Friday, November 28, 2008

What a Week!

Wow! What a week! On Nov. 18 I looked like this and now that belly is much smaller and peanut is on the outside! I am finally able to get two free hands and a few seconds to update this here blog. A week after his arrival, things with Nathaniel are going so so well! Labor and delivery were very tough and was much different than any of us anticipated. I am planning to write a detailed birth story very soon, but in the meantime I can just sum it up and say that due to a stubborn peanut my labor was very very long and I had to go to plan B, C and D. I have had a bit more to recover from than I anticipated, but a week later I am feeling much stronger and can see a light at the end of the tunnel and I'm sure I'll be up and running soon. Not too soon, but soon. In the meantime, I am loving my new role as a milk-machine.

Here are some more pictures of my little nut!

Friday, November 21, 2008

He's HERE!!

Baby Peanut has arrived.

Nathaniel Louis was born today at 2:44 - Mom Dad, and baby are all
doing well. He was 8 pounds 5 ounces and 21 inches long.
I haven't seen him yet but will heading up to the hospital in a bit and
will take some pictures. For those of you on facebook stay tuned.

-Salty's Mom

(posted by Auntie Adventurous, with much excitement!!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Peanut is on his way!

Hi blog readers and fellow Salty advocates! Miss Adventurous here, guest posting on behalf of my big sister and Mrp to let you know that Peanut is on the move. According to our mom, Salty went into the hospital at about 3:00 this morning and then they sent her home around 7:30. Still, we definitely think he's en route!

More updates to come!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Latent Stage of Labor

* I am in labor. Whoa! Don't get too excited! According to my doula, I am in what is called the latent stage of labor. I have been having contractions since yesterday afternoon and they were consistently 7:00 apart and getting pretty intense. However, they since spaced out to 9:00 apart and are now irregular in both intervals and intensity. Last night they got so intense I had to hum to get through them. Those suckers can hurt! Hopefully, they're getting things moving so I can progress into active labor soon. Although, don't get your hopes up. The ol' doula says the latent stage of labor can drag out for 2-3 days! On the other hand, the contactions can pick up into active labor at any time too. So I have gone from one sort of waiting game to another, similar although slightly different waiting game complete with cramps!

*A photo of me getting ready to handle one of those nastier contactions. Ok, not really. But isn't harmonica guy cute?!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Athletics of Childbirth

Still pregnant! Mrp's prediction was that we'd have peanut today. It's not looking good. I now realize my body is one that needs a long wind up. All that stuff I started experiencing 10 days ago, while they can be a sign that labor is just a day or so away, aren't necessarily that. My body needs a nice long warm-up before it gets going. And I'm ok with that.

What worries me though is that peanut is still measuring pretty big. With each passing day now, the risk for complications with birth go up. Of course, these risks aren't super-duper high--peanut is not going to be 12 lbs or anything like that! But it does worry me because I am hoping for a natural, med-free child birth. But as my midwife has told me, some woman have a horrible time giving birth to a 6 lb baby and others have a super easy time with a 10 pounder. We can only do what we can do and hope for the best.

And this leads me to what mrp and I have done to create the best possible chance for us to have a natural med-free childbirth.

1. Read a lot! As soon as I found out I was pregnant I started to read books about childbirth. One I really liked (although it might be a bit heavy-handed for some) was the Birth Book by Dr. William Sears. I educated myself about the pros and cons of all procedures and concluded for us, the best would be to go natural and med-free. We believe it is not only what's best for both mom and baby physically (all drugs have side effects!), but was also both something I could probably handle and something I think I would really enjoy. Obviously, I won't enjoy it like an ice cream sundae (heh!), but I look forward to pushing through just like with running. I honestly feel that if I can get through a birth unmedicated I will be both a better tougher runner and a better tougher person in general!

2. Signed up for Bradley Class. Once mrp and I decided to go for a natural birth, we looked into various coping strategies. I'm sure you've all heard of Lamaze--you know, do weird breathing exercises to cope with the pain of contractions. Lamaze wasn't for us, but the Bradeley Method was. And here's why: Bradley treats birth as an athletic event and trains the dad to coach mom through it. Perfect! Mrp's the coach and I'm the athlete! Bradley focuses on good prenatal nutrition, prenatal exercises to get all those birthing muscles engaged, and relaxation. In fact, relaxation is probably the thing Bradley stresses the most. So mrp has been trained for 12 weeks on how to help me relax. And for me, this is invaluable. I have never ever been more relaxed in all my life than the last couple of weeks and mrp and I have learned so much about how to help me cope with stress in general. Plus, it's just been so much fun to learn about everything pregnancy, labor, and delivery together. The Bradley classes facilitated so much more togetherness through this whole process.

3. Hired a Doula. A Doula is a labor assistant. She is there to help you cope through labor and to advocate for you with the hospital, ob or midwife. Our doula just happens to also be our Bradley instructor and we love her. It will be so nice to have her there to remind us how to put all our Bradley training into action. It will also be invaluable to have her if a natural birth becomes impossible. She will both help us know when this is the case and will help us cope with whatever alternative we must pursue.

4. Drafted a Birth Plan. Mrp and I wrote up our wishlist for our birth. We made sure to communicate our open-mindedness, that if we had to do something we rather not do to protect the health of me or peanut we would gladly do it. But it is a nice reference point for the hospital staff and our doula. Here is a link to an early draft of our birth plan.

