Monday, September 27, 2010

Got Milk?

To the tune of "When the Saints Go Marching In":

Oh when the milk is coming in
When the milk is coming in
Oh Lord I think my tits are exploding
Cause the milk is coming in.

I have a post on labor and delivery, and another on the gauntlet that the last few nights at home have been, swirling in my head but this is all I have for today. Because my tatas are fucking ginormous.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

They Say It's Your Birthday

Born at 2:34AM on September 23, 2010, Jackson Elliot B____ weighs 8 lbs 2 oz and is 20 in long. He has lots of brown hair and blue eyes and his main talents consist of sneezing, grimacing in his sleep, and freeing an arm from a swaddle. We think he's a keeper.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rocky Horror Bloody Show

Who's got two thumbs and has been bleeding and contracting off and on since last evening? *this girl*

I sped up my transition-shit-to-someone-else process for work (i.e., sent an email with a data dump and notified my clinical team of my replacement) and am now waiting for the OB nurse to call me back and tell me if this is A) just the famed "bloody show," and no thanks we don't need to see you you moronic first-timer or B) hmmm, and yes please come in so we can decide if you are having a baby today-ish. It's a full moon tomorrow, people. I'm just sayin'.

Update: Guess what? Normal! Probably the mucus plug (couldn't anyone think of a more pleasant name? like cervical hat, or baby cork, or ute stopper?). I swear to gawd I could call and tell them my teeth have all fallen out and I have stigmata and they would say, "yeah, that's common in late third trimester." Anyway, cramping and contractions continue off and on, so I am still hoping that the full moon will come in handy. The OB on call tomorrow delivered a friend of mine and I heard she is a total rock star -- sweet.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Life's a bunch of shit, when you look at it...

Eh, I guess it's not so bad. I ache, I pain; I nonchalantly begged for induction today. And we struck a very reasonable deal. The facts:
  • I am dilated to 1 cm and 50% effaced (good news!)
  • Baby B is head-down and at -1 station (more good news!)
  • I hurt in every part of my body except, maybe, my left earlobe and my right bicuspid tooth (less good...)
  • I had contractions Saturday night that were ~30-40 minutes apart, which then subsided by Sunday morning (meh...)
  • This not-so-easy-bake oven is ready to produce its little cupcake NOW (just, you know, true).
The good doctor advised me of the risks of scheduled induction, but also said he is very optimistic I won't need it, given that I am having contractions and my cervix is responding at 38+ weeks. He gave me 50-50 odds of making it to the 39-week appointment versus going into labor. I don't know if I really believe him, but I will choose to, since it makes me feel better. I have also decided to stop working at the end of this week and have a meeting with my boss tomorrow to arrange for hand-off of my in-progress projects. Then, at least if I have to sit around waiting for nature to stop being such an asshole and let labor not only begin (again) but persist, at least I can do it from the couch watching crap television and surrounded by my fortress of pillows, rather than from my computer trying to conduct teleconferences and design clinical trial protocols. 

He also gave me a prescription for Tylenol with codeine for the aches and pains, I suppose in an effort to convince me to hold off on more begging for induction. The old "ply-them-with-opiates" trick; it works every time. I never did dig into my supply of Ambien, but I am willing to try a T3 here and there (with my OB's blessing; I am also allowed to tap into my leftover supply of Darvocet, a souvenir from IVF retrievals) to try and get some comfort, and maybe to help sleep a teensy-weensy bit better. Or, like, at all.

So, I guess the official plan goes like this:
  1. Pray to all gods in all religions including any necessary virginal/animal/miscellaneous sacrifices and incantations, that labor indeed begins and progresses within the week;
  2. In the meantime, take advantage of sweet (however low-dose and infrequent) opioid pain relief until the baby decides s/he is good and ready to be born; and
  3. Failing options 1 and 2, show up to 39-week appointment and renew begging for induction on/around due date.
And that's the plan, Stan.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Full-Term, Full-Time

At past 37 weeks, I am now full-term. Hallelujah. [choirs of angels sing in harmonious chorus] And so nature has upped the ante with the pregnancy symptoms, lest I forget my condition.

