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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cats On BGC's Stuff: If I Fits, I Sits

While we wait patiently (ok, completely impatiently) for BGC to make her appearance, the cats have been generous enough to test out the baby gear for us.

In honor of National Cat Day (every day at our house), we give you these pictures of cats enjoying baby items. There will be many more to come, I'm sure.


Tucker enjoying some light reading.

Macho, Macho (Bat)Man

I'm just gonna lay here and watch my stories.


I'll just test out the "hypo-allergenic" feature of these sheets for ya'.

He likes the changing pad so much we had to put a towel on it to protect it from cat hair!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 37: Full Term Y'all

We hit 37 weeks, or FULL TERM, on Saturday!  Meaning Baby Girl can be born any day now (bring it on), the doctor would not do anything to delay the labor. We are still mentally preparing ourselves that BGC is going to be late, just in case.  Let's face it.  I couldn't get out the door on time in the morning even if my ass was on fire.  I take each "symptom" with a grain of salt and plan for the long haul.
How are you feeling Kate?  Well thanks for asking.  I waffle.  (mmmm, waffles)  I go back and forth between feeling the weight of a 7+ lb baby (+ 1.5lb placenta + 5lbs of amniotic fluid) sittin' on my lady junks.  

And then, sometimes, I get these random bursts of energy where  I can actually blow dry my hair without sitting on top of the toilet because I feel like this.

Also, remember last week when we mentioned that my midwife was concerned of my tachycardia (I was having random moments of racing HR- 120-130 where someone who is pregnant should be
between 80-90)?  Well I went to the cardiologist last week and she performed an EKG.  My blood pressure was normal and the tests all went well and we think it really comes back to pumping blood for two, being a little psychosomatic and that I'm in my 9th month of pregnancy and even getting off the couch requires the same back and forth rocking it takes to get my car out of the snow.  She offered an echocardiogram and a test where I would wear this little pack for a week that monitors my heart rate.  There's a little button I can press when I have racing moment and it would tag it.  I'm thinking it's overkill, but were going to ask our midwife for her opinion and then go on from there.

I also mentioned that I researched some natural ways to induce labor.  I've started using Evening Primrose Oil (sounds like a horrible hipster band) which is supposed to help ripen the cervix and shorten labor.  I also started taking Red Raspberry Leaf capsules which also help with labor.  Other
things we found are eating pineapple- the enzyme bromelain is thought to ripen the cervix and bring on labor.  I hate pineapple so I went, ignorantly, into a Vitamin Shoppe and bought the enzyme in capsule form straight up.  Also, the woman at the store asked what all these things were for and I felt like I was buying things to start a meth lab.  I have been adding cayenne pepper to anything and everything and Meg has down acupressure massage to my feet while I apply pressure to the points in my hand.  I mostly do these during meetings at work and probably look like this.

Other (ridiculous) things we found on the interwebs...

  • Blowing up balloons: the theory is that the build-up of abdominal pressure encourages labor to start.
  • Watch a weepy film and have a good cry.
  • Wear your best underwear (will ensure that your waters break in them).

We also had our weekly check-in this morning and ultrasound.  I want to first say I love our midwife.  I covered all the natural things we were doing and she was totally on board.  I began to tell her that I realized that I felt the heart palpitations were probably tied to the anxiety I feel about labor.  Not the physical pain, but that I don't trust my body.  My body hasn't been besties with me for most of my life- infections, surgeries, weight struggs, etc..  And I'm fearful, despite the fact I've had a very smooth pregnancy, that it will betray me.  

She immediately said that she wanted to help with that and said that if I haven't gone into labor at 39
weeks she will sweep my membranes to help kick things into gear.  Stripping membranes, sometimes called membrane sweeping, is a method used to try to start labor. The health care provider puts their finger into the cervix -- the mouth of the uterus -- and uses the finger to gently separate the bag of water from the side of the uterus near the cervix.  She mentioned that she was trying to think of anything with me that she could use as a reason to induce as the baby is ready (and so am I- my body is the final deciding factor of getting this party started), but everything has gone so well there's no excuse!  I am at ease that she said this- for many reasons.  And we KNOW BGC knows her internally decided eviction notice is November 2.  But should that date pass we are counting down to 39 when she can swiffer the crap out of me.  #ew

During another successful BPP (Biophysical Profile) they were able to get a little shot of the side of BGC's face!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 36: These Boobs Were Made For Nursin'

Everything you've read about side effects during the last weeks of pregnancy is true. They just happen to each person at their own pace.  For me, they all started the morning I hit week 36.

