*waves*

Hey there.

Life’s been crazy. I have been writing – just not on this blog. I’ve been writing here.

modern-day-ms

Here’s a link to my most recent stuff.

I was actually just featured in an interview on that site yesterday.

Love That Hugabug!

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Henry is growing like crazy. 10 months old, wearing size “18 month” clothes. He’s babbling all the time, blowing raspberries, and pulling himself up on furniture. He’s so close to walking that I’m trying my best to appreciate how easy it is to keep up with him these days.

I’ve started working on planning his 1st birthday party, which will be a joint party with his Grandpa (my dad), since they share a birthday weekend.  I think I’m actually more excited about my parents, my brother and his awesome wife coming in town to celebrate than I am about the fact that we managed to make it a full year without accidentally killing our beautiful, amazing baby. Being a parent is hard, yo.

I’m a mess, but I’m doing my best.

My health has been frustrating and upsetting, so I’ve been doing my best to minimize the struggle while responsibly handling it.

I believe I had an early miscarriage a couple of months ago. I’m usually very regular, but had a couple of very faint positive pregnancy tests and then didn’t bleed for 50+ days.  When I did get my period, it was the heaviest, most awful period I’ve ever had.  Dr. Dad thinks I might have just missed a period. He said it happens all the time, and not to worry about it. Adam has decided Dad’s right, so I’ve jumped on the “don’t mourn something that never was” bandwagon with my conscious mind and have been dealing with terrible depression and nightmares because of the choice to repress my feelings of guilt and sadness. I see my therapist on Saturday, thankfully.

Of course, just afterwards, I had a MS relapse, complete with tons of seizures, neuropathic pain in my legs, muscle spasms, and tingling/burning on various parts of my back. A medrol dose pack seems to have done the trick to quiet most of it. Come to think of it, it’s been almost 6 years without a drip — so that’s pretty good, I guess.

My stomach is still up to its shenanigans, reminding me after almost every meal that eating is not a good idea… and that’s despite my gastroenterologist doubling the amount of Prilosec I take. I am scheduled for an upper and lower GI scope on St. Patrick’s Day.  (Fun, right?)

After 2 years of not seeing a dentist for a myriad of reasons, I finally went in for a cleaning and exam. I have 2 cavities to get filled this month as well, in 2 separate visits.

I honestly don’t remember the last time that I went to the gym to work out (though I did see a nutritionist), and today, I’m fantasizing about finding a chiropractor because my neck is super-sore from my head dropping thanks to seizures. Unintentional headbanging FTW. Honestly, I’m tired of hurting. Apparently, not tired enough to use my foam roller, but just enough to think about it and then whine to myself you.

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The bright spot in the health area is that I finally got glasses.  They’re cute and helpful. I had no idea how badly I needed them!  I now look forward to the day when Henry stops wanting to rip them off my face and throw them. I’m sure that will eventually happen someday.

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Anyway, that’s all for now. The little one is stirring, and I need to change and feed him.  Hope you’re having a good day! Be well!

Quick Post

This post is gonna be quick, because I have no idea how much longer Henry’s nap will last. I’ve already eaten my lunch, so this is bonus time. Of course, as I typed that first sentence, he woke up. He’s doing the little blinky thing that says, “Maybe, just maybe, I’ll fall back asleep if you give me my binky.”

My kid is so good. He’s so sweet, and he only cries when there’s legitimately something to cry about (hunger, needing a change, having gas, or just feeling bad from vaccinations). But being a mom with MS is hard — and I know it’s only going to get harder.

I miss 5 Hr. Energy because I’m still pumping breastmilk. My legs desperately miss nortriptyline and weed; I’m having a shitton of muscle spasms recently. I miss the freedom to nap all day if need be. But I love my son, and his health and wellness is worth forgoing medicine.

The real mindfuck for me when it comes to medicine is that we’re already discussing a second child… have been since before Henry was born. The idea that I’ll have the energy/stamina necessary for caring for 2 infants is laughable to me, but what’s the alternative? Getting back on MS meds and then off them again? The side effects are often worse than the disease without them for me, so I don’t know that they’d make anything better.

