When I went and got the ultrasound for the neuchal translucency screening, the technician said that the baby almost wasn't big enough for the test. I was a little worried for a while - was the baby not growing? Her helpful answer - "I don't know. I haven't measured you before." Gee, thanks. Fortunately other people reminded me that I don't know the exact date of conception, so it's not time to worry about baby size. I'm ... mostly... relieved. On the up side - the guppy was moving around in there and the heart beat was 164.
So when I'm not worrying about whether the baby is still in there, I'm thinking about the birth and trying to talk about it with Tom. Even though we both agreed on home birth with Tai, he's less sure this time around - and this is putting it mildly. He's convinced that birth is suddenly "very dangerous" and "very risky". The only place it should be done is in the hospital. That will make it much safer. And though he says that this is my body, my birth and my choice and he "will support me", he says this is my choice and I need to "own it". Which means, to him, that I'm "responsible" for the outcome. Whatever that is. Even though I asked him, he can't tell me what it is, exactly, that he's worried about doing this at home. I was hoping that I could see if there are ways we could reassure him - to solve those concerns. Or, if not, I could understand better and maybe decide to go into the hospital because it's so important for him. But he won't admit that his feelings about birth aren't researched or logical - which is fine! But he thinks I need to make my case *for* homebirth completely logically and researched. Even though I've sent him some of the research I have done.
He says I'm not going to change his mind, he's not going to change mine, so I just need to "own the decision". Except I really believe this is a decision we should come to *together*. We are partners, spouses, not friends or roommates. I just don't know how to make this happen. I mean, we don't have to agree - but I want us both to feel comfortable with this. He says this whole idea about homebirth is just about me, not the baby. And when I try to explain that it's both, he just rolls his eyes and refuses to believe me.
We won't even go into what it's going to be like talking to my mom about this. She is completely convinced that I would be risking almost certain death for my baby or myself by trying this at home. I was talking about it with Wendy, and she pointed out that I'll have to have a firm boundary about talking about this with Mom. Like - "I've made my decision, it's an informed decision, and you're welcome to have your feelings about it, but I'm not willing to debate it." And then just leave it. Let her work through her feelings herself, in her own therapy. I think the hardest part is the idea that I have to let her have her feelings - even if she's worried about me, or angry with me, or upset at me. And maybe that's partially what I'm worried about with Tom, too. Our relationship feels so fragile, I can't imagine it surviving if things go wrong. Even if there's no proof of what caused a "bad" outcome.
I want this birth to be the best possible for me and my baby and I believe that the best way to do that is at home. Yes, part of it is about me. Because it's my body! My experience. And I have done the research. I am not going into this blind.
I don't want this to feel like a fight with the people who are the most important in my life. I feel like I'm going to have enough work to deal with my previous labor and birth experience, to prepare for this one, without having to deal with their stuff too. But I don't think doing it in the hospital is the right thing! It might be, for them, but not me. There will be enough work for me to have a natural birth without working against all of the people in the hospital who might push me in a different direction.
I know what's right for me - but I am not doing this alone. I have *no* idea where to go with this.
Tom came with me, even though he ended up missing an important meeting at work. (It had been canceled, then rescheduled.) It was good to have him there, even though he was on his iPhone the whole time we were waiting. (That sorta goes without saying, though.) We did all the boring stuff first - medical history, talked about the practice, weight, etc. Then she brought in a little ultrasound machine, and it was time for what we'd been waiting for.
It took a minute - she found my uterus, and the little guppy. But at first she didn't see the heart. I squeezed shut my eyes and prayed. Which means I missed it when she said that the baby was moving all around. Then she found the heartbeat, and I got to see the guppy for a minute. No pictures yet, but that's okay. The little one is swimming in there and I am happy. As far as we can know, all is well.
I'm still tired. Tai was home from school today - he got pinkeye yesterday afternoon and the school called me to pick him up. Even though the doctor said he wouldn't be contagious after two treatments, they didn't want him back for 24 hours. So we had a good day together - bummed around the neighborhood, played basketball in our backyard, played with trains. Went to the playground after his nap. I napped with him - both of us slept for more than three hours. And even though it's only 10:30, I am about ready for bed.
