Pregnant


Today's ultrasound shows the baby transverse again.  I'm having my
usual huge emotional reaction to anything scary.  We're going to try and turn him again.  The beloved doctor who did the last version isn't available, so I'm seeing another doctor at the ungodly hour of 6 am tomorrow. 

Not much to say.  I'm halfway between 38 and 39 weeks.  I think the baby is still in the right position.  Last night I swear he karate kicked me in the HEART.  It was excruciating but nobody had to CPR me.  I'm sure he'll do that for the rest of my life, but not literally.

My nausea was gone for a few days and I went without my nausea medicine for the first time in months.  Today it's back and I don't know if going without the medicine made it come back or what. 

My world has telescoped into a tiny tiny place.  I live in the nursery because the recliner is one of the only places I can be comfortable.  Since the nursery is right outside my bedroom, I can easily stumble a few steps in there for extra naps.  We're going into week 3 of the Broken Dishwasher due to the extreme suckery of 2-10 Home Warranty Company (2-10 Home Warranty, 2-10, 2-10 Warranty, for anyone googling them; they do in fact suck).  We may get a dishwasher before the baby comes; we may just throw all of our dishes off a cliff.  I do best eating breakfast and lunch only, since the night reflux can be relentless even 10 hours after eating, so not having a dishwasher is … whatever.  I'm all about the paper plates.  My poor husband is doing dishes by hand in addition to just about everything else around here.

We're working together on our hypnosis-for-childbirth prep, which is going well.  I have a sort of mostly positive outlook about The Birth.  If it goes south and I end up hospitalized, well whatever.  I can't worry about that.  I am more interested in the relative nirvana that awaits, of being un-pregnant; being able to bend, breathe, eat, sleep, sit, stand, and walk.

I'm actually getting myself into the pool 2x-3x a week and walking / swimming, which is great for me.  I wouldn't do it except my husband goes to the same gym to rehab his old sprained ankle (parting gift from Chicago) and so I go along.  I'm happy once I get into the water.  My hairdresser asked me if I was "doing these" and proceeded to model a deep, balletic squat that I could never, ever do at any point in my life. 

I said brightly "Sure!"  Holy s***, people.  Give it a rest.

People are also starting to press for my EXACT due date and may not be put off by my "mid-February" vagueness much longer but I'm not giving it up.  Just so they can say "When's that baby coming?"  or "are you going to be induced?" or "I remember when my sister in law was late and blah blah BLAHH…"

I'm so uncomfortable and grumpy.  The longed-for head-down position of the baby can be excruciating on my nether regions… maybe it's the fibroid or maybe that's just the way it is. 

While I'm so happy we did the version, and so grateful that it worked so well, their attempt to put a big IV needle into the back of my left hand has done something painful to me.  I feel that needle all the time though it is long gone, and it can be just as excruciating as when they were shoving it in.  Maybe some nerve damage?  It's odd and it sucks.  Brushing the back of my hand against a pillow can make me cry. Carpal tunnel is weird that way, lots of ghost pain.  People who have it for real because of repetitive motion have my respect and sympathy.

Bitch bitch bitch.  The nice thing is being so uncomfortable just chips away at my nervousness about the birthing and I'm more and more ready to just get it over with already.  Not yet – we do want him to cook until 40 weeks – I guess – we'll see.

We had the version.  It worked.  The doc pushed on the baby the littlest bit and he moved.  It took less than 10 seconds and I am not exaggerating.  I thought it would be painful and it was the gentlest thing.  The worst part was putting an IV in the back of my hand which, though I am IV veteran and human pincushion, was excruciating and made me cry.  Probably the edema in my hands.

Anyway, it worked!  It worked!  We're so happy.  Doc says there is 95% chance he will just stay head-down and if he doesn't, they can turn him again.  I know that some versions aren't as easy, and some are not successful, and we were expecting the worst; but this time, we didn't get it.

Thank you, God.

The baby's position hasn't changed.  I think my version will be Monday.  I'm trying to stay positive about the version and not freak about the possibility of C-section.  But I cried a lot about it.  We'll see.

So it was last Tuesday that I was told the baby was in a transverse position and that that was baaaad.  Theoretically, if the baby doesn't turn, then I am an automatic c-section.  Realistically, most babies turn.

I told you about how I went to the Moxibustion Guy for acupuncture.  I decided not to go back.  The reason is that the Moxi Guy told me I should commune with the baby, and that I should search my heart for any ambivalence, etc.  I have done this, but I also can't get away from the feeling that responsibility for getting the baby into an optimum position, and then having the kind of birth we hope for, is on me.  Moxi Guy initiated a long conversation with me about my feelings, my ambivalence, what do I hear back from the baby, etc., and while I was open to all that, I came away with the feeling that not only do I need to get my baby to turn, I somehow need to get my mind right in ways that I'm not sure how to do.  It was way too much about me.

