Friday, February 26, 2016

Update on Baby Arrival

I feel like my head is still spinning. Mostly from just trying to scramble to get ready for a baby. As we close out February this week, my thinking at the beginning of the week was one more full month of pregnancy to go with March. I'd have March to close out the third quarter unit and grades and get my yearbook submitted. March would also be the month we'd take care of the last of the baby things. My plan last weekend was we'll use our spring break the last week of March to install the car seat and pack the hospital bags and those kinds of last minute things.

Now I'm starting to think we're going to have a baby in March. In fact, I'm not a betting person but my mom instinct is this kid is coming in March and I'd put money on March right now. Preferably March 31?!?! He'd only be exactly four weeks early at that point.

So an update for those that have been keeping up with our unplanned labor and delivery trip from the beginning of the week. I went in Monday afternoon to the doctor for cramping pains. I was sent to labor and delivery in the evening to get checked out for the second time that day since earlier in the day I was dilated to a 1 and my cervix was softening. In L & D we found out over the span of ten hours there was no change in my cervix so that was good! They also sent a bunch of labs off for test. I guess one of the labs they sent off for was for a bacteria infection they check all women for between 35-37 weeks pregnant, but because I was having signs of early labor I was tested at 30 weeks. The test came back positive for GBS, a type of bacterial infection that I guess 30% of pregnant women end up having. With a positive at 35-37 weeks they just make a note to administer you antibiotics during delivery so your baby doesn't get the infection. A positive earlier than that though can cause preterm labor; hence the possibility of my preterm labor (and I guess I had a low grade UTI I didn't even know I had from it) . I started antibiotics Wednesday night.

Now that I've tested positive for it once I will also have to be administered antibiotics during delivery too, and even though I'm getting treated for it at the moment I guess it can come back fairly quickly. So not only is there lots of time left for it to come back and cause labor again, I still haven't stopped cramping to begin with. Then today my ribs that have been killing me are no longer hurting at all which makes me wonder if' he's dropping down???

As I told the doctor, if my mother instinct and knowledge of my own body from experiencing two pregnancies counts for anything, I really think I am starting the slow process that my body typically takes to progress towards labor. I'm really hoping for a five week long process but I'm kind of thinking that might be wishful thinking. She said after 34 weeks they won't stop my labor so that's in only three weeks! In hopes of getting me there and as a just in case measure in hopes it helps she wants me to be on modified bed rest at home (at least it's not the super can't move off the couch except to pee kind) for at least those three weeks. She wrote me a note for work until the end of the month but said we can reevaluate and discuss at 34 weeks so hoping I'm only taking a short 2.5 week break from work in which I can still work on my yearbook and third quarter grades from home before going back for a short time to get things ready for my long term maternity leave sub. I've been scrambling all week in panic mode after Monday so after coming home and working three hours one night and working straight through lunch today I completed my SLOs and have laid out and organized plans for the whole month of March. I have a good size stack or papers to catch up on grading and interims to submit over the weekend so maybe I can feel caught up and like I'm not leaving things in an untidy frenzy (this is when A type personality sucks and is a good thing all at the same time).

I go to the pediatric cardiologist this week for what is probably his last heart check in utero and to discuss any delivery interventions, procedures, or changes they feel may need to be put in place for his arrival. A week after that I go back to the OB and I imagine every week after that.

My first came at 39 weeks and 5 days and my second at 38 weeks and 2 days. I'm placing my bet for this one at 36 weeks on the nose.

As you get close to the end it's always kind of exciting and nerve racking and a zillion other emotions all at the same time. I can not wait to meet this boy of mine! However, I hope he stays put for at least another 3-5 weeks. I think once I hit the 36 week mark I'm just going to be ready for him to come any day. I am SO excited to see all three of my kids together. I'm scared and nervous to see what his official diagnosis is with his heart and what that all means for the short term or long term. I'm a little nervous about having an infant in the house again. The last one was kind of demanding and overwhelming. I'm a little nervous about balancing work, life, and mom of three after feeling like I let myself down there for a bit with the working mom balancing act with two and just got my confidence back in the last year or so. I can't wait to experience being a boy mom verse a girl mom. I'm excited for the girls to have a brother and watch that sibling love blossom and grow all over again. I'm so excited for Nate to have a son. I'm so excited for our little family to be complete!


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Oh, baby, oh, baby!

After about twelve hours of doctor's orders of rest and close monitoring we were finally sent home from labor and delivery last night around 1 in the morning. I am 31 weeks today so nine weeks to go until D day. I have yet to be pregnant on my due date; however, having a baby nine weeks early is not on my bucket list of life accomplishments. It's not that I thought he was coming yesterday or even today.

