It was a great weekend–birth tub is set up and is vaguely heart-shaped due to a missing clip. I took 2-hour naps each day, did yoga, got outside for a walk. The drum kit has been moved out of my apartment. My sister and I did a prego photo shoot that turned out really well. And I just did a big grocery shop to prepare to feed the birth team: snacks and a big pot of chili so far. For me, I also got a palette of coconut water and a bunch of Recharges. Also herbs for post-partum and lactation tea.

I spent Saturday evening and much of Sunday morning working on the baby’s name. Now I’ll embark on one of my favorite conversation topics recently: talking about names in general without mentioning specifics! I’m not sharing the names because I don’t want opinions yet and feel like it’s a special luxury to be able to do this completely by myself. It’s also a big job, a super-important job, and not as straightforward as back in the day when you had like ten acceptable names to choose from. (Eventually I’ll run the finalists by someone in order to prevent any snafus like Justin Case or Ann Job.)

I was just reading a blog post on “Baby Name Wizard” called “Why Your Baby Name Choice is Making You Miserable.” Basically–too many options. These days, anything goes–any made-up name or crazy spelling seems to be fair game. And that amount of choice creates paralysis and, sometimes, remorse.

I’ve been working on the name for months in my mind, and this weekend I finally created a spreadsheet. There are so many good, solid names that I have to rule out due to their association with ex-boyfriends–a hazard of having a baby at 40. I’ve decided on a first name, which has been the front runner for a long time. So, with a first and last name, it should be simple to pick a middle, right?  But while I have one middle name that I love, it has no family connection and I’m looking at adding a second middle name (because, why not? I polled my friends who have two middle names or have given their kids two middle names, and they seem to love it), but now I’ve spent enough time on the analysis that I’m getting overly hung up on trying to summarize our entire family heritage and pull together the perfect meaning–it’s like writing a poem and trying to explain absolutely everything in four words.

So, I’m going to let it simmer and evolve again for a bit. How’s that for a discussion of names without divulging any particulars? By the time you hear it, it will be as perfect as it gets.

Em came over on Friday for my home visit. I always think this must start to feel old hat to her after 1100 births, but no–she was super excited for me. We’re here, we’re in the window: 37-42 weeks. After all the work and preparation I’ve done, the baby could now easily come at any time. When she checked me, though, he hadn’t dropped yet, so we probably have some time. Even once he drops it can be weeks… there’s just no way to know.

He’ll come when he’s ready, or whenever my body mysteriously triggers labor–no one knows why it happens when it does (and if they did, they would make a lot of money). So, I proceed with my last work week (going in every other day), aware that it could be anytime and it will likely be another 2-3 weeks (and could even be 4). And please note! I will not be liveblogging the birth! But I’m sure I’ll get an announcement posted before too too long. (Who knows how long though? Hard to imagine life on the other side.)

On a walk in the Presidio yesterday with my sister Aunt B, she snapped this photo. Babies and flowers in bloom! xo

38 weeks

 

 

 

 

Me sitting on a yoga ball at 37 weeks with a not-yet-assembled birth tub in the background, and, if you look really closely at what’s on the piano, a tiny pair of newborn cowboy boots:

37 weeks

You guys, I have to go to bed. I have had a mad burst of productivity in the last 24 hours, including doing my taxes last night until midnight and assembling the last of the supplies for the home birth (including buying and laundering birth sheets (clearance) and after-birth sheets (800 thread count with Target gift cards)). My midwife comes by tomorrow afternoon for a home visit to check out my level of preparation and I believe I will get a gold star.

I just took a video of my belly because the baby is exploring the limits of his current home and it’s pretty entertaining. He’s been working out for about an hour and it’s a bellyquake. I wish I could get that video on here. Hold on, let me try something…

There, I think I did it, hopefully. I’m running out of steam! Yes–my belly looks like the surface of the moon. Immense. But it’s mostly the angle :)

Feels good to be ready-ish. More to do, sure, but it’s things like–buy Recharge and coconut water and snacks. Write last thank you notes. Do comprehensive name search (I guess I won’t feel technically done with that until I have a spreadsheet). Nap, do yoga, walk, meditate, take fetal love breaks. Take daily prenatal, fish oil, probiotics, iron, black currant oil, and Mother’s Blend. Eat protein and fat. Declutter. It’s doable.

