IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!!!!

Less than 24 hours until Henry is born!!!

It’s hard to believe, but I’m scheduled to give birth to Henry in 23 hours.  TWENTY THREE HOURS.  That is crazy to me. Crazy awesome. Crazy scary. Just crazy.

Sure, I’ve got a lot of things to do today, and I should probably get to them, but it felt like it would be wrong to finish this pregnancy without a final blog entry on it.

2 and a half weeks ago. Tonight, I'll take a final bump pic. :)

2 and a half weeks ago. Tonight, I’ll take a final bump pic. 🙂

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 39 weeks. People always say, “Pregnancy goes by so fast! Enjoy every moment! Cherish it!”

Well, along the way, I’ve said those people are nuts. Pregnancy is gross, humbling, and often ridiculous… and while you’re going through it, it feels like it will last forever.  I’m guessing, after I give birth tomorrow, the whole experience will seem like it was very short.

Right now, however, Henry is digging one of his elbows into my abdomen, and all I can think about is how glad I am that he has descended, at least enough for me to be able to take a deep breath. Sure, the little guy is still breech, which is why I’m getting a c-section, but at least breathing is easier.

Pregnancy Brain Is REAL.

So, I know that I’ve said, on many occasions now, that pregnancy brain (that wonderful condition of cognitive fog and forgetfulness — or Momnesia if you will — that occurs when you’re pregnant and your brain literally stops being reliable) is real… but it never really affected me seriously until last night.  I took morning pills instead of nighttime pills. Fortunately, I am not on much medication right now, so I still had the correct amount of Labetalol, but I missed taking my omeprazole and unwittingly took extra hydrochlorathiazide.

Translation: On my last night to possibly get good sleep, I was up every hour either peeing or because I was, quite literally, choking on vomit.  It was disgusting and depressing. It did, however, make me momentarily stop worrying about dying during childbirth, and instead think, with giddy anticipation for major surgery, “SOON THIS WILL NOT BE A PROBLEM ANYMORE.”

Yes, I’m aware that I could get good sleep tonight, but let’s be real… intensely excited and scared aren’t exactly the ideal emotions to encourage your body to get a good night’s sleep.

So, the things I’m worried about…

Honestly, I’ve had an irrational fear of dying during childbirth since I was a kid.  I’m not sure whether to blame a belief in past lives coupled with nightmares or the number of movies and TV shows I have watched where the mom dies giving birth.  It’s probably a combination of the two.

Fortunately, c-sections are pretty safe.  Sure, there’s a website or two that suggests that you have a higher likelihood of dying during c-section than with vaginal delivery, but that tends to occur more for women who are put under general anesthesia and are not conscious for their child’s birth. It’s debatable whether the surgery or the anesthesia is more to blame for those deaths.

I’m scheduled for spinal anesthesia w/ an epidural backup, and I feel really confident after meeting my anesthesiologist yesterday. I explained how Uhthoff’s syndrome with MS works and how I’m more likely to seize if I am overheated, so we made plans that involve me staying cool, and instead of 3 heating sources, we’re gonna try one at a time. Dr. J and Dr. R (my MS and seizure neurologists) are in the loop and know that I’m going in tomorrow. Both have said to have Dr. I (my OB) contact them if he needs anything at all.

Honestly, the things I’m worried about today are a lot less freaky than the idea of dying, though I cannot control either of them.  I’m worried about an MS relapse during recovery and billing issues with Humana, despite the fact that I did everything I needed to do to make sure that they would cover everything for this delivery when they spontaneously decided to not work with UCMC at the beginning of this month.

I keep reminding myself that MS relapses are gonna happen one way or another, so worrying isn’t going to be remotely helpful. If I need steroids, I need steroids.

As for dealing with insurance billing well, we can only deal with things as they come. I can’t second guess this. I did the paperwork. We were told that we were covered, and I pay for a PPO.  So, even if they act like we didn’t do our due diligence, the absolute worst case scenario is that we’ll get billed at 50% of the total (plus my daily inpatient hospital copay of $265), and then we’re approved for financial assistance for UCMC, which means we’d be paying 25% of the total balance.  So, if the cost of this is ~$20K (the average cost of a c-section is $14,000 to$25,000), it shouldn’t be more than $4000 – 5000 at the end of the day, and they’ve got extended payment programs, so we’re gonna be fine. (Thank you for helping me talk myself through that, internet.)

OK. Enough of that.

According to my “Shit that’s gotta get DONE” list, I need to double check that the bags are properly packed for the hospital, clean out the fridge, eat some lunch, bake some cookies, and make a surgery playlist. And now, I can check off “Blog” from the list.  That’s right, it was on the list. 🙂

I hope you all are having a good day today, and that tomorrow treats us all well.  In the extremely unlikely event that I do end up actually dying tomorrow, please do something righteously goofy and fun in my memory and know that I’m profoundly grateful to have had a part in your life, even if it was just as entertainment.

