Friday, August 25, 2006

39 weeks: like farm-fresh produce

just got back from my 39-week appointment with the newest midwife at the practice. she informed me that, not only will she have hospital priviledges next week, as of saturday, obstetricians will no longer be covering the midwives' shifts. that's really exciting news to me: i was feeling leery of having some random doctor in there whom i've never met who may turn her [or worse, his] nose up at the birthing preferences the midwives already signed.

the nurse who checks my blood pressure and weighs me assumed i would have my cervix checked today, which i thought was odd since midwives [and especially this one] generally agree that internal exams are kind of needless unless rushes are being felt. i obliged and, as i thought, the midwife came in, saw me with the paper drape around my waist and said, "so you want me to check you?" i was like, "um, the nurse told me you were going to." whatever. she checked and, no surprise, i am "long and closed". the notion of my cervix being unripe makes me imagine that inside my body is this something crisp, green, and hollow or like the blossom-end of a green banana. i kinda wish i hadn't been checked because i have read that, when a woman uses mental imagery, she can affect the progress of her body's readiness. oh well -- what's done is done.

anyway, i have one more weekly appointment scheduled for next week with the first midwife i met, and then, if i still need to ripen at that point, i go in the following monday for a non-stress test and to talk about post-dates testing. yuck. the good news is that there will be a full moon that week on wednesday so, if i still have this baby giraffe in me at that point, hopefully some inner tsunami will shake things loose.

Monday, August 21, 2006

chubby roma bark: the recipe

in effort to ply the nurses to do our bidding, i have concocted a heaping plate of the sweet salty goodness we term chubby roma bark and lovingly wrapped it with blue cellophane and a label expressing thanks in advance for their help with the birthing. the chubby alludes to ben & jerry's chubby hubby ice cream, but i imagine that, if roma were to eat this, she would become quite chubby herself. it's a bit more robust than your standard comparatively svelte roma recipe. [and, gurls! this one's the perfect p.m.s. prescription!]

homemade peanut butter pretzel toffee bark
[a.k.a chubby roma bark]

2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
sleeves of saltines
12 oz. peanut butter chips
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
crushed pretzels

preheat oven to 350°. melt the sugar and butter in a saucepan. line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. then, line with saltines end-to-end. pour melted mixture on saltines and bake for 10 minutes. take out hot and sprinkle peanut butter chips. spread melting chips with spatula evenly across crackers. place in oven again for another 5 minutes. sprinkle chocolate over peanut butter and spread evenly, trying not to disturb the peanut butter layer. sprinkle crushed pretzels over entire tray and place in freezer to harden. 15-30 minutes later, slip hands underneath foil layer to break into large bark pieces. place large pieces in gallon ziplock bag and close, then break large pieces into smaller, bite-size chunks. keep refrigerated or frozen for best results!

Friday, August 18, 2006

38 is great

here i am at the tail-end of 38 weeks. everything is going just fine. i now have clearance to birth in the tub -- huzzah! my only complaint is that my raynaud's phenomenon seems to be wreaking yet a new kind of havoc on my hands -- they're turgid and immobile, especially my right hand, which seems more like a stiff, red lobster claw. people don't generally notice them as being swollen because they actually look like normal hands now instead of something out of a tim burton movie, but they're quite achy and unfun.

we took a class last night at the hospital to learn how to take care of a baby. while it was a little painfully basic, at least we revel in knowing we're just a little more prepared than the average participant in the class. we realize how much we've learned already tending to our siblings kids. in addition to having some pretty dope hand-me-downs, being at the end of a line of older cousins does have its advantages.

mostly, i'm just grappling with the constant ebb and flow of my elevated hormones. i'm teary, sensitive, manic, lazy, blissful, all in a span of a few hours. i went to see the fourth and newest midwife yesterday, and i just sat on the table and weeped a little. she asked me what was wrong and was so patient, caring, supportive, and above all, positive. i am filled with abundant relief for having switched practices at 26 weeks. it's terrific to be around people who celebrate what is really an incredible, healthy transformation and stand shoulder to shoulder with me on the path to what i hope will be a peaceful, joyous, natural birthing. i never feel like a patient with a disease or that i have to have my guard up or that i'm made out of popsicle sticks and could just collapse with one false move. i always leave feeling a little more empowered and a little stronger on my big, puffy feet.

