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Whoa. Kid. Part 2: The False Alarm

December 14, 2009   

Saturday before the baby was born, I had my last scheduled non-stress test. The technician once more predicted that I’ll be having the baby pretty much any minute, as they were observing very regular, noticeable contractions, as they had the week before and a couple of days before.

By this time, I had become irrationally convinced the baby was just never going to make a move on his own. People warned this weird thought would enter my head at some point, but it had all sounded like crazy talk until it happened.

I suppose I knew he would eventually come out, but I wanted to know that my body was going to try to do its thing on its own at some point. All signs pointed to it doing something, what with all the regular contractions and hospital staff making bets on things moving soon, so what was the hold up?

Sometime after we got back from the appointment, my mom and I took Mobi for a long walk. While we were walking along the dogwalk near our house, I thought my water possibly broke, which was both a big relief and hugely inconvenient, given my distance from home.

We got home and I proceeded to google how to tell when your water has broken (when it’s not a huge gush) and called the on-call doctor. The doctor advised that due to my testing positive for group b strep, I should come in the next morning even if I did not go into labor, due to fear of infection.

I didn’t go into labor, even while my non-painful contractions stayed quite regular. I didn’t want my mom to worry too much, so we waited to tell my mom until the morning. We got to the hospital at 8am and proceeded to be checked in immediately instead of going through triage, as the doctor ordered.

As you can tell from the title of this blog post, it was a false alarm and my water had not broken, as we found after I got checked in and had the nurse check me out.

I really wish my water had broken and that we had stayed to be induced because this trip to the hospital was so pleasant in every way, without the fear, panic, and pain of the next day. The nurse was just so nice and made me feel at ease, and the entire process was orderly.

Whoa. Kid. Part 1: The Waiting

November 16, 2009   

Our baby (henceforth to be referred to as Burrito) is now 28 days old. Whoa.

So much has happened. I’m filled with so many emotions. I have to start somewhere, so I suppose I’ll start with the days leading up to labor & delivery.

Starting about a week an a couple of days before the due date or thereabouts, I started to have painless contractions that were starting to fall into a pattern. I’d time five hours of 30 second contractions 15 minutes apart until I got bored or had to focus my attention elsewhere, like on eating. πŸ˜€

The due date came and went, with nothing major happening, except that the baseline state of pregnancy changed from uncomfortable to fairly painful. I also started to get a little worried about the various complications that could arise from a longer gestation period.

The doctor and the two of us agreed that we want nature to take its course so we’ll just start monitoring things as we waited. We started going in for semiweekly non-stress tests.

A non-stress test is done by strapping two monitors to your belly: one for monitoring the contractions, if any, and another for monitoring the baby’s heartrate and activity level. The “non-stress” part means that the test involves no application of external/artificial stress on the baby. If the mother experiences three or more contractions during the monitoring session, then that is considered a spontaneous stress test. Apparently, there are rare cases when a stress test might be applied, but most regular monitoring such as I was getting wouldn’t involve externally applied stress.

I was scheduled for four visits before we’d talk about induction.

The waiting

October 11, 2009   

Just a week and a half ago, I was nervous and wishing the baby would arrive late, because I felt panicked and worried about, well, everything.

In the last week, I’ve come to a place of readiness and waiting (as has Seppo), which has turned to impatience to meet the little guy! Almost every night, I experience what feels like really low-intensity regular contractions about 10-20 minutes apart, which convinces me that I’m in early labor, only to have those contractions go away by morning.

We had two non-stress tests (NST) and amniotic fluid scans last week, and everything seems to be better than fine, so there is no rush to get him out of there. I know this, but this doesn’t stop my impatience! πŸ˜€ I have another regular doctor’s appointment on Tuesday and another NST on Wednesday.

I think he knows we don’t have a name yet and is waiting for us to make up our minds. Heh.

