Monthly Archives: September 2013

The journey is complete

The URL for this blog contains the words “partus melior,” Latin for “better birth.” I gave the blog the English title of “Journey to a Better Birth.”

I’m happy to say that yesterday, that journey came to completion. My yellow bump turned blue as my son, Serge Constantine, was born at 6:10 PM, weighing in at 9 lbs 5 oz and measuring 22.5 inches long with a head circumference of 36 cm, after 8 hours of induced labor. I had a doula-assisted birth in the hospital and though it was not completely “natural,” it was better than my last birth in just about every way imaginable.

Complete birth story with pics of Constantine (called “Costa” for short) will follow soon.

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Categories: Babies, Labor & Delivery, Personal | 1 Comment

Induction imminent

Things that have happened since my last post…

Did the non-stress test at the hospital on Monday night. Baby passed with flying colors.

Went to my post-due-date check-up on Thursday morning, where my one and only hot doctor had returned. I consented to a cervical check for the first time this trimester, but told him I was pretty certain my cervix was closed (I’d checked myself the night before). He expressed amazement that I check my own cervix and did the check. Yup, cervix was closed for business. He said they’d like to schedule an induction for this Saturday (9/28); I flat-out said “no” and said I did not want to induce until I was 42 weeks. He went and checked with their “most liberal” attending physician, and she said the latest she’d “let” me go was Tuesday (10/1), when I’d be 41 + 4. I asked what kind of induction they were talking about, and he said probably mechanical later augmented by Pitocin. The mention of Pitocin really, really did not thrill me.

He asked me to come into the hospital at 7 AM on Saturday morning, said that was his day to be working in the OB unit. He wanted me to do another non-stress test and an AFI ultrasound to check on the baby’s amniotic fluid. My doula said:

IT'S A TRAP!

She figured that, since that was the day that was originally proposed for induction, they’d heavily push induction that day.
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Categories: Labor & Delivery, Prenatal Care | 1 Comment

Ready

It’s 5 PM on Sunday night and it is now a pretty safe bet that my doctor will be available to deliver my baby when I go into labor.  My pastor should be available to visit me during labor and give me a blessing as well.

Now I’m just hoping and praying that this little troll baby gets this party started on his/her own before hot doctor starts bugging me to do an induction. I have a non-stress test scheduled at the hospital on Monday night at 6 PM, then I’m seeing hot doctor for a check-up on Thursday morning at 7:45 AM.

My employer (who has been so wonderful to me) seems a bit uncomfortable with me working past my due date, and though he’s too polite to say it, I think they were planning on striking my job from their budget no later than my due date. So I’ve agreed to tap out after Tuesday’s shift if I have not delivered by then.

More importantly though: I finally feel ready for this. My hospital bag is packed, my daughter’s bag is packed for staying with a friend for a few days, I’ve created several playlists worth of songs to labor to that I can play at the hospital, the bassinet is all ready for baby to sleep in, the infant car seat is installed into my car, and I’ve reached a sense of peace and excited anticipation for this birth. I’ve also prepared a set of excerpts from Margaret L. Hammer’s Giving Birth that I’d like to have read to me during delivery. I e-mailed a copy to my doula and printed another copy for my hospital bag. With DD, I don’t think I ever felt ready. I was afraid of labor beforehand, afraid while it was happening, and then I was afraid of being her mother after she arrived. With this baby, I’m like, “bring it!”

My marital problems? On the shelf but not forgotten.

Oh, and Mike’s Hard Limeade? Yeah, I really am packing that into my hospital bag:

Labor & Delivery Bag

So as they said in Cabin in the Woods, “Let’s get this party started!”

Categories: Hot Doctor, Labor & Delivery | 2 Comments

Reflections on the 3rd Trimester

Well, here I am. If this post is running, it’s because today is my due date. Though the third trimester technically goes on until I deliver, I figure 13 weeks of third trimester is plenty enough to reflect on it.

Most Favorite Parts of the Third Trimester

  • Going back to work
  • Getting into my fantastic new apartment and away from my nightmare landlady
  • Having a beautiful baby shower
  • Feeling my little troll continue to kick and roll around
  • Getting close to delivery and knowing that my baby will be here soon
  • Seeing my daughter’s growing excitement and affection for her little sibling
  • Finishing my newborn cloth diapers

Least Favorite Parts of the Third Trimester

  • The physical symptoms. Really, I’m not sure that there are any good physical symptoms in the third trimester. In sum: feeling huge, a belly that just won’t get out of your way, more acid reflux, more hemorrhoids.
  • Having to be a contortionist to cut my own toenails or trim my lady garden
  • My marital stress (though at this point, I think I’ve reached the “acceptance” stage of grief and made peace with the reality that my marriage is dead. I just haven’t decided yet where to dump the body.)
  • People who think it’s acceptable to call me “fat” or “fatso.” A lady at church did this to me twice on Sunday. Seriously, not appreciated.
  • Finding out that I’m GBS+

That’s it for now. Here’s hoping bubs stays put till Sunday night so that my hot doctor will be back in town to deliver him/her!

