Letting Go

When we got home on Wednesday (Yay! Home!) I uncharacteristically started unpacking right away. The second drawer of my dresser is filled with assorted maternity and nursing wear and as I was cramming clothing into the other drawers the misuse of drawer two became more and more glaring. Yes, I’m still nursing C. He’ll be two at the end of August and I’ll probably wean him around that time. I’m still rocking the nursing tanks full time, but I haven’t had a nursing top on in over a year. And we aren’t having any more babies. So I put on my big girl pants and cleared out the drawer. Which means I dumped the clothing on the bed in our spare room. I assumed it would stay there until the next time we have guests so I wouldn’t have to think about the fact I’m not having another kid or that the baby I do have isn’t a baby anymore for a nice long time.

Over the last few years we’ve gotten tight with a group of three other families and we couldn’t wait to see them when we got back. Last night we had them over for a BBQ. Well, it turns out that our friend is expecting her third. Suddenly the pile of clothes on our spare room bed had a logical place to go.

I’m excited for our friend and her family. I can’t wait to get my hands on the baby once s/he arrives. At the same time I’m envious. I want another baby. I want to need the maternity clothes. I want to nurse a newborn. I want to need the nursing gear. Holding on to the clothing meant I didn’t have to face the fact that I’m done having kids. It was hard to face reality, but I’m glad the stuff will get used again. It’ll be fun to see my friend wearing it all.

I wish we could handle having a third, the truth is we can’t. Hell, a lot of days we can barely handle the two we have. As Z and I cleaned up the kitchen this morning I told him I wanted a third because mothering a newborn is intuitive to me. I’m good at it. And the older our boys get the worse I feel my parenting becomes. C is going through a particularly challenging phase and I feel like I’m fucking up with him right and left. This is my job and I suck. A baby would make me feel in control, like I could do something right. And the nursing. Oh man, the thought of finishing nursing C and being done forever makes me want to burst into tears. For me breastfeeding has been a lifeline, an easy way in to bonding with my kids, a cheat-the solution to any parenting problem, something tangible I can do for them when everything else about this parenting business is so damn nebulous.

I paused and looked at him. “I realize these are really stupid reasons to have a kid.”

Z, “I’m glad you said it so I don’t have to.”

I wish I was a competent enough Mom to feel like another was doable. I wish the money was there for a third. I wish that my uterus didn’t suck so bad at not being pregnant after childbirth (for new readers-retained placenta after T, incomplete miscarriage, and hemorrhage after C. I know, what a drama queen.)

On the other hand, some days I wish we didn’t choose to have kids at all and were still footloose and fancy free. Some days I wish we had six kids. Some days I wish we had one. Here’s the important thing, though–most of the days I’m happy that we have two boys who are two years, two weeks, and four days apart. I’m happy that I get to raise them with Z. And while I suck mightily at motherhood a lot of the time, I’m happy I always have the chance to try and do better. My boys deserve that.

And you know what? I’m glad three kids work for my friend and her family. I’m glad that one kid works for some of our friends. I’m glad that two kids with a three year split, or five year split, or six year split works for our other friends. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that I’m glad we are all making what we have work for us.

nursing

I’m grateful I get to do this for a little big longer.

c and c

I’m grateful that the boys were as excited to see our friends as we are.

family on pilot mountain

Most of all I’m grateful to be part of this family.

Crazy, Periods, And Some Good News

This whole anxiety disorder thing is never going to go away. I know that. Nevertheless when my therapist reminds me of that fact, as she did yesterday, it always kicks my ass.

