Tuesday, June 30, 2009

41 weeks - BOO!

Still nothing.

After having to wait more than five years before getting pregnant, I apparently get to enjoy it until the very last minute!

Yesterday evening I had quite some BH contractions, so I was hoping that labor would start in the night... Nope, nada, today everything is quiet again.

I'm bored. I've run out of things to do. My neighbor suggested vacuuming the house might induce labor... but that just gives me a backache.

I'm hot too. It's 33 degrees C (91 F) outside, so I closed all the blinds in order to keep the apartment as cool as possible (no A/C). It's not going to get any cooler the coming days either.

I removed the babystrology widget from my blog because although it was still counting my pregnancy, it no longer showed an image of a baby, just an empty womb. I found that a bit morbid... (luckily the real one in my belly is still kicking around happily).

My parents have been here since Saturday. We had dinner with them on Sunday evening, to celebrate their 41st anniversary. Saw them briefly yesterday and this morning too. My dad complained that he would go crazy if he had to stay here in the city much longer (because every day he has to think of an activity to do...) and that he has to be back in Holland on Monday for an important meeting. I asked them if they really intended to leave on Sunday if they'd knew the baby would be born at the latest two days later (if nothing happens naturally in the coming days, I will be induced Monday or Tuesday)...

Ugh. First they say they won't come until the baby's here, then they come anyway because my mom wants to be close to me and then my dad gets bored... So maybe they're driving 6 hours down to the south of France tomorrow to stay with friends, who have a big house with a pool. Whatever. My dad did send out an email to his work though, saying he might not make the Monday meeting.

Monday, June 29, 2009

40w6d - 2nd past-due-date consult

So, nothing happening yet... A few more BH contractions and lower back pains, but that's about it. We went for our second past-due-date consult (DD+3) this afternoon - again about 30 minutes on the HR monitor for the little one, who was mostly sleeping - his HR moved between 112 and 145, all fine. My BP was 110/60. The other monitor on my belly registered a few BH contractions, but not much. She asked if I wanted a cervical check or not - I said yes, not that I like them, but I wanted to know if something had changed. Well, no... she even said it was still quite long and also mentioned that as long as the contractions don't increase, it'll probably remains unchanged, which makes sense of course (so no, having eaten fresh pineapple this weekend did nothing...). Next check-up on Wednesday.

Friday, June 26, 2009

40w3d - due date

Yeah right... It might be my due date, but so far the baby has shown no intention of wanting to come out. No signs of impending labor at all.

So we went to the hospital today for the first 'post due date' check-up. Normally this takes place on DD+1, but since that's in the weekend, and the consults are only from Monday-Friday, we already had it today.

First 30 minutes monitoring the baby's heart rate (between 122 and 151, depending on whether he was asleep or awake) and my contractions (none to speak of). They also checked my BP: 113/67. Then cervix check: not much change from the 9-month check-up I had three weeks ago - about a finger dilated, shortened and soft. The baby's head is putting quite some pressure on it, as it's super low in my pelvis (but that was the same three weeks ago too).

After that it was on to another room for an u/s: still head down, back to the left, in perfect position to come out. Baby in fine condition. Placenta too, although a little bit calcified, but apparently that's normal at the end of a pregnancy. Still enough amniotic fluid everywhere. Baby's estimated weight: about 3 kg (6lbs 10oz).

So everything's ready for a smooth delivery. Now, where are those contractions?!?!?!

(If nothing happens this weekend, we'll have the next check-up on Monday afternoon.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

40 weeks - still waiting

Exactly 40 weeks pregnant today. If I were in the US or in Holland this would be my due date, but here in France they add three days extra, so still have until Friday before I have to start calling about past-term consults etc.

No signs at all of impending labor, but I really hope that the little man won't let us wait too much longer, because I'm more than ready and want to hold him in my arms! But there's nothing I can do about it - it's weird, an IVF pregnancy is so controlled from the beginning, with set dates etc, but at the end, it's still mother nature that you have to let take its course.

Luckily I'm feeling so much better than yesterday. Also had quite a good night of sleep (all relative of course, but good for a 9-month pregnant woman that is) so feel rather energetic today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Little meltdown

I had a small nervous breakdown this morning around 5.30 am. I had been up for bathroom breaks at my usual hours, but then couldn't sleep anymore from 3.30 am onwards.

