Sunday, August 15, 2010

30 Week Update

Lots to show and tell this time!

I am 30 weeks along, and fully into my 3rd trimester! I can’t believe that I am in the home stretch now. The time has flown by with this pregnancy. I am feeling really pretty good compared to what it felt like last time. My PUPPPS is non-existent thanks to the acupuncturist I see. She is now working on keeping the swelling to a minimum, which I appreciate. It is keeping me comfortable. My only complaint is that the summer feels particularly hot. I do mostly ok since my house and work are air conditioned. Not many places in Colorado are, however, so when I need to go to a friend’s house or to church or something, I get pretty miserable pretty quickly. Sleeping is getting also a little more interrupted as well with more frequent bathroom breaks, and being able to feel him move more and more. He does not like to have his space crowded in the slightest and has been fooling around with my bladder more than Noah did. This is to be expected though, and I love feeling him move.

We are beginning to think about life after this pregnancy. I have worried tremendously about what will happen when the day comes that Aaron has passed all of his tests, and the experts are certain that he doesn’t have MCADD and we are sent home from the hospital. It’s that special moment when you are turned loose with this new baby and told to go home and start being a family on your own. For me, it is a battle of head versus heart. My head says that I have a healthy child. There is nothing to worry about. I can go home and he will be resilient and will be just fine. My heart screams that this was when it all went downhill last time. How can I trust my instincts when it comes to his care, when the last time I did it, my child died? I have nightmares about this, and have had it hanging out there on the edge of my consciousness this whole time. I had an “aha” moment when I was at prenatal yoga one night. My yoga teacher knows all the best experts in the city when it comes to this time in your life. She has a wall of business cards of the people she refers her mothers to. I walked by that whole big wall and wasn’t even looking that closely at it, but there was one card that caught my eye, and I picked it up. It was for a “post partum doula.” Basically, this is someone who is an expert in all things infant care and mom post partum care. They come to your house on a daily basis the first few weeks after you are released from the hospital. They teach you how to take care of your baby, and monitor your progress as you heal from child birth. They also keep the house in great shape by doing dishes, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, walking the dog, and light cleaning. They help you get to doctor’s appointments as you learn to manage bringing your baby along and the gear that is needed. Of course! This felt perfect for someone like me that has experienced everyone’s worst nightmare in parenting and needs lots of reassurance! It was meant to be. I called this woman, and she is absolutely perfect. Everything that she has to provide is something I need. Since hiring her and knowing that I have this kind of care coming my way, I have felt such a huge weight lifted off of me. I have been enjoying my pregnancy more and relaxed quite a bit about how this is all going to work.

We are also starting to get serious about preparing for childbirth. We are taking a refresher course from our child birth doula. I originally really wanted to do the full gambit of Bradley classes again, but Chris talked me into doing this instead. I was hesitant at first, but now that we are doing it, it really is perfect. We know this stuff. We just did this a year ago. To have someone do an overview and remind us of the finer details feels right. I think we would be bored and drive the rest of the class crazy if we did the whole thing all over again because we just did it. With some practice, I am picking up the relaxation techniques again, and remembering the tools I learned to handle and minimize pain. Chris thought it would be cool to show you guys our secret weapon…our cards.

When we were going through Bradley class, we learned a number of ways to keep me calm, relaxed and peaceful during contractions (which makes them not hurt very much at all). It became clear that without some way to jog Chris’s memory when we were in the heat of the moment, it would be easy to forget the finer details and miss out on using some great natural childbirth tricks. So, I made cards for Chris to have and reference. They contain things that we have practiced with and know work well ahead of time, so when he needs something new to try, he flips to a new card, and viola! there’s a fresh bank of new ideas. My favorites are the guided relaxation cards, where Chris walks me through a favorite memory. We go through the five senses, and he describes everything about the memory for me.