I’m going to the office every other day to conserve energy. Tomorrow working from home. Starting to compile the status reports to hand off my projects–I’m done at the end of next week!

Not wishing it to go faster. I might be singing a different tune in 4 weeks or so, but this is time is pretty incredible.

And as long as he’s happy doing a jig in there, we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing.

good night! xo

 

 

I just got a Happy Anniversary message from WordPress and it took me a second to realize that this blog is two years old yesterday! Imagine that. Two years ago was my first attempt to get pregnant, and now I’m weeks from welcoming the bambino. I wish you could see my belly dramatically wiggling in front of the keyboard right now as he does his training regimen for life on the outside.

I went back and read the inaugural post and a few of the early ones… My friend L told me last night, “I’m so happy you took the bull by the horns.” Seriously.

I’ve rounded the corner into the final weeks of pregnancy and I feel it. I got up to pee in the night and it seemed like my belly was even bigger than it was when I went to bed. A man begging for money on the street this morning wished me a smooth delivery and added, “It doesn’t look like you have much time…” And that’s one of the wildest things about this–you don’t know if you have 6 weeks left or a matter of days. How to plan?

Well, if he came tonight, which he won’t, it would be a total chaos but I can live with that because it’s not going to happen since he’ll most likely be late. It would also have to be in the hospital since I’m only 36 weeks. There’s no hospital bag, no family on call. It would be a wild and improvised event and would probably go fine. But he’ll be late so I’m not worrying about this.

Starting this Sunday I’ll be 37 weeks, and that’s the first day a home birth is possible. Which means that I need the tub set up, all the supplies ready, and many laundered hats, towels, and receiving blankets. I need the car seat installed by then. And I need to file an extension on my taxes. And do a photo shoot of my prego bod thanks to my sister and her fancy camera. So there’s a bit to do before Sunday.

Tomorrow I’ll verify his position on an ultrasound, Thursday I’ll drop off my Group B Strep sample (pray for negative) and visit the chiropractor (the numbness on my left thigh has turned to sunburn-like pain), and Friday AAA will install the carseat.

So many lists of things to do when all they need on Call the Midwife is a clean sheet, a few towels, and a basin! So many labor techniques from hypnobirthing to Bradley Method to Birthing From Within to mindfulness–CDs, podcasts, books… I crave simplicity and putting faith in my intuition, gauging the right amount of prep that leaves me calm and not overwhelmed. Ready-ish is the goal. My friend J who gave birth two weeks ago said, “K, you will just know what to do.” Inchallah. It is my deep wish.

These last days are precious, not just for planning, but to appreciate my freedom. To sleep at long stretches, to laze around, to do whatever I want at all moments. To waddle around downtown with people’s eyes covertly on my disproportional belly. Today looked so much like the day I sat in Justin Herman Plaza last August and listened to Olga’s voicemail triumphantly announcing my pregnancy test results–”I have great, great, great news!” And now that tiny cluster of cells is a rumbling 6-pound baby with only one thing left on his to-do list in utero: to fatten up.

On Sunday, I skyped with my sister B and our nieces–here they are checking out the belly. (After this, they showed me their bellies, obv.)  :)

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Please watch this video of NYC people dancing to the song “Happy”–only if you want to feel happy, smile, and maybe (probably) dance. It gets me teary in the same way that the Virgin America safety video gets me teary–so life-affirming, somehow. That’s what it’s all about.

I’ve been feeling happy! Why? BABY FLIPPED! I went to the chiropractor on Wednesday and she said, “This baby is head down!” and Em confirmed it the next day. It was the hugest relief, just huge. I had done a lot of the techniques on my list, and some of them may have worked. Most effective seemed to be the moxa followed by a hot bath with frozen vegetables on the top of my belly. My belly was rippling with his dramatic movements.