Poor kid was having a rough night last night, too. He came to bed with us around 1, but was so restless neither he nor I could really sleep. He kept saying 'no, no' and thrashing around. Finally he started crying and said his head and throat and mouth hurt. I gave him some tylenol and we rocked for about 20 minutes. Fortunately we both went to sleep around 2:30 and slept until almost 7. I think he's feeling better tonight, but if he starts crying about a sore throat tonight, I might make another pediatrician appointment. Strep has been going around his school. I know he likes school, and it's good for him, and he can catch stuff at the playground too... but damn! The petri-dish effect of preschool is brutal.
Fortunately the queasiness has backed off some. It was never bad - but I had several good days in a row. Today was a little rougher, but still not bad.
I can't wait until I feel the baby move. And to find out whether guppy is a boy or a girl. Impatience!
I will be 8 weeks tomorrow, which is still so early.
The symptom that's driving me the most nuts, though, is the anxiety. I was hoping that it just happened last time because it was my first pregnancy and I found myself wondering whether I was really going to be a good mom. Now I *am* a mom, so what's one more kid in the mix? But my anxiety has been heightened, especially the last two weeks. Part of that is this horrible stomach flu going around Tai's school. Kids were getting sent home like, three in a day. I spent my days waiting for the phone call that would tell me Tai had thrown up and I needed to come get him. I spent my evenings waiting for him to call me because he'd thrown up in bed. I think I've worn myself out a little, with all of the waiting. It sucks because it makes me short tempered, and wanting to hide out. I have spent a lot of time reading during the past two weeks, and very little time writing. I just can't concentrate on the writing. When I'm reading, it takes me out of myself. I'm pretty sure a lot of this anxiety is hormone related. I know I had more of a hair-trigger with my anxiety during my first trimester last time, too. Fortunately, the second and third trimesters were much easier. Hopefully that will stay true this time, too.
It's funny - I went over the anxiety with Wendy during my therapy session last week, and at the end of the session I said, "I am just so *bored* of this anxiety. It's boring, and it makes me boring." Suddenly I thought, hey - if I'm bored by it... maybe I can just stop. I'm not sure how, yet. I'm working some relaxation techniques. But maybe if I can hold to that thought - that this is *boring*, rehashing the same thing over and over and over and over, ad nauseum (ha ha) - then I can change my mind.
The novel-writing has trickled to a near-stop. I was reading over what I've written so far, trying to figure out what I need to do to pull the pieces together before I move on to the next section... and I just got so fed up. It wasn't bad writing. I just bored myself. I was like, 'yeah yeah, whatever. No one cares.' I'm hoping that this is anxiety related, too. Because it's going to suck sitting with a novel that bores me. I need to finish it, though... at least a draft. I've been working on it so long and I want to know how it ends. Right now, though? Yawn.
I need a vacation.
This note said he had hit someone on the playground, then had a hard time staying still in time out. And it requested that we make an appointment to talk to his teacher, Miss E, because this has been becoming more frequent. I made an appointment for this morning at 8am. Tai is not yet 4 and we're already going to the principal's office. SIgh.
Needless to say, I was nervous about it and I think Tom was too. I was starting to worry that they were going to say that Tai is clearly not ready for Montessori and that he can't handle it and we'd need to find another preschool. Finding a preschool sucks. Finding one after getting kicked out of one? I don't even want to think about it.
Tai headed right in to play while we got called into the classroom with Miss A, the director of the school. Miss E met us there a few minutes later. Actually, Miss A did most of the talking. She was really reassuring, and told us right away that Tai is completely normal in his behavior, that this is the age for some serious testing. But she wanted to make sure we nipped this in the bud, because it seemed to be getting to be a habit. Apparently, though they send notes home for things that involve other kids, when it's something more minor - like interrupting circle time, or work time, we don't find out about that. And he's been doing a bit of that, too.