Here’s how it works. I get into a comfortable position and focus on deep relaxed breathing. I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. It is slow and methodical. While I do this, I scan my body for any tension, and release it. Chris helps too. He knows the areas I tense up most often (usually my shoulders) and reminds me to relax. A contraction will come on, and we go about doing these tasks. Meanwhile, Chris reads me a card to take my mind elsewhere so that I am not focusing on what my body is doing…

Guided Relaxation – Sigmund (a very loved dog I had growing up)

What do you see:
Just home from a day at school. I park my 1985 light blue Toyota Cressida station wagon in the driveway, get out and grab my black LL Bean backpack with my initials sewn onto it and hop up onto the big front porch of my parent’s house in Charlotte. I try to be as quiet as possible as I slip into the front door. Look on the floor for mail, and mom has already grabbed it. The house is clean. The living room with cream carpet, fireplace and red chairs is to my left. The dining room with the big brass chandelier is on my right. The wood staircase with runner to help give Siggs some traction is ahead of me. The whole house is bright with sunlight and open looking. I carefully set down my backpack, and sit cross-legged on the floor. Then I call out “SIGMUND! Pup pup pup pup pup pup pup pup puppy!!! SIGMUND!!” A large golden retriever dog comes barreling out towards me and dives into my lap. His hair is curly and somewhat wiry. He is wiggling all over trying to get closer to me in my lap.

(Chris breaks in and lets me know that the contraction is halfway over. I am on the downhill side of this one.)

What do you smell:
Dog! He smells kind of musty. Maybe he was digging (burying toys perhaps!) in the back yard today. Mom has been cleaning this afternoon so the house smells fresh and clean.

What do you feel:
Completely and truly loved! There has never been another creature so happy to see me! His fur when he was a baby was velvety soft. Now that he is full grown, his ears still retain that softness, but the rest of his hair is somewhat course, but still soft. He sniffs and sneezes. I feel him in my lap and remember when he was a baby and his whole body fit there perfectly. Now, just his head and front paws fit.

What do you hear:
His nails on the hardwood floor when he is woken up from his sleep hearing his girl call for him, desperately trying to get his feet to work for him to get him to me sooner! His grunts and sniffs in my lap, which he does with more gusto as I say hello to him and tell him how much I have missed him as I bend down and kiss his head. He wags his tail happily.

There are also cues outside of these stories on the cards that prompt him to wipe my face with a cool washcloth, to give me a sip of water, to take breaks himself if he needs it, to check my shoulders again to see if they are tensing up, etc. Chris is the kind of guy who feels best in any situation when he has clear instructions on what he can do to help, so he loves this.

The very latest news is that this weekend, my two best buds Mary and Jenny came over and spent a few hours with me giving the baby’s room a complete overhaul. I had a mess of a pile of baby things in the basement of stuff that either people had given me for Aaron, or that we had bought. In the nursery itself, there was also a jumble of things that had been thrown in the closet after Noah died to get it out of sight. All of it had to be gone through, cleaned up and reorganized so that the space could be used again. It was quite a job! We spent the afternoon hauling everything upstairs, and out of the closet, drawers and shelves, and get it all set back up again. It was so great to have them there. First of all, because occasionally we would unpack something, and find an item that was difficult for me to see. I had great support there as I faced it all. Second, if I were left to my own devices, I would put everything back where it was last time, which would end up being painful as well. The places where I knew this would be hard, we would make piles of everything that would go in an area (ex: all of THAT stuff goes on the bookshelves) and then task one of them to put it back up there in an order that made sense to them. It ended up being different, and it felt so much better to me. We pulled all the linens and clothes out and brought them down to the laundry room. Eleven loads of laundry later, all of it has been freshened up and organized back into the closet and drawers. The whole room is ready to go when Aaron shows up. It is organized in a way that makes complete sense. Mary was a great help there as she has a one year old, and knows the more practical places to put things. And Jenny is type-A like I am in how we organize things, and helped there too. It was great. I am so lucky to have these girls in my life!

Today, Chris started working on getting the decorative painting done that we want in there. Once it is all done I will post pictures. The room is bike themed. Chris picked out most of it, and it has been fun to see his vision of the space come to fruition! At the end of this weekend, I am so proud to say that for the first time in a little over a year, the door to that room has been open and stayed open. Instead of feeling grief over what that room represents, we are able to focus on the bright future ahead and feel excited about that. It feels so good to reclaim the space. I think Noah would approve. First of all, we kept one of his bees (his room was bee themed). Second, I believe that he had a hand in picking out this soul for us, and that this is someone that he loves and wants the best for in every circumstance. I know he would be so excited for his brother to have this space, and how we have worked out how to give it to him.

Good things ahead! Thanks for reading!