I was really stressed out during the middle to the end of this week because it turned out that the insurance company had the wrong identifying info for me. I hadn’t known I could contact our outsourced HR administrator to resolve the problem for me, so I spent several days on the phone trying to get things worked out. It was stressful because the insurance company representative stated some extremely alarming things regarding my coverage (or lack thereof, in their eyes). With Seppo’s assistance and a follow-up by our HR administrator, the issue got straightened out, but it was a stress point that I didn’t want to have to deal with. I wish the insurance company rep hadn’t been so alarming in his statements, which threw me into a panic and an embarrassing breakdown/crying jag.

I really don’t enjoy feeling/looking weak in front of others, especially strangers, especially in a business setting. I hated that it happened that way, but it is hard to discount the role of an overwhelming amount of hormones coursing through the system, as well as all the normal stresses involved with getting ready for a baby.

I’ve been napping on and off throughout the last few days. I haven’t been sleeping well because of the contractions — both the physical feelings of mild contractions and the mental awareness that they are happening — but I think I’ve also been extra tired. I’ve pretty much had the phone going straight to voicemail.

My mom is coming on Tuesday, late at night. When we booked the tickets, I assumed that we’d be home with the baby by then, and Seppo could slip out to pick her up, but now I wonder if the baby will even be born by then. Who knows, really. He’ll arrive when he wants to arrive. He’s not listening to his mom even now; can you imagine when he’s a teenager? :p

We had a cleaning crew come to do a thorough cleaning before the baby comes. They came on Saturday and did an amazing job. I can’t believe how fast and thoroughly they worked. This really helped us get the last bits of organization for the baby done, so we can focus on the big picture instead of worrying about small details. It’s such a load off my mind.

I’m still writing the thank you notes (and looking up people’s addresses) from the baby shower, but at the rate I’m going, I’ll be including pictures of the baby with the thank you notes! πŸ˜€ Well, not if the little guy refuses to come out. :p

We’ve been filling our evenings and weekends with a combination of trying to get ready for the baby and going out to do random things that will be harder to do when the baby is here, like eating out or even going to Best Buy. It’s hard not to think, “This will be our last outing before the baby, surely,” only to have the days keep passing.

Dear baby,

You might as well come out already. We have prepared a good home for you and we are ready to love you. Well, we already love you, but we want to both be able to hold you and look into your face and find out what you are thinking. I can’t speak for your dad, but I’m not too excited about the changing diapers part, but I’ll do it because I love you. πŸ˜€ We’ll show you all sorts of exciting and new things. The world has so much to offer. You’ll get to meet all sorts of wonderful people, like grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and little friends (most of them are bigger than you, but some will be coming after you). It’ll be much better than being inside. I wouldn’t lie to you!


The Final Countdown

October 5, 2009   

Every time I hear that phrase, I think of GOB from Arrested Development and mentally go into “doing cheesy magic” mode. Da da dun dun, da da dun dun dun, da da dun dun, da da dun dun dun dun dun! *cue doves*

But seriously, this is the final countdown. The official due date that my doctor and I have on record is Wednesday, 10/07/2009, and that came from the first ultrasound. The date that came out of the 12? 16? (I no longer remember) week ultrasound was 10/05/2009, but since it was so close to the original due date, the doctor and I never changed the records to reflect this.

So if the baby is “on time” — and no one expects the baby abide by the exact # of days we outside in the normal world are counting — then he’ll arrive sometime between Monday and Wednesday. If he’s a procrastinator like me, then he’ll arrive a bit late.

We’ve been doing some last minute things, like getting vaccinations (me, Seppo, and the dog), arranging for a dog walker for the first few weeks (he’ll be taken for 2.5-3 hour play/swim/hike sessions with other dogs, three times a week to start), buying some last minute stuff (pump, which I haven’t opened yet since I just read that it may be partially covered by my health insurance), borrowing some stuff (bottles, lightweight stroller frame for baby seat), and going to eat at some places we likely won’t be able to go to for a while.

It’s pretty nutty.

I still need to do things like clean up my bedside stand and my side of the room to make room for baby stuff, store away all the things we won’t need for at least a month into the spare room closet, contact the neighbor to ask if they’d recommend their cleaning service to us to have them come in periodically in the first month or so to help out, and just tidying up and trying to get the mind into a calm place in general.

