Tuesday, March 24, 2009

End of the line

Today I faced one of my biggest pregnancy fears to date---the dreaded internal cervical exam. Dun dun dun! It wasn't nearly as bad as I had built it up in my mind though. I had heard other women tell tales of their buttocks involuntary scooting off the exam table to escape the doctor's prying hands such was their discomfort during the procedure. I arrived for my appointment filled with dread and prepared for much pain and uncontrollable scooting.

To my credit, I purposely scheduled today's appointment with the only female doctor in the practice. She's a small woman and my hope was that her height also translated to her hand size as well. Word to the wise for all you pregnant folk out there---study each doctors hands and strategically schedule your appointments accordingly! Nonetheless, my exam was not horrible and I did not try to squirm away from her (she was too strong). I was actually a bit disappointed because I wanted to have a good horror story to report to my fellow first time pregnant ladies out there to freak them out. Not to say that I enjoyed the exam, but it was certainly no worse than a regular speculum exam.

As for the results of the exam, my cervix is 50 % effaced and I am 1.5 cm dilated, which the doctor said was pretty good for 38 weeks. I'm also measuring almost 36 cm at 38 weeks, which is a very slight improvement from last week's measurement. I'm attributing the improvement to being a bit more diligent about taking my iron supplements, which may or may not be related in the least.

I'm hoping all of this means I'm on my way to a normal delivery. Even if that means possibly having my water break in public or even better, at work. I look forward to the hopefully funny story of how it all goes down. And if it turns out to be a boring story, I will simply make up a lie to tell everyone. Dave put a waterproof pad under my side of the bed and I've started carrying a spare towel in my car just in case my bag o' waters breaks at an inopportune time. But really, I think the worst place for my water to break would be in the shower or toilet because I'm not sure I would be able to tell what had just happened you know?

I envision being in some very public place when it all goes down just like in the movies. Everyone's focus will shift entirely when they realize my water has broken because we all know that means the baby is going to fall out of me at ANY SECOND. There will be tears and screaming and me behaving badly to my husband for comic effect of course. It will all be very chaotic, yet hilarious! But really, we will all be closer in the end as we gaze upon the little baby that emerged from my vagina after a mere couple of pushes. That's how babies are born in the movies. Then the credits will roll.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Meeting Mister T

Here is the oh so handsome little man that was born into our lives last week, Mister Tyler Douglas Wilsey. He may hate me for this 18 years from now, but he's just so beautiful I want to eat him. He seems to have taken a keen interest in his Uncle Dave, whom he's staring at in the photo above. I can't believe he's a little over 1 day old in this photo and already looking so alert and interested in his surroundings.

I don't want to be one of those moms that becomes fluent in baby talk as soon as my kid is born. And can I confess I'm off to a bad start? I look at this picture and all I can think is, "wook at dat iddy biddy mouf...I's gonna eat your cheeks nom nom nom." Someone stop me.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Putting a face to a name

Internets, meet North. North, these are what former Senator Ted Stevens referred to as the internet "tubes. " Please be nice to our little boy, after all, he's negative 16 days old!

The good to come out of having a baby that is measuring small is all the additional sonograms we get to make sure he's OK in there. Last month, he was hiding his face with his hand like some spoiled starlet that has tired of the paparazzi's camera. And yesterday, he was possibly attempting to eat his toes (which means he takes after me and let's just leave any disgusting habits I may or may not have had as a child alone). But in between his first taste of self-cannibalism, we were still able to get a couple of excellent shots of his cute little mug.

I'm starting to think we're giving birth to Benjamin Button because North keeps measuring more and more behind the further into the pregnancy we get. Last month he was measuring 2 weeks behind and yesterday he was measuring almost 3 weeks behind. Granted, the docs say everything is fine and he passed his biophysical profile again so we're not worried. Plus, by the looks of those chubby cheeks in the picture, he's not malnurished in the least. He's weighing in at 5 pounds 9 ounces as a matter of fact.

But North, I think we need to have a little mother to son chat. I know I've said before that I like the fact that you are small because well... I am selfish and thinking of my own labor pain. But you can't stop growing just to try to please me. I promise that I will not be mad at you even if you weigh ten pounds and rip my body apart as you leave it. So stop sucking on your toes young man and start eating all those cookies I am sending down to you at once! Get BIGGER! And clean up this womb while you're at it!

I'd also like to welcome Mr. Tyler Douglas Wilsey to our happy family. Proud parents Robyn and Chris Wilsey brought him into the world about ten minutes before midnight on St. Patrick's Day. The little tyke weighed in at 9 pounds 2 ounces and 21 3/4 inches long. We're heading back to the hospital tonight, armed with a camera this time, so pictures of Mr. T will be soon to follow!

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's thrifty time

With the tough economic climate we're living in, now more than ever is a good time to be as thrifty as possible. And while having a baby is an exciting time, it's also the worst time to behave in fiscally irresponsible ways. From our nine months of preparation and experience, here are our best frugal tips for saving money for your upcoming baby.