Miss A suggested that time-outs and talking don't work so well at this age. She suggested a tool she called 'Consequences for Actions'. Basically, we are making too big of a deal about the things Tai does wrong. We spend a lot of energy explaining what he did and why it was wrong, and blah blah. He just likes that he gets our attention. Instead, on days where we get a note, when he asks for something that evening (dessert, TV time, a game, whatever) we say, "No, I don't feel like X tonight. You made some bad choices at school today and I am disappointed." Leave it simple and keep an even tone. Don't argue, don't engage. Just remove our energy from him. Then, later at bedtime - read stories as usual, give lots and lots of hugs and cuddles. Let him know we love him. Just remind him that he can make better choices and then we can have more fun together again. The next day - don't bring it up again. When dropping him off, we can just say, "I know you'll make good choices at school today. Have fun!"
On good days, tell him how proud we are that he made good choices - though don't go too over the top with praise. Once in a while, unexpectedly, we can give him a little extra good thing - a trip to a special place, an ice cream, etc.
I think this will help. Miss A swears that it still works on her kids, even at 19 and 24. She says there's always something to take away (opportunities to make extra money, TV, car privileges, etc) and when the kids think about it - the long term gain is better than the short term misbehavior.
There was a minute or two where I felt like this could be a little... withholding of my love. The more misbehaving he does, the cooler we should be with him. (Until bedtime.) I'm not so good with this. I'm going to give it a try, withholding stuff more than my affection.
I should probably quit saying that I'm tired. I suppose it should go without saying that even though it's only 9:15, I have been ready for bed for at least half an hour. Man. I don't remember being this fried when I was pregnant with Tai. I've had a couple more small bouts of nausea, but they were transitory and not that bad. I was feeling a little nervous about not feeling sick (I *know*! When did anyone ever think I would say that? I'm shocked too.) but I have been reading this book called "Hands Off My Belly" about pregnancy and birth myths and in the 'early pregnancy' section the authors talked about how not everyone is sick in the beginning. Nausea and vomiting can correlate with a pregnancy that sticks, but it is not completely hormonally caused. Like - I was assuming if I wasn't sick, then my hormones must not be very high, so I would be more likely to miscarry. This is not necessarily true. Not to mention, it's just the beginning of my sixth week, and plenty of people don't start getting morning sick until around now. It could still be coming!
Still pregnant. I wonder how many days I will say this before I stop. Maybe until I go into labor. Or maybe just until I finish the first trimester. Much like when I was pregnant with Tai, every time I go to the bathroom I check everything out to make sure there's no blood. At least this time I'm never hoping that there is.
Though for the first time today I had a moment of 'holy shit, what the fuck have I done?' I was thinking about how things are going to change for Tai and I felt unaccountably guilty. And a little nostalgic. I'm not going to be able to hold him in my arms again like I used to when he was a baby. Sure, I can still hold him and cuddle him, but not the same way. Even though he's been wanting a sibling (a sister, specifically), he doesn't know exactly what this will mean. (Of course, I guess I don't know either.)
What if I love Tai more than the new baby? What if I love the new baby more than Tai? What if Tai doesn't get any attention from me anymore? I will miss him when I'm busy with a new baby! I know, it's all normal stuff. It's just what's on my mind.
I've also been considering what I want to do for this birth (assuming all goes well). On one hand, I would like to try for a home birth again. On the other hand, Tom may not be willing to try that at all. I'm also considering going to UCSF - I've heard good things about one of the midwives there (she helped a friend deliver her baby, and my friend had a really good experience with her). Lisa points out that I don't have to decide yet (obviously) and gave me a good suggestion - call the midwife that I'm interested in having for my birth and talk to her... and I can see when I should decide by, to make sure her schedule doesn't fill up! I can also go to UCSF and see what I think about it there, too.
I'm getting ahead of myself, too. First I need to have the baby decide to stick around. So far so good... but I'm nervous, of course. I know that I can't control it (thank you for the reminder, Lisa! Also, I typed that as 'can control' first. Ha!) but it's so hard to let go. So hard to have faith. Fits right in with what I'm working on at AA, too. I'm on the Third Step, and one of the big things is to turn my will and my life over to the care of God (as I understand God). I know I don't have control, but it's hard to get that through my heart. God, grant me the serenity.
Last night, after my doula training, I went to the Walgreens nearby that was actually open until midnight. I needed to get plastic Easter eggs to fill for Tai's class. And figured as long as I was there, I might as well buy another box of pregnancy tests. I couldn't make myself wait another day to find a dollar store. After all, I still hadn't started my period, which was weird. I spent the evening grumping at Tom and filling the eggs. This morning, while Tai and Tom fiddled around downstairs, I took a test.
