The Pregnant Waddle

Pre-Pregnancy Weight Just Around the Corner (It's Trying to Run and Hide)

Friday, August 26, 2005

OK, fine

Etherised patients too slap-aroundable (or not etherised enough)?

Here's today's quote: "Very like a whale."

Bonus points if you can name the famous work in which this quote is quoted.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Disaster dinner

I'm in the midst of staff development this week, and Ngaire obligingly has been being developed alongside me. Nothing wrong with bringing a newborn to six-hour seminars, eh wot? I must say I'm enjoying s.d. far more this year than previously, because a baby gives fabulous excuses to get up and leave from time to time. Proudly I boast that I have so far resisted the urge to pinch her to make her cry during the especially boring bits.

But anyway.

To preface this story, you must know that Ngaire is an exceptional sleeper. She sleeps all night (only breaking for occasional snacks), and during the day, she is on a pretty regular two-hour schedule, eating on the odd hours and then sleeping until her next meal. But she almost always skips her post-5 p.m. feeding nap. I don't know why. And when she skips her post-5 p.m. feeding nap, she stays awake until we go to bed (9 p.m.-ish), and she is generally off-and-on frantic for a lot of that time.

Yesterday was a Long Day. The seminar, it was tedious. The baby, she was held and carried all day, mostly by me, and by the time I got home, my back hurt, my arms were tired, and I was ready for a bit of time to myself. But have I mentioned the nap-skipping habit? And the franticness that ensues?

We decided upon frozen pot pies for supper. Now, the Husbandlet is a gourmet cook. He can take scratch, whatever that is, and turn it into sumptuous meals. I'm a decent cookbook cook, a good sous chef, and a pro when it comes to frozen food. So the pot pie/tater tot meal is usually my job, as are the frozen pizza/tater tot meal and the more rare frozen lasagna meal. But due to Ngaire's unhappiness, when we got home I began to try to comfort her, and the Husbandlet was in charge of food.

Supper preparation ran into its first snag when my father turned off the oven when the pies were only half baked. By the time the Husbandlet caught this, the evening was far gone and Ngaire wasn't the only frantic one. Much later, the Husbandlet, finally serving up the pies, set one of the plates on a burner and then accidentally turned the burner on. Sitting in the living room, I heard a crack, a pause, and then an "Oh, shoot" from the Husbandlet. He came in and said, "Well, we'll be sharing a pie tonight." (It is a token of the Husbandlet's resourcefulness and my breastfeeding hunger that he instead salvaged the pie and I ate it.) The plate, alas, was unsalvageable (and inedible).

Moments later, a strong smell of burning filled the kitchen. The Husbandlet, trying to turn on the burner under the green beans (which he had been attempting to cook when he caused the untimely demise of my plate), had turned on the pot pie/plate burner again.

I find it amusing that my husband can whip up a multi-course gourmet meal, but made a memorable mess of a meal made up entirely of frozen foods. Next time, I cook the pot pies and he gets to nurse Ngaire.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Quote of the day

"Shall I part my hair behind? / Do I dare to eat a peach?"

Whence cometh it?

Thought of the day

Raising an infant is mostly about fluid containment.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Another really long post

So, with a sweet baby girl in a pink striped onesie sleeping peacefully next to me, here I am to begin catching y’all up on a few major points. I know you’ve been holding your collective breath.

First off: The Rash. Remember when I mentioned an itchy tummy? Oh, that was only the beginning. Within days, the rash had not so much spread as sprouted all over my body, from neck to feet (not face, thank goodness). I was diagnosed with Pruritic (or Polymorphic) Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy (PUPPPs), which basically meant I had a rash. Non-contagious, not likely to recur, just scary-looking.

Then the rash got worse. My already swollen feet were covered with fluid-filled blisters. My arms looked like I had the mother of all hives outbreaks; I had tiny blisters on the palms of my hands. When I say the rash was all over me, I am speaking completely literally. It was awful.

When I arrived at the hospital for the induction, the doctor examined my rash and re-diagnosed it as pemphigoid gestationis (a.k.a. herpes gestationis, but it’s not viral; it just looks like herpes sores), a far rarer and more unpleasant condition than PUPPPs. This condition is an allergic reaction to amniotic material, of all things. Since it only hits one woman in 50,000, there’s not a whole lot of definite information about it. Sometimes it recurs in subsequent pregnancies, sometimes it doesn’t. Some doctors think it may lead to premature delivery, others don’t. Some babies of affected mothers develop the rash right after birth, most are just fine. It can show up at any point in pregnancy or even a couple weeks after delivery, and it sometimes recurs at the first period postpartum. I was lucky because I only got the rash a couple weeks before Ngaire was born, so I didn’t have to endure it too long. It started getting better as soon as I delivered, and with the help of a steroid, disappeared fairly quickly, though my skin is still red and blotchy wherever I had the rash. There’s a chance the blotches may never completely fade. Most importantly, though, Ngaire wasn’t affected at all.

