breech, gratitude, homebirth, IVF, parenthood, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC

happy

Please watch this video of NYC people dancing to the song “Happy”–only if you want to feel happy, smile, and maybe (probably) dance. It gets me teary in the same way that the Virgin America safety video gets me teary–so life-affirming, somehow. That’s what it’s all about.

I’ve been feeling happy! Why? BABY FLIPPED! I went to the chiropractor on Wednesday and she said, “This baby is head down!” and Em confirmed it the next day. It was the hugest relief, just huge. I had done a lot of the techniques on my list, and some of them may have worked. Most effective seemed to be the moxa followed by a hot bath with frozen vegetables on the top of my belly. My belly was rippling with his dramatic movements.

But, most of all, it was a lesson in trusting my intuition–and also, crazily enough, his. I put my faith in the idea that this baby knows how he’d like to be born. I gazed at this poster to give him additional inspiration:

headdown

And he totally did his thing. To ensure that he stays in place, I’m still doing the moxa every other day, deep squats, walking, and listening with my new fetalscope to confirm that his heartbeat can be heard best just above my pelvis. Yay, baby, yay, baby!!!

Also, I’m just happy right now. My baby is on his way and I’m already 35 weeks. Two friends on a long road of infertility just let me know they’re pregnant–local SMC friend J and also a blogger friend in England who’s also an SMC (and while you’re on her site, don’t miss her video “Ice, Ice Babies”). Healthy new babies were recently born to longtime friend L and newer friend and prenatal yoga partner and fellow homebirther J–the first of our crew to give birth (I have yet to hear the story!!). I got about halfway through my thank you cards (phew). I ordered some stuff I needed online (including an overdue giant body pillow), picked up my laundry, cleaned the house (ps you don’t realize how much cleaning the house requires bending). Went to a dinner party last night with 3 pregnant friends and their husbands, all due within the next 6 weeks. I’m almost done with Book 6 of Harry Potter. Kabuki Springs is going to email me when they get more green sarongs in from Indonesia. I’ve started writing down names. These are good times!

I don’t write about work here but let’s just say that it feels less and less relevant as the approaching birth takes center stage. I’ll leave my projects in good shape, but man it takes a lot of energy to get through a work day. On weeknights I just want mindless viewing (just rewatched Desperately Seeking Susan) and to not do my dishes. I can totally understand taking off 4 weeks before the due date, although I’m definitely not wishing these days to go faster–they are sweet and precious and I need them all to get through the to do list. Maternity leave starts 4/25.

So what’s still on the list, let’s see…I need a space heater. Who told me they could give me one again? Please remind me. Need to put in the little washer and dryer. Need a sarong from Kabuki (I picture myself laboring in a sarong). By 37 weeks, I need the carseat installed, the tub set up and tested out, and…the house decluttered (getting there). I need to do my taxes and do a will. I need to give away a pile of baby stuff I don’t need from the hand-me-down pile. I need to find a pediatrician.

I had a dream that I started going into labor. I experienced a dream contraction which I breathed through with my mom by my side. I woke up and was glad I wasn’t really in labor yet and also kind of laughed at myself for inventing a sensation I can’t possibly imagine. Before I went to study abroad, I had recurring dreams of being in France, walking down cobblestone streets, thinking, “I can’t believe I’m really here!”–and I wasn’t. I had not yet been to France and my brain was cutely trying to invent what it might be like. I can sense it beginning to do that now.

Although I don’t have many details yet from J about her new Peanut, she did text me this today, “I feel like I was in a weight lifting competition and I won! Sore, tired, proud! I get emotional just thinking that people I love like you will go through it soon.”

Which of course gets me emotional too… She came with me to birth class as my partner two nights before giving birth!

Here’s my selfie for this week. I read today that the baby won’t get much longer at this point but will continue to fatten up by about half a pound a week, so there will be more growing to do. According to strangers with no internal editors, I have achieved “about to pop” status–with 5 weeks to go.

Have a great week, friends! xo

35weeks

 

 

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acupuncture, anxiety, breech, gratitude, homebirth, meditation, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC

turn, baby, turn

I had a directional ultrasound yesterday and confirmed that bébé is breech at 34 weeks. Eek!

He was head down at every other ultrasound, and even two weeks ago when Em checked me she felt his head in my pelvis. But on Thursday, Em couldn’t find his head–it seemed that baby boy felt the need to explore upward. Now I need to do everything in my power to get him to head back down.

My childhood friend V is visiting and came with me to the appt at UCSF yesterday, which was with a certified nurse midwife I’ve never seen before and I’m pretty sure the one most people don’t like. After giving my urine sample, she rushed me to the exam room, saying she had to hurry to make it to her own doctor’s appointment. (We had been 5 minutes late after missing the exit in Daly City.) She got me on the table, lubed me up with not-warm lube, and the very second she got the image on the monitor said, “the baby is breech.” So, not a lot of mysterious waiting. Then I watched a series of baby images fly by on the screen as she confirmed his position (including seeing his boy parts for the first time–cool), and then she said things like, “I strongly recommend not having a home birth with a breech baby.” (My understanding is that due to recent legislation, midwives are forbidden from assisting home births of breech babies, twins, and any baby being born outside of 37-42 weeks anyway, and I obviously wouldn’t do it unassisted.) Then she flew out.

