Friday, August 31, 2012

How Do You Due?

Tomorrow is my official "Due Date".  Really it is called your estimated due date or EDD. I have decided that having a due date is just cruel and they should be done away with completely.

"How do the estimate it?" You may ask.  There are many ways.  

1- The most basic is 40 weeks from the first day of your last period.  There are many problems with this.  It assumes conception occurs on day 14 of a 28 day cycle.  It is common to have bleeding in pregnancy that can be mistake for a period.  Some women just don't keep that good of track. 

2- 38 weeks from conception. Yeah, most people don't know this one. Fresh swimmers can live for up to 5 days in ideal conditions and an egg can live about 1 day, so sex isn't even a real indications. However, if you are like us and using a frozen donor and tracking a million different signs, you may actually know this. 

3- Ultrasound dating. The earlier the better.  They measure different things depending on how far along you are.  At the 20 week anatomy scan I believe it is based on femur and head measurements. (Late ultrasounds can be off on estimating weight by up to 2 lbs either directions! Yikes!)

So, you can have many due dates.  These are ours (corresponding to they way they were determined):

1- August 27th
2- August 31st
3- August 30th

Notice how none of those are tomorrow?  The midwives have a little wheel that they can put in a date for the first two options and it will tell them the EDD.  This wheel, however, doesn't have leap years, so we got an extra day. So yes, we have 4 due dates because we are just that awesome!

We are okay with the extra day because if you go past 41 weeks you are considered past term and become high risk which means no birth center birth.  As it turns out, most births occur after their EDD (I believe 60-65%, depending on your source). Only around 3% actually happen on it. Although with 4 option, our chances may be higher.

This brings me back to why they should do away with due dates.  After your EDD is calculated they count backwards 40 weeks and that marks the beginning of your pregnancy (so yes, you are pregnant for two weeks before conception.  Scandalous, right? It created a lot of controversy with recent abortion legislation, but that is a whole different can of worms).  You are considered "Full Term" from 37-41 weeks.  So you are actually "due" for almost a month.  Having a specific date just makes average babies seem early or late and average pregnancies seem short or long.  Even with this knowledge, I have September first in my head as when everything needs to be done, rather than when she was actually full term.  It is very hard to not fixate on the date.

Lately I have be extra sensitive about this because everyone's new favorite follow-up to "When are you due?" is "Are you going to be induced?"  Um... no.  Why would I? She will come out when she is ready! Convenience inductions are leading to more and more babies being born pre-term. Even with 3 ways to calculate the due date, sometimes the doctor is just wrong. On top of that, induced labors can be much more  intense and carry more risk that spontaneous labors. She will come out when she is ready!

As the last of my 4 due dates approaches, it is becoming harder and harder to remember that.  Repeat it with me: "She will come out when she is ready!"  This doesn't mean that every night that I am woken up by a contraction I'm not disappointed when it is the only one. Lately I'm even more disappointed when I'm woken up and I don't have a contraction! It doesn't mean I'm not ready and A isn't ready and our families aren't answering phone calls with "Are you in labor?!" We are all ready, but it isn't up to us!

I always told myself she would probably come after her due date and I was prepared for that.  Until 2 weeks ago.  That was the first time I woke up with a contraction that wasn't the same as a Braxton-Hicks.  It was followed by lots of nesting and the dog following me around looking worried all weekend. I felt like she just may be coming sooner than we thought.  However, here I am, still pregnant and trying to get back in the mindset that she may spend another week in there (hopefully not more...).

With that said, our fingers are crossed that our Little Evie will make her grand appearance tonight, because how awesome would it be to tell her she was born on a Blue Moon?  

Here are some pictures of the moon from last night-

And here is my 39 week photo.  In the nursery with the full moon/owl night light my mom made-

I have a midwife appointment in 2 hours, so maybe they will have some good news, but most likely they will just say I shouldn't gain any more weight and that everything else is normal. Very exciting.

Monday, August 20, 2012

You're like the tide in the deep blue...

cause you're always there when I need you. 