And if I don’t die, do something goofy and fun anyway. Life’s too short to take it too seriously. 🙂

truth

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38 Weeks & Serendipity

Every once in a while, I’ll get a comment on this blog that is clearly spam, but that somehow defies the spam filter and ends up in my email.  When this happens, it almost always prompts me to read the entry that the spambot decided to randomly comment on.

Today, I got a spam comment on this entry. It’s from October of 2012, when I attended the vow renewal ceremony of two of my best friends. Reading part of that entry made me cry with happiness.

A child really is the embodiment of 2 becoming 1. You couldn’t help but see the beauty, joy, and femininity of Deb in her, and the strength, intellect, and attention-commanding presence of Jason all present in her at the same time. She made me think about what a child would be like if it were a mixture of Adam and me… and it made me want one all the more.

I’ve been really hung up on getting pregnant with Adam’s child and coming off of my meds in order to do so.

It made me realize that it’s been 3 full years that I’ve been actively trying to become a mother… and all the effort will have been worth it very soon. In fact, it will be happening in 6 days.

countdown

This morning, Adam and I met with Dr. I, our high-risk obstetrician.  The non-stress test went well. Henry’s been wiggling around like nobody’s business.  The ultrasound went very well. Kiddo’s measuring close to the thirtieth percentile in size… but he’s still in breech position, and my blood pressure wasn’t good like it has been this whole pregnancy.  So, we made the difficult decision to schedule a c-section for Wednesday of next week.

Of course, if Henry flips head-down in the next week, the pregnancy will continue until I end up in labor naturally, but the odds of a baby flipping after 38 weeks are so incredibly low that we’re not terribly concerned with them. Instead, we’re busy being excited and preparing for his arrival. 🙂

 

Week 35.5

Hard to believe it but it’s only 2 days until I’m at week 36 in this pregnancy.  I’ve had so many things going on – so many things I’ve wanted to blog about – that I haven’t given myself the opportunity to write about any of it. Today, I’m going to do my best to catch up on the things that I’ve been remiss in posting about.

Henry’s Baby Shower

henrysbabyshower

Saturday before last, my wonderful sister-in-law, mother-in-law, aunt-in-law, and Mom threw us a baby shower.  It was awesome!

rae-patty

Me and my girl, Patty. This woman rocks my world so hard! She handed me down at least half of my maternity wardrobe and has been only a text away for any mommy-type questions or bitching for months now.

There was fizzy sherbet punch with duckies in it, chocolate covered strawberries, fried chicken, a huge cake that was half red velvet and half vanilla, white chocolate covered pretzel rods, croissant sandwiches, and so much more in the way of delicious food.

openingpresents

The present-opening portion of the shower pretty much looked like this, on repeat for a long, long time. Notice my niece, running around so fast to help us that she’s a blur. Cutiegirl collected all the wrapping paper, bows, and envelopes so we wouldn’t have to clean afterward. She’s the best helper!

Adam and I set up our Dropcam (best baby monitor EVAR) and broadcast a live stream for folks who were interested in attending virtually, though, to be fair, it’s not tons of fun to watch people eating and then opening presents.

 

We were very pleased to spend time with those folks who were able to make it, and many folks who were not able to make it were in our thoughts.

No one from my family was able to come other than my mom, but their presence was definitely felt! My Aunt Barbara sent presents and made a “diaper cake” of disposable diapers that was adorable on the gift table. Aunt Caren sent a pop-up book of the Wizard of Oz (which was Grandpa’s favorite story) and is providing us with a rocking chair (once Adam and I find one that fits the nursery). Aunt Debbie sent loads of really thoughtful presents like pacifiers that came with their own sterilization boxes and some of the cutest baby shoes I’ve ever seen.

cutestshoes

These are, undoubtedly, the cutest baby shoes imaginable. Thanks, Aunt Debbie & Uncle Phil!

Please forgive me for only posting a handful of pictures.  Less than 48 hours after the shower, almost everyone who attended ended up sick with norovirus (2 day stomach flu), so Adam and I haven’t had the opportunity to sort through all the pictures that were taken with his camera.  We’ve been very busy organizing all the presents, figuring out what else we need for the kiddo, buying that stuff, and trying to figure out where to put everything.  The nursery is now about 70% ready!

I have to give my mom extra thanks for sending me the pictures she took with her cell phone, and getting them to me so quickly, as well as the list of who gave us what presents.  To those awaiting thank you notes – I assure you, they are forthcoming. I bought stationery this weekend, and Adam’s picking up stamps today.

Newborn disposable diapers! Thanks, Aunt Barbara!

Newborn disposable diapers! Thanks, Aunt Barbara & Uncle Stuart!

Truth be told, I’ve been absolutely bowled over with the love and support of friends and family.  There’s no question that I need to bring Henry to Memphis sometime this coming year because he has a whole tribe that he belongs to there too… and still another in Los Angeles.

There’s something bittersweet about having so many places that I’ve called home. I miss so many amazing people, but I’m really grateful that the internet keeps us close. And I know that I’m lucky that I have such a large family here in Chicago and so many friends here who feel like family.