-Recognize first and foremost that having a baby has become big business and many stores would have you believe that you need so many things that you really do not need at all. Keep it in the back of your mind that people have been having babies for thousands of years and many of them didn't have *gasp* a glider and ottoman to sit in while they were nursing. Closely examine your wants versus your needs.

-Join an online forum like The Bump or Baby Center. You will learn a ton about raising a baby, find out what you really need in terms of supplies and preparation, not to mention access to product recommendations, and you might even find you've built yourself a nice little support system in the process. I think the online forum has become the modern day equivalent of the extended family that modern moms often no longer have access to due to distance from their families.

-Get as many free samples of prenatal vitamins from your OB's office as possible. I'm sure your OB would love to get rid of this stuff. Ask them about DHA prenatals and prenatals that help with constipation or prenatals with more iron added, etc. The more types you're interested in trying, the more samples you get!

-Buy your educational material used on Amazon or some other online site. Previously pregnant ladies will practically give this stuff away once they've read them. There is no sense paying full retail price for information. Better yet, go to the library.

-Embrace secondhand goods by going to consignment sales, yard sales and stalking ebay and craigslist. Babies outgrow products so fast and often buying secondhand, you pay only 25% of the retail price, if that. In fact, many of the things we purchased secondhand were brand new.

-Sign up for free offers for baby coupons with an email account set up specifically for that purpose.

-Read Baby Bargains before you register.

-If you are going to register at Babies R Us, register early! The sooner you are in their system, the sooner you will start to receive coupons in the mail alerting you to sales and savings.

-Read online reviews for the products you are thinking of registering for. Compare different products before deciding. Also research any recalls for the products you are thinking of buying.

-Remember that the most expensive product does not mean it's the best product.

-Never buy anything retail without first searching for a coupon code. Try this site or google the store and "coupon code" before heading to the store.

-Buy a bella band or equivalent and use it throughout your pregnancy. Using it will let you wear your non-maternity pants for much longer, not to mention let you wear your non-maternity shirts as your belly expands.

-If possible, borrow maternity clothes from friends and family. If this is not an option, buy non-maternity shirts that can grow with you and are long and stretchy rather than paying more for maternity shirts that will only make you look heavier than you really are. Secondhand maternity clothes are also easy to find online and at consignment sales.

-Your breasts will likely increase in size several times throughout your pregnancy. When you have no choice but to upsize your bra, consider the future room for expansion before making the purchase. If you need a bra later on in pregnancy, consider a nursing bra if breastfeeding is part of your plan.

-You will pay more for something marketed as "maternity" or "baby" than you will for a normal product. For example, there are pillows marketed especially for pregnant ladies (and granted some women absolutely swear by theirs) but often a few extra regular pillows or a $10 body pillow will fit the bill just fine.

-Use your skills and get crafty. If you enjoy sewing, make blankets, cloth wipes, burp cloths, curtains, clothes or cloth diapers. If you are an artist, create a mural to paint in the nursery thereby avoiding having to purchase artwork to fill the space on the walls. If you are talented photographer, create the artwork that will adorn your baby's nursery walls. You've got about 10 months of sobriety on your hands---plenty of time for creativity to flow!

-Return gifts you do not think you need or will use for store credit. Do not allow yourself to feel guilty for returning an unwanted gift if your plan is to replace is with something else you will use for the baby. You are not being ungrateful, you are being practical. There is a specific store I hate that will pretty much take anything back without a receipt and give you store credit. It rhymes with "mall fart."

-Consider white furniture in your baby's nursery. It's much easier to buy used furniture and paint it white than it is to find a matching set in the same wood tone. Plus, you will normally pay a premium for a matching set.

-Use cloth diapers on your child (this is an even better investment if you plan on having more than one child). Here's some great information for educating yourself about how far cloth diapers have come. And remember, you can always resell your cloth diapers after you're done with them.

-If you are not planning on having any more children, sell the clothes and products your child has outgrown online or at a consignment sale. Keep original packaging when possible for higher resale value.

I'd love to hear any other money saving tips for not only pregnancy, but for raising our little one as well. Seeing as how we're now entering that stage of actually raising a child, I have a whole new skill set to hone.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

She's crafty

I finally finished the baby quilt I've been making for North over the last few weeks. I made it with four different fabrics (cotton, flannel, striped chenille as pictured and yellow velour on the back side) for a tactile effect that will teach him about different textures. That is my hope anyway. I bought the sock monkey fabric a few years ago and was supposed to make the world's most awesome camping blanket with it, but that never quite came to fruition. Fortunately, the sock monkeys were destined for an even better project years later.

It's nothing fancy pants (I can only sew square things) but I enjoyed the process of making this and thinking about our little boy the whole time. Sewing is very meditative and calming for me. Gosh, I can't wait until he pees and spits up all over this blanket!

