Archive for Pregnancy

Brain Fog

What the heck is it?! I get brain fog a lot–or at least more often than I care to. For the last several years I have been calling it by different names: exhaustion, pregnancy brain, chronic fatigue (due to a case of Epstein-Barr virus last year), busyness, distractability, laziness, getting older, etc. And I don’t really notice it on a day-to-day basis–until I have a day of clarity. Then I realize I’ve been walking around in a fog.

It’s not forgetfulness really, though I am forgetful at times. It really just is fogginess. Sometimes I’ll be chatting with a friend and I’ll realize I don’t really hear them, that I can’t even muster the strength to be active in the conversation–that I’m just zoning out (and trust me, I usually have plenty to say!). Sometimes I can’t even manage to get myself a glass of water when I’m thirsty. On these days, I let my kids watch too many videos (lately its been Caillou), and I get frustrated easily.

Today was a day of clarity despite the very few hours of sleep I got due to the fact that first Reid crawled into our bed, then a couple hours later Daniel crawled in. And Daniel never fell back to sleep–he just lay there sniffling and coughing from his third cold this summer. I finally pulled myself and him out of bed and dozed on the sofa while he watched Caillou and sucked on a cough drop.

I realized tonight that the last week or so (and maybe a little bit the week before), I’ve been in a fog. I’m annoyed that it keeps happening and that it seems so random. It makes sense that it would be tied mostly to sleep (I certainly do not get enough–and completely by my own doing), but then why would I have such a clear day today? I don’t know, but I’m grateful that I’m back to myself for now. And it wouldn’t hurt to get more sleep. (Margo, are you reading this? I will get more sleep–I promise).

And hopefully my next post will entail many many days of clarity (and energy!). The upcoming holidays are already packed with plans (“Christmas Cocktails and Desserts” is already in the works!), and then I’m having a baby immediately following (please, God, following) the holidays! I’ve got to get this figured out, or at the very least under control, and stat!

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It moves!!!

I’ve been thinking for the last few weeks that I could feel the baby moving, but I wouldn’t let myself believe it. I’m only 15 weeks pregnant right now–pretty early to be feeling baby even today. But it’s becoming undeniable. In fact, last night while lying in bed, baby gave me quite a whack. I bet if I had had my hand on my belly, I would have been able to feel it on the outside!

Typical kicks are more subtle–more like taps or gentle flicks. But it feels a lot like gas, too, which is why I kept denying the sensation. But with my uterus filling a bigger space in my abdomen, and the taps being in the same general area, and the sensations getting stronger and more consistent by the day, I can finally say with some certainty that, yes, I can feel the baby moving.

Our next big milestone will be learning the baby’s sex (or trying to anyway). I hope to schedule my anatomy scan for the first week in August. We get asked almost every day by someone if we’re hoping this baby is a girl. And I feel like I ought to say yes, but my honest answer isn’t so simple. I was telling some friends this morning at brunch that I would be disappointed if the baby was not a girl for the simple fact that I wouldn’t get to experience parenting a girl. But even still, I think I’d rather just stick with what we’re used to and have another boy. So the honest answer is that I see the pros and cons of either sex and one doesn’t necessarily outweigh the other.

When I was pregnant with Reid, however, I did want him to be a girl–more than I realized. When we found out he was actually a boy, I was surprised by the disappointment I felt. I was thankful it was short-lived, though. I think I was over it by the end of that day.

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Growing new life

My belly at 9 weeks pregnant

I've been growing steadily already. This is my belly at just 9 weeks pregnant! Yes, there is only one baby!

With all my excitement about getting back to blogging, I forgot to mention that we are yet again expecting! This pregnancy was unplanned–to the point where we were actively preventing… but you know how God is. The baby is due on January 6. Today I am just over 12 weeks pregnant.

Just months before falling pregnant, I had gone through the difficult and painful process of giving up on my dream of a big family. Dan did not share this dream, and he had already let me decide about the first two children we brought forth. Since marriage is a partnership and all, I felt I owed it to him to do the work to mourn the loss of that dream and move on with the joy that we already had. One of the things I am working on in life in general is being content with what I already have and silencing the “grass is always greener” voice that speaks too loudly in my head. Just as I felt ready to say that I could be happy with what I had, God intervened.