Several months ago, we noted that our beloved Brandi Carlile and her band were going to be in town near the end of T's pregnancy - which was last night.  We bought balcony seats so T didn't have to stand the entire concert on the tilted concrete floor that makes up the general admission area.  We didn't feel the urge to see the opening band, so we didn't head downtown until around eight pm.  Turns out that one of the biggest storms of the season was opening up its gates as we were heading across town, so we carefully picked our way out there, only to find a distinct lack of parking close by.  Did we have an umbrella?  Nope.  I parked a few blocks away and T suggested that we just walk, and accept getting wet.

Out we got, into the deluge.  Even the sidewalks were flooding, water was running across the dark brickwork and through our shoes as we carefully padded our way towards the theatre.  After only moments in the rain, it became apparent that we were truly and completely going to be soaked by the time we reached our destination.  T began laughing.  An intensely joyful, absolutely gorgeous, clear bubbling laugh came bursting forth from her as we hopped our way through puddles and got drenched by the runoff from awnings. Patrons of restaurants with plate glass windows stared and pointed at us skipping past.  I love T's laugh. It's infectious, and it warms my heart through and through to hear it.  Together, we laughed and tears streaming from our eyes mingled with the cool drips drizzling their way down from the sky.  

Lately, she's been so uncomfortable that I think it's been hard for her to be terribly boisterous and giggly.  In fact, she's rarely giggly, but especially not right now.  The babe grows larger every day, straining and pulling the muscles in her back and hips out of place and her uterus tightens with increasingly intense Braxton-Hicks contractions, seemingly one atop the next.  She doesn't sleep well, she spends much of the day exhausted with the energy her body is putting into growing our daughter.  I struggle to see her in discomfort, I hate it that I can't fix it for her and make her more comfortable.  But at the same time, I understand that she's doing this for us, for our families, for Ever - and it's important work.  Due to all those things, hearing her laughter and seeing her enjoy herself again was a balm for the small wounds I feel in my heart, that even I didn't know were affecting me.  

We did make it to the concert, and the band was simply amazing - like they always are!  What an incredible night.  The evening out was kind of a celebration of our anniversary, so it was even more special to spend it in this way with my favorite person.  On Wednesday, we'll officially celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary, and a stormy evening full of love and our favorite band seemed a perfect way to toast ourselves for another lovely year.  I plan to have a lifetime more of them.  

I am impatiently awaiting the baby's arrival.  I know, I know.  She'll come when she's ready.  I KNOW.  Sigh.  I just want to meet her, hold her, and kiss her so badly. 

Surely you all must tire of hearing my philosophical treaties on the amazement that is the creation of a baby... but too bad.  You're going to get more!  

Pregnancy is a pretty common thing.  I think we can all agree on that.  But this is my wife that's pregnant.  That's our baby she's making in there.  How incredible and unique an experience we're having!  Birth is an everyday occurrence, everyone on this earth was born, new babies are born all the time.  There's just something about the idea of being so intimately entwined into someone new's life - their existence - that enthralls me.  Seeing her first breath, watching her eyes open the first time, hearing her first cry, and having the opportunity to be the first person to ever touch her skin... What could possibly be more special?  

We've waited twenty one long months for this little one to arrive.  And now we're mere days away from seeing her face for the first time.  I can wait for her to come to us in her own time - now I just need to remind myself of that!  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Arts and Crafts?

Quite a while ago I read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.  It is basically the handbook of La Leche League International and had been recommended to me by multiple people, other books, and websites. I have been putting off writing about it because I wanted to attend a LLL meeting and write about them together.  However, every time I plan on going, something else comes up. Since it has been a while, my review will be brief.

I loved it. 

Okay, not that brief, but seriously, if you plan on breastfeeding, it is great!  It made me feel completely empowered and welcoming of where ever the journey takes me. It is written in inclusive language and really focuses on finding the right breastfeeding relationship for you and your baby. Obviously is advocates exclusive and extended breastfeeding, but not in a way that made me feel like I would be a failure if our plans changed. 