Check out this blog post, especially the second half. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Ok, I know it is from an atheist website that proselytizes against religion with the same small minded zealotry of the very evangelicals it purports to be smarter than, but the author is spot on in his assertion that those suffering from mental illness are “separated from reality” who often need the help of friends and family in order to recognize they are ill. Can I take a sec to thank Z yet again for convincing me I needed help years ago?
My separation from reality is often in the form of paranoia that is occurs when I’ve done nothing wrong, yet my crazy convinces me that everyone sees a monster when they look at me. I was not even in the room when T got his black eye. Not only did I believe that the entire faculty and staff of his school thought that I’d given it to him, I felt guilty about it. WHEN I ACTUALLY KNEW I DIDN’T FUCKING DO IT! It is exhausting and confusing and frightening to carry guilt for actions I know I haven’t taken. 
Currently there is a bigger issue that is making me more vulnerable to the paranoia. In May I wrote about being worried about the return of my period. It finally came back in August and boy-o was I right to be concerned. Listen, I feel ridiculous writing this. I’ve had my period for almost 25 years, clearly it shouldn’t be a big deal. But the terror I feel when I bleed now is suffocating. It is a textbook trigger, it brings me right back to hemorrhaging. I feel so helpless. I can’t spend 5 days a month as a complete basket case. I can’t be running to the bathroom every few minutes to check that blood isn’t pouring out of me, especially because I know that blood isn’t pouring out of me, I do know it, I swear. Evidently knowing it doesn’t prevent me from needing to check to be triple sure. 
This last period was awful, and not just for me. Z suffers when I’m in bad shape, and I’m sure the boys know on some level. Rather than enjoying the blood free two and a half weeks in front of me, I’m already stressing out about the next one. What has really crystalized for me is that another pregnancy would not be a good idea. My track record blows; T = huge clots that were dismissed by my former doc as not a big deal which were actually the warning sign that I had retained some placenta that led to a D&C 5 days postpartum. Incomplete miscarriage of twins = eventual D&C to remove “products of conception” that didn’t seem to feel like passing on their own, plus ER visit due to clots because not all “products of conception” successfully removed, followed by nearly two months of blood tests as we waited for those “products” to finally pass. C = hemorrhage of more than a liter of blood six hours postpartum. My body does not like to let go of the contents of its uterus. Why the hell would we risk it again? That said, if I accidentally get knocked up I’d super appreciate it if you guys could say stuff like, “Oh Karen, I’m sure your uterus is going to cooperate this time!” Thanks, friends.

This is the face of a crazy person who is afraid of her period. Not quite sure what to do about that. 

Ready for some awesome news? My professor told me he and I should leave after the seminar portion of class next week in order to trick or treat with our kids. So I get to be on my “I’m totally responsible about not cutting class” high horse and still spend Halloween with Luke Skywalker and Yoda.

Our front stoop is ready for trick or treaters.  

 It was in the 70s today and T took advantage by doing some bike riding in the leaves.

Evidently Z and T have been doing this for ages. They are both nuts.
My sweet baby.

***Also, I cleaned up my “Stuff I Follow” list. If you haven’t posted in forever I went ahead and removed your link. I’m still subscribed in my RSS feed and if you start posting again I promise to put you back! I just thought it was weird to have links to blogs that weren’t being updated anymore. Hope I didn’t hurt any feelings! If you want your blog back on the list even if you aren’t posting email me and I’ll do it.

Change of Plans

Sunday the 28th is my due date. Throughout the pregnancy I was absolutely sure I’d have New Guy well before then. Partially because classes start on the 29th for Z, and it would be beyond inconvenient for us to have the kid after the semester began. Partially because I just convinced myself he’d come early. But as of yesterday I really don’t want to go into labor before Monday.

Last week when I made the appointment for yesterday the receptionist told me my doc (Doc A) was on vacation this week, but not to worry, he wasn’t traveling, he’d be available to deliver me. I was totally cool with that. But yesterday the doc (Doc B, who we really like) told us she wasn’t aware that our doc was planning on delivering anyone this week. And then she told us that she’d been on call for the first part of the week and the doc that delivered T (Doc F) would be on call until Monday. And then I started to cry. She knew about my experience with Doc F, which was why she told us about the on call situation. She also said she’d call Doc A and ask what his plans were. She figured she just might have been out of the loop and he was planning to come in for my delivery. She said she’d call me later and let me know.

Doc A really is an amazing medical professional. Doc B has recently finished her residency. She’s about Z and my age and it is clear that she looks up to him as well. The other doc we see in the practice (Doc C, she’s part time and doesn’t have hospital privileges, so no chance of her delivering) is another younger woman who we like a great deal. She’s the one that gave us the news about the miscarriage so gently. And she also thinks highly of our doc. The fact that his colleagues both respect and admire him only makes us love him more. They have both told us how much they have learned from him, he obviously loves medicine and sharing his knowledge. On top of that he actually cares about his patients on a personal level. He is the real deal through and through. I was pretty sure he’d come through for me.