But, most of all, it was a lesson in trusting my intuition–and also, crazily enough, his. I put my faith in the idea that this baby knows how he’d like to be born. I gazed at this poster to give him additional inspiration:

headdown

And he totally did his thing. To ensure that he stays in place, I’m still doing the moxa every other day, deep squats, walking, and listening with my new fetalscope to confirm that his heartbeat can be heard best just above my pelvis. Yay, baby, yay, baby!!!

Also, I’m just happy right now. My baby is on his way and I’m already 35 weeks. Two friends on a long road of infertility just let me know they’re pregnant–local SMC friend J and also a blogger friend in England who’s also an SMC (and while you’re on her site, don’t miss her video “Ice, Ice Babies”). Healthy new babies were recently born to longtime friend L and newer friend and prenatal yoga partner and fellow homebirther J–the first of our crew to give birth (I have yet to hear the story!!). I got about halfway through my thank you cards (phew). I ordered some stuff I needed online (including an overdue giant body pillow), picked up my laundry, cleaned the house (ps you don’t realize how much cleaning the house requires bending). Went to a dinner party last night with 3 pregnant friends and their husbands, all due within the next 6 weeks. I’m almost done with Book 6 of Harry Potter. Kabuki Springs is going to email me when they get more green sarongs in from Indonesia. I’ve started writing down names. These are good times!

I don’t write about work here but let’s just say that it feels less and less relevant as the approaching birth takes center stage. I’ll leave my projects in good shape, but man it takes a lot of energy to get through a work day. On weeknights I just want mindless viewing (just rewatched Desperately Seeking Susan) and to not do my dishes. I can totally understand taking off 4 weeks before the due date, although I’m definitely not wishing these days to go faster–they are sweet and precious and I need them all to get through the to do list. Maternity leave starts 4/25.

So what’s still on the list, let’s see…I need a space heater. Who told me they could give me one again? Please remind me. Need to put in the little washer and dryer. Need a sarong from Kabuki (I picture myself laboring in a sarong). By 37 weeks, I need the carseat installed, the tub set up and tested out, and…the house decluttered (getting there). I need to do my taxes and do a will. I need to give away a pile of baby stuff I don’t need from the hand-me-down pile. I need to find a pediatrician.

I had a dream that I started going into labor. I experienced a dream contraction which I breathed through with my mom by my side. I woke up and was glad I wasn’t really in labor yet and also kind of laughed at myself for inventing a sensation I can’t possibly imagine. Before I went to study abroad, I had recurring dreams of being in France, walking down cobblestone streets, thinking, “I can’t believe I’m really here!”–and I wasn’t. I had not yet been to France and my brain was cutely trying to invent what it might be like. I can sense it beginning to do that now.

Although I don’t have many details yet from J about her new Peanut, she did text me this today, “I feel like I was in a weight lifting competition and I won! Sore, tired, proud! I get emotional just thinking that people I love like you will go through it soon.”

Which of course gets me emotional too… She came with me to birth class as my partner two nights before giving birth!

Here’s my selfie for this week. I read today that the baby won’t get much longer at this point but will continue to fatten up by about half a pound a week, so there will be more growing to do. According to strangers with no internal editors, I have achieved “about to pop” status–with 5 weeks to go.

Have a great week, friends! xo

35weeks

 

 

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I had a directional ultrasound yesterday and confirmed that bébé is breech at 34 weeks. Eek!

He was head down at every other ultrasound, and even two weeks ago when Em checked me she felt his head in my pelvis. But on Thursday, Em couldn’t find his head–it seemed that baby boy felt the need to explore upward. Now I need to do everything in my power to get him to head back down.

My childhood friend V is visiting and came with me to the appt at UCSF yesterday, which was with a certified nurse midwife I’ve never seen before and I’m pretty sure the one most people don’t like. After giving my urine sample, she rushed me to the exam room, saying she had to hurry to make it to her own doctor’s appointment. (We had been 5 minutes late after missing the exit in Daly City.) She got me on the table, lubed me up with not-warm lube, and the very second she got the image on the monitor said, “the baby is breech.” So, not a lot of mysterious waiting. Then I watched a series of baby images fly by on the screen as she confirmed his position (including seeing his boy parts for the first time–cool), and then she said things like, “I strongly recommend not having a home birth with a breech baby.” (My understanding is that due to recent legislation, midwives are forbidden from assisting home births of breech babies, twins, and any baby being born outside of 37-42 weeks anyway, and I obviously wouldn’t do it unassisted.) Then she flew out.