There were two things that really stuck with me for whatever reason.  The first is that we need to switch our point of view away from all of the benefits of breastfeeding and towards the drawbacks of formula. If you think about it scientifically, the breastfed babies should be the control group because it is natural and formula is artificial.  The other point that really stuck with me sort of goes against this first point, but oh well-- how ever much you breastfeed, your baby does benefit.  If that means they get a little bit of colostrum when they are newborns, then you've helped their immune and digestive systems. It has examples like this for each major stage of development. 

As much as I enjoyed the book, it was really hard to read from cover to cover. I find this true of a lot of baby and development books; it is always easier to read whatever stage applies to you, and usually things get a little repetitive to accommodate this. I felt this way about The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, however, it is divided into 3 sections and I you skip the middle one ("Ages and Stages") the rest is much easier to stay awake through.

Well, I guess that wasn't as brief as I expected, but here is another one anyways. The next book I read was Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. Again, it came highly recommended from various sources. We had already bought and read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (my review) and I was concerned it would be a waste of time to read this, too.  I mean, how much more could one woman write about giving birth? 

In the end I did feel like it was a waste for me to read, but not for the reasons I had anticipated. I was amazed at how much the two books differed in approach, if not in content.  Spiritual Midwifery has a much more... well, spiritual viewpoint.  Go figure. A lot of the message was the same- women have great control over their bodies and they need to feel safe and relaxed to have the best birth experience. Most births are normal and don't need interventions, just support. All of those kinds of things.  Unfortunately for me the way it was presented was much harder to relate to than in Ina May's Guide.  Not only is it very faith based, but there was definitely a certain amount of the hippy-ish language that just made it hard for me to connect with. Not much is psychedelic or groovy anymore.

That was all in the inspirational birth stories part.  The second part was more informative, including a lot more in depth information written for midwives, which was interesting.  I think A enjoyed that part more than I did.

I have one more book that I wanted to read before our little girl arrives and I am almost done.  Then I will read fiction.  Lots of it.  That isn't about babies. =)

Sunday, August 12, 2012


37 weeks.  I can scarcely believe we're so close to meeting our Ever.  Though she isn't due for twenty more days, realistically she could arrive any time.  It's an interesting way we're living right now, full of wonder.  When will T go into labor?  Will Evie be early or late?  On time?  What's she going to look like?  What will her voice sound like?

I don't think there's anyone in my shoes who could put these questions out into the air without also wondering of the deeper fears in their hearts.  Of course, I'm no exception.  I'm not a father, so I wouldn't know, but I think maybe some fathers also share my concern that my daughter isn't going to like my company.

Or that I won't be able to soothe her, put her to sleep, bathe her, get up with her at night, etc.  Unfortunately, there will be no telling what Ever's going to like or dislike until she gets here, and all my sadness over imagined issues is not helping to pass the time!

Luckily, I have other things to occupy me.  Like drawing the design that T is going to tool onto the cover of Evie's baby book, creating pages for the baby book, finishing the belly cast we did a couple weeks ago, cleaning the house up after our major re-organize, searching for cloth diapering supplies on the internet, etc!  Overall, I feel like we're doing really well right now, beside my too-much-whining.  I finally feel that our house is nearing the finish line, if only I'd get up and finish instead of writing a blog!

I guess there isn't a huge amount of meaningful things I need to say to the blogosphere right now other than I am just so looking forward to Evie's birth.  I am floored that our daughter's due date is in only twenty days.  Every other milestone in this pregnancy has had a definite timeframe, but of course labor and birth doesn't!  It seems oddly appropriate that waiting for her birth is a question mark, just like waiting for her conception was.  It is clear to me that this little one has particular ideas about things already, so we are just waiting for her to decide to come to us.

Everyone is so excited to meet you, darling girl!