Pregnancy was pretty great as far as dealing with my symptoms goes. Adam is a fan of the idea of waiting until Henry’s 6 months old and then trying for another. That’s 3 months from now. My OB’s assistant said it’s perfectly fine to get pregnant after 6 months because of how well I have healed, but that the doc would prefer that I wait 12, and that he’s a fan of VBAC if possible. While I wouldn’t want to deal with another c-section recovery (I’m only now feeling normal, 3 months later.), and I think it would be interesting to experience birth as biology intended, the possibility of uterine rupture with VBAC scares the crap out of me. I’m so risk-averse when it comes to childbirth that I can’t even quantify it.

I’m somehow less risk-averse when it comes to dealing with MS, though. My neurologist wants me back on DMDs as soon as I am comfortable with doing so. He has said that he’s not directly telling me to stop breastfeeding and to get back on DMDs right away, but that’s only because breastfeeding is such a personal choice. He wants me back on meds, like, yesterday.

If we do decide to go for a second child within the next year, I’ll be off DMDs for at least another 2 years – and that sounds good to me. I hate how my seizure activity increased due to pseudoexacerbations on Gilenya, and I don’t miss nightly shots and tender spots with Copaxone one iota. I honestly am unsure if there’s a DMD on the market that is actually helpful for me right now…. but I am also not sure how well I’ll be able to “mommy” two kids who would both be under the age of 3. (Read: not potty trained, and not good at talking)

The truth is, I have no idea what the right move is. I guess that’s the nature of life though, right? You roll the dice, you takes your chances. I do know Henry deserves a sibling, though. I can’t imagine my life without my brother, Daniel, and Adam loves his 3 brothers. So, we’re definitely gonna have another kid, it’s just a question of when. I’m 34 right now. If I wait much longer than the suggested year, fertility could potentially become an issue, and we really don’t want to deal with that.

Hey, maybe we’ll luck out. Maybe, my MS will be stable without treatment, we’ll wait til next year to start having a second child, I’ll have the little one when I’m 36, and by the time I’m done breastfeeding, there will be a new, more effective, less awful MS treatment out on the market. That’d be awesome.

And speaking of awesome: can I get some cheers for the power of the paci? Kid fell right back asleep. That little piece of plastic is got-dang magic. Now, of course, the dog is scratching at the door that he needs to go out. A mommy’s work is never done.

Happy Mother’s Day!

It’s my first mother’s day!

On 4/29/15, Adam and I had a beautiful boy.

Hi, cutiepie!

Hi, cutiepie!

Henry Rhys Majka was born at 5:25 p.m., weighing 6 lbs. 12.1 oz, measuring 20″ in length.

He was delivered by c-section because, despite all of my best efforts, the kiddo had gotten awful comfortable in breech position and wasn’t gonna turn.  He was sitting inside of me like he was meditating — legs crossed, butt down, hands up by his face.  Since I also have hypertension, MS, and seizures, my OB decided that delivering by c-section at week 39 was the safest thing to do for everyone involved.

We got to the hospital just before 9 a.m. and checked in at labor and delivery. I was scheduled for surgery at 11:00 a.m., but because there were so many emergencies at the hospital that day, the surgery was delayed by 6 hours.  By the time that I was taken in to be prepped and given anesthesia, I hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink for 20 hours.  They had me take an antacid that had the most foul aftertaste imaginable, but I was so grateful to have any liquid in my mouth and throat that I was actually cheerful about taking it.

The thing that boggled my mind is that during the scariest and most painful parts of the surgery (during the time they put in the spinal anesthesia and epidural), Adam was not allowed in the room. Fortunately, he was there for the important parts.  He brought in my cell phone, so I could listen to music, and that helped me an awful lot with nerves.  To say that being mostly numb from the tits down is unnerving is an understatement.

Anyway, I had made a playlist for the surgery, but Adam had pushed “shuffle play” on it, so it wasn’t in the order I was expecting… and yet, it was perfect.  No joke, I think God was picking the song order.  Right before Henry was born, the song “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood was playing. It made me smile and joke that if he was born to that song, I’d forever associate Zoolander with his birth.  Instead, he was born to “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley… the song that says, “Don’t worry about a thing — because every little thing is gonna be alright.”  It was playing when he was taken out of me, brought to me in all of his goopy, mostly-blue glory, and then taken to be weighed, measured, and cleaned.  “Don’t worry about a thing — because every little thing is gonna be alright,” was the exact message I needed to hear at the time… and one that I’ve needed to hear many times since.