We use Natural Family Planning as our method of birth control, and occasionally we cut the timing a little tight, so I always knew there would be the possibility of getting pregnant. Sometimes we are very careful and follow the rules strictly, and other times, desire just gets in the way. This was not necessarily one of those times, though when I look back on my chart, even though we did follow the rules, we were right on the verge of them. I really believed in my heart that even if we did accidentally get pregnant one day, I would be ecstatic and welcome the pregnancy with joy. But my feelings are not what I thought.

Positive pregnancy testI’m not upset by this pregnancy, but I’m not exactly excited either. At first we were just stunned. I took a test on a whim (I had a collection of internet cheapies in the drawer in the bathroom). I wasn’t even late yet. But we were about to go to the beach for the weekend and I had this fleeting thought that if I happened to be pregnant, I wouldn’t have to pack any feminine products. So I took one of the tests fully expecting a negative result so I could finish packing the necessary supplies. But when that second pink line showed up on the test strip, my whole body went numb. I just couldn’t believe it.

9 week ultrasound picture

Baby at 9 weeks

I felt shocked and in disbelief for the next couple weeks. Then at 6 weeks the morning sickness hit and I began to believe it a bit more. And and at 9 weeks I had an ultrasound and saw and heard the little one’s powerful rhythmic heartbeat and I couldn’t be in denial any longer. Since then, I’ve continued to grow (nearly 6 inches in my waist already!), developed the worst acne of my life, and have slowly been adjusting to the circumstances. I suppose I feel happy now that a new little one is coming into our family, but it feels like just another ordinary (albeit huge) event is about to happen. I almost feel indifferent, but it’s not in a cold way–just a “this is life” way.

I’m not too worried about my feelings. I felt pretty disconnected from the early part of my pregnancy with Reid due to my previous miscarriage, and that turned out just fine. I imagine once I start feeling this little one moving around, I will get one step closer to joy. And when we begin the preparations for this baby’s arrival, I will get closer still. And I am confident that by the time this child makes its appearance, we will be overwhelmed with adoration and wonder–just as we were with Daniel and with Reid.

But for now we are still journeying to that place. And I think we are content to be travelers for the next several months.

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24 Hours Old

Baby Reid Cameron Hanson was born just over 24 hours ago. He weighed 7 pounds exactly (after a big poo) and was 21 inches long. He’s quite skinny! Most of the newborns in my life up to now have been at least 8 pounds–including Daniel. It’s surprising how much of a difference one pound makes.

Reid’s head was smaller than Daniel’s, too. I don’t remember the exact measurements, but I’ll ask Margo when she comes to check on me tomorrow.

The night before Reid was born, my waves started getting stronger and more regular when I listened to one of the Hypnobabies scripts. I had set up a pillow nest in such a way that I could lay face down–my belly in a pit. I think it was the combination of being relaxed from the hypnosis and that position that jump-started things. The waves were about 10-15 minutes apart and I timed them for about an hour. It was after midnight and I was pretty sure I could sleep.

Though I woke up a few times to a strong wave and to go to the bathroom, there was no indication that “this was it”. But when I woke up in the morning around 7:30, the waves were still strong and continued to be about 10 minutes apart. They fluctuated from 15 minutes to 7 minutes apart all day and continued to get stronger and occasionally longer. I still wasn’t sure I had officially entered my birthing time because they weren’t regulating themselves and I’d heard that second babies can produce several false starts.

Sue came over and picked up Daniel so I could relax, just in case. I ate lightly all day, as well, just to be on the safe side. I had several soft BMs which did give me some indication that this was really it. After lunch, I took a little walk to the Paseo and actually ducked into some of the shops–not something I ever get to do with Daniel in tow. By the time I got back, I lost my mucous plug and was by then pretty confident that I would meet baby that day.

By the time I did my second Hibiclens rinse around 3, I gave myself an internal exam and discovered the bag of water was bulging and I was dilated to 5 or 6. I wasn’t really sure, since I didn’t have a lot of experience with measuring cervices.

I sent text messages to all my support people updating them with the news and Dan and I decided to head over to his parents’ house before things got too intense. I really didn’t like the car ride when I was birthing Daniel and wanted to avoid that.

When we got there, I sat on the birthing ball and waited for people to start showing up. By then, things had slowed down and I was only having waves every 15 minutes or so, though they were very strong by then. When Margo arrived around 6, she checked me and I was already at 7–even though things had never regulated or gotten closer together. Micaela was here by then, too, and I got in the tub and just chatted with her between waves. Except that the waves were strong and mostly in my back (and yes, they did hurt), in general, I was very comfortable and relaxed.