I'll round out this entry with some photos that T's mother took of T and myself yesterday morning, the first day of the 37th week.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A baby shower and an update

A few weekends ago was our baby shower!  It was a tad later than is considered "normal" to have a shower, as T was 35 weeks (at the time...), but our schedules and family schedules have been crazy!  Our good friend Deb offered to host the shower when we had just barely told her we were having a baby, and she lives in this awesome community where they have a kitchen and common room for large gatherings.  She put up with all our control issues gracefully and provided fantastic food and wisdom for us.  Thank you, Deb.  You've been an incredible friend for many years, and I count us as extremely fortunate to have you in our lives.

Our shower was full of love and laughter, carnitas tacos and chocolate buttermilk cupcakes.  Everyone gathered together to share food and stories and the atmosphere was thick with the love everyone has for us and for Evie.  It was nothing short of incredible.  I doubt I could ever thank the people who attended thoroughly enough for their generosity - especially the family and friends who came from a distance to spend the evening with us in celebration.

Many people wrote to Evie in her leatherbound "Love Letters" book that we've been writing to her in since her conception - I cherish these little notes.

We also had a table set up outside, where everyone rubber-banded onesies (and some shirts and socks) and tie-dyed them!  Check out what they all look like together:

Amazing, right?!  We love them, thanks to everyone who made one!

Not only did we come away from the shower with our hearts and bellies full, but our CR-V was full of gifts for Ever, too!  Wow, everyone.

There's just... it's overwhelming.  Whoa.  I can't help but feeling that everyone overspent, shouldn't have spoiled us so entirely.  Don't get me wrong, we are intensely thankful but at the same time, we just aren't accustomed to being so thoroughly at the center of so many presents and so much attention!

Now, T is 36 weeks 5 days.  Time continues to slip through my fingers and we find ourselves only one more day from the date that marks our Evie as "full-term".  I think I've spent much of T's pregnancy in a state of amazement, in awe of the human body and in awe of her body, specifically.  The creation of new life - what could be more impressive?

Since the baby shower, we've dropped off in our blog writing, in our social media participation, in many aspects of keeping in touch.  Our apologies.  The days have simply been packed full of things to do, places to go, and jobs to work.  The whole pregnancy, we've been saying that we need to clean out the office and make it into a guest room.  Of course, the nursery also needs finishing, and on top of those things we'd hoped to get all our carpet steam-cleaned.

Maybe there's always things that don't get accomplished on everyone's "Before Baby Comes" list.  Or maybe everyone else is less ambitious.  Or maybe they all had their houses in order before they got pregnant.  Or maybe they care less.  Who knows.  I am certain that there aren't enough hours in the day.  It gets quickly overwhelming when I think about all the little things I'd hoped to get done before little girl arrives, but I'm doubtful now.

Thankfully, the office/guest room is nearly finished.  Just in the organizing phase now, which is annoying and time-consuming and I can't watch the Olympics while I do it. The nursery is so close to being done, just waiting on some photographs for the walls.  (Her dresser is pleasantly filling up with clothes!  Amazing!)

Now for what you all want to know about: T and E!  T is exhausted much of the time now, and I keep trying to tell her that her job is only to keep cooking Evie and stay rested.  She is the eternal "do-er" and seems intensely frustrated by her tiredness and physical limitations.  Pregnancy isn't for the faint of heart, as it turns out.  Soon you'll be done with this part, love, and you can climb all the ladders and carry anything you want. Evie seems to be doing just peachy, she's very active and enjoys torturing T by stretching, punching, and kicking everything and everywhere.

At our most recent Centering class, the midwife mentioned that Evie had descended down into T's pelvis some and was positioned well.  We are so thankful she's head-down!  T's Braxton-Hicks contractions have been growing more and more intense, and it seems that her body is doing a lot of exercise in preparation for birth.

Last weekend we took some belly photos, I'd like to share them with you all:

And a couple teaser nursery photos!

The photographs on the wall are all courtesy of my mother, who spent all day watching her poppies blossom and taking amazing photos of them.  We are so pleased that all the photographs going on the walls in Evie's room were taken by my mother or T's mother; Evie has such incredible grandmothers and we are so glad for them.

Until next time... I hope life finds you all well.