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Monday
Dec072015

How I feel about having a boy

I was so sure I was going to have two daughters. Long before I even had one daughter, my vision for my family was two girls. I have no idea why, it's just what got caught in my head. So, as I said before, finding out I was going to have a boy was quite a shock. It took me most of the second half of my pregnancy to adjust to the idea. I was not disappointed or upset, but I did have to adjust my personal picture of my future family.

Even after it stopped feeling weird to say "him" and "he," I still couldn't actually picture myself with a son. Part of it, I'm sure, is that all I've ever known is what it is like to have a girl, but the idea of a boy felt very foreign to me. 

That is until he was born.

When I met my son, suddenly it didn't seem strange at all. It felt completely natural and even predestined. It felt unfamiliar to think about having a boy, but it felt completely familiar to have this boy. My boy. My Drummond.

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Tuesday
Nov172015

Introducing my baby boy

Sixteen days ago I had a baby. Having a newborn and an almost-three-year-old doesn't leave a lot of time to get on a computer, so this is my first opportunity to introduce you to my son:

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Drummond Michael Z-M

He was born November 1, 2015 at 7:33am after a four hour labor (more on that in a later post!). He was 7 lbs 13 oz, and 21 inches long. He was born healthy, and it was a blessedly uncomplicated birth.

Drum is now over two weeks old. A few days ago he weighed in at 8 lbs 4.5 oz, so he's eating and growing well! And I've been feeling decent, as well, which is a big change from my experience when Mo was born. I have a lot to say about my post-partum experience, but that will have to be a later post, too. For now, more pictures.

This is the one I used to introduce him on Instagram:

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Mo was interested in her brother for about 30 seconds when she came to the hospital to meet him:

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Here he is the first night he was at home:

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Mike went back to work this week, and I'm home alone with Drummond, and he's starting to stir from his nap. More later!

Thursday
Oct292015

An update at 39 weeks

At my 39 week appointment on Tuesday, I got to do a 3D ultrasound. I've always found 3D scans to be a bit creepy, and I would not have opted for one if it cost any extra or required a separate appointment. But my OB does in-office ultrasounds, and they now have a machine that can do 3Ds with the flip of a switch. We've never been able to do it at earlier appointments because he wasn't positioned right or there wasn't enough fluid to make a good image. But on Tuesday everything lined up and she offered to take a quick 3D peek, and I said sure!

Now, if you look too closely, this is creepy. I mean, it looks like he has a bat wing! But in order to get his face in focus, the fore and backgrounds get funky, so that bat wing is his arm and some fluid and whatnot, but I promise he can't actually fly (though he may be nocturnal...). Look at his sweet, little face!

The tech said it looks like he has full lips, and that he looks very content in there. Apparently she was right. I thought he might be here by now, but looks like he's staying put awhile longer.

I met with the doctor after the ultrasound and we discussed induction. I'm scheduled for the morning of my due date, November 4. I still hope he'll come before then, but having something on the calendar and discussing it in real terms actually put my mind at ease a bit. I was dilated to 2-3 centimeters and 50% effaced, and because of that small amount of progress already, she said my options for induction would be either Pitocin or breaking my water, and that it would be discussed the day of depending on how things looked when I went in. I like knowing that there are not a million things up in the air, so even if I have to be induced, I don't have to go into it wondering which of several methods might be used.

Baby Tennis still has five days to show up on his own before it comes to that though. And I thought today might be the day. October 29 was my official guess in my family's baby pool, and yesterday (October 28) I started having some signs of early labor. Early that morning, I had the kind of gassy/crampy sensations that kicked off my labor with Mo, and then I had some other less-pleasant-to-discuss signs (ladies, you know that thing that has a terrible name that you often lose shortly before labor? That.). Around 6pm I started having regular contractions that, over several hours, became pretty regular and frequent. About 6 minutes apart. But they were not painful. Uncomfortable, but not painful. Six hours of contractions that didn't intensify, and I wasn't sure if they were Braxton Hicks that just happened to be regular or if they were real contractions that happened to be mild. 

Turns out it was the former. I went to bed around midnight and within an hour, the contractions had ceased - all but a few sporadic ones. I even fell asleep for a good chunk of the night, and in the morning I wasn't feeling anything at all. Still nothing this afternoon. 

So it looks like my guess will be wrong. There is still time to start labor and give birth before midnight, but it doesn't seem likely. I know it doesn't matter and he'll be here in less than a week regardless, but it was hard to have that tease last night only to turn into nothing. 

Any tips to get things moving again? Things that actually might work? Or maybe ways to help me chill out so I don't go crazy with the anticipation?

Saturday
Oct242015

Thoughts at 38.5 weeks

I'm only 38.5 weeks pregnant, but I already feel overdue. I think because of the gestational diabetes I got it in my head that he was coming early, and so now, even though it is still plenty early, it seems like it's late. The other thing is that I've become a little frightened about the possibility of being induced. I'm trying to keep an open mind so that I don't feel disappointed or terrified if it has to happen, but as the possibilty draws nearer, I realize I really prefer to avoid that. I've heard and read stories about induction that really make me uncomfortable. Others that sound just fine, but the uncomfortable ones stand out.

If the baby doesn't come on his own by my due date, they will want to induce me on or near that date, so it feels like there's this countdown, this ticking clock. He has a week and a half to come on his own, and every day he doesn't feels like a missed opportunity.