Besides practicing deep relaxation, I didn’t really use my Hypnobabies until the end. I probably should have tried using it sooner if I wanted more pain management, but I was really enjoying my very social birthing time and didn’t want to disrupt something that was so enjoyable.

My support people all ended up making it to the birth before I hit transition (something we were all worried wouldn’t happen due to Memorial Day traffic–they were coming from San Diego). At one point, I turned around in the tub so my back was facing everyone to allow someone to press on my back through my waves since all the pain was localized there. I was able to relax the pain away in my abdomen, but it was just too intense in my back for me to melt it away.

I decided I probably needed to use the Hypnobabies now, since there was not much socialization I could do at that point. Less than 30 minutes after putting my headphones in, I got an enormous wave that lasted for what seemed like an eternity. I was very vocal through that wave, and by the end of it, I was unintentionally pushing. Everyone knew exactly what that loud moan had meant, and I could tell there was a flurry of activity behind me. I pushed one more time in the tub and Margo felt to see if baby’s head was coming, and found baby ready to come out! My water burst on her finger and she told me if I didn’t want to have baby in the water, I needed to get out now because baby was coming out.

I remember saying that I didn’t care, but the water was too cool for him to be born in the water and the faucet wasn’t heating up fast enough. So I hobbled to the bed, and within 5 minutes, Reid was born! I really felt the ring of fire this time, which was not so pleasant, but I also felt baby’s head coming out bit by bit with every push, so I was very motivated to push through it. I could really feel my skin blipping over each of Reid’s features, his forehead, nose, chin–it was surreal. And then I felt his body slip out and I was so relieved. It was so different from Daniel’s birth where the episiotomy caused him to just blast right out of me.

I only tore a little bit with Reid, and although I’m sore today, it can’t even compare to how uncomfortable I was after Daniel.

Reid is nursing well, pooing a lot, and is so far an agreeable little guy. He does cry more than Daniel, but he’s fairly easy to sooth. I’m about to go to bed now. I’m hopeful for more than 4 hours of sleep tonight.

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39 Weeks, 4 Days Pregnant

I’ve been having pressure waves all morning. They started last night, actually, but after timing them for a while (they were 10-15 minutes apart, but very long–about 90 seconds each) I finally was able to relax enough to sleep. I woke up a few times in the night with strong waves, but that’s been happening for the last several nights, so it didn’t surprise me.

This morning, though, they’ve been about 8-10 minutes apart and strong for the last several hours. They fluctuate in intensity, duration and frequency, though. I do think baby will come today (or tomorrow), but it doesn’t feel like I’m really in my birthing time yet.

If it weren’t for all the people who have to be on alert, I probably wouldn’t even be timing my waves right now. But both my mom and Enrique are in San Diego and will need at least 2-3 hours warning to get up here. Micaela is a school teacher and would need to find a sub. Everyone else is pretty flexible.

Dan just left for work, and Daniel went to grandma’s house. Being home alone is nice–being home alone with no expectations or anything to do is even nicer. I kind of hope things stay slow and steady most of the day so I can take advantage of this last bit of solo time. A long slow dilation would be most comfortable, anyway.

I haven’t tried using my hypnosis yet. I do have to focus and relax through the waves–they do hurt a bit already. I may start trying out the hypnosis soon–maybe when they get a little closer together.

I ate a light breakfast (just yogurt). And I’m having some nuts and an apple now with a cup of tea. I ate too much when I was birthing Daniel and I ended up feeling very nauseous at the end. I’m going to take it easy on the food today, even though I’m feeling pretty hungry. I already told Dan I’ll probably ask him to bring me some soup from Corner Bakery for lunch.

Dan is stressed out already. He’s not good at this. That’s why I need my women around me when things start to get intense. He won’t be much of a comfort to me at that point. Before I married Dan, I imagined I’d birth my children right into the eager and waiting hands of my husband. But I’ve had to readjust my expectations, and thankfully, it didn’t take much effort. The idea of birthing being a genuinely female experience is so beautiful to me. I love the idea of having my closest women close to me while I bring this child into the world–I even prefer it to my original idea of birth. I’m sure Dan is grateful for that.

