mama's pregnant blog

of bellies and belly-achin'

From BabyCenter: Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. His weight a pound and a half doesn't sound like much, but he's beginning to exchange his long, lean look for some baby fat. As he does, his wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and he'll start to look more and more like a newborn. His hair is probably recognizable now (in color and texture), although both may change after he's born.

2005.01.31. she goes sugarless

While I haven't completely eliminated every gram of sugar from my diet, I've cut way, way back since my shocking five-pounds-in-two-weeks weight gain. I'm going to have to do this eventually, and I'd better start working on it now.

Instead of reaching for cookies or ice cream (both of which have been banned from my cupboard), I'll have to search out granola and unsweetened yogurt, or apples (organic) and peanut butter (natural, Trader Joe's), or tamari almonds, or, in a pinch, a smoothie made with bananas and frozen raspberries and half-and-half and a smidge of maple syrup.

I've been replacing sugar and carbs with protein and dairy and fruit wherever possible. I've been increasing my veggie quotient and turning to the creaminess of full-fat yogurt and half-and-half and cream cheese to replace my yen for sweet satisfaction.

It's been working, sort of, and I haven't strayed too far yet. Two cookies to finish off the box; a barely-dusted piece of sugar toast when Everett asked for it; a splash of maple syrup when desperate. What I'm avoiding are the brownies and ginger cookies and milk shakes and oh, that siren call of Haagen Dazs. Maybe I'll birth a slim baby from a not-gigantic frame, yet. But I sure am yearning for cookies late at night.

2005.02.02. love you truman

It may seem trite, or like a Hallmark ad, but I think what I dreamed of when I thought of having child after child was something like this: me lying on the couch, toddler sitting next to me, exuberantly leaning over to hug my belly, saying, "Truman, Truman! I love you Truman!"

In the dream, my belly didn't hurt because of the hugs, and we didn't follow up by a long conversation about which of Thomas' friends Truman liked best. (I think Edward, Everett thinks "Percy, and Thomas, and Gordon, and Henry, and Edward, and Toby, and ALL the trains!"

But I sat there, cozy in my messy living room, wearing my sloppy sweats, with my two boys loving one another, and felt oh, so, so lucky. This? This is happiness.

2005.02.03. my birthing class

Tonight was mom's group, and I was worried it might be poorly attended, like the last several weeks. But mamas kept coming, until we had six, three pregnant, two with infants. I ate red beans and brown rice, and carrots, and drank blushing rose tea, and then had sourdough bread, with cream cheese, and avocados, and olive spread, and tomatoes, and it was wonderful and I cleaned both plates. Kate felt my belly until she had "diagnosed" Truman - posterior, head down. And we talked birth stories.

Nicola told the story of the most recent birth in our midst, Stephanie, who'd had little Liam at home in a tub. Stephanie's husband told her not to go downstairs; that the upstairs had a calm, an energy, a glow from the birth that was not present downstairs. And Nicola said that her basement, where she'd given birth three months prior, had the same light.

Of the four mamas there who had given birth without the aid of drugs, each one recounted part of their experience, and there was that same smile on each face as we relived that untellable journey. I could feel Truman moving inside me, pushing with all his might against the edges of his squishy home. Larissa told us all what she was hoping for, to labor at home as long as possible before going to the hospital. Kate asked what I was thinking for this time, and what I was really thinking right then was, how much I'd love to birth at home, but I couldn't answer her, really. I keep thinking about it, but it all seems so huge, and overwhelming, and out of my control, this birth with Truman.

I feel capable, and powerful, to birth without drugs. I yearn for that experience, I wish for that light, that memory of every push and pull and excruciating contraction. But I feel as if the circumstances of Truman's birth are so murky, so up in the air - will I go to the hospital tonight? In two weeks? In two months? Will the doctors wish to fill me full of IVs and epidurals and every manner of narcotic as soon as I walk my high-risk belly into the ER entrance? I can't help but thinking that it's out of my hands.

I do know that, like Larissa, I plan to stay at home as long as humanly possible, to have patience, to gather the support around me so that I can stave off the sudden blast of pain from Pitocin, the overwhelming availability of calmness and relief the epidural affords. I hope that it is possible, but I can't shake my powerlessness.

We talked pain management techniques, and how we learned them. Most of us had read the birthing book, and while some of us used imagery from this (like the "riding the wave" concept), others had just used our experiences. I had always used the focusing techniques I learned in track in college, so I could manage meets where I was entered in 10 events in one day. They're reinforced constantly in my coaching, and in the so-called "Psych-K" teachings that have helped my athletes. How did I manage when I was in constant, awful pain in Las Vegas? I just did, with moany short breaths and repetitive monotone prayers and worrying about Everett and Jonathan and giving birth in Las Vegas, instead of focusing on my pain.