My concern is more this. Over the last few days my Braxton hicks have turned into cramping. I've had Braxton hicks with all three of my pregnancies, but cramping with the other two was the start of approaching labor and dilation. Now realize my labors are LONG. They are not a quick and done deal. With my first the cramps started on a Friday night and she was born two days later. With my second they started at 35 weeks and between 35 weeks and 38 I cramped and slowly dilated my way up to a five before they finally just said since I was a five, past 37 weeks, but not officially in active labor I could go ahead and have her if I wanted. I was all for let's do this!

At 31 weeks yesterday I was already dilated to a 1 with some softening of my cervix but even though I continued to have cramps all afternoon long, only a few registered as actual contractions on their monitor and in ten hours my cervix never changed. Which is all good; however, my worry is this will be similar to labor with my second. That over the next few weeks I will continue to cramp, which I still am today very mildly though because I've been resting, and SLOWLY dilate my way ahead. My worry though with starting this at 31 weeks is that we're still looking at him being early. If it's similar to my second that'd be around 34 weeks, which is way better than 31 but wouldn't 37 be much better???Also I now live an hour from the hospital so between his heart concern and now the possibility of him being early (even at 34/35 weeks) I want to make sure I make it to the hospital! Luckily my labors in the past have never been fast so even though he's my third hopefully even if I wait until it's obvious I'm in active labor we'll still have time to make it to the hospital.

I would not be surprised if we have ourselves another March baby. Just hoping for the end of March, not the beginning of March this time. In the meantime where I was thinking we could use the end of March, our spring break, to finish the last of our baby prep, I'm thinking now we might want to get on it a little sooner. Even though I've never been pregnant on my due date my other two were only two days and two weeks early, but it doesn't seem like a month early (36 weeks) typically warrants much if any extra time in the hospital. So that crib and dresser in a box may need to be put together sooner rather than later. That mattress we haven't ordered we should probably order. And I'm thinking it'd be a good idea to get the carseat soon?? As for naming him I think I've just accepted that we'll probably do that when they tell us he can't leave the hospital as Baby Boy G.

I know every pregnancy and kid and so forth always varies from individual to individual but if you have any experience with any of the questions below I would love your knowledge.

1. When it comes to early/preemies what is the threshold for looking at lots of NICU time to probably limited NICU time (that's excluding of course whatever NICU time we're looking at with his heart)?
It seems like once we get down to no more than six weeks early things improve quite a bit based on feedback I've already gotten.

2. Anyone else ever start dilating this early and a doctor tell them it could just be because it's the third or more and not necessarily early labor signs?

3. It seems like cramping is actually common even though it's one of the flags to call OB and get checked out but anyone else with cramping and dilating this early?



Sunday, February 21, 2016

Don't Apologize

I love the internet. I love the connections it gives us to other people. I'm not sure what pressure was like before the internet. I experienced high school and college pressure before social media. However, honestly I don't really feel like those pressures ever really phased me much. Maybe because those that knew me knew I was going to do what I was going to do. When I wanted to do it. They accepted that and loved me anyway. Hopefully your closest friends and family were the same too. However, in our social media world we are exposed to the influences of more than just those in our closest inner circle.

We are now exposed to a whole new level of pressure in all the aspects of how we live our life from anyone and everyone we've ever known because we are now virtually connected to not just our closest friends but all those we've met along the way.  There's pressure in where our career should rank in our list of priorities, where exercise should rank in our list of priorities, pressure on what our eating habits should be, pressure on how we should be raising our kids, pressure on what our goals and ambitions should be, pressure on what our marriage should be like, pressure on everything you can probably think of, pressure on what we do with our spare time, pressure on what happiness should look like.  If we let ourselves think too much on it we could totally convince ourselves we're living our life all wrong.

If we're not convinced we're living it all wrong we feel the need to apologize for how we do live our life. We feel the need to apologize for sharing too many pictures of our kids, for making time for ourselves and our interests, for sharing our journeys with our health, struggles, or personal goals and ambitions, apologize for shouting our happiness to the virtual world in hopes of spreading more positivity than negativity for a change, for sharing our views on delicate issues in hopes of convincing someone to look at an issue with a new perspective.

We need to be able to look at other's journeys and be happy for one another because we all have different struggles and triumphs that we will encounter. Different things will fulfill each of us. Each of our vision of happiness is different than everyone else's. What is important to you is not important to me. What is important to me is not important to you. And that is okay. We don't need to apologize for what makes us different. We don't need to apologize for what we choose to dedicate our time and resources to. We don't need to apologize for how we choose to live our life and we need to know there are many right ways to live this life. There is no one right or perfect way to live this life. Our journeys aren't about someone else or about making someone else feel bad about their life choices. It should be about celebrating the victory in ours so let's not apologize for what we choose to share or the choices we make in how we choose to live.

                                     Don't apologize for the victorious or the failing moments.
PS I'm not going to apologize for my picture sharing obsession anymore :)


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Parenting in Today's Contradicting Informational Age

So today in my usual browsing of the internet I came across this Huffington Post Parents'  The Modern Parenting Crisis article. As always I find myself amused by the continued contradiction of what our modern informational age tells us about parenting. Half the time it seems like everything we do no matter which end of the parenting spectrum we fall is wrong or a modern day parenting crisis.