Learning from my last mistakes (and several people's suggestions!) I actually peed in a cup this time and dipped the stick. (After reading the time to leave it in - 5 seconds both for dipping and direct pee. (On the digital test I needed to hold it longer if I was dipping than direct peeing.) I wasn't about to make another mistake! If I did, I still had the pee in the cup, this time.
So I waited the requisite two minutes (adding another 50 or so seconds, just to be sure). I stuck the test out of sight while I waited, so I didn't peek. When I pulled it out, I was so surprised that it was actually positive! I had convinced myself that I wasn't... I couldn't believe it. I went right downstairs to tell Tom. I was trying to think of some creative way to tell him... but I hadn't planned ahead and I couldn't wait.
I said, "I owe you an apology for being so grumpy lately. I'm sorry about that. But... there is a reason." I held out the test. He gave me this huge huge hug. Later, he said "I am really happy and excited about this." And then when he started getting ready for work, he gave me another hug and said, "Let's hope for a girl." I hadn't even thought he might want a girl. Personally, I would be happy either way. I am just keeping my fingers crossed for sticking baby.
I told my mom, I told Lisa, I told my Aunt. I told people at my doula class tonight (the teacher and a couple of women I get along with). Abigail (the teacher) congratulated me, and said she often warns women taking the class that if they don't want to get pregnant, to take extra care. She usually has someone get pregnant either during, or just after the class. I'm happy it worked for me!
The best story, though, is this: Tom and I had agreed that we'd wait a little to tell Tai. But not four minutes after I showed Tom the test, Tai came up to me and put a hand on my uterus and said, "Is there a baby in there?" I was sort of stunned. He's never suggested this before. Neither Tom nor I had mentioned a baby out loud. He just knew. I told him that yes, I'm working on having a baby... but that babies need to decide if they want to stay. If this baby wants to stay, I will have a baby. If not, we'll have to wait for another baby. He hasn't brought it up again, and neither have I... but we are *all* excited.
And I am tired. Must sleep.
passing without my noticing. Which is good, considering how long the labor was. ( Read more... )
That said - things are going well in the ninth month. Heart burn isn't too bad - happens every now and again, but tea and Tums help. My hands get a bit swollen and tingly, but my ring still fits. I get a back ache sometimes, but not constantly. It is getting to be a bit of a pain to haul my body around. I feel ungainly and awkward... but I really don't mind. I don't worry about weight gain, I don't worry about how I look.
Truthfully, I feel proud of my belly, of my body - in a way I don't think I ever have. I've nourished my baby, helped him to grow, to become the beginnings of a person... and I've done that with my body, not my mind. I tend to over-think, over-intellectualize, get stuck in my head. But other than thinking about nutrition and watching what I put in my body, my brain could have taken a nine month vacation and I would have been able to nourish my baby. It's a strange feeling.
It's a problem when I do start over thinking. I get anxious and start one of my spins. But when I listen to my deeper self, something in me says that this is going to be okay. Sometimes things will be hard, but then they'll get easier. Sometimes things will be scary, but then I'll get over it. Sometimes things will be wonderful and exciting and perfect, and then things will change again. It all will be what it will be... and mostly it will turn out okay underneath - even when it isn't okay at first. This is not a certainty I hold usually - but lately it's something I'm coming to believe completely. I hope I can hold it even when I'm in my darkest spots.
In other news - the wiggler has moved down some and he's still head down. I knew he'd moved last weekend when I went to Home Depot with Tom and I felt like I had to pee about every five minutes. And I was waddling, too (yaow - I am such the sexay thang. Hee). It was cool to know, even before Lis confirmed it by just feeling the abdomen. He's been a bit quiet the last couple of days after several days of being quite active. I lost a pound in between last week's appointment and this week's. I'm pretty sure I'm feeling some Braxton-Hicks. All of these signs point - nowhere! But of course we're all playing the 'what does that say about when you'll go into labor' game. With 17 days to go (give or take) I put a pad on the bed in case of water-breakage in the night, and have started washing the wiggler's clothes. It's really hitting home that there is going to be a *baby* at the end of all of this. Or the beginning, I guess. I can't wait to meet him.