And when Doc B called last night she said his plan was to do what he could to deliver me. If I go into labor this weekend I’ll call the after hours number and speak to Doc F. She will call my doc and hopefully he’ll be ready to go. Doc B made it clear that nothing is 100%, and I totally know that. I also appreciate that my doc is on vacation and he is really going above and beyond for me. And Doc F is a colleague to the other docs, they all know about my experience, I feel like a turd for putting everyone in a difficult position. I’m sure that Doc F has been a great doc for hundreds of women, but sometimes people fuck up, and she did with me. But just the thought of talking to her makes me break out in the cold sweats. Should I have left the practice altogether? Z and my folks think not. Last night when I was freaking out a bit they pointed out if I went to another practice it would have been a shot in the dark. I changed to my doc because he helped me when I was at my most vulnerable. He made me feel listened to at a point in my life when I was truly terrified and he got me help.

But I do not want to deal with Doc F, especially when I’m in labor. And I hate the idea of interrupting my doc’s vacation. Hence, I’m cool with keeping this baby in until Monday. No more complaining. It’s only 3 days away. And one of our best friends in the entire world is visiting us to get away from the hurricane this weekend. I can’t wait to spend time with him. I’ll be surrounded by people I love and who love me. My folks are here, Z will be home, friends will be in and out, and of course there will be T. It will be a great weekend. So what if I’m a tad bit uncomfortable? And if labor does start Z will have my back for sure. If Doc F delivers New Guy I’m sure she’ll be a hell of a lot more careful than last time.

Last Christmas Mom and Dad gave T these awesome Star Wars sheets for his big boy bed. We didn’t have room to get them home then, so they brought them up and we got them on the bed the day they arrived. And no, we aren’t putting toddler safety rails on the bed. T doesn’t move that much in his sleep. And my mom said she just threw some pillows on the floor for us when we were little and we lived. Yes, he did fall out the first night. But it didn’t tame his enthusiasm for the bed and it hasn’t happened since.

T was suitably impressed. You can’t really see, but his t-shirt has a big X-wing on it.

I told Z I was buying a bookcase for T’s room and he had this made almost immediately. It’s the first furniture he’s built specifically for T that T will be able to use into adulthood and I absolutely love it.

He was able to source some waney-edge boards that came out of a tree sequentially. 

The room is really starting to come together. Z tried doing green/yellow trees on this wall, but we don’t like it. One of the millions of things I’ve learned from him is it’s only paint and we can always re-do it. So he got some chalkboard paint and the current plan is to do the whole wall with that. Then he’s going to paint white silhouettes of trees on it. If we hate it we’ll figure something else out.

On my parents first full day here we went grocery shopping. After we loaded the trunk Dad grabbed T and threw him in there, too. Then he closed the door. He opened it half a minute later and T was cracking up. “Again!”, he shouted.

Emotional Pregnancy Garbage

The physical changes during pregnancy are completely overwhelming. But they are so in your face that it is easy to write and talk about them. The emotional changes are a bit more tricky and, of course, unique to each person. Successfully capturing the emotional toll of pregnancy has been alluding me. I’ve tried to write this post several times, and I’ve really struggled to get it right.