Mostly I was annoyed that we didn’t get the chance to leisurely gaze at my baby on the monitor. I was pretty sure Em was right after the appointment the day before–I’d been getting a little obsessed over the previous week with figuring out the position of the baby, waking up at 3am and going to http://www.spinningbabies.com to work on belly mapping. But I just could not figure out what was what. Big kicks here, little flutters there, what the heck is this bump? Now I feel like my intuition was telling me something had changed.

I called Em, and she gave me a bunch of strategies for the coming days as we have 2-3 weeks to turn this situation around. After doing a bunch of googling, I can see that these are pretty universal:

  • Lie on an inverted ironing board against the couch with feet up and head down for 15 mins, twice a day. (I tried it this morning and it sucked. I googled further to find people complaining about it but found no complaints…maybe I did it wrong, but it was the same old discomfort of being on my back which cuts off circulation, plus not being able to breathe, plus feeling all my weigh pushing down on my neck, plus my tailbone grinding into the board. This one needs work–I’ll try with just pillows.)
  • Take pulsatilla, a homeopathic remedy–I took some last night.
  • Moxa: Chinese medicine technique of applying heat near an acupressure point associated with turning the baby: the outside pinkie toe (bladder 67). I’m getting some moxa from Em when I go to breakfast at her house tomorrow.
  • Acupuncture (same pinkie toe point–already had this on Thurs)
  • Lean forward, crawl around on hands and knees, do handstands and flips in the pool
  • Put frozen vegetables by the baby’s head and a warm compress near pelvis, coaxing him toward the warmth
  • Play music or shine light near the pelvis, maybe he’ll get curious and come on down?
  • Talk to baby, meditate, write out emotions, chant, recruit support and head-down vibes from blog followers

I won’t bother going into all the scenarios if he doesn’t flip by 37 weeks, because he will. He just will! (Visualization from V: I’m so grateful my baby flipped and I got to have a natural birth!)

Still, it’s upsetting, and my first lesson in a while in You Do Not Control This. This one is really up to the babe. I’m showing him every 5 minutes with my hands the direction to go, which is roughly counter-clockwise. Turn, baby!

I talked to my sister D last night and she said the same thing happened with her first–and she turned with plenty of time.

Yay, baby, yay baby!!!

family, gratitude, parenthood, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC, writing

quinoa and gratitude

I’m going to try a new strategy tonight: write a little before the quinoa is done, and write a little after.

I’m so beat. Sometimes acupuncture just knocks me out so my eyes are heavy like I need to go straight to bed and it’s only 7pm. And sometimes just being this pregnant is enough to make anyone deeply tired. I keep dropping things on the floor! Over and over. It’s a long trip down and a workout coming up. I got on the bus tonight and three women jumped out of their seats. So I guess I’m getting on the more noticeable side of looking big and tired.

So much to write about! Better check the quinoa.

I’m eating leftover Thai basil chicken with quinoa now, and baby boy is tapping my belly button to let me know that he is probably still posterior. Thankfully, he’s head down but we want him facing my back and lately he’s facing front. My sister’s daily chant to her babies in utero: “Head down! Chin tucked! Arms straight! Back to belly! Yay, baby, yay, baby!” (Did I get it right, D?)  It worked, so I’m doing it. I have yet to look at the site, but apparently there’s advice on how to get your baby positioned on http://www.spinningbabies.com (love the name)

I had my shower last Saturday. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Coincidentally on International Women’s Day, this was a collection of amazing women–artists, therapists, health practitioners, small business owners, nonprofit directors, entrepreneurs, salespeople, musicians, researchers, engineers, teachers. Stay at home moms, single moms, partnered moms, single ladies, and pregnant homebirthers. Dreamers and doers, big-hearted givers, touchy-feely sentimentalists, smart and sassy jokesters. They offered to babysit, they offered to drop what they’re doing to help, they offered their husbands’ help for man jobs.They brought baby gear from their garages and closets. I adore these women and feel so fortunate to have this local community (plus many dear friends afar!). One thing I am proud to say I do well is pick my friends.

Many joyful tears were shed as we anticipate the arrival of Baby Boy! Having my sisters on either side of me at the front of the room (in matching dresses, unplanned) left me so moved that I became kind of quiet and awestruck (although in all the photos I have this huge, glowing smile). D flew cross-country to be there and brought adorable decorations. B hosted and made it look easy. They, along with my mom and friends L and C, planned and executed the shower I wanted, without me lifting a finger or even being very specific. L made eclairs. C was a blur of activity throughout the party she worked so hard.The concentration of love that day was so sweet.