There's the swelling. There's the constant peripheral neuropathy. There's the calf cramping -- had a good one while driving this morning, and tried to use my left foot to brake at a red light (mental note: bad idea, don't attempt again). The boobays are sore and heaving (never in my life have my bosom heaved, until now; not a fan). The belly is starting to itch (please, lawd, no visible stretch marks -- so far, only a few higher up on my hips have erupted, which I should be able to hide even under a swimsuit). And the contracting....it's all day, every day now. I can't really tell where one contraction ends and another begins, but they are just ramped-up Braxton Hicks, methinks. They are now accompanied by mild cramps and backaches, so I'm hopeful these are the prelude to the Big Show and maybe preparing my cervix for the task at hand.

I'm employing a full court press to promote natural labor induction. I've been back to my acupuncturist this week, and will continue as needed for the duration. At my next acupuncture appointment, I think we may try some form of cupping or moxibustion. Look at me, abandoning science for the magical promise of comfort and natural induction. I've been bouncing on an exercise ball every day to relieve pelvic pain and maybe shake something loose (like a baby?). I'm having a prenatal massage tomorrow. I've let KB know that sexytime is back on the menu if he's interested, but I don't blame him for being hesitant when he can see how much pain I am in just sitting around doing nothing, let alone contorting myself into boudoir positions. Plus, with all the symptoms described above, anyone can see that I'm a dead-sexy muthafucka. I don't know if that particular method of labor induction is going to make the cut.

I'm focusing all my energy on wrapping up at work (I have a bunch of "here's my shit, good luck with it" emails drafted) and keeping the house in good working order so that when this baby is ready (ANY DAY NOW), I can go through my neurotic list of things-to-do quickly and in an orderly fashion. I'm all about the pragmatic.

Nothing to do now but twiddle my thumbs.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Betty Effing Crocker

I have discovered the Miracle Cookie. A friend posted this super simple recipe on fb (perhaps the first useful thing EVER posted in that craptastic e-universe) and it's not only easy, it's pretty tasty.

Mothereffing Miracle Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup organic peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg

Stir together until incorporated and spoon on cookie sheet lined with silicone pad (to prevent bottoms sticking or burning). Flatten with a fork and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes (start watching around 10 minutes). Pull from oven when just firm and bottoms browned, cool on rack. Voila! Peanut butter cookies. It's pretty good with semi-sweet chocolate chips stirred in, too.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Accounted For

According to my OB, I am just the picture of pregnant health. *ahembullshitahem* I guess on paper I am fabulous, but she could see the misery all over my face. And my swollen hands and feet. And my sweat-drenched shirt. Cause y'all, I fucking glow.

I got crotch-swabbed today to check and see if I'm a dirty whore with Group B strep. Or, whatever. And I learned that I can be induced at 39 weeks if I am dangling at the end of my rope at that time. Or, still dangling at the end of my rope. For those keeping track at home (and I know you're all keeping journals or pregnancy diaries or whatever to follow my weekly/monthly/trimesterly exploits since they are so exciting!), that's in 2 weeks and a couple of days. I can do that. I can manage to not die for roughly 2 more weeks. Of course, the OB cheerily told me, hey! you could go early! I did with all of mine! And I dryly explained to her how the universe is quite practiced at making me her cosmic bitch, so I anticipate no such luck. Next week I think I get probed for a cervical check, so hopefully there will be some activity down below to encourage me. If my body is at least trying to possibly maybe consider preparing for labor, I won't feel so bad about the begging for induction routine.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Present

I am trying really, really hard to live in the present. Not my strength.

First, I'm worried about work. I need back-up colleagues prepped and in place soon to transition my work to, once I go on leave. There's no good way to guess when that will be, given how unreasonable fetuses are with regard to convenient scheduling, so I am struggling to find people whom A) I trust and B) are willing. In that order. My manager is the opposite of helpful (a career ladder-climber with ambition > skillz) so I cannot count on him to facilitate this process. He actually fails to "show" for many of our teleconference one-on-one meetings, anyway; it's doubtful he even remembers this is an action item he ought to be concerned with.