I rarely base my own parenting decisions on any of these articles, but I do find myself unable to avoid reading or considering their content. One article will tell us our kids today are lazy and too dependent and engrossed in technology while another will tell us as parents we devote too much of our time and ourselves into making sure they're involved in a wide range of activities. I understand there are extremes. There are parents who invest very little time into their kids and therefore they probably spend too much time in front of the television or their electronics; while there are others who push their kids in their activities to the obsessive point of what  you see on Trophy Kids . I like to think more than the majority of us fall in the middle.

But being in the middle takes a serious amount of dedication on our part as parents so I feel that articles like "The Modern Parenting Crisis" give parents an excuse to cut back on their commitment to their kids or appeases the guilt of those that criticize others and  limit their own commitment to their kids' interests. I truly believe we can be dedicated parents, work our full time careers, and still find solitude for ourselves. I know this is possible. I saw my parents do it, I see my friends do it now, my husband and I do it now in our current lives even though I'm sure the years ahead will be much crazier than they are right now.

Are there going to be sacrifices at time? Yes but most choices come at the sacrifice of something else; didn't we all sacrifice a part of ourselves to become parents in the first place? Honestly, can you really be the same person you were before kids after you have kids? Really I think the parenting crisis debate of today is a choice between us or our kids? Do we sacrifice them and their interests or us and our interests?  But it doesn't have to be an all or nothing, does it?

There are weeks like this past one where it's Girls Scouts one night, gymnastics another, and a two night special event at school where we're gone four out of the five evenings on top of being gone ten hours a day (with our long commutes) working full time all week with extra meetings or work commitments between the two of us. Is it a bit exhausting? Of course. Was there other stuff that was not taken care of? Definitely. But the beauty of your kids being in activities also means they're old enough to help out around the house. They helped empty the dishwasher in the middle of the week, they put their own clothes away after they're washed, and they know if I'm still taking them to their activities or if they want to go out and play for a bit before we head out for the evenings' activity their room and playroom better be cleaned up and pass Inspector Mommy. Sometimes they help me make my bed, sort the ridiculous amount of mismatched socks, and clear the table after dinner. They are seven (almost) and four, but they already get that we do a lot between working to pay for all these things they enjoy and making the time for them to get involved in the things they enjoy, but they also know it's not a them take everything and give nothing in return.

My parents did this for me and my sisters; they were extremely dedicated to my sisters and mine interests. I don't recall us having to help out around the house the way I make my girls until we were a bit older when my mom went back to work when I was entering middle school, but again they were working full time and giving up their evenings and later weekends to be there for us and our activities. I still remember them having their own things. My father when he wasn't coaching twenty four adolescent girls two nights a week and every weekend from late March until the end of July, he was out in the driveway taking turns catching all three of us. Yet he still had time for his big loves, golf, hunting, and playing cards. My mom who ran the management end of those two teams for a decade on top of working full time and being the primary caretaker of the home (it took Dad awhile to get past the old way of thinking about gender roles in the house ;)  ) still loved to read her books and sew though I don't remember her sewing as much as we got older.

Just like with this past week I still managed to get in reading the first few chapters of a book I started, I started working on our next family photo album, and got in a little TV watching with my husband, which is his primary choice of unwind time, and I'm sure I still spent too much time conversing on facebook. When we're not out and about with our kids and are at home I don't feel the need to entertain or engage my kids. They will go outside and entertain themselves for hours with honestly me hearing very little from them or they will go downstairs and play pretend with their barbies, dolls, or animals. Sometimes they watch movies; on a lazy weekend day maybe most of the day if they feel like it! Or they'll play games on their tablets. Again for an uncensored amount of time because again I'm confident my kids are not lazy in the way they enjoy and thrive on being so involved and busy and in the way the pitch in around the house so if the kid wants to play on her tablet or watch TV all afternoon I'm pretty confident she's not suddenly going to turn into a lazy, entitled brat.

God knows there are plenty of articles and memes out there claiming we're raising self centered entitled kids these days, but there are self centered, entitled people in every generation. But there's a generation of hard working, dedicated parents right now raising well rounded, involved, independent kids with gratitude. I think the ones that have this figured out haven't fully sacrificed themselves or their kids. They've realized the little sacrifices here and there that need to be made in order to find the balance. We can support our kids in their love and interests without fully sacrificing ourselves. Are we going to be busy? Yes, crazy busy! But I look at my friends in the parenting trenches with me right now, and no we're not perfect and we make mistakes and learn as we go, but I know we're committed to our kids and the interests they choose to pursue. Yes, that will take a lot of dedication on our part to fully support them, but as kids that were raised this way ourselves by parents dedicated as we intend to be, we are now capable adults ready to balance our needs with our kids to raise the next generation of independent, successful, gracious kids.