Presenting my daughter

Well she is finally here. I want to write all about her birth story but right now I’m just thrilled to have the time to post a couple of pictures.

My daughter was born Monday at 4:42 pm. She was one ounce shy of 9 pounds and almost 21 inches. The first thing I heard after I had her in my arms was, “oh my god, she is so much bigger than we thought!”

Isa’s doing great, especially now that she is willing to take a pacifier (evidently not NEARLY as satisfying as my boob) and sleep somewhere that is not in my arms for more than an hour at a time. Let’s hope this keeps up.

Here are a couple of pictures. I realize I don’t have one from a real camera (don’t worry, the grandparents do) so there phone shots will have to do for now.

I promise I’ll update more soon.

This could be it

I’ve continued having cramps/contractions all day – since 5am. I’ve also continued to have intermittent bloody show. My doula seems to think that with the mucus plug, the bloody show, the burst of energy today, the constant cramps, I’m most probably in early labor. I’m feeling more and more like that is actually the case, though I’m not totally convinced. I wrote sub plans but have not yet requested a sub. I guess, yet again, we shall have to see.

I have started timing my contractions. I’m hoping that after tonight I’ll be more sure if I’m actually laboring or not. I love that after all of this, I’m still not sure if I’m even in labor or not. My goodness, this pregnancy thing never gets any easier.

I promise as soon as I know what is going on, you will know what is going on.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – I might be meeting my daughter sometime soon!

Early morning musings

It’s 7:30am. I’ve been up for about two hours. I’ve been out of bed for one. I have a load of laundry in. The whites are in a bag in the hall ready to go in next. It’s nice to know that there is NO way anyone else is trying to use the laundry machines at this hour on a Sunday. I’m playing fetch with Squeaks (yes fetch, she is such a dog-cat sometimes). Mi.Vida is still passed out in our room. He hasn’t budged once, not even when I sorted through two loads of laundry before packing it all into Costco bags in the other room.

I’ve cleaned off the guest bed, which has been piled high with all sorts of junk for the past two months. I have cleaned up the TV room. I have even thought about cleaning the tub, which desperately needs it but which Mi.Vida has promised to do. I have done the cat and cow pose about twenty times. I’ve squatted against the closet in the TV room for long minutes.

I’ve been having cramps all morning. These are different from previous cramps. These come and go in waves. They arrive, crescendo and taper off. There doesn’t seem to be any tightening in my abdomen, though I suppose it is more tight when they happen than when they don’t. They were coming pretty regularly, now it’s here and there. They aren’t so bad but they are uncomfortable and leave me with that tight-pressure-feeling of bad premenstrual cramps, even in their absence. They make me restless and I’m fighting the urge to take a walk right now.

Definitely more mucus plug debris this morning. Lots of it. I know this doesn’t mean anything but between that and the cramps this morning it’s hard not to feel like something is going on. Of course now that it might be, I wish I had another week. I probably do and I’m rooting for that. This week at school is pretty easy AND I could get a ton done as far as readying my room for the long term sub next year. One student reminded me through her incessant questioning that I’d have to totally clean off my desk, which is littered with my personal tchotchkes and picture frames. I definitely need a few days to get that room ready for someone else to teach in it and I’d love to be getting paid to do that while my kids watch Pixar’s Up in Spanish with English subtitles.

We shall see. I feel like I’ve written that over and over again but it’s where I am right now. I am unable to say what will happen or when. We shall see. Not much else to say on the matter. I’m becoming more and more at ease with that reality.

Now, with the whites in the wash and the colors drying I’m seriously considering tackling the tub. For some reason it seems doable even though the last time I swore would be the last. For some reason squatting down in there and being productive actually sounds nice. Right now I’m locked in a heated game of fetch with Squeaks and I don’t want to leave her hanging. Mi.Vida spends so much more time with her and she seems to like him better than she likes me. I’m trying to remedy that by playing fetch with her and not smothering her with kisses (which she hates). So until she is burned out on bringing back her ball, I’ll stay out of the tub.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – Things are happening and even though I don’t know what that means, I know it’s better than things NOT happening.

Losing my $#!^

I feel like I might be seriously losing my shit. Like panic attack or nervous break down losing my shit. Lately my moods have been so up and down and seemingly unrelated to what is actually going on in my life that I don’t trust my emotions at all. Today I cried three times without knowing why. I had NO IDEA what had made me start crying or why I was continuing to cry. Even after careful thought I couldn’t come up with one reason.

I went to acupuncture today hoping to calm whatever strange emotional energy has been brewing inside of me. It did feel nice during the treatment, and I felt calm on the drive home, but one acupuncture appointment could never tackle what is happening inside of me right now.

This evening I ate a bit too much at dinner and felt like lying down. I was reading parts of Birthing from Within and suddenly I was totally losing it. I was sobbing, choking sobbing, and felt like I being on the verge of a panic attack. I had no idea why I was so upset. Perhaps anxiety about birth? Perhaps anxiety about motherhood? I suddenly felt like I couldn’t breath, like there wasn’t enough room inside my body for me. I couldn’t sit up because my stomach encroached on my legs and I couldn’t breath because my lungs couldn’t expand and the constant cramps made me feel like I wanted to do something horrible to myself down there, just to make that feeling go away. I felt like I really was losing my mind.

Mi.Vida came in and tried to calm me down. I just kept sobbing and trying to explain that there was nothing wrong, I just couldn’t stop crying and I felt like I might be pushed out of myself by this pregnancy. It strange but mentally I’m prepared to be pregnant for weeks longer than this, I have to reason to want this baby to come sooner rather than later. But there is something primal, something deep inside, that feels so panicked by that prospect. There is something that is sure I won’t make it if I have to endure two or three more weeks of this.