OH WAIT. Then there is the fact that we still do not have a name. 😐 That is definitely more of a priority now than it used to be. Hopefully, we won’t end up naming him Whatshisface. πŸ˜€

As for the date, my sister is rooting for 10/6, Seppo’s dad is betting on 10/8, Seppo’s aunt is hoping for her birthday (I think 10/9??), and I’m rooting for Tuesday (10/6) so that we’ll be able to transition seamlessly from Seppo’s work from home day to the scheduled doctor appointment in the afternoon to the hospital and BAM! Heh. Yeah, sure.

I think my mom will be able to come out at the end of next week or the beginning of the week after. I am looking to book a ticket now.

At home

September 18, 2009   

Tuesday was my last day at work before going on leave to wait for the alien bread we’ve been baking in the human oven. The alien bread is due in about 2.5 weeks! :O Seriously, it is shocking.

I do feel bad calling the baby things like “alien bread” and “skeletor” but it’s hard to come up with an in utero nickname, and I hate the one my mom calls him (“ddol ddol i” — like “smarty” or maybe more like “smartass”). Well, it’s hard to come up with a real name too. Hopefully, Mobi won’t take things too literally and try to dine on this alien bread.

There was some confusion for the legal definition of what was happening to me, leave-wise. Because my company is so small, most of the common leave-taking job protection doesn’t apply to me (one lesser known one does though but under different terms than the more commonly known stuff) but it was really a matter of making sure we were all individually happy with the arrangement, covering everything from how long I’ll be gone, if we want it to be full-time immediately upon returning, if they can contact me while I’m on leave, etc., much of which are “softer” issues. I at no point was actually worried about not having a job to come back to, but mostly about the legalese in terms of collecting my short term disability insurance. That headache has largely been taken care of, so I can relax. πŸ™‚

A couple of weeks ago, we went to Hawaii. It was… awesome. Seriously awesome. One of the best things was being able to be in the water all the time, which was so great for my strained joints and swollen hands & feet. It was fun going all over the island (Oahu) and nomming on everything in sight. Most of the trip is covered on Seppo’s blog. One of the worst things was getting our stuff stolen, but that’s the kind of thing you just have to roll with. The other bad thing was the flight back from Hawaii. My feet were swollen so badly that I almost busted out into tears several times during the flight.

Note to self next time if I fly while pregnant:

  1. Don’t fly 3rd trimester!
  2. Upgrade to business or first if I have to fly during 3rd trimester — I am a total cheapskate, but the extra money will be well worth it, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.

Last week on Saturday, I sucked up all my “scared of meeting strangers” fears with the help of my friend & recent mother MJ and attended the Kimchi Mamas Bay Area meetup! :D There is so much I loved about the meetup!

  • Meeting with other women, period. I love events for women!
  • Meeting with other people who either grew up flanking both American mainstream & Korean cultures, or trying to reconcile feeling disconnected from Korean culture (I feel both ways at times). So many of us clearly felt like the “outsiders” among other groups of KA women that the sheer number was comical at this particular gathering. πŸ™‚
  • Meeting with other parents, many of them with very young children, who have gone or are going through the same issues juggling careers, multiple cultures, parents & in-laws, etc.
  • Meeting articulate, well-spoken, well-read people who were not afraid to speak their minds, yet were incredibly & sincerely nice.
  • Meeting for the first time some people I had been reading for months/years!

I would totally do this again. At some point, as Jomama and Karen the Californian blogged, many of us seemed to suffer from the “Holy crap, am I gonna be dressed up enough for other Korean girls?!” fear, and tried to primp up nicer than normal — several people owned up to wearing eyeliner/lipstick/etc. that they usually never wear. I had the same fears, but since I’m terrible at makeup, all I did was try my best to fill in my half-balding right eyebrow.

I got to see Shinyung, Twizzle, and Mary again, which was great! I wish I had gotten to talk to them a little more, but I got to meet new people which I enjoyed immensely. I hope we do this again! πŸ˜€

On a completely different note, Seppo and I have been attending classes to get ready for the baby. We are taking a 4-week series on childbirth and a 3-week series on newborn care. We really like the instructor for the newborn care class, who also happens to be the backup instructor for the childbirth class. I wish I could remember her name… Heh. I really like that she’s very non-judgmental and doesn’t appear to push a particular agenda, while presenting a multitude of options for things to try and why we might like them.