I was telling her a little about my last meeting with Lis and how I was thinking about how I can tap into my sense of spirituality and God during the birth. And how I see spirituality and birth intersecting, for me. In talking to her, I put something into words that I hadn't fully done before. (One of the best parts of therapy, in my opinion - when a piece of knowledge, only previously felt in a rather amorphous way, is given words and thus verbalized.)
Earlier in my pregnancy, when Mom was in town, she took me to a store in Noe Valley where they had several different painted icons of the Virgin Mary. She wanted me to pick the one that spoke to me so I could have it with me during labor and birth. Mary has been a very powerful figure in her own spiritual search and she wanted to share that with me. While Mary hasn't been as influential to me - I see her as a powerful mother figure and a connection to all of the mothers who have given birth before me. And, as Lis suggested, all of the women who will be giving birth at the same time as me. Wendy's suggestion too was that Mary would be a connection to Mom as birthing-mother and the lineage of women who have gone before her. (Including, of course, Grandma).
But more specifically to my own sense of spirituality, I talked about how I see both birth and death as these liminal spaces - these thresholds between this world and somewhere else. In the process of laboring to bring a child into the world and to leave this world, a person crosses into this space and emerges transformed. I see labor as my journey into this liminal space, where my child waits. Then I help bring him through this space and into our own. A bit like the archetypal journey into the underworld - and then the return. My hope is that I tap into my strength, and that I can hold onto that later in my journey as a mother. During the transformation of birth, I'm birthing a new life for the baby, and for myself as Mother.
I hadn't fully understood this vision until I was describing it to Wendy. And this vision is the main reason I want to have a homebirth. Here I feel I can hold onto that vision, make it real for me. That would be much more difficult in the hospital. And I'm not certain that the nurse-midwives would understand it as fully as I feel Lis will. Maybe that's because she initiated a discussion about spirituality and birth, and maybe that's not encouraged in a hospital setting... but whatever the reason, it's another piece of why I'm pleased with my decision.
Less than a month to go… I’m feeling particularly big (full?) today. A bit sleepy too, but that could be the cold. Tom and I went to Babies R Us today and picked up the stroller/car seat we had chosen. Just in case labor happens before next week (I’m 36 weeks today), or we need to transfer to the hospital, we will need a car seat to get home. Every passing day makes this feel more real. A baby is coming. Soon!
I had a good meeting with Wendy today. We talked about Grandma's death and my grieving. We talked some about my connecting grief and anxiety (when I am grieving, I often stuff it down and away and end up feeling anxious instead). I talked about sometimes feeling like I'm not grieving properly for Grandma, that I'm not doing it enough or right - even though I know all of the bereavement counseling speak about how everyone grieves differently and grieves each relationship differently and there's no right way to do it and blah blah. And I feel like I haven't been there enough for Mom. The truth is, I haven't been calling her as much as I normally would. I feel like I'd be flooded by her grief - that it might trigger that much sadness and loss in me and I couldn't cope... and also that I can't take it all from Mom and hold it myself. Wendy reminded me that all I can do is have my own feelings, and let her have her own feelings. I can't take someone else's feelings. And I don't have to let her sadness become my own.
I was thinking that was part of my problem with being a grief counselor. I felt like I should take in their feelings, and I often would, but then I didn't know what to do with it or how to deal. There's still more understanding that I need to find around this, but it felt like a good start. A bit of insight. I'm not sure what it might mean in terms of my future career path. Not that it necessarily matters - it's just good to understand myself a bit better.
Also - in good news... I met with Lis, my new midwife today. I really enjoyed spending the hour with her. I feel like she's going to be a really good fit for me. Just the right amount of warm, fuzzy bedside manner that I was looking for. Reassuring and understanding. I'm looking forward to having her help me have this baby. She checked the wiggler's position - and he's still head down, butt up, and seems to be turned the right way. She introduced herself to him, too. I am looking forward to this birth, and doing it at home. I think it's something I can do.