Mostly I was annoyed that we didn’t get the chance to leisurely gaze at my baby on the monitor. I was pretty sure Em was right after the appointment the day before–I’d been getting a little obsessed over the previous week with figuring out the position of the baby, waking up at 3am and going to http://www.spinningbabies.com to work on belly mapping. But I just could not figure out what was what. Big kicks here, little flutters there, what the heck is this bump? Now I feel like my intuition was telling me something had changed.

I called Em, and she gave me a bunch of strategies for the coming days as we have 2-3 weeks to turn this situation around. After doing a bunch of googling, I can see that these are pretty universal:

  • Lie on an inverted ironing board against the couch with feet up and head down for 15 mins, twice a day. (I tried it this morning and it sucked. I googled further to find people complaining about it but found no complaints…maybe I did it wrong, but it was the same old discomfort of being on my back which cuts off circulation, plus not being able to breathe, plus feeling all my weigh pushing down on my neck, plus my tailbone grinding into the board. This one needs work–I’ll try with just pillows.)
  • Take pulsatilla, a homeopathic remedy–I took some last night.
  • Moxa: Chinese medicine technique of applying heat near an acupressure point associated with turning the baby: the outside pinkie toe (bladder 67). I’m getting some moxa from Em when I go to breakfast at her house tomorrow.
  • Acupuncture (same pinkie toe point–already had this on Thurs)
  • Lean forward, crawl around on hands and knees, do handstands and flips in the pool
  • Put frozen vegetables by the baby’s head and a warm compress near pelvis, coaxing him toward the warmth
  • Play music or shine light near the pelvis, maybe he’ll get curious and come on down?
  • Talk to baby, meditate, write out emotions, chant, recruit support and head-down vibes from blog followers

I won’t bother going into all the scenarios if he doesn’t flip by 37 weeks, because he will. He just will! (Visualization from V: I’m so grateful my baby flipped and I got to have a natural birth!)

Still, it’s upsetting, and my first lesson in a while in You Do Not Control This. This one is really up to the babe. I’m showing him every 5 minutes with my hands the direction to go, which is roughly counter-clockwise. Turn, baby!

I talked to my sister D last night and she said the same thing happened with her first–and she turned with plenty of time.

Yay, baby, yay baby!!!

I’m going to try a new strategy tonight: write a little before the quinoa is done, and write a little after.

I’m so beat. Sometimes acupuncture just knocks me out so my eyes are heavy like I need to go straight to bed and it’s only 7pm. And sometimes just being this pregnant is enough to make anyone deeply tired. I keep dropping things on the floor! Over and over. It’s a long trip down and a workout coming up. I got on the bus tonight and three women jumped out of their seats. So I guess I’m getting on the more noticeable side of looking big and tired.

So much to write about! Better check the quinoa.

I’m eating leftover Thai basil chicken with quinoa now, and baby boy is tapping my belly button to let me know that he is probably still posterior. Thankfully, he’s head down but we want him facing my back and lately he’s facing front. My sister’s daily chant to her babies in utero: “Head down! Chin tucked! Arms straight! Back to belly! Yay, baby, yay, baby!” (Did I get it right, D?)  It worked, so I’m doing it. I have yet to look at the site, but apparently there’s advice on how to get your baby positioned on http://www.spinningbabies.com (love the name)

I had my shower last Saturday. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Coincidentally on International Women’s Day, this was a collection of amazing women–artists, therapists, health practitioners, small business owners, nonprofit directors, entrepreneurs, salespeople, musicians, researchers, engineers, teachers. Stay at home moms, single moms, partnered moms, single ladies, and pregnant homebirthers. Dreamers and doers, big-hearted givers, touchy-feely sentimentalists, smart and sassy jokesters. They offered to babysit, they offered to drop what they’re doing to help, they offered their husbands’ help for man jobs.They brought baby gear from their garages and closets. I adore these women and feel so fortunate to have this local community (plus many dear friends afar!). One thing I am proud to say I do well is pick my friends.