I don't want to be impatient. With Mo, I didn't feel rushed and I was content to be pregnant as long as I needed to be. I don't want to wish this pregnancy away, and I do want to enjoy the last days of being a family of three. And I actually feel pretty good, so it's not a discomfort thing (although just recently my ribs started hurting like they did with Mo, like baby's butt is pushing them out of place, and it hurts!). So basically, I don't want to be in a rush, but I feel impatient!

In other news, I'm kind of scared. Of labor. They say you forget the pain of child birth, but I have not forgotten. I don't remember it as clearly as I did in the months immediately following, but it was a pretty terrible experience for me and I am scared to go there again. I've already said that I'm much more open to an epidural this time, so I know there is the option for pain relief if things get unmanageable. But it's not just the pain. It's the endurance that is required - emotionally, mentally, physically. It's the possibilty of so many things going wrong. 

I have such conflicting emtions: I'm eager to have this baby. But I'm scared too. 

This is a terrible selfie-in-a-dirty mirror moment, but it's the most recent pregnant picture I have available. Taken the day before 38 weeks.

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Thursday
Oct152015

A new mindset for birthing this baby

This pregnancy has been different from my pregnancy with Mo in so many ways, and the way I've prepared for labor and delivery has been different, as well. Recently someone told me that with her first pregnancy she wasn't very informed and just went along for the ride, and the second time she worked with a midwife and felt a lot more empowered and aware of the process. I think I'm the opposite. Last time I read everything I could get my hands on, I had a doula, I was incredibly informed and prepared and absoluetly empowered.

But this time? It's not that I don't care how things go down, but I have a different mindset. I didn't fully realize it last time, but I really did have certain expectations for how things would go. And then my labor was crazy and nothing like I expected, and so much of what I had done to prepare myself didn't matter. This time I have a much more open mind and I'm trying to have as few expectations as possible. That's not to say I'm letting go of my power, but I am accepting that there are things I can't control. If I set myself up with all kinds of expectations and they don't play out, I may feel disappointed and guilty. Those are not feelings I care to feel at the birth of my child. Instead, I'm focusing on the fact that at the end of this, if I get a baby, little else matters.

Mike and I still talked through some things and wrote out some "birth preferences." This is not one of those "My birth plan is to have a baby!" things. I'm not naive enough to think that just because you're pregnant, you get a baby, and I'm not uninvolved enough to not consider certain possibilities and what I might prefer in certain situations. But ultimately, I'm focusing on the end goal: a healthy baby and a healthy me. How we get there doesn't seem to matter as much as it did the first time around.

There are three things that happened that probably contributed to this new mindset:

1. I've already had a baby, and it went nothing like I thought it would. 

2. I watched my sister give birth in April. This is the same sister that had her first child the same day (well technically the day before, but just by two hours) as I had Mo. We started labor at the same time, and she had a completely unmedicated birth while I ended up getting an epidural after 12 hours. I knew it was the right decision for me, but I couldn't help but compare our experiences. A small part of me felt ashamed that she was stronger than me.

Over time (and related to number 2 below), I came to realize that it doesn't matter how you get your baby. If you get a living baby at the end, you're way ahead of a lot of people. And watching my sister give birth earlier this year really drove home for me that every labor and delivery is different, and it's unfair to compare.

There was no part of Em's labor that I recognized because it was so different from mine. That doesn't mean it was easier, and she's still a rock star for having two unmedicated births, but it was so different that there is really no comparing. And in the end, guess what. She had a baby. Just like I had. We got to that conclusion in two completely different ways, but the end result was the same.

That was a real eye opening experience for me. It seems so obvious, I know, but it was somehow earth shattering for me. Her labor and delivery were like this, mine were like that, yet we both had a baby at the end. And now we both have almost-three-year-olds, and how they came into the world is such a teeny tiny part of who they are and what they mean to us.

3. The other thing that happened to change my perspective is I had a second miscarriage. And got gestational diabetes. 

I've already written a couple times about how the miscarriage affected me. It shattered any last shred of innocence I had left. I guess in a way I feel like having the kind of birth I want is a luxury when the real goal is to have a living baby. I still fully believe women should be informed and be active participants in their birth experiences, and if you have a birth plan and intend to have the birth you desire, I support you! But for me, everything else kind of fell away when I lost a second pregnancy. A baby, that's what I want. Not everyone who wants that gets it.

I hope my birth experience is wonderful and that I feel strong and empowered no matter what happens. But no matter what happens, if I get a living baby at the end, that's all I need.

The gestational diabetes also brought a new perspective. That and other complications that have set this pregnancy apart from mine with Mo have shifted my focus. I've had to expend so much energy on managing GD and all the added efforts and added appointments that go along with it, and I've used the remainder of my energy to stay on top of my job and the mothering of a 2.5 year old when I'm so utterly exhausted, that there isn't a lot left to worry about what I want in a birth experience.

With Mo, I had the luxury of learning everything I could and figuring out what mattered most to me, and I think this birth experience will automatically reap the benefits of that. But I have a pretty open mind about what might happen. I might have to be induced - rather than be frustrated by that, I'm open to it. I might end up needing a c-section - rather than be devestated by the prospect, I'm ready to accept that. I may very well get an epidural again - rather than feel disappointed or guilty, I'm prepared to make that decision with pride if it's the best thing for me.

I'm 37 weeks and 1 day today. I could have this baby any day now. I just want him to get here safely, that's all that matters in the end.

36 weeks

36 Weeks