And I realized that I would go to no "birthing again" class in this pregnancy, I wouldn't return to the cool-but-flaky pre-natal yoga, that my preparation would be my life, my extended group of birthing mamas, and my blogging. This, here, is my birthing class.

Despite my murky feelings, I wished our talk could go on all night, but we disbanded and I was tired and missing Everett when I drove home at 10. C-section or no, Everett is bright and sweet and amazes me every instant. My end is beautiful, but my means needs some work.

2005.02.04. wrongness

Going to the bathroom tonight I just felt terribly, awfully wrong. The weight of my baby-filled uterus seemed so, so far too much for my pelvis. I felt as if I was several centimeters dilated, aching, ready to burst.

No, no symptoms of pre-term labor; no blood, no contractions, no nausea or urges to clean the house from top to bottom (I wish). Truman kicking and punching just as always. But feeling so heavy and tired.

Moments like these, the thought of rushing to the hospital suddenly, swooping up Everett and packing my phone numbers and my knitting and my non-existent baby book, running off in my yoga pants and my shirt with a button missing, I feel so lost and lonely.

But I go to bed, or head back to the computer, and nothing happens to cause the alarm. I lie silently, waiting for Truman's re-assuring kick, and eventually, it comes, and I know that no one will go to the hospital, tonight. And I stop my worrying.

Everett loved Truman again today, so much so that he insisted on "taking Truman out" to hug him. He "picked him up" from out of my belly, hugging him close, only he kept "dropping" him. Strange. I tried to explain that you can't drop babies, but Everett was having a great time cuddling him close.

Then he got out TWO Trumans. Oohh, how I hope there aren't two Trumans in there. That would be very, very odd. He cuddled his two Trumans tight, occasionally letting me hold one, telling Truman how he loved him.

2005.02.05. warning

I take fish oil supplements (omega 3 fatty acids) at the recommendation of my buddy and nutritionist, Anita. She says it's great for digestion and, when you're pregnant, you find that having a well-oiled digestive system makes life oh so much more pleasant.

Well, tonight I pulled down my bottle for my daily dosages of fish oil and prenatal vitamins, the sum and total of the "medication" in my life. Idly, I read the label: "Women who are pregnant or lactating should consult a doctor before using this or any product."

Any product? Isn't that a little bit extreme? I can just imagine the poor pregnant woman who takes that advice, calling her doctor before using the bread, and the toaster, and the butter knife, and her maternity clothing, and, well, the phone. They're ALL products, aren't they? How would you get through five minutes of your day if you had to consult your doctor before using any product?

You know, I'm just wondering...

2005.02.05.later. feeling that birthing feeling

I drove out to my parents' house today with my brother and sister-in-law, and on the way home Destiny and I talked birth as our c-section babies slept. We started talking about labor, my labor, and how I welcomed the offers from both Kate and Destiny to be my doulas.

As we drove through the quiet, rainy Tillamook forest, clouds swirling down among the tall Northwest trees, I had flashes of that feeling of desire again, that need to experience those whole-body-constricting pains that come over you in labor, that explosion of heat in your thighs and belly and cervix that comes with pushing. And almost, as I sat in my passenger seat staring into the woody landscape flashing by, I could feel myself in labor, with Truman, I grabbed onto my contractions and held them jealously.

I couldn't wait for the moment of labor, wanted to badly to experience it immediately, and feel every breath and pain and push. I thought again about my chances of being able to go through this, and set my mind suddenly in determination: I would make this work, I would gather my patience and resolve and get my husband behind me, this time, I would wait at home until the pain was beyond bearing, I would birth this child the way I wanted to birth Everett, no needles, no hormones, no surgery.

I'm accepting if I need to have another c-section, I'd much rather have a beautiful child than a beautiful birth. I'll plan as if I need that recovery time, I know how to deal with the surgery, now. (Earlier, Destiny and I had played the old pros on abdominal surgery as we empathized with my dad, just home from the hospital with an incision stretching from pelvis to breast bone.) But I'm going to do everything I can, climb every mountain and turn down every sweet, to have Truman the "natural" way. I want my birth experience back, and I'll do whatever it takes to get it.

2005.02.06. reverse cycling

After Everett had nursed all night, every night, for a year - largely while I was working all day - I learned a term that I liked: "reverse cycling." It described perfectly my son's behavior.

My new little son is a reverse cycler, too, in a different way. When Everett calms down for sleep, Truman kicks in. Literally. Tonight, I went to knit on the couch when Everett, down early for the night, cried in his sleep. I put him down with his head resting on my chest, cuddled up against my belly. As soon as Everett stopped crying, Truman started up, thump-thump-thumping in his particular energetic alien-baby way.

It seems that every time Everett settles in for a good cuddle, Truman starts his low-pitched activity, his sounds shaking my whole body. I wonder what this summer will bring.