Visual of trying to induce labor
Once you reach week 36 everything is pretty much cooked (digestive system lags, but it takes being out of the womb nursing to fix that) and she is just adding chunk to her trunk for the next 3-4 weeks (or less).  As we approach the 37th week (aka full term tipping point) I've started researching ways to encourage labor.  I'm not going to list them as there are people who read this blog and I have to look them in the eye at some point.


But I know it's best to let her cook another week (according to my friend and nurse-by-text Emily my next goal is week 38) or so and, as we all know, Baby Girl has complete control over this midnight train to epidural.

I got ridiculously excited when I was looking ahead in "Your Pregnancy Week-By-Week" and I realized I have some symptoms this week that they say don't usually start until week maybe things are moving along faster than usual (?!?!). Shut up and let me have this one.  For those that follow this blog for "science" purposes, those symptoms would be: the appearance of colostrum, lightening (the baby dropping lower in my pelvis) and her movements getting less sharp as baby chunker is running out of room to move.

Yesterday I had my weekly midwife check-in and the first of my weekly ultrasounds.  Baby Girl sounds great and our midwife gave me the talk about who to call when we start feeling consistent contractions, where to go and what to expect!  Things are getting real.  I also have Group B Strep (a not-very-serious thing for me, but a potentially serious thing for baby) so they would like me to come to the hospital a little on the early side so they'll have at least 4 hours to get Penicillin in my system before labor, that way Baby Girl won't be affected.

While in the midwife's office I was sitting on the exam table and I felt my heart rate rise.  I used an app on my phone and my heart rate was 120 without an previous physical activity.  I've mentioned to various medical professionals that I've experience this rapid heart rate a couple of times, but nobody has seemed too concerned. It seems to be a common occurrence in the third trimester.  I mentioned it to our midwife and she took my pulse.  It was still elevated so they are referring me to a cardiologist to have an EKG for random abnormal arrhythmia- no need to panic.It's just a precaution.  We'll keep you updated.

Later that day we had our first weekly BPP (Biophysical Profile) ultrasound which little girl passed with flying colors!  The doctor asked if I had any questions and I asked if he could make me 40 weeks pregnant.  He said in his lovely thick Greek accent, "Noooooooooooo.  You be patient and wait."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Week 35: Pregnant Women, Put Down the Google

The above is what the final stretch of pregnancy feels like.

I have become the most paranoid, tummy watching, iPhone fetal Doppler app using crazy pregnant woman.  I have hid the crazy from Meg as she is a bit of a worrier, but my crazy cup runneth over.  I know I shouldn't say this as my job depends on this tool, but Google is the devil. Also, who's brilliant idea was it to create message boards for other crazy pregnant women to pour their crazy into only feeding the fire?  If BGC hasn't moved for an hour my mind automatically thinks the umbilical cord is wrapped around her neck.  But sooner or later she kicks me in my rib and the crazy subsides.  Be aware.  This is all normal.

Getting out of bed...

Tuesday we had a visit with our midwife Jenn and had our 9 month (!!!) measurement ultrasound.  Other than the pain in my diaphragm/ribs (Jenn chalks this up to my uterus stretching into my rib area), inability to sleep or lie on my back (the weight of the baby compresses an artery causing nausea/dizziness) and normal pregnancy heart palpitations, all is well with my weight and blood pressure.

Also, Jenn gave us some "labor prep" talks such as packing the hospital bag, how to check in, when family should actually come to the hospital, etc and I can't tell you how awesome that feels! We're almost there!  We also had a fetal measurement and BPP (Biophysical Profile)- which she passed. We will be having these on a weekly basis starting next week as it is a precaution for overweight women- no worries team, it's just a precaution!  She's also weighing in at 6lb 4oz. Give or take a pound. Yeah.  I know.  As Meg and I were laying bed last night she looked at me and said, "This could happen any time!  LIKE TOMORROW!"  Let's just have BGC hang in there until 37 weeks and then she can come anytime.
November 1 little girl.  November 1.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

One Woman's Quest for Paternity Leave

Written by Meg, gifs by Kate

If you know me in real life, you know where I work. If you don't know me in real life, let's just say I work at a fairly liberal university in the very liberal state of Massachusetts. Perhaps this is why I was naive enough to think I'd have no problem qualifying to take some leave time after the baby is born. It turned out to be a little more complicated than I had expected. Then again, what else is new??

Over the summer I started my journey by calling HR and asking about "paternity leave." The woman
I spoke with automatically assumed I meant MATERNITY leave and launched into a speech about that. I interjected to tell her the full story. I am a woman, married to another woman, and I'm hoping to take some leave time when said woman gives birth to our baby. *crickets, crickets* "Let me forward you to so-and-so who handles medical leave." Mmm, ok.