right now, truth be told, i'm just trying to enjoy a little peace before the storm. i'm turning my cell phone off and not checking voicemail so no need to call both phones trying to track me down, and if you don't call me every other day, i promise i won't be hurt. honest. while i'm working on being as ready as i can be, the wait isn't as agonizing for me as it seems to be for everyone else. this baby could come tomorrow or sometime in september, but when he comes, there is a very small likelihood i'll be [well, i can't speak for casey, i guess] picking up the phone as we speed down lake shore drive to the l&d unit, plate of roma bark in hand.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

all's fair in love and birth: an update at 37 weeks

i'm in the middle of the 37th week so, at this point, the pregnancy is to term. this means that, if it's time for him to come, it's time. we're all packed and i'm still adding things to my already gigantic bag; another set of pajamas here, a spare set of headphones there, etc.

i haven't made the l&d nurses any treats yet -- we're too afraid that we'll eat them waiting. i should go and ensure i have at least the supplies handy to whip up a big batch of roma bark. good god, people. what chemist knew that butter, brown sugar, dark chocolate, and saltines would yield crack cocaine? the recipe belongs to my mother-in-law [and frequent blog commenter] and was a staple during my sister's pregnancy. i think i may expound on this recipe with a twist reminiscent of ben & jerry's chubby hubby ice cream. i'll call it "chubby roma bark."

so, i'm starting to get people calling all the time:

did you have that baby yet?

how are you?

are you glad it's almost over?

are you feeling fat and miserable, you poor thing?

ya just can't knock tha love, but at the same time, i am half-tempted to leave a daily progress report on all voicemails:

good morning [ahem]. today is 37-point-two and status has not changed. experiencing normal but not excessive braxton-hicks surges as was reported at 34-point-five midwife appointment. movement is excellent to the point of being uncomfortable -- preparing for house littered with grass-stained soccer cleats and/or stinky tap oxfords. occasional mild cervical jabbing sensation and scant expression of colostrum. appointment with fourth midwife scheduled for 37-point-four at 13:45 hours. thank you for calling. goodbye.

truly, i'm not frantic for it to be over. of course, i'm excited for him to arrive, but i'm really trying to appreciate this rare state of being for what it is. i have my son inside my body. he wakes up with me in the morning and i can feel him stretch his limbs out, ready to live out yet another day in his warm, inverted world.

if anything, i'm just bored of the clothes.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

9 months at 99 degrees: an update

as of yesterday, i am officially 36 weeks pregnant. crazy. crazy that it's august -- when we told our family during the holiday season, august seemed unfathomable. the whole thing just seemed like a hoax. ha, ha. yeah, so i had this ancient ept stick that was, like, totally two years expired? and i peed on it? and, like, it showed up as positive! so we told everyone that we were pregnant! hilarious, right? that's how unreal it seemed.

there is nothing quite like the sensation of a small human being in your body. i can feel with my hands where his feet, knees, and backside are. there's a hollow where my navel is around which his torso is curled. his head is down and apparently already quite low, which will make his entrance into the world a little easier from what one of the midwives said. sometimes it feels like he's ferretted a pair of chopsticks up there and is poking his way out... we need to lay off the thai food, i think. he's definitely activated by any asian food, swinging his rear back and forth against my straining upper abdominals, swiping legs around.

all signs point to him coming earlier than later, which is fine by me as long as he waits at least through the rest of this week. can't say casey feels the same. the nursery is, for all practical purposes, ready. we have a rough semblance of a changing station downstairs as well, although i'm sure we'll move it all around once we try to figure out a system.

of late, i wake up each night with dull, throbbing cramps. he's definitely dropped as i've lost more than two inches around my ribcage and have adopted the waddle. can't take big steps because he feels like he'll just fall out [wouldn't that be nice?]

i'm on the maintenance schedule for my childbirth hypnosis home study course. i could be better about practicing the techniques, but i'm definitely plugged into my trusty ipod each night, letting all the suggestions flow into my head. a friend of a friend who also took the course is at 42 weeks, and i'm anxiously awaiting report of how well it worked for her.

now, i'm going to take my new book -- invisible monsters by chuck palahniuk -- out to the giant blow up pool in the yard, sit with a nalgene full of ice cold lemonade, and contemplate.