During T’s pregnancy my state of mind really bothered me because I had no idea what would happen when the baby came. I felt no connection to him. The only thing that comforted me in the “am I fit to be a mother?” department was I knew despite my reservations I did not want to lose the baby. I knew a miscarriage would be devastating, so on some level that meant I must want the baby. Several friends had warned me that I might not bond with him immediately, and judging from my prenatal feelings I was sure that would be the case. It was a delight to fall deeply and immediately in love with him.
When I got pregnant last summer it didn’t bother me at all that I felt no connection to the baby, I knew I would when he or she got here. To find out there had been two embryos and that I’d lost them both was even more devastating than I anticipated. So in a really straightforward and predictable way this pregnancy has been difficult emotionally. I’ve wanted this baby so intensely, but the experience with the miscarriage has meant I’ve lived in fear that something terrible is going to happen. Other moms who have had miscarriages have told me the fear passes when the baby quickens, but that hasn’t been the case for me. I’m scared I will hemorrhage, he will be stillborn, I’m slowly leaking amniotic fluid and don’t know it, and a million other things each more far fetched than the last. I don’t know if my fear comes from my anxiety disorder or not, but it has been my constant companion. I still don’t feel bonded to the new guy. But that doesn’t bother me at all. I will fall in love with him. Even if I don’t immediately I trust that I will eventually. 
All that emotional garbage feels pretty normal. The frightening part about this and the other pregnancies is how isolated they make me feel. It is very similar to how I felt when I was in the middle of my breakdown. My limited comfort in my own skin has been removed. I’ve never been good at sharing, the truth is I really resent it when someone else is relying on my internal organs. My body no longer belongs to me, and I feel very stingy about it. The only control I have it how the rest of the world interacts with me. I don’t like to be touched by anyone and the feeling intensifies as the day progresses. In the morning I seek Z out for our hugs, but by the evening I actually shrink away from being touched.
I hate it. Because if I am comfortable with the person I adore physical affection. And with Z it is more like a necessity. A basic part of what makes me me is gone. But the thing that scares the shit out of me is I don’t feel like a stranger. This is what life was like when I was rockin’ that borderline personality disorder. I feel like that girl. And let me tell you what, things were pretty bleak then. Thankfully, it isn’t all the time, and it isn’t anywhere as severe as it was. Every morning I wake up in decent shape and my emotional state deteriorates throughout the day. By the time I go to bed I feel like I’m becoming that person I used to despise. In the morning she’s gone, and if this transition to postnatal is anything like last time she’ll be gone for good after I get the hang of breastfeeding again. Except what does gone for good mean? Gone unless we decide to have a third? Gone until I relapse? That’s my biggest fear, especially now that I’m a mom.  
I don’t have the ability to describe how awful life was in the middle of my breakdown. When I got better, but I was still so close chronologically to the events that nearly destroyed my marriage, I would get the cold sweats every time I thought about how things had been. How could that have been me? How do I make sure I never ever go back there? The longer I’ve been better the less I think about it, but it is always there. I will never be free of the fear that I’ll suffer a clinical depression because if it happens there is nothing I can do to prevent it. Mental illness isn’t something you can control or completely prevent. The only thing you can do is manage it. I do not believe it will ever be as bad as it was. I don’t believe I’ll regress into a borderline personality disorder again because we know better. We would get me help and we would never let it get to the point where I would be so desperate.

I do wish that pregnancy didn’t bring me so close to who I used to be. But the absolute truth is it’s temporary and it’s completely worth it. I love being T’s mom. And I can’t wait to be a mother to New Guy. 

Today was overwhelmingly humid, and little man’s curls were going crazy. As a stick straight hair gal I was green with envy. 

I was doing some hardcore cleaning in the kitchen (nesting, nesting, nesting) when I heard the dulcimer. I’m still not sure how he got the thing on his lap, but I advised Z to put it somewhere T couldn’t reach it in the future.

My boys clinking glasses and saying “Cheers!” Z and I have a million little unobserved traditions like the frequency with which we toast each other. The thing is, they are observed now. And T wants to take part. It’s pretty damn cool.

Are You Guys Bored of My Pregnancy Yet? Because I Sure Am.

Did you read this post, in which I discussed some of the more unpleasant aspects of pregnancy? It’s a real charmer. I wrote it less than three weeks ago. Oh, how some things change in that short amount of time. I briefly mentioned I didn’t have stretch marks on my belly. Well, I didn’t then. Pregnancy is supposed to be 40 weeks long and I didn’t get the stretch marks until I was almost at 38 weeks. Of my second full term pregnancy. Now I know it is a petty thing to be upset about, but are you fucking kidding me? And they are getting bigger every day. It’s almost like I can watch them spreading. Just another reminder that there are new humiliations around every corner when you are growing human beings inside your body.

