Friday, April 30, 2010

Quickie

Josh arrived on schedule on Monday, and we are all home now. I'll give you the details later, as well as some pictures. I had thought I'd be a little more together by now, but I forgot what life was like with a newborn :) Thanks to all who have sent well wishes. I'll give you the full briefing as soon as I can!

Monday, April 26, 2010

So excited

I finally tried going to sleep last night after 11:30. We had a wonderful day yesterday (after I got home from work): my mom made a tasty dinner, Sophie got to play until she exhausted herself, and Tim and I got in the last grocery run for a while. It's been a total blessing having family nearby. My parents stayed the night here with Sophie, and they'll watch her until we deliver.

I'm jazzed and ready to go! Part of me is sad that this is the last time it'll just be Sophie, Tim, and I--I don't want to lose that special connection. And I know I won't love her less. It's just been the three of us for 2.5 years. But I know she'll be an awesome big sister. And I can't wait to meet Josh!

Not sure when I'll post pictures, but I'll do my best. Wish us luck!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The end is in sight

Yes, it is Sunday morning, and I am in the lab (and will be most of the day). But this will (probably) be my last day in for a while. I had my doctor's visit on Friday, and she agreed to induce me tomorrow morning. Hooray! So, maternity leave starts tomorrow. I will probably be in on the weekend as soon as I can physically stand it (my guess is 2 weeks) to finish some experiments. This is not ideal, but it is necessary to finish my paper, and I want that out ASAP.

So, Friday I went in for my appointment. I was really bummed Thursday night, and I coped by making a list of things I wanted to talk to my doctor about. I also printed off an article from Uptodate about how induction didn't increase rates of c-section after a woman has had one child. Armed and ready, I nervously waited to see what my doctor would say.

As soon as she came in the room, she told me, "Let me do your exam first, because that is going to affect how I approach things." I was good with this. She was very pleased with how I've progressed (like I can take credit for it...). I was a "good" 3 cm dilated, 70-80% effaced, head down still. I told her about some of my other signs and symptoms, and she seemed to think things were moving right along. She swept my membranes in the hopes of starting some labor, and then we talked.

She began by saying that large babies aren't themselves a reason for induction. She also said that ultrasound measurements are notoriously inaccurate. At this point, I had a bad feeling that her answer about induction hadn't changed.

But then she said that for women with favorable cervices and history of prior delivery, induction didn't result in more c-sections. She again asked if I thought he was bigger than Sophie, and I said I thought he was. She thought he was pretty big too by her estimate. So, me plus her plus ultrasound all agreed.

I told her that my concern was that he was already too big, and more time would make it worse. I mentioned that his 42 week head scared me more than his weight. She didn't seem to think his head was too big yet.

I also said that I felt like my labors weren't destined to progress on their own. My mom has a history of induction, and with Sophie, my contractions never organized. Even after my water broke on its own, my contractions never did anything. I had to max out on Pitocin to get things happening with her. It hasn't been a problem of dilating/effacing--it's actual contractions. So I feel like if I had to wait for labor to start, my water would either have to break on its own again (which isn't that common--the statistics I've seen are 10-20% of labors start that way), or I'd have to go way overdue and be induced anyway.

She listened to my comments, and she agreed that all things pointed to me being a good candidate for induction. It's still termed an elective induction, which I am fine with, since large for gestational age isn't a medical indication.

She checked her schedule, and she would be around Monday afternoon, so we planned for me to arrive at the hospital at 6 AM and start the pitocin at 7 AM.  I went to meet the nurse to schedule the details.

The nurse, whom I have talked to several times now, laughed when she saw me. She had just gotten off the phone with the ultrasound doctor who saw me, because he wanted to follow up and make sure they had seen his recommendation.

We went over the process, which is very similar to what I did with Sophie, I signed the papers, and I was off.