I couldn't love this kid more if I tried.

I couldn’t love this kid more if I tried.

One of the things that no one tells you about, while they’re opining over the miracle of birth is the misery, difficulty, and fear that accompanies that miracle in the form of learning to breastfeed. The pervasive myth is that it’s the most natural thing in all the world, and that if you put your baby on his tummy, against your chest, he’ll find your breast, start to suckle, and be sufficiently fed. I’m sure, for some women, this myth is an accurate representation of their experience — and good for them. But it wasn’t for me. I had no idea what I was doing, and everyone at the hospital acted like I should already know how to make the magic happen.

Unfortunately, when you give birth by c-section, your body doesn’t really have the opportunity to catch up with the rest of you and start producing milk. Sure, you already have your colostrum, but it takes a while for milk to come in afterward. It takes a while to learn how to get a good latch. (Thank goodness for Deb, the lactation consultant that taught us the teacup hold – because my breasts are too big for most regular holds.) It takes even longer to realize that there are confounding factors inhibiting your child’s proper nutrition – things like tongue ties and insufficient milk supply.

I wasn’t bothered by having a c-section. I know there are mothers out there who make a big deal about natural childbirth or vaginal delivery, but I’ve never been one of them. I’d be lying, however, if I didn’t admit to having a hard time accepting that I wouldn’t be able to exclusively breastfeed. At first, the irrational voices in my brain were telling me that it was happening because I am insufficient as a mother… but that’s a load of bullcrap. I’d been through major surgery and my body was struggling to catch up to Henry’s needs. And Henry’s needs come first. Now that we’ve started to supplement with formula, his health is much improved. His jaundice is almost gone, and it’s been incredibly helpful for Adam to be able to feed him — especially in the kinds of moments that no one ever talks about (like when you’ve been breastfeeding for over a half hour and suddenly, you really have to use the bathroom… or when your nipples are cracked and they start to hurt so badly that it makes you cry, not from hormones or emotions, but from genuine pain)

Truth be told, I didn’t immediately love my son. I was too busy thinking, “This is what birth is? Is this even real?” and “Holy shit, it hurts to move.”  But within a couple of days, I definitely did.  How could you not love this face?

So handsome.

So handsome.

I’d write more, but the kiddo needs my chest… and he comes first. ❤

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

32 Weeks & Personal Growth

Hey, party people!

Yesterday, I saw my OB.  I was hoping to have a new ultrasound to show everybody, but Henry was all balled up on my left side, so we couldn’t get any good shots.  Maybe we’ll be more lucky next week.

The breech tilt -- something I'm supposed to do 3 times a day for 20 minutes a session.  Laying upside down on an ironing board... totally natural, right?

The breech tilt — something I’m supposed to do three times a day for 20 minutes at a time. Laying upside down on an ironing board is totally natural, right?  Did I mention that I don’t own a full-size ironing board yet?

Currently, the kiddo’s transverse. He’s really taken to using my left lower rib as a pillow recently. While a part of me thinks that’s sweet, the most of me is tired of the pain and wants him to flip around and get into ready position.  I’ve been reading up on how to do that and doing some of the exercises suggested on YouTube (like this video) and sites like SpinningBabies. To be totally honest, though – this site‘s my favorite, for no other reason than it’s both helpful and hilarious.

I’m 99% sure that his breech position is entirely my fault because I spend so much time sitting, either at the computer or on the couch, and I’m almost never pelvis-forward. Time to start sitting on the floor, the balance ball, or flipping chairs around backwards.

Oh, and some things I’ve learned…

One way I didn’t expect pregnancy to change me was on a personal level. I thought I was already pretty mature, and that all the personal growth would be happening after the baby came out. But, it doesn’t work that way. Here’s what I’ve learned recently.