Due to the terrible itch (it was horrible all day yesterday too, luckily a bit better now) and too much stuff in my head - how long before the baby will come? How long can my parents wait patiently in Holland before driving south anyway, even when they said they won't come before the baby's born (but they booked a place from this Wednesday on - why didn't they just take our neighbor's apartment who offered it for a week from July 3rd on)? What if I go way past my due date? Can people please stop calling every other day to ask how it's going? Can I tell them 'don't call us, we call you' or is that rude? Do I need to call day care centers when I don't know yet if the company will offer me a new contract? But what if I wait too long and there is no more space? Will there be more high school kids jumping into our garden today to fetch balls they accidentally threw over the fence? Will our landlord repair the fence (broken by the high school kids on Friday) quickly or will it take months and months, like everything else we ask them to do? Why am I worrying about all these things? Why do I have this horrible itch? Why can't I sleep? Etc. etc.

I think it's all got to do something with the idea I had that the baby would definitely come earlier than my due date, and somehow I had set D-Day in my head for yesterday - wouldn't it be wonderful: born on a Sunday, just like his parents, on Father's Day (hubby was born on mother's day), on the first day of summer, on the 'fête de la musique', on his mommy's and grandpa's name day... Yes, I know, too good to be true. Or so tacky that the baby, like his daddy would do, would just refuse to be born on such a day, out of sheer recalcitrance.

So of course no signs at all of impending labor, and all the thoughts mentioned above going round and round in my head. So I started crying, which woke hubby up, who tried to console me, fell back asleep, while I stayed awake. As soon as the alarm went off at 7 am I stood beside the bed. After breakfast and hubby's departure I took it easy by doing some prenatal yoga and breathing exercises (which almost made me freak out instead of relax because I couldn't breathe out for more than 25 seconds, while the goal for labor contractions is 30-40 seconds - but in the end I did manage) and then took a shower. Doing a bit better now, but still very tired, so I'm in for at least one good nap today.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

39 weeks - tired

Well, here I am at 39 weeks exactly. Everything's going well, but... I'm tired! Especially in the mornings. I sleep horribly at night, waking up around 1 am, 3 am, and 5 or 6 am every time for a combination of reasons (having to pee, belly cramps and ligament pain - one of my favorite positions, on right side with lower leg stretched, upper leg bent, now actually hurts! - , the baby having a party inside my belly, being too warm, being too cold). Almost every night I dread going to bed and I'm happy when it's 5 am and I hear the birds singing outside and know that daylight is not far away. I'm so ready for the baby to be born (not that that's gonna make me sleep better of course)!

Yesterday afternoon I went for my pre-birth acupuncture session. I was somehow disappointed he only stuck four needles in me (two in my left breast, and one in each shin)... We'll see if it really did anything once I'm in labor. ;-) There was a funny moment when he looked at my chart and thought that my infertility sessions that I'd had in the fall of 2006 had been in 2008 (the assistant hadn't bothered to add the year back then) so that those had really worked and immediately resulted in a pregnancy - but I helped him out of that dream pretty quickly. Other than that it was a very nice and relaxing experience.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Funny how the mind works

I woke up from a dream around 3 am in which I told myself to take two Aleve because I was having menstrual cramps... Out of my dream state, I was still feeling cramps and immediately thought 'oh crap, not now', because today hubby has a little one-day work trip to Antwerp, so it would be really bad timing if I would go into labor right now.

I got up, went to the bathroom and took a paracetamol (not that those things ever help when I'm having cramps, but it's the only thing I'm allowed to take, so what else could I do). Felt my belly, not really contraction-rock-hard, the pain wasn't coming and going in waves either, just a general belly and lower back ache. So I went back to bed and tried not to worry too much.

Alarm went off at 4:45 am, made hubby breakfast and printed his boarding passes. The cramps hadn't increased. I actually felt quite OK, and was convinced this was just my mind playing tricks on me because hubby was leaving (he did leave with a whole scheme of flights and trains that he can take back home earlier than his original evening flight, just in case). At one of the hospital info sessions they had already warned for going into false labor with the example 'when your husband has a business trip to Paris'. Oh yeah, and the other thing that made me have contractions was very likely the fact that I had cleaned the windows and washed + ironed the curtains yesterday (what do you mean, nesting?), of course way too much activity for a 9-month pregnant lady!