I called Tim, and I was absolutely elated that we were being induced. I was cramping pretty tightly from having my membranes swept, but that never went anywhere with Sophie, so the plan to induce made me feel like I had a chance to not be waiting eternally to give birth. I know pregnancy doesn't last forever, but it sure feels like it. I passed the word along to my family, and then I had to go tell my boss.

I know my boss wanted me to have this upcoming week in the lab to finish experiments, but such is life. The postdoc graciously agreed to finish off the blots I am running today, and then I'll come in over a weekend and run another set.  Tim thinks I am crazy for being up here on a Sunday, the day before I deliver, but I had to do it. And of course, everything that can go wrong has gone wrong this morning, so it's taking me an hour or two longer than I initially planned. Still, I'll have a set of experiments done today, and then I just have to get some writing done at home.

Exciting stuff! I'm not sure how long I'll be in labor once they start the induction--all the nurses I've talked to since Friday say that I should plan for it to be fast, but they said that about Sophie too.  Hopefully, by evening Monday, they'll be a baby!

I'll probably have pictures sometime on Tuesday, if I can get a wireless signal with my laptop. If not Tuesday, I'll have them up as soon as I can. Wish us luck!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Totally bummed

Well, the nurse just called me. Apparently my doctor is standing by the position that inducing doesn't decrease the chance of complications from big babies, so induction is a no-go. The nurse said that, even if she would consider it, she won't do it before 39 weeks, so tomorrow would definitely not happen.

I am completely bummed by this, almost to the point of tears today. I am so uncomfortable--I popped a ligament in my pelvis last night, and even sitting hurts, let alone standing and walking. I'm not sleeping, I feel like crap, and I have a huge baby.

Like I said a few days ago, judging by Sophie's labor and how I have felt so far, I know I won't go into labor early, if I go into it on my own at all. I've been having painful contractions for a while, but they don't organize and progress.

I talked to the day care teachers this morning when I dropped Sophie off, and they were talking about how they were all induced with at least one of their kids just because their doctor thought they were ready. And they had 7 pounders. If this kid is already 8 lb 10 oz, and gaining, with a huge head, why make me wait?

I have to say, if I end up needing a c-section because this kid is too big by the time I do go into labor, I am not going to be very happy with my doctor. I have really liked her a lot, but I've read the literature too, and I really feel like I'm going to be too big if we wait much longer.  Now that I've had another doctor tell me he would induce me, I wish I had a doc that felt the same.

I guess I'll plan to keep doing experiments then. Not what I want to be doing right now.

I am completely bummed right now. That little sliver of hope I had yesterday that we would be done--gone. I don't know how I am physically going to make it another week (or two, or three...).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quick article link

I got this in my email today too. Interesting stuff:

Stop paying the mom penalty

I am extremely lucky that Tim does more than his fair share of child/household help. He does most of the laundry and dishes, and he's very flexible about adjusting the daycare routine if I need him to. We are both flexible about schedules, as much as we can be, and I think it works out well. We are still both very busy and stretched time-wise, but I can't imagine what it would be like to be working and not have someone so supportive at home. Especially with the imminent arrival of baby #2.

Cross your fingers

Well, after working ten hours in lab (plus several at home) on Monday, and eleven plus hours in lab yesterday, I've gotten a half day today by virtue of having an ultrasound in the morning. And I'm hoping the ultrasound changes the plan.

Yesterday, I met with my boss, and I (think) convinced her that the best plan of attack was to back off on the writing/figures of the paper for a bit and let me finish the experiments that actually require me to be in the lab. Best case scenario with those was that I could finish them by working up till Monday of next week (including both weekend days coming up). I didn't like it, but I really need to get these done. She saw my to-do list and agreed that would be the plan.

Well, I am hoping that plan may not work out. And not just because I don't want to come in this weekend.

Tim and I went for my ultrasound this morning. As of right now, Josh is estimated at 90th percentile, and 8 lbs 10 oz. And he could potentially gain 1/2 a pound (or more) a week from here on out. Plus, his head circumference is the size of a 42 week baby (instead of one at 38 weeks 3 days). He's actually increased in percentile since our last ultrasound, which suggests that indeed the weight estimate is likely pretty close (or even a little under).