1.) Everybody knows at least one pregnancy horror story, and they all will tell you that story, regardless of whether or not you want to hear it. People who haven’t been pregnant don’t really care if it’s going to freak you out. There’s a real feeling that if they don’t let you know what happened to their sister’s best friend’s aunt, it could happen to you too. I’m getting really good at reminding myself that being afraid isn’t going to stop anything bad from happening, so it’s not worth it. 

2.) Most people who had babies more than 30 years ago seem to believe that the science of baby-rearing stopped progressing when they had their kids.  So, when they tell you how vitally important it is to have bumpers on your crib or that the best way to calm your baby is to put it on its belly with a fluffy stuffed animal and a blanket, they’re not actively trying to kill your kid. They just can’t fathom that the parenting advice that was given to them by doctors (and that they followed) isn’t considered safe anymore.  What’s worse is that many of them feel personally attacked if you correct them… which is why I am becoming incredibly good at just saying “thank you” for advice that I have no intention of following, and acknowledging that the bad advice is just a long-winded way for them to say that they want the best for me and my kid.

3.) Speaking of opinions — everybody has one, whether it’s an opinion on how you should be raising your kid, what you should be eating and/or doing during pregnancy, or what they consider socially acceptable… except for me, now.

I honestly don’t care if you use disposable diapers or cloth, if you formula feed or breastfeed (in public or private), if you co-sleep or strictly crib it. I could care even less if both you and your spouse work full time and have a nanny or if you are so committed to attachment parenting that you’ve decided to quit your job and spend all your time and energy homeschooling your kid from birth. Don’t believe in western medicine or giving birth in a hospital?  Mazel tov! More resources available to those of us who do. The circumcision debate? Both sides have merit! I really don’t care how you choose to parent.

I have decided to believe that everybody wants to do right by their kids (unless they’re a total sociopath or narcissist), and that if their personal decisions do not personally affect me or my family, they’re not worth my emotions or energy. 

This is as true for the mommy who has decided not to treat her kid’s ear infection with antibiotics (and instead to use essential oils) as it is for the parents who have decided that once their kid hits age 6, she’s going to boarding school.  Would I personally make either of those decisions? Oh hell no.  But you’re welcome to them.

4.) Speaking of — I remember my pre-pregnancy days. I thought my opinion mattered when it came to how my friends were raising their kids. It didn’t. It still doesn’t. I remember losing a friend because I so passionately argued against the use of leashes on children, and she was committed to using a backpack harness and leash on her daughter.  That friend didn’t need the aggravation of dealing with my unwanted opinion, and she was right to unfriend me. She was working hard to raise her kid and keep her safe, and my approval of her methods was not necessary.

Do I still think the use of child leashes is a bad thing? Most of the time, for the great majority of kids, yes. But does my opinion make a damn bit of difference? Hell no. I’ve learned that there are times when I just need to keep my mouth shut. And during times when I can’t (and yes, I acknowledge that they exist), just say what I have to say, and then back the fuck off. Arguing is not helpful in any way to either of us.

5.) I am super-grateful that I have been through the emotional bullshit and therapy that I’ve been through. I’m not ashamed of it. I feel so much more prepared to parent because I have already accepted that I’m gonna fuck up along the way and that fucking up is part of doing things right in the long run.

If I can teach Henry to not fear failure but to embrace it as a step on the way to greater success, I will have saved him from a lot of pain and anxiety.  And I’ve been feeling a lot of anxiety recently about becoming a mom.  My mantra recently has been, “We’ll figure it out.” 

Am I gonna breastfeed or formula feed? Who knows?! I want to breastfeed as long as possible, but if I have an MS relapse when Henry’s born, I won’t have much of a choice — so we’re preparing for both eventualities. We’ll figure it out.

Are we going to use disposable or cloth diapers? Well, I love the look of cloth diapers and that they save money over time… but I have no idea about what my health is gonna be like or whether or not it’ll work with our lifestyle. So, we’re registered for cloth diapers, but we’re also gonna have a beer & diaper party for Adam’s birthday. When Henry’s born, we’ll see what works best for us and figure it out.

Heck, I obsessed over everything on the registries… but at the end of the day, if anything doesn’t work for us, we’ll figure out what does.  None of these things are life and death.