Categories: Third Trimester Symptoms | Leave a comment

Scrub

I’ve told my husband a million times that I am not, not, NOT okay with him making expenses for his stupid job. It takes him forever to put in for reimbursement, whereupon it takes his jackass boss months to pay us back, and I wind up having to play the roll of collections company. “Did you get the money from Jackass boss?” “Have you put in for reimbursement from Jackass boss?” “Has Jackass boss paid us back yet?” It’s exhausting and unfair to me, and his stupid boss really ought to just get a damned company credit card so that his employees can make these expenses on the company dime and not have to worry about reimbursement.

I caught him making expenses for his job again a few weeks ago. I confronted him about it, about why he keeps on doing it when he knows I am absolutely not okay with it. He shrieked at me like a little boy, “BECAUSE IT’S MY MONEY AND I CAN DO WHAT I WANT WITH IT!!!” He seems to not understand that his money needs to go towards paying rent and other bills same as my money does.

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Categories: Labor & Delivery, Personal, Separation, Work | 1 Comment

Breastfeeding Made Simple

Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett (2010) — This book came recommended by my doula and I have to say, I liked it quite a lot. As I browsed breastfeeding book reviews on Amazon, I got worried because I saw several that seemed to take a rather judgmental perspective on breastfeeding mothers who work. I consider the breadwinner-SAHP model  to be so myopic and divorced from the reality of such a large swath of human experience throughout history, it’s amazing to me that people can still promote it with a straight face–let alone try and guilt women for choosing to work outside the home. [1] And yet, there are several breastfeeding books published here in the 21st century that only offer advice on how to manage a pumping-and-work schedule after lecturing working mothers on how staying at home is what’s best for their babies. [2] I wasn’t interested in any of those.

I’m happy to say that BMS is lacking in such preachiness, and presents some very practical information on how to establish breastfeeding, maintain a milk supply, and troubleshoot problems. Looking back, I can see so many things that I did wrong with my firstborn, though she was a cleft palate baby who could not breastfeed (more on that in a moment). For example, I typically did not try to feed her until she was upset and crying. I saw crying as the ultimate cue to begin feeding. BMS says to look for early feeding cues such as rooting, sucking on hands, etc. and try to feed baby before s/he becomes upset. BMS also shoots down some breastfeeding myths that I’ve often heard preached (that eating more food improves milk supply, that you have to wait for your nipples to “toughen up” in order to get through pain in the beginning). It explains how pumping can be used along with breastfeeding to help improve milk supply.

With my daughter, upon learning about the palate, I initially set out to exclusively pump and bottle feed her. My, was I in over my head. I did not have a good-quality pump, just a cheap single-breast electric pump from Wal-Mart, so pumping for her was extremely cumbersome. I didn’t make an effort to pump 8-12 times per day, that’s for sure. Since I found pumping so cumbersome, I did it as little as possible, which is probably what killed my milk supply. After about 3-4 weeks, I found myself forced to supplement with formula. 1-2 weeks later, I gave up altogether, let my milk dry up, and went to formula exclusively. Looking back, I wish I had invested the $300-$400 in a good, high-quality, electric double-breast pump, gotten up in the middle of the night for at least one pumping session, etc.

I do have a few quibbles with this book. The authors actually applaud New York City’s paternalistic move to promote breastfeeding by refusing to allow hospitals to hand out formula samples. I guess I’m of the opinion that women are not all mindless sheeples and can make their own choices about breastfeeding vs. formula feeding without being barred from getting free stuff, but the authors seem to disagree. The authors also suggest that cleft palate babies can be partially breastfed. That’s news to me. They never make any kind of a distinction between a soft cleft palate and a hard cleft palate, which is a pretty significant difference, leaving me to wonder how much they actually looked into the subject before writing on it.

Still, I liked the book a lot and found it helpful and informative. Overall I’d give it 4.5/5 stars.
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Categories: Book Reviews, Breastfeeding | Leave a comment

39 weeks

I am 39 weeks today, and now my doctor is out of town.