The technician was joking with us, and as she left, she said, "Good luck!", referring to his size/big head.  The doctor came in, and he actually was very nice but very upfront about the fact that he thought we should be induced ASAP. He said that the ACOG recommendations didn't include induction for large babies, but his exact words were that "they are a bunch of morons." He said that risk for shoulder dystocia was very real with large babies, and the best predictor of baby size was size of previous baby. Since Sophie was over 9 lbs, he thought odds were good Josh would be very big (and potentially too big).

He said that absolutely I shouldn't go overdue, and he was going to call my doctor today and recommend induction. He knows her very well, and he called her "rational," so we'll see. He seemed to think she was on call this Friday and might want to do it then.  I know she has clinics this morning, so I don't expect to hear anything until late this afternoon. It is probably still a bit on the wishful thinking side of things, but I would love to be done on Friday. I know he's big--and I can tell he is getting bigger. If the biggest contraindication for induction is c-section, I think in my case the risk is equal to needing a c-section if we wait because he's so big.

And actually, I spent some time on PubMed and UptoDate last night when I got home, and apparently the risk for c-section after induction is high in first time moms, but in women with previous deliveries, there was no increase in c-sections with induction. And I've already got a favorable cervix (seriously, favorable cervixes and proven pelvises? Crazy).  So I am hoping my doctor will be open to talking about it.

Worst case scenario is that I go in for my regular appointment on Friday, and I don't get to be induced this week. My due date is the 2nd, so something has to happen in the next week and a half.

So, if I get induced Friday, I won't be in this weekend. That screws things up for me experimentally, but I'll figure it out. I'm going to wait to talk to my boss until I have some more information--I don't want to freak her out unnecessarily. But here's hoping.

On the plus side, if Josh is almost 9 pounds, and the estimates for what maternal fluids/tissues weigh at the end of pregnancy are correct, I do feel better that I am mostly baby. My abdomen is gigantic, and my feet/legs/hands are swollen, but I've tried to be good about not putting on too many pounds of junk food.  Not that I got a smaller baby by watching my diet...guess genetics sometimes can't be persuaded.

I'm crossing my fingers we'll have some news soon. I may call if I don't hear anything by the end of the day. I'm pretty antsy. Understandable.

Monday, April 19, 2010

3-0

I can only hope today is not a snapshot into what my 30s will be like...

Today:
-got up early (although "waking up" implies a person was actually asleep)

-left for work before Sophie was up

-harvested tissue (nice way of saying killed rats)

-had multiple things come up in lab that derailed the plan for my day

-worked a ten hour day (not too bad for me, but it was my birthday)

-came home, spent some time with Sophie and Tim until Sophie went to bed

-started working at home

-and I plan to lather/rinse/repeat for tomorrow, especially since my boss wants to meet in the AM to go over my paper, and I have experiments that HAVE to get started before more people come into work and derail my day.

And did I mention that since Josh dropped yesterday, I've been having very painful, crampy contractions constantly (that are unfortunately neither rhythmic nor progressive), a bad head cold, and rat allergies flaring up all day?

Happy birthday to me, indeed.

Honestly though, today's been a real bummer. I have no work-life balance right now--work is all consuming. This weekend was a rare exception--I put my foot down and decided that I needed to step back for a bit. We saw Tim's family on Saturday, after a very productive day of errands. And my parents came up yesterday afternoon to help me prepare--basically my mom cooked a bunch of food that we put in the freezer for after Josh comes. That was awesome. Then I got to see or talk to all of my siblings around dinner time. It was really nice, and I needed some family time.

I unfortunately spent most of last night feeling guilty that I didn't work all weekend, but I tried to remind myself that I also need to be prioritizing the impending arrival of a newborn, so work can't happen non-stop.