It’s stomach flu season (technically every season can be, but winter is the most common time for it to hit) and several people I know are sick, or have been recently. Oddly enough, that can be a trigger to my anxiety. Even if I haven’t been hanging around them… I start to think about the virus being out there, and I start worrying about getting sick. It’s not logical. It’s not helpful.
All day, at least half of my mind has been used to try and talk myself out of the irrational fear. Reminding myself that worrying won’t keep me healthy. And that even if I do come down with a stomach bug, it will be temporary. Sure, it will last longer than I’d like (because I don’t think anyone wants it to last at all), but eventually I’ll feel better. No matter what the phobia thinks, I’ll live through it. The other half of my mind has been ignoring most of the good advice. No wonder I’m tired tonight. I’m thinking too much, and in circles. Good thing I have therapy tomorrow.
Fortunately I didn’t let the anxiety totally suck the fun from my day. Tonight Tom and I went out to dinner. We were laughing; there’s a good possibility that we haven’t gone to a nice restaurant (not counting Denny’s or a burrito joint, or bagel shop) since we saw Eddie Izzard perform back in my first trimester. It was good to go out, just the two of us, before we have the baby. We had some good Japanese food, some good conversation. It was almost like a date. It’s been a while.
In better news - I had my last appointment with the nurse-midwives at the hospital. I felt like a big dork for making my decision so late in the game, and rather uncomfortable about talking about it in general… I didn’t want them to think it had anything to do with them in particular. I *like* them both. It’s about giving birth at home rather than in a hospital. Anyway - the meeting went well. I had a good conversation with the midwife. She gave me the group B strep test… and then she did a quick ultrasound to see whether the baby is head up or head down. She just put the wand to my belly and immediately said - there’s his head, just where it should be.
With only 33 days to go (give or take) - the boy is not breech. He’s head down and ready to rock. Needless to say - I am a happy camper.
What's more - I'm getting so close to the end of this preparatory stage. I'm only 34 days (give or take) from the beginning of the real journey. Every day is a step closer to the threshold. I wonder what the birth will be like. What I'll feel like as I cross through that door. And when I reach the other side - when we reach the other side (me and Tom), who will we meet there? Who will our wiggler be? And what will life be like then? It's going to be an adventure.
Hopefully I'll be feeling up for an adventure (yes, right after the birth, I'm sure)... at the moment I'm feeling bloated, congested and like I might have to pee again. A little help getting off the couch?
I should be in a good mood. I talked to Mom about home birth, and that went well... and I talked to one of the midwives I've been seeing at the hospital and she said I look like a good candidate for home birth. She checked out my ultrasound (from week 20) and said that it looked my uterus is normally shaped. She said the ultrasounds are pretty detailed, and while she can't guarantee that there's not a small difference, everything should be good to go. The placenta is just where it's supposed to be. And she's pretty certain that the baby's head down as of when she was feeling up my belly last Friday. (My words, of course.) I was feeling really guilty about calling to let them know I'd changed my mind about a hospital birth, especially since I liked working with both of them. But she understood, and even asked me to share my birth story and pictures with them - if I don't get to talk to her again before hand.
Mom and I talked for just over an hour today. We talked about Grandma and how things are going in Michigan, and then I told her about my birth plans. I explained the research I've done both about homebirth and about the midwives I interviewed. I talked about being low risk, and checking in about the questions Lis had. She asked me some questions - like why I wanted a homebirth. And tougher questions - like if something horrible did happen, would I be able to live with it? She said that, for herself, she would question every decision she made - like when the littlest puppy died. I told her that I have thought about it - and while it might seem callous, I think I can live with the risk. I've done my research and I feel like I've made the best decision for myself and the baby. I believe that home birth will be at least as safe as delivering in the hospital. And that there's no guarantee of a risk free birth no matter what. She also asked whether Lisa might have influenced my decision. Much easier to answer - nope. I told Mom that she's been supportive of my decision all the way along. That I've known that no matter how I chose to give birth, she'd be there for me. (Except if I was getting a scheduled C-section, in which case I probably wouldn't need a doula. Heh.)