He says the earliest he could possibly be back in town to deliver my baby is on the evening of Sunday, September 22nd, when I would be 40 w + 2 d pregnant. My baby has moved down a little bit, but has not dropped entirely, and he said that while there are no guarantees and it is impossible to say for sure, he will not be surprised if I do make it to when he returns. He’s promised me that, if I do go in the next 8.5 days, whoever delivers my baby will have a copy of my birth plan and be advised of my birth preferences. He also promised me that the back-up doctor will call him and keep him posted on my status.

According to the statistics at this site, my odds of delivering before my doctor returns are about 36.9% – 41.6% (depending on whether we include day 40 w + 2 d in the tally). I’d really love for him to be there, so I’m really hoping baby stays put, but I also know that it’s time to turn my thoughts to how I will handle labor and delivery without him. I’ve prepared, I’ve visualized, I’ve hired good support, and I’ve prayed. Deep down I know that while I want my doctor there, I don’t need him there.

It may be a little on the cheesy side, but I remember that scene from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 2 finale, where Buffy is fighting Angelus and Angelus is getting the upper hand. He’s about to finish Buffy off by running her through the head with his sword, and he taunts her. “No weapons … no friends … no hope. Take all that away and what’s left?” As he tries to stab her, Buffy catches the sword between her bare hands with her eyes closed, then opens her eyes and replies, “Me.”

Buffy_Becoming

It’s a message of self-reliance that I’ve always loved. (Completely contradicted by the Season 4 finale wherein Buffy is only able to defeat the villain by mystically combining powers with Xander, Willow and Giles, but I digress.) It’s that self-reliance that I’m trying to focus on now.

Categories: Hot Doctor, Labor & Delivery | 1 Comment

Single Digits

9 days from my due date on this 9/11. No signs of impending labor.

Got a snippy letter from nightmare former landlady last night claiming that she will be keeping our entire deposit because we damaged the carpet. Predictable. I replied that I expect to see a receipt demonstrating that repairs really cost “in excess” of $750, because I think she’s lying through her teeth on the cost of repairs (though I did not put it in those words), and I believe she can repair those damages for much cheaper. I also told her that I’ll be pursuing the money she overcharged us with her illegal rent hike.

Now, I know for a fact that the tenants whom I helped line her up with backed out on her because of her irritability and because of their concerns with her lack of maintenance on the apartment. I kid you not, this is the text she sent me last night:

“Two People looked at the carpet and would not rent! Ur poor housekeeping which u thought was soooo funny is catching up with u!”

Wait a second… if you kept my security deposit to repair the carpet, why was the carpet an issue for these prospective renters? Why didn’t you just say, “I’ll be replacing the carpets this week, so don’t worry about that.” Could it be that something else was troubling them? Or that you never had any intentions of replacing the carpets, and are just attempting to hold onto my deposit because you’re broke and don’t really have it, let alone money to replace the carpets?

Also, my housekeeping wasn’t poor, and I don’t recall ever finding it funny when I did struggle with it. But yes. Texting juvenile taunts to someone who just informed you of their probable intentions of taking you to small claims court is totally a smart thing to do.

So, that is my life, today on this 9/11, 9 days from my due date.

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Some updates on my life

Some things that I’ve talked about on this blog that I probably should have written about:

New Apartment — We are now living in a nice apartment community owned by a large rental company, a first for us in our nearly 10 years of marriage. The kind of place with a swimming pool, fitness center, and on-site playground. We’ve never rented from a large apartment community because of our credit problems and low-income (big companies tend to be pickier than small-time individual landlords), but those are finally sufficiently repaired to the point that this place said “yes” to us and offered us a lease within 7 hours of completion of our application. The apartment is 966 square feet and, between rent and utilities, probably costs us close to $1200 per month to live in. Our old apartment was just under 600 square feet and, between rent and utilities, cost $850 per month. Also came with a nightmare of a landlady who was awful to us (more on her in a second). Here is a floorplan of our new apartment:

New Apartment Floor Plan

We love that the master bedroom is connected to the bathroom. While we would love having a two-bathroom apartment even more, this is the next best thing. There are three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments in this complex, so if we aren’t ready to buy a house in a few years, we may upgrade to that instead.

The next best thing is that I plan to turn that “Eating Area” off of the kitchen into a mini-nursery. It’s where I am going to put the baby’s crib/changer combo, toys, etc. I’ve already painted it a nice, sage green and will blog more on that later.

So far the management has been great. Very prompt about repairs, very polite.

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Categories: Personal | 3 Comments

Sewing Cloth Diapers Part V: Newborn Diapers

My homemade newborn cloth diapers

For a change of pace, and because I was running out of time, I decided to just complete my remaining 4 newborn cloth diapers in the green-and-blue starburst pattern for a total of 15 homemade newborn cloth diapers. I’m happy to report that those diapers are now done.

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