I will be so happy when this paper is out. Really, I'm birthing a lab baby at the same time I'm preparing to birth a real baby. I'm not sure which one is more painful at this point.

A belated update from Friday too. I saw the midwife, who said I was a "good" two cm dilated, "at least" 50% effaced, and -2 station. She said Josh was head down, and I said that he was too big to move at this point. She chuckled and asked how big my first had been, and I said over 9 lbs. She thought Josh would meet or exceed that, but she said I had a "proven pelvis," so I should do ok.

A proven pelvis? Should I put that on my CV? Unfortunately, from the sounds of things, that may come back to bite me. I have an ultrasound on Wednesday, and I see my regular doctor on Friday, but it sounds like maybe my proven pelvis will have me waiting to deliver until I go into labor on my own.

I've accepted the fact that my doc won't induce me early, but I want reaffirmation that I'm not going to have to go overdue again.  Honestly, judging by these last few weeks (and especially the last few days) of contractions, I don't know that my labor will ever start on its own. Either my water will have to break, starting the clock, or I'll need to be induced. I just think that's the way it is. My labor barely wanted to move forward with high doses of pitocin with Sophie. I just don't know that these contractions will ever organize themselves into actual labor without some outside convincing.

I really thought today that the contractions were progressing. I almost called my doctor at one point to ask if I should walk next door to the hospital to get checked out. I got busy with lab stuff, and the moment passed, but I think that's the best it's going to get.

So much for tradition. I went into labor with Sophie on my mom's birthday and had her the day after. No such occurrence on my birthday.

For now, I'm actually more comfortable dealing with the physical pain of indefinite, un-ending pre-labor. I feel prepared for Josh's arrival. This lab project/paper is much more anxiety provoking for me. I tried to calm my boss (and myself) down in lab meeting today saying that, even if this paper isn't out by the time I deliver, I can be reached at home. I'm not going back to med school till September--while the window for publishing this paper isn't infinite, there is a rather large buffer zone built in. I don't think my pep talk worked.

I'm not trying to put off working on the paper. It's just that, physically, I can only do so much. I get exhausted--I can't do the 12 hour days anymore. I need at least one weekend day to catch up. I hate not living up to other people's expectations (whether they are realistic or not), but I can't keep this pace up. I'm half hoping it puts me into labor, but I think it's just going to make me tired.

I'm trying to hang onto the positive, like this weekend, and let the negative roll off my back. For instance, even though I have several more hours worth of work that I could do tonight, I'm going to go to bed at 11. And maybe I'll even sleep. Wouldn't that be wonderful!

To everyone who wished me a happy birthday recently by phone/text/mail/email/facebook (facebook was a very touching thing today--who knew!), I want to say thanks. I keep hoping that I'll get better at keeping in touch once I have the baby/send out the paper/graduate/etc, but I know life will always keep me busy. Personal relationships are something I need to work harder at, and once I figure out how, I'm hoping to improve. Till then, thanks for your patience :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The waiting game

Deja vu...

I remember with Sophie, I had the external cephalic version done around 37 weeks, and all I heard after that was how she was coming any day. At my 38 week visit (basically the same time as the one I am having tomorrow), my doctor thought I might go into labor that day. I was 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced then. We'll see what I am tomorrow.

I've been having painful contractions since about Sunday. On Saturday, we walked the zoo for a few hours, and that might've stressed things for me. On Sunday, my lab had a very nice party (that was initially billed as a lab party and turned into a birthday/baby bash for me--very sweet). Almost everyone brought their kids, so that was some physical activity for me too. I thought Sunday night I might be in labor.  Then Tuesday, the contractions were so bad that I was just waiting for them to progress.  Yesterday was ok, until last night, when I was so uncomfortable I couldn't sleep. Then again today, between the 80 degree+ heat and standing at a poster for several hours, I thought I might go into labor today.