All part of the mixed messages I am getting that usually go like this:

"Have you tried the blah blah inversion?  It's supposed to be great!  My sister in law did it and her baby moved immediately!  Just have your husband hold you by your ankles over a pit full of knives and broken glass for 30-40 minutes, while doing pelvic tilts.  It might take a little practice but my midwife totally swears by it!  But don't stress about it, 'kay?  He'll turn when he wants to.  And definitely don't do the version – I heard about a lady at my yoga center who had blah blah blah happen and then blah blah.  Just try to relax.  It'll be fine.  HTH!"

Umm, thanks.

I'm now trying to walk a fine line between surrendering to whatever, and still doing what I can. 

I have been going to a chiropractor for Webster Technique, which is basically getting adjustments in my hip area that I need anyway, in the hope that any tense ligaments and whatever other stuff is in there will relax and allow the baby to move lower, if he wants to. 

(please?)

I've also been going to the gym to swim and walk in the pool.  More exercise is good, swimming is good (particularly breast stroke with frog kick, which happens to be my best and only stroke) and I've also been doing handstands in the water.  When I left the gym yesterday the pressure in my lower belly was so uncomfortable that I rushed home, feeling like I couldn't walk without peeing myself.

I've been trying to spend lots of time in my knee chair, which is one of those weird chairs where you're basically kneeling on a lower knee pad and the chair part is behind that.  It keeps knees lower than hips which is one of the ways I'm supposed to allow the baby to move or keep him in the right spot if he has. We can't find my old exercise ball (now rechristened "birth ball") so I'm about to buy another. I'm also sitting upright, or more upright, as much as I can, even though a deep, deep slump suits my body better.  I've been spending time on my hands and knees, and standing in the Alexander Technique Monkey position when I have to stand ("let the baby use your belly as a hammock").  I have some side lunges I need to do more of.  My doula has moxa sticks so we'll get them from her today and continue burning my toes off with them.  When I climb stairs I think about how that is supposed to be good to help the baby move too.  I even put headphones in my panties to play music to my crotch, to try to lure him ever downwards.  Every time I lie down I remember I should be on my left side.  Everytime I sit I think about how I should be sitting.  Exhausting.

Which brings another frustration to mind.  The baby has been moving, not just kicks and flutters but big grinding turning "where exactly do you think you're going to go" kind of movements.  So he could be putting his head down and bringing it back up every day for all I know.  He might be all cozy in the right spot and I might dislodge him with all these inversions. 

I have always had deep Belly Shame.  I've always carried a lot of my weight in the lower belly area.  Being pregnant is supposed to be a break from all that and it has been, but the shame is really showing up now.  I'm convinced I didn't feel the baby move as soon as other pregnant girls because of the fat.  (does it matter?  probably not much).  My husband has yet to feel the baby move at 37 weeks, I'm convinced it's partly because of the fat.  The midwives can't always be sure about the baby's position by palpating me from the outside; I'm convinced it's because of the fat.  Never mind that most of the fat is at the bottom of my bump – never mind that I'm not the only overweight girl to ever get pregnant – I'm just convinced that I'm the worst and that this is causing huge problems.  I'm now worried that if we have to do the version, it won't be easy or successful… all together now… because of the fat.

Obviously i need to just let all this go.  I'm trying to put all my "doing" energy into unpacking and packing birth bags and getting ready for baby.  I'm needing to put all my "letting go" efforts into trusting that all will be okay and he will turn, or he may have already. 

Or that if he doesn't, he doesn't.  Enough already.

It's no accident that in the midst of all this, a dear friend sent me a poem called "Prayer of Sacred Surrender" by Mary Grace Bertulfo that contains the line: "summon me to this birth, and I will go where I am called."  It's also no accident that rearranging one letter makes it more truthful: "Scared Surrender."  I'm sure it can be both, and considering this is by far the healthiest thing I could be doing.

I see the midwives this afternoon for high-pressure Position Check.

I am definitely in "stuff mode" for this pregnancy, which means getting the nursery (such as it is) ready and figuring out what stuff we need, and where to put it.  It's been hard.

For some reason, clothes for the baby freak me out.  They're so personal, and soooo cute, and I continue to torture myself with them.  If you've had any losses you know the kind of torture I mean: I imagine that we somehow lose this baby and then I'll be confronted by it all:  his clothes, his cute little washcloths and hooded towels and bears and onesies and all the stuff.

It's a pretty futile thing that I do to myself, that little sting of negative thought.  I've mentioned it before. It is almost as if I'm trying to inoculate myself, give myself a shot of "reality" so I don't "forget" the bad things that could happen.  I've always done this and I'm trying to focus on how unhealthy it is.  Also, it doesn't work.

Do I really think that some kind of tragedy would hurt less because I have rehearsed it beforehand?  That I could face it with less pain because some part of me is saying "I knew it!"  How sad is that?