After I promised hubby I wouldn't do anything today (he didn't believe me, I could see it) and he had left for the airport, I heated up a pad to put on my belly and went back to bed. Slept for a couple of more hours, which was great. Woke up without pain. Had a lazy shower and breakfast and am lying on the couch right now (which my lower back actually doesn't like very much. I'd love to be in the hammock, but the frame is not set-up and it's too heavy for me to carry). The only things on my to-do list for today: make grocery list for for tomorrow (done), update blog (almost done), play cello, read New Yorkers (still six, eh... eight issues behind). Was really tempted to do a load of laundry, but I'll wait until tomorrow, so hubby can help.

Luckily this is the last business trip that hubby's taking before my due date. I told the little one he can come any time starting Tuesday (so I can still have the acupuncture session on Monday afternoon). Officially I still have exactly two weeks to go. We'll see what happens...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Call from the midwife

So the midwife from the hospital called regarding the 'pôle physiologique'. Everything is A-OK for me to have the delivery there. Basically it means once we arrive, the midwife will make sure to leave me as autonomous as possible. Monitoring in the beginning for 30 minutes, then 10 minutes every hour. No epidural, unless I change my mind and do want one, or unless something's not quite right with the baby and they need to intervene. I also mentioned my desire to deliver on my side and she said that in principle that's OK, but not all midwives have been trained in that, so it might happen that 'my' midwife doesn't feel comfortable with it and wants me to deliver on my back. In any case, she told me to clearly tell the midwife my wishes when we arrive, so she can also encourage me to go on when at one point I don't think I can do it anymore and am tempted to ask for an epidural. All sounds good. We'll see how it goes on the big day.

I also made an appointment for Monday afternoon for a pre-birth acupuncture session. My curiosity / hope that this will positively influence the labor and delivery process is bigger than my fear that the doc will screw up again with a 'double consult'.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

38 weeks - in waiting mode

Exactly 38 weeks pregnant today. Not too much to tell, we're basically in waiting mode.
One very annoying thing though: the itch is back. Aarghhh! My own fault. I took a bath on Sunday night, to relieve some BH contractions - used calendula bath oil, which is supposedly for sensitive skin, but I remembered (stupidly only after taking the bath) that during the 'itchy period' it always seemed to make the itch worse, instead of better. And so yes, since Sunday night the horrible itch is back and making me miserable. I hope it won't last too long.

The OB called me yesterday to say that she had good news for me regarding the 'pôle physiologique': she had discussed it with the hospital team (so apparently my comments made her rethink what she had told me during Friday's check-up) and now a midwife will call me on Thursday to discuss things further. So I'm really happy about that, and I can then also already tell her I'd like to deliver the baby on my side (hubby told me I should have mentioned that to my OB today too, and of course he's right, but I somehow forgot...).

So this weekend I was like 'let the baby come', now I'm telling it to stick around for at least another week, so I can get this organized with the hospital before we come in for the delivery.

I'm also contemplating whether or not to go for a pre-birth acupuncture session. A few women talked about it at last week's prenatal yoga class and were very enthusiastic about it. I did have some acupucture sessions three years ago, regarding our infertility. Although the acupuncture itself was OK, I had a weird experience where one time he told me, after the acupuncture itself, to go into his office for a small consult and to wait behind the screen, on the exam table, until he returned from giving something to his assistant. So I did, but when he returned, he had forgotten about me and had brought another patient in, whom he then also directed behind the screen, where we said an awkward hello and the OB/acupuncturist quickly took the other patient away. He otherwise has a great reputation for acupuncture with pregnant women and everyone else whom I talk to is super enthusiastic about it. So...what to do?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Another phase

I've got the feeling I'm in a new phase (the last one?) of the pregnancy since Friday.

I have more pelvic and ligament pain, still sometimes want to do irresponsible things like vacuum or move something too heavy, but I just don't have the energy for it anymore, I take longer naps...

Also really have the feeling that the waiting has started - I'm over 37 weeks, so basically full-term, at the last OB check-up everything was fine, I've had all eight birth preparation classes, the baby room is done - so in other words: we're ready.

I also had a great conversation with my mom, and an OK one with hubby, regarding my parents visiting after the birth and hubby taking paternity leave at the same time (I'm so happy he does want to take time off right after the birth), so there's a lot less stress in my head about that issue right now than there was before.

So yes, I'm ready. I sure hope the baby doesn't decide to wait until past my due date...

Friday, June 5, 2009

37w check-up

Today - at 37w3d - was a day of two 'lasts' - my last birthing class and my (presumably - if I'm not going to go past my due date) last OB checkup.