My due date is August 28th. But I don’t let facts get in the way of what I decide is reality. Somehow I got it in my head that there was no way I was carrying this baby for 40 weeks. T was 6 days early, second babies tend to come even earlier, so we’d have this kid out and about by mid August. The thing is T was induced. I have no idea how much longer I would have carried him if preeclampsia wasn’t part of the picture. The 28th is a really inconvenient week to have a kid. Classes start for Z on the 29th. The other professors in his program have stuff going on in their lives as well and can’t be expected to cover for him. That’s the other reason I want to have this kid like yesterday. Z would be able to be a bit more relaxed and actually spend time in the hospital with us without being worried about what was going on at work.

A couple of days ago I waddled into T’s room on the way to the shower to tell Z something while he was dressing T for the day. He looked up at me and said, “Jesus, you are carrying that kid high.” I informed him he wasn’t helping and flounced right out of the room. Well, I would have flounced if I hadn’t been humungous and unwieldy. Z was just speaking the truth, though. I’ve carried both boys extremely high and New Guy hasn’t dropped at all. When I go into the doctor’s office this afternoon I’ve decided to not try and delude myself. He’ll check my cervix. And he’ll tell me it hasn’t opened at all. I’m starting to have a horrible feeling New Guy isn’t going to show his face until September.

Many months ago I remember writing it would be cool if New Guy arrived on September 3rd, our 11th wedding anniversary. Because we found out about the miscarriage on our 10th anniversary. Please, let me reiterate, don’t ever make doctor’s appointments on your wedding anniversary. You probably won’t get bad news, but why take the risk? If you do find out something awful it’ll really color that day in the future. Just don’t do it. As nice as it would be to have a wonderful new memory on that day, I would sincerely like to punch the me of several months ago in the face for suggesting it.

So yes, still pregnant. Super grumpy.

T has insisted on sleeping with so many stuffed animals there is barely room for him. But it seems like the transition is complete. He’s in his new room full time. 

This was our big present for his 2nd birthday. It’ll go into his room during the winter. And the purple will match his sheets! Z didn’t make it, we got it at an open studio event in our neighborhood in the spring. Support local artists! 

Today I was sitting in our yard and it was really cool to look around from his point of view. It seems much more jungle-like if you are under 3 feet tall. 

Prepping for Z to use the router. I love how his safety gear squishes his sweet face.

The First Successful Diet of My Life Started at Week 28 of Pregnancy

Among the most loaded issues during pregnancy is diet and weight gain. The mixed messages you receive from different sources are completely overwhelming. Your friends tell you horror stories of gaining 80 lbs, but then magically losing them all in 3 months due to the wonders of breastfeeding. Other friends struggle with putting on weight and not being able to take it off postpartum. Still other friends looked smugly perfect, all belly while carrying the baby and seemingly back to normal in a matter of weeks. The pamphlets at the doctor’s office talk about healthy eating and stress that you shouldn’t indulge in whatever you want. The pregnancy books instruct you to never ever diet during pregnancy. So what the hell are you supposed to do? Because on top of all the different stories you are getting from the universe at large your own body can’t decide what it wants.

I love food. A lot. Like almost as much as I love Z and T. Um, my relationship with it might not be the healthiest in the world. It was perplexing to have food become my enemy during the first half of my pregnancy. I was nauseous all the time, strangely eating took the edge off the nausea, but I couldn’t think of anything that was palatable enough to eat. Suddenly one of the most pleasurable parts of my life turned into something to dread. And then at about 20 weeks that phase was mostly over. Food tasted great and as time went on started to taste even better. My body told me it wanted carbs, lots and lots of carbs. And sweet stuff. And salty stuff. And carbs. Failing the first glucose screen, which is the test for gestational diabetes, should not have been a shock.

Here’s how my fabulous doc explained it to Z and me: every pregnant woman in the world has gestational diabetes. The placenta sucks the nutritional value of food right into your blood stream, not just the sugars, but the fats, and the proteins, and the vitamins, everything. It’s part of the parasitic relationship that is gestation. Back when women didn’t have access to unlimited amounts of food it undoubtedly saved the lives of many fetuses. Now that many of us in first world countries can eat whatever we want whenever we want it, the gestational diabetes can quickly get out of control and create a negative health impact on the fetus and the mom.