For the record, I don't care what happens with my application for a management position right now, as I figure that fate will probably make me her bitch somehow, as usual. A close friend and colleague is interviewing for an open position and is, methinks, likely to get it; I am focusing my happy-promotion energy on her. She's worked hard for it and the timing is right for her. Maybe she'll wind up being my new manager at some point. A girl can dream.

I am alternately exercising patience as I surpass 9 months of pregnancy (holyfuckingshit) and growing ever-impatient as I must wait, wait, wait until the baby is ready to be birthed. I analyze every ache, pain, pop and crackle. And there are lots of each. My feet and hands are now swelling, which is causing neuropathy. Ouch. It is a chore to go to the bathroom, which is something I have to do at least hourly. Boo. I can't sit or lie in the same position for more than an hour without suffering the consequences in every part of my swollen body. Yick. I have an appointment tomorrow and I think I'm going to engage in an all-options-on-the-table discussion about induction, due dates, and whatnot with the caveat that I don't want to fuck around with nature if it's deemed risky, but I also fucking hate nature and have had it up to here with her shenanigans. For realz. We'll see what the OB has to say about it.*

My biggest effort is to focus on the present tense of this fetus -- this baby -- about to be born. Because that's, like, a really big deal. I am trying not to think too far into the future (even the immediate future of L&D and how to care for a newborn baby and keeping visitors in check and my family wanting to fly in and checking in at work to see how the big changes are impacting the business and.....see what I mean?). The best I can do is to resort to my faithful daily list routine, in which I simply make a list of things to do TODAY and today only. As in, today I will finish my to-do's for work, shower, get dinner (KB has his fantasy football draft tonight**), and wash a load of adult clothes followed by a load of baby clothes and blankets. That is all.

*I won't even try to deny that part of my anxiety over getting to the birthing part of this experience (our childbirth class nurse educator was fond of calling L&D the "birth experience") is wanting to eliminate the amount of time separating NOW with getting baby here THEN. Because I have been trained, ne conditioned, to believe that available time = opportunity for shit to go wrong.

**Reason Number 4,318 why I know KB is my soul mate: his fantasy football team is called the Fighting Platypi.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

So, big changes are afoot in my workplace. We are massively expanding our services and will be absorbing several dozen of a pharmaceutical client's employees who are about to get pink slips (apparently, it's more economical to bring them back in as contractors, which may or may be true, but whatever). All of this is scheduled to happen while I am on maternity leave. Whew.

Except....that when I get back in January, it will basically be a whole new company. New faces, new reporting structure, and room for further growth as new management is needed to corral all the new direct reports. This is where my budding mama instincts are at odds with my developed-over-decades career ambition.

I am on a short list to be considered for a management position. I have been since I joined the company a little over a year ago, because A) I am good at what I do (*ahem*) and B) I have prior relevant management experience. Many of my colleagues who are jockeying for position meet criterion A but not B. So, I have an advantage. But, lo!, the timing.

Clearly, I am a poor match for any immediate positions because, yo, I have to birth a baby and such. But I have inside information that additional management positions are intended to be created and filled in a few months or so, coinciding perfectly with my return to work. I have all the skillz. I haz the ambition. But is it right?

I don't really know the answer. I firmly believe that, especially after all the sacrifices I made to get pregnant and to have this baby, I deserve complete fulfillment, and that includes career development and job satisfaction. I also happen to believe that being a working mother with career goals is not incompatible with caring for my family. In fact, I think it sets a right nice example to my son or daughter that mama brings home the bacon, too. I could tell myself at any stage of my child's life, "not now, s/he is only ___ weeks/months/years old and needs me," but I think there is truthfully no time at which my kid won't need me. It will always be a balancing act, no matter what my job responsibilities are. So, why let an opportunity pass me by as I wait for the mythical "perfect" time to act on a career opportunity that may not materialize again?

So, I am applying for the promotion. I may or may not get an interview for this round, and certainly will be passed over due to the timing of the open positions and the current state of my ute. But maybe I'll be considered for the next round. Gotta strike while the iron's hot. Gotta hope this is the right thing.