Mom thanked me for letting her ask the hard questions - because they will allow her to meet me where I am. She said she knows this is my decision, and while she wouldn't do it herself, she thinks I'm doing the right thing for me and that's what counts. And she asked if she could be at the birth. I said that if Tom doesn't mind, I'd be happy to have her there. As long as I know that she'd leave if she were feeling too uncomfortable. She said there's pretty much no chance of being too uncomfortable, considering all of the stuff she's dealing with around Grandma. But she did say she would leave if she needed to.
At the end of our conversation, she said I shouldn't have worried about talking to her about it. And I sounded like a kid who'd just run the car into a tree. Yeah, I was nervous. I didn't want to add any stress to her situation. She said that I didn't.
Things with Grandma aren't going very well. She's having chest pain at night sometimes, and getting her lungs drained has been painful too. There's also some blood (and other stuff) coming out with the normal fluid. They're giving Grandma antibiotics, as a protection against pneumonia and in case she has an infection. But it's not a great sign. And the other day she had a hard time reading something. Mom thinks there's a good possibility that the cancer has moved to her brain - which is a quite common metastasis. Mom said if there's anything I want to say to Grandma, I should do it soon, while she can still understand.
On top of everything else, Aunt Chris had some odd medical test results recently. She needs to have more done, but the specialist isn't available until the end of January.
It doesn't feel much like Christmas around here, even with the decorations.
She called me back this evening and we chatted for a little bit. There are a couple of questions she had that will impact whether or not I can try for a home birth. First, my Mom has what she called a 'heart-shaped uterus'. (Technical term - bicornuate uterus.) This meant that she couldn't carry either myself or my brother to term. Lis said it also increases the likelihood that I would have a breech baby (both Quin and I were breech), and also could cause me difficulty in delivering the placenta. Which might make me hemorrhage. I'm going to check in with my current midwives to see if we can tell from my ultrasound whether I have a bicornuate uterus (and also the position of my placenta). Lis also wanted to know whether my baby is head down yet or not. I think he is, but I don't know for sure. So I've got some research to do.
She's going to be away for a week, but once she gets back, we're going to meet. Here's hoping that in the meantime I discover that none of the possible problems are actually problems for me. Now that I've made this decision, I really want to be able to follow through.
The hardest thing is going to be telling my Mom. I don't want to add to her stress, but I also don't want to lie. I need to get together some information for her, so she can see that I've done my research and explain that this isn't just a random thought - I've actually worked on it. And then I just need to screw up my courage and call. After all, this is my birth - not hers. And I don't want to risk either myself or the baby. Wish me luck.
I may not have long to deal with the heartburn, though. I chatted with Mom for a bit this afternoon and she's convinced that I'm going to go into labor in the next few weeks. Apparently she was talking to her nurse friend (who took Tom and I on the hospital tour), and she said that nesting instincts kick in just a couple of weeks before labor starts. I laughed and said I thought it was more along the line of trying to get my outside world in order since I'm not so good at getting my inner world in order. Mom pointed out that this is not my normal way to cope - which is a good point. So she's encouraging me to get myself ready for the baby, just in case. She also said I should talk to Tom about our plans for when we want her around. Do we want her at the birth? Just after? Not until later? That way she can prepare if she has to make a sudden trip away from Michigan.
I think this may mean that I need to talk to her about my home birth plan. I admit I'm nervous about this. Even though I'm sure that this is the right decision for me, I know it's going to be a bit difficult for her, just because she's going to worry about me a bit more than she would if I were in the hospital. I should get some statistics for her... and maybe email her articles. But this is my birth, not hers... I just am not so good at following my heart when it goes against what she believes. (At least, since I'm out of my rebellious teens.)
Tom and I met with Abigail this morning, the second of the three midwives we're interviewing. It was a good experience, again. I have no idea how I'm going to choose between them, at this point. We'll see how the meeting goes tomorrow morning, then I'll talk to Tom, maybe call Lisa, and then see if I've got a gut feeling. I feel like I'm confident in both Abigail and Maria's training and experience, so going with my intuition seems like the best plan. Better that I like too many people, than too few though. I'm feeling pretty lucky about the homebirth community in San Francisco. Filled with so many cool women.
Of course, if I go into labor before 4 weeks from now, I won't be able to give birth at home anyway. I need to be 37 weeks, and as of this moment I'm 33 weeks and one day. I'm pretty sure this isn't too likely, though.