So the next woman I spoke with explained that I could use my sick time, vacation time and personal time and then go unpaid for as long as 12 weeks if I choose to, under the Federal Medial Leave Act (FMLA), which allows employees job protection for up to 12 weeks in order to take care of an ill family member. She also informed me that this right is only afforded to me because Kate and I are legally married, so hallelujah for that. I don't know what people do in states where marriage in not yet legal. The HR woman said we should meet in late September.

Fast forward to late September, when I meet with the same HR woman. She thinks I'm HAVING the baby. Even though I really don't think I appear 8 months pregnant AND I had clarified this with her
by phone already. So, back to square one. I am a woman, married to another woman, and I'm hoping to take leave when said woman gives birth to our baby. Also, welcome to 2014, lady. Anyway, she states again that  I can use up to 12 sick days (which I have accrued and been saving for this purpose), my personal time and my vacation time, just as she had said initially. She gives me a bunch of paperwork that needs to be signed by our midwife and returned to HR within 14 days. She also gives me a packet about FMLA.

Later I read the FMLA packet, which states that a pregnant woman can use up for 12 sicks days, but someone caring for an ill family member (which is the category I seem to fall into) can only use 5. Ummm...hello, not clear. So I email HR woman who says "right, you can only use 5. Even though I said 12 before. I thought you were having the baby!" (again, I sat in her office, very clearly NOT 8 months pregnant.) I have clearly thrown them for a loop.

I take the paperwork to the midwife, who also appears a little baffled. Apparently partners don't usually take time off to support their babies? I'm not sure. Either way, she signs it.

I returned the paperwork to HR yesterday and asked HR woman to clarify, one final time, if I can take 5 or 12 sick days. It's not the end of the world either way, but if I can use 7 sick days instead of decimating my accrued vacation time, why not? She whips out a sick leave policy and starts reading, breezing causally over PATERNITY LEAVE because "that doesn't pertain to me." Hold on a minute. I was under the impression the university did not offer paternity leave, since she never mentioned it to me to, even though I must have said 10 times that I'm looking to take leave when my wife has our baby. Of course I asked her if I could use the paternity leave policy, which allows for all 12 sick days to be used. *blank stare.* She agreed to look into it for me. Uhh...I am married to the mother of my child and my name will be on the birth certificate. What other information could you possibly need?

Anyway, this is an "all's well that ends well" story, because today I found out I was approved for paternity leave. It's a good thing, too, because I was ready for a fight. For my own sake and for the sake of the next person...

Kate said "you're a pioneer!" To which I replied that I seem to always be a pioneer, though I never really want to be. In these situations I feel like I have no choice but to stand up for myself and, I guess, blaze a path. After all, this is 2014. This is state where same sex marriage has been legal for 10+ years. This is a university that focuses on social justice. I'd say it's about time for their "paternity leave" policy to catch up. I should not be forced to be a woman taking paternity leave. Parental leave, or even second parent leave would be more appropriate. It's time. Don't you agree?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 34: How Are There Still 6 Weeks Left?!

So here we are at 34 weeks and 2 days.  BGC now weighs about 5.5 lbs. Also, we learned that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies! So 34 weeks makes us feel like we've crossed a major hurtle. We have another growth ultrasound next Monday and if they say she may come early (due to size/growth) I will give up Nutella for a week...a month! Who am I kidding, I could never give up Nutella.

As I've said before, I'm ready to give birth- or rather I'm ready to be done with pregnancy.  Don't get me wrong, it's a blessing. But so is the ability to stand up without looking like you're doing that scene from "The Matrix".  Meg very lovingly reminds me that we're not quite there yet and the longer BGC cooks the better, but the idea of going past 40 weeks makes me want to cry like a TV evangelist.
What It's Like When People Remind
You There's Still 5-6 Weeks to Go
How Kate Felt When We Hit October
& We're About a Month Away!
We saw Nurse Judy today and all looks good.  I've only been experiencing the feeling of a boulder 
sitting on my pelvic floor and rapid heart rate so no major concerns. No really, apparently that's normal. I even lost another pound.  Ice Cream Diet, you are magical.  Judy was able to feel that BGC is still in the head down position and was able to feel her head and neck through my skin <insert Meg's grossed out face>.  Judy said it's common to feel totally DONE at this point, but that we should focus on fun things like buying onesies.  Oh Nurse Jude- you should not say such things.
Give Us All the Onesies
With Animals On the Butt!