We were on vacation for two weeks starting the day I found out about my failed glucose test so the 3 hour screen (the next step) was put off until I got back. The nurse told me I needed to immediately cut out sugar and refined carbs and limit whole grains. So at about 28 weeks I found myself on a diet. Um, diets haven’t worked so well for me in the past.

It’s not that I wasn’t raised in a home that modeled good eating. Mom made our lunches which included a sandwich, small bag of chips, piece of fruit, and dessert. The vast majority of the time we ate dinner as a family and there was usually meat, potatoes, a veg, and always a glass of milk. I sucked at rebelling in general, but food came to symbolize the promise of making my own adult decisions. And I demonstrated really poor judgement that was a pretty big indicator of how I’d handle being a grown up for the first decade or so.

There was a coke machine in my high school and I spent 4 years having a can of coke during first period. Which started at 7:50am. I think I pretty much ate the lunch mom packed because I sucked at lying and she’d ask about the damn apple. But I remember being on a theater trip either my sophomore or junior year and visiting a food court with no adult supervision for dinner. I got an ice cream sundae, you know, because I could. College wasn’t any better in terms of food choices. By my last year breakfast was that good old can of coke, a huge NYC bagel with tons of butter from the place around the corner from my northern Manhattan apartment scarfed down between cigarettes on the drive up to Bronxville. God, it was delicious. And lunch for almost every day of the four years I was at Sarah Lawrence was fried eggs, bacon (extra crispy), and cheddar cheese on a bagel. I’m nothing if not a creature of habit. And holy shit, I can’t think of a better lunch. The thing is when I graduated I was about 120lbs. There were never any repercussions for eating like total shit. You know, until there were. By that time I’d been eating crap for so long I refused to acknowledge there could be a correlation between what I ate and what I weighed. Then I started on high doses of antidepressants and rapidly put on another 50lbs. In my mid to late 20s I became overweight for the first time in my life.

I took no action about my weight except to complain about it constantly. And to use it as further proof that I was completely worthless. Adding to the problem, during my 20s I started working in the food industry and Z and I developed a love of fine food together. Going to restaurants we couldn’t afford became one of the highlights of our relationship as everything else about it was falling apart.

When I started coming off the antidepressants I did lose about 20lbs. But I was older and my metabolism had changed and I needed to actually do something about the other 30lbs plus the extra I’d put on before the drugs. Again I did nothing. Expect complain about how I looked.

So why the boring history of my food issues? Well, I figure a lot of you ladies have them as well. If you aren’t the best about taking care of your body and you get pregnant it feels like a shitty time to try and get yourself on track health-wise. But I am living proof that it is possible. In fact, when a doctor tells you to modify your diet because if you don’t you are putting the health of your baby at risk the it becomes achievable. Now that I know I actually do possess the willpower to not eat potato chips when everyone else at the table is having them I feel like continuing with this healthy eating thing might just be possible after the baby finally arrives.

And I did pass the second glucose screen. But my doctor told me to continue to stick to the modified diet for the remainder of the pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a bummer. I crave carbs all the time. Right now I could really go for a soft serve twist cone, or a Butterfinger Blizzard, or just a really excellent piece of bread covered in half an inch of butter. I’ll settle for a bowl of glamourous Weetabix. And my doc did tell me I could have one serving of ice cream a week. Friday is my lucky day. I look forward to it all week long. Listen, I’ve flat out made terrible nutritional choices for my whole adult life. And who the hell knows if I’ll be able to continue to motivate after New Guy comes. But if this situation happens to you I can tell you it is a hell of a lot easier to make the right choice for the safety of your child than it is to make the right choice for yourself. If I can diet during pregnancy anyone can.

T’s Aunt sent the awesome doll for his birthday, and our friends gave him the stroller. He loves pushing that baby around our house. 

Drawing while waiting for dinner during our family date night. 

T charmed our waitress so thoroughly that she arranged this surprise for him. The crazy kid wouldn’t take a single bite! He’s incredibly suspicious of new foods and we can’t seem to convince him that ice cream rocks. Z, who isn’t crazy about dessert, took one for the team and ate it. Full disclosure: I had 2 bites. 

A Boring Lesson on Being Strep Positive

Hey non-preggers people, you might find this pretty dull! Just trying to be friendly and give you a heads up!