Long story short, nothing doing. The contractions are painful, and for a brief second I thought my water might've broken tonight (no, I didn't pee myself, but it wasn't my water either). All of the day care ladies keep saying I've dropped, even though I don't think I have. The one woman was even willing to put money on the fact that Josh would be here by Saturday. I said I'd take that bet.

My doctor is out of town till next week, as are most of the doctors in the practice, so holding out for a few more days is ok in that respect. I'm seeing a midwife tomorrow (the only opening they had all week), so we'll see what she thinks. As much as I would love to have this baby soon, I know I probably still have weeks to go.

Part of me would love to go into labor early because it would be less stressful to have a newborn than it has been at work recently. I am sure a lot of the contractions/issues I am having right now are stress related. I've been working on getting this paper out before I go on leave, and every day it seems less and less likely. It doesn't help that when I am not up late because I am working, I'm up late stressing because I am not working.

My boss means well--it's not like Dr. B, who I think knew he was making my life difficult. My boss is really trying to help, in her mind, by constantly asking about the paper and wanting to meet. The trouble is, it takes time. I am working as fast as I can, but there are still a few experiments that need to be run. I'd rather do those and then write the paper from home if I had to. My boss wants the paper now, and we can add experiments later. We'll see if it works out.

Again, she means well. But it definitely has been increasing my stress level. Which makes sleeping harder and contractions stronger. Maybe it'll put me into labor after all--who knows.

I am way past the stage of pregnancy where I enjoy being pregnant. I want this baby out. However, I also know that I'll likely just continue to get more uncomfortable, and Josh will hang out for a few weeks. At least I've been through the anticipation drill before. I'll be pleasantly surprised if he comes early, but I'll plan on making it to my due date.

As I was telling my swollen abdomen last night, "Put up or shut up." I mean that in the nicest way possible, of course :) I just wish all of the pain and contractions was actually progressing things.

Tim says maybe we'll stick with tradition. I went into labor with Sophie on my mom's birthday and had her the day after. My birthday is Monday (yes, it is the 3-0 birthday), so Tim's thinking maybe I'll go into labor then. Hopefully it won't take as long the second time! We'll see--if I had to bet, I'm guessing April 30. Still a ways away.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Baby watch, week (almost) 37

Appointment stats, for those playing at home:
36 weeks, 5 days today (almost 37)
Head down (yay!)
1.5 cm dilated
50% effaced
Measuring big (duh)
Still high station

So, this means he's moving along, but not too fast. Keep in mind, I was 70% effaced/4 cm dilated for weeks before Sophie showed up. It is common, I guess, to not dilate/efface/drop station as much before labor in pregnancies other than the first, so he could still come at any time. But my doctor had enough confidence that he's going to hang out for a while that she scheduled me for another ultrasound on April 21. And I have two more Friday appointments scheduled (4/16 and 4/23). I'm hoping I won't need one on 4/30, but we'll see.

Josh's room is pretty much done (part of the IOU pictures), the car seat is in, and I will have my bag packed by this weekend. A few more things to get ready, and then we should be good to go.

I wish that the lab paper progress would be as smooth--I'm getting there, but it'll involve a lot of work this weekend.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

IOU

IOU:
-a car summary post
-a general life update
-pictures

I know, I know. I haven't forgotten. I'm crazy busy at work trying to finish up this paper before I go on maternity leave, Tim's been working insane hours (he didn't get home till almost 11 PM Monday night), we're both trying to get things ready for the baby (I do have the car seat in my car, as of last night), and I'm generally exhausted with being 9 months pregnant.

Josh is due in just over three weeks, and that finally hit me yesterday. Somehow, a month was far away. Three weeks seems much closer. And we still have a ton to do. So, blogging has fallen a bit behind. I will try to catch up very soon though. I just wanted to say that I haven't forgotten :)

And no, I'm not nesting. I wish I was--then I'd have the burst of energy that goes along with it! I'm just panicked. If anything, Tim is nesting way more than I am. He was painting shelves for Sophie's room and decorations for Josh's room last night. That's a bit closer to nesting :)