It feels like this pregnancy has been relatively calm, and then just suddenly, right now at the end, everything is coming together all at once.  Hey, at least it’s coming together.

Adam’s 36th birthday is this weekend to boot, and I’ve got to make a party happen for him or he’ll just let it pass like nothing’s happening. It’s his last birthday without a kid! If he doesn’t take the opportunity to get sauced with friends, I will feel like I failed him as a wife.

enjoyingninascard

Reading a card from one of my oldest friends, Nina, who I was lucky enough to enjoy time with at the shower.

Speaking of parties — Adam and I (in all of our interfaith/irreligious non-duality) have planned to have a “Welcome to the World” party for Henry in lieu of a bris or baptism to welcome him to our family and the community, but aside from having the idea and thinking that the 23rd or 30th of May would be a reasonable date, no real work has gone into it. It’s hard to plan something like that, not knowing when he’s going to be born or who would be able to attend anyway! (Do we rent a party room at a hotel? Do we have it at a park? When do we send invitations?  So many questions.) If you have any thoughts on this, I’m all ears.

Acid Reflux from HELL, Super Itchy Palms, and Other Shit Pregnant Women Don’t Like To Talk About.

I’ve come to the conclusion that if women openly discussed what pregnancy is really like, more women would choose to remain childless.  I’m not gonna lie; if I had any idea what some of this physical stuff actually felt like, I’d have downright insisted on adoption.  I can handle barfing. I can handle sore sides and an achy back. I can even handle gas and poop that smell so bad that I occasionally wonder if something is actually dead and fermenting inside of me. But a couple of the pregnancy symptoms I’ve been dealing with in the last week have driven me absolutely nuts.

For the last few weeks, my GERD has developed mutant superpowers. Many nights, I get 2-4 hours of sleep, tops, thanks to acid reflux.  I’ve moved my 20 mg of omeprazole to the evening. I’ve been super careful not to eat anything fried, spicy, bubbly, acidic, made with citrus or tomato after 5 p.m. (a good 6 hours before bed).  Doesn’t matter these days.

The routine has become omeprazole at 10 p.m. 1000 mg of Tums at 11:00 (bedtime). 2 tsp of Gaviscon at 12:30 or 1 a.m. 1000 mg of Tums between 3 and 4. Sometimes, I take Gaviscon again when Adam leaves for work between 5:30 and 6:30. Getting back to sleep is not easy. Most nights, I pretty much lay in bed just resting, hoping for sleep to come.  And just in case you’re wondering about this medicine regimen, I’m not setting alarms. No, that would be silly.  This is me waking up because there’s bile in my throat or vomit in my mouth. I wish I were exaggerating.

The weirdest thing, though, is that I’m perfectly fine most of the time during the day. As long as I’m vertical, there’s no problem. So, you’d think if I made enough of a pillow fort to keep me at a 45 degree angle, I’d be fine, right?  Apparently not.  I’ve actually been fantasizing about purchasing a recliner just so I can sleep in it.

The biggest problem with me losing sleep is that it leads to seizures… and I’ve had more than a handful of complex (read: time travel) seizures in the last week.  Fortunately, I didn’t have any yesterday and I haven’t had any today.

What I have had today is itchy palms. I teased Adam this morning that we’ve got to be coming into a lot of money because of how badly my palms were itching. (It’s so bad it almost feels like burning and woke me up repeatedly.)

I immediately thought, “Great! A new MS symptom!” but it looks like it’s something called cholestasis that happens in 1% of pregnancies. (There I go, being that special case again!) This might mean that the doctor will want to induce or do an emergency c-section next week (at 37 weeks).  And before anybody else responds telling me to use Benedryl or that it’s probably an allergic reaction, please allow me to inform you that there’s no way that it’s an allergic reaction because I haven’t eaten anything new or used any new skincare products and cholestasis does not respond to antihistimines.  It’s a build up of bile acids.

Needless to say, I’m concerned about it.  I mean, aside from the fact that I’m genuinely afraid for my son’s life, I also can’t stop scratching my hands, and now my ears, forearms, and inside of my upper arms are itchy too.  And it’s not like a regular kind of itchy or anything that would respond to lotion or tea tree oil. It’s an intense, almost a burning feeling.  I actually feel like I’m doing something wrong by not scratching.  It’s taking a lot of self-control to just sit with it. It’s helping to type, but it’s still making me feel like a crazy person.

I called my OB’s office at 6 a.m. to let them know about what’s going on, and I’m still waiting for a call back at 2:45 in the afternoon. That seems like a crazy amount of time to have to wait for a member of my care team to call me back. I know that I need a blood test to check liver enzymes. I want to go ahead and go in and do it because it takes 5 days to get the results. At least I have an appointment already set up for Thursday. There’s really not a lot that I can do right now, though. I just have to be patient. *sigh* At least the kid is as active as always.

In the meantime, I’m gonna try to ignore it and attack my massive to-do list, starting with making sure that my hospital bag is packed as well as possible, putting up some laundry, and getting started on those baby shower thank you notes. I should probably eat some lunch too.