Archive for July, 2011

Baby Shower Hangover

I have a baby shower hangover. One would think that at my age, and with this particular pregnancy, I would be a bit cynical when it comes to balloons and pink cake.  I have certainly spend my fair share of time in a living room, full of someone’s relatives, ooohing and ahhhing over the softest blue blanket you’ve ever laid hands on. There is a loveliness to it, only as fun as a party without wine can be.

Maybe it is because I never thought I would be the center of one of these baby-fests again, or because it has been six years since I last walked this pregnant path, that this week of baby showers has been all the sweeter for me. No matter the circumstance, I’ve never really understood why we don’t often have parties for second or third babies. Maybe it has something to do with already having all the baby gear we can fit in our homes, but isn’t there something beyond the gifts?

There was for me, especially this time around. Sitting here now, in my post-cupcake sugar coma and exhausted from two shower nights in a row, I feel loved. Might sound silly, but how often do we actually feel that way in life? I parked myself  in a room full of the people I most care for in this world and celebrated this one moment in time. They anticipated this little girl with me, brought their stories and hard earned advice. Looking at them reminded me of who I’ve been, where I’ve come from and what my baby has to look forward to. Throw in chocolate cherry truffles + every little pink outfit known to man, and you have a night worth its weight in the sweet stuff life has to share.

The Posse

I’m having a freaky Friday experience, I have suddenly taken on the patience of a 5 year old. Not to say I’ve ever been much for waiting, but now that we are down to 5 weeks, I have no control. This trapped in my house because it is 100 degrees outside summer is not helping matters. I’ve spent  the last week distracting myself with recon and posse building. 

I don’t want to seem anti-Doctor here. I think my family wants what everyone wants: a positive delivery experience, to kiss those baby cheeks as quickly as we can, and a couple days of peaceful recovery with our new daughter. There is a lot of misunderstanding, fear and judgment surrounding pain treatment in the medical field and I don’t want our baby or birth to end up in the middle of that mess. Therefore, I’m building the posse, a group of docs who know my history and whom I trust to help me avoid the horror stories.

Horror story number one floating around the pain community is that an unfamiliar delivery Doc sees the Vicodin on your chart and immediately removes the baby from your care, sending her straight for the NICU.  I am trying to avoid that by scheduling my C-section with my regular (Super) OB and meeting with our Ped before the birth (posse members 1 and 2).  No one needs a shocked, angry mom in the OR.

Horror story number two already happened to me: After a  GI surgery a year ago I was admitted for pain relief and observation. My pain clinic had already given their permission to treat my pain as needed. The hospital anesthesiologist, however, was scared to medicate me and I went days without pain management.  The hell of the surgery recovery, in addition to  feeling like some sort of drug seeker, was scarring. This time around I’m involving my pain Doc from the start (member number 3), making sure that she will be available to intervene if I have trouble after the C-section.  An un-medicated mom is not something anyone needs to experience.

Breast feeding is a bit of a controversy (when is it not).  Recent studies show that reasonably medicated moms can breast feed quite successfully. The amount of the drug that actually ends up getting to the baby is minuet and the benefits of breastfeeding often out-weigh the risk. That does not mean the hospital’s lactation consultant has any experience with pain medications or is aware of these studies. I’m meeting with my Ped’s consultant to form a plan for this as well (number 4).

With the posse on my side, I’m feeling READY… NOW! The baby moved from a transverse position to heads down this week (we watched her punch me in the gut on another healthy ultrasound),  my husband painted the kiddo’s room lavender and my daughter put a teddy bear in the highchair, to hold down the seat until her sister comes.

God help me in the next few weeks, but we’re getting there little one. We’ve almost made it to the cheek squishing part.

Tandem Life

My husband says that bowls and spoons have become the symbols of this pregnancy for him. When I left for work this morning he was elbow deep in dirty dishes, for a pained pregnant wife, it doesn’t get sexier than that.

I have developed an addiction to granola cereal with raisins; it brings me comfort when my legs are crawling at 7am, fills an otherwise morning sick stomach and serves as a middle of the night fix (sometimes while sitting in the bath tub). The result is a kitchen sink constantly filled to the brim with granola encrusted bowls and spoons. I haven’t had the energy or ambition to keep up with much around the house, including the washing of dishes. It’s actually pretty out of character for me and I’ve had to learn to sit on the couch surrounded by things that would normally have me running for the vacuum.

I would never allow myself that luxury if I didn’t trust that my husband had my back. When one family member has a chronic illness, in many ways the entire family has a chronic illness.  It is always there, screwing with what would otherwise be a normal family life.

In the last 9 months my husband has washed an estimated 2 billion spoons and bowls. He trusted me when I said, “I can handle it, let’s have a baby” and has never thrown it back in my whining face. He washes my daughters clothes and keeps her from leaping all over my beached body at the end of the day. He buys the groceries, cooks, keeps the pets fed and has made the 9 pm run for ice cream. He has not only listened to a kabillion hours of pain chatter, from my bitching to my latest cure fixation, he participates in the conversation, keeping me from feeling like an insane and very alone person.

I fully concede that he does all of this with far more patience and endurance than I ever would. I’ll take the credit for discovering, loving and marrying someone that meant his vows. I’ll give him credit for keeping me afloat for the last few years, in a way many spouses cannot.  We are a team in everything, and yet I am grateful. He has a favorite song by one of our local musicians, Peter Mayer, and I couldn’t say it any better:

And when you move, I will too
I’ll lean left, I’ll lean right with you
Whatever road we ride
And I will love you in our tandem life

We’ll have good friends and children
Two beautiful baby boys
We’ll have laughter and sadness and joy

And we will fly these streets
When we find our feet
Turning right together in time
And I will be in your heart
And you in mine

Tandem Life

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