you both so close to parenthood, clock ticking, and to be part of the celebration yesterday.

When asked if they were nervous about the upcoming life changing event, we heard a clear "no." My answer? In the voice of Napoleon Dynamite, "Heck yes."

Overheard in our house today:

Me: That's the biggest can of soup I've ever seen in my life.

Andy: It's the family size. We're a family now, Lindsay.

Overseen in our house today:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

28w 3d pop

I wondered today if the baby is in any kind of pain. With how fast baby is growing (the fullness and stretching in my abdomen is at a record high) wouldn't baby feel growing pains? Are the pain centers of the brain fully developed?

What will the birth feel like for the baby?

Not that any of it really matters. Baby won't remember any of this, and as long as it doesn't have any effects... I just can't help but be curious about all aspects of this big thing that has taken over my world.

I heard from a few different people yesterday and today that I look "really big" and "popped" all of a sudden, so it's not just a sensation of fullness. I really am full. The happiness and anxiousness grow in proportion to the expansion of my abdomen... and the closer the due date gets.

I want to share the following two labor stories from the author of They aren't for the faint, but they had me laughing so hard I was crying. Whether it's just my kind of humor, I don't know, but these two different labors (one with drugs, one without) really got me. Thanks, Angela!

Labor #1 "I have basically ensured that my baby will be pooping garlic for the first 13 years of her life."

Labor #2 "Hello, cramp. Your blouse is lovely."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

28w 1d edumacation

I'm all smart now. I went to class. I even got a certificate to prove it. Certified to be a mommy. Who knew?

Andy did very well. Of course, he could be counted on to mangle our faux infant when he reached his limit with sitting still all day watching live birth videos and learning that his task is basically to be my slave in the delivery room. I think he should start practicing now.

Pretty soon he'll have to be my slave, because if I get any bigger I seriously won't be able to tie my own shoes. Right now I can't do it without wheezing.

I filled out the details of my birth plan during the class. In my hubris (ready to laugh at me, mothers?), I selected that I "may" want analgesics and that I do not want an epidural. At least, not unless my back situation makes it impossible for me to complete my job.

Yes, it should be fairly comical when it gets to the big day and I'm begging pitifully for drugs. We shall see.

We got a free book at the class, and I've been reading over everything that we learned in the class about labor -- true labor vs. false labor, relaxation techniques, episiotomies (which, as it turns out, are not common), and basically what I consider my one-day job description.

Once that has sunken in, I'll start re-studying what happens after... my rest-of-my-life job description as "parent." Certified parent.

Is it dumb that with all the pain in store for me, I still wish I could blink away the next 82 days?

In other news...
  • Andy played a game with the baby already. In the wee hours of the morning, he would push at the baby and the baby would push back, etc. It was similar to the game we play with the cats when they're under the blankets.
  • I had my first encounter with a strange drunk woman I don't know who ooohed and aaahed all over me just because I'm shaped like humpty dumpty.
  • I discovered that if I try to wear my pre-pregnancy shirts, they stop halfway down the belly and I do, indeed, look just like humpty dumpty.
  • I'm now registered at Shopko, in addition to Wal-Mart and Target. We now have about a gozillion things registered. I like to think it's for added convenience for those who are kind enough to want to shower the baby with gifts. But it's probably just because I'm obsessed.
  • I know the chiropractor is not a miracle worker, but seriously? No relief yet? At all? Maybe I'll take that epidural now.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

27w 3d perspective

Today was a special day.

It began with a nightmare, and not just any nightmare. My baby died, and it was devastating. In my heart, it was real, and it broke me. It was the first time in a long time that I wish my alarm clock had woken me sooner.

I woke up in tears, sobs of tears, and for the first few moments of my day I believed the dream that my awful imagination had conjured.

The first miracle of the day was when I turned over, and there he was. My husband, sleeping, and looking mighty cute. It was the kind of moment where no amount of morning breath could make me turn away. I had to keep looking at him, just to know he was there.

The second miracle of the day was the muted bump bump from baby, nudging the hand I had placed on my belly, reminding me that it was just a dream. Nothing was wrong in my world. I still have my baby, my healthy growing baby.

I went through the rest of the day feeling strange, different. It was as though I really had gone through that unspeakable grief and come out the other side of it. But then I'd remember it was a dream, I still have everything... and then everything I saw and touched and felt was more real and unbelievably special than ever before.

Everything is a treasure. Nothing can go wrong as long as I have the ones that I love. There is nothing that can matter as much, nothing that can dampen this gift. I have it all.

Today was a special day.

A gorgeous song: I Will Love You by Fisher.
'Til my body is dust
'til my soul is no more
I will love you, love you
'Til the sun starts to cry
and the moon turns to rust
I will love you, love you

And I need to know -- will you stay for all
time... forever and a day
Then I'll give my heart 'til the end of all
time... forever and a day

'Til the storms fill my eyes
and we touch the last time
I will love you, love you
I will love you, love you...

Monday, March 1, 2010

27 weeks ladders

It's officially the third trimester! Yesterday and today, the baby's movement really has gone into high gear. For the first time, early this morning I was woken up and kept awake by what felt like an internal drum solo.

With each increase in happiness and excitement, comes an increase in pain. Two different ladders, up and up and up they both go. Three times per week I'm going for chiropractic adjustments for the next four weeks, then once per week after until delivery. I'll just have to sell a kidney to pay for it.

On the happiness ladder is the scene I came home to: my husband vacuuming after moving furniture and rearranging our bedrooms, setting up Baby Schultz's very own room. *happy tears*

I shared passages from Stephenie Meyer's New Moon that helped me during the miscarriage. Now I'd like to share a passage from the fourth and final book of the saga, Breaking Dawn. *spoiler alert* To my own little nudger.
I could only stare at my shocked eyes in the mirror, my fingers gingerly pressed against the swelling on my torso.

And then, like in my vivid nightmare last night, the scene abruptly transformed. Everything I saw in the mirror looked completely different, though nothing actually was different.

What happened to change everything was that a soft little nudge bumped my hand -- from inside my body.