Taking the classes seems to have lit a fire under Seppo’s butt! After the first week (was that just last week??), he ran out several times during the week and the weekend to get our bag packed in case the baby comes early and is really getting into reading up on some baby-related stuff. As for me, now that I’m on leave, I’m trying to focus on getting one major thing out of the way everyday, when I’m not obsessing over how the project I was working on is going. Heh.

This blog entry has been brought to you by the letters B for boring and M for meandering. Next time, let’s hope we’ll see something from letter E for exciting and C for concise. :p

Note to self: blog about the difference between advice & help. That thought has been incubating for a while now.

Tiny packages in the mail

July 21, 2009   

My family sent us a couple of packages of baby clothes! There were tops, bottoms, onsies, socks, and even one really cute hat. Yay! Thanks so much!

Another generically-titled update

July 1, 2009   

Let’s see… Back pain is increasing in proportion to weight gain, which is to be expected. Vision is definitely a little on the blurry side. Hands and feet experience some swelling for about an hour or two a day, depending on my position, but has not been as bad as the one time when I was visiting my best friend in May.

The biggest unexpected thing from the last two weeks is pain in my hands, near my thumb joint. I think it’s because I have been using my hands a lot more to compensate for the lack of ability to use my abdominal muscles to sit/stand up or even roll over. It’s amazing how the body works in unacknowledged concert; it’s only when you have reduced function in any one part that you can truly appreciate the well-orchestrated machine the body is. I’m sure some of the pain in the hands is also due to a bit of RSI that is exacerbated by the swelling of the extremities.

The baby himself has been very active, which is really fun. He seems to shift around a lot when I roll over. I think he’s been waking me up at around 6am every morning. Or maybe I’ve been waking him up? He also is fairly active after I have a meal. So far, it’s just an incredibly neat, stupefying experience, rather than a painful one, so I am enjoying it as much as I can. It’s amazing to see my belly jump around every so often. I hadn’t expected to see this much movement externally in the second trimester (which is coming to an end soon), but it’s really cool.

Our friends H&S have said we can borrow their infant carseat and breast pump, as they will be just transistioning off them when our little guy arrives, if he’s not too early, so this is great for us. We picked up some baby clothes, a floor gym thingy, and a Bumbo seat, the last of which we’ve lent to H&S for now, since we won’t need it for at least two or three months after the baby is born.

I have to go in to do the glucose test for gestational diabetes this week. Fun! πŸ˜€

Not much new going on

June 17, 2009   

Let’s see… the last week has been fairly uneventful. The baby is kicking fairly regularly which is really nice because it reassures me that things are progressing normally in there. Oh, last week, we had to sleep downstairs because the upstairs floors were getting repaired/refinished. I slept on the couch, which actually improved my backaches. I slept with my back flush against the seatback of the couch, which gave it good support. The slightly sagging couch seat provided good support for my side since I was instructed to sleep on my left side if possible.

I’ve had low-grade heartburn for the last week or so, which gets worse when I’m lying down, but it’s nothing compared to the first semester. Last night, I had to take a dose of antacid, but it wasn’t so bad after that.

I suppose we need to figure out a name and think of what crucial items we need. I don’t want to get too much stuff just from the excitement. πŸ™‚ It’s better to buy slowly and save the money for taking time off or for a future education fund.

People are awesome

June 4, 2009   

In addition to getting cool stuff from a coworker, friends S&V are sending us their cloth diaper stash! Woo hoo! It is already in the mail, apparently.

We aren’t 100% committed to doing cloth diapers; in fact, we haven’t really discussed it, but we think it’s something we can try out. If it doesn’t work, disposables it is!

One of the bloggers I met this week also offered to lend us her son’s hanbok (Korean traditional outfit) for when we have our baby’s dol (first birthday). Rad!