So we've done our part. Now it's up to peanut, really. Can't wait to put all this training to good use!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Take Me Away: Zen and the Art of Waiting for Baby

* Hmmm. What is going on? I feel totally normal today. Well, not totally normal, but relative to yesterday normal, I guess. Yesterday I felt crampy all day and I had so much pressure in my lower back and deep in my pelvis. When mrp and I were walking to the car I felt like I had one loooooong contractions all the way there. I was pretty miserable. But after dinner last night I took a long hot bath and turned the jets on full boar. It felt so good and was so relaxing. I realized then and there that I was doing precisely what I didn't want to do.

And what would that be? Obsessing and micromanaging and trying to make something happen. I couldn't help to think back to the whole marathon/stress thing. One can run a marathon and trust her body to do what it has trained to do and let it dictate how things go. Or one can stress and tense up and obsess over splits and water and gu and every little thing. What if a contraction I feel turns into labor? Obsessing about it now won't change anything. And really, the liklihood is it's not labor. So I should assume that at first. I'll only be wrong once, as mrp pointed out to me when we were chatting about this this morning. If it is labor, labor will show itself eventually. I should save my energy and just let it happen. And if it's not labor, so what? My body is prepping and getting ready for labor and I should use these non-labor contractions as a learning opportunity.

Over the last few days I felt myself falling into this pattern of thinking: if I don't go soon I don't know what I'll do! Having the baby asap = good. Having to wait a few days, a week or two = bad (and worse as you go down that line!) This is not unlike the pre-marathon thinking process. Running goal time = good. Running anything slower than my goaltime no matter what = bad. And it's not just good or bad, it's about self-worth: I am good if I have the baby tomorrow or run my goal time, but there is something wrong with me if I have the baby in two weeks or if I run slower than I wanted to. But really, is it? Of course not. Just like every race, particularly a disappointing one, offers up an opportunity to learn and grow as a runner, every extra day I have before peanut's arrival is an opportunity to savor the just the two of us with mrp and being able to do things on my own time. Don't get me wrong. I am so unbelievably excited to meet my son and squeeze the chubby little legs that have been kicking me relentlessly over the weeks. I can't wait to kiss those chubby cheeks and blow on that belly and dance in my living room with him in my arms. Ahh, I say I cannot wait. But that is just a figure of speech. I can wait and I can do it happily.

If you haven't done so, please enter our contest and take a stab at guessing peanut's birthday and birth weight!

* For some reason, every now and then work allows me to access blogger. I am taking advantage of it and drafting a normal non-e-mail post! Hopefully, this is not an IT Department/Big Brother trap to see what hellions dare blog at work!

Monday, November 10, 2008

We're Getting Closer

I have had some labor false alarms the last couple of days. And this comes after experiencing just about every prelabor sign and symptom (I won't get into those finer details here as it is a running blog and not a place you would normally expect to read about bodily fluids--yummy!) Even so, my own personal prediction is that I am going to deliver peanut on Thursday the thirteenth at 38 weeks and he will weigh 9 lbs 6 oz. Mrp thinks he will come next Monday the seventeenth and weigh 10 lbs 1 oz. Feel free to leave a prediction in the comments. If I get inspired and not overwhelmed in the coming days perhaps whoever is closest will win a prize! How's that for a commitment? Heh.

I am trying to not get my hopes up and relax and expect labor to start sometime within the next 2.5 weeks rather than the next 2.5 hours. It's hard when your body teases you, though. I woke up this morning at 4 a.m. with serious contractions that came 7-8 minutes apart for 2 hours. Mrp woke up at 6 and I told him. Then I did not have another contraction for over an hour!! And since then any I have had have been weak and very irregular. Damn! I thought maybe we actually would have peanut on our first anniversary (which is today! Happy Anniversary Mrp!), but now I am sitting in my office at work so I think that that won't happen. Lots about pregnancy and childbirth is like running, but this waiting has no running parallel. It's like planning a taper, but not knowing when the marathon is. Yeah. It makes you crazy!!

UPDATE: My sister, Auntie Miss A. will gladly handle contests. She promises a special prize to whoever most closely guesses her new nephew's birthday and birth weight!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

On the Happy Side of History

I walked up the driveway all smiles with the literature in hand.  A man waited for me next to a red work truck.  "I might as well hand this to you since you're here," I said.  He was smiling, until he saw what I was handing to him that is. Then he looked at me with anger in his eyes and sharply said, "I don't live here and you definitely don't want to give that to me."   I felt that if I wasn't pregnant to the point of almost bursting that he would have snapped my head off!

On Monday, my mom, grandma and I canvassed my neighborhood for the Obama campaign.  We went around hanging voter information on supporter's doors.  I was so heartened to see how many Obama supporters were in my neighborhood! Most people weren't home, but occasionally we came upon someone raking leaves, just leaving to run errands, or an errant workman hanging out in a driveway.  For the record, that was the only guy who gave us anything even resembling grief.  What struck me about him was how angry he was.  My mom, grandma, and I were so happy and smiling to be there and he seemed so bitter.  I couldn't help but be reminded of this moment as I watched the crying, cheering, hugging mass in Grant Park last night and heard the boos and hisses coming out of the crowd when McCain was giving his concession speech.  This time, I am happy to be on the happy side of things.  I know how upset I was 4 years ago, after campaigning for John Kerry and seeing him go down in such a close election decided mainly by the failure of my state to turn blue.  I came around and I hope those disappointed by last night's results do this time around.

But I am especially happy that peanut is on the happy side of things.  How cool is it that I can tell peanut about the Monday before election day when he in his momma's belly  walked around his neighborhood with his grandmother and great grandmother encouraging his neighbors to vote for Barack Obama.  Even little peanut has a part in history.