Many joyful tears were shed as we anticipate the arrival of Baby Boy! Having my sisters on either side of me at the front of the room (in matching dresses, unplanned) left me so moved that I became kind of quiet and awestruck (although in all the photos I have this huge, glowing smile). D flew cross-country to be there and brought adorable decorations. B hosted and made it look easy. They, along with my mom and friends L and C, planned and executed the shower I wanted, without me lifting a finger or even being very specific. L made eclairs. C was a blur of activity throughout the party she worked so hard.The concentration of love that day was so sweet.

So, I’ve been floating on a love cloud ever since Saturday, and, on top of the outpouring of love, there’s been an outpouring of help. After being so used to doing everything myself, it is a miracle when someone takes down the trash or cleans the bathroom floor (let’s be honest, I just don’t do it–thanks Mom), or grocery shops, or does the laundry. And then there was all the baby prep–clothes categoried by 0-3 months, 3-6, 6-12, 12-24. This kid may not wear the same outfit twice with all the hand-me-downs we’ve received (I might add–thanks especially to M and A for mass quantities of beautiful boy clothes). During the shower, my dad and J went to Target to get big storage bins and then attacked my closets. Furniture is all in place. Random things around the house have been fixed. My sister D helped me comb through what I should keep and what’s duplicated or unneeded and what I’ll need when. My parents even took a giant ball of tangled jewelry and made a project of matching the earrings, hanging the necklaces, collecting the rings. I would have never found the time to do that!

All the big stuff is pretty much in place, which means I no longer have to sit around wide-eyed wondering how it’s all going to happen. I have a changing table, a co-sleeper, 3 strollers, I think 5 different carriers, dressers and cabinets full of clothes. I have diapers and wipes and burp cloths and swaddling blankets and a carseat for now and also the one I’ll need 6 months later. So so so many hats. Many terrific books! Gift certificates for food! And even some cash for necessities! The relief I feel is consuming. The nesting/prep impulse satisfied. I’m not done but I’m in really good shape, and if baby came tomorrow, which is always possible, I would be pretty darn ready. (Please stay in there, dude.)

So, yes, another gratitude post. Such a one-hit wonder! But it’s kind of shocking, even for me, how fabulous this all feels. This baby has already: made me stronger, brought new friends, somehow engineered a bigger apartment right before he was conceived, gotten me to dream big about my future, helps me  take better care of myself, and teaches me not to take any of it for granted. He’s an amazing guy!!

I already do feel like I know him. And I do. Just not in the way I know anyone else. It’s the coolest thing.

And I never forget the path that got me here, nor my friends still on that path. Love to you, and blessings.

I’ve been wanting to make this list for a while so I’ll do it now even though this post is getting long:

Things I want to remember about pregnancy.

–My left outer thigh has been pretty much numb for the past 4 months.

–Sleeping positions require strategy. I wake up whimpering and then have to set up the pillows in a new configuration. Then hope I can get back to sleep before getting too hungry or having to pee.

–All day, I’m having an ongoing, internal conversation with the little one who so randomly flails around in there and gets the hiccups a lot. It’s impossible to care as much about a conference call when your baby has the hiccups in your belly. Sometimes he thumps (lately on my bladder). Sometimes his movement feels shivery or bubbly. Sometimes it feels like there’s a little hand feeling around thoughtfully on the other side.

–I crave meat. I recently read that my blood type (O negative) does better with meat (so much for 10 years of vegetarianism back in the day). I also crave chewing ice (my iron is low but not really that low). And, of course, carbs and sugar but that’s nothing new. Dairy is my friend.

–There are many, many discomforts of pregnancy that I have been lucky not to experience. But today I was walking and wondering if I’d experience round ligament pain. Maybe I was wondering because I felt like I was starting to get what felt like a stitch in my side. Pretty soon it was so bad I had to stop walking and take the bus. Who knows? It’s all par for the course.

–Every time I do anything, I am conscious of being a pregnant lady. The only exceptions are: momentarily when I’m really concentrating on something. And there’s a side-lying position in bed when I can almost imagine I have my regular body (and this is achieved by a complicated pillow configuration). I stare at women’s flat bellies, remembering. But lately it feels like my identity and it’s hard to imagine that a big transitional life event is about to put me on the other side. I always thought the empty belly would be a little sad, but then there’s the enormous consolation of having your baby where you can see him and love him up.