Today I went in for my 37 week 5 day visit. First of all, my cervix is still closed. Phooey. Last week I had my Strep B swab, and just like with T’s pregnancy I’m positive. So what is Strep B anyway? Here’s a really great article from the American Pregnancy Association. If there is a nifty article than why am I still writing about it? Because my doctor, who I adore, explained it in a really cool and helpful way.

Some background: I’m a huge pussy. Big surprise, I know. I hate and dread pain and can’t handle it at all. Therefore I’m a huge fan of the epidural. I really admire those  ladies who go the natural route. As long as there aren’t extenuating circumstances that put the mom and babe at risk I think home birth ladies are kick ass. But that isn’t me. I need drugs. All that said, I don’t love the idea of a lot of medical intervention when it isn’t needed. Being induced is evil and beyond painful. You NEED an epidural faster because you are  immediately in the thick of huge contractions. Your body doesn’t have time to warm up. And sometimes the epidural can slow down the contractions, so more induction drugs are given, so the epidural needs to be turned up, and on and on and on. That didn’t happen with me. T came quickly, but my body was not warmed up and I tore horribly even after having an episiotomy. But, I had preeclampsia. My blood pressure was worrisomely high. My doctor waited as long as she felt was safe before inducing, and I made it to 39 weeks, which was pretty good. She was not inducing for convenience, but for my health and safety. Yes, I have big problems with her and how I was treated, but they have nothing to do with her decision to induce. And yet, I made it clear to my current doctor that I’d like to avoid it at all costs this time around.

Part of the medical intervention crap was being hooked up to an IV drip. I wanted to avoid that (until epidural time), and I wanted to avoid antibiotics. I had tons of IV antibiotics with T because I was Strep Positive and because of the D&C to remove the left behind placenta 5 days after his birth. And in my humble opinion that is why we got a nasty and painful case of thrush. Um yeah, I really don’t want to go there again.

But here is what my doctor told me about Group B Strep that changed my mind. He said about 25% of all woman carry it in their “natural flora” (Z loved that turn of phrase and has been using it nonstop since). He said it wasn’t weird, it wasn’t bad, it just was part of some ladies. He also said it comes and goes. If you’ve tested positive in the past you will always be a carrier. And if you test negative at 36 weeks there is no guarantee you won’t be positive when you give birth. That said, the risk to the baby is low unless your water broke ages before you deliver or you go into labor before you’re full term. But if the baby gets it, well there is a good chance he’ll get really sick. Or die. And the antibiotics make that low risk much much smaller.

I’m not a big risk gal. Suddenly the thrush thing didn’t seem like a big deal. He said if I tested negative they would only give me the antibiotics if I asked. I told him to tell me when to ask and I’d do it. I trust him completely. Turns out it’s a moot point. I’m positive so I’ll be getting the drugs. The sucky thing is you need to stay in the hospital for 48 hours after the baby is born so they can make sure he doesn’t have it. But, whatever, I can deal. And now I know if we go for a third that I’m a carrier. And I’ll probably request the antibiotics during the delivery no matter what.

Yes, I know antibiotics are massively overprescribed in this country. I try to avoid them at all costs under normal circumstances. I also try to only buy meat and dairy for my family that is free from antibiotics. I know that a lot of people will find my doctor’s recommendation suspect. If it’s a pretty low risk why bother with antibiotics? But minimizing a real risk to my son during childbirth is worth it to me. Also, having a doctor who takes the time to explain his reasoning makes a huge difference. My doc the first time around explained nothing about the positive test (among many other things). And I was too intimidated to ask her.

The difference I feel with this pregnancy, the way my doctor will take all the time in the world to explain my smallest question, has changed my expectations when it comes to medical professionals permanently. I trust him, I am grateful for his wisdom, when he tells me stuff that makes sense I’ll basically follow him to the end of the world. And now that I’ve experienced someone like him I’ll always expect that level of excellence.

Purple sheets! Boba Fett Lamp! 

Cuddling with Daddy.

Hard to see what is going on here, but he was so unbelievably excited during the fight at Jabba’s place on Tatooine in Return of the Jedi.