I know that my hormones are out of control right now. I know they are at levels they’ve never been before or since. Maybe they are the culprit but I worry there is something else, something more sinister.

I already upped my dose of as I’m preparing a preemptive strike against postpartum baby blues and depression. Now that I’m full term I’m much less worried about negative side effects to the baby and my concern about PPD have me taking a pill every day instead of every other like I was doing before. Hopefully that will help counteract whatever is going on with me right now. If it doesn’t I worry Mi.vida and I wouldn’t make it to the delivery room at all.

I’m sure there is more stress in my life than I’d like to admit. I know I am scared of labor and delivery and breastfeeding and being a mom. I’m probably more scared of these things than I realize. Maybe these feelings are just those anxieties rising to the surface. I’m not sure. All I know is that what happened to me tonight scared me and I don’t want it to happen to me again. Feeling like I’m not really sure why it happened is also very troubling. Hopefully a restful weekend will help to keep a repeat episode at bay.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – I’m going to bed now and I think my sobbing episode will ensure I’ll sleep deeply at least until my first pee break of the night.

Labor Anxieties

With 7 weeks to go until my EDD I’m starting to get a little nervous. We attended our first Birth Preparation Class at Kaiser and have been speaking a lot about our desired birth experience with the doulas we have been interviewing.

I’ve been noticing that when I speak about birth I get very tense and very nervous. I really shut down and turn inward, not even letting Mi.Vida comfort me. I’m not surprised that I’m worried about labor but I am taken aback by the intense physical symptoms I feel when I’m confronted with it. I’m really worried that my fear and anxiety around birth is going to negatively affect my experience, not just in how I feel during birth but in my anxiety actually have physically detrimental effects. I’ve read that women can actually stall or reverse their labor by feeling uncomfortable or afraid and I’m very worried that my fears will prolong my labor and make it more difficult than it need be.

I’m trying to come to terms with my fears, to read books that will empower me and practice relaxation techniques that I can use before and during the big event. I look forward to speaking to my doula about my fears because I’m sure she’ll be able to put them into perspective.

I know it’s normal to be scared of labor. It’s the most intense physical experience that happens naturally to any human being. It will require incredible strength and stamina. I know my body is strong and capable; I’ve run a marathon and ridden many 100+ bike rides and I’ve never lost faith in my body’s ability during any of these events. I also trained for each one of those big physical events – I trained a lot. I ran what amounted to over a hundred miles preparing for my marathon and rode many hundreds of miles for my centuries. Going into each of those events I knew how my body reacted during smaller, training runs. If I could run 18 miles by myself, two weeks in a row, surely I could run 26.2 miles with friends and others in an organized, supported event. If I could ride 75 miles with my parents, up and over mountains, I could ride 100 miles with dozens of other people.

Going into labor there is no training, there is nothing I can do to prepare myself or know how it will feel. In fact, not only can I not prepare myself for it, my body is in the worst shape it’s ever been. I’m 35 pounds heavier than I’m used to (and will probably be even bigger by the time I’m in labor), I’m weaker than I’ve ever been, I’m slow moving and can’t breathe deeply, my hips hurt, my back hurts, my feet and ankles are sore and swollen, I feel totally incapable of mild physical exertion, let alone something totally overwhelming that lasts for hours, maybe days.

I know that billions of women have made it through labor and that many of them had amazing, empowering experiences. I have faith that the female body, my body, can complete this most important of tasks. I do have faith that I can do this, but I’m still scared. I hope that the more I think about it the better I will feel. Then, I when I get closer, I’ll just push all of this aside and concentrate on ways to stay calm and relax. Hopefully by then I will feel more prepared to tackle this most momentous of experiences.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – We found a doula and are very excited to start working with her. I can’t believe our first visit will be about two hours long! That is probably more than all my OBGYN visits combined!

The Other Perspective: We are late

I frequently ask Mi.Vida to contribute to the blog, but he’s very busy and doesn’t always have time to write something. Today he did and I’m proud to post his thoughts here.

Yesterday’s trip to the hospital to take a tour of the labor and delivery unit was a nice slice of where we are now in the pregnancy, of the work that we’ve done and the distance we have yet to go.

On the room-for-improvement side, we are late.  We are late in the pregnancy, and we are late when we leave the house.  We left for our appointment well after we intended yesterday, and an outside observer probably could have told us that we wouldn’t be able to shower, get dressed and leave in 10 minutes.  For my better half, our lateness was a referendum on her mothering skills, and as we bolted down the highway, tears streamed down her face. “I’m going to be a mom!  I can’t keep doing this.”  We arrived 15 minutes late — not the last couple to arrive for the tour — and from the looks of things, we hadn’t missed much.

The real takeaway from our lateness, however, was the unequal responsibility for that we have for our baby-related appointments.  You can probably guess which one of us bears more of the load here: it’s the one who bears more of the physical load day-to-day, and who makes our appointments in the first place.  It’s important for me and for Esperanza that we equally share this stuff; I’m not trying to just be a passenger in this journey.

On the plus side of things, the tour was wonderful, and it really put me at ease that we’ll be in good hands through the birthing process.  Esperanza also asked a lot of pointed questions that showed how thoughtful she has been about all of this and what a good mom she already is.  Experiences like yesterday help make this whole process feel more real for me, and it’s producing a jolting mix of anxiety and excitement that’s unlike anything else I’ve ever felt.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – We got way more money from AAA for our car than we expected. I’m scared to see what are premiums will be like next year though.