–The timing of the pregnancy has gone ideally. It doesn’t feel too fast or too slow, just right. Last night, my friend E advised, “Pretty soon, you’re going to start feeling trapped and freaked out like–I need this baby out! And that’s normal.” So, that may be coming (especially considering I have about 8 weeks of continuing to get bigger). But even the crappy parts are part of pregnancy, and I wanted to be pregnant for so long… It’s hard to be too pissed off about any of it.

–and, finally, my boobs are barely any bigger. So weird! We’ll give this one time.

OK, friends, time for bed. Love to you. Thanks for letting me bliss out for a sec. xo

 

 

I’ve been floating around on a cloud of love over my shower weekend and occupied with many projects with so many family helpers in town. I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of my tribe and baby boy may not wear the same outfit twice! Wait’ll you see the cowboy boots! My apartment is in great shape, just some easy projects left.

Feeling blessed as I type this out on my new phone in a sleepy, rainy Monday morning and baby rolls around inside. As my midwife’s midwife told her years ago, “Babies bring abundance.” Thank you.

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Just spent the weekend with four of my best friends from college, chez moi. They rearranged my apartment and drank all my champagne. We talked and talked and talked and it was exactly like old times. Now my parents are in town for a week and my first childbirth class is tomorrow. Life is busy and full of organizing and planning and love.

I have to be at the office at 7am tomorrow so must sign off immediately!

31 weeks at Lands End. xo

week 31

 

Well, this is exciting–I sat down not knowing what I would write about and we’ll just see where it goes.

Before this blog, I started a blog years ago called “I should be writing.” I know it, I feel it, it’s that thing that comes up for me when people ask–what do you really want to do? what’s your passion project? what’s your dream? Yet I somehow resist Annie Lamott’s advice: “butt in the chair.” So many things that must get done first–from enough sleep (which lately is #1), to work, to errands, to keeping up with friends. And no, I won’t get on my own case right now while I’m 30 weeks pregnant and am doing a generally impressive job of balancing it all. But, let’s be honest–this is an interesting time to write about. And, even though I have no visceral sense yet of the sleep deprivation and bodily fluids and overwhelming love about to take over my life, I hope I’ll keep finding the energy to write. Blogs, books, miscellaneous projects that lead in cool directions.

Right now, I’m watching Arcade Fire on Austin City Limits while the baby makes ripples on my belly.

I like it when I put my hand on my belly and it feels like the baby is feeling around on the other side, curious as me about who’s out there. Sometimes he does a booty shake. Sometimes it feels like he is purposely tickling me on the side. I think he already has a sense of humor.

He is my passion project right now, obviously. Nothing at all competes with that. I just watched an interview with Anna Daveare Smith, talking about her goal of making the world better. What am I doing to make the world better? I am working on putting another lovebug into the world.

I know it’s all bigger than my to-do list–I need less doing and more being as my due date approaches.

I visited two dear friends in the suburbs over the weekend, both with big houses and husbands and three kids each. I sometimes get so used to my alternative path that I forget how alternative it is, hanging out with my single mom friends, comparing notes on navigating the challenges of our expensive city. This is my new normal, the life I created, the life the universe provided. No, my son probably won’t have the backyard and excellent public schools and laundry rooms of my youth as long as we stay here. But he will have an incredible city full of opportunities at his doorstep, his own room (a miracle), and so much love.

Someone asked me recently if I felt miserable and couldn’t wait for the pregnancy to be over. I don’t even speak this language. Yes, I’ve been super lucky with an easy physical experience. But after all it took to get here I wouldn’t trade in one minute. I’m happy to be here, exactly here, with 2+ months to go. I have a bunch of visitors about to flood in over the next couple weeks. They will help me move furniture and organize closets and celebrate. This celebration feels bigger than all previous ones combined.

So, yes–we’re back to gratitude. We have everything we need. “The love you seek is already here.” good night xo

 

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5/4/14

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