A few people have asked me if I had fun at my showers, or said "I hope you enjoyed it."  I probably had a look on my face like I wasn't happy.  All I can say is, I was as happy as I could let myself be.  Happy to see friends, touched that friends wanted to celebrate me.  But oh, every cute thing that I opened made me a little bit more squirrelly as I struggled with my little internal shot of … fear.

So I have been pushing through.  I have stuff for the baby, I need stuff for the baby, and not acquiring anything until he comes, or not unpacking it, is a possible strategy.  But it's not a good one for me. I don't want the postpartum days and nights to be a mad chaos of unpacking and not knowing where the thing I need for the screaming baby is. 

I don't want to give in to my worst, darkest thoughts.  I'm also mindful of my acupuncturist's homework, part of which was to figure out what being ready for birth looks like, and get there.

So I'm unpacking, and putting away, and acquiring.  We went to see a new friend who was selling off an amazing mountain of little boy clothes at garage sale prices, and bought quite a bit.  I wanted to stop, many times, but my husband really got into it.  I cried on the way home about how afraid I was, and he understood.  He said "I have to trust that God is good now, and not wait until the baby is here safely, because that's not faith."

That's hard for me.  God is good, but babies still die, and one thing I have learned is that God's goodness isn't about protecting me from all harm.  Perhaps I have learned this too well.  Maybe I need to trust God to protect us from at least some harm.  I used to find comfort there, and I want that comfort back.

Sigh.

In the meantime… boy do we have cute stuff!  However, I am perplexed by clothes for very tiny babies.  How often does a 2 or 3 month old baby need to be wearing an outfit?  It can't be as comfortable as the onesies and the sleeper thingies.  In my "what to bring to the birth" lists, which seem to obligate us to rent a u-haul, it says "2-3 onesies and an outfit to go home in."  My husband wondered if he is supposed to go home in a little tuxedo.  I guess for some people that's an important tradition or photo op.  I hope I'm not supposed to dress him in clothes just for a trip to the grocery store or wherever – I personally would wear a onesie to the grocery store myself if I could get away with it… and a diaper, for that matter.

Tomorrow … more about everything I've been doing to turn the baby.

In my quest to turn the baby, today I went to an acupuncturist.  I am used to Dr. Lee, who I went to for years in Chicago.  She was very doctor-like: she would tell me that she could (or maybe) could do what we needed, such as increase blood flow to the uterus or raise my "qi," whatever that means, and then make me comfortable and start sticking the needles in.

Today's acupuncturist was different.  He spoke very softly and wanted us to have rapport.  He also wanted to get into my head in a big way about how I am approaching the idea of the baby being in a "suboptimal" position, the risk of C-section, the risk of external version, and whether I feel ready, generally, to birth the baby.

At first I was thinking oh for pete's sake, let's just get this show on the road.  But the more we talked, the more I thought he might have a point.   Whether or not my ambivalence has anything to do with my baby being in a distinctly un-ready-for-birth position or not, it would be a good idea to look at my ambivalence anyway.

For example, I am happy to tell you that i know the baby can come whenever and that I am OK with that.  But my nursery is so not ready, and the boxes of stuff that come daily since my baby shower remain unopened.  And then there is the Name Thing.  My husband and I just can't come up with one that we can agree on, and I wonder if part of that isn't that we just are waiting to make sure that there really is a baby.

All of which is normal but what am I waiting for?  To feel ready?  Probably, I never will.  I think I'd be better off to get the bags packed, and the nursery ready(er), and then if I have to sit and sob about how I'm so scared and I'm not ready, that's okay.  I can have my physical ducks in a row even if I still feel scared.  And waiting to feel "ready" is just my way of controlling things, which I am pretty sure I won't be able to. 

So, the acupuncture guy gave me homework.  I'm supposed to talk to the baby, "spirit-to-spirit," and ask him what his plans are.  Are you gonna put your head down, or what?  And I'm also supposed to get my mind right whether that means ready or that just means surrendered to not feeling ready.

After the talking in soft voices was over, he burned the "moxa" – which he warned me ahead of time "smells a lot like pot" – underneath my pinky toes until I said I felt the heat.  He did this a few times, and then burned more moxa near a point on my inner calf and a few other points.  Then he put needles into the same spots.  I asked him what the non-toes points were for and he said one was for nausea (I do feel pretty good), one for my "heart," which in acupuncture-speak is emotions, and a few more for a "happy baby."

It may sound ridiculous but there are studies showing that moxibustion is effective.

It was relaxing.  The baby has been moving a lot since yesterday and I wish I could grab myself and figure out where he is, but I haven't been able to be sure about that yet.

So… was all this: the talking, the communicating with the baby spirit-to-spirit, the idea that my attitude has some influence on his position, just too out there? 

Not for me.  I think any emotional housekeeping i do is right on time, and it'll either help him get with the program, or it'll help me find peace with whatever happens next. 

I'm off to the chiropractor for some Webster technique now.  more about that later…

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