Depending on how things progress, I may be able post an update before baby comes. If not, I’ll see you on the other side.

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39 Weeks, 2 Days Pregnant

I’m patient. I am. I am, I am, I am.

In many respects, this is true. I am also impatient. Waiting for baby to come is really hard. For many moms, it’s the discomfort at the end of pregnancy that causes the impatience. For me, it’s just that I’m not good at waiting. I’m actually quite comfortable–more comfortable now than I’ve been in a while. My pelvis does still hurt/sting a bit when I roll over in bed, but it’s nothing compared to the fire I’ve felt off and on for the last couple months. I do have to pee every 30 minutes or so, and could probably go more often, if I tried. But that’s a minor inconvenience most of the time.

I’m not even to my guess date yet, so I shouldn’t be too impatient. I’m trying not to be. This entire pregnancy has been about learning to be patient. At the beginning, I had some spotting which was very troubling to me since I’d miscarried just a few months before. I had to exercise every bit of patience I could muster to make it through until the ultrasound that showed a strong, beating heart. I begged God to show me how to make it through–to give me the patience I needed to relax, to sleep. Impatience and worry caused me nearly a week of insomnia. I did feel relief at some point before the ultrasound. Now I need to revisit that prayer before my impatience gets out of control again. So far, I’m hanging in there, and just trying to keep looking forward to the next fun thing on the calendar that I don’t have to miss.

Today, I had my house cleaned by two cleaning ladies. My house looks great. They were not the most efficient cleaning people–the woman who came before (it was her sister and daughter that came today) did a better job and did it by herself in the same amount of time it took these two.  But my house is MUCH cleaner than it was before they came. When my house is clean, I am more motivated to keep it clean. Every time I’ve had my house cleaned before, I’ve gotten better at housekeeping in general. I’m hoping to continue that pattern. In fact, before they came, I’d already tidied and cleaned Daniel’s room. As it turns out, he’s more motivated to keep his room clean when it’s already clean and he’s only 3 (almost). He always puts his shoes away neatly now, when he used to just throw them under the bed.

Next on the agenda, is family dinner tomorrow (Thursday). After that, is the Holistic Moms Network playgroup on Friday morning. Then, the long weekend–with two barbeques to go to. After that comes my guess date. And then the real patience will be required.

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39 Weeks Pregnant

So I did some more research on GBS, and found out that I was wrong about the European protocol of using an antibacterial wash in labor. Perhaps this is standard in some European countries, but not across the board, as I was led to believe by some other blogs. In any case, I’m still going with that protocol–wherever it is standard. I did find out that in the UK, women are not even tested for GBS and their infant infection rate is nearly identical to ours in the US, even though here AT LEAST 30% of women receive intravenous antibiotics during labor.

Today was the day I predicted I would start my birthing time. So far, I’m still pregnant! I have had a few minor indications that birthing will begin sooner rather than later, but nothing really significant.

Yesterday and the evening before, I experienced some intense pelvic pain. I’ve had some pelvic pain that’s varied from discomfort to outright pain for the last couple of months, but yesterday it was the worst it’s been. When it has flared up in the past, it is usually due to my doing a lot of walking, and I believe that was the case this time, too. However, when I felt for baby’s position–which I always do when I wake up–I discovered his head was kind of sitting right on top of my pubic bone. I believe that was putting extra strain on my pubis symphysis (the cartilage that holds the two front halves of the pelvis together). I spent a lot of time with my rear in the air–to get some relief from the pressure. I was so afraid that baby would stay in that position until birth. Thankfully, he had settled into my pelvis by the time I went to bed last night. Today I was MUCH more comfortable.

Margo discovered that baby’s head is flexed (chin to chest) and nicely sitting in my pelvis now. A flexed head is ideal for birthing as it means the smallest part of the head is the presenting part. The only thing that concerns me about this is that it took a few minutes of feeling around to come to that conclusion because it seemed like his head was simultaneously in my pelvis and not in my pelvis–meaning he may have a large/round forehead. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but I’m imagining all kinds of strange head-shapes now. I kind of feel like Margo would have recognized his head position more easily if his head were shaped more normally.

With Daniel, the ultrasound technition made a comment about how big his feet were, and I worried that maybe he had abnormally sized feet. It turns out they were just fine. I’m sure this baby will be just fine, too.

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