So this just gives us something to pray for (or against), because we do want more children, but I’d rather not have this rash again, and I certainly wouldn’t want any future babies to be affected by it. We’re also praying that Ngaire won’t have this condition herself when she becomes pregnant.

One final thought, and I’d love to hear the thoughts of other moms on this subject: It’s interesting coming to terms with a post-pregnancy body. I was looking at my wedding pictures the other day, and remembering all the flaws I saw in my appearance around that time. Now I can’t believe I was ever less than satisfied with the way I looked then. I know that, even when I lose my leftover pregnancy poundage, my body will still have changed irrevocably … I have stretch marks, rash blotches, wider hips, larger breasts. I’m not horribly dissatisfied with the way I look now, but these are major changes, and they take some getting used to … the jury is still out on whether I will ever want to wear a bathing suit again. (Not that I was ever that enthused about wearing a bathing suit.)

It helps to have a husband who still thinks I’m beautiful, and a baby for whom any amount of change is totally worth it. In a way, the marks of pregnancy on my body are a symbol of love: of the child I gave my husband for love of them both, and of my husband’s continuing love for me in spite of any physical imperfection. I was going to say that, given the choice, I’d still be 125 pounds, de-blotchified, and un-stretched, but I’m not entirely certain that’s true.

Next up: The Conference.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Ma petite canadienne

My daughter makes a lot of sounds: she has mastered "aaaa" and "aaahhh," and has even uttered one documented "oh." But her favorite sound is "eh."

I'm a California girl; my husband is from Africa. How did we produce a Canadian?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Birth Blog

Ngaire was due Thursday, July 14. On the evening of the 14th, we left Vacation Bible School around 9:30 and drove to the airport an hour and a half’s drive away to pick up my parents. On the drive, I started having contractions about every four to six minutes. They weren’t painful, but they were fairly regular. We arrived at the airport around 11 p.m., only to find out that the plane was delayed and was now due at 1:30 a.m. So we headed to Husbandlet’s aunt and uncle’s house, where we had arranged to spend the night. Husbandlet took a nap; I took a shower, and the contractions stopped. Whew. No wee-small-hours runs to the hospital for us.

On Saturday night, right after I went to bed, I started having contractions again. This time, they came every four minutes for six hours. I finally fell asleep around 4 a.m. When I woke up around 6, the contractions had stopped again. I nearly cried from disappointment.

The induction was scheduled for Monday, July 18, at 7 a.m. We left for the hospital bright and early, and for the entire hour-long drive, I had four-minute contractions. They stopped—of course—as soon as we got out of the car.

The doctors were in a meeting at 7, it turned out, so a lovely nurse, Beth, showed us to our room and I put on my hospital gown, got into bed, and waited. A little before 8, a doctor showed up. So did our pastor, who got kicked out for a few minutes while the doctor broke my water and examined my rash (more on the rash later). Our pastor came back in and prayed with us, and then he left and the nurse came back and started the Pitocin drip. Even without the Pitocin, I was having my old friends the four-minute contractions again, and was dilated 3 cm.

For the next couple of hours, Husbandlet read out loud to me and we just enjoyed our time together. The contractions were certainly more painful than false labor, but nothing too terrible. Around 10, though, I started to become more uncomfortable. Also, at that point, my parents arrived, and all was bustle and squeak for a few minutes. I had been debating whether to ask my mom to stay for the birth, but at that point I just wanted to be with my husband, so I asked my mom to stay with my dad in the waiting room, which was fine with both of them. After they left, Beth came back and told us that the anesthesiologist had a pretty full schedule, so I would have to decide if I was going to want an epidural. I wanted to make it through without one, but at that point I was only dilated 4 cm, and it wasn’t a decision I wanted to make just then. Beth offered to give me a narcotic in my IV to take the edge off the pain; then I could decide if I could make it without the epidural. I was totally in favor of this idea. Beth hung around for a few minutes after this conversation, which was the only time in the proceedings that I was tempted to scream, “Get me the drugs!”

The narcotic was fabulous. You should go get one now. It made me happy and dopey and sleepy to the point where I was slurring my words and Husbandlet had to stop reading out loud because I just couldn’t follow. I still felt the contractions, and they were still painful, but I could drift happily between them, and Husbandlet says I started groaning later in each contraction, so apparently the drug made my pain threshold higher. In any case, it relaxed me completely, and I dilated to 7 cm in almost no time at all. (Or so, in my drugged-out state, it seemed.) Meanwhile, Husbandlet happily read the latest Harry Potter book by my side, and lent me his hand for squeezing.