The last birthing class was a sort of déjà vu of the first one - I was together with someone for whom it was her first class, so for me it was just a recap of some exercises, which wasn't bad. The previous session we had last week was really more of a last class: with husband, working on the pushing techniques. But hey, I have a right to eight paid classes, so I took them all! :-)

Last week I also got the midwife with whom I did the classes to prepare the early release form from the hospital for after the birth. Normally in France you stay in the hospital for at least four days, but of course nowadays they're also interested in freeing up the rooms/beds, so they have an option to leave earlier (after 2-3 days - if the doctor's are OK with it) with a follow-up at home from an independent midwife. So you need to have this form filled out with you at delivery and then if you indeed want to leave early, you hand it in, if you change you mind and want to stay the normal period, you can do that too.

My 9-month check-up with the OB was this afternoon at the hospital. Everything was fine and the OB was very content. I told her that she scared me a bit three weeks ago, for which she apologized, but then I said it was also good that she had done it, because it had forced me to take it easier and now I just felt a lot better - so we had a laugh about that.

The stats: +1 kg since last check-up (so +11 since pre-pregnancy), BP 110.5/60, fundal height perfect (didn't get the measurement), baby's HB 140 bpm, presentation perfect (head down, already pretty low, head 'stuck' into my pelvis), cervix short and 1 cm dilated, so my body is definitely starting to prepare for the big day.

She had to redo the Group B strep test because she had not received the results from the one she did three weeks ago and the hospital admin staff couldn't seem to find it either (weird...). She also prescribed some 5 mg folic acid tablets to take with my iron supplements - she had just had a meeting in which they had discussed anemia in pregnant women and that taking folic acid apparently helps to absorb the iron better.

We also had a small conversation about maybe going to deliver at the 'pôle physiologique' of the hospital - meaning a more alternative / less restrictive / less medicated protocol - but she advised me against it. - at the regular delivery room, you can also opt not to take an epidural, deliver on your side (which I would like, because it's so much more comfy than on my back - other positions not allowed in this hospital) if you have a cooperative midwife, use the exercise ball etc etc and apparently some midwives put you in a 'special cases' box if you want opt for the 'pôle physiologique', and treat you like some alternative nutcase... If it would have been my second or third child, and if I would have been in my own country (with own language), she would have said to maybe give it a try, but not now. Of course I could have insisted, but it's not that important to me - I just need to make sure that as soon as we arrive in the hospital I'll tell the midwife that I want to deliver on my side, and that if she doens't like that idea, she gets me a colleague who is OK with that (I assume there will be more than one midwife on call...) and voice any other things I feel strongly about.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

37 weeks

Made it to 37 weeks, so far so good! I keep thinking my OB just scared me more than was necessary with her comments at my last checkup - I really thought I would go into labor immediately after, but here I am, almost three weeks later. Of course I have been taking it easier, so we never know what would have happened if I had continued working... Oh, well, it doesn't matter.

What does matter though is that I received a letter this morning from the state health insurance that they're not going to pay me during my maternity leave. The company and I were under the impression that the only requirement I needed to fulfill was to have worked at least 200 hours in the last three months before the start of my maternity leave, but in the letter I got they also say I should have been registered for at least ten months before the birth of the baby. Since I've got my insurance card only since February (before that I fell under my hubby's insurance), I don't qualify.

But... good news! Our accountant just called. She talked to the insurance and I indeed don't qualify under my own number, but I do under hubby's number! So we have to send a letter with a copy of his insurance registration and they're gonna pay me after all (of course with some delay, but that's OK)!

Did go to the mall this morning. I'm sure hubby would have objected, but he's away for business today, so he wasn't there to stop me. First stop was of course the rest room, where the cleaning lady told me (after I put the 40 cts in the turnstile) that pregnant women don't have to pay, but she didn't give me back my money either... Then on to the Gap, where I bought three T-shirts (not from its maternity line, but thee rather long Ts from its regular collection in a buy 3, get one free action) and finished at H&M, where I bought two nursing tops. Must say that even though I only was there for 45 minutes, it was quite exhausting, so I was glad to be home again.

Before going to the mall I had my last test (blood: toxoplasmosis, urine: glucose and protein) at the lab, and went to the post office to buy stamps for the mailing of the birth announcements. Also made an appointment for tomorrow at the hair salon.

Some emails and phone calls awaited me when I got home. Did those, had lunch and now I'm really tired. Think I will get into the hammock again, even though it's probably a bit too windy to put up the parasol and without it it'll be too hot, but I don't want to stay indoors either with this beautiful weather.