So, I’ve been floating on a love cloud ever since Saturday, and, on top of the outpouring of love, there’s been an outpouring of help. After being so used to doing everything myself, it is a miracle when someone takes down the trash or cleans the bathroom floor (let’s be honest, I just don’t do it–thanks Mom), or grocery shops, or does the laundry. And then there was all the baby prep–clothes categoried by 0-3 months, 3-6, 6-12, 12-24. This kid may not wear the same outfit twice with all the hand-me-downs we’ve received (I might add–thanks especially to M and A for mass quantities of beautiful boy clothes). During the shower, my dad and J went to Target to get big storage bins and then attacked my closets. Furniture is all in place. Random things around the house have been fixed. My sister D helped me comb through what I should keep and what’s duplicated or unneeded and what I’ll need when. My parents even took a giant ball of tangled jewelry and made a project of matching the earrings, hanging the necklaces, collecting the rings. I would have never found the time to do that!

All the big stuff is pretty much in place, which means I no longer have to sit around wide-eyed wondering how it’s all going to happen. I have a changing table, a co-sleeper, 3 strollers, I think 5 different carriers, dressers and cabinets full of clothes. I have diapers and wipes and burp cloths and swaddling blankets and a carseat for now and also the one I’ll need 6 months later. So so so many hats. Many terrific books! Gift certificates for food! And even some cash for necessities! The relief I feel is consuming. The nesting/prep impulse satisfied. I’m not done but I’m in really good shape, and if baby came tomorrow, which is always possible, I would be pretty darn ready. (Please stay in there, dude.)

So, yes, another gratitude post. Such a one-hit wonder! But it’s kind of shocking, even for me, how fabulous this all feels. This baby has already: made me stronger, brought new friends, somehow engineered a bigger apartment right before he was conceived, gotten me to dream big about my future, helps me  take better care of myself, and teaches me not to take any of it for granted. He’s an amazing guy!!

I already do feel like I know him. And I do. Just not in the way I know anyone else. It’s the coolest thing.

And I never forget the path that got me here, nor my friends still on that path. Love to you, and blessings.

I’ve been wanting to make this list for a while so I’ll do it now even though this post is getting long:

Things I want to remember about pregnancy.

–My left outer thigh has been pretty much numb for the past 4 months.

–Sleeping positions require strategy. I wake up whimpering and then have to set up the pillows in a new configuration. Then hope I can get back to sleep before getting too hungry or having to pee.

–All day, I’m having an ongoing, internal conversation with the little one who so randomly flails around in there and gets the hiccups a lot. It’s impossible to care as much about a conference call when your baby has the hiccups in your belly. Sometimes he thumps (lately on my bladder). Sometimes his movement feels shivery or bubbly. Sometimes it feels like there’s a little hand feeling around thoughtfully on the other side.

–I crave meat. I recently read that my blood type (O negative) does better with meat (so much for 10 years of vegetarianism back in the day). I also crave chewing ice (my iron is low but not really that low). And, of course, carbs and sugar but that’s nothing new. Dairy is my friend.

–There are many, many discomforts of pregnancy that I have been lucky not to experience. But today I was walking and wondering if I’d experience round ligament pain. Maybe I was wondering because I felt like I was starting to get what felt like a stitch in my side. Pretty soon it was so bad I had to stop walking and take the bus. Who knows? It’s all par for the course.

–Every time I do anything, I am conscious of being a pregnant lady. The only exceptions are: momentarily when I’m really concentrating on something. And there’s a side-lying position in bed when I can almost imagine I have my regular body (and this is achieved by a complicated pillow configuration). I stare at women’s flat bellies, remembering. But lately it feels like my identity and it’s hard to imagine that a big transitional life event is about to put me on the other side. I always thought the empty belly would be a little sad, but then there’s the enormous consolation of having your baby where you can see him and love him up.

–The timing of the pregnancy has gone ideally. It doesn’t feel too fast or too slow, just right. Last night, my friend E advised, “Pretty soon, you’re going to start feeling trapped and freaked out like–I need this baby out! And that’s normal.” So, that may be coming (especially considering I have about 8 weeks of continuing to get bigger). But even the crappy parts are part of pregnancy, and I wanted to be pregnant for so long… It’s hard to be too pissed off about any of it.

–and, finally, my boobs are barely any bigger. So weird! We’ll give this one time.

OK, friends, time for bed. Love to you. Thanks for letting me bliss out for a sec. xo

 

 

family, gratitude, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC

32 weeks

I’ve been floating around on a cloud of love over my shower weekend and occupied with many projects with so many family helpers in town. I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of my tribe and baby boy may not wear the same outfit twice! Wait’ll you see the cowboy boots! My apartment is in great shape, just some easy projects left.

Feeling blessed as I type this out on my new phone in a sleepy, rainy Monday morning and baby rolls around inside. As my midwife’s midwife told her years ago, “Babies bring abundance.” Thank you.

20140310-074210.jpg

family, gratitude, outdoors, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC

love.

Just spent the weekend with four of my best friends from college, chez moi. They rearranged my apartment and drank all my champagne. We talked and talked and talked and it was exactly like old times. Now my parents are in town for a week and my first childbirth class is tomorrow. Life is busy and full of organizing and planning and love.

I have to be at the office at 7am tomorrow so must sign off immediately!

31 weeks at Lands End. xo

week 31