The anesthesiologist came in around the same time I hit transition. The narcotic was starting to wear off, and while transition wasn’t nearly as horrific as I had been led to believe, I was still hurting, especially when the nurse put my bed flat so she could check my dilation. There are few things more excruciating than having a contraction while one’s stomach muscles are stretched out. If I hadn’t reached 7 cm by then, I might have caved and asked for the epidural, but at that point I realized the end was in sight … Husbandlet helped, too, by reminding me that I really wanted to get through without the epidural, right? And yes, he still has all his teeth. The anesthesiologist departed without having the joy of puncturing my spinal column. Beth gave me another shot of the narcotic; I don’t think it had much effect at that point, though.

Then I started feeling the urge to push. I fought it for awhile, and then I called Beth, who checked me and found that I was 9.5 cm dilated. She didn’t want me to push too soon, but I was having a difficult time resisting, so she had me push through one contraction. After that, I hadn’t dilated any more, so she told me to turn on my side through a couple more contractions to see if the pressure of the baby’s head would help things along. In that position, I completely lost control; when contractions came, I had to push. And it worked: two contractions later, I had dilated that last half-centimeter, and I was ready to start pushing For Real.

The doctor, by the way, was otherwise occupied. A third-time mother had been half a centimeter ahead of me, and so most of the 20 minutes or so that I actually pushed were punctuated by cries from the nurse to hold back because we had to wait for the doctor. (Beth: “Stop!” Me: “Why, am I tearing?” Beth: “No! The doctor isn’t here!” Me: “Can’t you deliver babies?” Beth: “Yes, but try and wait!”) Apparently, complacent in the knowledge that first labors drag on, the poor doctor went to take a short break after delivering Third-Time Lady’s babe. We paged him, and my parents later reported that, from their vantage point in the waiting room, they saw him rush past, wringing his hands, to deliver my child. He whipped in and suited up, answered my cry of, “I really don’t want an episiotomy!” with a cryptic, “We’ll see,” and two contractions later, Ngaire was born.

A seven-and-a-half-hour labor. No epidural, no episiotomy, one tear so superficial the doctor didn’t bother to stitch it. Ngaire weighed 8.5 pounds at birth, and I’m glad I didn’t know that ahead of time … the doctors had been guaranteeing me a 7 to 7.5 pound baby, which sounded totally doable to me in a way that 8 pounds plus did not. Husbandlet got to cut the cord. My parents were there moments later to welcome their grandchild. All in all, it was a tremendously wonderful labor and birth experience.

A friend from church asked me, 40 weeks into my pregnancy, if I enjoyed being pregnant. She seemed a bit shocked when I answered that I had enjoyed parts of it, but certainly not all. I would have been happy to do without the Bone-Melting Nausea, the huge weight gain, the swelling, and the rash (I think that may need its own post). The third-trimester multiple bathroom trips per night weren’t such a thrill, either. But I hope I can redeem my womanhood when I say that I absolutely loved giving birth. No kidding.

This birth story leaves out a lot … but it shouldn’t leave out the fact that my husband was a wonderful cheerleader. I might have been able to do it without him, but I wouldn’t have wanted to. He made the whole experience a lot more fun. And yes, fun it was indeed!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Just a thought

There are few things so simultaneously cute and pitiful as a baby who is trying to nurse through a bad case of the hiccups.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Do not despair

I do so apologize for the long silence. Excuses: 1) new baby (though I have learned that if I set up my laptop on my bed, I can nurse her to sleep in between me and it while typing); 2) parents just moved to town, and we've been house-hunting for them; 3) I'm finishing up two online classes that end this week; 4) I'm preparing to present a paper at a conference this weekend.

But coming soon: an account of Ngaire's birth. I promise. She is a wonderful baby, and very easy ... definitely the kind of baby that makes people have second children who turn out to be holy terrors. She loves people, and seems to sleep best in crowded, noisy places like malls and church fellowship halls and high schools. She likes her sling, and does NOT like her pacifier, which she always greets with a slightly pained expression. She is extremely enthusiastic about eating. If we keep her in bed with us, she sleeps through the night, and I pacify any concerns I may have about ever getting her OUT of our bed by re-reading a book by a sleep expert who claims it's pretty much useless to try to train a child to settle himself to sleep before six weeks of age. And it's not like the Husbandlet and I need the bed to ourselves before she's six weeks old, in any case.

Here is a picture of my beautiful daughter and handsome husband, moments after her emergence from the womb.

All in all, having a baby is even more fun than having a cuddly kitten. I have to say that I absolutely adore my daughter.