Since we've got a yucky rainy weekend ahead of us, I'm going to make him some cloth wipes for changing his diapers. Because we're using cloth diapers, it just makes sense to use cloth wipes as well that way everything is thrown into the diaper pail to be washed at the same time. I have put so much time and research into this whole cloth diapering phenomenon and it may sound weird, but I am beyond excited to get started. So come on North, bring on the poopy diapers---Momma's ready!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

She's mighty mighty...

The cute little toes that were once attached to my feet have been replaced with pudgy vienna sausages. If I still possessed the ability to reach my feet, I might consider eating those delicious little meat sticks that are my toes. But it seems, touching my feet is not part of God's plan right now. Likewise, my ankles have been devoured by my calves, and I now have the sexiest cankles this side east of the Mississippi. I don't know how my husband keeps his hands off me lately, such is my hotness.

Oh yes, now I know his secret! He has eyes! It occurs to me that I wore only a black sports bra and black elastic band running shorts while we mulched the front yard in the 80 degree weather last Sunday. I donned this highly provocative outfit for a couple of reasons:

1) I am the color of paste.

2) I read that the baby can see light through my belly and I wanted him to see as much of the sunlight as possible so it doesn't freak him out as much a few weeks from now when he sees the light of day.

3) I like to make my husband blush.

4) I have no shame.

5) I enjoy punishing our neighbors for their nosiness by making their corneas bleed.

Anyway, all I can do is laugh and make fun of myself for being a brick-house. But the baby is good. I had an appointment just yesterday and measured 34.5 cm at a little over 36 weeks---so still small, but growing.

We're still spending most of our time reading and preparing for labor. The books seem to break up each stage of labor first addressing the woman in very scientific detail as to what is happening in the womb before addressing what the labor companion can be doing to help at the various stages. I find myself leafing through the stages to find that next labor companion section because they are very helpful indeed. Here's a sample of what I have learned about how Dave will spend the labor process:

-Encourage her and tell her what a great job she is doing. Do not take it personally if she throws blunt objects in your general direction.

-Signal to her that a contraction has ended by patting her abdomen, unless she attempts to bite you when you do that. It's not a good idea to jokingly ask the nurse for a muzzle either. No one thinks your "joke" is funny.

-Whisper to her an "I love you" from time to time. Rather than her normal response, she may tell you that she wishes certain parts of your body would fall off. Further, she may threaten to remove parts of your body in your sleep. She is just joking of course, but keep your distance just in case.

-Feed her ice chips to keep her fluid levels up and help her keep cool. If she tries to shove the cup of ice chips into your nether regions, she is trying to let you know she is not thirsty or hot after all. Also, this is all your fault.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ninth inning

Tomorrow, we officially mark our entry into being 36 weeks or 9 months along. I believe it's not until I hit 38 weeks that the baby is considered full term though. So I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for the fact that she could blow any day now. Granted, I highly doubt that is going to happen. I'm just saying it is within the realm of possibility though. I fully expect North to stay put till his due date of April 4---if not longer. I'd also like to point out that other recent dabbling I've done testing my psychic ability failed miserably.

Slowly but surely, we're preparing for the inevitable. We've found a pediatrician around the corner that we're happy with and we toured the hospital where our baby will emerge from places where the sun does not shine. The hospital was packed with expectant parents and I counted three different tours going on while we were there. The maternity ward and all of the delivery rooms were full (although I heard no screams and trust me, I was listening intently for them). I don't know what was going on nine months ago, but there are a lot of babies out there ready to be born. I have a hunch the hospital will be maxed to the gills in early April as well. I'm expecting pregnant ladies wrestling around on the ground fighting over room availability. Let's just say I've been practicing my figure four leg lock in anticipation of the strategy needed to get my own room.

The tour itself was rather hilarious in hindsight. First off, the tour guide is a volunteer and not actual paid medical staff per say. Yet, all of the expectant mothers were quizzing her about very medical topics that she couldn't answer. OK...OK, I didn't ask her anything remotely medical. I spent the majority of the tour trying to think up a brilliant question that would make the other expectant families on the tour step back in awe as to the awesomeness of my question. But I ended up asking about the hospital's policy on food for women in labor because my only concern is hamburgers apparently. Most of the husbands, meanwhile, were interrogating the tour guide about how many electronic gadgets they could have plugged in at one time, whether there was wi-fi, if she could go over the photo and video policy again, if they could bring in their Wii, etc. The whole experience was very Mars/Venus if you know what I mean.

Of course, I'm sharing very specific examples for comic effect. There were a couple of expectant fathers at both the pediatrician and the hospital tour with questions that were so informed and relevant, I couldn't control my emotion and wept at their feet. I'm hoping those fathers were actually doctors and just showing off to make the rest of us feel inadequate (good job guys!) Granted, I've been trying to read through as much material as I can, but I've gotten a bit sidetracked with sewing projects and preparing for the baby in other ways. But I have a feeling I'll be that lady in labor attempting to speed read "What to Expect When You're Expecting" up until North's head crowns. And Dave will be the guy that misses the birth of his baby because his wife has asked him to fetch her another burger from the cafeteria.